Building an Iron Core – Day 2

Today’s Training

1. – 1 hr swim

2.  Weight Room Core Routine

Video # 1(Ab circuit at the gym)

3. – 30 minute run

4. – TRX Workout

2 min suspended plank

3 x 10 suspended crunch

3 x 10 suspended pike

Building an Iron Core – Day 1

In an effort to hold myself accountable I am going to be frequently posting my workouts that will build an Iron Core.  Thus, making me strong enough to withstand an uppercut from Iron Mike Tyson, run a smoking fast marathon off the bike and allow me to be a stunt double on the next movie about the great Spartan warriors.  Alright, I may have got a little carried away there but the hope is that the marathon part will be true.

I will preface this whole core workout thing by saying that I understand their is great debate on weights and strength building and the role it has in training for triathlon.  I personally have spent my fair share of time in the weight room, most of which was done during my college years.  Yes, I traded parties and booze for iron plates and protein powder…I was one of those guys.  You know the dude you see in the weight room every single time you go.  He is bench pressing when you come into the weight room and an hour later he is reppin out biceps as you leave to go have dinner and be social with your friends.

He’s this kinda guy –>

and this dude too–>

Believe me I worked out in multiple gyms, from colleges to high schools, posh country club type gyms to the ones with steroid riddled 40 year olds.  I have personally come to the conclusion that in the sport of triathlon the only thing that really matters is swimming, biking and running.  You do these three things on a consistent basis year in and year out and you will succeed in the sport.  In most cases the average age grouper who wants to do well in triathlon is working full time.  Thus, in order to maximize the triathlon potential that the person has they should put all there efforts into the three disciplines of triathlon.  Plain and simple, SPECIFICITY RULES ALL!

However, when you have time to “fit it all in” including rest then you can start to think about adding proper strength training into the weekly workouts.  For the most part I believe that during the “offseason” or winter months is when this can be best accomplished.  The overall training volume is usually decreased during these months and since you are not constantly prepping for a race you can come into workouts with a little soreness and fatigue from a strength workout and not be giving anything up.

I will conclude by saying that I have no issue with strength training including squats, lunges, and some press type movements with db’s and plates.  It’s just that for me personally I would rather shock my core with body weight movements, lessening the strain on my body with to much “excess weight” and spending more time actually swimming, biking and running.

This brings me to how I am going to build my iron core on just 25-45 minutes per day.  It will be accomplished with at least 3 “big” sessions of at least 35-45 minutes where the gym and its machines will be utilized.  In cooperation with these days I will be utilizing the TRX hopefully on a daily basis, worst case scenario I bang out a set of atomic pushups before I head out for my bike ride and then another set before bed.  I will be keeping you all up to day with my workouts through this blog.  So if you too would like to build an Iron Core that you can show off this summer feel free to join in and let me know how it goes.  Hopefully in a few weeks we can have some competitions based on time and how many reps of a certain workout you can do.

I will leave you with two video’s that I will be basing my training off today.  They were recommended by Coach Chad Holderbaum who made to sure to let me know that the guys who does these movies is a bit of “one of those guys” but his workouts are legit.  I would have to agree.  So without further ado here are the videos and todays workout.

Video # 1(Ab circuit at the gym)

Video # 2 (TRX AB routine)

Todays Workout

At the Gym:

1 circuit of the exercises shown in video #1 ( 3 sets with 20 repetitions each)

At Home: (See video #2 for examples of the below exercises)

3 x 15 suspended crunches

2 x 12 pikes

20 window washers (side to side from suspended position)

20 standing body crunches (“ab wheel”)

40 atomic crunches (record how many sets it takes you to achieve)

3 x 1 minutes suspended planks

“IF”

Words to live by.

“IF” by Rudyard Kipling

IF you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
‘ Or walk with Kings – nor lose the common touch,
if neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!

How I Qualified for Kona

I qualified to race on the big island simply by training more.  It’s that easy.
Well not quite, but that is the gist of it.  You can see in the charts below that in comparison to my first year (2010), my training in 2011 was greatly increased and much more consistent.  This is a reflection of my personal dedication to the sport and willingness to get the work done.  You can have any coach in the world, or coach yourself, but the long and short of it is that it comes down to YOU!  Remaining consistent day in and day out is your responsibility.  Skipping workouts adds up, and as you can see in my first year, the proof is in the pudding!  A lot of work went into both the 2010 and 2011 seasons, but my year-end report cards read as follows:

2010 IMFL – 10:13 (7th in 18-24 AG)                  

2011 IMFL – 9:31 (1st in 25-29 AG) –  Qualified for Kona

2010 Syracuse 70.3 – 4:43 (PR at 70.3 distance)                

2011 Timberman 70.3 – 4:27 – Qualified for Vegas (70.3 PR)

2010 & 2011 Cumulative Training and Running Hours

The graph above illustrates the total hours spent training in 2010 vs. 2011.  As you can see, at this point in the year I am already 150 hours ahead of where I was in 2010.  With the rest of November and December to go, I am sure the total hours will be over 200 more than last year. My point is that consistent training week after week can lead to good things!  Most of my weeks were between 12-16 hours – nothing too crazy, as I was also employed as a full-time CPA over that time period.

2011 Training Hours as of 11.14.11

With that said, I will let you all in on the biggest secret as to how I qualified for Kona … 2011 was my second full year of triathlon training.  The simple fact is that if you want to improve in the sport of triathlon, you need to be consistent not only week after week, but year after year as well.  A fellow triathlete and friend told me that it takes between 3-5 years for your body to fully adapt to the rigors of true triathlon training, especially when training for the longer races (half and full distance Ironman).  Thus, the true reason for my overall improvement and successes in 2011 was the fact that I was building on a base of almost 1.5 years.  This not only made me a better athlete in terms of my physical progression, but also a smarter triathlete based on the race experience that I gained in 2010. (2 Ironman distance races and 2 70.3’s)  I must add that in 2011 I raced a lot more.  I jumped into numerous sprint triathlons, which I feel greatly improved my fitness, especially on the bike.  Each sprint triathlon was essentially a ~40 min time trial on the bike.  Whereas many triathletes will do power tests periodically throughout the season to evaluate where they are, I chose to really “test” myself in these short races, which did not require any deviation from my regular season plan.  Short course racing does not require the recovery that a longer race does;  therefore, adding in sprint and Olympic races is actually quite beneficial to long course training.  While providing a boost of race intensity training,  shorter races also help mentally since racing breaks up the monotony of long training weekends.

2,800 miles in 4 days

I arrived here in Portland, OR on Sunday afternoon just before 1PM.  This capped a 4 day adventure that took both my mom and I across 12 states, covering almost 3,000 miles.  This was not a real sight-seeing trip as we had a couple of time deadlines we were trying to meet as my mom is going to be flying out to Japan tomorrow morning to visit with my brother and his family.  Therefore, we took a more or less straight and to the point route across the country.  No stops at major locations this time.  The route that we did take (Interstate 90 which turned into 80 which turned into 84) was basically as straight forward as you could get.  We ended up going about 700 miles the first day which put us outside of Chicago for the night.  The next day we covered the most miles at just under 930 and ended up staying in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  On the third day we traveled through extremely high winds in Wyoming and Idaho, high enough that I crammed my road bike inside the car because I thought the 50+ mph winds were going to detach it from the car.  Luckily the roof racks held it snug and did not allow any catastrophe’s.  Once the bike was safely crammed inside the car I felt much better.  On this third day of traveling we stayed in Boise, Idaho for the night, rolling into town just as the Boise State vs TCU football game ended.  It turns out that the depressed nature of the people at the motel was due to the fact that the Boise State kicker missed a game winning field goal with time running out which subsequently ruined a perfect season and a potential BCS bowl game.  Kinda sad.

Along the Columbia River en route to Portland on Day 4

After making good time and putting a lot of miles in for three days we only had about 430 miles left to Portland on Sunday.  This drive for the most part was extremely gorgeous with epic views from high atop mountains as well as along the nightly Columbia River which borders Oregon and Washington State.  However, the most sketchy part of the trip did occur on this day as the roads really iced over in the mountains and made for that part of the trip to be very dicey.  Some parts of the road felt as if I was driving on a sheet of black ice.  Luckily the temperatures rose and the mountain passes ended.  After those were behind us we had clear sailing along the Columbia all the way to Portland.

The local Starbucks - .4 mi from home

Overall the trip went very smoothly.  I ended up driving the whole way with my mom sitting shotgun.  Thanks to her we stayed in 3 nice hotels, with wonderful beds along the way.  Left to my own devices I probably would have slept in the car next to some crusty truck drivers 🙂  So a big thank you to my mom for keeping me company along the way is due.  THANK YOU!

 

Over the next few days I am going to be searching out places to ride, trails to run and pools to be swum in.  I must say its a bit of a daunting task to get organized and figure everything out.  The side of Portland that I am living on is very hilly (and beautiful) and to the newcomer it is pretty difficult to navigate where you are going.  I rode my bike around the little village where I live (Multnomah Village) and I can get around ok, but beyond the village I am pretty intimidated at the moment.  I have heard of an island location a little outside of the city with flat riding as well as a beautiful riding area on Skyline road which is above the city.  I am confident that I will have these routes down pat in no time.  The only remaining thing I want to get figured out is where I am going to be able to swim.

So that’s what is going on today here in Portland…and FYI it is bright and sunny out right now!

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED: IMFL 2011 & More

It has now been a full 367 days since I finished the 2010 edition of Ironman Florida.  Over the last year things have changed in many aspects of my life.  Since the triathlon part of my life is more interesting and pretty much all of it and what you all really want to hear about, that’s the part I will stick to.  With that said, lets begin!

Some of you know that I have been to Kona once before in my life, for those of you who didn’t know…now you do.  It was back in March of 2009 on a family vacation, before I understood what an Ironman triathlon was all about.  I had an amazing time on the island.  The funny part about the whole thing was that when we left the airport we turned left and headed to the Hilton Wakiloa instead of going into downtown Kailua-Kona, thus even though I have been to the big island I never went near the epicenter of triathlon.  Instead I traveled along much of the bike course by car on our various sight seeing trips.  It was during this trip when I suppose the triathlon seed was planted in my head.  This because when I was at the resort I kept seeing dudes wheeling around there fancy bikes (this was March so they were just out for training/pleasure) and all I could think about was who they were going to go ride there bikes for over 2 hours straight.  How naive right?  I am not joking for exaggeration when I say that either, I literally had no concept of what really went on when training for triathlons, no less an Ironman triathlon.

Anyway, during the summer of 2009 I entered a couple short triathlons after I decided to purchase my first road bike and subsequently signed up for a 1/2 ironman distance race, that being the 2009 Musselman in Geneva, NY.  Then, just a week after the Musselman race where I trudged in with a 5:25 I boldly took the next step by driving through the night to Lake Placid and signing up for the 2010 IMLP.  Yep, after just over 2 months of toying with triathlon I decided it was time to do an Ironman…seems logical right?  My mantra has always been to do something 100% all the way or not at all.  So that’s what I began to do, I put my mind to the task and gave it my full attention.  My life slowly morphed into one that was centered totally around the sport, this was for the good..believe me.  Some might see that as lame but honestly when a person finds something that truly fits them from a lifestyle, personality, and happiness standpoint…well their is nothing lame about that at all.

So there I am, its November of 2009 and I have begun to train for not just IMLP, but also IMFL which I decided I would do in 2010 as well.  Why? Well 2 is always better than one right?  Oh how little I knew and how far of a journey I had in front of me.  It was around this time that I truly believed I could race in Kona.  Its almost laughable that I thought I could KQ at IMFL in 2010.  Sometimes not really knowing or understanding is bliss.  All I had to do now was to train and become what I wanted to be, which was good…respected for what I spent my time doing; in a sense I wanted what most people want…validation.  I’ve always been decent at many sports across the board, and when I say decent I mean it because I was never a prodigy or great at anything, but I had enough hand-eye coordination, smarts and the ability to endure to get by and fit well on teams.  However, triathlon offered me the opportunity to totally re-define myself and achieve success purely based on how hard I wanted to work and how much time I was willing to devote to the task.  I’ve learned more about myself in the past 2 years than in the 23 previous.  The beauty of this sport and why it will always have appeal no matter what the big corporations do or how inflated it becomes is that the clock never lies.  What you do on the race course once the cannon blasts is totally yours and it does not matter how it looks or what it took to get there.  The only thing you are left with is a set of numbers at the end of the day.  I am by no means demeaning the experiences along the way because some would presented a valid argument that everything in life is about the journey’s that are taken along the way…and truthfully I agree with that 100%, but in the sense of personal achievement in the sport of triathlon you train and mold yourself to excel on race day.  For most that means training one full year, 365 days, for 1 race on 1 day.  No mulligans, no do-overs.  What you have after that one day is a set of numbers as your report card.  In order to better your odds of a passing grade you train and train so that on race day all that is left is for you to execute at the ability you already have.  The simple fact about triathlon is that as many have said before me “You can look it up”.  Talk all you want about how you train, what your volume is, your nutrition, your personal life, your injuries, etc…all that it essentially shakes out to be is a time, a series of numbers.  All of these numbers mean something very different to each individual.  I guarantee you that the 16:58 meant just as much, maybe more to that person than it did to the winner who broke the North American Ironman distance record with a sub 8 hour time.  One’s perception of time is the only difference.  Well since I need to wrap this section up and get on to the actual race  I will conclude by saying that after IMFL 2010 I wrote some numbers of my own down.  I had signed up for IMFL 2011 and I knew with another year of training I would be coming back a different athlete.

Those numbers added up to around a 9:45 and as of last week I had written down even loftier goals of :59, 5:00 and 3:15.  Yes, these were my hypothetical “great-day” scenarios which would put me around a 9:30 or less.  I wasn’t 100% I was in 9:30 shape but I knew if I had a smooth day without mechanical issues that I’d be very close.  I knew I had improved over the past year and last Saturday was my final test.  All the races and training before Saturday were preparation for this day.

My parents and I flew down to FL on Wednesday and I took care of registration, bike build, grocery shopping and everything else that day so that the rest of the week could be totally focused on relaxing and getting myself ready to race.  I spent Thurday and Friday playing scrabble, watching The Walking Dead and getting my last couple of workouts in.  I even broke down and bought an episode of The Walking Dead on iTunes once I had watched all of season 1 on Netflix.

On race eve I was in bed by 7PM and slept right on through to 4AM, no restlessness or nervousness disrupting me.  Race morning consisted of about 600 calories of assorted foods, a trip to the bathroom and a really warm shower to warm me up before I hit the Panama City Beach which was chilly on this November morning.  Luckily by dressing properly in my $10 walmart hoody and $5 walmart slippers I was very comfortable, aided by the fact that it was about 5 degrees warmer than the previous year at race start time.  I was very comfortable and relaxed.  My parents dropped me off at transition, I got marked by a girl (always a female who lays ink on this body on race day….always) and then went to check my bike before I headed to the beach.  As I was pumping my front tire I noticed that the tire’s valve was looking weird and that the tip of the valve was dangling.  The tip ended up falling off when I gave it a little twist and so I figured I’d better change out the tire even though it was still holding air.  Thanks to the wonderful IM bike guys they changed my tire for me so I didn’t have to sweat about it and could continue getting ready for the race.

Down at the beach I met up with my friend and local pro Kristin White, we chatted and I wished her good luck as she headed to the water for the PRO start.  After that I said goodbye to my mom and handed what has now become my lucky $10 walmart hoody.  Right before the start I met up with my friend Ken Koppenhaver, wished him all the best and finally got myself focused on the task ahead of me, which was to start the race with a sub 1 hour swim.  In my two prior IM’s I have always started the swim a bit cautiously in terms of my placement.  However, feeling I had improved as a swimmer I decided to put myself front and center and get right in the mix from the get go.  Out to the first turn buoy it was pretty crowded and I was hitching every ride I could from those around me, the turn was a cluster and the way back to the beach was pretty quick as I found a buddy to draft off of most of the way.  I was back on the beach with the clock reading 38 minutes.  Subtract 10 from that due to the Pro’s starting 10 minutes ahead of us and you have a 28 minute first loop.  I was happy but I knew I needed to stay consistent and keep pushing as the second loop would be a bit slower as there would be less of an overall draft to take advantage of based on the field thinning out after 1.2 miles.  On the second loop I caught a good draft on the way back to the beach and went over the timing mat in 59:56.  When I went over the mat I calculated that it was a 59 something…i just didn’t know how close I really was.  Those 4 seconds meant that I could finally say I swam a sub-hour swim.  Anyway, I swam under 1 hour and my first goal of the day was accomplished.  The next thing to do was get through T1 and get onto the bike warm and comfortable so I could let it rip.  With the awesome help of the volunteers in transition I was able to get my craft baselayer, socks and bike jersey without any issues and I was off any running.  Other than almost getting pushed into the transition barrier by a couple eager cyclists all was good through T1.  Over the first 10 miles I got my nutrition in and went about my business.  The wind was in our face over the first 40 miles or so but it wasn’t to bad.  Nothing of real note over the first 56 miles other than when we were on that stretch of road that is extremely bumpy.  It simply was driving me nuts, I hope they repair that road in the future…future bikes of triathletes will appreciate this.  One thing I will say about the bike is that when you are able to swim under or right on about an hour it is a different world on the road.  Last year I swam a 1:03 and biked a 5:25.  I was more or less surrounded by people all day long.  However, this year I saw 59:56 and biked 5:05.  I was pretty much on a solo vision quest for 112 miles.  Over the first three hours I did have one guy who would periodically pass me and then I would pass him.  This went on for a while and we ended up exchanging a few words of encouragement, and commiserated about being so alone.  His name was Serge.  I know that it is not pronounced “SURGE” but all I kept thinking about in my head was POWER SURGE!!! YAHH!!!

On the way back to the beach we had some tailwinds which heaped increase the avg mph and kept me on target for my pace even though my power dipped slightly below my pre-race plan.  Over the final 56 miles only one person passed me, and yep, he was in my Age Group, all decked out in a trek/kswiss triathlon kit.  When he came up on me before the short out and back about 15 miles from T2 he informed me that he had been trying to make some ground up on me over the last 40 miles but hadn’t been able to close the gap.  So with this ultimate complasault he went on ahead of me.  I passed him once more during the turn around section but then once we got back on the main drag to the beach he went on ahead and I just let him go.  He went ahead about 200 yards or so and pretty much stayed there for the duration.  Since he was in my AG I had a little motivation to keep tabs on him but I knew that I would be able to make up any ground he gained on me during the run, and if not…well then he was the better athlete.  It was also during this time, the last 15-20 miles that I had my “lowest moment” on the bike.  The wind was starting to annoy me and I could tell I was not totally “all there”.  This was only worsened by the fact that once we turned onto Beach Front Road for the final 6 miles of the course it was like being directed into a man-made wind tunnel due to all the Condo’s that line the road.  These final miles plain sucked due to the wind smacking you in the face and blowing you all around.  But the dude who passed me wasn’t going anywhere so I knew that the wind was the same for everyone.

I rode a 5:05 averaging 22mph over the 112 miles.  My nutrition consisted of 1 powergel package over the first 5 minutes for immediate nutrition out of the swim, then I sipped from a bottle that contained 10 powergels and water.  In addition to sipping the powergel bottle I drank from two other pre-made powerbar endurance mix’s (3 scoops + water in each as well as 1 scoop of both base amino and base salt).  I ate 1.5 powerbars between hours 2-4 on the bike and probably drank the equivalent of 2 water bottles and 2 powerbar endurance bottles that I took on at aid stations.  I am not 100% on all that I took on during the bike in terms of hydrations but that’s what I remember right now.

So I was back into T2 in 5:05, just 5 minutes over my goal of a 5:00 ride.  With the wind on course and the fact that my power dipped slightly over the final 20-30 miles I was happy wit the 5:05.  I guess the closest think to a hiccup in my race happened when I entered T2 and turned a corner to grab my run bag.  As I made the turn I still had my bike cleats on and did a Tom Cruise like Risky Buisiness slide for about 5 feet before I regained control of my body and played it off like I had meant to do it.  I played it off real cool, you know like I had meant to do it so I could impress the chicks in transition.  Believe me, they knew and were impressed.  (Note to self: learn how to do the flying dismount so you can ditch the bike cleats before running into the changing tent)

I quickly changed thanks again to the wonderful volunteers and once again the changing tent was mostly empty thanks to me training hard enough to not enter T2 at “peak hours”.  I hit the run feeling less than spectacular but was informed as I ran out onto the course by my friend and Syracuse 70.3 race director Kenny Hammond that I needed a 3:18 marathon to be in around 9:30.  This seemed like a pretty daunting challenge based on the way I was feeling at the moment.  I knew I had 26.2 miles ahead of me and I wasn’t exactly bounding with excitement.  However, since Ironman is such a long race I knew I just needed to get started and I would come around eventually.  The first mile was un-paced and I just tried to run easy as my garmin connected to the satellite’s.  After about 1/2 a mile I started to see my pace.  The 7:06 felt very easy but the first mile always does.  My goal was to cruise through the first 10K and re-evaluate how everything was going once I reached the state park.  Over these 5 miles I passed the fella in my AG who had passed me on the bike over the last 15 miles.  He had come out of transition about 50-75 yards ahead of me and stayed that way for about 2 miles.  I was watching how he was running and noticed that he was almost bounding, his heels were literally touching his butt on every stride.  I knew that with this stride he probably wouldn’t be around for long.  I eventually passed him and continued on my journey.  At about mile 4 or so I rolled up on my friend and Pro Triathlete from Syracuse, Kristin White.  We exchanged a couple brief words and then got back to work.  Miles 1-6 went smoothly, the pace was between 7:10-7:25, anything in between was fine with me as I wasn’t working to hard yet.  At mile 6 as I entered the state park Team Eggers gave me an update on my AG standing and informed me that I was in 5th place according to IMLive.com  However, since I knew I had passed at least one in my AG since the last timing mat I knew that I was looking at 4th place or so.  Cool to know but it still didn’t mean much to me since I had 20 miles to go.  Then about a mile later in the state park I passed two guys running in identical racing kits side by side.  A little strange IMO, especially 12 miles into an Ironman marathon.  I think that at least one was in my AG so now I was looking at 3rd place or best case scenario 2nd.  Yep, very nice.  But a lot or work to do still.  It was also at this point that a lone spectator informed me that I was in 20th place in the OA Age Group field.  So 20th place, still feeling good…I could deal with that.  Kudos to that dude for doing all the counting.  I trudged on taking a couple pulls from my red bull flask, a little bit at a time to extend the high as long as possible.  During the solitary 2 miles in the state park I took away 2 main things.  One was that I had a received a nice energy boost by seeing my parents at the park entrance on my way in and my way.  A plan I had created so that they could both see me twice in about 15 minutes and that I could get a real boost at the point furthest from the finish line. The second thing was that I still felt comfortable holding sub 7:30’s.  At the same point in the previous year I was struggling to run around 8 minute miles.  It was here I really knew that I could have a solid respectable day if I could hold it together.

On the way back to the turnaround at mile 13.1 or so I have three things that stick out to me.  1.  I took the fastest porta-potty break of the day, I’d put it up against any athlete.  I was in and out in 15 seconds, for real! 2. I took a very nice 10 second pee behind a bush, and it was awesome. 3. I got passed by the eventual winner who set a North America world record with a sub 8 hour race.  During this pass I may have been on IMLive.com coverage, anyone see me?  haha  I hit the turn around and then starting at mile 14 it got a little ugly for the next 4 miles.  I started losing energy and my legs were feeling heavy.  My HR which was not responding to my effort for the entire run began to dip even lower…a bad decoupling event if you look at it that way.  I got a bit worried and started walking the aid stations to keep getting in my nutrition (cliff bloks, powerbar perform and water).  I really began focusing in on 1 mile at a time, running as strong as I could from each aid station to the next.  It was over these 4 miles that I took my walks and got myself sorted out.  I still had not looked at my overall marathon time now knew what my exact AG standing was.  However, no one was passing me even at my low points which was a good thing.

The proudest moment of the marathon came shortly after I saw my parents at mile 18ish.  I entered the park for the second time and when I hit mile 19 something clicked for me and I began to pick it up a bit.  I decided that it was time to go, time to use all the endurance, strength and mental power I created during the previous 11 months.  By no means was I blowing the race up but when your struggling to keep the pace under 8 min miles for 4 miles and then can start dropping the pace into the 7:35-7:45 range, its a big deal!  Only one dude passed me over the final 6 miles.  He may have been on his first loop I just couldn’t tell.  Then again he could have been an 18-24 AG’er who was running really well.  I will have to check if one of them beat me.  The only thing that really ticked me off about when he passed me was that he had a woman, mom maybe? who was riding a bike right next to him chatting away, probably giving him standings updates, etc..I couldn’t make out the exact details but would have appreciated if the lady could have divulged some info to me as well.  Anywho, he went on his way and I went on mine..he running a lot faster.  Kudos to him.  From mile 20 on I ran strong, no surges but pretty consistent.  With about 4 miles to go I finally looked at my overall run time and saw that if I could keep it below 8 min miles that I would be right around a 3:20, real close to the 3:18 Kenny had told me would put me in around 9:30.  I ran steady and kept looking for landmarks ahead to tell me how far I had to go.  Soon enough I had made it to the home stretch which is a little less than a mile long and the false finish line (inflatable thing that tells the announcer your name which is 50 yards before the finish line) is in sight.  I still didn’t know where exactly I was in the AG placing but some spectator informed me that with about a quarter mile to go I was in 12th place in the Age Group race.  At this point there was one guy ahead of me by about 50 yards.  I decided to track him down figuring 11th is better than 12th.  I was able to drop it down a notch and ended up finishing ahead of him by about 15 seconds.  So yeah, I’m that dude who picks it up in the finishers shoot and brings it home strong.  And it was a good thing I did because 2nd place in my age group finished less than one minute behind me.  Just after I crossed the finish line Team Eggers informed me that my time of 9:31 had won me my Age Group and punched my ticket to Kona!  This caught me by surprise and I don’t know if I responded to them accordingly.  I think I just told them I was pretty tired and that the run was tough.  Truthfully I was pretty freaking psyched, it had just caught me off guard.  Usually it takes a 9:00-9:10 to win the 25-29 AG at IMFL.  A 9:31 is a respectable time but I didn’t think it would take the win.  I guess I should take this opportunity to thank the stud Euro’s who usually show up and throw down the speed.  Its nice of them to let this short pudgy American take the win.  I appreciate it guys!

Overall Results 2011

1st AG 25-29, 37th OA

Swim: 59:56 (2010 – 1:03)

Bike: 5:05 (2010 – 5:24)

Run: 3:19 (2010 – 3:39)

Overall the biggest takeaway for me from this race is that I am capable of a lot more.  I cannot wait for 2012 and all that it will bring.  There is a lot of work ahead of me as I start my trek across the country to Porland, OR where I will be starting fresh and looking for new opportunities that will hopefully bridge my passion for triathlon with an actual income.  Be it working part time at a bike shop or having the ultimate success of landing something with the likes of Nike.  Big goals huh?  Yeah, they are…but you always gotta DO IT BIG!

I am paid in full for both the 2012 70.3 World in Vegas next September and Ironman Worlds in Kailua-Kona next October.  I will be there to race and am extremely lucky, excited and blessed to have the opportunity to participate in both of these races.  All I can say is that 2012 is going to be an interesting year.  I hope you all will continue to check in on me along the way.

Remember to always “Put Your Name On It”

-Matt

PS: Thank you to everyone who has supported me along the way.  The last two and a half years have been a truly incredible journey and I am extremely grateful to have had the experiences I had had already.  Qualifying to race in Kona next year is simply amazing and I can’t wait to race alongside all of the elites.  Achieving this really means a lot to me because it is something I set my sights on right from the start.  Some may have looked at me and called me overly ambitious in my goals but I knew that If I truly put my mind to something that I can achieve it.  Sure I had a lot of luck and things go my way in the process but at the same time you always have to put yourself in a position to succeed and to grasp the opportunities when they present themselves.  I believe that is what has happened to me.  I prepared myself and got myself to the starting line so that I could put my hat in the ring.  That’s all anyone can do.  I hope that this hard work and willingness to put myself in the right positions will follow me as I move to Portland, OR because I am really going to need it.  All of this can really be summed up by two words “Be Present”.  If you can always be in the present in each moment you will always give yourself the best chance at succeeding in whatever you are doing.  So thank you to all those who have helped me achieve my goals.  There are truly to many to name, but you know who you are!

Signing that Kona Paper
IMFL 2011 25-29 Podium

No Doubts

I just read a really good article by Paulo Sousa about not having any doubts in regards to training and racing.  I suppose since I am currently coached by one of his own athletes on the Squad that I too should have no doubts based on the passing down of the “message” from coach to athlete to the athlete’s athlete, if you can follow me there.  My take on this is that if you let any doubt about your preparation or your potential into your head then you are only letting in bad thoughts and bad energy.  It’s like the book, “The Secret”, if you think something bad is going to happen well then you are enhancing the probability that it will, simply because you let it enter your subconscious.  Instead of letting negativity invade your thoughts, be extremely positive and willing to follow the plan.  However, following a plan is not always as easy as it seems because a certain amount of trust must be given to the person in charge.  What trust comes down to is believing in the person who is leading you.

I trust the my coach and I bought in.  I won’t lie I sometimes get caught up in the details, think to much and yada yada but for the most part I have gotten my instructions and executed to the best of my ability.  What the outcome will be?  That will be determined on race day.  However, I realize that it is now all about execution.  I have the tools and the ability to create something and it is up to me to use them correctly.  And I suppose that is the beauty of triathlon.  All the real work is done in training.  Race day for triathlon is like game day for football.  You’ve practiced many hours, drilling, running your playbook, prepping for the opponents defense (course obstacles)…etc.  The only thing in your control when the big day comes is if you can put your skills and your preparation to use.

I feel physically and mentally good.  I am ready put in my best effort and make it happen on Saturday.

Good luck to all my friends who are racing, see you on the course!

Special thanks to Towpath Bike Shop, Tri Running and Walking, Ian Mikelson for getting me ready and of course my parents for making it possible for me to do all the training and racing I do.

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