There’s a lot to cover here. I haven’t put out a blog post since before I left for Australia, so I have bountiful information to provide. My intent here is to give a brief low down of the race at IM Boulder and then to spend time looking into the process of why I was able to achieve what I did—and how I have managed to improve substantially this year.
IM Boulder was terrific. I never imagined the race would have progressed the way it did. I made a massive swim group and swam relatively easy while using little effort. The group unfortunately sped up at the end and I was on someone’s feet who didn’t stick with them. Nevertheless, we only lost 45 seconds to them. I made this up in transition and quickly found myself in the mix of things.
Once on the bike I could see that Kennet Peterson, Paul Ambrose and Chris Lieferman were riding together. I know this would be where the race was, so I told myself I was gonna ride hard until I caught them. It took about 20 minutes riding closer to 70.3 pace. But once I caught up—oh man it was glorious. People to work with and more importantly to share the mental burden of 112 miles. We worked well together and were told we were gaining on the leaders Joe Gambles and Kevin Portman who swam well ahead of us.
Upon finishing the first lap we went through one of the turnarounds and I could see that Joe and Kevin were no longer working together. At this point I knew we would catch them. We did. The group started to change with Jonathon Shearon making a strong pull for a good part of the second loop and me Joe, and Chris sitting in. Then at around mile 80 Lieferman made a surge and dropped us. We split up with me chasing Lieferman. After his initial surge he stopped gaining ground on me and I figured F**k it I might as well go for the fastest bike split. I knew I just had to stay within about a minute of Chris to have the fastest bike split. This I did. The bike was rather enjoyable and for the most part didn’t feel too hard.
Once into transition (of which I had the fastest T2 as well) and out onto the run it quickly became a death march. I was not tolerating the heat well and therefore was on damage control for virtually the entire run. Yet, I knew if I managed to keep moving forward I would finish well because of the time I put into people. The run included a stop in the creek to cool off and grabbing lots of water at aid stations. I ended up in 5th.
I must say the run was both glorious and terrible at the same time. It was awesome being in the front of the race and I had hordes of people cheering me on. That was cool and something I had never been a part of before. It was terrible because I really didn’t feel good for even one step of the marathon. But that’s what I have learned to do—it doesn’t really matter how I feel. All that matters is how you perform.
All in all, I was very pleased with my race. Yes, I had a few hard surges on the bike. Most notably I burned matches at the very beginning when I surged to catch up to the group. This very likely took something out of my run legs. But it was worth it. For the first time in an IM I felt I was making an impact on the race and I was in the race. That is experience that is invaluable. And now that I have tasted what it feels like to be in 3rd place (or 1st) you better believe I’m hungry for more. Congrats to everyone who raced and the guys who taught me and inspire me to be better.
While I still have lots of improvement to make; the progress I have made this year is undeniable. How did it happen? I believe it all started with my trip to Australia. This got the ball rolling. For the 3 months I was there I was 100% committed to triathlon. Every action I did was about improving myself as an athlete. The culture their helped transform my ideas of what was possible in training and racing. Most impressionable on me was the training and time I got to spend with Melissa Hauschildt—a 70.3 world champion and most recently the winner of IM Texas and the 70.3 European championships. The workload she put in was undeniable and completely inspirational.
In Australia, I basically learned that I had put pre-imposed limits on myself of what was possible. I should clarify this; other people in the US had gotten into my head by telling me if I had trained as hard as I intended to that I would get sick, burned out, injured, not race well, and cut my career short. But then I went to Australia and saw most people training at a very hard level.
I reached a crossroads and decided I wasn’t going to let other people weigh too much into what I believed was the right training. I must note that in my time in Australia I was self-coached and still am. I stopped caring what other people were doing so much and decided that I was going to make decisions only on me.
So for example a few things I have done are:
Since being back I have continued to push the limits of what is possible and to be focused on the process of what can make me the best triathlete I can become. And while I’m self-coached I must add that I have an amazing team that is paramount to my success. My old coach Eric Kenney is still a mentor to me and helps to make sure I don’t make any major mistakes and to challenge my thought processes. My parents are a huge support system for me—I still live in their basement. But we have a system that is hard to beat. I also have a great massage therapist (Erik Cumming’s), a movement specialist (Lawerance van Lingen) and countless of other people in my life who enable me to pursue my goals in triathlon.
If there is something you can get out of my transformative process it is this; commit 100% to what you are passionate about, embrace all the details, work your ass off, and have the courage to create a plan for you and to commit to it when other people question you (they always will!). I promise you will achieve success if you do this.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned for my upcoming race schedule—It’s gonna be off the charts!
My blog is a collection of topics including training, nutrition, sponsorships, and becoming the best man I can be. In addition, I write about my spiritual realizations that are intrinsic to the sport of triathlon.