A blog post after some not-so-good performances.  So why do you race?

A blog post after some not-so-good performances. So why do you race?

So why do you race?   This is something I’ve been asking myself quite a bit the last two weeks.   Before my last race at Chattanooga 70.3 – and even still a bit now – my answer would have been probably similar to what many would say:   I race because I love competition and it provides me an opportunity to test myself. But what if those opportunities have not proven to be a good means to test?  In other words, does racing lose its value if does not present an opportunity to get the most out of oneself? Let me step back a little.  I absolutely love training.  I love the challenge of writing a workout and executing it to the best of my ability. I love the juggling act of fitting in workouts around my responsibilities of being a father, an attorney, and a husband.  I love the sense of fulfillment that grinding out a hard session – all by myself with no one watching. And this season, my training has been going really well.  I’m swimming faster than I have since college, my bike power is as good, if not better than I’ve had before, and my run endurance and durability is about as solid as I can recall.    Problem is, my performances in my two races this year have been far from what I have been doing in training.  St. Anthony’s – my first race as a pro – was decent for me.  I went 2 hours for an Olympic race and I certainly wouldn’t consider it a bad race.  But my swim, bike, and run numbers were not...
I just dropped 6 minutes off my Ironman bike split – Thanks Ventum!

I just dropped 6 minutes off my Ironman bike split – Thanks Ventum!

This post has been a fairly long time coming – I’ve actually been thinking about it for several months.  Consider it a bit of a intro to my new Ventum One and my first stab at writing something that discusses aerodynamics.    I’ll start off with a disclaimer – everything I say about how fast this bike is applies to me and my setup.  While I can say with confidence that the bike will make most people faster, aerodynamics is very individual and extremely nuanced.  Furthermore, getting a bike fit is absolutely critical.  If you aren’t going to dial in your fit, don’t bother with a new bike.  I am not an engineer, and I have not (yet) taken this to the wind tunnel so my conclusions are close to accurate, but still not perfect.    But before I get too deep in the weeds, I want to first talk about my experience with Ventum and how honored I am to be working with this company.Ventum first reached out to me after my IM Maryland win, asking if I’d be interested in riding one of their bikes in 2019.  At first, I was extremely hesitant.  Buying a new bike – especially a triathlon bike with all the gadgets and gizmos (power meter, hydration, aerobars etc..) – is a fairly involved process.   Although my Felt frame was from 2013, I had upgraded almost all of the components in the past year so I was hard pressed to go with an entirely new setup.  After doing quite a bit of research, inclduing talking to several existing Ventum owners, reading through all the critical...
Ironman Maryland Recap; No on Kona?! and What’s in store for 2019…

Ironman Maryland Recap; No on Kona?! and What’s in store for 2019…

It’s close to three weeks post Ironman Maryland and a big smile still comes across my face when I think back to the race.   I certainly felt like I had the potential to pull together a good result, but to come away as the winner of an Ironman race, was something that I really didn’t think was in my cards.   Looking back on the race, my data, and my training leading up to it, I really did not do anything that was overly exceptional. Instead, I did exactly what I had read about and what had been suggested to me by much more experienced coaches and athletes – I put together a solid training day up until mile 20 of the run, and then started to race for the last 6 miles. My swim time was a bit slower than I had planned but it turns out that the course was probably 200 yards or so long. So, my swim was as predicted.   The bike course was lengthened 2 miles the day before the race so it was exactly 112, and like the swim, my power/pace was just as I had predicted. In fact, my average wattage of 216 was probably 5-10 watts lower than I had planned but I wanted to make sure to be a bit conservative on race day.   For the run, the first 20 miles were also as I had planned – other than 2 quick stops at the porto-potty (thankfully I had changed into a run outfit – it made it so much quicker than trying to get in and out of a...
Getting Honest about the Full Distance – A Pre-Race Race Report

Getting Honest about the Full Distance – A Pre-Race Race Report

So I’m doing an Ironman in less than a week.  I honestly feel a little hypocritical in writing that.  For the past 3 ½ years, ever since finishing Kona in 2014, I’ve said to myself and others that there is no way I’m doing another Ironman…I have ZERO interest.  While I was honored to have qualified to race in Kona, my race experience was fairly miserable.  I didn’t come anywhere near what I thought I was capable, suffered from pretty bad dehydration on the run, and just did not have any fun.   And so here I am, just a few training sessions away from toeing the line at Ironman Maryland.  So what gives?  I digress: After Ironman Eagleman in June, my race plan for the year was to take a week or so off (which I did), and then re-focus for my second big race of the year, which was Steelhead 70.3 in early August.   I got back into training, and on a whim, decided to race Rev3 Williamsburg 70.3.  Previously, that was my best 70.3 to date –and perhaps the only time in my career I will go under 4 hours.   So I headed down to Williamsburg, and had a really solid performance, coming in 2nd overall with a time of 4:03.  However, I felt that something was just “missing” from the race.  Being that I hadn’t planned on it and had almost no rest, I chalked it up to the fact that it just wasn’t a goal race and that perhaps the “blah” feeling a should be somewhat expected. After Rev 3 Williamsburg, I got right back...
Quick Recap and Lessons Learned from the First Part of 2018!

Quick Recap and Lessons Learned from the First Part of 2018!

2018 is well under way with two triathlons under my belt and several more on the horizon. I started off the season with Rev3 Westfields sprint, where I had a solid race and was able to take the overall win. I was particularly happy with my performance and outcome since the 5 days leading up to the race was perhaps the most challenging I’ve ever had.  Not necessarily from a training perspective, but from a “life” perspective: In the span of 5 days, I traveled back and forth to New Jersey for a funeral (sadly and unexpectedly, my Aunt passed away… she was one of those amazing people who was always positive, always remembered special occasions with a card and a text message, and always demonstrated how to live life to its fullest), had some major changes at my job, and hosted a 50 person birthday party for Gavin’s 3rd bday (fifty people! – I realized that Gavin is significantly more popular than I am! lol).   I paid the price from that week and the race, as I was absolutely exhausted for over a week after. Fortunately, my training finally came back around and I was full steam ahead going into my final Eagleman 70.3, my first big race of 2018.   Without going into too much detail, the race went, well, well. I think “well” is probably the best description. I didn’t quite hit my bike power numbers, my run-pacing target or come anywhere near my goal time, but I still managed to have a solid performance. Based on my training the weeks leading up to it and...
2017 Part II and Season Recap

2017 Part II and Season Recap

Well, it’s been over three months since I last wrote a blog posting. They used to be “race reports,” but since I only seem find time a few times a year, I’ve been rolling several races into one posting. I’ll be honest, I do miss the more simple days when I’d finish a race, unpack, and have enough free time to get my thoughts down on paper before I forgot. Now, its usually more of a get home from a race, unpack (Alice is usually super understanding of my neurosis to unpack and clean up all my crap as soon as we get home), scramble around with the boys for a few days and try to get in a little recovery, and then back to training and focusing on the next race. Nevertheless, below is the long version of my second half of 2017 recap. For the cliffnotes version: Great season. Won several races and won some money too! Not much of any progress on swim or bike but ran really well this year. Two kids are hard. Recovery from training and racing and working a full time job is really My wife is awesome. Finishing top 5 AG in the world at the 70.3 IM World Championships in Chattanooga was amazing and something I had been focusing on for four years. I continue to have self-doubts of my capabilities and I really want to break 4 hours again in the ½ distance.   Maryland Du This was my second race of the year where prize money was being offered and I knew the competition would be good. I...
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.  2017 Season so far…

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. 2017 Season so far…

Well its mid July and I’m finally getting around to writing a race report! I remember the pre-kids days when I’d have time to actually sit down and write the day after my race, do spell check and edits and make sure what I wrote was somewhat coherent… now I’m just excited if can sit down and remember what even happened in the races!   Nevertheless, if you plan to read this you may want to get out some coffee, sit back, and prepare for a long read.  The good, the bad, and (and if you make it to the end) the ugly of the season so far… My training season usually gets a start sometime in December after a few weeks off in the fall. And this year, the 2017 season started off with a baby! In December, Alice and I welcomed the arrival of our second son, Grady Wilson Burns. Having two kids under 2 years old is challenging for anyone, and perhaps even more so for two parents who work full time jobs (Alice works a fuller than full time job) and also juggling the demands of a fairly demanding training and racing schedule.   While part of me was pretty nervous how it would all fall into place, I kept reminding myself that I had similar fears when we had Gavin in 2015 — turns out the 2015 and 2016 seasons went better than I ever expected. And after 6 months of working, training, and working and raising two boys, I can say that IT IS HARD. And this is considering the fact that I am lucky...

An “Intentional” Wrong Turn and a Run-In (Literally) with a Flatbed – Waterman’s 1/2 Ironman Report

This is one long race report. Since almost no one (other than maybe my mom and my wife) will likely read the full thing, here’s the executive summary: 2016 has been nuts – assaulted on my bike; broken toe; lost CJ to cancer; broke 4 hours and PR’d at Rev3 ½ Williamsburg; A good (but not great) race at IM AC 70.3 Decided to do Watermans sort of last minute – wanted work on run execution and see what sort of fitness would be left after 4 weeks of taper Swim – uneventful Bike – led on wrong part of course by motorcycle course marshal; later decided to make intentional wrong turn, go off course, and make up the 5 miles Run – Hit by a flatbed trailer. Ouch. Grabbed shoe and kept running. PR’d run. Overall – Epic race. Super happy with how I reacted and performed.   12 minute penalty but luckily still got the race win. Time for off-season, rest, and baby #2!   2016 has been quite a year. A recap: February I was assaulted by a driver while bike commuting home. Good news was it was captured on police video, bad news was I ended up in the hospital with a septic infection. In April, I broke my toe, two weeks out from the first big race of the season and was in a boot for 6 weeks. In June, our 8-year-old dog CJ became extremely sick (cancer) and we had to put him down. Somehow I rebounded from the broken toe quickly and in July I PR’d at Williamsburg Rev3 1/2. In August I...

IM 70.3 Atlantic City: “A” for Effort “B-” for Execution

Last weekend I raced Ironman Atlantic City 70.3.   Being that it was my goal race of the season and having focused on it for almost a full 12 months, I was pretty excited to see what I could do.  I felt fairly good about things – I was coming off a 1st place OA and 3:59 PR 1/2 Ironman at Rev 3 Williamsburg 2 months prior, a 1st place OA and course record at Fort Ritchie Oly in August, and probably the best 3 week training block I can recall before I started my taper.  I even managed to stay injury free (no broken toes before this race) and somehow dodged a few colds that Gavin was circulating around the house (it seems like pretty much nonstop colds and viruses since he started daycare/school in July 🙁 The day before the race I did much of the same as before Williamsburg (thanks to my sister for arranging an OWS and Katie P for hanging out as we got registered and bikes racked etc.., and to Alice for coordinating Gavin’s schedule, food, naps, toys, and play activities) and was able to spend some time with my family. Race morning went smoothly – the body was feeling good. I was surprised to hear an announcement about 15 minutes before the start that the race director had decided to shorten the swim from 1.2 to 1 mile because of dangerous water currents; I figured things must be relatively rough since IM doesn’t usually change things – especially so last minute – unless absolutely necessary.The swim went extremely well for me.  I started off...
Fort Ritchie Tri – Appreciating the Triathlon Family

Fort Ritchie Tri – Appreciating the Triathlon Family

After a whirlwind of a week (seems to be the theme of 2016) – filled with a trip to the ER for Alice (due to Viral Meningitis and Bronchitis), several sleepless nights, a new school routine for Gavin, and a pretty hard week of training (not sure how I had the energy to get in the quality session that I did) – I had no idea how I’d feel or race.  In fact, I was looking forward to the get-away weekend with Alice just as much as the race since it was probably the last weekend we’d have away together – sans kids – for perhaps a few years. The day before the race Alice and I drove up and checked out the (hilly) bike course.  Although feeling better, she still was coughing quite a bit, continued to have a terrible headache, and had lost her voice almost entirely. Being sick is hard. Being pregnant is hard. But when you are pregnant and sick and can’t take so many of the helpful medications – its just plain unfair! Saturday evening, Alice and talked about the possibility of her not being up for going to the race, but I was fairly confident (knowing how tough she is) that she’d be up for it come the 4:30 AM wakeup on race day. Unfortunately, Alice was up most of the night with a cough and headache and come race morning, she was in no shape to get up and go hang out a race all morning.  Though we both decided that her staying in the hotel and resting was the best option,...