Friday, June 29, 2012

"Journey From Zero to Hero!" Preface & Acknowledgements

Over the next year and a half I will be bringing you all on my journey to Ironman Arizona.  Ever since I came back from Kona in October, I have really been determined to get back, not only to compete, but to conquer "The Big Island!"  My first experience on the island was unbelievable, the scene was everything I had pictured it to be, and more, from watching on TV.  Walking up and down the streets within touching distance of all of the triathlon legends.  It was an amazing experience!  It was just a shame that it had to end like it did, with a 26.2 mile death march through the lava taking nearly 5 hrs.  I learned a lot, and know that next time will be different!

But before i start talking about "Next Time" in Kona, I have to qualify, and that I will do!  The plan is to put in some serious mileage and hit a couple half Ironmans over the next year and a half, ultimately landing in Tempe, AZ in late November to redeem myself on the Ironman stage. 

I have been doing triathlons for coming up on 6 years now, and have really learned a lot and grown over that time period.  I came in a super speedy high school swimmer and runner, posting some impressive results along the way, but had no idea what i was doing.  Over the years I have learned about my body, what it can and cant take, and how to structure workouts around how I feel as well as around my life.  Over all those years, I have used speed as my gauge of performance.  Was I under 6 min pace in the run, did i hold 25 mph on the bike etc.  After reading some of the literature that is out there, I realized that my sole focus was all wrong.  Some courses are much more difficult and will not allow you to run sub 6 on, or bike 25 on, sometimes biking 22 mph will give you the fastest split.  The more I read, the more I realized that Heart Rate and Power were the main performance markers that needed to be focused on.  Even today, I still don't know anything about either of the two, but I do know that they are much more consistent measures on a race to race / workout to workout basis, and being as blessed as I have been with the opportunity to be on Evotri, and reap the great benefits they have to offer, I am at last given the opportunity to switch my focus to new performance measures. Huge thanks to CycleOps for my new Joule 2.0 Computer and PowerTap, as well as every single other great sponsor that represents Evotri! (QR, SRAM, ZIPP, HUB) Thanks to you guys, I will be well on my way to reaching the pinnacle of Ironman once again.

Over the course of the next year and a half I will be tracking my progress sharing my learning's, happily outlining great results and workouts, as well as laying out the setbacks and trying to understand what went wrong and how i can correct those mistakes. The major highlights will be Power & Heart Rate on the bike, and Hear Rate on the run.  The swim...well its swimming come on ;)

I greatly look forward to the journey ahead, and appreciate all the support and help along the way.  I wouldn't be where/who i am today without the help of all my close friends and family.  You guys are the true hero's!  So thank you all.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Half Marathon Race Recap

Well now that I am finally settled into my new place in Dallas its about time i do a race!  I signed up for this half marathon in Irving, TX  2 months ago, and have been taking training semi seriously for it.  I did a few track focused workouts that went great, a few long runs that shocked even myself.  But the most optimistic run i did was 3 weeks final farewell run in Seattle.

I mapped out a perfect 13.1 mile run that had a little bit of trail running and uphills within the first 5 miles, then the rest was pancake flat if not slightly downhill.  I had picked the perfect route, for the perfect day!  It was a perfect 55deg and drizzling rain, my kind of running weather.  It went amazing!  I ran a 1:20:45 and felt like there were multiple minutes to be had throughout the run...if i were to rate the effort i would say i took it about 85% race pace.  This was huge for my confidence, and I thought for sure sub 1:20 was well within reach.

So back to the race.  Dallas running weather was the polar opposite from Seattle: hot, muggy, cant breathe.  Just the worst!  I got in about 10 runs in the 2 weeks leading up to the race and felt semi prepared for what i had gotten myself into.  Race morning was 78 deg when i walked out of my place at 5:30 in the morning, and you could feel the humidity in the air.  I kept my head held high and still believed that great things were going to come from this race.

The race was set to start at 7am, so i got there about 45 mins before and got in a decent warm up, did some stretching, making sure i was sipping a lot of water.  After lacing up the flats and heading over to the line, the announcers said that they were a little behind and the race was going to start a little later than planned.  This didnt sit too well for me.  It was getting exponentially hotter by the second!  Finally at 7:30 they got us up to the line and off.

My goal was to get out and hold on to 6 flat pace as long as i could, and just hang on for dear life at the end.  Knowing i had run 6:09 pace I figured 6 flats shouldnt be too much of a stretch and I should have something left at the end.

Through mile 1 the field of 3300 had dwindled down to 6...we didnt go out at a blistering pace, but was a bit quicker than i would have liked, 5:47.  After 2 miles the pack of 6 was still in tact and we came through @ 11:42.  I was starting to feel uncomfortable, and was worried about the rising temps and humidity...things were not as comfortable or easy as i had planned/hoped.

By mile 5 our six man pack shrunk to 3, and things were starting to really hurt in my world.  We came through the 5 mile at 29:55, but my pace was starting to be affected hard by the heat.  I was losing time and energy!

I hung on to the pack as long as i could, but by mile 7 they had broke me.  Not because they were faster, but because they knew how to run in the heat.  Its a totally different game when its hot and I have to respect that.  I came through mile 7 at 42:10, but the pace was going downhill quick.  It was a struggle to keep the turnover, and was only becoming more difficult.

Miles 9 and 10 were just awful, we started to run into the people running the 10k, and they had no sense of personal space on the course...they were walking 5 abreast on this 3 wide running path, lets just say this didnt help my mood/attitude too much.

I came through 10 in 1:01:40 and was doing everything i could to put one leg in front of the other.  shortly after mile 10 i was passed by a guy which put me in 4th which is where i eventually finished.  Getting off the path and on the final road was a major relief, but crossing the line was seriously the best.  There were times out on that course where i felt like i was back in Hawaii racing ironman Kona, and I did not enjoy it one bit.  I know now, that I need to be patient and really be in tune with my nutrition and pacing in the heat or else every result is going to end the same way this one did...barely finishing.

Like I said, I finished in 4th overall, 1st in my age group with a time of 1:24:33.  I was disappointed with the time, and especially how i held on at the end of the race, but being unfamiliar with the conditions i know i have a lot to learn from it.  A full season of racing tris this summer will be huge in my warm weather racing development, and ultimately my major success at kona in the future!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


Hey guys, this is the final call for bigfoot shirts.  Reply on here or post up on my facebook with your size.  You have 24 hrs.

Holla at ya Bigfoot!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Seattle --> Dallas: Life in the Fast Lane

Hey friends!  So just got internet for the first time in the past 4 days.  Been crazy hectic!  Left from Redmond, WA to drive to Dallas, TX for my 2nd move as a "grown-up" what a pain in the A$$!  There is so much work involved in moving its sickening.  Not to mention you have to pack and then unpack all your stuff!  The worst!

So a quick recap:
  • Left wednesday the 23rd, got in 11 hrs of driving, nearly shot myself into a ditch at the end of the have heard of DOMS (Delayed onset muscle soreness), well i have DONITD (Delayed Onset Narcolepsy in the Dark!)  once the sky turns black my body shuts down, and so do all my driving functions haha.  Luckily i had Iris to keep me away with her very interesting comments ;)  
  • Got up early thursday to drive to san fran to meet up with some friends before finally landing in Calabasas to hang out with the one and only JP Severin.  We went for a couple runs, got some grub and beer.  We even had a special rating on mr JP's dinner...
    • This one is for the Sara(h)'s...thats right we had another diamond in the rough rating!  The burgers at "The Lab" bar and grill received an Excellent minus!  I had one as well and would have to concur Off the CHarts!
  •  After the very short stint with the Severins, Iris and I were back on the road and had a short drive ahead of up Las Vegas!
    • Vegas was unbelievable!  So fun.  We went to a bunch of casinos, got a bunch of free beer, and also went to see the Blue Man Group at the Venetion.  That show blew my mind, so sweet!  we had amazing seats...2nd row right in the center...we had to wear ponchos because we were so close!  Even the ponchos didnt keep us clean as sitting right directly in front of all the sprayage caused for some damaged clothing.  They sprayed a plethora of items at us, the worst of which was a squashed up banana concoction that they shot out of a hose right in our faces.  At the end of the show I looked down and realized that my poncho was an off spring of inter special breeding between a piece of Swiss cheese and an island of misfit toys poncho.  The blue men managed to get banana goo all over me inside the poncho.  
    • After the show i went to assess the damage in the bathroom, and i looked like a frat boy who had tried too many kegstands...funny how crusty dried up banana chunks look like puke all over.  After an extended cleaning session, iris and i were back out on the strip soaking up the scene under the bright lights.
  • After a crazy night out, iris and i realized we still had a heck of a long way to go to get to dallas, so we packed up early on very little sleep, and were out the door.  As we were leaving we realized we had one more stop to make in Vegas...we had to hit up the World Famous "Gold and Silver Pawn Shop" from the show Pawn Stars on the History channel.  
    • That was so sweet to experience!  Unfortunaltely none of the big wigs from the show were there, however seeing the big ticket items that they have live in person was unbelievable!
  • After the pawn shop we hit the road, decided to try to pull an all nighter and get to dallas in the morning rather than sunday night.  We stopped at this shady looking Chinese buffet in Flagstaff, AZ and figured, the rattier on the outside, the better the food on the inside...BIG MISTAKE!
    • The food was phenomenal, stuffed myself silly like a fat kid in a candy store! (i have a soft spot for chinese buffets, and cant really help myself every time im in one)
    • after nearly a dozen plates of chicken, rice, noodles, crab rangoon, rat on a stick, and lastly ice cream, we departed from the salmon colored $hith0le and were back on the road.
  • After about 3 hours my body had realized what i had filled it full of, and i started to let loose on iris...if you are faint of heart for flatulence and/or defecation, skip this paragraph :) but no joke, words can not truly explain the full eye opening experience i encountered  
    • I let a few farts out and knew i was in trouble...that aroma can only lead lead to bad things!  Within 10 mins of the gas I was in a world of pain...i was clenching the cheeks full strength, and pleading for mercy for iris to pull over at the next exit...naturally we were in the middle of the desert in Arizona, and there were no convenient stops, so i did what i had to do, and almost didnt make it!  

    • Luck was on my side (unlike my dear friend above) and i was able to make it 2 steps outside of the car before i proceded to drop trau and squat on the side of the road!  In my panicking state, i wasnt paying attention to the surroundings and was violated in all the wrong places by a small cactus.  OUCH 
  • The rest of the trip was not nearly as eventful as the previous half.  we drove through the night, made it to dallas the following morning and began to unpack the car.  We made it safe, and now we get to start the new phase of our live...trying to live in a sauna.  
 Iris I love you, thanks for putting up with me for 40ish hours in the car.  i had a lot of fun :)

Bike Fit Part 2: Getting Down to Business

Wow, that was quite a long drive!  No stops, no food, sole focus was get to Andy’s quick!  And that I did, I managed to turn a 6hr 9min predicted drive into a 4hr 55min Ludicrous speed adventure.  Not the most beautiful route, tons of the same view the whole way, and plenty of rain to drown a crocodile.  But I made it!  I think I strolled into Andy and Heathers just a hair after 11PM.  Just in time for some brews and storytelling.  What an interesting 30hrs!

Waking up Sunday morning to a nice downpour was less than ideal for a mother’s day, but what can you do?  Everybody woke up, was in cheery moods, and ready to celebrate!  Heather had picked out a nice restaurant for brunch, and so graciously extended the invite for me to join.  Brunch was off the charts, we had applewood smoked bacon, donuts, some other things that were like donuts but had a fancy name and had lots of powdered sugar, it was a pre-diabetics sugar freaks dream!  Thanks again to Andy and Heather for allowing me to join them for their mothers day celebrations!

After brunch was the bike fit!  After all the donuts, bacon, and bloody marys, I was pretty full and not looking forward to getting on a trainer to ride, but knowing that I was one step closer to racing on the CD.01, I was able to suck it up.  Little did I know I was walking right into a buzz saw.  Andy didn't inform me that I was going to be doing a bunch of serious intervals in order to find a dialed in fit.  UHO!

All anger aside, that Dynamic Fit Unit (DFU) is unreal!  This thing reminds me of the willy wonka elevator that goes every which way.  You can move the seat up and down, forward and back, angle it, adjust the headset up and down, as well as the angle.  And Andy, being the sly cat he is, felt like a funny guy, moving me around like I was remote controlled!  I did not see the humor in this.

I digress, and this time I mean all anger aside, that DFU is sick.  I was able to test quite a few positions and able to see the exact power and efficiency numbers across the board for 10+ positions.  After an hour and a half of tweaking the position we finally agreed.  We jumped off the DFU, and transferred that position onto the CD.01.  We dialed the fit in on the CD.01, and last up was cleat position.  As you would imagine, Andy has a crazy fancy electronic cleat positioner.  After another 5mins of testing with these special pedals, he was able to get enough information to dial my cleat position in. Fancy Pants Andy and I had done it!!  We were finally able to get the bike fit in!  After all the setbacks over the past month we came out victorious...only thing left to do is train :)

Mad Mad thanks to Andy and Heather for hosting me last weekend, allowing me to invade their Mother’s Day parade, and thanks to Hub for everything they have done with my bike.  Huge appreciation and gratitude to all who have helped out in the process.  I am very grateful!

Bike Fit Part 1: When things seem to be going exceptionally well in your favor...Expect a setback!

So I was pretty stoked to get out of the office Friday and head to the airport.  I was taking the redeye and flying to Chattanooga (on the front end of a business trip) to finally get fit on my new Q-Roo CD.01!  Things had such high potential, the short itinerary called for my arrival in Chattanooga around 1PM, get down to the shop and get fit, then hit up this local killer beer dirt party.  Little did I know I was in for quite a treat!

I was slated to fly from Seattle to LA then LA to Memphis, and from there make the 5 hr drive to Chattanooga.  Not the most ideal way to structure the trip, but since I had to be in Memphis all week for business, I was willing to get a near free trip out of it, just having to pay for a couple tanks of gas. 

I get to the SeaTac airport about an hour before my flight, sat at the gate and waited for the boarding call.  Within 5 mins of sitting down the agent behind the counter at our gate calls out “anyone on the flight going to LA, there are multiple First Class Seats available for upgrade.”  I had never sat first class before so I was intrigued.  I went up to the counter and “pretending like I didn't know the upgrade rule” asked her if I could get a first class seat.  She explained to me that upgrading to first class still requires you to pay a difference…I played dumb and asked her if there was anything she could do, and that I didn't have any $$ etc.  She was very nice, but unfortunately my tactics didn't amount to success.

I went back to my seat still trying to devise a clever plan to come out on top.  I decided that I would wait till the majority of the plane had boarded, then go back to ask her if there were still any available.  As they were announcing last boarding call for the flight to LA, I walked back up to the counter and tried to sweet talk this friendly old lady one more time.  I asked her if there were any available seats left, and sure enough there were!  I told her how I had never sat first class before, and this is the perfect opportunity yada yada.  And I even put the “but ma’am if there are going to be open first class seats on the flight, it doesn't hurt to give one away.” 

Sure enough, after all my hard persuasion, she finally gave in and gave me a free first class seat!  How could this trip get any better?!?  First class seat, going to get fit on a sick bike, going to drink local brews at a festival.  Come on, is this real life?

After arriving in LA, (bare in mind it is about 12:00 AM and my “redeye” flight from LA to Memphis leaves at 1:35 AM), I realized why the upgrade list is always off the charts for every flight.  First class is SICK!  After immersing myself in the luxury of first class, I decided it was time to get some shut eye before my next flight.  I mean I do have a 5 hour drive ahead of me after a redeye flight…I needed all the rest I could get. 

I posted up just across the walkway from my gate, put my head on my bag and I was out!  Tick Tock, Tick Tock…While I was out I had these mysterious dreams of panic, rushing to my gate to catch my flight...OH $H!T.

I woke up, looked at my phone and it read 1:41 AM.  I jumped up off the ground, grabbed my bags, and just like my dream, ran up to the counter, and the lady asked “Are you Mr. Inch?” 

I answered her, and asked if the Memphis flight was still here and if I got lucky…none such luck on this one.  I had missed my flight.  After a few choice words, I asked the agent what my options were.  She started looking up flights, and found out that she could get me to Memphis at 4:30PM.  The only positive that came from this was that she assumed that I had missed my connection because of a previous flight.  Never inquired about it, never looked at my itinerary, just found me a flight and printed it out.  Little did she know the idiot across the walkway curled up in the fetal position on the ground was me…hahaha.

After all that chaos, I managed to get 3 more hours of sleep, and jump on a 5:40 AM flight that hit up Detroit before finally docking in Memphis.  What an unexpected start to my adventure!  Next up, a 5 hour and change drive through good ole Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, and Georgia. 

Google maps had 2 possible routes to get me to Chattanooga.  First was to drive all the way to Nashville, before dropping down to Chattanooga.  This route had the use of highways the entire way, but took me way out of line, projected 375 miles 5hr 59mins.  The second route was much more direct, however the drawback to that route was that it was on local highways that went through towns and had lots of lights, projected 309 miles 6hr 9mins.  I decided to go with the shorter more direct route and see if I could press the pace. 

After renting the car, I was on the road around 5:20PM.  Chattanooga is right on the border of the Central/Eastern Time zone, so my eta was something like 12:20 AM local time.  At this point im feeling bad for Andy and Heather for being so kind and letting me stay at their house, let alone get in after midnight on the eve of Mother’s Day.  What a NOOB!

So at this point, im frustrated because I should have the bike fit done, and the beer with dirt festival well under way.  Pedal to the medal baby! Get there as soon as possible.