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

Monday, October 31, 2011

Week in review Monday 10-24-2011 to Sunday 10-30-2011

Week 35 of 36 was my first of two taper weeks. This week had 10 hours 55 minutes on tap. Given this is my first ironman event I had no idea how the taper weeks would treat me. I knew I was going to face a reduction in workout hours but, had no idea that I was going to struggle with the thoughts wrapped around my upcoming event.

I spoke with several people this week, three of which are also doing IM Florida. Two of my friends had already completed an Ironman and had already been down this path once before. My other friend and I are first timers and this is a discovery phase for us. I am full of different emotions. I’m glad I did not have too much extra time on my hands to dwell on them. I’m nervous and excited for myself and the other three friends who are also racing with me this Saturday.

I had several questions running through my head this past week. Have I trained enough? Is my nutrition right? Am I eating right or too much? I had put in hours upon hours of working out and I still was left to question my conditioning. Taper week one was really messing with my mind. I was really concerned about putting on weight before my event. I’m okay with putting on a couple of pounds but, nothing more than that. I also wanted to go into the race feeling fresh and ready.

I was fortunate enough to I get some advice from a local tri pro. He shared a list of things I should consider doing leading up to my event. I read through the list and it made a lot of sense. The prep advice was something I needed not only to help me prepare but to also help calm my down.

I did feel a little sluggish during a couple of my work out sessions this week. My swim has improved some but, not much. It was hard for me to gage where I was on the bike. I was fighting lack of sleep and fatigue. Those are two ingredients which can really make for a bad work out session and will leave you with questions. My running this past week felt pretty good.

I know I should be thinking about anything other than IM Florida right now but, I’m eager to start racing in running events. There is also a duathlon I have my eye on at the end of November. Speaking of duathlons this will be the first year since I started doing triathlons back in 2009 in which I will miss Bronda’s Du. The event is one week after IM Florida and there is no way I would be recovered to race in that event. I wish that wasn’t the case but, it is what it is. I love that event not only does Jack with Ironhead productions put on a great race but, it’s also at the Texas Motor Speed way which is very cool. I’ll have to be patient and wait until next year.

As I sit her on a Monday night trying to reassess where I am and how I’m feeling I’m very confident that I’ve put in enough time to get me across the finish line. I do have some goals set for IM Florida but, my main goal is to finish. I’ve been asked what distance I would like to race next year. I honestly do not know. I want to get a taste of a full Ironman. Once I’ve completed this event I should be able to set some triathlon goals for 2012. All I can say is that I feel like I’m just getting started. I’m really excited about my upcoming marathon training and my off season cycling and swimming training. I’m going to try and set some higher goals for next year.

I’d like to end this blog entry by wishing everyone racing this weekend the best of luck. If you are a resident of the DFW area there is plenty of opportunity for you to get involved in an event. Don’t take where you live for granted. It’s still mind boggling to me to see all the events available for us to participate in. You can find a 5K, 10K or ½ marathon without trying too hard. Where I come from that isn’t the case. When I go home for vacation I would be lucky to find a 5K to run in.

As always feel free to email me of you have any questions, comments or random thoughts. If you have a story to share I’d love to hear about it.


Monday, October 24, 2011

Week in review Monday 10-17-2011 to Sunday 10-23-2011

Week 34 of 36 had 15 hours and 30 minutes of training in it. The first few days of this week was an absolute blur. Driving back into town took over 10 hours. Combine the drive with the hard training weekend left me completely exhausted. I woke up Tuesday morning my energy levels were really low and knew I would have to skip my morning swim. My body still had not caught up from the previous three days.

Tuesday afternoon rolled around and I was on the computrainer getting a short ride in. I was feeling better. I started to think through the rest of my training week and realized that after this week I would be only two weeks away from my Ironman event. I’ve been in training for 34 weeks and now, doubt and nerves started to set in. So many thoughts started going through my head. Am I ready? Have I put in enough training? Was my quality of training going to get me to the finish line? Is my nutrition on its mark? The questions go on and on.

I got through my Wednesday and Thursday sessions and started to calm myself down. After this week I would begin to taper. This meant a couple of things. First there isn’t anything I can do about the training. I’ve put in the work and I’ve I have to be confident in what I’ve done. This also meant that my training hours would start dropping dramatically.

I think the upcoming two taper weeks are going to be more mentally draining than physically draining. I didn’t want to think too much about the taper weeks and fortunately a friend of mine who text me earlier in the week about training on Saturday shot me another text with what I saw as a challenge. I had a 4 and ½ hour ride online for Saturday and he suggested we do a hill ride that would take 2 hours. I said no at first as I shot him a text message with a photo of a sheet of paper which said, “Keep your effort aerobic. No hard group rides.” I thought about it for a few seconds after I sent the “No” reply and decided to change my mind. I figured I could climb with a low effort for two hours. It would be a test of self control. I also had a 45 min run afterwards which he said he would join me on.

Saturday came along and I started it off with a 1 hour warm up on the bike. After the warm up we started on this “steady” climb which translated to a hill climb that started off with a 2.5 percent grade. When riding a computrainer it is a constant effort. There is no coasting there are no breaks. If you stop peddling you stop going forward. The next two hours would prove to be interested. The grade never dropped below 2.5. There were sections in the course that held steadily at 8 percent, 15 and 18 percent. We hit a section of the course that registered as a 29.1 percent grade. Yes, I will not leave out that .1 percent. J After 2 hours on the steady climb I found that I had only traveled 20 miles. Though I averaged only 10 miles per hour I ended up averaging out over 30 more watts on that ride. The run after the ride went really well. I had two friends run with me. It felt like a social run and it made the 45 minute run go by smoothly.

I had one last long run and short spin on Sunday. I didn’t know what to expect Sunday morning given I had that 2 hour steady climb. It rained that night and into to the morning. I decided to sleep in a bit and get my run in a little later than normal. My run went well I put 12 miles in at a 75% effort and my pace was pretty much on its mark. It felt good to finish my last long week on a good note.

As I venture into my taper weeks I don’t know what to expect but, I’m going into it with a positive attitude. It’s going to be a time of physical recovery and recuperation, a time of mental preparation. I know the event will be upon me before I know it.

As always feel free to email me of you have any questions, comments or random thoughts. If you have a story to share I’d love to hear about it.


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week in review Monday 10-10-2011 to Sunday 10-16-2011

Week 33 of 36 had 15 hours and 30 minutes of training in it. This week was going to get a bit crazy. I signed up for an out of town event, King of the Causeway Challenge, in South Padre Island. This meant that I would have to travel a total of 18 to 20 hours this week, work three days and figure out a way to squeeze in my training.

I stuck to my normal routine for Monday and Tuesday. I decided to move one of my Thursday workouts to Wednesday to free up my Thursday evening. It worked out pretty well. I ended up putting in three workouts on Wednesday and an early morning workout on Thursday morning.

The drive from DFW to the Rio Grande Valley would prove to be long as expected. I had been up since 4:20 a.m. and I knew my day wasn’t going to end anytime soon. I knew I had a long hard training weekend ahead of me and wasn’t sure how the drive was going to affect me. I’m originally from the Rio Grande Valley and had a family event to attend to plus packet pick up for the King of the Causeway Challenge. My day would come to an end at 12 midnight. It made for a very long day.

Friday came around and I was not feeling good. My energy was low and I was just felt crappy. I had a 45 minute swim to put in and luckily I found a public pool to get my swim in. Swim options in the valley are pretty limited. It was the middle of the day and the pool was outside. I ended up getting just enough sun to leave me with a headache. Now not only did I feel weak I also had a headache. I was not too confident about the upcoming weekend’s events. I took something to help boost my immunity system and decided to turn in by 10:30 p.m.

Saturday was here and I was up again at 4:20 a.m. It was KOC Challenge weekend. The event consisted of a two stage bike race on Saturday and a Sunday sprint triathlon. I knew I was going to have to put in more hours than what the event would provide so I threw in a couple extra workouts.

The Saturday morning stage one road race was a 58 mile ride through the southern tip of Texas. The Saturday evening stage two road race was an 11 mile sprint that went over a 3 mile causeway. I had a 4 hour and 25 minute ride to put in along with a run and a swim. I knew the two races would not give me the time I needed. I ended up showing up early and spun on my trainer for an hour before the 58 mile ride.

Before the road race began I was told that since I had a tri bike I was not to ride in a pack or draft off of anyone. I was completely fine with that since I wouldn’t be able to draft in my IM event. The morning ride went well. I missed my training average by a little bit but given I road the course all on my own effort I was very happy with the ride. I was also pretty excited about the fact that I was ridding outside for a change. The south Texas weather was perfect. I finished the ride and got in a quick 30 minute run. I was feeling pretty good after the first event. I knew my recovery and nutrition would be crucial to get me through the weekend. I immediately refueled and rehydrated after the event.

Saturday evening’s event was a quick 11 mile road race. Aside from a little wind the conditions for this race were excellent. I had another great ride and I hit my mark this time on my bike average.

Saturday evening rolled in and I was now feeling a bit fatigued. I was unable to get a nap in during the day as I had planned so I knew I would have to get to bed at a decent time. The next morning was the sprint triathlon and I had family and friends who were going to come by and see the event. It’s very rare that they get to see me race so I wanted to do well for them.

Sunday morning was here and I was hurting. I knew I was fatigued but, there was nothing I could do about it. It was go time and I had to mentally prepare myself for the race. This sprint event had two transition areas so I had to set up my run gear in T2 and road my bike over to T1 to set my bike up. It was maybe a 3 to 4 mile ride between transition areas. I figure it would make for a good little warm up.

The swim would take place on the bay side of the island. This would be my first salt water swim. I was nervous but excited at the same time. I hear that salt water was buoyant so now I would be able to experience it. The race officials called my wave into the water. He mentioned to be carful as there may be some barnacles on the floating doc. I sat on the lip of the floating doc and eased my way into the water. Yes, sir it was buoyant. In fact the buoyancy caught me by surprised and I floated over to the left just far enough to nick a barnacle with my elbow.

I enjoyed the swim. I did not hit the swim time I was looking for but, I still enjoyed the swim. I quickly transitioned to my bike I knew my legs were fatigued but, I also knew the route was going to be flat. I tired to hold a pace the best I could the whole way through. As I was on the bike I noticed a huge blood spot on my knee and quad. I wasn’t sure why I was bleeding. I then noticed my elbow. The barnacle had cut me when I entered the swim area. I blew it off and focused back on my bike.

Coming off the bike I felt I had put in a pretty solid effort. I jumped out onto the run course. I was looking forward to this run and was expecting to hold a certain pace. It didn’t take long to figure out that I was going to miss my run goal. My quads and legs were heaving and hurting. I had to focus hard on my form and depend on it to get me through the run.

I had lost a sprint earlier this year by 13 seconds and I just knew that every second counted. With about a mile to go I was running on fumes. I pushed what I could and got across the finish line. I was happy with my effort and was completely exhausted from the push. I took a few minutes to get myself together. I washed the cut on my elbow and spoke with a few of the athletes along with my family members for a few minutes.

I had a one hour run to do and thought about passing on it. I knew I wasn’t going to pass on the run but, I did think about it for a second. My goal for this weekend just like every past weekend is to put in my training hours. I changed into a fresh pair of running shoes and got my run in. When I got back to the race site I ran into a friend of mine who told me he got second overall. I congratulated him on his placing. He then told me that I took the overall win beating him by 3 seconds. Yes, 3 seconds. I know how that feels. In a sprint every second counts. I was defiantly excited about winning the inaugural KOC Triathlon. Wally and his crew did a fantastic job putting on this event. There was a lot of sweat and time that was put in behind the scenes to make this event come together.

In addition to the sprint triathlon overall win I also took 1st in my age group for the Saturday two stage bike race. Laura Reyna and her crew also did an outstanding job. I would love to come back next year and do this all again. We’ll see what 2012 has in store for me.

I met several new friends in the area. A great group of guy and girls who I know will be better and stronger next year. There were a couple of triathlon first timers who did an awesome job. I also met a gutsy gentleman who had a badly sprained ankle but, still went ahead with the swim and bike portion of the triathlon. Both Wally and Laura are doing a fantastic job by hosting these events in the Rio Grande Valley area. I hope they continue putting on these events. The valley needs more of them.

For now this week has come to a close. It was a week of accomplishments for me. I had a list of goals at the beginning of the year. I will recap those as we get closer to December. I’ve already hit three of them. Winning a triathlon event was one of my goals. Please see my Facebook page for event pictures.

As always feel free to email me of you have any questions, comments or random thoughts. If you have a story to share I’d love to hear about it.


Monday, October 10, 2011

Week in review Monday 10-03-2011 to Sunday 10-09-2011

Before I get into the meat of this weeks blog I want to send out a congratulations to all Ironman World Championship finishers who competed this past Saturday morning. A huge congrats goes out to local DFW athletes Patrick Schuster, David Jones and John Morgan for completing this event.

Another week is gone and I’m one more week closer to my IM Florida event. This week was pretty uneventful. Week 32 of 36 had 15 hours and 30 minutes of training in it and was geared to be a low intensity recovery week.

I was pretty tired on Monday coming off of a huge volume week. It felt like one rest day was not enough. I’m constantly thinking about my swim and how I need to improve it. I know it’s not going to happen this year but, I’m still searching and trying new things. I was online searching for strength exercises for my swim and I stumbled upon an article which talked about the EVF (Early Vertical Forearm) technique. I read through the article and it said a lot of things that made sense. I vaguely remember seeing an EVF video earlier this year but, never really did explore it. I searched and found one which showed how several swim pros utilize EVF in their swim. I felt like I had new life again and maybe this is what will help me shave some seconds off my 100 meter pace. I look forward to blogging about the out come later this year.

I also realized that I have not lifted any type of weights for almost 3 years now. All my strength training has come from hill repeats on the run, hill climbing/low cadence on the bike and pulls on the swim. I’m already thinking ahead for next year and want to do some type of base strength training with weights. Optimally I would like to improve my strength to weight ratio in all three areas. This will make me a better athlete for next season.

This week in review is going to be a bit short. Again it was pretty uneventful. I had one highlight which was my Sunday morning run. It rained on me the entire 1 hour and 30 minutes I was out there. I loved every minute of it. My shoes were wet and heavy. I was also soaking wet but, I really did not care. The weather was cool and the water was refreshing. It was so refreshing that I actually took more hydration than I needed. I ended up not drinking close to 24 oz of fluids.

It’s now Monday evening and I’m planning out my whole week of training. I’m going to be traveling out of town and will need to incorporate my training with my travel. I have a couple of out of town events lined up for me this weekend. I have a two stage bike race/rally on Saturday and a sprint triathlon on Sunday. I will use both of these events for training. One of the reasons I signed up for the triathlon was because it was a salt water swim. I wanted to get some salt water swim experience before my IM Florida event.

I’m a bit excited that these events are back near my home town. There are not many triathlon events in that area so I’m taking this opportunity to invite family and friends to come see me race in a sprint triathlon. This will allow me to share something I truly enjoy doing with them. It’s rare that I have any family see me in any of my events so this means a lot to me. I’m looking forward to this fun filled weekend.

As always feel free to email me of you have any questions, comments or random thoughts. If you have a story to share I’d love to hear about it.


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week in review Monday 9-26-2011 to Sunday 10-02-2011

Training week 31 of 36 had 19 hours of training in it. This would be my longest training week of my training program. I also had to incorporate the Toyota U.S. Open Olympic triathlon I had signed up for earlier in the year. Last year I went to the event as a spectator. I heard there were going to be some Pros racing and I wanted to see them compete. I had no idea that this event was the finally to a race series. I thought it was really cool to be able to see them race and it would be even cooler to race with them. That’s the main reason why I signed up for the event.
Going into this week I knew that my conditioning would be tested. I had just come off a ½ marathon race and I had one rest day before getting back into my Ironman training. I also had the Toyota Open Olympic event at the end of my long week. I was having second thoughts about racing. I didn’t want it to interfere with my training.

I was a bit sore and tired on Monday. I took full advantage of the rest day and did absolutely nothing from a workout prospective. Last weeks training took extra personal motivation to get my workouts in. I did not want to just “get through” the week so I made an attempt to get mentally into my training. I was sore during my Tuesday swim/bike and Wednesday run/bike workouts but, I pushed through them and felt good about my efforts.

Thursday rolled around. I had a long swim and a run on my plate. The weekend was fast approaching and while I was on my run I started thinking about my weekend’s workout and the Toyota U.S. Open on Sunday. I knew I was going to have to use it as a training race so I had to take that mind set with me into the weekend.

Friday was an easy swim day and I’m glad a friend of mine suggested we go get an open water swim in. I had not been in my wetsuit since late June maybe early July. When I purchased my wetsuit back in 2010 I decided to opt for the full body suit. I read that there was a buoyancy benefit. Well what I didn’t read but, later learned is that there is also more of an effort to get your arms moving in a full body wetsuit. I was hoping the practice session would help me break back into that wetsuit effort.

After my swim on Friday afternoon my weekend turned into a blur. My Saturday started at 4:20 a.m. I had a 5 hour computrainer ride, 45 minute run and 20 minute swim. I put in a good effort on the bike. I had the race the next day on my mind but, I kept telling myself it’s for training. I will benefit more by putting in a solid Saturday workout effort. I reminded myself throughout the workout session that the goal is IM Florida not the US Toyota. I got through my session and felt really a bit fatigued but, I also felt good. I headed over to packet pick up and was fortunate to find some people doing ART for free. I got my legs worked on. This was like finding gold. My legs needed it badly.

I scouted the 40k bike and 10k run and found that they were no picnic. I was hoping for a sub 1 hour 20 minute time but, after seeing the hills on both the bike and run I knew it was going to be tough to get there. I knew that Sunday’s race was going to hurt. My Saturday came to a close a little after 11 p.m. I’m usually in bed by 10 p.m. before race day but, I had family come into town and was playing host.

Sunday came around and I was up again at 4:20 a.m. It was race day. I decided to wear my Wheaties Fuel gear to this event. I was out the door and headed over to the event. I was able to get there by 5:30 a.m. just in time for transition to open. I got my stuff squared away and was ready to work. The day was great for racing. I felt real relaxed on the swim, maybe too relaxed as I missed my swim time by a few minutes. The bike was tough the first 5 miles felt like it was all up hill. The rest of the bike was rolling. We were either riding up or rolling down. I missed my mark on the bike by 3 minutes but, I had not accounted for the hills so I was happy with my time. The 10k run was also very hilly. The first mile was a steady climb the next four miles were rolling hills. The only fun part about the run was the last mile. It was mostly down hill. I kept focused on my legs I wanted to make sure I didn’t fall on my face.

The finish to this event was very cool. We got to run through a finish area that was lined up with people who were cheering us as we came through the finish line. I had no idea what my time was or where I finished. I knew I had a great training session and though I wish I could have pushed harder on the bike and the run I knew that my performance was going to be restricted due to my previous day’s workout. I met up with a fellow Team Wheaties Fuel member who was in my age group and finished in front of me. He asked me how I did; I told him I did not know. I asked him the same question and he was pretty confident that he won our age group. I congratulated him on a great race. He then told me he though I was second in our age group. Now that was a surprise. I was going to get my recovery run in but, I decided to wait for results. It turns out that I did not get 2nd in my age group but, I did get third. That was pretty cool. I was able to take home some hardware. I also was able to sneak in another ART massage before I headed home. J

As I drove back to my area I was seriously contemplating a nap. I knew I had a one hour run left to do and I started thinking of skipping it and just calling it a day. I got close to my house and starting thinking about IM Florida. I just could not walk away from the last hour of my workout. I decided to stick to the plan. I drove to the park and got my one hour run in. I took it nice and easy just making sure I got my time in.

I want to close out this week’s blog with a quick note. Each time I go to an event there is usually something that keeps me motivated. This Sunday I noticed an elderly overweight lady as she walked on the dock with her wetsuit on. I would have loved to have spoken with her to find out what is her motivation. I knew there were relay teams so I figured she was the swim member of a relay. I was pleasantly surprised to see her on the run course. I thought to myself how awesome is that? She was not on a relay after all. She was doing a sprint triathlon all on her own. I didn’t see her finish but, I’m sure she did. She looked real strong on the run. This is a great reminder that it is never to late to make a change and put forth an effort.

It was great seeing all my fellow triathlon friends at this weekend’s race. Congratulations to all who raced on this tough course. It was no walk in the park.

As always feel free to email me of you have any questions, comments or random thoughts. If you have a story to share I’d love to hear about it.


Hardware from the Toyota US Open.