Monday, April 21, 2014

Buick to Maserati: Upgrading to Triathlon Race Wheels

A few months ago I posted about buying some 2014 Reynolds Strike race wheels. I was excited to get my hands on them, but had to admire them from afar for a while as I spent most of my riding time on the trainer. Thankfully spring is in full bloom, and I’ve finally been able to test them out over the last couple weeks. My initial thoughts are that they look great, are really fun to ride, and climb like a Nepalese Sherpa (wow, is that really two Sherpa references in the past two weeks??).




For various reasons I put off buying race wheels in the past. Despite doing my first race in 2003, this is my first set. This is the opposite of some people’s mentality… few of us were handed the keys to a Maserati when we turned 16, yet some newbies feel the need to rush out and buy an expensive bike and wheels for their maiden voyage! It does go both ways though. Look around transition and you’ll see a lot of shiny Maseratis, but also a number of 80’s model Buicks. I respect that! Get your feet wet in the sport and pay your dues, then reward yourself with something nice. For those of you who may soon be in the market, I thought it might be helpful to share some of the practical stuff I found to go from taking your wheels out of the box to actually going for a ride.


Valve Extenders

The main appeal of race wheels is that lighter + more aerodynamic = you go faster. As part of their aerodynamic design, they have deeper rims compared to your kid’s dirt bike or grandma’s beach cruiser. The valve stem on many tubes in a bike shop or wherever isn’t long enough for deep rims. For example, my wheels are 62mm deep, yet the valve on the tubes I had were ~40mm, making it impossible to put air in my tires without valve extenders.

I read this great article by Greg Kopecky of Slowtwitch, which went over this topic in detail. Mid-way through last season I started racing with a little Flat Attack tire sealant as insurance against a cheap flat due to a thorn or piece of glass. As such, I have tubes with a removable core valve stem (for injecting the sealant). Based on Greg’s article, I bought some Stan’s valve extenders, using Teflon tape before threading them on per his suggestion. His article is a great resource for whatever your set up is. I later discovered that valve extenders came with the wheels (I’m a genius).

Note: Make sure to carry a spare tube with a valve that’s either long enough as it is or with valve extenders on all ready to go. This is something that can be easily overlooked. If you don't and you get a flat, your spare won't do you any good. I'll be carrying a Bontrager tube with an 80mm valve, which should work since my rims are 62mm deep. However, if your rims are 80mm deep, obviously this wouldn't work for you.


my old "Buicks"
Brakes

The trend over the last few years is for race wheels to be slightly wider than they used to be. The stock aluminum wheels that came on my Felt are 23mm wide (pretty standard), yet the Reynolds Strikes are 25mm. Big deal, right? Well, if you try to put them on for the first time the morning of your race, you’ll be in panic mode screaming that they don’t fit. In reality, all it takes is widening the brake track with a few twists of an allen wrench. I had to essentially open my brakes up as wide as they go… still a pretty tight fit, but it works. Likewise, make sure to tighten the brake track up when you switch back to your more narrow tires. Just last week a friend who races in Kona every year posted on Facebook that he forgot to do this. As he tried to slow down going down a big hill his brakes were too wide to work, so he had to drag his feet to stop!

Note: You can buy 25mm tires to match 25mm race wheels if you want, but 23mm tires on 25mm rims works fine too.

Something else to consider is brake pads. My wheels came with special brake pads that are compatible with the carbon surface of the wheels. I’m not sure if all race wheels are similar in that regard, but I was told that my old, traditional brake pads for aluminum wheels could really damage the carbon. With a simple allen wrench it’s pretty easy to swap the pads, but pay your local bike shop a visit if you need help.

Cassette

New wheels means you also need to transfer the cassette over from your rear wheel, unless you prefer propelling yourself forward Flintstone style. You could also buy a new one if you’ll be swapping back and forth a lot and don’t want to deal with it.




I tried to summon my inner Stewart Nixon by breaking out my "chain whip" and lock ring tools (which I owned but had never used) to remove the cassette. I thought it might be tough but it wasn't. Since it was off I figured I’d take a few minutes to clean the cassette with water and some degreaser spray.

The hub of your new wheel may be slightly longer or shorter than your old wheel. I thought that might be the case, so I put one of the 1mm spacers that came with the wheels behind the cassette. With the cassette on, I proudly went out for a test ride around the block, only to discover that the gears were rattling around and clearly needed another spacer. I removed the cassette and put on another spacer, but now I couldn’t get it to lock on.  @#*&#  Did I really need something in between 1 and 2 millimeters?? Turns out there is such a thing, as I bought a 1.75mm spacer for a couple bucks at a local shop. That 0.25mm was the difference, and I was able to lock the cassette on without any rattling from excess space.


In summary, there are some things to be aware of, but it’s really not that difficult. Ride hard, have fun, and be safe!











Thursday, April 17, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Gina Shand - Virginia

Gina Shand is a former police officer, a veteran triathlete, and 3x Ironman who represents Virginia on our national team. That "crazy mom on the bike trainer in the parking lot" brings a lot of energy to our team, and we are thrilled to have her on board!


What’s your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I grew up swimming year round. I wanted to find a sport that could incorporate my love for swimming. Cycling was new to me, but hey, it is riding a bike, right? I signed up for my first triathlon in 2002 and have been hooked since. I am not one to work out for the sake of working out, so having a race on the calendar keeps me honest.

You’ve been quite vocal about holding the open water swim split title in the Shand family ;) From what you’ve told me about your fish named Molly, however, how long before you concede the crown?

As soon as that kid puts on a wetsuit, my reign will end for sure! She already has me in the pool by 4 min/mile. As long as I can stay ahead of my husband, I am good. He smokes me on everything else.





Could both of you please share a Shand Secret for getting faster in the water?

Molly: Work on kick switch drills. They force you to kick and make you focus on front quadrant swimming. 

Gina: Time and technique, no silver bullet.

How would you sum up your 2013 season, and what was the highlight/lowlight?

Busy! Across the family 13 races. Highlight - racing with Molly in her first Sprint triathlon. So cool to see her accomplish that at 12 years old (and get first in her age group!) Lowlight – Had some friends that were training with us for IMMT (Mont Tremblant) but could not compete due to injury. Missed seeing them out on the course.

In your application you wrote “my tri goals for the future are to get faster. I know I can cover the distance, but I am working on pushing my own personal limits. I want to see what I personally can do by getting over the mental aspect of racing. I want to be a faster me.” What's your plan in working towards that goal?

I am working with a different coach this year with a different approach. For me, it’s the accountability to do the workouts right. Not just doing the time and sport, but also the prescribed workout. All the nitty gritty stuff that hurts. I keep telling myself that if I want to go faster, I have to go faster. My training plan is also in Training Peaks this season. I am a rule follower, so I can’t stand to see red!

Your team profile states that you were swore you'd be a “one and done” at the Ironman distance after Ironman Texas in 2011. Beyond being able to walk again a few days later, what changed your mind?

Peer pressure! I have an amazing group of friends that I train with. We all signed up for Florida together, but we don’t all agree on whose “fault” it was that we did IMMT in 2013. (Okay, probably mine). I was allegedly taking 2014 off from Ironman, but I couldn’t pass up the chance to race with almost 100 other people from Richmond in Chattanooga this year. Training and racing would be no fun without my ladies!




What’s been your favorite to least favorite IM? (For whatever reason – your race, venue, course, etc)

1. Mont Tremblant is hands down the favorite. Gorgeous venue, amazing volunteers, so well organized. The swim is fast in a beautifully clear, perfect temperature lake. The bike was great except for the awful stair step hills at the end and the run has a lot of shade. I volunteered while my husband raced in 2012 and we both raced in 2013. Great family vacation venue. Truly a destination race, but still drivable from the East Coast. Did I mention the poutine at the finish line?

2. Texas – crazy hot and humid, but I really enjoyed the rolling bike course and the three loop run was entertaining along the canal. The crowd support was amazing. Logistically it was difficult because The Woodlands is difficult to navigate. But is it was my first IM, so I will always have love for it. My husband and one of my friends are racing this year, so I will be volunteering and cheering. Would do it again, but would like to try some other races first.

3. Florida – windy,flat and hot. For those reasons, not my favorite race. In 2012 the swim was choppy for sure. First time I have gotten sick while swimming. Some people love the flat and windy, but I like some hills. Don’t feel the need to go back again.

In addition to local races including Rev 3 Williamsburg in June, I know you’ve got a date with the inaugural Ironman Chattanooga in Sep. What’s the scuttlebutt on the course, and will you be able to scope it out in training?

I try to stay out of the scuttlebutt about courses. Hilly/challenging means different things to different people. Even the elevation changes can be deceiving. That being said, I hear it will be a fast downstream swim, rolling bike and hilly run. Should be a good time! I probably won’t be able to get down there to ride the course prior to the race. I actually kind of like it that way. No matter what you have to ride it, so does it really matter if you know what’s coming?

You wrote “I am that crazy mom on the bike trainer in the parking lot at the swim meet between events. But if I miss a workout to be with the family, so be it. Family is key.” Do you find it stressful to balance everything or is being creative with time management part of the fun for you?


Gina on said trainer at swim meet
It is a bit stressful, but it is what we do. When I was training for my first IM, but mantra was "self-imposed” (uplifting, right?) Meaning, I am the one who signed up for this, so no griping about workouts or not wanting to do things. I committed to it, so I owned it. At this point, it is just what we do. We have discussions every night on who is doing what workout at what time and we make it work. People tell me all the time that they would do an Ironman, but they just don’t have the time to train. Really? No one has the time. You have to make a conscious choice to make the time. You have to be creative. 4 hour swim meet session? Awesome. Have an hour between events? Perfect. The trainer in the parking lot, come back in watch an event, then back out for a run. Pools even have showers. Score!! I am at the meet for the important stuff and in the process show my daughter that I have to take care of my own commitments as well.

Word on the street is you started running by chasing bad guys as a cop. What was that lifestyle like, and why the change of course?

Very true. I hate running. Only reason I started is because I knew I would have to run in the academy. My 7 years in law enforcement really shaped who I am as a person and a leader. My husband and I were in the police academy together, so that really helped a lot to understand what each other was going through. We understand each other’s often awkward sense of humor and working a crazy schedule is just what we have always done. It was a great run, but after a while, it was time to try something different and get a different experience. My husband is still a police officer, so I still am around it all the time. There are some things I miss about it, but I sure don’t miss directing traffic in the rain!


From your experience do you have any advice on getting family into the sport? Do you think most kids gravitate to swim/bike/run after watching their parents or do they need a little encouragement to tri?

I think the best way to get your family involved is to lead by example and make it a family affair. We would go camping somewhere that I could race. That way we would have a vacation, and I could do my tris. I tried for 8 years to get my husband to race, but he was not interested. He would run and bike but was not interested in racing. Something clicked when he came to my first half-iron distance to support me. He saw the huge array of shapes, sizes, equipment, and ability of the participants and that day, he decided he was all in. Within 15 months he had completed all of the distances to include Ironman. As for our daughter,she was always a swimmer, but got into tri just to join in the fun. She started with the local kids tris at 9 and completed her first sprint last summer. With her, I think it was more of a “If you can’t beat them, join them” mentality! She needed encouragement to “tri” but she was really proud of the accomplishment. That pride goes a long way.

From what you've told me, it sounds like our sport is alive and well in the Richmond area. What makes your stomping grounds such a great place for triathlon?

We have a lot of really good races close by. You can race all season, just about every weekend up to half-iron distance without driving more than an hour. With the James River and the great trail system, we have a ton of places to swim and ride. The Richmond Triathlon Club has over 800 members and there are no fewer than four large training teams to choose from. No matter who you train with, it is a really inclusive, close knit community. We are super excited to be hosting the 2015 UCI Road World Championships next May. That says a lot about how active our community is. Look for almost 100 RTC members at IM Chattanooga in September!



Triple Threat team interview archives:


Famous Dave Fisher - Connecticut


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ironman 70.3 Nutrition Strategy

What to eat and drink on race day is a personal thing, but one thing is clear... whatever your nutrition strategy is, have one! You can be the Tasmanian Devil at aid stations if you want, but the result of “winging” your nutrition is often less than ideal. 

With two fast approaching half Ironmans on my schedule (St. George 70.3 May 3 and Boise 70.3 Jun 7), I thought it might be helpful to share my specific nutrition plan as an example. 

As a change from prior years, I’ll be racing primarily with EFS (Electrolyte Fuel System) products from First Endurance. I interviewed Robert Kunz, head of R&D, in September and was extremely impressed. He wasn't trying to "sell" me on anything and I wasn't asking for anything... frankly, I was simply looking for an interesting interview for the blog.

First Endurance triathlete Jordan Rapp
However, I came away from our discussion sold on the company's core value of being a research-based company as opposed to a market-based company. A market-based company looks at products that people are buying and says “we need to come up with a similar product, these things sell!!” As an example, just look at how many copycat “gummy” type products are on the market right now.

On the other hand, a research-based company takes the unbeaten path, creating products based on empirical studies alone. For example, my “secret weapon,” EFS Liquid Shot, is unique in that it doesn’t contain any gumming agents, driven by research showing that such ingredients slow down absorption. Liquid Shot goes down much smoother due to its liquid nature.

My EFS drink review is also very positive. It has a much higher electrolyte profile than other drinks, also driven by research, and tastes great to boot. Everyone thinks about sodium when it comes to racing, but according to Robert, all five electrolytes work together in tandem (sodium, potassium, magnesium, calcium, and chloride). With EFS drink and Liquid Shot, there’s no need to supplement with electrolyte pills or anything else.


Last year’s plan (product names removed):



This year’s plan:



Between EFS drink and Liquid Shot, I'm planning on up to 800 calories on the bike -  give or take 3 hours on two very hilly courses =  ~264 calories/hour  (could be up or down depending on how I’m feeling).

On the run will rely on one Liquid Shot (400 calories); will take hits as needed and drink water on the course.


Here are the upgrades I see compared to last year:

As mentioned, a lot more electrolytes, which will be especially beneficial if it’s hot on race day.

The addition of malic acid (from EFS drink), a powerful ingredient incorporated in the latest upgrade of the EFS formula.

I like the taste…  I think this matters!  I have two flavors: mild grape and orange, with grape being my favorite.




Thursday, April 10, 2014

Ironman Challenge: Part II

As a follow up to presenting the Ironman Bracket Challenge, I thought I’d share my picks on the blog.
Lots of these were really tough, and I definitely wavered on a few. Of course there are no right or wrong answers, but here were some that might be considered “upsets”:
(1st round) IM Chattanooga vs. IM Lanzarote:
Lanzarote, held in Spain’s Canary Islands, is the much sexier pick. However, it’s possibly the toughest course in the world. When I envisioned myself at the start line of both, being at the inaugural Chattanooga this year seemed like more fun. Triple Threat team members Gina (VA) and Amy (IN), I will live vicariously through you!
(1st round) IM 70.3 Steelhead vs. IM 70.3 Hawaii:
Likewise, rumor has it Hawaii is more popular among tourists than Benton Harbor, MI. However, Steelhead was my first 70.3, in 2007. I was severely undertrained, especially on the bike, and I had in-depth conversations with my legs during the run, yelling at them that they were not allowed to walk (I didn’t walk a step, but would have been almost as fast had I done so). At the finish line I was quoted as saying “that was the hardest thing I’ve ever done.” Would love to go back.

(1st round) IM Texas vs. IM Malaysia:
Malaysia is clearly the more exotic choice, but Texas is more appealing for some reason.
(2nd round) IM Coeur d’Alene vs. IM South Africa:
ditto
(2nd round) IM Louisville vs. IM 70.3 Calgary:
I don’t know a whole lot about Calgary, but I’m assuming it’s more scenic in terms of a venue than Louisville. But I grew up 2 hours north of Louisville, and this would be a good excuse to go back to the old stomping grounds. This August race is notoriously hot and humid, but I say bring it on!


(2nd round) IM 70.3 Syracuse vs. IM 70.3 Norway:
When I really thought about it, you know what this one came down to? The stupid hot air balloons they use in marketing the race! What do hot air balloons have to do with the race? Nothing, of course… but they make it seem cool.

In the later rounds, races made deep runs for various reasons.
Pucon (Chile) advanced all the way to the Elite 8. My parents actually lived in Chile for a few years and I visited once, including a trip to Pucon. It’s a beautiful area and has a stunning volcano that we hiked while there. It was really tough btw… the tour Sherpa guy leading us promised ample breaks, but that was a bold-faced lie. Sledding all the way down made it worth it though!
Mont Tremblant (Quebec) made a similar run to the Elite 8 due to it being such an amazing venue from everything I’ve heard.
Brazil & Japan made it to the Final 4 solely for being exotic locations. I’ve never been to Asia, which makes racing in Japan appealing. Brazil seems like it would be a lot of fun, equal parts party and race.
The biggest “upset” for someone looking at my bracket would have to be Ironman Wisconsin defeating IM UK, Switzerland, Copenhagen, Mt. Tremblant and Japan en route to the finals. IMWI is a stellar race, but this was largely due to sentimental reasons. I moved to Milwaukee in 2005, when I was still fairly new to triathlon (did my first race in 2003). I learned about Ironman Wisconsin in Madison and decided to check it out. I arrived just before the swim start, and was blown away by the magnitude of the event. It was an unusually hot September day, pushing 100 degrees, and I admired everyone who was out there racing. That doesn’t mean I was sold on the idea… a lady collapsed on the run course, and as the ambulance came for her I called my wife and told her I “would never do an Ironman.” I went back to watch and/or volunteer four times, but the timing was never right for me to take a crack at it.
the swim vantage point from Monona Terrace is second to none


Despite that glowing review of Ironman Wisconsin, at the end of the day I went with IM 70.3 Italy. It wasn’t an easy choice, but Italy has the combination of exotic location with sentimental value. I lived in Italy from 1999-2001 as a service missionary for my church, and still speak fluent Italian. For me, the thought of chatting it up with fellow racers, the race itself, and post-race pizza combined with visiting that beautiful country is simply unbeatable.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Triple Threat Profile: Dave Fisher - Connecticut

Following a “somewhat toxic post-collegiate lifestyle,” Dave Fisher turned to triathlon as motivation to quit smoking. From there, with surgical precision he’s moved from a back of the pack triathlete to a podium regular in a few short years. This father of three has a “guiding principle to have fun above all else,” and is on record saying that if races were free he’d race every weekend. 


What's your background and how did you get into triathlon?

I played a lot of different sports when I was young, but I always rode bikes. I commuted on my bike everywhere through high school and college. After college, everything kind of fell apart. I'm ashamed, but believe it or not, triathlon started as motivation to quit smoking! I'd picked up the nasty habit and was having a lot of trouble quitting, so I signed up for a local sprint triathlon figuring that I had to quit or I'd quite literally die. Nothing like the prospect of death to motivate yourself! Training for the race, I rediscovered my love of the bike, and with it fell in love with the sport.

You wrote about your "somewhat toxic post-collegiate lifestyle." Assuming you weren't referring to working at a nuclear power plant, what was the motivation to change course?

A little radiation might have been better than what I was doing to my body back then. Jokes aside, I did it both for myself and for my kids. It was a lot of little things - I was having trouble breathing well enough to sing lullabies, my feet hurt on long walks, and I couldn't stand looking at pictures I was in, which are all pretty awful things as a father. It wasn't so dire that I thought I was staring an early meeting with the grim reaper down, but I definitely became conscious that I was on the wrong path. Once I started riding again, I just felt happy, like a kid again. The same thing happened with swimming and eventually with running. That joy carried me forward then and still does now. There's another element to it as well, which feeds my inner nerd. This whole thing is a lot like a big science project. If I change this part of my swim stroke, this happens, if I change my diet and cut this and add that, this happens, if I structure my training plan this way, this happens, etc. It's a non-stop learning process and there is so much to learn and integrate, and I enjoy that.

How would you sum up your 2013 season, and what was the highlight/lowlight?

2013 was phenomenal, there's no other way to put it. There were a lot of incredible experiences, but if I had to pick one it would be the first tri of the season, the same one that had been my first race a few years ago. I had been training for a half iron distance that was a few weeks later and surprisingly came in third for my age group against a strong field. That was pretty shocking, I'd never been on the podium before, but it continued to happen several times over the summer! I've literally gone from the back to the front, and it blows my mind. The only thing that came close to being a lowlight was the latter part of the run on the half distance where I kind of handed it in and walked for a while, but it taught me a lot so I can't look back on it with regrets.

What's on tap for 2014, and what are your goals?

I'm going to race roughly every other weekend this summer, from sprint distances to halfs. I had originally planned to build up to my first full distance in Cedar Point, but I've just recently reconciled it won't be happening. I couldn't put together the logistics with my family to make it work. Shifting the focus off that race puts it back on the shorter distances, so now the goal is to try and win my age group a few times this summer, and try to enjoy it as much as possible with my family and friends. I'm also helping in training a few people, which is really rewarding. If I can help others enjoy this as much as I do, there's nothing but upside.

With Cedar Point, were you deliberately shying away from an Ironman-branded race as a way to "stick it to The Man"? What are your thoughts on the corporate side of triathlon in its current state?

I wish I could do Cedar Point! Stop rubbing it in! When I WAS still looking ahead to the it, it wasn't deliberately trying to avoid the Ironman brand, but I don't think the WTC is really after athletes with families from the Northeast. Here's the evidence - the closest WTC race to me is Lake Placid, which sold out some time back in 1983 from what I can tell. The next closest are either Louisville or Mont Tremblant, both of which are a very tough sell to my three young children. Kids need something to do for two days at least, and there just isn't anything for them in either of those places. I was looking at Chesapeake Man, which would allow me to stay with my family in the DC area, but its future is clouded to say the least. On the other hand, Rev3 are putting races on at amusement parks and providing real options for the families of athletes. I don't know what to make of the corporate side in general, it's not like it deserves any animosity. If a company puts a product out there that people are buying, what's the problem? Between WTC, Rev3, HITS, Challenge, regional and local races, there are lots of options. Ultimately, even if there were NO options, most of us would still swim, bike, and run anyway.


Fisher gave Mark Allen & Dave Scott all they could handle at Kona in '89


Rank the 3 disciplines from your personal strength to weakness. What is some gear you use for each?

Bike, swim, run, with the bike being my strength. I'm naturally built for riding with rippling, awe-inducing legs of steel, but those same machines make running a little more difficult for me than it is for others with chicken bones and sinew hanging off their hips. It's one of the things I like about triathlon - I put time into the runners on the bike and they put it back into me on the run, so it's fair. Gear-wise, I ride a Quintana Roo CD01, which is a very comfortable and powerful fit for me. I recently switched to an ISM Adamo saddle which has made it even more comfortable. I cruise around on Planet X clinchers, and the rear one was rebuilt for me with a Powertap G3 by a great wrench here in town. I also sport a wheel cover whenever possible with a giant Fisher snowplow decal, so it's easy to spot me in the racks! Swim wise I'm rocking an Xterra Vendetta this year, which I'm really psyched about, and I'll be running in Brooks PureFlows. Lastly, only because doing it nude is a crime, I'll of course be wearing my super chic kit from Triple Threat Triathlon. 

Your profile states that you have a "guiding principle to have fun above all else." Do you think most people fall into this camp, or do most take the sport too seriously?

It's hard to say, I'm not an authority. If you look at the online community, the most vocal people occasionally come off as being a little 'dark side of the force', but if I just think about people I meet at races and some of the friends I've made, then the picture is a lot brighter. There's no requirement that triathletes have to have a lot in common, so it's difficult to even say there IS a community. I know life is a lot better when you smile and laugh a lot, so I don't get the people that walk around all stone-faced.  

Rumor has it you have "skillz to pay the billz." What do you do all day to pay those billz?

The stuff I get paid for is software development for a financial firm. Work is pretty close to home, so I get to balance everything very well, and I'm really grateful for that. It also goes down as a great job because there's a gym in the building, so I can work out during lunchtime every day.


over 20 years later, Macca & Raelert finally broke Dave's will at mile 25






Tell us about your family, and what's your personal strategy for balancing family, work and training?

I'm a proud father of three young kids and a husband to an amazing wife. Triathlon has had a big effect on the family- since I started, my wife now works out every day and my kids have become really athletic. My oldest son is a freakshow athlete, and he is going to try his first kids triathlon this year, which he is thrilled about. I plan my training around what has the least effect on the family, and it's a gift to be able to fit an hour of running or riding in at work mid day. If it becomes a balancing act that takes any more effort than just simple planning, then training is the first thing cut, which is what happened with Cedar Point. 

Connecticut is a little bit like Napoleon... small, yet powerful. What are the pros and cons of being a triathlete in your state?

Ha! I like that. There are a lot of incredible athletes around here and they race often. Just as an example, I've toed the line with Chris Thomas several times, who won USAT Age Group Triathlete of the year last year! He, and several others around here could easily be pros if they wanted to. That puts the bar really high, but it makes me train and race that much harder. The terrain around here has a lot to do with it- there is really no such thing as flat here. I ran a half marathon last year which was uphill literally 70% of the race. My legs felt like angry jello afterwards.


   


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