04/22/14
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KDF Marathon Race Report 2014

This year the KDF would be my second time running the race… and it would also come just 6 days after NOLA 70.3.  I wasn’t sure how well I would do with still having a little bit of fatigue in my legs from the previous weekend, but I thought it would be a fun race to do since it is in my backyard.

On Wednesday before the race, a random cold sore showed up on my lip.  I was really confused to why it happened to pop up since I wasn’t sick, or even feeling a little under the weather.  However, Friday evening while I was at our Good Friday Service, I started feeling a little congested and a sore throat.  Now the cold sore made sense!  But, the timing to finding out why wasn’t the greatest.  I was hoping that I wouldn’t feel horrible in the morning and still be able to have a respectable race.  I didn’t sleep great the night of the race, but it could have been worse.

I woke up with a little more congestion and my throat was just a little more sore than the night before.  I felt good enough to race and decided to give it what I had.

I started the race in the A corral.  Not sure why I didn’t in the elite corral, but I didn’t really care.  I knew I could get really close to the front of the line regardless.

The start gun went off and I started out with a 5:22 mile and then settled into pace for the rest of the marathon.  By mile 4, I knew my goal time of a 2:35 wasn’t going to happen.  I didn’t have the energy I needed from being sick.  I actually contemplated just doing the mini marathon, but I felt like that would be “quitting” for no good reason, and didn’t want anything to do with that.

Just before the mini marathoner and the full marathoners split, we run into the Church Hill Downs, home to “the most exciting two minutes in sports.”  It’s always kind of fun running around the in field that in just a couple weeks will be crowded with people watching the first leg of the Triple Crown Races.  We then exited the stadium and headed for Iroquois Park, the hilliest section of the race (and probably all of Louisville).

Once getting to the park, I backed down the effort a little bit for the 3 miles through the park.  I didn’t want to push that section too hard and then pay for it in the final miles of the race.  Once we exited the park, we got back on Southern Parkway and met runners making their way to the park.  This part of the race is nice, a little bit of company to be had.  A few “good jobs” were tossed back and forth to/from the people I knew for the next few miles.  Then, about mile 17, I joined back into the group of mini marathoners.

For the next few miles, I had to bob and weave quite a bit to work my way through the crowd.  Getting to the aid stations was a bit a challenge since they were on the left side of the street and I was on the right side of the street.  I had to cross about 4 lanes of road/runners, grab my own drinks, and then zig-zagged back to the right hand side of the road where the least amount of dodging was required to make forward progress. I made a conscious effort to drink a lot of fluids during this race in comparison to last year since I felt that hydration was reason I didn’t close out the last 4 miles well… and it was a lot warmer this year.

Mile 21 came and that meant I finally was able to split from the mini marathoners again and have open road.  Still no signs of hitting the wall and struggling the last four miles like last year.  However, my slowest mile did some from mile 22-23, but it was mostly uphill.  I kept drinking water and taking small sips from the flask of Napalm (Infinit’s version of an energy gel) I carried during the entire race.  I felt good (relatively speaking) and closed off the last three miles with all of them just being a few seconds over 6 min miles.  No bonking this year!

I finished 8th over all and about a minute slower than last year, but I’m still happy with it.   Considering I was sick, raced a 70.3 the weekend before, and it being much warmer this year, I think I put together a good race.

Equipment/Nutrition during the race:

Newton MV3 running shoes

Napalm Highly Caffeinated (www.infinitnutrition.com) – use code “maverick” at checkout to save 10%

Salt Stick Electrolyte pills

Swiftwick socks

Champion System Tri Kit

 

I also want to  give a big thank you to Maverick Multisport for pulling all these sponsors together to help make training and racing possible.  And a big thank you to Vibra Healthcare for sponsoring me this year.  Without their support, I wouldn’t be able to race or train as much as I would like.

Also, I want to give a shout out to my wife and all my in-laws for doing the mini marathon this year.  It was a great to exchange stories after the race.  Huge congrats to all of them!

 

04/14/14
home stretch

NOLA 70.3 2014 race report

It happens from time to time.  Good luck and bad luck.  NOLA handed me some bad luck.

This winter has been a rough, weather wise.  I spent all but 5 or so rides on the trainer, and had minimal time to really try out my set up on the Argon 18 leading up to the race.  It wasn’t the bike itself that I gave me problems, but the bottle cage I had mounted on the areobars.  But, I will get to that later.

I arrived in NOLA on Friday afternoon after 10.5 hour drive from Louisville.  My wife, Leslie, made the trip with me to support me the entire race weekend.  We were able to spend a little bit of time at the French Quarter Festival downtown and try some great southern food.  After that we made our way to the host hotel where I gave a speech at the Iron Prayer event put on by FCA Enduarnce.  I spoke on how God desires to have a functional relationship by waiting on us, pursuing us, and giving us tough love.  Immediately after that, it was the pro meeting, then relaxing at home getting the gear ready for race day.

Race day started with a 4:45 wake up call.  We made our way to swim start and transition area.  I made it over to the swim start with plenty of time.  Before the race started, the wife of the athlete that was killed in an accident gave a speech.  I couldn’t believe how well she was composed.  I was getting emotional and I didn’t even know this man, but I felt a connection just being a triathlete.  Please join the rest of us in praying for the family affected by this.

Sunrise while setting up in transition in the morning.

After that they announce the pro men feild one by one as we ran down the dock after our name was announced.  I was really excited to see how my swim had improved after swimming with the Lakeside Seahawks this winter.  Those 12-14 year old kids are crazy fast!  I used a borrowed TYR sleeveless CAT 5 Hurricane (I accidently left mine at home and was able to find one to borrow the day before the race).  I really liked how it felt in the water.  The gun went off without a countdown.  I swam hard to get in the front pack of swimmers (other than Andy Potts who got away from everyone).  I found the group and found my spot in the group and settled into the pace.  A few times I got lazy and started falling off the pace, but I did a few hard strokes and kicks to get back in the group.  I improved my swim time by nearly 2 minutes from last year, and came out in 25 minutes, right about what I estimated I would.  7th pro out of the water… significantly better than last year.

TYR CAT 5 Hurricane wetsuit

We had a long run through transition, but the bikes were lined up right by the bike out.

I accelerated past a couple guys that came out of T1 with me and rode hard to catch a group of 2 guys in front of me.  On my way to catch them, I hit a few bumps in the rode and I lost an entire bottle of Infinit.  It came out so easily that I knew if I went back to pick it up, it would just fall out again.  I hadn’t had time to test the bottle cage outside due to riding almost entirely on the trainer since January.  I started thinking on what I should do.  What is the best what to utilize one bottle cage.  Hydration or nutriton.  I could grab some gels to get extra calories, but washing it down with Infinit (more calories) would eventually cause me to bloat.  I could use just water, but I would need to grab about 5 additional gels along the race course and use a lot of Salt Stick electrolyte pills.  I didn’t know what to do, since neither seemed to be very managable.  So I just kept rolling along and decided to grab bottles of water and drink as much as I could before leaving the bottle drop zone then toss it and keep sipping on what Infinit I had left. (I did this until running out of infinit and then grabbed two bottles of water.  One for the functioning cage and one to get a quick sip from.)

About mile 15, Chris McDonald caught the group I was cycling with (I was leading the pack until he passed me).  I knew that I needed to do what I could to stick with him.  We ended up riding together for most of the rest of the ride, and dropped a few people that were lined up behind us.  However, I felt the affects of the lack of nutrition and hydration.  After the race was over, I figured I mised about 30-40 ounce of fluid, 300 to 350 mg of sodium, and 150-200 calories.  I knew when I dropped the bottle, it would be a miracle to salvage the race, but I didn’t want to quit. I figured I would pay for it on the run… and that’s what happened.  I did manage to PR in the bike by 4 to 5 minutes on a really windy bike course and poor nutrition (we had 15-20 mph winds that were headwind/crosswind except for about 8 to 10 miles).  The Argon and Enve wheels handled the winds well.  I loved using the Rotor Powermeter with the oblong Q-rings in a race.  My tri kit from Champion System, which I wore for the first time in a race, worked really well.  No discomfort or chaffing.

Headed into T2 in 8th, exited in 7th

I exited T2 in 7th place and then passed a guy about a mile into the run.  I was sitting 6th place, but I didn’t feel good.  My pace started slowing quickly and I felt way off.  I managed to hold on to 6th place until about the 4th mile.  After that it was really discouraging to see all these guys pass me like I was standing still.  I gutted it out and crossed the line 1-2 minutes off my PR with a horrible run.  I know that I am capable of a run about 10 minutes faster, which would have put me in 5th or 6th place overall in this race.

The good news is that it’s not the fitness that needs some work, it’s just a swapping out a different bottle cage that will hold the bottles better.  This season will be great, just a little blooper on the first race.

I am thankful that God has given me the ability to race and for the support crew here in Louisville, Maverick Multisport, and my family in MI and IN.  I can’t wait to get out there and see what I can really do with proper nutrition and hydration.  Make the needed changes and move on.

Next up is the Derby Marathon on Saturday (hopefully be recovered by then), then the Kalamazoo Marathon on May 4th.  Then the Ohio Trip T May 14-16th… it appears that racing season is here!

04/10/14

NOLA 70.3 2014 pre-race

The first triathlon of the season is almost upon me, New Orleans 70.3.  I have had such a weird mix of emotions leading up to this event.  Excitement.  Anxiety.  Nervousness.  Confidence.  Stress.

Excitement – I’m always excited about a race, but the first one of the season and IM Louisville always get me the most excited.  NOLA, being my first race of the season, will give me an opportunity to test my fitness gains made in the off season.  All those countless hours on the trainer watching things on Netflix and Hulu.  The countless laps in the pool swimming with the Lakeside Seahawks.  Braving the frigid temperatures outdoors this winter to run training in.  It’s all coming to a big test.  Tests and good competition always gets me excited.

Anxiety – So, I just said the good competition gets me excited.  Well, it also causes a bit of anxiety.  Going against those that have proven themselves to be world class time and time again makes me anxious.  Especially when there is a whole slew of them.  I became anxious after looking at the start list and saw names like Trevor Wurtele, Andy Potts, and Chris McDonald to name just a few of them.  These guys are super fast, but also a good way to see how I stack up against the best in the business.

Nervous – Some nervous energy is good.  It means that you care about what you are doing.  However, too much of it will drain you.  I am doing my best to not let things get out of control.  There are a lot of variables out there that can happen on race day.  I can only control myself, nothing else… so why worry about them.  I have a game plan for Sunday, and if I can execute the plan (especially during the swim portion by coming out with some of the lead guys), the result I desire will happen.

Confidence – There is a fine line between confidence and arrogance.  I hope that I never cross that line.  But, after doing a lot of work in the off season in the pool, the bike (almost entirely on the trainer to gain maximal improvement), and running, I know that I have improved.  I am confident in that, and can’t wait to see how these improvement will effect my time and place in the 2014 season.

Stress – Similar to nervousness, stress can be good and bad.  Stress is a motivator, but it can also cause the body to be withheld from its potential.  Being an athlete for a “living” naturally brings with it the pressure to perform well on any given day.  I think a lot of the stress I place on myself and therefore can either create more stress or lower the amount of stress I feel.

NOLA 70.3 is just a few days away.  And the work has been done.  The plan of execution has been developed.  Now it’s time to put it all on the line and see what the new limits are for 2014 after a long off season of hard work.  If you want to follow my progress on race day, go to www.ironman.com and click on live race coverage.

My bib number is 10.  Thanks to everyone that has already done so much to help me get to the start line.

03/22/14
final miles in papa johns 10 miler - mike hermanson

Papa John’s 10 miler 2014 Race Report

Louisville is a great place to be an athlete.  Several really good athletes call this place home.  So it’s no wonder that the annual Triple Crown of Running brings in some talent from all over the nation/world.  It starts with a 5K around the end of February, steps up to a 10K around the beginning of March, and finishes with the Papa John’s 10 miler around the end of March.  The only Triple Crown race that appeals to me is the 10 miler.  I don’t like having to fight thousands of people for parking and such for short races.  This was the first time I’ve participated in the Papa Johns 10 miler because every other year I’ve been out of town that weekend.  I decided to use it as a test set for me for running this week since my coach had me on a light training week and was doing test sets on each discipline.

I knew this course would be tough.  Several false flats, 3.5 miles of running crazy hills in Iroquois Park, and then in the final mile running over a big bridge to burn the legs out one last time.  In the 10.2 miles of the race, there is 510 feet of climbing, which nearly half of it comes while going through Iroquois park from miles 2.5 to 6.25.  I knew I would need to back off the speed a little going through this section to save the legs for the return trip to the finish line.

The race started at 8, and I found myself at the front of the line with some elite runners.  The gun went off, and I took off with a group of 3 other runners, with several other runners following just a few yards behind.  I crossed the first mile marker in 5:18.  A little faster than my goal pace, but after crossing the mile marker, I tried to settle into a pace and not burn my legs out.

Once we made the turn to the park (mile 2.5) I was sitting in 5th or 6th place.  The hills through the park were brutal.  I have to say that I really like running hills though.  I hold my own going up them, but I think that I’m good at using the downhills to give me free speed and also recover.  This was my strategy going through the park.  Work the uphills, recover (but still run fast) on the downhills.  I exited the park in 8th place.  I had my fastest mile just after exiting the park… 5:10 pace.  I felt great coming out the park.  I had one guy about 20 meters behind me, but I figured I could hold him off.

The wind started to pick up and create a headwind at about mile 7.  By mile 8, the guy behind me caught me.  I stepped in right behind him and took advantage of the slight draft he was creating.  I felt my legs starting to recover a little.  I knew I could out kick him in the final stretch if I was patient and attacked at the right time.

Mile 9 starts at the base of an overpass of some railroad tracks.  I let him take the lead, but made sure to keep him work hard by putting in a few surges and run side by side to make sure I burned his legs a little to have him try to hang on to the lead.  Once we crested the hill, I tried to take advantage of my ability at dropping people after a hard climb and blasting down the hill.  It worked.  By the time I got to the bottom of the hill, he was about 10 yards behind.  Reaching the bottom, the course took a turn into the headwind.  I knew I had to keep pushing it to prevent him from being able to use the draft.

We entered Papa John’s Stadium, and he was now about 15 yards behind.  I picked up the pace just slightly to make sure he wouldn’t pass me at the end.  I crossed about 15 yards ahead of him.  I thought I finished 8th overall, but since he crossed the start line about 2 or 3 seconds after I did, he technically beat me by less than a second.  I can’t see exactly, because the time sheet on line only went out to the seconds place.  On paper I finished 9th, but I know that if he would have started the same exact time as me, I still would have beat him since I strategically drafted off of him, pushed him up the hill, and beat him down the hill and into the stadium.  But, in all honesty, it wouldn’t have changed much.  The race only paid out to 5th, so the end result was the same… no money.

I’m still thrilled with my race though.  With the course being long about a 0.2 miles long, I actually beat my goal pace by 1.5 seconds per mile.  I ran between a 5:28 to 5:29 on a hilly course.  This is a great confidence booster going into NOLA 70.3 for my triathlon season opener in my second year with Maverick Multisport

Equipment used:

Thanks for all those cheering on and off the race course during this event.  It definitely helps.

03/12/14
Primal sport mud bottle

Primal Sport Mud Review

Recovery is vitally important to anyone that is training for competition.  Recovery is when the body gets stronger by adapting to the stress (training) that is placed on it.  Without recovery, we would continue to breakdown and end up getting slower and/or injured.  When training for an Ironman, 70.3, or any other long distance event, recovery becomes even more important.

When training at a high level, generally those that are smartest in their recovery are the ones that make the most improvement and beat their competition.  That being said, I know that I must do everything I can to help my body recover.  That is why I’ve turned to Primal Sport Mud this year after a trail run of it early this winter.

Primal Sport Mud comes from the idea that ancient warriors/athletes of putting volcanic mud all over their body to help with recovery and sore muscles.  Primal Sport Mud is basically that, minus the dirt.  They have removed everything except for the active ingredients and activated them to make them more effective.  With that being done, the molecules can absorb through your skin and into your body more efficiently and work much faster.  With using normal organic matter/mud, it would take several treatments to get the same effect as 1 or 2 treatments of Primal Sport Mud.  In the few months that I’ve started using Primal Sport Mud, this is what I’ve noticed:

1.  It helps with sore muscles – Just yesterday I did a fairly hard brick workout.  Afterwards my legs were sore and tired.  I applied it all over my legs and let it soak through.  I felt a lot better after it was done.  The next morning the amount of fatigue in my legs was significantly less than what it would have been without using it based on how I felt in last years workouts that were similar.

2.  It helps with inflammatory issues - I have had some inflammation issues this year in my IT band.  I think it has been due to needing new running shoes and also with the significantly higher volume in comparison to previous years.  I’ve applied it when I felt the pain coming on, and it has always been gone the next day.

When I was first learning how to use it, I was told to apply the Mud, wrap the area in plastic wrap, and then apply heat.  However, I found that using some two 2-gallon zip lock bags worked better.  I cut out the bottom of it and pull it over my upper legs.  I put the part that locks shut around the thickest part of my legs so it wouldn’t rip the bag.  Also, I could reuse the same plastic bags over and over again instead of using plastic wrap once and throw it away.  A small bag can be used over the lower legs in the same manner.  To clean it off your body, simply jump in the shower and rinse somehow with water.  The product is completely water soluble and safe to go down the drain.  It will come off your body looking like coffee going down the drain.

Most recently I completed a radio commercial for Primal Sport Mud.  I added pictures to it so I could upload to youtube.  So here is my 15 seconds of fame:

You can try Primal Sport Mud by going to their website and ordering the product there.  Use coupon code “maverickprimal14″ for 40% off your first order and bring your recovery (and racing) to a new level!

02/26/14

All Things in Due Time

It’s almost March… and that means only about a month and half until I head to New Orleans for the 70.3.  It will be my first time racing at that venue, so I’m really looking forward to it.  It happens to be the weekend after my birthday, so I’m hoping to have good reason to celebrate while I’m there!  The first race of reason season always brings with it a lot of anticipation, anxiety, excitement, and, of course, a little bit of pressure to see what the training over the winter months has done and how this race performance stacks up to races last year.

These winter months have been… for lack of a better word, “stressful.”  But not for the reasons someone might think a professional athlete stresses about.  It had little to do with performance in races, or how well I’m going to represent my sponsors for 2014.  It had to do with something much more basic than that.  My (real) job.

To make a very long story as short as possible (so I don’t lose people half way through this blog), I started a new job with nursing company that places people in the homes to take care of patients.  After being at the job for about 6 weeks, the person’s insurance decided to stop making payments.  So, as a result, we were force out of the house until that whole situation got straightened out.  Essentially, I was laid off.  I was able to get a few hours here and there, but it wasn’t anywhere near enough.  I started to panic.

Thankfully, my coaching business and rental property had really started picking up since it was January when this happened.  However, I could see that if things didn’t change by the time September rolled around and coaching clients began falling off due to their seasons wrapping up, things would be difficult.  With lots of changes going on in the healthcare scene, nursing jobs aren’t as prevalent as they used to be in Louisville.  I began thinking about going after a job that wasn’t even related to my nursing degree.  It had to be a part-time job because of the coaching clients I had were paying for me to do a good job at looking at their data and giving them workouts that were specifically selected for them.  Plus, if I wanted to get to races, a full time mon-fri job would make it very hard to travel the distances required to get to a lot of the big races.

I spent hours submitting applications for anything I could find.  Meanwhile, my motivation to train was lacking.  I was still doing it, but my heart wasn’t in it.

I found a job posting on-line for a home health job.  Part-time!  I almost didn’t apply for it because I figured I wouldn’t even get an interview since it said in the description that prior experience was preferred.  But I figured I give it a shot… what did I have to lose?

Skipping a lot of unimportant details, after 3 interviews for that job, I was offered the position.  It will be a lot more flexible than any other nursing  jobs out there that I’m aware of at this point.  It fits my needs and desires perfectly.  That same week I signed 2 more athletes for my coaching business (and hit the cap of 15 athletes that I set for myself), resigned FCA Endurance as a sponsor for next year, and got an email from USA Triathlon saying that I had been named Pro Rookie of the Year.

After walking through a valley for such a long time, I learned a lot of things that I think God really wanted to me (re)learn:

1.  He promises to provide all our needs – God gave us the money we needed to pay the bills and make ends meet while I was laid off with income coming in from self-employed ventures and my wife’s nursing job.

2.  God is more concerned about our relationship with him than our comfort – sometimes, the only way we can get back on track with God is by going through a tough season that brings about a lot of growth.  If other things take priority in our life, God will do whatever it takes to reclaim that position.

3.  All things happen in God’s timing, not ours – I had been offered a job at long term care facility as a PRN RN.  It wasn’t anything what I wanted, but I was going to settle on it for the sake of having a job.  Thankfully, God had better plans and I was offered the home health job just two days before starting orientation at the long term care facility.  Ironically, I got that email from USAT just hours after all this happened.  It was like God saying, “now that I’m back on top, you are free to race for my glory again.”

Looking back on all this, I can see why I went through all of this.  I learned a lot, and ended up in a much better place than before this whole situation happened.

With all this in mind, it doesn’t change my desire to do well in the sport of triathlon, represent Maverick Multisport and the rest of my sponsors well, or my motivation to push myself to new heights.  I believe that I’m supposed to do everything with 100% effort, whether that’s racing, spending time with family/friends, my coaching business, my job, or anything else in life.

So, if you see me at races with the FCA Endurance logo tattooed to my body somewhere, it’s not only a because I’m trying to be an ambassador for them/Christ, but it’s also a reminder to me of why I race and where my abilities come from.

02/14/14
Mike Hermanson - Big wheel

Cobb Saddles Review

Biking, in some shape or another, has always been a part of my life.  I started out riding the big wheel around in circles on the little cement portion of the driveway when I was younger.  I tore up that driveway.  Power slides, burning rubber (probably more plastic than rubber), and, of course, going super fast:

Sadly, I out grew this speed machine and moved on to something a little bigger and with one less wheel.  I got my first bike and learned to ride it without training wheels.  Just a little  guidance from my dad and… off I went.  However, I can remember 12 mile round trip for breakfast a few times a year as a tradition with my family.  These were my longest rides.  Getting off the bike felt so good to relieve that saddle soreness.

The wooden blocks on the pedals were because my legs were too short yet to reach the bottom of the pedal stroke. My dad, being a wood shop teacher at the time, came up with a great solution!

Eventually high school rolled around.  I was known for riding my bike to school and work when everyone else that could drive took advantage of their four wheels.  Not me… I preferred two wheels.  By the middle of my junior year, I finally decided it was time for a real road bike.  I had no clue what I was looking at, and bought one off the internet (big mistake).  I rode that thing in my first triathlon and for my first three years of racing.  I’m not sure what saddle was on there, but believe me… it wasn’t very comfortable.

This is one of my first rides on this bike. I hadn’t gotten any bike clothing yet… the spandex scared me a little back then.

Fast forward to college.  I finally broke down and bought a TT bike for triathlons.  I had a Selle Italia Gel Flow saddle on it.  It was fine for shorter rides, but when I started doing 70.3 and 140.6 races, the long miles on that saddle really hurt.  By my Senior year at college I got my first really nice bike.  It was a huge step up from what I was riding at the time.  The saddle that came with it was a Fizik saddle.  It didn’t take me very many miles (less than 20 on my first outdoor ride) to know that this bike saddle was one of the worst that I have ever been on.  My plastic big wheel seat from my toddler years was more comfortable that this thing!  Unfortunately, I was a poor college student and decided to just man up and deal with it.

After moving to Louisville, I was connected with a new triathlon store called VO2 Multisport.  They suggested I try using a John Cobb saddle.  The most popular one they sold was the V-flow Plus.  They put it on the bike I was getting and I immediately knew this was the saddle.  Every saddle I had before this wasn’t very comfortable to start with, and over time either my body got used to it or the saddle broke in a little bit and it became tolerable.  But Cobb’s saddle was on a whole new level that the rest of the saddles I tried.  I used that saddle until I wore it out (probably over 20,000 miles on it).  When time came to buy another one, I didn’t even bother looking at another brand.  I knew Cobb’s saddles were the best for several reasons.  I never got saddle sore while riding… even during a race with minimal padding in the tri shorts.

John Cobb has lots of information on their website about their saddles, but here are a couple images to help you decide which one may be the best one for you:

 

They also have a new saddle called “Fifty-Five JOF (just off front)” that isn’t on these charts.  For more information straight from John Cobb himself about this product, click here.

When ordering your saddle, remember that you can save 5% on your saddle and receive free ground shipping by using the coupon code “MavMike” at checkout.

 

 

01/23/14
cropped-Rotor.jpg

Rotor Qrings Review

I have been cycling with power since the fall of 2011.  Power meters are a great tool for any cyclist (as long as you or your coach knows how to interpret the numbers and apply them to your training).  It keeps you honest by giving you data to know the difference between feeling like quitting because you feel like your struggling, but instead to keep pushing through it when the numbers are still within the goal  Power meters also let you know when to quit.  If RPE is sky high, but watts and HR is low, then you’re body is depleted and you’re better off bagging the remainder of the workout.

I had been riding with SRAM Quarq power meter from 2011-2013.  My training was revolutionized when I started training and racing with power.  I was able to pace myself better in races (especially 70.3 and 140.6 distances).  However, this year I made the switch to the Rotor Q-rings.  After one ride on with the Q-rings, I was a believer in all their claims they made on their website.  Here is what I’ve noticed in the first few rides on the rings:

1.  20-25 watts higher at the same RPE – During my hard intervals that I’ve done on the trainer, I noticed that my RPE that used to produce about 300-310 watts (slightly over HIM pace) is now about 320-330 watts.  I am confident that I should be able to hold 310 watts now on a HIM race, which is about 20-25 watts higher than last year.  This, according to some on-line calculators, translates into about 4 minutes faster for for a 56 mile ride.  For an IM race, assuming the watts are consistently 20-25 watts higher, that is a little more than 8 minutes faster for 112 miles.

2.  The cranks are more beneficial at higher power outputs – While riding in Z2 and Z3 yesterday, I could see some difference in the amount of power being produced from my level of exertion.  But this morning when I was riding at threshold, I could see a much bigger increase in the power in comparison to the SRAM Quarq I had used the last 2.5 seasons.  It is consistent with their findings on the website.

3.  Although my watts are higher, my recovery time is the same or less - One would think that if the watts are higher, more lactate is produced by the body.  However, Rotor broke that rule.  Studies show that Q-rings help riders produce more power and produce less lactate.

I’m sure that as time goes on, my body will become more adapted to the elliptical chain rings and produce even more power as the season progresses.  And the data on their website agrees with that assumption.

I’m super excited about what this season could hold for me with the improved power on the Argon E-118 bike, the Rotor Cranks, and the Enve wheels.  Couple that with my swim times being about 5 seconds faster per 100 meters than the end of last season (thank you Lakeside Seahawks), and I should finally break that 4 hour mark.

Thanks again to VO2 Multisport for building the bike fore me… couldn’t be happier with it.

Rotor Bikes – Q Rings a Road Cycling video by Rotor

01/8/14
Thanks to Peter Reid and VO2 Multisport, our Argon E-118 bikes are ready to roll!

Maverick Winter Camp

This past weekend the elite group of athletes that together make up the Maverick Multisport all came into Louisville, where the team is based out of, to meet some of the sponsors, gather up some of our equipment, and officially meet each other.  Unfortunately, one of the females on the team, Amber Ferreira, got stranded in New Hampshire due to weather and will make the trip later this month.  The rest of the team made it to Louisville at some point on either Thursday or Friday.  I was able to host Clay Emge and his fiance, Kimberly, for the weekend.  The rest of the team stayed outside of town at the team manager, Chris Hutchens, house.

The weekend ran a tight schedule.  We had a lot to do and not a whole lot of time to do it.  But, we figured out how to cram all this into one weekend with a little bit of planning and multitasking (both of which are key to being a busy athlete with a real job).  Morning started with a group swim with one of our partners, The Lakeside Seahawks.  They let us swim with them whenever we are in town and able to make practice.  We had to leave early to make it to the team shop, VO2 Multisport to start getting fit on new Argon E-118 bikes.  Peter Reid, one of the fit guru’s at VO2 sacrificed his whole morning and afternoon to get us set up on our bikes.  He got everyone dialed in on their new rides equipped with SRAM components, Rotor Cranks with Q-rings, Cobb Saddles, and Enve wheels.  These bikes are going to be blazing fast this year!

Thanks to Peter Reid and VO2 Multisport, our Argon E-118 bikes are ready to roll!

Clay Emge gets fit by Peter Reid.

While all that was going on, companies like Primal Sports Mud, Infinit Nutrition,  and TYR all talked to us about how to best use their product.  Infinit is revamping their website and wanted to get some videos of us answering some basic questions about our start in the sport, our diets, race day nutrition, etc.

The Crew from Infinit came in from Cincinnati to talk to us about their product and why they are so awesome!

Jeff with Primal Sports mud explained why his product can help with our recovery.

Mike, from TYR, talked to us about the wetsuits and speed suits we will be using this year.

Molly Rhoohi being interviewed by Mike, the CEO of Infinit Nutrition.

Q’doba, another one of our partners, donated some food to us for lunch.  We had several hungry people there, and they even supplied enough for athletes’ significant others to drop by and grab some lunch too.

A gathering like this wouldn’t be complete without a little bit of a photo shoot.  Matt and Pat Photography took photos of us in our new kits printed by Champion System.  We also models other clothing, such as Swiftwick socks, 110% Play Hard compression, Smith Optics, and our TYR wetsuits and swim skins.  After that was over we made the trek out to the country to find a horse farm to get some outdoor photos taken for the website.  After all, you can’t visit Kentucky and not see a horse.  It was cold outside, but the team managed to strip down to our race kits and pose with our bikes all built up with some horses in the background.

 

We had about an hour of down time before we went to our team’s Chiropractor, massage, and sport rehab facility called Occupational Kinetics. They had a meet-and-greet with some snacks for anyone that wanted to show up.  I am excited to get into their facility again this year and work with Dr. Bee, Mike Rowles, and Erin this year to keep me injury free and on top of my game.

And if Mexican for lunch wasn’t enough, we went to a local Mexican joint in Crestwood for dinner.  Who doesn’t like Mexican food??

I know I had a great time meeting my teammates Molly Rhoohi, Clay Emge, and Matt Hanson.  Amber will be coming in town in a couple weeks to get her bike, and I’ll have a chance to meet her then too.

Maverick Multisport is going to have a great 2014, thanks to all our sponsors!  We are all blessed to have you on board.

12/27/13

2013 Lessons learned and season recap

When a season of life is completed, it’s only natural to look back on it and reflect to pull some lessons from the past to figure out what worked and didn’t work.  Where you could have done more.  When you gave it your all. When you accomplished your goals.  When your goals were set higher than you landed.  When you were surrounded by those that you love.  Where you hit rock bottom.  When you were on cloud nine.  It’s amazing to think that all of these highs and lows can happen in such a short period of time, but everything happens for a reason so that we can learn from it and end up smarter and stronger.

Here are just a few things that I learned in 2013, my rookie season of racing professionally:

1.  Don’t let others intimidate me - My first race of the season was Panama 70.3 in February.  I went to the race with very little confidence.  The pro start list had been mailed out and there was a power house of athletes there.  I immediately ruined my chances for a good race by comparing myself to people that have been very successful triathletes for several years.  I remember sitting in the pro meeting looking around and asking myself, “Why am I even here?  This is ridiculous!”  When that thought entered my mind, I lost all hope for a good race.  At the swim start, I had the thought enter my head again.  Long story short, I didn’t perform well.  My mind had over powered my body and it was a long day on the race course.

It wasn’t until June when I raced the 70.3 in Raleigh that I realized the perhaps one of the reasons I wasn’t hitting my goals this year wasn’t a physical issue (since I was hitting the numbers in training) but a mental issue.  The night before the race, my home stay (Brooks Doughtie, a local coach in Raleigh) wrote me a letter before going off to the NCS triathlon practice and left it on the dining room table.  He wrote several things in that letter that I will always remember.  Some of the things I took to heart that he suggested I do is get a mantra to repeat in my head when negative thoughts creep into my head.  He also told me to race til the finish.  You never know what is going to happen to the people in front of you.

That night before falling asleep, I had a mind shift.  I was going to whisper a mantra that would promote positive thinking and race as if I was on the cusp of being in or out of the money.  Long story short, it worked.  I landed my first podium and pay check as a professional triathlete.

2.  Sometimes it’s okay to break the rules - Up until this year, I was focused on racing and training.  I wanted to minimize my stress.  So that meant no girlfriend.  I also had a rule of never to date anyone that I worked with.  Well, both those rules were broken.  The added support that Leslie gave me on top of what was already there from my family and friends pushed me to train harder and race better.  She came to 4 of my races, and three of them I ended up on the podium.  As cliche as it sounds, having her there made a big difference.  After all, I didn’t want to embarrass myself.  Next year, however, I won’t have a girlfriend waiting for me at the finish line.  We got married on Nov. 3rd!

3.  Never take anything for granted - This summer was incredible.  Everything was falling into place perfectly.  Training and racing was going well, I got engaged in July, my coaching business was doing well for it’s first year, and I was already getting calls for next season without spending a dime on advertising.  Then the unthinkable happened.  I lost my real job.  A lot of uncertainty followed.  How will I be able to race?  Will I have to give it up?  How will I pay bills?  What will people think?

I went through a lot of growth.  I did a lot praying and reading of the Bible.  God made me realize that everything was going so perfectly because of Him.  When I stood back and looked at what was going on, I remember thinking that I was invincible and nothing could bring me down.  Well, I was wrong.  Everything I knew was falling apart around me.  Thankfully, God gave me a different job that is less stressful, a consistent schedule, and doesn’t take up an entire day when I work it.  Since my two work days now start at noon and work til 10 pm, I have all morning to get a long training block in if I want before going into to work.  And since my second day is always right after the first, I just take that day as a recovery day and sleep in and do some work on my coaching or something before going into work.

Even though it was a tough situation, God worked it out for the best

4.  Sometimes Less is More - I have written a few blogs on this subject recently, but I am now a believer in high intensity strength training programs.  This year I saw the biggest gains I ever have.  My coach had me doing frequent high intensity training up until the last few weeks before IM Louisville.  I also was doing high intensity boot camps at a local gym, Pure Fit.  A balance of these two things, I believe, was another key to the success I had this season.

5.  Sometime More is More - After looking back on my races, I realized that one of the biggest things I needed work was my swimming.  The swim is of utmost importance in the professional field.  If you have to fight all by yourself in a 56 mile bike to catch the pack and then expect to run well.  So, I started swimming about 3 times a week with a local swim team called Lakeside.  They have kids from elementary all the way up to high school.  Over the years, they have produced some Olympic Athletes… so you know that the coaching is good.  Since I started swimming there, my workouts went from ranging from 3000-4500 meters up to about 5500-6000 meters.  The extra time in the water has helped, but the coach has also helped with my technique.  So far, after a couple months of work, I’m swimming my 100 meters about 4 seconds faster!   This should be a game changer in 2014

6. Listen to the body – In the past, I would be so strict with the training program, that I would drive myself into the ground by the time my A race came around.  I was mentally and physically exhausted.  This year, I took a different approach.  I listened to my body.  If I felt overtrained, I skipped the workout.  If I couldn’t hit the intervals because of  fatigue, I canned it and rested.  Instead of digging a hole and being tired all the time, I would take the down time to eat and rest.  Usually by the next day I was feeling better and back at it.

 

This, of course isn’t an exhaustive list of things learned, but I think I hit the major ones.  I hope everyone can learn from mistakes and successes and have an even better 2014 season!