09/28/15

Ironman Chattanooga 2015

Every race is a learning experience.  Best performances and worst performances offer nuggets of truth if you take time to reflect.  The race before Ironman Chattanooga (Toughman National Championship) was one of my best put together half distance triathlons.  The way I approached that race from a taper standpoint was a little different than other races in the past.  It seemed to be something worth trying again for Ironman Chattanooga just 2 weeks after Toughman Triathlon.

I felt great doing the newly discovered taper leading up to the race.  Plenty of sleep, my legs felt fresh.  My performance management chart was almost identical to the Toughman half the week prior to the race.  I rode my computrainer for every ride the week before the race to try to get as close to the amount of TSS I wanted for each workout.  Mentally, I was ready to race.  Physically, I was fit and fresh.

Ironman morning in Chattanooga was incredibly beautiful.  It was close the first time the sun had shined all weekend.  And with the swim starting right at sunrise, it made for a great view in the water.

Ironman Chattanooga sunrise

Picture credit: Carrie Kiefer

The race started out without warning.  No countdown, no clock to know when 7:20 was arriving… just a loud cannon.  The swim started out very chaotic. The down current swim kept swimmers together a bit more than normal.  I got hit in the face and chest more in this race than I have in very long time.  I decided to swim to the outside of the group for a bit to just get into a rhythm and wait for the group to settle down a bit.  I worked my way back into the group and swam the rest of the way to Ross’s Landing where my Argon 18 bike awaited my arrival.  I believe I was around 15th or so out of the water out a group of 50 pro men.

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The bike course in Chattanooga is a challenging course.  4400 feet of climbing (about 1500 more than Ironman Louisville) and 116 miles as opposed to the standard 112 miles.  When I arrived at my bike, I noticed that someone moved it a bit and one of the rubber bands holding my shoes in a position that would allow a fast transition had snapped.  I managed to make it work without too much of a problem and then put my head down to catch the guys in front of me.  I pushed just under half distance watts for the first 10 miles or so to get into a group and then settled into a nice rhythm with a few other guys.  The group got pretty big, but I had a feeling it wouldn’t take long for it to break up.  It eventually did.  I was in a group of 4 (Trevor Desault, Ray Botelho, and Shearon).  I was spot on for my goal wattage for bike course.  My target was 295-300 watts and we were right at on that goal.  Riding at this goal would put just slightly over 280 TSS for 112 miles. Since this was 116, maybe I should have lowered that goal wattage just a bit.  We rolled up on special needs and volunteers were not even close to being ready for athletes.  The group of three rolled through without stopping.  I stopped to grab 3 bottles of my custom mix of Infinit (MAVERICK save 10%) with 150 calories of NAPLAM with caffeine mixed in.  That combination gives me 430 calories per bottle.  I waited for what seemed like an eternity to get my special needs (probably more like 30 seconds).  I got back in the saddle and decided to take a gamble and try to catch the group of 3 ahead of me.  I rode hard for 40 minutes.  I averaged 315 watts and was slowly reeling in the group.  I probably got within 75 meters of them before we mixed back in with the age group athletes to begin our second loop.  I never caught them and toasted my legs in the process.  I managed to salvage the rest of the bike leg for a respectable time, but about 10 minutes slower than what I was hoping for on this course.  (The group that I lost at special needs road my goal time for this course to the minute.)

Once I got back to transition, I decided to try to the run to see what would happen.  I was hoping my legs weren’t too cooked from the bike effort to try to catch the group earlier.  I felt pretty good for the first 4 to 5 miles.  I averaged about 6:30/mile and then I started slowing down… a lot.  I think part of it was physical.  But I think a big part of it was mental.  I just lost the motivation to keep going.  I was doing 6:30/miles and the guys I exited transition with were not getting any closer.  At the 9th mile marker, I called it a day.

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The biggest thing I pulled away from this race is stopping for special needs is NOT an option if I want to be toward the front of the pro field on the bike course.  Before stopping for special needs, I was jockeying positions with other athletes for 10th to 12th place.  After stopping to wait on my special needs, attempting to ride up to the group and then over exerting myself, I fell back to probably somewhere between 20 and 25th, and lost 10 minutes on the group I rode with for the first half of the bike course.

During an Ironman distance race, I need about 2000 calories on the bike.  This is about 40% of my total calories burned during the bike.  So I need to figure out a way to carry all those calories without stopping. The only option is super concentrating my bottles of Infinit with about 6 servings of NAPALM and 2.5 servings of my custom mix.  It puts me at exactly 1000 calories per bottle.  The other thing I’d have to do with following this plan is to drink more water since I’ll be taking in less volume in liquid calories.  I think it is possible to do this with aid stations every 15 -ish miles.

Overall, I’m obviously disappointed on how it turned out, but I know I have a great result at the Iron distance inside me.  However, it’s going to have to wait until 2016.

Thanks again to all my sponsors that make it possible:

Maverick Multisport, Duro-Last Roofing, Vibra Healthcare, Argon, Enve Composites, Jay Bird, BlueSeventy, Infinit Nutrition, Cobb Cycling, Rotor Bike Components, Sugoi Apparel, BSX Athletics, VO2 Multisport, Swiftwick, Primal Sport Mud, Occupational Kinetics, Lakeside Seahawks

 

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BSX Athleticssave $40 on the multisport unit with code MavMike
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Infinit Nutrition – used the code “MAVERICK” at checkout to save 10%
Primal Sports mud – Discount code: MAVMIKE15 will give you 20% off from 1/1/15 to
09/14/15

Toughman National Championship – 2015

This last weekend, Toughman put on their national championship race located about an hour north of New York City.  It is located at Croton Point Park (Croton-on-Hudson), and it made for a beautiful race location.  The weather didn’t look promising leading up to race day with rain in the forecast and possible thunderstorms, but it ended up being nearly perfect race conditions.  For quick recap, scroll to the bottom for the video update.  For a more in-depth race report, just keeping reading…

Swim –

The swim was in the Hudson river. It had rained the night before, so it made the water have a little more dirt turned up in it.  I under estimated how much time it would take to get to the venue and get set up, so I scrambled a bit to get to the swim start on time and found myself about the 3rd row back in the starting shoot for the swim.  The gun went off and we all made a mad dash for the river.  My goal for the swim was not so much time oriented as it was technique oriented.  I gave myself a swim stroke analysis about a week before this race and found a few things to work on to swim more efficiently.  I decided that if I focused on those things, the rest of the swim would come together.  For the most part that was true.  I was maybe a little too focused on form at the beginning when I should have been focusing on finding a faster swimmer’s feet to get behind.  Once the craziness of the first few hundred meters calmed down, I found myself just behind the lead pack of 4 swimmers.  About 2/3 of the way through the swim, one of them fell off the pack and I passed him before exiting the water.  I would guess I was somewhere between 50 and 75 meters behind the lead pack.  I knew I had my work cut out for me on the bike to catch that group.  I exited the water and T1 in 5th place.

Bike –

This bike course was no joke! 3900 feet of climbing in 56 miles!  There was literally not a flat spot on this bike course other than the first and last mile getting and out of Croton Point Park.  Once out of the park, I was greeted by the first big climb.  I would guess about 1.5 miles long, most of which was in my smallest gear.  The pavement was still wet from the rain the night before, so I was a little nervous about going down this hill since there was a swooping right hand turn at the bottom of it.  I figured I was better off taking it cautiously then spending some time at a hospital.  The first 180-degree turn was about 5 miles into the bike.  At this point, the leader was 2 minutes ahead of me and a group of two behind him was about 90 seconds ahead of me (I passed one guy going up the big hill).  I made it safely down the hill and got back into my aerobars and put my head down and pedaled hard.  I made one small adjustment to my bike prior to the race.  I cut the straw from the my profile-design aero bottle about in half so that it would allow me to get my head to a lower position.  See picture below of me trying to achieve a better position prior to the race:

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last year’s position during Ironman Louisville.

 

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Newest and improved position that I adopted for the 2015 Toughman National Championship.

The slightly lower head position seemed to make a big difference at the race.  By the time I made it to the next 180-degree turn, the guys ahead of me formed a group of three and I was now only about 20 seconds down.  I caught them about 2-3 miles later.  It took me an hour to catch them after starting the bike… but I finally made it.  I averaged 330 watts to do so! I rolled up them fast and tried to put on a little surge as I went by them hoping that they wouldn’t be able to match my pace and I could have about a 4-5 minute lead by the time I got off the bike.  No luck though.  The 3 of them kept the legal distance behind and stayed behind me for the majority of the final 30 miles.  Two of them probably did a total of 5 miles worth of work at the front.  Just before we got back to big hill, a little rain came and wet the roads again… making the decent of the hill a little frightening for me.  I made it safely to the bottom again and continued on.  With about 8 miles to go on the bike, one of the riders in the group got a flat.  I saw this as an opportunity to try to splinter the group and get a little lead before the run.  One rider hung with me (Mario de Elias, a pro from Argentina).  We basically entered T2 at the same time.  I had my first ever race best bike split in a big race! Happy to do this on a tough course.  Lots of hard work and a little bit of playing my aero-position made a big difference from last year to this year.  I also had my race best power for a 70.3 triathlon.  323 watts from normalized power.  1.01 VI.  I felt this was a very well executed bike ride for me.

post bike

Run –

The run tends to be the best part of my race.  I felt really good coming off the bike.  I was pretty confident I could run away from Mario on this run course.  But Mario had other plans.  I left T2 probably about 10 seconds ahead of him.  The first mile was flat and fast.  5:39 was my first mile split… then the climbing started.  The pace slowed down a little… but only a little.  Over the next 5 miles we traded spots in the lead with the following mile splits: 5:46, 6:03, 5:47, 5:48, 7:03 (lots of climbing in the 6th mile while on trails).  Over those 5 miles we climbed just under 600 feet according to my Garmin.  At one point while on the trails, I took a miss-step where my foot didn’t land right.  A small cramp started on the inside of my right leg.  Over the next half mile or so, I felt it getting just a little bit tighter.  I contemplated stopping to stretch it out, but knew that every second was valuable in this situation.  I did my best to keep my stride long to prevent the muscle from cramping more.  I took a salt tab and the next aid station and the cramp went away shortly after that.  By the time we reached the highest elevation of the run, I surprisingly felt like I still had a fair amount left in my legs for the return to the finish line.  I feel that I’m good at working the down hills and getting some free speed, and was hoping for a surge for the finish line.  Mario stayed about 10-20 meters ahead of me during the next 4 miles.  At mile 11, we got to the final trail portion of the race and it was mostly slightly down hill.  I closed the gap with just over a mile to go.  Mario saw me pull up next to him and put on a surge.  I tried to go with him, but I just couldn’t find the energy to match him that morning.  My legs just ran out of juice.  I watched him pull further and further away and crossed the finish line in 2nd.

 

Overall –

I finished as the runner-up at the Toughman National Championship after one my best races (as far as numbers are concerned on the bike and the difficulty of the run course).  Just under a minute away from snagging the title and a lot of extra cash.  But Mario was a better athlete that day.  Toughman put on an excellent race.  The bike course was closed to traffic and the run course was incredible as well.  Lots of scenic views to distract you from the discomfort.  I’m looking forward to coming back next year to get one spot higher on that podium!

podium

Thanks to all my sponsors this year for making it a great season, faster than last year, and lots of fun!  Couldn’t do it without them – Maverick Multisport, Duro-Last Roofing, Vibra Healthcare, Argon, Enve Composites, Jay Bird, BlueSeventy, Infinit Nutrition, Cobb Cycling, Rotor Bike Components, Sugoi Apparel, BSX Athletics, VO2 Multisport, Swiftwick, Primal Sport Mud, Occupational Kinetics, Lakeside Seahawks

BlueSeventy – save 20% on all orders using MavMike.
BSX Athleticssave $40 on the multisport unit with code MavMike
Energy Bits – buy the most nutrient dense food on the planet and save 20% at checkout using “mike502bits.”
Infinit Nutrition – used the code “MAVERICK” at checkout to save 10%
Primal Sports mud – Discount code: MAVMIKE15 will give you 20% off from 1/1/15 to 12/31/15.; http://www.primalsportmud.com/buy.html#sthash.5UY88juh.dpbs
08/2/15

Frankenmuth Experience Triathlon – 2015

This weekend I “experienced” Frankenmuth.  The city is famous for a number of things, but here are two that I partook in:

1. Bronner’s – The world’s biggest and most famous Christmas Wonderland store.  If you can dream it up and relate it to Christmas, they have it.  The property is decorated in Nativity Scenes, Santas, lights, etc.  The property is the same size as 5 football fields!

bronners

2. Zehnder’s – The world’s biggest Family restaurant.  And also the home of the “world famous chicken dinner.” They pride themselves in their service (which was really good) and their chicken dinners (which were good… but I was hoping for something better since it is world famous… but then again, KFC is also world famous).

zehnders

The triathlon also had world class service and professionally ran by the company (3 Disciplines) that put on my first triathlon ever 11 years ago (The Seahorse Triathlon).  The course was beautiful… but much too short for this long distance specialists.  It took me about 15K on the bike before I started feeling good.  I struggled to push half iron distance watts on the bike for the first 15K.  I finally warmed up and Infinit’s NAPALM started hitting my system.  After that, I averaged 330 watts.  At that point, I started catching a group of 3 ahead of me.  I eventually passed them and hit the run feeling good after biking the 3rd fastest bike split of the day (58:10). The bike course was slower than than what I expected due to about 50% of the course being on rough roads and about 12 or 13 turns on the course with lots of gravel on the road.  The run course was a very flat, 2-looped course.  We ran through Bronner’s and got to experience the Christmas spirit in August! I managed to run a 5:47 and passed 2 more guys on the run to finish 6th on the day.

This race doesn’t get much press, but does have a pretty good prize purse.  Some really fast guys showed up, including Ben Collins, Chris Lutz, Thomas Gerlach, and a few other ITU guys.  Considering I out biked most of these guys is encouraging to me.  After racing this, it confirmed to me that the longer the race, the better I do.  Olympic distances are fun and a good speed day, but I felt like I was getting stronger as the race went on.  I’m looking forward to a 70.3 and 140.6 triathlon later this month!

BlueSeventy – save 20% on all orders using MavMike.
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Infinit Nutrition – used the code “MAVERICK” at checkout to save 10%
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06/15/15

Challenge Williamsburg 2015 Race Report Video

Last weekend, I completed the Challenge Williamsburg (formally REV3 Williamsburg). It was a scorcher.  Temps were in the 90’s and the “real feel” was 100+ degrees.  I recovered from a flat tire on the bike and still managed to pull off the 2nd fastest run of the day.  I averaged 320 watts on the bike, which is my 70.3 best power.  The run was 1/2 on trails and 1/2 in the scorching sun.  I love running on trails.  The sound of the dirt and small rocks under my feet with each step is like music to me. I concentrated on that and disengage my mind from the heat and humidity.  I also made sure to walk the aid stations (no shame in my game). I grabbed as much water as possible (usually about 4 cups worth) and ice (usually 2 cups worth) and stuff it down my jersey and hold some in my hand to get a good cooling effect.  Aside from some coke on the run course, I was able to get all my calories from Infinit nutrition.  Although I didn’t place in the top 5 like I was hoping to, I think there were a lot of positives from this race.  Be sure to watch the video below for a race recap and sign up for a Challenge Family race (CHALLENGEMIKE to save $10)!

BlueSeventy – save 20% on all orders using MavMike.
BSX Athleticssave $40 on the multisport unit with code MavMike
Energy Bits – buy the most nutrient dense food on the planet and save 20% at checkout using “mike502bits.”
Infinit Nutrition – used the code “MAVERICK” at checkout to save 10%
Primal Sports mud – Discount code: MAVMIKE15 will give you 20% off from 1/1/15 to 12/31/15.; http://www.primalsportmud.com/buy.html#sthash.5UY88juh.dpbs
Challenge Family Races (USA)use code CHALLENGEMIKE to save $10 on your entry fee. This shows Challenge Family that pros do matter to help #keepourpros
04/22/15

reflecting on 70.3 NOLA

Every race has lessons to learn from it.  Some have more than others… those tend to be ones that go horribly wrong that have more obvious lessons to learn.  However, even on races that go well I think that if one reflects on the race long enough, areas for improvement can be found… even if you won that race.

I obviously didn’t win 70.3 NOLA last weekend, but I felt like I had a great race. Squeezing in a top 10 finish with some big names on the start line such as Andy Potts, Matt Charbot, Eric Limkemann, Ben Hoffman, and Trevor Wuertel to name a few.  I had a short conversation with my coach after the race, thanking him for this help and expressing my satisfaction with the race.  He told me to think about the race and get back to him with 3 areas that went well, 3 areas for improvement, and if anything in the race made a light bulb turn on.  Here is what I came up with:

 

1.  Nutrition – I felt my nutrition, hydration, and electrolyte replacement was spot on.  I never felt weak.  At times I felt like I was loosing steam, but would know to take a shot of NAPALM (on the bike) or some coke (on the run).  With the exception of 1 gel on the bike course and a few shots of Coke on the run course, all my nutrition came from Infinit Nutrition. I absolutely love their product. I have never had any GI issues with their product and it works. Every time!use coupon code MAVERICK at checkout to save 10% on Infinit products.
2.  Bike pacing – I felt my pacing was pretty even.  It wasn’t until about mile 40 when Chris McDonald caught back up to me (I rode solo the entire ride prior to that) that I was able to work with anyone. At that point the wind was so strong, evn sitting 12 meters back was a big difference in power. I would guess 50-60 watts difference.  That’s why my average the last 45 minutes or so was much less. – I love my Rotor power meter and Q-rings.  Pacing is so important in longer races and a power meter makes it much easier to gauge my effort.
3. Run – I felt strong and smooth the entire run.  My attitude was 100% positive the entire race.  I did feel like I had another gear from a breathing/heart rate standpoint, but when I tried to kick it into gear around mile 3 (a huge hill/bridge at the beginning of mile 2 took me a mile or so to find a rhythm after that) i just didn’t have the snap in my legs to get the pace to quicken.  Other than that, the run was great.  I passed 6 or so people with authority.  So fast they didn’t even try to match my pace.
Things that I could improve on:
1. Swim – I’ll try to make this brief.  The water was warmer than what the “official race temperature” was.  I swam in my full-sleeve wetsuit in the same water temp on friday and was burning up.  Even swimming easy I felt like I was going to over heat.  On Saturday, I used my swim skin and was very comfortable in the water.  I decided to use the swimskin on race day knowing from previous experience if I over heat in the swim my bike leg often is embarrassingly slow.  At the start of swim, I got caught in the mix with some of the slower swimmers. I was right in the middle and couldn’t get out to catch the guys I know I can get out of the water with that ended up being about 1:45 ahead.  That group consisted of Trevor Wuertel, AJ Baucco, and Ben Hoffman. I was out with Hoffman and Wuertel last year in this race, out with AJ in San Juan.  Maybe part of the reason was they were using wetsuits??  Not sure.  But one the athletes I coach sent me an email with a good idea on what to do next time the water may be too warm for me to use a wetsuit, but still wetsuit legal – wear my Blueseventy Core shorts over the swim skin.  They give you middle body/hip bouncy but without covering my whole body and cooking myself before the race starts.  I think I will do this in the future. – Use code MAVMIKE to save 20% on your next Blueseventy order.
2. Run – as mentioned in the “the things that went well” I felt like I had another gear on the run from a cardiovascular standpoint, but didn’t have the snap in my legs on that day to knock down the pace an extra 10-15 seconds per mile.
3. I really can’t think of a third thing that could have been improved on for the race.  I really think it boiled down to the swim.  If I were able to get out with the pack I know I can swim with (Weurtel, Hoffman, and Baucco), I would have had the advantage of a group to pace with the entire bike leg (or at least more of the bike leg).  I spoke with Eric Limkemann after the race and his wattages were similar to mine, but since he was in a group he was moving faster.  So if I did manage to get a group for the bike leg, I’m still not 100% certain I would have been able to out run Hoffman and the 6th place guy to claim the final position getting paid, but would have definitely been at least 7th.
Light bulb of the race – suggestion to use the core shorts.  I think that is a great solution to me just getting hot in wetsuits really easily.
I also received a really cool/nice message from Alex Bok (manager of TBB back in the day). I met him at the Maverick Multisport Pre-season camp in January this year:
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03/16/15

Puerto Rico 70.3 Race Report with Live Race Footage

Yesterday I completed the Puerto Rico 70.3 for the first time.  I felt strong and confident going into the race.  I had seen big improvements in all three disciplines since last season and was excited to see how that translated on race day.  Below is a quick recap in video of the race with REAL RACE FOOTAGE!  I talk about my race and some highlights on the course.  Overall, the numbers were good, but with a mechanical problem on the bike, my time was much slower that I was hoping for.  Good news is the fitness is there and I’ll be smarter and have the issue resolved on my bike for NOLA 70.3 on April 19th.

If you have thoughts on this video… good, bad, or otherwise, please let me know.  Or some suggestions on how to do these in the future.  I thought that people would like these since race coverage for triathlon is well… basically non-existent.  And usually by the time a big race makes it on TV, it is literally months later.  This isn’t a cinematic production, but I hope you enjoy it and can learn a few things about the race and the course if you ever do San Juan 70.3.

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swim 1

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01/28/15

Duro-last national sales seminar 2015

Over the last few days I was able to go to TX with my in-laws and wife to join Duro-Last in their national sales conference.  Literally everyone in the company was there from private contractors, to regional sales reps, and people from corporate.  Even the wife of the man that founded the company years ago.  I was able to connect with several of the people that agreed to sponsor me for the 2015 season and got to know some of them a little better.  I also talked about ways to help market their product, what I had planned to do as far as advertising for them, and some of their ideas.  Over all, they were very pleased with what I’ve done in the last couple months since they agreed to sponsor me.  It is always good to hear from the corporate side of things that they are happy!

But, why Duro-Last?

Last year was the first sales conference I attended (due to just being newly married into the family.  My father-in-law is a private contractor for Duro-Last in Louisville, KY. Roofing Solutions is their company.)  I was very impressed with the company for two reasons:

1. They strive to be the very best in the industry – they pride themselves in manufacturing the best products for flat roofing.  Even though they are at the top of their game, they always are looking for ways to improve and become more efficient.

2.  They were founded on, and still practice, Christian business principles – The company stands behind their products and sees value in the “little guys” that help keep the business open.  They work with private contractors to ensure their satisfaction.  I heard it from several private contractors both last year and this year: “Duro-Last is the best company to work for.  I’ve never been let down by them.”

I felt like we had a lot in common: desiring to be the best in all areas of life and doing so in a moral and upright way.  No cheating.  Just hard work and giving credit to God, the one that gave me the ability and resources to train/race at a high level.

So, thank you, Duro-Last for getting behind me for 2015.  I had a great time in Galveston, TX… meeting new people, getting antiquated with people from last year, and, of course, getting some quality training in some warm, sunny weather!

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A little family fun at the welcome party!

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Moody Gardens had an aquarium and rain forest.  We had access to both of these during the welcome party.

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One of the many sharks!

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Texas Turtle!

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A nice sun burn from 2 long rides outside

DCIM134GOPRO

08/6/13

Steelhead 70.3 Race Report

I admit it… I made a rookie mistake.

Michigan summers are very unique.  Or should I say “cool” or “unpredictable”?  And Lake Michigan is even more unpredictable.  Race morning was in the upper 50’s and water temps were in the mid 60’s.  The day before, the water was about 10 degrees colder.  But the one thing that should always be predictable is how the morning prep goes before a race.

I woke up later than I should have, rode my bike the 2 miles to transition, and then ate breakfast.  BIG MISTAKE.  I should have left the house the time I woke up and ate breakfast as the house.  This would have  given me more time to digest my food and get down to the swim start to warm up before the race.  Instead, I ate breakfast about 45 minutes before race start and didn’t get a warm up swim in due to the nearly 2 mile walk from my spot in transition to the swim start.

 

The waves were a bit unforgiving.  I’m guessing some were about 3 feet.  Also, instead of swimming with the current, as the race director promised we would, we swam against the current.  Swim times were slow across the board, mine was about 5 minutes slower than normal.  I exited the water where I normally do… right behind Ryan Rau.  Running through the sand to transition I notice my stomach felt full and my breakfast was still sitting somewhere in there while being tossed around by the waves.

I hopped on my bike and onto the Blue Star Highway to begin the 56 mile journey.  My stomach still felt full.  I became nauseated and wasn’t able to stick to my normal nutrition plan.  My power was lacking and every time I took a gel (which I spaced out more than normal for this distance trying to relieve the nausea) my stomach wanted to burp it back up.  Finally around mile 35, my stomach emptied.  The nausea went away and I was able to race the last 20 miles of the bike leg.  However, at this point I knew it was too late to salvage the race.  I decided to focus on the future run leg, the only thing I could control at this point, and try to run 6 minute miles or faster.

I got off the bike and felt great right away.  I passed a couple guys in transition, and one before hitting the first mile marker.  With the exception of the first mile, which included a steep hill, my first nine miles were all between 5:50 and 6:00/mile.  I was slowly catching some of the pro field.  However, the lack of calories on the bike caught up to me by about mile 10.  I started slowing down and only managed about 6:20 for the last 3 to 4 miles.  This allowed some of the guys to pass me in the final miles.

          

I crossed the finish line disappointed with the day.  I shot myself in the foot from the time I woke up in the morning and couldn’t do anything to fix it from there.  However, that being said, I doubt even if I was on top of my game that I would have placed in the money.  There were lots of fast people in Benton Harbor on Sunday getting last minute points for worlds and getting in a final tune up before going to Vegas in September.

 

Next up, I’m looking at my hometown for the Louisville Ironman.  I feel much better this year going into the race.  As long as I don’t get sick like I did last year just before the race, I think I’ll have a good race and have some hometown support to help!

06/21/13

Syracuse Prerace

A lot has happened in the last three weeks since finishing the inaugural 70.3 in Raleigh.  Most of them have presented me with some sort of unexpected hurtle to overcome, but that’s just life.  In the last three weeks I’ve:

1. Had to replace my Garmin Edge 500 after it fell off my bike and got ran over by a car.  I ended up getting the Garmin 910xt (spending my winnings from the Raleigh race in a much different way than I was hoping).

2.  I started feeling some Tendinitis in my left knee during the race at Raleigh on the bike.  I noticed for the first few miles of the bike, but after about mile 15, I never felt it again.  I went to Occupational Kinetics for some treatment.  I was amazed at the rate that the tendinitis healed.  Hopefully it stays at bay and won’t bother me again.

3.  My bike started making some crazy popping sounds just before needing to leave for Syracuse.  I also broke a spoke (a sign that maybe I need to drop a couple pounds, maybe?) while on a training ride.  The wheel is fixed now and Cycle Smiths took great care of me pushing my bike to the front of the work load.  The basically stripped my entire bike down to figure out where the creaking sounds was coming from and built it back up.  After taking it out today for a some short intense intervals, the bike is riding smooth and quiet again.

 

I arrived with my girlfriend in Syracuse after 11.5 hours of driving.  A long haul, but we started early and only hit a little bit of traffic in Cincinnati.  Our host for the week, Shirely, a member of the Central NY Tri Club, has been great.  She left her house open for us since she wasn’t going to be home and let us help ourselves to whatever we needed.  She gave me a ride to the pool this morning and the race venue to check it out.  She also gave Leslie and I some ideas on some fun things to do together.  We ventured to an indoor high ropes course to a crazy big mall called Destiny USA.  It was a stretch for both of us, since neither of us are a huge fan of heights.  After a short afternoon brick, we made our way to a local park to hang out of the evening.  I have to say, it’s been nice to have some company to help keep the nervous energy down.

But, of course, I’ve thinking about this race since getting in last minute.  Playing it through in my head over and over again.  I feel very confident of my abilities.  Taking a look at the pro start list, I think I have a very legitimate shot at walking away with a some money from this race.  But, I want to do better than a 5th place (what I placed in Raleigh).  To do this, I really need to push the bike a bit more.  I have to find a new level of discomfort and be okay with that.  I know that my run may suffer a little from it, but if I can gain 3 or 4 minutes on the bike and only run a minute or so slower, that is still a net gain of time.  The trick is balance and pacing, and nutrition.  I’m going to follow the same nutrition plan as I did for Raleigh, since it seemed to work out pretty well.  Infinit will be my main source of calories and electrolytes.  I will supplement with water and salt stick tabs throughout the ride to stay hydrated.  When the run comes up, I’ll use NAPALM highly caffeinated to fuel the rest of my race.

So what are my goals for this race?  I would like to exit the water in 26 minutes, ride the 56 miles in 2:13 to 2:14, and run about a 1:19.  These times won’t be quite good enough to break 4 hours, which is my long term goal… but it will get me closer.  Placing… I’d like to land 3rd if possible… which I think it is.  Only time will tell.

Cya at the starting line…