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!)

Running Naked: Race of weekend #2

"Low Battery" What?  I rip off my yellow swim cap and fumble with my GPS watch again: "Low Battery"

After the quarter mile run on rocks and mud following the 1500m swim, I wasn't really thinking about anything except "sock, shoes, watch helmet, socks, shoes, watch helmet."  Somehow, my Garmin was telling me the battery was low.  Whatever, I thought, it'll last.  It didn't.  It died after about 26 seconds.

This meant I was biking blind and would be running naked.  Sundays race was an olympic triathlon meaning it was exactly double of the sprint I raced on Saturday.  The benefit thus, was that I knew the course- it was 2 laps of the swim, 2 laps of the bike, and 2 laps of the run.

The conditions were nearly exactly the same as well, only a little cooler but more humid.  Once again I nearly didn't get there in time, but I was at the beach ready when the horn sounded.

The swim went as my swims go- not awful but sooo much room for improvement.  No problems during this, only that I felt  little bit hungry during it.  I tried to find some toes to draft on, but it was hard being a 2 lap course.

After I exited the water, my first transition was smooth enough and I was off on the bike but without any kind of data such as time or speed.  I also got a flat with about a quarter mile left on the bike during Saturdays race, so I was hoping everything was going to hold up alright there.

This was one of the first times I'd ever raced without knowing my speed or distance and it made the race interesting.  Pretty much I had one plan: smash the whole time because every time I thought I might be slowing down, I would tell myself that I needed to speed up.  I again average about 22 mph and literally just rode double my Saturday split.

The run was the same, except I was faster!  I fixed my shoes the previous night and was able to save some time in Transition 2.  I knew from the bike that there were a lot of people I needed to catch on the run so that is what I sent out to do- but running naked with no sense of time or pace.  I guess this wasn't a bad thing because I finished with a pace of 6:17 min/mile which I am very pleased with.

My mom still refuses to buy any pictures because she wants to smile as I cross a finish line... sorry mom, never going to happen.

My overall time was 2:10:42, which was better than double Saturdays race which I did in 1:07:24.

This was good enough to earn me 18th overall and 1st in my age group!  One of my goals beginning this year was to win a race... but I want it to be a bigger race!  Maybe next weekend at the Olympic I am doing

I owe a ton of my ability to race hard on Sunday to my recover on Saturday.  I did a good cool down and stretched pretty soon after the race.  I also had some good food and then just didn't really do anything the rest of the day.  In the evening I went on a very short bike ride to loosen my legs a little and make sure the flat was fixed and then flopped in the pool.

I also wore these all day:

These are the brand new Zensah compression recovery tights.  I already use Zensah compression socks, but these are a whole different level.  They fit really snugly and are gradiated where your muscles need it most to increase the blood circulation in that area so you can recover faster and be ready to race again the next day.

When I got back Sunday afternoon, I took a nap and then did another 5 mile run.  My goal was just to add some volume and while it felt fine then, Monday I was pretty pooped.  I think I would have been better if I had eaten better after the second race AND after the second run.  I didn't bring enough HoneyMilk with me- I only brought 2 on the trip: 1 as part of my pre-race breakfast each day.  Lesson learned.

Well thanks for reading guys- coming up later this week I have a bunch of recipes to share, not to mention the first Feerless Food recipe video!

Have an awesome weekend everyone!

  1. Do you run with a GPS, just a watch, or nothing?
  2. What's the best swag you've ever gotten at a race?

The Intimidator

I’m in Tampa!

Actually, that's a lie, I’m back in Virginia Beach right now till Saturday wrapping up previous job and then I’m back to Tampa to start the new one on Monday!  The past week was full of driving and moving- Cincinnati to DC, DC to Norfolk/Virginia Beach, Norfolk to Tampa! With some fun time driving around North Carolina at 2 in the morning trying to find a hotel.  But I made it alive, and my stuff finally arrived yesterday so everything is in the apartment.  Maybe sometime in the next 6 months I’ll actually unpack everything... anyone want to come interior decorate for me??

After spending 1 night in my apartment, I woke up the next morning and head to Clermont Florida to race the Florida Challenge Half Ironman Triathlon!  This race had like 3 names and was also called the Intimidator!  Going into it you can imagine my expectations- it’s Florida right?  It should be flat and the only hazards should be some Gators right?  Not so.

The race was Sunday and even though I’m used to racing, I woke up what seemed like every hour in the hotel.  Finally I got up and grabbed my breakfast (love the Coffee HoneyMilk pre-race for my first caffeine jolt) and headed to the course.  I think there were about 250-300 racers but I don’t actually know for sure.

The race began at 7:30 and it was already too hot.  It was a lake swim and the water was gorgeous! I’ve found I like swimming with out a wet suit better and also spent a lot of time warming my shoulders up so they wouldn’t tighten up like they have in the past.  I tried my best to keep on the heels of another swimmer right off the bat and was actually able to do until I think I passed them.  After that, while I was clearly in the bottom 1/3 of the pack, I felt much better than in the water than I have in a long time.    I Tweeted a couple guys before the race and Ben Greenfieldtold me, “Go balls out, you’ll forget about it 5 minutes into the bike.”  So true for you triathletes out there. Honestly, you use such different muscles swimming that except for energy exertion, the bike is so different.  So I did this, and while my time was still way slower than I’d like, I took 6 minutes off my time from Wildflower. Coming out the water, I misjudged the depth, and while doing a dolphin move used in shallower water, scraped my chest up... I had to laugh at myself.  Transition went smoothly enough, although it was but wasn’t very fast.  I leapt on the bike and started locking it down.  The first few miles felt great!  I was cruising in aero, the roads were smooth, and it was in a wind protected area..  Plus, I was adamant to catch 2 guys in font of me who were literally riding side by side... But then I found out they weren’t in the race.  As I aforementioned this course was NOT a flat course.  The first half was relatively smooth with some rollers that kept it fun and mild wind.  I was averaging around 20-21mph at this point I would say, but in the second half, we made Sugarloaf Mountain and the rest of the hills.  This was no Wildflower, but they were substantial hills.  The hardest part was trying to eat amidst constantly getting in and out of aero and the saddle to tackle the hills. These hills took my pace down a fair bit and the heat didn’t help, and I wound up finishing the bike in 3:01:30, at an 18.5 mph pace.  Had I kept my first half pace, I would have been around 2:45, just to put it in perspective- gotta do more hill work!

I came into T2 and had a quick transition till it came to my shoes- first time transitioning in my new Nike Lunar Elites and I had my zip laces to tight, making the shoes hard to get on.  It was still not too bad though.  But at this point it was 96 degrees easily.  The run course was 2 loops of an out and back- the 10k course twice- plus an additional .7 miles at the beginning.  The first half was flat, but the second had a couple rolling hills.  My pace started at about 6:38, but after about 3 miles, as hard a pushed, it gradually fluctuated a bit higher and higher.  This really bothered me as I know I have really been cranking on my run work lately.  I also realized at nearly the end of the run that my feet were totally soaked from a combination of sweat and water.  As much water as there was on the course, you can never get enough when trying to maintain a fast split.  I could have probably done with eating more than I did too. If you have any questions about how I fuel during my races, let me know! There were 4 guys that I really wanted to mow down on this run and I got them all.  2 were one age group below me, but were decked out in their K-Swiss gear, and while they were good, I wanted to be better.  Another was a really skinny guy also looking like he was wearing sponsored gear so I wanted to rep my new team of Apex Endurance and beat all 3 of these guys.  Finally, was a guy in my age group who looked really strong. My final time on the run was a 1:34:20, (excepting Wildflower) the slowest half I’ve ever ran at a pace of 7:12 min/mil.  However, as smoked as I felt from this, I can to find out this was the 3rd fast run split on the day! The heat was brutal, and I’ve never been so happy to see the finish line!  My final time on the day was a 5:25:23. At first, I was pretty upset by this, as my PR is a 4:54.  However, I came realize that the winner only did like a 4:50:00 and the whole entire field of racers was slow due to hills and heat.  Thus, when I found out that I took 2nd in my age group and 15th overall, I was actually pretty happy!

When it comes down to it, I have a lot of chance to improve: to put this in perspective, I was in 74th place coming out of the water, 53 coming off the bike, and finished 15th overall.  If I can step up that swim and bike ... : )  My run was 3rd fastest on the day which made me feel better about it even though it was way slower than I wanted.  I did, however, prove to myself that I can push through a lot of pain for a long time and I’m really looking forward to racing again.

For you triathletes out there, Heather Gollnick (5-time Ironman champion) but it looks like she bailed before the run... I beat her bike time though : ).  I didn’t get to talk to her but it was cool to see her. Overall I am now more pleased with the results than I was previously. I can’t wait to get back to Tampa and really start my training again!  If you’re from that area, I am definitely looking to meet people/training partners so let me know! Thank guys- remember to follow me on Twitter @Chuckfeeerick and ask any nutrition/fitness questions to me via this blog or through Twitter, or by emailing me at!

  1. What was the highlight of your weekend?
  2. What positive affirmation do you have to share?

Wildflower Race Recap! Never Walk, Never DNF

My response to Wildflower-- Everything you’ve heard, its true!  (For you triathletes who know about it. From Nasty Grade to a brutal run to endless hills on the bike, I experienced it all. I stayed with my friend Liz who lives in San Luis Obispo and we went to packet pick up Friday afternoon and picked up our packets.  I was able to get a workout in at a local gym beforehand, which even had an open-water outdoor pool which was pretty sweet.  From feeling awful on Thursday, by Friday my legs were feeling a ton better after that massage.  The day took a lot more walking then I was hoping, but still was able to chill out in the evening and have my pre-race dinner and snacks as planned.  I was also able to meet Ben Greenfield, who does a sports and nutrition Podcast that I listed to all the time and has helped me out with a lot or triathlon questions and a training plan- so that was pretty sweet!

Saturday, the morning started bright and early.  We left for the Lake at about 5 and got there around 6:15.  The transition was huge and I had a nice spot near the top.  I’ve moved up age groups this year which puts me in a much more competitive division... and also a division with a lot more competitors.

This world is so small; the guy next to me in transition was actually the same guy I had been emailing back and forth with from GU about the free entry into St Anthony’s triathlon... crazy!  He had a new Chocolate Raspberry Roctane Gel, and said to be on the look out for that coming this summer.

I was in the second wave of athletes, the pros going off at 8:00 and then my wave at 8:10.  The water was a toasty 62.8 degrees- although the day before I was told ist  The swim felt horribly long, I didn’t think it would end.  Sighting wasn’t too tough, but I think I swam pretty straight for the most part... not to mention it was my slowest swim ever.  WTF? I’ve been working on swimming a lot??  I guess I really really need a legit coach.

Coming out of the water, my feet were literally frozen and I almost ate it running of the hill into transition... thanks God I didn’t lol.  Smashed my toe pretty bad though.  In transition, I took my time to try and get as dry as possible- the air was still cool and I knew if I wasn’t dry enough that I would absolutely freeze.  I mean, already I couldn’t feel my feet.

Getting on my bike, I realized that whoever shipped my bike and put it back together had not put the gears back in the right rings.  So, I couldn’t shift up into easiest gear, and the easiest I could do was 3rd. At this point I was pissed, and at about mile 5, heading back into the park, I hit something and BAM- flat tire!  This sucked.

I ran back about 100 yards to where (luckily!) some volunteers were, and one had a walkie talkie and radioed help.  The guy on the motorcycle came, but since I run tubeless wheels, he would need a new tire to fix it, not an inner tube.  So basically I was screwed, there was nothing I could do and I was basically going to have to drop out of the race.

Then a blessing rode by.  Some an older gentleman who was just out on a ride while his friends or family raced rode my me.  He came over and GAVE ME HIS ENTIRE FRONT WHEEL so that I wouldn’t have to bail on the race.  I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what to do.  But he talked me into it and I took.  This lovely adventure added about 25 minutes to my time.  At least it could only get better from there right?

Well, at mile 15, since my water bottle holders had NOT been tightened on the back of seat post, both turned upside down and couldn’t hold bottles. I had to throw the water and then drink as much of the GU mix that I had before I threw that bottle as well.  So now I was bottle-less for the rest of the race.  I lost my Austin 70.3 bottle too which was my favorite lol.

The rest of course was all hills and strong winds.  The winds really caused some nasty accidents and I’m glad I had no crash issues.  At mile 41 we hit Nasty Grade- a 4 mile climb with no remorse. Talk about fun! (Not). As rough as it was, I know I’m stronger, but the view at the top as breathtaking. Coming down was just as fun- trying to handle the turns and winds while I rode at speeds upward of 43 mph!

My seconds transition wasn’t great but not too bad. Grabbed my stuff, threw down some water (since I didn’t get much on the course) and hit the trails.  The run was about 1/2 hard pack trails, and nearly all hills.  The final mile is entirely (vertically almost lol) downhill, meaning the rest of the run has to comparatively uphill.  Some were almost straight up.  Two good things though: Only 1 guy, who was in a relay passed me, but I passed him again in the final mile.  And secondly, even on the most awful hills where others were walking, I never once did (or will). At mile 9 we hit a steady downhill.  This was just steep enough where it didn’t help your pace.  Unfortunately, it was a mile and when you hit the bottom, you had to climb it back up... talk about relentless!

When the final mile finally came though, it was a downhill sprint for a mile. I just let it all out. Coming into the finish line, I was so stoked to finish. I was still moving good too.  Liz said I was smiling down the Finishers chute, haha but I know there’s no way I was- I absolutely had race-face grimace on.

My overall time was a 6:30:49- 1:35 slower than my PR. Subtract the 25 minute bike flat extravaganza and I’m at 6:05, but hey, it happened so I can’t discount it.  My swim was awful as I said, but my run was a 1:40:12 (which I had no idea??) so I was actually pretty stoked about this- it was good enough to be 128th fastest overall, of about 1,700 finishers.  Overall I finished 97 in age group, and 836 out of 1669 overall.   Without the flat I would have been 70th in Age group and 579 overall- but like I said, sh*t happens- deal with it.

What made this race tough for me (mentally) was that, for the most part, if you suck, you don't race Wildflower.  This was the toughest competition I have raced against and all I could was compare myself to these guys.  Not to mention, all the people I was hanging out with were the Cal Poly Tech Elite triathlon team and they were all beats.  So even as good as I felt, I still felt crappy for not doing better.  Whatever, it's all motivation to step my game up and get better.  No more "when I move to Cincinnati" or "when I move to Tampa", or "when it gets warm outside."  No, the time is now.

Imagine if I could take 10 minutes off my swim and bike?  Just gotta keep my running up and better too, but as it were, my run was the 128th fastest of all competitors (top 7.6%).

Now I just need to sign up for another race.  Let's do this baby!

  1. What motivates you?
  2. What do you do when you succeed or fail?  To me, this race was an absolute success but motivation to work harder!

Getting to San Luis Obispo! Wildflower!

I was going to call this post “I got a massage from a dude... and I liked it”... but I decided that was’t necessarily what I wanted popping up on Twitter and Facebook.  Right now I am in the airport in Houston (one of my favorite cities) en route to San Luis Obispo for the Wildflower Triathlon.  I’ve been signed up for this race since January and it’s only been in the last couple days that I’ve come to understand what this race entails.  It’s know by multiple connotations: “The toughest long-course triathlon”

“The Woodstock of Triathlons”

“One giant party (except when you have to race)”

The races consists of vicious hills and hard-packed trail for the run.  On the bike there is “Nasty Grade” which, oh, I can’t wait for!  I’m just praying that my baby has gotten out Cali safely and they’ll put it back together in the right dimensions.

I can’t even begin to express how I feel about this race.  There is massive anxiety and nervousness mixed in with how absolutely stoked I am for this event.  Why I am nervous?  I’m pretty sore right now... I shouldn’t be, but I am.  I got a vicious sports massage on Monday night (yes, from a guy) and he crippled me.  I also know my training isn’t where it was leading into Austin 70.3 last year and not sure how it compares to Kinetic Half Ironman, which was my first 70.3 almost exactly one year ago.  However, I’ve been running those half marathons and gotten a couple long ride.  So I’m just going to stay like I told myself I would--positive and confident!  Goal time? ...As fast as possible ha!  I really don’t know based on the hills et al, so we’ll just see.  I’m holding anything back though.

It’s amazing how the support of some people can absolutely amp you and a good friend of mine wished me luck the other night and said I would tear it up and I’m not looking back!  As soon as I get there, as much fun as there will be, all I plan to do, is stretch, eat, and sleep.  Nothing stupid!

Monday night I got a killer sports massage after my workout... it almost killed me and I've been sore since haha.  I'm finally feeling a little better though.

I want to give a special shoutout to one of my sponsors GU who sent me a ton of products to review and use in this race.  I always use GU for my during race nutrition since they taste best and I’ve also had great results using them. Here is what they sent:

Check out some of the new Roctane flavors--these contain extra amino acids which aid in muscle healing and recruitment and also some flavors have caffeine which gives an added boost and can reduce the rate of perceived exertion.  They also sent me some of their new Electrolyte hydration tabs.  These are great to put in my water bottle. They increase hydration abilities of the body by combining them with electrolytes.  Research has also shown that athlete’s can decrease their rate of perceived exertion by simply rinsing their mouth with a sports drink with out drinking a whole bottle.  This can be really helpful when you don’t handle sports drinks well or aren’t working out long enough to need one, but still need to be drinking water to stay hydrated.

Here is what I am planning to use on race day, as well as some course aid like water and a HoneyMilk after!

This week I got another box for my local food delivery company!  Along with fruit and vegetables I got grass-fed ground beef, wild caught Alaskan salmon, chicken drumsticks, and grass-fed buffalo!  I wanted to make sure in the last week pre-race I was getting enough healthy fats, CLA, amino acids, Omega-3s, and antioxidants!

Sunday night I made some burgers and made my cheese spread to put on and stuff in the burger. I started with ground buffalo for the burger mixed with garlic and onions then for the cheese spread I started with 1 laughing cow and mashed it with a 3 cheese blend.

I grilled this inside the burger and then put the rest on top, all served with some sweet potato fries!

Last night I busted out the wild caught salmon.  Bummer is I cooked it on the Foreman grill so it was really pretty dry.  However, I made an awesome avocado sauce from the organic avocado I got in my produce bin and mixed it with salsa and cheese.

Hopefully I’ll get this posted tonight, but it may have to wait till Friday since I don’t think LAX has free internet?  That or I can’t figure it out...

About to catch this next flight to San Luis Obispo and ball out in this triathlon!  I’ll let you know how I do and thanks for all the support!

  1. Ever been to San Luis Obispo?  Or California?
  2. What’s your favorite city and why?  Food? The environment itself?

Thanks yall!