End of season wrap up...

After racing in 10 triathlon races this year and 2 mini marathon races my body told me that it was ready for a break. But on the other hand my mind was telling me to do one more race. Usually when triathlon season is over most triathletes train for a marathon, take time off, or keep up with the training. Myself on the other hand wanted to end the season with getting a PR in a mini marathon. As tired as I was though I knew that I would have to drop swimming and biking and just focus on running. The first week after Lake Lemon Tri I really kicked up the mileage in order to get ready for the race. This hurt extremely bad. I had never run more than maybe 24 miles in a week and this week my total miles were 42. Ouch! I also learned that doing track workouts is hard too doing 8x800 and trying to hold 3:00-3:10 is really hard.

Race day was October 22 in Cincinnati, OH. I was planning on doing the race by myself but about a week before I found out one of my friends that does triathlons was going to be there racing as well. This was good for me because we both are fast runners but he is just a little faster than me.

As the race started I looked down at my watch at mile 1 and it was 5:59 I knew I better slow it down or I was going to be toast by my six. The second half of the run was in the fog. I could see maybe 100ft infront of me. But I finally caught my friend around mile 9. I wanted to beat him so I started to push the pace. We ran nearly stride for stride for 2 miles and then things started to pick up. It turned into an all out sprint I was barely ahead of him all the way to the finish and he passed me right before crossing the line! My time was 1:23.17 it was a PR for me by 3 minutes. I was pumped! And I knew that I had given it everything I had out on the course because I could barely walk back to my hotel.

Things I also learned while training for this half marathon: DON'T drop biking and swimming because you will pay! Having riding my bike only one time between lake lemon and this half marathon really came back to get me on my training ride yesterday. But you live and learn!

Until next season I will be working my way back into normal training and getting ready for next season!

Thanks for reading

20-Point Bucks and Trail Run Therapy

The more I run on trails, the more this Robert Frost work is true:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

I'd venture to say most people don't usually get lost. People get gone, but very seldom get lost. They say that the purpose of endurance sports is to lose yourself. Or, another great quote is, "the greatest distance to cover in endurance sports is the distance between your ears." I haven't quite gone to that length, but I do try to get lost. Let me explain

Trail running is straight dope therapy. Heading out to Griffy to the run the trails Saturday was the perfect choice - and one that was made for me (legs are pretty sore from the running on the pavement, so I put trails in the bag for the days approaching 30.) I'm never dissatisfied by root romping. No matter the route, or how it winds, it all seems to be perfectly crafted in the end. Its funny, but I never finish a woods run and think, damn, I wish it would have gone up that ravine, or over that way. It all looks the same. Although, I will note, the last 2 miles of the three lakes trail in Morgan-Monroe, headed for Bryant Lake, are the berries. Weaving in and out of creek beds, having slight, sharp inclines and switch backs is on the same level as listening to John Denver in a misty morning sunrise. That dude's voice is a clear as a mountain stream! Have a listen!

Anyway, I left Griffy around 6:15 on Saturday, hoping to go for an hour. The trails there are not too long, but I remember that coming from the CC Course at IU one time, I could see the east side of the lake thru the woods from the ridge by the golf course. So instead of starting at upper Griffy, I began at the lakeside trail head intending to go southeast until I hit the IU golf course.

None of that happened. I did hit a long stretch of trail that paralled the creek bed, weaving thru the trees and tracing the lower part of the ravine. And that was fun. Eventually I hit some signs that said private property (ignored) and then Sycamore Land Trust, which got me thinking - I was smart enough to wear an all white shirt, but dumb enough not to make it a orange one. With as many shots as I've heard before on the trails, being within SLT bounds can give you a least some reassurance that you won't get Dick Cheney'd. Speaking of, things that get shot, I took an exit route leading to the back of someone's yard. Not just any yard, I guess, because for about a 1/4 mi they had mowed one deck wide from their house to the trail. A path that took you through really high grasses and beautiful countryside. When I got close enough to the house I stopped and looked around. There was a deer bust about 20-30ft away in the bushes that initially I thought was fake, but at a second glance revealed more.

He was lookin at me, me lookin at him. Huge rack. Masterful deer! Knowing I could get seriously injured, I retreated just a bit only to have him bound away. In doing so, he cleared the bushes entirely and when he landed I, no fooling, could feel the ground shake. Probably twenty points on his head. It blows me away that an animal like that can evade people for so long. I looked for a picture online, but the only pictures of something like it are those that involve hunter's holding the heads of.

Just one experience of many involving wildlife that you can have on the trail. I highly recommend! The fall is the perfect time as it is off-season for most, the trees are shading orange, bugs are mostly gone, and it feels like an adventure every time.

Tecumseh Trail Marathon on December 3rd!

HY-VEE 5150 Championship- 1st place age group

Well it has been awhile since I have given you all an update on my training and racing, so I will give you the low down now!

After competing in Ironman Muncie my next goal was to go to Iowa for the 5150 Championship race which I qualified for when I went to Tampa Florida earlier this year in April. The race consisted of 1 mile swim, 25 mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. The things I wanted to accomplish at this race was getting as close to 2 hrs and 5 minutes and breaking 40 minutes on the 10k run.

So after Ironman I really had to train hard, and i mean real hard in order to accomplish those goals. My coach Ben Weaver knew what my goals were and so he created my workouts to get me to that level. Just to give you an idea of what some of my training weeks were like I would swim 3 times a week, bike 3 times a week with a run after and then run 2 other days of the week. I can recall doing some workouts on the bike with Alex where Alex said to me " that is the first time I have ever felt nauseated".

While preparing for this race it was mentally and physically draining. I wanted to quit or take the day off due to being exhausted. This race coming up was going to be my 9th race this season. But thanks to Alex and Coach Ben I had plenty of support to keep me going and the results where HUGE!

When arriving in Iowa it was 55 degrees and rainy. Not what I wanted at the time but it came to benefit me on race day. The day before the race officials swore up and down that the race would not be wetsuit legal, but little did we all know race morning the water was 74 degrees. For some of you that don't know a wetsuit helps you stay afloat and not have to work so hard. Oh ya and it also keeps you warm. Granted I am and strong swimmer but this really helps me out! Also since this was my last "A" race of the season and I wanted to go fast Ben let me use his zipp 1080 races wheels which were awesome!

The run is what I was most proud of on this race I finally broke 40 minutes. My run Split was 39:20! I was able to hold off the second place guy in my age group, who beat me at Tampa earlier this year. I crossed the finish line in 2:08.00. Granted it wasn't 2:05 but it was a PR for me in an Olympic distance race by over 4 minutes and I smashed the run! I was happy for sure! As I was on the shuttle bus back to the race site I was talking to some people and they were talking about prizes. I knew that the pros were competing for some big cash prizes, but little did I know that winning 1st place in your age group got you $650 and a really nice metal!

Next year I will be back for this race except next time I will be under 2:05 without a doubt!

Now that race season is over as of this past weekend competing in the Lake Lemon triathlon, I will move onto my next goal of competing in a full marathon race. Leading up to this I will do the Monumental half marathon in downtown Indianapolis, IN and then I am thinking of doing the Walt Disney Marathon or one of the Rock and Roll marathons where they have a band playing at each mile!

So until I blog again I will be running, lots and lots and lots of miles!

Thanks for reading!

21 Days of Running

I'm not a runner. At least, I wouldn't be picked from a line-up. But of the three sports, I enjoy running the most. Loco-moting solo with very little wind or other variables to worry of, every step being different, hearing myself breathe, focusing on form - dude, to me, running is hands up one of the most incredible feats a human can accomplish. Running is tough shit, too, especially if you're out of shape. Because it's such an intimate activity, you can come to fully understand how out of shape you, in fact, are with one 15 minute jog (or less, depending on how hard you go!). And, I think the best part is that you can't fake running fitness in a group setting. It's a little easier in cycling and swimming, but trying to have some fleet feet can make you look and feel like a spaz. I've been there. Didn't love it.

Currently my running phase involves 30 days of running 30 minutes minimum. Three weeks in, and just past the habit forming threshold, I'm feeling many things. Some of which I expected and other's I didn't. Of those:

1. Feeling quite a bit creakier at the 6a runs 3-weeks in compared to when I began. I now expect it, and wait for the moment (usually after 2 miles) where I feel my system has turned on all the lights and that which hides in the dark has scurried out. At that point, with the same effort as the opening miles, 7:30/mi on grass w/hills is no problemo.

2. Running with no intensity has done a few things. Namely, by running at a HR comfortably under my V-dot , it has dropped my aerobic pace probably by 20 sec/mi. So, what was at the beginning 8:40miles at HR-1 will probably be 8:20 miles when I test it again at that same HR. The concept of running slower to run faster is completely foreign to me, but after careful reading and consideration, I'm glad I've given it a chance.

3. Not having an off day has given me a kick in the ass. I'm beginning to approach rest much differently. Because I know I have no off days, I am more modest in my efforts elsewhere. This has led to consistency, frequency, and more exercise without feeling beat up. That to me is worth the patience and the ego check when I feel like going much faster.

4. I look forward to running more than I ever have before. I feel stronger and more resilient.

Previously, I would typically get 15-20mi/wk in going much faster. My propensity for injury was much higher, and in many cases, some of those runs set me back for days. With this phase, more miles=more fun=more fast....in the long run.

In all, I'm exercising some serious self control here. Terribly unusual for me.

Who knows, after this 30 days is up, I might continue to go for 100.

Thanks for reading!

Miles thus far:
Week1: 3.5hrs - 26.29mi
Week2: 4.5hrs - 29.9
Week3: 3.3hrs - 25.7mi

'Plan' is a 7-Letter Word

While visiting a friend this past weekend, he mentioned something that the owner of a brokerage company, which he works for, said.

-"Don't think of a plan as a four letter word, because in many ways, a sound financial plan can help you achieve a state best described by a seven letter word: Freedom." Super cool quote.

Insert 'training' for 'financial' and wahlah, some relevance.
Let me be the first to say, I am somewhat anti-plan. It depends on what kind.

Short term plans are essential. If I don't plan my workout, then write it down just before I do it, it's like I never came up with a plan, and without that plan, nothing constructive gets done. I'm just not that talented.

Long term plans? Dumpster. Financial long term plans? Rock and roll, but training long term plans - I'm not so sure. Here are the reasons I am skeptical of long-term training plans.

1. Nothing ever goes as planned. Essentially, when one workout follows another, you're somewhat planning on how you might feel that day. What if you're crushed from the previous workout and you've got intervals that will have the wheels coming off if you do them? Should you forge the river and loose your supplies to the mighty waters and your women to dysentery? Rhetorical question.

2. Long term plans give me the feeling that a lot is weighing on my performance at the end of the plan. Unofficial statistics show that a person's success in a competition is inversely proportional to the amount of pressure they perceive and directly related to how much fun they perceive to be having prior to race time. Sports fans often observe the opposite. They say, wow, that person really performs well under pressure. But mid-game or prior to the competition, if they don't have time to get caught up in the hype, or they are somehow diverted from it, they perform much better. I've seen this in the swimmers I coach. They instinctively know the race is big time, so no need to mention it. Instead, telling jokes and being lighthearted about things is the best approach. Never fails.

3. It's easy to get distracted. A lot of Olympic athletes give talks to kids who are just beginning in their sport. I watched a video of this just today. The athlete tells the kids he's speaking to, "my dream was to swim in the Olympics. I thought about it everyday and worked to get there everyday." I'm sorry, but I don't think you did. You broke it up into segments, focusing on each independently. I'm not 100% on that, but I know that if I left a talk like that in my early years and thought about the Olympics each and everyday, I would be fried crispy in a matter of weeks. I tried it once with a goal not so lofty, but far away. I stopped the next day.

4. It can be daunting. If I want to run a marathon, which I do, during the race I'm not going to think about however many miles I have left to run. That's a quick path to discouragement. Thinking shorter-term will be more successful - just hit your pace on the next mile, then the next, then the next.

In the fine print, if you have a long term training plan for yourself, and you get injured early on, or even later on in the cycle, it can feel like a tremendous burden - I've been there. Instead, by splitting things up in to small, manageable time periods or goals, if you don't get to one of them because of setback, it's no sweat. You already made it to this level. You're game gets saved, and the mental anguish is avoidable. In this case, the plan IS freedom.

Essentially I'm not telling you anything you didn't already know. This is just how I manage my plan and how I manage training plans of my athletes.

There's a lot of truth to this plan=freedom logic. If you don't have a plan of some sort, then how will you know the freedom when you get there? Freedom could be anything. Be sure you know what you're looking for.

Something I struggle with, probably the most important element, is that a plan is nothing without execution. Plans, just like ideas, are multipliers of execution. The original creator of that statement, Derek Sivers, says that the greatest idea with no execution is worth $20. The greatest idea (plan) takes excellent execution to be worth $20,000,000. That's why he doesn't want to hear people's ideas. He's not interested until he sees their execution. (Props to Sue recommending Derek)

Be careful how much time you spend on your plan. Your time might be better spent working your way to freedom without one.

You Need More Numbers

But then, what about Paula Newby-Fraser? Eight Ironman wins and she preferred to not wear so much as a watch? What about the pros who don't use heart rate monitors or power meters?What about Craig Alexander? Where are their numbers? Their number is in Ironman victories. That's not what I'm looking for. Wrong number.

And their number won't work for you or for me. That's assuming we even knew what theirs was. I am confused.

I knew I was confused a while ago. I had my SPEEDometer that told me everything I needed to know. Until I discovered what wind was and hills were. Those were the wrong kind of numbers. Questionable training method #1.

Then, for the past year I used my mind to gauge my speed and effort on 3x10's or whathaveyou's and prayed to whatever it is you pray to that in a race I would be faster. But then I learned that you probably shouldn't go all out every time. I don't know about you, but I sure as sunrise don't know what 90% feels like. I can guess, but I bet I'm 10% off in the wrong direction. Metaphorical numbers don't count. Questionable training method #2.

The only thing I can think of that logically would follow as Questionable training method #3 would be if I kept doing what I'm doing. That's not to discount the value of the work itself. Surely, just riding my bike quite hard on a pretty frequent basis is going to yield results eventually, no secret there. But having the opportunity to accurately ascertain my effort, I couldn't help but eventually smell what the rock is cookin'. I needed to know my number!

The feedback PowerTap will provide me will be invaluable. In my first experience, my number was 373. As Shanahan says, getting my 20 minute over 400 should be the main goal. Everything after that will be incidental. And so...the wholesomeness of doing things by perceived exertion and for the love of it is beginning to look a little threadbare.

Luckily, though, I think I did it right. Comparatively speaking, I enjoyed swimming before I started racing. I enjoyed basketball before I threw up an airball in my first game, and I did triathlon recreationally before I attempted to give it a go. I never excelled at hoops because the only measurement I could look to improve on was who I beat. That's great and all, but I'd rather stack up against my previous self. Just an FYI - that is exactly why Mario Cart Time Trial mode was the highlight of my video game career.

Point is, the playing field is now leveled. I can follow the clock while swimming, I can run the same course multiple times, I can look at the Erg screen to tell me if I'm being a girlyman, and now I can look at the Joule and know, no matter the route, if I'm better than I was the last time.

I know it's not a panacea, and I know it doesn't get easier - I'll just get faster. But if working at the bike shop has taught me anything it's that the right tool for the job does indeed help.

I'm excited. Looking at a number when I was rowing drove me insane some days, and others helped me live a little higher. Here's to learning to live and learning to die by the numbers.

The magic is in the man. Not the miles. - Bill Bowerman. Hoping to find a few more tricks in the months to come!

Get paper? Nah, man. Get Numbers!


Officially NOT registered for Ironman anything

Potentially insensitive and glaringly generalized thoughts ahead.....

The best things in life are free, and if they aren't free, then they darn sure aren't the best. Now that that logic has been revealed feast your eyes on this next one: Ironman isn't even close to free. In fact, purchasing your entry to a full Ironman distance comes at a price, like pulling the fire-alarm while school is in session because you thought it to be the cool thing to do. I've been down that road, and everyone else with a damn bit of sense looks at you as if you've lost your mind. My point is, registering for, and doing an Ironman for some folks (read on for detail), is like being drawn into the barrel as a fish, buying a snuggie, blogging or what-have-you-ing at a Starbucks, or purchasing a special edition anything - in the end, you sit there dead, with an vaguely anatomical blanket, the feeling of being original once on your mind, and with the realization that what you thought you purchased wasn't really limited edish. Ironman is currently a fad, stupid expensive and depending on the day, warrants a cringe and a headache.

I recently read a friend of mine's status update. It went: Officially registered for Ironman blah blah blah 2012. When I got to Ironman, it all sort of blurred together because it made no sense. In my opinion, here are the categories of those who should not do IM.

- You are 18-24 or 25-29 for that matter. Phillip Graves, 21, went big time at Ironman UK and won, then proceeded to have self control issues and has completely fallen off the map. He knew it too, and said so in a ST article.
- You have yet to do a half. If you haven't done an olympic, or sprint, you may want to stop reading now and cancel your registration. I've had plenty of people tell me that so and so was going to do an IM and had never done a tri before. Stellar.
- If you have any knowledge of the word budget and you understand that as the dollar amount goes up, the ROI is often much much less. - I can do 4 luxurious olympic distance races for the price of one IM. Who will have more fun?

And there are more, but what it comes down to is respect for the event. Call me what you will, but unless you are at least 50 years old, finishing past 15 hours is pedestrian, and you probably did not give the event, nor the other competitors their due, and you probably didn't do your homework either. On the other hand, while watching the night walkers with glowsticks galore during the Kona footage is cleverly twisted to be inspirational, the real truth is that those people did not prepare, or I guess that could have had a really crappy day. They were caught up in the hype, the fame, the glory of the event, something other than training. Sure, you look like hell coming across the line, and you battled dehydration yada yada, but objectively, you likely just didn't care enough or have your priorities in order.

When I was growing up and my dad was trying to qualify for Ironman Hawaii, the event was legendary. It commanded respect from everyone who entered. But I think, frankly, as of the past 2 or 3 years, when folks have failingly put themselves on the brink, and droves of people gather in the lights to cheer them across the line at 15, 16, 17 hours, I think that's the wrong idea. Ironman seems like it should be about mastery, about experience - having built it, and looking to gain it - about breaking your self down to see if you're fit to play.

I do not see it as an emotional playground, or a practice test. No, there are plenty of chances before then. Finishing the swim past the time cut off like I witnessed in last year's footage should not illicit devastation and crying. It should evoke embarassment and some serious self-reflection. Bottom line is you knew what the cutoff was, and you probably knew you wouldn't make it. Thank you, come again. Heartless? No, realistic. I've heard grueling stories about Kona's winds. They are practically telling you to "toughen up or I'll blow you the 'f' off this island." How's that for some reconsideration?

Ironman is selling you what it is not: a good time, mildly challenging event, at beautiful venues and scenic courses. And for that, I will not sign up. I went 4:55 at Muncie this year, and I have no business doing a full. Shanahan says that to do that race legitimately, you have to train 20-30hrs/wk. I couldn't agree more. Make that reason #2 why I won't even consider it. But the most important is that I don't deserve the chance. People like my dad, Sue, Bob, Dave, Tim, they all deserved the chance. They paid their dues with the shorter distances, wrangled in the workload bit by bit, and went and succeeded. In talking with Scott and others at the shop, there is a fine combination of what it takes to earn an accomplishment. The question I ask myself is, have I done the work to earn the prize? Ask twice, evaluate, then answer once.

In my opinion, Ironman should make people question their abilities. Question whether they can do it. But as a commercial big business, the only thing they really ask for is your money. To do any non-world championship IM, they merely suggest that you have done at least one race prior. What a joke.

Until IM beefs up their entry requirements and shortens the finishing cut off, I'm 90% sure I won't do one. Unless of course, I could do one in training. For Free.

Jelly Legs and Airforce Ones: Time machine blog to my first triathlon

At the end of whatever race it is I decide to do next, I will be able to throw another notch on the scratch board for a total of 5 years of triathlon. Wouldn't it be cool to go back and see myself at my first race ever? I was 19, ripe off of one year rowing, and had spent the summer learning how to bike with my Dad, running when I could, and in general being an idiot after my first year of college. It was the summer I used to run the IU football stadium stairs (that nonsense burns real bad when you get 20ft from the top), bike 20 miles at a time (tops) and swam whatever. But I took it very seriously. Sounds like a terrible 90's song.

Hilariously, I would go on to weigh 230 that fall rowing season. There's another joke for ya.

So I show up race morning - probably weighed 215. Blue, suede Air Force Ones, New Balance "Will never wear them for a triathlon again" shorts, baggy XXL tee. Party time in transition.

In all seriousness, I was dressed like that, and I had a Keith Anderson framed bike (still have it!) which was a

58cm or something ridiculous, spring loaded aerobars, and all the while I was worried about my tender swimmers feet landing on something undesirable while running from the swim to transition. Nowadays, I think beginners are smarter than I was and they don't put dinosaur aerobars on their road bike, but I wanted them no matter what. Guaranteed I had the worst fit ever on that quill-stem bike built for someone under 6'.

Speaking of poor fit, I remember being so cramped in the aero position that
I would crank the largest gear I could just so I didn't have to deal with my knees hitting me in the chest (ok, embellishment) as often. It was an awesome strategy. Rolling almost 19mph for 17mi at 50rpm can give you only one possible outcome for the run. A combination of what it feels like to drive a car with wet concrete for tires, and jog with 10lbs of sweat soaked cotton sheeting hanging off your torso, because you KNOW when I got to transition off the bike I tried in vain to put a white cotton shirt on. I looked like a ghost trapped in its sheet leaving T2. Later I would learn of number belts. Later.

With about 1/2mi to go, I began to walk. The fans got intense then. Not Malice at the Palace intense, but one dude kept insisting that I run again, immediately. Not just once, but he pursued me on the course. Unnecessary. Later, 3 years later, I would discover how to appropriately respond in a situation like this. Dialogue went like this:

Narrative: Man rounds the corner to the first aid station. Stops and walks as he approaches.
Obnoxious 14-yr old girl volunteer: Oh don't STOP. You gotta run.
Angered participant: HEY, it's my race, and I'll do what the hell I want.
Obnoxious 14-yr old girl volunteer: WATER!

Great story. As I was coming to the finishing chute, that white shirt I was wearing was sweaty indeed. I was a large chested man. And when that be the combination, throw in some insecurity, my biggest concern was, "how can I hunch so THO wont show through when I cross the finish line?" The joys of being a teenager.

21st Overall
Swim: 7:42 T1: 0:48 - .5mi
Bike: 56:36 T2: 1:02 - 17mi
Run: 24:08 - 5k
TT: 1:30:16
Second Overall in the swim!

So those were my benchmarks. New goal: When having bad thoughts out on the course present day, remember the panache I had at 19, then smile and get on with my life. I've been taking results too seriously after races lately. Why should I? Into this world or the triathlon one, we all come out flailing anyway.

Race Report - Age Group Nationals:

The short of it is I was 76/~100 dudes in my age group. 2:13:59 Overall time. I thought it possible to go 2:05, and I still feel I'm not illusioned about that. Lend me some time, and I'll tell you about it. Also, before you read on, know that I am very thankful for everyone's encouragement and support - it is appreciated on many levels! Whitney, Carolyn, and Brent - you all are awesome. Chasing me around transition with your obnoxious signs, challenging me to a race through transition (Carolyn), and being there for me at the end was great. It was more than I could have asked for.

Breakin' it down, one leg at a time:
22:05 Swim - Great water temp. Unreal. Felt great especially since my pre-race swim was thwarted, leaving this swim my first in 5 days. The time for me is weak sauce with a dash of stupidity. After the first buoy, I turned, followed the feet of the age groups before me, except I was duped! - After what felt like the time the next buoy should have appeared. I stopped, threw open the goggles and looked around. SH*%! The orange floater was about 200m in the other direction. I busted ass to get there, but lost time. How much? I don't know. I felt great the whole time, though.

1:05:29 Bike - 22.7mph avg. - Just wasn't meant to be. Fun ride though. Hills were abrupt and short, but momentum killers. Talking to the winner at the hostel, I discovered I had a lousy strategy for them. Turns out he floored it just before and held most of his mo
mentum over the top. I would just hang on to the speed, easy gear early, and try to gear up as I crested the hill. It made me feel good, but my speed didn't fair so well. His, on the o
ther hand was by far the fastest on the day for anyone - going 56:34 on that course - that'll blow your mind. Watch out Starky! I did get passed by a few women out on the course which made have some dark thoughts about whether I was even going to complete the event. Trust me, I tried to reel them in. Fail.

44:08 Run - 7:08 pace. I don't really have much to say except for I disappointed myself on this one. ACTUALLY, my last 3mi was under 20mins, which helps me save face, but the 24min first 5k drove the coffin nail deep. A crushing first hill gave way to probably 5+miles of relatively flat/downhill to the finish. I have to say - mentally I wasn't really prepared for the types of individuals that would be passing me. It's not really the type so much (they were all on hammertime), but the ages that would pass me, and sometimes how they did it was outrageous. I saw some women my age fly by. And at those moments, I was instantly reminded of my clydesdale category body. When more and more ectomorphs bound ahead with what looks like not a care in the world, you start to think skinny thoughts. For body type explanation - see diagram.

All in all, I have to say that I wasn't thrilled with it. Maybe I didn't prepare accordingly, and maybe my peak attempt didn't work so well, as I may not have had the fitness required to peak.

The trip positives:
1. Great swim - will implement the strategy next year of swimming not once the week of the race. (I'm serious, every time I've done this, I feel phenomenal)
2. Last 5k of the run - happy to know I actually CAN feel better as the run goes on.
3. Awesome venue, great aid stations, great supporters (Whitney, Carolyn, and Brent!) and humbling competition.
4. Staying in the hostel - cheap, filled with interesting people; from the overall race winner to a 67 year old Californian who had been there 10 days. Fun to meet a crowd like that.
5. Boston afterwards.

The elements I would have thrown out:
1. 2mph Crash which bent my front wheel the day before the race.
2. The rented wheel for 15 bucks - granted, it was a carbon clincher, but it also came with a tube which valve's stem was not long enough for the pump to grab. Changed that sucker 10mins before transition closed race morning. 3rd place overall, who was next to me on the rack looked at me and asked - last minute change? I held back the long story leading up to that and responded with, 'ya dude, craziness.'
3. Walking ~2mi each way to pick up my packet after bike fiasco - not exactly my ideal pre-race run.
4. The beach being closed on a beautiful 75 degree evening at 7pm. I wanted to swim. They stole my dream.
5. Packing 2000 people into one corner of town that had one way out. Traffic was insane.

Next time:
1. I will drink more on the bike - not enough calories/salt in prep for the run. Wont do that again.
2. Taper less - the mind is a very powerful organ and should it be deprived of cortisol, dopamine and the like during race week, it tosses and turns as if I just broke my ankle. Not doing enough during race week made me feel slightly inadequate on race day. Enough said.

Not sure about upcoming races as I'm in need of some rest. Feeling fried. Definitely in the mood for some fall/winter. Trail runs and snowboarding sounds amazing right now.

Age Group Nats - Preview

I'm more excited to travel than I am to race. That's an easy call. Whitney is going with, so that will definitely make the trip 100x better. Leaving Thursday, sleeping in the Adirondacks, arriving in Burlington - we're taking the ferry across the lake (baller)!- on Friday for a trio of workouts and exploring. The plan is to stay in a hostel, a first for me, but I'm excited. Could be rad.

The predictions, not that they're worth much.
-Swim: Provided that it will be a wetsuit swim and I get a good wave, I should be 19 and change. Who knows, though, I could have a junky wave and get kicked in the schnoz, but you know, 19 and change sounds nice. I've done a mile for time, a broken mile for time, and progressive interval sets of 100s and 50s totaling a mile's worth of work and each time I've been 20:00 or under with 19:05 being my best. 20mins was for the straight mile. My calculations are never correct on what a wetsuit is worth, but I'd say it gives me a robust chance at sub-20. Water is low 70's now - should be great!

-Bike: In the 2-week drill leading up to the race I've almost replicated exactly what I did leading up to Tampa when my bike split was just over an hour. It was by far the best I've felt all year on the bike, and though the course profile isn't at all what St. Anthony's was, I still think with the big downhill towards the end of the bike that I have as good a chance as any at breaking 1:00. For the first time I'll have some business wheels on. A disc in the back and 808 firecrest on the front. Every little bit helps! I must include that as of now I feel really fresh on two wheels. The last time trial I did was a 20sec PR for 10mi, and hill work in the aero position has made me stronger for any positive gradient I might happen upon. I put in a lot of hard intervals this winter and summer thanks to some conversational guidance from the guys at the bike shop, so with the right rest I should be hammer time.

-Run: The dice have yet to be rolled in this department. I think I'm capable of running 6:20s, which would give me 39:15, but more realistically, on the course provided, I'll probably slide in just at 40mins. I haven't put a lot of concerted effort into the run this year, reason being my surgery last year and trying to play it cool for the entire season with no injuries. Success so far! What is more, I did have a PR 5k earlier in the spring at the YMCA run. All in all, the run will determine how close to 2:05 I get. That's the goal. All things considered, I would be thrilled!

Then it's off to Canada for three days and then back to work. The travel is the best part. I have learned the most in my life from going places, seeing things, talking with people. Sitting in the car for hours on end has allowed me to discover myself, and I think to comfortably travel long distances with just yourself, you've got to be open to the possibility of learning things about yourself you hadn't planned on knowing. It's the pause button. My mind needs it. It needs to do tons of shit for umpteen weeks, then rest and think about what happened and what I learned and where to go next. In the past, those times let me figure out that I really don't like racing. Not even at all. If you compare it to maps, new roads, new people, and great experiences, it only lets you find out one thing - if you can take the pain, or not.

Getting a Coach

Over the past few years of my Triathlon career I have always said that I would never have a coach or that it cost too much money. But as the season has come along this year I have done some talking with Alex and thinking myself on how am I going to get faster? Because I don't have the answer and my training methods are not working for me. My biggest goal in Triathlon is to break 2 hours in an Olympic distance race. One of the biggest setbacks from keeping me do this is my run. I can run a 10k under 40 minutes easy by itself but when you add a swim and bike in front of it, it tanks to over 45 minutes. So before Ironman Muncie I decided that it was time to find a coach to help me accomplish my goals. I chose Ben Weaver out of Columbus, Indiana. Ben is a very talented athlete himself. He owns Epic Coaching and Training which helps athletes complete anything from a 5k to a full Ironman race. He cares about his clients and designs workouts for each and every one of his athletes so that they can complete their goals. This couldn't be a better fit.

Since the beginning of July I have been working with Ben and have seen great improvements in my last two races! I think that I will be able to fulfill my goal of breaking two hours when I go to Iowa on September 4th. Deciding to get a coach was a good decision because when I see progress in my training and at races it gives me motivation to work harder at my goals. It also gets tough sometimes and workouts are hard and tiring but at the end of the day I know that I am one step closer to achieving my goals!

Thats all for now, but until next time Happy Training

Tri Indy along with New Training

In preparation for the Hy-Vee championship race that I will be doing in September I decided to do Tri Indy to see where I am at with my new training schedule that my coach has been having me do! This race is pretty awesome. The swim is in the canal that works it's way through downtown Indianapolis and it draws a lot of good competition.

The positives:

I have had a PR on my run split the last two races I have done. Running 4-5 times a week along with doing brick workouts has made it easier to get off the bike and really hit the run hard.

My swim felt awesome today. My stroke felt smoother and I felt like I wasn't horsing it the entire time.

Out on the bike it has been easier to really hammer it longer. The reason for this is that in training rides coach Ben has been having me do 2x15 mins race pace or 3x10 mins race pace. Doing this while training helps my body to get used to going really hard for long periods of time not just on race day.

The bad:

I need to eat more of bike for energy. I wasn't lacking energy, but I feel like it may help. Just something to think about.

Last but not least. I need to carry spare tire stuff during races. I got a flat tire at about mile 19 and ran for nearly 35 minutes with my bike. It sounded like a horse coming down the street because of my bike shoes. Luckily with about 2 miles to go somebody from T3 multisport gave me a spare and a Co2 pump. I have always told myself that if I got a flat I would drop out but today was the first time it actually happened and I knew that if I didn't complete the race I would have let myself down and I think when you do that it makes you think its OK to give up, when really it only makes you stronger.

Even with my flat tire and running down the street with my bike I still finished in 2:27.26 which isn't bad at all.

Strength Gains and 11 Weeks With An Extra Foot

About this time last year, I was in the gym 3x perweek strength training my ass off. I couldn't run - I had a bout of turf toe shot at me by some intervals run with Shanahan around the IU stadium - and my surgery on my ankle was looming just a day after I planned torace the Columbus Challenge Triathlon hot turkey.

Attention - please do NOT run if you have a chipped talus bone in your foot. Over time, you're foot will adapt and over compensate on one side. Instead of slamming down at 5
:45/mi pace evenly, you will inevitably and with a high level of inconvenience, slam your all your weight on the joint of your big toe. I used to laugh at football players who couldn't 'tough it out'. Ya, no longer.

I hadn't biked, and nor had a swum. Note: Hadn't refers to 3x or less in the last month and a half.

But I could do cable squat jumps for running and cycling power, core work,
arm work (did lots of tricep things in preparation for having three
walking legs - two of them
being aluminum), and in general hope for the best. That said, I was shocked to discover that I got third Overall at the race with not a running mile in two months.

A result like that has you wondering. I felt like I had won the consumer's dream. Something for nothing. But it wasn't nothing. Strength is the key. I had 8 weeks in the tank of slinging steel. Prediginous!

The hard part - NOBODY I knew, and barely a research article conclusion out there indicated that what I did should have happened. Perusing many blogs for triathlon you read that strength training, especially for big units like myself should not be a priority.
Better your time should be spent on the bike or with your
feet in your sneaks. Hell, there's a drove of forum threads on Slowtwitch with strength/crossfit/less is more bashers. More is more? Yes, the equation follows, but really, nothing is as it seems. I'm of the opinion that you can't be strong enough for your own body. Very few are, and if you have to wonder if you are, you aren't. Just my opinion.

I strength trained more than I ever have this past winter and the injuries are very few and minor. Certainly! That's the primary reason skinnies in
triathlon weight train, for injury prevention. It's obvious they don't do so to increase performance - that assertion is left for crossfit contentious assholes. Ha.

Yeah yeah (great Sandlot character), BUT, my times on the run, bike, and swim have been much better this year, too. Was it because I strength trained? "How many licks to the center of the tootsie roll pop?" the owl asks. The world will really never know. I will say this - in implementing what was somedays, an insane weight training program for the swimmers I help coach at the high school, we had the best season the school has ever had.

In my opinion, skinnies will be skinnies and they should play that card. Odds are they already sling their weight fairly efficiently. But big units and clydes, or those heavy for their height run around with a lot of fuel hanging of the edges. No, I don't necessarily mean fat.
In order to bridge the gap to the skinnies, we've got to be heavy hitters and put that extra on the edges to good use by making it as strong as we can. It would follow then, that the skinnies who do the same with what they've got would only be that much better. Case in point: pros who weight train, Scott doing P90X last year (he won 3 races after he stopped), and the local 5k stud who is in the weight room all spring so he can gas you at the Mag 7 race series. John Heistand got second at state in the 800 2 years in a row. Frustrated, likely, I saw him in the weight room consistently the entire summer and fall before he nearly set the state record and won the 800 going away. Sometimes anecdotal evidence is all you can find.

Injuries aside, I will NOT be spending 11 weeks on crutches this year after this Saturday. I'll be racing on Sunday to break the memory. Enough reading this, shouldn't you be lifting something?

The Season in Photos V. 1

- Scott got 4th! Hot day at Eagle Creek. 84deg swim.

-1st and 2nd out of the water at Warsaw Tri

- Coming in for the 'win' at Hoosierman

- Scott going out on the bike at Hoosierman

-Two hours in and still smiling

Strikes and Gutters - Indy Sprint at Eagle Creek #2T

Ups and Downs.

The Strikes -

1. Recently I have managed to snag the consulting of two really great individuals regarding my strategy and training for tris. Tim Mickelborough and Dave Tanner. Two of the most accomplished - not that you need accomplishments behind advice, but nonetheless - individuals to be in the sport, and they are already two great friends; Dave being my swim coach in high school and the head coach, while I am the assistant at BHSN Swimming, and Tim being a fellow triathlete in town who I've talked with by the by. Really looking forward to using what they advise, and seeing how it works out. Very grateful to have them in town locally!

2. Dogs haven't really got to me in the past, but after keeping Evie, a little 5-month old lab mix for about 5 weeks, I sadly had to give her away. She was the sweetest dog I've come across to date and the perfect fit for me, save for my allergies to her. Sad to give her away, but she's with another triathlon couple and their two kids. And now my breathing is slowly on the mend.

3. I've been feeling pretty fit lately. Swimming more than I usually do, and getting back to my pre-St. Anthony's training schedule, which as it were, suited me best, and had me at the best I've been this year on the bike. And recently with two track sessions, I'm feeling much better about my run. The training changes are per Dave and Tim, so mentally I feel like I'm no longer treading water. Scott has added a coach to his training as well, so maybe he'll give you some details.

The Gutters -

1. Eagle Creek Tri #2 - would prefer to erase this one from the memory, but more was learned than lost. Compared to my first Eagle Creek outing, I went from 3rd to 30th. Wanted to keep going to wanting to quit. Bliss to blunder. A few things didn't work out right, but it's safe to call it a poor day at the track and leave it as it was.

In other news, the rest of the tri season looks like this:
Aug. 6 - Columbus Challenge Triathlon - good memories from this one last year. Got 3rd right before I was basically bed ridden for 11 weeks post surgery which took place the next day.
Aug. 7 - Monrovia TT. The morning after a friend's wedding I've got my best chance at going <1hr for 40k. Tentative
Aug. 17-23 - Trip to Burlington, VT for Age Group Nationals - A-RACE
Sept. 24 - Boilerman - never have done this race despite helping put it on as a senior member of the Tri-Club there. Looking to do really well.
Oct. 8 - Long Course Nationals - my second half. Myrtle Beach for the locale makes it super tempting.

And there you have it. We need to get some pictures up!


Recovery and Reboot

Computer functions of the past (I guess - I no longer have a PC), and very relevant terms now after Muncie.

It's time to do a few things. Recover, Reboot, and Reconsider.

I took two full days off. Actually, almost three. Finally got in 30minutes straight of circuit core and leg work yesterday. And I'm slightly sore today which is ideal. Surprisingly I was sore only the day after Muncie. Subsequently, my motivation was sore on Monday and Tuesday until I acted.

Shanahan says that one of the Scott's (Molina or Tinley) used to say that he hated racing because it interfered with his training. I almost feel like that. While I love training, sometimes not training, or training less because of an ensuing race is worth it for the results I desire. In my first full year of triathlon I trained pretty much through every event. And, across the board, I had no improvement in my times and definitely a burnt feeling at the season's end. The interesting thing about recovery in the right dose is that it is just like turning the computer off (how many of us keep it on nearly all the time?)

Try this at home, only if you're someone who leaves the interwebs on all the time. Turn it off. I find that if I can do this with my computer or phone or training, I get a certain peace. No current plugged in to me or the wall. No connection. Sometimes the best way to solve a problem or absorb what you've learned from a race is to cut the cord. I don't think I do it enough. You probably don't either. Use the abstentia to reflect on what it is you got out of the training you did leading up to the race and where you can go again - maybe with a slightly altered direction. That's the reconsider part.

In retrospect, the half ironman was slightly anti-climactic. Longest race I've done by more than double. Rested up for it, it was there, kicked my ass and was done. What was all the fuss beforehand about? Why did I get nervous? I'm learning that there is no sense in getting nervous, for it didn't prepare me anymore so than if I weren't.

Run today and bike later. The outdoor pool is 88 degrees. Not swimming for a bit.

Thank heavens for ice. I'm not sure I would have made it at Muncie without.

Muncie 70.3

For most of you if you don't already know doing a triathlon in general is tough, but doing a Half Ironman or Full Ironman is hell and it will put your mind and body to the ultimate test! Last year I went to Texas to try my very first 70.3. I probably learned a million life lessons from that race and I used to them to my advantage to get ready for this race and finish with a 33 minute PR.

Here is a quick summary of how the race went:
The swim was crowded and hot. They sent all of the 40 and older in the first 7 waves and then sent the younger guys. I have never understand why any race director thinks that this ok for any reason. So nonetheless the swim was agressive but I ended up finishing it in (29:34). Now on the bike I had a totally different plan than last year which was just hammer it. This year I honestly treated the bike portion like a hard training day. I took it out medium hard and then by mile 35 I started to kick things up a bit. Unlike Alex, shotblocks are my life savor. I ate 4 cases of them and put down a few power bars. I also felt like it was a draft fest out on the course with people riding in groups or right behind. I sure hope they got the hammer from the officials. I finished the bike portion in 2:22.22 this was a PR on the bike leg by 15+ minutes. I was super pleased with that. The Run: this part of the race is where things really get tough if they already haven't. The first 5 miles felt great and then I ended up just hitting a wall and at that point it was all about finishing. One thing I learned from this is that I need to do more brick workouts so that my body is used to this. It also did not help that it was 90 degrees outside.

After all that my final time was 4:44.36. I am happy with it but I know that there is more room for improvement.

Not sure what the next tri will be, but whatever it is I'll be sure to give you an update.

Muncie 70.3 - What you get for not training for the appropriate distance

About two weeks ago I got some Muncie fever. It's a half, it's flat, I'll go do it, see what happens. Dude, terrible choice. Ouch.

Looking back at my logs, I hadn't run more than 10 miles since early March. So, last week, I thought I should run 4mi morning session, with 5.5mi of intervals in the evening and then top it off with 11mi this past Saturday. I'll have you know, if you don't already, what sort of good that did me. None.

Muncie taught me a few lessons.
1. I can likely never eat shot blocks comboed with red bull to drink again. - About mile 35 of the bike, I was totally sugared out. Every time I'd sip my water-gatorade-Gu Brew-Red Bull concoction (which actually tastes damn good when you're not racing) I felt like I was gonna hurl. Reminds me of the time I had 14 scoops of Ice Cream at the Silver Dipper for Purdue Triathlon's Ice Cream eating contest. After about 4 scoops ice cream is no longer a delight. What did I have to eat? Shot blocks and Roctane. Dumpster - I didn't touch them after that. Water and plenty of it, if you please.

2. If I don't put the miles in consistently leading up to a race of this length, I'm gonna get crushed. - I usually go on 2-hour rides. At what point did I start to ride the struggle bus on the bike? 45mi marker. I usually go on hour runs. Run detonation time: ~1hr, or a little more than half way. I had 10+mi on the bike and 7mi on the run that were the longest of my life. That is no exaggeration. Especially for the latter.

3. The WTC still leaves something to be desired. - Sure, sweet race. But c'mon. I didn't even get a free water bottle. And also, starting 6 waves of 40 and olders before the 18-29 males in the swim? Someone is gonna and probably did get hurt.

4. If I'm to do another 70.3 I need: More miles on the legs, body glide on the shoulder of the side that I breathe on (tri-top rubbed my neck raw), real food on the bike (I'm thinking sandwich, olives, and beer), and sunscreen. Can't forget the sunscreen.

5. If you mess with your aerobar drink set up and try and try to pass someone out of the corner of your eye, you will surely go into the ditch and hit a pothole and go over your handlebars. Saw some guy do so today! Crazed happenstance!

All that said, I swam 29:31, Biked 2:25 (23.1avg), and ran a devastating 1:55 (8:51 pace). I'll take it. But I'll also take more sprints and olympics. I like speed.

Congratulations to everyone from Bloomington! Sue Aquila rocked the run, Scott went 4:44 as a big PR from Buffalo Springs Last year, and Brant Bahler - surprise of the day! 4:36 and did it looking on form. Bahler shot caller. Now that guy (and Sue) really put in the miles and they had the best performances on the day. No coincidence.

2 weeks until the next Indy Sprint.

Warsaw Triathlon

Looking at last year's results, it was hard to tell if the competition would have much to offer at this optimist sprint race. Scott and I would find out there was plenty, but nothing we couldn't stay in the mix with.

The swim is always my favorite part. Some wave starts are a bit more feisty than others, especially when you're in there with a bunch of other 20-24 year old males. (I suspect the aggression level is toned down quite a bit in every other age group). But when our wave went, it was Scott and I straight to the front. Out was no big deal, but coming back was straight to the sun and it was everything you could do to forget about sighting and just keep your head down and swim straight. Lots of vegetation out there on the swim, too. The more you fought, the more it felt like the lockness monster.

Our swim times ended up being two seconds of each other. I was 6:13 and Scott 6:15. A decent run to the mat after the water's end made it interesting - I really wanted the swim prime. I would actually get it, but they gave it to the overall race winner. He and I had the same split, but I was just a bit faster on the official results page. Weird.

Transition was a buster. Trouble getting the wetsuit off and over the timing chip. Then the velcro on my shoes stuck to the wetsuit. When I flung the suit to shake the shoe, the shoe went flying. Finally made it out of there in 1:09 - same as Scott.

Easy clip in on the bike, and up the first hill I get passed. Scott was really pressing the pace. I couldn't answer. Actually, nothing about my bike leg was impressive. Legs felt heavy, and I kept wanting to scoot back on my seat - probably means it is too low. The same MSU guy, Alan Finder, passed me, just like Scott. He had the fastest bike split on the day. And surprisingly, even though my legs felt dumpster I still was 23.9mph for 6th on the bike.

Wondering how it might turn out on the run, I struggled plenty in transition. Shoes, pre-tied, just wouldn't go on. But as soon as I began, I pulled the usual routine. Quick steps, turn it over, work out the kinks. By mile one I could see I had gained quite a bit on Scott who had started the run a minute ahead. About 1.5 in, he and the top runner in the race were just inside of maybe 30sec ahead. Getting passed by that top runner throwing down 5:40s at 18 years old lit a fire under my ass to see if I could hold him within range. I did until just short of 2mi and the flame faded. At that point it was everything I could do just to keep Scott in my sights. With a big hill about 3/4 mile to go, I tried to gun it, but redlined. Finished feeling very fast, but the run split didn't suggest I was. At 6:37 miles, I was slightly disappointed because I've run way faster for 5mi last year at Terre Haute than I did today for 3.5. 9th overall, about a minute back of Scott. Interesting thing was, the MSU dude Scott beat went the exact same time as he did a year before. To the second. 1:05:27 for my time, and if I do it next year I want to flirt with as close to an hour as possible.

To my delight and worry, I have ambitiously signed up for Muncie 70.3 which is in two weeks. Haha. Oh man. I haven't run more than 10mi since early March I think. Should be quite the show.

18th Annual Mideast Sprint Traithlon - Warsaw, In

Race Morning:
This race morning was a little different than most. Since Warsaw is about a three hour drive from Bloomington I went up to Indianapolis the night before to stay at my girlfriends sister's house, so that I would not have to drive so far. Either way I woke up at 3:30 AM to start the normal routine as follows; Bathroom, Cheerios, And lots of water! I made sure I had everything grabbed my bananas and gatorade and out the door I was.

When I arrived at the race site I was one of the first people there, as always! I can't stand to be late it just adds to the stress level. I went and checked in and did the normal body marking and check out the transition area. As I walked back to my car the area became more packed and all of the people started to bring out their fancy bikes, which makes my jaw drop. So I set my bike up and got everything ready to go to transition and then waited for my brother Alex to get there. When he arrived we did a little talking and then went for a quick ride, it was a good thing we did because I probably would have wrecked at the very end of the bike course due to a sharp turn!

As 8:00 AM got close the lake area became packed with fans and athlete's. So I got in the water and made my way to the front of the pack with Alex. We said a few last words and then the gun went off. I always start the swim off as fast as I can to get away from the pack. So I hammerd the gas down and moved to the front. As I look up to see where I am going Alex and I are side by side. As we finish up the swim Alex was ahead of me by a few seconds. Into transition one I had a hell of a time getting the wetsuit off, but I was out at the same time as Alex and one other guy. We all mounted our bikes at the same time, and I gave it hell up the first hill to take the lead. The bike was an out and back course. As I made it to the turn around I could see that I had about 45 sec. to a minute ahead of everybody but I knew they were coming. At mile 12.5 I got passed by a guy from Michigan State. He didn't get much of a lead on me. Into transition two, the lead guy was out ahead of me about 25 seconds and he was flying on the run. I took the run out kind of slow because I had really slammed the bike and I was feeling it a little bit. As the run went on I was gaining on him and got passed by one other guy, who was taking monster strides. With about .75 of a mile to go I passed the guy ( he was drained). I crossed the finish line in 1:04.27.

I took 5th overall and I was happy with the overall race. It was very well organized, had awesome volunteers which is always a bonus, averaged almost 25mph on the bike, and it was just fun to race with nice people who have such great talent! I will for sure be adding this one to next years list. I also qualified for the Age group National Championship!

That's all for now, I'll have an update in a few weeks after Ironman Muncie!

Indianapolis Sprint Series Triathlon #1 - Eagle Creek

Typical race morning:
5:15 wake up. Load the car. Realize it's raining - play the mental games. Soymilk and granola, delicious as hell, floor it to Indy.

The rain intensifies as I get closer to Indy, but I still tell myself it will shore up by race time. Not so. The rain would cease though, just in time to get everybody's crap sopping wet. Good times. Glad the race fee came with a dry t-shirt!

About 5 bathroom breaks later, and some pre-race running drills and jumps, they decide to have the elites go on with the swim, pack style. Still raining. Start time about 20 mins delayed. Organized chaos, but I have to hand it to Tuxbros, despite the weather, they negotiated the 600 some racers swiftly, which was nice. I got some clean strokes to the first buoy for warmup then headed back in.

Some briefing by the announcer and we were off. I sprinted hard. Probably harder than I've sprinted at the start of a tri before and I'm not sure why. I had Smitty next to me, Doug Robinson to my left and a few other big dogs to my right. I pretty much took the outside line all the way to the first turn and had a few feet to ride behind. After the first turn it opened up wide. I only sight maybe every twenty strokes, and when I looked up next I had two, maybe three caps ahead. Steady to the next buoy kept me in good position. I'm rounding the second buoy and heading for transition when somebody in a pink cap pulls up on my right. Big surge. I can tell he's not looking at all, because the rowing markers are coming up quick, right in his line. I slide just to the left, sight two strokes in a row. One stroke he's there. The next he's gone. Like he hit a tree or something and just couldn't swim.

Coming out of the water, I saw something I don't usually see. A woman in the lead. Awesome job on her part. Smokin' fast. It wasn't meant to be, for her or for the couple men in front of me. Transition is not for breathers. I wanted to get the heck out because I knew Michael Smith and the likes of Ben Weaver, Matt Shade and company would be right behind.

Out on the bike, no legs. I thought they might open up but never quite did. Still, only person to pass me was eventual second place Doug Robinson, who looked real fast. After the turnaround I rallied a bit, but the hills into transition where ball breakers I just couldn't seem to keep the speed on.

Into T2 and just on my way out, Weaver and Smitty close behind come charging in. Trying in vain not to get caught I smash it out of transition, figuring I have about 45sec on them. Out of transition is all uphill, gradual, yet painful. I was moving the legs good, but not going anywhere. Finally it opened up and I had a chance to pour it on. Probably 1 mile in, Smitty comes past and I do a ad libbed running form check. I told myself, try to make it feel like he looks. After that moment it was 100% pain train. I buried myself after the turn around, only to have my shoes come untied 1/2 mile to go. Since my previous experience with loose shoestrings ended in a broken elbow, I thought it best to tie them. I looked back, didn't see anyone immediately, then stopped to tie them. Butterfingers. Seemed like it took forever. I did however, come out of the that episode feeling awesome, although cramping a little in the legs. Looked back, still in fourth (one other had passed me out of transition - had no idea who it was). I tanked just before the line. Great day. Even better - I found out I was in third! I have always wanted to podium at a Tuxbros race because in the results if you're top three, they star your name. Overall, I was thrilled with it.

I stuck around for the awards long enough to talk to some Purdue friends from the tri team and to re-meet Tim Haley's (club coach in HS) sister, Carrah, who swam with us one summer. She was 3rd overall woman, and she beat me on the swim. Yikes.

Cool day. Loved it.

Training in Hatteras - Outer Banks, NC

As much as we all love to go on vacation and just hang out and bum around, I myself as a triathlete can’t bring myself to do that. I was more focused on making sure I had all of my workout stuff for vacation than having regular clothes to wear. After a 16 hour journey starting at 3 am we arrived and unloaded the car. As everybody else unpacked and talked I unloaded my trainer and bike and set up for an hour long ride. It for sure wasn’t one of the best rides being that I was as stiff as a board from being in the car all day but I was happy to get a workout in. The next morning I was up early to eat my normal breakfast and I set out on a 60 mile ride. It was awesome to experience this because back home you just can’t ride along the ocean or ride across a mile long bridge that crosses over the ocean. Tuesday was kind of a shorter day. I set out for a 6 mile run in the morning so that I could join in the activities for the day. Wednesday I found online that there was a local Ymca in town, so off I was. I ran 7 miles the first 5 were nice and easy and then I kicked it up to 6:30 race pace and then backed it off. After I was pretty tired and I thought I’d do a little swimming as a cool down . When I got to the pool I started talking to some people and turns out they were from Indiana as well and they swam for one of the High Schools that I competed against. Sure enough they asked if I wanted to join in on an IM set, I said yes knowing that it would be hard, I haven’t swam IM in almost 2 years. So here went nothing 2x200 back, 4x100 IM, 2x200 breast, 1x300 IM, 2x100 Fly 1x200 IM. I was toast after this! But I was very satisfied with my workouts. Yesterday I set out for another ride, only this time I went south to see what was down that way. I ended up riding to see the Cape Hatteras Light House which was pretty cool.

With the my biggest race of the season coming up in less than a month ( Muncie Ironman 70.3) I have been working towards it since March. I have had to increase mileage on the bike and running parts because those are where your body is put to the test. So in order to prepare myself for the heat and intensity the race will bring I have been riding and running long distances in 90 degree heat so that my body will be used to the race like conditions. I will say I feel much more prepared for this half ironman than I do for the one I did last year in Texas.

Goodluck to Alex this weekend, If I wasn’t bumming on vacation I would for sure be there racing with him! I hope he brings home the win.

That’s all for now, happy training, and remember to “Never hope more than you work for”


Tuesday Time Trial

I always enjoy these nights. I didn't always enjoy them, mostly because I was too intimidated or too mind blocked by my state of fatigue to face the music and put myself to the clock. But this year has been different. I still feel the pressure, but it's out of respect for the event, not fear.

Recently, Fred (Bike Garage manager) and I have been talking much more about pacing it. In fact, I'm trying to learn as much as I can from the guys at the shop seeing as how for 10 miles, on THAT course, 4 of 4 have PR's well into the 21 minute range, if not the 20's (Ryan - 20:38, Fred - 21: low, Erik - 21:low, and Ren-Jay at 21:mid). Prior to last time, I was rolling around at the 25 minute mark. Not gangsta.

I'll be straight with you - 24:01 for my time, which isn't too bad for me. Just 2 sec off my PR for two weeks ago, and considering I couldn't get my pedal in at the start and I felt like a deuce was coming for the last 4 miles...well, that's just it, a consideration. Nothing more. I'll have to figure out how not to let that happen again.

For an average speed, it's just at 25mph for 10 miles, which tells me exactly what kind of rider I am. I'm a heavy hitter. 205lbs is getting me nowhere on those hills. Kills my average. How do I know? I averaged almost 25mph for 24.6miles until I flatted in St. Pete. Flat as a pine pony course there.

Scott is beach bumming in NC Outer banks with his lady for the week, so no results on his part. I will say though, I'm right where I want to be. The stimulus changes here for the next two weeks in a row. More short, power focus things on the bike as I've had 12-15min intervals going for many weeks. I'll test myself this weekend in Indy for the first of their sprint series tri's at Eagle Creek. Last time I did one of these I was 11th overall. Ha. That was in 2008! I'd really like to be podium or you know, lay the hammer down for the win. 500m swim, 10mi bike, 5k run.

Looking forward to writing with some encouraging results!

As always, whatever your pleasure.


A little history

Since we probably should have started this a couple years back, we wanted to give you everything you needed to know about where we've been thus far.

I started tri's back in 2006 just before my sophomore year of college. It was a big deal then. Dad and I went to the Evansville YMCA race - a sprint- because that summer for rowing I had been doing more biking than ever, and when I came home after my freshman season we ran an 8-miler around the Winslow Outdoor track, something I'd never been able to do. I had been training swimming, so that was simply a bonus. On we went. I owned one pair of juuuunky bike shorts and was at least 220lbs. Anyway, I swam - second out of the water, beating eventual pro Nick Waninger by 2 sec. Biked - on an old piece of steel. All I remember is thinking the bigger a gear I crank the faster I might go, which was "awesome" for the run, which turned into a walk-fest and the highest HR of my life. I think I won my age group though - I found the trophy the other day!

Getting dragged down there was a lot like Scott's story. With Dad and I headed down to Tampa, FL to do the St. Anthony's Triathlon for the second time, he and Scott let me know that there was going to be an extra bike in the car. About 800 miles in, somewhere before we stopped for the night, I questioned what Scott was going to do while we raced. (Did he really bring all his stuff just to futz around with us the day before?) Unable to hold it in and let it pass with a casual "oh he'll just do the warmup with us the day before", Scott pretty much burst out that he was going to do the race with us. News to me. I'll never forget that race, that's for sure. In a time trial bike-run only race, Scott lost both water bottles on the bike, cramped on the run and came across the tape just a few ticks off of Dad's time. He ran 52 minutes then for 10k. Never again. Not even close.

Since then we both have compiled plenty of races. Our previous results are below:

Evansville YMCA Sprint Tri - 1st age group, 21st overall
5th Overall - Collegiate National Sprint Tri
5th - Age Group, St. Anthony's Tri, 187 of ~3600
3rd - Age Group, Terre Haute Tri, 25th Overall
5th Overall - Deer Creek Triathlon, Mt. Pleasant, OH
11th Overall - Indianapolis Sprint Tri
19th Overall - Caesar Creek Triathlon
2nd Overall - Kokomo Sprint Triathlon
1st - Age Group, Tri Indy, 15th Overall
90th place Undergraduate Triathlete in the Country
205th of 3700 - St. Anthony's Triathlon (Cancelled Swim!)
-Did not compete the rest of the summer. Went to Colorado to be a camping counselor! -
DNS St. Anthony's - Broken Elbow
3rd Age Group, 12th Overall - Terre Haute Triathlon
2nd Overall, Blacksnake Duathlon
3rd Overall - Columbus Challenge Triathlon
- Season setbacks of Broken Elbow, Turf Toe, and OCD Ankle Lesion Surgery - all super fun...
12th Age Group, St. Anthony's Triathlon - Flat tire/Wreck
5th Overall, Jasper Duathlon
1st Overall, Hoosierman Triathlon

9th Age Group, 985th Overall, St. Anthony's Triathlon (Cancelled Swim!)
4th Overall, Lake Lemon Triathlon
11th Overall, Boilerman Triathlon
29th Overall - Tri Indy
12th Overall - Columbus Challenge Triathlon
1st Age Group, 84th of 3800 Overall, St. Anthony's Triathlon
9th Overall, Terre Haute Triathlon
2nd Overall, Hoosierman Triathlon
3rd Overall, Leon's Fastest Triathlon
13th Age Group, 486th Overall - Buffalo Springs 70.3
1st Overall, Columbus Challenge Triathlon
1st Overall, S.W.A.T Olympic Triathlon
1st Overall, Lake Lemon Triathlon
5th Age Group - St. Anthony's Triathlon
3rd Overall - Jasper Duathlon

On the calendar this year are quite a few more races for the both of us. Scott is headed to Muncie 70.3, where as here this next weekend and the weekend after I'm doing two sprints. My initial goal for this season was to go to Age Group Nationals. It's not too difficult to qualify, but it's all the way in Vermont. Funds may be the issue.

Anyway, we're looking forward to posting some great results and having fun along the way. Thanks to everyone who supports us, but especially our parents and friends!