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!
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.
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.
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
Seriously, think about that question and apply it to your everyday life. #1 We wear clothes to protect us from the elements and/or wear sunscreen to avoid skin cancer. #2 We "climate control" everything because it's just way too uncomfortable for us to live in the natural environment of the world. #3 Our dear friend "gravity" turns our knees, backs and joints to shit. #4 We can't simply live off the land, we have to chemically alter food in order to consume it. THE LIST GOES ON!! Louis C.K got this thought process going and I thought I would expand on it a bit. This is just a quick reminder that we totally complicate everything, diminishing it's initial pure "goodness".....turning it to shit :)
Life is about to get hectic!
So in a few short weeks I'll be racing again. I'll either knock out an epic 4 day cycling event in Georgia OR just chill out and rest before 70.3 Steelhead. I've FINALLY gotten my (moderately) broken butt back on the track, which feels completely alien at this point. None the less, I'm getting my legs underneath me again, getting faster every day. If you've ever been injured for a sustained period, you'll know what I mean when I say...it's scary to go fast again. The main reason being...I don't want to be injured again. My Coach is keeping me focused and motivated, reminding me I can handle more than I think. I'll be back in no time! Until then, I'll be dealing with sore calfs and hips!
Want to come to train in a beautiful location with Hank Campbell and ME?? Check out our group page on Facebook if you're interested in coming out!! The focus will be knowledge, but there will be TONS of great training. All you have to do is work hard, eat and recover...we'll do the rest. There will be some educational seminars, running drills/demonstrations, open water swims, race nutrition "chats" etc. You will walk away with a GREAT understanding of your own limits and I'll definitely provide ALL of the knowledge I've gained from Pro athletes, nutritional experts and personal experience. Come on out, don't be lame!!
Check out this awesome Dinner!!
- 1 pound Grass Fed BEEF
- Salt/pepper/garlic to taste
- Crushed red pepper/Cayenne pepper
- 2 Cups caramelized onions/sautéed mushrooms
- Avocado/tomato/lemon juice
- Red Cabbage
- Sautéed Spinach
- Brussel Sprouts
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!