Saturday, August 29, 2015

Pre-Race Check In: Ironman 70.3 World Championships!

We're stoked to have two Triple Threat Triathlon team members racing at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Zell am See-Kaprun, Austria this weekend: David Fernandez (Florida) and David Wild (Hawaii). Mr. Fernandez checked in via email in an effort to kill time on his flight, and Mr. Wild and I attempted to Facetime as he was relaxing by the lake earlier today. The connection was not the best, but I at least managed to get a few sound bites from the Wildman. Best of luck tomorrow, guys!

So how are you feeling going into the World Champs?

DF: I am very excited about toeing the line with the best athletes in the World at the HIM distance. It is a reward for all the hard work I've put in and an honor to be here. For sure, this will be a race and an experience that I won't forget.

DW: I feel good! I'm hoping this will be a breakthrough race for me.

(David Fernandez) Will you have a chance to stop off in Spain as part of your trip?

Unfortunately not. However, my parents will travel to Zell am See to see me race (is there anything awesome parents don't do for their kids?). It is for sure a shorter flight than coming to visit me in Miami!

How have you felt about your season thus far, and how has training gone over the last few months?

DF: If I have to summarize this season with a word, it would be "different." I used to race quite often (7-8 races per year, sometimes more), but this year I've only raced 3 times so far and 2 to go. This approach allowed me to focus on training and working on my weaknesses. The results are there so far: 3rd OA in a local Oly, and 15th and 6th AG in national Ironman 70.3 races, including significant PRs and qualifying for Worlds. So less racing, but more quality and happy with the results.

As far as training, I also changed my approach: I reduced volume (probably doing 65-75% of what I did last year) and increased intensity. Overall, I'm very happy with my training, I think I've been very consistent with my bike and run, but after putting some serious work during the offseason on my swimming, I couldn't swim as much as I wanted during the last few weeks due to some shoulder pain.

DW: Training has been good, but I've been, what's the saying? Burning the candle at both ends. I've been putting in ~15 hrs/week, which is the most I could possibly handle while devoting the time to be the best teacher I can be as well. It's been a lot of early wakeups, ocean swims in the dark (which can be a little sketchy!), etc.

Wildman, how sweet was it to qualify at Boise 70.3 after barely missing out at Hawaii 70.3 (8th overall - yet 3rd in AG with only 2 spots qualifying for Worlds)?

It was a great feeling, there just happened to be some young, fast guys show up at Hawaii. I'm glad I could cash in on my second try.

What are your goals for the race?

DF: I know you will tell me that I always set the bar low and then outperform myself, but my main goal at Worlds is to have an injury free race that allows me to fine tune my body for IM Chattanooga in 4 weeks. Honestly, I haven't thought about times at all for this race.

I know your track record, David Fernandez! You have a tendency to be modest with goals and expectations but then you go out and destroy them… are you sandbagging on us?

DF: Ha, knew it!! I agree that it may have looked like it in the past, but I don't sandbag you at all. I think I am a "racer" type of athlete. I am very competitive, I am mentally tough, and when it is "go time" that allows me to push my body beyond what I think it is capable of.

Not trying to sandbag anybody, but I even surprise myself sometimes... In quite a few races I went way faster than in any training session ever before.

On that note, which race is more important to you, this or Ironman Chattanooga next month?

Definitely IM Chattanooga. I haven't raced since May 17th, when I qualified for Worlds, and all my training since then has been focused on IMCHOO.

Have you taken a peek at the forecast? Also, what do you know about the course, and will you have a chance to preview it?

DF: Not at all. Actually, this past week the weather forecast I've been tracking was related to tropical storm Erika that may hit Miami as a Category 1 hurricane... Also, I'm sure the weather at the Austrian Alps will me much cooler and less humid than in Miami and, more importantly, something I can't control, so I usually tend not to worry too much about it.

I wish I had time to preview the course, but unlike most people I know that arrived between Tuesday/Wednesday, I don't arrive in Zell Am See until Friday afternoon (saving those precious vacation days for later this year!). I will have enough time to go through the registration process, assemble my bike, hopefully rest a little bit, and race before packing everything again and traveling back home (it is almost a 20 hour trip with flights and driving time: fun!)

What’s your race strategy?

DF: Keeping in mind that my goal is to test where I am and avoid too much stress so I can recover in time for IMCHOO, this is what I'm thinking:

a. Swim: do my absolute best. After not swimming much lately, I really want to see where I 
am and what I need to work on.

b. Bike: do my absolute best. Even though it is a course that doesn't suit my abilities very well (there's an 8 mile climb with 8%+ sections!), I'll ride to the best of my possibilities.

c. Run: here is where I will pull the breaks a little. Swimming and biking don't create as much stress and injury possibility as running. As of right now, I'm thinking about running 6-7 miles at my best, and then cruising the rest.

DW: I've decided I'm not going to worry about data, I'm gonna go primarily by feel. I might check my power a few times on the one big climb, but for the most part I'm just going to go as hard as I can.

Fernandez, what’s your prediction for Mr. David Wild?
He is going to CRUSH IT!! This is the most important race of the season for him. He's been training pro-like for this race, he’s had ample time in Zell Am See to check the course, rest, and adapt, and he is VERY fast! I’m not sure where he’s going to finish, (the competition is obviously pretty good!) but he is going to be up there.

Wildman, your wave (M2529) starts a mere 6 min after David Fernandez' wave (M3034)... first of all, will you be catching him, and if so, do you predict on the swim, bike, or run? Will you pat him on the ass as you go by?

Lost connection... I reckon his answer would have been 1) yes 2) on the run, and 3) absolutely.

Fernandez, when is the little guy due again? What makes you more nervous: the thought of changing a flat or changing that first diaper?

First baby Fernandez-DeMarco is due October 29th, although my wife thinks he will come a couple of weeks early, so it could end up being a Kona baby... we are beyond excited to meet him!!

I hope I am faster changing diapers than changing flats, or we will be in serious trouble!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Ironman Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report - Joleen White

Just two days back at work after summer vacation, I packed up my bike and headed for Washington. Although Washington is typically a quick trip from Alaska (exactly why I love this race), our travel time turned into a 9-hour trip. Apparently a thunderstorm closed the airport, which delayed arrival, bags, rental car, etc. After a nice gas station dinner of cup o’noodles, I finally got to bed and attempted to sleep in before bib pick up and bike drop off later that morning.

Bib pick up was painless, but I decided to have the bike mechanic look over my bike to ensure it was all set to go. The mechanic noticed some shifting issues so he worked on that and then we were set to drop off my bike. The remainder of the day was restful, and I had a dinner of big noodles and sauce before an early bedtime. I had a restless sleep, and got up at 4:30 for breakfast and departure to the race for body marking and final bike set up.

The first wave of swimmers took off at 6:15 and the fog was still sitting on the water. I cannot recall racing Lake Stevens with fog on the water… definitely made for an eerie swim! The water was 70 degrees- just cool enough to allow for wetsuits. I was hoping it would be non-wetsuit legal as that would have been an advantage for me.

My wave was lucky #13, second to the last, and the latest start wave I have ever had in an Ironman race. The horn went off and I sprinted to the lead. There was another female in my age group who seemed to insist on leading. I decided I would let her, but unfortunately she was not quite swimming straight, so I had to back off a few times to allow her to swim across my line and back- a little irritating. We got to the turn around buoy and the fog became a bit of an issue. I am glad I wore my Crimson Roka goggles instead of my mirrored!! I seemed to be swimming pretty straight but it took a lot more work to see each buoy. My swim mate was still all over the place and finally got hung up in a group of swimmers with 400 yards to go- then I made my move and picked up the pace. I dropped her and was out of the water first. My overall swim time was 30’08, not my fastest, but close. I’ll take it considering how many people I had to work to pass in the water.

Only a half mile into the bike I got stuck behind the support vehicle and wound up finally yelling at them to clear the way so we could get by. The bike course at Lake Stevens is beautiful! My first race on dry pavement at Lake Stevens. Lots of hills and turns, and 3000+ feet of climbing. My overall average bike speed was 18 mph and max speed was 42 mph. My final time on the bike was a disappointing 2’58. That bike tune up I had turned out to be a bad move- whatever changes the mechanic made to my shifter resulted in losing the gear I use most. My bike kept slipping every time I tried to shift into it, and I was often stuck in an easier gear spinning my legs or a slower gear grinding it out… I am still stumped regarding my bike time; hill climbs are my strength. There were numerous times that I had to slow down due to vehicle traffic… there were more cars on the course then I have ever seen. With 5 miles left on the bike at one intersection, an officer allowed a dooley truck pulling a 20’ trailer of hay to go ahead of us. I was racing with another female in my age group back and forth on the course, and we were both stuck. She yelled, “What should we do?” I said “F*#% it! Let’s go!” so hugging the yellow line we passed him up a steep twisting turn. At this point I was already disappointed with my bike time, trying to stay positive and hoping I could stay in the top 5. I came into T2 in 3rd place, frustrated, and worried about falling apart after thrashing my legs on all the climbs.
T2 moved quickly although the lady next to me had a frickin garage sale scattered all over and buried my running gear. I had my lucky Hammer flask filled with Fizz (thanks Jackie!) just like Boise. Threw my XX2i sunglasses on, and my Under Armour visor- the fog was gone and we were looking at 70+ degrees- time to run in the sun!

I decided my running strategy would be a little different this race. Why not let myself go and not hold back? I am super glad for this decision. I was able to get into a rhythm and kept it rolling. Unfortunately user error on my Garmin led to absolutely no clue to overall race time. I had a good idea of where I was at, and decided to just do the math on each mile. This worked out great, kept my mind preoccupied, and mile-by-mile I set a new goal. I knew I was pacing somewhere in the 8 minute mile range and kept it up throughout the hill climbs and descents. I finished lap one and thought I was in 7th place, feeling a little depressed until I saw my husband and he said something about “no you are still in 3rd!” Another reason I love this course is because it is very spectator friendly. I saw my husband a few times on the run and he kept cheering me all along.

Around mile 10 I started thinking about how much work I have done this summer, how much time I missed away from family and friends while training and racing. I began to question why I do this sport, and why in the world would I ever want to do a full Ironman?! Asking myself questions like “what would make me feel successful as a triathlete?”, “am I successful or just a weekend warrior?”, and “is this all really worth it?” I tried to shut this emotional melt down off and figured I could do anything for 3 miles so just get it done! At mile 12 I had major stomach issues… I panicked and stopped abruptly. Luckily I had been running with someone who was behind me at the time, he said “one mile that’s it- don’t quit now!” I decided I could keep it together for that final mile and headed for the finish. With a half-mile or so left I actually picked up the pace and sprinted to the finish. My final run time was 1’52, my fastest at the end of a Half Ironman! I was thrilled I kept it together the entire run.

When I crossed the finish line and saw my final time I started bawling. I know I have a 5’15 in me- and I really wanted that today! All the “should haves” came to the surface. Jason was puzzled- I told him all of the thoughts I was having, doubting myself, etc. Then a couple approached me, the woman finished ahead of me and placed 4th by 15 seconds. They told me that everyone had the same comments regarding the bike, even the top finishers. She had done the race a couple years back in worse conditions (same as me) and biked even slower today on dry pavement. I felt a little better knowing I was not the only person frustrated with the bike. Jason pulled up my final time and told me I actually placed 5th in my age group, and I also had a 10 second overall PR time.

After calming down and reflecting, I realized there were some small accomplishments I should be proud of. My wave was second to last, and after doing the math I think I passed around 800 athletes- that’s a lot of work! I was first in the swim in both half-ironman races this summer despite a shoulder injury earlier this year. I also spent more time running this season than ever before and am finally knocking minutes off my run- Sunday was a PR for my half Ironman run. I am thankful for Sunday’s 5th place age group finish, and 15th for women overall. I've placed higher this year than in years past.

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Friday, August 21, 2015

Ironman Timberman 70.3 Race Report - Rob Forshaw

she said yes!!!
This summer has been a memorable one for a lot of reasons, from great training, some good race results and most importantly getting engaged to my best friend! At the beginning of the summer I took on my second 70.3 ever, the Patriot Half down in East Freetown Massachusetts. I was set up for a great race and was in 2nd in my AG off the bike but due to some mess ups with nutrition I bonked hard on the run and had a not so ideal day. Fast forward 6 weeks later, I was set to start my 2nd 70.3 of the year coming onto some good fitness.

Timberman is an up and coming Ironman branded 70.3 race on Lake Winnipesauke in Laconia, New Hampshire. It was going to be my first Ironman branded race and I was really excited because I heard nothing but great things about the race and had been responding well to my training over the past month. I was especially looking forward to the difficult bike that many talk about with its early and late steep climbs. It would be the ultimate test of how my bike fitness is.

wakey wakey it's racing time!!
We headed up to New Hampshire to stay at Katie’s parent’s house Friday night with the plan of heading up to the lakes region Saturday afternoon. This was great because it allowed me to get a quick little ride in Saturday morning. I was feeling really fresh but also a little flat, primarily because I was inactive the entire week due to travel for work. With a quick easy ride in the books we shot up I-93 and were able to check in and drop my bike off all within an hours’ time. I was shocked to see how many people were registered for the race, roughly 2,000 people. The largest triathlon I ever raced in had 800 people so this was a change of pace. The most surprising thing is how well organized it was even with all that were racing. After check-in we had a nice early dinner at the hotel we stayed at up the street from the race site and had the lights out by 8:00 PM.

Race Morning

I rose nice and early at 3:45 AM. I have found this is the perfect amount of time for me to have a nice big breakfast and not feel full for the start of the race. We pulled into race central a little before 5:00 AM at Ellacoya State park. I was shocked to see how many people were already there! Some saying they arrived as early as 3:30 AM! I was able to get my transition area all set up within 45 minutes and realized I had a couple of hours until I would be in the water. Because of this time to kill I made sure to stay on top of my hydration as I knew it was going to be a hot one!


The pros were scheduled to go off at 7:00 AM and I discovered I would not be for another hour and twenty minutes. The M18-24 AG was the last in the water at 8:20; this meant a lot of down time which was spent hanging out with Katie, her parents and my biggest fan of the day, Baxter! After much waiting and trips into the water to relieve mysel... I mean warm up, it was my wave.

Baxter cheering me on during the swim
The swim was a lot easier than I was expecting. When the horn went off I had a little bit of contact for the first 200 yards, but after that I was pleasantly surprised to have my own space. That was until we made contact with the back of the pack from earlier waves. The swim was essentially a big rectangle and I was shocked at how fast I was able to get through the first 2/3rds of the swim. On the final turn however things slowed down as the tide was coming out and a bit of chop started to develop on the lake. At times I could have sworn I was swimming in place. At this point I had to hammer through and not worry about my form and just keep at it. I reminded myself how good the swim had been so far and kept these thoughts in my head and just kept on trudging along. I finally hit shore with a solid 34:30, a new 1.2 mile swim PR! Considering a year ago it would have taken me 42-43 minutes, I felt on top of the world!


I was excited for the bike because I knew it was my strength and knew being in the last wave I would be experiencing a continuous slingshot effect as I passed people. My plan was to keep my wattage just as I did for the Patriot Half, with an NP between 225-230 W. The only difference was to not burn a lot of matches on the big climbs in the 1st and last 10 miles of the course. Heading out of transition you start out on a gradual climb, get a nice descent and flat section followed by some pretty killer climbs. After that it is pancake flat until you hit the same climbs on the way in. 

total climbing on the bike was 3629 ft
I was very happy with my bike and was hitting my wattage perfectly, passing people left and right. The first 30 miles of the bike I was crushing the course, averaging 23.5 MPH. At the turnaround I knew I was going to have to back off a little to make sure there was enough gas in the tank for some big climbs in the last 10 miles. I kept my wattage down around 220 and for the last 26 miles ended with a 20 MPH average. 

I ended up heading into transition with a 2:36 bike split, not my fastest, but considering the climbs on this course I sacrificed speed to save my legs. Stepping off the bike I felt great, and my legs hardly had any fatigue. I did notice however a slight lump in my gut. After the race I realized I probably consumed too many carbohydrates on the bike and my body couldn’t process it.


While on the bike I did not realize how hot it had gotten, but once things slowed down on the run I realized it was wicked HOT. Upon checking the temperatures later on, it was in the mid 90’s with a crazy high humidity when I started the run. I knew I was in for a real treat for this run. The first 3 miles were okay… I had some stomach aches from the extra fuel I was carrying in my gut, but was able to persevere through them and keep going. My hope was to average 7:30’s, but with this heat that was out the window. I now just wanted to keep a steady pace for the entire run and go all by RPE (feel). For some reason the heat has been affecting me this entire summer. Even on easy runs during my training I just cannot hold a fast pace. With this in the back of my mind I kept on chugging, but my pace was steadily falling to 9:30-10:00 min miles.

By the time I finished the 1st lap of the two lap course I was not physically tired but just constantly overheating. I estimate I took in 1-2 cups of water at every aid station every mile and I dumped another 3-5 cups on myself to keep cool. It got especially hard when just a few hundred feet away there was this gorgeous lake that I just wanted to jump into and keep cool. I continued on and promised myself I could jump in once I finished. I eventually finished the half marathon with a slow 2:10. My final time for the day was 5:24, a new PR for me at the 70.3 distance but nowhere near my potential.

the reward after a long, hot race
One thing I have learned this year about long distance racing that is different from sprint distance is that even with the best fitness and training, there will be hiccups that get in the way of you executing your plan. It is a mental game to keep on persevering through. I know I have it in me to go sub 5hrs and I have one more 70.3 to give it a try this year. I have approximately 4 weeks of race prep to get ready for it. My plan is to put a big emphasis on my run, which has been continuously disappointing me in half iron distance racing. I know my triathlon run times are nowhere near a reflection of what my open run times are and I am hoping at Pumpkinman next month I will be able to tie together all 3 disciplines into a great race! I am motivated and extremely excited. Last but not least, on the drive back to Boston on Monday I registered for Ironman Mont Tremblant 2016! This has added a little bit more motivation to my build for Pumpkinman.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

TTT Exclusive - Interview with Hammer CEO Brian Frank

It was out of necessity – if you fuel right, you feel right. That was the baseline in which Brian Frank began building Hammer Nutrition. In the mid '80s, the Baby Boomers were in a fitness craze – often working out twice to three times as much as the average person had in the past. As endurance athletes know, the more you workout, the more fuel you need. Brian wanted to create nutritional supplements that were not only great for the body, but also pure. To this day, Hammer Nutrition keeps their products as simple as possible and stays away from sugars and other unneeded fillers.

Triple Threat Triathlon had the pleasure of interviewing Brian Frank in an exclusive interview to get more knowledge of not only Brian himself, Hammer Nutrition, and their products, but also the advice he has for everyday age groupers in the sport of triathlon. Thanks for the time, Brian!

Triple Threat Triathlon (TTT): Thank you for your time today, we are very excited to speak with you and pick your brain. You basically started the Hammer brand from your home and have helped it grow into one of the largest nutrition and fueling brands in the endurance sports realm. What drove you to start the company and did you ever think it would grow like this?

Brian Frank (BF): It’s a pleasure and thank you for having me. When we first started, I never thought we would get this big. I really wanted to keep it to 5 or 6 employees and keep everything simple – something that would just pay the bills. However in business, you need to continue growing or you’ll fall behind and close. We achieved my business goals in 1989 and had to create new ones – that tells you how small we were thinking.

Hammer started out of necessity. I was using natural supplements to help my energy levels, but that was really odd in the '80s. Race Caps was our first product – it is meant to kill off the free radicals in our bodies that prevent our recovery. No one else knew what they were other than it worked.
We have had all of the big stores come after us asking to carry our products – Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, and online portals such as Amazon. In the end that isn’t us. We want the small family style business. Are we losing money because of it? Yes. However, I’m not going to go against my principles to make an extra buck. Our principles are helping the grassroots individuals – the brick and mortar of our sports. This is local bike shops, running shops, and independent stores.

TTT: Hammer is known for its dedication to all natural ingredients, which has earned the company many loyal customers. With some other fueling/nutrition companies not having such standards and using sugar and artificial sweeteners to create chews and gummies, how do you stay on top and compete?

BF: We can’t stay on top of them and we don’t really consider them competition. We offer a much different product – we don’t offer candy products. We can do this because we don’t have investors, it is just me. Everything has to run by me before we can even think about researching it. I’m not going to sacrifice what I believe is the right thing to do over making an extra buck.

If customers are looking for a low calorie food base, such as those chews, we have the Perpetuem solids. These are the same minimal food concept without all of the additives. We strive for what is great for the body while making it taste the best it can.

above Brian talks about Perpetuem... incredible fuel for IM and 70.3 distances

TTT: In endurance sports, the more you race, and the longer the distance, the more important fueling and nutrition needs become. Nutrition plans are essentially the fourth leg of a triathlon and arguably the most important when racing long course. Hammer publishes a lot of great information online that can help your customers make the proper fueling choices. In your experience, what is the most common mistake athletes make when it comes to nutrition?

BF: The biggest mistake I see people make is they try to do too much. They push too hard on the swim and bike, and they take in too much nutrition. There are so many athletes who take in too much nutrition that they end up having these terrible races... I’m talking 300-400 calories an hour athletes.

A lot of athletes will also eat before a large workout. What happens is you then burn your glycogen before your fat, thus preventing fat burning which is what your body uses to burn during long workouts. You need to set up your metabolism system so you are burning fat to start off with rather than your glycogen. You should start thinking three hours before your workout. You should have all of your food digested and your body fully hydrated.

We have a customer who just finished Badwater 135 and his biggest change was his caloric intake. He went from 300 calories and throwing up an hour to just shy of 200 and having a big Personal Record.

TTT: We’ve noticed that Hammer Nutrition is a big supporter within the age group ranks in triathlon and endurance sports. When racing, there always seems to be athletes racing in Hammer kits, and I often see Hammer products either officially or unofficially being used on race courses. It also seems that Hammer has made the conscious effort to invest more in the sponsorship of amateur athletes rather than heavily in the pro ranks. Is this true, and if so, can you talk a bit about why that choice was made and if you have future plans to expand the pro presence?

BF: Hammer has always been a big supporter of the grassroots athlete. We first started with the big pro athletes to get our name out there in the 1980s. However, if you notice with our sport of triathlon there isn’t a worship mentality. Sure we have professional athletes out there, but our sport doesn’t look at them like football, baseball, or basketball fans look at their pro athletes. Also, our main clientele isn’t professional athletes – it is the Mom or Dad who wants to get a leg up on their age group counterpart. They wanted to know what their competitors were doing.

We also don’t go after the big races such as Ironman. That isn’t who we are. We are focused on the local community and supporting them – the local A races. We aren’t in Wal-Mart, Target or any other big chain stores except REI. We are in the local big shops, running shops, or other local sports stores because that is our philosophy. We want to grow bigger while keeping the integrity of our product. Last year alone we sponsored over 2,500 events – 60% of them being triathlons.

TTT: The triathlon and endurance sport world is growing and participants are always looking for the next great thing, whether it be gear, training, or fueling. How does Hammer plan to stay on top and continue to grow with the sport and what can we expect to see from Hammer in the next few years?

the iconic Hammer crank
BF: Well, there will not be any drastic changes to our nutritional products. We don’t have investors or shareholders – so it is just me. You may see some new flavors come out, possibly new supplements or drink variations. It’ll be the same motto of “no compromise products.”

We have roughly 2 or 3 new products we are researching – but there is no rush on it. I would rather make the product right and not just add a bunch of useless additives in the mixes. We may be leaving a lot of money on the table – but I am not going to sacrifice principles for profits. I am willing to lose money if the product doesn’t match my core principles.

Keeping up with other companies, we don’t worry about. We aren’t going to add sugar to improve taste because that is not who we are. We find that many individuals try Hammer and love it. But in our sport, athletes like the latest and greatest thing. We’ll lose customers, but they always come back because they know our product is superior. 

TTT: We notice that you offer free consultations for customers – how often is that used and what is it all about?

BF: Yes, and that is something we will continue to do. We offer this because not everyone understands all of our products and what they are truly meant for. We want people to call in and take advantage of this. You’ll expect to hear someone on the phone who knows and understands our products as well as understands the benefit of them for each type of event. Many people will order online and that is without truly knowing if it is the right product for you. Call us and you may end up changing your entire nutritional plan for the better!

Learn more at

Saturday, August 15, 2015

New TTT Sponsor: Argon 18!!

Triple Threat Triathlon is pleased to announce a partnership with Argon 18, a top-tier bike company known within the industry for its innovation and emphasis on research & development.

Much more to come, but for now check out the video below to be properly introduced to the Argon 18 E-118 Next!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Ironman Treatment Facility - Heading North!

A few weeks ago I wrote about some symptoms I'd been experiencing. The condition is known as the "Ironman Itch," and I laid out a few treatment facilities that could cure me should the condition develop into a full-blown case. I should have known better, but cheerleading at Ironman Boulder put it over the top. I was breaking out in hives, so to speak, and had no choice but to seek help! See you next August??

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Ironman Chattanooga: Racing For A Cause

Chad Zeman (North Carolina) is racing Ironman Chattanooga for a great cause on Sep. 27th.  Please read his letter below and consider making a contribution towards his goal. Chad is a 3x Ironman, a former collegiate runner, and has gone 2:50 at the Boston Marathon. He has offered 6 months of coaching services for a donation of $300 to his cause. Please contact through our site if interested in this offer. Thanks!

Dear Family and Friends,

I have recently decided to take on a new challenge that will require much dedication, determination and perseverance. I can hardly believe it, but I’ve decided to compete in the Ironman Chattanooga on September 27th with Team Challenge and fundraise $5,000 to find a cure for Crohn’s disease & ulcerative colitis. Team Challenge is a fundraising program for the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA).

Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are known together as inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are painful, medically incurable illnesses that attack the digestive system. It is estimated that over 1.6 million Americans have IBD, however many more suffer in silence.

Since its inception, CCFA has become the largest organization dedicated to curing IBD and has funded more than 1,100 grants for Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis research. The Foundation invests dollars wisely, funding the highest-quality IBD research anywhere in the world. The funds raised through Team Challenge directly benefit the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America to support its mission to find a cure and to improve the quality of life of children and adults affected by these diseases. More than 80 cents of every dollar donated to the Foundation goes to mission-critical programs!

I hope my effort makes a difference in fighting a disease that affects so many people. This is where I need your help, I can’t do this alone. Please consider supporting me in this effort by making a tax deductible donation to CCFA. Would you consider donating $10 for every mile I swim, bike and run? How about $5?

Every dollar counts and I will also accept ice packs, Advil and a personal cheering section. You can also donate online to my fundraising website at:

My personal fundraising deadline is September 20th. Please help me reach my goal by then!

With gratitude and appreciation,

Chad Zeman 

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Top 10 Ironman Do’s and Don’ts: Support Crew Edition

As was reported in the pre-race check in, I had the opportunity to spectate at Ironman Boulder this past weekend. It was awesome to cheer on my wife at her first Ironman, as well as teammate Katie Foster (Nebraska), as they both demonstrated the heart of a champion and got the job done! As a side note, I totally get why so many pros live in Boulder, and the city puts on a great race. The water was pristine, the bike course was beautiful (with what seemed to me to be really smooth roads), and the vibe on the mostly shaded run course was arguably the best I’ve ever seen.

A while ago I wrote a post entitled "Ironmen Don't Walk!!" which laid out the Top 10 things spectators should not say at an Ironman… being on the other side of the coin this time, here are the Top 10 Ironman Do’s and Don’ts: Support Crew Edition. 

Note: my wife, Katie, and most of the Iron men & women I saw were positive examples of each of these… a small minority of the field, however, "not so much."

10) DON’T wave your arms in the air like you just don't care encouraging the crowd to really “give it up” for you. You should be excited. You deserve it. Not trying to be rude, but some actions just look foolish. Do you know how many hundreds of people we’ve already seen and rang the cowbell for from this very spot?

9) DO savor the day, especially the finishing chute, and celebrate crossing the line!

8) DON’T showboat at mile whatever on the bike course (eg. I witnessed a few exaggerated, arrogant nods of the head, people flashing the "I'm #1" sign, thumping their chest like a gorilla, etc.). Again, it just looks foolish.

7) DO have some fun out there, and acknowledge every person (a smile, thanks, thumbs up, etc… whatever you can muster) who’s standing in the sun giving you encouragement. I try to do this and it was good to see a lot of it at Boulder.

6) DON’T provide fodder worthy of @TriExcuse during or after your race. It’s Ironman, it’s haaaaaarrrrrddd. Everybody knows that.

5) DO promise yourself you’ll give 100% to finish no matter what obstacles come your way during the day.

4) DON’T allow your thoughts to turn negative on you… the mind is a powerful thing.

3) DO stay positive by, among other things, encouraging other competitors where appropriate and (if you have the strength), giving kids “five” if they’re stretching their arm out for you. My son was actually pretty bummed whenever he was ignored!

2) DON’T give your support crew grief for not making it to every possible spot on the course… it’s not easy!

1) DO be humble, both during and afterwards. Thank all volunteers as much as you can, as well as any support you may have for being there for you. It’s a long day for them as well!