Thursday, 27 September 2012 16:27

Adversity.....

[caption id="attachment_6524" align="alignright" width="300"]adversity_triathlon_training_racing Source: JM Baseman Blog[/caption] Adversity in a training session or a race is going to happen.  It is inevitable and it seems that today I have read three or four pieces that discussed adversity.  As I was reading them I was taken back to my big ring issue in Puerto Rico, my brake issue at Ironman Texas, the tune-up problem prior to Maine and the wheel mechanical during Maine.  At each one of these events there was a problem but rather than throwing the whole day away and really months of training I gathered myself up, dusted myself up and tried again (wait is that a Beyonce' song?) If you don't recall these issues from above let me refresh your memory: Puerto Rico:  When I got to Puerto Rico the bike looked great.  It had just been tuned up and was ready for the first race of the year.  I went on a warm-up ride with Juan and could feel the chain slipping with just about every pedal stroke.  I was distraught over this and decided to bring it to the mechanic at athlete check-in with about an hour to go before transition closed for the night. After much waiting around my bike was finally in the hands of the mechanic and after a few minutes he told me that the big ring teeth were bent and he didn't have any more big rings or a chain to replace the old one with.  I went to another place to buy the chain and while doing that Juan spoke to another mechanic there and they said they would sell me a big ring if it couldn't be fixed. The original mechanic took out a dremel and after about 15 minutes of grinding teeth he told me the bike was set and ready to go.  I quickly paid and got the bike into the transition area before it closed for the night.  At first I was panic-stricken and tried to think of how this could happen and when I realized what it was I knew that it was my fault and I had nobody to blame.  I kept as calm as possible on the outside (inside I was wreck but knew there was nothing I could do) and when it all went back to normal I was thrilled and ready to race. Ironman Texas: Again after taking a spin on the bike with Juan to dial it all in I noticed something was wrong with the brakes.  They weren't stopping me enough and I was concerned enough to bring it in.  Having been through the mechanic deal just a few months prior I was in full control of my emotions.  I knew it was nothing more than changing brake pads and so I was comfortable with leaving my bike with them, going for lunch with Juan and then going back to pick up El Diablo and deposit him in transition. While having had the experience from San Juan the biggest difference was that Juan and I went out on our tune-up ride EARLY.  Much earlier than we did in Puerto Rico.  This allowed me to not have my back up against the wall and thus allow me to relax a bit.  Better than that was seeing Sterns from my local tri shop here in Dallas working the booth and knew he would take care of my bike as he had for a year already. Rev3 Maine:  Prior to the race in Maine I had a full tune-up done with cable replacements and all.  It was about 2 days prior to me leaving that Sterns called to tell me there was an issue and the bike had to be shipped to Specialized.  I freaked out about it because there was no way the bike could head out, be fixed and be back in time for me to race.  Sterns said that he would call them and see what he could figure out on his own at the shop. In the meantime I started thinking of what I could do.  Could I rent a bike?  Maybe borrow a bike but from who?  I thought immediately of the joke that Kevin had thrown out on Twitter just a few days prior.  Mandy and I are relatively close to the same height.  I know it would not be ideal but I figured roll with it and if I had to I would ask her to borrow her bike for the ride.  It would have been uncomfortable but it would only have been for a few hours.  Fortunately Sterns called and he was able to take care of everything I needed and off to Maine I went. Well at Mile 22 a spoke decided to brake.  I was in the middle of the race and there was nothing I could do but deal with it.  I tried to bend it and then tried to flex and break the spoke but nothing worked.  I got rather mad and decided to walk it off.  I was at the base of the biggest hill to date on the ride and lifted the bike overhead and walked up that hill.  I gained composure and realized as I was flexing the spoke previously it was also sliding out.  I kept working on that and before I knew it the spoke was free and I was riding again, although not at a typical 70.3 pace. The point is that at some point adversity and issue (some mechanical and some nutrition) will affect you.  How you deal with it will determine how well the race goes.  No race is perfect.  It may never happen.  There will always be ways to improve but take those issues and turn them into lessons.  Lessons to work into your next training cycle which will in turn make for a better race the next time.  Stay focused on the task at hand and that task is to finish the race.
What Adversity/Issues Have You Dealt With?
Published in Train
Wednesday, 22 August 2012 15:32

Rev3 Old Orchard Beach Maine Goals

[caption id="attachment_6392" align="alignright" width="290"]rev3_maine_triathlon_halfrev Source: Lava Magazine[/caption] Rev3 Old Orchard Beach Maine is this weekend and I am both excited and nervous.  I am typically not nervous before races but for some reason this race has me on edge.  That is a good thing because it means that I am ready but it is also an indication of me just now knowing what I am heading into and I think that is the worst part of this entire situation. This is my first race with Rev3 and there is excitement about that but also nerves because I don't know what to expect.  At an Ironman race I know what to expect as I have done 3 70.3 races and 1 140.6, so it is sort of old hat at this point.  That being said I really don't know what to expect out of myself for this weekend other than I am going to have a freaking blast doing it.  Why?  Well because I will be hanging it out with this couple (here and here) and this awesome chick (here) and white water rafting with smiley (here) after the race on Monday. Yup, the race is going to happen and I'm going to give it my best but in the end my focus is on Ironman Arizona but in the end I will get to hang out with a ton of great people and experience Rev3. Swim: Today I swam in my full sleeve wetsuit and on Monday I swam in my sleeveless.  The sleeveless was far more comfortable but the sleeveless proved to be faster so I am going to be swimming in my full sleeve.  Today's swim saw me swim 1.1 miles in 34:50 and I never felt like I was pushing it.  If I can maintain that pace and not feel as if I am winded getting out of the water (other than struggling with getting the wetsuit off that is) I think that I can be done with the swim in the 38 minute range. Oh wait, this is an ocean swim and this is another factor in me being nervous.  We don't have oceans in the middle of North Dallas so the lakes are typically calm.  Either way I cannot control the water and just have to remember Coach's words:  The race starts on the bike. Goal: 37:00 - 39:00 Bike: [caption id="attachment_6393" align="alignright" width="290"]rev3_maine_triathlon_halfrev Source: Competitor Magazine[/caption] My bike fitness is better than it has ever been.  I have been feeling very strong on the bike and that has been with my stock wheels and not with my race wheels. The unknown here is whether or not the climbing will have an impact on me.  There are not a lot of 'hills' here in Dallas but Coach has been putting me through the ringer in terms of intervals and hill climbing this training cycle so I feel as if I can be efficient and conserve enough energy going up them to be able to push on the flats and the downhills.  The biggest goal here is to be ready to run off the bike so maintaining a HR of 140 bpm is going to be imperative. Goal: 2:50 - 3:00 Run: Here is where I think my fitness has taken off.  I have been running fast paces at a comparatively low heart rate, and this has been in the heat of Texas.  The cooler weather of Maine should treat me very well and that is exciting for me.  If I can remember to not shoot out of T2 like a bat out of hell and control myself for the first two miles then this run could turn into one of my best.  I have been doing a lot of interval work and posting sub-7:00 mile paces on sets that have been up to 10x800.  My tempo run last week was right around 7:00/mi and was held steady for 20 minutes.  The hill work has also helped and so I feel like this could be a run that competes with my time at 70.3 California. Goal: 1:50 - 1:53 Overall: My nerves will have to be converted into energy by race day.  I think that once I get off the plane in Maine and settle in my nerves will calm down and I will be ready to race.  Having the humor of Matt, Heather and Jen around me will certainly help as well. When you add up all these times and add in 6 minutes for transitions we are looking at goal times of: 5:23 to 5:38   Thank you for reading!
Published in Race
Monday, 20 August 2012 16:19

A Chance To Compare

[caption id="attachment_6379" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman_triathlon_wtc Source: Ironman.com[/caption] The chance to compare one race organization to another comes this weekend.  I am heading to Maine to race in the inaugural Rev3 OOB Maine.  This is a Half-Ironman and will provide me with a first hand taste of how things are done by Rev3.  I have seen the acknowledgement of how well run the Rev3 races are and how family friendly they are when they are compared to the Ironman brand and WTC. I am a very big fan of WTC and the Ironman brand.  Whenever I am asked what race a person should do I immediately go to an Ironman branded event.  Why?  It is because they have been doing it longer and have been able to iron out issues that will show up.  Don't get me wrong issues will still show up, as that is inevitable with 2000-3000 people racing a triathlon.  The fact of the matter is that they put on dozens of races per year and are still adding more to their lineup so they will have had the opportunity to work out the logistics. The second reason is the crowds.  When I volunteered at Ironman Texas two years ago I could not help but get swept up in the atmosphere.  I got so into the race that I wound up registering for the event in 2012 even though I had only wanted to race Ironman Arizona.  It got to the point that while standing at the finish line all I could think of was crossing the finish line of an Ironman. The third reason is that they have the full 140.6 distance race in just about any part of the country, or world for that matter that you can think of.  Want to race in Canada you have two choices.  How about the Northeast?  Well there is Lake Placid to go to.  In the south you can race IM Florida or IM Texas.  Southwest?  IM Arizona.  You get the picture.  If you want to go to a race you can. Now don't get me wrong about the WTC business.  I understand that they make decisions that can be controversial to the athlete and public as a whole.  The thing about this is that they ARE a business and let's not forget that for a second.  Their whole reason for being is to be profitable, just like any other company.  And like any other company there will be missteps and we can only hope they fix those missteps along the way. I have heard a lot or reasons for why Rev3 is better from the family atmosphere to the price.  Now I can say this.  When I finished Ironman Texas my wife was right at the finish line along with all my friends that came down to be a part of this race.  I did not cross the finish line with her but you know something.....I didn't have to.  It was not a situation that I felt incomplete because I did not cross the finish line with my wife.  If my step-son had been there would I have felt differently?  No.  I can say that with certainty because had he been there he would have been with Karen who was a total of 15 feet away from the finish line. So that being said the fact that you can cross the finish line holding the hand of your child at a Rev3 event does not hold that much of an advantage over WTC for me. [caption id="attachment_6378" align="alignright" width="300"]rev3_triathlon_maine Source: Rev3 Tri[/caption] Price point also becomes the other argument.  I paid $675 to race Ironman Texas in 2013.  The Rev3 Cedar Point 140.6 race (which by the way is their only 140.6 race) costs $575 if you register after July 24, $525 if you register between October and July and $425 if you register within a month of the race.  Not a huge disparity unless you know you are going to head back to the race.  For the HITS Triathlon series they have introduced a new pricing structure which will undoubtedly have an impact on the triathlon world. Their pricing is as follows: $600 1 month prior to race day; $450 with 1-3 months to go prior to race day; $300 with 3-4 months to go and $150 is over 4 months left prior to the event. Again, their pricing is a bit cheaper but what are you getting?  This was my first thought when I saw the new pricing structure.  Are they just trying to lure people in so they know that they can host a race the next year and have it be profitable.  Remember this is a business and they are not a charity, so they are doing this to make money.  Are they doing this because it really only costs $150 to put on a 140.6 race per athlete?  I highly doubt it is that cheap per athlete. Then lets talk about the crowds and the participants.  The most that have participated in the 140.6 distance for the HITS Triathlon series has been 24.  Let's assume that each participant bring 4 people with them then you have less than 100 spectators at the finish line.  Rev3 Cedar Point last year had 304 participants (from what I can gather.) Again, lets us 4 people per athlete and that is a total of 1216 spectators.  Ironman branded events generate anywhere between 2000 and 3000 participants and tens of thousands of spectators. [caption id="attachment_6380" align="alignright" width="300"]hits_triathlon_series Source: HITS[/caption] This is not to say that Ironman and WTC is that much better than HITS or Rev3, but just serves as a point of reference for where I am coming from before I head to Maine this weekend.  This is an inaugural event for Rev3 and should have all the bells and whistles and I am very excited about that.  I am excited to be back on the Northeast and to get to meet MattyO, Heather, Jen, Laura, Donna and a whole host of other athletes.  That is what is going to make the race.

What are your thoughts on WTC versus Rev3 versus HITS versus and independently run race?

Before you answer that question read this quote from Kevin of Ironman By Thirty after he finished IM Mont-Tremblant yesterday:

Jason. You HAVE to do this race. Fucking amazing. THIS is what sets Ironman apart. Knock it all you want but they have their shit together and put on a ridiculous event.

Published in Race
Friday, 15 June 2012 13:37

Ironman Arizona Bike Setup

Ironman Arizona is still nearly 5 months away but I am getting mentally focused for this day.  Having the experience of having just raced Ironman Texas I want to put my lessons to good use and train over the next 20+ weeks with the focus on making AZ a fast race. With that in mind I have been emailing with Jeff about getting the bike setup so I am not carrying around extra weight, especially since the Arizona course is flat. Having the ability to pound away and not lug unnecessary items is going to be a tremendous benefit.  Between emails to Jeff and last night I went searching for a single cage for the rear of my saddle and found an X-Lab one.  I sent out a tweet to Kevin, Matt,Jon,and Jeff and they found the Tri Rig for me which is what I'll be going with. Joe from RockStarTrialso provided his thoughts and all I can say is thank you. Twitter and Facebook and this blog are awesome for connecting with people who are in the know. Up front I have the clips from Profile Design that will hold a water bottle.  I will swap out the Speedfil for a regular cage for another water bottle.  The rear saddle cage will hold water from the course.  I will have replacement bottles at special needs to swap out at the midway point and keep going. So I am going from a bike setup like these photos show: [caption id="attachment_6071" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="70.3 Ironman California. Didn't Have Torpedo Yet."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_6074" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Speedfil blocked by bag but it is there."][/caption] [caption id="attachment_6073" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="2 Cages On Saddle, Speedfil and Torpedo Upfront."][/caption] To a bike setup like this photo shows: [caption id="attachment_6075" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Sleek Setup........"][/caption]   Yes, I do expect to get at least an hour faster on the bike now that Crowie and I will be sharing the same setup.  That is what is supposed to happen isn't it?
Published in Train
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 11:44

Ironman Bike Strategy

[caption id="attachment_5829" align="alignright" width="360" caption="Formulate A Plan And Stick To It"]ironman_triathlon_race_strategy[/caption] An Ironman bike strategy?  I haven't really thought of one other than I don't want to burn my legs out so that the run is one miserable step after the other.  I have an Ironman marathon run strategy and I've been so focused on that portion of the race that I haven't given true consideration to the bike. For example, on the run I want to run a 4 hour marathon.  To accomplish this goal I need to run 26.2 miles at a 9:00/mile average.  Seems feasible considering that I ran the Las Vegas Marathon at an 8:03/mile pace to finish in 3:31.  The problem is that I hadn't swam 2.4 miles and biked 112 miles prior to that run.  I have read that you can add anywhere from 10% - 12% to your stand alone times for the same distance in triathlon.  3 hours and 31 minutes converts to 211 minutes.  If I add 10% to that number I am at 232 minutes or 3 hours 52 minutes.  If that number is 12% then I am staring at 236 minutes or 3 hours and 56 minutes.  Having a 4 hour goal makes sense.  To accomplish said goal I plan on going out at a 9:15-9:30/mi pace for the first 6 miles.  This is approximately 3 total minutes slower than my goal over the 26.2 miles.  After the first 6 miles I am looking at running 8:30-8:45/mi for 4 miles and then back it down and continue this cycle until I cross the finish line.  Sound plan with executable numbers.  I am going to be drinking every 15 minutes along with taking one half of a HoneyStinger waffle every hour.  Nutrition won't be a problem.  I also plan on sipping water at every aid station while I take approximately 30-45 steps.  Sound plan, but what about the bike? Well I know how fast I think I can finish the bike, but then I read this post from Endurance Nation and it made me think twice about that number.  During my three Half-Ironman races I have been conservative out of the gate and just found my rhythm and then started to turn up the gas a bit.  In California this plan worked fairly well as the middle section of the bike was climbs and I managed to catch and pass most of those that flew by me earlier in the race.  In Austin it worked to a T as I had plenty of gas in my legs to finish strong.  In Puerto Rico I found myself tiring at the end of the ride but still managed a solid 56 mile split, and the fastest 56 mile split I have done.  The reality though is that the two runs in Austin and Puerto Rico were slower than the run in California so maybe my plan wasn't perfect after all.  I know that Ironman is a different beast and that strategy needs to be different. Here is what Endurance Nation proclaims to be the right plan and my thoughts are in red: There's No Such Thing as a Good Bike Followed by a Poor Run The last time we checked this was an Ironman TRIATHLON - swim, bike, and run. The difference between a "good" swim or "bad" swim is only about 2-4 minutes. The difference between "easy" bike or a "hard" bike is only about 10-15 minutes. But the difference between a "good" and "bad" run can be measured in hours. If you boil down the numbers and I ride a 5:45 which I think I could and riding a 6:00 which I think I should that 15 minutes is not a big deal.  To ride 112 miles in 6 hours means a ride of 18mph and that is something well within my capability.  Considering I rode 92 miles on the course at 19.5 mph the prospect of going faster than 6 hours is conceivable.  Two weeks ago I rode 112 miles in exactly 6 hours and felt strong off the bike.  My time could probably fall in between but setting a goal of 6 hours will allow me to remain calm and comfortable on the bike without any added pressure of HAVING to go faster. Ride the Bike You Should, Not the Bike You Could Your "could" bike split is the one you dream about, the one you told your friends on your last long ride when they remarked how fit you look, how hard you've been working, and ask you what you could ride at IMXX. In contrast, your "should" bike split is the bike that sets up the run. In our experience, the difference between Could and Should is about 10 to 15 minutes - add 10-15 minutes to that sexy Could split and set up the run. Same points from above apply here.  Would it be nice to see a 5:30 bike split?  Of course, but not if it comes at the cost of a 5 hour marathon.  Think about that for a second.  Sacrifice 30 minutes on the bike to gain 1 hour on the run.  That is a 30 minute swing in my favor.  Makes total sense.  And let's say that 5:45 feels good and I am not hurting, then that means that we are looking at a 45 minute swing in my favor. Do the Opposite of Everyone Else In our experience, over 80% of the Ironman field doesn't know how to properly execute the bike. Proper bike execution is then largely a matter of doing the opposite of everyone else.
  • Ride easy for the first hour. Are you being passed by a LOT of people? That's a very good thing, trust us.
  • Managing your effort on this hill, setting up the run vs racing for $100 KOM prime they are not handing out at the top…and going backwards through the field? That's a good thing, they will come back to you somewhere during the day.
Going back to the theory that I have had for the 70.3 distance the same applies here.  There are going to be athletes who are just better cyclists than I am and there is nothing I can do to stay with them.  There are going to be athletes who explode out of T2 only to burn out.  Can you tell the difference between the two when they pass you?  Neither can I so why stay with any of them.  This is my race and one I will use as my mantra as it seems the world passes me by.  That is OK I will pass them later on the bike or most certainly on the run.
Flatten the Course You best cycling strategy to set up a great run to maintain a very steady effort across all terrain - no big effort surges on hills, no excessive coasting on downhills, etc. Imagine your foot is on a gas pedal. It is funny to read this about the bike because it is exactly what I have been doing on the run for the better part of this training.  I have found that by exerting the same amount of energy going up a hill or down a hill as on the flat sections allows me to maintain a steady constant heart rate and pace.  It would only figure that doing the same on the bike makes sense.  Focusing on my HR and my perceived level of exertion will allow me to not crush myself going up and not coast to much coming down. Show Up with Enough Gears on Your Bike Having the proper gearing for your course is an important part of our "flatten the course" strategy above. What gearing is best? In general, you can never have enough gears in an Ironman. More specifically, these are the gears that Coach Rich, a 5:05-15 Ironman cyclist, would ride on US Ironman courses:
  • All: compact crank, 50/34 gearing, then…
  • IMTX, FL, AZ: 23-11
  • IMSG, IMCDA, IMLP, IMNYC, IMTremblant: 26-11, or 25-12
  • IMWI: 26-11
Isn't it a good thing that my bike set for IMTX should be exactly the same as that for IMAZ.  After speaking with Jeff Irvin a few months ago he assured me that what I have on my bike is good for IMTX.  I am not a bike nut nor will I pretend to be so I always turn to Jeff, Kevin, Matt, BDD and Patrick for help in that category.  If they say what I have works then I am not going to spend another moment thinking about it.
Look for Free Speed First
112 miles is a long time for smart, slippery, aerodynamic choices to express themselves. In our experience, your biggest return on investment opportunities on the Ironman bike are:
  • Bike fit: The largest aerodynamic component of the bike/rider system is YOU. A proper bike fit can dramatically improve your aerodynamics while keeping you comfortable on the bike.
  • Aero helmet: A big aerodynamic return for your $130-200 investment.
  • Bottle/tools placement: An efficient, clean, well-thought-out setup will also significant
I am going to get a bike fit this week to ensure that it is dialed in.  I can't imagine 112 miles of being uncomfortable.  I can say without hesitation that the long rides I have done during this training cycle have been very comfortable.  The old adage: Better Safe Than Sorry fits here.  I have an aero helmet and my bottles/tools placement has been decided as well.  I am using my torpedo mount without the A2 straw along with my down tube speedfil.  I am also putting a bento box on the frame behind the bottle to hold the HoneyStinger waffles.  The tube will be taped to the under side of my seat and there will be CO2 cartridges and that is all.  The allen wrench will be taped to the tube or in my back pocket as there is a zipper on the race kit.  

DID YOU HAVE A BIKE STRATEGY FOR YOUR IRONMAN OR HALF-IRONMAN RACE?

Published in Race
Sunday, 08 January 2012 11:44

Bold In The Cold 15K Race Report

[caption id="attachment_4991" align="alignright" width="223" caption="Thank You To Sponsor Boundless Nutrition For Their Support"]boundless_nutrition_protein_cookie[/caption] Yesterday Karen and I ran in the Bold In The Cold race in Grapevine, Texas.  Karen ran the half-marathon and I ran the 15K.  Last year at this event I finished in 3rd place in my Age Group and 41st overall with a time of 1:09:26.  My goal going into the race this year was to be at that time and to negative split the race per coach's instructions.  I went back and did some math that if I ran 7:30/mile for the first 4 miles and then 7:15/mile for the final 5.3 miles I would finish at around 1:08:30 and that would be an extremely successful day. When the alarm clock went off this morning I drank a smoothie and ate a bowl of granola along with a cup of coffee.  2 hours later and 2 trips to the bathroom afterwards we were in the car on the way to the race site.  When we got out of the car we could feel a chill in the air as this race takes place right on Lake Grapevine.  We walked and picked up our chips and before we knew it we were walking to the start line and ran into Allison. Standing at the start line I could feel my heart rate starting to climb and I knew it was race day.  I had taken First Endurance Pre-Race approximately 30 minutes before the gun was to go off at 8am and as I was doing dynamic warm-ups my heart rate went up and it felt great.  I knew I would be able to get out of the gate fast without that feeling of 'what the f*ck is going on here' rise to your heart. When the gun went off so did I.  I started about 5 rows back and on the left so I had to maneuver my way to the middle a bit to cross the timing mat.  As I did that I went back left and ran off road for about a mile and I felt great.  My breathing wasn't labored and my turnover felt strong.  I passed a whole host of people when I came up  on a woman who was scooting along pretty well.  I fell in lock step with her and was so close to her that I could hear her racing bib whipping in the wind and her breathing.  When the first mile came up on us and my watch beeped I looked down and saw a split of 6:53.  Two thoughts occurred right then and there:
  1. Keep running as hard as you can and hang on for dear life because you will most likely not negative split this race now.
  2. Slow down back to a 7:30/mi pace and then negative split the race.
I decided to just keep running and bring it back down if I could.  I would not consciously pull back but if I slowed I would be OK.  I was hanging with the woman on what is a flat part of the course.  As we neared the Mile 2 marker and what is a turn back toward the start I heard one of the race officials tell the woman next to me that she was the second overall female.  Then the thought kicked in that I will run with her for as long as I could as I assumed that she would be very fast and would pull me in. In between Mile 2 and Mile 3 you are on a trail that borders the runners heading toward Mile 2.  I looked for Karen feverishly but never saw her and kept right on chugging along staying with Miss Female #2.  Mile 2 to 3 has an uphill climb that I remembered from last year taking me some time to climb but this year I focused on form and made sure to keep my chin up, elbows back and relaxed shoulders and hands.  I climbed that hill and passed two runners along the way.  Once you get over the hill you immediately go down hill and when I hit the Mile 3 marker I saw my split as 7:30.  I added that to the 7:12 for Mile 2 and the 6:53 for Mile 1 and realized I was at a 7:12/mi pace and told myself to forget the negative split and just hang on for dear life as best I can. Mile 4 heads into another covered area and flattens out but only after you have a small climb.  I suddenly felt my breathing begin to labor and a slight burn in my left quad.  A burn not of injury but of 'you are running very fast.'  When I got to Mile 4 and my watch went off I saw the split of 7:24 and a total time of 28+ minutes.  I did some math and figured that at Mile 8 I should be at 56 minutes and that would leave me with 13 minutes to run 1.3 miles and I would beat the 1:09:26 from 2011. Mile 4 to Mile 5 you run toward the lake and all of a sudden there is wind that is holding you up.  You run a loop and head back up from where you came and then make a left turn down another hill.  When I got to Mile 5 I smiled knowing that I was more than halfway done and I just needed to keep pushing and pushing to get the next 4.3 miles done.  The split at Mile 5 showed 7:26/mile. Mile 5 to Mile 6 and I heard that heavy breathing again.  Miss Overall #2 was right behind me and all the sudden passed me.  I fell in behind her and let her pull me along.  If I could stay one step off her I would be conserving energy and moving pretty quickly and ensuring that I would beat my pace from last year.  We kept going and her breathing got more rapid and I thought that she is going to slow down and not make it the rest of the way.  My plan was that when I hit MIle 6 I would pick it up for the final 3.3 miles and pass her.  At Mile 6 my watch showed 7:32/mi and 44 minutes.  I knew that if I could run a 23 minute 5k that I would get to the finish line at 1:07, but of course forgot that a 5k is 3.1 miles and not 3.3 miles. On the way to Mile 7 you run along the lake and the picture is gorgeous but it started to feel like it was taking forever.  I wanted so bad to see Mile 7 and make the turn back toward the finish line.  I started to really struggle as the stretch is a series of up and down climbs that are never really steep but also never stop.  It was last year at Mile 7 that I was passed by a guy in a yellow Marine Corps shirt and I vowed not to have this happen to me again.  When I hit the Mile 7 marker there was a guy in front of me but no guys behind me.  Mile 7 and the watch beeped and showed 7:52.  Of course it felt like forever because it was compared to the previous 6 miles. [caption id="attachment_4992" align="alignright" width="225" caption="The Bahas Flashing Their Bling"]bold_in_the_cold_15k_grapevine_texas_race[/caption] I made up my mind to run faster and so I did.  I had the benefit of a long downhill section at this point and I allowed my legs to turnover and once I hit the flat I saw the runners coming at me and I wanted to make sure to look strong and fast.  I did not want to hit that flat section and slow down but instead keep that momentum.  At mile 7.5 you make a left turn through a gravel parking lot and the volunteer is yelling to run toward the path.  As I'm doing that I don't see an opening and he yells 'to the left, to the left' and I have to make a quick turn left and get through the opening and then a quick right.  You are going slightly downhill just before you turn right and I had to grab a street sign pole to help me make that turn otherwise I would have taken out a group of runners heading toward the Mile 7 marker.  When I hit the Mile 8 marker and knew I only had 1.3 miles to go my watch showed 7:39 and a smile came across my face because I knew I was going faster.  Mile 8 also showed 59:31 and I had approximately 10 minutes to run those 1.3 miles and figured with a 7:30 mile that would give me 3 minutes to run the last 0.3 which I thought was plenty. As you emerge from the covered trail you are supposed to turn left or at least that is what I remember from last year, but I suddenly saw runners running left.  My mind immediately said to me 'where are they going and where does this trail end?'  I was ready to step it up and get moving but those runners through me off.  As I neared the turning point the volunteers pointed us to the left and I realized that those runners were just out for their Saturday morning run.  Last year at this point I saw a neighbor who is a tremendous runner and I used her as my carrot to get to the finish line.  This year I had nothing but the guy running the half-marathon next to me.  I was determined to keep pace with him. Mile 8 to Mile 9 is a steep climb followed by a long drawn out down hill and ends in one of the steepest climbs on the entire course.  When I got to the steep portion of the course I kept my cadence high and pushed through it to the Mile 9 marker and saw a split of 7:40 and a time of 1:07.  Uh-oh......I better step on it for the last 0.3 miles if I want to be anywhere near that 1:09.  I pushed the legs and immediately felt my mind separate from my body and just ignore all the lactic acid.  I truly had no thoughts going on in my head regarding the burn in my legs or lungs, and in writing this post I realize now that I did not hear my breathing either but did hear Miss Female Overall #2 breathing and I vowed to not allow her to beat me no matter what. I came around the corner and looked for the finishers clock but couldn't find it for a few seconds.  I kept looking and finally saw it and saw a 1:08 and change but could not make out the final seconds.  I knew it was going to be close but I just said 'screw it' and ran as hard as I could.  When I crossed the finish line I pressed the stop button on my watch and doubled over and knew that I had just run as hard as I could but did not execute the race I wanted. I am not very happy with the poor execution.  This entire Winter/Spring training is all about Ironman Texas and learning to keep a pace and not go out to hard.  It is about executing a plan and sticking to it.  It is about pacing myself and making sure to eat/drink every 15 minutes.  On this day I failed to execute the plan and I am not happy about that.  Part of me is telling myself that I did adjust on the fly and that is important as well because Ironman will not go exactly as planned. Splits 2011 versus 2012:
2012 2011 Difference
Mile 1 6:53 7:15 -22.0
Mile 2 7:12 7:25 -13.0
Mile 3 7:30 7:32 -2.0
Mile 4 7:24 7:25 -1.0
Mile 5 7:26 7:22 4.0
Mile 6 7:32 7:31 1.0
Mile 7 7:52 7:33 19.0
Mile 8 7:39 7:19 20.0
Mile 9 7:40 7:14 26.0
Mile 0.3 pace 7:34 7:06 28.0
  When the announcer was giving out the 15k awards I kept an ear toward him and my eyes on the course to see when Karen would finish.  As he said 'M35-39' I immediately paid closer attention and when he said in 3rd place with a time of 1:09:07 Jason Bahamundi a smile came across my face.  I had run a poorly executed race and yet PR'd by 19 seconds and finished in 3rd in my Age Group again. I have already made up my mind that I will be back next year and am determined to execute a race plan that will land me in the Top 2 of my Age Group as it will be my last year in the M35-39 category.  

Did You Race This Weekend?  Did You Execute Your Race Plan?

   
Published in Race Reports
[caption id="attachment_4492" align="alignright" width="240" caption="Courtesy of cantstopendurance.com"]train_hard_race_fast_triathlon[/caption] It was very early on in my triathlon 'career' that Jon of SwiCycloRun taught me a valuable lesson about triathlon.  In an email exchange he said that there is no magic bullet to speed.  That if you want to run fast that you have to train fast.  You cannot train at 9:00/mi pace and expect to run 7:30/mi pace in the race.  You can't get on your bike and lollygag through a 2 hour ride where you cover 32 miles for a 16mph speed and expect to race at 20mph.  Your body is not capable of doing that because you haven't trained for that. From that day I always treated every training session as if it were race day.  Along the way though I learned that there are days where aero means running at a 9:00/mi pace because you just cannot always run fast and recover properly.  Here in Texas in the middle of the summer where temps are regularly 105* I cannot expect to run 7:00/mi pace but have to be happy with a 8:30-9:00/mi pace and know that come fall/winter I will be down to the 7:00/mi pace because of the work I put it. And that is the key to it all.  It is work.  You have to put in the time and effort to get fast.  Chrissie Wellington, of Kona Ironman fame, was asked about how she is capable of running so fast off the bike and here is her response:

And how do I run so fast off the bike? Well that’s easy. I train myself to run that fast. Pure and simple. Speed work, tempo runs, hill repeats, long runs with hard efforts – it’s not rocket science. But if you want to race fast you need to be prepared to train hard and train smart. And, of course, being able to run fast is determined as much by the swim and (especially) bike training I do as by the run sessions. If you want to run fast you also need to look at how you ride the bike. Plus, of course, there is strength work. Thirty kilometres into the marathon is a bit late to realise you could have done with a few gut-strengthening exercises to enable you to hold your form. I am a slave to the single-leg squat.

If you train slow then you will race slow  If you train fast you will race fast.  I recently had a conversation with Greg Larsen (The Life I Tri) and an email exchange with Matt Oravec (Staying Strong and Positive) about 70.3 Austin and race plan.  Essentially what all three of us came up with was laying it on the line.  Go hard the entire time and if I blow up on the run and don't hit my goals so be it, I put for the best effort I had on that day.

This brings me to this mornings training session.  I have recently put my trainer in the garage (officially now known as The Humidor) and wore a t-shirt, long-sleeve shirt and hoodie sweatshirt so that I could mock the conditions I will see in May at Ironman Texas.  If I could handle the sweat loss and practice my race day hydration and nutrition then I will have limited the surprises on race day.  I also incorporated the idea of riding the trainer with limited water.  Why?  Well on race day when you are on the bike for 5-6 hours there may come a time when you forget to take in water.  Practice, practice, practice.

Then once the trainer ride was done I put my running sneakers and went out and ran.  Not just coasted through the 20 minute run, but run hard and fast.  In that first 0.5 miles I thought I was going to blow up but then my legs decided they were going to participate.  I looked down at my watch and was running a 6:48/mi pace and felt strong and that I could hold this.  I finished the 20 minute run at a pace of 7:01/mi.  Last week my pace was 7:24/mi.  My body is capable of more than I thought.  Now my mind knows this and my body is saying yes let me go.  Let me out of the cage.

One week from today I will have finished my second 70.3 race of this year.  I have my goals in mind and will write a post about them but know that I will be pushing my body to go as hard as I can for as long as I can because I have trained that way.

Do You Coast Through Your Training?

What Does Your Mind and Body Allow You To Do?

 
Published in Race
Sunday, 23 October 2011 12:00

What Time Is It?

Game Time!

I will swim faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

I will ride faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

I will run faster, harder and smarter than ever before.

When all is said and done I will have crossed the finish line with nothing in the tank.

When all is said and done I will raise my arms in victory regardless of time because I beat the course.

When all is said and done I will smile the smile of all smiles and know that beyond a shadow of a doubt I DID IT!

Thank you all for your support through a very hot summer of training.  A year long dream of racing two half-ironman races in one year is coming to fruition.  I will have had weeks of 15-20 hours of training.  Races where I PR'd and races where I discovered something new about me.

None of this would ever have happened if not for my wife Karen who has provided me all the support any one person can need.  Thank you.

Published in Race
Saturday, 01 October 2011 11:22

Toyota US Open Championship - Robert Swan

As you read yesterday I am racing at the Toyota US Open Championships and have a goal of sub-2:30.

I will not be the only Team CTER athlete racing the event.  Robert Swan, who was one of the first athletes to join the team, will also be racing the event.

Robert is using this race as redemption and a tune-up for 70.3 Austin in three weeks.  I asked Robert to put his race goals down on paper so that he could look back at them and compare his actuals to his goals and I also believe that putting it out there makes it real.  It motivates you to hit your mark and one thing I believe in all of the CTER athletes is that we will give it our all regardless of circumstance.

Here is Robert's story regarding the 2011 Toyota US Open Championships:

====================

On October 2nd, I am racing in my second Olympic distance triathlon at the Toyota Open Championships in Rockwall, Texas. I competed at this event last year and I am looking for some redemption. My first attempt at the Olympic distance was not my finest few hours. I suffered for about ninety percent of the 2 hours and 53 minutes that I took to cross the finish line and I was not very happy with myself afterwards. My swim fitness was severely lacking and I hadn’t been on the bike nearly as much as I should’ve been.  Prior to the race, the furthest I had swum was the 800 meters that was done the day before at the swim practice. Halfway through my first open water swim competition, I was cut off by a few guys that couldn’t swim in a straight line. I stopped to let them cross and immediately felt sharp cramps shoot through both of my legs. From then on, I was in pain for the next two and a half hours.  I went into T1 cramped and exhausted.  I pushed through and got my legs spinning on the bike. I managed to push through for a while but the cramps kept coming back.  Normally I look forward to the run to finish the race strong but it was not my day.  I made it through T2 quickly and set out on the final 6.2 miles.  Unfortunately my legs didn’t even last a mile and I was walking before the first aid station. I spent the rest of the time running for as long as my legs would let me, and walking through the aid stations. I never found my normal stride.  I suffered through and crossed the finish completely exhausted, in pain and mad at myself. This year will be a much different story at the finish.  I feel confident as I prepare to swim the 1500 meters in Lake Rockwall instead of dreading it as I did last year.  I can swim it faster and more efficiently without leaving me exhausted. My latest open water swim practices put me several minutes faster and I wasn’t breathing hard when I was finished. That in itself left me with loads of confidence that I’ve never had going into a race before. I know that I am capable of pushing the pace on the bike without blowing out my legs before I hit the run.  All the brick work after 40-60 mile rides have allowed me to be confident and able to get in stride on tired legs. And as long as I don’t have any knee issues during the run, I have been able to get into stride quickly and hold the strong pace I am capable of.  Plus, having Jason around to help me with planning my nutrition has made a huge difference with everything. This time around will be night and day compared to last year. My goals are in place to keep me pushing the pace that I know I can handle.  I cannot wait for this race!   2010 Times Swim- 35:22 T1- 3:14 Bike- 1:19:29@ 18.7 mph T2- 1:29 Run- 52:40@ 8:40/mile Overall- 2:52:22- 274 out of 491 racers- 25 out of 38 in my age group   2011 Goals Swim- 32:00 T1- 2:30 Bike- 1:15:00 T2- 1:00 Run- 46:30 Overall- 2:37:00 ==================== You will have race reports next week plus an announcement about Team CTER.  
Published in Race
Sunday, 09 January 2011 21:04

Bold In The Cold 15K Race Report

Yesterday was the first race of the year for me and I had a goal time and pace from Coach.  The goal was to run a sub 1:10:00 for the 15k with a pace around 7:30/mile.  As I mentioned on Friday I looked up the times from 2010 and a 7:30/mile pace would put me around 4th/5th and that is a great way to start the year I thought.
Friday January 7th:  Friday is a rest day from my training and I have difficulty watching my food intake on this day because I tend to eat as if I am training and burning calories.  I took this into account this Friday and really held back on my food intake until dinner.  Dinner we went to a mexican restaurant in Grapevine, Texas called Uncle Julio's for my best-WO(man's) birthday.  Well we had a big party and we wound up waiting around for a table and let's just say the chips were being consumed.  No alcohol but I could not refrain from consuming these chips.  We finally sat down to dinner and I ordered the veggie fajita platter.  The first two I had with tortillas but then just ate the veggies without them.  I went home and say how my stomach looked  and I was scared about how that would react with the race on Saturday.  I was nervous.  Got to sleep around 10pm and with race day at 8a I should get plenty of rest.
Saturday January 8th:
5:30am - I wake up and get out of bed.  Brush my teeth and notice that my stomach is not bloated and I feel great.  I guess the saying that nobody got fat on vegetables is true.  With so much time prior to the race I decide that I can have more calories at breakfast than a normal 100 calories whole wheat thin bread and coffee breakfast.  I decide on granola with dried fruit and banana and coffee.  I ate this while watching SportsCenter on ESPN.  A few minutes later it was the pre-race nerves and bathroom visit.  Then about 30 minutes later there it was again.  Maybe not pre-race jitters but more like fiber from veggies and black beans.
I get dressed in my spandex/lycra pants, red wick away shirt, Team Baha shirt and wool cap.  Pour two GUs into my flask with water and shake it up.  Decide against bringing banana with me as it will be at the finish line.  This race is sponsored by HoneyMilk so no reason to bring so of my stock as it will be there.
I think about how to get in touch with Allison to meet her at the race site.  As soon as I think that she posts on Facebook  (yes, we blog and facebook and email stalk each other.)  I ask for her number so that I can text her when I am there.  Since chip pick up is at the site I decide to leave an hour early for this 15 minute ride to the race site.
As I pull into the parking lot I text Allison and Shannon to let them know that I am there.  As it turns out Shannon is right behind me in the lot and she says to me....ah the red shoes.  Oh yes, the En Fuego's are in full force today.  (Don't know about the En Fuego's?  Go here for info on them)
Well, let's just say that I actually wish my feet were En Fuego b/c I was frozen.  I am a warm-blooded Puerto Rican and would rather run in the 60 degree weather than the 30 degree weather.  My hands were frozen and so were my feet.  I asked Allison if she wanted to warm up and so we did.  It was great b/c I got the frozen feeling out of my feet and hands somewhat....until we had to wait for the race start.  Not much fun there.
At 8:07am the gun goes off and I am about 10 feet from the starting line.  As we move Allison says to me have a great race and I'll see you at the end.  I start trying to pick my way through people and look at my watch and it says 6:58.....too fast?!?!  I don't want to burn out but I need to get through these people.  Once through them the pace settles in and I look up and I am in with the front pack.  Being mindful of my pace and goals I pull back a tad and finish Mile 1 in 7:15.  I am feeling strong and breathing is not labored.
At this point I know I want to be closer to 7:30 so I pull back again and wind up finding a person that I want to pace with.  He seems to be keeping a good pace.  As I do this I get passed by a handful of guys and I say to myself what coach would say....let them pass now and bury them in the end when they fizzle out.  So I stay with my race plan and don't go for it.  As we near the turn around toward mile 2 I notice that some of these guys are fizzling out already and then I see the local neighborhood Iron(wo)man.  Running is her game but if I can be close to her I am doing great.  We make the turn at Mile 2 and my pace for that mile was 7:25.  I then see Shannon, Jill, Stephanie and Allison and wish them all good luck.
Between Mile 2 and Mile 3 we hit a hill and I pass my pacer as he does not handle the hill well.  Instead of leg pumping he shuffles.  This makes his stride shorter and harder for him as his breathing becomes labored.  I power up the hill with my legs pumping and driving.  Coach has me doing strength exercises with weights and pretending to be running and pumping my arms.  This works well right here.  I cruise up the hill, but then breather boy passes me on the downhill but I am in rhythm and not going to push too hard yet.  I finish Mile 3 at a pace of 7:32.
At the Mile 3 point I notice that my pace shows 7:58.....uh-oh I got to comfortable and need to push.  Within a few steps I am back down to 7:15 and breather boy can't keep up, but he does try to pass me and I will have nothing of this.  We pass the starting line/finish line and I can hear the crowd and they are cheering the 5k finishers but I am using that as motivation to keep pushing.  Mile 4 done at a pace of 7:25 and I am back in the right rhythm.
I begin to pass some of the guys that had passed me earlier.  They are laboring and I am in a good flow.  Breather boy catches up to me again on the downhill and I let him pass me and use him as a blocker for the wind off the lake (not that there was much.)  We make the turn in the loop and it's back uphill.  I push back and pass and can hear the grunt of "How the F is this guy passing me so easily on the uphills?"  I smile and think to myself .....'gotcha!!!'  I keep on chugging and after this uphill is a quick downhill and then back to uphill and I know he can't keep up with that.  I am moving and finish Mile 5 in 7:22.
From Mile 5 to Mile 6 it is fairly flat and I can hear him and his breathing and shuffle.  Again I don't want to kill myself and want to hold something in the bank for the last 5k.  I am cruising at this point and not really pushing to hard.  We are at a gorgeous part of the lake and I am taking it all in.  I hit Mile 6 at a pace of 7:31.  At this point I know I got 1:10 in the bank but tell myself now is the time to run a 5k like no other.
I make the turn at Mile 6 and now is the time to bury breather boy and take this home.  I start to pick up the pace and lo and behold I got passed.  Where the F did this guy come from?  I means seriously where did he come from?  Yellow shirt with Marine Corps on the back and he cruises past me and I then use him as my passer.  We have some tough hill on this part but we are headed back and get that view of the lake again and the sun is just shining off of it and it's great.  Mile 7 done in 7:33.  The hills got more of me than I thought they would.
OK, to get to 1:10 and I am doing calculations.  Breaking it down and I am looking at something in the range of almost 8:30 I think.  I got this but I am upset that yellow shirt passed me and I am keeping up with him.  I don't push and just maintain with him.  We are chugging along and wow....Mile 8 marker is already here.  Pace for that mile was 7:19.
At this point I see Iron(wo)man up ahead and start to hunt her down.  Feather in my cap if I can catch and pass her.  As we get near I yell her name and tell her to keep pushing.  I catch her and say to her....we are almost home.  She says great race Jason keep on going.  I pass her and have a little extra in my step.  Oh and breather boy is nowhere to be heard.  I am now pushing it and get to Mile 9 in 7:14.
Now I know I got 1:10 in the bag and want to keep on pushing.  After the hardest hill of the whole race I then put it into another gear and cruise across the line at a pace of 7:06.  I look down at my watch and notice 1:09:29.  I know I did it and I know I have a shot at the podium.
:30 later Iron(wo)man finishes.  I ran to the restroom, got some water, HoneyMilk and a banana.  Saw Shannon cross the finish line.  I then walked back toward the 9 mile marker and saw Stephanie and Jill run past.  A little bit later came Allison.  I ran with her to toward the finish and smiled with pride as she crossed that finish line.
I knew that I had surpassed my goal but how good of a run was it.  As it turns out I finished in third place in my age group with a 7:21/mile pace and 41st overall.  I was thrilled with the results, but as ever the competitor I wanted to know what the 2nd and 1st place runners did.  As it turns out the 2nd place runner finished 8 seconds ahead of me and the 1st place finisher was 9 minutes faster (was he on a bike?) All in all a great race and I was very impressed with the way the race was conducted by the Lake Grapevine Runners and Walkers and will certainly be running in another race held by them.  There was plenty of water on the course, and plenty of food and coffee for afterwards.  The venue was beautiful as well. 
Shannon, Me, Allison

Bib and Medal for Bold in the Cold 15K
Published in Race Reports
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