Tag Archives: 70.3

Oceanside 70.3 2016 – Race Report

12920271_10208853829243815_1876718383697535575_n

There I am running with Shangrila Rendon on my 2nd loop at the Ironman 70.3 California race.  For those of you who don’t know who she is… she is a Guinness World Record holder for the fastest female to race a Quintuple race (5 Ironman Distance triathlons in 5 consecutive days).  It was a pretty defining moment for me to see her out there and her cheering me on as I raced by just struggling to keep my body going.

Leading up to the race I was feeling confident that I was going to have a breakout race and finally be able to actually run the entire half marathon.  My running has improved, I’m leaner, and over all I’m feeling great about my nutrition since moving to being more metabolically efficient.  Then around Tuesday night my stomach felt a little iffy and I spent most of the night sitting on the toilet.   That’s right I either caught something or ate something bad.  I wasn’t holding anything in, and I felt fine otherwise.  Fast forward to Friday morning I still wasn’t 100% but I told myself and C that I plan to race.  If I have issue’s Friday night or Saturday morning, or anything during the race. I’m going to not race or I’m going to stop.  Her condition was only if I go to the medical tent after I finish… Deal.   The problem isn’t so much being sick, it’s the amount of fluids you lose during the process of sitting on the throne and the lack of nutrients in your body.    It was simply the smart thing to do, and that’s live to race another day.  I had consulted with 2 doctors who have my best interest at heart so I knew that I wasn’t making a blind choice.  I told myself that I was ok with the outcome… If I DNS or DNF it wasn’t cause I wasn’t capable or didn’t have the drive.

Race Morning:
I got about 8 hours of sleep that night, thanks to some essential oils from some friends and some Imodium.  I was weary to eat anything for obvious reasons so I skipped my breakfast of eggs, bacon, sweet potatoes, with butter.  I preloaded with some pedialyte as we made our way to transition, and physically I was feeling fine.  I got into transition late so I had to do the fastest transition setup known to mankind before they closed it.  I’ve really simplified my transitions to where it takes me about 5 minutes to get everything in place and out I can go.  I was in the second to the last wave, so I still had a whole hour before I started.  I spent some time chatting with some Team Challenge friends and team mates before they had to march off into the Oceanside Harbor to start.  I chugged my 2 scoops of UCAN 30 minutes before the swim start, threw on my wetsuit and it was time for me to march down that same plank into the harbor.  The best part is that even with the pro’s already out of the water and you still being in that 2nd to the last wave, there is still a great amount of energy to keep you pumped.  So I was able to feed off it all and stay collected.

Swim: 36 mins
BOOM the horn goes off and out I go.  The water temp was 62 degree’s race morning and I LOVED it.  There was plenty of swell to go around and plenty of people who kept stopping in front of me.  I had no problems sighting the buoy’s but swimming around/over people got tiring.  My stomach though at the time was starting to wobble and I was wondering if I was going to have an accident in my wetsuit (that would not be good).  I was able to finally find some calm water out of the pack of people and cruise to the swim exit.  I felt at this point that I had a better swim that I did, but my stomach and my calves and core were cramping a bit.  As I was jogging back to T1 I saw C and she gave me some more pedialyte.  I told her that I’m was done, my legs just aren’t there, and my stomach was feeling woozy.  I remember her telling me that maybe I just need to sit down in transition and see how it goes.  I had plenty of time, but nope I told her I was done and she was going to meet me at the exit.   WELL, I did what she said and as I was sitting there gathering myself and looking at my bike, I decided I should give it a shot.  I’m feeling a bit better, and if I can make it off the bike I can walk the half marathon.  It wasn’t going to be pretty but I could do it as long as I kept it easy.  So I put my big boy pants on and helmet and went out the bike exit on the bike.

Bike: 03:55:19
I remembered this course from my first go around with it in 2014 and knew I had to keep it calm and easy the first half.  I did exactly that and felt great, I took a third of a bonk breaker bar down at the 30 minute mark and 10-15 minutes later I felt my stomach kind of curl again and I thought, oh no… this isn’t going to be good.  However I kept riding and it went away.  I always grab water at the bike aid stations and the volunteers at aid station 1 are always a blast.  This year it was some sumo wrestlers handing out water and Gatorade which made me laugh as a I whizzed by.  I chugged my third of a bottle with UCAN and MCT Oil and I was feeling pretty back to normal keeping my watts and HR in my fat burning zone, saving my carbs for those hills.  Then around mile 25 I notice my rear wheel bumpy and I think I just have a flat.  I pulled over and sure enough, not only did I have a flat.  Something shredded about 3 inches of my tire!  I don’t carry a spare tire for a 70.3, GREAT.  Thankfully it was by a volunteer captain who was able to radio for the bike people to come out.  About a hour or so later I was on the road again complete with a new tire and tube.  As I sat there waiting and watching people whiz by, several people offered me a tire and tube.  I didn’t take it, just because they might need it.  I’m not trying to qualify for worlds and I knew I had plenty of time.  Yeah there was a part of me that felt that maybe this is a sign and I just need to stop, but I kept moving on.  Into the next aid station it was bathroom time or so I thought anyways, and then again I thought that maybe this is it and I had to stop.  Maybe it was just my body telling me that it wants to stop.  I stood at my bike questioning if I wanted to battle the hills today.  I told a volunteer who wanted to give me Gatorade that I was done, I didn’t need any.  So I sat on my bike for about 5 minutes waiting to see what my stomach would do, and sure enough it calmed down.  I was good to go, and off I went.  I could see the hill in the distance, the same hill that I almost had to walk up a couple years earlier.  The same hill that intimidated me so much to where I didn’t ever want to do the race again.  The same hill that is claiming these cyclists and forcing them to walk.  I was able to power up and not be totally dead afterwards.  Mentally this was a huge boost and exactly what I needed.  I cheered everyone else on around me to not give up and to just keep at it.   I’m sure some of them might have despised me for zipping by them as they where walking and I was cheering for them.  I was sincere since I was in their shoes before at one point.  I know how difficult it can be, and I know that when I was in their shoes, it helped.  Finally piled up the last climb and made the final right towards the coast into the headwind and just held on for the rest of the ride.  I tried to keep things steady as she goes, and I knew my run was going to be horrible.  Finally as I rode into transition there was a small sigh of relief that I was almost done.

Run: 2:42:xx
I took my time in transition again to collect myself and wondered if I should even bother running out.  I didn’t know what time of day it was or if I’d have enough time to walk a half marathon after the bike wait.  I didn’t want to be walking and then be told I didn’t have enough time.  After a few minutes of drinking more pedialyte and gathering myself I set out on the run course.  It was great to see all of my Team Challenge teammates as I set out on the run, it really lifted the spirits.  I really enjoyed the change to the 1 spot transition and the route it took us on.  By this time I had friends everyone on the course to cheer on.  After all the reason I signed up for the race was to be out there with them cheering them all on.  I was an hour late to the party but still got to see a lot of them out there.  It was right after the turn around that I had to use the bathroom again… thought it was going to be the final straw… but thankfully it wasn’t.  This time though I was riding that line of not having anything left in the tank.  I was taking some gel’s at the aid stations with some water and base salts. Just anything to get some energy going.  I was reduced to a walk/run as the reserves were running out.  I was still maintaining a 12 min mile so I felt good about things.  Running through the Fil-Am-Tri area was always a huge lift of spirits as I heard my name called and everyone cheering.  I should have stopped and asked for a donut or 12.  It was around mile 8 or 9 that I ran into Shangrila and we chatted.  I couldn’t tell you about what though.  It was nice to see her out there cheering for everyone.  I gathered myself even more for the final push.  At this time my calves were pretty well knotted with some cramping here and there.  Kept taking the salt and water in, pouring water down the back and putting ice in the hat.  I was happy to still be able to keep passing people.  Finally the last 2 miles were in sight, and I could see the FAT’s (Fil-Am-Tri) banner and told myself I just have to make it there and I’m home free.  The tight calves were causing my left knee to hurt and as I was approaching the finish chute my left hamstrings started to cramp up.  Luckily there was a woman in front of me, so I thought to myself… Let her get her moment.  So I slowed it down to a walk so that I wouldn’t it for her going across the finish line.  This gave me a small rest.  Then she slowed to a walk.  When I asked if she was alright and she replied “yes”.  I took off running through the finished.  My finish time was over 7:31:xx and I knew it was going to be ugly.  As promised I found C and we went to the medical tent to be checked out.

Finishing up:
Every race is different, even if it’s the same course.  The day is different, the weather is different, and the moment is different.  Now some people will say that I made a stupid choice to race in the condition that I was in, and that’s ok.  It’s their opinion.  I consulted 2 doctors, 2 RN’s, and I was in good hands through the entire race.  I had a plan in place if I got into trouble, and there were people on the course who knew my condition and would have stopped me if they felt that I wasn’t able to finish.  Having that level of support from the tri community is simply amazing.  With that said, I was fine in the medical tent.  They just made me get some more fluids in and rest a bit.  It was all precautionary.   Even checked in with my doc buddy later that night and he said if I needed anything let him know and they’ll take care of me.

The race really tested my body, my patience, and my perseverance.  It was a constant battle of quit or should I keep going.  It also shows that no matter who the athlete, sometimes you just have to slow it down and collect yourself.  It’s these kinds of races where everything seems to go wrong that you find out what type of athlete that you really are.  Do you keep getting up when it seems you’re always falling on your face, or do you just stay down.  We are capable of more than we think we can do.  We just have to keep getting back up.  We need to have faith and you have to believe in yourself that we are going to get across that finish line.  It’s been a while since I was in that position, so it was a nice reminder out there that I still got up, and crossed that line.

 

Advertisements

Oceanside 70.3–Volunteer Race Report!

11096599_10205307567760502_295514621513712176_n

Well, here we are at the end of our shift.  We all volunteered to be swim handlers at the 2015 Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman.  I wanted to race this race but I missed the signup, so I went with St. George instead.  The next best thing to racing is volunteering.  It’s my chance to give back to the sport and to the racers.  In my early days of racing I never really paid much attention to volunteers, in fact I really didn’t care about them.  I paid my money and most of the time I was out there suffering just trying to finish.  Then after my first volunteer gig as a swim buddy I started to really take notice and start thanking them as I’m running or biking.  I’m usually a swim buddy and out there swimming with the slower swimmers.  At Ironman events that’s not allowed, so I took the next best thing.  Making sure everyone gets in and out of the water safely.

Race Day11068401_10205307342034859_4408981667675072733_nHanging out with TCSD before reporting.

The best part of being in the water is that you have access to transition and you don’t have to be down at the entry/exit till 20-30 minutes before the pro’s start.  So I was able to wander around T1/2 and talk with some friends and give some final words of encouragement to other first timers I knew racing.  Before I knew it, it was time for me to head down to the swim entry/exit.  I really wasn’t expecting anything since when I’m running out of the water I don’t take any assistance and I’m off down to transition.  However, I got to talk to some of the pro men and women before they got into the water and they thanked me for volunteering.   Andy Potts is a nice guy on top of being fast in the water, and Jesse Thomas is flat out funny before the swim.  I couldn’t recognize the women with their goggles on already and caps, but that’s ok.   The gun went off and the mass flow of racers entered the water in waves in what seemed 3 minutes apart.  All the swim handlers cheering them on as they marched towards the water.  They even had the seals to cheer them on and provide some entertainment while they made their way to the start line.  About 22 minutes after the start the pro men started to come in and I had to go over to the exit for safety reasons.

21156_10205307566840479_397754303353525157_n

As the pro’s came in the mass of age groupers were not far behind.  At about 45 minutes after the start it was madness.  I was assisting swimmers up and unzipping wetsuits.  I pulled up several of my friends swimming and cheered them along the run.  Then I felt someone grab my hand and as I turned and looked at her she said, “I have no legs, will you help me?”  I got down and picked her up and carried her to her chair that was waiting on the ramp with her legs.  She was an amputee racing with CAF.  Everyone was clapping for her and she was smiling.  I was moved and inspired to be sharing her moment with her.  Every day I listen to people complain about how bad of a day they had or are having, but here is a woman with no legs out there swimming and enjoying the simple things that we often take for granted.  It was an honor and privilege for me to assist her.  In a moment that seemed like it took 20 minutes had only taken a couple and I was back to action holding up swimmers who couldn’t find their land legs after being in the water for so long.  As the slower swimmers started coming in we started seeing a lot of people disoriented so we spent some time walking up the ramp with them till they found their land legs and knew what was going on.  I saw an older man who waved me over and I grabbed his hand.  He really grabbed on strong and started to shake as I pulled him up and he stood up.  He looked at me and said “I did it, I didn’t think I’d make it, but I did it!”  I said “Congratulations, the hard part is done right!”  We both laughed but when he took off his goggles he had tears and a smile ear to ear.  He gave me a big hug and said thank you for being here, and said “I did it” one last time as he went up the ramp.  I started to get teary eyed.   (I’m starting to get teary eyed just writing this).

11081130_10205307571800603_3496219361213151887_n

As less and less swimmers came in we know the swimmers coming in now were at risk of not being able to continue.  Then the race official appeared and there were 3 swimmers who weren’t allowed to continue.  It was a little heartbreaking to see.  Some of those swimmers were in the water well over 1 hour and 10 minutes.  Then the floatilla of boats, SUPs, and wave runners came towards the dock.  It was the last swimmer in, and everyone gave him a cheering welcome back.  We all knew he wasn’t going to make the cut off but he at least finished the swim which is a great achievement.

last swimmer out

As I was helping him up since he couldn’t stand on his own we got to the race official and I heard the official give the DNF speech.  It’s not one that I ever plan to hear for not making a cut off.   I really hope he comes back next year and finishes the entire race.  I could feel how deflated he got after receiving the news.   Once all the swimmers were out we got the dock all ready to go for use again and I was off to the TCSD and FilAmTri tents to cheer on the racers.  All in all for the day I walked/ran over 12 miles and cheering is a workout on it’s own.  I was exhausted all evening.  I tried to get my 8 mile run in but got 2 miles before I was done.   I was sleeping by 8:30PM… ZZZZZzzzzzz

Starting the New Year

Well, 2014 was a blast of the year.  For the most part I’m 2 years into my lifestyle change from a fat bar hopper to a competitive triathlete.  I’ve been able to inspire those around me to achieve what they didn’t they could.  Been dating a great gal, and I finished my first ever Ironman.  I’ve been able to keep the weight off for the most part, I did put some back on after the Ironman and holiday season.  That’s how it goes though when you’re training 16-20 hours a week and eating 6-8K calories a day to almost nothing for a month.

So what do I have in store for 2015?  Well, I’m agreeing to another race a month of some form.  So that mean’s that once a month I’ll be doing anything from a 5K to an Ironman.  Swim, Bike, or Run race of some type.  I’ve got my first half Ironman in St. George, UT on May 2nd and a full Ironman 140.6 in Louisville, KY on October 11th.  On top of that I’m the proud Ambassador of SunRype!  SunRype is a fruit drink and snack company that uses 100% fruits and juice in their products.   I’m super excited to represent them in 2015 and hopefully longer.

Weight goal wise I’ve slacked a bit.  I’m not under that 220lb mark that I wanted to so this year, so I’ll be trying to get under that mark.  I’ve had quite a few people talk to me about becoming a life coach which I’m looking into along with finally getting my personal training certification.  Then look into what I need to do to become a life coach and possible pursue it a bit more when I’m not on my day job.

Looking Back at My Weight Loss Journey

Pic_20144816441

It’s hard for me to look at those pictures of me when I was for lack of better words “Fat”.  I had grown to accept that I was going to be fat for the rest of my life.  I had given up on myself.  It’s been a year since I started this blog and I started with me basically coming clean with where I started and what got me going.  It’s been 5 years since I started my weight loss journey.  When I wrote that first blog entry found here I didn’t know if I would be writing it still or that I would become a 70.3 Ironman.  I didn’t even know if I was going to be able to keep the weight off.  It’s been a true lifestyle change and that part I do know.  So how did I do it?  Did I go on some special diet?  Did I go on some brand new exercise diet that the experts hailed as the next best this?

How I did it?
Diet and exercise right, isn’t that what everyone says?  First thing I did was quit drinking.  This was a crutch that I was using to make me feel better about myself.  Then I started eating more cleanly.  While I quit drinking cold turkey I didn’t quit eating crap cold turkey.  It took about 2 months to get completely clean of all the crap.  Now I still have my day a month now where I’ll have a whole medium sized bag of Peanut Butter M&M’s.  I have also noticed that I really have no desire to drink booze.  I can have a beer or glass of whine, and even a cocktail without feeling the “Need” to drink to get drunk.  I also started going to the gym and doing more strength training with very little cardio except for that 20 minutes of walking on the treadmill that progressed into jogging.  The single most important thing though is the mindset of needing to do whatever it takes.  I needed to do whatever it takes to get to where I need to be.

Did I go on some special diet?
Yes, it’s called eating!  The one thing I heard and still hear is people saying don’t eat more than this many calories and it was typically under 1800 calories.   This is disastrous to your metabolism and only makes weight loss harder.  I started eating lots of fruits as snacks and found that I eat all day long.  I also can go out and have just 1 glass of wine or a cocktail and not want to keep drinking till I blackout.  Eating is fueling your body for whatever function you need it to do.  It’s not some glorious experience that’s going to change your life forever so stop treating it like one.  Eat to perform and be your best.

Did I go on some new fad exercise program?
No, I did it through strength training and aerobic cardiovascular exercise.  I’d wake up and go to the gym in the morning… every morning.  The goal was to go before work so that I can’t use the excuse of too tired.  Then I noticed I had a lot more confidence through the day and less stress.  I also ran in the evenings a few times a week.

The one thing that I can say that makes some people successful at weight loss and keeping it off has been keeping the mindset that I will do whatever it takes for me to reach my goals.  So many people think it’s going to be easy and they don’t realize that you’re going to have to make some life choices.  We’ve spent years gaining weight and living an unhealthy lifestyle.  To think that it’s going to be easy to change that is just naïve and ignorant.   Some people chose to to compete in a body building or physique competition to show off their new found fitness.  I went the endurance athlete path and I can honestly say that I’ve found out more about me than I even thought I would.  Set your goals and achieve them.  Don’t expect it to be easy and prepare to suffer at times.   It’s that suffering and struggle that builds the pride within yourself.

Ironman 70.3 California 2014–Race Report

WP_20140329_14_03_27_ProWell I finished!  That’s what is important when the day is done.  They say that the training is the hard part of the journey and the race is the reward.  I guess I didn’t fully understand it till I hit the run.  When I signed up for this race a year ago I was 275lbs give or take and I had just done my first triathlon in 3 years the ITU San Diego at a little over 280lbs.  I didn’t think I could even do a Half Ironman.  It was a goal that I set that at that time seemed impossible but I had to try.  My goal signing up was to aim high and just finish the race.  I didn’t care how long it took me to do it, I just wanted to finish.  I wanted to achieve my goal of completing a Half Ironman before the cut off time.  In fact, I didn’t even know there was a cut off time.  With the help of the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) and their members I was able to get the training I needed and join in on their many free workouts.  It’s a privilege to live in such a great city and have such great support from the TCSD.  Thank you to everyone who came out to support me and the other triathletes and thank you to all the volunteers who help make this race awesome.  So without further delay here is the report.

Race Report: Lead up
Weather this time of year is crazy and the week before the race was dark and rainy and cold.  So I was a bit worried about having to race in cold and rainy.  Thankfully it died that Friday and it was sunny skies.  Friday my family came down from Thousand Oaks to come watch me race.  This is a huge thing for me having them there for the support.  I’m glad to see that they get to see me out there being active and accomplishing my goals.  Friday evening we kept dinner simple at Luna Grill and I got everything finalized for my race and set to go   The excitement, anxiousness, nervousness, and confidence was all a melting pot for me head.

Race Morning:
I was up early ate my whole grain, almond butter, and banana sandwich at 4 with some water and then proceeded to get everything packed in the car and on the way up to the venue.  I didn’t worry about my nutrition at all which was a huge thing for me coming into a longer endurance race than a sprint or Olympic Distances.  Thankfully my coach Julie Dunkle really got us well prepared with what works for us and how plan for our race.  Had my Swedish Oat Starch Protein shake around 6:00 which was supposed to be 1.5 hours before my race start.  Either way I got down to the venue and marked up my T2 with my chalk and off to T1.  I had my sister along helping me out and I unfortunately had to ditch her to make sure I got my stuff setup in time.

The Swim: 00:31:42
This swim is without a doubt my strongest leg but unfortunately you can’t win in the swim but you can lose.  My wave for some reason was at 7 instead of 7:36 so I was off to the water 30 minutes before I was expecting but it was fine.  I warmed up on my swim out to the start buoy which is about a good 50 yards to the start.  I should have seeded myself closer to the start line but this was a 70.3 I expected to have some faster swimmers up here (BIG MISTAKE).  Finally got relaxed a bit and then the horn goes off and we start swimming.  I must have been behind the slow people because I spent a lot of energy getting through a lot of the other guys.  Finally after the first red buoy I found a good rhythm and then shortly after is when I started swimming up into the waves that went ahead of me.  Had to swim around and over a few other swimmers (I’m sorry).  The water temp felt great even at 60 degrees.  During the 30 minutes I’d love to tell you that I was thinking about something but to be honest I wasn’t thinking of a damn thing I was just swimming enjoying the moment.  As I sighted and saw the boat docks I picked up the pace and got out of the water strong.

T1:
Unlike the Life Time Tri they had carpet through the entire transition run so I didn’t kill my feet.  I jogged through T1 to bring my HR down.  I took my time in T1 since I knew I had a bit more things to do for a 56 mile bike, like put on socks!  It was nice to not have to hurry.

The Bike: 03:02:13
The bike as most know is an easy first half that’s fast and mostly flat with the back half being filled with 3 hills.  I’ve been through the first half several times and I’ll be going through many more times.  The back half though I didn’t get a chance to drive through with a car at any point so I didn’t really know what to expect.  I thought about that as I was going through the first half all the time.  I faced the challenge and I didn’t stop on the first unforgiving hill.  I spun up with like a kid on a bike at times going from side to side.  I kept telling myself I just have to make it up this hill and then that’s one less hill I have to worry about.  The second hill was more of a false flat for me as it was a gradual climb with a nice little peak at the end.  At this time I was getting passed by Coach Julie, which I’ll admit was a little disheartening but she’s a much better athlete than I am with the hills.  I secretly think that she has a love affair with hills.  Anyways after the last of the hills I was just happy to be past the hard part of the ride and looked to let my legs recover and prepare for the run.  As I got closer to the harbor I knew the bike was over and I was excited that I was 2/3rds the way done with my first Half Ironman.  I had no clue what my times were at this point but I thought I had a solid bike.  I did have to stop on the last hill to massage out a hip flexor spasm but it probably cost me all of about 4 minutes.

T2:
The volunteers where there directing me where to go but I had drawn big blue arrows to my transition area so that I could quickly identify them (thank you Steve Tally).  It made it easy and I was able to get out of T2 after a quick potty break and having to turn around to throw the bike gloves down.

The Run: 02:40:35
My weakest part of the triathlon was finally here.  I trained hard for this and wanted a 2 hour finish.  I had a solid plan which was to stay in zone 2 for the majority of the run and then crank out the last 3 miles in Z3/4.  My first mile I was dead on pace and hr zone I was moving at a 9:25 at 149BPM and I was feeling great and my legs were feeling good as well.  I had no issues going up the steep climbs of the pier, my training had paid off!  Then suddenly going down the steep hill down to the strand I felt a sharp pull in my right groin and couldn’t get my stride back going so I decided to walk for a bit and see if I could shrug it out.  Tried to run again and just couldn’t keep that pace without severe pain.  It upset me a bit that I wasn’t going to make my 2 hour run and I had a little talk with myself.  I told myself that I had nothing left to prove, I was going to finish, is it worth further injury?  So I decided that I was going to walk/jog as much as I could and just enjoy everyone that came out to support me and all the other triathletes.  I didn’t even have the question of quitting at any point, it was not an option.  The one thing I had learned about myself and listening to the motivational speeches during training is that whatever I do, make sure no one can ever call me a quitter.  I might not be the fastest and I might just be the slowest, but make sure that no one can call me a quitter.  I didn’t quit and I mustered all the strength to block out the pain and I ran down the finish shoot.  I had finished my first Ironman 70.3

Final Time: 06:24:03

Looking Back:
As fast as it got here, it’s already over.  Looking back I can’t tell you exactly how it was to run down the finish shoot.  It really was a blur of emotions along with disbelief.  I know I immediately said that I don’t think I’d do another one, but that was quickly retracted and yeah I’ll do another one probably not this one though.  It was a journey that I didn’t expect and I found out a lot of things about myself and that’s why reaching for these seemingly monumental tasks are so important.  When I first signed up for it, this race seemed monumental and that it would be a miracle for me to even walk across the finish line by the cut off.  As it approached I found confidence in myself that I can do it and that it’s possible in under 6 hours.   Even though I was 24 minutes shy of 6 hours and almost a full hour past my predicted finish I did it.

My training groups celebration party was last night and while we didn’t train as a group we all had a common bond of setting a goal and achieving it.  We all had to overcome our own struggles and we each had them.  We all crossed that finish line and we were not going to be denied that finishers medal.

1 Week Away: Excited, Nervous, Confident

V__352EThis was me several years ago.  I was in my late 20’s and I was overweight, drank a lot, and did no exercise at all.  If I was to go back in time in a magic phone booth and tell that man that in 2014 he would be doing his first 70.3 triathlon and he would have completed 9 13.1’s and a full 140.6 by the end of the year I would expect to be laughed at and then thrown out of the Open Bar for being stupid.  Truth be told back then I loved my lazy life with no cares in the world.  I really didn’t care about my health, and I certainly didn’t think about my future.  As the years passed nothing change really.  I had thoughts to myself if this was the best life was going to get for me.  I was running my own small business I was always out partying lots of friends.

762765-1070-0028sWell 10 or so years later here I am 1 week away from my toughest race yet that I signed up for in the summer of last year.  1 year ago to this day I had only done 1 triathlon with the ITU Triathlon in April.  As I sit here 1 week away from it, I can’t help but look back at the last year and look at how much I have achieved.  Dropped 60+ lbs improved my run times and kept the weight off for over a year.  I will say the last 2 weeks have been rough though keeping my head in the game again as I’ve strayed a bit from my diet and training has kicked down a bit intensity wise.  This is where we trust our training.  In my last 30 minute easy run I was maintaining a 8:13 per/mile average!!!  I remember when I was training for Tri-Rock San Diego I was looking at the results saying that I need to get to at least a 9 minute mile.  Well I’m proud to say that I’ve done it!  I had never in my life cycled more than 50 miles in under 3 hours and last weekend I did it, after a 1.4 mile swim no doubt.  Now we didn’t get the back of the course that has the hills but I kept the ride easy so it’s possible I’m looking at a 3:30 bike time.  I’m no longer worried that I’ll be able to finish the race and I’m no longer worried that I’d even survive or even be worried that I can walk the day after the race.  My self confidence and self belief has grown and I’ve now got to carry that over to race day.

Probably the smartest thing I’ve done was hire a real coach this time around.  I new the longer distance would require something more than an online coach and I went with Julie Dunkle who’s an established Ironman athlete who has been to Kona.  I saw a thing she sent out through TCSD and figured why not?  What do I have to lose, but I had all to gain.  It’s more than just getting out there and putting feet to pavement.  I didn’t have a clue about nutrition or pacing outside of what I’ve read.  Even then I had a hard time putting it all together.  I will most likely use her again for my Ironman Arizona training but not in a group setting, ok maybe if the chance is there.  The support around the group was amazing and I’m actually not looking forward to the end of this journey but the memories will remain.  As the excitement and nerves keep building up until that gun goes off all I can really do is to keep trusting the training and telling myself that “I’m the one, I’m the one who was supposed to do this for me.”  My next blog post will most likely be after the race so here is a quick look at my goal times.

Goal times for Oceanside 70.3
Swim – 31:00
T1 – 3-4 mins
Bike – 3:15:00
T2 – 2-3 mins
Run – 2:00:00

Total Time: 5:45:00-6:00:00

Throwback Thursday–What a Trip!

Pic_40b70b06-97b7-4d13-b5c9-9c9685e44964_jpg

I went and changed my profile picture on Facebook to the picture (above) on the right.   It’ was from my first ever Half Marathon in 2008 I was around 350lbs at this point.  I knew that at some point I could walk the whole thing if needed but I ran until I had to walk/run and around mile 9 with all the cramps in my legs I was slowed to a slow walk and didn’t know if I would be able to finish.  Looking at the picture brings back a lot of the emotions I felt on that day.  Walking around that final corner with cramped hamstrings, quads, and calves.  As I wobbled towards the finish line I saw the clock at 3:19:** and as the person put my finishers medal over my head I cried.  I had just accomplished something that I didn’t think I’d do again and I just finished something without quitting.  I had done it.  The next 5 days I could hardly walk, the muscles, the chaffing, it was ugly.  I had conquered my doubt that I could do it, and I faced pain that every muscle in my body told me to quit and that I had already come so far that I didn’t have anything to prove.  But I didn’t quit and I didn’t give in, I finished.

“Pain is temporary.  It may last for a minute, a hour, a day, or even a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take it’s place.  If i quit however, it lasts forever.” – Eric Thomas

748545-1075-0034sWhen I made this picture (above) with me on the left from the Rock N Roll Half Marathon Arizona I only thought of progress and look at me running my 8th Half Marathon!  As I wrote about my first Half Marathon experience I realized that during that Rock N Roll Arizona I faced the same pain that reared it’s head.  I didn’t meet it again at mile 8, but rather mile 12.  In the picture (right) you can see that something was not right.  Everyone muscle and both Achilles  tendons were telling me to quit.  You can walk the rest of the way and still beat your Las Vegas Half Marathon time.  I picked it up and finished the half in 2:14:20.  The picture below is what my shoes looked like after the race.  The point is that even through all the training, all the personal achievements, at some point you are going to reach the end of what you believe you can do.  It’s at that point you find out if you’re an “I can” or “I can’t” person. 

Some of my last blog posts had to do with goals and to keep reaching for new goals.  It’s also important to look back and cherish the journey.  Realize the struggles and how you dealt with them.  You’re going to have those struggles again and how are you going to deal with them?  Will you quit when your body tells you that it has nothing left, or will your mind prevail and find a way to keep going. 

Moving forward to the SD Half Marathon this Sunday I’m nervous.  Back in January when my coach said I should sign up for this race I felt that it was too close to Oceanside to run a 13.1 so I resisted back then.  Fast forward to last week, when I checked my training plan and saw 14 mile run, but oddly enough this time around I feel like this won’t be a challenge at all.  In fact I have a very good plan for this race since I’m not trying to PR or anything.  My plan is to keep my HR steady in Z2 through most of the race and then around mile 9 start picking up the pace.  There is a steady hill climb up Washington St. that starts around mile 9 and ends around mile 10.  This hill looks like NO joke, but thankfully I do most of my training runs on a treadmill at incline level 4 so it won’t be a total shock to my system.  The climb up I’ll probably shift into Z4 going up and then I’ll let my HR settle a bit for the final stretch.   Report to come!