Where Did the Time Go?

Wow it’s the end of October and where did the year go?  The days are shorter and the temps are cooler, and like clockwork I step on the scale, except this time it’s not reading 320lbs.  I’ve been hovering from 240-250 during the week as training has slowed down (I use that phrase loosely).  It’s hard cause in the back of my mind it’s not low enough.  But when I first started my weight loss journey I said that I would be happy around 240lbs.  Surprisingly enough now that I’m here it’s still not good enough.  I want to get down another 20-25lbs so I’m sitting around 220lbs which I think is a solid racing weight and a healthy body fat weight.  My current BF% is around 17-18% and I’m looking to get it down to 12-15% which should be a healthy level for being as active as I am.  That will be my goals next year.  With 2 more months left in the year and 2 more races before my couple weeks of off season I’m going to call 2013 a revolutionary year for me.  So looking back at 2013, I’ve found some direction in my life, I’ve found a sport that I truly enjoy, and I pushed my limits. Yeah, sorry didn’t find a girlfriend yet, sorry. Dating is actually a whole other blog post.

thCALFMNJLFinding direction through the means of fitness and helping others achieve their goals.  As people saw the weight shed off from my frame people started to ask me how I did it.  How this, or why that, and that’s when I decided it was time to educate myself in personal training and cater strictly to obese people.  So with my training done I’ll be looking to get those certifications early December and January.  A few people I’ve been helping on and off here and there and their results have been inspirational.

I truly enjoy the sport of triathlon. Yeah it’s 3 sports thrown into 1 but it’s awesome, and the tri community is nothing short of a family.  Since jumping in officially since June 1st, I’ve been on the podium in every triathlon race I’ve entered. Even if it’s Clydesdale, it’s a start and it felt good to be up there and hearing my name called. 2014 probably won’t have as many podium finishes as I am focusing on the longer distances but I will hear my name being called by Mike “Chris Holley, You are an Ironman”

So how have I pushed my limits?  Lets see, I’ve had some type of race every month so far.  Then in June I had back to back half marathons which I broke personal records with.  Then in September I reached my goal of 1st place in the Tri Rock San Diego Olympic Distance race.  My longest triathlon distance to date.  I was able to bike 53 miles without passing out.  I’ve started to believe that I can really do an Ironman distance at 140.6 miles.  I full believe that once you believe you can achieve something you will do it.

So what is 2014 going to have in store for me?  Racing wise lets just say during the summer I am going to be very busy.  Training wise I’ll have a very small social life if I even have one.  But the rewards of accomplishing a childhood dream will be worth it.  As the lifestyle change has been a constant journey for me from a partier/drinker to a full blown triathlete.  When I started I just knew that I needed to change and I had the direction of where I wanted to go, with the rest of it stuff along the way.  It’s a constant change and staying focused on what you want to achieve.

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LifeTime Tri: Oceanside. Race Report

imageI originally signed up for this event because it was in Oceanside.  I figured since I signed up for the Oceanside 70.3 this would be a good intro course to get a feel for the course.  This was also my first split transition so I figured that if I was going to screw up and forget something this would be the perfect race to do it.  I wasn’t putting any pressure on me to get a podium finish.  I wanted to focus mainly on the run and some of the things I learned from the clinic the weekend before.  I also wanted to focus on the transitions and the area.  Little did I know I was going to take first place in Clydesdale again and I beat the 2nd place guy by a full 10 minutes.  I thought about dropping down to my age group of 35-39 and weeks leading up to the event I completely forgot I entered in Clydesdale.  My finishing time would put me 9th of 14 which isn’t bad.  It really just shows that I really have to improve my run.  I was 74/125 people with my run and 55/79 males with my run.  With my main goal of moving into the Age Group ranks and out of Clyde’s I need to get my runs down to 7 minute miles for more than 1 mile.  I don’t care if I’m over 220lbs and able to run 7-8 min miles I’ll drop down to the more competitive 35-39 Age Group.  Sigh the only downfall is that it was my last triathlon of a spectacular triathlon season where I exceeded my expectation.

The Race Report! – Finishing Time – 01:17:40 – 31/125 Overall. 

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This was just a sprint so I didn’t really do much preparation and it really showed come race day.  Saturday I got my packet and we got a cool little backpack and some usual swag.  I’m a swag whore, I won’t lie.  Then I saw the 2 transition bags and started putting my gear (minus wetsuit) into each bag as I needed.  I figured I’d just put my wetsuit in the T1 bag in the morning before leaving (fatal mistake).  I felt good about it all I had everything in their proper bag and confident in my game plan for race day.  I wanted to have fun and enjoy the last race of my triathlon season.  Got to sleep at a decent hour and got a pretty good nights sleep.  Alarm goes off, I had a few scoops of PB&Co Maple Peanut Butter and got the 2 transition bags in the car along with my bike on the rack.  I had the final thought of just bringing my usual transition bag just incase.  It was cold and foggy coming into Oceanside and didn’t think anything of it really since I’m a big guy and produce a lot of heat once I get moving.  Checked my T2 that I left overnight and everything looked great.  Rode down to T1 and got all checked in and racked the bike and as I’m pulling everything out I realize I forgot my wetsuit!  I accepted the fact that I had to swim this in my shorts and tri-top and then it donned on me that I had my Lava Pants from Xterra in my regular bag that I use for the pool, but it was back in my car which was only a mile from the start.  But when you might not make it back in time to T1 before it closes it puts a certain dash in your step.   So on the return run I did this in my shorts and tri-top with bare feet since I left everything in my car since I couldn’t put them in my dry clothes bag.  Thankfully I made it back to T1 right as they were closing and they let me grab my cap and goggles.  I should note that I asked a USAT Official if they were legal to use and they said yes.  I was saved, to not have to kick through the race.  As the waves started the fog started to come in really heavy and they delayed the start because of visibility was maybe 10-15 feet in front of you.  We couldn’t see past the first buoy, and during this wait the cold really started to get to all of us.

The Swim! Swim Time 6:51 :52 /100M 11/125 Overall

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The initial shock of getting in the water was rough so I started to swim and instantly got used to the water temp.  I was happy and warm, and kept thinking just keep moving to stay warm.   Then the gun goes off and we are outta there.  I stupidly started towards the back of the pack fully knowing that I’m going to swim over some of them.  I really focused on long powerful strokes with the high elbow catch position and felt really calm through most of the swim.  I found a solid pair of feet to draft off of which was nice for a change.  Every time I tapped his feet he kept speeding up which was good till the first turn around.  Since everyone was still somewhat in a pack I didn’t want to go too fast out of the gates.  After we turned the first buoy I turned up the jets a bit and moved through the ranks.  I paid attention to not wanting to use too much energy (at this point I realized I forgot my APX in the fridge) since I didn’t have anything in the system and nothing to drink on the bike (Fat stores don’t fail me now).  Out of the water in 6:51.. Looking back I probably spent a good 5-10 seconds making my way through the start and pack.  Since all the swim times started at the same time I need to start these things at the front of the pack.  I’m wasting too much time getting through everyone when I’m much faster than they are. 

The Bike! Bike Time – 39:23 18.94 mi/hr (20Mi/Hr Goal). 22/125

I had a solid transition to the bike.  The only different thing was that I had to put my lava pants in the T1 bag.  As I was running out with my bike I realized I forgot rubber bands for my shoes!  This wouldn’t usually be a problem except I couldn’t feel my feet it was so cold.  I spent another 5-10 seconds getting that first foot on top of the shoe and on my way.  Getting out was a bit rough with some speed bumps here and some sharp turns here and there but once we hit the 76 things really started to go well.  The course got straight and I could deal with the fog, but hit a false flat (I should say downhill) because what seemed like I should have been coasting it got a bit harder to pedal and I was slowing down.  Since downshifting a couple gears to pickup my cadence hit a solid pace of about 17-18 MPH which for me was slow but I couldn’t feel my feet and it felt like I was pedaling with stubs like a pirate.  As the sun started to appear as we went east I could start feeling my legs and feet again and I was able to pickup the pace to 22-24MPH which felt solid throughout the whole bike portion.  I slowed down a bit more than usual coming down the last bike straight way cause the road sucked and didn’t want to get a flat in the last straight way (I know my back tire needs to be replaced, but I didn’t want to do it on race day).  Nailed my dismount with my shoes still clipped in and I heard a crowd support say I was like a flying gorilla (I laughed inside).  Foggy again and feet where cold I finally hit a GU and some water, and hit the run!  Overall

The Run! Run Time – 28:37 9:13 min/mile. 74/125 Overall.

Here it is, my weakest part of triathlon.  Coming off the bike my feet were frozen and my calves started to cramp a bit right off the bike (realized I forgot my salt sticks) but the legs still felt good and I really focused on keeping my head up and not over striding.  I was cruising at a 9:15 min/mil pace and I felt really good about it, my head was up my ankle on my left side wasn’t going beyond my knee (at least when I checked).  As I was running I noticed that Marc was coming down the hill behind me (I thought he would have beat me out of the swim and the bike, he’s a small guy and fast), my 8 minute dinged and I walked about 30 seconds instead of the 1 minute.  I felt good about things why should I stop it’s only a 5K.  Then we started to hit some up hills at the pier and going up another hill down the street which slowed my pace a bit but over all I felt really good.  I was still cruising a 9:35 pace thanks to that 30 second walk bit which I shouldn’t have done.  Down the final stretch Marc finally passed me and I picked up the pace to a 9:12 min/mil and got across the finish line.  Little did I know that Andy Potts was the one giving me my medal which was really cool!

The Wrap up! – Great Race!

WP_20131020_003Once across the finish line I felt great. Ian Kelly happened to see me coming across telling me that it was a strong finish (I didn’t know my time yet) which was really cool. I still had plenty of gas in the tank and wondered that I should have done the International Distance but who cares I felt great I had fun and I made costly mistakes that probably contributed to a combined 5 minutes tacked to my time.  It was great to see some friends racing and meet Marc who I know through a mutual friend at work (we spoke on Facebook and both belong to the Tri Club) so it was cool to meet him and his son.  Also met a few other guys like Randy who ripped his shorts on the bike the poor guy.  I have to say that everyone I have met through the triathlon community has been awesome!  Finally I got my time print out and sure enough I had gotten 1st Place in Clydesdale but the best part was I felt great.   The LifeTime Tri Oceanside race was fun, it was fast, and it really was well put on.  I can’t wait to do it next year.  

Mission Bay Tri – 1st Place Overall–Relays!

What started as a reply to an e-mail to a fellow Tri Clubber turned into some swaps for members from injuries but we got a team together and met in person for the first time the Saturday before the event.  Come race day we all had great a great leg and killed it as the first relay team across the finish line.  Jeff who was the runner really brought home the gold sort to speak passing the only other relay team out of the blocks since I came in 2nd with the swim by about 30 seconds and Chris held down the bike portion with about the same 30 seconds behind the other team.  I think we’re going to stick together for the Koz Events next season so watch out San Diego “The Good, The Bad, and the …” are sticking around.  Our total time was 3 seconds over 1 hour at 1:00:03.   Congrats guys on an awesome race and great podium finish!

Lately the blog has been about training and about race results because well, that’s been what’s happening on the front lines.  Mentally it’s been an exhausting past few weeks!  With losing 100lbs adjusting mentally is much more difficult than adjusting physically.  It’s still hard to kick the fat guy mentality in how you view yourself.  You still have the access skin and you don’t take the easy way out through surgery so that just makes it a little bit harder.   I don’t let that keep me down though, there is no going back there is only pushing forward.  My body will adjust the way it needs to and I need to have faith in that.

I also made the choice this week to do 1 out of 3 Full Ironman’s before the end of 2015!  Nov 2014 is Ironman AZ which is my goal if I can be quick enough with my registration when it opens.  If not then it will be Ironman Coeur d’Alene or Ironman Wisconsin.  This was a big commitment for me.  I realize that the distance is one of the most demanding distances in the world and a true test of endurance.  I will need at least a year of prepping for the distance alone, but the hardest part will be preparing mentally.  Thankfully I have a year to prepare myself and I have a 70.3 coming up in March so 1 step at a time.

I had an interesting encounter with someone at the local 24 Hour Fitness who noticed my picture on their Facebook page (Yes I put it there) saying don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.  So he said “Clydesdale doesn’t count as a division and just cause I took first doesn’t mean anything.”  I was a little taken back by his boldness and then I asked if he was a triathlete, he replied “I did a sprint distance a few years ago and didn’t like it.”  So I said then what makes you think that Clydesdale doesn’t count as a division?  He replied, “because that’s a fat person division.”   I said well are you a professional at anything?  He said, “No!”  So I said I guess you don’t mean anything either.   All I could do really is laugh at the ignorance of someone completely random person.  Yeah there are those who think that the Clydesdale/Athena Divisions don’t mean anything and there is a stigma that it’s for fat people because it’s governed by weight and not age.  But lets get 1 thing clear.  Those same people went out and raced the same course that the others did and they did their best.  I’ve been committed to showing people that just because you’re overweight doesn’t mean you can’t accomplish what you want to do.  That includes losing the weight to achieve it.

Been getting asked about the love life with everything going on as well.  My response has been what love life?  It’s hard to meet someone when your life lately has been training and being committed to something that was once a dream to have enough confidence to finally say “I can do that”.  So my mentality is back to, if it happens it happens.   Right now it ain’t happening so on with life.

Tiki Swim 3! Race Report

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Sorry it’s taken me so long to get this out but I had to come to grips of my 5th place finish over all.  I was disappointed I felt I could have had 1st or at least 1st in my age group.  I sulked a little bit and I was disappointed in my performance.  I questioned myself after I saw the results of if I swam my hardest which I didn’t.  I asked myself if drafting in the lead pack was the smart thing to do, it was.  What could have cost me a first place or second place finish by 3 minutes on a 1.2 mile swim.  I was 6 seconds from 3rd and 1 second from 4th.  Ultimately I made too many small mistakes that added up.  I lost track of why I signed up to begin with and that was to swim a 1.2 mile race and feel like I could turn around and pedal 56 miles.  I did reach that goal and ultimately that’s what was important.

Sunday morning and I was up at my usual time for 4:30AM I was nervous I had never done just an open water swim race with an ocean entry.  I had practiced entries all the time with swim buddying various tri’s over the summer which really helped me stay calm.  The drive up to Oceanside was great it gave me time to calm the nerves and get into the right state of mind.  I kept saying that 1.2 miles is nothing I should be done around 28-30 minutes.  When I arrived I was really taken back by the small amount of swimmers for the 2.4 mile and 1.2 mile swims.  I think total there was 200 spots so the field was small.  I will say that it was a strange feeling knowing that I was probably in the top 10 swimmers for the 1.2 mile.

The Race: 34:33 finish time.  1:31 100M Pace
The surf wasn’t coming in that bad there were some big sets but nothing big.  Brian gave some quick course announcements before the start and HORN!!!   I did a brisk jog to the shore and quickly started dolphin diving through the surf and was quickly the leader out of the surf but I misjudged my last dolphin dive and the bottom was farther down that I expected and then I saw the first person manage to get by me.  I wasn’t worried I just stayed relaxed and swam my race.  I could spot the first buoy in the distance and I was drafting off the guy who had passed me.  As we rounded the buoy we merged with some of the 2.4 milers that started 30 minutes before us.  Then as I looked to the left on my next breath I spotted another orange cap to my left who was a little bit in front of me.  I felt OK with this.  We were the lead pack of the 1.2 milers and I was settled in drafting off the guy in the lead.  The current happened to push us back towards the shore so we really had to work to get around the buoy on the mouth of the harbor so that it was on our right.  It was probably this that cost me some of the time.  I was still OK with this since I was still in the lead pack at this point.  We all had a solid pace going into the harbor and this is where the buoys now had to be on our left and we could hug the rocks if needed and we did.  I knew we were on the last 500 meters but I should have studied the harbor a little bit more so I could tell where things where.  Then I could have known when I needed to hit the jets and pass everyone since I had drafted basically 80% of the distance and I felt great.  By the time I knew where things where and were we were there was only 20 meters or so left which wasn’t enough time for me to get past the guys.  Exiting the water I saw that we were the first 3 orange caps out of the water.  The 2 people that got 1st and 2nd chips times must have started after us because at no time did we get passed by any other orange caps.  I did cut myself on the foot pretty bad coming up the jagged boat ramp so I think I’m going to have to get some socks to wear.

Reflection:
I thought long and hard if I made the right choice to draft most of the race instead of swimming my swim.  I did, my goal was not to put out so much effort that I wouldn’t have enough in the gas tank to bike 56 miles.  You can’t win a triathlon in the swim, but you can certainly lose.  If you put out too much energy in the swim you won’t last on the bike or the run.  You might be able to recover on the bike but you will suffer enough to where you should have just relaxed a bit on the swim.  I was still top 5 and I’m still among the top competitors in the swim in the 30-39 age groups.  Im’ happy with that.  Oceanside Ironman 70.3 look out cause the Hammer is coming.