70.3 World Champs

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When I took my 70.3 Worlds spot in at Galveston 70.3 this past spring, I knew the summer was going to be less than ideal. At the end of July I took the Washington State Bar Exam…soooooo needless to say there was about 75 days in there were I was one sleep deprived hot mess. BUT…even though that was the case, back in April I wanted something to look forward to AFTER the Bar (since I wasn’t signing up for a full ironman this year BECAUSE of the Bar) so I took the spot and approached it with a “no expectations” mindset. I actually race better that way anyways. BONUS. SO…back to June and July. I got Coach P cut me back to one workout a day but I’m not going to lie…in July I had to sometimes choose a nap over going to the pool. It is what it is…but come July 31 (a.k.a. academic freedom) game was ON! …And that was right about when I got in a fight with some pavement outside Boulder on Ironman weekend. The pavement won. IMG_4893 I had a really good clean streak going on there. My last spill was in 2011 (my infamous ironsplat in Cozumel). It didn’t seem all that bad at first. The people that stopped and gave me a ride back into Boulder told me I “flew gracefully” actually, but I ripped the skin off my elbow and hip (more like the top of the pelvis bone) REALLY deep. I was told I didn’t need stitches but come a week later we realized that was probably not the case and I should’ve gotten stitches but what can ya do at that point. I actually had to go to a walk in clinic the week after because we thought my elbow was infected and needed to be debrided (gotta love a Dad diagnosis via text message pictures). BIGGEST waste of time. The guy looked at me for LITERALLY 10 seconds, gave me a DPT shot (???) and a bandaid. Thanks dude. Sometimes you just gotta get pissed off, take a shot of tequila, hop in the shower and get that debriding done yourself ;) Anyways…overall it was not an ideal situation when your window for training for a World Champs was already cut down to 5 weeks and you’re feeling out of shape and HAVE to be in a pool. I ended up looking like scrambled eggs for about 5 weeks, got creative with my snap chats, and just sucked it up. After a while, feeling like fire almost feels like normal! [quicktime]http://teamtimex.timexblogs.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/IMG_4903.mov[/quicktime] Video (that I didn't realize was being taken) from when the boys in Boulder helped clean me up with hydrogen peroxide when I couldn't do it myself. IMG_5058     IMG_5039 IMG_5786 The rest of post Bar Exam limbo was GRAND! In addition to Boulder there was a week in Whistler and a week in Victoria before the week in Mont Tremblant. Checking out on life was VERY much needed and very much a success because after all was said and done, I couldn’t wait to get back to my own bed and back to being a responsible adult in the real world. As for the road rash, I managed to not have scrambled eggs wounds anymore within days of Mont Tremblant after working my butt off in my small window of training so getting into a wetsuit was no longer a problem and I didn’t have to water proof bandages with hot pink duct tape anymore come race day! The best part of Mont Tremblant??? September 7th (race day) is my BIRTHDAY! It’s also my Mom’s birthday (yes, same day) and she was going to be there too! Not that anything special happens on your 29th birthday but it was my birthday gosh darnit. I took the redeye in from Seattle the Wednesday prior and my mom flew over from Winnipeg the next day. I had a few issues with being on 650 wheels now on an 11 speed bike and needing a different stem but I made do with having to throw my training wheel on the back last minute and rocked “a mullet.” Business in the front, party in the back…a.k.a. tubular race wheel in the front (business) and clincher training wheel in the back (party). Hahahaha. 10603750_10101353356404776_8036844501799985705_n Race week was filled with lots of laughing thanks to Rob (who’s ability to consume crepes is absolutely impressive) and overall was probably the most relaxed I’ve ever felt on race week.

IMG_5281Rob on my baby bike with its "mullet" because riding a size 47cm bike is sooooooooo funny.

 So onto the good stuff. My 70.3 race report in the usual bullet point format based upon what I was thinking or saying out loud. It’s not as exciting as usual. My inner voice is SO much better when you double the distance...and the inner voice is WAY better than watts and mile splits: Swim:
  • While corralled up like a bunch of cows I searched for Caitlin. Eventually we found each other, hugged, caught up on life, and she wished me happy birthday.
  • The wave before us went off and everyone started running to the beach edge and Caitlin starts going, “Why are we running? Why are we running? Why is everyone running?!?!?!?!” <---- I can’t stop laughing.
  • That feeling of being packed like a bunch of sardines starts happening and I look at Caitlin and said to EVERYONE, “I DON’T WANT TO DIE ON MY BIRTHDAY!”
  • Everyone looked at me and I told them all I was turning 21-ish. (key word there is ISH).
  • The cannon went off and I thought I was going to get beat up and die…but I actually had the best swim start I’ve ever had in a major race. Perfect run and dive in and swam hard enough for the first couple 100 meters to stay out of the washing machine but still was able to jump on feet when everyone began to settle. PHEW.
  • I knew the last 50m or so was SUPER shallow (because I accidentally stood up Rob earlier in the week when we were supposed to meet at the SWIM START for a workout but apparently I was at the SWIM EXIT. I suck at life sometimes) so while everyone around me tried to stand up and run WAY too early, I dolphin dove a good 8-10 times and passed them ALL! Such a cool feeling!
  • Wetsuit strippers – I’m always terrified they’re going to rip my bottoms off. Nobody got mooned. All was good.
  • Overall feeling about the bike portion? – It’s a whole lot tougher to ride a HILLY and WINDY course when you do it by yourself (ummm...don't draft) like we’re supposed to.
  • Bike mount – Shimano Ryan yelled, “Go SAM!” and took a picture before making fun of my baby speed concept before I ran off to get my butt kicked by that course.
  • First 30k – I felt flat. Super flat. I also dropped a chain. Wamp wamp
  • Second 30k – Some guy passed me pinned to another girl’s wheel so I took it upon myself to ask, “Hey! How does it feel to have a girl do all your work for you?!?!” <--- He didn’t like that too much :) I thought it was rather funny though.
  • Second to last 15k – Caitlin caught back up to me after already having passed me but having a mechanical as well and we yo-yo-ed back and forth LEGALLY the rest of the way into town. It’s WAY more fun having a friend to suffer with. It makes racing soooooo much more fun!
  • Last 15k – HOLY SMOKES. I mean, I had heard that it was tough and I had driven it a few days before when Rob gave me directions to their place but really he dropped a pin on the map randomly up in the mountains 13 miles away (probably to get me back for the whole wrong swim area incident...just kidding) so I got lost and saw the bike course…but doing it on a bike was something else. There was a lot of grunting from everyone around me and I’m still really angry at that camera man that was telling everyone that all the climbing was done when IT WASN’T EVEN CLOSE TO BEING DONE! At that point I knew I was out of the hunt but I LOVE TO RUN so regardless it was game on when I got off the bike.
  • The whole run course…OUCH.
  • First few miles – settled into a rhythm.
  • Mile 3 – belched my heart out while passing a girl in front of me. She asked, “you must feel so much better now!...wait…Sam Mazer????” <---- bahahaha. I hadn’t seen Sherianne Nelson since the finish in Kona last year. What a good way to run into long lost race friends!
  • First turn around – Saw Katie. Tried to high five her. Tried to high five Sherianne too. I missed both.
  • Run back towards the village lap #1 – told a lot of people it was my birthday but that I wasn’t very happy at the moment. Of course I made sure to tell them I was 21-ish too.
  • Up the village hill – DEAR GOD. I saw black spots at the top and running back down wasn’t much fun either.
  • Lap #2 – Had a few side stitches but fixed that with some salt I had stuffed in my bra. There was also a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in my bra too. Made my infamous Beaker race face. I swear I don’t know I’m doing it! I don't have a pic from Mont Tremblant but here is a pic from Kona last year.

10006915_10101139481791216_7234441044127629151_nPoint made

  • The village hill sucked again and I was on my hands and knees after the finish.
Overall it was a standard day for me. Good swim and Good run. Basically my M.O. I did the best that I could given all the lemons that life threw at my face this summer and the few weeks leading up to the race. Instead of stressing, I just constantly adapted and stayed positive and that’s sometimes all that you can do. My inner race voice has seen more entertaining race days that make for a more entertaining blog post but the fact that I wasn’t concentrating on clinching sphincters and wanting to throw up is definitely a positive thing when it comes to long distance racing. Post race…we lost Rob for like an hour and a half but I found him when the Sherpas sent me to go get poutine. I never did bring back the poutine but they forgave me because I brought back a Rob. Up next is marathon training!!! The last time I ran an open marathon, I blew up in epic proportions when I was on about 2:55 pace through mile 23. I’m out for revenge and still dying to crack that barrier (Side note: that was also the weekend of hurricane Sandy in 2012 so I like to think it wasn’t ONLY my fault that I blew up that badly. It was a tad windy). SUPER pumped for this!!! IMG_5319 IMG_5324 As usual, it’s always a privilege representing Team Timex. I’m incredibly grateful for this “family” and how much my teammates motivate me to be a better person and a better athlete. Big thanks to Tristan for always being there when we need something and for not even hesitating to leave the IM Boulder expo to get supplies to clean me up with after I ate gravel on my training ride that day last month (side note…while Tristan was getting hydrogen peroxide and bandages, I was the only one left in the expo tent answering questions about watches while bleeding and standing there in bib shorts (straps down) and a sports bra. Haha) <--- typical Sam getting off track rant. And lastly, HUGE thanks to all our sponsors: Timex, Trek, Blueseventy, Shimano, Powerbar, and Nathan Performance.

World Championships, What a Rush!

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IMG_2692   Who: C.T., Mike Lavery, Ellen Hart, Sam Mazer, Tim Hola, Pierre Marc, Dave Harju, me What: 70.3 World Championships When: Sunday September 7th Where: Mt. Tremblant, Canada WOW!!! Ok, I'm out of "w's" so I'll get on with my report! Needless to say this was a fantastic event! First of all the location could not have been more picturesque. Plus, I got to spend some quality time with my rockstar teammates of whom I am a raving fan! In all sincerity, just being around the likes of Chris Thomas and Tim Hola makes me feel faster! 0796_013005 I was super excited to be back in action after suffering a concussion in a training ride 4 weeks prior. I had my bride as well as my in-laws along for the trip. The town of Mt. Tremblant was amazing and I felt as if I was in Europe. The people were incredibly friendly despite the initial language barrier. I carry a particularly thick Southern drawl so I'm sure you can imagine the field day the locals had with me!  We arrived on Thursday ahead of race day and had a little time to explore the area. We found some great places along the way and Marietta and I decided we would definitely be back. My pre-race workouts went well and everything was coming together nicely. I also managed to sleep surprisingly well the night before the race which is always a plus. Race morning came early and came COLD. The temperature was 39 degrees and we had frost on the front windshield of the rental car. Brrhh!! 0796_031743 Cold weather always makes race morning preparations a bit more difficult. The thought of getting in the water when my entire body is frozen was not at all appealing. We arrived at race site to see steam rising from Lake Mt. Tremblant. The water was cold enough without the air temperature being so cold! My wave went early so I got through transition as quickly as possible. The walk from T1 to the water was at least a half mile. We arrived at the beach only to wait for another hour. I ran into Hola before the start and he gave me a sneak peak at the most beautiful piece of technology to ever be seen on a wrist! Before I knew it my wave was called to the line and there were over 300 of us. The gun blasted and I was running trying to find my stroke. I very quickly got into a cadence that delivered me to the other side in 29 minutes, a personal best on the season! 0796_069522 As soon as I started to peel my wetsuit off I could feel the cold air. The run from the water back to transition was crazy long but it was good to get "warmed up!" I had a slower than desired transition but finally made it out on the bike. By this time the sun was high in the sky but I took my gloves just in case. The bike course was pretty much an out and back on a major highway. The wind was blowing all over the place and in gusts so there was really no headwind to speak of. I rode steady but again not as fast as I had planned. I returned to T2 with a bike split of 2:35 but was really looking forward to the run. 0796_004726 The run course was crazy hilly resembling somewhat of a roller coaster like trajectory, but I knew it would allow me to make up the time I had lost in transition and out on the bike. I kept looking at the mile markers thinking "already, no way..." Then I remembered the course was marked in kilometers, which kept me amused as I paced along. I ran up and down but felt like my pace was consistent. It was awesome to Chris and Tim and Sam and Dave and PM and Ellen and Mike Lavery burning up the course. Loop 1 was right at 45 minutes as I continued to monitor my pace via my Timex touch. I turned the corner after running through the middle of the village feeling like a champion (this really is one of the most spectator friendly venues I have ever raced) and headed out on loop 2. Surprisingly the second loop felt better than the first and I kept pacing. When I made the same journey through the village I was feeling extra strong and crossed the finish line feeling very good. My run split was 1:30:45 which has been consistent all season. 0796_021463 The finish chute was mayhem. It felt like there were over 20 languages being yelled back and forth and over my head. I slowed to a walk and then my legs started to scream! I saw Hola again and we got a picture as I made my way through the food line. Finally, I was able to spot Marietta and she gave me a big wet sloppy kiss! What a day, I had a good race but a 10:44 transition number 1. I never want to pass up a chance to thank Tristan Brown for making me a part of this team. I am a fan of my teammates and today was another opportunity to pursue my passion. Thank you Timex! 0796_060113  

70.3 World Championships: Mont Tremblant

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Later in my career I developed a more pragmatic approach. While outcomes or results are always attractive, they are at the same time difficult to handle emotionally, because they are basically out of your own control. You never know if someone on the line is stronger and you can’t do anything about it if they are. There are always a thousand ways for a race to pan out and it is impossible to predict the actions of others, the weather etc. Instead I shifted focus to the things I could control. If I executed my race strategy perfect and gave absolutely everything I had in me, feeling completely empty at the finish I would have succeed no matter the outcome. - Torbjorn Sindballe This quote is my favorite. It pretty much sums up my race this year. Here are my quick thoughts on the race. The venue was absolutely fantastic! venue_1 venue_2 venue_9 venue_5 venue_4 I drove the bike course the day before the race and I was really excited for the challenging terrain. I thought the hills would really split things up and keep things honest. Unfortunately, that was not the case. There were some sections that were really tight. This caused things to bunch up and it seemed like there were not enough officials. I went out on my bike to preview the run course later in the day on Saturday. I was equally encouraged by the hilly terrain. However, as I was riding the course I made a very lame move to jump a curb and ended up eating asphalt. roadrash_1 This resulted in some bruises, road rash, and a broken hanger that was holding my rear derailleur. I was extremely lucky that I was going pretty slow at the time, so the damage was pretty minimal. I was even more fortunate that Mark Andrews from Trek was attending the event. He was able to fix my bike right away and I was able to get it into transition before the cutoff time. venue_10 Race Day: Hanging in the RV with friends prior to the swim start pre_race I was able to get in the water and get a really good warm up in prior to my swim wave starting. It was a beach start this year. This enabled the vertically challenged, such as myself, to get about 2-3 strides in before doing few dolphin dives. swimstart2 I got about 2 strokes into the swim and felt myself being pushed under the water from behind. This is part of racing, but it's just not fun going under water at the beginning of a race. I attempted to relax and slowly moved my way out to the left. This strategy worked for me and I was able to get clear water. I was avoided anymore incidents the remainder of the swim. I came out of the water in 27:53, which put me in 31st place in my age group. It wasn't exactly where I was hoping to be, but I didn't waste anytime running the long transition to my bike. swim_run_t1 Once I got on my Trek Speed Concept 9.9, I was really excited to push the remainder of the race. I went right to work. I felt really good the entire ride. I worked really hard and had my highest power output in a race since last year's 70.3 World Championship in Vegas. The only negatives of the bike segment was seeing several large packs form on the highway section and then seeing things bunch up when the coned off sections became to tight heading back towards transition. The course itself was beautiful and very challenging. I knew I was racing against some really good runners, so I just tried to ride my own race. I pushed all the way until T2 and managed to come off the bike 1st in my age group with a 2:15:03 split. My 2nd transition was a little sloppy and I lost 2 places before I hit the run. I could see my competition in front of me, but I just could not bridge up. My quads were feeling the fatigue of the bike. I knew I had to find my own rhythm or I would risk blowing up. I ran the hilly course as well as I could. However, I was losing ground on the runners ahead of me and getting run down from one behind. I had fueled really well during the bike and the first half of the run. I did need to grab some cola for the first time this year at mile 10 as I felt my energy levels starting to drop a bit. The simple sugars did the trick and I was able to pick up my pace a little bit as I headed for the village. I crossed the finish line with a 1:22:36 split. I was completely spent. I left everything I had on the course. Results: 4:10:44 4th M40-44 / 64th Overall awards_3

70.3 Timberman: Just racing

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I headed up to 70.3 Timberman with my family and my friends the Swifts.WP_20140817_10_22_14_Pro Timberman was my first 70.3 race back in 2001. I really enjoy everything about the race. The area is beautiful and my family really enjoys the weekend. This year was my 11th time racing this event. My coach and I had slightly different goals for this race. I was still carrying a little fatigue from USAT Nationals the week before and I just wanted to enjoy the race. My coach wanted to use the race to prep for 70.3 Worlds and Kona. I felt that I only have so many bullets to use during the year and I did not want to use them up at this time. So my game plan was to swim consistent, bike without pushing to hard, then run to my rhythm. I got a good jump at the beginning of my swim wave and managed to get open water right away. I did the entire swim by myself. I just had to navigate through some of the earlier waves around the turn buoys, but overall the swim was very enjoyable. My Blue Seventy Helix is so enjoyable to swim in. I came out of the water at: 27:37 46th Overall. swimstartWP_20140817_07_00_02_Pro The wetsuit strippers are fantastic at this race and really helped me as I had forgotten to use my Tri Swim glide. I made my way through transition quickly. WP_20140817_07_47_54_Pro Fortunately it was an overcast day, as I had also forgotten my sun glasses (rookie mistakes). I hopped on my Trek Speed Concept and just tried to get up to a decent effort. I ended up riding well within my comfort zone and I only spent 5 minutes in zone 3 heart rate. Here's a testament to my Trek Speed Concept. I road the bike course at 15 normalized watts lower than my best on the course, but still had my fastest bike split there by over 1 minute. I came off the bike with a split of: 2:16:50 which had moved me up to 7th Overall. WP_20140817_10_25_53_Pro I got out onto the run and just tried to find an effort level that was decent without any pain. The weather was really nice and I was able to dial in my nutrition. I came into the finish line with a run time of: 1:21:50. WP_20140817_11_46_28_Pro My overall time was 4:08:57 5th Overall/ 1st Amateur This was my 2nd best time on the course and I had a wonderful time with my family over the weekend. I'm really looking forward to going back next year and racing the Sprint race the day before the 70.3 with my oldest son, Ryan. This will be his first adult triathlon. Enjoying the journey!

USAT Olympic Nationals: Attempt at Speed

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I had decided at the end of 2013 racing season that I wanted to try to go back to USAT Olympic distance National Championships. I had not raced Nationals since 2008 and I wanted to see if I could pull any speed out of my legs. I always consider Nationals to be the most competitive Olympic distance race in the country and it definitely lived up to the hype. My training journey into the race was very interesting. It was the first time that I experienced significant issues with recovery. My coach, Paul Regensberg, laid out a game plan that incorporated training for my three biggest races of the year, USAT Nationals (Aug 9th), 70.3 World Championships (Sep 7th), and IM World Championships (Oct 11th). The combination of trying to add speed work into my longer strength training left me really depleted at times. The end result was that I just could not hit my Olympic distance training properly a day or two after 5 hour bike rides or 2 hour runs. However, I did feel I was in the best possible shape I could be in considering trying to train for all 3 distances. I was really looking forward to racing so I could find out what I could do. I traveled out to Milwaukee, WI with my friend Chris Swift, 940 miles each way in the RV: 10559660_799554756752160_2847947972111322562_n I had a good wait race morning as I was in the 9th wave to start and we had 20 minute cushion from the wave prior to ours. WP_20140809_07_58_18_Pro. Once my wave started, I tried to get out as fast as possible. WP_20140809_08_47_11_Pro The first 200 meters went great and I found myself in 2nd place. Then I watched as 12 guys swam past me and dropped me. I had made one mistake when I thought I could swim faster than another athlete I had been following. I ended up swimming solo for the remainder of the swim and came out of the water in 21:01 and 14th place in my age group. I had a pretty good first transition and managed to pass 4 athletes before we hit the bike course. However, I did not realize this at the time. My goal for each discipline of the race was: 95% effort on the swim, 100% of FTP on the bike, and 105% of threshold on the run. I tried to get right up to my FTP, but I noticed that I was having a hard time hitting my numbers. As I continued to see my power numbers sit well below my goal, I became pretty frustrated and decided to stop looking at my data. At this point I just went by feel. My new goal was to keep a decent steady effort. I was trying to count the guys I passed in my age group. I came off the bike in 56:25. I thought I was in 5th place at the time. I figured out about half way into the run that I actually had the lead in the age group. In hindsight, I had the fastest bike split and that had put me onto the run course in 1st place. WP_20140809_19_09_11_Pro I was able to have a decent run and finished the 10k in 35:25. My overall time was 1:56:05 1st Masters(age 40+)/ 16th Overall. WP_20140809_10_43_11_Pro WP_20140809_19_56_46_Pro WP_20140809_19_02_37_Pro I had a great time racing with my Timex teammates and seeing Susanne Davis win the women's Masters division for the 2nd year in a row! WP_20140809_12_11_21_ProWP_20140809_16_58_41_Pro

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