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!
After the Wednesday Kit Peak Climb, I think we were all ready for a more relaxed day. Personally, I was ready for a “real food” fueled day. The OSMO and Honey Stinger products certainly kept me in gear for hard days, but my body needed a small break. On that note, Nicholas Sterghos and I decided we would break in our new bikes, spend a little time away from the cycling group and take a break from hard riding (sort of). The “triathlon” program at the US Military Endurance Sports Team is still developing so time trial bikes weren’t really allowed unless you were on the elite team, plus I needed it for Sundays race. That meant we had to venture out on our own, no big deal. I definitely see a large future within this program, especially since our Triathlon Elite Team director Kathy Rakel has already started plans motion to tailor a camp for triathletes.
My new whip, the Scott Plasma Premium, rode very smooth and despite riding it only once before camp, I was definitely comfortable. Joel at Flying Fish Bikes has taken care of me for about 3 solid years now and the bike fit is always legit! It’s one of the better-looking bikes out there too, so it’s nice to ride an “eye catcher”. It’s like having a supermodel around…everyone is interested in it…and I get to say “yea, that’s mine”. We headed to a nice park with an 8 mile loop, pretty technical with fast corners. It’s definitely a rush to bank a corner at 28 mph, feeling the wheels grip, the wind blasting through the carbon. All of the road cycling has totally boosted my bike handling skills on the Tri-Bike. I TOTALLY recommend you get on a road machine and get comfortable with it. Nicholas Sterghos was also able to break in his new Scott Foil 10. Finally a bike that fits him!
Friday was the big one…a 26+ mile climb up Mt. Lemmon, a 100+ mile journey overall. This was another reason we decided to chill out on Thursday. With all the (earned) breaks, it ended up being an 8 hour day with about 5+ hours of riding. The breaks were spent eating a cookie the size of my face and two pieces of normally “illegal” pizza. The climb to the top was astonishing. It was freaking snowing up there….SOO glad I brought my warm hat, gloves and leg warmers for the descent….which lasted about an hour. So anyway, the climb definitely put a hurting on me, especially since I tried to hang with some of the Pro Cyclists. After about 12 miles, I backed it off a bit. I was later caught by a group of 3 studs so I hung in with them until about 4 miles from the top when I was able to break away. I climbed for a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes. There was an additional area on the mountain that was opened which took us to the absolute top. Totally, regrettable decision since the grade drastically increased and the temperature dropped even more. Either way, the cookie, pizza, awesome descent, stellar company and delicious lunch at LE BUZZ and the bottom totally made the day unforgettable.
Saturday was a travel day, 6+ hours to Coronado, California….a stones throw away from Mexico. The drive there was mainly dessert until we climbed over the last mountain range. Then I finally saw some green trees and the beautiful Pacific Ocean! The weather was back to being humid, breezy and …PERFECT. After the long car ride and lack of activity, I felt pretty flat, so the race “prep” was a nice wake up. I felt like 10 pounds of poo in a 5 pound bag, like a piece of burnt toast, like Frodo felt after walking up Mt Doom. I’d already completed 24.8 hours of swim, bike and run training…most note-ably I’d ridden 465+ miles. I totally expected to feel this way, so no stress. This race was the icing on the cake. If I could get through with decent result and attitude, it would be a victory. The weather was perfect, water temp a solid 64 and a light breeze filled your ears. Again, perfect. Naturally, the top end swim speed was all but gone after the first 4 strokes, so I held on for dear life…getting beat by most of my wave. The last half of the bike left me reaching for my “goal” power numbers and then the run was pretty much a “tempo” effort. A low energy level wasn’t really an issue since I fueled pretty well. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how things went. My Team Director WON the Pro Female category so it was remarkable to be part of that event. I ended up 10th so I was glad too. I may have ALMOST been the last pro, but I didn’t get chicked or beat by an age group athlete. This race actually brought out a serious Pro field, no doubt they humbly kicked my butt!
Bonus! It was awesome to connect with the XTERRA CEO since they are our wetsuit sponsors! He informed us they have some seriously awesome wetsuits coming in the near future. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!
What do I do every time I come to California? Eat In and Out! I do have to say, I got a double double, animal style….IN A LETTUCE WRAP…BOOM. No idea why I still try to “church” up the fast food…but oh well, it was seriously tasty! I still held back a little for my next trip, opting out of the chocolate shake.
Quick Recap: This has been a huge block of training and racing, three races thus far and a training camp! It was also amazing to meet up with Samantha Morrison and Brad Williams, my hero's. It’s scary to think I have another race at the end of this month. Oceanside 70.3 is right around the corner and I completely made a rookie mistake. I didn’t really take into account that “beginner” Pro’s should stick to low key Pro races…oops! Taking a look at the start list quickly brings on the pucker factor. I suppose I could re-arrange it but the flight and home-stay are already set up. At the end of the day, it’ll be nice to be in California again and toe the line with some serious talent.
The United States Military Endurance Sports program is a must! If you are a Veteran, Active Duty, Guard or Reserve member, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by not becoming a member. Seriously, anywhere I travel I have a free place to stay, the deals are amazing and the community is tremendously uplifting and supportive. Please, please…take a look at the website, come out to a camp or see if someone in the program lives near you.
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!
Wait.....Am I Dreaming?
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!!
Age Group Worlds Recap
Qualifying for Age Group Worlds didn't really mean much at the time. Honestly, 9 months ago written it off an decided that is was too far away to get excited about. That being said, I was dead wrong and would gladly slap some sense into my "past" self if given the chance. Competing at this level, surrounded by talent, was truly humbling and extremely motivating! I'll keep this brief but will highlight my lessons learned.
- Traveling overseas to a "A" race can either be super stressful or a remarkable journey. I decided to make a " remarkable journey" out of it, focusing on what was within my control while ignoring typical stressors i.e..change in diet, a destroyed circadian rhythm, many hours lugging around lots of heavy items, excess time on your feet, cold weather, 22 hours of sweat in one outfit...etc. It's best to take it all in and keep your chin up. Attitude is everything!
- Getting a feel for the course was easy, there were races all week long, not to mention tons of crashes. We practically walked around in a continual mist, which made the roads dangerously slick. We all knew it was going to be a dodgy course and expected to be extra cautious. There was an aquathlon (what?), Paratriathlon, open olympic distance race, pro men and women race and sprint distance worlds. Talk about race overload. Luckily our hotel was within striking distance (10 minute walk). I volunteered to help out the paratriathlete's and I have to say it felt great to help some very dedicated athletes.
- Hyde Park was amazing for some pre-race training. I have to compliment the locals for being very fit. You could throw a rock and hit someone running or biking. I literally can count the amount of obese people on one hand...and they were probably American or Irish. Swimming wasn't really my favorite though, since the Serpentine is Doo-Doo brown and very cold. It's brown due to massive amounts of goose poo. I have a friend who had gotten pretty sick from swimming there, luckily my immune system held it together.
- Jet lag subsided by race day, however my travel companions insisted on talking with a british accents and giggling until late in the evening. Regardless, I'm so glad we were able to enjoy the fruits of London as a Team.
- MY RACE wasn't until Sunday and I was totally prepared to execute. The weather in the U.K is the opposite of Florida so I'm very thankful we had blue skies for our race. The days leading to the race (taper week) are always bittersweet, but like I said earlier, attitude is everything. My general mood concerning my race is excellent, I give it a 8 out of 10. The swim was definitely my weakness; no warm up, low 60 water temp, low 50 air temp and maybe lack of toughness. My feet were numb running to transition, so were my hands, making it hard to secure my helmet or make a frownie face. I'm very happy with my bike performance! Holding an average speed just short of 26 mph on a technical course felt good. As far as the run is concerned, I'd like to say WOO HOO! Despite months of working through lower leg injuries, I negative split every 2 mile loop, running a 36:40 10 Kilometer. I know I have a long way to go to be super competitive, but the good news is I'm always getting better! Unfortunatley, I did walk away with a Peroneal Tendon Strain....but it's already getting better.
I Love to Hate Taper Week!
Well, after an absolutely unforgettable birthday week, reality had to set in. Actually, before I start talking about the Georgia Grand Prix, it's incredibly important I talk about the importance of good people. GOOD PEOPLE surprise you and never let you experience something important on your own. I may not have the biggest group of close friends but I truly appreciate the athletes/friends who constantly support my cause...(which is totally selfish and self-indulgent). Athletes would agree with me, the demands of training take their toll on the social life. With early bed times, lazy movie recovery days, constant eating and habitual soreness.....there isn't too much room for tons of fun. I've always noticed, the harder I work during the week, the more I hate stairs. Literally, if the remote control was upstairs and I was already in "Recovery" mode, parked on the couch. I would be sitting in silence, smelling my own farts
- Surprise Gathering of Important People
- 27 X 400 on the track
- 127 mile bike in San Antonio
- 2.7 Mile Swim
- Paleo Cake....which was immediately destroyed by all.
To start this off right, imagine 6 bike races...in 5 days (obviously nothing compared to what the Pro's do)! A fellow athlete and I (the famous Nicholas Sterghos) embarked on this journey with a little red TDI Jetta, loaded with hopes and dreams (4 bikes, a year supply of race nutrition, smelly shoes and nasty burps/farts...oh and a grill). NOTE: NEW FAVORITE CLEAN BURNING BAR The journey took us about 7 hours since we had to pee every 3 minutes and hunt down delicious Paleo/Vegetarian friendly foods. I'd like to go on the record and say "Atlanta Bread" may sell themselves as a competitor to "Panera Bread" but DO NOT be fooled. If you think you're going to be left with a delicious meal which is designed to your liking, introduce those expectations to the GROUND! Either way once we arrived, we were able to race on some incredible, technical courses that had some great rollers. There was typically a plan on each day...make everyone hurt and try to finish in the top 5%. This was totally going to happen, except I crashed on the last 2 days, pushing me out of the top 5 GC standings. However, I will say that despite drivetrain malfunctioning on the TT, I still blew away the CAT 4/5 field (so I pretty much dominated the lowest category of riders...no big deal). None the less, we recovered VERY well with fresh veggies and visits to Athens GA for swim and run sessions.
For now...I'll be dealing with the ups and downs of taper week as 70.3 Steel Head approaches. Typically, the worst I feel the better I race. Right about now I'm feeling like a dry white turd. In 2 days time, I'll be ready to unleash the Crackin on these Michiganders! I have to go build my bike though, which means the next time you'll hear from me is POST RACE!
Before I go, I'd like to highlight an athlete I am currently coaching towards Triathlon domination; Captain Hila Levy. Next time you think you've done some "stuff" in your life...read this story, then quietly head back to college to learn 14 languages, 5 Masters Degrees.... and get on HER level! READ HER STORY HERE
So you're colleagues bring in donuts...before you know it you slip deep into a sugar coma (since you ate 3). Birthday party? Why not eat 2 pieces of Oreo cake? We only live once right? A friend mentioned that chocolaty treat you're eating is "healthy" because it's "gluten free" or "paleo"....Go Nuts, right? It's around 2 o'clock and you feel the hunger monster, let's get down on a candy bar (Cliff bar, Raw Bar, Crackers or something else processed), right? These little decisions ADD UP and are limiting your bodies ability function as it should....forcing it to hold onto fat, even if you're working out. PLAN AHEAD and bring some healthy snacks with you at all times...be prepared or prepare to fail!
Point being, it's always easy to find a reason for a snack or sugary delight. Odds are, we all crave something that's probably not going to eliminate any fat from the butt or gut. I've been there too, but now....things are exponentially better.
SOOO here is what I'd like to share. It's been over a month since I've been immune to the past unhealthy "additions" to my body fat. If you know me or have read previous posts, it's easy to see, I prefer some healthy (tasty) meals. OF COURSE, I cheat from time to time and have some fun (Froyo)! However, the majority of everything I eat is pretty simple. I eat butt loads of (clean) local vegetables, fruit and humanely raised, sustainable MEAT sources. Ever since I decided to make this change, life has been really.....kick ass! First off, I'm not on a sugar kick anymore, body fat is on the decline and I feel more energy than ever. FACT is, you DON'T NEED REFINED GRAINS OR PASTA to have ENERGY! Also, once you decide the "American Diet" isn't for you, the vail will been lifted. As a matter of fact, STAY out of the center of the grocery store (stick to the outside). Anyway, everyone comes from a different experience and carries around a different pallet. Challenge yourself to make smart decisions on a daily basis....IF you're interested, let me know and I'll totally shed some knowledge! As active as I am, I'm proof that the common perceptions of nutrition are mostly foggy or flat out wrong.
Above, are a few meals I recently enjoyed. It's a pretty obvious to see, there are lot's of veggies with some delicious protein. Also, check out all of the snacks that are available (still in moderation). Odds are, these types of meals and snacks will sustain you longer and exceed the needs of your taste buds, while helping you stay lean. If nothing else, I hope all of you are taking small steps to drive your health and fitness needs in the right direction.
I was shark bait for 1 hr 26 minutes...
Aaron Vaughn Frogman Swim! This event was incredibly inspiring and I felt honored to participate. Honoring those who have given their lives for our country is absolutely necessary. Too often, we forget that our fellow brothers and sisters are giving their lives, the ultimate sacrifice. Honestly, as much as I think everyone has forgotten about the men and women in harms way, I'm suddenly astonished on many occasions. Whether it's someone buying my groceries, dinner or coffee OR even a simple comment honoring my service, It's a nice reminder that we're all compassionate people.
Swimming 5k was really not as bad as it seems. The water temperature was very refreshing, the current was fighting back and the energy was high. I will definitely consider more long distance swimming in the future. Coming in 4th was awesome, as I had no idea how to pace this event. My watched clocked a solid 3.5 miles, which means I was in the water for awhile (1hr26min). I was able to average 1:20 per 100yds....very happy with that. Either way, I had tons of energy an really recommend everyone support a noble cause, especially Navy Seals and their families. Additionally, one of my favorite athletes completed the swim....this being the longest distance he'd ever swam too. As the 4th of July approaches, it's once again...time to dig deep and DO WORK! Stay safe while training and make healthy decisions!
Before I regurgitate all of the goodness within me for your reading pleasure, I'd like to get my race report out of the way. Yes indeed, the Armed Forces Triathlon took place this past Saturday at Point Mugu Naval Base in Ventura County California. This race makes me feel special because #1 The Air Force chose ME, along with 15 other athletes to represent! #2 I was surrounded by some of the most accomplished people/athletes I've ever met #3 I roomed with a great friend Brad Williams (killer deep tissue massages by the way) #4 Training in California with 1 hour, CAT 1 climbs and 40+ mph descents can't be matched.
In the days leading up to the race, the team all re-unites, attends a few group sessions and delicious meals. We crack jokes, talk about the season thus far and generally kick back. I think I got more sleep in the 2 days before the race than I had in 5 months. Thursday is full of fun stuff like team gear issue (Thanks to our coach), team pictures, dinner at a sweet Mansion with all the competitors and plenty of sexual innuendoes. Apparently, everyone thinks my AF job is a personal car washer for Generals, where I pay special attention to "waxing on" and "waxing off". Friday is a "nothing" day....where we try as hard as we can do to as little as possible. Somehow we manage to do a mini triathlon though. A 60 minute spin, 20 minute run and 15 minute swim starts off the morning. It's all part of the routine for the big day....
THE SWIM: Water Temperature around 62 degrees (Perfect Temperature), calm, clear water. Since last year, this is my favorite place to swim. The lower temperature really allows you to go full throttle without over-heating. It's way better than 86 degree salty whale pee back in Florida. However, dealing with numb toes until the run is to be expected with such low temps. I swam a minute or so down from the lead pack, still have some work to do. Everyone seemed to have a little extra time this year on the 2 loop, ITU style swim. Came out at 23:44, which I'm pleased with. Well within striking distance. Lead swim was 21:18 with the pack around 22 minutes. Blazing fast for the day.
THE BIKE: After a nice scenic beach run to spike the heart rate, transition was in sight. Pulled a great T1 time but didn't really come in with a big enough group to start anything up right away. Pulled a solo effort for the first 2 laps. Lot's of snot and cold toes on that first 20k but I managed to bridge up to a few guys...but they weren't worthy and had to be dropped. A 10-13 man group pulled up (with the guys I dropped), everyone working hard. There were a few attacks by the stud cyclists but a "time-trial" off the front wasn't going to happen. Sadly one of our own Air Force members went down, taking out a possible top scorer out....gladly he's doing well and only ended up with road rash that will most certainly stick to his clothing everyday until it finally heals. (Been there)
THE RUN: Since we ended up catching the lead pack near the end of the 40K, it was an all out foot race. For me, this is when I sorta ended up...falling apart. Started out feeling awesome, even passed a few fellas. Then my body remembered it hadn't really ran this hard for 10k in quite awhile. Being injury free for a few weeks kinda erases the reality, the fitness isn't where I want it to be. I ended up not being able to break up a pack of 4 Navy guys. As I attempted to wish myself into top 10, I was fading. Luckily I didn't blow up and fought until the end....but when is a triathlete ever "really" happy with their results??
The rest of my team performed very well. An absolute honor to be around such talent! Congrats to the champion, Nicholas Sterghos! I'm fortunate enough to be able to train with him in Clermont from time to time. (not to brag or anything)
Speaking of results: CLICK HERE
Goal for next year.....Top 5.....OR I'll retire
Why do I want to live here? Read Below...
Okay...now we get to the good part. The Race is the icing on the cake as far as I'm concerned. I LOVE training out there and definitely look forward to the post race party at Chuys. Florida is pretty flippin great, but I've never loved any place more than PCH around Malibu, CA. Sure it's a little chilly at night and in the am, but it's also perfect weather for training. The haze burns off around lunch time BUT if you climb high enough (about 3k ft), you'll be rewarded with an amazing view. This place is magical. I'd consider getting into some illegal sources of income so I could afford to live there (kidding). All in all, the pictures really tell the story. It wasn't until after the race I embarked on the epic definition of a "climb". Literally, a real climb....Take that Florida! I've also never descended around hair pin turns going 30+...BOOYA. However tough a race may be, I always learn and walk away fulfilled. The new certainly took me to the next level, I ate some delicious meals and once again...attended my favorite race of the season!
Can Ya Dig it?
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.
It's been a SUPER few weeks! As you can see, it's been SO super, Captain has been running around in a cape. His #1 fan made it for him (Thanks Jesse). With his cape, he's been creating even more havoc. Eating Lavash bread off the counter, digging out Honey Stinger Waffles from my training bag and generally ruining all things that are good:) At the end of the day, he's still a way faster runner than I'll be so....Touche big guy!
This week has been a mixed bag of emotions, like a trail mix full of salty nuts, delicious dark chocolate covered blueberries and tart dried cherries. First off, I would like to highlight that I LOVE where I live and totally appreciate the amazing atmosphere I am allowed to train in. I just returned from a TDY to Holloman AFB in New Mexico. Needless to say, a total 180 as far as surroundings are concerned. I'll highlight a few things that were really NOT my cup of tea:
- Zero green trees, plants or ANYTHING remotely resembling a "happy vibe"
- No water access (except a pool, which was closed due a toddlers diaper exploding)
- Alamangordo, NM is a fast food/processed food MECA....no Bueno
- Very cold with 45+mph wind, mixed with lots of dust=Poop
- Ate at Chilis since ALL mexican food was rated Sub-par...and totally was.
Ok, so let's flip the page and point out some things I enjoyed:
- Mountain range, elevation @10,000
- Hotel was 1 minute walk from the gym w/ indoor pool (Great facility)
- The Base was very well designed and looked brand new
- Climbed some very tall towers and enjoyed the view...
- Closest I've ever been to Mexico
I would also like to highlight that my flight was delayed 5 hours, which means we got in at 1am. My ride home forgot where he parked in the "long term" lot, which meant walking around aimlessly like an infant sucking his thumb, making subtle disgruntled comments. An hour later I arrived at home and realized my house sitter totally locked me out...so after waiting in the cold for 30 minutes, I finally got into bed . Totally had to push through the rough spots and YES it could have been wor
Wait...it's time to race? Crap, it's a 70.3!! :)
I feel like I signed up for this race a few days ago...time has literally evaporated. I really would like to be 100% for this race in Puerto Rico but a Ragnar Relay induced injury has been holding me back. Luckily, I completed an MRI yesterday....so after a month and a half of light running, I'll finally know if the damage is REALLY bad or just kinda bad. At the end of the day I'm truly happy to race, especially since I get to represent so many great people, who in turn support me:) Without the United States Air Force, I wouldn't be able to live this life. Without a doubt, I'm grateful my leadership and colleagues are cool with me being a "full time" athlete. Be sure to check out my "sponsors" page, as they make my life so much easier and cut a lot of my training/racing cost. 70.3 San Juan will start my season, which means that if the run is too painful, I'll have to proudly step out in order to not jeopardize my entire season. Either way, my swim and bike should be solid. At the end, tequila and good company will make this trip one of the many unforgettable experiences I'm sure to encounter this season. Stay tuned for the report in a week or so!
Delicious, Nutritious, Home Made Stuff
I made some nice little recovery/pre-training treats. Inspired by so many who have already done so...I thought, OF COURSE I can make a delicious RAW treat too.
- Almonds/Brazil Nuts
- Coconut oil/Shredded Coconut
- Maca Power/Almond Flour
- Vermont Maple Syrup
- Ginger/Carob Chips/Cocoa Powder
As always, a homemade pizza fills the belly and ALWAYS makes life better. The best part that I would like to highlight is the FRESH made roasted tomato, red pepper, garlic and basil pizza sauce. Additionally, I went with some home made Gluten Free pizza crust. At the end of the day, you can't hate on pizza. Especially one with the best ingredients. It's pretty cool to make something totally from raw ingredients. Love the good eats!!
Finally, a nice veggie stir fry with some Bison cube steak and cold Farro. This is a great meal with a perfect carb/protein ratio. I'll make it a definite point to have veggies with EVERY meal. I've found that at least 2 servings of lean protein ( the size of my palm) have been adequate, even during heavy weeks. Whatever your nutritional needs and preferences are, there are always a few staples to remember. More colorful veggies and fruit = Good. Lean meats, grass-fed, zero growth hormones=Awesome. Earn your carbs! Limiting them to pre/during/post exercise. Of course you can find that information anywhere and hear it OVER and OVER again...but you MUST follow a plan! At the end of the day....Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail!!!