Ocala

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?