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Post Race R&R

My new favorite coffee cup!
So for a full week after Worlds, Flanny gave me one week of unstructured training. Basically do what I want when I want. It felt good to relax, not worry about training, drink some good beer, catch up on some things around the house and get in some really quality family time. It also gave me a chance to build a new website/blog that I've been working on which I'm hoping will launch next week. I'm pretty excited to share with all of you what it's going to be all about! Although I am kind of sad to see this blog go. I hit my 30,000th visitor this week which blows me away. My first post seemed like ages ago and when I look at some of the dumb things/posts I did over the years - I realize how much I've grown. The problem with a highly motivated new triathlete is - you're so naive! I've learned so much over the years and a lot of it came from blogs. I'm hoping that some of you learned and/or were inspired with this one and even more with the next.

It seems kind of fitting to end this blog with my last race being the World Championships. I devoted most of my posts and energy towards qualifying and doing well at that race. Although I didn't do as well as I had hoped, it was a great race for my "rookie debut" at a WC. On to bigger things now. With that big thing/goal being - to qualify for Kona now. I think there really is a HUGE difference in qualifying for Kona as opposed to 70.3 WC's. Basically it's the same format - top 1,2 sometimes 3 in your AG at a qualifying race. There's a few 70.3's where you can qualify but either way - expect stiff competition for that coveted Kona slot. There's most likely not going to be roll down slots all the way down to 10th++ place like you've seen a lot with the 70.3 WC slots. Way more competitive, way more time consuming, way longer race BUT that weak swim of mine shouldn't hurt me as much in a full. We'll see.

As far as the rest of this year is concerned. I'm 90% sure that I'm going to do Soma 70.3 this year. It's in late October and after DNFing in 2011 (my first HIM) and falling apart in the run last year - I have the urge to go back and try and execute. It's a fairly fast course (minus the swim) so I'm hoping to end the year with a PR and finally podium at that stinking race. So last week I gradually got my S,B,R arms and legs back in gear with the plan of doing a short build into this race and hopefully execute. My biggest weakness right now is experience so I figured I'd get another long course race under my belt and maybe even try a few things out (like eat and drink more). For now it's back to hitting it hard and what better time then to do that but in fall - my favorite time of year! Great weather, football, playoff baseball and Oktoberfest! Here's a some pics over the past few weeks. Cheers!

LINK to more Ironman 70.3 World Championship pictures if interested in seeing me suffer...


Panorama of some wine country roads I love

Sweet new Wattie Ink water bottles

Lots of good IPA's

New Blueseventy goggles, love em!

One of my favorite beers in a can or not..

Hitting one of my favorite trails!

New Fuelbelt bottle

Baby girl turned 5 :(

Me and my stud building a bed for her bday dolls

Bottom's up!

Oktoberfest in Huntington Beach with wife and sis in law

Me and my boy!

Massi and I killing beers, good times!


2013 Ironman 70.3 World Championships Race Report

Not my actual time, read on!
What an unbelievable weekend, one that I will truly remember for the rest of my life. I'm going to get out a lot of thoughts about my whole experience - so sorry if this is a little long. As most of you know, qualifying for this race has been a big goal of mine ever since I started triathlon a few years ago. I had a great race in Oceanside this year and qualified ahead of schedule and ever since March my focus has been to race well in Vegas. I picked up a coach again to help guide me there and as I treaded water waiting for the gun to go off at the 2013 IM 70.3 World Championships, I had no doubt that I did everything I could to be prepared to race well.

Leading up to the race I had realistic expectations and was very aware of how hard this course is and how slow the times are year to year. My goal was to swim 32:xx, bike 2:35 and run 1:25. Even though I'm not big into time goals as there are so many variables - I kind of figured I was close to flirting with those times which would historically get me in the top 25. As I mentioned in my post last week I didn't expect to go into this race with 2.5 years of triathlon under my belt and podium. There's too many athletes out there that have put in a lot more time than I have and paid their dues and EARNED those podium spots. I've also found out in my short time doing this that talent doesn't mean much in triathlon only WORK does. Years and years of consistent training and racing experience is how you get on the podium at worlds. Doesn't matter how fast your open half marathon time is, how many watts you throw down in training, how deep you can dig, how much pain you can withstand or how fast you can swim in a non-wetsuit swim. It all boils down to cumulative and consistent work. I realize that and I know I still have a long way to go to podium but I got a little closer to that goal on Sunday.

Thanks David, you rock!
Amy and I left the kids with the grandparents so I could get off my feet as much as I could leading up to the race. It also gave us a chance to hang out one on one which is rare and ended up working great as I think the kids needed a break from us too! We left on Thursday and stayed with a good friend, Mike Hebebrand (who is a stud Kona qualifier triathlete himself). Thurs-Sat really went by quickly. There was Wattie Ink pre-race pool parties to go to, athlete check-in, EXPO, swim venue practice, bike course practice, coach pre-race talks, run bag check-in, bike check-in and lots and lots of drinking (not that kind of drinking). For the race I picked up Speedfil's R3 rear mount bottling system at the EXPO. David from Speedfil was so awesome - he even installed it on my bike free of charge. I was expecting a really hot race day so I wanted to make sure I had two bottles on my bike at all times. Since my Slice only comes with one water bottle cage, the R3 worked perfect for me and it also holds an extra tube/co2's so I never need to use an ugly saddle bag again!
onto the race....

Just taking it in, ready to race!
Race morning:

Leading up to the race I was training my body/mind to go to bed ~8 so I could get a full eight hours and wake up at 4 wide awake ready to race. Race morning was no different. Woke up easily feeling refreshed and immediately went outside to check on the weather. It was pouring rain! WTH. It had been raining in the evenings all three days leading up but never in the morning. I just figured it would subside shortly and the hot sun would come out - never did, until the run...
For breakfast I threw down a sweet potato and a banana with almond butter and just sipped on some Powerbar Perform leading up to the race.
Upon arrival, Amy dropped me off  then I quickly set up my transition and then found a quiet/dry spot to just relax and wait for my wave. Before I knew it I was in my swim wave line patiently waiting for our turn to get in. I just hung out, chatted with BSR's Chuck Reiter and we all watched the pro's come in from the swim which was pretty exciting. My favorite part of triathlons is all the energy and positive vibes you get from setting up t1 all the way to the swim start. I just love it for some reason. Spirits are high and everyone is really friendly and in a good mood. Once that gun goes off though, it's war and the WC's were no different.

Rainy/cloudy swim course
Swim - 1.2 miles: 34:46 (1:39/100yd) - 109th out of 296 in AG

So it's no secret that the swim was slow/long-whatever. With it being a non-wetsuit swim (my first) and it being a murky gross lake I was expecting pretty slow times anyway. I lined up to the left of the start and just made a straight shot to the furthest buoy cutting some wasted swimming in this banana shaped course. With our AG being the largest in the field - it ended up being the most violent swim I've ever been in. So many tapered/aggressive athletes vying for position which made for a pretty uncomfortable swim as I was never able to just get in a rythmn like I normally do. Add in previous wave traffic on the 2nd half of the swim and I ended up getting beat up a lot more then I usually do. I actually really enjoyed swimming sans wetsuit. I never got that burning shoulder fatigue that I normally do, however I did kick more than usual. With about 200 yards to go I was ready to get out of that soup. Once I saw my split on my Garmin I was a little surprised how slow it was but didn't let it bother me and just sprinted while taking off my sweet Blueseventy Vision's to T1 which was a good 200 yards away.

T1: 3:43 - Threw on my custom Wattie Ink KASK Chrono and took off. I got stuck behind a train of five athletes going up that hill out of T1 which easily slowed me down a good 30 seconds because we were walking...whatever.

Rolling into T2
Bike - 56 miles (I had 57)- 2:37:46 (21.3mph) 3500ft of climbing. Came off the bike in 90th

So the rain was just pelting on us at this point. There's a gradual climb out of T1 and some sketchy descents - especially in the pouring rain. I just tried to stay steady up the hills and upright on the downhill's. Lots of people went down on the bike, glad I wasn't one of them! My legs felt pretty flat for the first 20 miles. Just felt like everything was forced. I was drinking a lot of fluids and replacing calories well but still wasn't having any luck getting my legs underneath me. The course is perfectly paved roads on constant rollers throughout the course. I stayed aero I would say 85% of the time on this course. Only got out of my super comfy ISM saddle a few times and it was more to stretch the legs out a bit. With the rain came some nasty crosswinds but I just kept telling myself throughout the ride to stay "on it." I dropped my chain like an idiot going up the mile 40 hill which is the steepest of the day and for some reason you just don't think very well when you are racing. It took me waay longer than it should have to get going again but I handled it and went on my way. Heading back towards T2 my legs started coming to me around mile 42 or so. All the guys I had been racing back and forth with, I dropped them. It was a weird sensation - I just started feeling really good so I let it rip and wished I had more time to keep passing people that I could tell over biked on the way in. Despite all of that I only passed 17 guys total in my AG throughout the course. lol, welcome to worlds where everyone is faster than you!!!

Nutrition:
4 bottles of Powerbar Perform
1/2 bottle of water
1 package of Powerbar "Cola" gels -caffeinated
1/2 Powerbar
6 tablets of e21 Recovery electrolyte tabs

I kept anticipating T2 but it just seemed to never come. My watch read 57 miles on the bike and still no sign. Then next thing I know it, we make one last turn and mount off is right there! I had no time to get my feet out of my shoes and had to make an awkward run to t2 in my bike shoes.

T2: 2:01 - Volunteers helped you get your run shoe bag then we went into the Ironman tent where we changed into our running shoes. Pretty cool set up and it was nice to sit down for 15 seconds ha! I threw on my KSWISS Blade lights, Fuelbelt and Rudy Project NOYZ and was out.

Thanks Patrick for the pic, digging deep
Run - 13.1 miles - 1:29:31 (6:50 pace) - 700ft of climbing

The run course is a 3 loop course. Simple: 2 miles up, 2 miles down with occasional/very short stretches of flat. The hills are more gradual though, not crippling (although 700ft of climbing is no joke). I actually really enjoyed the run course. First of all, there are 1000's of spectators everywhere including a ton of Wattie support and with the hills it favored the strong runners. I felt really good on that first lap. I was actually trying to hold back a little as I didn't want to blow up and I wanted to get a good feel for the loop before the 2nd and 3rd. Despite feeling good, at the top of hill on the first lap I cramped up right behind my knee which was not a good sign. I hadn't cramped in a race in a long time and didn't want it to start now! I stopped for a bit and stretched it real good. It eventually went away. Starting the 2nd lap the sun came out in full force and turned that rain into a humid box that surrounded you. My controlled breathing turned into labored grunts for the 2nd and 3rd laps. I just tried to maintain form, take in as many fluids at the aid stations, stay cool and keep picking people off. My splits:
Thanks Tyler for the pic
5:56, 6:31, 6:43, 6:30, 6:21, 6:28, 6:47,7:19, 6:44, 6:48, 8:00, 6:xx (1.1 miles). So I stayed pretty consistent despite the up and down hills. The bolded splits are the three times I had to stop and stretch out cramps I battled on each lap (probably not enough fluids). I could have let loose on the down hills but chose not destroy my quads and potentially ruin my run/race. I definitely dug deep into the well for this race. Crossing that finish line felt really good until about 1 minute afterwards. I took my finish picture and then my legs started coming out from underneath me. Just a weird feeling. They took me to the med tent and then I started cramping worse then I ever have. It was some of the worse pain I have ever felt. It make me scream at the top of my lungs. Everyone in the med tent just stared and thought I was dying lol. Every muscle from the top of my quads/hamstrings down to my knee cramped/seized on both legs. They just wouldn't let go. I couldn't stretch them. They quickly threw an IV in me and helped me try and stretch out the cramps. I wanted to cry it hurt so bad! After a few bags I started coming around and they let me go. I felt like a new man and it really made me think where I went wrong in the race to cramp that bad. I peed twice and had to go pee starting the run so don't think it was fluids...I think I just went harder than I ever have in a race and proud of it.

Starting to collapse!
Total finish: 4:47:47 58th in the world for AG, 17th American. 296th in the world overall.

Don't be fooled by the slow time. I actually beat a lot of guys that beat me at Oceanside and St. George. I closed the gap on a lot of guys that always beat me and was the 2nd fastest male on the Wattie team which assured me that I belong. The course was slow and tough, just like a World Championship course should be. Should be interesting to see how Canada is next year :)

Final thoughts:

I did everything right leading up to this race and couldn't have gone a second faster because I left everything on the course. I can count on one hand how many workouts I missed once I started working with Flanny from May up until this race. I stayed consistent, dialed in my diet and executed. The single biggest thing I took away from this race is that I need to work on my bike. Flanny is probably the only one that knows that I should have run 1:20 on that course. My open half is 1:14 and with the way I've been running - 1:20 should have been very realistic. But when the bike fitness isn't there you can only do so much on tired bike legs. So even though it looks like I played it smart out there, I probably did over bike. Classic #SOW.

Hands down the best medal I've ever earned!
Overall it was such a great experience and I feel stronger from it. There were times where I choked up/got emotional checking in and coming through the finish chute and there were times I wanted to cry because it hurt so bad. When you work for something that hard and then go through it you come out a different man. A stronger man. The preparation, the battle and the experience -something you can't get from watching on TV which is what I did last year. Watching last year lit a fire inside of me to want to qualify and race it. Now that I've raced it - those embers in that fire are even hotter and they will fuel me all fall/winter where I plan to go above and beyond of what I thought commitment and training is all about. I know when I toe the line for my first race in 2014, I'll be a different racer.

Thanks to Wattie Ink for all of the sponsors how hooked us up with some cool pre-race swag. Thanks to all my team mates both on and off the course - you guys helped more than you can imagine! Thank you to my wife who has done nothing but support me in this crazy sport. And finally, thanks for reading this blog. I have some exciting news about the blog that I will share in the next few weeks. Gonna be a big year in 2014!

Cheers!

More pics from the weekend:

Dinner with some of the OG's!
At the EXPO visiting our sponsors! #PBTE
Checking out Wattie's sick ride at the pre-race pool party
Picked up pre-race sponsor swag and the new WC Wattie kit!
Coach Flanny giving his three Watties a pre-race run down
Heading in, thanks Walshie for the skin suit!

Start of the never-ending washing machine

Awaiting our turn

$1M+ dollars of bikes in T1
Headed out for a wet ride
That left arm always crosses when I'm tired. Must be 3rd lap!
Proper form
Ready to be done

Being carried to med tent
All smiles after
Post race with my coach..my face...Bring it next year son!
Little gambling with the wifey
Post race Wattie party and beers!!!

This is it.

Over the past few years I've made it no secret as to what my goals have been. That goal was to qualify for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships and here I am - 2 days away from toeing the line. It was kind of surreal to actually arrive, see the EXPO, check-in and listen to all of the languages being spoken all around you that have the same dream you had. It's funny because there are a lot of reactions from different types of friends, family members, co-workers and acquaintances when discussing this race. These are the types I've found:

1. The "Thinks a triathlon is a marathon" type: No matter how many times you tell this type of person - they always think you are running a marathon. "You're running a marathon in that Vegas heat, you're crazy!!??" I've found after three times trying to explain this you just shake your head yes.

2. The "Shrugger": The type that don't really care or express zero interest in what you are doing and usually give you a "good luck" and change the subject.

3. The "Veteran": The 40 something triathlete that's been "doing this for years" and kind of smirk at you and give you unwanted advice and pretty much think you're in over your head type.

4. The "Worshiper": The type that thinks you are a professional athlete that may or may not have won a gold medal and can't believe they know you. No matter how many times you tell them you're just an amateur they dismiss it and keep asking you if you're going to win it and take home $.

5. "The Supporter": For me, this is almost all of you that I know. I couldn't ask for a better wife, family to be apart of, friends, workout partners, coaches and team mates that have done nothing but supported me on this journey. This may or not be a big deal to most but it is to me. As a life-long athlete in baseball, soccer, running and now triathlon - this is the biggest stage I have ever been on and it's at the age of 34. I can't say thank you enough for everyone that believed in me, pushed me and encouraged me in this journey - it means the world to me. Hands down I couldn't have done any of this without the support of my wife. She's put up with my workouts, fatigue and sometimes grumpiness and has given me nothing but support to help me reach my dream - thank you!!!

A thank you to my coaches over the past few years: James Walsh - that set a super strong base for me, taught me how to work and got me connected in the industry and ultimately became a friend. For Coach Carol - my swim coach that has helped me with my technique, pushed me in workouts and gave me encouragement. And finally -coach Robert Flanigan for taking me under his wing and really teaching me what it takes to be good in this sport and we are just getting started! Special thanks to Mike Hebebrand for allowing us to stay in their casita! Thanks to Marc Rinzler for awesome workouts and letting me borrow his race wheels for WC's. And lastly, thanks to all my sponsors/supporters Wattie Ink and all the sponsors you see to the left. The Bike shop who hands down had one of the biggest influences on me and moving up in the sport and personal sponsors e21 Recovery and X-1 Audio.

Some of the Wattie Crew!
Amy and I rolled in last night, met up with some team mates for dinner. Today we had breakfast with my grandparents, I checked-inn and now about to head over to a Wattie Ink Pool Party to hang out and relax. I'm still in taper/recovery mode. I don't feel amazing but I don't want to feel amazing on Friday, I want to feel amazing on Sunday. I really don't know what to expect in this race. I realize a few things though.... One, knowing that I am still only in my 3rd year of triathlon and I can't just expect to roll in and snag a podium spot from so many great triathletes around the world that have been training for years and have done this course in the heat before. I respect them and know they are on another level then I am...However... I also know the work I've put in, the talent that I have and the mental relentlessness that I have to surprise some people come Sunday. It really is a win, win situation. I don't have a great race - it was a great learning experience and I had no expectations going in. Have a great race...well - no need to explain. I DO know that I am extremely competitive and that I won't let any of my competitors gain even 1 second from me that they didn't earn.

My bib number is 676. My wave goes off at 7:04am. You can track me on www.ironman.com or through the iphone "Iron Tracker" app. Amy will send out updates on my phone via twitter - so if you don't follow me on twitter you'll be able to read my feed on this blog. Thanks again for everyone that has read this blog and followed me along this journey!!!

Feet up!
Rick from The Bike Shop - Slice is ready to go!

Amy and Grandma getting luck (or not) on some slots!
My beautiful kids
Thanks for reading!!

The Push

Well, I finished up the last really tough week last week (hence no blog) of my build for Vegas. I had workouts that pushed me to my limits both mentally and physically. Flanny/CVE Endurance (who just crushed it at IM Whistler) really taught me a lot of things over these past several weeks which really have been the toughest for me from what I can remember. A few things stick out:

1. Consistency
2. Learning how to go hard on tired legs mentally and physically.
3. My outlook on "what it takes" took a big leap.

I broke a lot over the past several weeks. One run comes to mind where I had an 1:40 min run at the tail end of three hard days in a row. 30 min warm-up, 40 mins z3, 10 mins z4, cool down. Sounds easy enough eh? Well this wasn't the first time I've done this workout. Usually I nail it, but the fatigue had build up both in my legs and my head. Zone 3 is usually 5:40's for me with fresh legs - this day it was 7:15's. I felt like I was going all out but going no where! I even stopped, tried to gather myself before going into the last 10 minutes of zone 4. I was hurting, cursing aloud and overall in a pretty rough place. It was hot, I was in the middle of nowhere of some trail and just trying to rally for only 10 more minutes! I took off and after only two minutes I quit and just laid on the ground. I completely broke. Nothing left. Walked/shuffled the rest of the way with my tail between my legs. I was pretty bummed/pissed off that I couldn't do it but after Flanny talked me off the cliff and I realized he had me right where he wanted me. Now it's time to taper...

Pain tolerance is up, heat tolerance is up.
Starving to toe the line.
Legs starting to shake with energy, rejuvenation, power, speed and will.
Mind is ready to outlast those legs, to dig deeper into the well - into waters never found.
Shooting for the stars.
Ready to see stars in the midnight black of the Las Vegas sun.

This isn't just a race. Some may think I'm dramatic or take this too seriously. This sport tests your character and what better way to test that character then at a World Championship? What better way to test all those sacrifices you made at 4am, 4pm, weekends? This isn't a sport or a hobby. It's a way to test your will. How to overcome. How to prepare. Attention to detail. Discipline. Even your integrity. You see, when my time with triathlon is over I will take these principles with me for the rest of my life. Apply them to my career and teach them to my kids. The better I grow now, the better me and my family are off.

Maybe we should all take it a little more serious?