Monthly Archives: September 2016

Iroman 70.3 Atlantic City

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The 70.3 course of Atlantic City…I have wanted a second crack at this course since the week after the race last year. I was upset, I knew I could have given it a better effort and I wanted another crack. I remember when Steve called me about the upcoming season and I said can you please tell me if I will ever get another crack and he said no. I was almost heart broken. Until the announcement was made, Ironman was coming to Atlantic City!

Taper week after a huge block always throws me through a loop when it comes to this sport. I had a few shorter, speedier workouts going on but I still had extra time on my hands. I finalized a few things on the bike, had my gear ready and decided to check the weather for the weekend. If you ever want to check the weather during taper week, let me tell you DON’T!!! It’s a horrible idea. Just don’t do it. You can’t control the weather, let it be.

I am super lucky because AC is only about two hours from me so leaving Saturday morning is completely within reason and I can get to check in and still have time for legs up and relaxing. I got down nice and early so I could shake out the legs and take my time doing the check in thing. Some how I lost track of time and spent a little more time on my feet at the expo than I initially wanted to but it wasn’t anything detrimental.

I got checked in to my hotel, had my dinner and packed it in. I was getting bottles ready and checking gear and I knew I needed to get some sleep but just couldn’t settle down.

We left for transition at 5am, as we started over the bridge towards Bader Field, we hit dead stopped traffic just as we did last year. We knew it was going to happen, they warned us of this issue. When you have 2,800 athletes all trying to get to the same place it is bound to happen, I place NO blame on Ironman or Delmo for this. We were lucky enough to have someone driving so we jumped out and walked the rest of the way to transition.

From there I entered and got set up. I was racked right next to two athletes who I have known since I started. I said my hello, gave them hugs and then went on my way. My swim wave was late and I don’t like being packed in with a bunch of people so I waited to head over to my wave until they were close to the front.

We got in the water and I did a little bit of a warm up. I have to admit the only thing I was nervous about was my wetsuit being too tight from Wildwood and having a similar experience of not being able to catch my breath again. As we were lining up I experienced something I have never experienced before.

Someone in the wave jokingly said “Don’t forget to start you watches!” and everyone gave a chuckle. Then someone says “in all seriousness, good luck fellas!” It seemed like all in sync everyone began to wish each other good luck. I NEVER had this happen before and it brought me chills and a sense of calm.

Through the swim I was fe7_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_005841-4088276eling great! I could see the red turn buoy off in the distance and I felt like I was moving through the water well. Three strokes later I heard someone yelling “ TURN, TURN!!” I was very confused. I knew I wasn’t at the red buoy but I followed everyone and turned. Back to the finish and someone grabbed me under the arms, pulled me out, unzipped my suit for me and I was on my way. It was incredible, its like they did the thinking for me and I just had to focus on getting ready for the bike.

The bike course is great, the ride on the express way is so safe and fun. Exiting, the roads were a bit rough through Pleasantville but the loop itself was beautiful. I was bouncing back and forth with a guy in my age group and we were joking having a lot of fun. As I approached somewhere around mile 40-45 I started hurting a bit. I got out of the saddle for some relief and I looked down at my Dave Mirra decal on my top tube.20_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_036335-4088289

I said to Dave “please just help me through this last bit, just get me to the run and I got the rest!” As I came to a turn there was a local business along the road. Parked right in the front row, facing the street was a giant black Ford Raptor (the truck that Dave owned) starring me right in the face. At that moment I knew he was there and I made it through to T2.

On to the run and I knew what I had to do. The first 3ish miles are on the old run way in Bader Field. It was mentally tough however, I would take this run set up over the run course from last year any day of the week. Yes running 3ish miles on blacktop at 12 noon is not fun. It will always beat running passed the finish 3-4 times on the boardwalk though.

I was cruising through the run and ticking the miles off. I walked each aid station, took in water, food, then water again in that order. Mile 8 hit and I realized I had to go to the bathroom, there was no putting it off. I couldn’t bring myself to just pee while I was running so I struggled with my kit to pee in the boardwalk restroom. This probably added a good 3 min to my run time. Coming passed Boardwalk Hall I saw my mom and girlfriend. Once I saw my mom it was like no one else was on the run course, I could hear her screaming from when I passed all the way to the pier. It sent chills down my spine. I hit the turn and I knew it was 2 miles left, I dug in and just went for it.47_m-100738239-digital_highres-1386_064855-4088316

Coming down the finish chute is always special, but this day, I can’t even put it into words. My goal time was 5:30 and I ended up going 5:35. I celebrated every second of coming down that carpet.

The first person that greeted me after I crossed was KT from Delmo and she gave me the biggest hug and made sure I had everything I needed. I made my way to find some food and more water and I ended up running in to Steve. I thanked him for everything and I said “remember that phone call? Remember I said I wanted one more crack? I had a 25 minute PR from last year, so thank you!” He proceeded to say something to the folks he was with and they all looked over at me. To this day I am not sure what it was but I can imagine he gave them the very brief story of my journey and I can’t thank him enough.

Post race there was a lot of complaining about parking, swim course etc. It was clear that the swim was cut short. We later learned that the conditions got very dangerous very quick and the lifeguards, race officials and other personnel made a decision that needed to be made. I will say this, their job is quite possibly one of the hardest jobs anyone has to do. They will always have someone who is unhappy, however, any time safety is in question, I will NEVER complain about a shortened course. They made dreams come true on September 18th and that is something they will remember forever. Kudos to EVERYONE involved in making this day something amazing.

This is it for the season. I have one open water swim but the triathlon season has come to an end. I have taken some time off just to get myself settled and ready to transition into the off season. I would just like to take the time to say thank you. I say it after every race but I will say it every single time. Thank you to everyone who got me to the start line, who supported me and held me up on the days that weren’t so great. Also thank you to the ones who were there to celebrate the days that were amazing.

Lastly I would just like to leave you with a picture that captures my every emotion during this finish of the run.

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Until next time, all for now.

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself.

 

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Tri the Wildwoods

1f9e7076-5a42-4290-aebe-c093ce8d229fTri the Wildwoods, it’s a laid back, beach run, FUN race. There isn’t really a better way to describe it. The whole atmosphere is super laid back at this race. Everything is down the shore, it’s fun, it’s inviting and it’s just an all around good race. Not to mention is has one of THE best after parties! If you are comfortable with swimming in the ocean you should absolutely do this race at least once in your life!

Rewind to last year and when this race arrived, I was done, cooked, stick a fork in me. When my alarm went off I legitimately considered going back to bed. That’s not a joke. This year I was in a much better head space. I was coming off of nationals, ramping up for IMAC and I felt good.

This is a Saturday race, so in order to save myself undesired aggravation, I took a half day from work on Friday to do check in and packet pick up. For me this has been a smart decision the last two years. Normally the line is around the block to pick up your stuff on race morning and I want no parts of that. If you have the ability, I HIGHLY suggest getting your stuff on Friday afternoon.

That being said, I picked up my stuff, had some delicious pizza (our waitress was closing and then RACING the next day!) and then turned in for the night. This race starts EARLY because they need to be done early, it’s a Saturday at the shore.

4:15 came early, however this time I woke up feeling good. Instead of driving over this year, I took the walk. It’s a few blocks but they are short and I avoid the nightmare of parking! Again super smart move if you can find a place close enough to transition. I got in and found a nice spot near the side walk (making my stuff easy to find out of the water) and set up camp. There were a few first timers around so I gave them a helping hand where I could and it was time to head down to the water.

This is an ocean swim, it is very well supported, very safe and very fun, if you’re into that kind of thing. The one thing that I knew was coming but somehow still threw me a little wrench was the 100ish yard jog down the beach before you got in. For some reason after this jog and through the whole swim I could not catch my breath. I am not sure if my wetsuit wasn’t fully on or what but I had some tightness in my chest. Luckily itrace_2081_photo_41343308
was a sprint so I could fight through the feeling and finish my swim.

Into transition and grabbed my bike. I found my stuff easily due to the sidewalk however my seat got caught on the rack and it wasn’t the smoothest transition. Looking back, the rack sat a little lower than the rest because of where it was and another spot probably would have suited me better. The bike is a nice out and back, closed roads, nice support from police. You are probably seeing a trend here, it’s a Delmo race, everything is ALWAYS well supported. The tightness in my chest seemed to go down a bit but I was still coughing and such after the swim.

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Now the real fun began, the beach run. There is nothing easy about it, you’re running on sand. Yes there was some hard sand to run on this year due to the tide but either way, it’s tough. I was ready to be off the sand, my legs were screaming. Back up on to the boardwalk and I knew we were nearing the end, but dammit we weren’t close enough. The awesome part about the run is it is on the boardwalk so people are cheering and you get to run through the amusement parks which is pretty cool scenery for a run. As we were approaching the final stretch I could hear footsteps behind me on the boards. I said to myself this person will NOT pass me. As he came up next to me, I looked down and I could see a 2 on his calf but couldn’t see the other number. It didn’t matter, I knew he was in my AG and now he really wasn’t going to get me. For the last 3/4 of a mile we were shoulder to shoulder. I would give it a little gas and he would gas too. He would try to go and I would rein him back in. It made the run REALLY fun. As we went back down on to the beach, Mindy fr4c69d7c2-2acc-4e2a-841f-f869f6883417om Delmo was at the base of the ramp screaming for me and I took off. We hit the soft sand and it was like this dude was floating! He took off and I just couldn’t keep up.  We both crossed within 5 seconds of one another and he turned around and he said “Dude! Thank you, I would have never been able to do that run without you,” I said “Shit! Neither could I.”

I was still good for a 4th AG finish and 28th overall which I was really happy with. Unfortunately I thought awards started at 11 so I went back to grab a shower. Well they started much earlier and I missed my award on the podium. Womp Womp.

I had two take always from this race for sure that I think would have helped me BIG time. First was, I didn’t have any water the entire race. I didn’t take any bottles on the bike with me which was a stupid move and there was no water on the run except the very beginning. This was a poor choice, even for a sprint I will absolutely take water from now on. There is no need to try and be a hero! Second was, a gel would have probably been a good call just before the run. I think it would have given me that little extra boost that I could have used on the run. Like I said, lesson learned. I still had a good race over all with a swim and bike PR for this course!img_0001

Oh and one last thing I learned, don’t go straight to the beer at the after party, it will not end well, you will possibly smash your phone screen and your girlfriend will have to drive you home hahaha!

Up next is the big daddy!! Ironman 70.3 Atlantic City. I have been putting in a lot of work for this race and I am excited to see how this goes compared to last year!

Until then, all for now.
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

 

 

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

USAT National Championship

This is it, this is the moment that my entire season has been surrounded and it is finally here!

To say I was excited for this small racecation was an understatement. I had never done anything like this before and although there was some stress, things were planned and I couldn’t wait.

I had everything packed and ready to go. I check, double checked and triple checked everything. I had everything I needed and we were ready to rock!

Our flight left early so I left my house with plenty of time to check the bike and get through security. Everything at check in went off without a hitch. I chose to go with the Sci-Con TT bag for my bike. Unfortunately I am at least an hour away in each direction from a shop that does shipping so this was my only option. We also could not get a direct flight to Omaha so my biggest worry was having my bike make the plane change.

When we arrive in St. Louis it was awesome because so many triathletes were at the gate headed to Omaha and it made for great people watching that’s for sure! We boarded our plane to Omaha and my excitement level was through the roof. Things were going so smoothly I almost couldn’t believe it. We arrived in Omaha and now was the moment of truth, did the bike make it? I found my suitcase no problem and then I went over to the oversized door. It opened, three bikes came out and then it closed…..no bike. I WAS DYING!! Then it opened again and out she came. We were on our way!

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We checked in and I got my bike out of the back and there was a nice little note from TSA. Everything was all over the place and I wasn’t happy. I pumped up the tires and made a make shift stand to make sure the gears were ok. Since TSA didn’t put my towel back on my rear derailleur, the hanger was bent. I was freaking out. I called an uber right away and went over to get it fixed. I’ll save the long story, let you know the guys at the tent were amazing and they got me back up and running in no time.

I’ll save the day to day details because it will make for a boring read and I’ll just give you the cliff notes. Friday I woke up, it was my birthday =]. I had coffee and a scone in bed thanks to my wonderful girlfiend, did my shake out and then my buddy Jimbo and his girlfriend arrived! This is when things got really fun. We left the girls at the room and he got to see the pre race check in and everything. Having him there for that brought a sense of calm over me. He kept things light, we joked, we laughed and it kept my head clear and the nerves down.

That night we hit a local Italian joint for dinner. The reviews were great, food looked amazing, so we figured why not. Long story short again, the service was down right god awful. It took 25 minutes for me to get a bottle of water. There was a party of four that sat behind us, got everything before us. It made things a little tense and stressful which I was trying to avoid after Escape the Cape. All in all we finished up, the food was delicious and things were not THAT bad.

Race morning came early! Jimbo was up with me at 4:15, we jumped on the shuttle nice and early and we were off. I set things up and then instead of staying in 165e82b5-cd1e-4689-af6d-92ae949a302ftransition as I normally do, I went out and hung with him. As I said early, he kept me calm and cool. We joked and laughed and it was the most calm I have ever felt on race morning.

The gun went off and before I knew it the swim had come and gone.  I was off my goal by a few minutes but I was happy with it.  As I was coming up swim exit, I had no clue there were metal steps waiting for us.  I took one step and ate it.  I ate it hard, but didn’t think anything about it.

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On to the bike and we were off.  I thought I was a pretty good cyclist, until this point.  I have never been passed by more people in my life.  This is truly the best of the best.  I looked down at my Garmin at one point and again, the best bike split numbers were WAY off.  This time by over 10 minutes.  I got to a point where I actually said to myself, I am ripping this chip off and not finish this race, I am not racing Ironman AC, I am fucking done.

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Needless to say that did not happen, but the thought was there.  When I started the run Jimbo was waiting right outside of transition for me.  I told him my foot hurt pretty bad as we were running out and that I thought about stopping, but I remember him saying “you’re not going to do that, you’re going to finish this damn race!” My foot hurt but I did what I had to do and actually had one of my better 10k’s I have had in quite some time.  It was no PR but it went better than I thought it would thats for sure.  The finish line was amazing, so many people, cheering, noise makers, just absolutely amazing.

35fdd46f-0295-44f7-a252-e34a25898cbfWe wrapped our trip up with a nice dinner Saturday night, great breakfast Sunday morni6d0bb4e5-292a-4aa6-abc6-2492ca8edcffng and then a few red bull and vodkas to easy the pain of having to come home.  Given the chance I will be back in Omaha next year.  This time however we have already planned for a Thursday to Tuesday.  The city of Omaha welcomed us with open arms and as one of our uber drivers said, its one of America’s best kept secretes!

I know this is a long one so I will call it here but I just want to say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!! To everyone who texted me, messaged me, called me, and sent me well wishes.  Even from 1,000’s of miles away I truly felt it.  I would be lost without all of you and I can’t thank you enough.  Up next its Tri the Wildwoods Sprint which will hopefully bring a podium to get me back to Omaha!

 

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All for now

Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!

Escape the Cape 2016

Escape the Cape is always an exciting race, I believe there is only one other race in the country that starts by jumping off a boat and I can guarantee its not as epic of a jump as ETC. This race will always hold a special place in my heart because it is where I completed my first international distance race. I remember that race like it was yesterday and as soon as I stepped on the ferry grounds, all those feelings came back.

This year I started my race weekend off on a rough foot. The week leading up to the race my power meter stopped working. It needed to be replace which meant on Saturday morning instead of leaving early for South Jersey, I was going to the bike shop. It was a stress that didn’t need to be added but it was something that was out of my control. With the new power meter installed we headed out and arrived at the ferry terminal with plenty of time.

078c37f9-cd5e-4c58-b583-d6974f2147d3Going into this race I was feeling really good, probably too good (more on that later). I did my bike check in, said hi to everyone and made the usual rounds. Unfortunately I was walking around with a bit more confidence than usual, but I had worked hard all off season, it was time to shine! I remember a friend texted me to say good luck and my response was, “luck is for chumps, I got this”. Not good, I needed to take a step back or it wasn’t going to end well.

 

Usually I stay with a friend right in Cape May and we arrive plenty early to the ferry in the morning. This year I dropped the ball and forget to get in touch so I ended up staying in Sea Isle which is only about a 20 minute drive. What I didn’t account for was the one lane traffic headed into the winery for parking. We sat and sat, and sat some more in traffic and I watched the clock tick closer to closing time for transition. At this point I was freaking out, again a stress I should have avoided, especially on race morning. Just as a point of reference, plan ahead and arrive EARLY. If you think you’re going to be too early, you can never be too early.

I got into transition just in time and set up my stuff to board the boat. The great tha1357371-c855-42b1-b906-b9087ac0b53aing about this race is that the boat is like a huge party, but you can escape it if that’s not your thing. I met some friends and we patiently waited for our time to jump. I was ready, I was confident and it was time to race.
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My swim went very well and I came out feeling great, now time for the bike which is usually my strongest leg. I was to follow a power file from Best Bike split. When I hit the turn I knew that’s when something wasn’t right. The power it told me to ride wasn’t going to bring me in where I wanted to be so I disregarded it and went for it. I was confident, I knew I could do it. Or so I thought. I hit the bridge for the last time and for whatever reason I decided to shift into my little ring, I didn’t do it the first time around so don’t ask me why I did this time. Well I dropped my chain and that’s when I about lost it. I put the chain back on and hammered the rest of the bike to “catch up”. This was also a poor decision. It destroyed me for the sand run and set me up for a sub par day all in all.

 

I left this race feeling deflated and nervous for nationals. All this work I had put in and it almost felt wasted. I talked with coach and we hashed a few things out. One I should not have hammered that bike the way I did. We still aren’t sure why the power numbers aren’t matching up b24a5d22a-f6f0-4714-ac02-417af665cb64ut that is to be figured out. There are still multiple take-a-ways from this race. First being, be prepared, not only with gear but with your timing. I shouldn’t have added the stress I did by showing up later and hitting traffic. This is completely avoidable and now I know it sets me up for disaster. Second is, even with a mechanical issue you don’t need to “catch up” to anything. I should have stayed within my numbers and played it safe. It probably took me about 2 mins to fix the chain. Even if I made that up hammering back, I lost that and more on the run. Third and possibly the most important is, this sport is supposed to be fun, remember to have fun!

This race served me up a huge slice of humble pie. Standing next to the stage, handing a6ef24232-7590-4736-ac53-2f587918f382wards to fellow athletes and not stepping up on the podium was a hard pill to swallow. I can’t help but think walking in with a big head, played a role in the way things went with this race. Yes I have worked hard, but that doesn’t give me the right to walk around like a smacked ass. Lesson learned, that’s not me anyway, and now I know I don’t want it to be me either.

Next up I have USAT Nationals out in Omaha NE and it should prove to be everything I have hoped for! Until then thanks for reading!

All for now.
Keep FSU and Do It For Yourself

I don’t post on here daily but feel free to find me else where!