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

Friday, November 23, 2012

Unexpected Run Break Through 11-23-2012

Happy Thanksgiving to all my fellow active life friends and blog followers. As the months passed by and I get my training in blog topics are constantly running through my head. I’m still waiting for someone to invent a thought recording device.
In this blog entry I’m gong to focus on a break through I’ve had with my running. I recently broke my half marathon PR by three minutes. That’s pretty substantial especially when it wasn’t expected. I’m going to speculate why I believe I was able to shave those three minutes off.

Last I wrote I mentioned a burnout. Yes, I felt I took on too many events this year and after Longhorn in Oct. I took two weeks off from training. That was a huge refresher.  I was able to join some friends in some unstructured activities. I swam a little and ran a little but, most of all I slept a lot. That little break was needed.

Despite my short comings with my expected finish time in Longhorn I did PR the course by 10 minutes. I enjoy setting high expectations for my events and feel that’s the only way I can grow. The funny thing is I find that I only do this with my triathlon events. When it comes to my running events I set goals which I know are obtainable or very close to being obtainable.

A couple weeks back I signed up for the 10k Turkey Trot in Fort Worth. I ran the event last year and wanted to see if I could match or better last year’s time. A week before the Turkey Trot I found out there was a half marathon on Thanksgiving. I wanted to do a long tempo run so I figured I would sign up for the half marathon and chalk up the 10K entry fee as a donation to the YMCA. I spoke to a couple friends and laid down some expectation for the race. I knew the course was flat and felt that I had a shot at holding a 6 minute pace. My previous PR was in the 1:20 mark and if I could hold 6 I would be able to break the 1:20 mark.

I have three run workouts a week and wasn’t sure if my legs would be able to hold my goal pace but, I was still going to give it a try. The night before the race I was horsing around with my daughter and inadvertently caught my big toe nail on the edge of the stair step. Three fourths of my toe nail was dead from a previous trail run but the other one forth was not. The nail bent back and I was in pain. I was upset at myself because I knew I now had to take the nail off. I attended to my toe nail and the end result was I had to leave about a forth of it on because it was still live. It throbbed and I now had some uncertainty about running the half marathon the following day.

Race morning came and I decided not to bandage the toe. I’m told myself you are no Prefontaine and if my toe gave me any issues on the run I would pull out of the race. As we gathered at the start line I saw several running friends who I had not seen in a while. Those prerace moments are always welcomed. There were also a few fellow Tri Junkies out there along with some Texas Running Center folks.

The race promptly started at 7:30 a.m. and the weather was still fairly cool. I didn’t know what the other athletes where going to run. My goal was to go out and try and hold a 6 minute pace. From the start there were 3 of us in the lead following the lead biker. The course was fairly flat as expected. What wasn’t expected was the headwind for the first 6 miles. I was sitting in second place behind a runner who was averaging about 6 minutes per mile. I knew that it takes me a while to warm up so I was just going to see how my legs would respond to the headwind.

Four miles into the race I was comfortable sitting 100 to 200 meters back behind the leader. I was holding pace and my toe was not bothering me. I grabbed water just about every mile. Took a sip and poured the rest over my head to help keep my core cool. We reached the turn around point and as the lead runner passed me I threw out a “Nice work” remark to him. When I hit the turn around I saw that there was a 1 to 2 minute gap between my second place position and the next group of guys.

I took my nutrition and got mentally ready for the second half of the run. I knew there would be a little bit of a tail wind going back on a couple sections and I was looking forward to it. The race continued and over the next three miles to mile 9 I heard several friends call out and encourage me on. Words from friends and even strangers are huge in any event. They keep us going and I’m thankful for the ones I received on the course.

At mile 9 ½ the lead runner took his nutrition and eased up a bit. I had slowly bridged the gap and was able to pass him at that point of the race. I knew I was now in the hot seat. It was my race to either win or lose. This was the longest tempo run I’ve had and was hoping for no calf cramps or lactic acid build up for the last 3 1/2 miles. At about mile 11 the lead bike finally realized that there was a new leader.

Legs and tempo were feeling really good. I was trying hard not to look at my Garmin. I did glance every now and then but, didn’t take it to heart. I knew I was running well. I was able to hold onto the lead and was able to put a 1 minute 20 second gap between myself and the runner in 2nd place. I crossed the finish line and stopped my watch. I looked down at it and saw I had broke the 1:20 mark by 3 minutes. My official time was 1:16:56. I was shocked and in disbelief. I also felt surprisingly good. I didn’t feel fatigued.

Wow! So what just happened? Why did I run so well? Reflecting back to my training the only thing I’ve done different is I’ve adapted trail running into my workouts. Though my long trail running sessions are much slower than what a normal long run session would be I believe I’ve unknowingly build up my cardiovascular system and strengthen my legs at the same time. The main reason for my long trail run training sessions is because I am signed up for a 50k trial run in January. Also my abdominal injury is pretty much healed up. I’m able to do core workouts again without any problems. My lower calf injury is also non existent.

Since July my running has come around some. I’ve been able to win a few trail run events, a 5k and now a ½ marathon. I hope that I can continue to train and grow for 2013. I’ve put IM Texas on my plate for May and I hope for a good showing there.

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



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Burn Out

I’d like to start this blog entry with an apology. I have ideas for blogs all the time during my training sessions which never transpose over to my actual blog. I recently told a friend of mine it would be nice if there were 36 hours in a day. The issue however isn’t that there is not 36 hours in a day but, that I need to get a grip on my time management. Besides if there were 36 hours in a day I’m more than sure I’d somehow fill the extra time by volunteering or picking up another responsibility somewhere. J

I’m now in my fourth season of living the multisport healthy lifestyle. As most of you who follow my blog already know I’ve ventured into the competitive side of racing. I’m truly blessed and grateful for cutting over to this healthy lifestyle but, I’ve lost the eager anticipation of going to a race at 4:30 a.m. There used to be a want to race to not only see where my fitness level was but, where it was compared to everyone in my age group.

I managed to lose that feeling this year. Not sure what happen or when it happened. I will admit this season wasn’t as fun as it used to be. Sure I was going to my events and hitting set goals but, at the same time the FUN factor was not there anymore. This doesn’t apply to all events but some of the events this year. I attribute the loss of fun to a few things, my swim which I know with time will improve, my early season lower abdominal injury which lingered around for six months and an abundance of races.

In August I realized that I was averaging three races a month going through July. It was time for me to back off and let my body recover from the weekly red line pushes. One of my golden rules is to listen to your body. If you do not listen to your body your body will eventually make you listen. By that time you are either hurt, too fatigued to workout or ill.

August was a good month for me. I was able to put in some quality workouts. I felt my run coming along. I have at lest two triathlons left before the season is over. I will then turn my focus to a couple short distance trail races and IM training for IM Texas 2013.

I miss the fun factor of the sport. Don’t get me wrong I enjoyed several of the races this year but, I know I need to taper that race count down for next year especially if I expect to improve. It’s been a great season so far and again I’m grateful for my health and a fantastic group of athletes which I’ve meet along the way. I’m ready for the break form competition after Longhorn in late October.

I’m looking forward to blogging these next couple of months. If you have any thing you would like an opinion on please do not hesitate to let me know. The next blog entry will more than likely be on nutrition.

Our next Tri Junkie Club meeting is Sunday September 30, 2012 from 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm at BlackFinn. Address: 4001 Bagpiper Way Arlington, TX 76018 Phone: 817-468-3332. Everyone is welcome to come.

Guest Speaker for this meeting is D'Ann Arthur. She's a local ITU female Pro athlete
D'Ann is the 2012 Duathlon National Champion and is competing in the 2012 Nancy ITU Duathlon World Championships in France this month.

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


Friday, August 10, 2012

Tri Junkie Sprint Mock Tri - Quick Recap 08-08-2012

The Tri-Junkie Club is in the middle of rereleasing ourselves to the DFW area. We’re making an effort to get people into living a healthy life style. Over the past couple weeks we’ve had a conservative 15% growth in membership. We are offering our knowledge and experience to anyone from the beginner to the advanced athlete. Our yearly membership dues are the lowest around the DFW area. We are looking forward to offer opportunity to anyone who is interested.  

There were 13 participants in the mock tri. The athletes experience ranged from beginner to advance. This was a no pressure event with varied distances. It was the athlete’s option to swim, bike and run with in their comfort zone. Everyone had a blast, from the participants to the volunteers and even the children who showed up to play in the lake.

Here’s a quick clip from this weeks mock tri (http://youtu.be/2CgisAgH1uE). We hope to see many new faces at the next one. We were fortunate and thankful to have two of the club’s sponsors out there with us, Lee with Xterra wetsuits and Jeff from B&B Bicycles.

You may visit us online at http://www.tri-junkie.com for more information about our club. Our next meeting is August 19th, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the BlackFinn in Arlington (4001 Bagpiper Way Suite 101, Arlington, TX 76018).

Joe Boyle and Mike Fussell will be our guest speakers. Joe is the founder of Texas Running Center, Harding University Hall of Fame member and author of Run For Life Program for the Department of Defense. Mike is a University of Georgia track and field All American and Hall of Fame distance runner and will be speaking about VO2 Max testing. There’s much more to be said about both of these speakers so come on by and join us.

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


Monday, July 30, 2012

Cedar Ridge Preserve Trail Run Race Recap 7-28-2012

This weekend was my first attempt at a trail running event. Back in June I was nursing a calf injury which prompted me to get some easy trail running in at River Legacy Park. I knew trail running would naturally force me to slow down and the trail at River Legacy Park was non technical with soft surface which would be easy on my injury. At the end of the week I found that I really enjoyed that change of pace so I decided to sign up for a trail run race. This past Saturday I found myself getting up earlier than I normally do for a triathlon event to make it over to the Cedar Ridge Preserve 36k Trail run.

The event was hosted by Endurance Buzz Adventures. Dave the race director did an outstanding job putting on this event. I appreciate all the feed back and advice he gave me as I prepared for this race.

Packet pick up was at 4:45 a.m. Driving over to the event site my energy levels felt really low. I was hopping it was just nerves because now as not the time to get sick. I arrived just a few minutes late and thought I wasn’t going to be able to find a spot for my ice chest. As I pulled into the dark parking lot there I was relieved to see only a hand full of cars there. As I walked to the packet pick up area I felt like I was the only not wearing a head light.

The volunteers were up and surprisingly awake and full of energy. That helped get me going. I got my race bib and found a spot for my ice chest. I was happy to run into Mark and Roberto minutes before the race. Just knowing a couple people there helped me settle down mentally. Race time was 6:15 a.m. for the 36k. As we toed up to the line the sun was not completely up yet. I was content sitting a couple rows from the front. I knew we had a long way to go and the runners would thin out at some point.

I found myself fumbling with my Garmin seconds before the gun went off. The gun went off and so the trail run began. We were going to run 2 counter clock wise loops and 2 clock wise loops. My strategy for this race was to run a bit hard the first coupe loops. The sun wasn’t up and the hill climbing was going to be easier.

It took about 300 meters before I eased on to the front of the pack. There were maybe 5 guys who hung out with me as I started into a good little pace. I heard a couple of guys in casual conversation behind me talking about sever different trail running events. I had a few words with them asking if they were trail runners. Both of them said they were. I contemplated slowing down and letting them pass me so I could pacing off of them but, I decided to take a different approach.

I knew there was a 1k decline coming up early in the course so I was going to let gravity take me down at a solid pace. I was hopping they would drop off and at that point I would have the “Out of Site, Out of Mind” advantage. I was also going to push on every flat as I figured the experience trail runners were probably better hill climbers. As we hit that decline I heard them say to each other let him go. I was relieved and now it was on me to see if my endurance would hold up.

I was a little more than half way through the first loop when I took my mind off the trail and paid for it by stepping on a rock and twisting my left ankle. I was so upset at myself. Here I was on the first loop and already twisted my ankle. I talked myself out of discouragement and was able to push that aside. I told myself that you got your one twist over and done with and that was the only one for the day. It felt like forever but, I know it took a minute or two to feel comfortable again on my left foot.

Before I knew it the first loop was coming to a close and I was well ahead of my goal pace. As I stopped to grab a new hand held bottle and nutrition I was wondering where the other guys were. I had one more lap to do before I reversed my course. I would then be able to see how far back they were.

As I began loop two. I could finally feel my legs warm up. I knew that I had to push one more time because the last two loops were going to be difficult. Working my way through the second loop I began to see more of competitors along with several other non competitors. This wasn’t a closed course so not only did we have to be mindful of other racers we also had to be mindful of other non racers. Everyone I came across didn’t think twice to step aside and let me by. I really appreciated that as it made my race easier on me.

Loop two was coming to a close and I would not be able to see what kind of a lead I had. As I pulled my ice chest again to grab another hand held and more nutrition I noticed the sun was also coming out and it was heating up fairly quickly. I was off and now running counter clockwise. This was going to be a beast of a run. I was hopping I had a large lead because I knew the hills were going to hurt me.

It didn’t take long before seeing the 2nd, 3rd and 4th place person. I figured they were only a couple minutes behind me. My left calf started to attempt to cramp on me as I make way through the third loop. I knew had to back of pushing up the hills. My goal was to not walk the hills but, I simply could not avoid it. I also started feeling my toes. I knew the declines would take a tool on my toe nails. The third lap felt real slow but, I pushed the best I could through it. I kept hearing voices and expected to see the other runners catch me while they were still in casual conversation.

Still in the lead I made it through the 3rd loop and was back to having no clue as to where the chase pack was. I was off and onto my final loop. About 2 into the last 9 k of the race there was a low lying tree branch about 3 inches thick. I had successfully ducked it the first three loops however I think fatigue got the best of me and I lost track of it on the forth loop. I was running at hit it with top of my head hard enough that it stopped me dead in my tracks. When I hit it I strained my left hamstring and cut my head. I was now bleeding. Not profusely but, enough that I could feel it on my head.

I had 7k left and I now felt like I was breaking down. There were two good climbs ahead and I hat to re-strategize if I was going to make it through the rest of the race without cramping. I decided that I was going to walk every hill to make sure I had my breath once I got up to the top. I would then push pace on the flat part of the course. There was only one climb which I would not walk and that was a 1k gradual incline. I didn’t care that I was moving at a 10 min per mile pace but, I was not going to stop and walk it.

As I approached the last water station I decided to stop and get some water. I only had less than 2 miles to go but, I wanted to cool down. I needed to pour some water on my head and I wanted some cold liquid for that last 2 miles. I figured I had less than 20 minutes to go before the finish line. I knew that the win was mine for the taking and it was on me to get it done. If someone came up on me now I would have to push limits to try and win the event.

As I made that final push I came upon another athlete who was also doing the 36k run. I’m glad he did not know I was the leader because he pushed me to get to the end. I could tell did not want me to pass him which was completely fine with me. I was happy to be able to feed off his energy till I reached the finish line area. I was happy that I did not have to push with anyone to the finish line. I felt so relieved once I crossed that finish line. I was ecstatic about the overall win and more so ecstatic about being injury free.

I walked away from that race with some minor injuries. My head and body will heal. I may loose a toe nail or two but, I’ll survive. I’m not sure that I would do another trail run as technical as this one again but, I may venture into another endurance run. For now I have my sights on a couple more triathlon events before the season is over.

Here are some quick stats from the race.

            Time:  3:16:30
        Avg Pace:  9:14 min/mi
        Calories:  2,910 C
Elevation Change:  5,000 ft (Roughly - Garmin was not accurate)

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


Thursday, May 31, 2012

A Change of Pace with Trail Running

Over the past few weeks I’ve ventured over into the realm of trail running. A few weeks back I had a right lower calf muscle that was giving me trouble so I decided to add trail to my routine. I figured it would help slow down my pace and reduce the pounding I endured from the cement and pavement. For the next week I kept my normal swim and bike workouts as planned but, all my running took place on a trail.

At the end of the week I found that I really enjoyed running out on the trail. It brought back memories of when I was growing up as a kid. I recalled playing outside at my grandparent’s place which was located in the out skirts of my hometown. Their house was surrounded by fields and there was a canal system with dirt trails near by. One of my favorite things to do as a kid was to run across a freshly turned over field. I used to love to run barefoot through the fields feeling the soft dirt squish between my toes.

At the end of the week I realized that I was missing out on one of the things I really loved doing. That was being outside and running free. I know in years past I had frowned upon trail running because of risk of injury. I’ve given trail running some serious thought and decided to continue to add it to my workout routine.

I see some strength benefits from running trails which you cannot get on a flat open road. I like the fact that trail running gives me another training option. I can either incorporate hill repeats into my running routine or go find a trail and get my hill work there.

There is also a fun factor. One of the best trail runs I had was after a good rain fall. Running the trial with mud weights on the bottom of your shoe can’t be beat! Not only were my feet heavy but, I also had to take extra precaution not to slip and fall. Falling down would mean that I would have been covered in mud. Not sure that would have been a bad thing. J

An after shot of a muddy trail run.

There is a trail running community here in the DFW area. If this is something you would like to try it’s not that hard to go out and find a trail to keep you company. Use this link to find trails and trail running events. http://www.nttr.org/

Here are a couple of pointers to keep in mind when running a trail.

-          Find a trail with some good elevation changes. This will help you build leg strength.
-          I found that trail running takes more focus and you will run at a slower pace than you are used to so don’t let the slower pace discourage you.
-          You will find that you will naturally start to look down at your path. This is good. You want to look down. Trails will have uneven surfaces, rocks, roots sticking out of the ground etc. I know I fell the first couple times out.
-          Always plan out your trail run before hand. Do not take on a new trail without knowing where you are going. You do not want to get turned around and run out of fluids.
-          Take fluids and calories with you even if you plan on doing a short run. Better safe than sorry.
-          If running along wear an ID bracelet or and ID. Also let someone know where you plan on running.

Trial running can be a great substituted from your normal every day running routine. Every now and then I plan on putting a trail run on my calendar in place of a long weekend run.

Broke in a pair of Brooks trail shoes over in Cedar Hill.

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


Monday, May 21, 2012

Memorial Hermann Ironman Texas 2012 Recap

Saturday May 19th was the second annual IM Texas race. A buddy of mine and I drove down to the Woodlands to volunteer for this event on Friday. When we arrived I could feel the Ironman presents in the air. The town was quite and most all competitors were tucked away somewhere off their feet, hydrating and mentally preparing for the 140.6 mile challenge which waited for them the next morning.

We walked around athlete’s village and visited several booths. This for me was a perk to not racing the next day. I was able to take my time and speak with people about current and new products. There is usually a couple familiar faces so begin able to catching up with them was a bonus. I also got a chance to sit and do a small 10 to 20 second video recording to promote chocolate milk as a recovery aid. Once the link is made available I’m going to be looking for votes. For every vote I get $1 is donated to challenge athletes. I hope I can get them a few bucks. The video was non scripted I had a few minutes to think of something to say. I shot from the hip and well we’ll see what happens. J It’s for charity so I just had to do it.

Friday evening we made it a point to hit the bed early. Volunteering for an event like this is its own experience. We would have to be up at 4 a.m. and our day would not end until after midnight. I was going to carry a backpack and camera with me to try and capture some IM moments for the 10 plus people I knew doing the event. I had signed up for early mooring volunteering duty which would give me most of the day to support the athletes I was following.

Saturday morning came around and the IM buzz was in the air. There were a few people who I spoke to that stated they just could not get to sleep last night. That is a very common issue for athletes. I can’t stress how important it is to get good night’s sleep two nights before the race. This way if you run into any pre race night sleep issues you body will still be well rested.

After checking in and getting our volunteer shirts we headed to transition 1. I was able to run into all my fellow try junkies that morning. I also got a chance to run into some other non tri junkies. The excitement of race day started to get me going. My yesterday’s thought of how nice it was not to be racing so I could visit with the vendors turned into a man I wish I was racing.

The race kicked off for the pro field at 6:50 a.m. they were followed by a non wetsuit wave at 7:00 a.m. and a wetsuit wave at 7:10 a.m. first up was the 2.4 mile (3862 meters) swim. A few in the pro field would be touching land in under 50 minutes. Some amateurs would start hitting land at the 50 minute mark.

Athletes would have to run into transition 1, grab their bike transition bag and hit the changing tent. A quick change into their preferred bike gear and head on out onto the bike course. By the time the last of the swimmers were coming to land the sun was out and in full force. It was going to be a hot and humid day for the athletes.

I spoke to a few of the athletes after the event and was told that the first have of the bike had a tail wind and the second half of the ride had a head wind. This would cause the athletes to push a bit harder on the second part of the bike which could in turn kill their quads and hams for the run.

As I cheered the athletes intoT2 I could tell it was going to be a long day for some of them. There were countless athletes who had lost a lot of salt. You could see the white salt residue on their race outfits as they were handing off their bikes to go grab their run bag. It’s hard for an athlete to recover from missing nutrition on the run if you miss it on your bike.

As the athletes hit the run course so did I. It was hard to see people who I was supporting coming in off the bike. Every one has a helmet on which makes it hard to tell people apart. I knew I would have better luck on the run course.

The run was brutal until about the 5 p.m. hour when the sun started to go down and finally some tree line shade was available. I clapped, cheered on and encouraged athletes all day long. Shouting reminders to hydrate and take advantage of the wet sponges. Sometimes we are so focused and tuned into what we are doing that we can forget the small but very important things.

The sun soon started to set and I found myself at the finish line. It was now 8 p.m. Who knows where the day went. Just moments ago I was waking up at 4 a.m.  Never the less I was hanging on the finish line rails cheering the athletes through. The day ended in spectacular fashion.

One of the last athletes I saw cross the finish line was the firefighter who walked the marathon leg in full 60 pound gear. He was supporting all the fallen firefighters. He set a perfect example sheer determination and will.

There was also a local married couple from the DFW area who crossed the finish line holding hands. This lady is a great person who I’ve had the privilege of meeting and volunteered for a non prof organization here in the DFW area.

The Tri Junkie group I was supporting had several first timers all of which finished. Lisa one of our members sacrificed her time to help a couple Tri Junkies complete their first IM. One member missed her nutrition and another member fractured his foot on the swim The three of them used each others energy and support to get through the marathon. And in classy fashion the three of them crossed the finish line together. Lisa had opportunity to go on and leave them be hind but, I’m more than sure that thought never crossed her mind. Outstanding! I have to give a shout out to several other athletes who also participated.

Unknown athlete – Not sure who this guy was but, he was a beast. No fancy equipment not even tri or cycling gear. He’s bike was just a bike with pedals on it. He wore basketball shorts and a white cotton muscle shirt. He swam, biked and ran in those clothes. Without all the average triathlon luxuries he got through the whole Ironman and finished in the 15:44 mark. Hat’s of to this guy. He’s an Ironman.

Kevin Costa - I’m so glad he had a solid race despite a flat at mile 70. Way to get it done!

Eric Herring – Welcome to the IM club. You’ve come a long way since I met you a few years ago. You looked strong out there on the course. Well deserved.

Billy Flores – Proud of you buddy. You’re a prime example of putting your mind to it and getting it done. Share you story will anyone you can in the valley. We need to bridge more people over into this healthy living life style.

German Madrazo - Congrats on your finish. Hearing your story last year was inspirational. Continue to do great things for the people in the valley. I’m looking forward to your next race.
Garrett Underdown – Great race. I know it wasn’t the perfect race for you but, still very respectable performance. I can only hope to be able to swim like you one day. I look forward to racing with you again soon.

Stephanie Mullin – Hard to miss on the course with your signature pink set up. Congrats on your strong finish.

Mitchell Burzynski – Congrats on anther IM event! You are always in cheerful spirits. I was upset at you when I saw you on the run you looked way to happy. You should have been in pain like us volunteers. J

Laura Bruner – Fantastic job this weekend! Congrats on becoming an Ironman. You had a solid performance all the way around. I’m glad you figured out the sock issue.

Chay Miller – Da man with the plan! Congrats on your finish! Yes, I know you’re one up on me. I’m sure I’ll hear it for the rest of the year. Ha! I’m glad you didn’t go with a full wetsuit I didn’t want to have to go pull you out of the swim. J

John Morgan – You through down another outstanding effort. Congrats on your 9:50 time. You never seize to impress me.

Sean Wahrmund – Congrats on your first IM finish! It was a very strong performance for your first time out. Looking forward to what you have next on your plate.

I’d also like to congratulate Pax, Jackie, Ron, Ray for getting it done this weekend.

I was able to find and take several pictures of the Tri Junkies I was supporting, people in local DFW tri club kits I recognized and a couple other amazing athletes. I’ve posed more pictures on my facebook page please feel to check them out.

Please forgive me if I missed anyone. There was a lot going on this weekend and I tried to mention all of those who I knew were competing.

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


Monday, April 23, 2012

116th Boston Marathon Recap ..

In February 2010 I ran my first marathon, the Cowtown in Fort Worth Texas. I had a buddy post a congrats on my facebook account and asked if I had qualified for Boston. I had no clue as to what he was referring to. I ran the marathon because another friend of mine asked me to train to run it with him.
I checked my results and found that I had missed qualifying by 5 minutes. I had to run a 3:10:00 and I ran a 3:14:55. I was new to marathons and though my mind was focused on my second season of triathlon training I made a commitment to train for Cowtown again the following year with a goal to qualify for Boston.
It was now 2011 and I gave the Cowtown marathon another shoot. I went into the race hopping to get a feel for where my conditioning was at for the season. Unfortunately the course for the marathon was not the same as the previous year so I could not make that comparison.
I got through the race and was excited about beating my previous year’s time by about 10 minutes. I posted a 3:04 and some change for my second marathon. I was not qualified for Boston.
It’s only been one week since I ran my first Boston marathon. I went out there with the mind set to enjoy the experience. I arrived in Boston on Saturday only to find out that there was a heat advisory for Monday’s race. I thought no big deal how hot could it be at 8 a.m.? Well then I found out the race actually started at 10 a.m.
A deferment was offered to the athletes for the first time in B.A.A. history. A little over 4,000 athletes took the deferment. There were 27,000 registered and a little over 22,000 would make the start line.
Now I was a little worried. Sure I live in Texas and train in 90 to 100 degree weather at times. That’s training not racing and that’s what concerned me. I wanted to make sure that hydration was not going to be a problem for the event. I started hydrating on Saturday and made sure I hit up the hydration again on Sunday. I drank a few drinks high in electrolytes and tried to stay out of the sun as much as possible all day Sunday.
There was a 5K race Sunday morning which I was able to catch the finish. There was a purse on the line and there were many elite athletes going after the prize. The finish had 15 plus elite men crossing the line under the 14 minute mark for a 5K! Seeing these athletes doing their work can’t be described in words.
Monday morning rolled around. I found myself up later than what I’m normally used to for events. I usually get out of bed at 4 or 4:30 a.m. and here I was getting up closer to 6 a.m. We took a bus over to the start line from the hotel. The course would start in Hopkinton and it was a 26.2 mile shot to the finish line. There were thousands upon thousands of participants ready to run the roads and take back with them their own Boston experience.
I was in wave 1 corral 5. We were place din corrals like herds of cattle. I’m not sure how they made us all fit but, we did. All athletes were shoulder to shoulder with no room to stretch. The gun went off and we started walking every so slowly to the start line. I crossed the over the line and started my Garmin.
I was amazed with the number of athletes in the road. We were packed like sardines. You really had to watch yourself or you could get clipped from behind or cut off from in front. I decided the best place for me would be along the right side of the road. I had plans to go out and start at a certain pace but, due to the heat and the crowd that pace was impossible for me to hit.
Aside from the athlete masses I quickly noticed all the spectators lined up along the course. Adults and children lined up the course all cheering us one and most asking for high fives. I want to say the high fives for me was the best part of the race. I easily high fived over 1,000 kids during the race. I looked forward to seeing the next group of kids to high five as the race went on. It felt like I blinked and before I knew it I was on mile 3. I thought to myself this race is going to go by quick. Having fan support throughout the race makes a huge difference.
The first 4 to 5 miles were rolling hills with a descent. I wish I would have been able to go but, there were just to many people in the way. It wasn’t until about mile 8 that the crowd finally started to thin out a bit. The heat was coming on and I was making sure that I dumped water on my head at every station. I also made sure I was sipping on some water at every mile.
I crossed the half way point (13.1 miles) averaging about a 6:40 pace. I was feeling really good. I was out slower than I wanted to be but, I thought to myself that I could keep a 7 minute or faster pace through the duration of the marathon. Mile 15 came along and we were coming upon some runners who were walking through aid stations. It’s a common occurrence in marathons and especially in this hot event.
I was unfortunate and found a walker who decided to grab some water then try and walk briskly at an angle without seeing if anyone was coming up behind him. He cut off several runners including myself. I had to stop abruptly to avoid a collision with the walker. That quick stop and change in motion made my left calf cramp up.
I was near the end of mile 15 and had to fight off a cramp. I knew that this was not a good sign. As the race continued and I hit the hills between mile 17 and 22 my body started to break down. I could feel my hamstring wanting to cramp and I could also feel my right calf wanting to cramp. I ended up having to stop and stretch my left calf one time and I had to slow my pace down to avoid cramping on my right calf and hamstring area a couple other times.
At this point I was getting frustrated with my body. My repertory conditioning was fine it was the conditioning of my muscles that were keeping me from running. I was at mile 24 and out of the 22,000 runners thought I had seen someone I knew. I called out his name and sure enough it was him. Man did I luck out.
I told John thank you for showing up at this time. I was fading pretty quickly. I told him I was cramping up and I was going to try and feed off of his energy to get me through the last two miles. I was able to keep pace with John until we reached the home stretch. We had 600 meters to go and I told him if he had a kick to go for it. I wasn’t going to risk cramping again.
Crossing the finish line brought back memories of Ironman Florida. This was a huge first for me and I was excited and happy to get it done. I thanked John for helping me get through the last two miles of the marathon.
The event was very well orchestrated. Runner’s safety was their first and foremost concern. If I get the opportunity I will more than likely go back.
Here are some quick stats from the event.
Started                        Finished           Percent Finished
22,480             21,554             95.9%
My Finishing Time: 3:05:59
Overall Pace: 7:06
Temperature: High of 89 degrees
Overall Place: 787
Split     time of day      time                 min/mile          miles/h
5K        10:23:58AM    00:20:58          06:45               8.90
10K      10:44:28AM    00:41:28          06:36               9.09
15K      11:05:10AM    01:02:10          06:40               9.01
20K      11:26:28AM    01:23:28          06:52               8.75
HALF   11:31:02AM    01:28:02          06:42               8.96
25K      11:47:47AM    01:44:47          06:55               8.68
30K      12:10:29AM    02:07:29          07:19               8.21
35K      12:34:24AM    02:31:24          07:42               7.80
40K      12:58:35AM    02:55:35          07:48               7.71
Finish 01:08:59PM    03:05:59     
Thank you for reading this blog entry. As always feel free to email me any questions or comments you may have.  


Monday, April 9, 2012

Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 Texas Recap

Before I get into my blog I wanted to say thank you to all my fellow triathlon friends who I ran into at Galveston. It was good to see the group of Tri Junkies, Billy and Surge from the valley, several local DFW tri clubs and of course the rEvolution Multisport group.

Galveston 70.3 was an “A” race for me this year. Though I had some rough training patches along the way due to injury. I trained through a lower abdominal strain, a growing strain and a tendon issue above my right Achilles which kept me from running the three weeks leading up to Galveston. Pushing injuries aside the thought of pushing anything less than 110% come race day never crossed my mind.

Not being able to run for three weeks played a mean mind game on me. I’ve been injured before but, I usually bounced back within a day or two. The week leading up to the event I was finally able to put in two short 3 mile runs. The tendon was a non issue. I could feel something there but, it wasn’t painful.

I arrived in Galveston on Friday. I made my way to the expo and I ran into several athletes I knew. That helped me out tremendously. Seeing familiar and friendly faces gave me new energy. My mood was turning for the better. I was starting to look forward to race day.

Friday was an important sleep day for me. I wanted to make sure I got at least 8 hours sleep that night. My plan was to stay in bed for as long as I could which ended up being 8 a.m. That was nice to sleep late for a change.

Saturday was going to be simple. I was going to drive the bike route, get a short ride/run in, check my bike into transition, get my race gear and hydration ready and relax. Saturday flew by and I found myself walking around the expo scoping out the transition area. I wanted to make certain I wasn’t going to get lost in the sea of bikes. I found a good marker coming out of the swim and another good marker coming back off the bike.

I was able to get into bed at a decent time on Saturday night. My plan was to get up at 4:30 a.m. Sunday morning to beat the transition rush. I was going to try and sneak in another 30 minute nap but, that didn’t workout.

As I got ready for the race I was pretty relaxed. I knew going into this race that I was not where I wanted to be with my training but, it was okay. I was going to give it my best and enjoy the day. I was really looking forward to the swim. The bayside water was very calm. The morning temperature felt good but, I knew that wasn’t going to last.

Could cover was predicted to last until 12 noon. The pros went off at 7 a.m. my wave went off at 7:55 a.m. Which is just about the same time the sun broke through the clouds. Oh well, so much for 12 noon. J

Over the past 3 seasons the swim has always been my weak link. I was hoping for a little quicker time in this event. I felt pretty good in the water. I had to avoid a few swimmers who were zig zagging in front of me. I decided to avoid the traffic and swam on the out skirts of the swim course. As quickly as we started the swim we were done and I made quick work of my wet suit. T1 felt pretty good. I knew I was going to be 8 to 10 minutes off my age group leaders coming out of the water so I would have to push on the bike.

The bike was a pancake flat out and back course. There was a cross wind/head wind on the way out and a tail wind on the way back in. I push it pretty hard on the way out and it showed once I came off the bike on T2 and started my run.

My plan was to come off the bike and run as hard as I could for 13.1 miles. My worries of the tendon injury resurfacing flew out the window with my quads tightening up on me. The first 1 to 3 miles of the run were tough. Not only was it hot and humid but, my quads were on the verge of cramping. The thought of having to walk crossed my mind so I eased up on the pace and my quads finally settled down.

I was having a pretty good run. Yes, it was hot and humid but, I was running. That was huge for me. It had been 3 weeks since I was unable to run and I was so happy to be able to run. At about mile 6 my timing chip band slide down my ankle and it started to rub the lower back side of my ankle raw.

I thought about stopping to adjust it but, then I also knew that there was a chance of cramping if I did. I decided to run with it and bandage the wound later. As I came to the end of my three loop ½ marathon run I was excited that I was finishing injury free. I put fourth my best effort and I would be able to walk away with my head high knowing that I will be back stronger and faster.

Race Stats

Swim Time: 38:22 (missed my swim time by 3 mins)
I was in 137th place coming out of the water in my age group.
I was in 972nd place coming out of the water overall.

T1: 2:43

Bike Time: 2:30:53 (missed my bike time by 5 mins)
I was in 35th place coming off the bike in my age group.
I was in 274th place coming off the bike overall.

T2: 1:45

Run Time: 1:29:29 (missed my run time by 5 mins)
I finished in 15th place in my age group
I finished in 132nd overall.

Total Time: 4 hrs 43 mins 12 sec  (Missed my goal time by 13 minutes).

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


Tuesday, March 27, 2012

8 minute blog... Running without running, tapering battles, listen to your body a hard lesson learned..

I’ve finally come up for air or at least that’s the feeling. There is so much going on and not anytime to put any of it into words. Let’s see what I can put together in 8 minutes.

I’ll start with Monday 3-12-2012. I decided to go out for a long run. My initial plan was to run until I ran out of water. I completed mile one and felt a warm sensation on the back of my right ankle area in the vicinity of the Achilles. I’ve felt a similar burn before and it usually warms up and goes away. Mile 6 came around and I realized the warm sensation was still there. I figured I’d continue running since it wasn’t prohibiting my run and reassess when I got done with the next loop which would have put me at mile 14. At mile 12 I knew I had injured myself. This was on me I should have shut it down ant mile 6 or better yet mile 1.

I sit here 15 days later and less than 5 days from Galveston 70.3 with an uncertainty. My last two weeks have been filled with 10 plus hours of aqua jogging and maybe 7 miles of non aqua jogging. I took two sessions this past weekend one run was on a treadmill the other was outside. Both still left me with question. The injury is healing however it’s not 100%. I’m continuing with the taper this week and have one more ART session. I’m both excited and a bit depressed about the upcoming 70.3. I’m secretly hoping that adrenaline with kick in when I come off the bike and onto the run as I plan on running my butt off. Maybe I’ll figure out the mind over matter and that will carry me through the run. :)

Tapering..! A word that most endurance athletes struggle with. We all go trough it. For those of you who are tapering for the first time. Enjoy the rest. All the training is in and you are not going to lose any of your endurance. Tapering is about getting your body rested for the event and putting in a few workouts to maintain.

I wish I had more time but, my time is up. I’ll try and finish this blog entry on Friday or Saturday.
Safe travels and best of luck a competing this weekend! Most of Texas triathletes will be in Galveston. See you there..!

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


Monday, March 12, 2012

Cowtown, Bike Fit, Tri Season Opener...

Happy daylight savings time everyone! It’s going to take me a couple days to get used to this. I’m going to quickly touch on three items which have happened in the past couple weeks.

Cowtown! This event the event that got me started into endurance sports. Back in 2009 I did my first ½ marathon, Cowtown. Coincidently it was the first year of their 5 year finisher medal series which also helped me to come back each of the following years. As I sit her now keying up this blog entry it’s hard for me to believe I’m in my fourth season of endurance sports.

I’m very thankful for what the sport has done for me both mentally and physically. Yes, I will admit that I enjoy being as competitive as I can but, when all said and done I gain most of my satisfaction when seeing all the first timers out there as they embark on their journey to hopefully establishing a new and healthier life style.

The association between who we were when we started and where we are now can sometimes be overlooked and should not go unappreciated. I’ve been through and learned a lot since I started back in 2009. I’m grateful for being able to take that path and to be able to share what I’ve done and how to get there with others who may need that helping hand.

Cowtown this year went well. I enjoyed seeing the 5k and 10k events on Saturday as much as I enjoyed running the ½ marathon on Sunday. I was out there this year with the Texas Running Center. We were able to walk away with the 1st place team awards for the 5k and the ½ marathon. My hats go off to all who came out and showed the hard work we all put to get our team to that finish line.

I ended up with a PR on what I thought was a tough run. I was fortunate to PR by a minute as the route was hilly, windy and lonely. Yes, lonely. I made a mistake which I hope will help others out there. If you have opportunity to latch onto a pack making the fort to do so can save you energy and in the long run help your run time.

Often we think of drafting as related to cycling but, that’s not necessarily the case. We can legally draft during a run. Same concept as drafting on a bike works on a run. If you’re in a head wind and you are running with a group feel free to find a person to duck behind. The energy saved can make a difference.

Bike Fit! This was two years over due. I wanted to get a fitting last year before IM Florida but, I never acted on my want so it never did surface. This year I knew I had to get that fitting in. It had been two years since my last fitting. As we progress in the sport our bike positioning needs also change. I knew I was ready for a more aggressive position which would hopefully give me more power.

After calling around and talking to a few shops in the area I decided to go with Doug, over with Colonel’s Bicycles in Fort Worth. I got fitted 3 days before my first sprint triathlon of the season. I was a bit worried about doing a fitting right before a race but, this race was not an “A” race for me so I was able to let that fear go.

As Doug worked on getting me into the right position I was a bit upset at myself for not doing it sooner. I could already feel the difference in the new aero position. I didn’t quite know how that would transfer over to power but, I knew I was sitting in a more aero position and I was very comfortable. I couldn’t wait until Sunday to give the new position a go.

I walked out of Colonel’s with a sense of eagerness to get on my bike and ride. I felt like a child with a new toy who had to wait to open an play with it. J Looking at the forecast for the weekend I knew it the rain was going to be a coin flip.

St. Patrick’s Day Tri!  This was the season opener for many of the DFW area triathletes. There were over 600 registered and even with the rainy and cold temperature we had over 560 show up for the race. It was pretty incredible to see the inside of the natatorium filled all along the outer pool wall with triathletes ready to jump in and race.

I try my best not to put myself into situation where I can get injured. I thought twice about doing this even on Saturday as it wasn’t an “A” race and I didn’t want to risk injury for Galveston 70.3 coming up in April.

There was also the hour change that was taking place that weekend which caught me off guard. I knew it was coming and I still almost missed it. It was after 10 p.m. and I finally realized the time was going to change at 2 a.m. so my 10 p.m. was now 11 p.m. and I had to be up in less than 5 hours.

I was looking forward to seeing friends I had not seen through the off season. I decided to go out and enjoy the day as best as I could and to be as cautious as I could be while doing so. I’ve heard too many stories of people falling off their bikes in wet conditions and I did not want to be the next story.

Pre race announcements were made and the race officials made a decision to cut the bike course in half. I was a bit upset as I was counting on the bike to help me make up lost time on my weaker swim leg. On the flip side I was also a bit relieved because frankly I did not want to be out on the wet road. I wouldn’t have minded if they had extended the 5k to a 10k run. Now I would have been in favor of that decision. J

The race was over as quickly as it began. The 300 meter swim, 6 mile or so bike and 5k run made for a super sprint event. My swim went well. I felt faster than what my time showed but, it is what it is. Entering T1 I fumbled with my Garmin. I thought I had locked the display so I tried doing so with wet hands while it was raining. I finally told myself leave it and get going. My mental break down. In a sprint seconds count. I knew I had messed up.

The bike was blur. I had now idea how fast I was going or where I was. I had two goals on the bike. First goal was to be extra cautious to help avoid falling. I didn’t care if I almost came to a complete stop on the turn I was not going to slide off and fall down. My second goal was not to get passed.

About 3 miles in on the bike I got passed by a person climbing up a hill. He was as strong rider and was going to try not to let him get too far in front of me. He came down the hill and I noticed he wasn’t slowing down for the turn. I just felt he was going to fast and sure enough he tried to go wide around three other cyclists and ended up eating the pavement.

His bike went one way and he went the other. As I approached the turn he jumped up pretty quickly to try and grab his bike. That was a good sign for him as I knew he wasn’t seriously hurt. I’m sure he suffered some road rash. I never did see him again so he may have had bike issues after that fall. After seeing that wipeout I reinforced the slow down before each turn pre ride thoughts I had. I wanted to finish the ride safely and that’s exactly what I did.

T2 was tough. I lost some seconds as I had issues putting my shoes on as I found out my toes were numb. This is the second event where this has happened. I need to get this taken care of. I talked to a fiend of mine who said he always wears toe covers in these conditions. I’m going to have to go that route. I felt pretty good on the run. I had a slight calf cramp during the first ¼ mile of the run but, it went away.

The run is one of those areas where I feel I can push beyond my limit so the only limiter is me. If there isn’t anyone to run with I have to push myself. I feel I’ve not yet figured out how to push my own limits. One day I’ll figure that out.

I had two more goals on the run. One was to be safe and not to fall the second was not to get passed. I was able to complete both those goals. I was happy with the run and how I was able to finish it off.

The chip timing was a bit off. Results have been published but, I believe they are incomplete. I didn’t see the top 3 finishers on the online results. What I do know is that I finished with a time of 45 mins 42 seconds.

300 meter swim time: 5:56 (1:59 pace)
6 ish mile bike: 18:35  (21 mph)
5K run: 18:29 (5:48 pace)

I’ll take these results along with a safe finish. I had a great time out there seeing all my tri buddies. Next up is Galveston 70.3 on April 1st followed by Boston Marathon on April 16th.

Congratulations to all who raced today. A huge congrats to all the first timers out there who race Sunday morning. The conditions were tough so be proud you got out there and completed it. Your first one is now under you belt!

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