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

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.