Monday, December 19, 2011

Winter Grand Prix Race 2

So, last weekend was race number 2 of 6 in the winter grand prix series. The stage was set for another showdown with the high schoolers from Redmond. It was a 2 mile road race within the same park, fast and paved.

The morning started out a little hectic, getting caught in traffic, turning the wrong way and getting lost. Funny, because i had made it there no problems last time and thought how easy of a drive that was...jokes on me eh? So I arrived at the park 40 mins prior to the start, and immediately started my warm up.

I got in just shy of a 2 mile warm up and was feeling very strong. I had done a short track speed workout to get that turnover in my legs back because they are used to monotonous pounding from ironman training and racing. They were not used to this new style of running, high turnover, extended strides. After a few quarters at 70 and a couple 200s sub 30, I realized that wasnt the greatest of ideas. My hammies were tight just during the cooldown so i knew i was in for a treat in the morning.

After warming up i loosed up much more than i thought, and quickly became confident in my race plan. Today my goal was to get out strong, right around 5 mins, and then hold on for dear life. As I mentioned earlier, my body isnt used to that anaerobic shock, so i expected to hit a wall right after mile 1, and my goal was to just hang on and put the "Pedal to the metal" until i dropped or crossed the finish line. After a few run outs I was feeling ready to go.

There was no gun to start the race, rather the starter used a cowbell. As you can imagine that is a very anti climactic start with a cowbell, and the race was on. I got out strong and made sure i didnt get boxed in. after about 200 meters i looked to my left and there were 3 10-12 year old kids all talking and laughing saying "this is a way slower pace than nationals!" I Shook my head in disbelief and pressed on. Within another quarter they were nowhere to be found.

Through the half mile I was sitting in 5th place behind 2 of the high schoolers and 3 other racers who were looking good. I had lost contact to the lead 2 runners, but the other 2 were within range and I caught up to one of the high schoolers, Harry, who was hurting from going out like a banshee. Harry is an unbelievable kid, and is the one kid i have become the closest to on the team. He is a sophomore who is unlike any other typical varsity high school runner. Harry has Aspergers, an autism spectrum disorder that is characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction, alongside restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests. The very first day i showed up at the high school harry and I met and, me showing interest and being friendly in him really sparked a smile and a relationship in his eyes. Harry has a heart of gold, and I am very greatful for the opportunity to run alongside him let alone be his friend :)

So Harry has a tendency to go out a little too hard in races and fade near the end so once I made the pass just after the half mile I knew he was in for a rough race. But being the tough kid that he is I couldnt write him off just yet.

Coming through the mile I hit 5:04, nearly right where I was hoping to be and feeling pretty good. I was sitting in 5th place still and was looking to make some moves. I passed a guy just after the mile and moved up into fourth, with my sights set on the next guy in front of me. Shortly after that pass I heard footsteps coming up on me. First thing I thought was muscle through this, keep putting in efforts till he drops back, cause it has to be max, the number 2 man on the xc team all season. I made 2 solid efforts to hold the runner off, but that wasnt enough, and he made the pass. I never enjoy getting passed in any circumstance, but finding out it wasnt one of the high schoolers was a nice relief. I cranked up the intensity a little bit to sit right on this guys heels, but he was too much for me and proceeded to gap me. Shortly after, right around the half mile mark, another guy came up and through me, this one didnt have as much steem, and I held on to him for a little bit, but the lactic acic and anaerobic wall was setting in. I had lasted longer than I projected, and I just kept telling myself, 2 and a half minutes left HANG ON!

Coming down the final 200 meter stretch I had lost a little bit of ground on the last guy that passed me and had fallen into 6th, ultimately where I finished up. I crossed the line with a time of 10:28, identical to that of the cross country race 2 weeks prior but that was only 3100 meters, so I was pleased. I was also pleased when I looked at my garmin and noticed that it was actually 2.03 miles. I hadnt died as much as I thought in that last mile! A solid 5:10 average.

After the race I regrouped with the high schoolers and we all had laughs and reminisced about the race. I had some words with Max, and he wasnt too happy that I had taken him again, and adding time to the gap that was set in the previous race. I am starting to figure him out...I got his number :) Unfortunately there is still one guy I am after, and hope to put together an out of this world race to give him a run for his money. Johnathan, the stellar Junior that ran 15:40 multiple times throughout the year had run another 10 flat and had just over 20 seconds on me, similar gap to the previous race. I have my work cut out for me...dont count me out just yet, i am known to exceed expectations as my close friends have found out time and time again ;)

Next race up is another XC style race on the same course...looking to drop that time, and close the gap on those in front of me.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Back to the Basics

So I have been helping out with a local high school (Redmond) cross country team, and they told me about this winter running series they do every year. It is put on by Club Northwest, a local and very strong running club, and it is a series that consists of six 2 mile races every other weekend. 2 are cross country style, 2 are race style and one is a track race. The final race is sort of screwy but should be fun, they try to stagger it so that everyone finishes at the same time. It sounded pretty cool so I decided to look into it.

After checking out the website i realized that to sign up for the whole series (all 6 races) it was only going to be $40! I was over the moon about this. I had been so sheltered to $500 and $600 ironman races that I forgot little running races were so cheap! Bottom line is i decided to show up and race the little kids.

Redmond had a very strong team in the fall, qualifying for the state meet and ultimately placing 11th. In one meet this season they had all 5 of their scorers under 17:00, and for a high school team to do that is pretty unreal. So their top 2 guys were running in this series, and with the first race approaching I decided why not start to stir the pot up a bit. I knew that their number 1 man, Jonathan,(15:45) was a little out of reach and their number 2 (16:05) man, Max, would take quite the race to beat, but a little bit of friendly competition and some trash talking would get those competitive juices flowing rather quickly.

The first race was cross country style, and as we headed to the start line, the scene quickly reminded me of my high school days many moons ago. Everyone doing run outs, the starter yelling at everyone trying to keep things organized. I felt right at home.

As the starter lined us all up for the race, Max turned to me and asked "Hey matt you gonna beat me today??" I turned and gave him a nice grin, such as the grin on the grinchs face when he gets the idea to go into whoville and ruin christmas. I got the feeling that he was a little nervous, and didnt want to give any signs of my nerves away on the start line. The starter, who typically has a gun, had a cowbell to start the race, rung his little bell and the race was off.

As we headed down the opening 400 i got out strong and couldnt see anyone in my peripheral view, so i decided that i have blown myself to shreds too many times in my racing career by going out too hard, so i dialed it back a bit into the trail which trimmed the pack down to a 2x2 formation. about 600 meters into the race is a nice big climb that really punches you right in the kidneys and wakes you up. After reaching the top of the hill Jonathan had passed me and was looking very comfortable, along with 2 other runners that looked like they knew what they were doing. As we made a big u turn and headed back down the hill i saw Max about 5-10 seconds behind. At this point i was in 4th and he was in 6th. As Jonathan started to make his move on the race and run away with it comfortably, I decided to focus on the guys in 2nd and 3rd and tried to limit the gap.

At the mile I was 4th still and came through in 5:19. I was hurting, but the legs still felt springy, so I kept my head on my shoulders tight and focused on trying to reel in 3rd, who was alone at this point. There was another u turn on the course about a tenth of a mile before the mile and I got to see where Max was at that point. Still about 5 seconds I was holding him off well.

The course was a 2 lap course so as we approached the big hill on the second lap i could hear footsteps and heavy breathing coming up on my shoulder. I quickly told myself the only way he is getting around you is if you have absolutely nothing left and you have to drop to the turf. This was a mentality i learned from experience and try to implement as often as possible. It is never easy pushing yourself to the absolute break point, but it is necessary if you want to be considered great instead of good.

So back to the race, Max tried to make a pass on the hill, but i didnt allow it, I made a calculated surge halfway up the hill to not give him any light at passing, and held him off. 1/3 of a mile later i heard him coming, and I made another near sprinting surge to break his spirits of trying to get around me. At that point we were at 1.5 miles and were withing 2.5 minutes of the end of the race. As we head around the last u turn and down the final 200 meter stretch i still had a 2 second or so gap on him. I didnt wait around to see if he made a move on me here, I gritted my teeth and reached down deep for ever ounce of power i had left to get to that finish line. I could hear him coming but paid no attention to that. I stayed focused on that finish line.

Next thing i knew i was reeling in 3rd place rather quickly! I had been so focused on holding off Max that I lost track of 3rd. It ended up being a little too late to catch 3rd, but I held max off for 4th place by a second or 2 cementing my status back in the running speed. I came across the line with a time of 10:28!

I had no expectations for that race other than to get out there and give it all i had, and I was totally pleased with the result. Turns out it was not a true 2 miles, clocked at 3100 meters, but still a very solid performance, gutted out a real tough one.

Up next, 2 mile road race!

Thursday, November 17, 2011


Just got a new bike this week, well havent gotten it yet, but it is in transit.

2008 Cervelo soloist, pretty stoked!

Ride details to follow

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Race

Walking into transition was a real shock to the system...this is really here, this is going to happen right now! I immediately went from nervous and worried about flatting to 100% race mode. I checked my bike and everything was fine, I made sure I had everything i needed where I needed it, and I was off to the water.

Dipping my feet into the water felt great, and at that moment I knew I was in for a monumental race! 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run.

As the cannon shot off, so did the agegroupers. nearly 1800 flopping 18-81 year old athletes all jockeying for position. Luckily for me I chose a pocket right by some women who didnt look like they belonged on the front line, and I had a smooth start. I got into a rhythm and was feeling smooth and relaxed. I hit the turn around with a large pack, and still was feeling stellar. as we made our final turn to head back to the bay, I was stung by something in the water. I never saw anything, and it wasnt bad enough for me to stop, but it was def a shock to my system. In the long run I think it helped a bit because after that moment I started to turn the screws a little bit more to try to bridge the gap to the next swim pack. I continued to make up ground the whole way back, but was unable to connect with the pack and had to swim solo for the final mile which seemed like it took forever! I exited the swim with a time of 56:43 and was happy with that. I felt fresh and ready to get out on the bike.

I had a quick transition, quick mount and I was off to the lava fields of Kona. I went in with the mentality that I was going to ride controlled for the first hour then start to loosen the reins and let the horses fly. Turns out I lasted 30 minutes before I got caught up in the fast bikers and started riding with them. I was feeling great and strong so I figured why not! We got to the base of the Hill leading up to Hawi, and was averaging 23.6 MPH. I started climbing and realized that there wasnt too much wind this morning and that I should press this hill because I have a nice huge long downhill coming back. I felt strong all the way up the hill and couldnt believe that I was riding as well as I was. I had hit a little over the halfway point holding just under 23MPH. I went in thinking that if i averaged 21-21.5 that would have been great for me, but 23, i was over the moon. I hit the downhill section and just took off. I was making this course my bitch and was loving every second of it.

It turns out that it isnt quite all downhill all the way back, and things started to get a little difficult. I hit mile 70, missed a water at an aid station and that hurt me. there was no aid station from 70-90 and I paid the price. I had a gel in there, but the lack of hydration really brought me down hard. I managed to get to the end of the bike holding 21.7, but lost a lot of time and places in that last 35 mile stretch. I finished with a bike split of 5:09:52.

Dismounting and running through transition I got uplifted spirits from all of the spectators cheering like crazy, and I thought, you are through 2 of the 3 legs here, now for the easiest one, the one you are most prepared for. The RUN!

After a mildly slow transition where I took my time to make sure I had my shoes on properly and my nutrition settled away, I was out for the run. I felt great! First mile I was through in 7:29 and I was trying to hold myself back because I knew it was going to be a long run.

Things quickly went south on Ali'i Drive. There was no circulation, and all you could feel was the heat of the sun melting your skin, your insides, your legs, your brain. It became so hard to run that I caved in to walking very early, just before mile 2. I looked at my watch and realized that All i had to run was a 3:45 and I would break my goal of 10 hours! That was a little uplifting and I started to run again, making it a little over a mile before I felt like i was going to blow up in the microwave. I was desperately throwing ice down my top, down my shorts, putting cold sponges on my temples, anything I could think of to cool down my core temperature, because I knew if i could do that I could run. I slowly realized that a sub 10 hour race was leaving the realm of possibility and survival mode kicked in. I kept telling myself if you have to walk the rest of this race then so be it, but you are making it to that finish line whatever means necessary.

Even though I was frustrated, the pressure of the sub 10 hour race was off, and I started to implement a run to the aid station walk for a minute. And that was actually really helping. My times per mile were dropping, and I was starting to cool off (thankfully it was starting to get a little overcast, so that helped big time). Once I went in and out of the energy lab I knew that finishing wasnt a question anymore. I had only 6 miles left. I looked at my watch and saw that I needed a 53 minute 6 mile and change in order to break 11 hours. I got myself back into a race mentality that I was going to make that happen, and I stuck to my run to the aid station, walk through for a minute, but my running pace was steadily getting quicker and quicker, feeding off the volunteers and spectators that were doing everything they could to help me out.

Running down Palani Rd, and knowing i only had one mile left was the second best feeling of that race. I saw my family and gave them high fives as i ran down the hill, and headed down for my last 3/4 mile. Things really started to get foggy there, I had been running for 2 miles straight because of all the support of people on the queen k, and I desperately wanted to walk, but deep inside I told myself, even the finishers who finish in 17 hours run this last stretch because of all the support, and if they can do it, so can I! So i somehow found the strength to get to Ali'i without walking. Once I was on Ali'i it was like the crowd dragged me down the final stretch. My body was numb and I was on the verge of just dropping, but somehow I made it to that finish line. That was the greatest feeling of the day, knowing I made it to the line through the deeepest and darkest moments of my life, I found a way to push through and achieve my ultimate goal of finishing Ironman World Championships in Kona!

After finishing my family came up and congratulated me which was amazing to have them there! And they asked me if I was going to ever come back to do it again. Really? you are going to ask me that right after I finished! They have hearts of gold, but come on use your heads! I told them F*$% no, but after analyzing everything, and rethinking how great of an experience that was, I am changing my mind. If it were easy everyone would do it. This is the world championships, you have to do well here in order to have the feeling that you accomplished what you wanted in the sport. I have not done that yet and still have the itch to press my limits. I'LL BE BACK!

Ironman World Championships 2011

Being in Kona, HI the week of the Ironman World Championships was an experience I will never forget. The venue was unbelievable, the sponsors were everywhere, and best of all, you saw a well known pro every corner you turned on. The clear hot spot for all the big named athletes was the Lava Java right on Ali'i Dr. This place definitely lived up to the hype, the food was Spectacular! The very first day I was there I went to get breakfast at Lava Java, and ran into Jan Frodeno and Javier Gomez, two of the top ITU olympic distance athletes in the world one of which won the gold medal in the last olympics. Some other guys I ran into there were Norman Stadler (2x ironman world champion), marino vanhoenacker (3rd place last year), and Jordan Rapp (multiple ironman winner). It was unbelievable to see how these guys were just normal every day guys out for breakfast, and it made me realize that even though you see them on tv, they are just like you and I, but much more athletic!

Throughout the week I ran into many other professionals both current and retired, and it was awesome to see just how fit they all still were! This was the motivation that I needed leading up to the big race.

My buddy Sev and I went out for a ride one day and decided to go check out the turn around point on the bike at Hawi. This was a big mistake, and eventually made me more scared to race this race then to go see paranormal activity at the movies. We got out of the car at a side street 5 or so miles from the true turnaround and we could barely keep our bikes upright. It must have been 50 mile gusts, with constant 25-30 mph winds. It was a straight head/head cross wind, and it was miserable. I had never worked so hard to go 12 mph and be so scared in my life. about 15 minutes in i looked down cause something didnt feel right, my buddy was pulling away from me hard, and I knew there was something wrong. I had a flat tire. I yelled up to him and told him to go get the car and to come back and get me, and i sort of threw my bike in the lava on the side of the road (similar to norman stadler the year after he won 2 years in a row)
and was very frustrated. The worst part about flatting pre race week is that you get it in your head that you are for sure going to flat in the race.

Sev and I ended up getting back to the car and were talking about how horrible that was and he told me that he nearly died descending with the wind at his back. He was going 50 mph and his handlebars just started to shake and rattle like crazy and he had to lay on the brakes and slow down or he would have been added to the casualty list in the lava fields. I am glad he was ok.

We ended up going to get a beer in frustration after that ride and vent to each other.

The rest of the week was very uneventful leading up to the race. Our one goal leading up to the race was to not get sunburnt, because if you are sunburnt for before the race, that gonna be a miserable day! So we were constantly lathering each other up. We went for a couple swims, and a run, and felt pretty good there. All we were wishing for was no winds and no flats out at hawi!

Race morning came very quickly and things became very real! We got up at 4, thankfully we were still on west coast time so getting up at 4 felt super easy. We got some breakfast in, and headed down to transition. Taking in the race morning scene was very overwhelming, but exciting. It was everything you see on tv and more! The other cool part for me was to get marked with the official stamped on numbers. I had never had the luxury of having such awesome numbers.

After the body marking tent we were hearded off to transition to do one final bike check before we got in the water at Kailua Kona Bay...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Kona is Finally Here

In a little less than a week now I will be touching down on the Island of Kona. I have been waiting nearly 11 months for this moment, and it has finally arrived. Hours upon hours of training, stretching, icing, sleeping, and eating have put me in the position that I am in, and I cant wait to see what I can throw down.

My workouts as of late have been very very productive and shine promising light on what I believe I can go October 8th, but Kona is a very different place, and does not give up fast times easily.

My previous 2 ironmans I have sure found a way to eff them up leading up to the race, and somehow leading up to this one i seem to be doing all the right things. Before Wisconsin (2008) I had multiple stress fractures in both my shins all season, and was unable to run more than a total of 30 miles all summer. 2 days before the race I couldnt even keep a shuffle it hurt so bad, but somehow i was able to gut out a sub 4 hour marathon and finish in 10:38:59. Leading up to Florida (2010) I seemed to be doing everything right, being cautious with my running making sure everything was injury free. Well turned out i wasnt cautious enough, got hit by a car on a 45 min ez ride 2 weeks before the race, and ended up in the hospital. I put my tooth through my lip and did a number on my neck. 4 hours later I left with a neckbrace, some severely powerful meds, and a nice gouge out of my lip that had the looks of a harry potter lightningbolt scar. I was nervous that my neck would not allow me to ride aero for the full bike, but somehow again i was able to overcome the pain and ride a sub 5 hr bike split in route to an improvement of over an hour from my time in wisconsin, throwing down a 9:28:30, and locking up a spot to Ironman Kona in 2011. With less than 2 weeks go go till race day, I am taking every action necessary to make sure I get to the start line in the condition i am today.

Updates from the beautiful city of Kona to follow...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3

So yesterday was the day of my first ever half ironman race. I have raced multiple full ironmans and countless olympics and sprints, but never got myself into the half distance. My season so far has been mediocre, and that is an overstatement. Poorly executed races, meltdowns in the heat, losing focus and more or less finishing the race by going through the motions pretty much sums up my year. So I came into the race with zero expectations, and more or less didn't treat it as a race.

Race morning was a balmy 55 degs and it felt amazing. I race much much better in the cold vs the heat, so I was liking the weather conditions. After finding the port-a-johns for my most repeated pre-race ritual, i found myself in transition with less than 10 mins b4 my wave went off. I grabbed my wetsuit quick and headed over to the lake. By the time I got to the lake, put on my wetsuit, and had a gel, I had 2 mins before the cannon shot. I had time to jump in and get a quick feel for the water, and realized that I felt pretty good (in the 10 strokes that I took after jumping in).

The cannon was shot and the race was on. I took it out mildly strong, but comfortable, and before I knew it I was in a 3 man pack out in front of the rest of the field. the only negative thing that happened during the swim was my goggles flooded with water, and I had to deal with that. But within 3-4 minutes I was used to it and carried on with the race. I came out of the water in a time of 27:10, which was good for the 12th fastest swim of the day, and the best part was that there was very minimal effort exerted.

Coming out of the water and into transition was a little rough, my eyes were pretty hazy from swimming with lake water in my goggles the whole race, and I realized that I was in the wrong aisle from where my bike was, so i had to turn around and correct myself to get to my spot. Overall I had a decent transition even with the mishap out of the water, and only lost about :20 sec to the pros transitions.

Out on the bike, the goal was to keep it strong but within myself so that I could really unleash on the run course. I was pretty much riding by myself most of the first half of the bike, passing a few pro women here and there, and at mile 30 2 guys from the wave behind me reeled me in, but weren't going insanely fast, so i decided to latch onto their group and see how long i could hang with. Long story short, I was able to keep with them for the rest of the ride, and came into transition only getting passed by 4 people total, 2 of which I stayed with. One of my better bikes in the past few races, and I came into T2 with some confidence. Biked a 2:33:23, and felt nearly fresh heading out on the run. I couldn't have written a better scenario on paper before the race, I kept it very smooth in the water and on the bike, and now I get to see how well I can run a half marathon.

Well, things started to turn upside down rather quickly. Less than a minute into the run my back started to tighten up bad, and my run went with it. I was through the first mile in 6:30, but was in a lot of pain. At mile 2 i was really feeling it now, in the most pain i had been the entire race, and it wasn't even aerobic pain, it was pretty demoralizing. I walked through the aid station at mile 2 got some coke and water, and started up a jog again. Just at that moment a kid from Oregon state in my age group passed me and was running pretty strong. I told myself, "you are leading your age group right now, you are not going to let it slip away that easy" and i gutted out a 200 meter stretch to get back up on the kids shoulder. We ran together for about 3.5 miles running very very strong ~ 6:00-6:15 pace, and it felt great. We hit a hill at about mile 4.5 and i felt a few moves by this kid, and countered each one, but was really starting to feel my sore back coming in again, which really got to my head. I made it up the hill with the Oregon state kid, as well as down the other side of it, but at the turn around where we headed back up the hill I didn't have it in me, and lost contact with the kid, and that's where my race took a turn for the worse.

The second half of the run was a major struggle, but I got through it. I eventually got passed by another kid who went on to run a 1:18 half marathon and run through the Oregon state kid, and finished 3rd in my age group with a time of 4:37:13. Through the first 5 miles I was on pace for a 1:25-1:26 half marathon, but the wheels fell off hard, and I finished with a 1:33:30. I felt like I could have run harder that second lap, but the combination of back pain, and bad blisters and chaffing on my feet really held me back, and caused every single stride to feel like it was going to be my last.

I was pleased with the first 2 disciplines, and the fact that I was able to pull myself from the depths at mile 2 to give a solid effort, but was disappointed that I fell off that bad in the back half of the run. Its a good starting point to my 70.3 career, and can definitely see myself doing more of these in the future. I even got to take home some hardware :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Whiskey Dick Triathlon

So, I just underwent one of the toughest races I have ever done, specifically related to the bike portion. The whiskey dick triathlon has been around for awhile, and been tweaked here and there, but it is a grueling race! It consists of a 1 mile swim in a huge river, a 28 mile point to point bike (the worst bike you could imagine) and a 10 K run to finish up.

The race started off with a 1 mile swim in this local giant river that had a pretty strong current. The water temp was a mildly chilly 59DEG, so chilly to jump in but great to swim hard in with a wetsuit. So the gun was shot and we were off. I took off mildly fast from the gate, and before I knew it I was swimming all alone off the front. I was pretty stoked for the race to play out this way because it had been awhile since I had led the swim of a race.

I exited the water with a :40 sec lead over the second place guy, and had a super fast transition getting out of my wetsuit and onto my bike. The only upsetting thing about it was that the guy that came in second was on a relay and all he had to do was pass his chip, so my :40 second lead plus the time I would have added in t1 boiled down to a dead heat coming out of transition. The bike course is a bitch of a ride, the first 12 miles consists of 2000 feet of climbing (through the Washington Desert) which does not include any downhill or flat portions, only 30 story wind turbines. Not to mention a 20-30 MPH head wind the entire time. So starting the ascent I felt alright, switching right into my small ring, and buckling down for a painful ride. I was dropped pretty quickly by the other rider from the relay, not due to the fact that I swam first and he was fresh, but rather because my pea shooter legs are far from used to the hilly terrain out here.

I reached the top of the 12 mile climb, and had lost 4 other places so I was sitting in 6th place. Some of these guys out here can really bike! My average through the first 12 miles was a mere 11.3MPH, very very tough climb. The last 16 miles of the bike went very well, I woulodnt say that i felt strong, but I started to pull back a good amount of the time that I had lost early on in the hill climb. So that is a good sign that the fitness is there, but the strength is not, so that is the focus for the next 2 moths b4 kona.

Coming into transition my race mind was pretty out of it. I was so frustrated that I had given the race away on the bike that when i got out on the run I was just going through the motions. It was not pretty. I am usually a tough racer and dont just lose focus or give up mid race, so this worrys me a bit because now a days when I race, I dont find it as fun anymore. Constant sub par performances are really wearing on my race morale.

Overall I finished 5th place, 11 mins behind the relay team who would ahve been tough to beat on a good day, and 6:30 behind the 2nd place guy who was first individual. Ive got things to figure out in regards to my run, but I really need to do something miraculous in 2 weeks at Lake Stevens 70.3 in order to go into kona with any momentum whatsoever.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

First Taste of Sponsorship Love!

Last night was the best!! I finally got my first taste of having a sponsor and it was amazing. I got home from work after a long day and had a nice big package on my doorstep. I quickly tore it open and inside was a full set of race gear from TriBike Transport!! I was so stoked. Below is a taset of what they sent me...

Cant wait to race in it this weekend! I love sponsors!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Finally Settled In and Ready to go

So sorry hold you guys up after the abrupt return, but im back now baby!

Finally settled into the area and loving every second of it! This place is a triathletes heaven. Stellar biking everywhere you look, running is the same, and a masters swim team that just beats my ass like a pinball.

Lets start with the swimming, so I found a masters swim team that meets every morning 6 days a week. When i found that online i couldnt believe it, i was so pumped...but after i realized that I have to get up every day at 4:45 AM i didnt think it was so awesome anymore. Day after day getting up at that time just wears on you hard. Then having to spend 9+ hr days at work, its not pretty, but im adjusting.

So back to the team, these guys are amazing, there are only a handfull of guys that are under the age of 50, and you would never believe how fast these old guys are. There is one guy who is just off the charts. He recently swam a 2:03 for the 200 Fly and a 10:09 in the 1000 Free at a meet in the winter. Dude is a tank. even all of the other old guys, not quite as fast, but sure as hell not slow, still kick my ass from here till next week. Its unbelievable, ive been so used to being one of the top dawgs in the pool, and not having to give too much effort, and now im the catfish sucking the scum off the bottom. In the very near future these tough swims will pay off and I will be swimming with these guys...and I cant wait :)

Next up biking. The biking here is unbelievable. Everywhere you go is beautiful, the roads are perfectly paved, nice wide shoulders or bike lanes on every road. It is perfect. The only negative which is only negative because it hurts to go up, are the monsterous hills. Everything is surrounded by huge, but pretty trees, and if you take a side road, you are sure to find the next biggest hill you have seen, overpowering the previous hill you just climbed. This is perfect terrain for kona, just gotta put in the miles.

Finally, the running. Running out here is equally as awesome as the biking. The week leading up to the move out here, I got in contact with a local High schools cross country team to see if they would be willing to let me run with their team, help indirectly coach while at the same time getting in some great miles with a group. As I had envisioned the coach had no objections to this and I gave it a try. I have been running with these guys for just over 2 weeks now, and it is incredible, their top guys are equally as fast as me and i have a nice group to push / be pushed by and I love it. Whether we are doing a tempo, hill repeats, or a long run, there is always someone willing to push the pace, which in turn helps each of us out.

Their team consists of 3 very strong runners, the #1 man is a real contender for the state title this year. He ran 15:30 as a sophomore, and isnt looking any weaker this year. The #2 man is a tiny little sophomore who ran 16:30 as a freshman. I ran with him on a long run last week, and man can he run. Just before we got to the biggest hill on the run, he goes "I like hills" and i thought o shit im in for it now. We pushed it up this monster hill, and he really put me in the dog house. I survived barely and at the top i asked him how much he weighted guessing about 125 lbs. The kid is a tiny 5'6 and he replied by saying he only weighted 105lbs. I was shocked, but also mildly enfuriated. I told him I would love to run hills too if i only weighed 105 lbs! Im carrying an extra 60lb weight on my piggy frame, and he is just gazelling up these hills. Gotta cut that down pig machine if I am going to compete with these guys.

So Its very nice to be finally getting settled in, and in the middle of last week I signed up for my first race out here. It was an aquathon with distances of .25 mile swim, 5k run. I had never done a race like that b4 and was very excited to compete. After the swim I had come out of the water first with a 2 second lead over a fellow competitor from University of Washington who i had raced multiple times in the past at big events. Going out on the run I got rid of him by mile 1 and continued to add to the gap. I thought yes i have this in the bag. When I hit mile 2.5 i heard loud footsteps and thought uho, im getting run up on. It was a 16 year old high school runner who was about 6'4, with super long legs. There was nothing i could do, he slowly ran off on me, and I ended up surrendering a 12 second defeat to him. The kid ran a blistering 16:09, where my measly 17:38 was no competition.

After the race everyone was like wow great job you won! When really deep inside I knew I was 2nd. Even though a relay beat me, I still had the 2nd fastest time on the course and knew I wasnt the winner. At the end of the day you are not #1 unless you post the fastest time on the course that day, and that was not the case for me. Whether a 99 year old lady riding a scooter poster a 1 second faster time, or a man riding a skateboard getting pulled by his dog nosed me out at the line, if I dont have that #1 time on the course I am not happy.

Well, this concludes this post, stay tuned because this weekend I found a race called the Whiskey Dick Triathlon that I couldnt pass up. Results to follow.


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Westward HO Day 1

Well my friends, its about that time again...dust off the old blog and tell the story.

For those of you who dont know, I recently got a job out in Redmond, WA about 20 miles east of Seattle, and my girlfriend Iris and I are driving out west, carrying all my shit in a UHaul. You would never have guessed it, but karma has bit me in the ass* on Day 1.

Day 1:

I guess I need to preface the story by filling you in on the happy go lucky life I live in. Throughout the summer I had been looking for furniture to furnish my unfurnished apartment. Truth be told, I am not a guy who likes to spend money when money doesn't need to be spent. So naturally, as a hook would, I went on the hunt for free furniture of all sorts. Long story short I ended up getting a full sized super comfy couch, a killer love seat, coffee table, dinner table & 4 Chairs, and the best of all, a brand new king sized mattress and box spring.

So, over the wonderful 4th of july weekend I got a call from the UHaul company letting me know that they got my reservation for a truck and towing mechanism to transport all my furnishings, as well as my brand new car (2011 Black Chevy Cruze) from Clarkston, MI all the way to Redmond, WA. The start of many negative things to come was the news they gave me on the phone. I was under the impression I would be able to pick up the truck Monday so that I could fill it up Monday night and have it all ready to go by the time I left Tuesday morning. Well, they informed me that I wouldnt be able to pick it up until 11AM Tuesday at the earliest. Huge damper on the plans. But whatever, I got all my stuff packed and ready to jam in the uhaul first thin in the AM. Well I call in the answer. Now I am really thinking " O F*%K" I am never going to move out of my parents house. I show up at the UHaul dock at 11:30, and there is nobody there. Now Im really in for it.

After 2 hours of paperwork and inspecting the truck I finally pull out of the lot, but only after agreeing that I have to come back on my way out of town so that I can attach the hitch to the truck to tow my car. So I go home, and pack the car up rather quickly and head back to the dock. Morale is pretty high right now due to the fact that the truck seemed to almost pack itself! Little did I know I was in for quite a treat.

I get to the Dock and after about an hour and a half of jimmying the trailer onto the hitch, securing it to the hitch, and securing my car to the trailer, I am finally am able to depart and start my Westward Bound.

Things seem to be going well, been on the road for about 3 hours, and about that time its time for a fill up. Never realized that a 30 gallon tank could guzzle so much damn fuel! While waiting 20 mins for the thing to fill up I decided to do a quick scan of the equipment. Truck looks ok, no new dings or dents, car seems to be attached strongly to the trailer, but wait a minute, the trailer is attached to the truck crooked now! After taking a deeper look into the situation I realized that somehow the locking pins that secure the trailer had sheared off, causing the stabilizing beam to come out of true and bend and twist in ways galvanized steel should not. I realized that there were 2 major cracks in the steel, and realized that "O Shit* this POS isnt safe to drive." After 3 hours of waiting for a mechanic, and another 2 hours with him, we found out that he didnt have the tools necessary to fix the damage (No shit you didnt you dont have full welding shop in your van), and he told me I need to call someone else! Well Eff that, and here I am now, it is 1:30 AM I am in Naperville, IL a little bit steamed with the series of events that have taken place, and need some rest.

Hopefully day 2 will go much smoother!

Seacrest OUT!

*PG-13 readers please follow with gentle ears :)