Tag Archives: Oceanside 70.3

Oceanside 70.3–Volunteer Race Report!


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.


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).


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

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.

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.

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

San Diego Half Marathon 2014 Race Report–New PR 2:11:59

Well, I signed up for this race very last minute.  I had a 14 mile run on my training schedule so why not fit in 1 last half marathon before the Oceanside 70.3.  I had just finished my first peak week of training and really been focused on keeping my run in Zone 2.  So that was my race plan was to keep it to a training run with Oceanside in mind.    I also changed up my nutrition plan as well which scared me a bit but I had to trust myself and my training.  I’ve been trying to stick to more low glycemic high molecule carbs such as Swedish Oat Starch for my pre-race meals/shakes..   Then on my longer bike rides I’ve been using Karbolyn.  With my goal in mind to better utilize my fat stores for energy instead of ingesting dextrose for energy.  So far I will chalk this up as a win for nutrition for a half marathon.

Race Day:
The time change played a big role for this race for me.  The upside is that I’m used to waking up at 4AM so waking up at 5AM didn’t really hurt me for this race, but falling asleep the night before was a totally different story.  Woke up and threw on my TCSD Tri kit and my other gear got my shake with my SOS and Protein powder and headed down to the start line.  It was good to see all the other TCSD people racing before the race.  Sadly I’m one of the slower racers so didn’t have any one to pace it.  I was stuck in wave 9 which was a 2:20:00 pace group.  I doubted my choice on that time because deep down I wanted to PR but I had to tell myself to go slow and keep my HR in Z2 (147 BPM) so that I can maximize my fat for energy instead of stored carbs.   Took about 30 minutes for my wave to go which really irritated me.  I couldn’t get a solid warm up in because by the time we had to cram into our waves I’d have been cooled off and recovered.  So the first 2 miles my HR was all over the place so I had to keep slowing my pace while my body adjusted to the increased work load and switching energy systems from anaerobic to aerobic and getting that fat burning going.  I settled into a 10:05 average and this guy Shawn was pacing me and we had a good little chat going till mile 8.5 when the hill started and we parted ways.  He said he couldn’t keep the pace up the hill and we wished a good race.  By this time I the sun was out and I was taking in my salt sticks about ever 35-4o minutes along with just water at the aid stations.  The course for this run for the most part had been nice and flat and really took you through some scenic parts of San Diego’s bay front community.  I want to also thank the medical community that was on the course, I passed a guy who didn’t properly hydrate and keep his body cool as it started to shut down and he passed out in the shade of a building.  He had the medical team with him already so I felt he was in good hands, 911 had been called so there was no need for me to stop and assist.  Otherwise if the medical team was not there I would have assisted since I’m trained in first aid.  I can’t stress enough that running a half marathon in the sun is not an easy task and you need to hydrate your body at all times and keep your electrolytes up.


At mile 8.5 you start running up Washington St which is a steady incline of about 6/10ths of a mile.  You can see from the elevation chart above it was the only serious climb.  I ran the entire way up I kept a steady pace of about 11:00 mile and passed a LOT of people who had to walk up the hill.  My goal was to keep a steady pace up the hill and then push into Z4 for the remainder of the race.  I did a great job at this with an exception of a potty break at mile 11, I couldn’t hold it any longer.  The rest of the course was downhill so I let gravity do it’s thing and really opened up the gas through the finish.  I should note that I had 1 GU at mile 9 as a precaution along with some water.  Since I am a sweater, I too need to make sure I stay hydrated and cooled off!  The run down 6th was great it was in the middle of the street and the finish shoot as well.  My Garmin on the watch said 2:11:59 but the Garmin site has me at 2:12 something.  I’m going to stick with my watch time.

Post Finish:
There was something strange going on with my body at this point that I hadn’t felt in my previous 7 half marathons.  I didn’t feel exhausted at the end of this race and I could have gone another 6 miles (did I just say that?)  I also didn’t have any of the typical quad cramping towards mile 12 or after I finish.  I also didn’t feel like death afterwards.  Even though my time from Arizona only shows a 3 minute increase, I ran a completely different race and my body is better trained.  I also didn’t do my usual run/walk which resulted in a slower pace per mile but I’m sure it also contributed to me feeling so damn great afterwards because I wasn’t shooting my HR into Z4 and having to recover for a minute.  I think that I’ll miss my 2hr mark for Oceanside’s run but I’m confident now that I’ll be better than 2:30-2:40 if I can keep my pace down to Z2 which will be the most difficult thing to do after cycling for 56 miles.  3 weeks out and I’m feeling ready!

Throwback Thursday–What a Trip!


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!

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.

Confidence Building 6 Weeks and Counting!


Got to meet the Women’s 2013 Ironman World Champion and the US Top Men’s Ironman Finisher Mirinda “Rinny” Carfrae and Timothy O’Donnell at our Tri Club meeting how cool is that!  I have to say that joining the Triathlon Club of San Diego has been the smartest choice I’ve made since deciding to jump into the triathlon community with competitive goals in mind.  The people are awesome and are always nice regardless of your walk of life.   That’s been something that I’ve noticed amongst triathletes.  It doesn’t matter what you do for your career or the distance you race.  You’re a triathlete and you’re an equal and everyone is treated as equals regardless of your speed.  So anyone who is thinking about doing a triathlon and enjoys doing them afterwards go out and join your local triathlon club.

6 weeks out and counting down, YIKES!   It’s hard to believe that I only have 4-5 weeks of hard training before the taper down to race day.  Physically I feel that I am prepared for what race day is going to have in store for me.  I’m confident I’ll be amongst the top swimmers and I’ll be able to hold my own on the bike.  The run I now feel that I will be in the top 50% compared to bottom 50%.  I’ve started mentally preparing for the race and spotting my mental low points during the bike and the run and how I can conquer that evil voice telling me that this was stupid and why did I sign up for this?  I’ve made some adjustments to my nutrition preparation/plan, but I still need to execute it properly.  I’ll have 2 sprint triathlons before race day along with 2 more race simulations for the distance so I’ll have a solid stance on where I will be race day.  Speaking of races here is a list of my official race schedule for 2014.   Sadly they had to cancel the Jump Aquathon so I am looking for an April race.

2014 Race Schedule
Feb 28th – Tritonman Tri
Mar 16th – SEALSprint (Sprint)
Mar 29th – Oceanside 70.3 Half Ironman
Apr 26th – Jump Aquathon (Cancelled)
May 4th – Spring Sprint (Swim Relay)
May 31st – Bass Lake Tri (Olympic)
Jun 29th – ITU Chicago (Olympic)
Jul 12th – LifeTime Tri Minneapolis (Olympic)
Aug 3rd – New York Triathlon (Olympic)…
Sept 6th – SD Tri Classic (Olympic)
Sept 21st – TriRock Bike Relay (Olympic)
Oct 5th – Mission Bay Sprint (Swim Relay)
Oct 19th – SD Triathlon Challenge
Oct 26th LifeTime Tri Oceanside (Olympic)
Nov 16th – Ironman Arizona 140.6

I think with all the races leading up to IMAZ that I’ll be ready to take it on.  The upside to my fall race schedule is that most of the races will be a relay so I won’t be completely out of gas and I have 2 weeks from LifeTime Tri Oceanside to IMAZ to recharge the batteries.  I’ve also made the decision to move into my Age Group of 35-39 for the Bass Lake Triathlon instead of racing Clydesdale.   I looked at the results from last year and I feel that I can race competitively and get in the top 3 and possibly win the race and qualify for USAT Nationals.  Now I could go to Wisconsin and race the USAT Nationals as a Clydesdale since it’s open, but I want that letter saying that I qualified.  If you look closely you will see that there is NO 13.1’s or 26.2’s in there.  I just don’t have the desire to run any of them this year as my focus is really going to be on triathlon and preparing for November.  I realize that running is the only way to improve my run but I’m going to focus on my run training and running at least once a day for at least 3 miles.   I can put aside 30 minutes somewhere to get in 3 miles.  I’m also going to keep my treadmill runs to a minimum of incline 4.  My weight has slowly creeped down which is a good thing but I am not happy that my BF% isn’t dropping as much as I had hoped but I just need to keep on it.

Head is Back In the Game–Fine Tuning Errors

I have been spending basically the last week listening to motivation mantra’s and searching for things that can keep my head checked in.  It’s been working as well thank god.  I was beginning to feel like I was drifting away and not ever checking back in.

“You got to get up and say I want to be a champion and I’ll do whatever it takes.  Visualization, looking at motivational quotes, whatever it takes” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

I think part of the problem was that when I first signed up to do the Oceanside 70.3 I set out with a goal of “Just to Finish.”  Back in June when I signed up it seemed like an almost impossible feat.  I had just made the choice to do triathlon in a more competitive nature and not just do triathlon to finish but to actually place in the top 10 and top 5 of all the races I do.  As training progressed through the months and I’ve improved I came to the realization that yes, I am going to finish.  I think I became satisfied with the main goal of just being able to finish a 70.3 is what has caused my mind to drift.  My mindset has returned to training like a champion and doing whatever it’s going to take.

This past Saturday my Oceanside Training Group had a little race simulation.  I looked at the night before and everything just as I would the race.  Nutrition has always been a weakness of mine for my size and thankfully my coach had a little class on this with tips and how to work everything out.  I came up with a very solid plan and she approved of it.  I got my bike prepped and all my gear and stuff all set to go so in the morning I was all set to go.  Woke up and got everything in my bag ready to go except I decided to go back to bed for another 30-45 minutes so I put my liquid nutrition back in the fridge.  Well I forgot to grab them back out of the fridge.   So I clearly have an issue with plan execution and it hurt me on the race simulation.  I had the solid calories but nothing liquid other than some Gatorade.  I was short of ohhhhh about 600 calories over bike ride to get me through my run.  See, I burn about 1000 calories an hour on the bike and your body can only absorb a certain amount at one time.  You don’t want too many solids jumbling around in your stomach during an endurance race because you’re going to have all your blood going every where BUT your stomach.   So anyways, outside of that I had a great race sim.  Need to work on running off the bike a bit more and execute my race plan.   I hit some goals like out of the water in under 30 minutes, keep my HR out of the water down on the bike to 140-150.

100 free in workoutTraining wise I’ve hit my fastest times to date this week… EVER!  Who knew a 240lbs man could run a 6:39 min/mile.  We did some 25 yards at the pool in masters and I hit a 14 second 25 yard.  I was hitting my 1:14 min/100 yards.  I’ve always been strong on the bike just not climbs and I’ve decided that I need to get back into climbs and hills.  Yes I could change out my gearing but if it’s hard now why make it easy the easy way.  Hard work and sweat baby.

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!


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.


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. 

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.