half Ironman

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?


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?

3 days!

Ironman Augusta is now only 3 days away!  I'm feeling an absolutely crazy mix healthy anxiety and excitement for this race. I know I'm ready and hella excited to try out the work I've doing with my swim stroke in a real race, but I'm also just nervous due to the fact that this is my first half Ironman since June and 3rd for the year.  It's also going to be a great way to get in some intense training and racing to get me closer to Las Vegas ITU Worlds in November.

Whatever, my head is going nuts right now and had to get something out there!  I'll update you guys after the race!

Good luck to the other members of the Apex Endurance team racing this weekend!

And this is what it looks like when a Paleo triathlete packs for multiple days of travel...

Yikes.  I won't want any sweet potatoes for a few days after this race, I can assure you that!

  1. What's your pre-race dinner?  If you've ever done a race long enough to Carb-load for, how did you do it?
I'll discuss my art of a modified carb-load next week!
Happy weekend!

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 chuckfeerick@gmail.com!

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

9 Days

9 days and I’m gone from Cincinnati… I really can’t believe, where did the time go?  As you can tell from my lack of blogging, the responsibilities of my job have been piling up big time since even though I’m moving to Tampa, I still have to have everything done here before I leave.

Speaking of Tampa, I was there last weekend to meet my new work team and find a place.  Both were successful and the weather was great.  My apartment is right on the edge of downtown and I’ll be able to walk to hockey games like I can here!  Then the football stadium isn’t too far… but the baseball stadium is actually all the way in St. Petersburg.  I actually drove out there to catch a game on Saturday, but they had part of the stadium closed off and the ticket prices were ridiculous… so I split.

I got some great workouts while I was there too!  Although, I still really don’t like running outside that much if I haven’t had a good warm up first.  Friday I did a 4-miler outside then about 300m worth of sprints in the mini hotel pool… ah yes, swimming outside!  Then I met my team, toured some apartments, and tried out the AWESOME gym that is on the ground floor of my new apartment building!  It’s got treadmills that I like, but also a ton of functional workout equipment—like a massive stair case in the middle of the gym, a rope to climb, TRX equipment, and an area outside with monkey bars, sledge hammers, and tractor tires!  This gym won’t let me have average workouts so I’m definitely going to be stepping my game up!

This past week I finally got a good training week and got 40+ miles of running.  Unfortunately, since I was determined to get that 40, it meant 23 miles over the weekend.

  • Saturday was a 10 mile run, 30 minutes elliptical, 1:20 on the bike trainer, then a 2-mile transition run which felt awesome!
  • Sunday was tough thanks to Saturday, but I got an 11 mile run, 60 minute spin class, quick 550m swim and core work

Then, after some recovery elliptical and biking, guess who worked this morning before work?  Me!  I had a great lift and followed it up with 1100m swim; the pool was in long course format today too so that was cool.  After work, I went back for more cardio and did a 40 minute ride, 20 minutes of elliptical and a 3.3 mile run.  I was pretty tired from the lack of sleep the night before, plus the first workout of the day and my legs just weren't feeling so hot.  Still store from the weekend lol.

I was needing some motivation after a tough 2 days last week so… I went ahead and signed up for a half ironman near Tampa for my first weekend living there!  Haha.  It will be on June 12th so I need all my training to be seriously on point these next few weeks.

Now in other news, thanks to Tropical Traditions for sending me some of the coconut cream concentrate to try!

This stuff is awesome- its got a great coconut flavor, but is thicker, like an ice cream topping.  Here are 2 recipes I made with it:

Peanut butter crispy chicken with coconut finish:

  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 1-2 tablespoons of milk
  • 1 egg white
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Coconut cream to taste

Mix the peanut butter and milk until they are smooth.  Then add in the egg white and whisk thoroughly in the bowl.  Add in you chicken breast (I let mine soak overnight) and then top with the panko bread crumbs.  Before putting it in the oven, I drizzled some of the coconut cream on it.  Bake at 400* for 22 minutes.  Then drizzle a little more coconut cream on it.


So now you have some of this leftover peanut butter batter right?  Coat some sweet potatoes with it and bake them as fries!  Best. Sweet potato. Fries. Ever.  I kid you not.  I’ve had these like 4 times now since I invented the recipe.

Go make these. Now.

Another use for the coconut cream was doing sweet potato fries with it instead of the coconut oil.  This made for fries that weren’t quite as crispy, but amazingly flavor.  I highly recommend!

Finally, here are some other fun eats I’ve cooked up lately, and a couple shots of the club level at the Reds stadium.  My CEO took me to a game last week—the seats we sick! (There I go with the "blogger exclamation points"...)

I’ve been thinking lately about going paleo.  Now, can I give up granola... unlikely.  Lol.  But I see some of the merits in the lifestyle.  What I don’t know is if giving up certain food types would really be a good idea for me with my eating disorder past, but it would help me overcome my fear of fats… (Which are GOOD for you!)  I’ve been talking to another young triathlete lately (Armi) and he has given a lot of nutritional and motivational input.  This kid is probably the most mature and intelligent 16 year old I’ve ever met.  Check out his blog.  If you have any diet or training questions, please ask either of us!

Be a superhero... my goal for the week.

  1. Who is your superhero/your inspiration?
  2. Have you ever tried a new way of eating that seriously impacted your life and how did it make you feel?
Thank yall!