Monday, April 14, 2014

My Pocket Knife at the Gun Show

NOLA 70.3 has come and gone.  It was a great weekend making some new friends as the local Nashville crew had several people travel down to New Orleans for the race.  I traveled with two buddies while meeting Casey on Saturday since she had to work on Friday.  We drove down Friday, got some good food down in the French Quarter Friday night, and mostly had an uneventful day other than spending most of it in the car.
Saturday we did our normal pre race workouts, then Sunday rolled around.  I was anxious as to find out where my fitness is.  My swim workouts have been pretty solid, but not quite where they once were, my bike workouts have been mostly indoors due to the weather, and my running has been going pretty well.  Again, not where I have once been, but not far off to be honest.  Vector 450 has really helped with these workouts as I am recovering faster than I have in the past.  It helps with the inflammatory process and reduces the soreness from the harder workouts, making it possible to do some harder workouts on back-to-back days.

The biggest question I had was about my bike and my nutrition.  I was using Generation UCAN for the first time for a race and was excited about it considering I have been using it all winter for my workouts.  My bike is a few years old, and I don't remember the last time I got it tuned up.  I did my best but apparently my best isn't very good.  My personalized bike fit got me comfortable on the bike, but my bike wasn't ready for the bumpy roads of NOLA.  Thankfully I was riding my my ISM Attack seat which was fantastic for those bumpy roads.

After some research on the best approach with UCAN for a 70.3, I planned on taking two packets of the UCAN Pomegranate blueberry powder mix in 1 bottle for the bike, with 8-12 Salt Stick tablets.  I also had a shot of Eboost to take in final mile of bike as a final pick me up before running.  I had a 10 oz bottle which I mixed 1 more packet of UCAN sitting in T2 to take with me on start of run and consume before the first mile.

Sunday morning rolled around, and I got everything prepped, and we went to the start.  I set up everything, and headed to the swim start.  My heart goes out to the family that lost a loving father/husband in the cycling accident just 2 days before the race.  He had traveled to NOLA from Atlanta for the race and was riding when a car struck him from behind.  His widow came down to speak to everyone before the start which was awesome of her.  Remember to keep her and her family in your prayers.  You can find out more about this accident at Slowtwitch.

Just a few minutes before swim start.


After the pro introductions, we jumped in the water, and got a 2-3 minute warmup.  They got everyone behind the start line, and fired the cannon with no count down.  Two weekends in a row, I was caught with my goggles up.  I quickly put them on and got out fast.  I stayed smooth, found some feet, and cruised in a pack to the first turn.  Just 100 meters after turning, I sighted a yellow buoy which I thought was our next turn (it wasn't).  I swam in that direction for just 1 minute or so before realizing I was going to wrong yellow buoy.  I got back on course, but lost the feet of the group I was in.  That probably cost me 30-45 seconds but I stayed smooth and finished the swim very comfortably and feeling good.  I ran into T1, slipped on my Rudy Project Wingspan helmet  and had a decent transition.  Once on the bike, I was right in the middle of the Pro field.  I held 275-280 watts for the first 15 miles or so, keeping everyone in sight, then that is where I realized my lack of cycling fitness.  Somewhere 15-20 miles in, I heard a little noise, but just assumed it was the car that had just passed me.  Well I kept hearing it and looked down to see that my left, front brake caliper/pad had come loose and was pointing straight up and down (supposed to be parallel with ground).  I pulled it away from my wheel and that stayed for a while, but the further I rode, the looser the brake pad got.  The last 41 miles, I rode by myself as everyone slowly pulled away.  I had a few guys pass me and I just watched as they went.  My power dropped to 255-260 until about 45 miles.  Those last 10 miles, the brake pad got really loose and it was rubbing my wheel.  I spent more effort trying to keep the pad off of the wheel and my power dropped significantly while dealing with this.  (This is by no means an excuse as to why I didn't finish as high as I had hoped, this was just a distraction.  It maybe cost me a minute or two on the bike.)  I came into T2 a little annoyed about my bike situation, but was going to get in a good long workout no matter what happened.  I would walk/jog the run if need be.  I took off at what I thought was about 7:00 pace.  It was actually closer to 6:00 and I was surprised to go through the first 4 miles right at that pace and then hold 6:10's for the next 4 miles after that.  Once I got to 8 miles, I was in no man's land with no one behind really catching me, and only 1 guy right in front of me.  That last 5 miles were right around 6:30-6:40 pace as I threw in a few short walk breaks.  I tried to pick up the pace a handful of times, trying to remember how it feels to really suffer, and that is something I will need to work on.  Those final miles of a 70.3 are always brutal, no matter what pace you are running.

I ended up finishing as the 15th pro and 18th overall.  Definitely not close to where I wanted to be, but it provided me with the information that I needed.  I finished with my wife yelling and screaming.  She was so excited for me to finish a 70.3 and that made me so happy.  I realized that I was happy to finish and that the finisher's medal does mean something.  I used to just take for granted that I would finish and be upset if it wasn't fast.  Sunday, I was happy to be competing again and grateful for everyone's support.

Tri4Him took a chance on me taking me onto the Pro team without any Pro results for the past 2 years.  I am forever grateful for that opportunity.  Casey has supported me in every decision that I have made.  I wouldn't have been on the starting line Sunday without her.  The Lord has blessed me with the athletic ability to compete in triathlons and presented the opportunity to Glorify him while doing so.  He has also blessed me with more family and friends then I thought was possible.  I love hearing from everyone on Facebook, text messages, Twitter, etc.  It always reminds me of my support team, and puts a smile on my face.  I met fellow Tri4Him team member Jodie after the race and we talked briefly after the race.  It is awesome to see our team uniform out at the races and meeting new people every day.

My next race is Rev3 Knoxville which is 5 weeks away.  I plan on spending those 5 weeks on the bicycle.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Alpha Delta Pi-athlon

My first race of the season has come and gone.  It was a small, local triathlon that had some unique distances.  It was a short 300 yard swim, in a 12 lane pool, so you had to go under a lane line at every 25 yard mark.  It was a short run to the transition area and then a flat, and easy to follow, 11 mile bike ride, followed by a 5k run through MTSU's campus in Murfreesboro, TN.

I knew it was going to be chilly, but was hoping it would be warmer than expected.  That did not happen.  I woke to 42 degrees at my house and thought that I could deal with that.  I packed my car, grabbed my coffee and Chocolate UCAN and hit the road.

Well, as I arrived in Murfreesboro, it was 36 degrees and "felt like" 32.  That is a cold triathlon.  I prepped everything and jogged the run course to make sure I knew where I was going.  The course was marked well, which is a problem is a lot of smaller triathlons, so I was able to scout the course and know exactly where I was going once on the run.

After getting everything laid out in the transition area, I walked to the pool for the start.  I laid my Tri4Him long sleeve cycling jersey on the pool deck to slip on after the swim and walked into the pool.  Everyone got lined up and I was seeded #1.

I was chatting with the #2 guy before the start when a lady walked up and just said "Go" without any warning that we were about to start.  I quickly put on my goggles and jumped in.  After an uneventful swim, I ran to T1.  After a little trouble slipping on my cycling jersey, I got to my bike, put on my Rudy Project helmet, and took off.

One of the main reasons I decided to do this race 1 week before NOLA 70.3 was to get some kinks worked out.  And boy were there some kinks.  Of course my power meter wasn't working for the first time this year, so I tried to figure that thing out for the first mile or two until I decided it didn't matter.  I also just didn't feel right.  I felt like I was a little low on my bike.  After spending the winter on the trainer, it is always hard to get comfortable when riding outside.  For whatever reason, during the winter when I'm mostly on the trainer, I tend to lower my seat a little.  Then once I go outside, I realize that my seat is too low.  Well, needless to say, my bike split wasn't near what it needs to be, but it was ok.  I have since then adjusted the seat height and hopefully got it all figured out.  I got to the last 1/2 mile or so of the bike and had to got over 5-6 speed bumps while trying to get my frozen feet out of my bike shoes with my frozen hands.  This probably cost me 30-45 seconds just doing that.  It probably would have been faster to leave my feet in my shoes and have run into T2 in my bike shoes.

I racked my bike and took off on the run with my numb feet.  Again, it was an uneventful run and I crossed the finish line first.  I never started my watch because of the abrupt start so I had no feedback during the race.  I didn't see a clock until I finished.  I believe I ran the 5k in 17:40ish.  Nothing great, but not bad considering how terrible I felt on the bike.  But it could also be the training I've done over the past few weeks. I had a pretty solid ride the previous Tuesday of about 3.5 hours, and had a great 6 mile fartlek in about 34 minutes on Thursday.  So I was definitely not rested.  But NOLA is the first big goal of the year.  Getting my feet wet in my first Pro race since Steelhead 70.3 of 2011.  I'm nervous, but very excited.  I'm still putting together my nutrition plan, race goals, etc.

No matter what happens, my goal is to finish L.A.S.T.  God has bigger plans for me no matter how I finish.  One thing I used to get caught up in before the race was analyzing the start list.  I am not going to show up and be able to put out some super human performance.  I need to stay focused on what I know that I'm capable of doing and not get overwhelmed by who I'm racing.

NOLA race report will be up in about a week.  Stay tuned....

Make sure to check out the race coverage at Ironman


Thursday, March 27, 2014

Big Announcement!!!!!

This has been the worst winter that I can remember, but I'm sure that everyone else feels the same way. But since it is technically spring, then I guess it is about triathlon time.

I am racing for the Tri4Him Pro team this year!!!!

I couldn't be more excited.  It combines my favorite hobby of racing triathlons with my faith and gives me a way to share my faith with anyone that will pay attention.  Our goal is to "use our training and competition in triathlons as means to honor God, glorify Jesus, and love others."  One thing that I cannot express enough is the Love others aspect.  So many people get hung up on how Christians behave and "judge" others because of their actions.  God did not put us here to judge others, only to Love.

One Professional runner that I have always respected and enjoyed his thoughts on is Josh Cox.  He tweeted a quote from Billy Graham just yesterday or earlier today that sums up my thoughts about Love really well.  "It's the Holy Spirit's job to convict, God's job to judge, and my job to Love." This was Billy Graham's response to a reporter when asked why he was attending a rally in support of Bill Clinton during is sex scandal.

Southland Christian church in Lexington, KY and now CrossPoint Church here in Nashville have similar pastors that feel the same way.  Jon Weece is known for covering some very controversial topics and sharing the Love of Jesus Christ to anyone and everyone that will listen.  He has been to several homosexual bars/clubs in Lexington to share to Love of Jesus.  He doesn't go there to judge, only to talk to anyone that will listen, or to listen to anyone who needs to talk.  I love that about him and that is why I made that my home church before moving away from Lexington.  Pete Wilson is very much the same here in Nashville.  That is why we have made Crosspoint our home church now.

One goal for our team this year to to be L.A.S.T

Listen, Affirm, Serve, Tell about Jesus.

No matter what happens during the race, I know that I am representing my Lord and Savior.  Racing as a Pro Triathlete is just a bonus.

Tony

check out our team website...

Tri4Him Pro Team


Thursday, October 31, 2013

Rock'N'Roll St. Louis Race Report

Two straight weekends that I have raced and I have loved every minute of it.  Sure I had to travel a bit but it was worth it.  It just so happened that our race overlapped with the World Series which was awesome.  I was able to support my favorite MLB team in the World Series while in St. Louis, what could be better.  Maybe if I had tickets, sure, but I don't have that kind of money haha.

Anyways, ever since Competitor's decision to drop elite athlete support, I decided that I wasn't going to do any of their events.  Well, I had signed up for this race back in June on "National Running Day" since it was deeply discounted and Casey wanted to do a 1/2 marathon where we would both compete.  And it also gave us an opportunity to visit her parents.  So, no more Competitor races for me, but I did go ahead and run this one since I was already signed up.

My week going into the race wasn't the best training wise.  I felt a little sluggish and sore from the 10k the previous weekend and my "tune up" workout a few days before the race didn't feel very good.  We left for St. Louis on Friday, watched a lot of football and baseball on Saturday, and woke up super early on Sunday for the race.  Since there were no "elites" I wasn't sure how close I would be to the front.  Maybe a few fast locals show up, maybe no fast guys show up, maybe something I didn't even think about happens???  I knew that I was capable of running right around 1:12-1:15 depending on the day/course/etc.

Pre Race Pic about 10 minutes before the start.
Pre race, my In-laws really helped out with our warm up clothes, parking, getting up to the start line without any hassle what so ever.  They were a huge help.  Brad and Kim took our warmer clothes and wished us luck.  I stood on the start line for 5 minutes before the gun went off.  I made sure to be there on time, ha.  At 7 am, we were off.

I settled into my pace which is always hard to judge for the first 1/2 mile or so.  I ran with the 2 leaders until we hit the mile mark at 5:25.  I knew it was a little fast, but it felt good so I stuck with them.  After 2-3 minutes, one guy dropped back a little and the other started to put a small gap on myself.  We all kind of settled into our own paces and that is about how the rest of the race went.  2 miles was right around 10:55 and about 5 seconds behind the leader.

Cruising through the 5 mile mark.

I went through the 5 mile mark right around 27:55.  The leader had a larger gap now and it was only growing.  I held onto my pace and kept it smooth.  I went through 8 miles just under 45 minutes and 10 miles at 56:15.  My next mile was a little uphill but nothing killer.  I ran a 5:50 mile and got a little worried.  I thought the wheels were falling off and I still had 2 miles to go.  Luckily, the next mile was mostly downhill and I ran a 5:15 mile.  I settled back into my pace of between 5:30-5:40 miles and crossed the finish line in 1:13:28.  The winner ended up running under 1:11 so I was no where near him and third place crossed the line about 1 minute or so behind me.  Considering there was 13,000 people in the race, I didn't expect to finish in the top 3 but was happy regardless.


Coming Down the Home Stretch.

I was very happy with the effort and glad it was over.  Brad and Kim were right there to get these amazing pictures and hand me my warmer clothes.  I jogged back to cheer for Casey as my cooldown.  She ran a huge PR and then we had a HUGE Panera breakfast afterwards.  We laid around and watched the Lions and Cowboys go back and forth while cheering for our Fantasy football players and napping.

Sunday evening after attending the World Series Pep Rally.

Just a little Superman pose while at a Rest Stop in Illinois on the way home.
That evening we went downtown to enjoy some World Series festivities and then watched the game at a bar for the first few innings before heading home to get some much needed sleep.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Medical Center 10k

Well, now that the race results have been posted, I can reflect on my 10k from Saturday.

Overall, I am pleased with the effort / time that I was able to accomplish on Saturday.  I have always run pretty fast on that course considering the difficulty of the race.  My "official" time was 33:47.  My watch had me at 33:40.  How was it 7 seconds off?  Let me explain.

I woke up at about my normal time considering the race didn't start until 8:30.  I had a light breakfast, some coffee, and hung out until I was ready to head down to pick up my packet.  I parked, got my packet, and took off on my warmup jog at around 7:45.  After a good 25 minute warmup, I put my racing flats on, did some strides as I was heading to the start line, and got myself mentally prepared for the pain I was about to endure.  It was about 8:20 when I left my car.  When I did my last stride at 8:24 about 200 - 300 meters behind the start line, I heard an announcement saying something to the effect of "2 minutes."  I looked at my watch and double checked that I had over 5 minutes until 8:30.  The wheelchair race was scheduled to start at 8:25 so that is what I assumed was 2 minutes away.  I walked towards the start, saw an open porta potty and started to go in just to make sure I didn't have to go during the race.  Right when I made it there, I heard the announcement "20 seconds."  I look over and do not see a single wheel chair.  I quickly changed my mind about the porta potty stop and jogged closer to the front of the start area.  Before I got close to the front, the gun went off and everyone took off.

I was 100% warmed up, but just didn't expect the race to start early.  It took me about 7-8 seconds just to get to the start line before I was able to take off.  Another 5 seconds or so before I was able to get into an open area and then I was off.  I figured since it had chip timing that there would be a "finishing" time and a "chip" time so I wasn't too worried.  Well, after looking at the results, there was no chip time so I made a mistake before the start that cost me 7-8 seconds of racing time.  Whatever.  It's not like the guy in front of me beat me by 3 seconds.  He beat me by about 1:30, ha.  One positive to starting a little bit back was I was able to start a little more controlled than I usually do.

Seconds after the gun went off, the rain started to fall.  It was 57 degrees and calm when I woke up.  The temperature was dropping and now it was raining.  I worked my way through the field and by the 1 mile mark I was in 10th place (I didn't know that at the time) and about 5 seconds behind the first female.  She looked very familiar and I was about 90% sure it was Ali Morgan who I ran with at UK.  I decided I would use the 2nd downhill mile to catch her.  Well, she pulled away from me.  I was 5:21 for mile 1, 5:13 for mile 2, and was about 7 seconds or so behind Ali.  I caught a guy just before the 5k mark and going through right at 16:40 (on my watch).  I finally caught Ali just before 4 miles.  We laughed for about a 1/2 second since this was the first time I've seen her in a year or two.  We worked together to maintain pace for the next mile or so.  Going up the long, gradual hill that is the 5th mile, I did get away from her about the exact distance that I would finish in front of her.  I went through 5 miles just over 27 minutes.  We weaved our way around the football stadium and finished on the field.  I crossed the line in 33:47 (race time), and at 33:40 on my watch.  Ali finished just 9 seconds later and we had a good laugh about the race afterwards.

By then, it was pouring and getting colder.  I did a quick cooldown and made it back to the car completely soaked and freezing.  I have only broken 34 minutes for a 10k a hand full of times so I was happy but was secretly hoping to surprise myself.  There was no surprise.  I just met my expectation.

I hate standing around on the start line just waiting for the gun to go off, but I guess that is better then missing the start.  Next time I'll make sure I'm lined up in time.  Off to St. Louis this weekend for the Rock'n'Roll St. Louis half marathon.  Not sure how it's going to work out with the World Series going on but that would be awesome if I managed to get tickets for it while we are there.

Tony

Friday, October 18, 2013

Pre Race Bowling Green 10k

So I have been training consistently (and pretty hard) for that past few months (all summer) and am ready to put the work to the test.  This week is one of my least favorite parts of the training process as I have cut back on the workload and am resting a bit.  When I rest, I tend to eat more, which doesn't work out the best as I tend to cut weight and put on weight pretty fast.  Through the summer training, I have dropped from about 170 - 175 pounds which I was around back in March down to 154 two weeks ago.  Now, that was during a high mileage week and I'm back to high 150's with my rest this week and is a more maintainable weight for myself.  I'm sure once I rest after a few running races, I'll pack on the pounds with the lower mileage and the holiday treats, haha.

Tomorrow is the BG 10k.  I have run this race twice and they have been a few years apart every time I have run the race.  Some years this race has the top 10 guys all in the low 30's or faster.  Other years has 1-3 guys that fast and then a big drop off with maybe the 5th place guy barely breaking 34 or 35 minutes depending on the year.  It seems that the years I have run this race, it is always a fast year.  I broke 34 for the 10k distance the first time ever back in 2005 at this race.  I didn't even win my AG that year with that time.  I believe it was 33:51.  The next time I ran this race I was hoping to finish top 6-8 in the race and I decided I would do what I could to finish there.  Well, the lead group had 15 guys or so in it and they went through the first mile in about 4:45-4:50.  I went through the first mile just under 5:00 and realized I was in a bit over my head.  But it did help me break 33 for the first time ever and I finished 32:53 or so.  Not sure on the exact time but I finished 15th overall.

Over the past six years, here is the finishing time for the 8th place person

2007 - 35:20 (1st place female)
2008 - 31:22
2009 - 32:32
2010 - 30:22
2011 - 31:53
2012 - 35:06

This race is always very competitive and I am really looking forward to testing out my fitness.  I built a solid base over the summer months, and have had some really solid workouts as of late.  They have been a little more 13.1 focused since I'm running the Rock'n'Roll St. Louis half marathon next weekend, but I have had some really good 5k - 10k workouts as well.  I did 5x1k this week @ 5k pace and it felt very good and was a bit faster than expected.

The BG course is very rolling considering it goes right through WKU's campus and of course they are called the "hilltoppers."  The first mile is rolling but ends right on top of "the" hill.  The 2nd mile is all downhill running into downtown BG.  I have always flown through the 2 mile mark of this course.  My 5k split has always been crazy fast.  In 2010, I went through the 5k split just 15 seconds off my 5k PR.  I did slow down over the second half but had enough in the tank to break the 33 minute barrier.  I believe I did something similar in 2005, but I don't remember what my 5k PR or split was for that race but I know that I was close to my PR at the 5k split.

I'll post a race report Monday or Tuesday.  I love this race and always look forward to spending the afternoon after the race at one of my favorite places, Jackson's Orchard.  Nothing beats race recovery like snacking on caramel apples, hot apple cider, and apple pies with some ice cream on top.

Tony

Friday, September 13, 2013

Franklin Classic 10k

Labor Day weekend is the anniversary for my wife and I so we were really excited about it coming around this year. We didn't have any big plans since we were traveling to Florida the following weekend. Saturday WKU and UK played at Titans stadium so that filled up our Saturday evening. Franklin, TN is also a host to an annual 10k that is run every year and Casey and I figured it would be a good little fitness test since we are both running a half marathon at the end of October. It is a unique event as they have a 10k and a 5k. The 10k startst at 7am and the 5k at 8:45 giving you the option to run both. I did consider this but decided it probably wasn't the best idea in the world.

It played out just like any other summer road race. We woke up, had a small breakfast with coffee, then drove over to Franklin to pick up our race bibs, get warmed up, and race. We didn't really need to warm up much considering the early morning heat and humidity. With a PR under 33 minutes, but having no idea what kind of current fitness I had, I wasn't sure what to expect out of the race. I was almost certain it was a fairly flat course, but I was wrong. It had some flat sections, but was pretty rolling the whole way.

At 7, the gun went off. I followed a few guys and wanted to hang with the leaders for as long as possible. In the previous 3 years, the winner has been anywhere from 32:00 - 35:30 so I wasn't sure how fast I would have to run to win. This year, winning was out of the question. The winner ended up running sub 32 so I didn't stay with him for very long. I ended up running in 4th-6th place for the first part of the race. We ran together and were holding 5:25 - 5:30 pace for the first 5k. It did not feel as easy as I would have liked, but I thought I could hold this for the race. I was wrong. The heat started to really wear me down and my pace started to slow after 5k. I ran a 5:35 mile for the 4th mile, then the last 2 miles were in the 5:50 range. When the wheels fell off, they fell hard. 4th and 5th place ran away from me and I finished 6th in just under 35 minutes. I think it was 34:52 ish. Definitely hoping to be faster, but the hills and heat took their toll, and if I would have paced a tad better, I think I might have been able to run about 20-30 seconds faster. I went out expecting to run faster, and that got me in trouble since I'm not in that kind of shape right now.

But, it means that I can only go up from here. It provided me a little fuel for the fire and have about 7-8 weeks to work hard before the half marathon. I just returned from Florida and a nice relaxing extended weekend vacation. I woke up early, got the work done for the day, and enjoyed the beach, food, and company the rest of the day. I did hit 74 miles last week which I believe is my 2nd most ever in my life. I didn't even try to run a lot of miles, it was just how the workouts planned added up. And having that 10k on Monday did add a few extra miles that I normally don't run on Mondays.

After the race on Labor Day, we had breakfast at Panera, then J. Alexander's for dinner for our anniversary dinner with our wedding cake for dessert. It was still really good so we chowed down on some cake. Casey did a fantastic job at wrapping the cake and freezing it so that it didn't get freezer burn.