Hey everyone, first off, thank you for your continued support. I could not do what I do without all the support from so many incredible people. I know I have been writing less than I would like. The truth is I am typically at the brink of my work load limit with training and taking full time classes. It can be a lot to write in addition to the writing required in school. Thus, I am happy to have found the time to sit down and write. My purpose here is to detail what happened at Oceanside 70.3 (part 1) as well as what training went into it before and how I plan to progress through the remainder of the season (part 2).
Oceanside went quite well for me. I was steady throughout day and was able to stay strong when others faltered for an impressive 14th place in the most competitive race I have yet raced in. but here is the blow by blow.
The pre-race morning went smoothly with the typical number of pre-race poo’s, a standard breakfast of blueberry muffins, Red Bull, beet juice, and some yogurt. The yogurt was a new addition for this race, that I liked well. It allowed me to get the needed protein in as well as some good digestive enzymes. Next, I made my way to transition and truthfully was a bit out of practice with getting things set up. Everything seemed to take me a little longer than usal such that before In knew it, I had only 20 minutes till go time. I had to skip my pre race run, in favor of still getting a warm up swim. I went through this and had 13 minutes for a warm up swim by the time I got into the water.
As you may know, there were 46 male pros toeing the start line, making a ferocious swim start. When the gun went off we all swam hard but had little room in the narrow harbor. We ran, kicked, and swam over each other fighting for position. Kinda fun really! I found that for the first time in my life I had a decent swim position at 200 meters or so. However, at this point I couldn’t stay on the gas the way I needed to, and what I presume was the second pack of swimmers started moving away from me. I didn’t get to upset about this as there was still a group of swimmers for me to work with. I knew a sub threshold swim would do better for me later on. The rest of the swim was uneventful, on the way back the sun was right in our eyes making sighting hard but a welcome challenge. Upon exiting the water, I knew I had swam 27:07 a solid swim for me . I hurried through the very long transition and got on the bike.
Upon the bike, I knew I was in a position of strength and felt strong. The first part of the course involved mnay turns and was extremely bumpy. My main bottle of nutrition popped out—which did not seem rare as many bottles were littering the road. Thankfully I had packed a few gels as well as an EFS liquid shot.
As is typical, the first part of the ride involved holding a fairly high power in order to form a group of guys. We formed a group of 6 or so guys and I settled in. In fact, I sat towards the back after initially pulling but then realized others wanted to have the lead. I let their egos rule and forced mine to settle down. This was a smart move. Thus, by about 20 minutes in I was in a fairly good group and was riding well within my ability level. Our group passed a few people most of who hopped on the rear, making it larger. When we came to a turn around, I counted myself in 28th place, counting the 7 guys immediately in front of me in the group. I figured I could end the bike in 15th.
The next 40 minutes was consistent, I sat towards the rear while taking my share of pulls for the group. I was starting to get antsy. I felt I was riding too easy. I also was nervous in a group of 8. I figured there were some very good runners that would beat me if I did not try to mix things up or make a “breakaway”. I noticed that 2 guys as well as myself seemed to be the strongest, When we came up t a hill and happened to be the first three with me in third, I decided to go for it. I pulled up to first and signaled that I wanted them to go with me. I put in a solid surge for a few minutes doing 420 watts or so. It felt good! Another guy pulled in front of me after this and I realized it was just me and him (Alex Libin). A few minutes later I took another pull. We had settled down by now but were still riding fairly strong at ~370 watts. After I took the lead, the other racer fell off. I was know on my own. OPPS. I embraced it, as I enjoy riding on my own and found a rhythm. I could see the group behind me had reformed and were riding stronger than before the breakaway. I continued to do my own thing, putting more space on them and at 43 miles came onto the wheel of another rider.
I decided to settle down behind him and conserve my energy for the run. I felt I had mixed things up enough in the previous group and would have a small lead going into the run. I relaxed as much as I could the last 10 miles and came into transition feeling pretty good. It was a smart ride for me. I had mostly stayed within my ability level and felt I had made the right strategic move of using my strong bike to take some of the strength out of the stronger runners (what are your thoughts, should I have stayed chill?). When I came into transition I saw the group enter only 30 or so seconds behind me.
I hustled out of transition and started the run. I did not feel great or terrible. Just normal. I settled into a rhythm and tried to find the correct posture and find good form. I did not start off very fast. The same fellow who was the last guy riding with me had already passed me. He was running great and went on to have a good day. Unfortunately, within about 2 miles I had full on stomach cramps, which are common for me. In the past, these have been debilitating and have forced me to walk but today I managed to run through them, although had to slow down. I noticed two guys were very close behind me and did not want them to pass me. I kept trying to pick up the pace to where my stomach would allow me. It was a miracle the two guys had not passed me. At 4 miles, the cramps started to subside a bit and I was eternally grateful.
At this point I looked back and saw the two guys only 3-5 seconds behind me. I started to surge, realizing I know had the perfect opportunity to make this a build run. I told myself, the first 4 miles would be my slowest, I would then moderately build from 4-8 miles, and then build again from 8-12. The last mile, I would give everything I had. This was a great mentality! It allowed me to approach the race in a very favorable and manageable way. It’s all about the mentality we have and how we manage ourselves in tough times.
At this point we had passed the turnaround (of lap 1) and were making our way back. I kept trying to run with quick feet and a tall posture. I was running well and was hitting 5:50 miles for this section. I was putting distance between the two guys behind me. I felt the best for miles 4-9. Upon mile 10, I started to feel very tired, but stayed laser focused and kept pushing. At this point, Patrick Mckeon who was one of the guys behind me passed me. I was happy for him. He is a good friend and we both train in Boulder. The other guy had fallen off. I stayed somewhat strong despite the pain I was in the last 5k and managed to pass, Steve Mantel who had completely blown up as well as Taylor Reid. I crossed the finish line in 14th. A good day!
I celebrated at the finish line. Chatted with the other pros and felt good. Its nice to be one of the guys and get to be around my idols in this sport. I soon made my way to the beach and enjoyed the sunshine for a bit. Things tuned bad fairly quick.
I went surfing and swimming for a bit where I had a fight with the ocean. I had a surf accident and ended up plummeting into the sea floor face first from the force of a wave. It was a miracle I did not pass out and could walk my way out of the ocean. Blood was spewing everywhere. As I walked onto the beach I could see everyone staring at me. People rushed to help and took me to the lifeguards. I was in total shock; things went from great to bad quick. I was worried, that I was paralyzed. Which I realize now is irrational as I had walked out of the ocean. I wasn’t sure where blood was coming from, it seemed to be coming from everywhere and it was. My nose, my mouth, and some serious cuts on my face. The lifeguards did an excellent job and said I should go to the ER.
We rushed to the ER where things moved agonizingly slow. I was there for four hours and got x rays and stiches. Thankfully my neck or nose was not broken. I ended up getting 14 stiches under my right eye. Hey, 14 stiches for 14th place. How about that? The people I was with helped me through it and it was even kind of fun. We ate in and out burger at the ER and joked about my misfortune and the events of the day. Other stuff had also gone wrong including a 300-dollar towing fee during the race! It was one hell of an April fool’s day. After my release, I went home and drank most of a bottle of wine and then passed out. It had been a long day!
I am mostly fine as, I write this now just two days later. Besides looking like two face from batman I am in high spirits and my happy usual self. So, that was the day. What I would like to do now is talk about how I approached the race and how I plan to get better. More importantly I want to talk about life lessons learned and how I believe one should approach life. This will follow in a separate post, as this is already QUITE long. Stay tuned for the next post, if you are interested
Here we are. After an eventful year, I finally have the time to sit down and think about it. This is always an important time of year for me, as it allows me to recharge my batteries. I finish up school, I let training be a little more chill, I spend time with family, ski, and do whatever I feels best. People always wonder how I go so hard for so long of the year. The answer is two fold; I love what I do and I take a break every year.
This being said, how do I view 2016? On the triathlon front, it started off with some rough bumps involving coaches that truly challenged my love and perseverance in the sport. But, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger and I think this experience set me up for a strong year and made my will stronger than ever! I also was struggling with a minor knee injury that was holding me back in my running. After, holding back for a little while, I was able to build up to a proper training load. This allowed me to go into my first race, 70.3 New Orleans, in decent shape. It was a good race and it started the year off with what would become my focus in 70.3’s for the year. It was also a huge party and really cool town. I would highly recommend NO 70.3. After this, I recouped and went off to St. George and got another second place overall amatuer. A good result, but I wanted more.
I had to make the decision of whether to step up to the professional ranks in triathlon. This was probably my biggest decision of the year. Many people advised me not to because of my young age and thought my development would be better as an amatuer. Despite most people's advice, I decided to take the plunge. Me reasoning was that I would be pushed more as an athlete in the pro ranks, would save money on registration fee’s, and could see if I actually can make it as a professional triathlete. I’m someone who needs to see improvement and to me this was the next step of improvement. Going pro was the right choice. This offers insight into the decision making process; ask others around you for their opinion, think about it rationally, but at the end of the day really follow your gut instinct and do what you know is right. I have always done this and it usually works out quite well.
After going pro, I raced my ass off the rest of the year with 13 races in 2016. I pushed my limits to new places, got to see some fantastic new places, and met really interesting and hospitable people. I had a 25 minute personal best (PR) in 70.3 and a 54 minute PR for Ironman. There were upsides of being second at both Calgary 70.3 and Xterra Beaver Creek. I even came out of the year with some decent prize money. I am not going to detail my races to much here as then this would become a novel.
What I want to talk about is the why. There is no doubt that my pursuit of triathlon has created a unique lifestyle. I live at home, I train all the time, I sleep a lot, and I spend most of my time on my own. And for what? A few thousand dollars in prize money, and maybe an elevated social status (doubtful). This is all very different from what most my age are doing--considering I am a college student. And to be honest, I struggled to answer this at times. Especially in the last few weeks, where partying and catching up with neglected friends has taken the stage. But the answer is there and always has been. I have a burning passion for it. I love the long rides on my own, with nothing but my own thoughts and the fresh air. I just can’t be satisfied without it. I still know that I can go farther and faster and I have to know this. I need to find this limit and once I do then perhaps I can quit. It also is an activity where the results are so tangible and it is easy to see the fruits of one’s labor. And its striking, considering I have always thought of myself as an extrovert, but I love to be on my own. I find myself constantly needing time on my own to think about all the things in life and to know where I am going.
I also find that triathlon has created things in my life that are bigger than triathlon itself. I really think it has made me a better person, which has always been the goal. It has taught me how to succeed in things. I am doing better in school than I ever have before because I know how to put the work in. I believe in myself that I am making the right decisions every day. I follow my heart and have the courage to do so. Triathlon has helped me find my path. If triathlon doesn’t work out or when I retire, I want to help other people move better, be healthier, and ultimately be happier.
I really believe that physical health leads to a l general well being and happiness. I want to do this through being a personal trainer and yoga instructor. I have also learned to delay gratification. Pain is what you make it and pushing through can usually lead to good outcomes. Finally, I think triathlon has helped me to be more positive and grateful. I am so happy to be able to do what I do and hope I can continue to do it for my living.
To conclude, I plan on going into 2017 with even more passion for triathlon. I do it for myself because it gives me great satisfaction, makes me a better person, and hopefully can improve others lives. There will be hard moments in anything we do, but if we find are calling we owe it to ourselves to commit to it and see where it takes us.
St. George was a roller coaster of ups and downs for me. It was my first long distance race that I traveled to on my own and this brought its own challenges. In the days before, I struggled to get enough sleep because I decided to camp out of the back of my truck to save money. This was a terrible idea as it was so hot I ended up storming to a hotel at 1 in the morning. That was a lesson learned.. Many other little things came up that are not worth detailing. I still showed up to race day ready to give it my all. Here is how the day went.
I wake up before my alarm goes off at 4:30 in the morning, stretch, roll my legs out, and eat blueberry muffins and a hardboiled egg for breakfast. I head to the town center to take the bus to the swim start (The race had two transitions) and cruise on the bus for 30 minutes visualizing the race. I get off and the day is still dark. I can feel the anticipation in the air. I go through my transition stuff a few times, in an OCD like way. I check, double check, and triple check that everything is in order. I go to the bathroomJ and then start to head out on my warm up jog. Of course something else bad happens. I am running on a trail around the lake and there is a metal chain hanging across the trail. I run into it right where my knees are and do a front flip over it and land right on my shoulder. It hurts like hell but I tell myself to move on and that there is nothing else I can do about it. FYI, this is my life mentality; control what you can and don’t worry about the things that are out of your control. Looking back on it now my shoulder and knee are bruised, it was a significant fall.
Everything else goes smoothly until the start of the race. There are swim waves and my category is the 8th one too go. An unfortunate starting wave for a fast swim. We start off as a pack but quickly get broken up when we collide with the slower swimmers who started ahead of us. The pack gets broken up and everyone has to swim on their own and weave through swimmers. I still have a great swim and a personal record for me. The swim was a great experience for me. I felt strong, my heart rate was low and controlled and I was able to stay on top of my cadence the whole time.
I exit the water, feeling good and of course the transition is packed with people who started before me. They move like molasses as they walk their bikes while I zig zag between them and get on the bike. I get in the bike and feel great. I hammer from the very start, telling myself to go pretty much as hard-while controlled-as I can for the 56 mile course. I go flying by people for a while until I get more to the front and their start to be other good riders. I pass Jack Toland, a teammate on the CU team. I am surprised he doesn’t ride with me as I know he is strong. I realize maybe I am just feeling that good. A few minutes later I come up on the top 18-24 age grouper, Paul Stevenson, and pass him. He goes with me and rides with me for a while passing me on the uphill’s but I repass him on the downhills (my strategy is to take uphill’s fairly easy and crush the downhills. Eventually he falls off at around 25 miles. I keep pushing and now is when the rain comes in. It starts pouring and it makes it kind of fun. I feel hardcore and legit, besides I am used to it from living in Seattle for a year. Ha! I guess that year there was good for something. I hammer the rest of the bike and just put my head down and go. It hurts the whole time but I keep prodding myself to keep pushing. It is kind of scary in places as my back brake doesn’t work and at times I drift the turns by unclipping one of my feet.
I come flying into the transition and try to quickly go through it. It’s tough because my hands are numb and I can hardly get my shoes on. I struggle through it and start the run feeling pretty good. My low back is tight from the first step, as was the case in New Orleans, making running difficult. I need to hit the gym more.
I try my hardest to hammer through the run, always having to use self-talk and reminding myself to keep the tempo high. I felt good the first 8 miles and was continually passing people. It was a suffer fest and all my focus was on powering through the run. I take the nutrition pretty light on the run and get one cup of water at each aid station and took one Gu for the duration of the run. The course is challenging because of the hills and so I was glad I didn’t have a GPS watch and just raced by feel. The weird thing about the run is feels like both an eternity looking back at it, but also only one brief moment in time. I was so in the present moment and this was why I had a string run. I crossed the finish line and later figured out I was the 19th overall finisher. I am ecstatic with that, considering it is the most competitive 70.3 in the western hemisphere.
Looking back at the race, I realize I had a great race because of solid training week in and week out. I have been doing 30 hour training weeks consistently this year. I also had a great race because I believed in myself the whole time. I believed I could push the bike and still run. I eliminated my fears and self-doubt and this helped me to my finish.
As always my races transcend life and offer me valuable insight into who I am and how I want to live. I want to continue to push my limits. How much more can I push myself? How much faster can I go? Every race gets me closer to the answers but also helps me realize how much more I have to go. Finally I also learned from this race how much I like to have my closest supporters with me. They are part of my team and help me every step of the way. I am planning on getting my pro card now and trying to bring my racing to a whole new level. Additionally, new sponsorship options should be opening up.
Thanks for reading!
Me out on a routine training ride up Rabbit Moutain
Coming out of hibernation: Its race season!
In two weeks my season opener will kick off with 70.3 New Orleans. I wanted to take some time to reflect on the winter training, where I am at, and where I want to go.
Since January first I switched coaches to the incredible Richie Cunningham. The first thing he did was look at the amount of training I was doing compared to my goals and said something along the lines of “shit, you gotta start doing more work if you wanna be where you dream of. He then boosted (smartly and cautiously) my training load. For a few months, I suffered from fatigue and lack of energy. However, by late February I started to feel like a different caliber athlete in terms of what I could do volume wise but also speed wise. I recover faster, run, swim, and bike faster, train longer, and all around feel better-Thanks, Richie! I now feel and know I am at a whole new level of fitness going into the 2016 race season.
Mentally, I have gotten used to the life of an athlete and things are less exciting than they used to be, 100 mile rides and 18 mile runs are now a routine every weekend. This doesn’t mean they are not good, perhaps they are even better than before. This is a valuable lesson for me in life and something I believe we have a hard time learning; when something is good keep fighting and believing in it. Lack of newness and being on the edge does not mean lack of a good life. I suppose this is why I have stopped writing as much-I only want to inform people of something when it is new and exciting not just when it is good.
That’s why I am writing now, I am looking to make the big leap up to the pro field in approximately one month. It excites me because this is a big goal of mine and a large step in my athletic maturity. Can I compete with the pros? Will I be able to make a living out of triathlon within a few years? I need to know the answers to these questions because otherwise I have to find something else to do with my life. I hope you continue to follow me and continue to give support.
Here is what my plans and goals are:
Be able to consistently break four hours in a half Ironman.
Get a PR for my run split for the half marathon under 1:15, under 24 for the swim, and under 2:08 for the bike.
Be overall amateur at New Orleans, and St, George.
Stay positive, love racing, get more involved with community, keep my head up and overall continue to make progress.
Hey everyone, I realize I have not been writing much on my experiences, I believe the reason for this is because I have been taking everything in and trying to learn from the athletes around me who are more accomplished and knowlegable. Yet, I have learned a lot and I look to cover some of these key points here after I explain what I have been doing recently.
To start, I want to point out a small fact of life and set a goal for all of us. Since it is the holidays and we see many people we haven't seen in awhile, the inevitable talk of how we are doing comes up. Almost everyone I have talked to immiedately says they are doing great and everything is going well. This bothered me because it pointed out the fact that our society urges us to not admit we our doing well and to not be honest with others. So my goal is to be honest and admit how we are doing. The following report will detail what I have gone through and if nothing else ,I hope it encourages people to be a little more willing to admit how they are doing.
After Kona, I experienced an interesting time in my life. I became much more in tune with my internal world and became aware of my limitations, my strengths, the things that made me happy and sad, and generally just who I am as a person. I think this is due primarily to the darkness one has to face in order to finish Kona. it pushes one so far that they learn more about who and what they are. So what did I figure out?
I saw that I had gotten away from who I really was. In terms of triathlon I had lost a lot of the fun from it and was doing it primarily to get better as opposed to for enjoyment and the pursuit of self-knowledge and betterment. I also saw that I had let triathlon consume my personal life to a point where I became less sensitive to what was going on around me. Ultimately, I found that I was less happy than I had been before and had shifted my life from a point of being process orientated to outcome oriented. All of these changes which I had not realized hit me at once and lead me to decide that I needed to start living my life differently.
I started by taking a few days off from training to re-vamp my interest. I then had to make a hard decision about continuing with my coach for the next year. Ultimately, I decided not to for both financial and life reasons. In terms of training, I have been trying to do what my body really feels like doing and not forcing myself to do anything. I have found this brings the enjoyment back into it and allows me to get better at the same time. This was about getting back to me, I love to be outside and push my body to the limits but it had become forced and simply by taking the mind aspect out of it (e.g. only going to get better, always thinking about my future as a triathlete, thinking about how I was doing in the workout, thinking about sponsors, etc) I found that I slowly became more happy and wanted to train more. I have become more in touch with my body and most importantly when I train I can think about the beautiful outdoors or deeper questions of human meaning and existence.
I utilized a similar technique in my academic life. I wanted to become more process orientated and in order to do this I needed to be studying subjects I truly loved. I lowered my stress level in school by deciding not to do a double major, at least for a little while, and registered for classes next semester that I am truly interested in. However, I also told myself I was only going to study when I felt like it. At first, I never wanted to study but then I realized I was studying because I wanted to learn the material and not merely receive a good grade. I did this by starting to create a network of association between what I learn in school and what I learn in life. I realized I had been studying my subjects independently of all my other knowledge. By combing what I learn(ed) in physics, chemistry, psychology, philosophy, and everything else I was able to marvel at how things work and reignite my curiosity.
The third step I took was to eliminate anything I realized was making me unhappy and to relearn the joy in little things. In other words I had to slow down. In many ways this goal-to slow down and be more patient-was related to my Kona experience. I took notice that the reason I had a poor race at Kona was because I couldn't be patient and slow down. The high energy of the race and my impatience is what lead me to improper pacing on the the bike. I didn't allow myself to slow down enough to have a great marathon and a successful race. I would also like to say that because I was outcome oriented at Kona, when I got the bike penalty, I was unable to get in the zone and lost touch with my self. Back to the story, I simply tried to make time in my day to enjoy little things such as waking up and having breakfast, tying my shoes before a run, and when you get to see a beautiful sunrise. I also looked to control my brain when I got stressed out such as when I was driving, or frustrated by my inability to solve my homework problems . I tried to gain some control of my mental state. I also cut out things such as TV and excessive time spent on social media.
Thus, this has been my journey recently: getting my life back to who I am (and want to be), learning to be process orientated, and striving to push myself to new limits. A final point I will make for those of us that are triathletes out there; is that Ironman is truly a reflection of who and what we are. In an Ironman race the mental aspect matters equal if not more than the physical aspect. The long hours spent training are not ultimately meant to merely better your body but to force yourself to ask the big questions of life such as what is my purpose, who do I want to become, how do I triumph over my own insecurities and faults, and any other pressing questions. This is both the path I have been trying hard to get back on track and is the reasons I ultimately do Ironmans.
What do humans do when times get tough?
They believe, they believe that they are strong enough to make it through their gauntlet. This analogy is why I race Ironmans. I want to test belief. I want to know that when the conversation, or should i say argument, between the mind and the body-that the mind will dominate. Ultimately, this is what endurance racing is about. Yes, I train my body to to be able to go as fast and far as possible, but I will still need my mind to persevere next Saturday. I need it to push me, to find an area so deep within and to expose a part of me I have never known. I am prepared to do this and the real question is whether I have the courage and the true grit to preserve. Yesterday, when I arrived on the island, and did my first run. I realized the energy of the island will help me do this. It is an amazing place that seems to contain hidden powers. I know I will have to harness this energy when I am on the marathon and my body is telling me to stop, to rest. However if I want to reach my dreams and be the man I want to be, then I have to dig deep. I can do it!
As my school year wraps up to a close and I return home, I turn into myself and become reflective. What has the past year meant to me? What have I learned about myself? Am I satisfied with how I confronted challenge? What can I do better in the future? As always my goal as a person is to become the best man I can. Here are some highlights.
1. My life was dramatically changed when I completed my first Ironman last August. Through doing this I realized I could at least try to follow my longtime dream of being a professional athlete. This challenge has had many costs by making virtually everything secondary to my dreams. However the rewards far outweigh the costs as I have learned so much about myself and have come to realize the true potential of who I am. In addition, I love training and it has given me an acute awareness of how I fit into the world. I realized I can conquer anything I want so long as I commit to it!
2. Traveling up to Alaska in September was a mental challenge I had never faced before. Looking back it was as through my Alaska trip was foreshadowing what my freshman year would be like. I remember lying in my tent each night, in the relentless rain, all alone, fearing death of a grizzly bear. Through this I came to crave the company of others. I finally realized how dependent I am on others to make me who I am and it made me so thankful for the boundless love countless of people have showed me. I realized that life and beauty are meant to be shared.
3. Maintaining a long distance relationship with my girlfriend was an unexpected challenge that brought about great things. I learned more than ever that love is about commitment and when you are sure you have found a diamond there is no reason to discard it. Society always tells us that what we have is not enough or that we can do better but when someone or something provides you with true bliss there is no reason to discard it. Keep what you know is good in life and fight for it.
4. My time in Seattle and at school at UW has taught me the most about myself. First and foremost I learned that we all have an environment that is meant for us. Certain places call to us and just as a key fits into a lock, people fit into certain landscapes. I belong in the mountains, where it snows, and where the sky is free and the stars shine bright. Knowing where I belong is huge to knowing how I can utilize myself in this world and what I need to do to consider my future. Secondly, my time in Seattle has been somewhat of a struggle. All of a sudden I had to work to be happy. I had to learn how to balance my highs and lows in life. While I accomplished so much out here including training for another Ironman and making the dean’s list, it all means very little if you are not happy. I have learned what I need in order to be happy and once I am happy I am able to accomplish many more things. One’s first goal in life needs to be to be happy. This is why I made the step to transfer to Boulder next year.
5. Finally, I have really learned how to think in a new way. People in college can be so future oriented as we fear what the future may bring us. It becomes all too easy to take the easy way out and lose track of yourself and say that things like money and fame determine success and consequently happiness. This change causes us to look into the future and ignore the present. While I have certainly thought about the future a lot and was tempted to zone out and forget about WHAT I was, I managed to grasp the present. Always, or as close to it as I could, I managed to learn only because I wanted to and not for some future job or recognition. I believe many people have lost the reason for why humans strive for knowledge and I managed to renew this curiosity in the wonder of how the world work. Keeping control on the present and the future holds the key to a balanced life.
6. I learned to never waver from who I am. I am most proud of the fact that I stuck to what I believe in no matter what. The world tries to change us, sometimes in ways that incur a cost to our soul. Keeping my integrity throughout life gives me an indomitable spirit.
All in all, while my time as been a real challenge out here I am immensely glad for it. I would not trade it for any other life as it makes me who I am now. I encourage everyone to seriously reflect about their lives and realize what they need or don’t need. Who are you and what do you want to achieve? I hope, by making myself vulnerable, I will serve as a source of inspiration.
Reality: coming to terms in a positive light with your own weaknesses.
So the season finally kicked off for me with the first race of the season! I was totally amped to go out and test myself. I had so many questions regarding if I have made the right decisions in the last couple months. In some ways I was afraid of the pain. However as we all know we put this into the back of our heads as we line up to the start line and go. As the gun goes off, BOOOM! You start moving and the real person comes out as the pretenses fall away in pain. As Plato always said” you learn more about a man in an hour of play than in a day of conversation.” So I was off and warming up as I went as I arrived rather late. Here’s how the race went (it was a long course duathlon consisting of a 6k run, 45K bike, and then a 6K run):
1. First half mile attempted to warm up at the 5:40 pace or so we were running at, of course I had to go right off with the leaders.
2. I pull ahead of everyone as I feel empowered by the scenery around me.
3. Run ahead for the rest of the 8K putting 65 seconds onto the second and third place.
4. Super-fast transition (31 seconds)
5. Ride on the bike knowing it is my strength, however I have my clunker aluminum bike with the heaviest wheels one could imagine!
6. After 14 miles I get passed by the second place guy!!!!
7. In my head, I realize I must stay with him, the inner beast comes out and I go! In every triathlon I have done I have not been passed by another biker so the pride was on the line.
8. Stay 300 meters behind him and pass him with a half mile left.
9. We enter transition practically together but he is quicker and gets about ten seconds on me.
10. I catch up and we run together for 2 miles. I am having horrible cramps and am in immense pain. I try to take deep breaths and ease my stomach.
11. At two miles, my cramps go away and I am able to lay the hammer down and crush the rest of the run for the win!
OK, OK, that’s how it goes on paper but what’s the thought process! What did I learn about myself today? What can I tell you about why I had a successful race?
For me it all comes down to embracing the present moment, to forgetting about how many miles are ahead of me or what it might mean to win the race. I truly become the animal, hunting in the present for my own life, sanity, and a sense of being part of the energy of the world around us. While I know it is just play it feels like the most serious and real thing I ever do. In a sense it is, I have decided to make my career based off of how well I can race. However, all these ideas I had before the race have to disappear. For example, I was wondering how do I prove myself to my world class coach, what happens if I fail, am I prepared for my future, and most importantly am I going to be the person I believe I am? Finally I believe racing is simple, no persons technique can be the same as we must learn to embrace who we are and learn how to utilize it on the race course. This is what makes a deadly racer. So my friends, know that racing is more of a spiritual act and that the suffering brings enlightenment. Race to be who you want to be to yourself and to satisfy your soul not for an external award or praise from your peers. This is the key to finding your potential when you race.
To conclude, I look forward to the journey ahead of me as I have goals I only once dreamed of for this upcoming year. I have decided to embrace my dreams and chase after them! I will do it and you can also do what you dream of! Reach out and create.
I am going to use this blog to give recommendations about how to fuel during an Ironman and what I have done as well. Figuring out a nutrition plan can be rather daunting for us age groupers and tackling the question involves definitive planning. Very few of us have a nutritionist who figures out exactly how many carbs are body is able to consume per hour and writes out a whole plan. In other words, we are on our own to fuel correctly in an ironman. In the actual race one of the most important aspects is fueling right and this is what causes most people to drop out. From my perspective most pro’s fueling plans seem to be rather complex to me, such that I believe they may cause stress about things not working out. Of course the pros have many advantages that we don’t when creating there plan.
My plan is relatively simple.
Here is what I would recommend before the race starts.
1. Eat a breakfast that works for you a few hours before the race. Eat as much as you are comfortable with and don’t calculate all the calories. Just do what feels right. Avoid fiber and try to get lots of carbs in along with some fat and protein
2. Leading up to the race snack on something that works for your body and is relatively light. Should be carb based. Additionally stay hydrated but don’t over drink. Again do what feels right. Stay relaxed!
3. Get in some electrolytes right before swim, perhaps a gel and then your off.
Once on the bike your primary fueling should begin. I recommend either eating right away or waiting 20 mins if you tend to cramp up. Then eat solid food to start off with. There are still 8+ hours in the race and gels make a sloshy stomach after all that time. In order to get used to solid food, eat it on the bike in training. From here keep drinking water and an electrolyte drink. I tend to start with three bottles, one water, one electrolyte, and one carb based. I mix the carb based one with my solid food at start. From here the plan gets simple and I keep eating every thirty minutes exactly. I carry solid food for the whole ride. However, I pick up drinks from the aid stations. You will notice I avoid caffeine or any type of gel for the whole ride. This is because I like to save these for the instant energy I need when the going gets tough on the run. Always keep drinking and eating, its simple! Do what feels right for the most part and you will be good.
On the run I get food in early to sustain me for the rest of the way and transition to gels at a higher and higher frequency throughout. I try to get some fuel in at every aid station to keep me going.
As you can see, my philosophy is keep it simple. When you stress about what type of foods, and get to exact I find it constricts my mind. Food is food. It’s how one approaches the nutrition that will make it pass or fail. I use no special needs bags as food at aid stations is bountiful and saves complications. By no means am I saying my method will work for you, it is only a suggestion.
If still interested there are some much more lengthy and in detail plans from experts far more qualified than me. If you’re looking to create an exact plan as you should be look around and think about it a lot! Finally I encourage you to work on something that works for you instead of sticking just to one other ppersons plan..
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.