The Ironman Chattanooga Challenge started out with a challenge from me to KC to blog our way through a year of training for Ironman Chattanooga on September 28, 2014.  We knew that along the way we would be facing different scenarios that would force us to move training days and rest days.  We would skip parties, have to work late, sleep in all along the way to our own finish line.  Each of our travels there would be different and the point is to showcase that there is more than one way to get to the finish line of an Ironman. This week seems to showcase that we are built to crave a challenge.  Essentially we are looking at a challenge within a challenge.  It isn't hard enough to train for an Ironman but when it is so far away and you are Type A the difficulty grows exponentially.  We crave the challenge and this week it seems that KC and I have gone ahead and sort of accepted a new challenge on the way to Ironman Chattanooga.

KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

"Finally remember that God heals and the doctor sends the bills. Give nature every chance to do her own good work."    ~Tom Osler (1978) "One of the basic rules of health is, ‘Listen to your body.’ I am responsible for my health, and to respond to my body I must listen to it, learn from it.  ~George Sheehan (1978a) Those 2 quotes were taken from one of my favorite books, The Lore of Running, by Tim Noakes. Smart guy! Plus, he’s come around in his thinking when it comes to the conventional wisdom regarding endurance training with way too much emphasis on sugars and grains. [caption id="attachment_9329" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman KC's Week 10 - Ironman Chattanooga Challenge[/caption] Those quotes hold true today as I did not do the Disney marathon. It was a hard decision to make but I knew by Friday morning there was no way I wanted to show up on Sunday and half ass it. Funny thing is, had you asked me Thursday morning if I was planning on doing the marathon, I would have said yes but then I had a little accident on Thursday afternoon, with the same foot that I have been having the nerve issues with, and that was the nail in the coffin right there. That’s when I knew, no marathon for me. So what’s a girl to do when she can’t run the marathon she’s been training for, for the last 10 weeks? She does another 100 mile bike ride. For anyone counting, that’s 2 centuries in the first 2 weeks of 2014. I’m kinda feeling a little challenge coming over me …a century a week? What the what? Is that the insane KC speaking? Why yes, yes it is and she loves this crazy challenge idea. Stay tuned to see what happens in week 3 of 2014. I plan on picking up the run slowly this week and should be back up to running speed soon, as long as I don’t pull anymore stupid human tricks while walking to my car in the parking garage at work! Easier said than done, I know. I had some fun this week. I was a guest on a really cool podcast! You should go listen to it. Not because of me, but because the 2 guys on it, Andrew and John, are awesome and are a hoot to listen to, plus you may learn a thing or two. Here is the link: http://doughboytoironman.com/2014/01/10/ironman-year-one-episode-13-coach-kc-kristie-conception-on-why-beginners-and-bopers-need-coaches-too/ That’s all I got for ya this week. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Challenge

Week 10 of ICC is also the first week of overload training for Rocky Raccoon 50.  This week was quite the week in terms of running volume.  I hit 67 miles this week for what is easily the most miles I have ever run in a week.  It did not come with its own challenges though.  Mid-week I found myself sluggish and wondering what was happening considering I had just come off of a pull back week.  As I wrote, here, it boiled down to tracking my food and making sure that I was surrounding my workouts with carbs and then lean proteins and healthy fats for my other two meals.  Since I workout in the morning this turns out to be very advantageous for my running and recovery.  Big breakfast and then some healthy, tasty and protein rich meals the rest of the day. [caption id="attachment_9328" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - ironman - rocky raccoon First Week Of Overload For RR50 and HUGE base building for IMTN[/caption] This weekend was a breakthrough as well.  I was scheduled to run 23 miles on Saturday and 13 miles on Sunday.  Prior to registering for RR50 I had registered for the Bold In The Cold 15k which happens to be my favorite race.  This was the fourth year and I was torn about how to approach it.  Do I run prior to the race, run the race and then cool down.  Run the race then finish off the remaining 14 miles.  How would I fuel?  How would I hydrate? I took the option of running 12 miles as a warm-up first, then run the race at a steady but not fast pace and then cool down. I started at 5:15am with 12 miles and felt good.  I held a steady 8:56/mi pace with my HR at the top end of Zone 1. Perfect.  After that run I stopped and had coffee and a banana to refuel.  Walked to the start line and saw a bunch of friends.  We got in line and the gun went off.  I figured a steady 8:30/mi pace would be great to start and then drop down to 8:00/mi and negative split the race.  Well, after the first two miles and running a 7:50/mi pace I felt great and figured it was time to light the match and hang on for dear life.  Over the course of the next 7 miles I ran ~7:35/mi and finished in 11th place in my age group.  Finished off with a 2 mile cool down and 23 miles in the books. Sunday morning I went to Cedar Ridge Preserve where I ran 12 miles with 1500+ foot of climbing and cursed myself, the trail, Jeff and everything else along the way.  I was hurting big time.  I had two hours out there to contemplate what I wanted to do at RR50.  I have a 'plan' heading into the race so far but bigger than that is I think I am going to register for my next challenge. I originally thought I would be racing 70.3 Galveston in April, but with RR50 taking precedence I do not think that I can get the bike volume in that I would need to have an enjoyable and fast race.  What I will have is a HUGE running base and so the next logical thing to do is run a 100 miler.  I have the registration page open  and am ready to pull the trigger.  With running the 100 miler at the end of March I can get a couple of weeks of recovery in before entering into training for Buffalo Springs 70.3 and true IM specific training.  The next challenge is on the horizon and I think I am ready for it.

What Is Your Next Challenge?

Published in Train
Friday, 10 January 2014 10:44

This Is Not A #Rage Free Zone

Rage was welling up inside of me yesterday and then like Mount Vesuvius (I am not sure if this is a 'working' volcano but the metaphor works) I erupted.  On Wednesday night I got into an Instagram conversation about the whole theory of carb-loading.  It was late and I went to bed thinking that Thursday was going to be a great day.  I woke up and sure enough it started out well and then quickly began to fill with rage.  Rage to the point that I am going to have to boycott Competitor Magazine and their Rock and Roll series of races.  Let's get into the three Rage Filled Rants on this gloomy and rainy Friday here in Dallas.

Rage #1: BBWAA and the HOF

I am a big baseball fan that to the point I refer to myself as a baseball nerd.  The game is long and can be quite boring at times but I am enthralled with all the numbers that baseball brings to my life.  Calculating OPS, BA, WAR, WHIP, ERA and all the other stats fills me with joy.  Ever since I was a young pup running around baseball diamonds in New York I was enamored with baseball and its numbers. Baseball's numbers were an easy way to compare today's players to yesteryear's players.  The numbers that Babe Ruth put up in his career are still compared to the numbers being put up by Miguel Cabrera.  That is EXCEPT for what is being called the steroids era.  If you can clearly define that era I would be happy to talk to you, but that is beyond this rage conversation. One of the voters for the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) and has a vote for the Hall of Fame decided to hand his vote over to the website Deadspin.com and allow them to vote for the players and he would submit the ballot.  I am not sure what the BBWAA has a problem with but they have stripped this writer (Dan Le Batard) of his voting ability for life.  They believe that he did not take this voting seriously and I counter that with he took it so seriously that he chose not to participate because it is a total joke.  In order to be considered a BBWAA voter (and there are nearly 600 of them, yet only 3o teams or an average of 20 writers per team......and therein lies the first problem) you must have written about baseball for 10 years but do not have to currently be doing that writing.  You can have been shipped to the Food and Wine section and yet you still have a vote even though you do not cover the sport. Guess who does not have a vote.  Vin Scully. Bob Costas. Karl Revich.  That is right.  Three of the most notable faces and names in baseball today do not have a vote.  You figure that out.  BBWAA has gone about this the wrong way and when Dan Le Batard decided to stand up and say that the process is flawed they decided to take away his voice.  Makes sense...... RAGE!

Rage #2: Carb-Loading

The concept of carb-loading has driven me up a wall.  I hear and see people talking about eating pounds and pounds of pasta the night before a race with the idea that they are preparing themselves for the race the next day and nothing could be further from the truth.  Do not get me wrong, as I was a part of the movement when I first got into these endurance sports but the more I raced and trained the more I read and learned.  That led to quickly changing from the carb-loading concept to the carb, protein and fat pyramid.  This is not an actual pyramid but a way in which I monitor my calories and macro-nutrient intake the days leading up to a race. A few years ago I read Maria's blog post about how John (her husband) fueled and I took that same process and it worked. I did it again and it worked again. No GI issues.  No bloating.  No uncomfortness at mile 20 of the run.  What was this magical formula?  Eat a larger carb based meal TWO nights before the race.  Eat a larger carber based breakfast the morning before the race and then taper your meals that day with a focus on healthy fats and lean proteins then eat like a pig AFTER the race with a 3-4:1 Carb:Protein ratio to ensure proper recovery. The rage that is being built is from reading about people running 5ks and piling food on their plate as if they are going to prison the next day.  Even at a 15:00/mi pace you will be done with a 5k in about 45 minutes.  No reason to carb-load at all but if you feel the necessity to eat more then do after the race.  Surely you can wait 30-45 minutes before eating a stack of pancakes 2 feet high.  Why put in all those hours, days, weeks, months of training to find yourself in the porto at each 10 mile segment?  Doesn't make sense for long races and makes even less sense for 5ks......... Speaking of 5ks

Rage #3: A 5k is a 5k.  It is not a mini-marathon

[caption id="attachment_9324" align="alignright" width="300"]rage - anger - mini marathon A 5k is a 5k. It is nothing else but a 5k. Stop making names up.[/caption] Yesterday while trolling though the interwebs I came across a site for a Mini-Marathon.  Thinking WTF is that I clicked and the blood boiled.  The mini-marathon is a 5k.  It is not a 13.1 which is commonly referred to as a half-marathon.  No, this mini-marathon being promoted by the Rock and Roll brand is a 5k.  ARE YOU KIDDING ME? Why are they promoting this race as anything but a 5k?  I refer this to the wussification of America where people need to have the feel to have run a marathon without actually running a marathon.  I am sure somebody will point out that it is a way to get people active.  Maybe, but is there proof that says those that run a 5k eventually run a marathon?  Is there proof that says that somebody running a 5k being marketed as a mini-marathon eventually runs a marathon?  Or is this some marketing survey that says: Would you run a mini-marathon if the distance were 5,000 meters or commonly referred to as a 5k? I posted this to Facebook on a friend's page and another friend posted a link to another mini-marathon.  This version is a 1.31 or 2.62 mile run and comes with age awards, finishers t-shirts and medals.  REALLY?  Do we need to be rewarded for running 1.31 miles?  Shouldn't a high-five and way to go be enough?  Why do we feel the need to reward this?  Running has clear distances.  5k, 10, 15k. 13.1.  26.2. 50k. 50mile. 100 mile.  Why can we not stick to these?  I am at a loss. On my 9.31 mile run today, also known as a 15k, I thought about how this would translate at the triathlon level.  Would we register for a 14.06 mile race that included 240 meter swim, 11.2 mile bike and 2.62 mi run and call it a Mini-Ironman?  I do not get it and it drives me nuts that we feel the need to even have these things.  Run 1.31 or 2.62 on your way to a bigger and more difficult goal like a half or full marathon. As a matter of fact do not ever refer to anything less than 13.1 or 26.2 as anything but what it is.  You ran 12.4 miles today.....then you ran a 20k and not something close to a half-marathon.

What Is On Your Rage Friday List?

   
Published in Uncategorized
Monday, 20 January 2014 12:44

Ironman Chattanooga Training Week 11

Ironman Chattanooga is creeping closer and closer all the while I have my sights set on the Rocky Raccoon 50 and Lake Martin 100.  The and I suspect it will continue into Ironman specific training.  The more work I do on the trails the more I am coming to the conclusion that overloading one's body helps their mind as well as their ability to be stronger and faster. When I did the two large cycling blocks in September and October (nearly 1600 miles in two months) I noticed that my running seemed to be easier than it had been before the large cycling block.  With the large volume of run training I am doing now I am noticing that my running ability as well as my swimming ability have taken a step forward. I started thinking about this last night and how this can be incorporated into a Ironman specific training cycle.  Typically, I would have 3-4 swim sessions, 3-4 bike sessions and 3-4 run sessions per week.  What if we changed that up to be very specific.  Week 1 - Swim heavy with nearly 20,000-30,000 yards.  Week 2 - 70-80 miles of running.  Week 3 - 250-300 miles of cycling.  Obviously in those weeks you would still have some of the other sports but not enough to make the focus go away.  Then in Week 4 that would be a recovery week with limited volume for all three disciplines and then started again.  In a 16 week schedule you would have 4 very sport specific weeks in which you just worked your ass off on that sport.  You basically buried yourself in that sport for the week.  You may cry for mercy but then the next week would be a different sport.  Thoughts? Anyway, this is Week 11 of the Ironman Chattanooga Challenge and while KC contemplates another 100 mile ride for next weekend, I contemplate whether or not I want to do an ultra run two weeks post Rocky Raccoon as a training run.

KC's Ironman Chattanooga Challenge Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9360" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - running - triathlon KC's Keeping It Simple And Effective[/caption] Keeping this week’s re-cap short and sweet. As you can see from my training week above, I started easing back into the running. I still have some tingling and numbness in the toes but it’s much less and not as painful. I got my 3 days of Xfit in, love that and did my 3rd century bike ride of 2014 …that’s 3 for 3 if anyone is counting. Let’s see if I can pull that off again next weekend. Anyway, not a whole lot going on training wise at the moment, except just keeping a solid base. There is a half marathon I may do on February 23rd but haven’t completely decided if I really want to do it or not. Other than that, I have a 70.3 coming up March 22nd and I will be super ready for that. It’s a hilly one, which I love the challenge of a nice, hilly bike and run course, so bring it on. Upward and Onward!

Jason's Ironman Chattanooga Week 11 Recap

[caption id="attachment_9359" align="alignright" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - training peaks - running - triathlon Lots Of Running Miles . 71.79 for the week[/caption] This week was all about the trail run.  This was the second week of overload for RR50 and it did not disappoint.  The week consisted of two 10 milers mid-week, a 24 miler on Saturday and a 13 miler on Sunday.  I banged out the two 10 milers but the first one I hated.  I posted on Facebook that the 10-12 miler is quite possibly the worst distance to run because it is too long to be considered short and too short to be considered long.  On anything less than a 10 miler I know I will be out there for anywhere between 45 minutes and 1h15.  I can handle that.  On a run longer than 12 miles I know that I am looking at close to 2 hours based on my current Z1 pace.  I can live with that, but the 10 miler is just awful. Anyway, when I got to Big Cedar Wilderness on Saturday morning it was dark out and I borrowed Karen's headlamp.  Figuring with the 6am start time for RR and the fact that the Lake Martin 100 miler will take me from sun-up to sun-down I better get used to running with a headlamp.  Karen's headlamp is badass and I believe that I lit up the night with it.  I only needed it for a few minutes but running with a headlamp is not terrible.  The 24 miles I was supposed to run turned into 21.8 miles because it is nearly impossible to map out an exact amount of miles when it comes to trails especially when you go must make up routes.  I was happy with the 21.8 as I finished them in less than 4 hours at a decent pace. Sunday was my third round with Cedar Ridge Preserve which is a tough trail course here in Dallas.  The last two weeks it has beaten me up to the point that when I get home to climb the stairs it is a chore.  Yesterday, that did not happen.  I took it to Mr CRP and when I was done I posted this to Facebook:

Float like a butterfly Sting like a bee Scheduled for 2 laps finished with 3 Guess who won this round That would be me See you next week Mr CRP

It was a blast.  I covered the 16.5 miles in just over three hours and felt great.  My legs were strong the entire time and I held a consistent pace over the miles.  Since each loop is 5.5 miles I could see what pace I was running for each section and compare them to themselves.  Steady was the name of the game and now my mindset for RR50 and a goal time is starting to come together.

[caption id="attachment_9358" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - cedar ridge preserve trail - running - triathlon Cedar Ridge Preserve Trail[/caption] [caption id="attachment_9357" align="aligncenter" width="300"]ironman chattanooga - big cedar wildness trail - running - triathlon Big Cedar Wilderness Trail[/caption]

What Are You Training For And How Is It Going?

Published in Train
Monday, 09 December 2013 12:44

Nutrition Plan: Test Drive In The Off-Season

[caption id="attachment_9207" align="alignright" width="225"]endurance - nutrition - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run Source: Holloway Running[/caption] Nutrition is considered the fourth discipline of triathlon or maybe the 5th with recovery as the 4th.  Either way you look at it nutrition and specifically nutrition planning is key to a successful training cycle as well as a race result you will be happy with.  When I started training and racing triathlon I was like anybody else and I was downing gels every 30 minutes.  As I have become more and more experienced I realized that I had no need to do that yet I continue to test and re-test my nutrition. I am currently training for the Rocky Raccoon 50 Mile Trail Race in February and while not a triathlon this will be a long race.  If I am able to finish the race at even a 10:00/mi pace we are talking about 500 minutes, or 8h20m, of running.  That is a long time and I need to be prepared to fuel during the race.  Having no clue what to fuel with is not a terrific strategy so I am using the 11 weeks of training to test out the products I use for Ironman racing to see if that will hold up during this long of a race.  I am going into it believing that it will but that doesn't mean that I do not test and find different solutions if need be. During Ironman, and Half-Ironman, racing I use a combination of Herbalife24 Prepare and Prolong with First Endurance Liquid Shot on the bike and then just the liquid shot on the run.  The way I used these products was to have the Herbalife in two water bottles on the bike and have them contain approximately 700 calories (350 per bottle) and then an EFS flask in my shorts pocket.  This combination gives me ~1200 calories and 3700mg of electrolytes.  The pattern has been to consume one of the bottles in the first 1-1.5 hours and toss it and add a water bottle from an aid station to my bike.  Over the next hour or so I take in water along with half of the EFS flask.  Once that is done I go back to the calorie laden water bottle and water.  After that bottle is done I throw it away and add another water bottle to my bike and finish off the flask.  Using this method I have stayed hydrated and kept the calories and electrolytes flowing throughout the ride. Today I am planning on doing the same thing but I am practicing something during training that I hope will aid me toward the end of the Rocky Raccoon race.  Currently my running during the week is anywhere from 45 minutes to an 1 hour and 15 minutes I have scrapped taking anything outside of Herbalife24 Hydrate in my water bottles.  This product has little to no calories but contains 460mg of electrolytes.  I am teaching my body to use the stored fat I have as energy.  We carry ~20,000 calories of fat in our systems so why not use that instead of taking in unnecessary calories during a short run.  I have even gone as long as 15 miles, outdoors, without any additional calories and saw no reduction in performance but as those runs get longer I will be taking calories on the run with me to prevent bonking and to aid in recovery. When the training miles climb into the 20s or three hours of running I will practice with a peanut butter and jelly, which I know will be on the course, to see how my body reacts to it.  My biggest fear is that an all liquid nutrition plan will not be as easy to deal with during a 50 mile run as it is on a 112 mile bike ride.  On the bike we are not jostling our stomachs as much as it will be tossed around while running and especially on a trail.  With all the up and down movement I need to make sure that whatever solid food I take in will not have an adverse reaction.  I am not planning on eating a PB&J, or any Oreos but once on the course you never know what you may grab just because it looks good at that time.  Without planning for it that could be a grave mistake, one that sends me to the porto-potty and makes what was already a long day become even longer. [caption id="attachment_9206" align="alignright" width="300"]endurance - nutrition - rocky raccoon - ultra - trail - run RR50 Aid Station BUFFET
Source: Runners World[/caption] This coming Saturday I have a 19 mile run scheduled and because of Karen's training and having Chico this weekend I will start the run at 5am on the treadmill.  This will give me the perfect opportunity to test out the idea of taking in a PB&J.  Should I have an adverse reaction the bathroom will be my own and not some tree in the middle of the forest of Grapevine Lake.  In testing out different foods from what will be on the course at the aid stations I should be fully prepared for what is to come on race day.  That being said had I not trained with it I would be going into un-chartered territory and on the course is not the time to figure out that a Oreo or Fig Newton is not going to be the right fuel for you.

How Do You Practice Your Nutrition Plan?

  ** Image on cover photo of article courtesy of AthleteRD.com
Published in Train
Ironman Arizona was the second of three Ironman races I did between May 2012 and May 2013.  The next Ironman race for me is not until September 2014 at Ironman Chattanooga but loving the sport as much as I do and having a handful of friends racing Ironman Arizona 2013 I decided I would head to the desert to spectate.  This idea was born last year when Susan Lacke said she was racing and we talked about me coming out to cheer for her.  As the year went on I didn't think I would be able to get out there, but as we got closer I realized that I had to go.  I owed the sport and my friends who have supported me throughout the past year.  Little did I know how much spectating would affect me.  The one problem with going to Tempe was that I was going alone as Karen could not make the trip. On Friday morning I flew to Tempe and had one of the most interesting flights ever.  I boarded the plane and sat and waited for everybody to get on.  Finally my row mate asked to get into the row as I was in the aisle.  From the moment he sat down he started shaking.  I texted my wife and a couple of friends to let them know that this guy was making me nervous.  He was checking his watch and shaking.  I thought that I would have to tackle him from trying to charge the pilots.  I normally fall asleep before the flight attendant has started talking about falling oxygen masks.  This time I was awake until about 30 minutes into the flight before I fell asleep.  I woke up and he was still shaking.  Fell asleep and woke up as we were landing and he was still shaking.  I could not fathom being that nervous but I was thankful we were on the ground and I could get away from him. I drove to Emily's house and the festivities began.  We got caught up and her family arrived and we all went out to eat dinner.  The next morning I was up early and down to Tempe Town Lake to get a run in and try to catch-up with as many people as I could.  I found a ton of people and chatted with them all.  Those that were racing looked ready.  Those that were spectating looked nervous.  The electricity was in the air, but not the way I would feel it on Sunday morning.  After catching up with everybody I went to breakfast with Susan and her family along with the Iron Leubs (Heidi and Brian).  Lots of laughs and lots of food.  My goal was to balloon up to 155 pounds during this weekend. (I failed and only reached 153.)  We departed company and I headed to Emily's before heading back to Scottsdale for dinner with the guys I have been training with for nearly two years.  I will allow the pictures from the weekend to tell the story now. [flagallery gid=25] I was overcome with emotion seeing the athletes struggle and then overcome those struggles.  None more so than Susan though.  I saw Susan around Mile 3.5 as seen in the photos above and she looked good but told me that her ribs were hurting from being kicked.  When she came back around at Mile 17 I could tell she was hurting but her legs were still moving.  I ran with her and talked with her and asked her if she needed me on the other side of the bridge and she told me no that she would be fine.  When I saw her last, around 200 yards from the finish, the look on her face said:  Is this ever going to end.  We ran together until the bright lights of the finish line showed on her face and the brightest smile I have ever seen came across her face.  I was so inspired and in awe of her accomplishment.  I later found out that she had a cracked rib from getting kicked during the swim.  That is one tough hombre.  Susan - I am proud to call you friend and impressed by your persistence. Watching my buddies Jeff, John, Julie and Judy march on during the run was also inspiring.  They did not let anything get in their way and kept pushing.  Our support crew was there for them every step of the way as well.  We cheered for them and ran with them.  Gave them encouragement and supported them on their way, but the real work was done by them.  They trained hard and long hours.  They jumped in Tempe Town Lake before the sun came up.  The rode their bikes 112 miles and then ran a marathon.  The memories of them throughout the day will stay forever and the passion for the distance was rekindled. September 2014 cannot get here fast enough but in the mean time I will go through these pictures and watch this video until then.  Remembering what I saw that day will not soon be forgotten.

Ironman Arizona 2013 - What A Terrific Day

Published in Race
[caption id="attachment_9096" align="alignright" width="238"]young - triathlete - ironman Is This Too Young To Race Triathlon?[/caption] Yesterday I read an article in Triathlete Magazine about 12-year-old Jared Clark racing 70.3 Oilman.  This story hits close to home for a couple of reasons.  The first being that I was supposed to race Oilman before I decided that I was not ready to race, more about not being ready to train to race.  Secondly, I worked with a pre-teen while running the Marathon Makeover North Dallas business. I took my responsibility seriously and spoke with the mother of the child as well as making sure that he got approval from his family doctor to participate.  I also took it a step further and told both parent and child that when we reached 8 miles that he would no longer be under my domain and that if they wanted him to continue in the training the mother had to take full responsibility for the child. I was concerned about repetitive use as well as well a more fragile and under-developed skeletal system.  As time went on I found that he was able to hold up with what we were doing and even though I was no longer 'responsible' I still coached him as if I were.  I gave him advice on when to slow down and take care of his body and everything went well. The story of Jared Clark on the other hand is a different one because it goes beyond running.  This involves swimming and cycling before hand, not to mention the contact during the swim portion that could truly affect his mental state as it does with most adults.  The difference being that he is possibly half the weight and when other athletes swim next to, bump, swim over his anxiety level could hit the roof.  I do not doubt his ability to swim the 1.2 miles, cycle the 56 miles or run the 13.1 miles.  I am not concerned about his well-being either as I am sure his parents and doctor's have done what they need to do to feel comfortable with him racing. Where I take issue is with the outsiders.  If you visit the Facebook page of Triathlete Magazine and read the comments you will see that they are all over the place.  The opinions bounce everywhere but what I didn't notice was the fact that he has already trained for this.  He has already put in all the hard work and now he gets to enjoy himself on race day.  The race itself isn't the issue, in my opinion, but braving the training.  I know adults who cannot make it through a training cycle for a 70.3 or a 140.6 due to injury from overuse.  Typically, that is because adults do not listen to their bodies that well.  Kids on the other hand do, and if the parents are doing their job they too are paying attention to how he looks and feels. As a society, in general, we have become TOO over-protective of everything and not just kids.  The introduction of the 24 second news cycle into our lives has given parents the opportunity to see, hear and react to every news nugget there is.  As a kid growing up the only thing I knew about Texas was where it was.  If somebody was murdered in Texas I had no clue as the news wasn't covered in New York.  Now, I can get news from anywhere and that ability has given parents a reason to be frightened to new levels.  I have a 7-year-old step-son and I worry about his well-being but at the same time I want him to explore and understand the world.  I want him to have some fear so that he does not go off and just jump without looking or thinking.  Our roles as parents is to raise responsible adults not to be buddies with our kids or to protect them so much that when faced with a real world problem they do not know how to act. Jared Cook has trained for this race with the approval of his parents and family doctor so who am I to pass judgement on their decision?

Do you think Jared Clark is too young to race an HIM?  If so, at what age do you think somebody can race a 70.3 or 140.6?

Published in Race
Friday, 25 October 2013 10:51

Bend It Like Beckham. Or Race Like Ramsay?

    [caption id="attachment_9084" align="alignright" width="275"]beckham - ironman - kona - triathlon Wonder What Triathlon Tips Ramsay Is Giving To Beckham
Source: Parade Magazine[/caption] David Beckham is going to be the next 'celebrity' that will be able to go to Kona, Hawaii to race the Ironman World Championships without having qualified.  Typically we do not hear about these celebrities garnering entry into the premier triathlon event until the summer prior to the event, but this time we are hearing about it weeks after Fredrick Van Lierder and Mirinda Carfrae crossed the finish line as the first male and first female competitors.  I have not hidden my displeasure of the entry of the celebrities into Kona.  The 2013 version featured Hines Ward and Gordon Ramsay and the year prior featured ??????  I really have no clue so obviously this form of marketing is lost on those that are in the sport so how can it be effective for those not in the sport. Hines Ward got in due to a sponsors exemption (don't forget to refuel with chocolate milk) and so WTC cannot be blamed for his entry.  Gordon Ramsay on the other hand was given not only a spot at Kona but also in Vegas for the 70.3 World Championships.  There will be those out there that will stress their point that the celebrity showings is good, if not great, for the sport because it brings attention.  That the pros will get more money because sponsors will be paying more money to be affiliated with the race.  That the ratings will go up and thus allow WTC to sell the rights to the broadcast for more money.  The problem, as I see them, with these theories are:
  1. If the ratings go up then you will only know that after the race has occurred and it will be another year before the race is broadcast again and by then that celebrity will have been forgotten and the idea of racing a triathlon for those not in it may be lost.
  2. If pro purses were growing because of the celebrities participating then why are there pros out there that are writing articles about why they choose to DNF so that they can race again rather than putting themselves at risk of injury.
Having been in marketing my entire adult life I have a bit of experience about what it takes to promote.  The way that WTC is going about this is not completely wrong but they are not asking enough of the celebrities to whom they are granting free access to Kona.  These celebrities are not promoting the sport year round.  Instead they are discussing their entry one month prior to the race and then a week or two later you never read another article about them recovering or preparing for the next one.  It happens and it floats off into the ethos of the world never to be seen from or heard from again.  Do you remember Joe Bastianich racing Kona?  How about Rocco DiSpirito racing 70.3 Cleremont?  Oh, and how about that woman from Biggest Loser racing in Kona?  Yeah, me either so how well was the promotion of the sport if a person like myself who consumes all things triathlon can vaguely remember any of these athletes? My ideas are to require those that are interested in participating in Kona on a WTC exemption slot to do the following:
  1. Make guest appearances at triathlon shops across the country on a monthly basis.  Speak to those that are in the sport and bring in those that are just dipping their toes in the water.
  2. Participate in two 70.3 races throughout the year in whatever race they choose.  It does not have to be in the United States but they do have to participate so that they are not just showing up in October for one race and are gone after that.
  3. Raise money for the Ironman Foundation, bring attention to the Ironman Foundation including a donation to the foundation.
These are just a few of the ideas that first popped into my head about how WTC can actually leverage the celebrities that they are granting access to race in Kona to work for them and garner attention for the sport.  By just giving away slot after slot year after year they are not generating anything other than drawing the ire of those that want to race in Kona but miss by 10 seconds or the athlete who is passionate about the sport and wants to protect the sanctity of the Ironman World Championships because qualifying is how you should earn your blue wristband.  Your blue wristband shouldn't come because you caught a football in the Super Bowl, can cook a beef wellington or married Posh Spice.

What Would You Require Of David Beckham To Participate In Kona?

Published in Race
Monday, 16 September 2013 08:56

Challenge? I Welcome Them Especially This One

[caption id="attachment_8931" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states Challenge Family Comes To The US In June 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] Challenge is a word that may strike fear in some and in others bring out the best that they have to offer.  For me the word Challenge represents another triathlon company, with a tremendous following and reputation for putting on outstanding events, coming into the United States.  You know about World Triathlon Corporation and Ironman but you may not know who Challenge Family is and that is about to change. Challenge Family puts on the world's largest triathlon in Roth, Germany every year.  You read that right......the world's largest triathlon.  On July 12 there were approximately 3,500 individual starters and 650 relay teams from over 60 nations.  The size of the field isn't the only BIG part of the Challenge Roth race.  According to their website more than 200,000 spectators were along the course.  That is just a tremendous amount of people cheering you on and throw in the fact that Challenge Roth is fast and you have the makings for an incredible event. Let us compare the size of 3,500 individuals at Challenge Roth to Ironman and other 140.6 races in the United States:
  • Ironman Texas 2013: 2055 finishers with a 17% DNF rate which would bring the total to 2,475 at the start line
  • Rev3 Cedar Point: 288 athletes in the 140.6 event
  • HITS Championship 2012: 58 finishers in the 140.6 event
[caption id="attachment_8935" align="alignright" width="276"]challenge - triathlon - united states - roth Challenge Roth. Imagine riding through a crowd like that.
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] As you can see the 3,500 individual racers at Challenge Roth dwarfs all others including Ironman.  The reason that I am bringing up Challenge and their races is that they are here in North America and have been building the excitement for an announcement regarding their first United States race.  This race is to take place in 2014 in June in the Mid-Atlantic region. To date the following areas have been eliminated:
  • Myrtle Beach, SC
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Virginia Beach, VA
  • Baltimore, MD
  • New York City, NY
  • Hilton Head, SC
  • Behoboth Beach, MD
Not too much left when it comes to cities big enough to host the event but I am staking my claim to OBX in North Carolina.  There have been guesses that Ocean City, Maryland is another place to have it but in June I am not sure how the tourist faction would play there.  The same can be said for OBX but I am sticking to my guns. One of the main reasons that I am excited about this race coming to the United States in 2014 and hopefully beyond is that the Mid-Atlantic region in June is going to be hot and depending on where the race is held it will be flat as well.  If I could design a race course that fits my abilities those two ingredients would certainly be in the recipe. If you are wondering when the announcement will be made you will not have to wait much longer.  The race location will be announced on September 18.  I am not sure if there will be a rush to register like there is for Ironman branded triathlons but the cost could make it a race where people turn to, especially after missing out on Ironman Chattanooga.  The cost will be $575 for individuals and $625 for relays. With my commitment to Ironman Chattanooga I will not be able to race the inaugural event being held by Challenge Family but there is a 70.3 that is being raced in North America in July that might fit the race schedule.  Challenge has announced that they will be hosting their first half distance triathlon in North America to be held on July 6, 2014 in New Brunswick, Canada.  After speaking with Mandy of Caratunk Girl I have done a little research and it seems like the perfect location to host a race. [caption id="attachment_8932" align="alignright" width="300"]challenge - triathlon - united states - canada Challenge St. Andrews In July 2014
Source: Challenge Roth[/caption] The landscape of triathlon, especially long course, is changing and the penetration of Challenge Family into the United States is expediting that change.  I, for one, am excited to see Challenge enter the US market and provide long course triathletes with another option where the look and feel will be similar to that of Ironman with the number of expected participants and the pomp and circumstance that accompanies both race series.

Is Challenge USA A Race You Would Enter Considering Time And Location?

Published in Race
Thursday, 05 September 2013 09:11

Ironman Chattanooga Sells Out In Three Minutes

Ironman Chattanooga sold out in three minutes yesterday.  I don't know if that is a record or not as I know that Ironman Melbourne sold out in 5 minutes but for a race, especially an inaugural event to sell out in three minutes is flat-out amazing.  I was one of the fortunate ones to be able to register for the race during a pre general entry registration that I received from the Tri Club that I belong to here in Dallas.  I was sweating as I know a handful of bloggers were trying to get in and fortunately they did so there is going to be a rather large party at the finish line on September 28, 2014. Having a race sell out in 3 minutes and having the euphoria pulsing through my body should have been a good time but my happiness soon turned to frustration as I read post after post after post about people being pissed off about not getting in and blaming all sorts of reasons for it not happening.  I remember when I made an attempt to get into Ironman Arizona back in November 2011.  I sat by my computer and had all my answers for the required questions ready to be punched into the computer.  When I hit register and was successfully in all the adrenaline left my body and I quickly went home to take a nap.  It was an amazing experience to just get in and so I understand how happy those that got in were.  What I don't understand is the vitriol toward all things from those that did not get in.  There are other races on the Ironman calendar for 2014 not to mention that there are other series that run full iron-distance triathlons. [caption id="attachment_8892" align="alignright" width="149"]ironman chattanooga - triathlon - race Will Be Ordering This Jersey To Train In For The Next Year.[/caption]

Ironman Chattanooga Vitriol

The complaints were astounding but some were just amazing to me.  I read that it was the pre-registration of the Tri Clubs that caused this event to sell out in 3 minutes.  Really?  This is what caused the sell out?  Let's think about this for a moment and then take a step back and reflect on this theory: Let's assume tri-clubs were allotted 500 out of a total of 2,500 spots.  20% seems like a good guess.  Now let's look at races like IMAZ and IMFL that also sell out in minutes.  Those races have people who volunteer so that they can register for the race before it opens to the general public.  Those races also have athletes that raced that year that get first dibs on entry slots.  How many do you think get in from those two groups?  Would you be agreeable that it is 20% or 500 out of 2500 people as well?  If so, then why place the blame squarely on the Tri club for the sell out?  It makes no sense to make that argument. Then there is the problem with Active.com and their servers going down or people getting kicked out or whatever technological problem that arises.  As a person who works in digital marketing I know that technology is not fool-proof.  This stuff breaks down.....ALL THE TIME.  You can put items into a test server and hammer away at it to make sure that nothing goes wrong but unfortunately our world is not utopia filled with unicorns and rainbows.  We live in the real world that even when you move files from the test server to the live server even the slightest misplacement of a comma can cause major issues.

Ironman Chattanooga Registration Proved One Thing To Me

The Ironman Chattanooga registration process proved one thing to me and that is the idea that the sport needs celebrity endorsements from the likes of Hines Ward is not necessary.  An inaugural race sells out in three minutes on the same day that Challenge Family announces a new race coming to the Mid-Atlantic region in 2014 shows that the sport is thriving.  It indicates that giving away Kona slots to celebrities so that NBC has a figure to cover during their coverage is borderline absurd these days. Those that race triathlon, and those considering it, did not get into the sport because Rocco DiSpirito was on his bike at the 70.3 World Championships in Clermont a few years ago. Tony Kannan races Kona again.....who cares?  Now, in this year's version we are being given an inside look into the training of Hines Ward and how he prepares for Kona.  Really?  Hines Ward celebrity stopped a few years ago when he went from Super Bowl MVP to Dancing With The Stars.  There is no need to promote him and his training so that the sport gains popularity. If you read the statistics from the USAT about the huge boom in people becoming members and those purchasing one-day passes for races you will know that having these, and I use the word lightly, celebrities racing is not what people are looking for.  We do not associate with the Hines Wards of the world but rather with the athlete next to us at the starting line.  The person we wave to during cycling and running sessions.  The person we strike up a conversation with while at the pool.  These are the people whose stories I want to know more about.  I don't care about Hines Ward because he is not living the type of life I am living which involves having to work full-time while balancing family and training for an Ironman. When I get asked about the sport, specifically the 140.6 distance, the questions don't start with: I saw Gordon Ramsay is racing an Ironman and I think I would like to do it as well.  They typically start with: I want to challenge myself and I think an Ironman is what I want to do.  What do you think?  Nothing in there screams celebrity sighting.  Let's leave the celebrities to the E! Network and promote those age-groupers that are working their tails off to be the best triathletes they can be and celebrate their accomplishments rather than those of B list celebrity.

Did The Ironman Chattanooga Sell Out Prove Anything To You?

Published in Race
Tuesday, 27 August 2013 07:44

Wee-Chi-Tah Trail Half-Marathon Race Report

Wee-Chi-Tah Half-Marathon Trail Race

Let's continue the story from yesterday shall we?  In case you missed it here is the recap of the Hotter N Hell Hundred Bike Race.

wee chi tah - trail run - race report

 After the bike ride we showered, had dinner and back to bed early again as we needed to get up for a half-marathon trail race.  Makes total sense doesn't it?  When the alarm went off I don't think Jeff, nor I, moved.  What in God's name were we thinking? Totally spent and dehydrated we pushed our way to the car while Bob hung back as he wasn't running and was going to head back to Austin. Before I tell you about the race let me just say that I have NEVER done a trail race.  Karen has and has told me that they are just different and you run them slower.  I thought great....run slower so more of a recovery run.  Yeah, not so much.  You start out and everybody is gung-ho and you go with the flow out of the gate.  Jeff was gone in seconds and I was caught behind other athletes, which was not a bad thing. I didn't know what to expect so going out a bit slow was fine by me.  That is until the first mile was done, my watch beeped and I saw: 8:48.  What was I thinking?  If those people were not in front of me I probably would have run a rather idiotic 7 minute mile.  Holy hell this is going to be hard was my second thought. I ran and with every step my quads screamed, then my calf, then my hamstring.  Even my arms and neck were yelling at me to stop and lay down. I hammered on and eventually wound up with two guys behind me and we were chatting while running single track.  These guys were pushing me otherwise I don't know if I would have kept on.  We were together for about 2-3 miles but on the trail that seems like an eternity of having guys breathing down your neck.  At once you want to yell at them to pass you but at the same time you are happy to have partners because you have no clue where you are or where you are going.  The small chit-chat that last 20-3o seconds and then stops for minutes helps pass the time. Now, this trail racing stuff is HARD. You are going up and down repeatedly. You are jumping over roots and rocks.  Avoiding getting hit in the face by twigs.  You have to be on your game.  At one point we went through a series of ups and down that while only 1/4 mile in length kicked my ass.  I reached the top of one of the dunes and stopped dead in my tracks.  One of the two guys, who had resorted to calling me Jeep because of my shirt yelled out: C'mon Jeep you cannot stop now. You are my pacer. I said alright let's do this and I ran not 100 feet, not 10 feet but one foot before I never saw him again. I just could not keep up the pace but I was determined not to walk.  He had given me the inspiration to run the entire race.  This was at mile 6 1/4 (yes, that is what the mile marker said) and I knew that I had about 1 hour and 10 minutes to go.  Let's do this. At one point you go over a suspension bridge that sways and rocks and I fell into the fence three times because I did not have the leg strength to hold myself up. Once past that you run up a cliff and a spectator yelled: #472 looking strong. I replied with:  You are not a very good liar.  I was done until we crossed a stream and the cold water on my feet made me want to stop and lay down.  One of the volunteers must have seen my face and said only one more mile to go. I heard this and started running, then I heard 'go you can get in under 2 hours.'  WHAT? I huffed and I puffed and I climbed the last hill then crossed the finish line and hit my stop button at 2:00:00.  HOLY SH*T are you kidding me?  Looking to go 2:30 and I beat that by 30 minutes.  I was spent. I could not stand at the finish line and the idea of doing anything other than involuntary breathing was impossible. Caught up with Jeff afterwards and he said that was the hardest trail race he had ever done.  Hands down.  I don't know if I'll go trail running anytime soon but to put down a 2 hour run on that course made my day beyond belief.  We grabbed some bananas, oranges and water then headed off to the car where I proceeded wrap a towel around my waist and strip in the parking lot because I just did not care anymore.  I was spent and tired and hungry and dirty. In other words I was done. Off to the Motel 6 for a quick shower, then out for breakfast and a two-hour ride back home.  All in a good day's work to say the least. This endurance weekend was a big boost of confidence for the rest of 2013 and truly for what lays ahead in 2014.  If my body can react to a trail run and finish in 2 hours after pouring myself over my handlebars the day before in a 100 mile race then I truly believe that a 5:30-5:45 bike split with a 3:45 run split at an Ironman next year is well within reach.  Now to work on my swim anxiety.

Published in Race Reports
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