Sunday, November 13, 2011

Exciting News: Representing Team RWB for 2012 and Beyond


12 Nov 2012-

Some of you that have been following me over the past 3 1/2 years may recall a blog I wrote back in 2010.  “Running for a Purpose, It was then in September of 2010 that I changed the way I raced.  I had a conversation with a good friend of mine and fellow runner.  She had told me that running for yourself gets boring and the satisfaction of your results are not near as great if you run for something more.  Yes, it is great to run and do well and the feeling of succeeding is great.  But when you are out on the course and you have to dig deep, knowing that you are racing for something more than yourself makes it that much more rewarding to dig deep and battle it out.

Since that race in 2010 I have raced for different reasons every race.  I have never asked anyone to donate to a foundation or cause and have never represented a company or organization.  For 2012 and many years to come I have decided to team up with Team RWB.  I had heard about Team RWB a little bit here and there from fellow military triathletes and had been doing a little bit of digging into what they were about.  So what is Team RWB about?

“We are a veteran support organization whose mission is to enrich the lives of wounded veterans and their families. Ultimately, we aim to transform the way wounded veterans are reintegrated into society when they return from combat and exit their position in the Active Duty Reserve force or National Guard.”
               
So where do I fit into all of this?  Well after doing some research and connecting with Team RWB I met one of their representatives out in Kona, Kurt Larson.  I spoke with him at the awards banquet about Team RWB and was able to ask some more in depth questions about the organization, which opened my eyes and made me want to join the team.  The next morning I woke up to an email from Mike Erwin, founder and Executive Director of Team RWB.  He asked that I join Team RWB and be an “Elite Ambassador”.  This was an amazing email to receive and opened my eyes to the difference that I could make.  I could use my athletic presence and help spread the word about Team RWB.
             
I have taken my time and ensured this is an organization that I want to represent.  After doing the research and having the same hopes and vision that they have I am glad to be joining forces with them.  They already have some big names involved with the Team RWB Triathlon Team with Timothy O’Donnell, Jessica Jacobs, Nick VanDam and fellow Air Force athletes, Kathy Rakel, James Bales, and Jolene Wilkinson.  To join ranks with these amazing athletes and help spread the word about Team RWB and network with other current military athletes and the wounded veterans is something that I look forward to doing and representing Team RWB the best that I can.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

DMZ Road Race-First Road WIN!

6 November-

I came into this race hungry!  Getting taken out at the crit after riding really strong was frustrating.  I wanted to end the season on a strong note so I put in a big week after my crash and had some solid workouts.  The week leading into this race went quite well also.  The other objective for this race was to score as many points for our team so that we could win the team event as well.  Well this race is in Korea, and well of course it had to have some weird rules to it.  So this blog may be a little long trying to explain how the race worked.

The race was going to be "net time" ( Net Time: Participant's unofficial time from when they cross the starting line until they cross the finish line.).  What this meant was they were going off of the time you crossed the line at the start to when you crossed it at the finish.  Your time didn't start till you crossed the line.  At least I knew this going into the race unlike at the hill climb back in April.  Then on top of that there was going to be a timing stop point at the top of the first climb, then your time would resume at the bottom of the hill.  Someone had died a few years back on this descent so they wanted to make it a safe neutral descent with people not racing down the hill.  At the bottom your time would resume and you would race to the finish.  The person with the lowest combined time would win.

They started the race in age group waves, not a mass start.  Well that is how we thought it would work.  Come to find out the waves ended up just going one after another with no separation.  I waited about 15 seconds after Derek started, he was in my opinion my biggest competition in the Age Group.  He was yelling at me to go thinking I didn't know we were starting, but in all actuality I was "playing" the system.  I had been screwed by the Korean system in the past, partially my own fault on not knowing the rules.  So I took full advantage of it this time.  Took a few minutes to get to the main group as they actually went out quite hard, but used the slingshot method and slowly worked my way up.  We had about 10K of flatish section and then we hit the first climb.  It was 8.6 miles long and gained 1,800ft.  The goal was to put 15seconds into Derek and anyone else in my AG.  One guy got up the climb about 6 seconds ahead of me and I was about 6 seconds ahead of Derek, which put me 21 seconds up at that point.

We waited at the top and got a decent size group before we descended.  It was cold and rainy so I put a garbage bag on to use as a wind breaker.  It worked for the most part but I was COLD!  We got to the bottom and had a group of about 15.  We got to the timing mat and I waited once again, but this time there were guys there with wands trying to swipe our numbers(that is where the timing chip was).  I thought it was a backup system as they also had a timing system set up.  Well this is where Derek got some of the time back as I got swiped way before him, probably those 15 seconds, so much for playing the system at the start.  So off we went.

The second climb is where I had planned to attack to break the group up a bit.  I got up the road and probably opened up about a 30 second to 45 second gap.  I held that gap till about 3/4 of the way up the climb then Mr. Lee(the guy who was on our team during the TdK and prior Olympian, who is also 50) and Derek came by me.  I stayed with Derek up the rest of the climb and then we were off on the downhill.  We ended up with 5 in our group and we started working really well together.  The goal was to now hammer to the finish.  I had Elmer from my team with me and Derek had a teammate, and then Mr. Lee was riding for himself.  With about 10k to go I talked with Elmer about our plan.  He was solo in his AG and I convinced him to lead me out when we got to the home stretch.  Derek thought I was talking about breaking away and got a little pissed and told us to stay with the group.  We all kept working hard and with about 1k to go Elmer got to the front and drilled it hard out of the last corner.  I sat on his wheel and with about 500m to go he came off the front.  I knew this was a little far out for me but I had to give it ago, well I thought I did.  All of the sudden Mr. Lee comes from 3rd wheel back and attacks like a bat out of hell.  I got on his wheel luckily and held on till 200m to go and came around him.  He performed a perfect un intentional lead out for me and it worked liked it was planned out ahead of time.

So with 200m to go I was out of the saddle staring down the finish line and well I was first across the line :)  But with Net timing you never know if you actually won the race or your AG.  When the results came out I was the Age Group winner, but we never saw overall placings.  I know there were a few guys that had "faster" overall times than me, but we weren't racing for overall placing we were racing for AG.  I still feel like I was the strongest guy on the day and raced really smart.  I think I shocked quite a few people who hadn't raced with me since the TdK and opened up some eyes.

Overall it was a great day.  I got home that night and this was the quote on FB
"Picked up my first Road Race Win today! At a loss for words, other than the fact that the US Military is leaving an impact on the Korean Cycling scene. The only 2 races in 3 weekends WE have put those colors on the podium! Proud to serve and even prouder to represent those great colors! Congrats to everyone else on Team Rapha STORCK for a great performance this weekend!"

It was a great weekend.  So what did I win? 44kg's of rice!  Yes, that is a LOT of rice!  Our team actually won a total of 194kg's of rice, 428lbs!  We are all doing different things with it and some is going to an orphanage.  I donated some to a Korean lady who cleans our work building and she broke down and was so grateful for the rice, it is touching to see someone appreciate the small things in life to me, when they are big things in life to her.  Our team ended up taking 2nd Overall, another Korean crazy thing.  We had 6 people which accumulated: 2 wins and 3 2nd place finishes in our respective Age Groups.  By the numbers we were the strongest team, but we got beat by a team who had 50 riders, and each rider got a point for finishing so they beat us.  It was weird that they didn't cap the amount of members but O well.

Thanks for all of the support from everyone.  Special thanks goes out to Jeremy Moon our Team Manager, Pablo the team owner and Elmer for a great early lead out.  Then to Alex for driving and finishing the race in the horrible conditions to get our team points. To Chae, Megan and Stephen for all getting on the podium and getting us those needed points!


For those of you interested in the ride data, here is the garmin file: http://connect.garmin.com/activity/126814746activity/126814746
and for those of you Power folks here are the power numbers are at the bottom below the pictures:
  
Coming up the second climb with Derek pulling me in.
 Right next to Derek further up the 2nd climb.
 
On the 1st descent with my garbage bag.  Come to think of it I should of just put it inside the jersey ;)
 
Right before Elmer came to the front to lead out.

The sprint finish, Mr. Lee on my right side, Dereks teammate behind me and Derek back in 4th and then Elmer exhausted from his great leadout
After the finish just rolling through.

  The Podium with the great colors of U.S. Military Cycling on TOP!
4 of the 44kg of rice.  Derek is bringing me the rest when he comes down for Thanksgiving.

Entire workout (255 watts):
    Duration:      2:15:46
    Work:          2021 kJ
    TSS:           199.9 (intensity factor 0.958)
    Norm Power:    307
    VI:            1.2
    Pw:HR:          -4.18%
    Pa:HR:          -30.78%
    Distance:      43.89 mi
    Elevation Gain:        3417 ft
    Elevation Loss:       3393 ft
    Grade:         0.0 %  (19 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    991    255     watts
    Heart Rate:      40    237    128     bpm
    Cadence:         9    129    87     rpm
    Speed:           0    49    19.5     mph
    Pace             1:14    0:00    3:04     min/mi
    Altitude:        339    2240    1021     ft
    Crank Torque:    0    1711    253     lb-in
    Temperature:     44.6    53.6    49.9     Fahrenheit

Peak 5s (931 watts):
    Duration:      0:05
    Work:          4 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          0.96%
    Pa:HR:          -5.71%
    Distance:      208 ft
    Elevation Gain:        0 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         0.0 %  (0 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           837    991    931     watts
    Heart Rate:      156    156    156     bpm
    Cadence:         98    109    104     rpm
    Speed:           27.2    30    28.9     mph
    Pace             2:00    2:12    2:04     min/mi
    Altitude:        368    368    368     ft
    Crank Torque:    707    828    759     lb-in
    Temperature:     53.6    53.6    53.6     Fahrenheit

Peak 10s (744 watts):
    Duration:      0:10
    Work:          7 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          40.33%
    Pa:HR:          -3.78%
    Distance:      430 ft
    Elevation Gain:        0 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         0.0 %  (0 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           445    991    744     watts
    Heart Rate:      156    156    156     bpm
    Cadence:         98    111    107     rpm
    Speed:           27.2    31.1    29.5     mph
    Pace             1:56    2:12    2:02     min/mi
    Altitude:        368    368    368     ft
    Crank Torque:    339    828    593     lb-in
    Temperature:     53.6    53.6    53.6     Fahrenheit

Peak 20s (641 watts):
    Duration:      0:20
    Work:          12 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          29.42%
    Pa:HR:          -2.75%
    Distance:      890 ft
    Elevation Gain:        0 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         0.0 %  (0 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           254    991    641     watts
    Heart Rate:      156    161    158     bpm
    Cadence:         90    112    102     rpm
    Speed:           27.2    31.7    30.2     mph
    Pace             1:54    2:12    1:59     min/mi
    Altitude:        368    368    368     ft
    Crank Torque:    191    920    535     lb-in
    Temperature:     53.6    53.6    53.6     Fahrenheit

Peak 30s (600 watts):
    Duration:      0:30
    Work:          17 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          5.03%
    Pa:HR:          -6.32%
    Distance:      0.249 mi
    Elevation Gain:        0 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         0.0 %  (0 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           254    991    600     watts
    Heart Rate:      155    161    158     bpm
    Cadence:         90    112    99     rpm
    Speed:           26.2    31.9    29.7     mph
    Pace             1:53    2:18    2:01     min/mi
    Altitude:        368    368    368     ft
    Crank Torque:    191    920    514     lb-in
    Temperature:     53.6    53.6    53.6     Fahrenheit

Peak 1min (463 watts):
    Duration:      1:00
    Work:          27 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          -72.19%
    Pa:HR:          -17.06%
    Distance:      0.452 mi
    Elevation Gain:        0 ft
    Elevation Loss:       10 ft
    Grade:         -0.6 %  (-14 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           182    991    463     watts
    Heart Rate:      148    161    154     bpm
    Cadence:         54    112    95     rpm
    Speed:           22.2    31.9    27.1     mph
    Pace             1:53    2:42    2:13     min/mi
    Altitude:        368    383    371     ft
    Crank Torque:    162    920    408     lb-in
    Temperature:     53.6    53.6    53.6     Fahrenheit

Peak 2min (408 watts):
    Duration:      2:00
    Work:          48 kJ
    TSS:           n/a
    Norm Power:    n/a
    VI:            n/a
    Pw:HR:          24.8%
    Pa:HR:          7.81%
    Distance:      0.417 mi
    Elevation Gain:        161 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         7.8 %  (171 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           218    551    408     watts
    Heart Rate:      98    135    114     bpm
    Cadence:         84    106    94     rpm
    Speed:           9.9    15.7    12.3     mph
    Pace             3:50    6:02    4:52     min/mi
    Altitude:        680    850    770     ft
    Crank Torque:    179    520    369     lb-in
    Temperature:     50    50    50.0     Fahrenheit

Peak 5min (385 watts):
    Duration:      5:00
    Work:          115 kJ
    TSS:           12 (intensity factor 1.199)
    Norm Power:    384
    VI:            1
    Pw:HR:          22.8%
    Pa:HR:          24.99%
    Distance:      0.965 mi
    Elevation Gain:        383 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         7.6 %  (388 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           218    556    385     watts
    Heart Rate:      98    153    129     bpm
    Cadence:         76    109    89     rpm
    Speed:           7.8    17.5    11.4     mph
    Pace             3:26    7:40    5:16     min/mi
    Altitude:        678    1065    879     ft
    Crank Torque:    179    573    368     lb-in
    Temperature:     50    50    50.0     Fahrenheit

Peak 10min (360 watts):
    Duration:      10:00
    Work:          215 kJ
    TSS:           21.8 (intensity factor 1.143)
    Norm Power:    366
    VI:            1.02
    Pw:HR:          27.73%
    Pa:HR:          -1.44%
    Distance:      2.144 mi
    Elevation Gain:        680 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         6.0 %  (682 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           131    627    360     watts
    Heart Rate:      98    167    142     bpm
    Cadence:         74    109    90     rpm
    Speed:           7.8    25    12.6     mph
    Pace             2:24    7:43    4:46     min/mi
    Altitude:        678    1358    1041     ft
    Crank Torque:    114    670    340     lb-in
    Temperature:     48.2    50    49.5     Fahrenheit

Peak 20min (350 watts):
    Duration:      20:00
    Work:          420 kJ
    TSS:           41.6 (intensity factor 1.117)
    Norm Power:    357
    VI:            1.02
    Pw:HR:          14.56%
    Pa:HR:          22.41%
    Distance:      4.039 mi
    Elevation Gain:        1335 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         6.3 %  (1336 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           131    627    350     watts
    Heart Rate:      98    170    150     bpm
    Cadence:         64    109    86     rpm
    Speed:           5.3    25    11.8     mph
    Pace             2:24    11:22    5:06     min/mi
    Altitude:        673    2008    1360     ft
    Crank Torque:    114    670    348     lb-in
    Temperature:     48.2    50    48.9     Fahrenheit

Peak 30min (320 watts):
    Duration:      32:07
    Work:          576 kJ
    TSS:           56.2 (intensity factor 1.067)
    Norm Power:    341
    VI:            1.07
    Pw:HR:          18.72%
    Pa:HR:          41.62%
    Distance:      5.428 mi
    Elevation Gain:        1654 ft
    Elevation Loss:       0 ft
    Grade:         5.8 %  (1661 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    793    320     watts
    Heart Rate:      64    170    141     bpm
    Cadence:         11    117    86     rpm
    Speed:           0    25    11.7     mph
    Pace             2:24    0:00    5:09     min/mi
    Altitude:        550    2211    1491     ft
    Crank Torque:    0    761    316     lb-in
    Temperature:     46.4    50    48.4     Fahrenheit

Peak 60min (282 watts):
    Duration:      1:00:12
    Work:          1016 kJ
    TSS:           99.3 (intensity factor 0.996)
    Norm Power:    319
    VI:            1.13
    Pw:HR:          19.06%
    Pa:HR:          -47.38%
    Distance:      21.641 mi
    Elevation Gain:        1438 ft
    Elevation Loss:       1920 ft
    Grade:         -0.4 %  (-488 ft)
        Min    Max    Avg
    Power:           0    991    282     watts
    Heart Rate:      71    188    131     bpm
    Cadence:         15    129    86     rpm
    Speed:           0    49    21.5     mph
    Pace             1:14    0:00    2:47     min/mi
    Altitude:        356    1678    734     ft
    Crank Torque:    0    1711    285     lb-in
    Temperature:     48.2    53.6    51.8     Fahrenheit

Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Warm Welcome to Crit Racing=Meeting Pavement :(

22 Oct- Changwon "World" Criterium

Yes, you read that correctly, I raced 14 days after Kona.  While most people are slowing down and preparing for their "off season", I am still going strong.  There were 2 cycling races upon my return to Korea that I wanted to race before I called the 2011 season to an end.  One was a criterium which was this race.  The biggest reason to race this race was it was a 2012 TdK qualifier, and to make things better it had a $12,500 prize purse.

I wasn't really sure how it was going to go.  I did just do an IRONMAN 14 days earlier and wasn't too sure how the body was feeling.  I have switched coaches for the off season, more to come on that later.  I am going to a cycling focus to prepare to the best of my ability for the Tour de Korea which is in April 2012.  I will still be coached by Team TBB Online Coaching and Scott Defilippis after the TdK.  Obviously things went really well with him this year and we get along great.  I just have a good friend who is a pure cyclist that I have faith he can get me into some amazing cycling form.  So with that being said he put together my workouts leading into this crit.  I posted some solid numbers during the week and was quite shocking to see them myself.  How did I recover so quick?  I take recovery as serious as some of my biggest training weeks, it is a crucial part to being able to bounce back and race right away.  I take it really really easy when I am told to and I listen to my body.

We arrived down to Changwon after about 5 hours of travel.  It was raining and I was not looking forward to racing my first crit in the rain.  It had 2 180 degree turns, with one having a lot of sidewalk "paint" markings on it.  Which makes for a slippery surface and dangerous corners.  I was out warming up and was pulled aside by Chuck Hutcheson, a member of the US Military Cycling Team.  He wanted to show me the perfect line to take through the sketchy corner, he knows I am a triathlete and took me under his wing.  He is 39 years old and is full of great wisdom and knowledge.  Of course I took his advice and put it to use in the race when I was told to use that line, only in a breakaway.

The rain lifted an hour or so before the race start but the road never completely dried up.  We had 2 neutral laps, each lap was 2.4K and then we were off.  To make things interesting there were primes every 5 laps, which made for some serious hammer sessions.  I raced to my strengths and tried to get out in a few breaks, but we never had a successful breakaway.  I stayed up towards the front as much as possible, sometimes dropping back to mid pack.  With 2 laps to go we were all together and I had nothing to lose.  After coming across the start finish line it went slightly uphill then the 180 turn and slightly back down hill.  Right after the start finish I went off the front.  I stayed off the front for about 3/4 of a lap and they brought me back in.  I thought I was done at this point, but then I was able to recover in half a lap.  I started coming back through the group on the back stretch and they weren't going that hard.

I figured I would give it one last shot, off the front I went again, and I went off hard.  I opened up a small gap and came through the last corner in the lead, but still had 1200m to go.  About 200m out of the corner the eventual winner, Chris Uberti (CAT1 from the midwest) and Chuck (who is also a CAT1) came around me.  At this point I knew I couldn't hang on to their wheels so off they went, at this point I wanted to avoid a field sprint so I started lifting up slowly.  About 200m later my front wheel gets swiped by some guy and sends my front end into a vicious wobble.  My right foot comes un clipped and at that point I thought I had it save until someone got into my rear wheel and well the rest is history, I slid on the ground for a bit, luckily it was wet.  As I lay in the road for a few seconds, I realize I should get up before I get hit, good idea right?  So I look down the road and can't see anyone coming, slowly get up and take 2 steps then WHHHAMMM Kamikaze Korean cyclist hits me, now a pedestrian with no bike and I go flying into air.  Don't ask me how but he managed to catch me right in the jaw with either his helmet or shoulder, but I am pretty sure he recorded a KO, but I think I survived the 10 count, I mean I did get back up and ride my bike to the finish line, only took about 2 minutes to get up and going because I though my jaw was broken.

Luckily the only injuries I sustained was some road rash on my rear and really sore jaw.  5 days later I am at the pool and some little kid in the locker room is whispering to his dad.  I turn around to see what he is talking about and sure enough he is pointing straight at my bare ass and telling his dad about my "owwy".  Awkward to say the least, but the kid was kind enough to ask how I was doing when I told him I crashed my bike.  I told him I was doing good and even big kids fall of their bikes ;)

In all reality this was a warm welcome to the wonderful world of crit racing.  I have really started to enjoy cycling as it is so tactical.  I learned a lot from this race and am really happy with how I did other than going down.  It wasn't the fact of how I did that was so rewarding.  It was the fact that I helped organize getting 3 American Cyclist living in the US out here for this race.  I put a lot of effort into making this happen with the race organizer(they were supporting 10 people to come from all over the world).  I really enjoyed making sure these 3 guys had a good time in Korea and were able to experience the Korean cycling scene.  Lucky for Chuck he was able to finish 2nd and take home a nice pay check.  It was the highlight of my trip to make connections like that and help him get out here for this race and show what US Military Athletes are capable of.

Thanks again to everyone for their support.  A big shout out to Rapha Storck Korea for organizing our logistics for the trip, and a big THANKS to Jeremy Moon our team manager, he is a hard working man who is often over looked.  Our team really appreciates what he does, thanks man!  The race organizers also did an outstanding job, one of the best racing experiences I have had, hands down a first class event!  Special thanks to Maria Choe for helping out with all the logistics of the stateside guys!

Here are some pictures from the race:

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Kona 2011 Race Report--Experience Like NO Other

8 Oct 2011-

I made it to the big dance, injury free, in one piece and with more support than I have ever had at a race.  It seemed surreal, to be at the start line of the biggest race in triathlon in such a short time period.  It hasn't been because I am "talented", or "athletic" or have "good genetics", it is because of multiple things, but I think this quote which was the first post after the race is why I got there so fast "You don't become good on your own, you become good by the people you surround yourself with!!".  I have surrounded myself with some amazing people, and that is why I made it to that start line.  I have not chosen these people, they have not chosen me, we have just crossed paths at the right times or have been forced to be involved in each others lives.  I have been truly blessed to be surrounded by such a great group of people along this journey, and I cannot be thankful enough for that.  So onto how the race went............

Swim-
We all know this is my "weak" point.  I had heard horror stories of this swim as it is non wetsuit and it is the true washing machine effect.  Well after about the first 3 minutes I didn't think it was all that bad.  I think I spotted some dolphins on the bottom of the ocean floor as we were swimming along.  I just tried to stay on peoples feet and was somewhat successful the first half of the swim.  The second half of the swim I stayed on the same feet the whole time and I believe I was able to save quite a bit of injury this way.  I wanted to swim 1 hour to 1:05, I barely made that mark and came out of the water in: 1:04:24

T1/T2-

Just another day in the changing tent, trying to get out of there as quick as possible! T1- 2:49/T2- 3:21

Bike-
Well I thought I was a stronger biker than most.  Well my cycling ego got put in check real quick, there were guys and girls blowing by me left and right.  I swear up Palani (a small climb up to the Queen K (the big highway which most of the ride is on) ) there was King of the Mountain Points at the top, because people were blowing by me mashing some serious watts.  This was all part of the plan, let a bunch of people out ride me to T2, because that is not where the race ends.  I kept an eye on my watts, focused on my nutrition and just took it easy.  Slowly building throughout the ride and just staying focused, never looking 30 minutes or more down the road.  I felt good on the bike till mile 85.  This is when my stomach started to give me problems, similar to Korea but not quite the same.  I learned in Korea I had taken in too much so was trying not to over do it.  I heard horror stories about Perform(the on course electrolyte drink), so I stopped drinking it at mile 85 and just went to water and ate a little more of my cliff blocks to compensate for no electrolyte drink. My stomach settled down and I ensured to get in the rest of my liquid Perpetum/EFS bottle about 30 minutes out from T2.  Below is a comparison from the Korea IM Bike to Kona IM Bike.  I would like to say by the numbers I rode it smarter and more effective.

  
(Click to enlarge)

GPS Bike File
 Just Enjoying the Bike


Run-
So I went into this race feeling that my run had really made some big improvements since Korea.  I am not sure why, did a lot of similar stuff as before, but I was just feeling really strong.  I got off the bike and felt good.  I set my watch to go off if I ran faster than 6:50 miles, knowing damn well I wasn't going to be running that fast.  Sure enough I got soaked up in all the cheering on Ali'i drive and it went off during the first mile.  I thought to myself wow this 6:50 pace doesn't feel all that bad, then reality hit and I was at mile 1, settle down buddy!  I set back in and just kept holding a steady pace.

I wouldn't admit to this before the race, but I got caught up in running with Chris McCormick (Macca) on Friday and ran a little longer than expected.  I asked him a simple question during our "group" run of a total of 6 people.  I asked him "Do you have any advice for the Energy Lab?, and then right after I answered with "It is just another piece of road?".  He agreed that it was just another piece of road.  It is at mile 20 which is where all races get tough in a marathon or IM.  His advice to me was simple, and it was advice he had given a friend of his who was struggling to have a good marathon split in an IRONMAN.  He told me that I have 6 times to walk and that is it.  He advised at the aid station at the top of Palani and special needs in the Energy Lab.  The other 4 were up to me........Well I used those "walks" wisely and only used 5 of them, never knew when I was going to need that 6th one.  That was some of the best advice that I have received in regards to the marathon of an IM, I don't think there is a better person to get it from.

I kept waiting for that "wall" to pop up that comes up and bites almost everyone in a marathon, that mile 18-24 point where the wheels fall off and all goes south.  The wall was out there but just kept running with me, right in front of me.  I never hit it, not sure why.  It could be because I was not dreading the run, I was out there having a good time, why dread something that is so amazing.  I would make jokes, talk with people and they would all look at me like I was crazy.  I guess when you pass 271 people on the run you get a lot of people that are "struggling" and don't think you being all happy go lucky is that funny.  The miles just ticked away and in no time I was back an Ali'i.  Then the emotions hit, well they didn't hit till I picked up the American Flag.  It wasn't in the plan by any means, I got it from a random stranger. Not sure who he was but I owe him big time, it was awesome to run down the finishing chute caring that flag high and being a proud american.  This day was for the troops and there wasn't a better way to honor all of them that have not come home or that are currently deployed then by flying that flag high and proud to the finish line.  I have been able to hold my emotions in in the past, but this day they flooded out, tears of joy, tears of accomplishment, I had made it to the finish line in a time that was in no ones radar.  Not even my own, not even my coaches, not even my biggest supporters, I shocked myself.
 
So that was it, just another race, another course, just a bunch of fast athletes!
 

Run Splits, really ran a 3:11:16, but didn't stop my watch when I crossed the line.  I think the last mile was around sub 7 pace :) (click to enlarge)
The amazing feeling of accomplishment, Thanks Jen Loos for the Picture!
Thanks to Slowtwitch's enhanced results here are some in depth numbers of the race:
 
Click to englarge

Once again I just want to THANK everyone, especially my Family who was so supportive during this trip.  It was amazing having some great friends there, with Ryan and Amy taking great care of me.  Amy has raced Kona twice, and was a great source of knowledge.  Then Ryan took some awesome photos and was an awesome post race party animal.  He busted out some dance moves and started a dance off with a good friend of mine.  Truly an awesome post race party.  Thanks again everyone.  Some BIG NEWS coming in the next couple of weeks, looking forward to what is coming next season and what I will be representing and racing for!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Kona Post Race Thoughts


8 October 2011-

As I sit here on the plane headed back to the land of the “morning calm” (South Korea), I am headed back to reality.  The problem with heading back to “reality”, is that I don’t enjoy it.  What I enjoy is what I was surrounded by this past 12 days.  I was surrounded by my greatest supporters, FAMILY, and some great friends.  I have great friends back in Korea, but I don’t have my immediate family.  I was also surrounded by one of the most electrifying experiences in the triathlon world, the most talented triathletes in the world and I was among them.  It is the lifestyle that I have chosen over the past 3 ½ years, but it wasn’t until soaking in this whole experience that I realized that is what I want reality to be.  I experienced a similar feeling during the Tour de Korea, it is amazing to wake up every morning and do something that you love and enjoy.  Most people cannot say that when they wake up every morning, I WANT to be able to say that.

The reason I am writing this is I had a conversation with a great mentor of mine on Monday afternoon.  I called her in regards to some information about Team RWB (more to come on that in the coming weeks), from an athletes perspective.  She is the Air Forces top female triathlete and has won the Armed Forces Champs the past two years, and was last years female Air Force Athlete of the Year.  Her name is Kathy Rakel.  I have never met her, but she has been a great mentor to me, via email.  In talking about Team RWB, she asked me a question that others have asked before, but coming from her it opened my eyes.  She said something along the lines of “Your ultimate goal is to get your Pro card, right?” Those are big words coming from her, she knows what it takes, she knows how hard it is to get there.  She has done it, she is there.

My answer to her was what I think about chasing that dream.  It is only a dream right now; it is not realistic to think about that right now.  Another person’s advice I take greatly is Dev Paul, a fellow Slow Twitcher.  The best advice he gave to me leading up to IM Korea back in July was, “Brad, never think further than 30 minutes down the road during the race.”  Taking Dev’s advice I would let my mind wonder both during Korea and Kona, and I would think back to that great advice and when the mind would wonder that comment would come back into my head and I would re concentrate on what I had to do in those next 30 minutes.  Now when you think about it, an IRONMAN is 17 hours, if you want to be an IRONMAN.  Those “next” 30 minutes are only 2.9% of the race.  Why do I mention this, well let me explain……..

My answer back to Kathy is what I see as “reality”.  I told her, yes that would be a goal of mine but it is not an immediate goal right now.  I will evaluate that goal 3 years from now, why 3 years?  Well I have good faith that I can live to be 101 years old, and well 3 years of 101 years, is that magical 2.9%.  So taking Devs advice, I don’t want to look to far down this “race” of life.  I want to take it in small chunks, evaluating life as the curveballs come at me.  I can’t tell you where I will be in 3 years.  I will have the option to re enlist, possibly apply to Officer Training School, or get out and pursue a professional career outside the military.  Or if the next 3 years go well, and I continue to progress as a triathlete, I will at that time make a decision to pursue my Pro card.  But I am not looking that far down the road, YET ;)

Hopefully that answers the question that I have been asked in the past and the present about my future plans in triathlon and my thoughts on going pro.  I had a great race this past weekend, but when you look at the big picture, I was 225th overall, Craig Alexander beat me by an hour and a half, my age group winner beat me by 41 minutes and I was 32nd out of 96 in my Age Group.  I am not in a position right now to go pro, but with the right mentors and the right guidance by great people I believe I can make it there. 

There are just some variables that are out of my control, it is like an IRONMAN you just control the things you can, and if I continue to just concentrate on those 30 minute chunks I believe I can get there.  It seems like such a long shot for this mediocre high school athlete from Riverbank, to be aiming for the stars, but if you aim for the stars you fall to the trees, you aim for the tress you fall to the ground.  Dream big, and if you don’t achieve your goals, at least it is one amazing journey along the way.

(Just for clarification, I do think long term in terms of other life goals, but for sports/triathlon, I don’t look that far ahead ;).  I have been raised by great parents that have taught me to work hard and plan for retirement, which is one example of something that I look at more than 3 years down the road.)

Friday, October 7, 2011

Kona Pre Race Blog

7 Oct 11-

Well it is the night before the race and just got done with a great meal.  The great thing about triathlon is the amount of people that you meet throughout the years.  Tonight I invited some friends over, new and old for a little feast.  We had about 13 people over, from as far as the UK and as close as our same condo village.  Germany, Wisconsin, UK, California, Canada all came together and had a great meal.  So that was awesome!

Now onto a quick pre race blog:

People have been asking how I am feeling about the race and how my nerves are doing.  Honestly this is just another race, another course, but the only difference is just a bunch of FAST athletes, it is the world champs and all.  I am not nervous, just going out there to soak in the experience and take it all end.

Here are the splits that I want to hit:

Swim: 1hour to 1h05m
Bike: 5h10m-5h15m
Run: 3h25m-3h40m
T1/T2 Total-6m
Finish Time: 9:41-10:06

Honestly my biggest goal is finishing, but beyond that I want sub-10.  This will be my last IM for at least 5-6 years.  There is one other way I would race next year, but it would be here and it is a complete long shot.  As for placing, like I said this is the World Champs, I am not shooting for an overall or AG placing.  It is just me and the clock out there.

I always race for a purpose, tomorrow I already had planned to race for all our service members currently deployed.  I currently have a few friends over there that are actually triathletes.  General Brad Becker and Major Eric Reid (Eric is actually headed back home right now), this one is for you guys!  Also to everyone else out there that is serving our great nation and all of those that have not returned home (POW/MIA) and all of those that we have lost.  It is going to be an emotional day out there, and racing for all of those that don't have the great opportunity to take place in this great event, this ones for you!  I will also be racing as fast as I can, but it is going to be a hard day emotionally not knowing if my dad and step mom will be making it here in time.  Their flight was canceled today so they are now not due in till 1330, which is right around the time I should be headed out on the run.  Hopefully the traffic isn't horrible and they can make it down to the finish line.  Please keep them in your prayers so they get on their flight and make it here on time.

For everyone wanting to follow the race, luckily Amy and Ryan are both here and will be posting updates on twitter which should feed into my FB.  The race starts at 7am Hawaii time, 10am California time, and 1pm East Coast Time,  2am Sunday Korea Time.  IRONMAN Live should be sending time splits to my twitter, and you can get mid race splits from (www.ironman.com) and then look for athlete tracker.

News Article (Click Link)

 From Left to Right (Amy, Jana, Julie, Julia)
 Left to Right (Edward, Sarah, Ryan)
The bags laid out for transition bags and special needs
 
Everything laid out, somewhat organized ;)
 The race bike in race setup



Thursday, October 6, 2011

Quick Kona Update 2

6 Oct 11-

I was going to write a piece on Financial obligation to complete an IRONMAN, and an outlook on my expenses for this season.  I figured since it is not completely over I would wait until post Kona, you never know how much the airline company will charge you, so that could vary the total cost of the season ;)

So instead here are some quick updates from the last 3 days.

There was a kids swim/run, my little sister took part.  This was her first open water swim and the water was a little rough so my step dad stayed with her but she finished the swim on her own.  The parents were saying the swim was worse than most mass starts they had been in, the kids were brutal out there.
Winter, from Team Winter (http://www.teamwinter.org/) with my sis.  Check out her site for more info, she was 2nd Overall, and almost ran down the winner who was a boy.  He ran barefoot so if she didn't put shoes on she could of got him.
 Tony Kannan, Indy Car Driver.  I told him that I raced quartermidgets growing up and knew Bryan Clauson.  Him and his wife are both very impressed with Bryan.  Now we are just trying to talk BC into a Triathlon ;)
Stopped by the World Bicycle Relief talk and contributed $25, contributing another 3 bikes in a few weeks to Jordan Rapps Fundraiser. Keep an eye on Slowtwitch for Jordan's announcement.

So some of you may know that I am out here on PTDY (Permissive Temporary Duty) for the Air Force.  They are not paying for the trip, all expenses are incurred by self.  So with that being said, I try and promote the Air Force and represent the US Armed Services in a good light.  I am still getting paid my normal salary and am not having to work, so it is the least I can do.  I wear shirts that AF logos on them, or a cycling kit with the same, or a visor with the AF logo.  I try and promote our military in a good light and not bring any negative image upon us.

With that being said today was the "UnderPants Run", here is a video which explains it: http://www.active.com/triathlon/Articles/How-the-Kona-Underpants-Run-Got-Started.htm

So in honor of the Underpants run I got in a little skimpy speedo, went all out on the attire and ensured I had no military affiliation on me.  It would of looked bad if I had a big AF Logo on with the below picture, but in reality, if you know the whole story and what was happening today it would not be all that bad.  We were fundraising money for the Special Olympics and that is of course a good cause.  So as hideous as the outfit is and I did take it to an extreme, it was for a good cause.  Here are two pictures, I know there are more out there and I am sure they will make it around FB, Twitter, Lava Magazine, Slowtwitch etc......But remember this was for a good cause.


 
From the Underpants run, courtesy of Jay Prasuhn!
Even with a "little" hair I could still pick up on the chicks ;)  My new friend Jana, I actually met her on the flight over from Honolulu.  She is here spectating and is planning to do her first triathlon next year.

Well I think you have "seen" enough of me for today.  Headed to the race brief and pasta dinner tonight.  Going to sit with the potential M35-39 Winner, Cam Loos, of the US Navy.  As much as I would like our AF guy to win, Cam is in top shape and is a former pro.  Rooting for him to do the US proud and win his AG.

Look out for the Pre-Race blog tomorrow, I will also make my race predictions on there for the Pro Race!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

My Path to Kona: Part 2

3 Oct 2011-

In my last blog I talked about what it took to get to Kona briefly.  I have now been here for 2 days and have just been soaking it all up.  It is such an unreal feeling to be here, almost feels like a fantasy world.  The vibe here is crazy, the place is electric and everywhere you look there are all kinds of fit people.  It is the lifestyle that these people live, there are people here who aren't even racing yet they are out training along with all the other athletes.  We all share a common goal, we are all trying to get to that finish line on Saturday, some faster than others, but we are all reaching for that same line.

Everyone took different paths to get here.  Some people train to get to Kona for years, others have been doing this race for years.  Everyone's journey to get here is unique, some people have been fortunate to qualify there first time, others have missed it by seconds or minutes and have had to wait a whole year to try again.  Some people repeat this process for years on end trying to get here, some people are realistic and realize they will never be fast enough to qualify so they attempt to get selected in the lottery year after year.  Everyone has been on a journey to get to the start line on Saturday, here is a little bit about my journey from a training stand point.

As mentioned in Part 1, I spoke about the biggest changes I made this year.  Getting a coach being the biggest change.  With getting a coach came a structured plan, guidance, experience and knowledge.  All of the things I needed to get to where I am.  I use to just go out and bike, now I have a structured workout which at times has intensity at others just an easy spin.  This is what most people know is what they need in their weekly schedule, the problem is they don't quite understand how each workout correlates to the other and how to properly structure a week, month, months of workouts.  This is why I searched for a coach and chose to go with Team TBB Online Coaching and chose Scott Defilippis.  Here is a look at what last years training looked like:
(Click image to enlarge) From 12/01/09-12/01/10, Total Hours Trained per week

So to most people the above image is a pretty heavy load of training.  In actuality it is pretty light for training for a half IM in May and a Marathon in September.  Below is a chart from this year, you have to remember this is what I DID, not what my coach TOLD me to do.

(Click image to enlarge) From 12/01/10-9/30/11, Total Hours Trained per week
As you can see this past year has been a lot bigger with the training load.  The one thing that is not included on there is the amount of classes I was taking and how high our ops tempo(work load and prep to fly, fight and win against North Korea).  So from October 2010 till October 2011 I took 6 college classes and still worked a FULL time job, believe it or not I actually do work for the Air Force and don't just train all the time ;)  The hardest part of all of this was from Feb 15th- Mar 15th when I was taking 4 classes at once, that created 0 social life.  You can see the weeks vary and the prep for Kona has not been as ideal as it was for Korea, but I am feeling stronger than before Korea and am feeling really fit right now.  When your season goes as long as mine has been, people tend to face burnout.  I came across this after IM Korea, as you can see, and it took a few weeks to bounce back.  This was not the "plan" but this is just what happened.

Like I talked about a little bit in my last blog was the lifestyle.  So as you can see above my life has pretty much consisted of work, training and school.  I haven't really had time for much other of a social life.  It has it draw backs to be training and that focused on something, but as you can tell I am now reaping the rewards for the "hard work".  I am not in a place or in the right situation to be seeking out a relationship, Korea is a short tour and I know I will be leaving soon, so it is not ideal.  Now by all means if the right girl comes around, then so be it, but I am not actively out there searching.

With the above chart from this year, here is what kind of mileage those hours produced:
Swim-148 miles/79 hours
Cyclilng- 6,054 miles/323 hours
Running-1,221 miles/155 hours

So that is what the past 10 months have looked like.  They have been full of excitement, craziness, and a lot of good memories.  You can call it hard training, structured workouts, and a lot of focus, but I look at it as just going out and having fun on a daily basis.  Well for the most part at least, as with everything there are the bad days and good days, but for the most part if you go out for every session wanting to have fun, then it is FUN!

Here is a link that was posted on Team TBB's Website in regards to the AG Athletes racing in Kona: http://teamtbb.com/?option=com_content&task=view&id=1294

If you have any questions about my training I would be more than happy to answer them, as long as they aren't specific to my exact workouts, those are my coaches and if you want that information I am more than happy to put you in contact with him.  Contact me via email at: airforcebadbrad@yahoo.com with questions or for my coaches information.

Thanks to my coach for taking and putting in a great effort to my training plan, it was by no means a cookie cutter plan.  I doubt there are many others out there that have a schedule like me, or have to make changes here and there due to my crazy work schedule.  Thanks again for everything you have done and all of the time you have put in to get me to where I am!  Thanks to everyone else who follows this blog and my journey to Kona.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Quick Kona Update

3 Oct 11-

Just some quick photos and notes from Kona, not a full out blog:

-Sunday Swim, ran into a guy I met at the Tri in San Jose.  One of the 2 guys that beat me.  We got in a swim together, and came across about 10-15 DOLPHINS!  Pretty cool!

-Today got out for a long ride and came across Craig Alexandar and got to see the NEW SHIV in person.  Pretty cool bike with some neat concepts. Craig was also a super nice guy and we chatted for a few minutes, wish him the best of luck this weekend!

-Moved into our condo today from the race hotel, absolutely AWESOME!

-Here are some pictures from the last few days
 At the Lagoon in Ko Olina, Oahu getting an open water swim in
 Leaving Oahu, headed to Kona
 Out on the road for my Monday "long" ride
 I guess that is what the locals refer to Triathletes as ;) jk jk....Guess they have Donkeys out there on the Queen K.
Faris chatting it up on Ali'i Drive.

Friday, September 30, 2011

My Path to Kona: Part 1

30 Sep 11-

As I sit here and get ready to fly out of S. Korea over to Hawaii, I wanted to take a minute and start the blogs that will lead up to the Kona Pre Race Blog.  A lot of people dream about getting to Kona and attempt year after year to get to the "Big Dance".  I wouldn't say I "dreamed" about getting to Kona, until I made it a goal of mine.  I walked into this sport a little over 3 years ago now not even knowing what an IRONMAN was or what the difference between a triathlon bike or road bike was.  I came into the sport with no knowledge of anything and looked for guidance from many people.   I couldn't tell you who Chrisse Wellington was or who Team TBB was.  I couldn't even tell you how far a marathon was, but somehow 4 months later I was running one.  I showed up to my first sprint tri and a guy showed up on a Felt DA (tri bike) with a disc wheel, deep front Zipp and an aero helmet.  Me and my buddy were laughing at this guy wondering who the heck he thought he was.  10 months later I was rooming with this said guy at China 70.3, picking his brain on everything and he has become a great mentor.  Step back and looking at myself I am a spitting image of that guy, and I am sure there whispers at the small on base tris when I show up with people saying the same thing.

The path that I took to get to Kona is unique in my opinion, as is everybody's.  Some people are realistic and know what it takes to get to Kona, they lay out a plan that will work for THEM.  Others don't have a clue what it takes and they think they "know" what they need to do.  I have seen and read about these people and they wonder why year after year they don't reach their goal of getting to Hawaii.  I by no means knew what it took to get to Kona, but I was surrounded by people that know what it takes.  I was surrounded by mentors that have led me down the path to success.   I used those resources to make sure that the goal I wanted to achieve was attainable and I laid out a plan to achieve that goal.

I am fortunate enough to be in Asia, which means IM China was not going to cost me a fortune to get to (IM China was my original plan of my first IM, until it was canceled).  I then switched it up to IM Korea.  When you have a goal that is thought to be the top of the sport, people will think you are crazy when you tell them on your first IM you are gunning for a Kona slot.  If you pick the right race, in the right location, that suits you, anything is possible.  To make things even better, the cancellation of IM China brought a total of 75 Kona slots to IM Korea,  that is a very very BIG number.  So that was step 1, choosing a race that suited me.  Why did China and/or Korea suit me?  The races are known to have small fields which mean a higher chance of qualifying.  Some may call this cherry picking but when you are aiming for a goal that has so many variables in it, you take control of the things you can control, the race selection being one of them.

The other thing that had to be done, was I needed to hire a coach.  There was no way I was going into my first IM with ambitions of qualifying for Kona and coaching myself.  I lack the knowledge and experience in the sport to coach myself, and even the best coaches still need to be coached.  I had been following Team TBB for quite sometime, well since China 70.3 in April of 2009.  There had been talk that they would be doing online coaching and it was something that I kept my eye on.  I frequented there forum regularly looking for all the "free" advice that I could and just taking it all in.  When I made the decision to do the IM and they launched there online coaching I knew that is who I was going to put my trust in.  There are a lot of people out there who go out and get a coach, just to have a coach.  They don't do their homework, they don't know the history of the people and they just assume because they are a pro they are a good coach.  Team TBB has a proven track record and I liked the coaching model that they laid out, where their online coaches had the capability to seek advice from their head coach if need be.  The only way a coach/athlete relationship works is if you fully trust your coach and don't second guess his thought process and training plan.  What is the point to pay for a coach and then not even believe in what he is providing you?

The last big thing that I did was get a powermeter.  I got a wired SRM and really started focusing on power on the bike.  It has been the second best investment I have made in triathlon other than my coach.  Training by power is a great way to measure your fitness and track your progress.  I use WKO+ and it is something that I have enjoyed studying and watching over the course of the season.

Lastly, the thing that is out of everyone's control is the athletes you are surrounded by.  I say athletes, because you can't control the caliber of people you are surrounded by in terms of athletics, but you can control the other people you surround yourself with.  Being on a military installation where a majority of the base is on a 1 year tour, it is completely out of my control.  However, I have been very fortunate to have some great people to train with.  They know who they are, they are the guys that road in the freezing cold weather or came over on Xmas and put in a 3 hour trainer ride or anyone who just put in time in the pool, on the bike or on the run with me.  If you weren't there to hold me accountable I could of just blown off the workout, or I may not of been pushed as hard.  It is because of the people in my life that have led me to where I am at today.  It is not necessarily because of all the positive people, although they have a huge effect on it, the negative people are important as well.  The people that question what you do or the goals you aim for, thinking you are just flat out crazy.  Those are the people that push you to do better and reach higher each time.

I can't thank everyone that I have been surrounded by for the past 3 years and especially those that have been around these past couple of months leading into Kona.  You have been a crucial part to my training environment and have pushed me to where I am today.  And then as always if it wasn't for the great family members that I am surrounded by that continue to support me, I would not be on this plane to the big dance.  The Love and support they have for me is incredible and I am not sure if they will ever know how appreciative I am of it, words can't describe what they have done and what they continue to do for me.

In Part 2 I plan on talking about the lifestyle I lived this past year and the financial obligation that an IM has on someone.

Not really sure what picture to put to this blog, but since it is about the Path to Kona, here is a look back from January 2010, probably around 170-175lbs........