Speedway and Trail Racing on the East Coast

This weekend was everything about a weekend I absolutely love! I spent time with great people, raced, and supported Lauren Nolan racing. Here I will share my experiences from a full of life weekend.

The weekend was about two races. Saturday I raced Clash Endurance Daytona and Sunday, Lauren, raced the Guana Back to Nature 50k in Ponte Vedra, FL. I raced the Sprint Distance Triathlon Relay for the third year in a row with Dylan Nolan and we were attempting to pull off the overall win for third and final year we will be competing together at this event. Next year Dylan starts college and I will be racing in the Middle Distance Duathlon National Championship at Daytona so this was a special weekend for us going for three wins in a row.

Each year I had the cycling responsibilities while Dylan owned the run. We have had three different swimmers including Dylan, Dave Morrow, and this year, Christy Droubay. The temperature this year was warmer than the cold conditions of the last two years. It was great for all three disciplines…not cold, not hot…just right in the low 60s to start at 7:05 AM.

Christy got us off to a great start which in this race is critical for the cyclists. The bike course consists of 5 laps around the 2.5 mile Daytona International Speedway track so traffic builds rapidly. Christy sprinted out of the 800 meter swim and through the long transition to where our bike was mounted. She was so humble about her effort. She is one of the fastest swimmers in our sport and she demonstrated it on this day. I grabbed the timing chip and off on the bike I went. The first lap was the most difficult of the five physically. It took getting to a point of getting the quad muscles and cardio to settle in. Once I did I felt strong and found myself beating my time from last year by a minute and one MPH faster.

I dismounted and without any need to conserve breath for a run, raced with my bike back to the mount as Dylan ripped the timing chip off my ankle and off he went on the final 5k run, one lap around the track. I joked with Christy before the race that we really can’t waste time in transition after I come in as Dylan is so fast we need to immediately head to the finish line to see him cross. We made our way over and yelled our butts off as he tore through the finishing shoot with the famous Daytona track in the background. Dylan also beat his best time there with a 15:57…geez!

Christy and I ran over past the finishing tables to greet Dylan and begin our celebrations! We quickly started with pictures to capture our moment together. This was extra special being the final one. We ended our celebrations there jumping on the podium at the Awards Ceremony with smiles all around. I am fortunate to know these two and be healthy to race my butt off for us. What a great team! We also got to hang out with some pretty great people and friends post race…great community.

After the race, Dylan and I headed to Ponte Vedra where Lauren was set to race her ultra marathon Sunday morning. We got there ahead of her as she was playing the role of Super Mom again this weekend supporting her other son, Gavin, who was wrestling at a tournament in Tampa. Sunday morning quickly arrived and we headed to the Guana Research Reserve. The course consisted of four – 7.75 mile loops on trail including sand, gravel, dirt, tree roots, and a couple of muddy areas to navigate. It was a tough track for sure. Each time Lauren came through she quickly shared how she felt and what she needed in terms of fuel. She looked strong at each loop and knowing Lauren, determined to press through the mental and physical challenges as the body breaks down during these long runs/races.

As she came around the final corner with about 300 meters to go she had a big smile on her face as she persevered to a fourth overall female finish and sixth place overall. Absolutely amazing for a lady who just started running two years ago. Just over a year ago in her first marathon she also qualified for the upcoming Boston Marathon in April. This race was not only a great accomplishment but also provided the base mileage for her as she will begin Boston Marathon training soon. In typical Lauren form, she was not too sore after the race and again Monday morning. A little hip/glute/hamstring aches but overall in great condition. She attributes it to the consistent amount of stretching she does post runs and that certainly has set her up to log a lot of miles on a regular basis. Don’t underestimate the power of stretching. It sets us up for the next day and promotes overall health and fitness.

We celebrated her great accomplishment, stopped for a healthy lunch on the way back home and crashed when we arrived. What a weekend… To be around great people, execute a race, and then to support Lauren checked all the boxes for an exhilerating weekend. I am looking forward to a low key weekend next weekend too… Thoughtful planning for the year sets up for these amazing experiences.

– Add Health to Your Life

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