Monday, March 28, 2011

Week 21 Summary...Update on my Brother

Week 21 was spent trying to recover from the race in San Juan early in the week and then back to big training late in the week. It worked well to get some easy and short workouts in early in the week because Super Mom was out of town on travel for work so I had both kids to pick up and entertain through the week. This task is quite exhausting...possibly more exhausting than the regular training. To add to the task, Owen was sick on Tuesday and Wednesday so I had to stay home from school with him both days. I was feeling really sore early in the week but pretty good by Wednesday and more or less back to normal by Thursday. I put in a big weekend with some outdoor rides. Unfortunately it is still really cold and windy here in Iowa. On my ride Saturday it was under 30 degrees with the wind chill factored in. I rode 40 miles after running 15 miles with my good buddy Randy Bill who was in town for the weekend. Randy is a 2:22 marathon runner who I ran with in collage at Augustana. I had some help keeping my hands warm on the bike ride with some awesome new gloves I got from Healthy Habits on Friday. I have also begun to work with a swim coach. Stacey Zapolski has coached youth swimmers for a long time and agreed to take me under her wing for a while. I was thrilled she agreed to help me with my stroke and I learned a lot in our first meeting. Stacey even coached olympic swimmer Aaron Piersall and his professional triathlete sister when they were young. Sunday was a tough day of training. I swam for 1 hr. 15 minutes in the morning and then did a 60 mile ride in the afternoon with a 7 mile brick run to follow. I nearly bonked on the run which had me a little worried about an Ironman that is only 6 weeks away. I'll have to make sure I'm taking in plenty of calories and that I pace myself cautiously on the bike.

This past October my oldest brother, Jason, was nearly killed in a car accident. He lost his left arm in the accident but miraculously lived through it without any other life threatening injuries. When I saw the pictures of his car I knew God had a plan for Jason when He kept him alive on that October day. When I saw him the day after the accident he was still not awake but as I stood next to his bed in the ER room I told him I expected to see him do another triathlon someday. He had taken up triathlon 2 years ago as a way to live a more healthy lifestyle while setting a positive example for his kids. I was so proud of the work he had done. Jason nodded his head from the hospital bed with his eyes still closed. I am so proud to report that Jason is back on the bike, in the pool, and out on the roads training for the 2011 season. He is going to race a small triathlon in Newton, Iowa on May 14th and even though it's the week after Ironman I am super excited to race alongside him to help celebrate his recovery and life. I'm equally excited to report that my 2 other brothers have decided if Jason can do this sport with 1 arm that they can also do it. They have both been training extremely hard and I couldn't be more proud of them. They are getting into better shape than they've been in such a long period of time. Jason was fitted for a prosthetic arm that he uses when he rides the bike. The arm helps him balance his weight on the bike. He was super excited to get outside last week for the first time on his new bike. He has been fixed up with a bike that has the shifters and brakes all on the right side so he can activate them with his arm. He is proof that life is full of possibilities. In my journey I hope to inspire others to believe that things once thought impossible are not. With enough hard work and a big enough dream obstacles that once seemed insurmountable can be conquered. My brother Jason is inpsiring me every time I hear of the workouts he is doing to prepare for his return to triathlon. I couldn't be more proud. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Ironman San Juan 70.3 Race Report and Results

On Wednesday Jen and I caught an early flight from Chicago to San Juan, Puerto Rico. I was worried about flying with my bike not knowing quite what to expect for airline costs to ship the bike. The website was unclear and I was expecting anything from $100.00 to $200.00 just for the bike! It ended up being on the lower end...$100.00. I never thought I would feel good about paying that much to fly my bike to a race but I felt like I dodged a bullet as they never weighed the bike box and if they would have I could have been charged much more. A big thanks goes out to Healthy Habits for getting my bike tuned up and ready for this race as well as for arranging for me to use their bike box. That definitely alleviated some of the stress of traveling to a race. I also have to thank Dr. Kaminski and Laurel Darren for getting my body ready for the race with ART and massage on Tuesday before we left.

The weather in San Juan was awesome. I was able to get a swim in on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday in the ocean we would be swimming in. On Thursday I got my race packet with number 16. There was a big pro field entered for the race with 29 guys on the start list. It turned out that only 24 of them showed up to race. Friday Jen and I attended the pro race meeting where they went over all the rules and the course setup. I was not overly nervous for the race despite it being my first one at the professional level and my first half ironman in a year and a half. I kept thinking about how good my fitness currently is and tried not to think of the world class field that had shown up to race in San Juan. After the pro race meeting I laid out all my GU Energy products I had brought along for the race and picked my favorite ones to stockpile onto my bike. It is always tough figuring out which of the awesome flavors to race with when they have so many great options. I enjoy racing with Roctane gels but add in some of my other favorite flavors so I'm not eating the same flavor throughout the entire race. I got great sleep on Wednesday and Thursday night but Friday was much less. I was so excited for the race I think I only slept about 4 hours before my 3:15 wake up call. Since no one is open for breakfast at that time of the morning I made my own waffles using the iron in our hotel room. I had checked my bike in on Friday night but needed to get to the transition area to get my fluids on the bike and make sure my tires were at the right pressure and my shoes were set out for the run. We made the 15 minute walk from the hotel to transition and I got there at about 5:10. I was able to get everything ready to go and get a good 1.5 mile warm up run in with some speed drills and strides to help loosen up. After this I would get to the ocean for a warm up swim. The temperatures were pretty the mid 70's. It was pretty windy even early in the morning with wind blowing about 15 mph off the ocean from the east.

The water temperature was about 80 degrees which is too warm for a wetsuit. I knew this would be the case. I had my Kiwami Amphibian 008 speedsuit on which is perfect for a non-wetsuit swim. Ironman changed skinsuit rules last September and will no longer allow skinsuits with neoprene or any rubberized material. The rule states that the material must be synthetic woven material. This is one reason I like the Amphibian suit. It weighs less than a pair of underwear and it is very good for swimming in non wetsuit events because it has no pockets to create drag.
SWIM: My plan was to get out really hard to see how long I could stay with the group trying to draft. I realize I'm not a good swimmer and knew I was probably going to give up substantial time in the swim. I had mentally prepared to not let this bother me. I have only done one other non-wetsuit swim in the past and it was the Hy-Vee Olympic distance race 2 summers ago and the swim was a disaster. I was hoping to swim under 31 minutes and keep the gap under 6 minutes to the leaders...more like 4 minutes to the main field. The national anthem played and they announced the pro field as we entered the water. There was some commotion from some of the pro athletes who realized a few of the guys were wearing the illegal skinsuits they had just told us in the meeting on Friday we could not wear. Nothing was done about this since they had already lit the fuse for the cannon to fire and when it fired the swim started at a blazing speed. I felt like I was swimming a 100 yard all out swim and within 100 yards I was already off the back. I stayed relaxed trying not to let it bother me. I know my strength is on the bike and run and I didn't want the swim to psychologically wreck my race. I thought I was in a good rhythm but about 700 yards into the swim just before the first turn I realized things were not good. This realization came from a person in a kayak who hit me with their paddle. I was a little confused why I was being attacked by the volunteer in the kayak and after I got hit the second time I stopped swimming and asked what was wrong. Speaking in Spanish...which I could not understand any of I realized they had hit me because I was swimming for the wrong turn buoy. This was not good. I had to backtrack to the correct buoy and swim around it before continuing on to the next turn buoy. I didn't realize how much time it was costing me at the time but I now hope it was more than a minute based on how slow I swam. At about 1400 meters I was passed by a group of 3 women and I just got out of their way because they were going much faster than I was. I had hoped to get done swimming without being passed by any women since they started 5 minutes behind the guys. Nothing I could do about it now...I just had to stay focused on getting out of the water and to my bike. By the time I got out of the water about 7 of the female pros had passed me. I climbed down the stairs after exiting the water and saw 33 minutes. This was not good. Mentally I tried not to let it affect me as I made my way to the transition area. It was a good haul to transition. We had to run about 600 meters through the city streets without shoes on. I knew the more running the better for me. I passed a couple of the ladies on the run to transition but stepped a rock that I could not get off my foot. It hurt bad to step down on that foot and Jen caught a picture of me grimacing in pain from this damn rock. My foot is sore today and I think it's from running on this rock for a quarter mile.
BIKE: Finally I had made it to the portion of the race I felt was a strength of mine. I was unsure how far up the road the guys were but I knew it would be awhile before I saw any of them. I began passing the women early on in the bike and I was moving well. The course started with a tail wind so my speeds ranged from 27 to 32 mph for the first 10 miles or so. By mile 10 I had passed all the females who had gotten out of the water ahead of me. I was riding harder than I ever had in a 1/2 Ironman thinking I had nothing to lose by going really hard on the bike. It was my only option to get back in the race. At mile 15 I spotted my first male competitor, Tim Snow. He had gotten out of the water about 5 minutes ahead of me which I didn't realize at the time. I went by him and was feeling great. I gave him some encouragement and kept riding hard hoping I was gaining on the field. We traveled to the end of the course where we would ride two loops of about 12 miles each. At the half way point in the first loop Jen was there with some friends of hers who live in Puerto Rico. They told me I was in 21st place. I passed two more guys in the next loop and was still riding very strong through about mile 40. That is when things began to fall apart for me. I was averaging 26.2 mph through mile 40 but then I started to experience some really terrible cramps in my glute muscles (butt muscles for those who don't study biology). It was quickly becoming super uncomfortable to sit on my seat so I was forced to stand up and ride the majority of the last 16 miles. I lost all my power that I had in the saddle and I knew this was not good. I have never experienced cramping in my glutes on a ride before this. I took in more fluids and tried to stretch them while on the bike but this is a tough muscle to stretch while riding. I still passed one more guy to move into 18th place but I knew I was not making up time on any of the main pack and the guys who I had passed were probably gaining time back on me now. Worse yet, by standing to pedal the last 16 miles I was trashing my run muscles in the quads and hamstrings that would be needed when I got off the bike. My average speed was dropping fast. By the time I reached T2 my average speed was down to 24.8 mph and I finished the bike with a time of 2:15:50.

RUN: Right when I got off the bike I knew my body was in a world of hurt. My muscles were screaming in pain at me. I knew this was not going to be the 1 hr. 17 minute run I had thought I had in me. My body was not cooperating at all. I began the run at a normal mileage run pace...just a little under 7:00/mile. I was hoping that the cramping would disappear and I could settle into a normal race pace. Things only got worse. My breathing began to cause great pain to my abdomen and I realized I was also suffering from some GI (gastrointestinal) distress. I had this for a couple miles in my last 1/2 Ironman in Texas. I don't know why it happens but it is something I need to have not happen in the future. It is very painful to take deep breaths of air and when you can't breath normally it makes for a tough run. The course also didn't help things as it was very hilly on the run and the sun was now beating down making it feel very warm. I was plain suffering. I was passed early in the run by 3 of the guys I had passed on the bike. I made my mind up early that I was not going to quit. 4 guys who started the race dropped out and I knew I was not going to be another one. I had worked too hard for this has taken me so long to get here. There was no way I was going to stop regardless of how bad I was racing or how much it hurt. I learned over the past year through injury first, and through my brother's terrible car accident this fall that you never no when something you love will be taken away from you. For all I know this could be the last race I ever compete in and I was not going to let it end with a DNF. I would suffer my way through this one way or another. When I saw Jen at the turnaround 1/2 way into the run she asked me if I was okay. At this point things were beginning to get better. The biggest thing that had calmed was the GI distress. My breathing had returned to normalcy and that made a huge difference. I told her things were getting better and I began running about 6:15 pace for the 2nd half of the run. My average pace at the turnaround was 6:45 and by the time the race finished I had gotten the average pace down into the 6:20's. I managed to pass one of the guys who had passed me on the first lap and I tried to keep pushing as much as my body would allow me to. I finished in a time of 4:17:25. My run time was 1:24:13...about 7 minutes slower than the previous two 1/2 Ironman runs I've had. I finished 19th overall. I was the 18th pro to finish but unfortunately for me I got beat by the top female. Complete results with split times can be found by clicking HERE.
I was pretty disappointed in how the race went for myself. My swim was bike started well but the cramping caused it to be much slower than I anticipated, and the run was pretty much the same pace I go on my Sunday long runs. I was over 10 minutes off the time I was hoping for. Within about 30 minutes however my feelings of the race began to change. It would have been easy to stop after the swim when I was down by so much. It would have been an easy excuse to stop when I was having cramping problems on the bike. By the run I was out of the picture and I could have stopped then as well. I wouldn't have been the only one to stop. I was proud that I hung in there and battled to the finish line. I was proud that I showed up to the race without being afraid of the guys I was lining up next to. I also believe that I will race better at Ironman St. George on May 7 because of this experience. I learned some valuable things. I will have to pace myself better on the bike at St. George so I can still have a strong run. I will have to swim better and I know I'll be in the Xterra Vendetta wetsuit in St. George and I've always had a much smaller gap to the leaders in wetsuit swims. I also found when I packed my bike up after the race that my seat height was 1.5" lower than where I normally ride. This was my biggest mistake of the trip. When I put my seat on the bike after arriving I didn't tighten it enough and every time I hit a bump it probably went down a little bit. By moving 1.5" through the course of the race I was way out of my normal position and that could have been a big contributor to the glute problems which ultimately caused a bad run. I still think that is probably a minor contribution compared to the effort I was putting in on the bike. I had only ridden outside 6 times this year before the race. I plan to put a great deal of emphasis on the bike between now and May 7th. I will be stronger on the bike and I won't fade at the end of that race. I've never had a race where I fell apart on the bike. I normally get stronger near the end of the bike course. I have always negative split the bike course and I think I will in St. George as well. This race was a great learning experience for me. It was my first 1/2 Ironman in a year and a half and I needed to get the rust off. All the training in the world cannot simulate the race experience and I found that to be the truth on Saturday. I know I have lots more work to do. At the top of my birthday wish list is a swim coach who can help me with my technique. I don't see myself ever being out of the water with the main pack but I do believe I'm strong enough on the bike and run to work my way up to a top 8 finish at a race like this. The other confidence booster I got when I saw the results was that I beat all 1,500 amateur athletes despite suffering through the greater part of the race. It tells me I belong in the pro field. I still don't think I have proven that however and that will be my goal on May 7th...I can't wait. As for now I'll need to get recovered and get my butt out on the roads putting in big bike mileage.
Congratulations to American Tim O'Donnell for winning the race against such a tough field in Puerto Rico. He was kind enough to take a picture with me after the race. Also, congratulations to all the finishers in this race. The run course was challenging and the heat made it a big accomplishment for all who participated. The event was extremely well organized! I had a great time in Puerto Rico with Jen. We enjoyed the experience despite the race not being what I had hoped for. The local support for the race was absolutely tremendous!! There were more volunteers than racers I believe and they were awesome at every corner and every aid station...even if I couldn't understand a word of what they were saying...I could sense their enthusiasm. I guess I could understand when they cheered me by name (written on my jersey) and when they said, "Go USA" as I biked and ran by. I was overwhelmed by all the texts, phone calls, e-mails, and facebook posts from friends and family wishing me luck in San Juan. I think back to the quote on my workout book...the fun is the journey of getting in great shape...and I'm in the best of my life. I'm looking to redefine that by May 7th. Thanks to all the help I get from sponsors. Healthy Habits had the bike ready to roll. The Zipp wheels were awesome in the winds. I loved my jersey from Kiwami. I'm thankful that I had GU Energy to fuel me through this tough event. Those guys have been tremendous in their support for my training and racing. Laurel Darren and Bob Kaminski have worked so hard to take care of getting my body ready to compete. I can't thank all of them enough for helping get me to the starting line in this joureny. More than anything I have to thank my wife Jen for making this an awesome experience. Without a doubt in my mind if I didn't have an awesome wife to share this journey with it would not be happening. None of this would be possible without her enduring support through all the good moments and bad. Thanks for reading!! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Xterra Partnership! Theory...

I'm thrilled to announce a partnership with Xterra Wetsuits for the 2011 season. With swimming being the biggest challenge of the three triathlon disciplines for me it was important for me to find the best wetsuit on the planet to help me minimize the time gaps leading into T1. For 2011 I will be swimming in the Xterra Vendetta! It is an amazing suit. Why I chose to apply for sponsorship with Xterra was not only because they have the best wetsuits however. Triathlon is a sport I have grown to love and it is one I aim to help grow. Triathlon is the fastest growing sport in the United States but what scares many away from getting into the sport is how much it can cost. This is the exact reason I wanted to enter into a partnership with Xterra. Hands down they provide the most affordable wetsuits in the sport. How can a company provide the best wetsuits at a lower cost than competitors? It is a pretty simple economic concept. Xterra sells directly to customers eliminating the "middle man" mark up which nearly doubles the cost of other wetsuits. I taught this lesson to my 8th grade students who fully understood how the British East India Tea Company could offer tea to the colonists by selling it directly off their ships without sending it to colonial merchants. It didn't take them long to understand the concept of how eliminating the middle man helps lower costs substantially. Last year our local triathlon club Team Tri-Fit was sponsored by Xterra and I heard great reviews from numerous club members who were not only impressed with the wetsuit they purchased but also with the customer service that Xterra provides to customers. Xterra works so hard to ensure that customers get proper fit that they will gladly accept returns for different sizes (without a restock fee other companies charge). I even heard from one club member that they paid the return shipping!! Most companies will not take returns after a suit has been worn! How bad is that! How are you supposed to know if it fits properly without trying it on? I am thrilled to be in a partnership with a company that keeps the cost of wetsuits low while still providing a top of the line suit along with the world's best customer service. I am excited to be part of the Xterra family and really have to thank Liz Barlow from Xterra for helping make this happen. If you are in the market for a new wetsuit for 2011 please take a look at the line Xterra offers. E-mail me if you have any questions. If you want to purchase one of their suits you can enter a discount code they provided me with of SA-JPAUL to get an even better price! I can't wait to debut the Vendetta at Ironman St. George on May 7th!
I backed training down this week to help get ready for my pro debut next weekend in San Juan, Puerto Rico. I didn't back down as much as I would for a peak race but I could tell the last two weeks of high volume had me pretty tired so I backed down a little more than I anticipated to make sure I'll be ready to go full-till next weekend. I had a tempo run planned for Friday but I decided to move it to Saturday so I could run with Jen in the St. Patty's Day 5k. Jen is in tremendous shape and was hoping to run a new PR. Her 5k PR before this race was 17:40. It was super windy on Saturday morning and pretty cold. The first half of the race was right into the teeth of the wind. We went through the first mile in 5:45 and then only had another 1/2 mile before making the turn and heading home with the wind at our back. Jen's 2nd mile was 5:30 and then she ran the 3rd mile in about 5:20 before finishing the final .1 of the 5k in a total time of 17:16! The effort earned her $100.00, a 1 hour massage, and a custom designed winner's jacket with her name and time embroidered on it. Pretty awesome prize!! The race was sponsored by Russell Construction and they put on a spectacular event! Over 1,400 people braved the cold weather and were treated to a 1st class race thanks to Russell Construction. Our daughter Payton ran the 1/4 mile and it was a milestone race for her. In the two previous races we have entered her in she has screamed and cried refusing to run. On Saturday she was really excited to race and she ran the entire way with a smile on her face. The pictures show her on Saturday at the St. Patty's Day race compared to last July when she screamed and walked her way through the Jr. Bix. Jen and I were really proud of her for overcoming her fears of running in a big crowd. I hope to race in San Juan with that same fearless attitude that she showed on Saturday. She said it was fun and she wanted to run more races. She's getting quite used to the active lifestyle that mom and dad live.
Theory- An untested idea or opinion created through the use of known facts.
In theory I should be faster in the 1/2 Ironman than when I earned my pro license nearly a year and a half ago. Due to my achilles tendon surgery I've built my confidence heading into San Juan according to theory. When I earned my pro license by winning the Longhorn 70.3 amateur race on October 25th, 2009 I raced faster than 7 of the 24 professionals. Although winning the race would qualify me for turning professional in the sport it wasn't the deciding factor. Meaning more to me than the win was that I beat 7 of the guys who were already professional. That however is not what my goals would be. When I opted to turn professional I had a deep belief that there was so much more to my potential than what I had in 2009. I was ending my first season of year round training devoted to this sport. I realized the human body is capable of doing incredible things...when one is willing to take great risks, put in a tremendous amount of work, and have an unwavering belief of what is possible...hence the phrase "DREAM BIG!". Here I am just 6 days away from finding out if I really belong. Just being in the race isn't what I'm looking for. Belonging in the race is much more what I am out to prove...not to others, but to myself. It was a goal I had in August of 2008 when I went to Jen with this crazy idea of resigning from 3 sports I coached so that I could find out what my body was capable of if I woke up every day with a purpose and a belief. Seeing myself as a professional triathlete took time...lots of hard workouts...completing tasks I never thought possible before. The injury and surgery in 2010 was a bump in the road. It certainly tested my resolve as it took nearly 6 months before I was able to train without any pain. I began preparing for the 2011 season on November 1. 133 days have passed and I've used 132 of them to get into the best shape of my life. It's been nearly 18 months since my last race and in theory I should be faster. I'm going into this race nearly 10 lbs. lighter than when I raced in Texas. My bike fit has seen huge improvements with a much more aero and powerful fit by the legend John Cobb. I have run the fastest times of my life in workouts and even in a 3k race...(24 seconds faster than in 09' over a distance of less than 2 miles). In the weight room I've seen tremendous improvements in strength. On the multi-hip machine three of my lifts have increased from 80 lbs. to 120 lbs. The other has increased from 140 to 200. Single leg extensions and curls have increased from 70 lbs. to 90. My single leg press has increased from 220 lbs. to 330! My Zipp wheelset has been upgraded to new custom wheels with ceramic bearings and dimpled hubs. My aero helmet is better. All these little things lead me to the theory that I'm going to be faster than ever before. Theory really doesn't matter however. That's the reason they have the race. It will be the test of my theory. 1/2 of pro field. 31 minute swim, 2:14 bike, 1:17 run...3 minutes in transition= 4:05. What started with a dream of seeing if I could compete as a professional triathlete two and a half years ago is about to be realized. My body has changed. My confience has changed. I have always known that God gives humans much greater potential than most ever realize. I intend to find mine in this one small aspect of life. I hope you'll do the same in some aspect of your life. Dream hard...believe that anything is possible. Over a year ago I put a quote from 2x Ironman champion Craig Alexander on the cover of my workout book. "But as far as the race goes, I'll just try and do what I always do, which is control what I can control-my training--and I think a lot of the fun is just getting in great shape." I couldn't agree with Mr. Alexander more!
The first two pictures below are of me in 2005 (view with caution...). I weighed 196 lbs. I don't have one from January of 2008 when I weighed my all-time high of 203 lbs. but just imagine 7 more lbs. on top of what you see. The 3rd picture is from November 1 this year when I began training for the 2011 season after a frustrating season of injury and surgery. I began the 2011 journey on midnight of Nov. 1 with a goal of transforming my body into a race machine. This final picture is 6 days before I take the starting line for my first professional race. The fun is in the getting to the starting line...getting in great shape. No doubts about it...that is the journey...the journey to physical and mental fitness that God has blessed all of us with. December, 2005
December, 2005
November 1, 2010

March 13, 2011
Unleash your potential!! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Week 18 Training Summary...New GU Product!

Week 18 was my second great week in a row training. I was at 27.5 hours of total training time. I ran 70 miles, biked 200, and swam 13,000 yards. In addition to those totals I lifted weights, did speed drills, strides, lunges, push-ups, and jumped rope all three times, plyometrics twice, and core work 12 times. I am feeling fitter than I've ever been in my life with just 13 days to go before my first professional race in San Juan, Puerto Rico. After 2 big weeks in a row I'm not quite ready to taper since I'm also 2 months away from an even bigger race...Ironman St. George. I will however back things down to about 20 hours this week before throwing in a really aggressive 6 day taper before racing on March 19th.

I had some great workouts this week that left me realizing I've never been in this kind of shape before. On Tuesday I had an awesome 40 minute tempo ride on the bike alternating 5 minute periods between 240 and 270 watts. It was easier than last week when I did the same workout. Wednesday I ran a 7 mile progressive tempo run where I get faster each mile until I run the last mile at 10k pace. My mile splits were 6:00, 5:58, 5:51, 5:48, 5:45, 5:36, and 5:23 for a total time of 40:25. It never felt tough. After a great massage on Thursday with Laurel Darren I was ready to run some really fast 300's with our high school track team on Friday. I knew they would make me a little sore for the weekend but I still managed a huge weekend of training. On Saturday I had my single biggest day of training yet this year at 7 hours 20 minutes. I had my longest bike ride yet that morning of 3 hours and then went straight to a 3 mile run in 18:21 that had me really excited about my fitness. It wasn't the time that was exciting because that isn't really that fast but it was how easy the pace felt. I think I've played games of Candy Land that were easier than the 6:07 pace off the 3 hour ride. Sunday morning I ran my longest run since 1999 when I went 20 miles with Adam Bohach in 2 hrs. 15 minutes. I'm thrilled to be able to train with someone who is so good. We are enjoying our St. George preparations together.
I recently received a new product from GU Energy...Electrolyte tablets. They are awesome. They come in a small dispenser and the tablets are super convenient to drop in a bottle of water to give it flavor but even more importantly is that the tablets will dissolve a nice mixture of carbs, potassium, and sodium that the body rapidly loses through sweat loss. These tablets will definitely be part of my Ironman arsenal of GU products to help me to a high finish. I can't thank the awesome crew at GU Energy enough for providing me with the nutrition necessary for training and racing at a high level. Jen says I'm a GU addicts as she finds gel and Chomps wrappers littered in the car. I often use the products between workouts when I need a quick burst of energy or a quick recovery. Healthy Habits, the bike shop that totally takes care of me carries a long line of GU products. When I'm in there this week I'll check to see if they have the electrolyte tablets yet.

I couldn't ask for more right now from my body. I've gone 18 weeks and transformed myself from 171 lbs. and nearly a year away from race shape into the best shape of my life. I've gambled on training at a really high level and it's paid off. I'm going into my first pro race in the exact kind of shape I had dreamed about being in. I'm super stoked to find out how much fast I am right now than a year and a half ago when I earned my pro license. Next week I'll highlight some of the transformations that have taken place physically and gear wise that lead me to believe San Juan will be the best race I've ever had. I know going into this race it will be difficult not to think about my placing with the other professionals but I intend to keep the emphasis only on the things I can control...which is my own race. That point was reminded to me this week by pro triathlete Daniel Bretscher, who I highly regard. I know the swim will be a low point for me. I've only done 3 half ironman races and the first one had a really short swim. The other two I've done I swam 29 and then 28 minutes. Those were both in wetsuits which help me considerably. San Juan will not be wetsuit legal so I'm hoping for a swim of 31 minutes or under. The bike course is pretty darn flat with not many turns so I'm hoping to put in a bike split of 2 hours 14 minutes. I know I'm in shape to run at least a 1:15 half marathon but I'm going to put 1:17 for my goal time due to the heat and difficulty of the run course. Add in transition and I'd be thrilled to go 4:05. That is cotrolling my own race and it is something I'm absolutely 100% capable of doing. I have to finish within 8% of the winner to extend my pro card another year and I intend to do that in San Juan. 8% is a big chunk of time and something that shouldn't be terribly difficult to do. If I go 4:05 I should be within 8%. With the fitness I'm in right now I don't think I'm 8% slower than anyone...but with a slow swim that may not be an accurate statement. I'm looking forward to enjoying the moment...when you're in the best shape you've ever been races tend to be really fun. The work has been's now time to execute the plan to perfection. I CAN'T WAIT!! Thanks for reading!! DREAM BIG!