This picture certainly sums up my attitude @ Wildflower Triathlon! #pumped After we arrived at our humble abode, only 15 min from the camp site @ lake Nacimiento...I couldn't believe the view, the fresh air and the cool breeze. It was like I was re-born. It wasn't hard to get into the moment because last weekends race, St. Anthony's Triathlon, didn't go so hot. To be specific, I finished the bike at my girlfriends condo rather than T2. Luckily, we live at mile 23 of the bike course and I could walk down to see this finish.
I'd like to take a quick second to have a chit-chat about that DNF. At one point, only months ago, I thought "I will never allow my self to quit". Ohhh, how blind I was! Since this year is my first year on the "elite" start list, I drastically underestimated the laundry list of mental stressors that tag along. In short, since this was a home-town race, I got caught up in all the daily activities, sale of my home, home-stay of 2 athletes and social meetings. Typically, I'm way more mellow...off my feet, in a cave hiding. I've never vocally said I didn't want to race until that morning. After that statement, I should have known not to start...but I love this sport and I wanted to have a good local race, so I chose to give it my best...which was over in about 2 minutes of the swim when my $400 Garmin ejected from my arm, lol. ACTUALLY, I didn't care about that..but once I got on the bike, I hit the slow motion button. It was time to pull the plug. I've gotten tons of great energy and learned more than I ever have. LISTEN to your body and it's OKAY to have a less than stellar day. That race certainly made me hungrier for Wildflower. Almost how bad we all want a Cinnabon but know they lead to instant gratification or fat-ification
WILDFLOWER TRIATHLON A.K.A Hardest Race EVER!
As you can see from the pictures above, I was thirsty, I was with my team and great friends (Jay from XTERRA Wetsuit's) and that finisher medal proves I actually finished! Boom! (27th Male Pro..definitely not last) I managed to actually pull off a solid swim, hanging onto some feet for a long time, setting a new 1.2 mile swim PR! However, all that cool swim stuff was quickly forgotten on the 15% boat ramp run which THEN followed by a 2 mile run to my bike LOCATED at the top of yet....another boat ramp! At the end of the day, the tune was continually accented by more hills. For a living in Florida I think I definitely did my best to prepare for such a feat! Check out the run and bike profiles....pretty Gnarly!
Anyway, I wont bore you with the specific data points but I'll tell you what you need to know. This race is challenging but the trip is worth its weight in gold! Camping, great views, relaxation, smore's, topless aid stations....etc ALSO, your shoes will be destroyed!
Without the support of the US Military Endurance Sports team, I wouldn't be here. Without the amazing people who surround me, the pain cave would be mighty lonely. I certainly wouldn't be here had I not chosen to join the U.S Air Force and I'd probably be dead had I not found something as awesome as Triathlon. I have 6 races in CA this year but this one will be near and dear to my heart. The race organization treated athletes with the utmost respect and I've never seen volunteers so knowledgable and involved! It's easy to see why this is a "bucket list" event. Please let me know if you want to go next year...I'll cook for you and wash your bike for a free place to stay. Finally, a big thank you to Scott Larson and Tri-Lounge for taking such amazing pictures that will definitely make my sponsors happy:)
A final Congratulations to my accomplice in Doughnut Adventures...Nicholas Sterghos! He took 4th overall on the Olympic course. He's the ITU specialist of the bunch...he'll run down a cheetah one day, I'll bet $100 on that!
Now that I have your attention, please understand that I'm totally aware there are infinite ways to live. Some find total joy in cave diving or underwater basket weaving. However to me, "Tri-life" is totally up there in the top 10, enabling serious ass- kicking skills, developing both mind and body. I'd be willing to debate with any multi-millionaire as to why a competing in Escape From Ft. Desoto would upgrade their status of existence. Even if they already have 10 Ferraris, they could still benefit from some healthy competition. I've seen people lose 100+Lbs, repair relationships, relieve stress, conquer fears and finally value their lives like they never have before. It's about the freaking JOURNEY!
Over the past few weeks I've met some incredible folks, all of them proudly throwing a roundhouse at negativity, enhancing their lives through activity. Recently I've attempted some serious meditation on my "current existence" and realized I'm definitely where I want to be. To be clear, my meditation is usually full of spastic thoughts from handling race-day anxiety to streamlining airline overhead luggage procedures (it's a serious pain right?). It's pretty random. BUT either way, I allow myself to simply enjoy the moment. I also find value being inspired by others on a daily basis. I freaking love giving energy to those who need it and literally beat back the "standard" outlook on life. More often then not we totally get sucked into what the world wants or what society wants. When are we not in a hurry, not on a strict timeline or under pressure? That mindset/lifestyle totally overshadows our true purpose, putting a black cloud over the amazing amount of freedom we truly have. We can be free from all the garbage popular culture gets caught in. Does anyone really care that Ke$ha has a "$" for an "s"? Seriously, start making your own decisions and stop being a zombie. Essentially, think of the movie Office Space. Liberating yourself from the mold of what everyone wants you to be is the only life worth living. Re-invent yourself! Even if that means taking 5 deep "meditative" breaths right when you rise or inventing your own line of embroidered sweater vests...DO SOMETHING you're passionate about and finally....SHARE IT with someone else! Seriously, call your friends and remind them of all the goodies you just read!
So this brings me to the Team RWB Camp that I was honored to be part of. The weather was super windy, the water was choppy but it didn't stop anyone from walking away with anything short of a remarkable experience. Seriously, I saw combat veterans with PTSD, lower leg amputations and mega-open water anxiety conquer their world. BOOM, Triathlon literally turned the tables on stress, fear, doubt and isolation. I hope you don't allow anything to hold you back from seriously taking a dive into the best version of "you" because life can slip away pretty quickly.
This Starts my 4th Year
Whew, it's literally been 4 years! I can honestly say that this sport changed my life. Leading me to triumph I could have never imagined. I've always been fortunate to have a supportive family, driven attitude and great friends...but life still needed another "spark". I found triathlon through my Boss Traveler Hill. He was the first "Ironman" I had ever met. It was because of his invitation on a weekend bike ride that I'm here today. After feeling the sense of community, immediate gratification of improving fitness on a daily basis and feeling like I could finally be REALLY good at something, I was ALL IN BABY. Since then I've traveled across the nation and the world, hunting down the next experience that will impact my life, building both body and mind. Being an Active Duty military member (go Air Force) has also been a vital part of my success. There is a huge network of support out there, especially through the US Military Endurance Sports program.
Presently, I'm squeezing every second out of every day. I'm serving our country, coaching 10 athletes who keep me sharp and trying to set myself up to be one of the top 10 triathletes in the world (long-term goal). I can't think of another way to live want to say "Thank You" to everyone who supports me. I'm so freaking jazzed to know tons of amazing people. The final lesson I've learned is this: If you put positive energy into the universe it will most certainly feed your life with positive experiences. Thanks again for all of the FB "high fives" and shout outs!
So how did the race go? This was my 4th time competing in Escape from Ft. Desoto, it was literally my first triathlon EVER. The second year I did it I actually won! These past few years I've lost by a few seconds. This year, a 17 year old ITU athlete beat me by 6 seconds. Seriously.....hats off to these young athletes. They are most definitely going to grow this sport to a new level, keeping us older guys working hard. To be so fast, so young...I could only wish I had such opportunity. None the less, I'll alway make sure I race this event every single year. In short, my swim, bike and run effort was certainly all I had for the day and I'll ALWAYS say there is no greater feeling than finishing a race. I don't care if it's a 5k, Sprint tri or an double anvil....you've freaking accomplished something great, relish in it.
Surrounded by the hard work of our team staff members, we all made our way into the briefing room for our first meeting! As you can see, "wholy crap thats a lot of swag"! The amount of support we've received from our sponsors for this camp is unmatched by anything I've ever seen.
With SO much to cover over the last few days, I wanted to take a few minutes to "brain dump". Also, the hours and miles are piling up and I'm sure in a few more day I'll be at a 3rd grade reading level and may need a feeding tube with a constant flow of OSMO Acute Recovery. None the less the amount of positive energy here is just tremendous, even those who are over-worked manage to sneak in a smile from time to time (maybe it's the doubletree cookies)...
For starters, I cannot believe I've witnessed hand carts making their way up categorized climbs. Team4Mil is out here, demonstrating what it truly means to be an athlete. Also, each athlete has their own volunteer to aid with anything they might need along the way. I mean come on, climbing for a few hours with 1 leg or with only your arms, I simply cannot emphasize how impressive these guys are. It's truly remarkable to share the road with them.
I'm going to let the pictures do the talking but here is the skinny:
- This is my first time to Tucson, AZ and it's definitely different than what I'm used to. The terrain is dessert, with cactus farms, dust fields and intense sunshine. It's pretty much just like Breaking Bad. As far as the weather is concerned, we couldn't ask for a more ideal situation. It's a little brisk in the AM, definitely sweating around noon but we need warm clothes for the long descents. The roads are probably the only complaint, which is minimal to say the least. HOWEVER, yesterday I felt like we were riding on cobbles for about 30 minutes straight ....at the end of our 100 mile ride. Talk about some grumpy cyclists! Good thing we had some solid leadership out there to keep us in line.
I've been digging in with the A group, where there is a ton of talent! Everyone brings something strong to the table but this camp favors the light bodied climbers. I've always been a better climber when I'm at my own pace, so I let the studs go zip up the hill and I make it a few minutes after. As far as fatigue, the legs remarkable rebound every day. We've been getting lots of veggies in for meals. I've probably eaten about 10 salads thus far. A plant based diet has always helped me stay strong during long weeks. If you understand training lingo, you'll appreciate that after only 3 days, my TSS is about 640. I suspect it will be one of the biggest weeks I've had....EVER. So anyway, enjoy the pictures, there will be more to come. The overall goal is to learn and break through barriers. I know I have a race on Sunday but I'm definitely not holding back this week. For nutrition during the rides we've been seriously killing all the Honey Stinger products and OSMO that they have to offer. Finally, thank you Boeing for the huge amount of support, it's an honor to represent this company!
So as you can see, I like to take the bull by the horns. However, it doesn't always work out as planned.... but when it does, holy cow, the sweet succulent nectar of success tastes SOO good. This past year has been a bombshell of goodness, almost like I've been attacked by Santa Clause, constantly surprised with amazing opportunities and "presents" along the way. Since I'm a total slave to my cell phone and have a 2 second attention span, I don't really remember EVERYTHING...BUT I'll try and list some sweet events that have kept me chugging along:
- Joined the US Military Cycling Team, attended the most noteworthy camp ever (most miles I've ever ridden)!
- Met some local Pro's and trained with the best in Clermont, Fl...signed on with coach Tim Crowley @TC2 Coaching
- Sustained support from colleagues and leadership within the U.S. Air Force. Totally appreciated!
- Finally getting over some lower leg injuries with lots of PT/massage/A.R.T...Thanks Dr. Rubin and Matt Shanklin
- Traveled to London to compete in Age Group World Championships!!
- Joined forces with Jon Noland @Tribal Multi-Sport. Couldn't be happier to coach along side him!
- Earned Elite Card! Next year I'll be at the bottom of the totem pole with the big dogs....but not for long!!!
- Earned USAT Level 1 Cert and 1 yr long Master Trainer Cert with ISSA...Always learning!
- Started Coaching U.S. Masters Swim Program at St. Pete Beach
- ACCEPTED AS 2014 ELITE TRIATHLETE ON US MILITARY ENDURANCE SPORTS....truly honored!
So the road ahead is still full of questions! Will I perform well and continue to grow in the professional ranks of triathlon? Will I develop a phobia of water and become a duathlete? Will I move to Iceland? Who knows!!!?? That's the best part about life, the direction you take is totally up to you! Of course you have to have the courage to take a path less traveled but IF you LOVE what you do, you're no longer at a "job". At least that's what I've noticed about being a coach. Waking up at a steady 4:30 am most every day to either workout before work, coach masters, get home late from a strength and conditioning session and staying up late-er to take care of training plans/research better ways to thrive as an athlete...Now that's my JAM! Of course the icing on the cake is being part of the U.S. Air Force, knowing every day I work to help sustain the mission and support our nation. So when I hear people complain about not having time and they don't have kids....I just sigh and hope one day they get their priorities in line. Life is to short to have excuses!
Next season is packed with lots of travel and proud representation of the US Military Endurance Sports team and our sponsors. I'll be cruising on a new Scott TT Bike, staying warm yet flexible in my Xterra Wetsuits, hydrating with OSMO in my bottles, keeping my noggin safe using Rudy Project helmets, wearing some great Primal kits, rolling on American Classic wheels and precisely monitoring power and selecting gear ratios on SRAM hardware! I'm pretty much spoiled! Given this opportunity, I plan to race with a fury I've not yet experienced. This new year is sure to throw some curves and require deviation from the plan but shoot, I'll remain resilient. I'll be like an amoeba, just mold me into a new shape whenever you want! So for now, thanks for all of the support and continue to CHASE your dreams!!
So, starting this jam-packed blog off with a bang should be easy since I've got some truly remarkable news. I'm joining forces with Jon Noland and Tribal Multi-sport. You might be asking, what the heck does that mean? It means Jon and I are going to blend our training philosophies to create super-mega athletes. Okay, that might be a little extreme but just know, we're kind of a big deal. The overall goal is to add value to each athletes experience. You can check our mission statement and program at Tribalmulti-sport.com. Officially, the website will be 100% operational 1 January but I wanted to give those who read my blog a sneak peek. I couldn't be more excited to be accepted into this stellar network of athletes. Training on my own all the time has been dull and I definitely benefit from having a positive energy around me! Super Pumped!
Holiday Weight Gain? Don't stress!
I'm not sure how everyone tackles the holiday season in relation to food and drink but I'll give you a glimpse of a stress free method I currently practice. As a striving top-level athlete, I'm continuously thinking of performance and if you ask me, nutrition is most definitely linked into my plan. It's probably a "Top 3" priority. That being said, I don't have any races for awhile and this is the time of year to accept a few healthy pounds. My goal was to finally get to 160 lbs by December, which I managed to do in a very healthy manner. I think it took be about 5 months to lose the 3 or 4 pounds I had set my sights on. Now that I've reached my goal, it'll be easy to get back there once the training volume increases. Since then, I've been allowing more sweets and treats into my diet, never stressing about a moment of indulgence. Despite the previous statement, don't for a second think that I've been lowering the level of "quality" food I eat. If I decide to eat something a little on the sweeter side, I'll bake or make it myself. That way I can closely monitor every quality ingredient I enjoy, knowing that the bar is still set high. To be blunt, you wouldn't catch me with a store bought pie, snickers or fatty fudge sundae. I LOVE FOOD but I also know that everything adds up and being "mindful" now will, will pay off later. If I feel like eating more sweets, why wouldn't I keep the quality high? Why wouldn't I want to be involved in it's creation? Why settle for garbage ingredients you can't even pronounce? My point is this, be passionate about your food and it doesn't matter if you eat meat, diary, gluten, soy or wood chips...set a high standard for what you'll allow into your body. Remember you're a finely tuned machine and you need high octane fuel!! Enjoy the off-season, gain a few pounds and spend time with those who have been neglected due to high training volume :)
Tri Key West Race Report
First off, you cannot beat the weather. While the rest of the U.S was hitting some cold weather, we had the pleasure of some tropical vibes and limited clothing! The long drive was well worth it, especially since I was able to make the journey with a fellow athlete, Brett Hendricks!
This race is a little late in the season to really "care" about but it's always fun to do it. Since the past month or so has been super relaxed, I wanted to hit the race with cruise control set to "moderate". With that in mind, I'll briefly take you through where I was mentally and what went into the race prep.
- Prep- We arrived mid-day, ate some awesome squash, enjoy the beautiful view and enjoyed the full belly (a little too full) of treats. Breakfast was at 4:30am and consisted of a banana and almond butter, followed by some coffee blended with avocado, ghee and coconut oil (for real). I always get in my breakfast AT LEAST 2 hours prior to "go time". This race actually had a "Pro/Elite" field and I was pretty pumped to see a few names I recognized from last year! The competition would still be there and I was pumped to see how I would perform on limited preparation.
- Swim- Well, this is where I first noticed I was lacking comfort at "race pace". I quickly slacked off into a pace I could maintain without totally de-railing. I ended up 3rd out of the water with a high 22 min time. Not stellar by any means, but good enough for the day. The warm water and awesome sunrise set a perfect stage.
- Bike- I've accepted that when I race this course, my chances of death increase 20 to 30%. With tight corners, two way traffic, police marshaling cars in front of you and sudden course changes....you have to really be on your toes. I was a little slower than last year but was still happy to ride down the 1st place swimmer (from Aruba). We entered T2 like a couple of buddies and he quickly applied some speed to which I mentally replied "PSH.......whatever". With a jovial attitude, I pressed forward, sweating like one of those Corona bottles in a beach commercial.
-Run- So 1st place dude from Aruba pretty much went out too fast and blew up by mile 3 (Mentally I thought, "AHA"), which meant my effort was enough to pass and hold him off. I quickly accepted a top 2 position when I was run down by the stud behind me...but then he also blew up with 2 miles left. I thought, well I might as well see what I have left, taking full advantage of his misfortune. At the end of the day, it all worked out and I was able to walk away with nice win. A steady pace won the race!
All in all, I couldn't be more proud to have been part of this event. It's not because I won but because 2 of my athletes raced along with me. Brett Hendricks, despite coming off a hip injury, smashed his AG and took the win in the Sprint. Lannie Marsh, taking on her first Olympic Triathlon, took 3rd to some very fast women in her AG. I have to say, watching these two succeed and having been part of their journey was incredible and solidifies why I love being a coach. For the love of sport and the company of extraordinary people, I'll continue to thrive with this lifestyle!
How ever simple or complex your race plan may be, it's important that you truly understand it. It may seem like another race; waking up at the butt crack of dawn, hoping for the morning "movement" before leaving the hotel room, eating early and mentally preparing for a beat down but believe it or not, this ritual is very important. Often we methodically lay out every race item, systematically tucking items in our race bag like we're tucking an infant into a crib. That being said, now that I've been racing for a few years, I find that I sometimes slack on the planning aspect. I'm just soooo tired all the time. This sad realization led my mind to wander and inevitably led to the doodle you see above. Putting it all down on paper (so to speak) really helped me focus, re-committing my mind, ensuring everything was in its place. Seriously, TRI Rock Clearwater was yesterday and I'm pretty sure this race plan was executed with the utmost precision. Heavy Metal or techno, why not both? Why not mix the two and listen to some Skrillex, turning my red Jetta into a 4:30 am club on wheels? The WHOLE point is, know your plan, have some fun and MAKE sure you leave the house on "empty".....
Brief Race Re-cap, TRI Rock Clearwater
I'm going to start from the finish and work backwards, BOOM!
- As I ran through the finish, I knew I had held off some fierce competition. All the hours of training, 4:30 am mornings and early nights added up to that one moment, the victory. I've been on both sides of this, often being just short of the "win". Today, my best turned out to be the best and I'm so thankful for that moment!
- The RUN was surprisingly strong! Even with my 2 year old Saucony A5's. The freaking Clearwater bridge certainly slapped me with it's vengeful hand, but the pain was short lived. The fact is....Hills are HARD, lol. I knew a very studly runner was on my heels, thanks for the motivation Mr. 32 min 10k, you kept me running hard!
- I've had to accept that this was "the year of the bike". The single place where I could gain an edge. I managed to ride a solid 26.3 mph Avg through multiple turns, 3 steep bridges and a large field of 30+ Men and ALL the women. Talk about an obstacle course. Gladly, I caught the lead swimmer by the last 8 miles and we finished strong!
- I'm not quite sure what the heck you have to do to tie the knot between the pool speed and race day execution, but I haven't totally figured it out yet. I held a faster pace for my 5K swim a few weeks ago, without a wetsuit. The weird thing is, I felt really good. MAYBE feeling "good" is the problem and I should be a little more uncomfortable with a faster pace? Who knows? I can't complain too much, but definitely expected 1st or second out of the water....instead of 4th :)
- My pre race plan was simple as depicted above. Wake up really freaking early, eat a banana with cinnamon and almond butter, drink some coffee blended with 2 Tbsp coconut oil, Udi's Omega 3/6 blend and slam a Roctane Gel before my swim warm up. Transition set-up was seamless and It was fantastic to see all of the amped athletes! By the way, say what you will about my coffee mixture but I totally swear by it. I've also blended avocado or a raw egg with my coffee for a rich, creamy delight. Yea...a raw egg, for real! ALSO, I had been pre-loading with beetroot juice and beet juice all week long. After the race I enjoyed some Amrita Bars and fresh fruit. Believe it or not, I feel like I perform better with a vegetarian diet!!
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I don't care if you've just sweat blood racing a 5k or spent the majority of your last 12 hour IM regurgitating gels and Bonk Breakers, NOTHING feels better then finishing a race! For some of you, eating 5 pizzas may be better than finishing a race, I'm not judging. Before I start "fatting" out on some delicious food topics, let's get into my main point; we don't spend enough time appreciating the "glory". Think about it really hard. We spend hundreds of hours in preparation for one day of performance, execute our race plan and before we know it, the race is over. Sure, we all feel like celebrities on Facebook with all the "good jobs" and "congratulations", but do we really take the necessary time, giving credit to massive amounts of sacrifice it took to get across that line?
Personally, I know I don't...which leads me to think there might be others out there who also dumb down their accomplishments. Of course there have been others who have completed races before us and have even posted better results, but "glory" is relative to each person. Sometimes, it's the simple things that can give us some glory. A solid fartlek run or interval session deserves some credit too. On too many occasions I've woken up the next day, forgetting what I subjected myself to. The shower is always a good reminder since steam will irritate any sun burns or road rash. The first few steps out of bed are also a tell tail sign of hard work, screaming calfs...etc.
I know when it comes to being an athlete; each race is just another "check box" and it's probably about time I figure out what the heck to do with the finisher medals I've earned. Volunteers are so eager to hand them over as I struggle to stand up straight and catch my breath. Next thing I know, I've had my moment and I'm wondering how I'll race again in 2 to 3 weeks. This is why I've decided to make next season more about the post-race "GLORY", forcing a more jovial, laid back mindset, harnessing every amazing emotion so it lasts until the next race. Hopefully, this means I can smile even more when I'm on the podium (fingers crossed)! I'm not saying I'll change to unhealthy eating habits (like most do), but I'll spend some quality time trying to give myself some peace and enjoyment I've missed out on (more Froyo?), reflect on what it took to accomplish that goal and soak up the "GLORY". Waking up at 4:30 am, 5 days a week means an early bed time 7 days a week...Even then, it's impossible to feel caught up.
So it's almost time to hang up my tri-suit for the season. My last two races are within 90 days from now and will certainly require just a little more training. Luckily, I've avoided any further injury, meaning I was able to actually get in some decent run mileage. I actually competed in my first open half-marathon last weekend. It was the Halloween Halfathon at Ft. Desoto! A flat and windy course with some perfect weather made for a great day (Finished 1:22). Like most local running races I was still beat by a girl...(dangit), BUT I'm confident I'll eliminate future "chicked" moments very soon! I'll just need to lose 20 pounds immediately. As I roll into the end of the season, I still want to challenge myself to be the best version of "me", achieving goals, sharpening coaching fundamentals etc. The main reason I'm reflecting is to seriously learn from my experiences. Just like we need to rest and absorb fitness, the mental aspect of training needs it's time as well.
I know it's near impossible to read, so let me bring the following sticky note's greatness to larger font. It reads "Eat, sleep, breathe recovery. To Become a god damn Titan"! BOOM! However grammatically incorrect that statement may be, saying that phrase aloud makes my blood boil (in a good way). A good friend and athlete recently sought my coaching expertise as he prepared for IronMan hokkaido. Sadly a few weeks prior, he'd gotten a pretty gnarly stress fracture. Anyway, this is his fridge and despite the long recovery he has ahead of him, his mind is stronger than his body. He's taken this opportunity to focus on his nutrition, mental stability and overall focus on what is directly within his control. I cannot tell you enough....focus on what IS and forget what ISN'T.
Which brings me to my next observation. Any schmuck can put in 30 hours a week of training, pulverizing muscles and excreting massive amounts of bodily fluid. Those guys/girls don't last long and are the "what not to be" sort of people. If you would have told me that 6 months ago, I'd have said...replied like most age group "zombie" triathletes do. "If I don't hit 16+ hours every week, I'll never get faster". My attitude was WRONG and my body was paying the price....and of course it was all my fault since my attitude was off-beat for my goals. Every workout needs a purpose, even the easy ones that seem like "garbage". I'm trying to say, whether you're injured, healthy as an OX or dragging yourself around like a zombie because you woke up at 3:30 to do a 2 hour trainer ride....trying to find something new on Netflix (which is impossible), we've got to put our attitudes in check and become the BEST version of ourselves. So if you're always injured, don't rely on a pill to make you feel better or if you're not losing weight or constantly bonking...fix your nutrition and do your own research. It ALL starts with attitude (I recommend a humble approach, continuously finding new ways from credible sources). Re-invent yourself!
ITU World Triathlon Grand Final....is right around the corner. Age Group World Championship here I come!
WOW, I've been on a journey over the past few months. Fueled by a solid performance at 70.3 Steelhead, thankful my achilles is finally healed and inspired by all of the great athletes I get to work with on a daily basis. I've had two solid blocks of training in Clermont Florida, hosted by a pro athlete and his girlfriend (thanks Nicholas and Heather). I'm actually on the second round of training right now and you better believe we''ve been watching some ITU races, getting mentally prepared for the looming race ahead. Actually, I'm going to freshen up my "race day" skills at the Tarpon Springs Triathlon next weekend, come out and say hello! I've certainly been busy over the past few months, working with a new coach, getting tons of fuel from Jet City Espresso (massive salads and paleo scones), training with the best people I know and making sure my rest is adequate.
When it comes to food, I'd like to consider myself fairly well informed and well versed. I am a sucker for sweets though AND since we all have dirty little secrets (hopefully yours isn't cereal)...this one is mine. I don't think a recipe is really necessary but above is a GREAT, long ride treat. Banana, grass fed nitrate free bacon and 80% dark chocolate....I also put some coconut butter on mine. Which ALSO leads me to my FAVORITE source of amazing food/vitality/health information, the FAT BURNING MAN PODCAST. If you're in your car often, I highly suggest you get some knowledge instead of listening to whatever garbage is on the radio (unless you're listening to NPR).
BOOYAH! Another race under my belt! This means more knowledge and a better understanding of my abilities as I head into Olympic Distance Worlds in London! I decided I would give a little more detailed race "wrap-up" since I tend to learn a lot from others experiences....but it'll still be pretty short:
1- DIET- I've been on the "Paleo" or "Wild" eating plan for several months now, transitioning my fuel sources. To keep it simple, I pretty much decided that processed foods aren't really "food". With precise planning and a powerful understanding of ingredients/nutrients, I get WAY more bang for my buck using veggies as carbs (when needed). It's hard for most to understand since the sandwich, pasta and dairy "mindset" is engrained in us since birth. Anyway, I'm not here to sway you, just know that I've NEVER had issues with GI distress or "bonking" while racing/training.
2 -Morning/Swim Leg- NOTE: MAKE SURE you book your hotel the day you sign up for your race. If you don't, you're pretty much saying "sure, I'd love to stay at the hotel that everyone avoids because it smells of urine and is most likely 40 minutes away from the race". SURE, you'll have a good attitude about it and think "all the explicitly negative reviews on Yelp can't be true, right?" HOWEVER they WILL be and you'll soon be layering up in your own clothing, with hopes of preventing any part of your skin from touching the sheets, carpet or even the drapes. Anyway, the swim was one of my favorites. Water temp, 67 degrees and the course was in a straight line, parallel to the beach. BOOM, the cannon goes off and before you know it (13 Buoys later) you're scrambling to your feet like a drunk baby. It felt great since I stuck to a "conservative" approach and came in with the faster age groupers (didn't try to blow anyone away). Being the last wave wasn't very fun though, had to dip/duck/dive/dodge lots of floating mammals with flailing limbs.
3 -Bike Leg- Wow, one of my best times yet! I think it was around a 26mph average, boosting me into the top of my age group. My Felt DA and I were a rocket, taking advantage of every roller available. Looking back at the data, I was able to lower the heart rate and RPE in order to conserve some energy on the run. I managed to demolish about 3 Stinger gels (Ginsting) and a Stinger waffle, while downing 1.5 bottles of NUUN (Cherry Limeade). Aside from getting a great workout, my vocal chords were definitely strained from very politely asking other to share the road (aka yelling ON YOUR LEFT!!!!!!).
4 -Run Leg- As usual, this is the most humbling aspect of my race and it definitely demands respect. I had a solid plan though, which prevented some turmoil. I wish I'd ridden the course though, there were 2 very steep hills I hadn't expected. A 6 mile steady state run, 3 mile tempo, finishing with descending miles at the end=Running Gam Plan. Sadly, the descending part wasn't really happening on the average min/mile part but my RPE definitely went up....along with heart rate. It's pretty standard though, as the race goes on...you'll work harder and harder to maintain the same pace. Regardless, I'm fully aware I'll be developing the run over the next 6 months. BETTER TIMES ARE AHEAD which means....Pro status.
All in all, I broke 4 hours 20 minutes, a marker I'd been hoping to meet this season. I really loved this race and thought it was a great change in scenery/weather. MOST of all my Mom and Dad were there to cheer me on and High Five me as I finished. I couldn't have asked for better support as I'm totally aware my needs are often demanding and a pain.
Family time=Time well spent (cooking/eating)
What aspect of life is most important with what I do? Recovery! Which means repairing damaged tissues with proper micro nutrients. I've gotten my hands on some great recipes over the past months but haven't had the time to cook them or prepare them for anyone who would enjoy. Luckily, my parents are always munch on what I prepare and are obligated to like it. I finally made a frittata, which will be a staple for my weekly meal planning from here on out. It's so easy, always available and will definitely last a few days in the fridge. After some trips to Whole Foods and Trader Joes, we made some other treats as well.
- Dark Chocolate Paleo Brownies
- Blueberry upside-down cake
- Crock Pot Pork Tenderloin with sweet potatoes apples and onion
- Grass Fed Beef burgers stuffed with Avocado
So the desserts were mostly because I NEVER make them at home AND since I wasn't home (in MI) for my birthday, it was a nice way to enjoy some moderately healthy treats. At the end of the day, the ingredient list is short and simple and I will always give kudos to those who indulge in their own, homemade desserts. It definitely eliminates a ridiculous amount of unecessary ingredients. Seriously, why does Yellow dye #5 need to even occur in the world??
I'm completely ready and excited for the end of the season and to continue my learning and experience. Finally, I'm currently working with some very talented and inspiring athletes and I'm lucky enough to be called their "coach". This is the first time I've really talked about this on my Blog but I have to say, being a coach is truly rewarding and on a small scale, I feel like they are my kids....growing, learning and always challenging themselves. Kinda Cheesy, but it really makes me happy. How Happy? Happier than Elmo at a tickle convention.
Before I get to all the exciting race information, I've got to start off by mentioning how easy it is to maintain a garden. Obviously, it's not completely sustainable unless you've really got a good system going on BUT it's pretty rewarding when you get some goodies. Not only do you get the reward of eating your own creation, you get to play with chicken crap! I mean who isn't pumped up about some hearty chicken poop for fertilizer? Anyway, I definitely have a lot to learn, mostly when it comes to proper veggie spacing. Plus there is a fiendish cat that consistently paws around, tearing up my beets. I can't take full credit though, I have some cool friends helping me water the crops and keeping the bugs away. So onward to better things!
The past 4 weeks of racing have been full of emotion, laughs, large bowel movements and sleepless nights. For St. Anthony's Triathlon I hosted some great friends for the race. I'll have to remember to stock up on toilet paper before I have a lot of triathletes around....dead serious. So anyway,race week was pretty typical, light training and an attempt at a "taper week". Taper week is quite telling and often hard to nail down, plus it's hard to break routine. Since I'm so used to working out at a certain volume and intensity, it's hard to throttle back BUT it is very important to "Chill Dude". Not only for the physical side but for the mental aspect as well. It's smart to remember the hard training days where your legs feel like tenderized meat and reflect on the hard work you've put in. My favorite aspect of training is recovery! It typically allows for some delicious meals and some nice couch time. It's a legitimate reason to be a little lazy. My race at St Anthony's wasn't the best representation of my fitness or capabilities, yet I managed to thoroughly enjoy the event. As far as talent goes, this race is a magnet for the best athletes in the US. If this race were made of red meat, it would be a very tender and succulent filet mignon OR if you're a veggie lover....it's a Simons black bean burger (the best I've ever had). All nonsense aside, this event delivers a piece of humble pie....topped with "you need to get faster" whipped cream. I'm waiting to have a stellar race and I think it's going to come down to a little different approach mentally. Being injury free would totally help too. The pictures tell a decent story. Great people, positive energy and most importantly everyone, including me, ended up doing better than they had in previous years. What else could anyone want? Despite a shortened swim, the overall weather turned out perfect! I ALSO managed to score a brand new Aero Helmet for free from Louis Garneau...they deserve some love for that one. Also, had a GREAT time with the St Pete Mad Dogs on the Wednesday prior to the big race.
The following weekend, another of my favorite events was held; The Florida International Triathlon. Typically it's two weeks after St. Anthony's, however this year it fell on following weekend. This wasn't really the coolest decision I've made, since the week also included a Time Trial and some NEEDED intervals on the Alter-G Treadmill. Needless to say, If I was a piece of toast, I would be burnt. I'd also like to add that I felt like 10 pounds of crap in a 5 pound bag. Even if the decision wasn't too hot, I wanted to come check out the new venue and wear the #1 I had earned from a victory last year. Two other races decided 5 May was a good day for a race too...so this once popular event took a bit of a hit. None the less, a wonderful training day and FINALLY a relaxing weekend! My friend Jesse invited a bunch of our friends to a beach condo in Siesta Key Village. While everyone was out partying their faces off, we enjoyed the view but not the a-typical colder weather. All I wanted was to crush the swim, do whatever I could on the bike and possibly not suck on the run. In the end I accomplished my goals and despite my energy being zapped, I was able to win. This event should grow once again considering it's a one of the BEST venues for triathlon. Nathan Benderson Park will be a premier Olympic rowing facility and bids are already in for more ITU races. It's a very "fast" location with perfect amenities for fans. So now it's finally time to wind down for 1/2 a day and then get amped for Armed Forces National Championship in June. It's time to rid myself of injury and become yet again.....a fast freaking runner! The new diet will consist of bullion cubes and water, this will expedite "race weight". Oh and by the way, the new Giro air attack is pretty cool...don't hate.