Tuesday, June 17, 2014

First Half of the Season Recap: Hectic Start to the Year

This will technically be my first post of the year. I guess you could say I've been slacking a little but that's what happens when you lock it down and start taking our sport seriously. I am not gonna run you down my swim, bike, and run splits from every race I've done this year, that would take far too long. Just give you an idea of my outcomes and a short blurb about my thoughts on the race.

Season opener: Clermont draft leagal day 1 and day 2, long story short.

Saturday: I tried to get too fit too early for this race. Racing back to back days isn't easy. Had a decent race on day one, by the time I got to the run I backed way off knowing I wasn't in contention and had to do it all over the next day.

Sunday: I struggled big time Sunday had a rough swim. Fell off the feet of the second pack and did what I could on the bike. When I dismounted my bike I came down on my ankle bad and was forced to DNF after 500 meters of the run. 

Florida 70.3: priority number one - qualify for 70.3 world championships. 

This was my second half ever. Not having much experience racing them I had trouble pacing. Had a good swim. Ended pushing the bike a bit too hard. Biked a 2:16 then got penalized 4 min for not dropping out of the zone before repassing. Averaged 338 watts over the full bike course which lead to a struggle fest on the last 8 miles or so of the run, managed to hang on for second AG. Punching my ticket to worlds, season objective number one: Complete.

St. Anthonys: This race was my first Olympic 2 years ago so it basically acts as a gauge for me to measure annual progress. 

After Florida 70.3, two weeks prior to this race I really felt like I never bounced back. I struggled through workouts leading up and just wasn't mentally in the game. Started out the race with a decent swim, second pack. Did most of my work on the bike as usual. Had the second fastest bike split of the day with a 57:40. I rode into top 6 or so then hung on for 10th overall on the day which I was pleased with considering the dudes I was up against.

Knoxville: Rev 3 age group championship, a hybrid distance race. 1.2 mile swim, 40 mile bike and 10mile run.

I was fortunate enough to have a lot of friends and teammates out there spectating and racing this day which honestly helped a ton! 

I had the fastest 1.2 mile swim I've ever had and managed 6th out of the water. Ironically enough I struggled more than ever on the bike this day. Ended up having to ride extremely reserved. I listened to my body and it paid off later in the day. I biked into third place, passed one person and got passed by one person on the run. I was sitting pretty in a podium spot. Mile three of the run one of my competitors ran up on my shoulder. It was go time for me. We ended up running the next 7 miles together. He sprinted up the last hill with .20 of a mile to go and at that point there was no space on the course to repass. I was 4th armature on the day by 7 seconds. First in my age group taking home the 500$ cash which was nice. Gutting, yet one of the best put together races of my career so far.
This race was a great confidence booster. Second half of the season will be amazing!

Exciting stuff since then: Since I was able to get my qualification for 70.3 world early in the season it has given me the opportunity to take a "mid season break". Taking full advantage, I've been able to do a lot of fun-non-triathlon-stuff. Some triathlon(coaching) stuff too.

Progress work on my tattoo:

Coaching: I've worked really hard the last couple months on starting my own triathlon coaching business. Official post to follow. For now you can follow us on 
Instagram: @BT_Endurance
Twitter: @BT_Endurance
I am currently working with a handful of athletes with late season goals. I love seeing their progression before my eyes and look forward to some amazing races this year. If you'd like to get in contact with me about coaching feel free to email me at:

Moving: I've had the opportunity to make a move out to boulder CO to train for the summer. I've only been here a week and I can already tell it's gonna be epic.

Awesome times with friends:

So far this year has treated me well but the best is still to come!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Key West Sprint: I Won One /Thank you to all

So I made a pretty last minute decision to do one final Triathlon in 2013. Having been well into my off season I had no expectations other than to have a blast and party with friends post race. Luckily I I was able to do both those things and actually win the race. I will give you a quick recap of the race but Im writing this post mostly to give everyone that has made this year as successful and fun as it was the proper recognition. 

Key West Sprint Triathlon 2013

Swim: The swim was long but It was surprisingly quick. There were some fast guys for me to stick with. I came out of the water in 7th.

T1: I paseed 3 guys in transition and got on the bike in 4th. 

Bike: The bike was a two loop course. I was leading by the time I was half way through the first loop. I turned off course by mistake and had to repass one person once i was back on course.

T2: One guy who was flying on the bike caught me into transition but I lead out.

Run: I was running a nice aerobic pace and was putting time on everyone. I brought it home in around 19:40. Not fast by any means but its okay. Fast wasn't the goal today and I still had the W.

First overall felt really good and was a super positive way to end the 2013 season.

It was a beautiful race morning.

Really pumped to finish First.

But totally exhausted.

First time I've been interviewed post race.

Thank you Alaina for coming and supporting me.

Thank you all!(mentioned in no specific order)

There are several people that made major influences on my triathlon career and my life outside of triathlon this year. This post can't convey the credit they deserve but I will do my best here.

My Wolfpack: At the beginning of this year I made a lot of decisions about how I was gonna approach this season to have the best chance at being successful and achieving the goals I set out for myself. The main objective and always will be is to love sport and have fun. All i had to do to achieve my most important goal this year was simply be part of a team made up of my best friends and be stoked to workout with them day in and day out. So this is thank you to My Wolfpack, Eli, Oriana, Caryn, Cynthia, Julie, Mickey, Gene, Ola, Brenda and our new(er) members Jess, Cristina, Rob, Andy and Tom for making not only sport a blast this year, also social gatherings, post race parties and those miserable moments before you start a workout not so miserable. A special thank you to Joey for not only me guiding me in training to many PRs at the beginning of the year but lending important advice on life decisions I've made this year, pushing me to never give up on anything and always give my 110%.

My Sunday Riders: These are the people that taught me what it means to "go long". The people that would hammer at the front till my legs fell off, then hammer some more. Thank you Roy, Joyto, Isabel, Chris and Seth, I can honestly say I wouldn't be the cyclist I am right now if it were for you guys pushing but mostly pulling me on a weekly basis. Thank you Steve and Frank, because after those tough weekends you guys showed me it was about getting in the pool the next day and being consistent. Though I didn't make many super early weekday rides. You guys showed me what it took to stick the week out on those Tuesday night track sets when we were still tired from our run off the bike on Sunday. To all the people I'm failing to mention that are part of this group just know you had a hand in my success this year. 

My Watties: I was fortunate enough this year to be picked to be part part of a team of select athletes. There are so many of you so far spread that I probably only met about 10% of the awesome people on this team. I will name a few of you who really made major impacts on me this year but Thank you to each and everyone of you, you are all super rad and I'm lucky to have you all as my teammates. Thank you Adam for being there to talk about who we wanted to race, who we could beat, and who could beat us. Probably one of the most hilarious people I know. I think I definitely made a life long friend in you and I look forward to racing together in the future good sir. Thank you Denise and Amanda, in my opinion you both really embody what this team is about. I was lucky enough to meet both of you at races this year and I'm so glad I did. Thank you Chris, we only got to meet briefly but after that you were always someone I was able to go to for advice on races, equipment, training, and future plans in the sport. I look forward to seeing your plans for the sport unfold. People take notes on this next guy. Thank you Blain, we only got the chance to meet one time this year but just from that one ride I could tell what a class act and great ambassador you are to this sport. I am proud to be your friend and congratulations on an amazing season. (see sponsor section for thank you to Sean)

My Family: To the two people that have been in my corner for as long as I can remember. My sister and I may not always see eye to eye on things, on very few thing to be completely honest but no matter what for as long as I live I can count on her and I know for a fact she'll always have my back. Thank you Catherine for caring about me as much as you do. My mother is hands down, with out a doubt the hardest working person I know. She would stop at nothing to support me in my athletic endeavors. She is the thought I go to in my head when I have nothing left during a race and need to draw strength from somewhere mentally. She is the person I race for, not me. I'm proud to dedicate every race I've done this season and every race I will do in the future to my mother. Thank you mom.

My Coach: Halfway through 2013 I made a big decision to move to Clermont Florida to work majorly on the swim portion of my racing. That came with the decision to start with a new coach who I knew could help make drastic improvements in my swim. After coming off a mid season race and swimming over 4 minutes faster for an Olympic distance race I knew I had made the right decision. not to mention setting overall PRs for all aspects of my racing. Thank you Sara, you motivated me, kicked my ass, pushed me, kept my eyes on the prize and pointed me in the right direction. I look forward to continue working with you for seasons to come. Lets see where this road takes us and continue to achieve goals together.

My Sponsors: When competing at a high level in triathlon you need the equipment and support from companies and products you believe in. Having confidence in what your wearing, swimming, running, and riding in/on is just as important as having confidence in yourself and ability. Thank you Andreas and UltraBikeX, you were able to put me on the right bike and give me the proper tools this year to take me to my fastest bike splits my body could put out. Thank you Roy and for providing superior service to get me all the gear I needed to train and race with to the best of my ability. Thank you Micky and SeeMeInTheDark for keeping me safe on the early morning and late night work outs by helping me be seen with you ultra reflective apparel. Last but certainly not least thank you Sean and Wattie Ink for selecting me to be on such an amazing team of people and in turn  providing a phenomenal sponsors like PowerBar, BlueSeventy, Reynolds and ISM that helped me get through a tough year of training and racing. 

Final Thoughts: To anyone that has ever seen a triathlon. It may look like Its just one person out there doing all three sports on their own but the truth is that no one can do it alone. As the saying goes "It takes a village". I got tons of support from a lot of amazing people and without them all, none of this is possible.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Rev3 Venice: The Finale

Race Overview: I was pumped going into this race but at the same time excited that it would be the last one of my 2013 season. I had decent position out of the water and the swim felt pretty relaxed. The bike was extremely tough due to wind but I was able to push it and had the fastest bike split on the day. There was a mishap on course and several top men took a detour. It didn't make a difference because I was falling apart on the run anyway. All that mattered was I got the points necessary to race the age group series in Knoxville next year.

Swim: Before the race I saw a buddy of mine Anthony Agnello in transition who I knew was gonna give me a run for my money that day. In races past he beat me out of the water by a good margin. So as we toed the line I lined up right next to him. We swam side by side for the first 5 or 600 meters and I knew I was in good position. There were only a couple of guys that had broken away from us. Inevitably Anthony dropped be about a third of the way through the swim to end up coming out of the water :40 ahead of me. I was out in 23:14 with fairly low effort and ready to get on my bike!

Out in front with Anthony

T1: In transition I passed 2 of the 4 guys who came out of the water ahead of me. I didn't know this information at the time.

4th out

Bike: Right from the start of the bike I wanted to push the pace. I didn't know at the time I had two people I needed to catch but I did know I had people hot on my trail and I wanted to gap them as much as possible. Most of the ride you had a cross wind from either side. A decent amount of the course was into the wind and probably less than 3 or 4 miles with a tailwind. I pushed the harder sections knowing thats where I'd make my time. I came off the bike in second. less than 30 seconds behind the leader who was out of the swim almost 4 minutes up. I averaged 290 watts and 25.2 mph to put me at 1:01:07 for the 25.6 mile bike course. This wasn't a standard Olympic distance.

Run: Out of T2 I could see the only guy ahead of me. As I ran out I heard my coach say "just 20 seconds". I put in a pretty big effort my first mile to make up the time and probably gained 8 seconds or so. I fell apart and I was losing almost 20 seconds per mile after the first mile, struggling to hold onto a 6:50 pace. My only goal at this point was to hold onto 2nd because I knew 3rd was hot on me by this point. I got passed by 3rd place at mile 6 and ended up finishing 3rd. After the race they adjusted overall times because apparently the first 10 guys or so off the bike missed a turn that was not obviously marked and had no one giving directions. After adjustments which added about 4min to my time I was ranked 4th overall and first in my age group with an unofficial run split of 38:56.

Photo Credit to Caleigh

My Final Thoughts: Again I have to say that Rev3 puts on a really well organized race that is fun for everyone and fast races for the athletes. I look forward to racing the age group championship half distance next year in Knoxville. I had such an awesome time with so many friends in Venice for the race. Had a blast out there with good friends Caleigh and AJ. Massive thanks to my coach Sara McLarty for really cultivating my racing, helping me have a great end to my season, and supporting me along the way.

2/3s of my AG podium

Thank you to all my Sponsors and Supporters Throughout my 2013 Season! I look forward to making some big gains over the next couple months and coming back a more well rounded athlete in 2014.

Of course I wouldn't be able to do all of this and have a blast doing it without the support of the most wonderful woman in the world, my mom. Thank you for being so supportive of me mom.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Rev3 Anderson: Progress

The Overview: My bike broke a week before the race so I had to borrow one. The drive took forever. I felt prepared for this race. My swim was good but the course was long. The bike and run were both up or down the entire time, no flats. I ran a PR. I am happy with my progress.

Sunday exactly one week before my race I went out for a training ride and realized that my front derailleur on my TT bike was not shifting. I thought nothing of it except that the battery for my Di2 needed to be charged that night and it would be fine. So I did. The next day it still wasn't working with the fully charged battery. I took my bike to my local shop in Clermont and came to find out that one of the cables had stopped working. It happened to be a cable that Shimano no longer makes. I went on a wild goose chase for the cable and no dice. I wasn't worried about the bike I would have plenty of time to figure it out next week but I didn't have anything to race on this weekend.

I racked my brain for ideas. I am a pretty tall guy so there aren't many options for me when it comes to bikes in the first place, much less one i could borrow. I had one option, I texted a friend of mine and speedy pro triathlete Jake. I told him my situation and before i could ask without hesitation was gracious enough to offer me his bike for the weekend.

Trusty stede for the weekend. C/O Jake.

Pre Race: I was originally coaxed into doing this race because my good friend Frank was already doing it and driving there from miami and could get me along the way. So travel was going to be cheap and i could race without the hassle of flying with my bike. It seemed like such a good idea until around 8 hours of sitting in the car. We drove up early friday with plenty of time to get settled and rested before the race.

The day before the race we went out to the swim start for shake out swim and to test the water temp. They called it at 76, fat chance it was gonna jump 2 degrees in 24 hours. Now that my swimming has progressed so much I'd actually prefer a non wetsuit swim. Later we went for an easy spin and got to see some beautiful South Carolina roads. I was feeling in surprisingly good form coming off a race just 2 weeks ago. I went with the standard Panera Bread lunch and Pizza dinner which has been working well for me. I was ready for an early night and a not so early wake up when it comes to race day, thanks to Rev3 having the sense to leave transition open for later waves!

I was so hoping for warmer water.

Panera Bread is a standard.

Race Morning: I was up around 5:30am as opposed to the regular 4am race day wake up since my wave start wasn't till 8:45am and transition would stay open till 8am. It was a little different than usual preparing my stuff to race because there would be two different transitions. Athletes had to park at T2/Finish line area, set up your run shoes then be shuttled to T1/Swim start to set up your bike. I was in T2 and done setting up in all of 5min and on the shuttle headed to the start. Like I said earlier T1 was open till just before each athletes start so there was no rush which I felt made things way more relaxed. I chatted with a few other athletes before donning my wetsuit and getting in a nice swim warm up.

Swim: I dont consider myself a top tier swimmers so I typically will seed myself somewhere in the middle at the swim start but today I was gunning for a top spot and wasn't going to let any one have an early advantage over me so I bumped and nudged my way to the front. 30 seconds, 10 seconds, GO. For what seemed like not many people around me I was getting hit, pulled and ran into an awful lot. After the first 15 seconds of that I got tired of it and decided to put in a quick 20-30 second effort to get myself out front. I was successful in doing that. At the first left turn buoy I took a breath to my left and could see I was putting time on everyone except a pack of about 5 or 6 guys out front that were putting time on me. I swam all alone the rest of the way, staying fairly relaxed not burning any matches early on in the race. I came out of the water in 23:42 swimming the exact pace I planned on, over a mile long course.

T1: Since there were two transitions you were given a draw string bag that while in T1 you had to put anything you wanted back (wetsuit and googles) in and pull shut which made times a little longer than usual but it worked out fine. I always have trouble getting a wetsuit off and today was no exception.

Bike: We drove the bike course the day before the race so I knew what was in store for me. My game plan was to stay nice and controlled on the up hills and push the downhills. I passed almost everyone that had come out of the water ahead of me within the first mile or two. Half way through I felt really good and thought I could push the second half a little harder but instead decided to stay nice and smooth continuing to push the downhills. If I encounter another bike course similar to this I would refer  back to this plan. I got off the bike with fresh legs after 1500+ feet of elevation gain and a bike split of 1:01:59, not nearly a PR but good for the course and effort level. Jakes bike worked out perfectly. I was able to stay comfortable the whole way.***

Run: Just like the bike course the run was entirely uphill or downhill, not a single flat section. My plan for the run would be the exact opposite of the bike. Push the uphills and cruise the downhills. Even though I had come off the bike in second overall there was a Colligate wave that had gone off 10 minutes before us so there were still a few people out in front of me. Right out of transition I saw two guys ahead that looked like they were running about the same pace as me so I put in a short surge to get on their heels. After probably 2 miles they started slowing down so I quickly pulled around and continued to run a bit faster pace. At the 5K point i looked down at my watch and saw just under 19 minutes. I was right on pace for the time I wanted to run. ***

At the turn around which was closer to 3.5 miles in I was running with the only guy who came off the bike before me. As we approached an aid station I wanted to be in front so I didn't get stuck without water so I took a couple strides to pull out front. Once we passed the aid station I let him come up on the side of me again and just looked over to gauge how he felt. He looked uptight and pretty close to the limit on how fast he wanted to go. I knew I was in a good place just cruising next to him and wanted to wait till the last 1-1.5 miles to gap him. With about a mile and a half to go I started to put the pressure on and what seemed like simultaneously someone ran up next us. Not three seconds later he flew by us at an unbelievable pace. It happened so fast, the race was decided. I hesitated. Five seconds later by the time I realized if I didn't go with him I was gonna lose, I surged as hard as I could. I looked down on my watch and it read 31:something with 1 mile to go. I was gonna PR, all I had to do was hold it together. I ran that last mile as hard as I could at around 5:45 dropping the first person I was running next to and the guy in front was still pulling away(he ended up running a 31:50). I finished the run with a new run PR of 37:21 and second overall. On the podium!

Trying to balance the 15 things they hand you when you walk on stage.

Final Thoughts: This was my first Rev3 race and I have to say, they put on one of the best races I've ever competed in. From pre race, to the course, to post race recovery and everything in between. It was set up perfectly. I will definitely be racing more Rev3 events next season. I met Sean "the guy" who ran past me in the last mile and he ended up being a really cool person and a former colligate cross country runner (that explained it). I am really excited to have set another Olympic distance PR with an overall time of 2:04:51 which is good progress but I know there is still loads of room for improvement. I have one more race this season, Then one "off-season race". I'm ready to get into the off-season and start putting in the work to get even faster. I had such a Blast getting to hang with all my Wattie Ink team mates all weekend. Again huge thank you to Jake for making this racing happen with his bike and Frank for championing 99.9% of the driving to, from, and around the race!

This was a first. They were Amazing! Thanks Rev3.

So awesome racing with these peeps!

***Im going to attempt to re-update once race photos are up.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Escape To Miami: Redemption Race

The Cut to the Chase Version: Pumped to race with all my friends. Had a low effort, good swim. Made a mistake I swore I'd never make again. Solid yet reserved bike. Standard, nothing to write home about run. All smiles on the day and very happy with my outcome.
Last year I raced at Escape to Miami at the end of my season coming off of four races in six weeks. I think a year ago my fitness wasn't there to attempt that, and expect to do well. My thinking was later proved correct, when i struggled through the last couple miles on the bike, and walk-jogged to the finish line finishing in over 2:35:00, barely breaking 150th place. That race was a dagger to the heart. It was a serious sign that I needed to train hard, refocus, come back, and redeem myself next year.
Three weeks leading up to this race, pretty much after Hy-Vee my last race, I hadn't been swimming due to pain in my shoulder. The pain was almost to the point that I wasn't even going to race so as to avoid further injury. Luckily I have the best coach ever, Sara McLarty, and she was able to work on my stroke with me leading up to the race, allowing me to swim a little more pain free. I had gone from having more confidence in my swim than anything else, to just wanting to get it over with and not be in pain, but i decided to race to clean the slate from last year's disaster as well as to race in my home town so my family could watch me race at least once this year.

Pre Race: Saturday before the race was spent driving around running errands, which included taking my bike to get some much needed love from the guys at UltraBikeXThe steed ran flawlessly on race day. I got in a short swim that afternoon but just felt so tired and sore in the water after just starting swimming with a little bit different stroke as of days ago. I had decided not to taper much for this race and focus on my upcoming races and it was becoming apparent to me that I was gonna pay for it. [Flash back to Friday while packing for the race I picked up my race shoes and realized they had a huge hole in the side of them, after calling several running stores in Miami and 7 out of 7 being sold out of my size, I made my final call to the guys at iRun. (I knew that if they didn't have them, Hector would steer me in the right direction and get me in the closest thing possible) Just my luck they were also out! This just goes to show how much these guys care, Cobi (who also was going to be my main competition for the weekend) who happens to wear my exact size, and race in the same shoe as me, was willing to lend me his personal pair to race in. He had two pairs. Can't thank Cobi and Hector at iRun enough!] Now I had my bike and my shoes for the race it was time to go pick up my packet and check in my bike. While at the race expo I saw my good friend Roy Liu, who I'd be trying to keep up with on the bike on Sunday. We had some fun admiring bikes in transition and sabotaging others (not really, just pretending). I felt like I had been driving all day long, but i was finally headed home, absolutely starving. It was already 7:30pm. I knew if I went home and cooked dinner for my self it would have been 9:00pm before I was eating so I fell back on my ever faithful plan B, Pizza. My mom and sister had previous dinner plans so I was eating alone, which apparently is a problem because I ate the entire thing, and I was so full I couldn't fall asleep. Mistake #1. Showered, fed and in bed by 9:15. Awake till 2:00am.

A shot of me after pizza for dinner

Able to relax once I had these in my possession 

Caught slashing.. I mean admiring Isabels wheels.

Race Morning: Opposed to my standard wake up before the alarm because of excitement, this morning i heard the alarm go off and snoozed it. I was so exhausted. Still feeling like i just ate dinner, I opted not to eat breakfast and just go for some PowerBar Perform and Energy Blast about 30 minutes before race start. As I got to the race site and was walking to transition, I saw a couple friends already making their way to the ferry to be dropped off on the Island. So I hustled to get my stuff set up and headed to the ferry also. Once the boat got to the island we were ordered to jump off and swim to shore. With the tinted goggles i had opted to race in, I could hardly see a thing. Mistake #2. It was difficult to keep track of the people I got on the ferry with. When we got to the island there was pretty much a party happening on a boat, that by the looks of it, had been there since last night. It was kinda cool, they played music and I was getting pumped to race.

If you could combine these two pictures
this was pretty much the scene at the island.

Swim: The swim was 1/3 out to a turn buoy, a sharp left hand turn then 2/3s to the swim exit. At the start to my right I had Isabel Olivas my good friend, and after that day, five time consecutive Escape to Miami female champion, and to my left Rob DeClercqThe gun went off and I dove straight in and started swimming. There was a fair drop off, so no one could really dolphin dive. The current was pushing us a bit to the left so I was sighting slightly right of the turn buoy. There were three buoys in a line from the start to the turn buoy and once I made it to the second one, I took a breath to my left and recognized Rob with his reflective goggles and bright red swim skin. I know he is a really great swimmer, so I thought if I could just hang with him I would have a good swim time. I hopped right on his feet doing my best not to touch them. I personally hate when people repetitively touch my feet. So as not to make him uncomfortable and get my self in a little better position, I put in a quick sprint to climb up to his hip. I was able to stay there, not having to sight much and swimming Rob's pace comfortably till about 100 meters out, when he picked it up a bit. That was okay because I know I'd just be a couple seconds back. Six to be exact. I came out of the water 29th in 22:30, which is a swim PR for me regardless of the fact the course measured long by .10 of a mile and the best part was it felt easy.  

Basically how I felt coming out of the water.

T1: I gave Rob a quick five in transition, grabbed my bike and headed out. 

I was all like...

Bike: I fumbled around a bit mounting my bike because I apparently set up my shoes with the wrong foot forward. There are two quick turns soon after you exit transition. As soon as I went around the second turn I saw Roy and Cobi. At this point I realized I had made the same exact mistake I made at my last race but this time it was too late to go back, I was still wearing my blue seventy swim skin. The thing is just so comfortable. Mistake #3. I was happy because I knew if I could hang with Roy I'd have a good bike split but I also knew if I wanted to have any chance against Cobi I needed to put 3-5 minutes on him. Throughout the first loop of the bike Roy and I took turns setting the pace. I was feeling good sticking to my plan of holding off 10-15 watts so I would be sure to make it through the very hot run to come. I averaged 286 watts on the first loop. Right where I wanted to be, and feeling great by the second loop, I decided to hang right where I was, push the down hills on the bridges and ease up a bit with about a mile to go. I was at a 287 watts average by the end of the second loop and right where I wanted to be with a time of 1:02:55 coming off the bike in 7th or 8th and again the course measured long by over a mile.

Still wearing my swim skin.

T2: Didn't forget to take my swim skin off this time. Slid on my run shoes and was out. 

Run: The run was standard for me. The course is a tough out and back including a bridge close to a mile long. I had been running hills the weeks leading up to this race to prepare myself for the bridge. My plan was to cruise the whole way and run up the bridge both ways as hard as I could. I ran alone the whole way trying to hold off the inevitable of Cobi passing me. I knew I put time on him but I didn't know how much at the time. Turns out it was about 50 seconds. I couldn't see anyone behind me or ahead of me besides Cobi running away. I got to the 5k mark right around 20:30 which put me at 41:00 if i even split it. Along the edge of the road there is a tall hedge that apparently grew a ton between last year and this year. At that exact time of day it offered about a two foot wide section of shade. I was so stoked to have found shade on a course known for its brutal heat. Granted, it was only for about a quarter of mile but it was something. I passed two guys on the way back who I could tell were suffering from the heat. All I had left was the bridge. I ran up as hard as I could and coasted down. I looked back and there was no one in sight. I finished the race with a smile on my face and a run split of 42:19 and again the run course measured long by .21 of a mile which would account for the extra 1:19, so I was happy. I ended up with a 6th place overall finish, for which I am very pleased with and a total time of 2:09:42. Not a PR but pretty good for a super hot course that measured long in all three sports.

My face when I saw the shade.

Final Thoughts: After not knowing if I would be able to even toe the line a week before the race I am ridiculously happy with the outcome. Not the overall win I had hoped for but I definitely feel redeemed with heaps of improvement over last years complete disaster. I will be back next year going for the win. It was great to be back racing in my home town. Thank you to all my friends and family who were out there racing and spectating. You all made this race a Blast! Of course thank you to my sponsor Wattie Ink and all my teammates! Biggest shout out of this race to my Wolfpack for having my back over the last five months.

Post race, happy to see my mom and sister at the finish!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Hy-Vee 5150 Championship

If you don't wanna read it but want to know what it says - I felt horrible in the days leading up. The weather was terrible at first but it got better. It rained sideways the morning of the race, then stopped. I almost missed the start. I had an average swim but good for me. I almost forgot to take my swim skin off. Had the best bike I've had in a long time. We'll just say my run could have been better.

At the beginning of this year I raced St. Anthony's Triathlon and won my age group qualifying me for the series championship in Des Moines, Iowa. This would be the second year I would be racing it and was really looking forward to it because it had been my best performance to date and wanted to see what kind of improvement I had made over a year. The race organizers had changed the course slightly but nothing too major, the swim would be a point to point instead of a loop and the run would be an out and back instead of a point to point.

Pre Race - The weekend before my race i had planned a trip to Colorado to visit my brother and get a little riding in with a good friend formerly from miami Matt Straney, a fellow Wattie Ink team member Travis Thomason  and a new fast friend Andrew Knutsen. I have to say thank you to you guys for showing me the roads and mountains of colorado but I was in rough shape on monday after two long days in the saddle. Living and training in central Florida isn't quite the same as riding at 6,000-12,000 ft of elevation and it took me about two days to fully recover. Tuesday I got in the pool and did an easy 2,000 yards cutting the workout a little short because my left shoulder started to bother me. Of course this would start the week leading up to my race, I made the decision with my coach that I wasn't going to swim the rest of the week until my race. Thursday evening I had a massage mainly to work on my shoulder and loosen up the lower legs which are typically tight for me. Fast forward to Friday morning (Wednesday and Thursday are filled with boring classes a lot of studying waking up early and going to sleep late trying to get all my homework done before my flight early Friday morning) when my flight departs at 8:00am which meant I had to be up and out the door by 5:30 am at the latest. Three airports, two planes, eighteen screaming children, and one lady who wont stop talking to me while I try to sleep later I arrive at my hotel in downtown Des Moines, Iowa. Upon arriving I feel like absolute garbage which i think was a combination of nine total hours of travel, post massage feeling, what i call "tired taper feeling" and it being 102 degrees outside at 7:00pm as I walk to packet pick-up. I was so beat that night I decided to just order room service and put my feet up. Saturday surprising enough everything was going according to plan, I felt much better than I did Friday. It was 9:30am as I was walking to the expo after breakfast (had to go buy a new pair of goggles because the ones i brought leaked. Good thing i tested them!) and i checked the weather, it was 75 degrees! by this time tomorrow I would be off the race course with a 7:16 start time. I was no longer even slightly concerned about the heat.
Because my coach said so.

It was ridiculously fun but 4.5 hours was not the plan!!!!!! oh well

Race Morning - Standard alarm time for race morning 4:30am but of course I open my eyes and am instantaneously wide awake at 4:20am, also Standard wake up procedure for race morning. I walk down stairs to catch the race shuttle, look outside and realize there's a mini hurricane happening. So much for the heat! Our "race shuttle" drops us off 1.5m from race site, mind you our hotel is only 3m from race site so we walk... in the rain. Once I arrive in transition theres an announcement made "The race start will be delayed 45min" everyone around me goes back to their cars to stay warm and dry and while I sit under the bike mechanics tent in the corner of transition freezing. Eventually the rain starts to clear up I finish preparing my transition and head over to swim start.

Heres a picture of our shuttle outside the hotel race morning.

The Swim - I really believe that three bad things happen to me at every race. This race just happened to start with one, I was out getting a long warm up in to test out my shoulder so i didn't have to struggle the first 500 meters. While I'm in the middle of the lake I hear my cap color being called so I sprint to shore run around the barricades, over the timing mats, line up at the front row of swimmers, look to my left and right and I'm the only one panting, oops! 20 secs later the gun goes off! After a little shuffle to about the first turn buoy I am able to settle in find and find some feet. 100 meters later the swimmer in front of me starts to slow down. Over the next 50 I proceed to swim around him and he jumps on my feet. Until about 200 to go I couldn't catch any one and no one was catching me when someone from the wave start behind me glided past me I sighted one time to see how much longer was left and decided to just sprint on the guys feet that passed me. I got out of the water 4th in my age group in 23:43 and it felt effortless.... by effortless I mean I was exhausted.

Heres a video someone got of me coming into T1 after a strong swim.

T1- Usually this wouldn't get its own section but I made a mistake that cost me major time here. As I am about to cross the timing mats out of T1 with my bike I look down and realize that i still had my swim skin around my waist, mistake #2, oops!!! I clumsily laid my bike down on the grass rather than run back with it, get my swim skin off next to my transition area, run back to my bike, pick it up off the ground, drop my water bottle in the process, awkwardly reach over my bike to grab it and get going. bye bye 40 seconds I gained in the swim. While all this is going on I hear a volunteer say "Just relax, you can recover from that" which actually really helped me get my head back in the right place.

the volunteer turned out to be either Mark-Kate or Ashley I'm not sure.

The Bike - First 5 miles of the bike I didn't feel too hot, the legs weren't warm just yet but that would quickly change. At about mile 2 a guy passed me, so i dropped back the required distance and rode with him, thinking to myself "Perfect, i'll have someone to take turns setting the pace with at 3 bike lengths". Less than a mile later I passed him thinking I better have a go, the pace was slowing. Five minutes later I looked back and he was no where to be found. I had two goals in mind this race for the the bike 1. Break 59:59 and 2. average 300+ watts. I rode the rest of the course consistently absorbing riders every 6 minutes or so and not getting passed by anyone. Goal #1 was a wash with a bike split of 1:00:05, but goal #2 was a success with an average power of 303 watts, I got back to my rack and I was the second bike on the rack.

This is what I looked like...

This is how I felt.

T2 - This is simply to gloat over the fact that i had the 3rd fastest bike to run transition. The first fastest begin a good friend of mine Paul Gantzer who runs completely Barefoot so he has an unfair advantage (Paul had a great race and won is age group, congrats!). The second fastest, the overall winner.

Someone tried to snap a photo of me in T2, this is all that came out.

The Run - The first half of the out and back run course felt great, I was cruising along just under a 6 min pace knowing I had left everyone in the dust on the bike i was running into a 2nd place finish. right at the turn around I got passed by someone I had passed earlier on the bike. I tried to run with him for about 5 seconds and quickly realized there was no way I was gonna hold the 5:20s he was putting down for the next 5k. Right as we made the U-turn I could immediately feel the head wind dead on and I knew it would be like this all the way to the finish. At this point I was struggling. I knew I hadn't over biked, I hit the nail on the head back there but this head wind was something else. Two more guys passed me on the way back who I attempted to run with but again the 5:10s-5:20s weren't happening for me today.  I came across the line in 40:16 a poor run split for me but 5th place finish, coherent and drinking water on my own. As i came up the finish chute someone tried to sprint with me and I quickly pulled out my best 2009 Simon Whitfeild impression at the line.
Simon would be proud.

Final Thoughts - My main goal going into this race was to improve my swim from last year which i did by 3 minutes so I was pleased with that but I know as I continue working I have plenty of room for improvement. With over a 5 minute improvement on my overall time last year I'm excited to go back and see where i will be a year from now. I have to say thank you to my sponsors Wattie Ink, K-Swiss, PowerBar, ISM, Fuel Belt, Speedfil, and Blueseventy who make the best products to get me through long training days and enable me to have races like this. Major shout out to my coach Sara for putting a perfect plan together to prevent piss poor performance and coach Misty for putting me to work in the pool and the gym and really developing my swim over the past 3 months. 

Last but certainly not least thank you to the person i really race for my mom who supports me 110% 

I leave you with a rad picture of me crushing the bike.