Kona – Ironman World Championships (finally a post is up!)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and since it has taken me so long to do this, I figured that it’d be better to get across 20,000 words with 20 pictures from the trip.  Besides, if I wait much longer, it’ll be time to get out the 2015 race wheels! Pre-Race…         Race Day!…       Now time for some post-race fun!…   A super big THANKS to Alice, my parents, and my sister for making the trip to Kona to watch and help me out. And of course, the successes of the 2014 season couldn’t have been possible without the support of my awesome sponsors this year, GU Energy, Amino Vital, and Xterra wetsuits, and guidance (plus some butt kicking) from Coach Jenny....

Luray Olympic – A hotel room more interesting than my race?

I had a feeling when I booked what was likely the last available room in all of Luray and the surrounding towns – the “Honeymoon Suite” at the Cardinal Inn – that Alice and I were in for quite an adventure– And we were not disappointed… Some of the highlights of our accommodations: Stale cigarette smoke smell infused room (when asked, the owner disagreed, saying it was a smell of “wood”   He didn’t comment about the giant ashtray that was sitting next to the no smoking sign on the porch) Fresh carpet.  Only problem was that they forgot to glue down the square pieces so they moved underfoot. “Tower” of first class appliances.  3 ½ legged table with refrigerator on top, with microwave on top of refrigerator, with vintage Norelco coffee maker on top of microwave.   The “tower” had a slight sway to it…I can’t believe the whole thing didn’t fall over. Luxury bath soaps (they were from Ramada — does that hotel chain even exist anymore?) Plush Towels.   I think this was the first time I’ve used a bath towel that actually scratched my skin. Squishy Padded Toilet Seat.  Need I say more? And last, but surely not least:  Elegant wall artwork:     Did I mention it was the “honeymoon suite”?! But since this is supposed to be a blog about my race, I figure that I should put in something in here about the triathlon.  One word really sums it up:  “blah”    Not a bad “blah” or a good “blah”   Just “blah.”  I swam a little better than last year and  ran a little better than...

Ironman Eagleman 70.3: A ticket to Kona! (please just don’t read the footnote)

Results: 1st AG- 4:08:44 (1.2m Swim (27:20), 56m Bike (2:16:28), 13.1m Run (1:22:04)) This past weekend I raced at Eagleman 70.3, a notoriously hot, flat, and fast ½ Ironman in Cambridge, Maryland.  It was a pretty big race for me in that I had been focusing much of my training on it since the end of last season.  And it was a big success:  I had a solid swim, PR’d on my bike split, won my age group, and qualified for the World Championships in Kailua Kona, Hawaii. I even managed to dismount from my bike without any resulting injuries!  Going into the race, I was most concerned about the run given I had pulled a massive stick out of my foot after swimming the swim course Saturday.  And while the run wasn’t quite what I was hoping for, it ended up looking pretty darn good on paper, at least… [1].  And now, having written the footnote (that I hope you did not read), I feel better.   It was really fantastic to have my parents, my sister, and Alice at the race.  Once again, they amaze me with all their unselfishness and support they give not just on race day, throughout all the training leading up to the race. I have lots of work coming up to prepare myself for Kona and a whole host of things I need to learn going into my first full distance Ironman – let alone the World Championships.  But I’ll take a few more days to relax, eat, sleep, eat some more and, enjoy some great memories.  Aloha!                        ...

Columbia International Triathlon: How (not) to do a Flying Dismount

Results: 3rd Overall –  40k Bike (1:04:18), 10k Run (35:56)) The Columbia Triathlon was my last “prep” race before Eagleman and I was excited to get out on the course and see how the past few weeks of training had worked out.  While I had a good bike at the Richmond Sprint a few weeks prior, Coach Jenny and I felt like there was plenty more that I could do so we decided to have me push things a little harder.  Unfortunately, the swim was canceled a few days before race start because of all the rain we had in the area and poor water quality, so the race started off with the bike leg(after a short run into transition to get your bike).  Nonetheless, a big shout-out to my new sponsor, XTERRA wetsuits for shipping me a new wetsuit the week before the race…I can’t wait to race in it!.   I was able to push relatively hard and had a solid bike leg – perhaps a little better than expected.  Since my bike power numbers were up quite a lot from racing just a few weeks prior, I was a bit nervous I had pushed too hard and didn’t leave anything left for the notoriously challenging 6.2 mile run.  As I came into T2 transition, I probably should have been less focused about my bike power numbers and more focused on the task at hand:  getting off the bike.  And here is the visual lesson: Pretend there is a picture here of me launching myself over my handlebars.  And then… Fortunately, my injuries weren’t so bad I...

It may be alone, but not necessarily lonely

As I was outside this weekend for my long Saturday ride, probably somewhere around the sixteen-thousandth pedal revolution, I said to myself, “self, this triathlon stuff can really be terribly lonely” at times: Weekday trainer rides staring at my Wahoo App’s smorgasbord display of numbers, early morning swims looking at the bottom of the pool wondering why the clump of hair always seems to gravitate to my lane, evening runs where all I can think about is dinner and bed and work the next day, and weight room sessions where I am surrounded by dudes lifting six times as much and wondering why that triathlon guy is doing another set of “old-lady” hip-flexor extensions. However, just as I was working through the feelings of how this triathlon stuff can be a really solitary undertaking, I had a sensation of gratitude come over me as I thought back six or seven years prior when life was dismal, alone, and a whole lot of lonely. Granted, triathlon training is a lot of time spent alone. But it is through the alone time that we really learn about ourselves: our greatest challenges and areas in which we excel. It also allows us to appreciate our support network of family, coaches, and friends to help us along the way, teaching us how to continually improve ourselves in our training, in dealing with situations at work, and in our relationships. For me, training alone is a chance to center myself, work through the “demons,” and come out more resilient, fitter, and happier. I think it really comes down to a matter of perspective and...

Richmond Sprint Triathlon

Results: 1st Overall – 54:24 (400m Swim (5:16), 20k Bike (30:11), 5k Run (17:06)) The Richmond Sprint Tri was my first triathlon of the 2014 season and I had been looking forward to it for quite some time. I felt like my winter and spring training had gone well and that with a few good running race results the past several months, I was ready to get out and test out the swim and bike fitness and pull it all together. Pre-Race: Route 95 traffic – no matter what time you leave on Friday, there is always traffic. Also, I had some odd soreness – almost bruised feeling – in both of my quads. Coach Jenny and I decided it was just the result of an easier few days of training and my body a little in shock from cutting back some. Race Morning: Earrrrlllly! It’s ironic that the shorter the race, the longer I need before the race to get ready. A 7 am gun time, meant that the alarm went off at 3:45. Thankfully for me, CJ and Alice are real troupers – I never have to wonder if they will be awake and ready to help as needed: Swim: Ran over a few guys in front of me who didn’t quite understand the idea of correctly entering their predicted pace time. I really try to be considerate in mass/open water swims, but I don’t really have too much sympathy to guys who seed themselves 10 seconds faster than a pace they can actually hold. Thanks to the small miracle of overnight shipping, I got to use...