Ironman Chattanooga in my future!!!

So weeks ago, I believe sometime in March, I registered for Ironman Chattanooga, and with my only other race of the season out of the way, I am stoked to officially begin training. 

Chattanooga is a swim friendly race. It is an all downstream swim which is a huge plus to me. It’s kind of like just coast and let the current carry you. Hopefully this will be a great help. 

The bike is not a 112mi route and instead a 116mi route making the race a 144.6 instead of the traditional 140.6 which is super cool. An extra 4mi bike is minimal in the grand scheme of things. 

Week 1 is well underway and my training plan has shifted from just logging time and miles to actual work. On average every week will consist of two interval workouts and one endurance workout. So far so good. 

Hoping for the following splits:

  • 🏊🏾: 2hrs
  • 🚴🏾: 7.5hrs
  • 🏃🏾: 4.5hrs 

The real work begins now. 

Race Report: HITS Napa Half…a DNF

April 8 seems like just yesterday but in fact it was weeks ago.  Better late than never right?  Anywho, this race was awesome and completely sucked at the same time.  If you have read my other posts, then you already know this but if not, I am from Virginia.  About middle East coast in the U.S., we experience winters with snow, sub freezing temperatures, and all of the other cold things that people enjoy, but nobody wants on race day.  I traveled to Napa California (CA) where I thought some sunshine and warm weather would really make for a great race.  I WAS WRONG…..

I woke up in Sacramento CA race morning around 330am and arrived at the race site in Napa CA at approximately 5am.  Get this, it was 37 degrees when I arrived.  At race start, air temp was 39 degrees, and water temp was 57 degrees.  I myself was not prepared for such a cold day, and neither were several others.

The swim was not too bad.  About 400m in, my hands froze, and I was unable to put my fingers together for a proper swimming motion, and when exiting the water, I realized my feet were frozen as well.

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My T1 time was a whopping 12mins.  It was so cold, I could not put on my gloves, and struggled to get off my wetsuit.

The bike began pretty easy.  My body quickly warmed up, and even tho their were many hills, was able to get into a rhythm.  My hands and feet were another story.  They were frozen to the core.

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Rain started around mile 15, and by mile 20, it was a downpour.  Let me tell you, rain plus 30mph downhill, frozen hands, and 40 degree weather do not mix well.  At mile 44 of the bike, withdrew from the race.  My hands were so frozen, I became unable to shift the gears, use the brakes, or grab a water bottle.  My feet so frozen I was unable to unclip.  One small slip, and down I would go.  No brakes, and off the mountain I could roll.  It wasn’t worth the risk at that point.

I wasn’t the only one who made this decision.  In fact, after speaking to spectators, about 25% of racers were dropping out due to being just too cold.  In total, over 50 racers were treated for signs of hypothermia.

You live, and you learn.  No injuries, and I am here to race another day.

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One Day Out: Prep and Nutrition

So I made it to Sacramento CA, safe and sound.  Only a tornado warning in Hampton Roads VA where we flew out of, a tornado warning in Dulles Airport VA where we had a layover, and a torrential downpour in Sacramento CA when we landed.  But all is well, and all traveling was without major interruption.

I picked up my bike from the local FedEx this morning, reassembled her, and so far no worries.  No damage, bumps, bruises, scratches, or dings.  This was probably my biggest concern but BikeFlights took good care of her so I am a happy camper, at lease until tomorrow morning when I come to the realization that I have to swim in sub 60 water temp, 58 degrees air temp, rain, and 20mph winds.

For now, I relax in the hotel, load up on coconut water, and put together my hydration/nutrition plan for race day.

Race day nutrition is actually the most difficult part of triathlon for me to grasp.  The more you run the faster you get, and the same applies to swimming and cycling (in a general sense).  But not nutrition.  You need to know how much you sweat per hour, how many calories you will need to fuel your race, how you need to configure a plan to carry and/or receive those nutritional requirements on the independent race legs (swim, bike, run), and then practice this plan.  Too much fuel can lead to puking during your race, and to little will lead to cramps, loss of function, or what we triathletes call a “bonk”.

My setup for this race, and hopefully for future races is to take in about 80 carbs per hour in a combination of gels, sports drink, and carb chews.

I estimate the bike will take me three hours to complete.  Every hour I will take a Hammer Gel (Gatorade had some shipping errors with their gels so hammer will have to do for now) at 20mins and 40mins, and eat one carb chew at 0/60mins.  This along with one serving of Gatorade Endurance Formula energy drink will put my total to just over 80carbs per hour.  Since this race is not Ironman Sponsored, I will have one water bottle of a Gatorade Endurance Formula concentrate placed behind my seat to replenish my Gatorade through the race instead of using the race provided sports drink (I think it is HEED).  On my down tube, I will have fresh water to drink to thirst.  A rest stop every 15 miles will refill my aero bottle for Gatorade that I will be drinking and my downtube bottle for water.

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For the run, my main concern is hydration.  A rest stop every 1.5miles will focus solely on water.  I will run with a 12oz hand bottle that is filled with a concentrate of 5 Hammer Gels, 4 servings of Gatorade Endurance Formula mix, and water.  In total, it will  have around 200 carbs only to fill it up.  I will take a small sip every half mile to keep energy constant.  I should have about a third left at the end.

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In transition, I have a water bottle with a mix of Gatorade Endurance Formula and three caffeinated Gels.  A quick drink pre race, and during transitions for some extra energy when transitioning from one discipline to the other.

All in all, I am confident of this plan.  A very active bike in terms of nutrition in hopes of helping me power through the run.  The goal isn’t not to collapse, just to collapse after the finish line.

Race Week: Excitement and Concerns

So this is it.  It is race week.  A first of many things to come.  All of which will provide more material for me to post about in the near future.  This upcoming Saturday, I travel to Napa CA for the first race of the season.  HITS Napa 70.3.  I am very excited, but also very nervous.

Traveling for a race, at least to this extent (VA to CA) is a first.  As a result, last Thursday, March 31, I packed up, and mailed my bike to Sacramento CA where I will be staying for this race.  With BikeFlights.com I was able to ship my bike via FedEx ground for about $150 round trip. Another first for me, and an extremely nerve-wracking experience.  We will find out this Friday how it turns out when I pick up my bike from the local Sacramento FedEx.  Hopefully all goes well because I will lose it if my bike is not ok.

The reason I chose this race was because my wife has family in CA, and we have made a trip to visit around this time for the last few years.  So not only a chance to race, but also a chance to show the new/extended family a little more about myself, and what I am passionate about.  It will be their first time seeing me compete, and their first triathlon race overall, so hopefully the experience goes well for everyone.

First race with a wetsuit for me, and this is a big worry.  I have swam about 5 times in the wetsuit, but a fit is still something I am working to figure out.  Shoulder fatigue in the wetsuit is a killer at the moment so getting this thing figured out is probably my biggest concern.  Swimming is by no means my strength, so having a wetsuit and its benefits is a big plus.  These benefits won’t be a factor if my shoulders are dead after 500m of swimming in a half distance race.

The weather will also be a major factor.  It is predicted a high of 60 degrees air temp, 60 degrees water temp, and 40% chance of rain.  This is going to be awesome, and really suck at the same time.

All in all, like every race, their are concerns along with the excitement.  I feel very prepared, from a physical standpoint considering I have been training for a full distance race but their are many things that you cannot prepare for when it comes to triathlons.   Only time will tell how everything plays out.

One Month Out

So today marks one month from race day. April 8 is HITS Napa Valley 70.3. This will be my second half distance race and I’m looking to PR in a big way. Since I’ve been training for a full, I feel the half shouldn’t be too difficult a challenge from the distance perspective. As long as I can keep up the intensity I should be fine. 

My last time was 6hr 59min of straight hell!!!! Prior, I had never swam more than 1500m biked more than 50mi or ran more than 9mi. 

I’m anticipating a low 6hr race and aiming for a sub 6hr with the following splits 

  • Swim 32min
  • Bike 3hr
  • Run 2hr 15min

I think the difficult part here will be keeping the intensity up on the bike. I know that I can maintain 16mph for 100mi on a daily basis so keeping the intensity for half of that will be a challenge. 

I’ve swam in a pool 3000yds at 2min/100yds pace so I feel I’m prepared for the swim. This will also be my first race with a wetsuit which will be a huge plus. 

In my last race, I cramped off the bike and completely died the whole run. Couldn’t run half a mile before I cramped. Since, I’ve worked on my preparation as well as my race day fuel. I’ll be racing with tailwind nutrition so the combination of electrolytes and carbs in liquid form have been a great plus. 

All in all I feel prepared. This is only half way to the ultimate goal of a full Ironman later this year. Just a few more hard efforts left and the taper begins. 

🏊🏾🚴🏾🏃🏾

Update: March Madness 2 months in

I always see people posting their weekly, monthly, and yearly stats.  “100miles ran this month” and so on.  I figured what a great way to set some general long term goals, and keep my commitment up.  So in January, I decided to do just that.  Three goals for the year:

  • Run 1,000miles
  • Bike 2,000miles
  • Swim 100,000yards

So far, all things considered, I am doing pretty well.  Here are the distances as of March 1:

  • Run 28miles
  • Bike 83miles
  • Swim 19,600yards

So all things considered is the key term here.  I knew things would start off slow because its winter in VA, and I try to avoid the outside cold.  I also have 4hrs of cycling time that was done on a trainer that doesn’t record distance.  I have since graduated from spin class to Zwift which is a great experience.  I also missed about 10 days of training for my wedding/honeymoon, and was forced to take 3 weeks off from running due to a foot injury.

As it sits, I need to average the following to meet my goals:

  • Run 98miles
  • Bike 195miles
  • Swim 8050yards

Not too shabby.  I think the running will definitely be the most difficult.  25miles a week for a year is a tough task.  Either way, Im up for the challenge.  Sub 4hr marathon means a new tri bike (another goal I’ve set) so I guess thats just a little more motivation.

Bike Wreck….At Least I Remembered To Pause My Garmin

So here I was…minding my own business trying to enjoy a 77degree day on a bike ride at the beach. Intending on riding 40mi on an out and back route that I planned on riding twice. A route that I have ridden multiple times starting with the first 5 miles along the road with a bike shoulder and not too much traffic And the next 5 miles along the ocean strip with a good amount of people around depending on the weather but a designated share the road cyclist area. That’s the out. So 10 miles out 10 miles back and that’s one loop. 

Anywho here I am riding about 22mph with the wind in my favor. I’m on my tri bike so I’m aero bars and everything. Mile 13, and about 15 ft ahead of me a man crossed the street without looking my way to see for traffic. Behind him is his wife/mother (I am unsure but she is an older lady) who follows him to cross the steeet. 

Now, 15ft goes very quickly at 22mph so in the split seconds that I had I remember yelling “no no no no” standing up, hitting my breaks and trying to squeeze in between the two pedestrians. I would have been successful and avoided a collision if one thing hadn’t of take place. For reasons unknown to me, the older lady saw me, and instead of stopping in her tracks or stepping back towards the sidewalk, she took three quick steps forward closing the only gap that I had to attempt to avoid a collision. 

I slammed my breaks, locked my front wheel, un clipped my feet, and somehow managed to get my bike to stop just shy of the older lady, while my body flew over her. Unfortunately, I struck her in the head with my arm knocking her to the ground, but things could have been much worse. 

Afterwards, she was very apologetic, and while I personally was beyond upset for the lack of awareness while crossing the street, nobody was truly hurt, and people matter most. She got up, we shared some words, she was concerned for my well being and my bike, and I was concerned for hers.  Ultimately she walked down the street with the man who was with her back to her hotel and I continued my bike ride calling it short at 20mi. 

Aside from a few scratches and bruises, the only true “damage” is that the incident knocked my rear wheel to become completely out of true. Nobody was seriously injured, and I even remembered to pause my garmin. 

Stay safe on the roads everyone. You never know what life may throw your way. 

Training Update: Yesterday Was a Big Day

For those who really know me, you know that I love sports.  In fact, I will take it a bit deeper and say I have an obsession with competition.  I have very high expectations of myself, and not reaching those expectations motivated me to push myself harder.  This applies to all walks of life however in the triathlon world, it has not seemed to work out.  Motivation, hard work, consistency, hasn’t really panned out the way I would have hoped.  Or at least I couldn’t see it.  That is until yesterday (Feb 16 2017).

In 2015, I signed up to do my first (and to this point only) Half Ironman at IM Eagleman 70.3 in Cambridge Maryland.  I had big expectations. It was a failure.  The swim was dreadful, I suffered on the bike, and I died on the run.  I finished, but it took me 7hrs.  Way over what I was hoping for.  The swim alone took 50mins with an average pace of 2min 54sec per 100yd.  Oh yea, I was able to walk most of the swim. 

In 2016, I signed up for three sprint races with the hopes that a Podium would be in my sight.  Didn’t happen.  I got pretty close, but I didn’t perform in terms of my expectations. The swim just completely drained me every race. By the time I got on the bike I was exhausted. Not because I started too hard, but because I was just a bad swimmer. It wasn’t working out. 

But yesterday I Made a breakthrough. Yesterday in sight of my first race of 2017 and my second half Ironman and in the road to my first full Ironman I swam 3000yds. One take. No breaks. 2min per 100yds. And it felt great. Not fast but progress. I’ve finally broken through the 1000yd wall I have been fighting for two years.  For the first time in my short triathlon career, I feel like I have figured out the swim. And just in time

Can’t wait to crush the rest of the season. 

Addiction step 1: admitting you have a problem…

That’s right. I have a problem. As many many others do as well, I am addicted to triathlons. It has completely taken over my life. As it should, I mean come on how many people are crazy enough to take on a 16hour race that is an Ironman?  Well actually you would be surprised to know that their are several thousand crazies who are addicted just as I am.  Comforting  isn’t it?  And when you have committed to such an event, it really does have to take over your life.  And if it doesn’t have to, it will anyway. That’s just the nature of the beast.  
My addiction really manifests itself in about  5 main ways. 

  • Impulse buying: always a new trinket or gadget to buy. It starts with the main items like a bike and running shoes and then you need the small things like new elastic shoe laces that will save you 30seconds in transition from not having to tie your shoes. 
  • Everything Aero: ever see those ppl driving with their hand out the window playing in the wind? Well that’s me only I’m not playing in the wind…instead I’m trying to find out what hand position is the most aerodynamic and how I can translate that to cycling. 
  • Never too sexy: let’s face it most people aren’t ok walking around in tights. Nobody really wants to walk around in public wearing peter pans outfit. Not a triathlete. Every training day is a new time to show how comfortable you are wearing the tightest clothes. I’m the guy walking around Walmart grocery shopping in his bike shorts because he just finished his Sunday morning ride. 
  • Everything has a schedule: training plans are meticulous. An average bike session consists of a total time for the workout broken down into intervals for rest, heart rate zones, and power efforts. And that’s exactly how every day is planned. I can tell you when I get up and how long it should take every event of the day until I am back sleeping. 
  • Everything is a race: swimming next to me in the pool? Yup we’re racing. Got our food at the same time at a restaurant? Yup we’re racing. Got to the self check out at the same time? Yup we’re racing.  I even consider waking up early a race against the sun. And guess whose winning? Yup. Not me. 

Triathlon takes over your life whether you want it to or not. That whole “all things are good in moderation” goes completely out the window. The term total immersion doesn’t just refer to the swimming. Sometimes you just have to grab things by the aero bars and mash the pedals. 

Back at it Again

It has been such a long time since my last post and much has changed. I’ll try to sum it up as best as possible as quick as possible. 

THE LIFE: Well I got married!!! January 7 2017 (1717) marks the most significant day of my life thus far. We tied the knot in Miami FL on the Carnival Glory (cruise ship) and had 30 family and friends join us for our 7 day honeymoon to the Caribbean. What an experience!!! Love is good. 

THE RACE: I am officially registered and preparing for the first race of the season. HITS Napa Valley CA 70.3!!! I haven’t done a race since I believe July 2016 so this will surely be a refresher. It is also only my second half distance so a PR is a must, but most importantly, this is a tester for my intended full IM later this year. April 8 is right around the corner. 

THE TEAM:  So back in August I got the opportunity to participate in something great. August 8 2016 I met up with Jeff Fairbanks of The Triumph Project. Jeff set on an amazing journey to complete 21 half Ironman distances in 21 days traveling from Maine to Florida. I only did half the swim and rode about 25miles of day 13 but I was able to create a friendship that has opened many doors for me. Since then I have become an ambassador for Love The Pain, and joined Mojo Racing Team. Together, they have sparked an amount of motivation and dedication to the sport of triathlon that I have not yet been able to reach.  Much more about them to come. 

THE INJURY:  With hard work comes many setbacks. Unfortunately due to overuse (I hope) my foot is giving me some issues. I am not sure of the specifics, but it seems like tendinitis on the outside of my right foot. Almost under the ankle. Luckily this is a rest week for me so hopefully rest and ice will do me good. I’ve got 25 miles to log next week so it’s either put up or shut up. I did join Love The Pain for a reason right?

Anyway this pretty much sums up things for me right now. Very excited for how things are going, and the progress that I have made. Hopefully I can continue to progress in all areas.