When an Ironman turns into a HOT MESS, Ironman Chattanooga

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Following my trend for 2014 of only doing races I've never done; Ironman Chattanooga was an easy choice. It was expected to be a non-wetsuit swim and a hot, humid race with a rolling bike course (no major climbs). The course looked to fall in line with my strengths but I was greatly mistaken.

When driving the bike course pre-race I realized this course was far from flat. There were no long climbs but there were also no flat sections. It included many short punchy climbs, I knew a hilly course would be challenging for me as I'm a terrible climber. The bike course was also 4 miles long which would make for my first 144.6 mile race. When pre-riding the run course I found miles 8-12 and 21-25 included some steep climbs. Our homestay lives right in the middle of these hills so we were perfectly situated to test them out.

photo-6a little pre-race fun in the Chocolate Milk tent

After miscalculating my nutrition and hydration leading up to Ironman Boulder I was determined to properly load for this race. I worked with my coach to calculate exactly what I needed to consume the days leading into the race.

After a restless night's sleep I rose ready to take in the day and put my best foot forward. Unfortunately my body was not as Aunt Flo came to town race morning, caused by taper leading into the race. I thought this would be a minor issue which may require 1-2 bathroom stops but nothing to fret over.

We headed down to the race venue and upon arrival at my bike I found my back tubular tire was completely flat. As usual I had glued a new tubular on prior to shipping through TriBike Transport and the tire was fine during my pre-ride so I must have ridden over something causing a slow leak. Luckily my husband, Owen, packed a spare tubie and glue so he quickly glued another tire. Stressful; YES but better before than during the race. Now it just had to dry before I took my first corner. We quickly hopped on the bus transporting us to the swim start. I ran into a friend and training partner, Lucas, who was spetating. Told him about my tire issue, he generously took it upon himself to check the tire when he returned to transition while we were swimming.

The swim was called non-wetsuit due to the 77° water temperature, YAY! Although the damn was open, therefore we would be swimming with a strong current, BOO! Our swim start was delayed a few minutes while we waited for the sun to rise. Our start gun eventually shot at 7:25am. The women took off in a pack, staying together longer than usual due to the strong current. Anna was able to break away, as I tried to stay on her feet we rounded the 1st turn buoy and somehow my ankle chip got stuck on the buoy rope. I was able to break it free quickly but lost a few important seconds and now Anna was ahead in the distance. I settled back into the chase pack and found myself right in the middle. We were moving at a quick pace but I was getting a nice draft off Malaika. I trusted her endurance and sighting skills so was content with my draft. I had to fight some others off as those around us changed positions, veering off course, etc. I was able to cruise through the swim while exerting little to no energy. As we neared the last turn buoy Kaitlin next to me tried to push and take over the lead, Malaika reacted and they were sprinting for the exit. Had they not noticed Anna was already ahead and would be first out of the water? I'm still unsure, but I sat behind them both and ended up passing them both as we ran up the stairs since I hadn't burned a match sprinting towards the line.

swim exit

I kept my heart rate low running through transition, I ran past my bike by a few steps having to go back losing a few seconds but ended up exiting transition with a few of the ladies I swam with. Mailaka was within sight and Laurel Wassner was between us. We began riding together, legal distance apart as we began our 116 mile ride. At mile 2-3 I rode over the 1st set of railroad tracks and my front bottle ejected from it's cage. I made a quick decision not to retrieve it, wanting to stay with the girls. Riding this long solo can get very lonely as I found in Boulder. Losing this bottle usually wouldn't be that big a deal but I was trying a new nutrition plan; to avoid special needs I start with 2 x 500 calorie bottles which I need to take with water and 1 x 250 calorie bottle to take during the 1st hour. I lost my 250 calorie bottle so now I had nothing to drink until I hit the first aid station. I figured this was only 10 miles and shouldn't be detrimental to my race. I rode along just concentrating on form, the miles ticked by and soon we were past mile 10, no aid station.

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UHOH, Now I was getting really thirsty, I tried a taste of my heavily concentrated bottle twice but knew it would screw with my stomach if I took it without water so I waited. I asked the camera guys if they knew where the next aid station was, they didn't. At mile 15 I approached the 1st aid station and grabbed the 1st bottled put in front of me. I was so happy to quench my thirst and more importantly start getting down calories. Now I was way behind in my hourly nutrition plan so I made some mental adjustments and began taking gels and my heavy mixture down with the new found water. I was back on track.

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We were popping up and down short, punchy climbs which was actually nice because it gave me a chance to get out of the saddle for a few seconds saving my lower back from exhaustion. My legs felt surprisingly good, I was 3 watts over my 1st hour target average which felt easy and I was not struggling to keep up over the climbs which is usually the case for me. Angela caught and passed us around mile 25-30, she was pushing much higher watts than us but Laurel tried to stay with her. As I was contemplating what to do I shifted too quickly to my small ring up a hill and my chain dropped, I was left hopping off my bike readjusting it while my small group rode away. I hopped back on but they were gone and I was left riding alone. I continued on, sticking to my updated nutrition plan and target watts. I knew I was still in the race because every 10 miles or so the race spotters would be waiting on the side of the road for me and would take off after I passed letting me know I was in 6th place. My legs were feeling strong and my tire seemed to be holding but I still took the sharp corners slow just to be sure.

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A few amateur men caught and passed me as well as many pro men who we'd passed in the swim. At mile 75 Jennie passed, she was riding strong and at this point I couldn't stay with her. I began to fall into the Ironman lull, my lower back began to ache, my watts were dropping and my motivation was lacking. At mile 85, I heard, “Hey Gorgeous” it was none other than Timex teammate Bruce Gennari coming by. Bruce I can ride with, so I decided to latch on riding the legal distance behind him. This pulled me out of my funk. I was careful to stay my distance behind him as I know how this could look to officials, us riding together in the same kit. I boomeranged with him back and forth whenever he would eat I'd take the lead, but majority of the time I was steadily riding behind him. Each time we entered zones with dashed center lines I realized I was riding too far from Bruce. I closed the gap to get the maximum legal draft I could. We had a motorcycle riding with us, keeping us honest. We were now lapping first loopers and there were also cars sprinkled in on the roads. Many of the cars were sitting behind the slower riders so we had to pass cars on the left causing Bruce and I to bunch up some climbs. As we finished the 2nd loop and back in on the final stick we had a tail wind and were flying. I was being extra cautious not to get too close to Bruce so I left a larger gap then needed, just in case he slowed down. Somehow Ruth came flying by even faster because she passed me and dropped between Bruce and I. I sat up and slowed down to allow a gap open when I was handed a red card by the official. I immediately made the decision not to run. I would be done when I returned to transition, but now I had 5 miles to think about it. Here's what went through my head;

On one hand I don't want to destroy my legs for nothing. I'm already in 8th place, it's cold, these girls will run fast.

On the other I would gain fitness by running the marathon, even if I don't run fast.

I'd regret it if I quit now

I'm already here, I may as well finish

There's a chance I could break 3:15 after a 4 minute rest

Teammate Kelly Fillnow couldn't race due to injury, I'm healthy. I owe it to her

I would disappoint my homestay if I quit, they have bets with their neighbors of who's pro will win

It would be really cold spectating

AHHHH, fine I'll do it.

I rode up to the penalty tent and served my time, noting my bike split was 5:20 for the 116 prior to the penalty. Not so bad on this hilly course for me. Afterwards I ran through transition with a new goal in mind. I would attempt to catch Bruce during the 1st run loop.

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The run out of transition was up a slight incline which is a dirty trick to play on us after that long of a bike, but it soon flattened out and I came into my stride feeling good. I was still completely alone, to the point where I wondered numerous times if I was still on course. I received a split from a spectator which I immediately knew was wrong because he said I was only 3 minutes from 3rd place. This was the only split I received all day, there were also no out and backs so I was literally running against the clock in the hopes that I'd catch up to someone. I ran past my team manager, Tristan, and laughed telling him this was just not my day.

Tristan run smile

I passed back each amateur man who had passed me on the bike which showed some progress.

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As I entered the hilly section I concentrated on short quick steps and not letting my heart rate spike too much. I made it through keeping my mile splits in check. As I rounded the 1st loop I realized I had passed Bruce back in transition. Somehow my penalty+transition was still quicker than his transition alone. During my 2nd loop my pace decreased as it usually does in an Ironman, but the difference here was I didn't have the motivation to push past a reasonable comfort zone. I didn't make this conscious decision but looking back, I wasn't willing to put myself into a dark place to hold onto 8th place. I regret this. I would like to work on pushing to my limit no matter where I stand. Around mile 18 Kaitlin passed me running at a much faster clip. At this point I just wanted to finish, I thought there was no way I could keep up with her.

Tristan run

I entered the hilly section again and kept to my short steps, my legs were now fatigued as they always are during the last 10K in an Ironman, but they felt much better than in Boulder. I had taken all my planned calories down which made all the difference. At mile 22 Kathryn passed me and again I didn't care. I stuck to my slower pace just waiting for this race to be over. A few miles later I caught her back, she was walking up a hill. As I passed she began running again, she really wanted to stay ahead of me. I had no problem with that and stuck with my own pace. This happened several more times until she settled into running just slightly ahead. As we crossed the final bridge the crowd started cheering us on for the finish. I really didn't want a sprint finish for what I thought was for 9th place (later I found out someone dropped so it was actually for 8th place) but either way. I did have some punch left in my legs so on the final turn I picked up the pace and passed Kathryn, bumping into her, I apologized but she wouldn't have it. She looked forward and started sprinting as I ran into the finish shoot behind her.

back finishScreen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.33.25 PMScreen Shot 2014-10-01 at 1.32.30 PM

Owen finished only 2 minutes after me (starting way later) and as soon as I saw him I started crying. I held it together all day but it finally caught up to me. I never thought so much could go wrong in one day. Admittedly, most was self inflicted, but I've never experienced anything like this race. I am proud of myself for finishing when many pro's would have pulled the plug. This course was not well suited for me but I'd like to think if all went well, I could have still been in the mix. I learned a lot about myself during Ironman Chattanooga and I look forward to applying my fitness and knowledge towards Ironman Cozumel after another training block.

Thank you to our generous homestay Jamie and Beryl. Congratulations to Jamie on his finish!

Thanks to my sponsors; Timex, Trek, Shimano, Blue Seventy, Castelli, Powerbar, Lululemon, and Rudy Project

To my Coach Curt Chesney, my fitness was there, I just need to get my head in the game.

And to my husband for always being my number #1 fan

photo-6 copy


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...and well...if anyone out there wears underwear under your race shorts, then you're just WEIRD. 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 like we're supposed to. It's really frustrating watching that stuff deliberately happen when some of us are out there being honest.
  • 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!

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