A Look Back / A Look Ahead

2014 was the biggest and without a doubt the best year of my life. I married the girl of my dreams on June 7th, and we started our life together which has been such an exciting journey. Triathlon wasn’t the sole focus of my free time, but when we returned from our honeymoon I got to work and quickly got ready for one of my favorite races, the Deschutes Dash Olympic Triathlon in Bend, OR. I wanted to do a 70.3 so we headed up to Lake Stevens in August, and I returned to the Dalles to race the Aluminum Man Olympic. The theme for me at all 3 of these races was be competitive, that was my goal, and that was accomplished.
Looking back on 2014 , it wasn’t a huge year. However, when I look at the amount of quality work that I squeezed into a 6 month window (balanced triathlon training really didn’t start till late June, I mostly ran the first half of the year) I’m feeling really confident going into my first Ironman build.

In 2014 my mindset changed, I became a triathlete, not just someone who does triathlon. I learned how to push myself to levels that I never thought possible, and really started to develop a community within the sport. I bought a power meter, and signed up for my first Ironman, and even did a photo shoot with my friend. The tools are in place, and I’m ready for my best year yet – both inside and out of the sport of Triathlon.

DSC00271

By the numbers:

Swim: 311,520 yards (89 hours)
Bike: 3, 249 miles (176 hours)
Run: 1,382 miles (174 hours)
Strength: 36 hours

Looking ahead to 2015 – it’s going to be a HUGE year and I am so excited! I’ve partnered up with Hammer Nutrition again for nutrition support, am working with Team 10 Barrel again, and I am finalizing a few other opportunities over the next couple of weeks.

I’m signed up for my first Ironman this coming June – Ironman Coeur d’Alene. My training block officially starts up on January 5th. I’ve enjoyed my fair share of cookies and off days over the past couple of weeks and I’m stoked to get going. I’m going to use this blog as motivation over the next 6 months to write about my training, progress, learnings, and anything else I stumble upon as I work towards #IMCDA.

Happy 2015!

My Transformation Story

I’ve shared bits and pieces of my transformation on this blog, on instagram, and with friends – but I have never taken the time to really tell the story. I’m continually surprised at the reaction I get when I tell people I used to weigh 250 pounds, often times it’s a combination of disbelief and complete surprise. The life that I live now does not in anyway reflect the life that I was living 6+ years ago. As a matter of fact, I’ve been home to Alaska many times since deciding to lose weight and change my life – and more than once I’ve had old friends genuinely not recognize me. I wanted to take the time to tell the story, I’ll try to not make it a novel, but I will share some of the key decisions I made – and more importantly, how the decision stuck.
I grew up in Alaska, and as a kid I was incredibly active. From sunrise to sunset I was always out biking with friends, skateboarding, playing paintball – you name it. As we got older, snowboarding became the obsession and I would snowboard 60+ times in a season. I played basketball as my primary sport, I was never the best, but I could always shoot the basketball very well. The most points I ever scored in a game was 18 my junior year of high school versus a big rival of ours, Seward. Without going on and on, I was active as a kid – and that is the point I’m trying to make here.

I made a decision to get a job at Best Buy the summer before my senior year (2005) – and to this day it was one of the best jobs I’ve ever had. I made amazing friends, got to work with computers, my passion (at the time), every single day – and had some incredible life experiences. I also started eating out more, fast food was the easy option during my 30 minute lunch breaks – sometimes it was Subway, sometimes it was Taco Bell – but it was always eating out. But eating out wasn’t the only big change to my life.

All of the guys I worked with in the Computer Department decided to start playing a video game called World of Warcraft (WoW). For those of you who know me, there are a few traits that I possess that are seen throughout my day to day life very consistently: I love to be a part of whatever is going on, and I’m incredibly competitive. With that said, not only was I up for joining the guys in playing, but I wanted to be the best. Without turning this entire post into my chronicles of online video gaming – this is where my life drastically began to change. Throughout my senior year of high school, I would stay up to 1, sometimes 3 in the morning playing WoW online. I was sleeping as little as possible, I was eating poorly (and conveniently), I was disrespectful to my parents, I skipped playing basketball my senior year (for reasons other than video gaming), and the list goes on and on.

Let’s fast forward to 2008. As a sophomore in college, I was still playing World of Warcraft, weighed 250 pounds, and had developed some very poor habits. One of my favorite weekend activities was to go buy a Little Caesars ‘Hot ‘n Ready’, a couple 24oz cans of rock star, and I would stay up ALL night playing. To say that it was consuming was an incredible understatement.

My biggest

To this day, I can’t put my finger on it, but a few days before the school year ended I made one of the biggest decisions of my life. I stopped playing the video game. Alongside a friend of mine from Best Buy who was playing the game with me, we each picked up a copy of ‘Body for Life’ – and committed to turning our lives around. When I arrived home in Alaska in early May I announced to my family that I was going to lose 30 pounds that summer, and I wanted their support. My plan was simple, I would workout during my lunch break (my summer job was in a mall that had a gym on the bottom floor), pack a healthy lunch, and focus my competitive nature on this goal. Through all of this – following the principles that Bill Phillips lays out in his book, Body for Life.

The summer passed by quickly, and I stuck to my goal(s). And I executed the plan as perfectly as I could. I worked out 6 days a week as the book told me to, I ate 6 times a day, and was tracking my calories for the first time in my life. My goal was to lose 1.5-2lbs per week. This goal was based on what I had read, which was that this was a healthy amount of weight to lose each week without losing (much) muscle, primarily targeting fat loss. As my Alaskan summer came to a close, I didn’t quite meet my goal – and I headed back to Oregon in August weighing just over 220 pounds. For those of you not tracking the math, I had lost about 25-30 pounds in a little less than 4 months.

When I got back to school – that is when I really changed. As I began seeing friends after the summer, their reactions to my new found self were incredibly motivating. I was making better decisions about my diet, I was counting calories meticulously, and working out smart and strategically. I dove into the literature of strength training and developed a routine that consisted of lifting weights 6x a week, while inserting tons of other activities into my week such as pick up basketball and ultimate frisbee. It was official, my life was changed.

Hawaii

By Christmas of 2008 I weighed 200 pounds. I’ll never forget the look on my Mom and Dad’s faces when they saw me for the first time that December, they were so proud. I was a new me, and the next 2 years were filled with confidence and a never ending pursuit of being the best version of me that I could be. I was a better person on the inside and out.

In 2010 I got my first real job. By this point I was a stable 190-195 pounds, strong, and training like a bodybuilder (after 2 years of continuous research, I was very knowledgable on this stuff too). Fitness was part of who I was, it was a part of my day every single day, and the decisions that used to be conscious were now very habitual. I had made a lifestyle change, and that is the important element of a successful plan that will stick. If you had asked me then, I didn’t have any ambitious goals, I just wanted to be as strong and fit as I could be – and I probably would have thought that I’d be a weight-lifting, chicken eating, calorie counting type of guy for the rest of my life. Boy was I wrong…

Early on in my new job, I met a girl (and I was lucky enough to marry her this past June!). I didn’t know a ton about her, but to say that I was intrigued would be the biggest understatement of this entire post. The one thing that I knew was that she was into running. Once again, my life changed forever (and for the better). I can’t explain it without sounding somewhat weird, but she had signed up for a half marathon in Arizona, so I signed up too. What can I say, I wanted to impress her. I ran my first 10k that fall of 2010 in just over 56 minutes (a little slower than 9:00/mile pace). Just as I had done with weight lifting and weight loss – I studied running. I crafted a plan and stuck to it for 3 months and in January of 2011 I ran my first half marathon, Rock ‘n Roll Arizona, in just over 1:41 (just over 7:40/mile pace).

bigRnR AZNew Me

I will save my detailed endurance story for later. But my running progressed quickly, and I eventually found Triathlon. Triathlon is what has stuck the longest of any of my personal pursuits, and is the one that I see myself sticking with (I mean it this time!). I hope that this story can inspire and motivate. Anything truly is possible, but it requires tenacious, and very hard work.

Thanks for reading –

Off-Season: Working On My Weaknesses

Happy October! Since one of my goals is to write a little more frequently, so that each blog entry isn’t an entire book – I’m going to share what’s been going on so far this fall, and how my off-season is shaping up. I’m also thinking that the theme of the next few posts will revolve around off-season and what I’m doing to prepare for my first Ironman build for Coeur d’Alene next June.
Reading through this last season’s race results and recaps, it’s clear that my swim and bike have improved significantly since the previous season. All of the races I did this year were unique: Deschutes Dash features a very short 1300m downriver swim, and an incredibly challenging 2000ft climb on the 25 mile bike. Lake Stevens 70.3 was a much tougher 56 (over twice the climbing) mile bike comparing it to Austin 70.3, my only other Half-Ironman. And Aluminum has a short 1000m swim, with a long 50k (31 mile) bike.

I used two different primary ways of evaluating this year’s performances to last years. First, I compared my overall standings in each discipline between the two seasons. Second, I used an obscene amount of data that I have available through Garmin and Training Peaks. My swims in every race were significantly more competitive overall this year, my bikes were much more competitive as well. No surprise, but my run continued to be right at the top and I even had my first race where I captured the fastest run of the day at Aluminum Man.

I have identified both the swim and the bike as my primary areas of focus for the next few months. I no longer want to rely on my run to catch the field, but want to be able to use the run to secure my placing and wins, be it in my age group (AG) or overall (OA). I will spell out the high-level goals that I have for the two disciplines, and then do a deep dive for both the swim and bike over the next couple of weeks.

The Swim

Anticipating the jump to Ironman next year – I know that my overall volume needs to increase. I also know that I am capable of a competitive time, and am going to lock in the goal of a one hour (1:00) swim at Ironman CDA. For the next 3 months I am focused on increasing my volume and frequency. I will go to 2 Masters swims a week where we focus on speed, spending a lot of time doing threshold paced work. I will spend 2 days a week working on form and drills, and have one day that is more endurance focused. The goal will be 10,000-15,000 yards/week over 4 or 5 days of swimming. I am in talks with our Masters coach to get some video analysis and 1:1 coaching done as well. Right now I can swim my 300’s right around 1:25/yard pace pretty comfortably on about 15 seconds of rest. I’m going to try and get these under 1:20 by the end of the year. More to come on workouts and progress!

The Bike

As I mentioned in my last post, I’ve joined TrainerRoad and after talking with the guys on SlowTwitch, I am going to put in a block over the next few months to develop a strong base for Ironman training. I am doing the ‘Traditional Base – Low Volume II’ program to start, and will evaluate and increase after 4 weeks. I have done my first FTP test using their Virtual Power and measured a 287 FTP. I was a bit disappointed, but it gives me a true metric to use for training and a great starting block to build on. The training will be focused on FTP work, both right above and right below. Sweet spot intervals, and the endurance rides will contain a fair amount of quality. As I learn more and develop on the Bike, I will continue to share my progress as well as lessons learned.

Off-season?

I think most triathletes struggle with the concept of taking time off, at least taking time off from meticulously structured training. I am without a doubt guilty of this. Knowing that my next real build is going to be focused on Ironman Coeur d’Alene – I’m determined to define an offseason, to spend more time with my Wife, and to be completely OK with skipping a workout or eating an extra piece of pizza.
With that said, I know I’m going to keep training, and I know that I’m not going to let myself gain more than a couple of pounds – so what is going to be different about ‘offseason’ compared to ‘in-season’?

  1. I am going to spend more time with my beautiful bride. This is going to be a great chance to spend extra time with her, take care of some house projects, and to enjoy dating each other.
  2. I am going to prioritize family, and practice flexibility with training. If I want to get my typical 2 workouts in for the day, but we have plans to meet up with family for dinner – I’m going to need to be running/swimming/biking before This is going to be good practice; I know I’ll have more than my share of morning workouts come January.
  3. I’m going to focus on my weaknesses. I have proven that I’m able to run competitively in distances up to 70.3, I’ve also demonstrated a lot of opportunity on both the swim and the bike. Upping the swim volume is going to be easy once the rainy weather returns to Portland. I have also joined Trainerroad and will begin my first bike training block at the beginning of October. I am going to be spending a lot of time in the pain cave this winter, and am so motivated to make big gains on the bike.
  4. I’m going to read. I’ve purchased books by Matt Dixon as well as Joe Friel – I’ve already read one and have made a big dent in the 2nd.
  5. I’m going to have fun! I LOVE to run and there are days where I’d rather run than swim/bike but the schedule says to swim/bike so that’s what I do. For the next couple of months, if I want to run, or if I want to lift weights – that’s what I’m going to do.
  6. I’m going to write more. I really enjoy having this blog, even though I only have a few people that read it. I’m going to make it a point to write on a more routine cadence – about a lot of the things I’ve mentioned above, and surely other content as well.

This list will continue to evolve, but this is how I’m viewing the ‘offseason’ today.

Race Report: Aluminum Man Triathlon

Well there is a first time for everything, and early on in the bike I made a wrong turn – I’ll rewind a little bit, but I wanted to explain that right away.

Race morning was perfect; woke up in my own bed bright and early at 5am, foam rolled, made coffee, had a breakfast of Fage nonfat greek yogurt and blueberries, two pieces of Udi’s gluten free toast, and 1.5 scoops of Hammer HEED in a 24 oz. bottle. We were in the car by 6:15 driving into the sunrise, gorgeous morning for a race. We got to The Dalles by 7:50 and I was checking in by 8. After a pre-race meeting with the other athletes, we lined up for the 9am start on the beach – I was feeling GOOD and it was time to RACE!

The Swim – (1000 yards, 14:02, 1:24/100y)

The swim to the first buoy was a little congested, but the traffic didn’t even compare to Lake Stevens 70.3. Once we made the turn, I found myself in a pack of 4 athletes and really got to enjoy drafting on the swim for an extended portion which was great. Once we made the final turn, I picked up my stroke rate and kicked a bit harder to get ready for the bike. I had a really great swim, I came out of the water in 5th or 6th place overall.

Swim exit Aluminum Man 2014

The Bike – (29.8 miles, 1:26:00, 20.8 mph)

I passed two people right away, one in transition and one early on in the bike. I see the race leader about 400 yards ahead of me and knew that I could win this race. I was holding a steady pace and working to lower my heart rate, it’s always so high coming out of T1. At mile 5 I approached a ‘Y’ in the road, and the only sign I could see said ‘Sprint’ with an arrow pointing straight – so I went straight. This is where the asterisk comes into play. I put the pedal to the metal and really started pushing, and about 1.5 miles later I caught up with one other rider, seconds later a police officer came up behind us in his patrol car… He let us know that we’d made a wrong turn, and he placed a call into the Race Director to figure out how to re-route us. We drastically slowed the pace for what felt like an eternity, looking at my data, it looks like we spent about 1.5 minutes as this call took place. Once he re-routed us, it was go time. I knew that I was out of contention to win, but I wanted to get back as fast as I could to run my race. I pulled into T2 with about 8 minutes of time lost on the course due to the wrong turn, disappointed, it was time to run angry!

Entering T2 Aluminum Man  2014

The Run – (6.2 miles, 39:07, 6:18/mi, fastest run of the race)

Often time with the run, I start out too hot. This time, I started out at the pace I felt like I could hold – and I ran an even split 10k with a fast kick at the end. It’s an out and back 10k, so I kept waiting to see who would be coming back so I could get a grasp of my placing overall and what the competition was looking like. I saw the eventual winner, Patrick Hiller, and knew that he was too far ahead to catch. Eventually, realized that I was sitting in 16th place at the turn around, and I made my goal to make top 10 overall. I ran a steady race and picked them off one at a time. At mile 5 I passed 11th place and he told me that I was about 1 minute behind 9th – go time. I pushed the pace and as we crested the final hill to descend into the finish I passed 10th place in front of my wife which was awesome, and flew in for 8th overall and 2nd in M25-29.

Post race with 2nd AG medal aluminum man 2014

Takeaways

I’m feeling the most torn that I’ve ever felt after a race. In one sense, I’m disappointed because I know that I could have won this race which would have been a first overall win for my triathlon career. However, it’s only my second season, so to know that I’ve advanced that much – I am thankful to have a body that works, to have a wife that supports me, and the desire to keep on getting better. This race was a huge step forward for me, my swim was in the very top, the bike would have been, and my run was the best it’s ever been overall (1st!!!). I’m excited to enjoy this off-season, to focus on my weakness and continue to sharpen my strengths, and to be ready to fight at Ironman Coeur d’Alene next year, my first Ironman. Thank you to Hammer Nutrition for the continued support, HEED, Hammer Gel, Endurolytes Fizz, and Sustained Energy were crucial in the 90 degree temperatures. Thank you to 10 Barrel Brewing for supporting Team 10 Barrel as well as our awesome team sponsors; Wattie Ink, Picky Bars, and Hydro Flask.

Race Report: Lake Stevens 70.3

Lake Stevens was my 2nd Half Ironman race, and the prep for this race was very different than the prep for Austin 70.3 last October. Going into this race I had much more confidence in my ability, I had an additional 9 months of base under my belt, but I didn’t have a really consistent and focused build for Lake Stevens. I had about 7 weeks of good, quality training between the honeymoon and Lake Stevens – and I felt great going into this race. Unsure if I’d be seeing a PR, due to the dramatic differences in elevation between Austin (1,400 feet or so on the bike) and Lake Stevens (Garmin said almost 3,500 feet) – but I was as ready as I could be. The trip up to Lake Stevens was quite long on Saturday, Seattle traffic seemed like it was against us and it took us close to 6 hours to get from Portland to the race expo. With that said, we made it just in time for the athlete briefing, got some tips on the tricky corners during the bike, picked up some gear, got the bike checked in, and were out of there within an hour. Because of the traffic that morning, we decided to find pre-race pizza closer to the hotel in Everett. I’m much more relaxed the night before a race now compared to last year – but I still enjoy having a beer to relax the night before a race, I got all packed up and ready for the morning and was in bed by 10am, with a daunting 4am wake up call ahead of me the next morning.
Race Morning

The race-morning traffic in Austin was so bad that I (literally) almost missed the race. Because of that, there was no getting around it, we were going to be leaving early for Lake Stevens. I woke up at 4, and had the following for breakfast: 1 cup of coffee, 1 scoop of Hammer HEED in 24 oz. of water, 2 Trader Joes sourdough english muffins w/ almond butter, and a banana. With a successful #2 taken care of, we were on the road by 5:15. Traffic was a piece of cake, and in less than 20 minutes from Everett we were parked in our reserved spot in one of the lots downtown (definitely worth the $20 at the race expo!!!) I had plenty of time to get my nutrition setup on the bike, the chance to meet some fellow Team 10 Barrel athletes, and to get my mind right for the task at hand.

The Swim (1.2 miles – 31:57 – 1:39/100m)

The M25-29 wave started 3rd from last (I believe). The male pros started at 6:30, and we didn’t start until 7:03 – needless to say, almost right away there was big time traffic. I swam steady and made it out to the end buoy in 15:30 feeling very in control, by the time I was making my way back I was just passed 16 minutes. I knew that sub 30 minutes might not happen, but that a PR for the 1900m swim was definitely possible. I swam hard, but in control weaving in and out of countless age groupers back-stroking, breast stroking, etc and swam in just under 32 minutes. My swim was 14th in my division, and 176th overall.

The Bike (56 mile – 2:44:07 – 20.47mph)

After a smooth T1, I was off on the bike. I felt good right away, making an emphasis to lower my heart rate and to wait until it dropped to start my nutrition. Right away I was in the fast lane passing constantly, it seems impossible to avoid ‘drafting’ at times with the starts being this way but I did my best to obey the rules. By mile 5 I had already seen 3 ambulances tending to badly injured athletes, I had heard that the course was known for sharp corners, so I made the mental note to really be safe while cornering – even if that meant I would leave a little time out there. The ride went by really quickly. Despite the crazy amount of climbing, my legs felt good the whole time and I know I left it all out there. My goal of beating my time in Austin didn’t happen, but I was WAY more competitive at this race which felt so awesome. By the time I finished the bike I was 12th in my division and 145th overall. 

photo (2)

The Run (13.1 miles – 1:29:28 – 6:49/mi)

T2 was fast for me (1:58) most likely because I came off the bike barefoot and really flew through transition. Right away I set into a hard pace that felt doable and the first 5 miles were just under 6:30 pace. The run course was deceivingly hilly, and I knew that I had to slow down or I was going to blow up. I dropped my pace to about 6:50 and the legs did fall off a bit around mile 10, but I still managed to run a sub 1:30 which I will always feel good about. Despite running it the hard way, I feel great about the result, especially considering how tough the bike was. I finished the run 7th in my division, and 86th overall. 2 spots away from getting an age group award at an Ironman race, now THAT is something to be excited about.

Takeaways 

My swim has come a long way, and I really feel like I just need to continue the course with my training. If I keep my frequency where it’s at (4 swims/week) and simply add some volume, I’m going to continue to see the gains that I’ve been seeing. My bike is my biggest opportunity, and this is going to be the focus for me over the fall/winter. In talking to the guys on slowtwitch, I need to learn how to suffer on the bike like I’ve learned to do on the run. The engine is there, I just gotta keep at it. I’m so proud of this result and excited to keep training and seeing the gains and improvements come. Next up, I think I’ll be racing the Aluminum Man Triathlon again, and then it’s all about enjoying some time off and getting this body ready for Ironman Coeur d’Alene! As always, thanks to Hammer Nutrition for the support, 10 Barrel Brewing, and our team sponsors Wattie Ink, Picky Bars, and Hydro Flask!

Life Update & Race Report: Deschutes Dash Olympic Triathlon

What a summer it has been! Wow, the natural place to start is definitely going to be that I married the woman of my dreams on June 7th. It was an amazing day, filled with quite the drama as wildfire forced us to evacuate our wedding site and move the reception to a public park in Bend. I really liked the way that CNN told the story: http://outfront.blogs.cnn.com/2014/06/09/oregon-couples-wedding-shot-includes-approaching-wildfire/ With that aside, we’ve had an amazing summer being married and have quickly settled into a hectic schedule of travel, family, work, and plenty of training.
I knew that this season would be different because of the wedding being in June, followed by our (amazing) honeymoon in Mexico. However, I was determined to get out and compete and to represent Hammer Nutrition, Team 10 Barrel, and our team sponsors Picky Bars, Hydro Flask, Wattie Ink, and of course 10 Barrel Brewing. I kicked the season off at the Deschutes Dash Olympic Triathlon in Bend. I was excited about this for a few reasons, primarily because it’s my first time doing a race for the 2nd time so I was eager to compare my fitness to last year – plus, I LOVE being in Bend. Here it goes:

The Swim – 1300m (14:43 – :52/100y)

Right before the race I convinced my wife that I absolutely needed the new Zoot Prophet wetsuit, and wow am I glad we made the purchase. My swim training was almost non-existent for the 3 months leading up to the wedding, so I didn’t know what to expect since I’d only had about 5 weeks of consistent training. Right off the bat I pushed the pace on the swim, and I think I came out of the water in 5th position which felt really good. I cut-off just over a minute from last year which I am STOKED on. More importantly, it feels really good to be competitive in the swim.

The Bike – 25.5 miles (1:14:54 – 20.3mph)

I was nervous about the bike on this course. The first half is a climb up Century Drive towards Mt. Bachelor (~1900 ft gain), followed by a screaming fast descent back into Bend. Last year the bike is where I really lost position at this race, and I was really focused on trying to at least maintain position during the tough segment. I got passed right away by 2 people, and a 3rd a little ways later. I did catch 2 separate dudes on the climb out – so I was excited to be up front coming off the bike. I was 3 minutes faster than last year, not quite as big of a gain as I’d hoped for, but I’m pleased with this. photo (1)

The Run – 6.2 miles (39:26 – 6:22/mi)

The official results didn’t capture my T1 time, so this is the split that my watch gave me for the run. The run has been my strength, but I hadn’t had much time training the Bike to Run (Brick) strength leading into this race. Right away I reeled two guys in, and worked my butt off to catch a third around mile 5. The race was dry and rolling hills, but I was very pleased to cut off almost 3 minutes from last years race.

Final result: 2:12:30 – 6th OA – 2nd M25-29

Takeaways

My swim has gotten stronger, my bike has gotten stronger, and the focus on my bike has actually (seemed) to help my run strength. I need to put some emphasis on my transitions, this is the one place where I consistently lose time (those seconds count, too!). This result is a true testament to consistency. I had a broken 3 months or so of training leading up to the wedding, but despite that lack of regimented training, 8 minutes faster than last year!

Again, thank you to Hammer Nutrition, 10 Barrel Brewing, Picky Bars, Hydro Flask, and Wattie Ink for the support! The taper has begun for my 2nd 70.3, and I’m excited to see what I can do after this result and a few great weeks of training. Next up: Lake Stevens 70.3.

2014: Looking back, and looking forward

It’s been (way) too long since my last post! A lot has gone on since Austin 70.3, and i’m going to post a few of the big highlights below.
Personal

I got engaged! On November 30 (2013), I asked the love of my life to marry me. We’ve been planning a Central Oregon wedding over the past 6 months, and we are getting married in 18 short days down in Bend! I’m so thrilled to be taking this ginormous step forward with April, and we are both so excited to officially begin our lives together as Mr. and Mrs.

Triathlon Stuff (the highlights)

Despite the big time focus on planning a wedding, I’ve been able to accomplish a lot in the past 6 months – an accomplishment I’m really proud of. After Austin 70.3 (race recap below), I knew that Triathlon was going to be a big part of my life – so I decided that it was a time to pursue sponsorship (i’m going to write a post soon about what ‘sponsorship’ means to me, so more on that in the future).

Nutrition has played such a large role in training, racing, and recovering – so I knew I wanted a chance to link up with a company that I’d believed in my entire first year of Triathlon, Hammer Nutrition. I went through a formal application process, and found out right around Christmas that I’d been selected as a Hammer Athlete for 2014! It’s still such an honor, and I can’t wait to represent them this summer.

The 2nd big thing that’s happened this year, is that I’m on a different Triathlon team going into the 2014 season. I was proud to race for Nike Team Endorphin in 2013, however, with some significant changes to the team dynamic, I felt that getting on a new team would be the right move. 10 Barrel Brewing (based in Bend, OR), decided to get into the endurance game, and they launched a team this past spring. I quickly jumped on the opportunity to apply for a multitude of reasons: I’ve always loved the way that 10 Barrel stands out in Bend, and what they stand for as a company, and the team has amazing title sponsors (10 Barrel Brewing, Wattie Ink, Picky Bars, and Hydro Flask). A few short weeks after applying, I got the acceptance e-mail and I’m excited to announce that I’ll officially be racing for team 10 Barrel this season! More to come on this opportunity as well.

At times I feel like I’m blogging/writing for myself – but I do enjoy it. In a weird way, it keeps me accountable for training, and it’s a great way to reflect. I’m going to plan on making some more regular updates to this blog, especially as I prepare to kick off the Triathlon season at Hagg Lake on July 12th.

More to come,

_m

Race Report: Austin 70.3

Austin 70.3 was my first half-ironman. It was my 5th and final race of the season – so for many reasons, this race was a big deal for me. Prior to Austin, I’d raced 4 triathlons but the focus had always been on nailing my first 70.3. I wasn’t sure what type of goals I should set, as this was my first half-ironman. However, being as goal oriented and competitive as I am, it was impossible not to have a few. One of my biggest goals was to come off the bike ready to RACE the half marathon, in order to accomplish that I knew I was going to have to monitor my effort (HR) and really nail my nutrition plan. Working with my coach, we thought that I would be able to finish around 4:45, so that was ultimately the time that I was shooting for.
The 1.2 Mile Swim: 34:20

The Male 25-29 age group (M25-29 AG) was separated into two different waves due to there being almost 250 of us. I believe my wave was the 9th or 10th to go off for the swim start, which meant I was starting behind over 1,000 other racers. I had no idea what to expect with this big of a swim, as I caught the age group that had started in front of us within 200 meters. I made the decision to swim on the outside by about 50 feet, and ended up swimming an extra .2 miles according to my Garmin 910. Looking back, I should have swam closer to the buoy’s and just been aggressive as I think I lost 3 minutes or so on the swim. Lesson learned, but I felt good with my time. Goal for next season is to be sub 30 for my 70.3 swims.

The 56 Mile Bike: 2:38:14

T1 was muddy, so I took my time getting through transition. I had heard horror stories of flat tires in T1 due to thorny nettles in T1, so I carried my bike through transition to be safe. After a quick pit-stop less than 1 minute into the bike to get the mud out of my cleats, it was time to ride. My goal was to really monitor my effort on the bike, because I knew I wanted to have a strong and fast 13.1 mile run. Once my heart rate finally settle down, I stayed between 148-152 BPM for the entire bike. With an average speed of 21.23 MPH, I was very pleased with my bike. I rented Zipp 808 carbon clincher race wheels from Athletes Lounge, and wow! Already looking forward to buying a pair of my own for next season. I took my nutrition on 20 minute intervals and didn’t miss a bottle, came into T2 feeling good and ready to race the half-marathon.

The 13.1 Mile Run: 1:27:08

After a smooth transition, I was off. Right away I told myself to slow down because I was feeling very strong coming off the 56 mile bike. The run course was 3 loops, and my goal was to negative split the run. After completing my first loop at 6:38 pace, I realized that it was going to be a busy 13.1 miles. Each loop, more and more people were entering out of T2 which meant that each loop was more crowded than the last. I know I would have been able to run faster if I hadn’t had to deal with the traffic, but at least everyone else was impacted by it as well. The nice thing about the 3 loop run course was that I was able to see my awesome girlfriend twice per loop – so fun! Coming into the third loop I tried to put the hammer down, but I wasn’t able to run any faster so my run ended up being a pretty steady state race. I finished the half-marathon in 1:27:08 which is only 4 minutes off my open PR, and was able to run myself into 15th place in my very competitive age group of almost 250 people. What an amazing day.

Austin 70.3

Takeaways

My swim is the weakest of the three disciplines, and my run is by far the most competitive. It’s great for me to know that I’m able to finish so strong, considering how much work I have to do on my swim and bike – leaving me very motivated going into this ‘off-season.’ With that said, my short history of running for 2 years prior to starting triathlon certainly shows with the times I have been able to run in the 10k and half over the summer. If I want to be truly competitive, I am going to have to focus on my swim this winter. I do want to be competitive so I’m going to make that my focus. What an amazing end to my first season as a triathlete. Can’t wait to see what I can do in 2014!

Race Report: Aluminum Man “Olympic” Triathlon

The Aluminum Man Olympic Triathlon is a unique race, which is why I used quotes in the title. The distances are as follows: 1k swim versus the standard 1.5k swim, 50k bike versus the standard 40k bike, and the run was the standard 10k. Going into this race, located in The Dalles, I was determined to be competitive – that was my biggest goal. “Competitive” is very relative, specifically I knew that I wanted to win my age group (M25-29) and be within the top 10 like I had been at the Mid-Summer Tri just a few weeks ago.
The 1k Swim: 17:15

My goal for this swim was to be as close as I could to 15 minutes. When I came out of the water in 17:15 I was a bit disappointed, however I came out of the water in 14th place which is a huge improvement for me! My watch also said that the swim was closer to 1200m, so I was very pleased with my pace on this swim. Big step forward.

The 50k Bike: 1:23:59

After a slow 2:20 T1 (story below) I was off, the bike course was no joke. Over the first 16 miles of the race we climbed almost 2,000 feet – which is 3 times the amount of elevation I’ll face over the entire 56 mile course in Austin. I felt strong the entire climb up and held my position for the most part. I passed quite a few people on the climb up, but I did get passed by 3 guys on the downhills (need to work on my gearing for downhill racing). My placing was identical for the bike as it was for the swim overall, 14th place.

The 10k Run: 39:52

After a quick :59 T2, it was time to play catch up. The run portion of triathlon has been my strength, and something that I have been able to rely on – as I’m able to gain a lot of ground on the guys that beat me on the bike. With that said, a big goal for me going into next season is going to be making some big gains in the off-season on both the bike and swim. Instead of catching people on the run, I can seal some WINS with the run. My 10k time felt pretty slow, especially coming off of such a challenging bike course – thankfully, the rest of my competition had an ever harder time. My run was 2nd overall and I was able to run my way into 5th place overall, passing my main competitor in M25-29, which meant that I also got my 2nd AG win!

Aluminum man finish

Takeaways

Although it was a pretty small race, outside of the big city, it was a big race for me. T1 was rough, my glasses fogged up really bad on me and I had to completely stop in the bike mount section to actually get into the pedals. Going into Austin, I want to be able to have my shoes clipped in so that I’ll have one less thing to think about during transition. I’ve gained confidence in getting out of my shoes on the bike going into T2 and my T2 times are now very competitive – time to do the same for T1. Time to get after it! Next up: Ironman Austin 70.3