Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 TEXAS

Last weekend, I raced in the Memorial Hermann Ironman 70.3 TEXAS that I was super excited about getting to do, not knowing how the legs would respond to a half ironman this early in the season. I made the trip down with my buddy Lance on Friday since he was racing the Lonestar sprint on Saturday. Due to high winds that morning caused his swim to be canceled and they just did the 12.5 mile bike and 5k run. Lance ended up setting PRs with an average of 21.75 mph on a windy bike and tire that was going flat near the end and he also ran his 5k PR off the bike in 21;22, with only a couple of weeks ago running in the America's run 5k he went 21:44. He left it all on the race course, crossing the finish line with dead legs and bugged out eyes looking like Frankenstein. Congrats to him!!!

The conditions for the 70.3 were a lot better, but still had a lot of wind. The 1.2 mile swim was trapezoid shaped with with a cross current on bothsides and facing the current on the long stretch. Some say the swim was long and due the current most people had slow swim times. However, my swim times were right where they usually are, so hopefully I am making improvements. I positioned myself on the far outside to avoid getting run over and that seemed to workout good. I found some feet in the last 1/3 to draft off of, he was a strong kicker too which made it easy to follow. It was good because I got to rest up for the bike. Going towards T1, I got my wetsuit past my hips before the strippers, but then my timing chip came off and spent what felt like forever trying to get it back on.

I had a strong bike with challenging wind conditions heading out. It was mostly a flat right with a couple of over passes to go over and I swear the section just after the turnaround was a deceiving hill. Going out I managed a 23.22 into the wind. I caught some faster swimmers before halfway and thought man I must be having a good day. On the way back, I was expecting more of a push from the wind but unfortunately that wasn't the case. The wind shifted mostly from the north, but, still managed to go 25.89 on the way back for a total bike time of 2:17.14 for 24.48 mph (just 3 minutes behind Andy Potts split, but who's counting ;) it was good enough to be fastest age grouper bike split.

Even though, I've been getting a lot of compliments for the bike spilt, I also had a my best half-marathon run split off the bike in 1:24.31 (6:27 mi/pace). The course was a 4 loop mostly flat run course around Moody Gardens, however it does get hot with the heat radiating off the concrete and multiple 180 turnarounds and sharp turns did not help. The good thing though it was easy to keep an eye on the competition. Coming out of T2, I stayed relaxed and try to stay on goal pace, but 29 year old Weslie Anderson passed me, while I let him go initially, because I knew he was pushing, I also just tried to keep him in sight. Things started to go downhill for me around mile 5, when my legs got so tight it felt like I could barely move. I walked through part of the aid station, and Tyler Johnson from Dallas passed me. I through my cup down and went in pursuit and tried to keep him in sight as well. Then a 40 year old runner passed me and I got in on his shoulder and went with him. We ended up catching up to Weslie who got in on the run draft too. Then somehow I lost the 40 year old man and Weslie passes me and get on his shoulder and we caught Tyler with a mile and half to go. Weslie increasing the pace and slightly pulling away the last mile and beating me out of 3rd age group by 20 seconds. Looking back I wish I had sucked it up and tried to out kick him at the end. Lesson learned.

Afterwards I did a short walk and started vomiting. Thanks to Jarrod who walked me to the med tent and stayed there for an hour or so with 3 bags of IV. They wouldn't let me leave because my temperature had dropped to 93.9, they had to wait for it to come back up some. They tried wrapping me in a foil blanket and giving me heating pads. Overall, it turned out to be a great day! I got 4th in a very competitive 25-29 age group, 22nd overall including the pros, and 7th overall age grouper with a time of 4:21.00 and I got a spot for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships later this year in Clearwater, FL.

I'd like thank my sponsors Monavie (Brandon Perry). I thought a 13 mile run on all concrete would shatter my legs. I've been taking Monavie Active for the past month and went for an easy run yesterday and had no aches, just some slight muscle soreness. Also to include blueseventy for the swim apparel, Brooks I.D. program for running shoes! Big thanks to my coach Brent Poulsen for developing the plan (and it's still early season) and Colonels Bicycles in Fort Worth for getting me on a sick bike, that I refer often to as the "Spanish Beauty". I'd also like to thank my biggest supporters, my mom and dad for coming all the way out from Carthage, Texas, Lance Vernon who booked the room and drove all the way down, while I stretched out slept and rocked out. My former roommate Justin O'Keith Higgs and Rachel Siders both in the Houston area who made it out to support. A huge thanks to Adam Booth and his family for hosting a carbo loading dinner their ocean front condo, if it wasn't for the abundance of delicious pudding I probably wouldn't have done as well (Adam, Timo, Jeff, and Cody know what I'm talking about). Also the good Lord, for giving me the strength and the will to stay focused and get it way done!!! Without him I would be nothing. Congratulations to all my old friends and new friends out there, there are too many to name all, I would leave somebody out if I tried.

I am racing yet again this weekend, but I am super-excited and ready to kick-off the North Texas Tri Series with for the McKinney Triathlon.

Here are photos from the weekend I'd like to share! The first seven photos come from Justin O'Keith Photography, if you need some professional photography work done to enhance your portfolio, then click on his website for more info. All remaining photos come from my mom, lance, Rachel, and Anthony, or me.

None other than 2008 Olympian, 2007 Ironman 70.3 World Champion. Andy Potts first out of the water. He won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans a week ago and finished 4th at Ironman 70.3 Texas. Courtesy of Justin O' Keith Photography.

me with both feet on the ground. Ran my personal best half marathon off the bike. Courtesy of Justin O'Keith Photography.

The 2nd Overall 2009 and first American at Kona Ironman World Champs in 2009, Chris Lieto. Finished 3rd in the early season race. Courtesy of Justin O'Keith Photograhy.

Me and this guy, Wesley Anderson, battled it out for 3rd in the 25-29 age group, he ended up taking it by 20 seconds. Courtesty of Justin O'Keith Photography.

in Pain!!! Courtest of Justin O'Keith Photography

Coming out of the water, must keep going forward. Courtesy of Justin O' Keith Photography.

Amanda Stevens, 2nd overall and first American!

Samantha McGlone from Canada, 1st OA!!

Chris Lieto (3rd) and Terenzo Bozzone (1st) holding up Andy Potts who finished 4th overall, but also won Ironman 70.3 New Orleans the week before.
Top 3 males with overall winner Terenzo Bozzone from New Zealand in the middle, Chris Lieto 3rd on the left, and Tim O' Donnell 2nd on the right

Terenzo Bozzone passing Chris Lieto for good by mile 11.

Samantha McGlone on the run!

Tim O' Donnell catches Lieto and tries to run down Bozzone!


Chris Lieto, of course had the fastest bike split by far 2:04!!!

Jelly fish on the shore of the Galveston beach.

Playing with the waves on he beach, post race!

with my 2 greatest supporters! Mom and Dad!

Picture with 1st place Terenzo Bozzone!

Top 4 Male Terenzo Bozzone, Tim O'Donnell, Chris Lieto, Andy Potts - solid world class field.

Lance's remarkable fall out...I mean finish ;)

Lance Hi-5's 2nd OA Female Amanda Stevens!

me on the run! from Rachel's iphone.

a shot by Anthony Limon of me on the bike at mile 45.

After a warmup swim trying to avoid getting cut on a live oyster bed that didn't workout so well.

yep, that is blood on my thumb!

view from the condo where we ate pasta.

the paramedic that rushed over to Lance's finish.

Lance enjoying getting worked over.

East Texas Triathletes team dinner!

loaded with liquor and whiskey!


Heading out for the 13.1 mile run.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

CASA-Athens 5K

Thanks to Amy Strange and Gene Meyers I got talked into doing the Casa 5k in Athens this weekend. I showed up to volunteer after running 3x1 mile repeats on 2 min. rest. (5:13, 5:15, 5:14) early in the morning. I barely got first overall on tired legs in 17:39, it was more of a progression tempo for me, my roommate Josh was in it and he was 2nd overall for the day just seconds behind me. Congrats to him. He started pushing me the last mile, we were getting faster every mile. The good thing is my coach didn't kill me for doing it. The CASA 5k supports and helps children who have been abused. The county I live in, Henderson County Texas has the highest abuse rate in the whole state. To learn more about Casa check out this link

After the race some buddies met up for a hilly 2 hour ride, then me and buddy, Brandon did an hour swim following that. Today was a big fuel day. I live on sports drink, energy and protein bars, and gels. Tomorrow is a "small" brick and then recover for Galveston next weekend! Good luck to all my friends racing NOLA 70.3 this weekend.

I've also been growing an awesome handlebar stash this week for Galveston, but an old roommate, Justin is going to be out there and he is an awesome photographer, so it may have to go. I can't until next weekend, I am going down there with my buddy Lance who also has an awesome handlebar.

The handlebar stash is strong and ready to go.
Josh on the left, my buddy CJ in the red, and I am behind him.

Lots of people showed up, hopefully the race will start bringing in some faster runners for next year.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Gateway to the Bay 2010

This past weekend, April 10-11, was the Gateway to Bay Triathlon. Which brought in a few pro athletes such as Matty Reed and Andy Potts who formed a relay team: Team Potts and Team Reed helped raise money for Other pros included James Bales and Brandon Marsh, they battled it out whole distance.

I stayed at my friend Rachel's place in The Woodlands, near Houston, Tx, she offered me a very comfortable couch. I got some much needed sleep in and woke up to a relaxed morning of coffee and breakfast on the balcony with sunshine and an amazing view of the resort style pool. Then she participated in my race prepping actives of a short bike and run. The weather out of nowhere started raining as we were cycling. She's a trooper and didn't complain once. She is doing her first triathlon in May. Good luck to her!!!

The day of the race, we stayed at buddy Stephen Milford's place and rode around with him and after packet pick up we got stuck at a red light because he forgot to fill his tank up with gas. Behind us was an old man yelling, cursing, and tossing his hands up. I got out of the car to push and Rachel helped and then a truck, all of a sudden pulled up behind us and 4 good size young men jumped out wearing Tapout apparel. I thought they were UFC fighters, one had a broken hand. I asked if in fact they were UFC fighteers, but I they just wear the clothes.

The swim was point to point and they dropped us off from a boat that took out there. We had the current pushing us. For this 1500 meters swam, I swam really slow in 29:46, but everyone was slow. It was slow for a few reasons: It was long, a lot of zig zagging since the buoys were far spaced out, or a combination of both, or I could be just slow. Either way, the swim hurt my overall race results. I have to get to a lot faster.

The bike was strong. I averaged 24.5 mph, and that is with stopping because my helmet came unbuckled as soon as I started, and I think this may have caused me to have a 2 min. penalty. Also, my calves were cramping up and I would stand up and coast in the pedals several times to stretch them. I liked the bike course it was 2 loops up and down the Kemah bridge and along 146, with some serious sharp curves. We had a tailwind pushing us up the long gradual hill and then a headwind going back. I was actually going slower on the downhill portion due to the headwind. Then at T2, I didn't realize the dismount line was there as soon as it was once we turned off 146. I had one shoe off and the other I had to unclip and get off the bike. I saw my mom in the corner of my eye and tossed my shoe out to her. I was hoping it was her at least since that was an expensive bike shoe ;) There is 4 second video of me coming by on the bike on my facebook page, check out Just don't blink.

I paid on the run for biking so hard, but still got under a sub 6 split. The run course was an out and back with 2 loops. I started my first loop as pro triathlete, from Austin, Brandon Marsh started his second loop and timed it just right to jump on his shoulder and try to go with him. Ha, that lasted about a 1/4 mi. but I tried, then it was just keeping him in sight as long as I could. Then just before the last turn, Matt Reed, a pro from Boulder, Co, who was doing the relay, ran past me as if I was standing still. I tried to run with him, but he was going sub 5 pace and that was way to fast for me at the time.

Overall, I enjoyed the race and this is one I will consider going back to next year. I got Andy Potts and Matt Reed to sign me finisher's shirt. Then as I did my cool down jog I ran into Matt Reed, he's hard to miss. Then finished it out with him since he was going my kinda pace then. He remembered me at the end and said he struggling to catch me.

Thank you to all the volunteers and sponsors who helped make the race a great success. Thanks to Rachel, Stephen, Brad, and my Mom and Dad for hospitality, pictures, and support!!! Most of Jesus Christ, for keeping me safe out there. There were a few wrecks due to a sharp/slickish turn. Also a shout out to Courtney Hill, from Gun Barrel City, she had bike accident the week before and ran the sprint race on Saturday with a leg with 5 stitches!!!! She is super tough!

Here are a few pictures from the trip/race.

me and Brandon Marsh after the race, he's so fast he already had his polo on.
Stephen and I after the race. Congrats to him, it was his first time beating me with neither of us having a mechanical failure.
Crossing the finish line.
Coming in on the bike realizing I just messed up for the dismount.

a point to point swim

Matt Reed and Andy Potts giving a post race speech.
Top 3 males, James Bales, Brandon Marsh, and Bradley Pigage.
Stephen filling up with gas at the taco bell, after he stalled out at a redlight.
Rachel getting ready to ride.
Rachel, who also took a lot of photos for me.
Me and Matt Reed at the finish.

I'll be doing Ironman Texas 70.3, next weekend! I am excited to do this race too.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Easter Hell Weekend

This past weekend was an Easter Hell weekend for me along with Resurrection weekend for Jesus. Friday night and Sunday morning, my roommate Josh and I saw an awesome musical performance by the First Baptist Church of Mabank choir group. It was truly a blessing.

Late Friday morning, Easter Hell weekend got started with a 90 minute long run with some strong winds that day. Although, it wasn't a hard effort, I still managed to hold a 7:10 mile average on grass and a route with lots of turns and switchbacks.

Super Saturday, started with a 5:30 a.m. track session with 10x1k's at 10k pace. Josh came out and helped me push during these and he was rabbit during the last two. I ran very consistent during these hitting 3:19 on almost everyone, my fastest was 3:12 on the last one. Then I had to head to work for a 6 hour shift which felt like a workout in itself, since I moved a bunch of PT stuff back into it's spot after it's cleaning. After work, a few people came out to Cain Center to get it a swim in with me. Me and Josh shared a lane and I did 10x300's, it was steady aerobic, but I can tell m swim is coming right along, then we jumped on our bikes for a 90 minute hilly base ride. Only one person had to go to the ER. Courtney was biking and ran over something it whooped back up and hit her in the leg and sliced her calf right open down to the muscle just missing her achilles tendon. Courtney had to have 5 stitches in it and she was out biking/running Sunday afternoon. That girl is tough!!!

Suffer Sunday was a 3.5 hour bike workout with 3x20' intervals on a hilly road and then I smashed some overgear work coming back into Gun Barrel City with a 30 minute goal pace run off the bike and just over 6 minute mile pace. After all of this I was dog tired. I had to get some grocery shopping done too at Wal-Mart and that is always a pain, even worse with tired legs, I was just shuffling along down the aisles. I've done a few other big weekends similar to this is in Fort Worth, but, I think this was by far was the hardest one.

This month is busy with 2 big races. I am super excited about racing this weekend in the Gateway to Bay triathlon festival with some superior athletes like Matty Reed, Andy Potts, and Stephen Milford. These are world class athletes. Feel free too google them and let me know what you come up with :)

Two weeks later, April 25, I will be racing for an Ironman 70.3 World Championship spot at Ironman 70.3 Texas, in Galvston. It's also the U.S. Pro Championships, so I assume, there will be a lot of fast athletes out there. Then a race a weekend later, in McKinney, a sprint triathlon, to start off the North Texas Tri Series.

During a main set of 10x300's.
My roommate Josh and I just after 10x1k track workout, done by sunset.

This was 3/28 Sunday afternoon. Me and Lance before a brick workout.