Monday, July 6, 2015

Open Water Tips From a Mediocre Swimmer

First of all, let me be clear that I’m not an elite swimmer. Some people are naturally a “fish” from a young age. Not me. I hated swimming lessons as a kid. I never had a phobia of water, but just didn't like it. I casually began experimenting with swimming as a way to stay in shape after hurting my knee running in my early 20’s. A few months later I did my first triathlon and the rest is history. I joined a masters team, which helped me a ton. In addition to a handful of triathlons a year, I also raced ~20 aquathons (just swim/run) on Thursday evenings in Wisconsin's often choppy Lake Mendota. I credit these experiences with helping me stay calm during the swim at my insane, white-cap Ironman debut in 2012.

All that said, here are some things that help me tackle the infamous washing machine that is the triathlon swim:

1) Get in the water as soon as possible. I tell this to everyone. Even if it’s only for a few minutes, this time is invaluable, especially if the water is cold. Do breaststroke, tread water, whatever. Just get acclimated before the gun goes off.

2) While warming up, get your mind ready as well. It’s not an ego thing, but I often say to myself “I’m a good swimmer, I’m a good swimmer.” I’ve worked hard, and so have you! Think about all the hard practice sessions you've put in and get into that Bring It On mentality.




come on in, the water's fine
3) Position yourself well – use common sense here... if you're the fastest fish in the water then by all means, line up front and center. CAUTION: if you're not, you will get run over. Start on the side or towards the back until you've got some experience and greater confidence in open water.

4) Stay calm – get plenty of air. A couple things help me when I’m feeling short of breath: it sounds weird, but every now and then as I’m breathing I’ll take a peek up at the sky and think to myself “look at all that air up there.” It’s easy for newer triathletes to feel a bit claustrophobic at times… that little mind trick seems to help. Keep your mindset positive no matter what. At Ironman, waves were crashing in my face and I couldn’t see a thing, but I was laughing in the water saying “this is craaaaaazzyyy!!” Lastly, focus on exhaling fully in the water, which really helps regulate your breathing.

5) Play a song in your head – It helps to get you in a rhythm and can be a nice little distraction.

6) Protect yourself – the fact of the matter is, you're going to experience some incidental contact with other swimmers. It's tough to avoid that 100%. Protect your space, but if someone’s just repeatedly all over you pop up for a second and pick a new line.

7) Finish strong – keep swimming til your "hand touches sand." You’re excited to get out of the water, but you’ll be faster swimming it in than wading like a sea lion to transition just because it's shallow enough to stand.

Have fun and good luck!





Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Rudy Project Wing57 Review: Activating Beast Mode

Being successful on race day requires equal strength in both body and mind. Let’s face it, the DNA you’re born with contributes to the equation, but regardless of the hand you’re dealt, you can train your way to huge individual improvement. On top of that is the equipment you use on race day. For example, no matter how good Mirinda Carfrae’s DNA and training may be, she’s not winning Kona on the rusted out beach cruiser in your neighbor’s garage (now that I think about it, I'm not so sure... she still might run everyone down).

The mental side is huge as well. Just like any sport, some people show up having conceded the fight before it begins. Of course everyone is there for some element of “fun,” but some show up with that X Factor, which is often described by phrases such as Marshawn Lynch (below) “activating Beast Mode,” “a little fire in your belly,” “a chip on your shoulder,” “Playing Angry," etc, etc. Basically it’s a drive or an attitude of winning, whatever “winning” means to you. On the other hand, others are afraid to really push themselves and stay comfy in “Safety Mode.” A good performance requires a huge helping of mental toughness in order to, as Macca famously puts it, “shake hands with the pain.”

regardless of the sport, we can all take a lesson in activating Beast Mode from this guy


Some days it’s easier than others to have both body and mind clicking on race day. Sometimes that’s on the physical side, if your legs just aren’t there, for example, but other times it’s more mental. It’s an interesting phenomenon: Have you ever gone for a run really pissed off about something? Or maybe really stoked about something? Suddenly you have a gear, and a drive, that you didn’t have before. For some it’s the competition, or could be a certain someone you really want to beat! For others it’s more internal, even a “look fast, feel fast” phenomenon of rocking a new race kit, new gear, etc. All of these benefits are obviously psychological, but they can sometimes play a big role in your performance.

After getting a chance to test out the Rudy Project Wing57, in my opinion the benefits are huge on both of these levels: physical as well as psychological.

On the physical side, the Wing57 has been referred to as an “absolute speed monster,” and was designed with the aid of legendary aerodynamics guru John Cobb. It underwent extensive wind tunnel testing, and it also comes with a magnetic, removable extension that can be added to the tail depending on your riding style (flat or arched back), to help break apart vortices which create a low pressure zone and drag.

In addition to its aero benefits, the ventilation is far superior to other brands I’ve worn. This is a big reason why Rudy Project has won the prestigious Kona Count 4 years in a row. Especially in hot conditions, this ventilation is crucial. That said, the Wing57 comes with vent covers so you can customize the helmet depending on race distance, conditions, etc. It comfortably fits a wide range of athletes, weighs in at a mere 300g, and features a one-touch adjustable dial in back, which makes transitions a breeze.

Lastly, the fully integrated (yet removable) optical shield obviously protects your eyes, but also enhances aerodynamics according to wind tunnel tests.

On the mental side, I’ve got to say there’s something about strapping this helmet on that immediately activates the aforementioned Beast Mode. Andy Potts touched on this power in our interview when he said “I feel like a fighter pilot when I wear it.” It’s easier to feel and be fast when you look fast! The visor is badass… I thought it might take some getting used to, but it really didn’t. You feel legit, feel fast, and it looks intimidating as hell.

Speaking of Andy Potts – He just won IRONMAN Coeur d’Alene wearing the Wing57 in one of Rudy’s 6 new limited edition colors. Check out how that wicked new Red & Black matches his kit perfectly:

photo credit: Nils Nilsen















There are reasons why some NFL players such as Marshawn Lynch (Beast Mode himself), the retired great LaDainian Tomlinson and others play with a visor, and I’d argue in many cases they are more psychological than physical. They strap that thing on and it’s go time… they look tough, intimidating, and it transforms them to another level.

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:


In summary, like all sports, succeeding in triathlon is both physical and mental. I would encourage you to put the Wing57 to the test and find that next level for yourself!

As previously mentioned, Rudy just released 6 new limited edition colors of the Wing57, including the slick black & red that Andy Potts is wearing in the image above. All-in-all, they now have 10 styles in stock, and I'm told they will be releasing a further line of 3 "custom" colors in August, which have been made specially for North America.

To see all the new Rudy Project Wing57 colors, head over to www.e-rudy.com


Related Posts:

From Skin Hat to Speed Monster: A Brief Helmet History

Peeling Back the Onion: A Rudy Project Investigative Report

photo credit: Nils Nilsen














the magnetic, removable extension (see 1st Potts pic)

Friday, June 26, 2015

Patriot Half Race Report - Rob Forshaw

This was my second go at the Patriot Half with last year’s race being my first ever 70.3. I learned a lot and suffered a lot at last year’s race and was looking to make a killer improvement from last year’s time. The race is set in East Freetown, Massachusetts, set up all around Cathedral Camp, and is honestly the perfect spot for a triathlon! I got to the race roughly at 5:30 AM which gave me plenty of time to set up transition, hit up the bathroom and get a nice warm up swim in. I headed for the start line at the water just in time to see the elites take off for the swim at 7:00 AM.

Swim

The swim for this race is a time trial start where age groupers enter the water 3 at a time every 10 seconds. Although it sounds like it is a long drawn out process, the race management company Sun Multisport does it very efficiently and all 800 (give or take) racers are in the water within 20-25 minutes.

I entered the water at roughly 7:08 AM and my strategy for the 1.2 mile swim was to just stay consistent. By far the swim is my weakest discipline but I know I have come a long way since the first time I did a triathlon two years ago. My time last year was 43 minutes and I just wanted to finish faster than last year’s time. I felt fast throughout the swim in my Roka Elite wetsuit and had no trouble at all sighting with the Roka F2’s I had on. I exited the water and checked the clock and was happy to see 36 minutes. Reviewing my swim file afterward I think I can shave a minute or two off if I just swim a little straighter on the half mile swim back to shore.


Bike

I got into T1 and stripped my wetsuit off and was ready to go for the bike. I have been putting up some big blocks of training on the bike this winter and spring and really wanted to do some damage on this rolling bike course. My target wattage was to start out at 225 and slowly build to 230 by the end of the two lap 56 mile course.

The 1st 10 miles felt great. My legs we feeling really responsive and I was passing a lot of the fish that got out of the water before me. At mile 11 or 12 however I had my first little snag (which really was a big snag). We went over railroad tracks and the bump somehow dislodged the shear pin that was holding my hydration system. I was able to fix the problem thanks to the extra Velcro strap I added to the system before the race, but soon discovered the 400 calories of solid food I brought along for the ride had fallen off when the shear pin came loose. All I was left with was 400 calories of Perpetuem from Hammer Nutrition. In training I found my best nutrition plan was to sip Perpetuem every 15 minutes and every 45 minutes have some solid food. 

It was time to re-evaluate. I knew 400 calories would not be enough at my current wattage so I backed my wattage down to 215 and hoped for the best. I decided I would have to properly manage the 400 calories of Perpetuem for the remainder of the bike and try to take in as many calories as possible in the 1st few miles of the run.

I continued this method for the remaining 45 miles and came into T2 with a 2:35 bike split. I was happy with this split but knew the run was probably going to be tough as I was feeling some rumbling in my stomach. I was probably not going to hit my sub 5 hr goal but knew I was still 2nd in my AG so maybe I could hold on during the run and still get a podium spot.

Run

I had a pretty quick transition and made sure to grab a few extra gels to try and make up the 400 calorie deficit I had with my nutrient plan. My running has been great lately and I was really hoping for a 1:35 run split, but after the snafu with my nutrition I had no clue what I was capable of.
Starting out in the first mile my legs felt great and were very responsive. My stomach was still grumbling so I started taking in my first gel. All I was hoping was that it was not too late. By the time I hit the first aid station my grumbling stomach felt like a washing machine on the spin cycle. I knew this was not going to be pretty. I made sure to take in some water and some flat coke and hoped it would help settle my stomach. By mile 2 all hell broke loose, both my legs started cramping and I was forced to start a walk/run strategy. I continued this for the remainder of the half marathon.

I finished the run in 2:10, the slowest I have ever been on a 70.3 run. My final time was 5:29, not the sub 5 hr I was looking for, but I was still able to shave 20 min off my time from last year. I ended up 5th in my AG, which isn’t on the podium but still not bad considering what I went through on the run. I learned a lot from this race about mental toughness and how to adapt on the fly. I have a new burst of motivation and am looking to take this motivation into my next 70.3 in August. I want to give a special thanks to my Triple Threat Triathlon teammates for giving me tons of advice during my training, our TTT sponsors for their awesome support and especially my girlfriend Katie and my parents for coming out and supporting me for this race! As the great Bill Belichick would say, “We’re on to Timberman!”


Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Age Grouper Camaraderie: Pathetic Triathletes

After a recent move, Chad Zeman now represents North Carolina on our national team. He also recently took the initiative of interviewing the founder of a fun, relatively new group known online as "Pathetic Triathletes." Personally I've been following them as well, and it's definitely been entertaining... for example, according to a guide someone posted today, my bike's name should be Colonel Trusty Flyer. Has a nice ring to it.


Age Grouper Camaraderie: Pathetic Triathletes

Triathlon is a sport where complete strangers can come together and instantly become best of friends – almost family. Whether getting into transition, body marking, or even out on the course, the camaraderie is something that I love about the sport.

Social media has allowed triathletes, or really anyone, to continue that new found friendship or bond past race day – especially Facebook. One person, Zach Rose, has done just that on Facebook with his Pathetic Triathletes Facebook group.

A page dedicated to everything triathlon where Age Groupers (or Professionals someday soon?) can discuss just about anything in an environment where there truly is no judgement (at least written) – terrible training/racing mishaps, life lessons, Oreo’s, and general Age Grouper to Age Grouper guidance. The group ranges from Kona qualifiers to those who are just looking to barely finish a sprint tri. I had the pleasure to interview Zach in this Triple Threat Triathlon exclusive!

Triple Threat Triathlon (TTT): Can you tell us a little bit about the Pathetic Triathletes group? Where was the inspiration to start it?

Zach Rose (ZR):  I was getting tired of the other Facebook groups that can sometimes have a super serious vibe. It is understandable though - this sport has such a wide variety of experience levels, and there can be negative results by randomly throwing 10,000 triathletes into the same place if the expectations are not made clear up front. We created a place where it was all about elevating the lighter side of triathlon and for that matter, celebrating how ridiculous this lifestyle can be! We all love it and keep at it non-stop, but every single day there is something laughable that happens to each and every triathlete, even the pros.

TTTThe group is at nearly 2,100 followers! When you first started the group, did you know it was going to grow into what it is today? Where do you see it going from here?

ZR: We are actually at almost 2,600 as of today. I had a feeling that there was a massive gap on this side of the sport, especially since all of my tri-friends are goofballs (to say the least). After we got almost 200 members on day 1, I realized that there was something pretty cool about to happen. From here we are going to keep building the community and will be exploring some options outside of Facebook as well. There are already some shirts and stickers representing our focus on the fun side of the sport, and the members are really getting excited about it all.

TTT
There must be some “bad apples” that post/share/comment on status's, what are some challenges you see or face every day being an administrator to such a large group of people?

ZR: The group is really good at self-policing. Of the 3 or 4 people that have ever gotten banned, they were all brought to my attention by a member that flagged the post in question. The PTG (Pathetic Group) members treat this group like it is their creation, because in reality it is. When bad apples pop up, it is a direct threat on what we have all created together, so it is in everyone's best interest to get them out as soon as possible.

TTTOn the same thought, but different side of it –what have been some memorable posts/comments/shares on the page that you’ve seen?

ZR: The body transformations always have a strong impact - there was a post recently about someone who lost like 200 pounds training. Others are those that have ditched alcohol or drugs and now are applying their previously destructive patterns to super positive lifestyles. Also, the fund raising efforts are always moving, especially when people really put themselves out there and start to see great results.

TTTYou just gave away a Garmin 920xt to a lucky member – how did that idea come about? Should the members prepare for more give-a-ways?

ZR: Like I mentioned before, there are some products that the members are really digging into. I thought it only be appropriate to "give back" using the small margins on the shirts and stickers as a way to really engage with everyone. Of the 2,300+ members, almost 500 entered the drawing and the lucky winner was beyond appreciative. Even to see that over 200 people liked her thank you note to the group was such an awesome feeling. It really brought everyone together and attracted a lot of new faces to the mix.

TTT: You’ve done some racing yourself, most recently Ironman Eagleman 70.3. How did that race go?
ZR: That race is coming up this Sunday and will be my first half, but leading up to this I've podium’d my last two races, both shorter distances. Training has been nuts for the half but I feel ready and can't wait to cross the finish line. I will most definitely be wearing my PATHETICs T-shirt!
*** Editor update: Zach raced Ironman Eagleman 70.3 and was the last sub 6 hour finisher at 5:59.54. He mentioned that his sauna training had “paid off big time” for his success.


Related Posts:

Triple Threat Profile: "Kona Dreamin" Chad Zeman

Friday, June 19, 2015

Ironman Boise 70.3 Race Report - Joleen White

Sometimes it's really interesting to get a "second opinion" on the same race. Here Joleen White (Alaska) gives her perspective on her stellar race at Ironman Boise 70.3.


Arrival to Boise & Team meet up:

Aside from the drunk removed from my red eye flight leaving Anchorage, and the drama of trying to rent a car with an expired drivers license, my travels to Boise were uneventful. I packed my bike in my hard case double bike box for its first trip out of state. After a 6-hour wait on my temporary drivers license extension, I was all set to go.

I previewed the swim with my friend’s wife from AZ on Thursday. My initial reaction was that the lake looked perfect- nothing as confusing as the swim in Calgary! A nice triangle- I can do that! I went to Julia Davis Park and picked up my race packet along with a little Ironman shopping, and then headed home for my first plate of pasta in months, which was clearly an adjustment.
















Friday morning Howard (my AZ cycling friend and ID host) suggested I hit part of the bike course that was close to his house. Once I got out there I realized things might be a little scary on Saturday. Just over the bridge, at about mile 51 of the course, heading for the dam, there were orange arrows directing me down to a single width footpath and then to a bike path covered in patches of asphalt. After 25 yards, there was another 90-degree right angle that took me to an abrupt pitch and then back to the main road heading to the junior high for T2. I decided the best strategy for Saturday would be to get away from any racers and take it easy.

After a little phone tag with Collin it was time to finally meet my Triple Threat Triathlon teammates! We decided the best place to meet up was at T2. I pulled in the parking lot donning my new TTT Under Armour shirt and spotted the crew immediately. Hugs and handshakes around the circle, and a positive air of pre-race energy hummed in the air. Dropped my run gear off and prayed I had not forgotten anything- luckily Collin was watching me put gear in my bag and ran through the list with me.


Now it was time to head to T1 and drop off our bikes. We met up at Lucky Peak reservoir where Stewart did a quick look over everyone’s bikes. I debated on the shoes attached to the bike strategy- decided to go for it although I had not practiced this yet this season.
We headed to the team house and had a great visit, pre race strategy discussion, while Stewart put together an amazing meal!! Nick arrived around 11p.m. so I didn’t get to meet him until Saturday morning.

Race day:

Saturday morning I decided to get up around 6 a.m. for breakfast- I typically skip this or have a small amount but the 10 a.m. race start had me thinking I should change my ways. Then it was off to the shuttle bus at Julia Davis Park. The bus ride was pretty quick- we waited longer then we rode it. Continued a nice visit with Collin and Jackie on the way.

Once we arrived at the reservoir, we ran into Howard who reviewed the bike course with us. He gave us the run down on the shift in the “breeze” and what to prepare for once we got out on the bike. Then we were off to T1 to put the final touches on our bikes. I waited in the bathroom line for about 30 minutes, then got my wetsuit on and prayed I would not have any troubles with the zipper as I had earlier in the week.

I was in wave 9, which left at 10:40 a.m. We waded out to the buoys, and I was pleased the water temperature was perfect. Good thing I didn’t buy those booties they had suggested! The gun went off and I spent the first 25 yards combat swimming with some lady who apparently wanted a piggyback ride… After some not so subtle kicking on my part I shook her off and was on my way. I did not see another yellow cap for the rest of the swim. The swim was so smooth; on the last turn that infamous breeze kicked in and so began the washing machine swim. I got out of the water 1st in my age group, looked down at my watch and was immediately disappointed with my 35-minute time.

it was fun seeing TTT teammates throughout the day; Jeff Kirkland (OR) was silky smooth in T1
T1 was a .23 mi uphill run, thank goodness we were greeted by wet suit strippers at the top of the hill. Those guys are awesome! Got that thing off and ran for my bike- oops I didn’t realize we would be running on the back side of the transition area. No problems, found my bike immediately. Got out of T1 quick- although it seemed like a lifetime. No troubles with my shoes attached to the pedals- I was gone without a hitch.

The bike had everything, a screaming downhill from the dam followed by a 1-mile climb. A couple of unpleasant turn arounds, potholes, a single width zig zagged foot path, 90 degree turns, and did I mention the chip seal? Oh- there was a lot of that… Oh and a breeze- hahaha! Needless to say, I did not PR on the bike but I feel good about it- the obstacles definitely contributed to a loss of momentum on more than one occasion. I did see Jackie and Jeff out on the bike course and that definitely boosted my spirits- a familiar face!! I got passed by a few ladies in my age group over the 56-mile bike and moved into 4th place. I started to worry about the run, knowing that is where I lose the most ground.

Now time for T2- that one was a little faster and I was hesitant to leave because I felt like I must have forgotten something. I got out of the junior high parking lot, into the final leg of the race, and spent the first 3 miles in full sun. My first mile was under 8 minutes; I was a little worried I was setting myself up so I backed off a bit. I heard Collin yell at me at mile 3, another boost in spirits! Once I got to mile 6 I realized things were going to be tough. My stomach got a bit irritated, but I kept a positive outlook and ran each mile at a time versus getting overwhelmed. My time dropped, but I focused on staying hydrated and not giving up like I did last year in Calgary. A little “Uptown Funk” singing kept me moving along. At mile 6 I was passed again and moved into 5th place, and at mile 8 I got passed one more time and just hoped I could hang on to 6th place. Although I was not able to get my run splits any faster, I was able to put more into my final mile and bring my finish time to a 1’56. Definitely not a run PR for me, and honestly not the 1’50 I was hoping for- but again I didn’t give up and stayed positive the entire run which doesn’t ever happen for me…

I sprinted the final half mile and do not really remember the finish chute. The volunteers there were amazing; one of them covered me in a wet washcloth and walked with me to see if I was ok. And that was it- a final time of 5’25…

The final wrap up:

At the end of the day, a lot of positives came from this race for me. I overcame a close call with shoulder surgery earlier in the year, with the swim measured at an actual 1.38 miles swam in 35 minutes; my pace actually came out to 1’25/100yds, which is not bad. Oh, and I was the first swimmer for my age group!

I did not race on race wheels but my bike was super comfortable. I kept both wheels on the ground, and didn’t flat. My nutrition was not solid but I stayed hydrated. Unfortunately I threw up on the bike-but was never hungry the entire race. I had the 4th fastest bike time in my AG.

I know running more this year made me a stronger runner. Doing intervals and tempo runs religiously gave me faith in my strength, but I think there is still one more piece of the puzzle I have not filled in yet…Yet somehow I still managed to squeeze out the 9th fastest run time for my AG.

I finished 6th out of 52 in my age group, 20th overall for women, and 165th out of 1120 total athletes.

At the end of the day I had the opportunity to claim a spot to the World Championships in Austria, but after some thinking of logistics and the August 30th race date- I decided to pass and try again another year when it is not so far away… I am still thrilled that they called my name for a spot :)

I give Boise 70.3 a 100%- I loved this race and hope that they get the contract so I can do it all over again!!!


Related Posts:




Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Ironman Boise 70.3 Race Report

Once the “Alaskan Assassin” known as Joleen White announced her plans for Boise 70.3, we decided to make it a regional Triple Threat Triathlon team event… I mean, how often can you meet up with your Anchorage teammate? We rallied the troops and were able to have 7 of us in attendance, with 6 states represented: Alaska, Washington, Oregon, Utah (x 2), Colorado, and Hawaii. We rented a place for the team through VRBO, and our Colorado teammate Stewart even doubled as an amazing team chef and bike mechanic. Overall it was an awesome weekend.












I went into this race extremely relaxed, in part due to the fun team vibe, but also because my expectations were so low. For one, I didn’t feel I had gotten in enough long rides/runs in training. But more than that, for the first time since running a marathon with IT band issues over a decade ago, I went to bed the night before the race not knowing if I’d be able to get the job done, period.

A little backstory:


The week before the race was a rare mid-year vacation for myself and fam (parents, siblings and their spouses). One day we got into some water basketball at the hotel, which was surprisingly a blast. However, as with many activities, the intensity level ratcheted up with each passing game. What was initially a fun game became more competitive, yet still a good time. It became increasingly impossible to get anywhere near the hoop without getting completely mauled, and if there had been a ref of some kind, everyone would have fouled out almost immediately.

There’s often that moment in these situations where someone loses their cool and it goes from friendly to, well, less friendly. With all the blatant fouling that had been going on (in good fun), my brother’s whining about me accidentally scratching his arm on a shot struck me as ridiculous. Shortly thereafter we both dove for a ball, and since my left arm happened to already be around his neck, I figured I’d give him the business with a little brotherly headlock accompanied with a nice dunk under water. It was a dirty play, a flagrant foul for sure, but not intended to be overly malicious. My brother came up hot, but after a couple minutes we were fine. The group did however decide it was best to move on to other activities.



it's only a game, Focker!!

Despite no bad blood afterwards, as I texted my brother a couple days later, I definitely got the worst of the exchange in the form of bruised ribs. You know what they say about karma…

I went for a swim several days before Boise and could sense I might be in trouble. A 20 min little taper run 3 days out confirmed it, as I was doubling over in pain and grunting like an Eastern European female tennis player with every other stride. The day before the race I did a 10 minute test jog with similar results… I was in for a world of hurt.

Race day came, and we took our time in the morning before eventually hopping one of the shuttle buses around 8:30 for this unique 10AM start. We were all really quick in transition and then it was the waiting game for our individual waves. I had bought an Ace elastic bandage to wrap around my chest in an effort to give a little support, and I tucked two of those hand warmer things skiiers often put in their gloves into the bandage to try to provide some extra warmth. It was worth a shot.

it hurts riiiight here
Once my wave was given the green light to enter the water, we had ~5 min until go time. Usually I like to warm up as much as possible, but after my first little breaststroke motion to get to the starting buoys I could tell it would only hurt, so I just lightly treaded water. The gun went off and I gritted my teeth with every pull. I soon realized that breathing to my right (I’m 50/50 in the pool but usually left on race day) was slightly less painful so I went to that for much of the way. It was pretty much a hard pull with the right arm followed by a “wet noodle” pull with my left, but it got the job done. As a positive of the slower swim, I felt great from an aerobic standpoint as I exited the water.

Swim 42:11   44% (vs. the field)


It was soon clear we were in for a windy day. The weatherman that morning had labeled it “breezy,” which I equated to an old high school math teacher of mine who claimed his notoriously long & difficult tests were “quizzes.” That said, I was just stoked to be out of the water, and I tried to stay aero and keep a positive mindset. There were a few changes to the course from last year, none of which favored the athletes… hilly and on not great roads, with multiple turnarounds that completely broke your momentum. It was a challenging day & course, but it was fun spotting a few teammates along the way. I used Hammer Perpetuem as my one and only source of calories on the ride, rode within myself and felt good. That said, several times I wondered how I would manage running 13.1 miles when 13.1 minutes was so tough in the days leading up to the race.

Bike 2:51    22%

thanks to Stewart for getting our bikes good to go!

My little moment of truth arrived as I went through T2 and started an apprehensive jog. I could definitely feel the pain, but it felt different that my short runs the days before. I wasn’t doubling over in pain… it felt doable, and I was ecstatic. The swim and bike mixed with some race day adrenaline must have loosened things up a bit. Still, I popped a few ibuprofen at the start of the run for good measure. I ran with a Hammer flask and went to it early for some hits of Montana Huckleberry gel. I always break the run of a 70.3 into thirds, running the first 4 miles at one full notch slower than “comfortable.” So extra comfortable I guess. If I’d have put in more volume I might have been more aggressive, but from my experience it’s so easy to start out too hard. A pace that feels easy in the beginning will eventually get tough to maintain, and the goal is to be running miles 8-13 (not just running, but hopefully putting the screws down if possible).

I felt great for that first third, then set out to run 5-8 with a little more purpose. However, there’s such a fine line in long-course racing between feeling great and feeling like you ran into a brick wall. I regularly took more hits of gel, along with water, and dumped ice in my hat at multiple aid stations. I kept my same pace as the first third, but it was far less easy.

The final third is gut check time, and my pace started to fade ~20 sec. After the race 
Joleen mentioned that she had a very upbeat and positive tune in her head to keep her moving. I can’t remember what it was exactly, but I envision something like this:


On the other hand, I needed to channel something more like this to get me thru miles 9-13:


In the closing miles I popped a couple Endurolytes to ward off what felt like a potential cramp in my calf. At one of the final aid stations I double fisted some cups of water and threw them in my face, which actually seemed to help more than drinking it. Finally the homestretch, which is always a great feeling. As always, the support and volunteers were amazing. The city of Boise puts on a great race!


the Alaskan Assassin claimed
me among her many victims

Run 1:55    21%

Overall 5:33   21%  (197th / 951,  31st / 123 in AG)



It was so great to hang out as a team, which made this a very memorable race. David Wild (Hawaii) was incredible, placed 20th overall in 4:34 and qualifying for 70.3 Worlds in Austria. He’ll be joined by David Fernandez (Florida) who qualified last month at Chattanooga 70.3. Joleen was also amazing, placing 6th in her AG in 5:25. She earned a qualifying spot for Worlds as well but ultimately decided to pass on the trip this year.





Thursday, June 11, 2015

Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini Review: Part I

Our team recently received some amazing new kicks from Under Armour, and we're excited to put them to work! Since UA is relatively new to the runner/triathlete space, we'll continue to share our thoughts as a team in future posts. Here Kristen Lodge (Arizona) shares some initial feedback from her first test run.

I love running in new socks. I love trying new shoes. And most importantly, I love a new running playlist. As a triathlete I love mixing it up and trying new things to stay motivated on the run.

I am anxious to try out the new UA SpeedForm Gemini running shoes on my Sunday run.


However these three things prove not to be enough to get out of bed at 4:30am when the alarm goes off...

Today in Tucson the temperature forecast is a high of 103 and that motivates me to finally roll out of bed at 5:30 and out the door with new shoes, new socks, sporting my Ironman Texas finisher hat for the first time, and a new playlist.

Winnie-dog wishes she could run with
me but it's just too hot in Tucson
This is my first time running in Under Armour running shoes.

They are lightweight and breathable which is very important to me running in hot conditions in Tucson. The lightweight feel is good in the heat as I try to pick up the pace. I run on different surfaces when I can. I run on the dirt next to the sidewalk or the paved bike lane. The shoe grasps the ground well in all conditions.

Since I’m still in recovery mode from my Ironman, I walk a bit and try to take in the true feel of the shoe. The toe box isn’t as big as some other running shoes I’ve tried but the snug fit feels good on this run.

The final three miles of the run is downhill and I test the shoe by picking up the pace and they feel great. I really like the shoe.

Today is just a 7 mile run and later in the week is a track workout and tempo run. I plan to wear the SpeedForm during these workouts and review how they feel.


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