Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Cold Chillin @ the Austin 70.3

Pre riding part of the course in a sweatshirt. #cold

I’d just like to be completely honest with everyone and come clean right now…. At the beginning of the year, I went to Mitch Hall to help advise/coach me. He immediately had me doing copious amounts of PERFORMANCE ENHANCING workouts. The secret is out now. Thanks for being patient, tolerating my nonsense and helping me, Mitch. I’d also like to give the speedy Beth Walsh a huge ‘Thank You’ for being a top-notch training partner. Her run workouts are a game changer!

South Congress Street Food Trucks, ftw
The city of Austin is pretty cool. After my past two experiences with Texas, I wasn’t the biggest fan of that state. (Collegiate Nationals in Lubbock, 2010: cold as balls, hypothermic water, stormy and out of control wind. Galveston 5150 2011: out of control wind and heat.) Besides the weather, Texas has been fairly unimpressive to me. However, Austin was redeeming. The city seemed to have a good pulse on awesome food, good music, and a fairly artistic culture. I never really had a chance to mingle with common folk in the city so I can’t really say whether Austinites were actually on this planet or in their own world. They seemed aight tho.

Race Morning

Yet again, my wave was one of the last to go off, which was an hour and 20ish minutes after the pro men. After they kicked us out of transition around 7, I had plenty of time to freeze my loins off in the low 40-degree air. I stuck around to witness the pro men & women exit the swim & frigidly jump on their bikes. Quick side story: The day before the race, Beth had been joking about shoving newspaper into her tri kit to stay warm on the bike along with various other outlandish antics in attempt to keep warm. Again, I thought this was a JOKE. Low and behold, here comes Beth into T1…. & chaotically starts cramming newspaper everywhere into her kit. Priceless.

So after I witnessed some more bizarre methods of people attempting to cover up, I decided enough was enough and something had to be done about the bone chilling breeze that was making me regret my decision not buy an Eskimo suit for this race. Desperate times called for desperate measures, so I headed to the porta-potties, put on my wetsuit then put my morning clothes over that, fully closed the toilet seat and took a nap for 30 minutes (yes, in the porta-potty). That may have been the best decision of the day, actually.

The Race

Swim: 26:17
Trying to find the string... &
Forget that, I'll get a volunteer to do it
Not to sound like a douche, but I could tell as we were lining up in the water for the open water start, the competition wasn’t going to be too thick. I seemed to be the only dude (along with my buddy, Marco from SD) wanting to be at the front, pushing the invisible line between the start buoys. After the horn sounded, I believe there were two dudes on my feet at the 1st buoy. I did another check around the 2nd buoy, around 4-500 meters out, and had a pretty sizable gap going on. I arrived at the conclusion that there was a good chance I’d be on my own for the rest of the day. I did my best to keep pressing the pace in the swim despite running into countless people floating about on the course.

Bike: 2:16
Don't do this.. TT position uphill. Totally unnecessary.
I’ll try to limit my whining here, as my time didn’t turn out to be too bad, but I’m still not very happy with the way I rode. It took me around 25 miles to “find it” on the bike. Like I had mentioned earlier, it was a bit nippy out, so getting my legs going took a while. The condition of the roads and headwind weren’t helping anything either. But, once I found “it”, somewhere between miles 25-30, no one was touching this ish. The last 20 miles I was on fire and wish I’d have been riding around some faster guys because I was craving some competition.

Run: 1:17
It may have taken 3 years of failing 70.3 runs, but I’m beginning to figure it out. I love going fast and I’m excited to keep working hard and see what I’m capable of next year & on...
This course was slightly rolling with a smidgen of dirt trail, so sticking to a particular pace wasn’t really doable. So I just picked, what I thought, was a hard yet sustainable pace and kept it. Apparently that pace was sub 6. If you’re interested, I’ll post the mile splits from my garmin (if that’s what you’re into). The last 2 miles I was feeling really lazy and lost a bit of motivation to keep a hard pace going. But I cruised in feeling pretty good about my day.

Total: 4:04 (1st Overall Amateur, 7th Overall, 1st 25-29ag) Full results

Stoked to take a little break and get some surfing in before picking up a fresh bike and run game and building for next year. I’ll post something later when I know what my plan for next year is…

Being (probably) the last post for the year, I have to thank some people. The first of which being my parents; I love you guys more than you know. Thank you for supporting me from the 1st day I decided to do one of these ridiculous things. Thanks to all my friends and family for the encouragement throughout the year; I wouldn’t be able to keep a positive attitude towards racing without you guys. Mark Palmer, you’re as tough as nails and I know you’re going to recover from your crash and only become stronger. Thank you for providing a job for me at the best tri shop in SD (B+L Bikes) and supporting my racing. And last but not least, Ramon. My friend, I’ve never met anyone as passionate about life as you. You help me realize how awesome something as simple as running for 45 minutes down the coast is.

Thursday, October 4, 2012


Taken off
Preface: First of all, there will be no talk about speedos in this blog post. I don’t care that Lance raced in (a lackluster) one; it’s old hat to me.

Aight, lets do this!

I’ve stated this before, but I’ll say it again, I race the best when I don’t think about it & just go hard. The more I think about a race in the week leading up to it, race morning, or during the actual race… the more I suck. For example, all I did for a month leading in to the Las Vegas 70.3 was religiously deliberate every little detail in my head; then I over-analyzed everything while I was racing. What happened.. ? I sucked. (I know I just used a fallacy, but it works). Almost every “good” race I’ve had, I've merely showed up, ready to get brutal.

So, two weeks out from SuperFrog, I honestly didn’t even think about tapering much, I just did what I wanted (workout wise, food wise, beer wise…). Race day, didn’t sweat out the details of how I was going to race, beforehand; I just wanted to roll. I’m not a very orderly person. Over-structure only creates angst. I don’t function on any level when everything is deeply detailed and planned out ahead of time. I thrive off of spontaneity. Not saying I don’t have any levels of organization..


Race morning, I woke up at 4am to find my beloved roommate, Ramon, freshly & haphazardly draped across the floor with a streak of snacks, clothes, and other debris, trailing from the front door, to the bathroom, to his final place of residing. This was my first inspiration- to race as hard as he had just partied.

Got to transition and chatted with some friends for a bit. The moment of the morning may have been Karl Bordine’s face as he was warming up on the trainer in transition and Lance strolled up next to us with his entourage and circus of photographers & media’ers. I think Karl had headphones in and his back turned, but as the atmosphere went from peaceful to chaotic within a matter of seconds, he sat up & gave me a look, as if to say: “I don’t even need to check behind me to know what’s going on right now”. It was fairly comical, as Karl is not a small guy, and was nonchalantly warming up right in the middle of this pandemonium.

Photo by Dan Megna
Swim: There was a bit of swellage on the beach Sunday morning, so I was pretty stoked to navigate the surf. It may be one of the few advantages I possess in triathlon, coming from a surfing background. Apparently, it didn’t matter because I had the slowest start ever, my goggles fell off after the 1st dolphin dive. After getting them back on and adjusted, I was already #OTB of the front group after 20 seconds. I, pretty much, did the entire swim solo (& essentially the rest of the race, for that matter). I had the sighting pretty dialed in, I just didn’t have anyone to swim with, so I wasn’t pressing as hard of a pace as I should’ve been. On the exit of the 1st lap, I was told it was just under a minute to the front group. On my 2nd exit, I was 3 minutes back from the front guys… hmmm. 28:15

Fairly straight forward here- 56 miles of flat road….. by myself. It was a monotonous 2 hours & 11 minutes, playing number games with my new powermeter (thank you Mark Palmer & B+L Bikes). I loved the cheers from all my friends and family (& even people I don’t know) that came out to watch! Thank you for the entertainment. I jumped off the bike in 4th place overall, around 10 minutes from the leader.

Steph Galuppo w/ the pic cred
(Sorry to go 'tridork' on everyone and talk about mile splits here. I don’t do it often.)

Despite only drinking 1 ½ water bottles during the bike, I think I left too much in the tank, because my legs felt way too fresh when I started running. Amped on having a good run, my first mile down the beach was 5:52 followed by a 6:14. The 3rd mile was rough because the sand got mega deep. After 3 miles on soft sand, running on the flat asphalt and hard packed paths felt like cheating. I was hitting a nails pace on the 1st loop (3 miles ranging between 6:05-6:15 miles). On the second lap, things started to slow down a bit and the lack of nutrition finally caught up to me. I ran a lethargic 6:20-6:40 pace for the next 3. I then exited this loop back onto the beach, still running solo and in no-man’s-land. There were no volunteers to direct me at the time, but it looked like I was supposed to make a left into some soft sand and run south. So I did, and after around a minute or so, I didn’t see anyone ahead and stopped. I second guessed my course choice and ran back to the gate, a volunteer told me that we were actually supposed to run down this path. That was stupid.

Thanks to Angel King for the finish line snap!
The 1st mile or so back on the beach was pretty tough and my rhythm was like a bad dubstep song. It took way too long, but I remembered how to run on sand again and my pace went from an old lady’s grocery store stroll to an unenthused little leaguer’s trot from the bench to his position in the field. I finally reached the expo area & my garmin told me I had run 13.1 miles, so I figured the end was near, but I didn’t know where exactly. I got a ton of high fives from spectators and friends on the beach, but I swear I asked everyone “where’s the finish?!”. No one had an answer for me. I found out the finish was around 2 minutes back from where I had been running when a cop finally flagged me down. I ran right past the turn into the finish line. There were no volunteers to flag me down into the turn (it sounds stupid not knowing where the finish is, but when I’m racing, I’m not thinking sensibly anyways). Oh well, I lost an overall place and a solid chunk of time, but I wasn’t overly upset about it. When my watch hit 13 miles, my run time was somewhere in the 1:27 minutes range, but it ended up being 1:31 after my off-course adventure. A little bummed I didn’t officially get credited for having a better run split than what it should’ve been, but that’s life.

4:13 & 5th Place overall

Hangin' w/ Mitch after the race while he hangs out w/ that sandwich.
I totally enjoyed SuperFrog and would recommend it to anyone who wanted to race a ½ iron distance tri. Congrats to all my friends who raced and killed it! The swim and run weren’t easy, but who gets fulfillment from doing something paltry? You’re in the wrong sport if you’re looking to cakewalk something.

Thanks again to all my friends and family for the big cheers last weekend and all the awesome messages afterwards! Thanks to Mark Palmer & B+L Bikes for all the support they give me; and finally to my buddy Mitch Hall for not only helping me “build the layers on my metaphorical cake” (Yes, I know, 2 “cake” metephors in the last 50 words. #noshame #CakeEater) this season, but also putting on a great race last Sunday.

I may jump in an Olympic distance race in two weeks before the Austin 70.3 at the end of October. The itch to go faster just increases after every race.