Tag Archives: Ironman

Race Report: Ironman Florida 70.3, Haines City, May 19th, 2013

20 May

It is the morning after. I am race drunk so forgive me if this post doesn’t quite scan.

I got up to Haines City on Friday evening with I Am a Triathlete and her BF, El Dude, who had been charged with the duty of shuttling us around all weekend because he wasn’t racing. We ate muffins on the ride up. I made them. They were vegan. A Morning Glory muffin and a coffee cake muffin. They were both delish. We also stopped at a Panera Bread for lunch. I was not impressed. At any rate….

We went to athlete check-in after dropping our crap at the Days Inn Davenport which was a step above “Flea Bag” and a step below “Comfortable.” Check-in was a breeze so I won’t say too much about it. Finding dinner was a nightmare. But I won’t say much about that either. Ultimately, we ended up at a pizza place owned and operated by a French family from Marseille. How they ended up in central Florida I have no idea but the pizza and the service were both lovely so it was a win.

We took it easy Friday night and then on Saturday, IAAT and I went out for a pre-race bike/run brick out behind the hotel where there was a quarter-mile stretch of frontage road, along with an RV park and a KOA, both of which had awesome paved paths and some rolling terrain that gave us a little bit of a preview of what the race course was going to be like.

After that, we went and toured the race course. But not before we ran out of gas on the way there and had to coast into a parking lot, send the Dude to get gas from a station half a mile away, and kill half an hour in a Beall’s. I bought two ridiculous t-shirts for the Chef and used a bathroom that I wish I could erase from my memory.

We drove the bike course and then we found a place for lunch: Luigi’s in nearby Lake Alfred. I never, NEVER have pasta the day before a race but IAAT always has it for lunch the day before and we were sorta straddling lunch and dinner so I figured it’d be OK if I kept it plain. Luigi was actually in the kitchen and Luigi can actually churn out pretty solid Italian dishes. But someone needs to proof read his menu because in addition to overflowing with spelling errors and typos, it also says nothing about pancetta in the pasta that I ordered. So I actually had to send it back to the kitchen–I never do this. Unfortunately, it was too delicious for a pre-race meal. They were totally cool about it though and even let me keep the first pasta. I gave it to Frank DiPadova who was back at the hotel.

This is getting long.

OK. Pasta dinner, hung with teammates back at the hotel, in bed by 8PM, asleep around 10, UP AT 3:30AM! Time to race!

I want to say something though, before leaping into the actual report, because I think it’s important to be totally honest in detailing my experiences. It’s not always going to be PRs and podiums and positive thoughts. Sometimes your mind rebells but your body comes through or your body falls short but your mind saves the day. And sometimes, both your body and your mind decide they’ve had enough and you’re left with the check.

I’d been having a hard time gearing up for this race mentally. I thought it was just me so I was really happy when IAAT said she’d been having similar issues. We’d both been SO excited for Augusta (our first 70.3) and so committed to the experience that the build-up to Haines City was starting to feel like a real let-down. I guess that makes sense because the first time is always something special but for me, there were multiple factors contributing to my mixed emotions.

  1. My life has filled up with other priorities over the last few months–during the highest volume phases of our training for this race. That is not to say that I didn’t train– I TOTALLY TRAINED–but rather that while my body was engaged, my mind was often elsewhere.
  2. Nautica was my spring A-race. I wanted to kill Nautica so I tried to kill it and I killed it. I knew I wasn’t going to place at a 70.3. So HC became about finishing strong as opposed to really racing. Since I’d already done one 70.3, and I thought I knew what to expect, I coasted a bit. Dumb.
  3. Because I coasted, I got lazy with my diet. When I get lazy with my diet, I stop feeling like an athlete and start feeling like a fat-ass.
  4. During a training swim on Thursday, I felt overwhelmingly fatigued and like I couldn’t catch my breath. That messed with my brain.
  5. On Saturday morning, I read an article in the free newspaper at the hotel about triathlon swimming deaths. I kid you not. It was right fucking there. And the main idea of the article was that when people die in triathlons, it’s almost always during the swim and the people who die are almost always seasoned vets with no signs of existing health issues. I should not have read that article. But I did. Twice. IDIOT.
  6. On Saturday afternoon, the temperature was hovering in the low 90s and the humidity was intense. We were anticipating a real scorcher on Sunday and that freaked me out. Even though I’d put a lot of work into my hydration plan, I was still freaked out about the possibility of the heat being too much.

So IAAT and I were working overtime trying to psych ourselves up for this race and nothing was really helping. And it’s one thing to be sorta not looking forward to a sprint or even an olympic because you’re talking about a three-hour commitment, max and if you’ve done your training, making it through isn’t that hard.  But not looking forward to a 70.3 is a different story because even if your body is game, it’s your mind that’s gonna get you. You have got to be mentally committed to 5-7 hours on the course and if you’re not, fuggedaboutit. You’re toast.

So on Sunday morning, I woke up and was like, “OK fuck it, ya’ll! It’s race day. Let’s do this.” In a way, being less than excited was kind of a good thing because I was really relaxed. I had goals but they were manageable goals. After crunching the numbers, I figured I could probably make 5:49 happen, which was aggressive enough to mean a 70.3 PR but totally realistic based on my recent training times. Honestly, I really just wanted to do a sub-6. I’d have been happy with that. So the pressure was kind of off and the stakes were low.

I set up in transition quickly, hit the potty and was in good spirits. I was psyched about an early wave time (6:50AM), which meant that, if all went well, I’d be done with this thing before the heat got too intense. Luckily, the weather broke a little and temps were expected to hover in the high 70s until around 10AM and then it was only going to top out in the mid 80s so my run might not be horrendous.

We walked down to the lake shore and chatted with some friends and I really was feeling great. Then something terrible happened: I got into the water. This is a picture of the lake from afar:


This is a picture of Lake Eva taken underwater:

death by water Toni Frissell

OK, not really. But that’s certainly what it felt like. First off, when we stepped into the lake, our legs sunk into about two feet of soft sludge. Secondly, when I put my face underwater for the first time, I was dismayed to discover what I’m pretty sure death looks like. I MEAN IT WAS PITCH FRIGGIN’ BLACK. The Ironman website boasts that the water in Lake Eva is “clear.” This is a lie. Thirdly, the water tasted HORRIBLE. No, I wasn’t drinking it on purpose but during my warmup, I got a little of it in my mouth and it was bad, people. Like, “I need to call my doctor for a preemptive Z-Pack” bad.

And then of course there’s the fact about ALL fresh water that you’re significantly less buoyant in it. I knew that was coming but I don’t think I quite understood how major a difference it was going to make for me after doing all my OWSs in the ocean.

So I’m standing waist deep in this disgusting, stinking muck, I have that article about swim deaths rolling around in my brain, I  have Thursday’s crappy training session at the forefront of my memory and the notion of this being just the beginning of a six-hour epic; and then I finally take a real good hard look at how long the course is–I take in all the turns (6 of them) and all the buoys (I don’t even remember how many) and the reality of it all sinks in. Then the gun goes off and chaos ensues.

HC was my 13th triathlon so at this point I know what the swim start is all about. This one was something special. Bitches were out of their minds! And I was totally mid-pack, probably closer to back of the pack. Yet, I was still getting elbowed, slapped, swum over, etc… Basically, as soon as I started to swim, I panicked. I don’t even think I panicked during my very first tri swim and back then I COUDLN’T SWIM. Plus, I’ve been having such a GREAT time during swim starts recently and have been having such great swims. I was totally not prepared to freak out but I did. Complete melt down.

So I start to breast stroke because at least I’ll be moving forward and I get like 200 meters in and my mind starts to rebell. It says: “We can’t do this, Edith. The task ahead of us is just too fucking enormous.” And my mind is only referencing the swim. Not the bike and run that were to follow. I tried to swim a little freestyle but I couldn’t catch my breath. So again my mind starts in with the nonsense: “Shit, are we having a heart attack? A pulmonary embolism? Is there an alligator down there about to throw us into a death roll? What the fuck is happening?”

Finally I  have a chat with my mind. I say, “Mind, quit it. You know our body has the endurance for this. Just let our body start swimming.”

So I start swimming. I made it to the first turnaround but I was still couldn’t get my breathing in order. I was only able to swim a couple hundred meters before I had to stop and collect myself. And then I started to cramp up. First in the right side, then in the left. I knew that in order to make it through this one, I was going to have to give myself a break. I literally went buoy to buoy for 1200 meters. Did whatever I needed to do to keep moving forward and stay calm and not make the cramps any worse. Dudes from the next few swim waves started passing me and that’s when shit got even more frantic. This was a crazy, CRAZY swim, people. The way the course is organized makes for massive traffic jams at several points and it just seemed like people were trying to get out of that water as quickly as possible with no regard for anyone else in the mix.

In the final straight away, with the exit chute still far off but in sight, I got into some kind of zone and was able to swim despite the cramping. I knew my time was gonna be bunk but I just didn’t care. Oddly enough, I came in at 49 minutes and change and I’d allowed myself 50 minutes after looking at last year’s times so I was on track. But it was still a piss poor showing and I know I could have done better. At least I wasn’t sucked down into the muck.

I feel like there’s not much else to say about this race. The bike was pretty enjoyable and the temperature was perfect. Little headwind in a few spots but I felt good throughout. I took only Perform on the bike. Oh and salt tabs. Those set me up nicely for the run. But it was starting to heat up right at the end and the last six miles were by far the hardest. Despite taking in ample calories and plenty of fluids, I could feel a bonk coming on and I really wanted to be on my feet. So I cranked it out and finished the bike in under 3 hours, which had been my goal.

The run course is three loops around the lake. A little over 4 miles per loop. There is a gigantor hill in the first mile of the run. Oh and of course in the 5th and 9th miles as well. My legs felt good getting off the bike but I definitely went out a little fast. The hill was actually helpful in getting me to back off a bit. There were aid stations about every mile and I stopped at almost every single one. Filled my hat with ice, poured water all over myself, took Gatorade, water, some flat Coke, you name it, if it was a fluid, it went in me or on me. Some lovely people were out on their lawns with sprinklers and hoses going. That was nice.

The first loop was definitely the most challenging. By the midpoint of loop 2, I’d gotten into a groove and was holding my pace between 8:20 and 9ish depending on the terrain. I am proud to say that hill never broke me. I ran up all three times. But the heat was not fun. People were definitely suffering and it was not getting any cooler the longer I was out there. I did my best to pick up the pace on the descents and try to make as much use of the flats as possible but all that thick air made had my HR way high. I knew if I held where I was, I’d run a sub-2 and not finish in a faint.

So I played it safe and kicked it into gear at the finish. I got through the finish line feeling pretty good all things considered. But here’s the kicker, according to my Garmin and the race clock, I finished in 5:47 and some change. However, my fucking timing chip was busted. Or so they told me after the race when I realized I had no splits and no cumulative time. Those of you who know me know me as someone to whom times are important so this is a huge bummer. Mainly because this was a PR on a challenging course under some harsh conditions and I want it on record that I raced and finished sub-6.

I mean, look, at the end of the day, I did what I showed up to do. I actually finished 2 minutes faster than anticipated (I think). And I guess it only matters that I know that and I feel good about my performance.

Oh bullshit. I want my damned finishing time. I have an email out to the race director. I’ll let you know what happens.

It was a good experience regardless of the mental drama. IAAT finished with a smile on her face, feeling victorious. We managed to get a shower in back at the hotel before hitting the road. Overall, I feel OK today. I’m definitely sore but not unbearably so. I’m considering doing a sprint next Sunday, just so I can get one last race in before leaving for the summer. It’s a lake swim and even though it’s just 400 meters, I kinda feel like I need to redeem myself.

Addendum: 6:52PM–Just got word that they found my official finish time and luckily, it jives with what my Garmin said. 5:47:13. That’s 00:05:53 faster than my Augusta time and almost two minutes faster than my goal so I’m pretty happy. Of course, knowing that it could have easily been 8 minutes better had I not wigged on the swim makes me pretty annoyed but that’s my damage. I ended up 17/62 in my AG.


Why I Like the Y

1 Jun

I like swimming at the YMCA. Pretty much any YMCA. Why? Because instead of sharing lanes with my usual crew of tri super heroes, everyone in the pool at the Northampton YMCA this morning was either wearing a back brace or just sorta casually breast stroking or was well beyond 70 years old.

And I liked this because in addition to making me feel like a super star (awful, I know), it was just nice to be in a pool with folks who weren’t clocking their 1K free time or trying to figure out what the hell it means to do 3 x (5 x 100, 20″ RI), 200 kick. It was nice to just get in there and swim. Although the woman I had to share a lane with when I first got there, was sipping water from a bottle with the Ironman logo on it. And I overheard her saying she was training for a tri. She was quite heavy. Bigger than Athena heavy. And that made me like this Y pool and the swimmers in it even more.

The pool is totally utilitarian. Not what I’ve grown accustomed to at UM. The website says it’s got 25yard lanes but I swear they’re short. And the lanes are narrow so sharing is difficult. The pool is in the middle of the building so there are no windows. It smells like a pool. The water feels just maybe a little warmer than it should.

I went there on Tuesday morning as well and that swim sucked. I hadn’t been in the water in over a week and I felt like I was wearing a cement bathing suit. It was all I could do to pull off a few sets of 100s an 50s and then call it a day.

But today was different. Today was an “on” day in the pool. And “on” days in the pool, I’ve discovered, tend to happen when I go in with absolutely no expectations.  And “on” days make me hot to get back in the pool as soon as humanly possible. So I think I’ll go back tomorrow with no expectations and see what I can pull off.

Multiview 5: Alessandra de M Castanho

19 Mar

Ale is a Brazilian, ex-competitive volleyball player. And yes, she looks exactly like the picture your mind just created. She’s got the legs of a gazelle and the speed of a cheetah. I tried to pace with her during the ING half and realized very quickly that it would be wise to let her go. After that race, I started tailing her on training runs because I figured if I could stay like five feet behind her at all times, I’d end up getting faster. Ale is a great coach: motivating, knowledgeable and tough when she needs to be. Also, everywhere she goes in this town, there’s a biker or a runner calling out her name and screaming at her Portuguese. She’s got an awesome accent and a very cool speech rhythm, both of which were magically present in her original written response to these questions. I’ve edited this very little in the hopes that you’ll get a sense of what it’s like to have a conversation with the writer. Here is Ale’s story:

Name: Alessandra de M Castanho (Ale, to those who know her)
Hometown: São Paulo, Brazil
Current Town: Miami, FL
Sport(s) of Choice: Triathlon
Longest Distance Covered and on what (feet/bike/skis/snowshoes/etc…):
Running: 26.2 miles-Nike Women’s Marathon, San Francisco, 2007
Bike: Bike Across Florida, 150 miles, 2007
Triathlon: Half-Ironman-Miami Man 2008 and 2010
Occupation: Content Planning Sr. Manager

Gimme a brief history of Ale in sports. What did you do as a kid? Have you always been athletic? How did you get into triathlon?

Yes, I’ve always been very athletic; I played volleyball in school, started when I was 13 and later on I became part of a team (on a local athletic club in Sao Paulo). Two years later, I was part of a Municipal Team, even receiving a “symbolic” payment (they gave us lunch, the complete uniform, including the tennis shoes and paid for our transportation). I had to quit because I wanted to become a journalist and in Brazil there was no such a thing as a University promoting sports.

Triathlon came to my life seven years ago: I decided to fund raise for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and in return, they prepared me for my first race. Little did I know it would become a lifestyle. To make a long story short, on June 12, 2005, I crossed the finish line in Maui, Hawaii and completed my first Olympic distance triathlon. I was 5th in my age group and 13th overall female. Since then, I’ve completed many sprints (always on the podium in 3rd, 2nd and 1st places), Olympic distances (also making to the podium) and two half-Ironman races. I’ve also finished a couple of half marathons (my PR was 1h40min) and a full marathon in San Francisco (in 4h16min). In 2010 I was invited to be part of the Power Bar Elite group, because of my achievements as an athlete and I qualified twice for the USAT National Championship in Burlington, Vermont.

Speaking of which, you’re headed to USAT Nationals this year as an age grouper! Will this be your first time attending? And what are you doing to prepare yourself mentally and physically?

YES! I’m very excited about it 🙂 Last year I was not able to attend and I was very happy (and surprised!!) to have qualified again during Miami Man. I’ve started training for the Nationals but it’s one week prior to the Ironman race [in Canada], so I’m just very excited to be part of the event, and I’m training hard to be fit, strong and in my best shape. I’ve been reading more about nutrition and I wanna become truly an expert on the subject, not only for me, but to help the group! I have also been very good with my strength training (another must!!). I just need to be more attentive to my sleeping hours; I haven’t had much of a rest!

Describe a typical training day.

Wake up around 5am, have my morning “ritual” that consists of eating something light and allowing my body to “wake up”. Leave my house for whatever is in my schedule and most of the time, come back for a shower, stretch and breakfast!!! If not possible, I’ll shower at the gym and will have my breakfast ready in my lunchbox, so I can eat it right away! I’m usually very hungry in the morning!

What do you normally eat?

Prior to training: almond butter and half of a fruit or if the training is too intense will add a gluten-free waffle to the mix. For breakfast, I’ll have the other half of the fruit with cinnamon, glutamine and a spoon of granola (for crunchy!). Plus a toast with very little “buttery spread” (made with vegetable oil) and 1/4 cup of egg whites (that sometimes can be replaced with a slice of cheese). I’ll usually have a snack at 11-11:30am, which is a short latte with 2% and half of a protein bar (my snacks vary, could be a fruit with cheese or almond butter, pretzels etc). Lunch varies too. The salad bar in Whole Foods is my best friend! I try to go there as much as I can. Dinner: I prepare something at home. I love chicken and roasted potatoes (sweet ones!!) and I like sushi, etc…

Now that I’ve bla bla bla about this subject, I’ve realized that you might wanna know about training only. Sorry. So, during a workout I try to be as “natural” as possible, so I like the Honey Stinger products; I love the Heed from Hammer Nutrition for my long rides and the Elixir for electrolytes (which I always have in my bottles).

You recently started coaching for Alien Endurance. How do you balance the demands of your own training with your new coaching obligations? What do you like about coaching?

Although we train in a group, triathlon is very individual. I can be out there and guide you on a bike ride, or a brick workout but at the end of the day, you will be at your pace and I’ll be at mine, otherwise neither of us will be really training. So, I guess the sport itself allows you to balance coaching and your own training. One of the greatest things about this sport is the people you meet. They are usually very enthusiastic and eager to learn about the disciplines. When I like something you’ll have to ask me to stop talking about it: I can go on and on! Being a coach allows me to speak about it and to help the athletes that are just beginning.

You’re in the process of training for Ironman Canada. Have you competed in a full Ironman before or will this be your first? How are you prepping for it and do you have any expectations about the race?

(Big sigh) Yes! I’m in! This will be my first one and I’m scared! I don’t know if scared but for sure, anxious! I’ve been focusing on strength, swim and nutrition!! They are my main concerns and my goal: I wanna be the strongest, most efficient in the water and a JEDI when it comes to fuel. I will cross that finish line tired, but strong! Not sick, but happy to have conquered such an accomplishment along side Andy, Frank, Hans and Magui!

Can you recall a particularly challenging moment in training or racing? How did you deal with it?

It was during my first half-Ironman in 2008 at the Miami Man race. At the run, mile 10, I didn’t have anything else to give, and my body was asking me to stop. I was sick of my stomach and dehydrated. I kept on going, and this is why nutrition has become such an important subject to me (and this is why I want to help more with this matter).

Any interesting/funny/inspiring stories you want to share from training or racing?

Funny, yes! It was during a trilogy race. At the swim, I got caught up in the middle of the “turmoil” and one of the girls hit my leg and took my chip off my ankle!! So, I decided to swim back to the shore and call it off. It was when the lifeguard scream at me asking if I was ok. I screamed back saying: “I’m good, just lost my chip.” And he said, “ I found one! What’s your number?”…753… “I have it, wait on!” Then he swam with his board towards me and play the prince charming saying, “Give me your foot!”  Oh well, 12 minutes later, I was leaving my slowest sprint swim to cross the finish line 9th in my age group!

Talk to me about equipment/product. What do you wear? What do you ride? What gels do you like?

I love trisuits, but I’ve been racing in two pieces because of the longer distances; I do have to pee in a half-Ironman and I do stop and go to the bathroom (sorry!). My favorite brands are 2XU, Louis Garneau and Orca.

Shoes: Newtons for run and Adidas on the bike. I ride a beautiful Maserati, also known as the Kestrel 4000 Pro SL. The chewy Honey Stingers are delish! Not a big fan of gels, but lately found the Ignite quite good and they’re gluten free (which for me, during training or racing it’s a must!).

Any advice for the “noobs” out there? Just have fun and listen to your body!

Race and train within your own limits. We are not up for the Olympics anymore and we have to be smart about it, and not get hurt!

Multiview 3: JD Trammell

16 Mar

JD and I are teammates. I attribute my recent PR at the 2575 Miami Triathlon to JD’s presence about a hundred meters from the finish line. By the end of that race, my legs were liquid and I didn’t think I had anything left. But as I came off the beach and headed towards the chute, JD started screaming at me to sprint it out. So I dug deep and did just that. I wouldn’t have if he hadn’t been there. JD is one of the fastest guys on our team both in the water and on land. He’s also extremely focused and very competitive. He’s about to get married in a few weeks too. Here’s JD’s story:

Name: JD Trammell
Hometown: Buffalo, NY
Current Town: Miami, Fl
Sport(s) of Choice: Triathlon to compete, NFL Football to watch
Longest Distance Covered and on what (feet/bike/skis/snowshoes/etc…): Approximately 70 miles on bike. One weekend (my first year of triathlon) I decided to ride from South Miami to Lantana. I rode out to South Beach and all the way up US1. Took almost 6 hours!
Occupation: Licensed CPA – Internal Auditor at Royal Caribbean Cruises

Gimme a brief history of JD in sports. What did you do as a kid? Have you always been athletic?

I’ve always been involved in sports. I’ve played almost every organized team sport I can think of outside of ice hockey and lacrosse. The earliest sports I can remember competing in were soccer, tennis and swimming. From 2nd grade into 8th, I was most competitive in swimming, often winning my events and competing in relays between a YMCA team and my grade schools team. I played football and track and field all four years of high school. I was an offensive and defensive lineman in football and threw the shot and discus in track.

Congrats on winning your age group in the 2575 Miami Triathlon last week with a super impressive sub-1hr20min finishing time. You are, in general, pretty freakin’ fast. Have you always been fast or is this something you’ve had to work on?

I was never a runner, though I’d often come in first when running the track during football practice. I casually got into running more and more after college, gradually doing more road races and longer events. My father, however, was an All-American in track and cross-country in both high school and college. So I guess I get a bit of that speed from him. Its my mother’s Italian/Irish genes that really hold me back. 😉

Describe a typical training day.

I find it really hard to keep a steady routine. I try to get up and run 1-2 times a week in the morning and maybe get out for a bike ride. Most of my training takes place on the weekends with the group. I have yet to actually complete one of Andy’s training routines verbatim.

What do you normally eat?

Anything I want. I need to control my diet better!!!!

How do you balance the demands of training life with the demands of every day life?

My employers (both past and present) have always had full gyms with showers on site. That has been an awesome way to keep my personal life and training life from colliding. My fiancé also has different work hours than I do (working 2:30-9pm on Saturdays and 8:30-5pm on Sundays), so that has also allowed me to get in weekend training without impacting our time together. She is very supportive of me though, and always happy when I do well at a triathlon.

What are your goals? Either short or long-term? How are you preparing for upcoming races?

My goal for 2012 is to break 2h20min in an olympic distance race. However, I’m not really doing any olympic distances this year, it’s mostly international. So I have to break down the races in order to figure out what I’d like to do. Ideally, I’d like to end with running a 10k at 7:30/min or better. Since I’m getting married in March and don’t plan on getting into the bulk of my race schedule until June, I still have time to assess my goals and preparation.

Can you recall a particularly challenging moment in training or racing? How did you deal with it?

I’ve been pretty lucky thus far in terms of race challenges. Most of my challenges have been in the form of losing my endurance or cramping up. I have yet to have any major mechanical issue on my bike. Last year’s Miami 70.3, for example, was a race that I had prepared pretty hard for, but the conditions just killed me. I spent way too much energy on the bike and burned myself out to where I called it a race ½ way through the run. I’m dealing with that small defeat by working on my run this year more than ever. Thus far I’ve PR’d in my first 2 races of the season (7:20m/mile pace in the ING Half Marathon and 6:52m/mile pace at the 2575 Triathlon) and plan on keeping it that way for the rest of the season.

Any interesting/funny/inspiring stories you want to share from training or racing?

My first year in racing I did only two races. First was the Mack Cycle Sprint Tri and then a few months later the Escape to Miami olympic distance. Doing Escape as your first foray into triathlon is essentially trial by fire. If you can finish that race then you can pretty much do any race. I had a used road bike (2007 Jamis Ventura Sport) with clip-on aero bars as my first bike. Luckily for me it was the proper size and was tuned up well, so I was able to maintain a pretty good pace on the bike.

Toward the end of the race (last 3 miles) I was riding next to this 20-something-year old kid with a bright yellow carbon fiber bike, aero helmet, full disc bike with all the trimmings. This thing hummed, and you could hear how nice it was when he changed gears. I was moving just as fast as he was though! And before the last u-turn, with about 2 miles to go I said to myself: I don’t care what kind of bike this kid has, after this u-turn I’m going to click up the gears and kick his ass. Sure enough I did, and didn’t see him for the rest of the race. Those moments are especially gratifying for me.

Talk to me about equipment/product. What do you wear? What do you ride? What gels do you like?

I am currently in desperate need of some new tri clothing. My tri-top and shorts right now are Pearl Izumi. I can’t wait to get the new Alien Endurance apparel! I ride a 2011 Felt B16 with Williams Carbon Clincher wheels (56mm front & 80mm rear). I prefer gels that have more substance over those that are watery. So, Gu and Hammer are my favorites.

Any advice for the “noobs” out there?

Even though racing is meant to be fun and you’re always happy to just finish a race, I encourage you to pick out little challenges for yourself and overcome them. During a race, if you see someone who’s biking or running as fast as you are, focus on them and tell yourself that you trained harder than they did and there is no way they’re going to finish this race before you are. Accomplishing little goals like that during a race will make the experience more fun and more gratifying.

Getting Better with the Launch of “Multiviews”

16 Mar

Today was the first day I didn’t wake up with a headache. I’m confident that my
will not take three weeks. And I’ll tell you why:

Because of all the exercise.

I felt awful yesterday but I forced myself to get into the pool and complete my 2,400yds swim. I’d picked up a tip from one of our instructors on Tuesday and decided to put it into practice. Apparently, one is supposed to see bubbles under water after one’s pull, and if one doesn’t, then one isn’t doing anything. So my mixed drill swim yesterday became a pull-focused workout, which finally gave me a reason to use my new Finis Swimmer’s Snorkel.

What a difference a pull makes!

On Tuesday, after minimal warm up, I swam 800yds in 19:09. Yesterday, after 1,400yds of warm ups and drills, I swam 800yds in 18:30. I was wiped from no coffee, still wiped from the race, fatigued from the initial 1,400 yards and with ONE ADJUSTMENT I shaved 39 seconds off my swim.

I’m trying not to get too excited. We’ll see if this remains at all consistent over the next couple of weeks. General wisdom holds that a time isn’t YOUR time until it’s your time for three or more workouts. But I definitely learned something. And my head didn’t hurt after the workout.

I also managed to get to bridge runs at 7PM. It was helpful that one of my teammates picked me up on her way out to Key Biscayne. But then she required a little encouragement on the last two repeats. And somehow I felt better on the last two, more energized, less gross.

And this leads me to today’s really exciting news.

I’m about to launch a new series of posts called MULTIVIEWS. For each Multiview, I’ll  profile a different endurance athlete and pepper them with questions about training and racing, their experiences and goals; as well as products they like and maybe even some deeper questions about sports and life and how the two intersect on philosophical/spiritual/metaphorical levels.

My friend Adam Szymkowicz has been interviewing playwrights in this same way on his blog for many years. His interviews are stellar and worth a read even if you’re not a theatre person.

My goal with Multiviews is to investigate why people get into endurance sports in the first place, discover what motivates them and share some personal stories that will hopefully inspire others to explore their own athletic potential.

I’m including profiles from a wide range athletes. People of varying abilities, experience-levels and goals. I’ll cover runners, roadies, triathletes, cross-country skiers and anyone else who does anything for extended distances. I’ll try to give you ultra-athletes, elite amateurs, top age groupers, coaches, people currently training for Iron distances and folks who just completed their first sprint or half marathon.

I started doing triathlon with a team so I had a group of people to teach me how to train, what to eat, how to properly set up a transition area, etc… Not everyone is so lucky. I’m hoping these interviews might prove useful to the folks out there who are just getting started.

The first round of profiles will be on my friends and teammates but if you’re reading this and we don’t know each other but you want to be involved, leave me a comment with your info and I’ll be in touch. And of course, please feel free to share and reblog!

Multiview 1 should be posted today. There will be many more coming over the next few weeks. I really hope you’ll read them. Other than being fun and informative, they’re super inspiring and proof positive that changing your life is totally possible if you get outside and move your ass.

Hit With a Brick

3 Mar

We had a Bike/Run brick yesterday morning out on Key Biscayne. My training schedule said 45 minute bike/60 minute run but I ended up doing 30/90 because it dawned on me that I have a half marathon at the end of April and I haven’t run long in a hot minute. So I tagged along with the four intrepid freaks on our team who just started training for a Ironman Canada–it’s in August.

Anyway. Here’s what this brick day looked like:

I got up at 6AM and pulled all my crap together. Nutrition and hydration needs are taken care of first because if I forget these items, I am screwed.


From L2R/T2B: 20 oz of water with one Nuun tab dropped in–this comes with me on the bike; 14 oz bottle of pain water for whenever I want it; 20 oz bottle of water with one scoop of Endurox R4 mixed in for after the workout; one gel with caffeine for transition (not pictured) and one hammer gel for half way through the run.

This is breakfast:

Coffee, an English muffin with Brummel and Brown and cinnamon-sugar, and a banana. This is pretty standard before a long workout or race. The banana is optional but I have to have some kind of toasted bread product with some form of sugar on it. And I don’t do anything without coffee. I know it doesn’t look like a  lot considering I’m about to exercise for two hours but that’s where the gels come in. If I eat any more of this, my GI system will revolt midway through the run.

This is a picture of the log-jam getting onto the Rickenbacker:

For those of you reading this in other parts of the country, the Rickenbacker is the only way onto and out of Key Biscayne, unless you have a boat.

I didn’t get any pix of the bike ride. But that’s OK because it would have been dangerous to do so. But here’s a photo of the team right before heading out on the run:

Thanks to IWantToBeATriathlete for forcing us to take a group picture. It added time to transition but what can ya do? Sometimes, in life, you must pause to take things a little less seriously.

The run was long and slow and hot. Very hot. It’s been in the 80s here lately, which is unseasonable for February. My four running mates are in the base-building phase for Canada so that meant they had to stay in zone 1 for the run and we all basically trotted out 8.42 miles in 90 minutes. This was fine by me. First long run in three weeks and I felt every minute of it.

When the run was done, I chugged my Endurox and then jumped into the water to give my legs a little hyrdrotherapy. It was nice but did not save me from the soreness that followed later in the day. I was late getting to the Advil and didn’t ice long enough and–idiot me–I didn’t stretch. The day got crazy immediately after my workout and I just plum forgot to do it. So everything hurt until around 7PM when I had two Avery IPAs and half a homemade pizza. Ibuprofen, beer and carbs are always good for what ails ya.

But before I headed home yesterday morning, I took this pic of Alien Endurance Beach:

Not a bad looking training ground.