Tag Archives: ITU Chicago

ITU World Triathlon Race Report

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This was the first triathlon I’ve done outside of California.  I knew ahead of time it was going to be hot and humid.  It didn’t disappointment in that regard either.  I don’t even want to look at the official time because of how bad my run was so I’m not.  But let’s just say this race was full of surprises from the time I stepped foot outside my hotel to walk to transition.

Race morning went off without a hitch.  Woke up got ready and packed my stuff into my transition bag.  Now my wave didn’t start till 8:55AM and transition closed at 6AM.  So I didn’t bother eating anything now I just finished getting ready and went to transition to get my stuff all setup.  First step outside and it’s pouring rain.  I don’t mean San Diego rain where it’s small drops and more of a haze of small drops either.  I am talking true mid-western drops.  In the back of my mind I already knew what was coming.. the rest of my day was going to be rough.  So by the time I ended up in transition I was soaked.  So wet course, 3 hours to kill, and the heat/humidity was picking up.

Swim: 00:26:19
The water wasn’t as cold as it was made out to be but then again I swim in the Pacific Ocean.  The water didn’t taste bad either… ha ha ha.  The horn went off and almost immediately I was passing people and found some nice feet to draft off of.  The pace wasn’t fast (for me) and I certainly wasn’t struggling to keep up with him so since this wasn’t a race I was going to place at I just took the swim easy does it and instead I focused on my stroke.  Make sure my breathing was done right with my head down.  I used it as a training swim… literally.   I think I did the catch up drill at one point.  I had one other person drafting off me as I felt their hands on my feet a times but it didn’t bother me since I was drafting off someone else.  Since it was in the harbor they had this ramp we climbed up on to get out of the water.   The guy in front of me could hardly stand upright so I held him up as we got going to transition and he thanked me for it as some other people were laughing.  The guy behind me also thanked me for the draft…lol   Got to love race day.  Little did I know it would be a half mile run through T1!

Bike: 01:03:29
I felt at home on my tri bike again and we flew through that fast and flat course.  I was concerned at this point cause the sun was out in full force.  I had some salt sticks along with some NUUN for hydration through the bike.  As we approached the river to my delight we went onto lower Wacker Dr. which is completely covered so no sun.. YAY!  Of course at this point my GPS on my Garmin didn’t work so I had no concept of speed, just power.  I kept my power between 170-220 for most of it with a cadence of 90+.   We had 4 loops of the bike course, and man I could have done that bike course ALL DAY LONG.  I mean I have never been so happy on the bike just flying with what I thought was very little effort.  Sadly though at the last lap all I could think about was the heat at humidity of the run and how am I going to stay hydrated.  I had 1 bottle of NUUN left from the bike and some more salt sticks, figured the rest would be from water along the run course.

Run: 01:10:57
At this point it was basically 10:30 and the sun was out in full force and the moisture was in the air.  My first mile felt pretty good I had a good pace going for my Z2 and then around mile 1.5-1.75 I started to get a bit dizzy and hot so I slowed it down and drank some water and threw some water over me from the aid station.   Sadly that’s all they had so no sponges this time around like Oceanside (might have to bring some for Minneapolis).  Then it just got progressively worse for me.   I just couldn’t muster the energy to move past a walk without my HR jumping and getting a bit more dizzy.  I suffered through the next 2 laps which at this point my teammate Forrest caught up with me and he was having some GI issue’s so we finished off the race together which was a good moral booster for me.  There was no leg cramping like I had at Bass Lake which I felt was a win.

Closing: 2:51:XX
So even though this was my fastest Olympic distance yet and my 3rd ever it taught me a lot about myself.  I raced out of my element and out of my state.  I knew it was going to be hard going into the race after having to basically take an entire month off of training due to fatigue and over training.  I came to push my limits and I feel I did, it could have been worse.  As the day went on I feel they really needed another possible aid station or modify the course so that it could have ran on the sidewalk under the shade of some large tree’s.  Might come back next year and do the Chicago Triathlon.

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Training isn’t SOO Exhausting Anymore.

WP_20140412_07_27_24_Pro (2)I’ve been running a lot more lately and I have to admit…  I am no longer exhausted after running 6-9 miles.  There was a time where even running 1 mile left me exhausted and I couldn’t even run the following day.  It’s taken me many months to get to where I am at and it just doesn’t happen over night.  I caught myself saying that I’m going to go run 6 miles after work… for fun!  WTF?  When did I start to believe that running wasn’t as bad as I thought it was?  When did this raw hatred for running turn into not hate but not love?

After the Bass Lake Triathlon I’ll be returning to the pool on Monday/Wednesday nights along with swimming La Jolla Cove Friday mornings.  I really killed myself with the swimming volume and it soaked a lot of the fun out of it so I’ve had to take a break.  The Friday morning cove swims have been awesome and I’ve only done 2.  I’m finding some of that enjoyment in swimming again as I get to look down at some of the wildlife and reflect on things during the week without having to worry about turning around every 25 yards.

The bike I’ve been doing a lot of power thresholds and intervals on the trainer according to my TriDot plan.  I’ve quickly found that my training for the bike has been lacking and I need to really put some focus on it so I don’t fry my legs on the run for the long course.  I’m actually a little excited about increasing the volume though for IMAZ.

Travelling for Triathlons: Another Job by Itself!

So as you’ve seen from my schedule I’ll be travelling over the summer for a few races, ITU Chicago, Minneapolis, and New York City.  The logistics of making sure that your flights, hotels, and travel to and from airports can really go crazy with the schedule.  It’s always one thing to sign up for a race but it’s another to actually get to the starting line when you live on 1 coast and you’re flying around.  Once you get the obvious scheduled (Hotel and Flight) it then falls on getting your gear there!   You spend thousands of dollars on this bike and if you’re like me you certainly don’t want to take it apart.  You need to get the rest of the small stuff together to check so that you aren’t doing a full blown transition clinic for the TSA agent.

I’ve had to extend my Chicago stay flights from Thursday to Monday were the only ones that made sense.  So that mean’s my hotel stay is Thursday – Sunday.  I decided that I’ll just stay centered around my hotel instead of dealing with the hassle of getting a rental car and dealing with staying at a cheap hotel till race night and check in to the hotel a couple blocks from the start only to rush and check out after the race.   Race day transport I just heard back from about getting my bike from San Diego to Chicago so I won’t have to deal with that fiasco of getting it shipped to my hotel and then me having to deal with it onsite.   I think having that Friday/Saturday though to see some friends and then have all afternoon Sunday to hang out will be great instead of trying to rush through it all.  Total Cost so far is $1100 bucks.

My trip to Minnesota will be really simple because my family lives there so I just have to worry about flight and getting my bike there… less than 2 weeks after Chicago.  So far though there is no bike transport for this race so most likely what I will do is take my bike to my local shop and have them back it up for me and then ship it to my Uncle and Aunts place that I’m going to stay at and then bring it to a shop to have them assemble it.  Since it’s at my hometown I might stick around after the race for a couple days to spend some time with everyone.  Total Cost so far will be around $600

The New York City Triathlon which is the race I’m more excited about because I got in via lottery and I did it on a whim is all paid for now.  Flights, hotels, and bike transport is all taken care of so it’s just getting all the small stuff taken care of.   I won’t have spare time to really spend with friends but I will have Friday and Sunday evenings and I’m right in midtown.  Total Cost so far is $1400 bucks.

So for a little summer weekend getaways it’s not that bad I think.  Pay for a vacation to get out of town and still pay that much and not get to race seems like I’d be missing out on things.  I know for 2015 though I won’t be travelling so much.

San Diego Triathlon Challenge–The Best Day in Triathlon

Donate here to help me raise money for the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation San Diego Triathlon Challenge!  The Best Day in Triathlon!

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It was the day of the Mission Bay Triathlon and my relay mate Jeff had told me about this race.   At the time I had no clue what this was about I thought it was but it sounded challenging.  So as he spoke more about it and mentioned the Challenged Athlete Foundation is the one that puts it on and that it goes to support challenged athletes to assist them in accomplishing their dreams.  As this race moved closer to race day I hear more and more people talking about it and I wanted to get involved.   I checked on their website and it was on the same day as my Oceanside Life Time Tri race that I had committed to.  I told myself that in 2014 I will be doing this race.  I wanted to race for a cause and I always found challenged athletes inspirational.

About the San Diego Triathlon Challenge
What began 20 years ago as a fundraiser to help one athlete, Jim MacLaren, to regain his independence after a tragic second accident has grown to become one of the most highly-regarded and motivational events in the triathlon world. Since that first event 20 years ago, the Aspen Medical Products San Diego Triathlon Challenge has been instrumental in raising the funds that have allowed more than 8,200 challenged athletes around the world to make it to the starting line and inspired a new generation to realize they have no limits.

“The San Diego Triathlon Challenge is the greatest day in our sport. To be a part of what this amazing Foundation does and how they change lives for people was so motivating, it gave me a purpose. I was inspired, and wanted to do more.” — Chris “Macca” McCormack

So as 2014 progresses and I become more and more active in my racing and triathlon I’ve found it important to race to support a cause and the Challenged Athlete’s Foundation falls right in line with what I believe.  So help me support CAF and making other athlete’s dreams possible.   You can click on the picture to donate for a good cause or the line under the title.  I’m starting small with just a $600.00 goal but the more the merrier!

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.

A Look Forward to 2014–An Iron Year

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This week has been nothing short but amazing.  I ran my fasted half marathon in 2:24:50 but I wasn’t really excited about it.  I was more excited for Monday and hope that I had got into Ironman Arizona.  So much that I had called my mom and asked her to help with the sign up process (ultimately she is the one who got in.)  I figured at least one of us would get in, and I did.  Thanks mom!  Earlier in November I figured I’d enter the NYC Tri lottery to see if I’d get a spot.  I figured it was only 10 bucks so why not?  I didn’t think I’d really get in, well I did!  It’s taken me a few days to realize the importance of getting into the NYC Tri.  I thought it was more of a certain spots for sale and then a few lottery spots.  I had no clue the entire race was lottery only because of so many people wanting to get in.  So that just made me even happier to get in and have the privilege to race in New York.

March 29th, 2014 – Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman Distance.
This race was support to be my warm up towards a full Ironman in 2015.  It was going to test my ability to go where I didn’t think I could go.  It has since changed into a stepping stone to my full Ironman in Arizona on November 16th.  It’s a local race and I couldn’t pass it up.  I knew I had to get a coach cause I didn’t know what I was doing in a long course and I needed some help.  My goal still currently is just to finish but I want to finish around 6 hours which I think is doable.  My run is my weakest and will most likely be a 2:15-2:30 half marathon at the end.   This race is starting the building blocks for the rest of the year.

June 29th, 2014 – ITU Chicago Olympic Distance
I signed up for this race cause it was in downtown Chicago and I love Chicago.  I chose the Olympic Distance cause I felt I needed to focus more on longer courses to build towards another 70.3 in the fall.  Plus Chicago is in the mid-west where I have a lot of family and friends that I can’t always get out to go see all the time.  It’s also the inaugural ITU race in Chicago which is bound to be a blast.  I’ll also get to watch the pro’s race and put my times to shame.  I am not looking forward to the cost of the trip which will most likely be 1200 bucks.

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August 3rd, 2014 – New York City Triathlon
I didn’t know this race even existed and I certainly didn’t know it was a lottery entry only because of it’s popularity.  But after watching the race video they had on their site I can see why.  You get to race along the skyline of the Big Apple and around Central Park.  I entered the lottery not expecting to win.  Well I did, and I am in so you know what that means… I’m racing the Big Apple.  This is also an Olympic Distance which will be good for my training for IMAZ and the heat and humidity will also play a role in things.  This race will be fun I can’t wait and I’ve already notified the people I know in NYC that Holley Racing is coming to town.

Flashback to the 80’s and I remember watching the Ironman in Hawaii and thinking how cool it would to do that race but it seemed impossible and something only professional athletes can do.  That was the mentality I had about Ironman’s up until 2013.  I didn’t think I could ever complete one, that I wasn’t good enough.  After being overweight for so long it seemed like it was just another dream.  But as 2013 progressed something happened inside me.  I started to believe that maybe I could complete a full Ironman.  My friends Scott and Chris both completed full Ironman’s.  Then I read a race report by a fell SD Tri Clubber Steve Smart found here.  Then I read more and more race reports from cities that I’d like to race.  The change happened inside my heart I felt the impossible become possible every time I read more race reports from every day people.  I watched the Ironman World Championships in Kona and I followed Hines Ward in his Become One series and decided I needed to do one in 2014 but which one?   I read race reports from Wisconsin, Arizona, and Cour D’Alene but I was leaning towards Wisconsin.  This would be perfect cause I have family in Wisconsin!   But there was also a large Tri Club presence going to IMAZ in 2014 so it would be great to train with fellow crazies.  Ultimately I waited too long and Wisconsin sold out so that left the stalking of the IMAZ registration page.  Thanks Mom (I really should start calling it Team Chris?)  After watching the Kona telecast and the stories and the age groupers finishing under all the odds that say they can’t.  I wanted to hear those 4 words.  “You are an Ironman”.  Stay tuned for lots of training stories as 2014 will be an exciting/boring year as I work towards achieving a long buried childhood dream.

So now that I have signed my life away for 2014 I apologize if I miss something through the year.  It takes sacrifice and priority to accomplish your goals which are always changing.  Don’t let society or your friends tell you that you can’t do something because it’s not “normal”.  This journey is going to be amazing and I’m so excited to start it come Dec. 1st with training for the Oceanside 70.3