Sunday, August 21, 2011

Du State Duathlon Race Report and Results

This week was focused on getting recovered from last weekend's race at Steelhead. I knew I would not be able to get much quality training in if I neglected the time required to get recovered. This would be a very important recovery because Ironman Wisconsin is only 4 weeks from Steelhead and I knew I would want to get 1 more solid block of 10 day training in prior to my taper for Madison. The recovery did not go as quickly as I hoped. I was really sore of course and going back to school on Monday cut hours out of my sleep time. I also did not spend as much time doing easy workouts that normally help me flush out the contaminated muscles with fresh, new, healthy blood. As a result the soreness and tightness lingered into Friday. I was hoping to do a duathlon on Sunday out at Loud Thunder Park but I began to wonder if it would be wise to compete with the way this recovery was going. On Saturday morning I rode about 60 miles with Adam Bohach and I felt really good during the ride so I decided I would go ahead with the duathlon. It's crazy how quickly confidence can be zapped. I had a great race last weekend but without much training this week I was beginning to wonder if I was getting out of shape. I also feel like I've picked up a couple pounds with substantially less workouts and for some reason teaching has made me really hungry this week!!
I woke at 5:00 a.m. and made the 40 minute drive to Loud Thunder Park. Super Mom decided to sleep in rather than wake the kids up before the sun came up so I went solo. This was the 22nd year of the Du State Duathlon. They always do a great job putting on this event to benefit the Cornbelt Running Club and Quad City Bike Club. I have won the race 3 times. 2 years ago I missed the event record by 7 seconds. I was in great shape at that time, following that race with my best ever in Chicago just 2 weeks later. I felt like I should have done the first run a little faster. The race includes a 1.96 mile run followed by a 14.7 mile bike, and then finishes with a 1.81 mile run. The runs are both completely flat and stay in the park. The bike ride makes up for the easy runs with an extremely difficult course involving 4 substantial climbs. The record was set in 2004 by local Jeff Castro at 57:50. I was at that race that year when Jeff set the record. Jeff was in tremendous shape and went on to place in the top 40 overall at the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii that year. I remember that race well because I was in good running shape and I was thinking I would be ahead of Jeff before the bike but he smoked me on the runs and then smoked me even more on the bike. I was 7th in 1 hr. 3 minutes.
When I was warming up I ran into Brandon Gittelman who is a great runner competing at my alma mater Augustan College. I was pretty excited to see Brandon because I knew he would help me push that 1st run more than I did 2 years ago. This was his first multi-sport event.
RUN: We started the run at a very fast pace. Brandon took off like a shot! I sat back just a bit and looked at my GPS. At about 1/2 mile in I decided to go up and help him with the pace setting. We were at 4:45/mile average pace through 1/2 mile and I couldn't believe how comfortable it felt. It certainly wasn't a jog but this was much faster than I've ever gone out in a duathlon. We made the turn and went through the mile at 4:53. On the way back we slowed just a bit. I got just a little ahead of him coming into transition. I looked at my watch to check my average pace and at was still under 5:00/mile with a 4:59 reading just before I entered the transition area. I was really surprising myself at this point. All the doubts and negative thoughts from my rough week were gone as I grabbed my helmet and bike and headed out to tackle this tough course.
BIKE: I knew I had already cut nearly a minute from my time in 2009 on the first run alone. I have a lot of confidence in my cycling right now. I did a lot of high intensity interval training on the bike in the month between Racine and Steelhead and I'm now seeing the results of it. This course is so tough I only averaged 23.7 mph on it 2 years ago. That was 2 weeks before averaging 26.1 mph in the Chicago Triathlon which is a 25 mile bike course. That reflects how tough this bike course is...and how fast Chicago is. I was a little careful leaving the park as they had warned us of a spot with fresh gravel on the turns out of the park. It was really small gravel but not something I wanted to take any risks on. After I got on the main road I began putting a lot of power into the pedals. I went down my 1st big hill and hit 43 mph. I rode hard on the uphills getting out of the saddle and pedaling a tough gear. After turning around I headed back down that hill and up the side I had come down. The course then travels out about 5 miles into Illinois City. This is where the 3rd really big climb is at. I never forget that hill as it's one of the tougher climbs I've ridden in a race. I was thinking how this was a perfect race for getting ready for Ironman Wisconsin where the bike course is pretty hilly. After turning around in Illinois City I checked my watch and saw I had about a 5 minute gap on the 2nd place rider. I pushed hard the rest of the way and had 1 more big hill to climb which goes back into the park. I have always thought this is the toughest one. It winds back and forth up to the top where it finally levels out. I was went into the park with about a 25.0 mph average on my computer so I was thrilled. I was about 1 minute faster on the bike than 2 years ago so I knew I could run pretty easy on the 2nd run and still be under the record by quite a bit.
RUN: I ran very comfortably on the 2nd run and was still surprised when I checked the GPS to see my current pace hovering between 5:10 and 5:25 most of the way back. I crossed the finish line with a time of 55:53 which was nearly 2 minutes under the record. The race was a huge boost of confidence to me. It reminded me of the importance of rest. It left me with no doubts that I'm in a spot I've never been in condition wise. I felt great after finishing and it was the perfect workout to end the week with. It was a hard effort and most importantly I gained a ton of confidence in my running and cycling heading into my final race of the year in 3 weeks in Madison. Being able to bike so well on the hills leaves me believing I am going to have a great race on Septemeber 11th.
I was really proud of my older brother Justin and his wife Amy for doing this race. It was definitely the most challenging race both of them have finished. They continue to impress me with their committment to fitness. Justin has done 3 races with me this year and afterwards he pointed out that he must be good luck for me because I've won them all. I'm thrilled he'll be in Madison hopefully bringing that luck with him although I did remind him the pro races are an entirely different league of athletes. I think there were about 8 people with Live Uncommon shirts at the race. This movement to advocate fitness has continued to grow at amazing speed. Check out the website at and join the movement. It's a great way to inspire people to begin a personal journey of fitness and it only takes one to make a difference. Fellow Live Uncommon member and co-worker of mine Phil Pancrazio had an amazing race! Phil dropped 6 minutes from his best time at this duathlon. It's so fun for me to watch people like Phil meet personal fitness goals. This is a tough event and a big congrats goes out to all who showed up for it. The weather was perfect with temps at about 70 degrees and barely a trace of wind. Complete results from the duathlon with splits can be found by clicking here. Now that I've adjusted to the schedule of being back in school I'll ramp things up for about the next 10 days before cutting back so I can be fresh and ready to race my best ever at Ironman Wisconsin. I can't wait for that race! After crashing at St. George in May I'm super excited to be able to add "Ironman Finisher" to my list of accomplishments. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Ironman Steelhead 69.1 Race Report and Results

As you can tell from the title this race did not go off as expected. Jen and I made the drive to Benton Harbor, Michigan for the Steelhead 1/2 Ironman on Saturday morning after Jen finished winning her 2nd road race in as many days. I thought there was no way we were going to make the 2:00 pm pro meeting because I realized Saturday morning that the time in Michigan is one hour ahead of our time back home. We did make great time however, and we arrived at Jean Klock Park for the meeting with about 10 minutes to spare. At the pro meeting we were quickly told there was a strong possibility that the swim would be cancelled. A big storm was blowing in and they said that 25 mph winds were expected from the north which would bring huge waves and make the swim conditions unsafe. To add to the waves the riptides were really bad and they didn't want anyone to drown. They said we should plan on a swim but the backup plan was to have a bike and run only with the bike portion starting in time trial fashion. They would send the pros out every 30 seconds. We voted whether we wanted the highest or lowest numbers to be the first ones out. My number was 18 of the 38 guys on the pro start list so I didn't really care either way but I voted for the low numbers to go out first. Typically Ironman gives the top contenders the low numbers and then after the first 5 or 6 guys the numbers are assigned by who signed up first. After a tie vote the first time they voted again and decided if the swim was cancelled we would start with the high numbers going out first.

I'm not going to lie...I was pretty excited about the chance of not having to swim. I thought that would give me a better chance of placing high overall since swimming is my weak length. If it would have been good conditions I would have liked to swim because this course is fast and I knew it was realistic that I had a chance to break 4 hours for the first time in my life for a 1/2 Ironman. Since the weather was not going to be good I was hoping they would decide on no swim so I could try to place higher. After the meeting Jen and I hit up our hotel which was about the least classy hotel I've ever been in but it was only 10 minutes from the race start and it was about 1/2 the cost of the other options available. It only took about 2 minutes of being in the room before we didn't notice the aweful smell of the room. I prepared my bike with the GU nutrition plan and got about as good a night of sleep as I've had before a big race this year. I woke up at 4:00 a.m. to get breakfast and Jen and I left the hotel just before 5:00 to drive to the lake. When we left the hotel it seemed really nice out. The wind was not bad and I was thinking we were definitely going to swim. When we got out of the car at the park I knew things would be changing however as the winds at the lake were crazy. The waves were reported 6-7 feet high and the riptides were bad. The coast guard had suspended all small watercrafts from entering the lake which meant it was a guarantee no one would be swimming. As I made the walk into transition they were already announcing the swim would be cancelled and we would begin the time trial start at 7:15.

BIKE:I began the race when they got down to bib # 18 after starting with the high numbers. There were about 12 guys already out on the road. It was pretty exciting starting the race in a time trial format. I knew I would have to keep my composure and not go out too hard. Although it is a time trial it is still a 56 mile ride ahead of me with a 13.1 mile run to follow. I chose to go with the Zipp Sub-9 disc on the rear and the Zipp 808 front wheel. I thought with the strong winds the 808 would be a better wheel than the 1080. I could have gone with the 1080 because the winds were not nearly as bad out on the roads when we got away from the lake. When they said "go" I took off and tried to settle into a nice rythm. I could see rider #19 ahead of me after we turned out of the park and I slowly began to pull him back. I decided when I got close I would sit back 10 meters and take in my first round of nutrition. This happened at about mile 8. I was feeling good knowing I had made up 30 seconds on him in the first 8 miles but I also didn't know how strong of a rider he was. When I passed him I encouraged him to go with me hoping we could work together a bit but within a few miles he was off the back. I could not see the next guy up the road who had started 1 minute ahead of me. At about mile 13 I spotted him and knew I was gaining ground. As I got closer I could see another guy not far in front of the guy ahead of me and we were both gaining on him. I passed them both at around mile 18. They were both strong enough to stay with me which was good because they would be able to help me out by sharing the lead. I looked back and couldn't see anyone so I was feeling great about how things were going. Over the next 17 miles we traded the lead in a legal format. When we were passed we dropped back 10 meters out of the zone. Between the 3 of us I was doing about 50% of the work and the other guys were splitting the other 50%. It was nice to have the help. We stayed this way until about mile 35 and that is when things got really sketchy. At mile 35 it felt like a train went by us. There were about 10 guys riding together with gaps of around 5 meters between some of them. Even the guy I had passed at mile 8 was in the group. Some of them apologized as they made the pass. They knew the way they were riding was not legal but they also knew that if they tried to stay legal they would get left behind. There were no officials at all near us and so this is the way the race had played out. I'm not sure why the few race officials chose to stay with the first guys out on the bike the entire way when the race was a time trial start. I understand spending most of the time with the leaders but in a time trial start format the first ones out on the bike are probably not the guys leading the race. I tucked into the group and went for the "free ride" as one of them called it when he went by me. I can say over the next 21 miles of the race I did not stay back 10 meters at all times. I don't want to make it sound like I was the only one riding legally in the group because there were times I got closer than 10 meters and instead of passing as the rule states I would drop back out of the zone. I did go to the front on 3 occasions to help with my share of the workload. I was trapped in a bad situation as many of the guys in this group were. If I would have tried to stay in a legal position the entire time I would have been left behind on my own. I was really hoping a race official would ride up and break the group apart. I didn't think all of them could hang on if they were forced into staying at a legal distance. What had happened? It was easy to figure out. The guy with bib #6, Australian Chris Legh was a great rider. When he passed number 7, probably early in the race...number 7 was able to jump on and stay with him. As they passed more and more riders the train began to grow. Once it gets big it is easy to sit in. There were times I was going 30 miles per hour in the group at an effort of 22-23 mph solo. Chris Legh was not happy with guys who were not taking their turn on the front and he let them know it with some unkind words. At about mile 50 the train swept up John Kenny who was wearing bib # 30. I felt terrible for him. He was super pissed when he saw this peloton roll by him and he let us know it. John Kenny is one of the best triathlete swimmers in the entire world. First off, he didn't get to swim with the cancellation. He leads every race he does out of the water. Now here he is at mile 50 and he has been busting his nuts by himself most of the way when a group containing guys who started 6 or 7 minutes behind him come rolling by together in a very illegal riding fashion. He jumped on the train as well but his free ride was much shorter than anyone elses. This is how the ride played out. About 13 of us rolled into transition within 20 seconds of each other. I knew the run would be fun having lots of guys around. My bike split was 2:09 which was about 26 mph. Before I got swept up by the train I was averaging about 25.4 mph so I can't really say this was a PR bike leg without puting an * by it due to the illegal riding that was taking place over those last 20 miles.

RUN: I left transition and the pace was fast. All the guys around me were flying. Some of the guys I outran in Racine by minutes were rolling really fast which I expected because they were able to save so much energy riding on the train. I had spent 35 miles working like crazy and had been one of the last people to get swept up by the train. I knew this would be a fast run but I was hoping the guys would slow down within a few miles. I went through the 3 mile mark in 16:50 and began to wonder if I was going to be able to hold this pace or if I would blow up by starting so fast. 2 of the guys I started with began to creep away after the 3 mile mark. Another guy who I had passed in the first mile passed me back and I was able to stay with him for only about a mile. At the aid stations I was taking water, coke, and gatorade. My hamstrings were a little shaky which they have been since my long run a few weeks ago. I began to slip off my pace at about mile 4 as I went through 4 in 22:50. I tried to hold things together and it never got terribly ugly but I was losing the guys ahead of me. I did cross a spot where I saw "Live Uncommon" written across the road and another spot that said, "Dream Big". Jen had taken the time to write me these messages while she was out on her 13 mile run that morning and it was greatly appreciated. It gave me some added motivation to not pack things in when I was hurting. At about mile 8 Michael Lovato passed me. He started with bib #3 and is one of the top triathletes in the US. He was running about 10 sec./mile faster than I was. At mile 11 Olympian Matty Reed and Chris McDonald rolled by me and I could not stay with them either. They were both running about 15 sec/mile faster than me. I knew my pace was still slipping but it was still respectable as I was still holding around 6:00/mile and my average pace was at about 5:50 overall. I finished the 1/2 marathon with a new PR of 1:17:16. I had run a 1:17 flat in Texas 2 years ago but that course was about a 1/4 mile short so this was a faster run. My GPS had the course at 13.31 miles but I think I probably did a bad job of running the tangents and that is why it measured off. The run times were fast for everyone so I don't think it was long. The conditions were perfect for running with temps. in the high 60's and the sun hidden behind the clouds. Overall I was really happy with the outcome. I was 14th place in a time of 3 hrs. 28 minutes. There were 28 pro finishers and I finished ahead of a bunch of guys I had never beaten before. Although I thought having the swim cancelled would help me I don't think it helped as much as I thought. I did benefit but due to the nature of the riding taking place and being that I started well ahead of where the train got started I was 1-3 minutes behind most of the guys in that group when I got off the bike which is about how much time I would typically give up to those guys on the swim. Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here. Now I turn my attention to Ironman Wisconsin which is 4 weeks away. I'll try to get recovered this week and then begin 2 solid weeks of prep before a week long taper for Madison. I know the high intensity interval training I've done over the past 4 weeks has made me a stronger rider and now that school is starting back up tomorrow I'll have to continue getting the high intesity rides in favor of the long mileage due to the fact that I don't have as much time to train. Special thanks to Laurel Darren for the pre-race massage and for Dr. Kaminski for getting the kinks worked out with some ART work before I took off for the trip. Thanks for reading. DREAM BIG!!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Crossroads Triathlon Race Report and Results

On Saturday Super Mom and I split up for different races. She went to the Crimestoppers 5k and won another race earning $100.00 for the win in a time of 17:40. I went to DeWitt, IA for a sprint distance triathlon called Crossroads. I was excited to do this event with 2 of my brothers, Justin and Josh. For Josh, it would be his first ever triathlon. Justin was doing his first one with a lake swim.
I met Justin and Josh at the 2nd transition as this race is point to point meaning the transition areas are located in 2 different locations. We met at DeWitt High School where the bike to run transition was located. I dropped off my race belt and running shoes and we headed to the lake. I was able to get a short warm up in of 1.5 miles and then put my wetsuit on. I was very surprised this swim would be wetsuit legal since it felt like the lake was about 84 degrees. I would have gone without the wetsuit but I haven't been swimming with it since Racine since the lake I do open water swimming has been so warm lately. This was a race I won in 2008 and 2009. I did not compete in it last year as I was rehabbing my achilles tendon post surgery.
SWIM: I started in the 2nd swim wave. The females under the age of 30 went in the water 1st and then 3 minutes later it was males 30-39. I knew Chris Scott was a great swimmer and I wanted to try to stay with him as long as I could. He has always been out of the water faster than I was and he was coming off a big win last weekend at Xterra Sugar Bottom where he had the fastest swim split. When the siron sounded to take off we were swimming side by side for the first 50 yards or so and then he started to drift left. I had to decide whether or not to follow him and stay in his draft or continue on in a straight line toward the bouy. I decided I would let him go left and I would keep on the straight line. I felt like he was taking a bad line towards the bouy. I figured if I stayed straight I could catch his feet after he cut over. I never saw him again on the swim. I was the first one to the bouy where we made the turn and I kept swimming hard. I began passing some of the females after the first buoy but I navigated well getting around them without swimming off course. I exited the water in 7:43 which was the fastest swim time of the race. This was the first time I have ever beaten Chris Scott out of the water and it was the first time in an outdoor triathlon where I had the fastest swim split. My swimming has continued to improve tremendously under the guidance of Stacey Zapolski. I couldn't be more happy with the progress I've made since recruiting Stacey's help with my swimming. It also helped that I had on the Xterra Vendetta wetsuit and Chris Scott decided to go without a wetsuit.
BIKE: I had some trouble getting the wetsuit off over my chip in transition. For some reason this chip timing company says their chips will not read unless they are on top of the wetsuit. I didn't want to rip the wetsuit so I took more time than usual getting it off. I was racked near Chris Scott and he gained time on me in transition. We left T1 right near each other and I hit the road pedaling hard. The course is not terribly tough but there are a handful of rolling hills that keep it semi-challenging. I did not feel good for the first 7 miles but after that I started getting into a really good rhythm. On the way into town we had about a 5 mph wind at our back and I was gaining speed. I came to a point where there seems to be a wreck every year. It is a spot where there are rumble strips and when riders go left to avoid them there is a big crack in the road and inevitably every year someone gets their tire in the crack and goes down. I was crossing back by that point as riders were going out to the turnaround and I saw a guy standing there with his bike on the ground. I knew the rider and I slowed to nearly a stop and asked him if he was okay. He said he would be fine so I continued on towards T2. I arrived at DeWitt High School and got off the bike with an average speed of 26.1 mph which was also the fastest bike split of the day.
RUN: I grabbed my garmin and put the shoes on quickly and began running out of transition while I attached my race belt. I wanted to break 17:00 for this flat 5k. I monitored my pace pretty closely. I was hovering between 5:05 and 5:30 for most of the run. When I would creep up towards the 5:30 pace I would try to pick it up. I hit the turaround and saw I had about a 3 minute lead over 2nd place. I went on to run 16:38 which was my fastest 5k to end a sprint race. My run time was the top one in the race. I won the race with a time of 1 hr. 20 seconds. It was over 2 minutes faster than when I did the race 2 years ago. It gives me good confidence heading into Steelhead 1/2 Ironman next weekend.
I was really excited to watch my brothers finish the race. Josh came in with a great run split and said, "I'm ready to be done" when he passed me. Justin came not long after. He said he felt like he was barely moving on the run. It was great watching people come in to finish the race off. There were a number of former students I had in class and I always enjoy watching them get into the sport. Congratulations to all the finishers. Complete results with splits can be found by clicking here.
Next weekend I'll be driving to Michigan for the Steelhead 1/2 Ironman. The pro race has a lot of guys on the start list...32 to be exact. Not all of them will show up but it should be the biggest pro field I've been in and there are some guys on the start list with really impressive resumes. I'm hoping to be in the top 10 and look to have a great time as this race is on a pretty fast course. I'd love to break 4 hours for the 1st time. I'll need to push hard on the bike. I pushed hard at Crossroads to see how my legs would respond and I still felt great on the run despite pushing the pace on the bike course. With modest temperatures expected next weekend I'm hoping to push the bike very hard to find out what I still have left for the run. My swimming is the best it's ever been and I'll work like crazy to stay on the feet of the chase group for as long as I can. If I can get out of the water with more riders it will be my ticket to a great race. I have taken criticism from some people locally who think I race too much. I have done 4 sprint triathlons and 1 sprint duathlon over the past couple months and I think those have been great workouts for 1/2 Ironman racing. They are great to get speed work in and they have prepared me to run better off the bike than any other workout I could have done. The recovery time for a sprint is pretty minimal and I didn't back off at all for Crossroads. I biked 108 miles on Thursday, just 2 days before the race. I have been paying very close attention to my recovery lately. I'm in great shape and if I feel I'm not recovered I cut back the workouts with a single goal of getting recovered properly before I attempt more work. I have done a lot of high quality bike work since Ironman Racine 70.3. That was something I wanted to put an emphasis on before racing at Steelhead. I think in the 3 weeks since Racine I have had 9 bike workouts with high intensity in them. I'm hoping that pays off next weekend and it will be my best race ever.
This week I had someone pass along to me some information on a local race for a great cause. On Saturday, August 20th there is a 5k and 1/2 marathon in Bettendorf, IA called "Ouch! Race it Doesn't Hurt to Help" and the proceeds are for a great non-profit organization. The money raised goes to help would victims who cannot afford care to effectively treat long term and emergency wounds. The race is put on by Trinity Health Systems and the link to the race sit can be found by clicking here. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Bix...and my Brothers

This past weekend I ran the Bix 7 mile road race with my wife Jen. Bix is the biggest race in our community. In all of the weekend events they totaled about 18,000 runners with about 13,000 doing the 7 mile road race. Last year Jen was the first local finisher and she was asked about winning the award for being the top local female...Jen pointed out to the reporter that there was no award for females...only one for the top local guy! This point was taken pretty quickly to the race director Ed Froelich who quickly made an announcement that they would be adding an award in 2011 for the top local female to go along with the guys award that had been around for two years. Jen always gets excited to run the Bix and with the new trophy on the line...the same trophy her commments spurned into action...she was even more excited this year. I get asked a lot about running the Bix. So many locals ask me every year what time I'm hoping to run. My Bix PR was when I was 19 years old and I ran 39:44. I'm in much better shape now but since getting into triathlons the Bix has not been a race I've wanted to run full out. I do a lot of triathlons in the summer that force me to "go to the well" and in the weeks when I'm not racing I try to get good training in. I know full well that an all-out Bix effort on the relentless hilly and difficult course would leave my quads fried for a few days. It's not a race I'm willing to put in that kind of effort during the heart of triathlon season. With the shape Jen is in I knew that it would be a pefect match for me to get my weekly tempo run in while also being able to share the day with her. We began the race with the 1st mile up Brady Street hill in about 6:20. It is always a very slow first mile due to the 1/4 mile hill and Jen said with the temperatures being so hot she wanted to take the first half of the course conservatively so she could be sure to finish strong. The 2nd mile is almost entirely a gradual downhill where you go back down most of the elevation you climbed in the first mile. We ran that mile in about 5:30 and were 11:50 at mile 2. We began passing a lot of good female runners in that 2nd mile. After mile 2 Jen was passing girls she has never beaten before. She looked awesome. At the turaround I counted the girls in front of her as we could see them coming back. Jen was in 14th...which included about 8 African elites in front of her. I was super surprised she was that far up after saying she wanted to take the 1st half conservatively. I knew 10th was almost a minute ahead so that was a stretch but I thought 11th-13th was a possibility. The Bix pays out to 10 and they bring in some world-class elite foreign runners to compete for the prize money. In miles 5 and 6 I could tell the pace was slipping as it went slightly slower than my typical tempo effort. Jen is super tough however and held onto her 14th place and then ran a great last mile which includes going back down Brady Street. She finished in a time of 41:55...a new Bix PR by almost 90 seconds on a day when most of the top runners were slower than normal with the high heat setting in. She was the top local finisher by about 3 minutes becoming the first ever Eloise Caldwell Trophy winner. It was fun for me to be part of her awesome performance. She continues to amaze me by her success in running and her ability to stay so fit while being an incredible mother and working full-time. She is truly a great ambassador for the Live Uncommon campaign which you can learn more about by visiting We saw a lot of Live Uncommon shirts out on the Bix course Saturday which is evidence the movement is growing to inspire people to be active and healthy. Congratulations to all the Bix 7 finishers in 2011. The Quad City Times interviewed Jen after the race and ran a nice story on her. The story can be found by clicking here and the interview is posted below.


All 3 of my brothers have been living uncommon by balancing their committment to family and full-time jobs along with training for a triathlon coming up. My oldest brother Jason lost his arm in a car accident in October and vowed that he would not let that stop him from competing in the Hy-Vee Triathlon which is rapidly approaching on September 4th. Jason's determination to do this triathlon has inspired my other brothers Justin and Josh to get into the sport as well. Justin did his first triathlon in Newton, IA with Jason and I in May. This weekend Josh is going to make his triathlon debut along with Justin and I in DeWitt, IA at the Crossroads Sprint Triathlon. I'm super proud of them for committing to the healthy lifestyle that triathlon training requires. Hy-Vee ran a really cool story on Jason as an "inspiring athlete" that can be found by clicking here. My training has been going well. My volume was down last week as I found it a little tougher than expected to recover from my 27.5 mile run last Sunday. I felt great during the run but was left with a little more deep soreness than expected. I was careful to let my body adapt to that run. I only rode the bike 4 times but 3 of them involved some really good quality which was a focus of mine leading into the Steelhead 70.3 which is 2 weeks away. I'm really excited about that race and although trying not to look too far ahead of it I'm super pumped for Ironman Wisconsin on September 11th. It will be my peak race of 2011 and I am looking forward to racing Ironman again after my disappointing race with all the mechanical issues and then the crash that ended my day in St. George back on May 7th. This will be a great week of training and then I'll spend most of next week getting rested up for a good race at Steelhead. The course is pretty fast there and I'd love to give my best effort at breaking 4 hours for the first time in my life. Thanks for reading! DREAM BIG!!