Monday, October 20, 2014

Ironman Texas 2014

(May 17, 2014)  I wasn’t sure how this race would go this year considering I cut back my training even more from the previous year.  However, I made sure I hit my key workouts and went big on the weekends.  All my long rides felt really good and I PR’d Galveston 70.3 with a 5:20 finish.  The weather was looking perfect and I was hoping for another sub 12hr finish.

My buddy Wiley and I made it down to the swim about 10mins before the cannon went off.  We staged to the far right near the shore so we didn’t have to tread water waiting for the start.  The swim was way more congested than previous years as this year was wetsuit legal and everyone started at once.  I swam comfortably and tried to keep a steady pace.  No major issues and just the typical punch, kicks, MMA fighting, etc of an Ironman swim.  Finished 1 min faster than last year but still in the same range I have finished all my previous races. 1:23:18

I started off on the bike with dead legs.  Felt like I was riding on flat tires most of the time and I couldn’t figure out what was wrong.  Was I undertrained? Nutrition off? Is it just the wind? The first 30 miles I averaged 19.1 MPH and I had to work for it.  We didn’t have the tail wind going out like previous years and the wind just got worse throughout the day.  I also had an un-normal empty stomach feeling and couldn’t get enough nutrition in to kick that feeling.  To make things worse, at special needs I had my chickfila chicken sandwich in my hand and after taking one bite, I Tony Romo’d it to the road beneath me.  I watched in horror as the buns separated from the chicken along with the signature two pickles and they all when their separate ways.  Seriously thought about turning around to salvage what I could but I kept on pedaling. Back to perpetuem for the rest of the bike. Never felt right the entire ride and struggled the rest of the way in. Off the bike in 6:31:07 (17.18 mph) – Slowest IMTX bike split.

Thought I could salvage what race I had left in me and started off on the run feeling decent.  That didn’t last long and I struggled the most of the 26.2 miles even puking a couple times. Seriously thought I might not finish and may have to pull myself off the course.  I had to walk almost all of the last lap. As I came down the finishing shoot I saw all my family, gave hugs etc., and then heard my dad yelling at me. He held out a beer for the finish line celebration. I grabbed it popped it open and took a small sip then raised my hands in the air as I was crossing the line.  Nothing beats the finishing shoot. As difficult as it was to pull myself together to finish that race, I still got it done and couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and friends. Finished the run in 6:15:39 (14:20 pace).  About 45 minutes slower than my IMCDA run split.
T1 – 8:12
T2 – 7:03
Finish - 14:25:19

As always I can't thank my family and friends who came out enough.  This was by far the toughest race I have completed and I've thought long and hard about racing Ironman again. It’s such a long day and so many things can go wrong. Something wasn't right with my nutrition or maybe even swallowing something in the swim. I’m going back next year though, I have some things to prove to myself and won’t go out having a miserable race.  I’m not worried about finishing time or anything except enjoying the journey. This should be a good one and possibly my last for a couple years.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Ironman Texas 2013

(May 18, 2013)  I felt very prepared for this race considering my training and coming off a PR at Galveston. I had several 100+ mile rides and 20+ mile runs under my belt this year.  I was pretty excited for this race as it was two of my good friends from my hometown first Ironman race (Mauricio and Wiley).  Mauricio and I went to HS together and ended up becoming good friends and training partners throughout and after college.   Wiley is a life long friend/neighbor I grew up with.  He contributed to my name "worm" (aka gusano).

Quick run down...
We all three met up the Friday before the race for the practice swim and hung out a bit after.  Wiley and I (along with our wifes) went to eat some pasta that night.  My parents and Cat surprised me at the hotel with one of my nephews (Trevor) and niece (Ariel).  The alarm went off at 3:30am and I was up roaming around the hotel room by 3:45am.  Had some coffee and my chickfila chicken biscuit then started making our way to transition to prep my bike.

No major issues getting my bike ready then I tried to find Wiley and Mauricio.  Wiley had already left transition then I found Mauricio.  He was a bit nervous so I tried to help out and get him out of transition.  We finished up with his bike and found my family to make the 1 mile walk to the swim start.  There we checked our special needs bags and met up with Wileys wife.  Before we knew it, it was time to head to the water with about 10 mins til 7am.

Mauricio and I started off to the far right of the buoys where we could stand and rest instead of tread water. That worked out for me last year and I dont think there is a better place for me to start.  The gun went off and the chaos started.  I was able to watch and hang with Mauricio for a bit and then we separated and I eventually found open water.  I swam to the right the entire course until we hit the canal where it got crazy again.  Nothing major but a slower swim than I expected or wanted.  Made it out in 1:24:18.

 It was already getting pretty hot and humid by the time I got on the bike.  I knew within the first 20 miles this was going to be a scorcher.  This ended up being the hottest IMTX and hottest weekend we have experienced since last October.  So no one was really acclimated to the heat.  Had a great tailwind on the way out and turned to come back in to town with a good headwind (all as expected).  The bike was pretty tough and I found myself stopping at the last few aid stations to get ice and extra water.  Had 2-3 electrolyte pills per hour, my chickfila chicken biscuit at the half way point, a sip of perpetuem every 20mins along with water and perform at each aid station. Started using the rear of my tri shorts as an extra water bottle holder (worked out great).  Off the bike in 6:01:31 (18.6 mph).

I felt decent starting the run and tried to keep my pace around 9 min miles.  I usually start off around 8:30s (too fast) but made an effort to hold back.  It wasnt very hard to hold back and I knew then my run wasnt going to set any records.  I walked through every aid station to cool off and to get as much fluid into me as possible.  Tried to keep a steady pace and managed mostly only to walk the aid stations.  Nothing is greater on the run course than seeing smiling family and friends.  I got so motivated and excited each loop as I saw everyone there to cheer me on.  That really keeps me coming back.  The crowds were also amazing as always along the waterway.  Such a fun run course.  I suffered, but had a blast! Finished the run in 5:02:57 (11:33 pace).

T1 - 7:20
T2 - 6:34
Finish - 12:42:40

Can't thank my family and friends who came out enough.  I truly wouldn't want to race if I didn't have their support.  And as always, my wife Cathlene for always supporting and being there for me during the race and training.  Shes the best!

Race Update

Ive had a few races since my last post.  Cant remember them all but I wanted to speak to a few and get some thoughts down.  Since the Xterra I raced Bridgeland Sprint Tri, the Jingle Bell 5 Miler, and ran the Disney Marathon with Phil and the girls this year (2013):

(January 12th) I was hoping Disney would give me a good idea of what I could run a full in.  Was hoping in the 3:30s to 3:45 but ended up with 3:55:26.  Pretty bad considering the year before I ran a 3:57 during the goofy challenge.  But, we dont really "rest" at Disney, mostly drink a lot...

(April 7th) Ironman 70.3 Galveston Texas (Lonestar) would be my 4th half ironman and a new PR.  I wore my sleeveless wetsuit for the swim thinking I would be faster with less resistance on my shoulder.  I ended up with an average swim of 40:04.  I think I will wear the full suit next year cause dang it was cold and took a good bit to warm up.  I had a pretty good bike averaging 20.7 for the 56 miles and nutrition seemed to be just right.  On the run I made sure to hold back at first since I normally go out too fast and ended up with a decent even paced run at 1:58 (9:04 pace).  Pretty good for me and I think I could have pushed it harder.  This gave me a new PR of 5:27:11 which gives me something to shoot for next year.

(April 20th) Next up was Lake Tejas Tri... My home town area local race.  This was the third year of the race and it was finally USAT sanctioned.  This brought a few fast folks out and knocked me off the podium significantly.  There were also a ton of HS kids that kicked butt in the swim.  I had a decent swim and bike but a pretty slow run.  It seems that my sprint distance run speed is getting slower but my bike is getting faster.  Maybe Im pushing a lot harder on the bike than I used to..  I finished 7th overall out of 61.  Not bad, but I can do better.

(May 4th) Last casual race before Ironman Texas I ran a local 5k for Cats school (Spring Branch ISD) Run for the Arts 5k.  I started off wayyyy too fast with a 6:17 first mile and suffered the next two.  Was really hoping to break 20mins but that will have to wait.  Finished in 21:07(6:49 pace).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Magnolia Hill Xterra Triathlon

I had no idea what I was getting myself into.  I own a 29er MTB and casually ride it around the Terry Hershey trails here in Houston, but I’ve never raced it nor have I really ridden with others to see where I stand.

Cat (wife) was/is in Idaho (studying for her Doctorate in Athletic Training) so I drove up to the race solo.  I arrived and just as expected didn’t know a single person there racing.  Checked in/signed up and made my way to transition to rack my bike etc.  It was open racking so I found a decent place on the end of the rack.  I actually did a bit of a warmup for the swim, may have made it a whole 25 yards, and also practiced my diving start from the beach.

The water was HOT.  Hotter than the air temp that morning.  The race director announced that it was 91 and wetsuits would not be allowed (ROR).  I started the swim on the inside right up front.  The director counted down the seconds and we were off.  I felt really good most of the swim considering I haven’t swam since IMTX.  Stayed in open clear water most of the time and didn’t have to fight off anyone.  I never was able to catch a good draft and didn’t focus too hard on finding one.  The swim had to be longer than 800 yards, I hugged the buoys and was pretty consistent so my pace seems extremely slow.
Swim = 800 yards – 16:56

T1 went pretty smooth.  Out of the water, ducked under the fence to get into transition, took my time grabbing shoes, helmet, water, and sunglasses.  One thing Im not used to and learned pretty quickly is that mountain bike shoes don’t really slip off the pedals when you don’t get clipped in, so you can pedal pretty well without being clipped in.  I noticed a few mounting their bikes but not getting clipped in so I tried the same and it worked well.
T1 = 1:11

The bike is where I learned a lot about Xterra triathlon.  I also learned a lot about bike handling on the trails.  Right out the bat, within the first half mile where we first entered the “trails”, there were several people down and off their bikes making everyone behind them lose momentum and have to stop, including myself.  It was difficult to get back on, clip in, and make the decents/climbs/turns that abruptly came after.  I got through that part and was huffing and puffing trying to be a speed demon and then I tried to make a sharp right turn and ended up face down in the middle of the trail.  Got back up and started worrying if this was the right sport for me.  I held back on the speed and took all the turns much more cautiously but was still finding it hard to make the turns.  I finally just pulled over and let out a good bit of air in my front tire.  This really helped with making the turns and I didn’t crash too much after that.  Not too much…. It was a 3 loop bike course and each lap the trail got more packed down and was easier to navigate. We had to slow through each lap so a volunteer could mark your bib number to keep count of your laps. I only hit a few more trees within the last 2 loops and was really flying (compared to eating dirt) by the last.
Bike = 13 mile – 1:38:00

T2 was really easy and smooth just like any triathlon except I left my shoes on until I racked my bike.
T1 = 1:22

The run started off on an old sandy clay road around the small lake.  My legs were dead from the start.  We looped around then had to run up a hill that had recently been mowed with small shrub stumps sticking up in the path.  I ran up it the first time, but this was a 2 loop course…  Got back on the road and a small buck (with velvet still on its antlers) got spooked and ran out in front of me.  Pretty cool.  I was dead, and hot, and dehydrated so I walked through the first aid station to rest and drink some water.  And yeah, the first aid station was just one mile in… I suck.  We went back down near the lake and then had to run up a small cliff.  Running up this thing was impossible so I climbed it like everyone else and had to walk again to catch my breath once I reached the top…  Made it through the first loop (2 miles), got my hair tie on my wrist (to prove I made the first lap) and shuffled on through to the second.  Basically the same for the second loop except I had to walk the first hill and didn’t have a deer jump out in front of me.  I finished not so strong and didn’t puke, I was too beat to puke, I was tired, and not prepared for this type of race, but that’s how you learn and keep triathlon and endurance sports interesting.
Run= 4 miles – 42:28

Overall = 2:39:58
Overall I had a blast and am so glad I chose to do this race! I don’t think Xterra is my new sport but I definitely  will be back to race again.  Its so fun and very challenging, makes you feel ALIVE!


Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Kona Inspired Finals!!

Its time to start voting!! Please vote (daily if you can) for my video "Refusing Mediocrity".  Its KONA, a dream for all Ironman athletes, help me get there... Go here Kona Inspired to vote.

Ironman Texas 2012

Thought I would finally write up a short race report for IMTX...

Like I said in a previous post, the morning started off with Tim knocking on the door ready to film my day.  This actually helped calm me down a little bit.  I didnt really have time to focus on the race and get too nervous.

This year I started off on the opposite side (opposed to last year) for the swim start.  I hugged the shoreline, actually started off standing in waist high water.  I was in clean water most of the swim and kept really calm.  Im sure I made the course a bit longer but it was worth staying on the edge of the washing machine.  The canal is the only area where it got a bit tight and where I did get punched a few times.  Nothing major though.
Swim = 1:21:01

The bike started off really well.  I was cruising the first half, just as expected, and suffered a bit the second.  Nothing new really.  I don't think I pushed too hard the first half.  The sun really beat down on us this year without the cloud cover.  I did drop my endurolytes at mile 20 of the bike though.  This really put a damper on how I felt.  Good thing I had a few extra in my special needs bag to help me finish out the bike.  Other than that it was a pretty typical ride.
Bike = 5:58:27

I felt great once I got off the bike.  Started the run off really well and after about 9 miles I really started to feel it.  Around mile 18 I started getting some pretty severe stomach cramps.  Puked around mile 22 and started worrying that I may not be able to finish out the run.... But I would never let that happen, dug deep and finished a 3 time Ironman!  Such an awsome feeling coming across that finish line.  I'm not sure I will ever stop racing Ironman.
Run = 4:51:52

Total time = 12:22:44
A little slower than last year but you cant always set a PR... I plan on it next year though ;)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Kona Inspired Semi-Finals

I made top 45 videos and have been placed in group 3 for final voting! I'll need all the help I can get from July 4th through July 18th. Please help me get to kona by voting for my video! Even if I don't get to Kona this year, hopefully through this amazing journey I have inspired someone out there to do something they once thought was impossible. Refuse to be mediocre in life, it's too short. Another reason for this journey is to simply bring awareness to our sport and cycling. More specifically, bring awareness to motorists who think we need to stay off the open roads. Pay attention, share the road, and please don't run us over. I promise you aren't awarded any "points" for hitting a cyclist.