Monday, 16 October 2017 00:45

2017 Ironman Maryland Race Report

In 2015, I traveled to Cambridge, Maryland to race Ironman Maryland. Along the drive to the race venue I discovered that the race was cancelled due to Hurrican Joaquin. Instead of deferring my entry to the same race a few weeks later I decided to race Ironman Florida. That year I ran my first sub-4 hour Ironman marathon. In 2016 I raced Ironman Louisville  and again broke the 4 hour Ironman marathon barrier.

As I trained for Ironman Maryland my focus was to run a 3:50 marathon. I had gone from 3:59 to 3:56 and felt that I could drop another 6 minutes. I would have to run 8:50 miles on average and I knew that I could do just that. Not only that but I also focused on breaking the 20mph barrier for 112 miles at the Ironman distance. I had been close at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014 and Ironman Florida in 2015 so breaking it and being able to run 3:50 was my focus for 17 weeks.

Every week that passed, my confidence continued to grow. I was also doing a lot of training in the open water that I was confident that I could race between 1:20 and 1:25 without feeling over exteneded in the water. The training and the data was lining up for the attempt at a sub-11 hour Ironman.

As we landed at the house in Maryland I started to do the math on how I would get to sub-11 and I kept landing at 10:56. I went over the numbers repeatedly and kept landing in that spot. I felt prepared to race to that time. This would be a 26 minute improvement on IMLOU but I felt my training and the course put me in a position to succeed.

As we walked to transition I visualized a 1:17 swim, 5:35 bike and 3:52 run. I gave myself 12 minutes for transitions and thought that was more than enough.

Bike loaded with nutrition and a bit of foreshadowing happened. I knew I had a bottle that may leak and put that into the right rear bottle cage so that it wouldn't leak and it would be the third bottle I grabbed. I did this because if it did leak I would have time to pick up Gatorade on the course.

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Waiting in line I overheard a woman saying to an athlete that the swim would workout fine and giving her confidence. I took it upon myself to let her know the swim was going to be ok and if the stress hit just turn over and backstroke until she composed herself. I also told her that there were areas of the swim course that you could just stand and that helped to calm her down.

I gave Erik a hug and a high-five and told him he had this. Michelle and I walked through the area together chatting and laughing. I gave her a hug and told her that she had this. We waived at Karen and Erin and it was now go time. As I entered the water I took three steps and then said screw it and dove in so I could start swimming. Others were walking to the first buoy but I wanted to get going.

The double loop swim with 1,000 athletes should be contact free but I wound up touching more people at this race then at IMLOU, IMFL and IMChoo combined. 

The water was rough at moments but nothing impossible. I dealt with leaky goggles for the first half of the swim and mostly because I could not get a good suction. I had put aquaphore on my cheeks to help the sea nettles slide off but that just caused the goggles to slide. Eventually I just smashed them onto my face and that did the trick.

With the two loops there were always feet to draft off of. After I made the last left turn I found a set of bubbles and the pace felt comfortable and fast. I would tap the women in front of me every 3rd or 4th stroke. When I did the bubbled multiplied 10x but that just helped pull me along even faster. I did not intend to tap her feet but that happened and before I knew it we were making the left turn toward the finish of the swim.

As I exited the swim I looked at my watch and saw 1:24. I was ok with that time but knew I had to make up 7 minutes. I figured that if I raced to a 5:30 bike split I would pick up 5 minutes there and still had the transition buffer.

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The bike course is fun. It is also two loops with the stick of the 'lollipop' component being through some neighborhood streets but you could still ride hard. I took the opportunity in that area to stand up coming out of turns because I knew I would be down in aero all ride. Once out into the loop area we faced a headwind/crosswind but I was managing 15:10-15:30 splits for 5 miles Intervals. Once we turned north we got a tailwind and my splits dropped to low 14's and even into the 13 minute area.

The miles were ticking by fast and I saw the signs for a no pass zone and knew that we were coming up on the finish of the first loop. My NP was at 147w which was a good spot considering my IM watts is 151w and with this being flat I was riding right were I wanted to be and at a speed that was going to get me to the 20 mph goal.

As I was finishing loop one I tried to drink from the leaky bottle and I would end up wearing more than I drank. I finally gave up at the aid station around mile 50 and took Gatorade Endurance on-board. As I was grabbing the bottle another cyclist almost turned into me and I had a flashback to Ironman Arizona in 2012 when I had a bike accident at the aid station because another cyclist cut me off without looking.

Once out of the aid station and back into the lollipop looop I went to drinkin 2 bottles per hour while playing leap frog with two other athletes. We were moving really strong until I hit Mile 60. It was at this point where the headwind/crosswind picked up. I told myself to go for it and ride like my buddy Goat. Backstory: I have chased Goat throughout all of North Texas for 6 years. He is a super strong cyclist and it has always been my mission to ride like him. Unfortunately, Goat has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and was not at this race. The first time in 4 Ironman events that I have not raced with him. I decied then that whatever happened on the run I was going to ride my bike like Goat.

The three of us played leapfrog and I was going hard. At one point one guy dropped back and could not keep up. The second guy and I went back and forth and then I heard the motorbike. Since I was in front I knew that I was not going to get a penalty but the lump in my throat still showed up. I was riding strong and did not want a penalty to throw me off. As the motorbike got louder the other athlete passed me and then got right in front of me. The referree took out the sheet of paper and was writing things down as he was passing me. He then told the athlete in front of me that he was getting a penalty. At that moment I let out a sigh of relief. The motorcycle went forward and I wound up passing the other athlete not much after that. That was the last time I would see him on the bike course.

Around mile 80 the other athlete caught me and said to me, as he passed, that we were almost done. I told him we survived the headwind portion and should be good to go. I would not see him the rest of the bike race. I kept pushing the pedals and kept seeing my splits in the low 14s. I was riding around 22-23 mph and my legs were not overly fatigued. Even with going faster than normal I kept making sure that I was consuming liquids.

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Normally I drink 4 bottles of EFS with a cadence of two in hour one, water in hour two, EFS in hour three and water in hour four. GE would not be consumed until the final hour and only one or 1.5 bottles.

This race I wound up consuming 4 bottles. I had noticed I had salt stains and had not urinated after three hours. My solution was to keep drinking Gatorade figuring I was dehydrated but I never urinated during the 5:30 bike ride.

At mile 109 I figured that I had a chance to get onto the run by 2pm. By doing this I would put myself into position to run 3:52-3:53 and break 11 hours by 4 minutes. Even a 3:56 repeat would have me breaking 11 hours.

After finishing the second loop and noticing that my power was slightly below IM watts I figured I was setup for a good day on the run course and would eventually urinate while running.

At the mount line I looked around for the bike catcher but there are none at this race and ran to what I thought was my bike rack area, racked my bike and ran to the T2 bag area.

Grabbed my bag and put my shoes and hat on outside the tent while a volunteer told me I had to go inside the tent. I told him no a few times and finally said: I am not going in there because it is too hot and nothing I am doing warrants me being inside the tent (plus a few other choice words that made him laugh.) He finally stopped insisting and we chatted while I was gettin ready because I told him the only way I go into the tent is to go out of the tent. I dropped my bag off and started running.

The first mile I felt good and had a pace of 8:27. I felt I was in a good position and then mile 2 was 8:57 and I knew I was in trouble. By mile three I had to stop to use the bathroom. Then again at mile 6 and the walking began and was longer each time. I used the porto again around mile 10 and figured today was not going to be my run day with splits in the 10s.

I realized that I had not peed yet on the run and figured a trip to the med tent would await me at the finish but my legs were still functioning and I did not have chills or a headache. I was not nauseous and thus kept marching on.

I made a pact that I would run until I was not able to and then would take a one minute walk break. This turned into running aid station to aid station and taking the one minute walk break after the aid station.

Around mile 13 I saw my wife and broke down because the side stitches were too much to handle. I was upset that the day I had the ability to execute had slipped away and she told me to keep moving no matter what. She told me that I was half-way done and that gave me a pep in my step.

I saw Erik and Michelle on the course and seeing them gave me confidence to run. It was a great feeling to see familiar faces out there. I even saw Christy Kennedy on the course a couple of times. The first time we walked and chatted/comiserated for a minute. The second time she gave me a huge high five and smile and that also gave me confidence that I could finish this race strong.

When I saw Karen again she said that I only had a mile to go and was proud of me. It was just after that when I saw our friend, Erin, and she gave me a hug and told me how proud of me she was. I told her I was going to destroy a bathroom when I was done and off I went.

I ran with purpose and when I rounded the turn-around at RAR Brewing I smiled. I smiled so big it hurt. I smiled because despite the issues I was going to be finishing around 11:30 which was still a very good effort.

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I smiled because I knew I was racing for and in my heart with my buddy Goat. I smiled because I knew that my friends, Michelle and Erik, would be finishing their first Ironman. I coached them and trained with them all summer to lead to this moment.

I smiled because I knew then that I have the ability to break 11 hours at an Ironman and that day would soon arrive.

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Published in Race Reports

Cycling was the main focus for the first week of Ironman Chattanooga training and it kicked me in the face.  I struggled more than I expected but I also found out that I can take all those struggles and turn them into victories.  I also learned that the plan I have put together for myself, with its sport specific weeks, proved to be successful. As many of you know I have decided to go without a coach for this next Ironman race.  I have truly enjoyed working with both Claudia and Maria but I needed to hit the reset button while also trying out something new.  In training for the Lake Martin 100 I found out that being sport specific, in terms of training, helped me greatly as I was able to become a better runner and a large part of that was being able to overcome the mental hurdles that would come up. Taking that same approach to triathlon was not easy to do.  For years I have been on the swim 3-4x, bike 3-4x, run 3-4x theory.  That plan seemed to work but in the back of my head I kept wondering if there was something else that could be done.  By changing my routine I have gone outside of the box of triathlon and will be focused on becoming a better cyclist, a better runner and a better swimmer. This past week was Bike Week 1.  My plan was to ride approximately 265 miles while running 24 (all brick runs of 4 miles) and swimming a total of 5000 yards.  I wound up finishing at 80% of my overall plan in terms of hours, but what I noticed at the end of the week was that my cycling was much better than I had expected, and that also translated to faster times running of the bike.  The swimming was nothing more than recovery and to break up the monotony therefore nothing to truly be able to gauge. The cycling wound up at 81% of overall planned time because of a late night meeting on Friday and torrential rain on Sunday that led me to only being able to get through 2 hours on the trainer before the mind decided it had enough.  The majority of the riding in this Bike Week 1 was on the trainer and while I would rather ride outdoors I need to be more efficient with my time. What came out of this week were the following two quotes while on the road with my buddies and these comments not only gave me a confidence boost but also gave me a peek into how well this particular type of training was working for me.

  • Quote 1:  Your fitness on this ride has improved dramatically from the ride we did two weeks ago.
  • Quote 2: Great job on pulling us up that hill at the end of this ride.  I was exhausted but did what I had to do to keep up with you and you did not look like you were struggling.

I cannot tell you if working on the sports instead of triathlon will prove to be the best plan but after a week it looks good.  I was asked why I decided to train this way and my comment back was that as triathletes we are so focused on getting in that number of swim, bike and runs that we lose focus on becoming better at each of the sports.  I think that by being able to focus all your energy on that one sport you will learn to become more efficient and we all know efficiency equals speed. This week is Swim Week 1 with a planned 20,000 yards of swimming over the course of approximately 8 hours.  My running miles will stay about the same, but the number of bike miles drops dramatically this week and will allow my legs to recover as they head into week 3 which is a running week with lots of miles. Can this method be successful?  Only time will tell, but after the first 7 days I feel like a stronger cyclist in comparison to Day 1 which was the main goal of the first week of Ironman Chattanooga training. [caption id="attachment_9619" align="aligncenter" width="300"]cycling - ironman - chattanooga - training 15 hours of workouts with 11 of them in the saddle.
Can sport specific training weeks make me a better triathlete?[/caption]

What Has Been Your Experience With Sport Specific Training?

Have You Done Cycling Specific Week Only In Training For An Ironman?

Published in Train
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 10:18

Heather Jackson Reminds Me Hard Works Pays Off

[caption id="attachment_9261" align="alignright" width="200"]heather jackson - triathlon - wattie ink Source: Wattie Ink On Instagram[/caption] Heather Jackson ranks right at the top of my favorite triathletes, male or female, to watch and root for.  I put her up there with Mirinda Carfrae and Caroline Steffen.  I think that my rooting interest is in the fact that all of these ladies are tremendous runners off the bike and that is the facet of triathlon that I am most inspired by.  Running a marathon is hard.  Running a marathon after a 112 mile bike is hard.  Running a marathon at the pace that they are running off the bike is incredible to watch.  These ladies, and triathletes in general, did not get there by hoping and wishing.  They got there through hard work. Yesterday I was reminded of the hard work it takes to be successful at this sport.  As I was scrolling through Instagram I came across a picture of Heather Jackson riding the trainer and looking completely spent.  Sweat everywhere and mouth agape as if to say: this is so f*cking hard but I will survive and I will get stronger.  That left a lasting impression on me and reinforced in me that in order to achieve the goals I am laying out for myself. I do not have my goals laid out specifically for this year as of yet but I am thinking of the following for the big races in 2014:
  • 10:00 at Rocky Raccoon 50 in February.
  • 5:00-5:15 at 70.3 Galveston in April.
  • 5:40-5:45 at 70.3 Buffalo Springs in June.
  • 11:00-11:30 at Ironman Chattanooga in September.
Knowing that these are all much faster than my previous times I have to be understanding of the hard work that is going to go into these training cycles.  I need to focus my mind on the knowledge that there will be rest/recovery days and that I need to take advantage of those days but simultaneously knowing that on training days there is a purpose.  Do not waste energy and time on the 'junk' miles and put the hard work in that is required to achieve these goals.  I use the word goals because dreams are goals without a plan.  I will have a plan and I will execute that plan to the best of my ability. Heather Jackson putting in the hard work in the middle of December for races that she will compete at in the Spring resonated wildly with me. Here is an athlete that has accomplished a lot in her career and could sit back and say: I did that and won that.  Instead she is pushing her body and her mind knowing that her competition is out there potentially doing the same.  This past week I finished my fourth week of ultra trail run training and legs felt beat up while I was under the weather.  It would be very easy for me to say to myself that I hurt and its Christmas and what would another slice of pizza or piece of chocolate do?  That is just not going to happen though.  I have to remain committed to my goals and take every possible step to accomplish them regardless of how hard it is.  I may not be racing to win, but I am racing to be better than myself. This week will be harder than the previous 4 weeks as the mileage climbs past the 60s for the week but there is a recovery week starting on Sunday after that long run.  There will be 3 weeks after that recovery week where the mileage will go be in mid-60s up to the 70s.  Those weeks will be hard and I will be able to look back at this week and say that was easy.  It is all in perspective. This week I also made the decision that I will start to see my chiropractor twice per week over those 3 overload weeks.  I want to take care of my body to get through them injury free and that starts by doing the hard things like taking 30 minutes out of your day to get your body back into alignment rather than heading straight home and flopping on the couch.  There is a lot of hard work left to do before I get to the start line of Rocky Raccoon 50 and thanks to Heather Jackson and her picture a fire has been lit under my butt to make sure that the extra cookie is not consumed and that the 'Five More Minutes' on the alarm clock are not asked for.

Thank You Heather Jackson For Posting That Picture. Motivating.

What Has Inspired You Lately?

Published in Train
Thursday, 07 November 2013 08:33

Social Media And The Triathlete Pros And Cons

[caption id="attachment_9114" align="alignright" width="300"]social media - triathlete - triathlon - daily mile Daily Mile Is An Endurance Athlete Specific Social Media.
Daily Mile[/caption] Social media is where I make a living.  I work with companies on how to leverage the size and power of social media to engage employees as well as help in recruiting the best talent to their organization and then how to keep them since the costs of recruitment, on-boarding, lost revenue and many other factors are far too high to want to repeatedly be hiring.  Social media is also where I made a lot of friends and also find inspiration and motivation.  The medium is perfect for getting that little extra kick in the pants but social media also lends itself to wanting to pull your hair out.

Benefits Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • Joining a group on Facebook that revolves around your upcoming Ironman race can help alleviate your anxiety because you will see other athletes going through the same type of stress can help.  You can find people who are dealing with what you are going through and form a 'team' to help share tips and tricks about overcoming that particular scenario.
  • Twitter is a treasure trove of triathletes.  I am not sure why, but maybe the 140 character limit allows us to quickly send messages and then be out on our bike or run.  Search for hashtags such as #triathlete or #triathlon.  A tremendous list of tweets will come up and from there you can pick and choose who you want to follow, who you want to converse with and who you think will provide you with what you need to get through the next training cycle or race.
  • Google+ communities are very active when it comes to triathlon.  You can search for these communities and ask questions and within moments you will have answers to your questions.  I haven't done a deep dive to see if there are communities setup around particular races like I have seen on Facebook but I would not be surprised one bit if there were.  The one trait about G+ Communities that I have found so far is that they are managed very well.  Spam typically does not get through so the posts and the conversations that follow are genuine and helpful.

Drawbacks Of Social Media For The Triathlete

  • There is SO MUCH social media that a triathlete can follow and almost every piece of content will be contrary to the one you read previously.  Somebody may post that eating 10g of protein within 60 minutes is ideal for recovery and another might post that 15g within 30 minutes is ideal.  Which is right?
  • Triathletes are Type-A and a lot of them (us) are also OCD.  We have a way of doing things and while that way works for us there are times when we post on social media that it is the way that will work for everybody which is clearly not true.  My alarm goes off at 4:02 AM every morning and depending on the workout I am eating a solid breakfast by 4:30 AM or am out the door working out.  Does this work for everybody?  Of course not, but if I post that to Facebook there is bound to be somebody who reads it and changes their structure to match mine and vice versa.
  • We are competitive and if we see that Bob or Nancy just rode 40 miles then we want to ride 60.  If John or Sue ran 10 miles, then we want to run 12.  Avoid the competition because being a Pre-Season All-American means nothing on race day.  You cannot win the race in your training cycle but you can certainly lose it.  Follow your training plan and listen to your body because on race day Bob, Nancy, John or Sue will not be wearing your bib.

Social Media Can Be A Big Help Or Hindrance To Triathletes. What Do You Think?

 
Published in Train
Monday, 21 January 2013 16:31

Triathlete: My Definition

Triathlete: My Definition

[caption id="attachment_7126" align="alignright" width="226"]triathlete - ironman - triathlon - definition I am a triathlete and that is who I am.[/caption] On Sunday I had a revelation that led me to think that being a triathlete was much different from I had imagined.  Some of you may call me a triathlete based on the completion of two Ironman races (Texas, Arizona) last year along with 4 Half-Iron distance races in the past two years.  I would have agreed with you but during my 3 hours of training I realized that was wrong.  Triathlete is not an adjective for a person who completes a triathlon like the dictionary says it is.  Triathlete to me is a lifestyle, a way to view the training for swim, bike, run but also nutrition and recovery. In the past I would have said I am a runner who competes at triathlon, but that mindset has to change if I want to be the triathlete I need to be.  If I want to accomplish my goals for 2013 and beyond my definition of triathlete must be just that:  triathlete.  Going out and swimming, cycling and running with purpose and then recovering properly from those training sessions and watching what I eat on a daily basis. In the year prior to bringing Maria and John on as my coaches I read a post about how John had a D-Day in his nutrition.  That day was the day that he began the process of eating ultra clean and preparing his mind and body for a run at Kona.  Guess what......he accomplished that dream by qualifying for the 2012 World Championships at Ironman Lake Placid.  He did not go into Kona on his laurels but instead worked hard to make sure that when he got to Kona he was ready to do everything he could to have a great race.  That to me is how to become a triathlete. I have taken a lot of queues from them and began my process to achieving the term triathlete by my definition on December 10.  That day was the day that we started working together and it has been a great ride since then.  I have my goals written on the notes section of my laptop which connects to my iPad so I cannot miss them each and every time I read Training Peaks for my workout. When I enter my ingredients for a recipe into My Fitness Pal it is with the idea of becoming a triathlete by my definition.  The foods are high in carbs in the morning and tapering down throughout the day but also making sure that I hit my macro-nutrient needs as well as recovering properly.  All of this so that when I get in the water at Ironman Texas 2013 I am prepared to have the race of my life because I committed to becoming a triathlete by my definition. This may sound like I am forgoing everything else in my life but the opposite is true.  I am more focused so now there is no wasted time or movement.  I am more efficient with my work and my family life and able to do more because of this.  Triathlete by my definition is no longer about the race starting on the bike or chasing down other athletes ahead of me because I am a better runner.  I want to be a triathlete which means the race starts when the canon goes off and with the proper training, recovery and nutrition I will be maximizing my potential from that point until the finish line. My view has changed and that is a good thing as I am learning to take past failures and successes and apply them to 2013.  When 2014 rolls around I will have another year under my belt and a better opportunity to define triathlete by my definition.  I am having a blast discovering who I am and what I am capable of and that is important in writing out this definition.  Come Ironman Texas I should have a clearer view of who I am and what I am capable of.  In the meantime my goals are written down everywhere and will not allow me to go one day without seeing them or reciting them as I train.

How Do You Define The Word Triathlete?

 
Published in Race
Tuesday, 19 June 2012 13:38

Just.....

just_triathlete_definition_enduranceathleteJust is a word I hear quite often when discussing endurance sports with others.  Let's list a few of the things that get the adjective (it is in this case, trust me) JUST:
  • I just ran 3 miles.
  • It was just a half-ironman.
  • It was just a 45 minute swim.
  • I did well but it was just a short race.
The list can go on and on and it is the one word, besides the word like, in the English language that I probably dislike the most. If I were to use the word just to describe how I was just a few short years ago this would have been the description:
  • I am just a divorced man living in New York going to work in the city.
  • I am just a sports fan.
  • I am just a person who cooks to feed himself.
  • I am just.....
I am not going to use creative writing but I do not think these are accurate descriptions. I am a vegetarian triathlete who has not had a drink of alcohol in nearly 1.5 years.  I am a husband and a step-father.  I live in Dallas, Texas and write a blog while also being a partner in a web design and internet marketing company. I am a running coach.  I love sports and movies.  I enjoy reading books and magazines.  I enjoy talking to people.  I enjoy being around other people and hearing their stories and learning from them.  I enjoy having a different opinion so that there can be a conversation.  I am not JUST one thing. I am that and a whole lot more.  When I hear the words just it lights a fire in my belly because we are not just. There were a couple of comments left on this blog that didn't use the word just but they might as well have and they got me fired up this past weekend.  They lit a fire in me that will stay with me for a long time.  Whenever I was getting tired those words would ring in my ears and they would get me going again.....thank you. Next time you are having a conversation listen to what you are saying and what the other person is saying and if they insert the word just into the sentence stop them or yourselves.  You are more than the next few words that are going to come out of your mouth.
Published in Race
Thursday, 21 June 2012 13:03

Household Of Endurance Athletes

The household of endurance athletes looks no different then that of the non-endurance athlete if you ignore the piles of sneakers, piles of food, baskets of laundry and ......wait a minute the house is just like any other house isn't it? Yesterday my friend (yes I hang around national publication writers) Susan Lacke wrote an article titled Triathlon Love: Moving in with your Ironman?  Have these three conversations first and then I started looking around our house and noticed that everywhere I saw a hint of endurance sports.  As you know I am training for Ironman Arizona in November, but my wife is training for her first Ultra next month.  After that she has her first triathlon in August, and then I just know we will be a two triathlete household. In addition to Susan's article, Beth of Discombobulated Running posted A Day In The Life and I figured I would combine the two posts  to show you what the household of endurance athletes looks like: [flagallery gid=17 name=Gallery]  

What Does Your House Look Like?

Published in Train
Friday, 25 November 2011 17:10

Black Friday

black_friday_shopping_toysrusOur Thanksgiving starts very early (12p) and ends by 3p.  We only have my step-son for those few hours and so we came home after that.  Fell asleep quickly and then stayed up all night to go to Walmart at 10p (yes that is up all night considering I am usually falling asleep in couch at 830p) since the little one had items on his list for Christmas that we could get there. OMG. OMG. OMG.  NEVER AGAIN! It was a total mad house, but we found parking rather quickly.  I grabbed a shopping cart from a family that was done shopping.  Walking through there was like practicing your car driving.  So I decide to park the cart and wait while Karen went through the toy section. While sitting there here is what I saw: 1- Women whom I could not tell if they were overweight or pregnant.  A total of 15 women like this.  It was nuts. 2- More sweatpants going by me than at the start of a race in January before everybody de-robes and runs in lycra/spandex. 3- A guy with a camouflage polo shirt.  What would you need that for?  To hide out in the Board room? 4- A dude with a flat top from the 80s.  Serious Kid and Play look. 5- A person whose cart was filled with a minimum of 6 Ninja blenders.  What the f do you need that many ninjas for? 6- People stopping in the McD's before walking into the store.  It was Thanksgiving just a few hours earlier......how could you possibly want more food? I was at my wit's end and shaking so what did we do?  We went to Toys R Us.......OMG the line was out the door to get in.......so onto Target we went.  This store did not open until Midnight and it was 11:30p at the time.  The line wrapped around the shopping center.  A good 3000-4000 people I would say......home we went...... This was once in a lifetime and I'll never do it again BUT this does not mean that you can't get a deal on Black Friday and especially for the endurance athlete you love: Winter Accessories Editor’s Pick: Zoot Ultra XOTHERM 170 Beanie, $25.00   Layers Editor’s Pick: Icebreaker GT LS Sprint Zip top, $110.00 and Sprint Leggings, $100.00 Bonus Layer: The North Face Apex Climateblock Full Zip shell; $159.00   Bike Lights Editor’s Pick: DiNotte 400L PLUS Headlight, $209.00 and 300R Red Taillight, $199.00   Race Registration Editor’s Pick: 30th Avia Wildflower Triathlon, $160 (Olympic Distance)   Wetsuit Editor’s Pick:  XTERRA Vortex Fullsuit Wetsuit, $400   Racing or Training Pack Editor’s Pick: Zoot Tri Bag, $150   Heart Rate Monitor or GPS Training Device Editor’s Pick: Garmin Forerunner 910XT, $449.99   Cycling Shoes Editor’s Pick: Sidi Triathlon T3.6 Carbon, $359.99   Bike Cleaning Set Editor’s Pick: Pedros Super Pit Kit, $49.99 Bonus Pick: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Bike Maintenance and Repair.   Nutrition Editor’s Pick:  White Chocolate Macadamia Nut Clif Bars, $15.00/box   This story and picks was found on Active.com and can be found by clicking this link. I personally ordered a new tri bag since the one I have used for the past two years is ripping at the seams.  I also stocked up on HoneySting waffles, and EFS Liquid Shot refill bottle.

What Is On Your Christmas Wish List?

Published in Train
Friday, 14 October 2011 11:04

Guest SPoT (SPouse of a Triathlete)

[caption id="attachment_4474" align="alignright" width="300" caption="On The Beach In Oceanside, California"]ironman_california_triathlon_703[/caption] Never one to sit idly around and always looking to bring information to my readers I was all over the idea of Guest SPoT when Karen emailed me one morning to tell me she wanted to write a blog post about being married to a triathlete.  From there my mind started racing and thinking of all the people on Twitter, Facebook and blogs that are married to or dating triathletes.  What do they go through? I know I cannot do any of this without the support of Karen.  Turning a dream into reality takes a lot of patience and understanding from those around you and I have that with Karen.  How easy or hard is it on her though?  I think about the fact that I am out there running, swimming or biking at all hours of the day and falling asleep around 8:30p during the week, but how does that impact her. In her own words this is how it impacts her.  I did not change a single word from her email to me and just copy and pasted it into here, so every word is hers. ==================== Its 2:45 am this morning and the alarm goes off.  I am the first to hear it. Being a mom, it appears I don't sleep much anymore and the slightest noise wakes me up. I wait for Jason to get out of bed and then settled back to sleep, and then a few minutes later the blender is going.  I am up again. As soon as its done, thankfully, I drift back to sleep, then shortly after that Jason heads out the door (door alarm beep) then he comes back in and so on.and I am wondering what is going on... ( I counted 4x worth of beeps - thats for EMZ).  Our normal morning the goodbyes are at 2:45 but some days like rest days I do see him before I leave for work. Some may think this odd not seeing each other in the morning but I have a routine in the morning with my son (who has stopped asking where his Jason is, but asks now if he is running or biking or swimming), and as long as my son is not having one of those days with attitude, we can get out the door without any issues. I get to work early and sit in the courtyard for a few minutes before work to just chill before the hectic day at work. Once the day is over, depending on my schedule - my time to run or bootcamp is after work.. which brings me home at 7:30 - and my son goes to bed at 8pm (if he is not at his Dad’s). 8pm- Jason and Karen time!  We hit the couch and determine what we are watching (me- NCIS, or NCIS or the Biggest Loser) (him-cooking shows, football, baseball, basketball, soccer, little league.. you get my point)  We sit next to each other holding hands and keeping warm under the cozy blanket, and depending on what we watch, within 4-4 1/2 minutes, Jason is asleep. I do not move him, as this our time, until I am ready for bed, and then he wakes up and turns sports back on and I pass out. [caption id="attachment_4477" align="alignright" width="224" caption="Just Before Heading Into Transition Prior to Toyota US Open Championships"]Toyota_US_Open_Championships_Triathlon[/caption] Weekends are not much different -depending on if my son is at his Dad’s or not.  Jason wakes up at the same time, and Saturday seems to be his shorter workout day- maybe 2-3 hours. I go to bootcamp while my mother spends quality time being told how to color or build legos with my son.  We eventually meet back up and have dinner together and family time, which mostly consists of one grown man, and one little man laughing at each others farts.. Sundays are my long run days. My favorite time- as I get to meet up with my friend and we bitch,  gossip and giggle for 6 miles and then after that - we stop talking and put on headphones, and I get to just run. Love that feeling.  I get out as soon as possible to beat the heat, (not much longer thankfully) and get home as soon as I can to spend the day with my son.  Jason and my son spend the morning together and then I come home and he does his long day of training, which seems to be about 4-5 hours (not including travel time).  Eventually he gets home, and it starts over again. This is my life. Some people would read this and wonder how we do this. Thankfully when I met Jason, I explained I am a very independent person and like my alone time, and of course once he developed this passion, things just fell into place. We have a good balanced schedule, in order to free me from mommy time, he picks up my son and takes over so I can get my workout in. I don't complain when he spends all day training and we don't get to see each other all day. Our vacations have been destination races, and I am just giddy when its race time. I have almost perfected my race day routine.  I have all my gear for the day, packed in a bag and I start the day with Jason and see him off into transition.  I move around the course and try to see as much as possible and take as many pictures as possible of Jason (and of course Andy Potts if he is there). I tend not to stay in the same location for a long time on the course but each time I stop, I end up meeting great people, and sharing stories. I have learned from experience to show up to the finish line as soon as I can to ensure I have a great shot of Jason, and can cheer the loudest so he can hear me and know I am behind him 100%. Each time I tear up when I see him cross because I know all the hard work he has put into this. Life is good for us.  Although we don't seem to spend ALL the time together, we make our time together count. At the end of the day, even though some days seem exhausting, we fall asleep holding hands. Would I change anything?  Not a chance. ==================== [caption id="attachment_4473" align="alignright" width="225" caption="After Completing 70.3 California"]ironman_california_oceanside[/caption] I have told anybody who would listen that I have the best wife in the world and her support of my passion proves it.  She never tells me no when it comes to triathlon.  Wanna start a team?  Go for it.  Wanna race two IMs in one year?  Go for it. I love you Karen.

Are you a SPoT or would your SPoT like to write a post?  I'd like to make this a continuing feature as it will help those thinking about entering this world get their significant other on board.

Published in Train
Thursday, 03 November 2011 14:31

How Do You Get To Events?

As most of you know I have an Xterra known as the Team Baha Mobile.  I have had my Xterra since 2001 and I absolutely love it.  It is rugged and obviously durable since it has handled Northeast winters and now Texas Summers. As I got into the endurance sports world the Xterra was perfect to load up with coolers and gear bags and put El Diablo on a bike rack off the back of the SUV.  The problem lies in the fact that I would spend the majority of the drive time looking at the bike to make sure that it stayed where it was supposed to.  Instead of truly concentrating on the road I was focused on the fact that my bike was at the mercy of the wind and did I strap it down properly.  It was with that notion that I decided that I would fold down one of the back seats and remove the front tire of El Diablo and lay him down in the back of the Xterra.  Now secure and safe I could focus all my attention on tweeting driving safe and sound. Then earlier this year at Ironman Texas I went to get my buddy Juan from his hotel room and head over to bike check in and he had his entire bike, all wheels attached, in the back of his Honda Element.  He had removed one of the back seat and the bike stood up and there was tons of room.  My brain has not stopped thinking about this and while I despise the concept of cars (insurance, gas, payments, losing asset) I desperately want one because it will make my life so much easier.  It doesn't hurt that Karen really likes the Honda Element so after we hit the lottery we can get 2 of them as a matching his and hers set. This morning while doing my typical early morning reading there was an article on Competitor.com that showcased the best triathlete cars.  I thought maybe there is something better out there than the Element and if so what could it be.  So that you don't have to read the entire article I am listing the cars here and adding a couple of sentences of why they think they are the best cars for a triathlete.  If you do want to read the entire article then click [HERE] For the urban triathlete couple: Honda Fit The Fit is one of the most functional hatchbacks out there—the rear seats fold completely down and allow you to comfortably carry two bikes inside. Starts at $15,000 For the drag racer with lots to haul: Dodge Durango In addition to seating seven, new Durangos can offer lively acceleration, tuned suspension, sportier styling, exhaust tuning and a more enjoyable driving experience.  I'm not exactly sure how this fits the triathlete other than space. Starts at $29,195 For the multi-multisportsman: Toyota Tacoma Bike ride today, surf tomorrow, rock-climb the next day—or maybe kayak instead? If your garage has more gear than REI, nothing will suit you quite like a truck Starts at $16,365 [caption id="attachment_4612" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Is $80,000 a wise investment for a triathlete's car?"]range_rover_triathlon_car[/caption] For those with family, gear and plenty of style: Audi Q7 With more technology than a stealth bomber, third-row seating for extra passengers and a muscular German design, the Q7 is a near-perfect combination of form and function.  Why would you put cycling and running shoes that have had tons of sweat poured into them and stink into an Audi? Starts at $46,250 For the luxury-minded: Land Rover Range Rover With legendary ruggedness only matched by its refinement, this British beast commands respect and attention wherever it goes. Starts at $79,685 If I am not putting my cycling shoes or running shoes in an Audi Q7 at $46K then I'm certainly not putting them in the Range Rover.  Not to mention that I pee on my bike so putting that in a car that starts at $80K is just not happening.  Seems very impractical for a triathlete not named McCormack or Wellington. For the typical triathlon lifestyle: Subaru Outback It handles like a sedan yet can carry cargo and venture off-road like an SUV Starts at $23,195 For me the Honda Element still stands out above all of these cars.  As a matter of fact I'm not sure who this article is targeting because while the average income of a triathlete is substantial the notion of paying $3,000 to $5,000 for a TT bike then dropping $80,000 on a Range Rover seems ludicrous.  This is already an expensive sport.  I guess that is why the Fit is at the top of the list. [caption id="attachment_4614" align="alignright" width="184" caption="Easily put your bike in the back of the Honda Element"]honda_element_triathlon_bike[/caption] Back to the Element for a moment.  Check out these starting prices:
$20,825  2WD LX
$22,075  4WD LX
$22,935  2WD EX
$24,185  4WD EX
If those options didn't help you choose your future car for triathlons then read this article by Bill Jackson on Cars.com which helps you choose the right car for the triathlete in you.

Would You Spend $80,000 On A Car To Haul Your Gear Around?

What Are You Driving And Do You Like How It Handles All Your Tri Gear?

Published in Train
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