Since my last post nearly one billion things have happened. Or maybe, over one billion calories have been consumed...either way, shit has been REAL! After a sick top 5 finish for me at St. Anthony's I quickly races 70.3 St. George then 70.3 Chattanooga and then 70.3 Victoria. While 70.3 St.George was quite a shit day for me, I ended up moving here....so it really WAS a win. I was top 10 at 70.3 Chatty and 70.3 Victoria but then, disaster....injury. On our way home from 70.3 Victoria, Karen and I decided to make a stop in St. George, Utah to put an offer on a house. We'd been looking on Zillow heavily and worked with a great Realtor so we had a plan!! Show up, make an offer...leave back for Florida for a quick sale of our townhome. Needless to say it took about 30 days of extreme stress, hard work and good luck to sell while closing on our home in Utah on 19 July. During that time I was dealing with a medial knee injury which prevented any running so actually it was a bit of a reprieve. I could focus on the stress of moving rather than getting ready for another race.
I was supposed to race IRONMAN Lake Placid at the end of July but since we finally moved on 19 July, setting up shop in St. George, I was not ready at all...nor could I run yet. The backup plan was IRONMAN Mt. Tremblant and MAYBE 70.3 Boulder as a warm up but, I still was crap. Then finally after ton's of rehab, Cryotherapy and patience, I could jog again. It didn't take long to get back after it and I was 100% racing 70.3 Santa Cruz as a warm up for IRONMAN Chattanooga. Here is a quick gallery of the fun before I was racing again.
Present Day Fun times @ 70.3 Santa Cruz & IM Chatt
Finally, I'm back into health as my first race in what feels like one billion days begins to approach. I was able to have a bestie join me, Joey Deluca. He doesn't say much but when he does, it's important! We ended up at this sweet AirBnb in this place called Ben Lemmon or something like that. We had tacos like, every day and it was the most relaxed I've ever been before a race. It might be the air, the woods or just the fact I didn't give AF - I was just pumped to be racing again.
- 70.3 Santa Cruz Quick Summary -
It was LIT - super fun, cold water but windy AF on the bike. Super fast tailwind on the way home but bike power was shit however I ran super well and came 10th. All in all.....pumped for more training!!
- IRONMAN Chattanooga - A bit more in depth
My training leading up to this mega race wasn't nearly what I would have wanted given I'd missed out on months of quality running but, I've already had years of quality running so whatever, it should work out, right? I spent 10 days in Park City Utah having a BLAST with some new friends, freezing my nads off a few days and literally hating my life while I adjusted to altitude. It takes me like 5 days to feel decent so I just let it run a course on the old legs and decided stress is stress and I should just enjoy being in such a beautiful place. Of course the week I show up it like...snows, but whatever I love a fireplace in the evening. I drove 4 hours back to St. George on Tuesday am, where we live at appx 3,000ft. I managed to put in a few 80 - 90 mile rides, a 135 miler with 10,000ft of climbing and a few 15 and 20 mile runs. All was going well.
This is the first time my life did not allow me to make the pro meeting which I had in the past snubbed pro athletes for missing but, shit happens. I basically arrived 2 hours after the meeting but negotiated that pre-travel just in case. I met up with my buddy Romain, a fellow pro and athlete I now have the pleasure of coaching. We picked up our rental truck and made the 15 min drive to Whole Foods where I proceeded to spend $135 on like, 7 things....UGH!! It's all good though since it eliminated any last minute cooking. Anyway, it was hot AF, I was slamming coconut water and glued to NETFLIX....ready to rip on Sunday AM. Missing the pro meeting made me feel like I was totally lost though. After 5 years of it, it's def a reliable meeting that I really missed as much as I've previously complained about going to.
4:15 am - Wake up / Consume more applesauce than ever before + banana + INFINIT Repair
4:30 am - FML that's a lot of applesauce....wash it down with cold brew coffee or wait 60 min?
5:30 am - A better time to ingest some coffee and enjoy after a hot shower.
6:00 am - arrive at transition, navigate through all the hyper-crazy folks - smile and nod
6:25 am - board the shuttle...head to front of the line and listen to everyone talk mega-shit (sorry it's like one of 2 privileges of being a Pro athlete)
6:45 am - Am I actually going to shit myself while waiting in line for the porta-let?
7:00 am - SWIM WARM UP YAY - warm up in a sea of boat fuel, get hit by a kayak = win
- Okay so here goes the breakdown -
SWIM - I lined up on the right hip of Antione because he's always first out of the water and I figured, why not go for it. I was there, loving it...then I was at his calf, then ankles, then bubbles...then oh well. This for sure shot me ahead of the group by at least 200m by the time I was let go, but I caught the next set of feet that went by and hit cruise control. That was one of the most relaxed IM swims aside from that of IM Zurich...likely 50% effort with a few course corrections. Out of the water 4th position, nice lead on the chase pack.
BIKE - Okay so normally my legs get ripped off in the first 20 miles so I for SURE made a point to settle in at 260-270 watts rather than blasting 280-320. Pedro and I rode together for nearly 45 miles until the Sam Long train caught us (Sam, Adam, Matt and maybe Andy). But before I move on, holy shit I had actual cameras on me for like SO long and I had goosebumps. Let me tell you, I could have cried a few times with how amazing it felt to have a moto actually covering MY race. But deep down I was like...what the heck are those commentators saying about me? "Well, Nick will likely blow up and be dead on the side of the road"? Anyway, when the boys caught me the pace went wack with tons of spikes as they tried to drop Pedro and I but I was like...OH NO YOU DO NOT! I mean I was totally fine seeing Sam launch off the front because after riding with him at Victoria and 70.3 Chatty I knew he'd have left me for dead. Then it was Matt, Adam, Me and Pedro. After a few surges and Matt receiving a penalty for littering (which had to have been bogus or extremely close to being bogus) we hit lap 2 and I was back on the front as Matt took off in a rage-filled surge. I sat up a few times, Pedro went through...then he stopped coming through and after mile 65 or so....it was just me. I was like...WTF??? My voice was getting a bit weak due to shouting "on your left" but overall everyone was super cool. One I made the right turn back to transition, it was like 13 more miles of camera time. I was feeling good, fueled well with INFINIT and had zero thoughts on the run. I mean, the legs sometimes feel terrible but then you take 3-steps and you're fine.
RUN RUN RUN - As I was hitting T2 I heard Matt and Andy come in behind me so I was please to not be alone. Matt and I actually ran together and had a chat for nearly 7 miles. We were searching for ice and overall it was very nice t have company. Plus, with his pedigree I was like, I'm not running faster than him right now...that would be dumb. Either way, at mile 13 I was walking up a hill, dizzy AF and hit a big moment of Hypoglycemia. After that it was coke and gatorade only with a bit of pink salt to try and prevent the massive cramping which was looming around every corner. I was certain 4th would catch me but...I knew if I was consistent I could hold onto top 5 since I knew everyone would be cracking in the heat to some extent. Finally, I'm on the blue walking bridge and no one is coming to run me down. I'm literally tearing up for moments and smiling bigger than ever as I make my way down the last hill knowing in a few moments it'll be over. I'll have achieved one major goal as a pro athlete, making the podium for the champagne party. Even typing this I have goosebumps and for the life of me I hope it never leaves. I did it...finally.
I attribute my success to patience, fueling and hard work. For 8 years I've put my entire life into this sport and as a 5th year pro athlete toeing the line for my 7th IRONMAN 140.6 I knew if nothing else, I'd be top 5. Additionally, I know for sure I responded very well to my altitude camp so THANK YOU Brad and Stormy for hosting Karen and I. Also, I have been using the Hyperice Hypervolt religiously for recovery along side Cryotherapy...I can for sure tell that was a game changer with keeping the body primed. Finally without the support of so many over the years I'd have been in EVEN more debt, haha. Here is a long list....
- Pewag Racing Team and all of our sponsors, you provided me with reliable gear for the last 2 years and it's amazing.
- I LOVE Xentis wheels...omg are they fast..
- Castelli Clothing
- Oakley Glasses
- Garmin computers and power meters
- INFINIT Nutrition
- Clever Training for all of my shoes, recovery gear etc..
- Storck Bikes
- Ekoi Helmets
- 3T Cycling
- USA SPINE
- Ted Tagalakis
- Val Tavanese & Outspokin Bicyles (Tampa, Fl + Clearwater, Fl)
- All of my athletes who allow me to coach them, learn and grow :)
- Braveheart Coaching because I LOVE what we stand for.
- Jackson Laundry for always having my back despite being a REALLY big deal :)
- Laura Jansik for being the best on-course Cheerleader EVER....she made me cry :)
- Karen (Wifey) for always supporting my lifestyle, cleaning up after me and loving me even when I suck (which is rare)
I've never received so much love and to everyone who has said something nice to me about this race, I appreciate you more than you know. It takes a damn village and it'll evolve into a whole city soon enough. I'm going to keep it up and make my way further down the rabbit hole!!