Monday, May 23, 2011


S: 20,600 yds
B: 7h 52min
R: 5h 14min

Total: 18h 31min

And.... right back at it. After a couple of easy days at the beginning of the week, it was back to work on Wednesday, which allowed me a nice transition from "sore from the race" at the beginning of the week to "normal training fatigue" by the end. I'm not sure exactly when the transition was made, but I'm not sure it really matters, either.

In other news, the HHPTC hosted a number of high quality visitors over the weekend.  Kicking things off was pro triathlete Kevin Collington who stayed over Friday night to break up his trip back to Boulder.  Then my friends Philip and Katherine Thompson were here Saturday evening as Philip was racing his bike in town on Saturday and Sunday.  Fun times!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Familiar venue, bizarro occurrences: FL 70.3 RR

This was my sixth year racing either the Florida Half Ironman (2005) or Florida 70.3 (2007-2011) and while each race is a bit different, the 2011 edition had to be the out-lier.

Indications of a bizzare day were evident almost from the start.  Heading W (actually S) on I-4 from downtown Orlando towards Disney, Mark Vermeersch and I noticed flashes of lightning streaking across the sky off in the distance. Lightning is of course nothing new for Central Florida, undoubtedly the lightning capitol of the US (Rawanda, Africa tops it in the World listings for most strikes).  However, it is rare to see an aerial display in the morning, as most lightning is associated with thunderstorms that run across the state in the afternoon. Regardless, certainly not a normal occurance for the start of a race.

Upon arriving at Walt Disney World, lightning was still flashing pretty regularly but thankfully the rain was holding off.  Sure enough, though, the rain commenced by the time we reached transition.  Rain happens, but again, not usually in the morning, and not during any of the previous editions of the race. Despite the weather situation, though, the announcer continued informing us that the radar indicated the weather would clear and we should be ready for our regularly scheduled 6:20 AM start time. So I continued warming up, kept remarkably dry by my Timex Multisport Team Zorrel Whistler Jacket.  This thing looks sharp, is comfortable, and as a bonus repelled the water incredibly well.  Before I knew it, 6AM rolled around and I was heading out of transition and down to the swim start.

Once on the beach, the announcement was made that the race would be delayed 20 minutes.  This, I thought, was reasonable as the rain and lightning had finally stopped and the sky did appear to be clearing.  Of course this meant 20 more minutes of nervousness and a 6:40 start rather than the usual 6:20 start.  A little warm up in the water would've been appreciated, but it was too dark for that.  (Thus the perils of starting a race before sunrise...)

Finally the gun was off and the madness ensued. On approximately my 4th stride, my foot landed on a sharp object and I felt a slicing pain under my left big toe. It hurt, but I could still feel the toe, so I figured I'd survive. Coming into the first turn buoy, I was in a group with 3 other guys but was a bit worried that I was too far back.  I felt like our pace was strong, but it also looked like there were some others pretty far ahead. The water was choppier than it had been in previous versions of the race, so I was pleasantly surprised to be out of the water around 26:40.

Running through the long chute to the transition area, I looked down at my foot and sure enough, it was covered with blood.  I couldnt exactly do anything about it, so I proceeded to my beautiful Ordu and took off, hoping it wouldnt hurt too bad the rest of the race. I still wasnt sure of my position, but I did notice quite a few more bikes remaining on the pro men's rack than spots vacated, so that was a good sign.

Once I got moving on the bike I looked down at my PowerTap only to find that the computer was not picking up my wheel.  This was bad news. My coach, Paulo, had given me strict instructions for the ride, so I knew he'd be upset if I didnt have any data.  I tried remounting the computer and adjusting the wheel sensor, but nothing seemed to work. Without data, I just focused on riding hard and keeping people in sight.  I was passed by a couple of people early on, but also passed a couple of riders, so I hoped I was riding well.  Without a working computer, I wanted to keep my 5-mile splits right around 12 min. I did, for the most part, with a few under 12 and all under 12:30.  This left me confident that I was cruising towards a decent bike split.

Finally the bike was over, and I was off on the run.  Up to this point, the day had been one of unfamiliar occurrences, but the run was eerily similar to years past.  The theme for this race goes something like this: run fast while you can, and then hang on.  Florida in May is hot and humid, and sooner or later the heat will take its toll at which point you just have to fight as best you can to maintain whatever pace you can.

I believe I was around 12th or 13th coming off the bike, but after a strong first lap I was being told I was in the hunt for top 10.  The multiple out-and-backs allowed plenty of opportunity for the hunters to see their prey, and I was on the prowl.  I had moved into the top 10 by the start of the last lap when I was informed that Kevin Collington was about a minute up the road, so I was hoping I could reel him in as well.  By this time, though, the heat was really starting to take its toll and my 5:55s fell to 6:15-6:30.  Nevertheless, I caught him with 2 miles to go and he told me 8th place was "fading fast."  Once I got back out onto the asphalt, I just focused on keeping the tempo up as much as possible in order to maintain some semblance of a reasonable pace.  Finally, I moved into 8th with about a mile to go, and just wanted to cruise to the finish.  However, a few moments later I noticed a hard charging Brent Poulsen was closing rather quickly and I sure as hell was not about to get passed in the last half mile after racing for over 4 hours! So I redoubled my focus on turnover in an attempt to increase speed, as I was determined to hold him off.  Finally, I reached the barriers and hit the left turn for the chute. I started to think I was in clear when I heard someone say, rather nonchalantly,

"Nice job, almost there. You've got a guy coming up behind you"       

Not exactly what I wanted to hear!  I went into HS CC mode and began "sprinting." I was thoroughly wiped at this point, so I felt like I looked like a actor who is obiviously not a runner trying to run in a movie. All of his motions are exagerated, but he really not moving that fast at all.  So that was me... trying to sprint, but not really moving that fast. At that point, though, it was all I had. Indisputable photographic evidence, courtesy of Katie Hodges:

I crossed the timing mat and then continued through the banner before halting and hunching over to place my hands on my knees. A couple seconds later, there was Brent.  Although I had quite a few minutes of not being able to see anything, I did manage to stay upright and prevent collapse.

Summary (full results can found here):
S: 26:55
B: 2:16:52
R: 1:20:29

Total: 4:07:40, Good for 8th place.

In review, my swim start couldve been better, I was pleased with the bike ride, and I couldve used a little more at the end of the run. But there are always things to improve and I was happy with my effort in the first race of the season. Most of all, it was great to see my family and hang out with my Timex teammates.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Marathon runners train on the "Road of Death"

This video is a bit lengthy (10min) but a great piece:

And what was your excuse for not training, again?  Just something to think about the next time you have trouble getting out the door...

Monday, May 9, 2011


S: 26,300 yds
B: 8h 1min
R: 6h

Total: 20h 56min

All in all it was a pretty good last week of training before FL 70.3 this Sunday.  It took a few days to get my "feel" back in the water after being out due to the tornadoes and subsequent extended power outage, but nothing too terribly bad.

The leg injury which kept me from racing in New Orleans has abated, and I was able to finish a couple of runs last week with some fast miles, so hopefully that was foreshadowing for the race this weekend.  Of course it'll all really come down to how hot it is.  Although we've had a couple of warm days, the temperates have been pretty moderate for the most part, so if it warms up on Sunday, I'll just have to rely on my HS CC training...  

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mothers Day

This post may be a bit cliche, but that doesn't mean its also not totally appropriate.  After all, while some people may occasionally stumble here, we all know there is really only one person I can be sure is reading.

So today, I'm giving a huge Thank You to my Mom.  Not just for giving me at least one reader, of course, but for all she has done and continues to do. Highlights:
  • Birth.  This is obvious, but still needs to be stated since without it, I literally wouldn't be here! 
  • Unwavering support. Throughout middle school, high school, college, graduate school, and continuing all the way to my current job, Mom has been there offering guidance but above all proving unwavering support. This was true in all aspects of my life, academic, professional, and athletic, and is despite the fact that I'm pretty sure she seriously questions some of those decisions. So although I'm sure she would prefer I spent a little less time training (or "working out") and would've rather I lived closer to Orlando, she still has always and continues to fully support my decisions. 
  • Practical advice. I can't begin to list all of the advice I've received, but I definitely don't go more than a couple of days without thinking of something she told me. But because I should list at least one, here it is: wear your sunscreen! 
  • Work ethic. If there was one trait above all others which she impressed on me growing up, it was that hard work is necessary to achieve one's goals and become successful in life. Of course it wasn't just talk; she lead by example.  When she decided she wanted to go back to work when my siblings and I started to get older, she worked as a realtor's assistant while taking classes for the required certification course to become a Realtor.  During this time, she learned as much as she could from the successful Realtors in her office, so that when she finally got her license, she knew what she would have to do to attract clients.  And sure enough, she was soon one of the top sellers in her office. 
    So there it is; I owe at least a part of any successes I've had to her.  Happy Mother's Day, Mom.

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011


    S: 15,200 yds
    B: 10h 22min
    R: 5h 56min

    Total: 20h 18min

    With so much destruction around training does seem a bit trivial. As I'm sure most of you have heard, the state of Alabama was hit with some fairly major tornadoes last Wednesday from which we are only now beginning to recover.  Thankfully my house, and most of my neighborhood, was spared from the worst of the damage but others close by were not so lucky.  While much of the media attention has focused on Tuscaloosa and Birmingham, a number of smaller towns in northern Alabama were particularly hard hit with some entire towns being wiped almost entirely off the map. The tragedy, of course, is that many of the residents of these towns were desperately poor before the storm and now have lost almost all of what little they had.

    I'll have another post on this later this week but for now if you are in the Huntsville area and want to help or have items to donate, this article on has a nice round-up of places you can go to donate your time or goods.

    Of course you often here that cash donations are most effective, so go here, to the Salvation Army, to make an easy, safe, secure donation.  If you are too lazy to follow the link, you can simply text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross.  Its just that easy!