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.
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.
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!!
WHAT?? You're Giving Something Away??
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- All you have to do is subscribe to my blog and e-mail me the following:
- Why are endurance sports the driving force in your life and what are your goals for next season?
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As this season comes closer to an end (frownie face), it's time to remember my "Why". Since I fully committed to this lifestyle and future career, life has taken on new meaning. Going to "work" is often the easiest part of the day because there are usually two to three workouts mixed in, not to mention healthy pre-planned meals and mentoring dedicated athletes. No matter how many ups and downs head my way, it's always important to remember the big picture; my "why". Why do we as athletes strive for such success and continually challenge existing expectations? Heck, sometimes I haven't the slightest idea....because honestly, it's super expensive, tiring and places a huge amount of stress on the body and mind. Those reasons keep a lot of people from succeeding but it's important to keep it in perspective. I know I love being a triathlete because I get to train and compete with some of the most inspiring people I've ever met. I can't think of many sports that have such an intense dynamic, forging talented individuals not only in sport but in life. Approximately 90% of the season is training, which means there is time for a taper and a race every so often. SOOO much emphasis is put into one day of performace. Months and months of training spent balancing the fine line of healthy fatigue and certain injury. Anyway, Ironman World Championship (KONA) was on Saturday and some athletes I look up to flawlessly executed their race plan, setting PRs and representing some amazing foundations. I'd like to thank all of them for giving me TONS to think about while I was competing at Long Course Nationals in Anderson, SC. The pain is temporary and everyone else is hurting too. Mental toughness is the missing link for many athletes. Click the pictures above to read about a few amazing athletes I have the pleasure of knowing.
Revolution 3, Anderson SC (Long Course Nationals)
Alright, I'm gonna hit you with some facts about this race. Despite the smiles in the pictures, I definitely had some predominantly negative thoughts. It wasn't even anything physical or painful, I think I'm just kinda, sorta ready for the season to be over. Even though I was 3rd out of the water and am very happy with that, I found it challenging to push through the "lows". The slight discomfort was even MORE mentally impactful than normal. The negative thoughts crept a little further than I am comfortable to admit. I'm not ready to do a "season wrap up" yet but I'll say I'm definitely considering all options this week . I've got another 70.3 ahead and a Olympic in Key West, which let's be honest...will be FUN regardless. BUT wait...let's move on to the Bike Leg. This course cataloged between 2800 to 3000 ft of climbing (depending on who's Garmin you're reading). I know it's nothing mountainous but it took its tole on the legs. I'd like to say it was fun to lead the race on the bike...dropping the 5 pack of drafters who made it to my wheel for about 10 minutes, then suddenly faded when an REV3 van came around.
- 3 hours before race- 1 banana and almond butter
- 2 hours, 1.5 cups home brew coffee blended with coconut oil, ghee and omeg3 oil
- 1 Amrita bar 30 min out
- 3 gels, 2x Nuun tabs in bottle and 1 honey stinger waffle on the bike
- Sipped a gel w/ water at each aid station during the run...Gatorade too.
The RUN started with tight legs, either due to over biking or because I've been unable to get any long runs in over the past few months. Either way, after 6 miles, it was time to survive with a smile. The last ditch effort came to me within the last 2 miles, as I gloriously held off Jon Nolan...a very talented athlete/coach with FAST legs. I'm happy to have been able to run 1:30 considering what the season has handed me. Next season....will be a different story.
Try a REVOLUTION 3 Race next year.....I promise you'll be impressed. Support the companies who support ATHLETES!
Oh and.....Post Race Nutrition was a group meal at MELLOW MUSHROOM!
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.
Armed with my toilet seat pillow, plenty of healthy snacks and roaring excitement for the unknown....London awaits.
I'd like to first thank my Mom and Dad for being awesome cheerleaders. My Dad FINALLY learned how to use Facebook and has since been no stranger to hitting the "like" button. I managed some sleep on the plane; roughly 4 hours. Unfortunately my Monsters University movie session was cut short due to our arrival. Seriously, couldn't we hold pattern for another 15 minutes so I could finish my free movie?? Needless to say, the journey was only mid-way once we arrived at London-Heathrow airport. After my travel companions learned that their luggage had not taken the same route, the mood wasn't as pleasant. Luckily, the bikes made it in one piece though (whew). After a 45 min Tube ride and a 1.5 mile walk (which felt like 20 miles due to the bike case, heavy luggage, backpack....and sweaty/stinky armpits) we arrived at the Corus Hotel. We are a 10 minute walk from everything we need.
Speaking of walking, I've definitely walked more in the past 3 days than I have in the past 5 months. Since the race is tomorrow...we'll see how that paid off.
I was lucky enough to meet some great ParaTriathletes and even luckier to be a "handler". Truth is, he didn't even really need me...but I'd like to think I at least helped a little (high fives, chest bumps and what not). Needless to say, totally can't wait to leave it all out there on the course, just like they did. I definitely can't wait to see these guys compete in the Rio Olympics. The amount of spectator support was also very inspiring. Despite the weather not being able to make up its mind (it's either cold or misting and cold) the crowd was very large.
And so here I am...it's almost like Christmas Eve...hopefully I can sleep. My trip thus far has been full of great and hilarious events. Somehow, my travel companion packed two rear wheels...but luckily the guys at Specialized helped her out with a front wheel and a "triathlon for dummies" book. It's hard to believe that there has been so much preparation for just one event, but that's what makes what I do amazing. It gives a greater purpose to traveling and brings everyone together in healthy competition. I LOVED having a front row seat , 20 feet from the water, watching the elite women fly by...too bad I was numb since I had just swam myself. Finally...let me just say...I'm SO thankful there is a Whole Foods nearby!!
Tomorrow's projected conditions:
Air Temp....probably around mid 50's
Wather Temp....Mid 60's
Rain: It's ALWAYS misting or just recently misted....so the course will be slick
Smell: Fish n Chips with Ale....and Goose poop.
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.