Year End Wrap Up 

I thought I’d put down some quick thoughts on this year since I’m basically done racing for 2016. Looking back, it was a very solid year from a couple different perspectives. Number one, I learned a lot. That’s always a priority for me. To always be growing and moving forward in whatever I do. I definitely made some great strides forward this year as far as racing, training and how to balance those with a life that sometimes seems to revolve around them.  Number two, I realized I’m still into this sport. I had so much fun in the later part of the year and am still excited on training and racing even after a somewhat full season.

The beginning of the year started pretty lackluster. I wasn’t “injured” but had some nagging soreness that sidelined my run for a while. I was also pretty tired and sick of training from a long 2015. I tried to be smart about my level of enthusiasm and entered the first two races of the year (Desert Tri and Oceanside) with a different attitude. An attitude based purely and simply on having fun. That’s it. No performance goals or expectations. I would do the races just for fun. This plan worked perfectly. As you would expect, the performances and times were very slightly off, and that was just fine. I was happy and having a great time. This carried over into Wildflower but with a different result. At that race, I wasn’t really “into it” at all and completely self sabotaged my performance with 8 or was it 9 Session IPA’s the day before. I wound up pulling out of the race after the bike. My reason? I was tired and not having any fun. I’ve decided to really do what I want to do. If I don’t feel like racing, I don’t race. This doesn’t mean I’m just out there screwing around. It means that I’m going to do what I feel like doing for the sake of longevity and sustainability in the sport.

This led to the middle of the season and Ironman 70.3 CDA. Again, I went in with the primary goal of having fun, but this time I would also give it a go, so to speak. I had an awesome performance for me, had fun doing it and had a wonderful time with teammates and Karin. After CDA was IMLP. Sort of the big race for the year. I went into it feeling great, well rested and excited to race. I had some weird problems at IMLP and decided to abandon after the bike. I really thought something was sort of medically wrong with me. After some solid investigation, a battery of medical tests and introspection, I realized I was just being a baby. I could have easily done the run. It might not have been up to what I was shooting for, but I was capable. I’ll give another IM a go next year at Vineman.

Last race of the year was 70.3 Worlds in Mooloolaba Australia. What a great trip and a great race. Throughout the lead up to CDA, IMLP and Worlds, I sort of fell in love with the sport again. I was starting to really enjoy training and got into fantastic shape for Australia. I’m excited to begin again for next year. Anyway, back to Worlds, had a great race. Did everything I wanted to do and was very happy. I don’t have a very good track record at big world champ or national champ races, so to go out and really perform well was invigorating.

Now, Karin and I are done for the year with anything planned. If we show up at a race, it will be a spur of the moment decision. We have some ideas of what we might do. We’ll see.

I also wanted to say that I’m going to start doing some coaching. I have been hesitant in the past but I feel like I have some good ideas to share and would like to see how I enjoy the experience of helping others be better athletes. In truth, I just basically broke down to the peer pressure. But, I’m only gonna take on maybe a handful of athletes. I want to make sure everyone gets the individual attention they deserve and I simply don’t have the time to handle as many athletes as have requested. If you would like to work with me, Shoot me an email at fastyellow@yahoo.com. I will be selecting athletes soon and working under the Accelerate 3 banner with Brian Stover. He’ll be my resource and guidance into this new arena.

 

 

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Practical Guide to Strength Training for Triathlon 

I spend a lot of time railing against what seems to be the new fad in endurance sport training. The new fad of “strength training.” Because strength training has been around since basically forever, it’s really tough to call it a new fad. But I will…not because of its efficacy but rather because of this new approach to it and the bastardized way it’s being implemented into triathlon. Training strength, if understood and done properly, can be a very effective tool. When misunderstood and done incorrectly, it’s a massive waste of time. In this post, I’ll try and explain what it is you should be after as well as some examples of what to avoid. I’ve tried to write it as an overview and conceptual piece so it can be applied globally to many situations. There are some key concepts to understand and questions to ask before heading down this confusing road. With that, let’s get started. 

Here’s the key question to ask of yourself before implementing a new routine; what am I trying to effect and what is the desired outcome? Most of the time, when I ask this of someone doing some form of what they believe to be strength training, this simple question is met with vitriol and anger. Why? Because usually they can’t answer it or they feel you are somehow trying to point out that they don’t know what they are doing. Both are usually correct but sometimes you actually do get a response only to discover that they don’t fully understand strength and how you develop it. So what I want to do here is go through how things actually work and then circle back to how we can apply these truths to our sport….or any sport really.

Everything we do in life has a strength component to it. Every single move you make requires some amount of strength to do. Whether that’s typing on a keyboard or doing a maximum squat, both require some form of strength. There’s even a strength component when you sleep otherwise you wouldn’t be able to roll over or stop yourself from taking a big crap in your bed. So we can all agree that we need strength to do…well, everything. However, some movements in life, obviously, require less strength to do and some require all the strength we have. There is a broad spectrum from things that require very little strength and mostly skill all the way to things that require almost all strength and very little skill. This is VERY important to understand in order to be able to think critically about what it is you are actually doing. Are you doing a predominately skill based movement or a predominantly strength based movement? This is where we lose almost everyone. It seems that people believe that if it hurts and is fatiguing, it must be a strength based movement or exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Everyone knows, or should know, that the body is an amazing machine. It really is. The things it can do to overcome resistance are simply remarkable. Whenever you introduce a movement or resistance, the body’s job is to figure out the easiest, most efficient way to do that movement or overcome that resistance. It will always try and follow the path of least resistance. It doesn’t, however, always figure this out right away. You can “learn” to do movements and overcome resistance (even pure strength movements) better and better over time….without increasing your strength one bit. Let’s take an extreme example of a leg press isometric. You would think this is an all strength isometric. Not moving, solid base in the seat and simply holding as much weight as you can for say, 30 seconds. Let’s also say that this is the first time you’ve done this exercise and you were able to hold 500lbs. Then, we sit you down for a few minutes and let you completely recover. Bring you back and this time, you do 550lbs. WOAH! You just built 10% more strength in a few minutes! Well, we all know that’s bullshit. So what happened? You became “better” at the leg press isometric. Obviously no new strength was created in 5 minutes. Your body and mind learned how to hold the weight more efficiently or “better” if you will. This is not some rare and weird example…it’s actually universal. The first thing that happens in ANY exercise before a shred of fitness or strength is built is motor learning. You simply learn how to do the movements better than you previously could. THIS is why beginners and novices see so much improvement so quickly. It’s not that they are building tremendous amounts of new fitness and strength; it’s that they’re becoming “better” at the exercises themselves. Their skill is raised before any else.

After a while, what we all know happens, happens. We run out of talent. This happens quicker the more we can isolate things and make them almost all about strength…like a leg press iso. This happens WAAAAYYYY down the road on what are predominantly skill based movements. Meaning, if the movement we are doing is complex and based on how well we can do it rather than how much strength we have, you will continue to learn to get better at it before almost any strength can be built. This takes a tremendous amount of time depending on how complex the movement is. Plus, with complex movements, it’s very very difficult to load them to the point that you will actually make a physiological change to the strength of the tissue. What are some common skill based movements that people confuse with strength? Well, how about Olympic Lifts. Yes, you heard that right. Olympic Lifts are mostly a SKILL BASED MOVEMENT. They are based not on how strong you are but how much power you can generate. Generating power is a skill.  Doing Olympic Lifts does very little in regards to building strength. Olympic Lifts make you really good at doing Olympic Lifts….and that’s it. That’s what specificity is all about. Skill based movements do NOT transfer to other skill based movements. In fact, they can be a detriment.

So, let’s move away from strength for a second and talk about skills. What are skills and how do we become better at them? Skill is defined as the ability coming from one’s knowledge, practice and aptitude to do something well. As triathletes, we all wish to better three skills: swimming, biking and running. We do this through fucking endless hours of training and practice. Some people train and practice as much as a full time job. Obviously, for pros, it is their full time job. Countless miles on the bike, endless laps in the pool and millions of steps when we run. So why the hell do you want to introduce a new skill into this equation? You have enough skill building and conditioning in the three sports you’ve decided to partake in. Adding more skills is not the answer. This includes all kinds of bullshit skill movements like core work (core, my favorite made up word), bosu balls, those stupid heavy ropes, doing hand stands, lifting weights incorrectly (which almost everyone does) or even lifting weights correctly depending on what you’re doing, jumping on boxes depending on how you do these too, on and on and on. For one, these skills will build almost NO NEW STRENGTH. Of course you’ll get some very very small strength benefit from some of them. Remember, everything we do requires strength. But how much strength (remember the sliding scale) and how much transfer is what we are really looking for. These movements have been coined with another made up word as “functional”. Take a second and think about that. Functional. What the fuck does that even mean? Is it supposed to mean that it’s going to “function” in some way to what I’m doing? Well, how do we know that? If something is termed “functional”, functional for what? For everything? You mean this exercise has been proven to function in some way for EVERYTHING I do? That’s functionally awesome….but also complete crap. The movements you’re doing are functional for one thing, the specific movement you’re doing. That’s it.

One more aspect before I bring this all the way back around. Skills have effects on other skills. The worst thing in the world you can do when trying to improve a skill is to mimic that skill outside of the activity itself. For example, take a weighted bat or golf club. You see people swinging these things around because they think with this logic, “well, this bat/club is heavier than the one I use, so when I swing it, it’s going to make the other one seem light. Then, when I swing the real one, I’m going to swing it faster and harder and hit the ball farther.” Ummm, no. That’s actually not what’s going to happen. Swinging a bat or golf club is all about coordination. Coordination and timing. You can not mentally turn a golf club face square in the millisecond you have to do that in or hit a 90mph ball consciously by thinking your way through it.  It has to be done intuitively. By feeling, coordination and timing. When you introduce a heavy club into your practice, all you are doing is messing and screwing up that coordination and timing. It’s actually hindering your skill. So what you thought was beneficial is actually hurting you. This holds true with any skill. You want to be as far away from the movement of your chosen skill when strength training. You do not ever want to mess with the timing and coordination of the main skill you are trying to better. Bringing this back to triathlon with another example, Gerry Rodrigues of Tower 26 (an expert in triathlon and open water swim training) never has swimmers under a certain proficiency level use swim paddles. Why? Because it fucks everything up. It messes with timing, coordination, balance, stroke rate, you name it.

So where does this leave us. It leaves us with some knowledge. We know a few things now. We know that most of the BS we see out there is just that, BS. We know that if we decide that we need strength training, to do things that ACTUALLY EFFECT STRENGTH. Not coordinated, skilled movements that can’t be progressed and involve more motor learning than strength building. In order to train strength, you need a lot of load and force on specific muscles. Anything that involves balance and launching is not going to build much strength. A stronger muscle can handle more force, more impact and be more resilient. That is a fact that can not be disputed. The trick is doing things that actually change the muscle to handle more while keeping the balance we need to maximize the specific sports we do. The one universal truth is that training works. Doing the specific sports of swimming, biking and running will always yield the highest return on investment. Always. When you decide to add supplemental training to your regiment, please, ask yourself….

  1. What am I actually doing? Am I really building strength or am I simply adding another skill to my routine?
  2. Do I know what muscle specifically I’m affecting and how is that going to help me?
  3. Am I able to apply enough load and torque to the joint to actually change the physiology of the muscle to become stronger? Then, does this muscle being stronger actually help me somehow in triathlon?

If you are unable to intelligently and genuinely answer these simple questions, I suggest just sticking to what we know for sure works. The one thing I hear so much in this sport is “time crunched”. Well, if you’re really time crunched, these pseudo strength training programs are probably the biggest waste of time of them all.

Some Recommendations:

  1. Your strength training and or plyometrics should NOT have a conditioning aspect to them. ie crossfit style. Strength training is specific and REALLY hard. You should be concentrating on the specific exercise and always loading to maximum or close to maximum. You should not be running from machine to machine. Same with plyometrics. Plyo’s were never intended to be a conditioning exercise. In fact, you can not do plyo’s effectively in order to get the max benefit in a fatigued state. They are done individually and controlled. You get plenty of conditioning and fitness from the three sports you already do.
  2. Your exercise should never be an attempt to mimic your skill sports. ie swim bike and run. It should look as different from what your skill is as possible.
  3. Try and find someone that knows how to train strength. These trainers are very few and far between. If they have you running around the gym, that’s not what you’re after. How can you tell? Well, the only way is to really be educated yourself and understand basic principles like these. Remember, you don’t need fitness or conditioning….you want to strengthen your tissue. 
  4. Actual strength training is controlled, acute and specific. When done properly there is almost a zero percent chance of injury because you’re not hopping or running around. Can you say that about your current routine? 

What bothers me most is folks wasting their time and being tricked by dumbass articles and jerkoffs looking to make a buck into doing routines that do nothing for them. I’m looking out for you. I want to see you succeed and do things that are actually gonna make a difference. I hope this causes some of you to criticize and question what you’re actually doing….and make a change if you need to.

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New year, new ride, new goals 

2016….it’s gonna be fun, by design. 

First, let’s look at the new ride. Lots of “new” going on here. New sponsors and systems make this a real departure from what I’ve become accustomed to. Let’s look at the specs. 

Cannondale Slice 56cm

  
Shimano di2 55/39 – 11:28 11speed 

Pioneer Power Meter w\ Pioneer Computer

  
HED Corsair Bars 

  
Knight Wheels 65/95 

Continental GP4000s 23c tires 

Specialized Tri Tip Saddle

TriRig Brakes front and back 

Speedfil Z4 BTA bottle holder (not yet installed) 

  
Wattie Ink Graphics 

The biggest change I need to get used to is the Pioneer PM and subsequent computer. It’s just different than what I’ve used in the past. It’s such a powerful PM with so much new info, it’s been a fairly steep learning curve. The right / left independent info has been fun to play with. The advanced analytics on Cyclosphere have also been fun to learn. 

The bike itself fits really well. The bars are the same as what I’ve used for many years so I’m super comfortable in those. I also brought over my 55tooth chainring for some downhill advantage. The wheels from Knight are especially nice. They even built in some Chris King Hubs for that little extra. I’m really excited to get to racing. 

The schedule this year is very similar to last year with some notable exceptions. 

Desert Tri

Oceanside 70.3

Wildflower Long Course 

CDA 70.3 

Ironman Lake Placid 

70.3 World Champs Australia 

I’m really looking forward to racing in Couer d’Alene. I’ve only been there once and I’m dying to get back. Australia is another race I’m really looking forward to. Karin and I are really excited as it will be both of our first times there. I actually think I’m going to really enjoy my entire schedule this year. Everything is on there because it’s what I want to do. No other reason. 

This year I’m solely concentrating on having fun. Gonna do my best, don’t get me wrong, but performance is not my motivating factor. I’m gonna enjoy my time out there and not put any stress on myself to be perfect. I think this is really going to free my mind up and allow me to really enjoy the events. At least, that’s the goal. 

I’ve already raced Desert Tri and did very well there. I’m loving the new team kits.  

 
We’ve got a bunch of new and old team sponsors. Can’t thank them enough for their support. 

Wattie ink 

Herbalife 24

Cannondale 

Pioneer

Knight Wheels 

ISM 

Blueseventy 

Speedfil

101 Pipe 

Rudy Project 

See you at the races! 

  

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Ironman Lake Placid 2015

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know what a lot of you are saying. “I thought you said you would never do an Ironman?” I did say that….a lot. Ironman’s are “stupid” and “dumb” and I’ll never do one. Well, what do you want me to say. I succumb to the curiosity. I went back on my word. I don’t know what else to tell you….So here’s the recap….

Back in July of last year, a group of friends hatched a plan with Karin and I to all travel back to Lake Placid and race Ironman the following year. SO DUMB….but fun. I guess. So I signed up with no real conviction to actually do the race. My participation in the race itself would be solely based on how well training went, or rather, how well it was going…basically a game time decision. The trip would happen no matter what as Karin was all in but I would make a decision rather close to the race as to whether or not I would actually go through with it. Needless to say, training went really well. I’ve found a great balance of work and training. Basically, it involves a LOT less travel and LOT more time at work. I know that sounds weird but it’s really working for me. The less I travel, the less I worry about falling behind at work. That means less stress. The more I’m physically at work and on top of my shit, the less stressed I get. The effects being more solid training and better results. So this past 8 months, I’ve picked races with no travel. I’ve only taken one day off up until this trip to Placid and it’s working fantastic. I’m well rested, stress free and training like a champ. The downside…..now I have to do this fucking race…..ugh.

I always thought it was funny when random Ironman completing triathlon folks used to ask “have you done an Ironman?”…..Me, “No”…..”Oh, you could probably do one. It’s just so much time training.”

LOL….yeah, thanks. I appreciate the advice. The “funny” part about that is, I train more than most Ironman athletes do before I started Ironman training. Most people think that your training hours reflect the race distance you’re doing. Nothing could be further from the truth. The training complexion reflects your specific goals (ie race distance)….but rarely do the hours spent training. Sprints, Olympics, Half Ironman, and Ironman all require the same amount of training….and that amount is….as much as you can. Well, if you wanna do your best. I train as much as I can. So I knew the hours spent training would not change. That was an added benefit to help wrap my brain around this.

Another thing that helped sway me was going and spectating a couple Ironman races. I realized something you kind of don’t get with the TV broadcast and that’s the fact that it’s just a triathlon. It’s not some mega super duper event with super human people overcoming some incredible feat. It’s all the same people with all the same bikes and wetsuits doing the same thing you’ve done a million times…..just doing it for a pretty long ass amount of time. But there’s nothing really “special” about it.

So that’s kind of the back story….let’s get to the actual race…..

Karin and I arrived the Tuesday before the race to our AWESOME lake house that we rented through VRBO. We were staying with Caldwell, wife Lauren, Biebs, Mike and Flabs. Evan Hill and family were also there along with other Wattie Ink athletes but staying in other locations. The days before the race were just epic. We were within walking distance of everything we needed and the race itself. The week was just spent lounging with some super light swims in the lake. I did ride and run some but nothing over 15 minutes. Couldn’t have been nicer. We did have some drama the evening before the race when a four story building burst into flames across the lake from us. Thankfully, no one was harmed and the debris didn’t cancel the swim. All of our hearts go out to the local lady who lost everything in the fire. It was rather hard to watch.

Packet pickup, bike check, race morning….all went off without any problems. Lined up for the swim and was ready to get going.

The swim start at Placid is a rolling start much like the start of a running race. You self seed based on your anticipated swim. They had signs like Sub 60 Min, 60-70 Mins and so on. Karin and I lined up in about the second or third row. I anticipated going about 58 Mins or so with a wetsuit and a super easy effort. My real goal was anything around 60 mins with zero effort but I knew the wetsuit would help and there should be some good drafting at the start because of the format. I also knew the course was permanent throughout the year and exactly 2.4 miles…so that helps when coming up with some time goals. (Which I always have in mind, but never react or race to.) I was very relaxed at the start. I love knowing that everything is going to be really easy for a really long time. There’s simply no other way to do long endurance events. So there’s no nervousness at the start. You have to ease into the day and let it unfold. Which I did….just sorta trotted into the water, stayed up a little longer than most and waded out. My theory here is, if I’m going as fast as the people swimming, I might as well walk. Got going swimming soon enough. Start was uneventful. There were not a lot of people around and I was kind of doing my own thing. I did notice what looked like Karin’s suit early on but it was hard to tell. Then I noticed we were swimming side by side. It was funny at first because we breath on opposite sides, so every stroke we would be looking at each other. I knew Karin was swimming very well as I usually out split her by about 1 min in HIM’s. She was right there through the entire first lap. I was really excited she was doing so well. We came out of the water to transition to the second loop of the swim. I looked at the clock and it read 28:xx….I think it was 28:40 but all I cared about was the 28…which was excellent and right on target. A lady also told Karin she was the 6th female. So that helped me as well because everyone knows I’m always battling for top female amateur. We got back into the water and again started swimming stroke for stroke. I was kind of hoping Karin would drop back behind me and save some energy, but she told me after that she doesn’t really like drafting and it’s tougher for her to maintain a solid position to get a good draft than to just swim her own line. When we made the first turn to head back, that’s when we started to run into the back of the pack swimmers. I knew from this point, it was going to be a struggle. Now the speed differential was REALLY bad. You had FOP swimmers catching true BOP swimmers. I lost Karin in the process. I knew she had slightly pulled ahead and that was fine. I was just doing my best not to swim over people and find the cleanest lines I could. It was tough the last 500-800 meters. When I finally exited the water, I looked at my watch…58:xx…rad, right on schedule. I saw Karin two steps ahead of me and was super excited for her. We started the 1/4 mile run to T1 together. Awesome.

Swim Exit

T1 was easy and slick. One of the great advantages of coming out of the water in the top 20 is a clear and smooth change tent with lots of volunteers waiting to help. Got through there easy and my bike was waiting for me at the end of the row.

It had rained the night before so the roads were still wet. I was very cautious leaving town as it is mostly downhill. I just settled in for what would be the fastest 5.5 hours of my life. Came up with my power goal prior to the race of around 185 and waited to hear what Stover (my coach) was going to give me. It was exactly the same. So I knew we had a great number to go by. My riding is as predictable as a clock. So there’s really no mystery here. I input my info into Best Bike Split before the race and it came up with an estimated time of 5:35. Which was completely acceptable. The only real challenge would be trying to get down enough calories on the bike. I don’t normally take in a lot of calories on the bike. I did a practice training ride with my nutrition plan a few weeks prior and it was really tough to keep remembering to eat that much. It wasn’t tough on my stomach or anything, just really annoying to be honest. But I knew that no matter how much I was able to get down, it wouldn’t be enough….so I had to do my best to eat and drink everything I had with me. Looking back, I got down about 2000 calories. Which I think was good.

I’d never seen the bike course before the race which really doesn’t matter to me. You put a road in front of me and I’ll ride it at the right watts. Unless the road is really technically difficult, which this course absolutely is not, then I don’t really care if I see it beforehand. I passed Karin a few minutes into the bike as she had a faster T1 than me. I settled into a nice pace and was only with a few other riders out there. Of course I was getting passed by some of the better cyclists coming through which was fine and expected but I was really surprised at how disciplined everyone was. I didn’t see anyone really riding out of the shorts. Everyone was just cruising along at a nice easy pace. Most of the first 10 miles is a slow grind uphill and then you hit a really nice section of downhill. That was really fun and I was able to grab 3-4 spots back as some of the other riders were very hesitant down the hill. Not really sure why as it’s a straight shot with no turns and not a very steep decent. You do get going pretty fast, I think I topped out at 55mph, but that’s just because it’s so long. You never have to hit your brakes for the entire ride down…which is always fun. After that, the road flattens out and is downwind. You can really make up some time there.

I came to the first out and back and noticed the lead vehicle. Cool, I could finally get an idea where I stood in the race. I started counting riders and when I hit the first turn around for the first out and back, I was in 25th. Solid. I also just told myself, “you’re just in 25th. At this point, that doesn’t mean shit one way or the other. Race hasn’t even started yet”. I just focused on my work at hand……and eating….lots of eating.

As we started getting to the end of the first loop, the terrain started to shift back uphill and we had now turned into a headwind. I remember someone telling me about the “Three Bears” climb. I guess that’s some part of the road back to town but for the life of me, I still don’t know where these are. There really isn’t any climbs back into town. It’s sorta uphill but there’s just lots of quick grades that don’t last more than a minute or so. Nothing I would consider “climbing”. It was slow however and the average pace does fall dramatically coming back into town. The support always picks WAY up as now there’s some folks cheering and giving lots of motivation. Right before we got back to town, Dave Mirra passed me. Only reason I mention it is because he’s the only guy I know in my age group and the only person I know to pick out of a crowd. I knew he’d be coming by at the end of the first lap. He was the only person to pass me who actually looked like he was riding really hard.

As I mentioned, the bike went by really fast. Before I knew it, I was back in town at special needs getting my fresh bottles. I ran an aero bottle on the seat tube so I had to pack an additional one because I obviously couldn’t exchange that at the aid stations. That holds the bulk of my liquid nutrition. Once again, a spectacular volunteer was standing there with my bag open with my bottles in her hands. Special needs took literally 10-15 seconds because she was so awesome. Can’t thank them enough. Got going again for much of the same on the second loop. By now the roads had dried and the weather was in a word, perfect. You could not have asked or planned a better weather day than we had. I felt really solid descending again and on the fast flats. After that, I started to get a little fatigued, plus a little sick of being out there. This was the only part of the ride that seemed to drag on….about the last hour and a half. But I did something that I “think” might have helped me later on…..OH WAIT, I forgot to mention that at the end of the first loop, I lost my Power Meter. It started registering crazy numbers so I abandoned it at that point. Didn’t matter from a pacing perspective as I had used it leading up to that point for the first couple hours, so I was dialed in to my effort. But, getting back to later in the ride, around mile 80-90, I remembered some advice I got from Jordan right before the race. He said, “You’re not allowed to get tired on the bike till mile 100.” I got LOTS of advice, solicited and unsolicited, but this stuck in my head because it was so simple. I just kept saying to myself, you can’t give any kind of effort here. You still have 5 more hours of racing. So as I fatigued, I let my power slip ever so slightly. Always staying in the same state of effort. Even though I positive split the second lap by about 6 minutes, I think I did a lot of good for the remainder of the race. It’s also impossible to know because my PM died but it may have been that the head wind in the second half picked up a little bit causing a slightly slower split. I don’t know that for sure, but I do know I made a conscious decision to not allow any additional fatigue to set in.

Even though the ride went by quick, I was happy to be off the bike. I dismounted and my legs were like, “woah, wait, what the fuck is going on, jesus, what’s happening, what are we doing now, christ, we have to run….what the hell?” all the way to the change tent. I felt like a moron running. My legs were not liking it one bit. I sat down and had ANOTHER great volunteer. He did exactly what he should, stand to the side and do nothing till I ask him to do something. I just dried my feet, got my shoes and socks on and downed a small coke I had in the bag on the way out. Finished up the bike in 5:31…right on target. When I got running, I felt “ok”. Legs started to come around and I saw Biebs right out of T2. She yelled some great motivational phrases at me that were awesome to hear. The only thing on my mind at that point was RUN SLOW.

The first 2.5 miles are all downhill. So I knew the pace would be a little quick. My goal was to try and hold something in the low 8’s. Maybe 8:15? I guess. I really had no idea. This is my first IM and my first marathon. I didn’t know how my body would react. I’ve finally been able to get some solid, uninterrupted, run training the last 6-8 months. Only problem is, I need 6-8 years of it  not 6-8 months. The miles started to click off at just under 8 minute pace, which was great as grade adjusted, they were like mid 8’s. I didn’t feel great, however. I felt like I didn’t have a lot in the tank. Which was fine…I mean, I only had another 35k to go…what could go wrong? I figured I would have ups and downs throughout the run, so I just kept chugging at what felt like a pretty easy pace. My first hiccup came at mile 4 when I got a really bad side stitch. I had to stop for a second. Right when I stopped the lead biker was coming with the leader back the other way. He said, “just relax and work it out, it will go away”. That was reassuring and it did go away a moment later. I was able to get back on track. Through 10k I was feeling solid. I made my way back to the ski jumps which is the start of the long climb back to town consisting of two formidable hills. At this point I knew the pace would slip. I did a lot of run training in the hills by my house that have similar profiles to Placid. So I knew what the grade adjusted paces needed to look like to average what I wanted. I was still doing great but things were starting to get “not easy” anymore. The effort was now super high for a very low output. I knew the shit was coming.

As I crested the first of the two hills, I saw Biebs again and she was giving me splits up to Dave Mirra. Again, just because he was easy to spot, in my AG and leading my AG. I was closing the gap down. Although at this point, he was no longer in the lead. I finally made it back to the top of town for the second little two mile out and back that goes right in front of our rental house. This is where everyone in our group was hanging out. I got so much encouragement from my friends. Especially Flabs. He just kept repeating how good I was doing, how I was catching Mirra and to just keep rock solid. Things were getting harder and harder as the miles went by. I made it back to the finish line and turned to head out of town again. I seriously could NOT FUCKING BELIEVE I had to run that all over again. This is the moment the race was on. This is the moment I said, “Ok, you need to get this done. No matter what it takes, just keep jogging….don’t stop jogging.” Energywise, I felt ok. I had been eating bananas at every aid station and as much water and coke as I could get down. I would also fill my speed suit with ice at every aid station. I really like the one piece speed suit because it holds ice wonderfully. I could also move the ice around on my chest to cool more areas. It wasn’t very hot out but my engine was working as hard as it could at this point to keep me going.

As I headed down the hill, I spotted Mirra. I could finally see him now and he looked like he was still running pretty well. This mentally helped me through miles 14-16. I was chasing SOMETHING….ANYTHING. It was something I could think about rather than just how much longer I had to run. I kept my cool and knew that my current pace had caught him so there was no reason to pick it up. Just keep chugging and whatever you do, don’t stop. I caught him at an aid station around mile 17. He walked the aid station and I made the pass. I eventually came to find out that this is where he cracked. When I made the turn around, he was no where to be seen. I came back up to him about a mile later and he was stretching off to the side……Well, my carrot was gone and I had 10k, all uphill miles to go. Ummmm……shitballs. I saw Karin moments later and she gave me a sad face. I knew at that moment, her race probably wasn’t going to plan. You also have to remember that Karin is racing to win her AG. So “not going to plan” is still really good, just not what she wanted. At that point, even though I love her more than anything, I honestly didn’t care. I was just trying to not die and poop my pants. I was in a lot of pain and I knew I still had a long way to go. The mile pace had really slipped now to mid 9’s but it was literally all I could do. I had one goal on the way back, don’t walk the hills. Keep jogging. I was just out of talent at that point. I never walked though except the aid stations to make sure I got food and drink down. I made it back to the top of the hill and that two mile out and back felt like it took 2 hours….and I’m not kidding. It was the longest period of my life to date. Everything was in slow motion. I saw my crew again and again, so much encouragement. They really got me through the race. I made it back to the oval and someone was right behind me. I thought to myself, “you have got to be fucking kidding me. If I have to sprint it out with this dude, I’m going to die”. But, I knew I was around the top ten, maybe better than 10 and I knew I could literally be sprinting for a Kona spot. I had to suck it up and make it happen. Thank the lord in heaven that he came by with a 38 on his leg. Oh, thank you baby jesus fetus! Ran down the chute and honestly didn’t even hear the guy say “You’re an Ironman” (It wasn’t Mike Reilly, he must have been on break or something.) I just wanted to stop. I ended up with a 3:49….8:44 average. Not bad, not great. Best I could do. Total race time was 10:27:57 for 10th in Age Group. 46th overall…..and second female amateur….DAMMIT 😉

The volunteers grabbed me and asked if I was ok. They had their normal, over concerned demeanor because of all the over dramatic athletes that come in and collapse. I was fine. I got my medal and headed over to the food. I wasn’t all that hungry just got a coke and some chips until I cooled down a bit. I waited there for Evan, Karin and then Caldwell to come in. We picked up our stuff and headed home. Mission accomplished.

So some thoughts on the race. I would joke beforehand about how I just don’t wanna cry when I finish. Because of all the times I watch the heartfelt stories on TV of those that over come and finish an Ironman and cry my eyes out. But I never had any emotion like that. I never felt anything I would consider “special” or “emotional” during the race. It was what I thought it would be, just a dumb triathlon. It was also super easy….until it wasn’t. Just like it’s suppose to be. The emotion came later…but didn’t have anything to do with the race. It had to do with people. All the people surrounding this event. All the people supporting before, during and after. It was about them. About friendship and making other people proud by fighting for something. Something even as dumb as 10k of running. I was fighting those last miles for everyone who cared. For everyone that was invested in any way, shape or form in the outcome of my race. I wanted to make them proud. My family, friends, fellow racers, whoever. I’ve never been contacted by so many people the days leading into a race wishing me good luck. Wishing me a good time. I’ve never been contacted by so many people after a race congratulating me. In my opinion, THAT’S what it’s about. That’s what is special about doing something difficult or in overcoming a big challenge. It brings us together and makes us closer.

I want to thank each and every one of you that cared. No matter how much or how little. It means everything to me. You were the driving force behind my effort….and I sincerely appreciate that.

Special thanks to my sponsors: Wattie Ink, DiamondbackBike, Reynolds Wheels, Herbalife24, PowerBar, Speedfil, ISM Seat, blueseventy, Rudy Project, 101 Pipe & Casing, Wins Wheels.

Thanks to Brian Stover my coach and Blair Ferguson from VTA. Nancy Reno and CVMM crew. Gerry Rodrigues and the Tower26 crew….and all my training friends. Thanks also to Jordan Rapp for the great advice. Thanks to all my Wattie crew, love you guys and gals. Love Buns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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2015 Oceanside 70.3 Re-cap

Been a while since I’ve done a race report. Mostly because I think I feel they’ve gotten somewhat repetitive. I used to use them as a way to reflect on the race for myself. It really forces you to rethink what happened and then convey it in  story form. But now, I don’t think I get as much benefit from it as I did when I first started doing this. Plus, to be honest, I don’t really care all that much. I know how to race. I think that’s something I need to realize and not constantly analyze. The racing part really is the easy part. The preparation is the hard part…..and I prepare to do well….or at least as well as I can. So this race report won’t look like the analytical ones of the past. It will be far less structured and just written for fun to convey some knowledge that you might be able to use and also to just tell some fun stories from the day.

Before I get into the race, I wanted to briefly talk about “lead up”. Lead up is the time before a race. It can be any amount of time you want to look at and concentrate on really. It can be 5 minutes, 1 day, 1 week, a month, a year….doesn’t matter…it’s all leading up to your race. It’s just the focus of the discussion would be different depending on the time frame you’re looking at. For this particular discussion, I’m going to be talking in the one month range and then bringing it into the week’s lead in.

The reason I’m bringing this up is because I had a less than optimal lead up and still had a fantastic race. The month prior to the race I knew things were not going to be good. External stresses were going to be very high at work and my time in general wasn’t going to be as predictable as it usually is. 101 Pipe had a couple big things happening during the week before the race. We were moving our offices and had a bank audit which requires me to be at our Fontana facility two days in a row. By far and away, the move was the more substantial of the two but one on top of the other was not good, to say the least. I don’t need to go into specifics as to how thin I was spread over the week prior but suffice to say it was a really tough week. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is this….”who gives a shit?” It really comes down to this. Does it really matter? Of course everyone wants to do well. Of course everyone wants to PR or beat their buddy or in my case be top female amateur 🙂 but it’s not life or death. It’s just a friggin race. If it goes well, awesome, if not, so what? There’s only so much we can do as people with lives outside the sport and responsibilities far beyond a triathlon race. I have lots of people counting on me for their livelihoods. To me, that’s far more important. So what do you do? I don’t want you to get the wrong impression of what I’m saying….what you do is simple…you do your best.

Heather Wurtele wrote a blog about this same race and touched on the fact that everyone has problems. Everyone has issues that are never perfect for a perfect race. That’s life. It is what it is. So, rather than dwell on how shitty you have it, make some damn lemonade. Make the best of what you do have. Make the best of the training you do. That’s the attitude I’ve adopted after perfect lead ins lead to crap races and crazy unorthodox lead ins lead to wonderful races. Vineman last year was probably my best half ironman to date and the weekend before I was in Vegas for three days with alcohol sweating out of my eyeballs and no sleep.

This go around at Oceanside I knew better. I knew that my training was consistent and solid. I’m running better than I ever have and my swim bike combo are still solid. There’s no real reason I shouldn’t have a great race. If the strain on my body from moving boxes and filing cabinets ruins it, so be it. If missing a couple taper workouts destroys me…oh well. I’m just going to do the best I can with what I have and let the chips fall where they may. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to try or just give up because I didn’t get that last swim in. It means I’m going to brush it off and still go out there and give it hell and see what happens.

What happened was a great race…..

The swim was the absolute best swim I could have hoped for. I found Adam Zucco at the start and chatted with him for just a bit before we took off. Since I had found him at the line and knew he was a slightly better swimmer than me, my plan was to stay close off the start and get pulled along for as long as I could handle. Gun/horn went off and we took off. I was along side him for maybe 50 yards when I noticed I was swimming well. With no warm up, you never really know how the arms will feel. So, I decided quickly to drop back and tuck in. As I was doing that, Justin Shakespeare was taking the lead. So it was 1,2,3…Justin, Adam and me….and it stayed that way to the boat ramp. Justin did such a fantastic job navigating that all I had to do was stay on Adam’s feet and enjoy the ride. I knew because of the swimmers that our time would be fine so the fact that the effort was so low was perfectly ok. Also, from experience, I knew that had I pulled out of the draft to try and swim “faster” on my own, I would expend WAY more energy and probably not go any faster. This was the perfect scenario and I wasn’t going to mess it up. Came out of the water in a great time of 27:16 with very minimal energy expenditure. Exactly what you want on the swim leg. Coming up the boat ramp I took a look at my watch and then looked back up and almost slammed into the back of a previous wave female swimmer which made for the best photo in the history of triathlon……

Out of the WAY!

Out of the WAY!

After coming out of the swim feeling great, I knew I should probably give the bike a go. I definitely had a power plan but decided to ride a lot more by feel. I felt great and really concentrated on riding “fast” and not hard. Cornering fast, braking late, passing smart, taking good lines etc etc. I stayed on top of my nutrition and had a great ride. Although the course was shortened a bit, I still came in with a 5 min PR over two years ago and on less watts. So that’s awesome. I passed Buns about halfway through the ride right before that big steep uphill. She was also doing great and on her way to a 2nd Place AG finish. Bike time was 2:30:34

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After a solid swim bike, I was hoping my run would be there as well. It was….or, I shouldn’t sound so cocky, it was good for me…which isn’t all that good. Plan was to come out and sit on 7:00 Miles for as long as I could. Of course I came out at like 6:30 pace like an asshat. But I caught it and slowed quickly. The conditions were just awesome on the run. Super cool temps and great energy from the fans and friends spectating. I settled in at my goal pace, well actually just above. I was clicking off 7:05-7:10’s most of the way. I ended up with a 1:33:55 run which I was really happy about. My run has slowly been improving over the last couple years. I ran 1:35:55 at this race two years ago on a massively short course (about 12.5 miles) and then 1:34:46 on a dead nuts on 13.1 at Vineman last year and then this 1:33:55 on a slightly long 13.16. All good progress. I feel like I could have a run break through soon. I’ve been very consistent in my training since my stress fracture and lay off three years ago and I just have that feeling that I’m getting close to clipping off something respectable soon. We’ll see if my body and mind come together and produce something good. Maybe in the next couple years.

Coming 'round the cone

Coming ’round the cone

So that’s it….I finished 4:37 and in 7th place in my new 40-44 age group. I was also first amateur female by a long shot. 6 Minutes of transition make that time look a little slower than it actually was and I had quick transitions….OH, except one stupid move. This is the last lesson I’ll throw out there. Make sure you have a plan and you follow it. Even the simple things as to whether or not you’re gonna wear a stupid visor on the run. When I came in off the bike, I put my shoes on and my run glasses and looked at my visor…..and looked at it….and looked at it. I was frozen. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to wear it or not. It was the STUPIDEST 10 seconds lost ever! I was standing there LOOKING AT MY VISOR going ..uuuuhhhhhhhhhhhhh….ummmmmm…..uhhhhh…WHAT THE HELL! I finally grabbed it and left and shook my head. Total idiot move. Figure out what you need before the race and stick with it.

Thanks to all my great sponsors especially Wattie Ink who’s new kit is so sick. Never once even thought about it which is what you want in a kit. A second skin. I also used Herbalife24 Prolong for the first time and really liked it. I haven’t liked the taste in the past but I mixed in a little Hydrate and it made it much much better. Other partners include: ISM, Speedfil, diamondback (which I’ll be on at Wildflower), Power Bar, blueseventy, Rudy Project and Reynolds Wheels

Next up Karin and I will be at Wildflower which is always such a special race. Really looking forward to a solid performance there. Thanks for taking the time to read!

 

 

 

 

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Vineman Race Report 2014

Windsor, California
United States
Vineman, Inc.
70F / 21C
Sunny
Total Time = 4h 33m 20s
Overall Rank = 61/2170
Age Group = 35-39
Age Group Rank = 4/256

Art Credit Aaron Dewald

Pre-race routine:

Coming off a horrible run at Chicago ITU just a couple weeks before this race, I didn’t really have high hopes of performing well. I also took the weekend before completely off from training and headed to Vegas with some friends. Coming into this race I was clearly in a “whatever the day brings” mode. I did, however, prepare FAR better the couple days leading into the race unlike Chicago…. which was a completely predictable performance given how much I was on my feet the 24 hours prior to the race. For this race, Karin and I really did a great job the two days prior of basically only being on our feet to get our couple short, tune up workouts in.

We traveled up to Windsor on Friday and had a wonderful dinner in Yountville at Bottega. Saturday was just much lying around, a quick few minutes at the expo to watch the safety movie and pick up our packets and right back down on the bed at the hotel watching really bad movies. We did get out to ride our bikes to make sure everything worked. Which, of course, it didn’t. As has been the trend this year BOTH our power meters decided to stop working…lol. We’ve almost become immune to this by now. Doesn’t really matter for Karin and I for racing since we can ride whatever wattage we want basically blindfolded. It does matter for post race analysis which I’ll m talk about later. Got to bed early and slept very well.

Event warmup:

Karin’s wave was one of the first and exactly 30 minutes ahead of mine. We were kidding that I *may catch her by the end if the planets aligned. We got down to the start with plenty of time to get her settled and off and then I returned to my bike to get unpacked and situated. Spoke to some friends, hit a porta potty, watched some pros take off and then headed down to the river. I spent the few minutes between waves getting in about a 5 minute warm up.

Swim
  • 27m 39s
  • 2112 yards
  • 01m 19s / 100 yards
Comments:

I started dead center in the second wave of m35-39. I always hate it when our wave is broken up but at least I was in the second wave. For some reason it’s a little easier to tell where you stand from behind than starting ahead. Plus, it’s psychologically better to be 6 minutes up when you see someone rather than 6 minutes down.

Horn went and of course I did my normal cheater move of 5-4-3(start swimming) 2-1….HAHA! I started off SUPER easy as it is now my normal MO to just swim hard enough and that’s it. I actually like using the first few minutes of the race to warm up. As an age grouper, I think pace is far more important than “racing” the person next to you because you never know how good, stupid, fast, slow the person is. They could just be some super swimmer but suck at bike and run in which case it makes no sense to go after them. In the pros, you know who everyone is and you know that if someone takes off, it might be the last time you see them. So I’m of the opinion that in the swim, you train it super hard so come race day, you can swim easy and still come out of the water absolutely fresh and with a solid time.

Exiting the river

Immediately I had a couple body lengths on all the folks to my right but one dude decided he was going to camp out on my left hip….cool. He was there all the way to the turn around and swimming next to me super clean. I mean, I think we touched once which is awesome. We got to the turn around and you can actually stand up and walk around the turn around buoy. I always use this as a break. Almost like doing two 1000 yard intervals rather than a straight swim. So there I was walking along side my new buddy who decided to keep swimming. But we were going the exact same pace….it was so funny. I actually stopped for a second to allow him to get ahead just after we turned around because I knew he was swimming the exact same speed. Then I hopped on his feet and let him drag me all the way back. After being upright and letting my arms chill for 30 seconds and then jumping back on his feet, the return trip was SO easy. I felt so good coming out of the water and with a very respectable 27:39….which is just fine. I was 2nd in my wave and 6th in AG

What would you do differently?:
Nothing…swim went great

Transition 1
  • 02m 6s
Comments:

T2 is always annoying when you have to stuff your wetsuit into a bag. For some reason this always throws me off. I did decide to put my bike in granny gear and ride up the small driveway hill….good choice as long as you can get going. I passed a lot of people on the way up.

What would you do differently?:

Not much.

Bike
  • 2h 26m 5s
  • 56 miles
  • 23.00 mile/hr
Comments:

I love the start of the Vineman bike because it is super flat and always overcast. It’s such a great 10 minutes of riding to get warmed up and ready to go without really losing too much time. You can get up to speed and just spin for a bit and let your body know to get ready to work. I immediately felt very comfy on my bike and thought this might be a good ride.

I was passed on the flat road out by just one guy and he kind of hung out in front of me for a bit. Meaning, he didn’t just pull away. I caught and passed him back just before you head under the road and up the very short but steep climb that leads to the rollers and the road North. He BLEW by me on the steep climb and I was like “woah!”…”look at him go!” …..but then, of course, he sits up at the top and I ride right by him as I stay on the gas and never see him again. Great strategy!

After a few of the rollers I was really surprised how well I was carrying speed. I didn’t have my PM but it didn’t matter because I never look at it on sections like this. I find that my cycling fitness is solid enough to allow me some freedom to push over rollers with some power. Just gotta keep from going crazy, which I do. Sometimes to a fault. Anyway, things were going great. My legs warmed up nicely and I was feeling zero fatigue. I just kept saying to myself, “just deliver yourself to the half mary in good shape, that’s all you care about.” I really have come to realize that these races are just a swim and bike to a half mary. Meaning, you really aren’t “racing” the swim and bike but just transporting yourself as fast as you can to the start of the run. I know this isn’t reality but it helps me keep perspective on the race while I’m in it. Any little bit of psychological help, does in fact help. It also keeps my effort down to help me deliver myself to my worst leg….the run.

The ride was super uneventful and I knew I was on track for a solid time. I barely noticed Chalk Hill till I was just about at the top. Came down fast and furious through town. I was only passed by one rider the whole bike. Which is always a good sign. I actually picked up a spot on the bike and got off just a couple seconds over 2:26 in 5th place. Which I didn’t know at the time.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing. Nutrition went great and I believe my power was right on track. If I had to guess, right around 220-225 watts. I do wish I had my PM to see how well I rode. That’s one thing about PM’s for the bike….it allows you to understand whether your ride was a break through performance or a product of the conditions.

Transition 2
  • 02m 44s
Comments:

I did get stuck right off the bike by the slowest group running through transition. I took my time though and didn’t yell at anyone. I try and be very diligent in T2 and make sure my socks are on right. Too tight and it could cause major problems later.

What would you do differently?:

Nothing

Run
  • 1h 34m 46s
  • 13.1 miles
  • 07m 14s  min/mile
Comments:

You never REALLY know how you’re going to feel coming off the bike. It’s always a bit of a mystery until you get going. Well, coming out of T2, I felt great. My mantra for the run was, “just head out like it’s an everyday 50 minute run. Nice 7:20-7:30 pace and just cruise it like you know you can.” Well, I kept my turnover quick and went through the first marker at 6:50…woah, this feels easy but I know soon enough, it’s not going to so I better slow just a bit. I say the first marker because my Garmin was just a bit behind and read like 7:05 but after the first mile it stayed consistent which meant it would beep a few yards beyond the marker. Which was fine. So I kept it in the 7:15 range for the first 5k or so.

Right at 5K, I was passed by three guys. Two clearly had 35 and 36 on their legs and one was unmarked but I was sure he was in my AG. They sorta cruised by me and that’s when I really figured I was doing well and I better give this a go. I picked up the pace just enough to make sure those guys couldn’t put six minutes on me because that was my lead at the point they passed me ( they started in the first wave although one of the guys was an unknown.) I still felt really good running really low 7’s and even snuck a sub 7 in there along the way…..but it was paying off and I was hanging close. At this rate, no way they would get 6 minutes on me. As a couple miles passed, the group of three broke up and I was reeling in the unknown guy and eventually passed him convincingly. He was fading. I then caught one of the other guys and passed him too. Cool. This could be good.

Right when I entered the vineyard, which is the halfway mark, the same damn thing happened AGAIN. Two guys ran by, both with 35’s on their legs and this time with 6 miles to go. Well, one of them was hauling ass! I mean, really running well. The other was not too fast and I thought I could keep him in sight. I started looking at my watch and doing some math to figure out how fast they were pulling away and if they could make up 6 minutes by the finish. It was kind of nice because I was keeping my mind occupied.

I figured it would be close. I got to the turn around at mile 8 and things started to get tough. I was kind of going in and out of feeling good and feeling fatigued. But the pace was hanging in there fairly consistent. Towards mile 10, that’s when I really started to hurt. Pace fell slightly over the last 5k to mid 7:20’s but I was able to hang strong and finish 4th. Looking at the result, the 3 guys who were ahead of me were ahead from the start of the run, so I did hold off all the jerks that passed me. (I’m sure they are great guys but on the course, when they pass me, I hate them). Super stoked on my fastest HIM half mary to date by far of 1:34:46. I still have a LONG way to go but I’m confident that with 2-3 years of consistent training, I’ll be able to get down into the high 1:20’s on the run and maybe be a threat for a top 3 or a win at a big 70.3.

Oh wait, so the best part of the run. The final two miles….why? Because I got to see Karin’s race completely unfold right in front of me. As I was coming up on mile 11 I noticed Cortney, our friend and Karin’s fellow competitor, just ahead. I had seen Karin at the turn around a while ago and she said 4-5 were right behind her. Cortney was in 5th at that time and some other girl in 4th. I was catching Cortney right up until the last aid station when I think she started to smell blood. We both could see Karin up the road and Cortney picked it up just a bit (I definitely could have been fading just a bit but let’s just say she picked it up). At this point, I didn’t know what I could do. I did think that maybe I could grab Cortney and throw her into the bushes….but I couldn’t catch her, so that was out. After a little bit, I decided there was nothing I could do and I was just going to have to watch Karin get mowed down. It’s like driving along and seeing a bunny rabbit start to cross the street KNOWING the thing is about to get crushed by a bus and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it. So Cortney made the pass and then the other girl wasn’t far behind….then I came up. Karin was running SO well that it took me a while to pass. We ended up crossing the finish just a few steps apart which was so awesome.

and NO I didn’t wait for her to cross so we could be all lame and cross together holding hands. We’re not that cute.

What would you do differently?:

Absolutely nothing. I had a great run

Post race
Warm down:

No warm down.

Event comments:

So there you have it. A race I barely cared about lead to my first AG award at a WTC 70.3 and just off the podium. Also a 7 minute PR at the distance which I don’t put a lot of stock into because triathlon times are such a product of the course and conditions. I look more towards times and placing over several events as a truer indicator of your ability. We had the MOST epic conditions I have ever raced in. It really set up for some fast times. I do feel for the folks out on course after Noon as the temp literally skyrocketed in a 30 minute period to mid 90’s. They had it rough.

Gotta thank Wattie Ink and all our great sponsors. Herbalife24, Reynolds Cycling, ISM, blueseventy, Spidertech, Power Bar, TBT, Rudy Project, Speedfil, Hypoxico, and of course 10 Barrel Brewing Co

Corporate Sposnors, Kurt Orban Partners and 101 Pipe and Casing, Inc

Bike shop sponsor, Wins Wheels.

Thanks to Brian Stover of Accelerate3 for these last few years of guidance as my coach. Also thanks to Nancy Reno at CVMM and Gerry Rodrigues at T26 for their swim coaching.

Thanks to Blair Fergusen at VTA for keeping my body in shape.

Thanks to Karin for being the best girlfriend ever.

And special thanks to the great photographers on course for the wonderful photos. Thanks to Aaron Dewald for the great artwork on the photos.

After the race we got to hang out with Rachel McBride for some great beer and pizza along with an amazing brownie/ice cream dessert! Good times. She finished 3rd in an amazing field which was VERY impressive.

Next up is AG Nationals which is really my A race for the year. I really wanna try and make the National team with a top 18 performance. I’ll be ready to go!

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It’s NOT about being “Well Rounded”

It’s no secret that I love to call people out on their BS. Especially on social media and forum boards although I will admit that I have given up on forum boards almost completely. They just seem to go in circles and never progress. I’m tired of having the same conversations over and over again. I do, however, love social media and the connections I’ve created on there as well as staying in the loop with my team and friends. So, being the ass that I am, I often get involved or make comments when folks spew their training crap. It just gets really frustrating to see the same garbage propagated when good information is out there and usually, much much simpler than the convoluted gobbledygook being thrown all over Facebook and Twitter.

One of the most moronic statements/arguments I hear is that being a more “well rounded” or “better” athlete makes you a faster triathlete. Which, of course, is complete nonsense and couldn’t be further from the truth. The goal, of any athlete, should be to be as SPECIFIC as humanly possible, NOT well rounded. Being well rounded means being mediocre. Often this argument comes up in the context of the strength training debate but it’s applicable anywhere. Proponents of strength training love to come back with, “Yeah, but it makes you a stronger, more well rounded athlete which in turn is going to make you faster.” Ummmm, yeah, that’s not even remotely correct. This idea that strength/power or even fitness is universal and will “help” with any kind of athletic endeavor is just ridiculous.

All you have to do is look at the top of the three individual sports, Swimming, Cycling and Running in isolation. If you look at the top of all those sports, those athletes are NOT well rounded. They are 100% specific to their sport in their training and even their body type. If you took a swimmer out of the pool and had them get on a bike, they would suck and runners would suck in the pool and cyclists would suck at swimming etc etc etc. Why? Because they do NOT want to be, nor train to be, well rounded athletes. They train to simply “go faster” at their respective disciplines and that’s it….period.

You actually don’t need to go any further than triathlon to prove what I am saying. I have no doubt that we are starting to see real, world class athletes take up the sport of triathlon. So why is it that these world class athletes, while training as triathletes, could never compete at the highest level in each of the three individual disciplines? Because their training is not specific enough. Alistair Brownlee would have to completely ditch swim and cycling if he wanted to pursue a career as a runner. We all saw that he is a fantastic runner but not even close to world class. It would take a complete change in dedication and training to get him to that position, if it’s even possible. Another great example is the Olympic Decathlon. If you go to the Decathlon Wiki page, it lists the best times and distances for each discipline from decathletes and then compares them to current world records in each discipline. You probably already know the results….yup, not even close.

Specificity rules. Always has and always will. So is there a place for cross training and/or strength training? Of course there is. There always will be. But that “place” is specific to the individual and NOT a universal piece of training advice. If someone asks my opinion on strength training, I give them my tried and true response…. “it depends.” It is not universally true that strength training (which could mean 8 billion things depending on who you are talking to) will make you a faster triathlete. Running more will. Swimming more will. Cycling more will. But strength training? or Yoga? or Crossfit? or whatever? Maybe, maybe not. IT DEPENDS.  It depends on the individual. But you CAN NOT, well, you can but you SHOULD NOT universally encourage people to do things that may or may not get them to their goals. Whatever that goal may be. Now, at the highest level, where individuals are maxed out on how much specificity they can do at their particular sport, you may see some purposeful cross training or strength training IN AN ATTEMPT to draw that last 1% out of the athlete that may be the difference between winning or losing. Even that is an attempt….and not a for sure thing. You often see top athletes change their cross training regiment throughout their careers as they address different issues or just try something different again, in an attempt to illicit a very small response. Very rarely does their core training change appreciably. Meaning runners will run in training and not start doing hand stands to try and get faster. This is actually the reason top athletes dope. They have started bumping up against their genetic potential and realize that the only way they can get better is to somehow be able to do more SPECIFIC training. But they’re maxed? So what to do? Well, if you dope, you can recover faster, train harder and more. That’s where the majority of a dopers advantage comes from.

It really comes down to being specific and meaningful when we talk. Do you want to get faster? Or do you want to be more “well rounded” for life. Do you want it to be easier to pick up that bag of dog food while still doing some tri training on the side? A completely legitimate goal but again, specific to the individual. Are you an older athlete that wants to combat muscle degradation in other areas besides SBR? Cool, have at it but understand that what you are doing is a compromise from the optimal training to make you the fastest triathlete you can be. Which is perfectly ok, but quit trying to tell people it is imperative or crucial to getting faster because it absolutely is not. Are you trying to prevent injuries? Awesome, even though you probably have no clue if that’s what you are actually doing or not because that is almost impossible to test or quantify.

I know not everyone’s goal is to be the fastest triathlete they can be. I know that’s probably NOT the goal of 90% of triathletes. So quit acting like that is the goal and doing dumb shit and trying to justify it as “making you a better athlete” in order to improve at triathlons (which, as a race is solely defined by how fast you go). Call it what it is, a compromise from optimal in order to satisfy some “other” goal specific to you! There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be well rounded. So be clear when you speak.

Maybe you just enjoy the hell out of crossfit…..that’s fine…. just say that!

 

 

 

 

 

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