Chris Bright -- Triathlon Training and Relay Racing


Peddie School science teacher Chris Bright has qualified for and is in the midst of training for the 2012 Triathlon World Championships this coming October in Auckland, New Zealand. He has been blogging about his training experiences at Chasing the Haka

100 on 100

Since Born to Tri the end of July, my training has taking on a different direction, adding emphasis to the run while dropping bike and swim volume.  This was a planned diversion, all in preparation for Vermont's 100 on 100 running relay, a 100 mile 6-person relay on route 100 from Stowe to Ludlow, VT, which took place on July 18. Some 900 runners, 150 teams, epic scenery, VT moxy, and lots of gu's and Gatorade, and you've got yourself the ingredients for a memorable day.


Team 'Deer in the Headlights'
(L to R) Jim, Phil,David, Heidi, Mike, and me.

Friends have asked how a run emphasis for a couple weeks might impact preparation for Worlds.  There has been a diversion, and I would have taken a more balanced approach had it not been for this relay.  So why did I do it?  Easy.  Motivation.  People motivate me. Knowing I would be on a team and participating as a member got me out the door, fired up, and moving.  With triathlon being a solo affair, these team opportunities are that much more special to me.  And in the end, it all adds up to more fitness.  What I did not know is how unique the event would be, and having a chance to share it with Peddie colleagues Jim Truslow and Mike Stewart made it all the more memorable.

Race day was ideal; cool, big puffy clouds, and the setting was bucolic.  Start times were seeded based on team speed, and arriving at the start point near Stowe, some teams had already started.  Our start time was 8.00A.  Some teams composed of uber runners, post-collegiate types, etc. had start times later in the morning.

30 minutes before the start.

8.00A and Phil was the first to go!  My first leg was leg #2 with the transition just over the hill and within walking distance of the start.  Phil popped out of the woods, passed the 'baton' (a slap bracelet) and it was time to GO!  The first part of my run was like falling out of the sky; down and down the mountain.  I wondered if tucking and rolling may have gotten me down quicker.  Steep, so I ran with short strides, careful not to lean back too much.  Amazing scenery down the hilly slope, runners dotted the road as I descended.  The hill dropped me out on to route 100 for the first time, and here is where things started for real.   Flats merged into a steady 2ish mile climb, not the sort we have in central NJ.  About half way into the hill, heart about to come out of my chest, I passed our team van, offerings of water, encouragement, and then back to climbing.  Shortly after, a fellow bounding along effortlessly, came around me and said: "Here is where the hill starts."  WHAT?!?  Sure enough, I came around a bend, tilted my head up, and there it was.  The rest of the hill.  I made it up, crested, then hit some flats and started to find a rhythm, which bode well for the rest of the day.  I  handed off to Stewey - how cool is that - and off he went.  First leg was 6.4 miles just right around 7 minute pace.  I am pretty happy with that.

And so the day went on, runner to runner, with our van leapfrogging the runner and positioning the next runner down stream in a transition zone, as well as supporting the runner in transit.  Code word for the day: Nutella!   

'Deer in the Headlights' office.

Jim and our team leader, Phil.


A typical transition zone in a small, VT town.

David supporting Heidi.

The key on a day like this is to keep future runs in mind while running your present run.  Before this race, I  had never run 3 times in one day.  #Adventure.  Rest and recovery and preparation to run again were balanced with supporting team mates.  My second run, a largely flat 8.3 miler, rated on a scale of beauty, effort, and overall experience, was one of the most enjoyable runs of my life.  Having run some 6 or 7 mile tempo runs in the 7.30 pace range this summer, I was eager to see if I could cover the 8.3 a bit quicker and was happy to manage a pace that was a little quicker.  

What I will remember about this particular run is the sounds around me.  Hearing the uninterrupted sound of a stream winding its way along the road, wind in the trees, my feet, my breathing is something I had not experienced since my VA days.  NJ has some beautiful spots, but routes that offer an experience like this are tough to find here.  The first 5 miles came with a comfortably hard effort, the last three, I focused on placing fatigue and discomfort on the 'upper shelf' of my mind, and thoughts on my form, efficiency, and turnover on the 'lower shelf.'  I was super happy when Mike came in to view and proud to have just finished a run I will remember for a long time.

Typical.

Afternoon rolled into evening and the race took on some energy as Okemo, the finishing point, was getting closer.  Attitude trumps physical state!  Jim was super positive and energetic all day long, clearly loving every moment of the experience.  It was special for him, as well as Mike and some of the others, as they have experience with this area of the country.  Synergy.  My last leg was a 4.0 miler, first two miles rolling, the last 2.0, a lung-busting climb to the base of one of the Killington ski lodges.  Combined, I ran 18-19 miles, the team ran 100 (actually, 98.9), and what a time for 'Deer in the Headlights!' Enjoy these pics from the last hours of the race.  

Mike is DONE!

Hunerd!

Jim on his third leg.




Following Jim's third leg.

Thanks for reading,

CB

Comments

  1. This is fantastic, great read. Thanks for sharing!

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