Saturday, March 20, 2010

Another successful ITU race in the bag!

Hey everyone!

ITU Mazatlan was a success! I finished 23rd with a time of 1:58:32 and thankfully this time, my legs actually chose to properly function coming off the bike!

Consisting of a stacked field with at least three former Olympians by my count (J. Shoemaker, V. Plata, F. Serrano), today’s race was fixing to be a tough one!

Going into my South America tour in January, I was coming off a Christmas break where I was all over the map visiting friends and family. With that, I didn’t really have a consistent amount of training under my belt as I headed south of the equator. This time however, I had a solid 8 weeks of training at my home-base in Los Angeles. Though of course as luck would have it, as my fitness improved, so did my competition in Mazatlan.

The swim course consisted of two laps and an exit/re-entry after the first lap. The conditions were choppy and as the day went on, the wind picked up. I tried a different, swim warm-up this time and it worked beautifully. I didn’t blow up in the first 200 yards as I have in the past, I felt like my pacing was stronger and more consistent than it had ever been. I came out of the water in 48th (out of 52) with a split of 22:04, 3:18 off the leader.

The bike course consisted of 6 flat, out-and-back laps, with a nasty head wind going north. To give you an idea how nasty it was, I clocked my pack riding on average 20/21mph into the wind and 28/29mph with the wind! So, I jumped on my bike and bridged up to Ryan Borger (USA) and two Mexican competitors. Together we bridged up to Americans Jimmy Archer and Sean Jefferson and started working pretty well together. I was so elated to find myself in a pack with Americans, with whom I could communicate, as opposed to yelling “vamos” a hundred times! We then picked up two or three other competitors, one of whom was Victor Plata (USA). Going into T2, I split a 1:03:27 on the bike (which I believe was a touch long, based on my Powertap readings) and was off to the races cramp-free!

The run course consisted of 4 flat, 2.5km, out-and-back laps. By this point it was 1pm and temperatures were easily in the high-80s. Coming out of T2, Sean Jefferson (multi All-American and mile best of 3:56) and I hooked up and ran the entire way shoulder to shoulder. I was able to count the number of competitors in front of us on the first lap and we were sitting in 38th and 39th. My legs felt great and I was at complete ease during the first half of the run. I started to feel our pace a little in the third lap and even more in the fourth. On the final lap, I had lost track of how many people we had gobbled up and now it was a mano a mano battle! What I live for! Half way through the last lap, I could feel our pace quicken and we were still, literally, shoulder to shoulder. With about 300 meters to go (or so I thought), I quickened my cadence for just a couple of steps and saw Jefferson’s shadow fall a little behind. So I picked it up more! And then more! And what I thought was the finishing arch, was actually a fake and the real arch was another 50 yards past that!! I thought to myself, “holy *&#@! I went too soon!” So I gave it one last, desperate push, and crossed the tape just ahead of my worthy opponent! Yes!!! I split a 31:36, second to only Jarrod Shoemaker and had passed 16 people to claim 23rd!

If you all recall, I split a 36:50 off the bike in my first ITU race, because my legs were shot. With that being said, Jefferson did a fantastic job and I’m sure he will return the favor in due time as I anticipate a great rivalry with him for years to come!!

My goal going into this race was to score some points and there are two criteria that you must meet in order to do so. One, you need to finish in the top 20. Two, your finishing time needs to be within 5% of the winner’s time. With that being said, I did not meet my goal, as I finished 22nd (among Pan-American competitors) and 4.4% off the winner’s time but in hindsight, the competition here was better than one would find at most Continental Cup races, so I feel pretty pleased with my end result!

My next race will be another match up with Sean Jefferson in his home state at the St. Anthony’s triathlon in April. Check back soon for training updates!

Thanks again for all the supportive emails, texts and phone calls, it is truly motivating!

Talk soon!



  1. Damn - that's an amazing run (and race). Way to out-kick the miler! ha

    Drew H.

  2. Hi Henry--really enjoyed reading about your latest race--congrats!! What a great run split!! Keep up the strong training--what's your next race?


  3. Thanks for the compliments! Karl, my next race is St. Anthony's in Florida on the 25th of April and then Escape from Alcatraz the following weekend! Talk soon.