About Me

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Texas, United States
Welcome to my blog. What is a triathlon? It's a swim, bike and run usually in that order. My goal is to give exposure and insight to triathlons along with encouraging living a healthy life style. My post will also contain my collective thoughts pertaining to my training experiences. Feel free to send an email to ej@trilifeblog.com with any feedback or questions you may have. facebook: www.facebook.com/TriLifeBlog

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

BOMF 12 Hour Treadmill Challenge

I’d like to personally thank all of you who donated their time and money towards this fundraiser, making it a huge success. At the end of the day we were able to pull together a little over $9,000 for Back on My Feet Dallas! I started volunteering with this charity in 2011. I remember sitting at the inaugural breakfast listening to Anne Mahlum's, founder of BOMF, story on how BOMF was born. Her story was inspiring and I knew I wanted to help. The unique program gave an opportunity to a select few of less fortunate homeless people who wanted to earn a chance to make a change in their life. Over the years I've dedicated time to teach financial literacy courses, and I have helped hosted the Rugged and Raw trail run fund raiser event. 

The treadmill challenge was held on Friday 12-9-2016 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the American Airlines Center Victory Park in front of the WFAA Studios. The morning started off in the high 20’s / low 30’s and eventually warmed up to the low 40’s. By evening time we were back down into the low 30’s. I have LOTS of respect for the volunteers who were there throughout the day. I know it wasn’t easy for them to stand there in the cold.

I was expecting the run to be a mind numbing experience, but the rotation of different runners throughout the day helped the hours melt away. I was able to stick to my nutrition plan, and I had no problems with my time on the treadmill. I had one toe issue, but after 12 hours on a treadmill I was expecting at least that much to happen.

Treadmill Challenge Fun Facts
·         Fund Raising Total: $9,324.00
·         Number of Miles: 72.4
·         Number of Steps: 117,400
·         Nutrition: 16 Powerbar strawberry banana gel packs, 1 ½ Powerbar peanut butter flavor, 3 2oz packs of almond peanut butter, a hand full of grapes,
·         Hydration: Four 24 oz bottles of Powerman perform, water and BASE salt. 2 16 oz bottles of water
·         Shoes: Altra One 2.5
·         Shorts: 2XU Elite MCS Compression
·         Calf Sleeves: 2XU Calf Guard Compression
·         Socks: Smartwool low cut trail socks
·         Injuries: Blistered right big toe along with toe nail loss.
·         Hardest Moments: Starting back up after a 2 to 5 minute bathroom break. The cold weather cooled the body down tightening up the hip flexors.
·         Best Moments:  Enjoyed the different conversations throughout the day, meeting new people, and having my 9 year old daughter on the treadmill next to me to walk the last five minutes with me.
·         Recovery meal: Several slices of pizza

I was able to take several FaceBook live videos as I ran throughout the day. Feel free to friend me if you would like to see them along with other pictures.

The day was all about raising awareness and raising money for BOMF. I’m very fortunate that I was able to use something I love to do to help those who are in need. My side hobby is endurance sports racing. This year I focused on endurance trail racing to help me prep for this treadmill challenge. This wasn’t something I signed up for and just showed up to run. I made sure my body and mind would be ready to handle the 12 hours of being on a treadmill. I had a really good year of events, and this treadmill challenge was the perfect ending to 2016.

Thank you all again for being a part of it!

Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Podcast - Filling the Emotional Cup, Body Resilience, and Bamboo Scrambles – Our Chat with EJ Gonzalez

I was asked to do a podcast earlier this year by David Hanenburg, owner off EnduranceBuzz.com. Coinsidently the first trail race I did was one of David's, Cedar Ridge Preserve 36k run. Over the years I've done a few of his races. Endurance Buzz not only puts on great races, but they truly care about the community and getting people involved. I hope you enjoy the podcast interview and the little bit of me that I share with you guys. Please also check out Endurance Buzz's website and upcoming events. 

Thank you David for allowing me the opportunity to share my active lifestyle experience!

Podcast: Filling the Emotional Cup, Body Resilience, and Bamboo Scrambles – Our Chat with EJ Gonzalez

Here are the highlights of the Podcast chat I had with David. I took this list of his webpage. 
  • EJ’s all-in journey back to endurance sports starting in 2009
  • the relateable experience of running a new distance (EJ’s first 1/2 marathon)
  • the couch moment that led to triathlon filling the emotional cup through sport
  • EJ shares his memories of youth when running the trails today
  • community observations at EJ’s first trail race
  • 100 mile memories and The Stick 
  • key running workouts EJ includes each week 
  • EJ’s core strength training 1-3 times each week 
  • the importance of sharing the active life with others
  • trail running tips you can use 
  • and the scrambling bamboo fun at TNT 20M


Endurance Buzz Webstie

Endurance Buzz Facebook

Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to contact me with any questions or comments you may have.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Big Cedar 100 Race Recap

Why Big Cedar?
I've fallen off the blogging scene this year. As much as I’d love to blog and share my thoughts on living an active lifestyle, time was a luxury I simply have not had over the last several months. I’m sitting her on a Sunday morning one day after Big Cedar making the time to share this once in a life time experience. Honestly I’m forced to sit for a bit due to my left foot but, we’ll get into that later.

This race was really important to me. Yes, I raced a lot in 2014, but all of those races were races I wanted to do for fun. I did train, but none were an A race. I did them more so for the experience. My only real goal for 2014 was to complete a 100 mile trail run. I made an attempt at Rocky Raccoon 100 earlier this year and due to illness I had to swallow my first ever DNF (Did Not Finish). That was probably the lowest point of my active life style experience. I caught a bug before the race and it hit me hard after completing the first 20 miles of the race.

My little one and I scouting out the starting
 area the day before the race.
That DNF and 100 void had been sitting in the back of my head all year long. One day while I was on Facebook I saw Big Cedar 100 pop up. I knew I did not have the time to put in the training to do the 100 mile run, but I was still considering signing up. I spoke with a couple of friends about the race and searched for feedback. I also reached out to the race director and expressed interest in the race. I had run some of the course once or twice before and I knew it was going to be pretty challenging. My running base since March had been 20 to 35 mile a week. I may have had a couple of 40 mile run weeks somewhere along the way. The lack of running miles was the only element that kept me from signing up. I took some time to think about how I could get this 100 done. I didn’t want to sign up for a race if I wasn’t convinced I would be able to cross that finish line. There were several key elements that needed to fall into place to get me to the finish line, and I knew I could line them all up. As I pieced what it would take to get me to that 100 mile goal I mentally convinced myself that this was an obtainable goal.

Four weeks out from the race I signed up and started working on those key components. My crew would consist of several close friends, who I knew I could depend on. I had no doubt that they would get me what I needed during my race and they would also take care of needs that I may have missed otherwise. They were going to walk this sleepless journey with me, and there was no doubt on their ability to crew me. My pacers were pretty much a last minute addition. I know they are called pacers, but what I was really looking for was company on the trail. I knew that just having someone with me for the last 50 miles would make a huge difference. They would help carry me mentally. Both my crew and pacers were spot on during the race. I cannot say enough about both my crew and pacers. THANK YOU GUYS so much!

Two weeks before the race my strategy was to do as little as possible and sleep as much as I could. The 14 days leading up to the race I had 3 workouts and 2 crossfit sessions. A normal training block would have tallied up close to 20 workouts in 14 days. The reduced number of workouts played with me just a bit mentally. I kept telling myself the rest would pay off on race day.

Race Report
Customized drop bags courtesy
 of my little one. 
Race morning I had a blue plastic bin organized with 2.5 gallon zip bags that had extra cloths, nutrition, shoes, jackets, etc. Not knowing what I would or would not use I figured more was better than less. My Truth Corner drop bag was simple. I had a couple of gels, a power bar, Vaseline and a hand towel. My Power Line drop bag had individual sandwich bags that contained what I would need for each loop. I labeled them loop 1 through loop 4.

I somehow have the tendency to run a little late to the start of trail running events. This one was no different. The race started as I was walking over. I quickly took my shirt off and started the race. The morning was nice and cool, but not running cool. I would have preferred the temps to be in the low 50’s. Seeing the weather report, 60s and high humidity, I felt hydration was going to play a huge key role throughout the day.

During the first mile I made my way through the pack. I knew after the first mile the course was going to be runnable for the next couple of miles, so I did not want to get caught trying to pass people on the trail. I do not like running behind people on the trail. It’s mainly because I’m not discipline enough to give adequate space between myself and the person in front of me. This tends to lead to more toe grabbers.

The plan for the first 25 mile loop was to run at a feel good pace. This meant I did not want to feel like I was pushing anything more than an easy comfortable effort. The longest race previous to this was just over 60 miles, and that was over a year ago. I did not know how my body would hold up after the 60 mile point, so I wanted to make sure I didn’t get too crazy early in the race. My goal at hand was to finish. The thought of my finishing place was nowhere in the picture.
The first 25 mile loop was a feeler. I also knew it would probably be my fastest and best loop. I expected my energy levels to drop after each loop. The trail was in perfect running condition. It had a little bit of everything. There were some very runnable sections, decent climbs, technical sections, bridge crossings, switch back sections, short rollercoaster ups and downs. It kept you mentally engaged the whole way through. The fall leaves were beautiful and the course was nice and clean.

Finishing up my first loop I clocked in just over the 4 hour mark. My crew quickly took care of me and within minutes I was headed back out on the trail. At that point someone yelled at me saying I was sitting in second place. It was good to hear where I was, but my bigger plan was to finish the 100 so I didn’t give it a second thought.

Starting my second loop I was feeling pretty good. The course was still dry, but I had heard we were supposed to get some rain. My pace started to slow down, and it wasn’t until mile 32/33 at the Truth corner aid station where a volunteer asked me if I was taking in calories, that something clicked. My light bulb in my head finally came on, and I realized that I had miscalculated my calorie intake. I had prepped 4 hydration bottles that contained 1500 or so liquid calories. The plan was to consume a bottle per each 25 mile loop. I took this strategy from my Ironman triathlon experience. It worked really well for that type of event. However I came to the realization that I would need closer to 3,000 calories for each 25 mile loop if I planned on keeping a consistent pace. The missed nutrition showed as I finished the second loop and my second 25 mile split was closer to the 6 hour mark. I was almost 2 hours slower than my previous lap.
Crew getting me setup for the next segment.

Starting miles 50 to 75, I picked up a pacer and also began to adjust my calorie intake. I knew if I let that calorie intake get away from me I would run the risk of not finishing the event. I was thankful that I caught it early enough that it ended up being a non issue. Jose, my pacer was a last minute add on and was a great motivational pacer. During the 3rd loop I ended up setting a finishing goal of 24 hours. I had 14 hours to do it and figured I could hold a 15 to 16 minute pace that would get me there. The first 5 miles felt pretty good. The aid station had giving me a nice little pick up. We were averaging 12 to 13 minute miles. We were trucking along making brief stops at each aid station. I was now consuming more calories and my body was beginning to feel better. Truth corner had these awesome bacon quesadillas amongst other great hot foods. All was going to plan. We were clicking off mile by mile keeping them all under the 16 minute per mile mark then shortly after 10 pm a solid down pour hit the area.

I was at mile 65/66 running without a shirt. The wind began to blow and the rain soon followed. I was wet, cold and body began to shiver. The trail quickly became a wet, muddy slippery mess. Jose and I were slipping and sliding all over the place. The last mile leading up to Powerline mile 68 mark took us over 25 minutes to complete. I was wet and cold and without a shirt. I asked my crew to dry me off, and I slipped into an Under Armour warm top along with the Big Cedar 100 waterproof jacket. I knew the next 7 miles to the 75 mile mark may be slow, and I wanted to make sure my core temperature wasn’t going to be an issue. I had originally planned on switching pacers at mile 68 to allow some fresh legs to get me through the 68 to 75 mile mark, but I decided against it. My pacer for that segment did not have night or wet/muddy condition experience, and I did not want to put them in a situation where they could have had an incident on the trail. Jose on the other hand had that experience, and was ready to finish up that third 25 mile loop with me.

We started on the last 7 miles of the 3rd loop. It took a good 10 to 20 minutes for my core to warm up. The 7 mile segment was broken down into a 4 mile segment to the aid station and 3 miles back to Power Line aid station. The course at this point was very dangerous in several areas. There were a lot slippery wood bridges. My goal was not to do anything that would prevent me from finishing so we walked the best we could through the mud. The mud was sticky added a couple pounds to each foot. It was like walking with leg weights. All I could think about when we hit the mud was that I would have to cross this section two more times on my last 25 mile loop.

We approached a small creak crossing that had a dip in it with huge slippery rocks. My pacer and I were on one side of the creek and another racer and pacer were on the other side of the creak. They crossed the creek and made it look so easy. I asked them what the trick was, because my plan was to slowly step down and try to step across without getting my feet wet and falling. At this point of the race it was tough to power through anything, and I was concerned about not being able to have the leg strength to pull me out the other end of the creek without falling in the water. They said all you have to do is go for it and keep moving your legs. Well I figured there was a good chance of me falling if I took it slow and easy so I decided to go for it. I gave it a go and sure enough I made it through without falling! That was pretty awesome. I had made it across the creek, but in the process I also stubbed my left foot on a rock when I made it to the other side. All of a sudden the top of my left foot was hurting. Jose also used the same technique and made it across with no issues.

Jose and I started our walk again and I told him I think I just hurt my left foot. Each step I took bothered me. The wet muddy conditions along with focusing on not to fall help get my mind off my foot. At this time we both had walking sticks. They were money! Having that extra leverage helped me out tremendously. We finally made it through 6 of the 7 miles. I got a small second wind and was able to jog in the last mile. It took us 2 hours and 43 minutes to travel 7 miles, almost a 24 mile per hour pace. I had 25 miles left to go. My legs did not have the run miles to run 100 miles and I felt like my body had been reduced to a walk with or without mud. I was giving into the thought that I may take me 12 hours to do the last 25 miles.

I make the slow trudge through the mud while my pacer
Tracie patiently hung in there and supported me onward..
I picked up a new pacer, Tracie, at the 75 mile mark. I apologized to her as we began. I told her I do not know what to expect on this last leg, and there may be a lot of walking. We jogged about 3 miles, before I hit a physical wall. I mentally wanted to run, but my body wasn’t responding. I felt so defeated, but I kept my head up and told Tracie that I was finishing this race. I also told her my left foot was hurting. The pain would come and go for the next 18 miles. It wasn’t pretty, but we made our way through the mud and wind. Pace had slowed down tremendously. At this point anyone who was doing the 100, and still on the course was reduced to a walk during the mud segments. I remember I kept apologizing to Tracie for going so slow. This part of the race was the mental challenge. I was trying not to let my foot injury, sticky mud, slippery wooden bridges and slippery cement areas frustrate me. I focused on getting to each aid station and counting down the miles.

It took us 8 hours and 26 minutes to get through that 18 mile segment a 28 minute mile pace. I knew that Tracie endured a lot on that 18 mile segment, and I knew she had also committed to doing the last 25 miles with me, but I simply didn’t want to drag her with me for the last 7 miles knowing we would have to hit the mud once again. I gave her an out and pulled in Red for the final 7 miles of the race.

This finish
As usual my crew took care of me and prepped me for the last 7 miles. My crew lead Michele came through in a huge was with some delicious blueberry pancakes from IHOP. Again, this crew could not be beat. It was now day light and I was only 7 miles from my goal. I told my crew that I would be back in about 3 ½ to 4 hours. I was giving myself 30 minutes per mile pace. I figured I would walk the whole 7 miles. As Red and I started on the last 7 miles of this epic journey I apologized to her in advance for my walking speed. We made our slow trudge in the mud. Towards the end of the first 4 miles to Truth Corner I got another second wind.

This is where I sit in awe at the power of the human body, and its ability. Here I was with about 4 miles to go, and thoughts in my head of the finish line in less than 4 miles, thoughts of taking that DNF earlier in the year, thoughts of my daughter knowing that dad had DNF, and she was confident that I was not going to DNF this race, thoughts of filling that 100 void came together, and kicked started my adrenaline. There was no longer a foot issue. I was no longer using the stick to help me walk, because the walk had turned into a jog. I jogged into Truth corner for the last time and thanked everyone there for volunteering. My body felt great and I told my pacer that I was going to push while I was feeling good. We had about 3 miles left to the finish and finishing the race was going to happen.

The Buckle :)
We left the Truth corner aid station, and my adrenaline was still full on. I was not walking, power walking, shuffling or jogging. I was now running. I had 97 miles in my legs and busted up left foot, but none of that mattered. Legs felt fresh, and I was now running through the mud sections I was walking through earlier. I didn’t want to overdo it so I pulled back pace, and power walked a couple climbs. I told Red I’m feeling good and I’m going to push the last mile once we get back to the top of the hill. She gave me the go ahead telling me to go for it. The last mile was truly blissful. I ran through the last segment of the course like I had just started the race. Legs felt fresh and I was on cloud nine. I darted out of the wood section, running with my walking stick in hand onto the last 100 meters of the course. Words cannot describe certain moments we experience in life. This was one of them. I went back to compare the final three miles of each of the four 25 mile loops. Loop 1 was 41 minutes 46 seconds , loop 2 was 45 minutes and 12 seconds. Both of these were pre rain loops. Loop 3 was 1 hour 13 minutes and 14 seconds. This was a mud loop. The final loop clocked in at 40 minutes and 39 seconds, also a mud loop. Miles 97 to 100, the last 3 mile segment of the race ended up being the fastest of the four loops!

I’ve walked away from this experience feeling accomplished along with a stronger mindset, and a new appreciation for the will of the human body, and what I can endure. I do not recommend that other’s approached a 100 mile trail run with my low running mileage approach. If I were to do this all over again I would make sure I got the proper mileage in. I think the rain was a blessing in disguise as it allowed/forced me to walk a good little chunk of mileage. I think that help prevent complete leg muscle fatigue.

Awesome crew and pacers!
Thank you all for reading this lengthy blog entry. I’m truly a blessed individual to have such great friends and to be part of so many different active life style cultures. Each culture brings their own bit of crazy to the table for the love of the sport. That’s what makes this enjoyable for me.
Congratulations to all who toed the line this weekend. Showing up to the race knowing there was a chance of rain extra difficulty made each and every one of us a winner. We all took some type of learning experience from this race.

Couple Race Facts
- Big Cedar 100 was the first 100 mile trail run in the north Texas area.
- Over 60 athletes started
- 12 athletes finished this included 10 male and 2 female athletes.
- Over 80% of the field either dropped out or did not make the cut off time.

Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.


Monday, April 28, 2014

Running Boston 2014

Boston was many different things for me this year. One thing it wasn't for many of us was a race. On Monday April 21st the running community came together to show support for last year’s tragedy and to take back a great American race. Most runners I spoke with were there to show their support. There were 36,000 runners registered for this race and roughly 70% were first time Boston marathon participants.

I was very fortunate to be given the opportunity to participate in this year’s event. I was special on so many different levels. I was able to connect with friends, and meet new people along the way. Boston was in great spirits. The community was very friendly, and welcomed us with open arms.

Packet Pickup & Expo
I picked up my packet and walked around the expo area on Sunday. I took my time to visit all the vendors. This expo is like no other. It’s massive, and just about every shoe and athlete recovery/performance company was on display. I stumbled upon, and took advantage of a foot massage area, and a leg compression pant vendor.

The weather on Sunday was perfect. I was able to walk around Boston and enjoy the sites. With thousands of people in town I ended up having lunch at a small corner store which made outstanding sandwiches. Their seating was outside, and I got a chance to do something I rarely get to do, relax and enjoy the scenery.

Boston is a point to point run, and most athletes ride the bus from Boston to the start of the race in Hopkinton. Athletes hang out at the athlete’s village where there is food, drink and restrooms are available. It takes a whole lot of school busses, and detailed planning to move thousands of runners from point A to point B.

Athlete's Village
Departure times were handed out based on an assigned wave. My departure window was 6 a.m. to 6:50 a.m. Race time was 10 a.m. When I arrived at the athlete’s village I still had two hours to wait for the race to start. The morning was a bit cool, so athletes did what they could to stay warm. I was suited up in a pair of pajama pants, and a couple of throw away tops. Most runners laid out in the sun laying on top of cardboard boxes.

There was lots of nervous energy in the air. The weather would be a bit hotter than expected. It was a perfect day for spectators, but a bit too warm for runners. We were off promptly at 10 a.m. The first 8 ish miles are a descent, so it makes for a very fast race start. If you are not carful here you can easily put yourself in a bad situation for the rest of the race.

The vibe given off by the crowd for the duration of the 26.2 mile run was simply unforgettable. There were thousands upon thousands of spectators all along the route. Spectators play a huge role during races. Athletes feed off their energy to keep them going. High fiving the children is one of my most cherished moments. Not only do we feed off their support, but I know we leave a great impression for them. Hearing the crowd yell when you high five a child is pretty awesome. You know that made the child feel like the top of the word for that moment.

Mile 23 photo taken by my gracious host.
The time flew by as I made my way through the rest of the course. Two years ago when I ran this course it was a complete struggle to finish the last couple miles. I remember having to stop and stretch out calf and hamstring cramps. If I had not run into a buddy of mine last year, I probably would have stopped to walk.

This year as I made my way through the last couple miles I could feel the emotions of the crowd, and though I was not at Boston last year, I fell into the moment. Adrenalin, and emotions were rushing through my body, and carried me to the finish line. I cannot begin to fathom the feelings going through all the athletes, and survivors running Boston this year.

As I crossed the finish line, and made the long ½ mile walk back to my gear check in I was in a state of satisfaction. Life could not be any better at that moment in time. I had come to Boston to show my support, and Boston had shown theirs for all that made the journey. I hope I can continue going back to Boston for as long as my legs allow me to.

I’d like to congratulate all my running buddies who went out there and had an outstanding race. Several PRs were had on not so ideal running conditions. You guys are awesome!

Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Rocky Raccoon 100 mile um… 20 mile recap.. :)

Life, if it was meant to be easy then words like effort, dedication and motivation and DNF would be meaningless. There wouldn't be any type of reflection needed when things did not go as planned. This weekend at Rocky Raccoon life slapped me with a huge dosage of reality. What started off as an easy all day pace quickly turned into a fight of will over my body not being able to do what my mind was asking it to do.

As I finished the first 20 mile loop of the 5 loop course I started to feel different. At first I thought it was my knee acting up again. I then started to feel joints in my other leg act up. My mind started going in different directions. DNF came up, and I quickly shot it down. There was no way I was taking a DNF. I told my self that I would walk this course before I did. I've not ever finished a race, and I wasn't going to start today.

I decided to go to the rest room at the end of the first loop and take some time to gather myself. After I visited the restroom I was very light headed and knew, right then and there something was wrong. A friend of mine who was crewing me handed me my hand held bottle, and asked me if I was okay. I simply responded, “I don’t know.” I thought to myself I genuinely do not know.

I had made up my mind to go out onto the course for the second loop, and assess after I completed the second loop. As I stepped back onto the course I stated with a walk. I then went into a slow trot. As I trotted along I realized that my body was cold. I had chills, and I was not warming up. Every step I took got progressively harder to take. It felt like my joints were being slammed together with each step. I knew it wasn't missed nutrition or hydration. I knew my physical conditioning was there. It was then I knew I was sick.

I stopped my slow trot, and started walking. About a half mile away from the start/finish I found a bench. I sat on it and took several deep breaths to help the reality of actually taking a DNF sit in. Several runners asked me if I was okay or needed anything as they went by me. I told them, no thanks, and wished them well on their race.

After sitting on the bench for a few minutes I gathered myself, and started the long half mile walk back to the start/finish line. That walk felt longer than the first 20 mile loop. I was light headed, and didn't feel like I was walking straight. The completive person in me did not want to go back, and throw in the towel. I had to mentally convince myself that there was absolutely nothing good going to come out of me attempted a second loop as I pressed onto the start/finish line.

Approaching the start/finish line my head was hung low. I felt defeated. I’m thinking to myself, “I just DNF a race”. I was on an emotional mess. I don’t think it was because I felt like a failure, but more because being sick was happening to me on this day, and it was completely out of my control. It was a hard pill to swallow. I was cold and shivering and just wanted to lie down. There was nothing I could do about it but turn my chip in.

I spent the next 20 plus hours in a bed with a fever, aches and pains. I ended up throwing up a couple times along the way. I was very week, and had no energy. I sent out text messages, made a facebook post, and emails. I had friends and family who I knew may be checking in on me, and I didn't want to leave anyone hanging. I had intended on getting up later that day and going back on course to cheer people in or help volunteer, but I was in no physical condition to make that happen.

Laying sick in bed gave me the time I needed to make a mends with my initial DNF thoughts. I realized there were several positives to take away from this experience. Running the first loop allowed me to make a couple friends. I also walked away with course knowledge. Being sick brought forth an appreciation for good health when I have it. It was a solid reminder to be self motivated to put forth the effort, and dedication needed, not only for my training, but all of my life’s daily ventures.

In retrospect this little set back isn’t a set back at all. I look forward to healing, training, and making another 100 mile attempt. I truly enjoyed, and appreciated all the support I got from friends and family members throughout the day. You guys helped out more than you know.

I’m very fortunate to have the opportunity to participate in something love. I do not plan on wasting it as I train for future events, and help others stay motivated to obtain their goals.

Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.



Friday, January 3, 2014

Spartan Beast 2013 Recap - Glen Rose Texas

Legit, was the word teammate Robert used to describe this race after it was all said and done. It was fitting in so many ways. I’m going to try and give you an insight to my Spartan Beast experience. I’ve raced in several other obstacle events, DFW Mud Run, Merrell Down and Dirty, Muddy Buddy and now Spartan Beast. Just like triathlons Spartan hosts a range of events, starting from a sprint ranging all the way up to an ultra.
The Spartan race was unique to the other mud run events in a few ways. There wasn't a course layout, the run distance was not defined, instead it was listed as 12 plus miles, and obstacles on the course were not disclosed. I was fortunate enough to know a local Spartan Pro to get a glimpse of what to expect with some of the obstacles. Oh, and one other thing, burpees! Yes, there were plenty to be had if you were unable to complete an obstacle. If you missed an obstacle you had to drop and do 30 burpees. A set of burpees would easily tack on 2 ½ to 3 1/3 minutes to your run time. One can see how complete the course burpee free would be an advantage.

Several of the obstacles required upper body and grip strength. In no particular order there were two rope climbs, two pebble and dirt 5 gallon bucket carrying stations, a 5 gallon cement bucket vertical pull, traverse line, a sideways wall crawl, tractor tire flip, cement bucket carry, and tire pull.  There were also several wall climbs, vertical log balance stations, cargo net, a 100 foot or so barbwire crawl, a shorter barbwire crawl, a memorization challenge, and a few water obstacles. At the finish there was one more small barbwire crawl, a inclined roped wall climb, and a fire jump with several Spartan staff members waiting to clock you with their oversized jousting clubs.

Pre race: Edward, Robert, EJ, Jordan, Nicole and Jennifer
Race morning was fidget in the 30’s as we knew it would be. I raced with a team from Texas Health Resources. Our fearless leader was spot on when he booked rooms at the host hotel. This put us only a half mile jog away to the race sight. On race morning we jogged over to packet pickup to hand in our wavers, and were asked to sign an additional wavier. It was too cold that morning to care what the additional waiver said. I took my gloves off signed it, and turned it in and proceeded to pick up my packet.

Inside the packet was a bib number, a Spartan headband with your race number, and a wrist timing chip. The writs timing chip was a first for me. I never had a chip on my wrist. I thought it was pretty cool. I felt like I didn't have to worry about it getting snagged on something while running or going through the obstacles
My choice race attire was a pair of tri shorts, a Texas Health Resources fitted long sleeve top, a beanie, a throw away long sleeve cotton shirt, and a pair of throw away gloves.  I also wore a hydration race belt, and carried two 6 oz bottles with my nutrition in it. Since there was an unknown race distance I had prepped my nutrition bottles for 3 hours of running.  If the course was fairly consistent to last year’s course I figured I would finish around the 2 hr 30 minute mark. I had enough nutrition to carry me an additional 30 minutes if needed.

Our team signed up for the elite wave which placed us on the start line for an 8 a.m. start time. Standing at the start line I felt a bit unprepared. A couple months before the race I envisioned a training plan that consisted of trail running, upper body strength, and burpee workouts. During that training period I ended up nursing a knee injury so my burpee routine never happened. I simply did not want to risk reinjuring my knee. I tried hitting the pull up bar every now and then, but I knew I had not put in the upper body strength work I needed to. 

As I’m standing in the chilling 30 to 40 degree weather I peeled off my throw away top, and listened to the MC go into, what appeared to be a traditional Spartan start motivational speech to the athletes. I will admit it was pretty cool, and got me pumped up a bit. As soon as the speech was over we were off on to the course.

We quickly found ourselves following white ribbon course markers when lead us over a cactus covered field. The field would also contain brush, trees and thorn bushes. It was pretty obvious early on that we were not on a trail. The course director bush wacked out several sections over the terrain for this race. About a mile in there was a water obstacle. The last thing I wanted to do was get my feet wet and well that wishful thinking went out the window as I not only got my feet wet, but I ended up getting my hands wet too.

As I made my way out of the water obstacle I tossed my wet gloves, and quickly felt my feet were icy cold. There was not much I could do about this, so I pressed on with frozen feet , and throbbing cold hands. We pushed our way through several climbs where if you were not paying attention to the white ribbon trail you could easily go off course. As tough as the trail was I will admit it was fun. Some of the hills still had ice from the previous week’s freeze. We scaled up and down hill sides for the first 4 to 5 miles. I was able to successfully complete the obstacles along the way. 

Early on my hands were numb from the wrist down. I came upon an obstacle where I had to fill a five gallon bucket with pebbles and rocks then carry it up and down a hill side without spilling any of the pebbles. We had to carry the bucket up in front, with arms fully extended. We were not allowed to put it up on our shoulders. I actually did really well on this obstacle. I noticed I was walking up the hill, and was passing other athletes who were putting their bucket down to take a break. I suddenly realized that this could be a bad thing, because my hands from the wrist down were numb. My first thought was, maybe I was cutting off the circulation to my fingers, and didn’t know it. Maybe that’s why other athletes were putting their buckets down to take a break. I decided to just go for it and finish off the obstacle. Fortunately my fingers were fine after the race.
For the next three miles from 5 to mile 8 my feet were numb. I’ve had numb feet before in a duathlon, where I was coming off a bike on to a run. It’s a weird uncomfortable feeling when there is no feeling from your mid foot to your toes. In this case my whole foot was numb from my heel to my toes. At times I felt as if I had a clump of mud on the bottom of my shoe. When I checked, and found nothing there, it played with my mind. I was once again concerned about gaining feeling.

I arrived at the spear throw obstacle with cold hands and cold feet. I grabbed a spear closed my eyes, and flung it towards to the hay bail. I opened my eyes just in time to see the spear hit the target. Score! Okay, okay, well it quite did not work out that way. My spear flew wide left and I proceeded to put in my first set of 30 burpees for the day. I dropped down into the push up position,and it was around my 5th burpee when I noticed that my left hand was landing on top of a piece of cactus. No bueno! I knew that would hurt later. Completing the set of burpees wasn’t as bad as I thought. In fact I think it helped bring circulation to my feet, and hands.
Around mile 8 I could hear the crowd at the start line. I thought to myself maybe we were going to be done well short of 12 miles. I knew they had pulled some of the water obstacles out of the course so maybe, just maybe the course distance was also cut short? I finally arrived back to the start/finish I crossed over a cargo net obstacle, and as I pressed on the course ended up flowing away from the start/finish area. After mile 8 my legs finally warmed up and I was able to get into a run rhythm. Over the next several miles the obstacles and trail seemed a bit easier, but honestly I was tired of being cold. I was on mile 13, and was so ready to be done with the race. The only thought running through my mind was the 12 plus mile description. 

I hit one last aid station, and they said I was one mile from the finish. I was pretty ecstatic to hear that news. I pushed and somewhere in mile 14 I could hear the finish line crowed again. The last quarter mile had four back to back obstacles.  The first obstacle was horizontal wall climb. There were little wood numbs to step and grab onto as you made your way across the wall similar to a rock climbing wall. I got onto the wall, and at first I took a good second to figure out how approach the wall. I finally got the hang of it, and as my luck would have it I had mud on the bottom of my shoe and as I placed my foot onto a wooden peg it slipped and I fell off. I got up, and ran over to get my 30 burpees in.

After finishing my set the very next obstacle was a wet rope climb which hovered over a body of water. I jumped into the water, and started to climb the rope. My arms were shot from the set of burpees I just completed. I decided it would be easier for me to give up on the rope climb, and do the 30 burpees. So I did. As I’m doing the burpees, I kept hearing the bell ring. The bell is what was on the top of the rope climb, so every time it rang I knew someone had just passed me. That was probably the most frustrating portion of the race for me. I lost anywhere between 5 to 8 positions over the last two obstacles. I picked myself up after my last burpee, made my way to the wall climb, jumped over the fire wall, and pushed my way through the Spartan jousting pounding. I crossed the finish line, and was now an official Spartan finisher. I was excited to get the event behind me. It was no cake walk.

After picking up my bag I made the half mile walk to the hotel,  and immediately turned on the hot water in the shower. I jumped into the hot water, and initially the water hitting my feet and toes was very painful. I stood in the shower for roughly twenty minutes before I thawed out. 

Putting the race into prospective I have to give major props to these Spartan warriors. I especially have to give kudos to the pro and non pro Spartan athletes who did the Saturday race and came back on Sunday to do the same course again. The Spartan training not only requires you to have endurance, but you also have to have a solid core and upper body strength to carry you through the obstacles. If you are looking for a way to challenge your body I recommend doing an Spartan event at least once. 

Race morning: Robert, Edward, Jordan, Nicole, Jennifer and EJ
The Spartan event had an open and elite division. In the end I was happy with where I finished. I was 17th overall in the elite field of around 200 athletes. Our team Texas Health Resources finished 3rd out of 166 teams.  I walked away with a good race experience, and great new friends.

I'd like to say thank you to Texas Health Resources for inviting me out to this event. I also like to thank Shawn Feiock and the Texas Tough Spartans for inviting me out to their Sunday training session. If you are interested in doing a Spartan event and live in the North DFW area look these guys up. They are a great group of folks.

Here are a couple misc photos from the event.

Traverse  rope obstacle.


Thank you for reading my blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.


Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Year In Review

As the year 2013 comes to a close I’d like to hear of your accomplishments no matter how big or small. Please take a second to share a story or two and post it on my timeline https://www.facebook.com/TriLifeBlog or the Tri Junkie FB page timeline https://www.facebook.com/groups/TriJunkie/. You deserve the recognition, you worked hard for it!

I've been fortunate to be able to live this healthy lifestyle and to share my experience and thoughts with others. I enjoy hearing about other’s success stories and being able to help out where I can to get them to their goals.

Bandera 50k
This year I had a couple goals not all were met, but I'm still grateful for being able to do what I love. I initially wanted to spend the first half of the season doing triathlons and the second have of the season focusing on trail running. Texas was going to be an A race for me and as luck would have it I ended up being ill the week leading up to IM Texas. I would have to settle for a training day effort.

I ended up competing in 31 events in 2013 made up of 5 triathlons, 4 duathlons, 2 off road triathlons, 9 road runs, and 11 trail run races. Several of these races were to support friends or non profit organizations I’m associated with. I ended up with two “A” races for the year. Both were trail running events, Bandera 50k and Vermont 50.  I ended up approaching all other events as a hard training day. For a complete listing of my 2013 events please visit this link. Ignore the 2012 in the link it will take you to the right page. J http://www.trilifeblog.com/p/2012-race-schedule-and-results.html
Vermont 50

There was a lot less swimming for me after May which I’ve found I’ve missed doing. My training also took a turn in October. For the first time I hired a coach. The approach is much different than what I’m used to. The training volume is much lower, but the intensity levels are higher. I’m using this training to prep for Bandera 100k and Rocky Raccoon 100 mile trail run. I’ve had a few set backs in my training with an ongoing knee issue that surfaced a week before Vermont 50 mile run. I’m hoping it will be a non issue in a few weeks.

Xterra Cameron Park
This year I also ventured into my first off road triathlon, Xterra Cameron Park. I put this guy on my calendar to help me prep for the off road bike portion of the HHH Triple threat. I had no off road bike experience and wanted to get some race experience before the HHH event. Several Tri-Junkies made the trip to Waco for the Xterra event. It was quite an experience as we found ourselves on one of the toughest off road bike courses in Texas. We all suffered some scrapes and bruises, but in the end it was a good time had by all. Most of the same group also raced the C ME Dirty Off Road Tri a couple months later.

I had one more first which I must mention, Spartan Beast. I knew going into this race that it was going to be a challenge. I had done a few mud races in the past, however when comparing the obstacles and the course, well there is no comparison. If an obstacle was missed your gift was 30 burpees. Each set easily tacked on 2 ½ to 3 ½ minutest to your overall time.

Spartan Beast in Glen Rose was just that, a Beast. There was no course description, aside from 12 plus miles, and yes, the plus came into play. The course length ended up being closer to 15 miles. Several sections of the course were freshly bushwhacked for the race. I’ll try and get a blog entry out on this race that will go in more detail. For now I’ll just say this course ranked up there as one of the toughest events I've done. 

2013 training/race year was solid all the way around. It was filled with good friends and great times. I’m looking forward to training, racing, and seeing you all reach your 2014 goals.

Xterra Cameron Park Off Road Triathlon

Head for the Hills
Vermont 50 Trail Run