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What a Week! Lot’s of Changes.–Long Blog

2013 Races Below.  Next year will have an Ironman Medal.

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As I put my first week of Half Ironman training in the books (15 more to go) I have finally begun to notice a lot of changes with the way my body actually looks.  I can see my quads attaching up to my hips and I can even see where my oblique’s lay.  The downside is the extra skin.  I knew at some point it would rear its evil head, but thankfully I don’t let that slow me down.  People around me have noticed I’ve slimmed down more, and I was able to fit into a pair of 36” pants.  I have not been able to fit into a 36” waist since high school.  Oddly enough though my numbers on the scale and my body fat % has stayed roughly the same.  The biggest hurdle though is coming up and that’s holidays with the family and saying no to the food that won’t mix with my diet!   Sigh… no toffee chocolates, no cookies, and no eggnog (okay maybe a little bit of all those).

I was also selected to be a brand ambassador for a sports apparel company that is trying to broaden it’s US base.  So I get free workout clothes to wear and promote the brand, I can’t wait.  I’ve finalized my out of state races for 2014 and booked my hotels and my bike transport to most events.  I plan to do as many local races as possible so I’ll be close to racing every weekend.   But my Tour De Holley starts with Oceanside 70.3 (not really travel but it’s not San Diego)  March 29th, then ITU Chicago June 29th, Life Time Tri Minneapolis July 12th, New York City Triathlon August 3rd, Life Time Tri Oceanside October 26th, then Ironman Arizona November 16th.  Let’s just say after all the travel is done 2014 travel will have been over $4000 including race entry fee’s..  I do have the Rock N Roll Arizona Half Marathon January 19th and I’m hoping to have a 2 hour time.  I must say that the number one question I get is… Why?  Well I’ve thought about why on several occasions and each time I come up with a different answer but it’s along the same lines as this.  I’ve been an athlete since I can remember.  I wasn’t the best at any sport and some sports I was good, but 1 thing was for sure I was always there either supporting my teammates or giving it what I got.  Now as I’m older and that I’ve lost the weight that I set out to lose I needed more goals and I have found the triathlete community to be nothing short than amazing.  People travel to see the sights of the town, experience local food and local culture.   Why not travel and race at the same time?   That is why.

The Triathlete Community
Whether you’re in the pool, on a bike going up a 5.9% grade, or on the last 3 miles of a 13 mile training run there is 1 thing that every triathlete has in common.  We don’t care what your career is, we don’t care that you’re older or younger than we are, and we don’t care if you’re a democrat or a republican.  We are all the same out there on race day.  We are out doing what we enjoy doing.  We are out there accomplishing what other people have said is not possible.  We are achieving our goals, and making our dreams happen.  Everyone that I have met through the Triathlon Club of San Diego (TCSD) has been absolutely amazing.  Old, young, fat, skinny, big, small, new to triathlon, or the veteran Ironmen of the club, we all look at each other as equals. 

Training
With my first weeks in the book and looking back it was a good challenge and it’s nice to be training again.  I had to send my Garmin 910XT back because it showed I was training at 30K feet (San Diego won’t ever be 30K feet).  But I’ve been hitting the mileage on the run and I’ve been swimming extra because of USAT’s National Club Challenge and we’re on our swim session right now.  Currently I’m 18th out of 2731 athletes in overall mileage for Swim/Bike/Run, and I’m 8th out of 2731 athletes in swim mileage.  I’ve joined our club swim masters program to improve my swim which I probably won’t see much improvement for Oceanside but come IMAZ my swim should be pretty darn solid.  I am hoping that by November I can have my full marathon to around 4 hours.

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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.

TriRock San Diego 2013 Race Report

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My coach and I went over the race plan Friday as well as a nutrition plan.  Since I had been battle a respirator infection the last few weeks of training I wasn’t feeling as confident as I usually do since my training intensities were drastically reduced.  But I was confident that I could at least get a top 5 finish and complete the distance.  My projected time was 2:22:00 and it felt right after looking at all my training and the distances and doing the math.  Saturday night I was excited and got everything ready before hand so it was ready to go.  I went over every section of the race in my head including me crossing the finish line.

Race Day:
4AM wake up with an ensure down I was on the road to the event by 4:45AM after getting everything ready to go and mounted on the car.  I was nervous about a few things.  This was my first Olympic distance race, and they changed the swim route direction along with the bike route as well.  Got to the transition and setup in what my opinion was my best transition ever I wish I took a picture but I wasn’t going to be that guy at the race taking a picture of his transition.  Although I’m sure there was someone there who did it, but it wasn’t going to be me.  I had fellow TCSD’ers around me and we chit chatted about the race.

The Swim: Expected time 22:00 mins.  Actual time 33:04 mins.
TrirockswimThe swim start/finish was at the same spot which was a change from the past years.  We swam about 100M out to the start and had 1 minute before the start.  The start was delayed to allow the tide to come in a bit more.  But the gun went off and so did we.  I immediately got into a solid rhythm of things and kept my cool.  After that first right and turn you could immediately feel the stronger current pushing against you and really throwing you off course so I had to compensate quite a bit and I didn’t feel I was off by that much.  Then I started getting into the slower swimmers of the other waves which caused some congestion issues but I made by way through the pack and even had a few people cut me off cause they were zig zagging around the course and really caused some issues of running into people.  Finally after turning around and heading back towards finish I really starting to chew up the water and kept things calm and relaxed and swam my race.  I knew once I was out of the water I had left the rest of my wave in the bay.  The transition though was extremely long and the concrete got slippery fast as I saw 1 person almost slip and fall.  I made quick work of the gear change and off I went to the bike.  Overall my swim I didn’t push too much cause I didn’t want to use the gas I had in the tank but I felt I had a good swim.

The Bike: 2 Loops.  Expected time 55 mins.  Actual time 1:04:38
TrirockbikeI nailed the mount with the shoes clipped in and didn’t have any issues with getting my feet into the shoes while moving.  This was a huge improvement over my SDIT transition when I fumbled the shoes and had to chase one down.  I breezed through some people and off onto Harbor I went.  The road was ok at this point it looked freshly paved which was a huge improvement.  This course had us going over train tracks that in the past destroyed peoples tires and wheels.  The tracks also caused a few wrecks in the past.  As I zipped towards them at about 22 miles an hour they had people out there telling us to slow down and no passing as we went over the tracks.  I didn’t notice them on the first pass but they had put down plywood covers over the gaps which really made it much more pleasant going over.  However everyone else was slowing down well into the low teen speeds so it was a constant shift battle to get back up to speed.  Once on the Navy Base we had turn after turn which made the course much more enjoyable but it was constantly slowing down and speeding up.  Thankfully the street was good and I was able to almost maintain a 19.6 to 22-23 MPH speed but again it was slowing and speeding up.  Once off the Navy Base the road back towards the transition was just horrible and uneven.  This caused other riders to ride in all areas of the road instead of staying right.  So I did a lot of yelling “ON YOUR LEFT” and some people abided and moved over others sped up.  Coming into transition I got my feet out of my shoes without issue and did the dismount all in 1 swoop and nailed it.  I was a little fast but I still had control.  I was struggling to get my HR down to our discussed 138 BPM the lowest it got was 150 BPM but I felt good and had a really fast run transition but almost left without my running bib so I had to dash back and grab it.

The Run: 2 Loops.  Expected time 1:04:00.  Actual time 1:05:44
trirockrunComing out of the T2 my calves where a bit crampy but I tried to keep my pace slow to the 10:40 for miles 1-2 but the first mile was 10:33 and 2nd mile was 10:42.  My cadence was just horrible at 80 SPM verses my 90 SPM I was having a hard time finding my legs.Miles 3-4 didn’t get much better with 11:09 and 11:20 but I walked the aid stations outside of my 8-1 run walk ratio.  This point I mistakenly took some of the TYR Drink and my body didn’t like that at all.  but I kept trucking through and the last 2 miles got a bit easier.  Possibly at this point I didn’t see anyone passing me with a C on their calve.  My 5 and 6 paces were 11:54 and 11:11 at this point my quads where burning but I needed to finish strong.  It was great to hear people cheering for the Tri Club the support from the tri community is amazing. Over all the run course was nice and included some grass running along the embarcadero.  Had some outside runners on the course who just felt they needed to run along the path and yell at some of the runners in the race for telling them to move to the right.  Coming into the finish line was great in my head I thought that I had to have got first place, I didn’t see anyone with a C on their calve pass me but there were a lot of people who didn’t put their divisions on so I was a little worried.  It was great to see my family there cheering me on and Jojo made it down to cheer me and Diane on as well.  I’m used to crossing the finish line with no one really cheering for me but it was great to run down the red carpet and finish with at the time I felt was a top 3 finish.

After Party:  Wrapping it up.
The crowd was huge this race has gained popularity for sure.  After getting my shirt from the transition area I met up my family and Jojo and found Diane.  We checked out the results and I stopped reading after I saw that I was first in the Clydesdale/Athena division.  Then Diane said she got 2nd in her AG, yeah we rocked the TriRock.  I had done better than I expected and  I was happy, more so that it hasn’t really sat in yet as I write this.  But I have to say hearing the MC call me up at first place and then announce my swim time of 33 minutes I felt like a winner.  Showing everyone that just because you’re a big guy doesn’t mean you can’t achieve what you put your mind to.

Looking back on it a day as I write this report I feel that I should have pushed myself harder on the swim I’m really not happy with that swim time but after looking at my Garmin I actually swamp 1866 meters.  Who knows that extra 366 meters could have taken at least 4-5 minutes off that swim time.  The bike I knew would be a bit slower than projected cause of all the turns, but over all I was able to keep my average speed up.  I wanted to shoot for an average speed of 21-22 MPH but it would have completely spent my legs in the long run.  The run, well I am not happy with it at all and I need to really get that under control this off season.

First Place At TriRock San Diego Clydesdale.

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This race was my “A” race of the season and back in June I bumped it up from the Sprint to the Olympic distance.  Before the distance change I told myself that this race will be my entry into a more competitive aspect of the sport called “Triathlon”.  I told myself that if I trained and put in the effort that I could get on the podium.  Back in June after I signed up for the 70.3 Oceanside in March I increased my TriRock distance to Olympic and told myself I’ll use it as a gauge for how I will do for the 70.3.  The last couple weeks of training I’ve been congested and sick with a respiratory infection of some kind and still a bit congested and wasn’t feeling 100%.  But my goal was top 5 and a top 3 “podium” finish would be nice but I just wanted top 3.  When I checked the results all I saw was 1 out of 15, I had gotten first in a my first Olympic distance race and a race I thought went like crap!  As of 3:38PM in the afternoon I still can’t believe it.  My family came down to cheer me on which helped add to the pressure (I put that on myself btw.)  My mom was just happy I was doing it since triathlon has become a bit of a passion.  My family was super excited to be there and cheer me on.  Jojo came down as well to cheer me and our friend Diane who raced the Sprint distance with Team Challenge.  Diane killed her race and placed 2nd in her age group.

It’s been a long 3 months and I’m super happy it paid off with the top spot.  What really separated this race from the past is that I was I got some coaching through TriDot and I joined the Tri Club of San Diego (TCSD).  TriDot developed a custom training plan for me and we adjusted it every 4 weeks.  I had made the commitment to triathlon and being more competitive in the sport.  I enjoy it and while at times the training can suck and you want to just take a day off, you push through it.  Joining TCSD was something I should have done years ago when I did my first triathlon.  There are workouts every week in some type of sport that are complete free and the people are awesome and always willing to help one another.  Now some people will say I caught the tri bug, I like to say I finally embraced it and believed that it was something I can be good at.

The race report will be coming soon.

Jogging for Frogmen 5K Race Report – 29:26 5K Personal Best!

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Jogging for Frogmen 5K, it was a charity run.  It wasn’t something I had trained for but it just happened to fall on my 5K Time Trial training day so it was a good fit.  As most athletes know you do your time trials on a flat course in perfect conditions from all the hills.  I’ll put the elevations below.  But it was a good run I pushed it really hard with the Steps Per Minute (SPM – Cadence) and didn’t really pay attention to my HR this wasn’t a training session this was a race.  On mile 2 during one of the downhill declines I landed wrong and my left glut just didn’t feel the same running and neither did the hamstring so I had to pull back on the SPM and my pace per mil suffered.  Mile 1 pace was 8:25 with an avg spm of 81.  Mile 2 pace was 9:41 with an avg spm of 74.  Mile 3 which by this time my left muscles were not happy with me in the least bit was 10:24 with an avg spm of 72.  I’m not going to count the last tenth of a mile but it was 55 seconds with 76 SPM.  I’ll be damn a higher SPM gets you a faster time per mile, but I certainly didn’t feel like I could maintain that pace for the entire 5K.  Maybe I could have but my mind kept on thinking how much farther do I have to go.  I totally forgot that I took the distance field of my display on my Garmin 910xt.  This didn’t help much cause I would have pushed myself a bit harder at the end.

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OK, so the course report.  It was a run through the back streets of San Diego State University ended in some field by the arena.  There were very little flat sections of the run it was uphill or downhill.  Mostly uphill towards the end.  It was all street or sidewalk that didn’t have any places to trip you so if you fell on your face it could have been from the kids.  The course started mostly downhill and right off the bat I knew this was not going to be fun cause what goes down in a race eventually must come back up when the start and finish lines are the same.  Sadly this was mostly uphill after the initial drop so I couldn’t get a solid rhythm going.  Then right before mile 3 there was a hill that seemed to last an eternity but that’s cause my left leg was already bothering me.

So overall even though I recorded a personal best in a 5K race I was not pleased with my performance.  I really need to focus more on form over distance and time in training.  When I was getting tired my form deteriorated and I had to recover which only made things a bit more difficult when starting back up again.  I also need to focus more on getting that cadence up while decreasing my HR which is going to take some work.  These are some pretty tough tasks but I need to really stay focused and with it.

Learning to Run Again?

90 SPM running cadence, and I’m only at 75.  I am vastly learning that even though I could go do a 13.1 in back to back weekends I don’t know how to run efficiently.  So it really looks like I’ll be focusing more on drills rather than distance for a lot of my running workouts.  Through my coaching program I got a workout that has been proving next to impossible which is to run 8 minutes and walk 1 minute.  Sounds easy enough right?  Well the kicker is that I have to keep a 85+ cadence while keeping my HR around 96-123 BPM and a pace of 12:40.  As I increase my cadence to 85+ my pace goes down to a little 9 minutes and my HR shoots up to 150+.  See the trickery going on here?  So what’s the answer, how am I going to achieve what I think is the unthinkable?  I know it’s not impossible cause I see others do it all the time, so I will have to learn how to run again through various drills and videos on form and technique.

It was over a year ago that I could not run past 3 minutes without having to stop and walk for a couple minutes, I was averaging a 15 minute pace.  Then as I continued to run I achieved my fasted average pace in the Utah Valley 13.1 of 11 minute miles and being able to run the entire distance without stopping to walk and catch my breath.  Everyone encounters challenges that they feel are insurmountable but it is the determination that brings that task down to something achievable.

Short blog post, but the moral of the story is.  Don’t let something that seems so unachievable feel impossible.  It might seem impossible now but take the time to learn and build your foundation so that the impossible is now probable.