Florida

HITS Ocala Half Ironman Race Report

Not my greatest race, but certainly a solid result and a confidence booster heading into this season!  This Sunday I raced the HITS Half Ironman in Ocala, about 2 hours from my house in Tampa.  While the race wasn’t huge, it still had a solid turnout and was very well run.  They actually had every distance possible—sprint and Olympic Saturday and a half and full Ironman on Sunday.

Leading up to the race, I was a little bit anxious—I’ve been training well, but no huge bike-run bricks to this point.  This was a great way to open the season, see how my body reacted, test my fitness and skills, and race my first triathlon as a member of the Wattie Ink Elite Team and an XPMultisport coached Athlete.

The week prior to the race, volume was still the same until 3-days before, where I began the “Felipe no-taper taper” which isn’t really that “taper-ific” ha.  Saturday I did the AM workout, then ate, and headed up to Ocala where I got my packet, checked out the scene then headed to the hotel when I kicked it and tried to relax.  The damn people in the room next door were so loud—I have no idea what they were doing, but it was alternating between loud TV and loud music… or yelling at the kids.  Luckily, they went to bed early I guess.  It also rained pretty hard Saturday night, thus I was very glad I opted not to rack my bike the day before.

Sunday morning came fast and early.  I packed up everything and headed out the site which was about 30 minutes away and ate in the car.  I’ve been trying new pre-race meals, since a bagel is now out as carb source being that it’s not paleo by any means.  What I’ve been doing and really liking is white rice mixed with full fat coconut milk and some protein powder.  I guess that’s basically rice pudding, but seems to sit well in my stomach thus far.  Once at the race, I racked my bike and met up with 3 other Wattie Ink Athletes who were racing as well.  These guys are beasts—I think they finished overall 1st, 4th, and 7th.  Not to mention Felipe, my coach, was racing too.  Honestly a pretty stacked field!

The water was wetsuit legal and gorgeous.  It was a straight out and back swim.  I’m pretty sure looking through the finishing times that it was longer than 1900m (1.2 miles).  It’s all relative though, and to not go into too much detail, let’s just say my swim sucked.  Lots of work to still do here.  When I finally exited the water, I grabbed all my stuff and headed out on the bike.

The bike  was a big loop, mostly, so it was different the entire time.  If you remember, this is where I got lost about a month ago, so it was nice to see where I should have been riding lol.  I passed a fair number of people and finished the bike in 2:43:00, which came out to a little better than 20.5 miles per hour.  The course was mildly hilly and had some wind here and there so I was pretty happy with that split.  I also focused on eating more that I previously had in my races and focused more on the timing of the nutrition. Or one split I used some Chomps, which I like to break up the monotony of gels, but this cost me a little time trying to open those little packs and squeeze each one out.  The little Larabar that I had was crucial though—definitely a good call.  I also had UR in the water bottles which was a good calorie source and has some protein in it as well, which is really important as you get into longer distance races.

I rode back into transition, threw on my shoes and headed out of the run.  Felipe had given me very specific instructions- first 6 miles at 7:00 min/mile pace and then I was allowed to race.  I pretty much nailed this, but it felt so weird!  It was so hard to hold back in the beginning.  The first 3.1 miles were on trails, in the woods, basically running on sand which was not easy and not fast.  The rest of the run was on hot roads in the Florida sun and was basically rolling hills the entire time with heavy winds.

At mile 6 I was able to let go and began to average around 6:40s for the rest.  The fatigue of the sand and heat had me hurting but I kept repeating my mantras to myself and basically said “don’t be a bitch, run harder”.  I was able to pass a lot of people on the run…which is no surprise considering where I came out of the water haha.  I cranked out the last .8 miles at around 5:40 pace and flew across the finish line- pain looked as always.  Surprisingly, I finished a lot better than I was expecting relatively.  I didn’t realize how many people I had passed.  My final run time was a 1:28:00 flat—not bad for being forced to run 7:00’s for the first 6 miles.  Only about 1:20 slower than my half marathon 3 weeks ago.  Solid, solid.

I ended up finishing 16th overall and first in my age group.  But my stress wasn’t over.  Not only was I to eat more during this race, Felipe made it very clear that when I crossed the finish line, I would have a Coke.  No questions asked.  Intuitively, this makes sense.  Your body is so F-ing trashed after an intense race like this, that those incredibly concentrated sugar sources are actually a GOOD thing to have.  Tell that to someone who hasn’t had a real soda in like 3 years.  Luckily, he gave me a couple days heads up to prepare mentally, and ya know what?  We sat in chairs at the finish line, smashed, and enjoyed a cold, glass bottle, of Coke (well, it was like Feipe’s 8th.)  It was good—although I feel good in saying it didn’t make me at all want to sit and drink an entire 2-liter.  One was fine and then I moved on to real food.

Overall it was a good race.  I finished in 5:04:00 overall—I wanted to go sub 5 , but with that swim, that was going to be impossible.  Plus this race was a “feeler-outer” to see where I stood to start the season.  Congrats to the Wattie guys and Felipe who all freaking beasted this race.  I’m pretty happy with 16th and can’t wait for Ironman 70.3 Florida in a couple months!

But I need to get through the Boston Marathon next month first…

ALSO- The newest Episode of Fearless Nutrition Radio is out!  Listen to it here on Itunes.  This week we had a listener Q&A and an interview with pro triathlete James Cotter!  Please check it out and let us know what you think and leave your questions for the show! http://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/fearless-nutrition-episode-3/id497895841?i=112194060

Thanks for reading guys!  Let me know if you have any questions about the race!

  1. What’s your next race?
  2. Ever enjoyed a coke after a race? Or what is your immediate psot-race go-to choice?

N = 1

An experiment of one.  What works for one person may not work for another.  People are different and thus respond differently to different stimuli.  Some may be incredibly healthy on a vegan diet and some may thrive on a paleo style diet.  It’s all about what makes you look, feel, and perform better. So beginning last week, I have been seriously trying to be better about my eating plan the my nutritionist has helped me design.  Yes, Chuck, embracing eating a little more and seeing what my performance does.  Now, granted, I’ve only been doing this for about a week, and my sleep hasn’t been on point, but I have felt good, especially amid a big training week.  I have been focusing on workout recovery, even when it comes to the times when I know dinner will be coming soon after the workout, I am still eating.  And it’s good, because it always turns out the dinner never actually occurs soon after the workout, ha!  Why does it take me so long to prepare it every night?  Damn squash fries…

The  biggest changes are just working on being more consistent, even on lower volume days, knowing that I’ve created a deficit during the big days.  I’ve been reading a lot from some of the top pro athletes who have experimented with optimizing recovery and eating more, better, quality foods.  We’re not talking Snickers bars that I’m shoving down, but sweet potatoes, coconut milk and oil, grass-fed meat, chicken, etc…. even all natural, organic bacon! (Yes, me!)

As Robb Wolf says, “try it for 30 days” and if I don’t like it better, I can go back to the way I was before… but we all know that wasn’t getting me anywhere.  I’m RACING this weekend!!

And I’m determined to focus on eating appropriate calories during this race so that I perform optimally.  I usually just try and eat “just enough to get me through” so that I can “save up” calories for my post-race dinner.  This is moronic.  If I want to be great, I need to fuel that, plus that deficit is going to be so big all of it will be used (including that dinner) to fuel me and help me recover.

Speaking of previous race, I’m realizing that I’m good, but I’m not great.  I’m stuck maintain habits that have kept me “good” as well.  I have a world champion coach with 16 years of experience who is asking me to change a few things.  If I want to be great, wouldn’t listening make sense? Clearly, my way is adequate, but not ideal.  So embracing this, I am ready to move forward.

We had a great training day at Fort DeSoto this weekend and it was a lot of fun to just hang out and enjoy the beach afterward.  Can’t complain about having this in my backyard:

And speaking of good food—here were some delicious, however, not very appetizing (and I’ll admit to that) meals from the past weeks!

So I can’t wait for the half ironman Sunday!  Wish me luck!

  1. Have you made any big changes in your life lately?
  2. What’s your n=1 for 30 days?
  3. Anyone racing this week??

 

Flipturns

I have a new outlook.  It came from my coach this week.  We were on our way to a ride in Ocala (more on this later…) after swimming and I was beginning to think I might bail on the ride.  I was planning to go to a hockey game that night and didn’t want to be late, and, of course, by going home, I could make sure I had comfortable foods to eat and just ride where I knew I would get a good workout. Felipe was in the car in front of me and I called him to discuss this and he really let me have it- brutal honesty in the most beneficial way it can come.  And it plays to so many factors in my life.  He basically said “I’m trying to help you, but you keep finding ways out of it and being sketch.” This was true.  He brought up the example of doing flipturns in the pool.  Right now, I don’t (didn’t) do them because while I can do it, I’m not great at it and don’t like it and stick with my comfortable “quick-touch and go” method.  But, he has told me many times to do exclusively flipturns.  If I don’t start, how will I ever learn to do them or really break my fear of them?  I never will.

Then he said something that sort of blew my mind—“it’s better to do the right thing wrong than to do the wrong thing wrong.”

How true!  This is so relevant to anything in my life—unless you buy in and bite off that piece of success, how do you expect to get better?  Instead of knowing there is a problem and then looking for excuses of how to get out of it, why not proactively face them and discuss them with someone who can help?  Instead of hiding my fear of flipturns, Felipe told me tell him!  Say, “Felipe, I’m not good at flipturns and they scare me—how can we work together to overcome this problem?”

Face your problems head on—don’t run from them—get comfortable with being uncomfortable.  That’s how you get better, in love, life, sport, or anything—it plays true everywhere.

And well, speaking of Ocala and our ride there… let’s say it was quite and adventure ; ) …

Ocala is the HITS half Ironman course that we will be racing in March.  The goal was to ride the course and do a time trial on the back end.  I ended up going ahead of the friends I was with and just thought, duh, I’ll right turns at every dead end and then make all the left turns coming home.  Problem with this logic is that you have to remember where those left turns are, since they aren’t dead ends on the way back!  So after 23 miles, knowing I had to be back for the hockey game, I turned around and began heading back to the car.  It’s funny how one wrong turn can ruin a ride…

Another 25 miles later and I was totally lost.  Turns out I had looped back and was almost back (unknowingly) to the place where I had turned around.  Since no one wanted to stop and help me on the road, I wound up at a gun range with a bunch of “country folk”… after some bargaining and figuring out where the F my car was (about 18 miles in the other direction) I finally convinced a “feller” there to drive me back for $15.

When I got back to the car I found Jess and Felipe waiting, very worried, and also learned that the police helicopter that had been circling the park was actually looking for me…  Ha, we then called the sheriff and let him know to call off the search and then he came and made sure I was in fact alright.  Well, my adventure wasn’t yet over as I had to go back to the gun range and get my bike. Then just head south and drive straight back to Tampa right? Wrong- try being on the long split of the highway and heading halfway to Orlando... LONGEST DAY EVER!

When I wasn’t being lost the ride felt great—I felt strong and fast and even though I haven’t been riding a ton, this was really promising!  My speed was good and my heart rate seemed like it was a solid spot. Just got to up the mileage a little bit now.

So take those lessons this week—it’s better to do the right thing wrong, than to do the wrong thing wrong. And then, what Felipe thought may possibly be my last words to him—“real men eat the banana peel.”

So do flipturns and eat the peel.  Words to live by.

  1. How was your weekend?
  2. Send any sports/training/nutrition questions you have--we are recording the next podcast this weekend with hopefully a pro triathlete!
  3. Anything fun going on this week?

Are you at 110%?

Life has many components—the main ones being family, friends, health, career, God, and your passions.  To me, the goal of life to be actively giving all of these the attention and time they need.  If you do that, then you are living your life to the fullest, at 100% percent of your potential. I’ll be honest, I’m not.  I’d give myself 80%, at best. Whose fault is that?  Mine.  This post is not meant to be negative be any means, but rather a kick in the butt to me and anyone else who needs a little inspiration to get out and do more—to feel more alive!  Here’s where I’m struggling: Balance. Here was last week in numbers:

Swim: 10,050 yards

Bike: 8+ hours

Run: About 33 miles (missed one run)

Fun with friends: 0

Church: 0

Work: Plenty

Sleep: Not nearly enough!

Here’s an example of my lame weekend—go to bed way too late, wake up, train, eat, go back to bed for a nap, train, eat, go to bed way too late.  Repeat on Sunday.  Let’s see, were friends mentioned in there? Was going out and doing something fun mentioned?  (And no, my trip to Whole Foods doesn’t count).

Granted, I’ve had a hard time making a lot of new friends here in Tampa and that has been frustrating (if you live here, get at me!), but in the same vein, my attempts at making friends haven’t been overly abundant.  This is probably because I prioritize working out on my weekends, which is FINE to do, but only if I don’t go back to bed after!  As for family, I had a great time when they visited last week, but I definitely bailed out of a lunch my mom had planned so that I could go eat food I was comfortable with and then take a nap before I worked out in the afternoon.

Sob story right?  Na, this is my pledge, my vow to get my life to 110%!  Why not 100%?  Because that’s where I could be, but I want to reach above that, go beyond that—I want to find a way to not only improve my life, but improve the environment I am in.  To make other people happier, more successful, and help them reach their goals.  The best part about this is the reward it brings me and motivation to stay committed to my goals.  This also means volunteering and going to church—I spend a lot of time praying, but that’s not the same as taking the time to give God the time he deserves.

 

So what’s my plan to make this happen?

Action plan for 1/23 – 1/30:

  • Go to bed earlier.  Seriously, by 1 every night for this week
  • No wasting time drawing dinner out
  • Workout in the morning both days this weekend
    • Thus, due to going to bed earlier and working out in the morning…
  • Do at least 1 fun thing this weekend during the afternoon or night
    • There is a huge Gaspirilla Festival this weekend… which has something to with pirates—apparently it’s a big deal
  • Dominate my workouts
    • This includes eating right and including recovery after the workouts.

 

So Keep me honest!  We’ll review next week!

Last thing is that I’m going to be starting a podcast with a friend of mine, Max.  This is going to legit—we will be discussing health, nutrition, training, and interviewing some really cool (and famous) people.  We’ll also be answering any questions you have, so if you start to develop some, let me know and we’ll answer them each week!  Look for the first show to come out later this week where Max and I introduce ourselves a bit and discuss the purpose of the show!

Oh, and check out these awesome meatloaves I made- let me know if you want the recipe.

And check out this article! Does the guy in the picture look familiar?

  1. What is one thing you will change for a better this week?
  2. How much do you sleep every night?

If you don't know who you are...

...How can your dreams come true? My triathlon season is 5 days away from kicking way back up into high-gear.  On Sunday I'll be in DC racing the Nations Tri- a pretty big and competitive Olympic distance race. I am feeling very confident about myself and firmly believe that what you believe is what you will make happen.  The opposition is going to be fierce so I will take it for what it is, however, after doing some research lately, I'm coming to believe that our minds are our only limiters and that believing in yourself, you can push through any pain that you believe limits you!  After this race, I have a week off before Ironman 70.3 Augusta, my third half ironman of the season.

But lately I've been somewhat questioning myself- not questioning my ability, but questioning WHO I am racing for.  Recently, it has seemed that I am not grinding through hard workouts solely for myself, but so that I can work harder, work more, and live up to the expectations of the people who follow me.  Whether it be coworkers, friends, my family, and even all the other triathlete I interact with on Twitter... What if they are doing more that me, what if they rode their bikes 60 miles and I only rode 50? Well what F**king if?!  If I do "less" than another person, does that make me a worse athlete?  Does it mean that I then need to eat way less to make up for that?  I'll let you decide on what you think the answer is...

Who cares?  I need to race/train/LIVE for me, not anyone else. But this being said, let me train, race, and eat because of them, not for them. It is motivation to see the success of others- people who have turned from non-athletes to Ironmen, of for people who cannot do what I do as much as they'd like to. Or even for those who have NO desire to do anything I do--I know my mom is absolutely no way wants to do a half-Ironman, but I do know that she is proud to watch me race in HEALTHY, competitive, properly nourished fashion.

So who am I? I'm someone who races for the love and passion of it all- not to be "better" than anyone else, or, God forbid, for an excuse to all myself to eat.

What really has me excited and nervous though, is my impending ITU Long Course Championships triathlon in Las Vegas in November.  This race, as I've mentioned, is on the world stage and is going to require a lot of hard work from me starting... well a month a go, ha. I got my registration notice in my e-mail today and have to sign up by the end of the week (gulp!)  The race is like a 3/4 ironman so it will be the longest race I've done to date.  But you know what?  Who knows when I will get this chance to be part of Team USA again?  It will be hot, hilly, windy, and unforgiving... But I'll finish... and I'll finish strong.

And check out the new Team Apex Endurance gear I'll be repping for the rest of the season!

I missed all the rides I had planed this weekend, but was really proud of myself for getting out and putting in work on my own.  Sunday I did a 4.5 mile run, 25.5 miles bike, 3.2 mile run, 60 minutes on the spin bike (20 miles), and another 1.6 mile run. Then Monday, I used the same format, but made the outdoor ride 10 miles longer.  Dude, the wind was BRUTAL this weekend!  This was all on the old Felt too, as the my baby, my B12, is en route to DC!

So if you're in DC this weekend, let me know and let's meet up!

I also know its been forever since I've blogged!  Here's a quick recap of my why and whats been going on:

First I was in New York with the family for a day (and got to meet up with Katelyn!)

After that, the family and I went to a lake where I got to spend another day with them before jetting off the Virginia Beach for work

After spending the week in Virginia Beach, it was back to Tampa for a weekend or so. Got some good training in and some awesome homemade grub.  I've basically just been using coconut oil to bake butternut or sweet potatoes fries... um like every night. So healthy, and if it tastes good, why not, right?? I have like 30 different variations now, haha, so just ask if you want to know what they are.

Then, later that week, I had to fly to Atlanta for work for a couple nights.  Finally I'm home, but I'm flying to DC Friday morning for the race! And, yay, I get to fly home just hours after the race to be back at work Monday... whoop whoop!

Think about something you do that your are passionate about... now ask yourself WHY you are passionate about it?  Rekindle that love for it and do it for you!

  1. What is that thing you are most passionate about and why?
  2. Best thing you had to eat this week? And how do you use coconut oil, if you don't, any reason why?
Have an amazing week!