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!
This picture says it all. I shed a tear every time I think "a small child has seen Hank Campbell in a speedo". However ridiculous we may look, I assure you we took this more serious any anyone in the history of Ragnar Key West. Not only did we WIN the "fun run", we came in over 2 hours ahead of the next 12 man team. That's right, over the course of 197 miles we literally ran past over 6 thousand people (probably) and it ONLY took us 22 hours and some change. This year we incorporated 1 full time driver and 1 full research team from Barry University. We were turned into sweaty, butt fungus, smelly armpit test subjects. This year was much warmer and the humidity was stifling. I think the only thing we really needed to bring more of was dry towels. Around 3 am, we'd all been through 2 or 3 legs of hard running, that's when the reality set in. Someone may literally die (probably Owen, but hopefully Gus). The highs and lows throughout the race will forever be remembered. From being lethargic, to feeling like a king (5 hour energy) we certainly had to rally our "man goods" to finish this race on a high note. I'd like to highlight that this years race lacked severe IBS (squatting in random grassy areas), a van that smelled of dead people (6 runners in a minivan), air humping and near death experiences. Having two vans and "dedicated" drivers, made the trip 100% better. There was however, lots of blood. Our trustee scientist from South Africa took over 30 blood samples from each runner over the course of the trip.
To sum up Ragnar Relay, Key West, I'd like to say that despite us not really "winning" anything spectacular, the memories and true BROner love will always make me want to do it again. I had to remind everyone on the team that "Winning at this race, isn't really that cool". However true that may be, it's important to me that we smashed everyone else and seriously pushed hard to finish at the top. I'm more than proud to have raced with such a great group! I think it also goes without saying that the after party and awards ceremony brought out all the important people from Tampa who support us! My friends are such a great support group and really gave the Broners some great love! Thank you!!
other stuff that's important to read about....
If you've never met me, you should know that I LOVE making homemade pizza and taking pictures before I eat it. Not sure why the pictures are important, but I like to look back at them from time to time and smile at that delicious pie. I' made a great new pizza with an avocado base, roasted veggies and salsa, topped with an egg. Quite a delicious mexican pizza!
SOOOOO it's back to reality. December, brought some seriously amazing memories, lots of beer, delicious meals with great people and about 5 pounds of belly fat (which I already lost). It's time to plan out the next few months, which are sure to be tremendous. My Mom and Dad are visiting, I have a Half Marathon, Half Ironman in Puerto Rico, cycling camp and many many many miles ahead....(hopefully I am able to run again soon)
This month has been an absolute FREAKING blast, from the Colorado Rockies to the beaches and parties in Key West, I've been on the move. I'm astonished that I'm lucky enough to meet such amazing, genuine people. In the big picture, this past year has been a re-birth. While reflecting on life (as we all do this time of year) I can't say I would have done it any different. I might have saved a few extra pennies here and there but I always say "we have our whole lives to earn more money". Anyway the past 2 weeks consist of the following:
The week before Christmas went along as most weeks do. Training, work and eating. Luckily, during this seemingly normal week I found a new favorite drink and a favorite quick meal and it's not pizza. I would say I'm addicted to Culture Club's Ginger Kombucha. The fact is, most people will never like it and probably think it's gross. If you're not sure what it is CLICK HERE. All I will say is, give it a shot...you might have a better bathroom experience :) The new snack is delicious red cabbage, broccoli, red quinoa, red onion, diced sweet potato, spinach and kale topped with avocado. I'll always thrown in some roasted garlic, homemade salsa or generic italian spices too. Satuee everything but avocado until it's to your desired tenderness, add quinoa and avocado....eat up and refuel. Finally...it's been getting very cold down here (37 during the sunday AM run). The vivid colors and placid lake made for a nice picture before the run started. Still knocked out 13 miles though, no big deal. By the way, just because I'm from MI, doesn't mean I like the cold!!!
Key West For Christmas: I have to start by saying, I definitely miss the old days where my whole family would get together and celebrate. I ALSO have to say I think my family has evolved into crazy people who could possibly kill each other if left alone in a room for more than 5 minutes. Surprisingly, there were more families wandering about in the evening, leaving the streets bare, except for the late night karaoke singers and the prostitute dressed as Mrs. Clause. As it was my Mothers first trip down, my friend Katie and her family (KW locals) gave us the grand tour and welcomed us to their home with open arms....and scooters!!! Essentially, we all ate a butt load, stayed up way past my bedtime (9pm) and spend a ridiculous amount of money in the name of FUN! This takes me back to the beginning of this blog! Without meeting amazing people like Katie, my level of fun and experiences wouldn't nearly be as memorable. I mean she literally flew me over Key West and landed me on the ground safely...how freaking cool is that? Finally...my dear friend got married and reminded me that I need to get my act together if I ever plan to have a sweet family to support my triathlon endeavors!
I'll be in Key West again this weekend, but will be in much pain. Ragnar Relay, a 199 mile relay with 6 of my crazy fast running pals is set to commence this Friday. I'll be meeting more amazing people along the way and having fun with Jessica Crate, Jessica Glover from Jet City Espresso and many other Tampa road runners...Until then!!!
NO MORE TRIATHLON's UNTIL MARCH! Whew, now that I've gotten that off my chest, here is a Tri Key West recap!
First off, the race was just an appetizer. The real treat and victory came in the hours following the event. Honestly, there was nothing more reviving than having a morning drink and lobster Benedict with some good friends at Blue Heaven. I LIVE for "post race" high.
The event overall went off well if you consider it was in Key West (not a very organized or regulated place). That being said, there was definitely room for improvement. The Swim course buoys were spaced a little too far, leaving you quite lost if you were in the front. My major complaint was swimming under a pier and then having zero indication of where to go afterwards. The only thing that made sense was to head to shore, where 2 flags waited for you (they were practically invisible). I think it goes without saying, we're lucky it wasn't very choppy because it could have been dangerous under the pier.
The Bike course (Olympic) was actually accurate, which is very rare at a grassroots event. Unfortunately, due to poor course marking and haphazard directions by volunteers, this was the biggest disqualification list I've ever seen. Some negative highlights of the bike course were:
- Bike out/Bike in at the same location
- Sprint course 2nd lap turn around directly in front of "bike out"
- Single lane sharp corners without any seperation between between coming/going traffic
Seriously, the corners were the worst part. I would be surprised if there weren't any head on collisions due to people cutting corners.
The Run course was just lovely, with an amazing view along the cost. Yes, I said it was lovely, which seems wierd but Key West will do that to you. Oh wait...I had to run across oncoming runners in order to get to the finishing chute, which meant dodging a 6ft 5inch tall giant as he trudged out of transition. I also dodged a few bikes, not sure what they were doing there either. Thankfully I avoided the handlebar of a purple Huffy from impaling my stomach.
FINALLY the awards ceremony, in all of its glory....was ruined by MulitRace. They botched the results despite my efforts to "verify" standings prior to the ceremony. The 3rd, 4th and 5th guys were called up as 1st, 2nd and 3rd...leaving me with a "WTF" expression and disappointed attitude. We work hard to make podium, so when that seemingly insignificant moment is taken away from us, it takes a lot of the fun out of the ceremony. Plus, no one likes to have to coordinate getting their award. Multirace didn't have a reason for the mix up and with a very condescending attitude told me I should have "checked the monitors" (which I did). Either way, they treat athletes like cattle and totally do the bare minimum as far as customer service. NONETHELESS, my spirits were as high as they could ever be because I raced well despite injury and all of my friends had a GREAT energy which totally turned things around. Plus, like I said....it was an appetizer for the events to come.