Tuesday, December 10, 2013

This Blog Has a New Home....

Head over to Tailwind Coaching Concepts to see what Josh has been up to. 

All future ramblings will be done at ww.tailwindcoaching.com.

Thanks for following!


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Rev3 South Carolina

Last weekend Leigh and I headed south for the second edition of Rev3's half iron distance race in Anderson, SC.  I've quickly become a fan of the Rev3 race series, (and this race in particular) which finished off my 2011 triathlon season.  Rev3 South Carolina carried a little extra incentive, though.  The quantity of the pro prize purse and the quality of the field meant that the top three age groupers would earn professional cards.

Not to crush the hopes of anyone dreaming of another long, drawn out race report from me- but I'll go ahead and provide the spoiler that it wasn't in the cards for me at Anderson.  I finished 8th overall in the amateur field, and I wasn't really in contention for a top three finish after I turned in two sluggish 6:35/min miles to start the run.  No excuses or explanations, just not a great performance.  The amatuer field was very competitive at the top, several dudes like myself with pro-card motivation were on the start line.  One highlight from the race was that I made and hung on to the front swim pack for my wave- a definite first.  I finished with the 4th best swim split on the day- which I'm still stoked about 48 hours later!  Sometimes you have to hang on to small victories....

I'll leave you with some race pictures courtesy of top notch iphone Photog and Super Wife Leigh.  Rev3 Florida is 12 days away, one more crack at this triathlon thing in 2012.

Thanks for reading,


Race Results

Monday, August 27, 2012

Summertime and the living is easy....

It's been an interesting couple of months.  At my last check in, I was lulling you to sleep with a race report about another mediocre performace from the Triangle Triathlon.  I won't say that I've had a "busy" couple of months, because who hasn't?  I'm always amused when someone feels it's necessary to share with me at great length just how busy/hectic/important their lives are- squandering their hard to come by time in the process.  I usually squash the urge to say "Dude- everyone is busy, most much more so than you or I."

That being said, I've been lucky and unlucky enough to have experienced a few personally significant 'life events' since my last post.  I figured I would take some time out of my not so busy Saturday to share them.

P-Ride bike crash

This sucked.  I don't have a more eloquent or colorfully descriptive way of summing up the situation.  Most major cycling communities have something like Carrboro's P-ride, where the local Cat 1-2-3 riders flog themselves trying to drop one another every weekend that they aren't racing.  The Saturday after the Triangle Tri I got out the road bike and set out to mix it up with the roadies.  Occasionally Coach Dave will prescribe the P-ride as a bike workout for me, the context usually being: "stay near the front, take pulls, and hang on." 

To make a lame story shorter, roughly half way through the ride I was working hard to bridge a gap to the lead group of 4 riders, and I hit a small pothole that sent my front wheel sideways.  I went down hard, but THANKFULLY, I didn't take anyone down with me.  A few of the dudes where nice enough to stop and help get me back on my feet.   After some tinkering to get to where I could at least ride it back home, I soft pedaled on in, grass stained, a little bloodied, and feeling really sheepish.  Admittedly I'm not a tough dude at all when it comes to physical discomfort.  A mild cold will have me convinced that I'm dying, and I get woozy at the sight of needles.  However, the fallout from this wipe out was pretty legit.  Chest X-rays were negative, but my doctor diagnosed me with a torn intercostal muscle on my right side. 

I was forced to take four full days off, before graduating to a week of meager rides on the indoor trainer.  It was three weeks before I could swim pain free (but to be perfectly honest I enjoyed the short rest from the pool).  All that is done and over with now, I'm back at it- and hopefully I've fulfilled my bike crash quota for loooong time.   

The Big Move

Leigh and I relocated to Carrboro, NC last year from Birmingham and are loving every minute of it.  Great progressive community that's also a college town, with miles and miles of bike lanes.  Our big move a couple of weeks ago was actually just 0.72 miles down the road to an old renovated mill house, but it was a move none the less- complete with moving trucks, cardboard boxes, scrubbed cabinets and strained backs.  I'm choosing to mention it here because it seems like a major event, and my Mom makes up probably 50% of the people who check this blog on normal basis- hi Mom!

From Duke to UNC

Probably the biggest thing on my plate has been leaving my research position at Duke to take a job with UNC Hospitals.  In this new role I'll be the working as the Performance Center Coordinator for the UNC Wellness Center.  I'll have a hand in working with both athletes and the occasional clinical rehab patient.  For those interested: VO2, lactate threshold testing, run gate analysis are all within the scope of what we do at the UNC Wellness Center.  I'm definitely stoked about this move from a professional standpoint, but the endurance athlete junkie in me is equally excited.  Now I head to work each day with resources like treadmills, an indoor pool, and a computrainer at my fingertips.  This job change has definitely streamlined my life in general, and helped me to find time/balance between work and training.

Thanks for checking in.  Next up is the White Lake Olympic on September 8th, before going all in for the Rev3 South Carolina & Rev3 Florida 70.3's in October.


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Triangle Triathlon

Earlier this month I raced in the Set Up Events Triangle Triathlon, part of the IOS North Carolina Triathlon Series.  I think I may just now starting to shed my 'new guy' status in the Piedmont, but I've learned from the locals that the Triangle Tri is one of 2-3 can't miss events if you live in North Carolina.  I'm usually not too keen on sprint races, feeling that the travel and race day prep should never exceed the actual time spent racing an event.  Hearing so many great things about the Triangle Tri, I decided to temporarily squash my sprint tri snobbery and have a crack at it- and I'm glad I did!

The Triangle Tri is a 'big' local event with 600+ racers, but pre-race logistics went smoothly- as they always do with Set Up Events races.  This year I've been experimenting with different pre-race warm ups, ranging from well, nothing, to a 20 minute shake ride and a 10 minute run with some pickups before hopping in the water.  Generally speaking, as race length increases the amount of time/energy I reserve for warming up decreases inversely.  The race morning energy surrounding the transition area at any race site is HUGE, like a human bee hive with racers nervously moving in every direction.  You could really start to question your own pre-race routine if you paid too much attention to the gobs of shaved, permanent markered, aerodynamic people running/riding/stretching/fretting all around you.  Something intuitively told me to skip the shake out ride/run, and just focus on staying hydrated.  On what was a crazy humid morning I headed down to the swim start to see if I could find my swim stroke.  

Starting with roughly 15 other racers in the Open/Elite wave, I fought like hell to make the lead swim pack.  The 'lead' pack was actually chasing first year pro Doug Van Wie, who came out of the 750m swim with a 2:00 lead.  I didn't quite latch on to the lead pack of 4, and ended up working side by side with two other dudes who set good pace despite the fast fish pulling away up ahead.

Frustrated with my swim, I pressed hard on the trek from lake into T1, and I was able to pass a few dudes while getting out onto the bike course in decent time.  The rolling 17.5 mile bike course was visually stimulating, if otherwise uneventful.  I pulled back one spot early on, then was entirely on my own for the next 30 minutes.  Somewhere around mile 15 TMS-IOS founder Cid Cardoso Jr flew by me like I was standing still.  This snapped my head back into the race, and I turned myself inside out for the last few minutes of the ride trying to keep Cid from completely disappearing up the road.

Coming out onto the run course I could see that there were two TMS-IOS red/black race kits shortly up the road.  This stoked me to see that TMS-IOS was all over the front of this race, and also because I was hoping to have some run company.  One good thing about being such a medium cyclist is that it always leaves you with plenty of dudes to try and catch on the run.  The 5k run course was fun, with all but the first 1/2 mile on the trails/fire roads of Harris County Park.  I felt like I was holding strong form out on course, pulling back a couple spots, but I ran out of run course before I could reach anyone else who may have been faltering, or before I was caught from behind by any fast runner dudes.  All in all a fun day, finishing 7th overall, as the 5th amateur.  Big congratulations to Doug Van Wie who lead the race from start to finish, and to the TMS-IOS Triathlon Team, who had four athletes in the top 10 spots.

Race results can be found HERE.                          

Monday, June 11, 2012

Rev3 Quassy Race Report

Last weekend I traveled to Middlebury, Connecticut to have a crack at Rev3 Quassy.  Everything about this 70.3 distance race is big.  The race itself is big, with 1000+ racers.  The pro field is stacked, with at least 10 top tier pros on each side, included the women's reigning IM World Champion. The professional prize purse is one of the biggest in the sport.  The race course itself?  Super duper big.  More elevation change than I can fit in this blog post.  Committing to race at Quassy was a bit of a big deal in itself.  I wanted to put myself out there to try racing on more of a national level this year, and Quassy fit the bill based on the logistics and anticipated competition.  I've always heard that Rev3 races are quality events that attract great competition- and I wasn't definitely wasn't disappointed on race day.

Everything went smoothly in the days leading up to the race.  I redoubled my efforts to eat clean and get quality sleep.  It seemed like every decision I made all week was weighed with its potential impact on race performance in mind.  With Sunday being race day, we broke up the 10.5 hour drive over two days, stopping Friday night in Annapolis, MD for an overdue visit with good friends.  Saturday we were up early and tackled a short but rather interesting drive through New Jersey/New York- Leigh's Honda Fit wasn't to keen on the NJ Turnpike potholes, but we survived.  We pulled into the race venue at Lake Quassapaug a little before lunch, and bike check/packet pick up were a breeze.  

Coach Dave had me type up a structured itinerary that started two days before the race and ended at the finish line.  This wasn't something I'd done before, but it really helped me to envision the chronology of race weekend.  I was thankful for his instruction as I clicked off the tasks leading up to the starter's signal on race morning.  Saturday afternoon was an easy shake out jog with a few pick ups, and dinner with Leigh and my brother in law who drove down from Mass to check out the race.

Race Day

Other than 10-12 minutes in the water finding my stroke/getting the heart rate up, I don't warm up too much for a 70.3.  On race morning you can always find age groupers running, sprinting, mashing around on their bikes, doing push ups, etc.  It would be easy to get caught up in the nervous energy of the morning and overdo it, but I feel like age groupers like me have to take care to respect the race distance.  The wetsuit legal swim was one big clockwise rectangle in cold, clear lake Quassapaug.  The 30-34 males were the 6th wave to send off, and I positioned myself on the left side of the beach to hopefully avoid getting boxed in and avoid the scrum.  Success!  After a hard first 3-4 minutes I was slightly ahead of the pack with two others, and clean water in front of me.  It didn't take long for those two fish from my wave to pull ahead, but I didn't mind all that much.  There were several hundred athletes already in the water from earlier waves, and I was dialed in to picking good lines to each buoy and navigating around slower moving packs of racers.  I'm feeling a little more confident about my swimming with each race, and with a controlled effort I came out of the water 4th (30-34 wave), which was good for 26th overall on the day.

I could probably write something that would rival the page count of Ulysses about this bike course.  The scenery was incredible, when I allowed myself to take in the Connecticut countryside a few seconds at a time.  With more climbs than I care to remember, and tight technical descents, this is one of the hardest bike courses in triathlon.  I worked hard to press on with a consistent effort, keeping efficient form and cadence on the climbs, and tucking low to use the descents as much as possible.  After not riding a very smart race last month at the Columbia Triathlon, I was encouraged by how many racers I was passing on the descents.  I eventually gave up four spots on the bike- not ideal, but bike quality/volume are something that I'm working hard on this summer.  My 2:37 bike split was good enough for 13th overall.  Did I mention yet how crazy hard this bike course is?

I came off the bike feeling pretty good about my situation.  I had ridden hard and made my way through most of the field that had started before me.  I had also been disciplined about taking in calories throughout the bike leg, and I was feeling like I had quite a bit left for the run course.  The first mile of the Quassy run course lulls you into a false sense of complacency with a few shade trees and a relatively flat pitch.  After that, it doesn't take long to find the hills, and after that initial mile the rest of the run course is comprised of steady rollers.  This didn't rattle me nearly as much as the several hors categorie climbs on bike course.  In fact, the run course was not all that different from the daily runs I log in Chapel Hill, NC.  Out on the run course I was becoming more aware of my position in the field, and I needed pretty badly to make up those 4 spots I gave up with the mediocre bike split.  By mile two I had pulled back one spot from an uber biker with a couple of 6:30 miles, and I was feeling pretty confident.  Right about then an age grouper overtook me running at a pretty good clip, and I glued myself to his right hip for the next three miles.  I suffered to hold pace while silently cursing this dude who looked like he was cruising effortlessly on a Sunday jog.  We pulled each other back and forth for 30 minutes until he slowed pretty significantly at an aid station, and I was able to make a move to get away.  I ran pretty consistently, trying to put forth a controlled, steady effort on the varied terrain.  Ultimately I pulled back three of the four spots I gave up to the bike animals, but then gave up two more spots to different run animals.  I finished with a 1:30:15 half marathon.  Not my best work, but DEFINITELY not my worst 70.3 run split (I've had some pretty sweet melt downs), putting me with the 10th overall run split.  

In hindsight I wish I had pressed a little harder on the bike course, but my efforts set me up for a pretty decent run on a challenging course.  It was definitely a new experience to feel like I was still racing ten miles into a 70.3 half marathon, and perhaps this means that I'm starting to figure out this distance to some degree?  Well, maybe.  My 4:40 finish would indicate otherwise, but that was good enough for 10th overall amateur on the day.  Race results can be found HERE.  Rev3 Quassy is an incredible race at a spectacular venue.  I couldn't have asked for more from the cool New England weather or the dozens of super volunteers.  A rightfully epic event.       

Thanks to Coach Dave Williams of Triangle Multisport for the valuable insights and the big vote of confidence.  Big thank yous to Inside Out Sports and Fleet Feet Sports Carrboro for the support- at least you guys help me to look fast, even if I can't necessarily back that up with fast performances!  Lastly, a super big thank you to Leigh & Paul Naps for spending their Sunday watching me run around looking uncomfortable.  The two of you made the whole weekend an enjoyable experience.

Photo credits to P Naps- iphone camera ninja!