ITU Worlds

ITU Long Course Triathlon World Championships

Spinning the wheels, turning the legs, and rolling the dice!

Last Saturday I raced in the International Triathlon Union Long Course Triathlon World Championships, as a member of Team USA in Henderson, NV, just outside Las Vegas!  This was a race I qualified for last year and included the best athletes from all over the world.  It was a 4k swim (2.5 miles), 120k bike (75 miles), and a 30k run (18.6 miles).  This was the farthest distance I've ever raced, and to be honest, it's been looming over my head for the last year.  I knew I would have to step up my level of swimming and get in some more long runs toward the end of this year.

Well, swimming was still tough to get in although I did get a coach to help my form.  As for my training, I was largely relying on some long workouts, but also a lot of intensity  to make up for the distance.  I also did a lot of racing in order to prepare myself as well. I raced all but a couple of weekends in October, as you know.

Additionally, I didn't realize the magnitude of this course: the 120K bike ride had more than 9,700 feet climbing, and the 30K run boasted  an additional 2,000 ft elevation gain.  Y'all, I live in Florida... Not a lot of hills!  It also was not warm--highs of only about 60 degrees and then the wind chill on top of that.

The whole ITU experience was amazing though.  I'll give you guys a quick run down without too much detail.  I arrived Wednesday morning, picked up the rental car, then drove to the packet pickup and race finish/expo location to get my packet and pick up my bike. I then loaded up on some food and headed to the host hotel which was also basically where the race began. I was a nice resort, but pretty far from the LV Strip.. (Probably a good thing)

That evening I ran in the gym then headed out for a few hills on the bike. Holy crap, I was thinking, it took me like 35 minutes to go 8 miles?  The roads are full of false flats (where you think it's flat, but it's really uphill) and crazy winds that almost blew me off the bike.  I was experiencing an incredible amount of mental stress at this point.  Even though I was going into this race with an attitude of "I just want to finish", let's be honest, that mentally DOES NOT exist within me.  If I'm going, I'm going hard.  I then went over to my the house of my Godfather, and had dinner their with their family. I hadn't seen this guy in over 20 years, but it was like we were long time friends. He is my dad's best friend and has a daughter my age.

Thursday I began by heading back to the race expo and swimming at the rec center there.  The facility was amazing and I swam in their outdoor 50m pool. After that, I headed back to the hotel and waited until the evening for the Team USA team picture. This was really cool to see all the athletes!  There were a lot, considering these were the best age groupers in the country from every age group.  There were also a number of pros there, Michael and Amanda Lovato, and the overall winner, Jordan Rapp.

After this, was the pasta dinner and pre-race briefing, as well as the Parade of Nations. I didn't eat any pasta, as I don't eat pasta, but also, at this point, I was going to eat anything I didn't prepare myself. The course briefing didn't console me at all and left me more nervous than ever... It was really cool to watch an athlete from every country in the room walk down the main aisle and hold up their country's flag. It made me realize that this race was big time,

Friday, I did my pre-race workout, picked my dad up from the airport, dropped him at my Godfather's, then went back and just chilled (and fretted) for the rest of the day. I was so incredibly excited to have my dad there.  I didn't know he was coming until a few weeks before, but honestly, this meant the world to me.

The Race:

Saturday morning came early.  I had racked my bike the day before so I would take the shuttle to the swim and go from there.  But as I was in the lobby in the morning, I heard a lot of people talking and a lot of athletes huddled by country.  I asked another USA athlete what was going on and found out... the swim was OFF!! (Can you believe my luck?)  The water was about 60 degrees and the air temperature was under 40, then the wind chill on top of that. ITU rules say that the temperature discrepancy was too great and the health of the racers was at risk.

I'll be perfectly honest, I don't know that I would have finished the swim.  Not from a fitness standpoint, but that I would have frozen to death.  I'm not really kidding.

Thus, the race started in time trial fashion, with a racer leaving in order every 5 seconds. So I bundled up and we were off!

This bike was nuts! I've never seen so much gorgeous scenery, but never ridden such a brutal course. This was harder that Wildflower!  There were basically no flats, meaning I was crawling up hills at 10mph or flying down them at over 40mph. What made this hard as well, was how cold it could get in the shade when the wind was blowing. Also, I have trouble opening some of my nutrition due to the gloves I had on and had to rely on the gels on the course.  Ugh, Hammer gels are so gross.

After 5 hours on the bike, we came back into town to where the run started.  I guess this is how an Ironman works, but the amazing volunteers grabbed my bike from me and racked it while someone ahead grabbed my transition bag for me.  I spent like a year in transition, haha.  I don't remember when I was doing, but I had to take off a number of layers.  I wore my Zensah compression socks for this whole race too, bike and run. I've never exercised in these before, but was wearing them for the warmth.  They actually felt pretty good, am I may incorporate this in racing more often.

The run consisted of 4 laps... half downhill and half uphill. I actually loved the fact that it was 4 loops- you knew exactly how far you had left to run, knew where the nutrition stops were, and had the crowds cheering you on the whole way.  The course was hard especially for me, someone who mostly runs on treadmills and barely ever runs hills lol.

2 hours and 19 minutes of running later, I crossed the finish line with a total time of 7:28:35

I couldn't believe it when I crossed the line. I wasn't as dead as I was imagining but I was done. Done done done. This was a year of stress just taken and flung from my shoulders.  Literally, I ran to my dad and gave him a huge hug as I fought back tears.  This was a pretty emotional feeling for me.

I finished 37th of 45 in my age group and in the bottom 2/3 overall.  Like I said though, I'm ok with this, considering these were the best athletes in the world.  It also gave me a lot of confidence in my training and how much BETTER I could be with better sleep, nutrition, and training.  My bike time was at the bottom of the results as well, but my run was in the top 13% which I was pleased with and I was able to average a 7:29 min/mile pace for the entire run.

So after this, I went back to my hotel and crashed right? Ha, that's not how the Feerick men roll.  My dad and drove to The Strip and checked in at our new hotel at...

...Caesar's Palace!  We changed clothes and headed out!

We started by hitting the buffet at the Bellagio and it was awesome.  For once, I let myself relax a little bit and enjoy food.  The few drinks I had in me helped too ; ) considering I rarely ever drink so they did a quick number.  Among all the other lean meats and fruit, I let myself have a little piece of pizza, some mashed sweet potatoes which I didn't know the ingredients of, and sampled a couple of different desserts!  The little carrot cake bite thing I had was amazing!

Then we went to down to New York New York and went to the Coyote Ugly bar.  Won't lie, this was fun with my dad. After that, the casino beckoned.  We didn't make any money in the slot machines and I was too tired to think straight enough for any of the card tables.  We ended up breaking even on Roulette which was a lot of fun.

Back at the hotel, we crashed hard, and 4 hours later, I was back up and on a place back east to Florida.

What a trip!  The race was amazing and getting to ball out in Vegas with my dad? Pretty unforgettable.  My birthday was on Tuesday, so the whole thing was an early birthday present!

On Monday, my mom actually came to see me in Tampa and finally unpack my apartment and move me in... there's so much room now!  It was fun to spend my birthday with her- she made dinner and made me blow out candles on my "cake"

Luckily she didn't make me eat it- it was one of the dryest, flavorless cupcakes ever, and we both agreed on that.

That's all- I'm done, I'm out!  I'm going to try and start blogging shorter and more frequently, so look forward to that!

So my coach won't let me run a marathon before the end of this year... but I did find a 30k trail run this weekend that I am stoked for!

  1. What's the most meaningful, emotional, or longest race you've ever done?
  2. Have you been to Vegas? Or, do you remember ; )?
  3. Any races coming up?
Have a great week!

Breezing Through The Windy City

It's been over 2 weeks since I did the Men's Health Urbanathlon in Chicago, but I wanted to do a quick post on it before I race here in Las Vegas on Saturday! I'm in Vegas (Henderson actually, right now) for the ITU Long Course World Championships Triathlon... It's gonna be a adventure for sure... There are some hella good athletes here from all over the country.  But anyways, more on that after I FINISH the race. But back to Chicago- I flew in Thursday and the race was Saturday. Note to all of your- want to race your best? Don't walk ALLLL over Chicago the day before the race lol.  My buddy Matt and his girlfriend flew in and Matt did the race as well.  Hadn't seen him in like 3 years which was awesome.  They got in Thursday night and they hadn't eaten so went to RockIt Bar so they could get some food- check out their Rockit Burger: Kobe beef, brie cheese, and a black truffle sauce, plus black truffle duck fat fries. I didn't try any, but wow...

The race consisted of a 9.5 mile race through downtown Chicago- Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and climbing the bleachers in Soldier Field (Where the Bears play).  This race was hard for me- I'm not as strong as I was when I was lifting more, so things likes the 6-foot military hurdle were a little tough.  Good wake up call though.

I finished like 130 or 145? overall of like 3,200, which was ok but I wasn't thrilled because I wanted to be running fast pace wise and not have trouble with the articles. Haha, I have no fast twitch muscles left thanks to all the triathlons. (To combat this, I've started doing box jumps every day.)

So that's all, here are just a bunch of pictures. I have a ton of other stuff to focus on tonight...

 

 

 

 

 

Post race Pizza!  Tried to just relax and enjoy this, and I did pretty well.  I avoided a lot of crust and cheese but it was still good! Tons of Vegetables and Chicken!!  This was at Ginos East

 

More soon...

 

 

The Nations Triathlon: Dry-land in DC

No really—I wanted to swim!  As shocking as that sounds coming from me, I was incredibly bummed when I found out the swim portion of the Nations Tri this past Sunday would be cancelled.  Due to the hurricane, the second hurricane that kept the aforementioned hurricane stuck on land pounding DC, and the earthquake, the Potomac River was a mess of debris and runoff.  I have been working weekly with my swim coach though, and wanted to see what kind of changes this may have on my stroke.

I was so bummed, I almost backed out of this race and thought about heading down to Williamsburg to race the Patriots Half Ironman.  However, I would have had to figure out how to get my bike there, how to get it back, all the other travel arrangements, but the biggest reason I didn’t was that the Half Ironman was on Saturday not Sunday and I just didn’t have time to work everything out.

But I’m really glad I stuck with the Nations Tri, and Olympic distance race—it was a blast.  Over 3,900 people were in the race and the entire event was huge.  The format was done in the same way as the swim waves would start—every 15 seconds letting about 15 people run into transition based on your age group.  It was a mess of corrals, but when my group went off, we sprinted into transition, grabbed our bikes and gear, and headed out.  My new tri shoes and pedals from Exustar are awesome and made a huge difference in my transition time!

The bike was pretty fast with some rolling hills and was very crowded due to the starting format.  It made the course much like an Ironman race where there are just so many people.  I wouldn’t say that there was any drafting, but definitely a lot passing and riding near people.  I felt like the entire “out” portion of the course was downhill and was nervous that the entire return would be uphill… but I guess I was mistaken since coming back was just as fast if not better!  My overall bike split for the 40k was 1:06:17, which was over 22 mph.  I was really pleased with this—love that Felt!

**Scary side note—proceed reading with discretion: On the way back on the bike, there was an ambulance on the side of the road.  I look over and saw the EMTs performing CPR on a guy laying on the ground.  I’ve never felt so sick as I did then and it was all I could think about for the rest of the bike.  Most of the time spent riding after that was praying for this guy hoping he would be ok.  Unfortunately, I found out the next day that man actually died.  So please say a prayer for him.

I can’t tell you how motivating it was to see my mom and dad cheering for me as I left T2 and headed out on the run.  They don’t get to make it to a lot of races, so to get up at 4:45 to drive me to the course means so much to me.  Ha, apparently my dad wasn’t too pleased that I “couldn’t even smile at them” when I ran by, but sorry pops, I don’t smile at all on the course.  It’s business.  But my dad is such an awesome guy- He wanted "sun protection" and snagged this hat from another family.  Yes... we recycled a hat from the Dollar Store...

The run was a fun one and was relatively flat except for a long hill at the beginning..  Or I think that was the only hill… I dunno, I just kind of get in my zone as run.  I’m always cognizant of everything and am very focused on how hard I’m pushing and I always remember how much it hurt.  However, if you asked me to recall the whole course, I wouldn’t be able to do it… although I could probably remember all the funny things I thought while running.  I spent most of time passing people and had no real issues at all.  I felt good and just get repeating my mantra to myself that I always using during races: “Speed, Strength, Fluidity”.  This helps me keep focused on the most important aspects of the run.  Coming down the home stretch, I saw my mom screaming and just turned on the afterburners and passed a few more people as I broke the finish line.

My run time was a 38:46, although I “think” the course may have been a bit short—however, as a sanctioned race, it should officially be the required 10k, so I’ll have to believe the Race Directors.  This was a pace of 6:15 minutes/mile.  But if it were a bit short, it may have been close to 6:20.  I was happy with this regardless!!

Overall, I finished 34th of 362 in my age group (top 9.4%), and 265th of 3884 overall (top 6.8%) and my final time was 1:49:38, sans the swim.  Overall this was a great race and could definitely see myself doing it again next year.  It was so incredible.

Then I went home, ate, changed, and was back on a plane for Tampa by 5:00.  Nothing like meetings  at work to cut a trip short.

From here on out I’m basically racing every weekend: THIS WEEK!! 9/25 Ironman 70.3 Augusta (half Ironman), 10/1 Disney Wine and Dine Half Marathon, 10/09 Rev3 South Carolina (Half Ironman), 10/15 Men’s Health Chicago Urbanathlon!  It’s gonna be a blast!

Then ITU Worlds on 11/05 to end the triathlon year.  However, I would like to do a marathon if there is a convenient one by the end of the year.  I also want to do the Tough Mudder in Tampa!  A hella-crazy 12-mile adventure race on 12/03.

If anyone is doing any of these races, let me know and lets meet up! Or if you live between Tampa and South Carolina/Georgia and can house me for a night, lol, let me know!

Yo check out my new kicks

And to do fuel this, I’ve tried out a few new spur of the moment recipes this past week!  Also, I tried to focus my nutrition very well in the days leading up to this race: check out my pre-race day lunch:

Here is what I should have had for my pre-race breakfast...

Earlier his week I made Blackberry jam and goat cheese stuffed chicken breast.  I coated a breast in some coconut flour, then filled it and just baked it.  Very good!  But don't overcook the chicken:

 

Later this week there are definitely a few topics I want to talk about mostly.  Mostly about living what I say, "racing weight", and self-sabotage which I am becoming very guilty of.  I think I could have even better results if I treated my body and mind better.  Goals?  I think so.

I know this comes over a week after it all happened and a lot has gone in between, but I figured I would pare it down and keep it basic so this doesn’t turn into a novel.  More to come soon!

  1. What was the best part of your weekend?
  2. What do you have planned between now and the end of the year that you are excited about? (Anything!)

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!