Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Race of a Lifetime - Kona 2015

Race of a Lifetime - Kona 2015

There are things you dream of in life. Bucket list items that you hope to experience in life. It is no secret that qualifying for the Ironman World Championships has been one of my dreams ever since I crossed the line with all three of my young sons at the inaugural Ironman Arizona race in April 2005.

This dream became a reality last November 2014 when I came in 3rd place in the 50-54 age group at Ironman AZ.

As I started to make plans for this epic trip, another dream was materializing that would have my entire immediate family attending the race. Also we had the opportunity for a huge family vacation! This would be something just as epic to me than running down Ali'i Drive. 

11 months is a long time to think and train for an Ironman distance race like Kona. The training is the "easy" part. The mental preparation is harder.  I was in good hands with my coach of over 4 years, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems. Besides me, he had another qualifier athlete (and my friend) Russ Brandt going this year to Kona.

I don't do back to back (meaning 2 Ironmans in 2 years) very often. In fact, before last November 2014, I hadn't done this distance since June 2011 at IMCDA. Mentally, it was hard to get back on the horse after May and up my mileage again. But I did it.

Nothing too different from 2014 except the use of the Garmin Vector2 Power Pedals. I have been extremely fortunate to be a Product Ambassador for Garmin Fitness since last year. Besides my Forerunner 920XT, I was excited to use power again. I thank Garmin for the opportunity to represent their fine products!

I did run and bike longer (in the heat) more this year for Kona than I did last year for AZ. 

After all our trip plans were finalized and the plane fares were paid (Ouch! Family of 5!) I was excited and scared for what was ahead! We decided I would leave for Kona race week on Tuesday to acclimate and get used to the circus and Cristette and the boys would join me Thursday. Race day was Saturday and we would stay in Kona through the next Wednesday then we would island hop to Maui for 3 full days. A priceless family vacation!

As I left for the airport that Tuesday, I felt so many mixed emotions. It was really surreal that this was all actually finally happening. 

I stayed the first at the host hotel (Courtyard Marriott) since I couldn't get into our rental home until Wednesday. 

Even waiting for the flight at Phoenix Sky Harbor, I could pick out the triathletes and found friends Chris and Erica McClurg on their way to the Big Island too!

Arriving was an experience after a 6 hour flight. Winds were blowing at over 40mph and hats, sunglasses and carry on suitcases were going everywhere! 
"Will I have to bike in winds like this?" I thought as walked outside of the plane.

Arriving at the Courtyard Marriott King K Hotel, the Parade of Nations was just starting. It was like landing in a Triathlete Disneyland. I ran into Facebook friend and qualifier Josh Horsager and we enjoyed the craziness that was now the beginning of my IMKona2015 experience.

As Tuesday evening came, I was the guest of local Ironman Pro, Pedro Gomezfornthe Rudy Project Party. (By the end of race week, I had collected 8 trucker hats. They were the gift/giveaway/swag for this year) 

I was also fortunate enough to have my friend and fellow triathlete, Chris Wolff fly in for the week from Seattle. Wednesday we picked up my bike from TriBike Transport and road the Queen K for a windy 30 miles. We also took advantage of swimming the course at DigMe Beach including a stop at the Lava Java Cattamaran for a shot!

Before checking into my rental house at Magic Sands just off Ali'i Drive, I went to the airport to pick up Alec Tripp who would be my adopted son for the week. It was great having him with me and with my family on race day. After a drive to the expo and the Ironman Village to see the sites we checked into the house.

Thursday morning I swam the course again before the famous Underpants Run. This event is so hilarious and now raises money for charity by making fun of the barely clothed athletes that invade the relatively conservative Kona town.  Chris, Alec and I did our part to participate in "style". I was also able to "run" with Ironman Age Grouper extraordinaire, Terry Nugent who I met and raced with years ago at Soma and Worlds 70.3 in Vegas!

The best part of Thursday was returning to the airport and picking up my wife, Cristette and my three sons!

After a stop to the Ironman Village with them and a bite to eat, we headed to our home for the next week.

Preston Miller and TriScottsdale hosted a Happy Hour that evening to celebrate all the AZ athletes racing Saturday. It was a great surprise to see Jason and Courtney Smith there! I shared the lane many times with Jason this past year preparing for the big show!

Friday was another swim with my new Xtrerra Speedsuit and then it was time to mellow out.

The only thing on the agenda a quick bike check ride with Russ and bike drop off.

I just had no idea what a circus that would be as well! When you enter transition, they announce your name and you basically walk the red carpet. There are 20 some people with clipboards taking notes on every part of your bike and equipment. Then a personal escort takes you to your bike mount and helps hang your bags.

Then it was back to the house to make dinner and watch movies. 

Race Day:

With the time change, its relatively easy to get up early. 

After my breakfast that included My Oatmeal Ensure and TrueStart Instant Coffee, Alec drove me and Russ to transition by 5am. I was amazed how smoothly it all went, from Tritats temporary tattoos, to weigh in, then bike check, we had plenty of time for race jitters to settle in before loading into the water for a 6:55am start.

After 3 swims in 3 days, I actually was not nervous about the swim like I was  before getting to Kona. The water was salty but warm and buoyant. There is plenty of room to swim along the left and avoid the aggressive swimmers. Russ and I debriefed after race day and concluded that this course is great on every leg for the first half and hard the second. The swim was no exception. I turned around the Body Glove boat for the return back to shore in 35 mins so I was hoping for a sub 1:10 - 1:15 finish. The second half got much more congested and it seemed so long. Is I and to the steps, I entered T1 at 1:18:16.

Like every Ironman, T1 was crowded and wet! I shed the speedsuit, dried off and after my helmet, shoes and glasses were on, I was off!
T1: 5:10
There are a lot of people to cheer you on as you take off on the bike and the start takes you through town for an out an back before heading out onto the famous Queen K. Remember what I said about the first half of he course? Nice temps and tail winds pushed us towards Hawi.
After a while on the Queen K, it started to rain. And then, rain hard! It was cooler but difficult not see and after the turnaround at Hawi, the wet roads were slick and we all had to be careful on the decents. Then it got hot and humid with head winds all the way home. It was draining and I saw all 21mph a averages lost. I also lost one of my EFS gel packs (it holds 400 calories per pack) so I had to pick up gels at each aid station to make sure I was consuming at least 280 calories per hour - the gels, along with my EFS drink. The last hour of the bike, I had frank all EFS drink and tons of water and some Gatorade. I also took in a Clif Bar. They were handing out Red Bull (An Ironman Sponsor). Mind you, I had tried Red Bull on a training ride before and it didn't settle well in my stomach. I had no business trying it now...but I did. I finally got to T2 tired and a little under my power goal of 200 watts in 6:00:21.

T2 is much different that T1. It's a little like an episode of the "Walking Dead" Some racers are just sitting there and not moving. Some are moving fast or at least trying to. I was somewhere in between. Happy to be off the bike I know better than to think about the whole marathon that is ahead. But it was on my mind. But with clean socks and my bib and Saucony Kinvara6 shoes on, I took off!
T2: 8:43

The heat was on! The run starts with an out an back on Ali'i Drive (including the turnoff to our rental home where I saw this chalk message)

After a couple of decent miles at a decent pace. The heat and humidity started to get to me bad! I was overheating and my stomach was not craving coke like it usually does on a hard Ironman run. So like an idiot, I took in more Red Bull hoping it would kick in some energy. It didn't. As I left Ali'i Drive at mile 10, I was worried about the Queen K and the Energy Lab ahead. I was not sure how I was going to press on to the half marathon let alone the full. This was new for me as the run is my time to shine. But that is Kona. It can humble you very quickly and it did. At mile 12.5, on the highway with no one really around but other runners and walkers, I started to really stumble. This was the first time I wondered if I could even walk the course!
Before I could worry about it too much, I leaned over and threw up violently three times. I can count on both hands how many times I have thrown up in my entire life and within minutes, in regurgitated three more! It was all...Red Bull! After it was over, I actually felt better but very weak. I could walk though and I saw this as a positive. My mind wrestled with my pride as I realized, yes, I will finish. But it will not be in record time. It will be my worst time. It will be in the dark. It will be embarrassing etc. I fought these demons for a while when I came up next to Richard Byyny, a Kona Veteran and another extraordinary athlete I met two years ago with Russ at CST training camp. He was struggling as well and he was still positive and giving the Kona course the credit it deserved. It was a godsend to be with him and he encouraged me to go on ahead if felt I could. I did go on and continued to meet great athletes who are at the top of their game and could qualify at any Ironman race in the world but were walking the Queen K today. I learned a lot about sportsmanship from them that early evening. It turned dark as I entered the Energy Lab and those 4 miles were all by myself dealing with my shortcomings my blessings and my God. 

One back on the Queen K, it's a 10K home. The way I was feeling, that wasn't exactly great news. 6 miles was still a long way to run/walk to the finish line. I could only imagine what my family was thinking and those tracking me at home. All I could take in was water at this point and some gels so my energy was minimal at best. With 2 miles to go, a bike came to me and it was Alec. He was so encouraging letting my wife and sons know I was on my way in and that I was ok. I started running as I could see the in lights and hear the voice of Mike Riley in the distance. Then the crowds. Ali'i Drive is everything they say it is. It's magical. It's also amazing how the body can react when it needs to. My final mile was at sub 8:30 pace! I saw my family with my oldest, Andrew armed with the GoPro! They were so excited!!  As I turned that last corner to the carpet, I was alone to all the cheers with high fives everywhere I could reach!

Then the finish. My worst time ever, my worst marathon ever but it was also my biggest smile ever at a finish line! 
Total time: 13:27:37

It took almost an hour for me to be ready for my family and leave. I was so weak but not sick anymore. Once reunited with Cristette and the boys, I asked them for pics including one that was areenactment of my first Ironman finish with them 10 years ago!

The rest of the trip was priceless family vacation with eating and exploring the Big Island and then Maui! 

To say this trip and experience was just a Bucket List deal is so understated. It was a blessing, an education in humility, a privilege beyond belief! And yes, I want to return and take on Kona again someday. It won't be too soon though. But a return is definitely my plan! 

I want to thank, of course my wife Cristette for being my biggest cheerleader and supporter, my sons, Andrew, Nathan and Matthew for being part of Team Cadriel. One Multisport, my club and the ONE Elite Team I represented. My sponsors like Destination Kona, MDrive, MyOatmeal, Valdora, The Martin Family, SkinsUSA, Fitsok, Cyclologic, Endurance Rehab, and Louis Garneau as well as so many friends and family that supported my efforts to get to the World Championships! It was a great experience of a lifetime!


Until the next race/challenge of life for me!

2015 Ironman World Championships

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Summer Training and Racing - Beat the Heat! ☀️

As preparations continue for Kona in October, I literally prayed for a hot and humid summer. I guess a guy should be careful what he wishes for! The weather here in the Valley of the Sun has delivered and not disappointed! Monsoon season is still in full swing and the early morning weekday workouts at 5am or earlier still push at temps around 85 to 90°F. The weekends are a compilation of heat, humidity and ideal for what lies ahead for me on the Big Island. I try to always remember that I hate the cold and that I embrace the sweat!

July started out with some fun short racing to get the competition juices flowing. As a family, we didn't travel much this summer since we are a little Hawaii focused in our finances. So I signed up for the local ARR 4Miler on the 4th in Peoria. Not my fastest 4 miler but considering the long endurance training in all of June, I was happy to play with my fellow runners and podium with a 2nd in AG finish with a 26:10 finish.  It is always humbling to run, race and train with runners! 

The next day, Sunday, I competed in a Reverse Sprint Triathlon in Goodyear, AZ. No expectations but to go fast on tired running race legs and work on speed and transitions! I knew Shawn Bernardi would be there and I wanted to try to keep up.  The reverse format is not to my strengths since I desire to run hard at the end of any triathlon to catch tired racers. In a reverse format, everyone is fresh and fast (especially the young guns!) and I came into T1 a minute behind Shawn. I wouldn't make up any time on the 12 mile bike and when I dove into the 50 meter pool, he held that minute to win the overall and I came in 2nd. It was still Independence weekend so he convinced me to go speedo retro and patriotic and race lean and mean! Even good friend and age group Rival, Richard Getzen sported the "mankini" for the fast race!

The rest of July and August meant long hot, hard training for the Mountainman Half Ironman and of course Kona.

I also received my new Vector2 Power Pedals from Garmin and had a chance to play with them a little. After some tweaking and calibration, it is now a good tool for my coach, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems to monitor my bike progress. This along with my Garmin Forerunner 920XT are fantastic tools to keep my training in check. I am grateful to Garmin and CTS #trainright coaching for their sponsorship!

I also became a new Ambassador for SkinUSA Compression Wear this summer. I love their stuff and continue to train Triathlon and Crossfit in their gear.

Race weekend in Flagstaff couldn't have come at a better time! The temps in Phoenix were pushing 115° and getting worse! Cristette and Matthew were also able to travel this year with me! I love having family with me at races when they can come!

Mountainman Half IM is a weird race for me. I've had very good and very bad days up in the pines. The swim is always tough in the 7000ft elevation. Two years ago, I experienced a kick in the face and never recovered well. Last year, I swam Upper Lake Mary at check in the day before and it made all the difference. I repeated this again this year with a straight 20 min wetsuit swim before heading to the hotel to check in before the annual One Multisport Swet Dinner!

It is always such a great dinner event and it was great to eat and catch up with the best Tri Family anywhere, One Multipsort!
I am so pleased to be a part of this club and also represent the ONE Elite Team and sponsors like Destination Kona, Sole Swim Solutions, My Oatmeal, Pei Wei, MDrive and Cyclologic!  Everyone of these great sponsors have been a BIG part of my day to day training! I am so grateful!

Race morning comes so early! It was so much warmer than previous years. Already in the high 60s before the swim start. Many more racers do the Olympic distance than the 70.3. They start after us but finish WAY before! It's a little tough on the body and mind to be on the run course heading to mile 5 and getting honked at by all the racers heading home or to a great lunch back in town! 

He swim was great! No traffic and with very few buoys out on the course, I managed to come in at 32 minutes. I have been working with Frank and Sarah at Sole Swim Solutions for Kona and concentrated on keeping my head down and my stroke long! 

T1 was full of Oly and Half racers and I was actually cold exiting transition to head out for the 56 mile bike. It was fun riding he first few miles with some fast Olympic racers like Charlie Boyeink and Shawn again! But that was short lived and they continued straight on Lake Mary Rd as I turned right to head out for two loops around Mormon Lake. I did a lot of the bike all by myself. That's just how this race goes. I felt good and their were no issues on the hilly or straight portions of the course. The last 10 miles back to transition are fast and I came in on my Valdora PHX2 with a decent 2:39 bike split ready to run. I am so pleased to continue riding for Pete and Kendra with Valdora! We all had a great day and their support is outstanding!

The run is a sufferfest. I was especially focused on my longtime friend and age group rival, Todd Whitten who has decided to test his endurance muscles and try the Half Ironman distance for the first time this year! No one my age or younger can touch his speed in the Sprint or Olympic distance. I knew he would out swim and out bike me but could I have a chance to catch him on the 13.1 mile run?

I wasn't encouraged when I didn't see him up or down the Marshall Lake hill we all have to climb at mile 2-4 of the course. This meant he had at least a 2 mile lead. That's a lot even for a half marathon! Now I would have to wait and see him on the out and back of the run on Lake Mary. I saw the race leaders like Pedro Gomez, Patrick Bless and Adam Folts, Josh Martin but no Todd. Then with less than a mile before the turn around, I saw him. Ok, the lead is more like a mile now. I was making up time but not feeling that fresh and didn't know if I have enough to get him. After a mile heading back, I saw Steve Rink who yelled out at me that Todd was only a 1/2 mile ahead! I couldn't see him but I thought that with over 4 miles to go, that it may not be attainable to catch him. I saw Cristette and Matthew parked along the road at Mile 10. It was so good to see them and wished the run was over. They didn't know about Todd ahead but Cristette is very tired of him beating me since with late1990s! 

Then, at mile 11, I saw a racer run/walking in a TriScottsdale kit. Could it be? Yes! I came up to Todd and he was wet tired and still smiling! He said, "I'm cramping bad! You got this!" We high fived and I was on my way with still 2 miles to go and of course, running scared! I just wanted to see the cars parked at Upper Lake Mary to give me some visibility of the end!

I didn't look behind me because it hurt to turn my head and I was afraid Todd would be right there forcing an Old Man Sprint finish. (We've done it many times in our long Tri career!) I didn't want that! Since I saw the cars parked nearing the transition and finish line, I glance behind to see no one there! I saw the end and finished with the 7th fastest run split of the day with 1:39 just a little over 7:30 pace!  Overall time was 4:55:26. 1st in the 50-54 AG and 11th overall.

Anytime you can do this tough course under 5 hours, it's an accomplishment!

I really believe my crossfit work has made a huge difference in my racing this season. Olympic lifting like squats and deadlifts are making me stronger when I need it most!

Thank you Josh, Tiff and everyone at PIM for the instruction and WODs weekly to make me a better athlete!

Up next is heavy volume training heading into September. I will race Lifetime Events, Tempe Tri and a warm up to Hawaii. Then is Kona Baby

Until next time!

Tri Mayor

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Getting My Game Face On!

Getting My Game Face On!

Me and Kris Milobar at the final 1/2 Mile

There is a pretty simple fact that will keep every triathlete humble on any given race day. There are always going to be individuals that can show up at any competition that are faster than you. That is why age group results are so interesting because you can end up not making podium in your own age group but if you were 10 years younger you could've maybe won your AG. It all depends who shows up on any particular day.  

This thought process came into my head many weeks as I prepared for the first real local triathlon test of the season; the Marquee Tri put on by LifetimeTri Events. This year, there was no Leadman or half Ironman distance to complete in; only a International/Olympic and Sprint/Super Sprint distance option. That means athletes like Todd Witten, Greg Stelzer, and newly aging up phenoms like Kris Milobar would be racing with me. 

It's no secret that the Olympic distance gives an advantage to strong swimmers. I cannot put myself yet in that category.  Being a decent cyclists and strong runner sometimes does not allow enough terrain or territory to make up for some of the swim deficits provided by people like Greg and Todd. 10k is usually not far enough to make up 3 to 5 minutes! But what's an old guy to do but give it my best shot and go for it. Game face on!

Race conditions this Sunday were perfect. Overcast skies and cool temperatures and hardly any wind. I am continuing to work with Frank Sole at Sole Swim Solutions this season. I have to practice what I preach and that is good triathletes are always trying to improve on their limitors. Swimming is my limitor! I can't believe it's April already and I had not yet been in my wetsuit.  I have so much to work on including stroke and hip rotation but felt that this race would be a good indication just to see how much work I have ahead of me in the swim.

Even with almost 30 years of open water swimming experience, I still tend to be very conservative in the beginning of a race. When the blow horn blew for Wave 5 (Males 50+) I stayed to the right and focused on my long stroke. I must've been thinking too hard because I drifted way to the right of the lake - too far from the guide buoys and too close to the wall. I guess I was enjoying my new Tyr Goggles I just picked up at Destination Kona Friday afternoon. Nothing like seeing so clearly even with overcast skies  - even when you realize you have to swim diagonally to get to the yellow turn buoy! No issues for the second half of the swim and (as usual - this has to change) I picked up my pace to make up for the slower first half swim. I knew I had my work cut out for me when I exited the water steps to be wetsuit "stripped" by our One Multisport wonderful volunteers and saw 26 minutes and change. 

Post race, I was teasing my crossfit friends at Power in Motion that I had a hard time getting my wetsuit off over my arms now. Ha! 

My Carmichael Training System coach, Nick White, made it clear that this race was to be done at time trail mode. An all out speed training day. I was excited to see what I could do on the bike with many indoor trainer watt interval sessions this past month. I want to acknowledge Cyclologic and their expertise for setting me up with race wheels and my tune up. Ron does a fantastic job making my Valdora PHX2 fast and race ready. 

The bike course was a fast and flat 2 loop journey with a good share of 180° turns. I picked off many on the first lap and felt strong on the 23-24 mph average range staying at an approx 140 bpm Heartrate. I need to replace my cassette soon and was warned it is needed by Ron at Cyclologic. I now may need to do it before St. George 70.3 on May 2nd since I seemed to skip gears once and a while during the race. The last thing I want (besides a flat) is to lose my chain! I came into T2 at just over 1:04 and saw Kris Milobar's bike already racked and resting. I didn't know where Todd and Scott were on the course, but I was sure there were other 50-54 males I needed to chase immediately - and I only had 6+ miles to do it!

I hardly ever have issues running off the bike. In fact, in Ironman distance races, it is very hard for me to slow down to conserve energy and pace for the long marathon ahead. Today, that was not going to be a problem. I hit the crushed granite on the south lake with a vengeance and when I looked at my Garmin Forerunner 920XT. (product placement plug!) I was running at a 6:10 pace. I doubted that I could hold that kind of pace but I did decide a sub 6:30 average was possible. I am pretty sure I passed a couple of guys I didn't know that might have been in my AG but after crossing the Rural Bridge to head west on the north side of the lake, I recognized the Trisports Trikit of Billy Oliver from Tucson. Dang! I forgot about Billy. He had an awesome bike and as I approached him, I said hi...and bye. There was a good chance I am still in 4th or 5th place. I love my Zoot Team buddies and their neon green uniforms are easy to track. (I mean spot) On the 2nd of 2 laps, I saw another Billy, Billy Jones. For one more season, Billy is still USAT age 49. As I came behind him and passed he said, go get Dirk Ross, also with Team Zoot.  Billy also asked me, "Why are you going so fast, you're too old for this?" He was right but I was on a mission! As I came to Dirk, he said "Kris is just up ahead." Just over a mile to go and I really couldn't see him. But then, right before getting on the Mill Ave Bridge for the turn home - there he was. Before I could think about it too hard or long, there were no other triathletes between us. The last climb was enough to put me right behind him. As we came to the peak of the Bridge, we were side by side. (Photo above thanks to Paul Keller) I am the first to tell anyone and everyone that I am a slow twitch animal.  Fast twitch muscle fibers elude my DNA. I could only assume I had one shot and as the downhill on the bridge began, I picked it up and didn't look back. Well, until I hit the grass just before he finish chute. There, I turned to the right and saw no one. A sprint finish to hear Garrett Grossi, race announcer, remind everyone that I sang the National Anthem a few hours before as well as proclaim my arrival. My run time was 41:14 for an average pace of 6:28 on the (little long) 6.46 mile run.

Total Time: 2:15:24 

Todd Witten was first Scott was 2nd and I got 3rd. I honestly hated the fact that our finish put Kris off the podium but as awards were announced, they pulled Todd to the overall top three male amateur finishers so that put Scott in first, me 2nd and moved Kris up to 3rd in this 50-54 slugfest!

It was a great day! Special congrats to my fellow ONE Elite teammates, Nic Wirski,  Michael Whitesides, Branden Turley, Maureen Needham, Lauren Krueger and Jenni Marshall who all podiumed in their race! Of course, thank you to One Multisport, our wonderful club, other sponsors like MyOatmeal, and MDrive which are a big part of my daily and race day maintenance plan. Again, Frank Sole and Sole Swimming Solutions, Destination Kona, and Cyclologic for equipping me to be race ready! Valdora Cycles and CTS along with my friends at PIM! 

Onward to St. George 70.3 in a couple of weeks! I plan on traveling with my middle son, Nathan on the trip and am looking forward to the time together!

Until next time, get your game face on and go for it! You might surprise yourself!


May is For Competing!

This year is flying by. And May was the fastest and most furious month to date! April finished up with a milestone. My oldest son, Andrew graduated from college making me proud and making me feel a little old at the same time!

Right after graduation, my middle son, Nathan and I headed to St. George, Utah for my 3rd 70.3 race in a row at this cute, college town (Dixie State). This race has been good to me since it evolved from a disastrous 140.6 to a quality 70.3 Ironman Triathon. 

This is also the Ironman North American Pro Championships so the talent is deep and I was hoping for a "3Peat" Podium finish in the 50-54 Age Group. 

The trip with Nathan was priceless and I enjoy traveling with him anywhere we go. It just seems like yesterday he came with me to Boise where I first qualified for 70.3  Worlds years back.

Race day went like clock work. No surprises on a gorgeous Saturday. My wave start wasn't as late as previous years - more in the middle than the end. The time getting into the cold water seemed short before the blow horn sounded and we were off. I always take it easy at the beginning of the swim but I may have taken it too easy. I was disappointed to see a 35 min split on my Garmin Forerunner 920XT when I exited the water. Dang! I wanted a 34 at worst to be in the podium mix. I plan to work hard with Swim Coach, Frank Sole at Sole Swim Solutions this summer to improve on my #1 limiter.

The bike was next with no issues except for losing my EFS gel flask on mile 7 when it slipped out of my Tri top pocket. No worries! Regroup and pick up two gels per aid station to be sure I get the nutrition I need. 

This race really begins at mile 40 when we enter the Snow Valley Park. It's a beautiful, Red Rock park filled with uphill climbs ready to make the best triathlete toast just in time for the out and back run. I was ready for the 5 mile ascension but was surprised to see us yield to a bike path full of technical turns and even a turn back before we had to climb out again. I managed to hold my own knowing that at the end of the climb, it's basically 10 miles back to town downhill. 
Once I made that right turn to head home, I was ready to put down the hammer and make up the time I lost climbing. However, I heard a sound on my front tire that disturbed me. I first thought it was a flat but my speed didn't slow down. I just prayed it would hold together until I reached T2. I realized after the race was over and I picked up my gear and bike that I picked up a sticky piece of paper that made the clicking sound. Drive me crazy in worry! I came into T2 with a 2:42 time. Nothing too impressive but I felt my strongest leg was coming!

I love this 13.1 out and back run! It eats up the swimmers and cyclists and makes the strongest Triathlete walk in anguish! I have made my pattern to be the guy who chases down the competition. I worked it from the very start. I had no idea what position I was in starting the run, (24th I later found out) so I just ran hard and strong. I know I was picking of younger age groupers and of course, my age group players, but was so surprised to find out I got 15 of them for an age group best time of 1:33:24 to move up to 9th. That is a new "roadkill" record for me. I missed the podium but still finished in the top 5% of the age group. Places 4-10 were only 1-2 minutes apart. A highly competitive group of old farts!

Final time: 4:57:36

After a week for work in Minneapolis immediately following St. George, came a traditional race locally; Tempe International Triathlon. Our ONE Elite Team ran a walk through clinic the day before and had a great response from many newbie triathletes. It is so good to be able to help the community in this way. Fellow teammate, Maureen Needham did a great job walking through her set up and transition process.

Race morning was early and actually quite cool. We had a very nice May here in the Valley. Unseasonably cool. 

This time, the swim went better for an Olympic race that favors strong swimmers. I still had my work cut out for me with speed specialist like Todd Witten in the mix. Todd and I raced together back in the 90s and he still kicks my butt. 

Billy Oliver was there too and his run was better so he was another threat for the podium.

The bike is hillier than Marquee and the two loop bike course put me in position to have to run for my life to stay in contention for a podium spot. This 10K hurt much more than the St. George half marathon sue to the 6:30-6:40 pace I needed to maintain. 

It paid off with an ok finish time of 2:18:11 time and 3rd place in the 50-54 age group behind Todd and Billy respectively. 

The month finished up with me competing in the 2nd installment of "The Fittest of PIM" Power in Motion's Crossfit Competition.  I had to make up to "WODs" (Workouts of the Day) because of St. George and my business trip to Minneapolis. The final event was in Memorial Day completing the iconic "Murph Challenge" in honor of fallen Navy Seal, Michael Murphy who's story was protrayed in the film, "Lone Survivor". It consists of a 1 Mile Run, 100 pull ups, 200 push ups, 300 squats, and another 1 mile run.  I went into this final workout in first place for the male masters 45+ but my main competition, Vincent Serpico, was going into this with bonus points by committing to wear a 20lbs weighted vest. If I didn't wear one too, and still complete the workout in a decent time, I would lose the title. 

I broke up the pull ups, push ups and squats into 20 sets of 5/10/15. I knew the hardest part would be the pull ups. My weakest link. (Also, Vince's strongest) 
I quickly had to resort to single pull ups due to the weighted vest. I received 5 penalty points for jumping up to the bar but since I was wearing the vest, I still netted 5 extra credit points to my score. I had no problem with the push ups and squats. Of course, the run was my best event but I do have a new appreciation for any Triarhlete who weighs 20 pounds more than I do!

I won the month long point race and a two night stay at the JW Marriott Desert Ridge! Just in time for a summer staycation or our upcoming 25th wedding anniversary! 

I had to say no to one of my favorite races, Dueces Wild in Show Low this past weekend. This month of racing and training has taken its toll. I enjoyed training in the real heat yesterday and today. I need to stay focused on the ultimate A race of the year, Kona! It will be here before I know it! 

The summer will be hot and long but it will make me stronger and acclimated to the heat that is the World Championships! #konabound!

As always, I want to thank One Multipsort and the ONE Elite Team for all their support. My coach, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems, Valdora Cycles, Destination Kona, Cyclologic, MDrive, MyOatmeal, Pei Wei, FitSok and all our/my sponsors who are helping me make this a dream season!

Until next time!


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Getting the Race Juices Flowing

Every season, it's always hard to get the mindset and focus going to be in race mode. After Rock and Roll AZ, the my successful age group win and new PR, I found it a little difficult to get on the bike and start the interval work and longer rides needed to be a Triathlete again. 

The best way to shake the demons is to just get out there and race. 

Since last year's Desert Classic Duathlon was rained out, we were given automatic registration to this year's version on March 1st. No swim and the Run/Bike/Run format is a perfect way to get out there and push it a little. 

Race morning now always started with "Dan's Kona Blend" Oatmeal specially blended for me by our One Multisport sponsor, My Oatmeal www.myoatmeal.com. I am also trying out UCAN sports drink www.generationucan.com for race day nutrition. It's available at Destination Kona www.dktristore.com and is all natural. I have a sample of  the Orange mix and added it to my aero bottle for the 25 mile bike ride. I also took three tablets of MDrive www.MDrive.com ATP for race day energy. I swear by the product along with my daily Elite Formula and the Joint formula for recovery post workout/race.

The run legs were set as bookends at 3.6 miles mostly single track trail. Not too technical but challenging. I was chasing Steve Rink and Paul Beckert who alhave now joined the USAT ranks of the 50-54 AG. 

My settled into 3rd place of the second (old man's) wave getting on the bike. The ride and course was a time trial setting with the turn around at 3 miles up 9 Mile Hill. I was gaining on both of my age group rivals and caught my 6'2" 185 lbs peers actually on the downhill! I get strong and fast and came off the 25 mile bike leg with the best AG split of 1:05. 

My first run split was at a 6:58 average pace and I didn't gain anytime on the guys but stayed consistent at a 7:05 pace average for run #2. I came in 3rd to podium with my buddies with a well fought race!

It was a great day and a good way to check in on my race fitness. I was especially happy with my bike with a 24 mph average since my bike fitness has been harder to dial in post marathon training and racing this winter.

A big boost was taking my bike for a complete tune up at Cyclologic www.cyclologic.com pre race. Ron is a great mechanic and with a new chain and a clean up, my Valdora PHX2 www.valdoracycles.com felt fast and fresh! 

This past Sunday was my second Mountain to Fountain 15K. My ONE Elite Team put together a group to defend our beer win from last year in the Open Mixed Team competition. Nic, Maureen and I added Russell, Pat and John from our One Family to go for it! Team Zoot was out to get is and with their Ironman Champion Pro Jozsef Major wrapped up the win this time! 

I know this course is extremely fast for the first 5 miles. I was amazed to see mile splits at 5:58, 6:00 and 6:01 before the 10K mark. Then...the hill. I focused on lifting my knees and keeping my short cadence and felt strong this year for a mile 7 split at just over 7:00. It was there that in came along side of my age group friend and rival, Todd Witten and was just steps behind Bryan Dunn. For miles 7-9, I held up strong very close to both men with splits under 6:30. Their kicks are better than my slow twitch body and I held on for 2nd in my AG with a 59:05 time. Almost 2 mins faster than last year! I just took in water and Gatorade at every aid station and pre run again, I took MDrive ATP Formula.

I am so pleased with these first races and results. 

I am not going to race a whole lot this year due to training and preparation for Kona. Next up will be Marquee in April and Ironman St. George 70.3 in May. 

I look forward to training and continuing my work in Crossfit at Power in Motipn to stay strong and explosive. 

I want to thank One Multisport and my fellow ONE Elite Team for their support. 

Also, major kudos to my bike sponsor, Valdora as well as Endurance Rehab.

Until next month and more racing! 


Monday, January 19, 2015

Let The Year Begin! Rock and Roll 2015

If I can summarize my training and racing profile and style in one characteristic word, it would be "consistency". I wouldn't say it it's always perfect or that every workout goal is met, but the work is put in. 

I'm asked often about burnout or off season. My canned, funny reply is that I'm afraid to stop or take a break, because at 51, I'm not sure I could start up again! There is some truth to this, since I am experiencing needed longer recovery time and slower start ups of a particular workout or race. My mornings have to begin about an hour before hitting the road or the pool or whatever instead of waking up only 20-30 mins before hitting it. That's ok. The real reason for not stopping is my constant need for goal setting and moving forward. 

After my Kona qualifying Ironman Arizona this past November, I worked immediately with my coach, Nick White with Carmichael Training Systems (www.trainright.com) to get my running going for my 12th consecutive Rock and Roll full marathon. Nick is great, working my training around to accommodate my obsessions and race goals. I enjoy the timing and organization of this annual event and it keeps me easily focused on staying in shape during the difficult Holiday season. (What other time of year does fudge and Christmas cookies and tamales make their to my kitchen?)

The only major change this time around was to build on my Ironman training base (including a 3:33 marathon) and do more added longer intervals in my shorter and longer runs. I had no problem throwing out a good finish that would or could include another PR. Last January's time was my fastest marathon ever at 2:58:44. 

This race came fast and quick! Before I new it, I threw myself into the ARR Desert  Classic 30k on December 21st in 2:06:25 with not real nutrition support and a 2 min PR from the year prior. 

I continue to bike (a lot of trainer - I hate riding in the cold! - big baby here!) and swim consistently but there is a major focus on my run. 

I enjoyed working the expo this past weekend for Sole Sports Running Zone (www.solesportsrunning.com) at the Garmin Booth. (Garmin.com). I also returned as the National Anthem singer for the marathon as well as the newly added 5k on Saturday morning. I also was offered a slot by Competitor Group to run the 5k as well. 

I had a 20 min run slated for Saturday anyway, so I decided to do it after completing the Star Spangled Banner. I felt fresh and loose (to coin a phrase) and went out pretty fast. I tried not to push too hard with prescribed 4x20 second pick ups. Well, those pick ups were a little longer, like 5 mins. I thought I would jog out the last mile but the rabbits in front of me seemed accessible and I went for them. I came in at 20:11. Oh well, no big deal! Right?

Marathon race morning had me up at 5am and my normal pre race breakfast of  MyOatmeal (www.myoatmeal.com) and black coffee. I was at the warm zone by 6:15am. I arrived at the starting line stage for a pre run interview for the runners and Channel 10 and then lined up with familiar faces and friends, Brian, Monica and Adam Folts, Andy Krebs and David Tindall. 

The Folts family have now moved into a new tier of top overall finishers (out of my league) so Andy, David and I decided to work towards a sub 3 hour finish together. And we were off!

There was no wind and the weather was beautiful. Not cold and really, not too warm. I decided to look a little more like a runner this year in my new ONE Elite (www.onemultisport.org) singlet and nike running shorts. The only problem would be carrying my own PowerBar gels. No Tri singlet back pockets! I decided to keep two held in my arm warmers, two more in my running gloves, and one in a back pocket in my shorts. I also keep a capsule of MDrive (www.MDrive.com) ATP Energy booster for the last hour of the race. All hydration I take from the course alternating from water and Gatorade every other aid station. I take 5 gels on a marathon course. One every half hour. I thought I would lose the arm warmers and gloves as I used the gels but I kept them on the entire race. The time flew by (relatively speaking) staying with Andy and David for most of the day. I did have short times or fatigue but they would past and as long as I found myself between 1:27 and 1:28 at the 13.1 mark, the. I would be on track. I find this course difficult to negative split due to the challenging rolling hills after mile 23. Clipping away at 6:40 and 6:45 miles before during the more flat miles allows me to live with a 6:55 mile split or even worse and still make my Sub3 goal. That's exactly what happens. After the out and back on Indian School Rd and the left turn and long straight away on 48th street all the way to Van Buren, you are ready to be done. This is where Andy shines, and he started to pull away. David and I stayed together and he excelled in Van Buren while many Elite runners were blowing up. I let David go at mile 25 knowing I still had 10 minutes for 1.2 miles. I was going to come in under 3 hours but was it going to be a PR? It would be close. At my level of fitness and age, these gains and PRs are precious and the margin is very thin!

I picked it up as I heard the crowd and even saw 6:38 pace on my Garmin 910XT as I turned into the finish chute. Time: 2:58:14. A 30 second PR!

I am very pleased with the weekend and my run including the age group (50-54 male) win.  38/2578 overall. 34/1452 male. The 5k didn't kill my PR chances and the weather, organization and people made his all a success!

I am so grateful to my sponsors, One Multipsort and my ONE Elite Team! I am so please and proud to represent the best Club and Team ever!

To all our sponsors like Destination Kona (www.dktristore.com) for my nutrition and race support needs like my new 2XU (www.2XU.com) race performance compression sleeves! 

Here's to a transition now to Triathlon including LifeTimeTri Marquee, Ironamn St. George 70.3 and of course, Kona Baby!

Until next time! Stay Consistent!