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Xiamen 70.3

 

 

 

 

 

Swim-21:26 7th out of the water I think(tracking didn’t work at this race)

I started off a little timid and slow after taking a REALLY bad beating at the beginning of IM Louisville a few weeks ago but after the I made my exit out of the back the front group of swimmers I settled into a comfortable rhythm and enjoyed the rest of what was a fast swim(wetsuit and current assisted). I exited the water around 2 mins behind the leaders but calm and confident that I would see them soon.

 

 

 

 

 

Bike-2:07:15  4th off the bike 

The bike course was mostly flat with perfect pavement. The temperature was in the 70’s and it was quite windy.

I was confident in my fitness coming into this race and I decided

that I would ride quite hard from the start until I made my way to the front of the race.

 I managed to get there around 30 minutes in and then the plan was to conserve energy for the run. It turns out that was the plan for the other 

 

guys at the front so lets just say no one was really interested in riding hard from that point on. This was strange for me because I have never been at the front of a race before and I like to “ride hard”, but that’s what we did with the exception of 1 short hard push as a very strong German cyclist came roaring by around halfway through the ride. I was content to let him go knowing that I would run significantly faster than him. It was strange to get to the end of a 70.3 bike and feel as fresh as I did but it was a good strange not a bad one.

 

 

                                                         

 

 

Run-1:19:30

I have been running better than I ever have in training and was ready to show it off at this race. Unfortunately my transitions were more of the Ironman variety, while the other two guys I came off the bike with were more in line with what you would see at an ITU race. So some precious time was lost before the run even started. On to the run the wind was really picking up and the temperature was now in the upper 70’s with high humidity. The first 5k I felt really good and after that my pace began to slow slightly from 5:50 to around 6:05 per mile. I could see the two guys just up ahead but wasn’t able to reel them in. Around the halfway point I passed the big German who seemed to be suffering quite a bit. By this time my stomach was starting to feel not so good. I didn’t drink much water and took no more calories from there to the finish. Ultimately I would finish 1 minute and 30 seceonds behind 1st and 1 minute 15 seconds behind 2nd.

 

 

 

 

Finish-3:55:00 3rd place Overall

Champagne showers are the best! Stay tuned IM Arizona is this coming Sunday and that is what I really have been training for!


B

Ironman Texas 2017

I was in an interesting place going into Ironman Texas this year. My last 2 ironmans(Malaysia and Western Austrailia) didn’t go very well and I have a long painful history with Ironman Texas(DNF the last 2 years). So combine those things with an all time high level of fitness, improvements in aerodymnamics, bio-mechanics and muscle balance(if you have been following along you will no I have been working VERY hard to overcome some major muscular imbalances), and I was left feeling very confident but desperately in need of a solid performance. So I made the decision that I would bike at my own controlled pace(something I have never done in an IM), with the hopes of running around 2:50 for the marathon. On other courses this might be a good way to compete for a top finish, turns out it was not the best tactical decision on this day.

Swim-55:20-29th out of the water

I feel like every swim race report goes exactly the same, so here goes. The cannon went off and I felt great for about 500 meters at which point I found myself slowing down and eventually yo-yoing off the back of a large group of guys. The water in Lake Woodlands was warm and murky, not the kind of water you want to be drinking(and yes I am sure I drank my share). I swam solo for a while but was surprised when I actually caught back up with the group that had dropped me(they must have slowed down). I swam the rest of the way at the back of that group and felt surprisingly comfortable coming out of the water.

Bike-4:23:53-18th off the bike

I came out of the water at the back of what turned out to be the 3rd big pack of guys. I made my way quickly through transition, hopped on my bike and it was on! Several of the guys around me immediately put the pedal to the metal and for about 10 minutes I followed along well above what I told myself would be a smart pace. I am actually extremely proud that I eventually backed off and let those guys ride away(even if it was a tactical error). Self control while on my bike isn’t really a strength of mine so the fact that I put my head down focused on getting aero, being efficient and getting my nutrition in was a minor victory in and of itself. As I mentioned before, my conservative plan on the bike would give me the best chance at a solid day and a good run. Turns out a flat windy bike course with a large field of strong bikers is not the best time to go it alone and that is all I will say about that! For the first time ever in and ironman I experienced no major implosion toward the end of the bike(all though the last 35 miles were into a strong head wind which made for a long slow slog home). My hydration and nutrition were perfect(thanks Infinit Nutrition for that), and I can honestly say I have never felt that good coming off the bike.

 

Run 2:56:09      Finish 8:21:3-14th Overall

Starting the run I knew I had alot of time to make up and I was mentally ready for alot of pain. The cool temps made for fast running conditions although I was hoping it would be hot, VERY hot. Being a smaller guy from Tucson I was prepared for the worst Texas had to offer, but sadly it was 75 degrees and cloudly, a huge relief to anyone who might have ridden to hard I’m sure. The miles ticked away and slowly the good feeling I had in my legs early on began to fade. My Infinit Custom Run mix and their new Tripwired(lots of electrolytes) were the only things I consumed on the run(other than water). My energy never faded and my stomach felt amazing(all things considered) all the way to the finish. While the last miles were not easy, this was definitely the best I have ever felt from start to finish in and ironman(there must be something to that whole pacing thing). While this kind of performance did serve a much needed purpose, I didin’t show up to finish 14th. My confidence is growing along with my fitness and the many other facets that make for a truly amazing future performance are falling nicely into place. I will be lining up at IM Cairns in 7 weeks ready to lay it all on the line for a top finish. Thank you to my amazing partner Luise, our awesome homestay in Texas(Bob, Eve and Sandra), my team Maverick Multispot and all of our amazing sponsors! Congratulation to everyone who raced honestly and finished! 

Do you recover like a pro?

Part 1    Sleep, Hydration and Nutrition  

1. Sleep is king

Sleep is the most effective  way to improve recovery. Adequate levels of sleep help to promote mental health, hormonal balance, and muscular recovery. You need to get enough sleep, which is between 7 to 10 hours for most athletes(I sometimes sleep as much as 12 hours). Everyone has individual needs based on their lifestyle, workouts, and genetic makeup.

*Create an environment that is conducive for quality sleep. A dark quiet room, a comfortable bed and fresh cool air.

*Have a routine, try to go to sleep at the same time each night.

*Wake up with the sun if possible.

* Try to turn off all lights 1 hour before you want to sleep. This also includes the tv, computer and phone. Research indicates that the blue light especially, generated by electronic devices prevents you body from producing melatonin (a hormone that helps us fall asleep). If you can’t seem to turn off the electronic devices you can get a Blue light filter app for your phone that filters out the blue light as well as  Blue light filter glasses, phone and computer/TV screens.

Meditation. We live stressful lives and stress can leave our bodies in a state of fight or flight. When in this state we are tense, our breathing is shallow, our blood vessels are constricted and stress hormones are coursing through our vanes (not good for sleep or recovery). Mediation is the best way I have found to turn off the stress response and allow meditation-2for relaxation, recovery and quality sleep. When I meditate I focus on my breath and the mantra “inhale relax, exhale release 1″(listening internally for my heartbeat),”inhale relax, exhale release 2”.The goal is to focus on my body, my breath and any sensations I can feel and watch for thoughts to pop into my mind, when they do I redirect my focus back to my breath. By counting at the end of the mantra 1-10 it is harder to go into auto pilot and therefore it is less likely your mind will wonder. Don’t be hard on yourself if it is hard at first, its like anything else, the more you practice the easier it gets. FYI, this practice has improved the quality of my life(not just my sleep) more than anything else I have found.

Epsom salt bath. Taking an epsom salt bath has many benifits. Epsom salts in a bathwater medium creates a process called reverse osmosis. This process pulls salt and harmful toxins out of the body and allows the magnesium and sulfates to enter. Magnesium plays a critical role in over 325 enzymes, helps to improve muscle and nerve function, reduces inflammation and improves blood flow and oxygenation throughout the epsombody. Sulfates are necessary building blocks for healthy joints, skin and nervous tissue. Epsom salts replenish the body’s magnesium levels and sulfates. This combination helps to flush toxins from the body and helps build key protein molecules in the brain tissue and joints. Epsom salt baths help to loosen muscles and encourages relaxation. I have found that meditating while taking an epsom salt bath with the lights off right before bedtime is the ultimate sleep improving relaxation and recovery protocol.

2. Hydration

Drinking adequate amounts of water is imperative for overall health, energy, recovery, and performance. Your body is made primarily of water, and water helps carry nutrients, electrolytes and virtually every other substance in your body to your muscles and organs. If your cells don’t have enough water in them, protein synthesis can be delayed. If you’re dehydrated, your body may even start breaking down muscle tissue, which can undermine your fitness goals and make your muscles weaker.

*How much?

Many physiologists recommend 2.5-3.7 liters for men and 2-2.7 litres for womwateren but athletes will require more based on hours of exercise, temperature and several other factors. At minimum, you should drink water until you no longer feel thirsty. The simplest way to check hydration is to look at your pee. If it is clear to pale yellow you are hydrated. The darker and more color in your pee the less hydrated you are and more water you need to drink.

3. Nutrition

You’ll be able to perform better during repeated bouts of hard exercise if you have planned your recovery diet and have the right foods and fluids readily available to adequately replace calories, carbohydrates, protein, fluids and sodium. We have all heard of the 30 minute window and it really is important to eat the right kind of easy to adsorb carbs and protein as quickly as possible following intense or prolonged exercise.

While chicken, meat, fish, and eggs are all fine sources of protein, they aren’t the ideal type of protein for the meal right after your workout.

The protein in solid foods digest pretty slowly. You may have eaten a high protein food in your post workout meal, but by the time the protein is digested and finally ready to be used by your body, a whole lot of time would have passed. So…

A protein/carb shake will be digested by your body much quicker than solid foods.

I personally use Infinit Nutrition Repair Formula which mixes easily, tastes amazing and provides the perfect combination of carbs(60g), protein(15g), amino acids and electrolytes. Fast absorbing whey protein isolate along with slower absorbing casein and soy proteins for maximum recovery duration. Amino acids Isoleucine, Valine, Leucine and a blend of four different carbohydrate sources (maltodextrin, glucose, sucrose and crystalline fructose) for rapid muscle glycogen replenishment.

If you are worried about “good carbs” and “bad carbs?” As it turns out, this is actually one of the only times when “good carbs” and “bad carbs” switch roles.

Meaning, typical good carbs (oatmeal, brown rice, etc.) contain fiber and other nutrients that slow down digestion. Normally it is good to slow digestion and minimize insulin production by eating carbs with lots of fiber but not during or immediately following exercise.

Stay tuned for Recover like a Pro Pt 2

Compression, Massage, Stretching, Foam Rolling and Self Massage      

If only I new then what I know now

If I could go back in time this is the advice I would give myself when I was new to triathlon.

1. Get a coach! You don’t know what you don’t know and a small amount of knowledge can be dangerous. Early on I made many mistakes-trained too hard all of the time and didn’t focus on building a strong foundation that fitness could be built upon. A good coach can help you navigate the many pitfalls that await you when you are new to triathlon.

2. Get a good bike fit. Your position on a bicycle is in many ways img_9551more important than the bike itself. A bad position can lead to muscular imbalances which
ultimately will leave you vulnerable to injury and will likely be a limiting factor when it comes to proper bio-mechanics, form and technique. Finding a position that offers the perfect balance of comfort, aerodynamics and power production is VERY difficult and in my opinion is one of the most important investments you will make in this sport.

3 Do strength work religiously. One of the main causes of injuries in triathlon is muscular imbalances. Triathletes tend to have strong quads and week hamstrings and glutes as well as strong chest and weak upper back muscles. We all naturally have imbalancesstrength and riding a bicycle(especially a triathlon bike) is likely to make them worse. Also, there are big performance gains to be made with strength training especially as the distance you are racing gets longer. For me personally I had a very aggressive position on my first tri bike and I was not centered on the saddle which caused me to develop my right quad more than my left and my left glute more than my right. These imbalances have caused me an INCREDIBLE amount of problems over the last ten years. Being balanced muscularly from left to right and front to back is one of the main foundational keys to injury prevention, endurance, efficiency, speed and ultimately reaching your athletic potential.

 

4. Get a road bike. Even though you won’t ever race on it there are many benefits to riding a road bike. The biggest benefit in my opinion is that riding a road bike is going to help you to strengthen your glutes. When properly positioned on a r14445966_1296463187052997_600613481463524506_noad bike you sit much further back behind the crank set and pedals, this position is much more likely to engage your glutes than a typical(aggressive) triathlon position in which the saddle is moved forward in order to open up the hip angle and allow the torso to drop lower(more aerodynamic). This forward saddle position is very quad dominant and can leave the glutes under used or even turned off completely. A road bike is also
much more comfortable when climbing or if you are riding with a group and is easier to control because you are in a more balanced position(more centered over the pedals not so far forward).

 

5. Get regular massage, foam roll stretch and massage yourself. I knowmassage massage is expensive, but just think about what you paid for your bike or the price of that last race/trip. Understanding your muscles, knowing their names/functions and knowing  when they are tight and how to get them to loosen will MASSIVLY improve the amount of stress/training you can handle and help prevent injuries. I get a massage once a week and when training is full on I spend around 30 minutes every night foam rolling, stretching and self massaging myself.

 

6. Sleep as much as you can. Of all the things you can do to recover nothing beats a good nights sleep. I try to sleep at least 8 hours every night and when training hard I usually get between 10-12 hours. I am not the best at napping but I try to nap when ever possible, even if it is only 5-10 minutes I find it really helps. Stay tuned. My next blog will be on sleep and recovery tips/advice. 

7. Patience and consistency are the key. We want it all and we want it right now, but anything worth having takes time. Triathlon is very complicated and it is very difficult to reach your FULL potential. Even if you are the most naturally gifted athlete in the history of the sport it will take years of dedication and hard work to reach that point. Make good decisions, have intelligent and experienced advisers, focus on you weaknesses while maintaining you strengths. Improvement takes time and dedication so don’t think it will happen over night.

8. Have fun. The triathlon journey can be incredibly fun if you don’t get to caught up in the parts of it yDCIM100GOPROGOPR3209.ou can’t control. It is easy to get obsessed with results and it can take all of the fun out of the entire process. Remember life happens now not in the future. It’s ok to want to improve but not if it prevents you from experiencing the joy,  excitement and fun that the sport has to offer. You only live once so try to enjoy the ride!