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Poconos 70.3 Preview, Kona & Post Worlds

Wake up, crazy ass fans! Time to emerge from you slumber. I hope the last couple of weeks gave you some time to relax, catch your breath, put away your streamers, mega phones, body paint, and Picky Bar face tattoos, and just enjoy a little break from Jesse’s World.

I’ve got a couple of “announcements” to make – so I thought I’d throw out a quick blog to satiate your appetite.

  1. I’m racing on Sunday in Stroudsburg, PA at 70.3 Poconos.
  2. I’m headed to Kona to cheer on my buddies, hang out at the Mauna Lani, do some Specialized rides, and just say hi to people.
  3. I want to thank you again for the support on the World’s race report. Seriously, you guys are awesome.

70.3 Poconos on Sunday

After a bunch of heehawing, Matt and I decided that I should do another race. I’m training through the Rev3 Final in Florida on 10/28, so adding a race before then allows me to 1) get a few 70.3 Worlds points for next year (which I failed to do at Worlds, sad face), and 2) not train as much. Both good things.

So I looked at the 70.3 race schedule, busted out some airline miles, and decided to do 70.3 Poconos. Why did I decide to do this race? Because Poconos sounds like one of the Lands in Disneyland, like it would be right next to TomorrowLand. Unfortunately, it’s not. Here is the extent of what I know about this race:

  1. It’s in Pennsylvania (a place called Stroudsburg, I suck at east coast)
  2. They canceled the swim last year because it was too cold.

I think the course is kind of rolly/hilly, but I’m honestly not sure. The field is solid, with at least 5 or 6 guys who could win without it being an upset. I think it will be fairly cold again, maybe even raining. Sounds awesome, seriously.

Matt also thought Poconos was funny.

I think you can follow here, but you may have to do some digging. I’m going solo, so no twitter updates.

Sunday is also Lauren and I’s FIVE YEAR WEDDING ANNIVERSARY, booyah! So I’m headed back to meet Lauren in Santa Barbara almost immediately after the race is over. In fact, if I don’t finish close to 4 hours, I may miss my flight. The pressure is on.

SF Bay Area then Kona at the Mauna Lani

Lauren and I are going to road trip up to the SF Bay Area for a few days, visit some friends, and attend a wedding of one of my Ardica buddies. Yes, these are the same “buddies” that created a fake rice krispie cake (my dream cake) and then destroyed it before my very eyes at my wedding. Long story, but anyway, watch out Adam & Michelle. Haha.

On Monday 10/8, we’ll head to Kona for a week! And, we’ll be staying at the “Luxurious Mauna Lani Hotel!!!!!!” For some reason, I always imagine the Mauna Lani as a super prize on the Price is Right. It’s nice enough to be one.

Life is rough at the Mauna Lani (from Kona last year).

I met the Mauna Lani staff through (of course) Matt Lieto, and they have invited me to be a part of their triathlon team! I’m honestly totally honored as they are incredibly kind and generous people, and, of course, the Mauna Lani is about as good as it gets for a place to stay on the island. Rad open water swimming, biking, running, a 25m pool and gym, great rooms, and a RIDICULOUS breakfast (can you tell which characteristic I’m most excited about?). Anyway, I’ll be doing a whole bunch more reporting from the Mauna Lani while I’m there, and we’re trying to set up a group run and/or clinic of some kind at the hotel as well. I’ll provide details in a pre-Kona blog and/or twitter.

One thing I do know for certain is that I will be leading group bike rides at 7:30am and 9am Tuesday 10/9 through Friday (10/12) with Specialized. I’m not sure about the location yet, (maybe their booth at the expo?) I’ll let you know.

Anyway, if you’re in Kona, come find me and say hello! Stoked to be there.

Rebounding Post Worlds – Getting on the Horse

I’ll be honest, it’s been a bit of a drag coming off a subpar World’s performance. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it still bums me out when I think about it, and that it’s shocked my confidence a little. I’m finding I need to constantly remind myself that I’m not only as good as my last race, that I don’t need to prove my fitness in workouts or train for confidence in general. You actually want to do the opposite after a subpar race. You should rest, because most likely that’s what your body needs. Under Matt’s guidance, I feel like I’ve done a decent job resting and not trying to prove fitness to myself in training, but it’s still a struggle. It’s probably a good blog or Triathlete Magazine article – How To Get Over A [Shorty] Race.

Anyway, I sincerely appreciate the incredible support, comments and sharing of my race report that you all provided. It made me feel substantially better about what happened. It seems that sometimes my biggest failures make the most popular blogs. It certainly isn’t something I want to get in the habit of, but it’s cool to know that the story and process is what matters, even to the crazy ass fans.

Matt has done a good job of letting me free-flow the last few weeks with very little structured training. I’ve trained hard when I felt like it, but also had the flexibility to do very little when the mood wasn’t right. It’s this time in the season where I have to do some new stuff to keep mentally motivated. As soon as I got home, I finally rode the Crux cyclocross bike I got from Specialized. That thing is freaking rad. I went on one of the coolest rides I’ve been on in a while out in the mountains southeast of Eugene. I also did a Cyclocross race, super fun stuff that absolutely crushed me. Anyway, the training has come and gone and I’m just doing my best to let my body do what it wants to do, and not ask any more of it than that.

Cyclocross is like the steeplechase on a bike, except muddier. (thanks Phil Johnson for the awesome pic).

Even though I might not be 100% mentally and physically prepared, I think it’s a good thing that I’m racing again. In the fall of 1999, I trained and raced my ass off in the hopes of becoming an NCAA XC All-American. Then, in a last minute change, I was made the alternate to Stanford’s NCAA XC team. This meant I would prepare for the race, travel there, warm up with the team, and then when the race started, step back and let the other guys run. Needless to say, I was devastated. My confidence was shattered. I was angry at the sport and my coaches. I didn’t want to race again until I felt supremely confident and fit that I could make up for the whole thing in one magical “prove-it” race back. I remember my coaches encouraging me to race indoors on my XC fitness, see what happened, let myself experience what I was capable of. But instead, I went month’s letting that bad result simmer inside me. I lost confidence, motivation, and fitness. By the time I raced again, I had become the athlete I wanted to prove I wasn’t.

So in a way, I’m using that experience to get myself back out there again, even if I don’t feel ready. I realize now that one result doesn’t define you, your season, or certainly you career. The only way it does is if you let it. It’s like they say, when you fall, you get back on the horse as quick as you can. It might be scary, and you might fall again, but the important part is to continue the process. Erase that memory and move onto the next step.

So that’s what I’ll do. I’m prepared to feel anything from great to terrible. And I honestly don’t really care. The point of this race is simply to race again, continue the process and create some new memories to finish the season. Onward!


28 comments to Poconos 70.3 Preview, Kona & Post Worlds

  • I love your reflections on how to handle your disappointing race and your honesty about how hard it is to get back out there again and open yourself up to failure. I was stuck on something recently until a friend asked me whether I wanted that event to define me. That really re-shaped my thinking – no, I did not want to be defined by that one event – and gave me the push I needed to get back out there and really give things a go again, however crappy it might turn out. So all kudos for getting back out there again and racing – get back on that horse and one of these you WILL be happy with where it takes you! Congrats on your wedding anniversary as well – keep having fun you two badasses!

  • That college story at the end really hit home. Well said.

  • “I suck at east coast…”

    Effing priceless!

    aka Jersey Boy

  • d

    come on jess! i give this blog a 4 on a scale of 1 to 7. maybe because i prefer that your blogs are dubbed and have music videos embedded. anyway, yeah… let’s step it up next time. thanks.

    • Jesse Thomas

      I give your comment a 3 out of 7 (WTF is up with a 7 scale, anyway). Intent was there, but where’s the wit, the uniqueness? Lacks effort, dude. Come on, you’re better than that, and we both know it.

  • EAST COAST IS THE BOMB!!! (although between your twitter photos and my friend’s instagram I would give my left foot to move to Oregon). Just wanted to say GOOD LUCK in Poconos this weekend, I hope you take it to the house. And to quote my oh-so-eloquent mother, “Run (and bike and swim) like a bunny!!!”

  • alright, Poconos, it is! Good for you for getting in and doing a race and remember…this is FUN right??? Yes, it’s your job…but it’s FUN right? Sometime a “head” injury (a bad race and all the mental gymnasitcs and analysis after) is worse than a body injury!! So, this race is gonna be good for you!! Got a feeling on this one. Swim, bike an run as fast as you can because you can! Happy anniversary!

  • Entertaining read as always. I enjoy your insights on racing and training. You really bring out the best part of the triathlon community.

    I’m looking forward to racing with you at Wildflower 2013.

    Good luck tomorrow!!!

  • ok, smart rester guy, how do you feel about TWO DAYS OFF IN A ROW (whilst training for a race) if something hurts. is that crazy-nuts or crazy-smart if something sort of hurts…

    the above is a totally hypothetical situation. im just keeping you on your toes.

    good luck. lay the smack down on the east coast — you did that last time (maine), right? maybe east coast likes your aviator vibe and brings you good mojo.

    when in the bay area, YOU AND LFT MUST GO TO PHILZ COFFEE. Start with Jacob’s Wonderbar blend. It will be life changing.

    Have fun! I’ll be pulling for you!

  • Janet

    Happy Anniversary!!! XO to you and Lauren.

  • sandra

    Jesse, Dr Al Siebert wrote “Highly resilient people have many similar qualities.They tend to be;
    -playful with childlike curiosity
    -they constantly learn from experience
    -they adapt quickly
    -they have solid self esteem and self confidence
    -they express feelings honestly
    -they have close friendships
    -they expect things to work out well
    -they read others with empathy
    -they use their intuition and creative hunches
    -they defend themselves well and they have a talent for serendipity.”
    Jesse ,in life what continues to inspire and touch me is the resilience of the human spirit.You are a resilient competitor with the above qualities in spades.In the race called life you are a champion.

  • Amos

    I get it, you’re rebounding. Fine. Go get hot and sweaty with some other competition in PA! I guess I just thought you would wait a while for me to get comfortable with it too… Whatever. (also, the times on these comments are totally off… cause this report is totally not my entertainment for a saturday night)((also also, D’s comment warrants a 4…but I too expect more from him))

  • Bart

    Nice work rebounding today! Does following Ironman Live during church on my iPhone qualify me as a crazy ass fan? How about if I was also wearing a Picky Club Tshirt? OK, that would be just crazy…anyway, I logged in to check out how it was going (yes, my wife gave me the stink eye), and saw you first 14 miles on the bike you averaged 29.4 mph! Holy crap…I know it starts downhill but geez! I’ve been lurking on your blog since Wildflower 2011 and have really enjoyed the race reports. In fact, you’re Alcatraz race report inspired me to sign up…and it was epic! Great job today and enjoy the Big Island…

  • John b

    Happy anniversary to the 2 of you and I have to think your “happy face” is back on after this mornings results. Enjoy the great weather on the Big Island and a big thank you to “Sandra” on the resiliency article. One of the cool things I have always felt is that resiliency rubs off on others…thanks Jesse for your resilient crazy ass attitude. You rock man.

  • Congratulations Jesse! That rocks -again! Looking forward to seeing you in Kona! Happy anni to you and the wif – love it – enjoy! MBK

  • Ryan McGrath

    Awesome result today, and all the best getting ready for the REV3 finale!

    Oh, and to nitpick, technically the water’s temperature wasn’t why Poconos swim was canceled last year – it was the dangerously high water!

  • marian

    jesse, congratulations. what a great day for you. can’t wait to read your race report.
    and happy anniversary to you and lauren!

  • I helped volunteer at Water stop 1 on the run and you were KILLING IT!! So Super impressed! Awesome job yesterday! And luckily, the weather turned out perfect!

  • Michael Keene

    Hey Jesse, I met you Saturday at bike racking at Pocono. You gave me your name as “Jesse” for I had never heard of you. You were super pleasant asking my name (Michael) we shook hands, and I introduced you to my friend Ryan who was leaping into the Ironman world at that race. As we walked away from you Ryan had your information up on his iphone. I said, Jesse is going to win tomorrow. Thanks for not making a liar out of me!

    I had my best finish in a half at 5:34 and was thrilled (i’m 48), especially on that bike course. Ryan rocked with a 5:22.

    I hope you come to my home town area and do Eagleman in Cambridge next year. Best luck to you. congrats on yesterday. Michael Keene

  • Oliver

    Hey Jesse,
    Thanks for the playback on your Poconos race and the exciting 4th leg. You might even get an airline to sponsor you!
    Here’s a tip for next time. Stay in town and take a cab to the buses that take you to T1!

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