Pre Race:  I originally was supposed to go out to Oklahoma to do the Long Course National Championships but I had been doing a lot of travel the last few weeks and I was really wiped so I decided at the beginning of the month to cancel my flight and hotel and stay local.   My training since Pumpkinman has been minimal and I had not been having really good training sessions when I did get out there.  I didn't feel like I would be able to race up until the Saturday before and at that point it was still questionable  but I was still going to show up and see what happens.  Adding to that I put on about 6 lbs since nationals and I was going into this race weighing the most I have all year at 184!

No Pre Race Jitters Here!
Swim (.9)   (GPS 1.05)   25:46/Mile average pace 27:02 4/70 Age Group and 76/1009 overall
I started off in the fourth wave and besides the pros and physically challenged there were women 40-64 and M55-59 and Clydesdale ahead of me.  Knowing this going in my strategy pre race to get in front of as many of them as possible.  The gun went off and I stayed back for the first few seconds and let everyone fight it out before I got going.  When I finally got swimming and into my rythym I looked up and I could only see one person ahead of me in my age group.  I thought for sure that that would have to change but I didn't think anything of it.  The way out was hard to sight as we were swimming directly into the sun but next thing I know I'm swimming into the thick of the wave that started 3 minutes ahead of me.  I felt really good ans was surprised at how well I was moving.
As I came into the meat of the wave ahead  I picked my path which I thought would cost me the least energy and kept going.  I felt like I swam through the whole wave by the time I hit the first left turn buoy! As swam across to the other turn buoy and finally out of the sun I could see the pack of pink caps of the w40-64 and I thought to myself, could this really be happening?  Am I really that far out in front already? By the time I hit the last buoy before the shore I swam  through the majority of them and ended up from what I could tell at the very pointy end of the field and what I thought was leading my AG.  As I hit the beach I was almost in shock as the clock read 27:00!  I immediately knew the swim would be clocked long since theres no way I would have swam that slow and still been able to pick up in some cases up to 6 minutes on a majority of the Womens wave.
T1: 2:16
As I came up out of the water I was sure I was in the top 5 and I saw one guy who must have just beat me out of the water leaving as I was getting to my bike and getting ready to take off.
1st/70 Age Group.    11/1109 Overall
As I came out of T1 for some reason my chain came off as I mounted.  I had tested everything before I left for the swim start so I'm really not sure what happened here.  I managed to work it back on without getting off the bike, but it was still a little stressful trying to fix a chain issue when your heart rate is cranking at 170bpm.  I quickly got into my rythym and picked off 2 guys in my age group within the first 2 miles of the bike.  After that though it was hard to stay in a constant rythym as there are a ton of turns.  The first 10 miles of the course is mostly uphill and to add to that we had to deal with a headwind for most of it.  It was really slow going out as I barely cracked 20mph for the first 5 miles  and I didnt even break 20 mph for the second 5.  Although I wasnt moving very fast in this section I passed a good chunk of athletes.
About 13 miles in there is the final hill climb which is usually timed called Claires climb,  by the time I had hit the top of the climb I was told I was in 6th overall.  I thought to myself great then at this point I must be leading my age group.   Within the next mile or so I ended up passing the guy who was actually leading the age group which kind of took my by surprise.  I passed him and another guy and was hoping I would be able to put enough cushion in case the wheels fell off during the run.  The second part of the course is mostly flat to downhill so I was able to use my weight to my advantage and I was able to put about 1:30 on him in the last 10 miles of the bike before we hit T2.  I wasnt sure what I was going to have left coming off the bike but I initially felt great.
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Speed

t2 0:45
I took a final swig of my bottle and headed out on the run.  I didn't know what I had left, but I promised myself before the race I was going to go for it and give it everything I had before I took my annual training break.

Run 6.2 Mi (GPS 6.31) 6:40/Mi Pace 3/70 Age Group 36/1109 Overall
Easing in to a 6:00 pace
I didn't expect to be so far up front given the last few weeks so when I came out of T2 and I was told I was the 4th place male(at the time) and 1st in my age group, I wanted to hold my place!  I came out and I was so far ahead that the volunteers were hardly ready for me!  As I ran down the boardwalk I was definitely pushing hard  as I hit mile 1 my watch clicked off  a 6:02 mile.  Well I said I was going to try and empty the tank, so lets try and hold this.  Running to the first turnaround I got to see some of the guys that were closely behind me and I didn't see the guy I had passed on the bike so I felt like I might be able to hold him off.  There were a few hills on mile 2 so I expected my pace to slow which it did.  A nice rolling/downhill relief had brought me back to a 6:26 for mile 3 which is right where I thought I would be after 3mi right around a 6:20-6:25 pace.
The volunteers at the aid stations were great! They would go crazy every time someone would be coming past their area.  Unfortunately for me I could tell I was being closed in on because every time I would pass an aid station I could hear them cheering for the guys behind me as well.  Mile 4-5 included the biggest sustained climb of the course and my pace had slowed to a 6:55  As I approached the last turnaround which was close to mile 5 it happened the cheering that kept getting shorter and shorter turned into footsteps.  As I made the turn I could see not one, but two guys right behind me.  As the first one passed me I recognized his kit, and I knew he was the guy I had passed on the bike.  I did my best to stay on his shoulder for as long as I could and that last about 10 seconds, as soon as I fell back from his pace another guy passed me.  At quick glance at his calf he had a 33 and I really was not expecting that.  So now I went from leading my age group to 3rd place in a matter of :20-:30 seconds and I had absolutely nothing left to give.   I was no longer the hunted, I was now back being the hunter and it looked like I wasn't going to be able to eat today!
Apparently the other guy who passed me was right on my heels all day, coming out of the water just :30 seconds behind me and basically matching my bike split,  until then I had no idea there was more than one guy that close!  From miles 5-6 my pace slowed further and my pace was now over 7:00! I could see on the out and back there was at least one other guy chasing me down and he looked pretty strong and I'm pretty sure I looked like crap.  I managed to drop my pace down for the last .31 miles and nobody else had passed me on the run.  The guys who did pass me managed to put 1:30 into me in the last 1.3 miles or so.  I managed to hold on to 3rd in the M30-34 age group and ended up 20th overall in a very large field of 1109!

finishing out the season with an empty tank
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Pace
Post Race:  
I have had a long, but gratifying season.  I ended up finishing it the same way I started it, by getting passed by 2 people on the run!  Even so I managed to meet or exceed most of my goals for the year and I couldn't be happier.   Thanks to my sponsors Pacific Swim Bike Run and Endurance Films your support has been tremendous in helping me achieve my goals this season.  And a special thanks to Erica for dealing with my craziness and traveling with me all season, I know how much you love the  4am wake-ups!  I'm going to take a few days off completely now that I have no impending races on the schedule I'll know when its time to get back into it, but for now I'm not putting a date on it.  I have some lofty goals for 2013, but for now I need a physical and mental break.
Closing the Season With a a Podium Finish

I had heard so many great things about this race in years past I decided to go and find out for myself this year.  I always like going to race in new places and since I had never been to Maine before I was excited to try it.

Pre-Race:  Since I has never been to Maine before I decided to go up a bit early and check it out.  I should have known when we couldnt actually stay in Maine how remote the location actually was!  We ended up staying in Dover, NH which was only 8 miles from the race site, but in another state.  While there were some really pretty parts of both states, there was almost nothing to do in either of them.    Thursday we headed out an explored Dover while Friday we spent most of the day in Maine heading to a tiny beach, followed by a zoo, before heading to packet pickup.   Here is where I got the first view of the powderhouse hill climb challenge.  It was a hill between the lake and T1 that was guaranteed to jump start your heart rate! After picking up the packet we went back to Dover to grab some dinner and call it a night.
The Mountain to T1!
Another Double Race Weekend!
Garlic Knot Pizza! Mmmm
Saturday Warm-up:
As I racked my bike and got my transition area ready I looked around at all the extremely super fit people I was going to be racing against.   I decided to race in the elite wave because I wanted to challenge myself, I knew that this race always grabs top talent from the north east including local professionals due to the prize purse offered so I was planning on getting crushed from the outset.  As I started my usual sprint warm-up I could feel something was off but I just didn't know what.  I could feel like I was going to have a hard time getting my heart rate up, which is a problem when you are supposed to be redlining for an hour or so.  I asked the volunteers if the run course was marked and he said yea don't worry you wont get lost there will be plenty of people at each turn.  He looked at me like I had  3 heads when I told him I was planning on running the run course before we started the race!  He eventually sent me the wrong way, but I turned around at 1.5 miles and just headed back to transition feeling a little flat and unsure of what I was going to be able to accomplish.
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Pace
Swim: .3 Miles (.31 GPS)   7:43  25:00/mi
I knew my only shot to stay close to the rest of the elites was for me to swim in the pack and hang on for dear life since I wouldnt be able to run with most of them.  As the gun goes off I start out in the main pack and Im surprised to be holding my own all the way out to the first buoy.  The next thing I know the feet that I am on pull up and we are suddenly out of the group.  It turns out the guy whos feet I was following had a panic attack and needed to pull back for a minute, in doing so we lost the group and were forced to fend the second half of the swim by ourselves.  With only a minute between the first and second wave I was worried about possibly getting passed by a faster swimmer, but that wouldn't be the case today.  I came out of the water in 10th place looking to take advantage of my strength.
T1: 2:25
As mentioned before we had to climb the mountain from the lake to T1, is was nothing short of what was advertised super tough!
Out of the water and on to the bike!
Bike: 14.3 Mi (14.3 GPS) 38:22  22.4 Mph
The hill climb took quite a bit out of me, more than I expected it to for sure.  While I was getting out of my wetsuit and catching my breath a few of the other elites made it out of T1 before me but not by much.  I started to ride and felt like I had absolutely no power in my legs I was able to catch the first one, and I kind of locked into the second one, who happened to be the guy I was drafting off of in the swim.  Instead of locking in a trying to pass, I basically sat 3 bike lengths behind him and allowed him to pace the whole bike ride for me.  I just didn't have that killer instinct and my legs felt terrible.  We ended up passing a few of the female elites before heading into T2 but we didn't make any ground on the men.  Looking at my power file I definitely did not have it as I was about 30 watts lower than I normally am for a sprint.
Avg Power:264 WMax Power:538 WMax Avg Power (20 min):274 WNormalized Power (NP):277 WIntensity Factor (IF):0.925Training Stress Score (TSS):54.0
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Speed
T2: 0:39:
Nothing new here, grab my shoes and out to go run
Run 3 mi (2.96 GPS) 6:29 Mi pace
As I started the run I immediately wanted to stop.  The 97% humidity made it feel like I was running through quicksand and going absolutely nowhere. I seriously contemplated just walking it back in and calling it a day, but I didn't.   I could see 2 racers slightly ahead of me and I thought I could probably catch them if i pushed but I just had no spark in my legs.  I held on to my position and plodded through it until we hit the last hill coming into transition.  I came across the line in 12th place overall which completely surprised me given how I felt  and raced.  I was hoping that this race shook out the cobwebs and I would be able to put together a solid race at the half ironman on Sunday.
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Pace
Post Race: 
I was a little upset when I saw my wattage at 265 for the bike when I was expecting my wattage target for the half iron to be 265 and was contemplating changing it, but decided against it.  I felt like I could still hold that pace for 56 miles so why not? While disappointed in my personal performance I can't be upset at where I fell in the overall standings.  Given how I felt I will take 12th overall.  We headed back to Dover with nothing to do so we played some mini golf before heading to an early dinner.

Sunday:  I felt a world of difference when I woke up on Sunday morning.  I felt like I was ready to race.  Erica was even commenting on how I was acting like I usually do before a race as opposed to the day before.  I just had no energy on Saturday and it showed in my performance numbers.  While I felt good I knew that this race was going to be much harder to place well at, there were plenty of top half iron guys from around the local area in addition the already deep field that was still racing after racing the Sprint.  I knew I had to keep myself in check and just race my race!
Warmup: I decided that I was only going to run for about 10 minutes to get the juices flowing and just see how I felt overall.  My legs felt a little tight but I knew I had lots of time on the bike and since I didn't necessarily have to run fast I wasn't too worried.
Swim: 1.2 Miles (GPS 1.21) 32:02 26:27/mile
As I started once again I tried to stay with the main pack and I lasted with them until about the first buoy.  Since it was a two loop course I knew I would eventually find some feet on the second loop so I wasn't too worried.  After yesterdays performance I wanted to make sure I didn't blow up in the swim so I swam comfortably hard.  By the third buoy some of the athletes in the aqua bike wave were passing me.  Swimming is not a strength of mine so I didn't let it bother me.  I just hopped on their feet as long as I could knowing that I would get it back on the bike.  Coming into the second loop I had to swim through the slower age groupers that went out in the later waves.  The drafting effect that I got was probably dampened by the amount of time I spent navigating and weaving in and out of people to find clean water.  I finally came out of the water and was extremely upset when I saw 32:xx on the clock.  I certainly felt like I swam better than that, but 32 minutes is all I had to show for it.
T1: 3:07
Running up that hill again wasn't any more fun than the day before.  Given how I performed yesterday and the swim I just had I could have mailed it in.  But I decided that there was still a lot of racing to be done and just focused on what I was going to be doing next, heading out on the bike.
What happens when you can't swim, lots of empty rack space for me!
Bike 56 Mi (54.85 GPS) 23.0 MPH 2:22:13 Personal Best!
Headed out for my ride!
As I started my ride I was the 24th swimmer out of the water.  I felt like I could make up some ground here so I kept my race strategy.  As I eased into my pace I felt very confident that I was going to have a good ride.  I started to settle in and I clicked off the first 5 miles with ease.  The only problem was that I didn't see ANYONE.  Shortly after I passed the 5 mile mark I passed a female, but I wouldn't see anyone else for another 5 miles.  This was going to be one lonely ride!  I kept my head down and just kept plugging away, I was able to pass a few more people before I got to the turnaround where I started to run into the age groupers on their first loop.  It was nice because I no longer felt like I was riding by myself, but I also couldn't tell if someone I was passing was on their first or second loop for sure.  As I came through the second time I knew what to expect and I felt that I actually rode the second half stronger than the first. I passed a bunch of people but I wouldn't know where I stood until I came into T2.   I felt very strong coming into mile 50 and was happy to make the left hand turn back to transition. As I made the final right into transition I could see almost all of them heading out on the run and was pleasantly surprised that I wasn't that far behind. And in the end I averaged that same amount of power that I did for the sprint!  I was clearly off on Sat!
Avg Power:265 W
Max Power:659 W
Max Avg Power (20 min):276 W
Normalized Power (NP):272 W
Intensity Factor (IF):0.907
Training Stress Score (TSS):194.2
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Speed
T2: 0:56
I was told I was in 14th place and the other guys weren't that far ahead.  I knew in my head though since most of them were capable of running 1:15-1:20 I would be losing a lot more time on the run.
Run: 13.1 Miles (13.2 GPS) 1:35:12 7:12 Pace (Half Iron Personal Best)
Out for a run!
As I started the run I wasn't sure how I was going to feel since my run training has been lacking lately.  I hadnt run 13.1 miles in almost 6 months and the furthest I had run in the last 2 was about 9.  Most of runs had been 5-6 miles long.  I could feel my back tightening up as I ran down the first hill and kept telling myself to keep moving.  As I crossed the 1 mile mark I saw 6:30 and I told myself I need to slow down.   My back was still tight but I kept moving along as I looked up one of the spectators was sitting by a tree, and said to me "you didn't get enough yesterday?"  before giving me a split that I was 2 minutes behind 13Th place. This was where we started the climb to what was deemed "the oasis" at the turnaround it was a subtle climb, but it definitely took its toll.  I hit the 3rd mile in 6:58 and felt I was on pace to where I should be.   I had to stop around mile four for a potty break, but then I was back on track. Mile 5 was 6:46, 6 was 7:10 including stopping at the aid stations briefly to dump water on myself or take in nutrition.  I kept counting  to see if I was getting any closer to the guys in front of me, but I just seemed to be losing ground as expected.  Coming into the turnaround I thought I was gaining time on the lead female, but as I faded down the stretch she pulled away.  The run started to get really tough for me, as expected, from miles 10-12.  And then I nearly broke between 12 and 13.   The second place female ran by me like I was standing still on the final climb back to the finish.  Running up the hills I couldn't keep my heart rate down and I had a nasty side stitch that wouldn't go away. As I approached the apex of the last hill I had to stop and walk for a few seconds to catch my breath.   Once I did and I realized it was only a short downhill to the finish I was super psyched as I knew I had a new Half Iron PR.  I rolled my self across the finish in honor of Jon Blais who the race was dedicated to this year and couldn't have been happier!
Rolling to a new personal best!
SplitTimeDistanceAvg Pace
Post Race:
Some people will question why I decided to race as an elite when there were actual professional triathletes racing.  I always, when given the chance, will race against the best of the best.  If I would have race in the age group waves on Saturday I would have been 2nd overall age grouper, but I still would have been 12th overall.  Sundays race I would have been 4th in my age group, but again still would have been 23rd overall.  In both cases I might have actually been faster because of the drafting effect with other riders on the course, but I wouldn't have been able to test myself the way I did knowing that I was being compared to the Pros and pros only.  I've got one more race scheduled for the year and I'm hoping the fitness I gained from this weekend will carry me to a great finish for the year.  Although I was at the back of the back in the elite group both days, its brought me a ton of confidence and I'm going to be heading into 2013 with a head of steam!

Redemption is served! Patriot Half

Coming in to this race I really didn't know what to expect. I had never done 2 Half Ironmans back to back before let alone 6 days apart. I contemplated signing up for the Race on Sunday after bombing in the 105 degree heat that was Eagleman but I waited a few days to see if I still wanted it. After having a decent ride on Wed morning I pulled the cord and dove in. Then I had a terrible run on Thursday, which made me question what I was doing even more. Friday AM I taught a spin class in the morning, and then swam some, still really wasnt feeling 100% and up to racing. Around 4pm I decided to go out for a quick run just to see if anything changed so I popped on my shoes and headed out for a quick 2 mi run. It was like my body forgot about the day before and it wanted to run, both miles seemed to come off at a sub-7 minute pace effortlessly. This gave me some confidence and I suddenly was mentally back in the game.

1:30am Saturday wake up to drive the 175 miles to Freetown, MA to get into Transition by 5 get registered and have everything done and set nice and early. I left some extra time for traffic, which fortunately I didn't hit. And Made it to the Race Site by 5:15am. This was another first for me so it was going to be an interesting day. Breakfast at home consisted of a bowl of oatmeal. Took a bagel with PB& honey for the drive which I ate around 3:30am. and a bottle of Clif Shot electrolyte to sip on the way up.

Registered and got a nice low #, 17 which I took as a good sign. When the volunteer was body marking me, she was confused as I had my number from last weekend still burned into my arm, I told her it was from last weekends half, she just looked at me and shrugged. Got everything ready and went for a nice easy warm up swim. The water was like and ice bath compared to last weeks 80 water, but for me it seemed the perfect temp so I didn't overheat. I swam maybe 10 minutes just splashing around getting used to the water and trying not to expend too much energy, since I knew I was already depleted. Got out of the water and downed my bottle of UCAN 30 mins before the swim and spent the rest of the morning sipping my pre-race cocktail.

Swim 1.2 mile (1.37 GPS measured)

I registered for the elite wave because I didn't really care about winning my age group, I was going for overall time, and I felt that the earlier I started the better. Being in the elite wave there were only 13 people so we had a nice small wave to contend with. Ironically enough the gun went off and it was probably one of the most violent swim starts I've had so far this year, but only initially. I tried to stick with the main group as long as I could and I could see them maybe about 10 seconds ahead of me after the first two buoys, one thing the race directors need to change for next year is having corner buoys in a different shape or a different color to signify turns. After the third buoy there was another orange one in my sight line so i honed it on that one, but I couldn't figure out why I couldn't see the pack. maybe a good minute later i got hit with a kayak paddle telling me to turn around because I was swimming to the wrong buoy! Apparently I wasn't the only one who made this mistake in talking to some other competitors after the race, so I turned around aimed for the correct buoy and forged ahead. I had no idea how many people were in front of me, and but all I know is I could no longer see them and I thought with the exception of the guy who was drafting off of me for what seemed like the entire swim, I would be last out of the water. I felt good the whole time and just kept on going, not letting the mishap bother me, I figured it might have cost me a bit of time but there was no use in fussing over it, I could no longer see anyone so I just focused on the finish line. I came out of the water in 4th position in the elite wave, but 7 minutes down from the eventual winner.

Swim Stats:


50/417 Overall


Bike 56 mi (GPS 56.6)

After a quick T1 I headed out on the bike at this point I still didn't know where I was so I just decided to put my head down and ride. I remembered it to be a fast course, but I also remembered last time I did it and it was advertised as "flat" being a little upset with some of the hills. This time the hills felt non existent and were actually a nice change of pace to get out of the saddle a bit and change position etc. One thing about racing in the front is that its lonely, there was one racer who passed me in transition that I was following for quite a bit from a far but I eventually lost him, other than that I didn't see another racer until I saw people coming out of transition for their first loop. I got a split that I was about 12 minutes down from one of the volunteers at a turn, and I was surprised I lost that much time, I thought I might be picking some time up but I didn't let it bother me, I felt good, and I was positioning myself for a great race. On to the second loop I started passing some of the people in the back of the back, didn't see any of the other elites until about mile 45, I passed him which then put me in 4th place. On the back end of the course I ran into a continuous stream of people doing their first loop and it was nice to just have some company out there, the winds had really picked up so my speed suffered a bit, but I just kept riding steadily and consistently. Felt amazing about 2 hours in to the bike ride and just continued to pass slower riders from the later waves. I hit 2:20 and downed the rest of my nutrition, I wanted to let everything settle in before the run so I took the pace down just a notch to spin my legs out. I hadn't seen anyone else from the elite wave until about mile 55, when someone came by I told him he was now in 5th place and I wasn't going to chase him since at this point its all about the run anyway. I decided I was going to take in much calories this week on the bike and it seemed to pay off, all in I took about 960 calories before all was said and done.

Bike Stats

2:30:54 22.5mph

10/417 Overall

Bike Nutrition

2 bottles:

2 Scoops EFS+1.5 Scoops Clif Shot Electrolyte+ 1 Saltstick pill

1 400 calorie Flask EFS liquidshot

Run 13.1 Miles (13.11 GPS Measured)

I came off the bike feeling amazing, maybe almost too good. Within the firs 1/4 mile I had already caught the guy who passed me on the that few miles of the bike. I looked down at my pace and saw a low 6 min pace and I decided I needed to calm myself down a bit. I could see the next competitor up ahead so I zoned in and started to see if I could catch them. At the time I thought I was in 4th place, so eyeing the 3rd place male I was licking my chops thinking maybe I could manage a podium finish so my pace for the first few miles might have been a bit too fast for my own good. I hit mile 2 and I was still running sub 7, but I was running on feel and nothing else, mile 3 was mostly uphill and saw my pace drop to a little over 7 minutes but still focusing on the 3rd place male. I was slowly closing the gap and I still felt awesome, within miles 4&5 I got a bit closer, and then I started to fade a bit, about mile 6.5 I got passed back by the guy who passed me on the bike, that took a little bit of wind out of my sails but I kept forging on. Then I noticed something, the 3rd place male that I thought I was chasing had a ponytail, then I realized I was chasing down a woman, and I was still in 5th for the guys. Don't get me wrong I wasn't upset that a woman was in front of me, I was upset that I thought I was chasing down another male, and I wasn't. I was actually quite happy when I found out the woman I was trying to chase down was a top age group champion and a sub 10 hour Ironman finisher. I started to take coke at the aid stations because I could feel my fade was costing me, the great thing about this course is they have aid stations every mile, so I was running thru them while taking as much in as I could. Coming into mile 9 there was a volunteer that was a little slow getting what I needed, and it cost me mentally. Since I was pretty much running alone at this point as the 2 people I was chasing were about 1 minute ahead I got into a habit of shouting what I needed about 50-75 yds before I got there so they could have it ready and I wouldn't have to stop, I got into a nice rhythm and was working for me. When I hit the mile 9 aid station the volunteer was a bit slow on grabbing what I had requested and the exchange was botched, everything ended up on the floor and I had to stop and turn around to actually get more. This was the first point in the run that I had walked at all. I turned around got what I needed and just walked for a minute to regroup. Up until that point I was in a sort of zone where all I could focus on was catching the two in front of me, but after turning around and walking for that minute, I never saw them again until the finish line. They had opened up more than a 2 minute lead on me and with all the turns on the course I never got to catch another glimpse. I decided i was going to take 20-30 seconds at each of the last aid stations to walk and make sure I got all the nutrition that I needed in. At one point one guy came running by me like I was standing still, I was running about a 7:30 pace and he was just cruising, looking at the results afterwords he ended up with the number 1 run split on the day so I don't feel that bad! The next few miles were lonely, there was no one in front of me to chase and no one behind me to run from, and the shaded areas of the course were pretty much in the past. I made sure to take coke at all the last 3 aid stations to keep me nice and alert and focused. I finally hit mile the 12 aid station and stopped for my last break, it was then that the volunteers across the street at the bike aid station started to yell at me to keep going, they let me know there was someone closing in, I looked back and saw someone about 1 minute away. I was determined to not let anyone else finish in front of me so I picked it up for the last mile. My 7:19 mile included a 30 second walk break so it was more like 6:50. To make the course a little tougher they stick the worst hill on the whole course about 12.5 miles in to the run. There was a couple of volunteers walking up it when I was running it, so I decided to ask them who's idea it was to put that there. They laughed and gave me some words of encouragement telling me I looked strong and that it probably didn't matter that the hill was there anyway. I looked back and it seemed I had dropped the guy who was closing as I could no longer see him. Turned into cathedral camp for the last 1/2 mile or so still digging with everything I had. All I knew at that point is that I was about to PR my half marathon within a half ironman until I saw the clock. I was actually going to PR my overall time! I tried to pick it up a little more even with nothing left and crossed the line in 4:47:45, a PR by 2 mins and my highest half Iron finish @ 14th Overall

Run Stats:

1:39 (PR)

30/417 Overall

Avg HR: 153 (zone1 pace for me)

Mile 1 6:27

Mile 2: 6:43

Mile 3: 7:06

Mile 4: 7:18

Mile 5: 7:02

Mile 6: 7:40

Mile 7: 7:39

Mile 8: 7:50

Mile 9: 9:12

Mile 10 7:53

Mile 11: 7:49

Mile 12: 8:20

Mile 13: 7:19

Mile 13.11 6:38/pace

Run Nutrition

1 400 Calorie Flask EFS Liquid Shot

13 Cups Water

8 Cups coke

Ridgefield Sprint Triathlon Race Report

After the first week of my two week taper before Eagleman 70.3 I was feeling ok, but not great. Yesterdays race was a tune-up of sorts for me to make sure everything was clicking before this weekend, and it sure delivered what I was asking for.

Swim .5 mi (.5 GPS measured)

I knew coming into the race I was already at a disadvantage looking at the swim times from last year. There were some people in the first wave that were capable of swimming close to 10 minutes, and I was hoping for a 12 at best. And 2 minutes in these short races is extremely hard to make up. I've been swimming hard all year and I have really picked up my top end speed, now I just need to get the endurance to hold it. As the gun went off I headed out with the front pack as long as I could figuring I could at least get a good draft and gain a good 30 seconds to a minute and then drop off when I couldn't hold the pace any longer. It turns out I was able to hold the pace and a little of a draft until the first turn. I backed off a bit and then settled into a semi comfortable (for a sprint) pace for me. And was able to pick up some of the other stragglers dropped from the group to still get a decent draft all the way home. I get out of the water and I hear them tell me "you are 2:30 down" a little more than I had hoped, but enough to make me work harder on the endurance portion of my swimming!

Swim Time:12:41 23/365 1:26/100 yds

Bike: 14 miles (12.26 GPS measured)

After a short run from the lake to the transition area off was the wetsuit on on were the shoes and socks. I got a little slack in the morning for wearing socks in a sprint, and I guess with good reason, looks like they cost me about 20 seconds in transition. But a 1:51 T1 with a run included I'll take. As I clipped in and headed out on the bike I passed 2 people that might or might not have passed me in transition all I know is that we all pretty much got on the bike at the same time. I had no idea how many more people were out in front of me but I knew I had to ride a lot harder then they were if I was going to catch them. The course started off uphill with a few continuous rollers and as hill are not my strength I wanted to make sure nobody was going to pass me for the rest of the day. I knew at one point there was a sharp hairpin turn on the course but other than that it was pretty much a safe course to go all out on. As I started out I could see two more racers in the distance so I set my sights on catching them, the first half of the course was hilly and twisty so I could see them for awhile and then I would lose sight. There were lots of people out cheering and I felt the urge to ask how many were ahead of me but I just kept riding hoping there weren't that many. It seemed to be a lonely course as I didn't really see anyone coming up behind me and there was hardly anyone in front of me. After the hairpin on ridgebury I put it into high gear and focused on picking off the two riders I had been chasing since the swim. Finally got one and I could see the other one in my sights. Coming in to the last mile I could see but since it was a downhill and there were now other riders coming up the other way I decided to back off and spin out till we hit transition because I was determined to catch him on the run. For the first time since the beginning of the swim I saw the leaders out of the water on their way up the hill, I figured they were out of reach but I still was going to try and catch them! While I need to work on my swim endurance, I also think I need to work a bit on my top end speed on the bike in the coming weeks.

33:26 13/365 22.1mph(according to my garmin)

Run 3.1 (3 mi GPS measured)

After a quick :35 transition I headed out of T2 like a bat out of hell. I got some good cheers from the crowd, and I realized I should probably take it back a notch since I have to run 2 miles uphill. I immediately caught the guy who I had been trailing on the bike at the bottom of the hill and proceeded ahead. I could see two more racers ahead in the distance I was confident in my ability to catch them if I held a steady pace, eventually they one of them caught the other one, and they were both side by side, a few seconds later I was right on their tail and I got to pass both of them at the same time! Major confidence boost as one of them was a local guy I know, who I never seem to catch. As the hill got steeper it was time for us to turn left, I had run the first part of the course as a training run but I missed the left turn so I had no idea what was in store. As soon as I made the left I could see it was going to be another tough climb and was hoping I could hang in. Halfway up the climb I started to get a huge side stitch and I was hoping it wouldn't slow me down too much. I looked back and could still see the two guys I had passed so I just kept pressing on. Finally at the top I pushed through the stitch and kept going. I got a few comments on my shoes, which kept me going, the kids seemed to love the bright obnoxious colors. I knew I had about a mile to go and most of it was down the hill I just ran up. Pushed all the way through to the line without getting passed or even seeing anyone else for my highest finish ever. 4th Overall Male!!!

18:56/ 6:24mi
Mile 1: 6:21
Mile2: 6:39
Mile 3: 5:55

Overall 1:07:26

On to the big test next weekend!

Product Review: Brooks Green Silence

Today I got my first pair of the new Brooks Green Silence delivered and I couldn't have been more excited to take them for a test spin. They arrived just in time for this weeks tempo run and I couldn't have been happier. Sizing: From reading other peoples reviews of the shoes I was a little nervous ordering since I normally run in a 11.5 EE Beast, but most reviews alluded to the fact that the shoes ran a bit big, so I just stayed with my 11.5 and they fit like a glove, my guess would be most people should go down a size. Look: unfortunately if you want to run in the silence, you are stuck with the obnoxious yellow and red colors. It's a very bold look and it might turn some people off, but I would suggest taking them for a test run before looking elsewhere. You might be pleasantly surprised at the comfort. Comfort: For a "racing flat" I found these extremely comfortable, in fact even more so than the super cushy beast I normally run in. Weight: They are listed at 6.9 ounces which is only slightly more than the 6.1 oz of the Vibrams, with a world of difference on the comfort & protection level. I run exclusively in Brooks, with the exception of the Vibram FiveFingers, and I'm always able to run in the new shoes right out of the box and I felt there was no reason to do anything differently with these.

On to the test, my first 2 miles were supposed to be a warm up and according to my pace it didn't seem like it but now looking back at my heart rate it certainly was. These shoes just want to go fast. My first mile was a 7:16 and I figured I would probably slow down a bit since the second mile has a few big hills however I only ended up running 2 seconds slower. Now my workout was supposed to be a 15 minute warm up followed by 30 mins of tempo so after I hit the 15 minute mark I started to push the pace to see how I would feel. As I started to pick up the pace, the shoes seemed to respond nicely and I felt very "springy". I have recently learned to run more on my forefoot because of the Vibram's and I could translate that skill very well into running in the silence. I felt like I was actually running on a cloud, but I was still able to keep a minimal feel of the pavement below me which I am not able to do in the Beast. The lightness of the shoe coupled with the minimal lateral support allowed me to focus on the forefoot strike and keep away from heel striking.

My initial thoughts were positive however, I don't see this as that much of a minimalist shoe. If your looking for something like the Vibram Five Fingers where you can feel everything this isn't the shoe for you. However, I can see how this shoe can be a great compliment to the Five Fingers by switching back and forth. You definitely don't get the same road feel you do from the Vibrams, but you also get a bit more protection, so you don't feel everything. It's a good shoe to run in the day after and practice the technique you learn from the Vibrams, because you can still slightly feel the road, and know if your running properly.

I originally ordered these shoes because I wanted to run my upcoming Triathlons in the Five Fingers, but I felt the transition time would take to long, so I wanted a minimalist shoe like a Nike Free, and after one run I'm convinced I found it. I was able to run what I felt was an effortless tempo run with every mile faster than the one before. The more comfortable I got with the shoes the faster I was able to run in them. In fact at one point I was so comfortable I almost forgot I was doing a tempo run and let my pace slip slightly!! I'm convinced and I will be racing in them for the first time next weekend and see what I can do in at my first sprint triathlon of the year.

Workout Details:

Mile 1: 7:16 HR 138

Mile 2: 7:18 HR 145

Mile 3: 6:55 HR 155

Mile 4: 6:38 HR 158

Mile 5: 6:36 HR 170

Mile 6 6:28 HR 191

Mile 7 6:23 HR 186

Mile .25: 6:01 HR 183

Total Workout: 7.25miles, 6:44 per mile pace, Average HR 163

The Importance of Nutrition

Today I realized how important nutrition actually is. The last few weeks I have upped my training but left my caloric intake pretty much the same. I was feeling sluggish all last week and I had just assumed it was a direct correlation to the extra training load that I had been adding. I was completely shocked when I started to actually track the calories I was eating vs what I was burning, I was usually in a 2,000 sometimes 3,000 calorie deficiet on my bigger training days, and thats after I was eating to the point where I felt I was pretty much stuffed. I then realized I needed to really focus on craming down enough calories or I wouldn't be allowing my body to repair itself.
Some days I really felt like I was forcing food down and I still was 1,000 calories or more short, but the boost in training that I got from the extra food was amazing. I had a new found energy and felt I was recovering much faster than in previous weeks. Maybe it had something to do with my body being used to the heavier training load, but simply adding another 1500-2000 calories a day had worked wonders.
It was really evident in this weekends workouts, I rode the same exact route as the previous week, with the same exact people, a full 15 minutes faster than last week. Last week I got dropped about 2 hrs in, this week I felt strong the whole way. There was no difference on what I ate on the ride, just on the days leading up to it. Of course I stuffed my face for the rest of day to make sure I was giving my body enough of a chance to recover for the next days run.
I eased into my Sunday run and after awhile I felt effortless, I've started to do most of my shorter runs in the Vibram KSO's and while I still do my long runs in my heavier running shoes, I have noticed a huge change in my running gait, and I feel more "springy" while running on the balls of my feet instead of heel striking. Once again a great workout was had on the heels of eating enough. I ran 13 miles in Central Park, a little slower than my last half marathon, with a lot less effort. With about 20 days left until my first A race of the season I feel like Im ready, one more big week, and time to taper down a bit!

Another 20 hour week

After racing a few weeks in a row I decided to take it easy until my first A race of the year. I was getting great race prep and speed workouts by doing the local running races, however it was making me extremely tired with the amount of training Ive been logging lately. 20 Hours is a pretty significant number, and when you hit that number a few weeks in a row you start to feel it! The last 5 weeks have been 20, 16, 19, 19, and im now on pace for another 20+ week. After looking at my caloric intake for the past few days I realize Im not tired because I'm training so much, I'm tired because I can't manage to put down enough calories! After yesterdays workouts and meals I was still in a 2200 calorie deficiet, and thats after me feeling that I was stuffing myself.

Not suprisingly my run this morning started off at a slow suffering pace, but it was supposed to be an increasing pace workout, so by then end I was hauling, and actually feeling good. Suprisingly I felt good and felt that I actually nailed it, even though I started off pretty slow. From here on out I need to pay special attention to the caloric intake since I only have about 24 days left and my recovery from these next few weeks is essential.

On another note I ran my longest in my Vibrams on Tuesday which was 7.2 miles including track work. I have hit speeds on the track in the Five Fingers that I never thought I would see in my lifetime. I am loving them and I would race in them if they werent so hard to put on. Trying to put them on in transition will be tough especially when I am trying to save as much time as possible. I really do like the feel of the minimalist shoe, and I am looking for something similar to race my Triathlons in. I'm still contemplating running Ironman Wisconsin in them, because the transition as part of the day will be less significant than it will in shorter races.

36 Days.

This is the fourth high volume week in a row for me. Since April 12th Ive logged weeks of 20.5, 16, 19, and I'm on pace for another 20 after this week. The continual soreness I have has come down some and Im almost ready to taper down for Eagleman 70.3. The mix of intensity and steady distance training has been rough, but I can see it making me stronger and faster.
I still have some residual soreness from running in the Vibrams 2 days ago, but I can't exactly pinpoint if its from the running I did in them or the 5+ hour training day I put in yesterday. My run this morning started out quite slow and I actually didn't feel particularly good until about 2o minutes in, but since I was only runnning a short easy run today I don't paricularly care. Tommorrows 10k will be the true test, at this point however I'm not so sure about running the 10k in the Vibrams, as I know I will be running much faster than I did on Wed. and I havent tested them at that speed yet. Maybe I will wait for a 5k and test them out there.
With 5 weeks left before Eagleman and a hard but good regimen going I am feeling tired, but thankful that I only have 3 more big weeks before the taper starts for the big day. My swimming has really improved and I have now brought my running back to where it was before I was injured last year. I'm pushing the bike this month because I missed out on riding last year and never really got used to my new bike before racing on it. I'm getting much more comfortable on the smaller frame and when I get the bike up to speed the handling is simply amazing. Hopefully the early season biking will pay off!

My First Attempt at Barefoot Running

After I finished reading "Born to Run" a few weeks ago I was inspired to sign up for my first ultra marathon and intrigued by the possibility that barefoot running might be a healthier choice and could possibly even improve my running. I decided to do some further research on my own and after reading a few articles, studies and blogs I decided to grab a pair of the Vibram Five Fingers and give them a try. For the last 3 weeks I have been wearing them everywhere, including walking around, hiking, and to the gym.
Most articles I have read stated to break them in slowly so I started with a short 2 mile run. The first downhill was tough on my feet as I was not used to running in the Vibrams just yet however after a few more strides on the flats I felt much more fluid. I looked down at my pace as I felt I was running slow, but I was quite surprised to see I had been right on my target pace. I normally run directly after my spin class for a few miles just to get the feeling of running off the bike and to add a little bit of extra run mileage to my week so I am used to it. The previous weeks run left me feeling tired and sluggish, however this weeks run left me feeling energized. The two days workout wise were identical, the spin class was slightly different but I still rode for 3 hours before on both days so the only real difference was the footwear.
Although it was a short run, I can see how I will enjoy running more in the future in them. I will probably give one more run in them on Friday and decide if I want to run this weekends 10k in them. 2 Miles is a far cry from the 50 I plan on running in them in October, but I have plenty of time to break them in for that.

Greenwich Biathlon 2010

I came into this race with a heavy loaded training week, already having posted over 16 hours of intense training before getting to the starting line so I wasn't sure what to expect or how my body would hold up. I felt much better going into this Sunday then I did the previous one, but I was still unsure if I would be able to actually "race". The short distances go by quickly but they also hurt so much more than racing long distance. I warmed up with a quick easy 2 mile jog and then made sure my transition area was all set.

Run 1 (2.5 Miles)

I started off in the front like I normally do, I just find it takes too much energy to move around people that don't properly seed themselves. I justify starting out front myself because I typically start like I got shot out of a cannon and then slow down from there. The gun goes off and there I am once again leading a race I have no business leading. I know from looking around the start line that there are some fast athletes racing today and I am not close to their caliber yet. As I stare down at my watch to see how fast I am actually running I cringe when I see its under a 5:00/mile pace, its a good thing I looked because I could have easily cooked the whole race right there. I backed off on my pace and watched the faster athletes pass. I was still hacking a lung, but a little more controllable at this point but I was suprised at how many people were passing, but I stayed within myself. About 2 miles into the run another runner catches me, looks at me as if to stare me down and then sits on my tail for the rest of the run. I hit the transition area in 15:00 exactly for a 6:00/mi pace. Not too shabby, I'll take it..

Bike (10 Miles)

I recently started biking outside in addition to teaching spin classes so I thought that this is the leg that I would lag on. I haven't done much speedwork all year so I decided I would be happy just not to lose any places on the bike instead of picking them up. When I got on the bike I remembered why I never usually pick up any spots on it in this race, I'm just not used to riding after running! I started the bike with the two lead women right on my heels in fact they both came out of transition with me at the same time. I tried as best I could to pick up spots on the bike but about halfway through it became a matter of just keeping my place instead of picking up any. Not only could these guys run well, they could also ride. I thought I lost the two lead females until I hit Palmer hill and I lost the big group and then got passed by eventual overall Female winner Donna Kay Ness and another male rider. They hit the top first but I quickly regained my ground on the descent. I was able to dial it up a notch as I knew the back end of the course was flat to downhill and the one major climb was done. I tried my best to catch the large group I lost on the hill, but they must have had the same idea that I did. I came into transition ahead of both Donna and the other male rider and took off with Donna right on my heels out of T2. I was on the bike for about 24:39 which is almost 24.4 mph, I didnt feel that fast since I got dusted on that hill, but I guess the numbers dont lie. I'll be interested to see if I can keep that up for longer on flatter course.

Run 2 (2.5 miles)
I came out of transition on a mission. I was in pain, and I wanted it to be over. I figured if I ran the first run in 15 minutes anything close to that would be a solid finish. As I came out into the first turn I could see some of the other athletes that I lost on the bike, and I could see that I was gaining on them. I looked down at my pace and could see I was holding 6:00 again, but this time it felt different, maybe because I was warmed up, or maybe because I knew if I kept it up I would be able to pick off a few more racers. Through the first mile I managed to pick off and pass 2 runners, and I could see someone who I knew was in my Age Group. I continued to push and I passed 4 more people until I was right on his heels. Just as I was feeling good about myself I got passed by the other guy that was riding with me at the very end like I was standing still. Not only that but it seemed to spark the guy in my Age Group to pick it up as well. We were about 1/2 mile out from the finish and the way they took off I knew I didnt have enough ground to catch them. I stayed my pace and just tried to finish as fast as I could. I crossed the line for the second run in 13:54 negative spliting the run by over a minute. I think the second run is slightly shorter but I'll take it.
I crossed the line with a 2 minute PR from the last time that I raced and in 15th overall, with a 3rd place Age Group award. It's comforting that I can still push my body after a 16 hour training week and get an award among such a strong field. Definitely happy to be back to racing at full strength.