Sunday, July 21, 2019

2019 Muskoka Half Ironman

In the summer of 2018 I signed up for the Tri in the Buff. They had an event called try a tri it was basically a super sprint ( 400 yard swim, 8 mile bike and 2ish mile run). I was hooked on triathlons after that. After very little consideration I signed up for the 2019 Muskoka Half Ironman, I figured I had a year to learn to swim and get in shape for it.  I hired a coach, spent a lot of the winter swimming and strength training then when spring hit I rode tons of miles on the bike.

Fast forward from that day in Buffalo where this dream got put on my bucket list to two weeks ago when I was at packet pick up for the half Ironman, I cant explain the excitement, the bit of fear and the slight panic I felt. After pick up my packet and putting my bike into transition I got some pictures of the area and took it all in. I took a walk to to swim start and looked at how to move from swim to transition.

I checked into my hotel, unpacked and got everything ready for the race then became very anxious once things slowed down. I went into town and got some coffee and took a short walk along the river trying to calm my mind and emotions. I visited some of the local stores and just focused on nothing in particular just relaxed. This did the trick and after about an hour and a half I made my way back to the hotel to settle in and get some rest. I figured I would have a hard time sleeping, as I usually do before big events, but I didnt, I feel right to sleep and work up feeling really rested a 5 AM.

We could start getting in to transition at 6 am the actual race started at 7:30 am, So I wanted to get there right at 6 and thankfully I did, parking started filling up already. I laid everything out in the transition area and put my wet suit on and started walking over to the swim start area. I was a decent walk down a dirt road but we were issued "morning drop bags" so I wore my flip flops down to the swim start then put them and my long sleeve shirt in the bag. It was around 55 degrees but was to climb to 85. I was in wave 6 so I did go in the water to warm up as I waited for the waves to start.

Before long it was time for me to go. This was a deep water start but I did find a rock to stand on as to no waste energy staying a float. On the sound of the start gun we were off. We were to swim down river, around an island to a point in the lake then turn and come back finishing up stream of the river. I was surprisingly calm and was actually able to sight well enough to keep fairly straight. The swim was pretty uneventful until we were heading back up stream and I started catching up with other waves of folks (could tell by the color of swim cap) and by then some from the wave behind us were catching up, needless to say it was getting crowded. I found myself swimming into folks and getting swam over by others. It did get very annoying but we were close to done.

At the end of the swim we had to climb some stairs then we could have the "strippers" help get us out of the wet suits. We then had a good 1/4 mile run to our transition area. I had a pretty slow transition as I wanted to ensure I remembered everything I needed. At the line we could mount the bike and were greeted with a hill climb right off. This course had a lot of hill climbs and my coach told me to keep the ride at about 80% effort to leave something for the run. As I rode I was taking in gels (6 for the entire ride) from a flask. I made sure to keep drinking due to the temperature rising pretty quickly. the first 15 miles went by pretty quick and I was able to pass a lot folks but then around mile 20 or so we were climbing a huge hill. I went left to go around someone but as I was passing someone decided to go around me to the left. Due to the leaders coming back on the course any cars would have to go right down the middle of the road to do so. As the person was passing me and I in turn was passing someone else a car was coming down the hill. The person passing me got nervous and cut into me even though he was not clear of me. He clipped my front tire and I went down hard.

As I stood up trying to figure out what just happened I noticed my water bottles fell off the bike and were rolling away, I got them but then realized how many riders were coming up the hill. At the same time the guy who crashed me came back and kept saying he was so sorry and how he got nervous etc. I picked the bike up and moved to the side of the road. I checked myself for injury then the bike. A few scratches and popped the chain off but seemed ok. I put the chain back on and had to start moving again, UP HILL from a dead stop. I was so mad at this point I started working harder than I should have but I was able to pass everyone again including the person I was trying to pass when I crashed. She looked over and said you again, I thought you would be done after that.. I laughed and passed her. I made the turn around and the rest of the ride was uneventful. I did work harder than I should have but thats the way it goes sometimes. I had a fairly quick transition 2 and was off on the run.

I felt pretty good, pace and turnover were nice and fluid but it was getting very hot. I did carry a handheld for hydration as to drink as much as I needed and not have to wait for a water stop. The first 4 miles flew by but around mile 5 we ran down a long hill, thats not a bad thing but this was an out and back so we had to run back up this hill shortly. I reached the turn around and it felt like I hit a wall. I slowed down and even walked a fair part of that huge hill. I started stopping at the water stops every mile for ice to try and cool off. Though I had passed a ton of people in the first half of the race, I didnt pass many the 2nd half but thankfully most people were feeling the same way I was and I didnt get passed by many either. I finally made it to the town and on the road was marked 2k so we didnt have much left. a right hand turn then a left and the final left I could hear the crowd and then into the the finish and even broke the ribbon to the announcer saying my name. What an amazing feeling!!!!! I was handed a hat, finish medal and shirt. Took a finish photo and sat under a canopy with a water mister in it.

I had engaged in some conversation with other folks in the tent for a few minutes, I told them how I could barely swim 1 year ago then just finished a 6 hour half Ironman!!!! After some food and checking results I found that I was 81st our of 152 in my age group and 652 out of about 1500. I wanted to do better in age group but I will take it on a tough day with a crash!  I went to my car and used to wipes to clean up and change then hit the road back to the US and much needed rest. I am proud of what I did at this event and enjoyed every miserable minute of it. Now though.... on to the next.

Gear:
Suunto 9 watch
ETC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Shimano bike Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO running shoes
Amphipod hand held for the run

Fuel:

Hammer Whey Protein Bar - pre race breakfast
Hammer Sustained Energy - during race on bike and run
Hammer Race PR Kit - pre race
Hammer Recoverite - recovery ( 2 servings on drive home)
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator - recovery (lots of them)
Hammer CBD Balm - recovery

Hammer Gel - during race ( 6 )
Hammer Endurolyte - during race ( 7 during bike and run segments )









#howihammer #suunto




Sunday, June 30, 2019

2019 Dam Tri

The Dam Tri is located in Woodcock PA. The 2019 edition was less the swim due to bacteria in levels in the water. This was a huge disappointment since I was doing the Olympic distance mostly for the long swim experience. I thought they might make it a duathlon, but they didnt. just a 25 mile ride and 6.2 mile run.

As I got to the race I chatted with some folks I knew and member of the Erie Tri Club. I got my number and took my bike to the transition area. As I was setting up I was talking with a few people around me getting some information on the bike course. After I got set up a friend and
tri club member, Bob asked if I was going to warm up on the bike, I have not done this at an event before so I wasn't sure but went anyhow. It was nice because he gave me more info on the course.

When we got back from our warm up they were about to start the race meeting and during this we found out that the start would be time trail style, I have never done this either so I had to ask what that means. Basically you get clipped in and some one holds you up, every 10 seconds or so they sent us out 2 at a time. They asked us to "self seat" ourselves, which was no big deal due to the race being chip timed. I started next to a club member, Darrell and waited our turn to go.

As we clipped in and got held up the count down was like slow motion then boom....I heard go!!!
We had a couple hundred feet of flat before the climb out of the part onto the main road. I fell back from Darrell but about half way up I passed him. When we hit the main road I did my normal thing and just put my sights on the next person in front of me. I passed a few quickly as we went down a decent hill. Ahead was a good climb I just took it in stride and caught my buddy Bob, however he quickly rode away from me. As I climbed the hill Darrell had passed me back as well. After a bit we got into some rollers and I was back to picking people off one at a time again, to include Darrell. I never did see Bob again until the run. About mile 10 we started to climb the first of 2 really had and long climbs.

This was a very long climb, I had remembered driving down it on the way to the race. I played with the gears until I found the one that worked best. I kept trading places with someone on a tri bike, I kept pushing against him for a bit then he and someone in a yellow jersey passed me and I didn't see them again until near the top of the hill. The Yellow jersey ride was pulling away but as I was passing the guy on the tri bike I looked at his calf (the event we were racing in was in marker) I noticed he had an "A". I didnt understand as I knew we had Olympic and Sprint distance, then realized he was in the Aqua bike race....not even my competition and I was wasting energy racing him.

We then hit a nice long down hill which lead us to the final long climb of the day. I found a comfortable gear and just grinded my way  up it, before long I was at the top and had 5 rolling miles left. It was then that I was passed by 4 riders, which shocked me, One of which was Darrell. I didn't realize until then that he was close the entire time. As the cycling portion was coming to an end we crossed a long bridge then a short but steep hill where I was able to pass a 3 of the 4 people that had passed me a short time ago.

The transition to the run was uneventful and I was out fairly quickly. As I was moving along on the run I was passing people in a very short period of time. We had a couple decent hills to climb but not much of a challenge. around the 1.5 mile mark I had caught my buddy Bob and he commented "great run Rob" I had no idea of pace but I felt good. By 2.5 miles I had caught yellow jersey guy and was trading positions with a female for the next couple miles (found out she was one of the 11 elites in the Olympic distance). She pulled away from me with about a mile to go. It was getting really hot and I could feel my pace slowing more than I wanted but kept my turnover high and finally.... the finish line.

Even though we didn't swim this was still a great experience for me. My first Olympic distance ride and run..... I finished 11th over all and 1st in my age group!

I felt so good after the race that I went to Oil Creek State Park and ran a few trails after!!!!! Hammer Nutrition plays a huge role in my recovery, racing and prepping. Next up will be Half Ironman Muskoka.

Gear:
Suunto 9 watch
ETC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Shimano Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO shoes 

Fuel:

Hammer Sustained Energy - during race on bike
Hammer Gel - on bike
Hammer Race PR Kit - pre race
Hammer Recoverite - recovery
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator - recovery
Hammer CBD Balm - recovery






Wednesday, June 19, 2019

2019 Edinboro Sprint Triathlon

The Edinboro Triathlon returned in 2019 after missing 2018. This was a very well run race and lots of fun! The date of the race was June 8th. The day was warm and plenty of sunshine. This was my 2nd triathlon this week so I didnt expect a lot, especially since I am fairly week in the swim.

I got to the race early and got my bib and timing chip then entered into the transition to set up. I was thinking a lot about the swim, this would be the longest open water swim. I chatted with a lot with fellow Erie Triathlon Club (ETC) members and all gave advice on the swim. I finished setting up my transition and put the wet suit on then made my way to the water to swim a bit and get used to the cool water. As The Olympic distance event started I really didnt get as nervous as I thought i would. I stayed calm and just waited for our turn. The next ones up were the sprint distance males under 44.

A few minutes later I was up, it was time for the male 45 and over. as the horn went off i dove right in and actually kept calm and just swam. The water was cold but calm and thankfully they had red buoy's out to sight of off I just kept close to the red bouy's and kept looking for the first yellow one ( our turn around).  As I headed for shore I was still very calm and actually felt strong. soon I was out of the water and feeling very happy. As I went into transition I had half of my wet suit off and thought things were going well until I got the suit down to my ankles, the damn thing wouldnt come off!!!!!! After finally getting it off I got my cycling gear on and headed out with a vengeance. Having never rode the course I wasnt sure if I should slow up of keep digging.

Well I decided to just go all out and see what happens. As in other triathlons I was able to quickly make time and started passing folks right away. The ride was tough, lots of hills and I was likely riding harder than I should have. With 3 miles to go I was getting very tired but popped a Hammer gel and an endurolyte then very soon felt better. I finished the ride strong and hit the transition ready for the run.

I had a decent transition to the run and headed out. The run was fairly flat but very exposed and hot. I was able to pass a couple people on the first half of the run then went nearly a mile before I had an opportunity to pass one more, I had seen his age on his leg... he was in my age group so I had to pass him, lol.

In the end I finished 19th and took 2nd in the age group. I was very happy with the finish to say the least. To top all of his I did a 60 mile ride after.

Gear:
Suunto Ambit2 watch
ETC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Sidi Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO shoes

Fuel:

Hammer Sustained Energy - during race
Hammer Race PR Kit - pre race
Hammer Recoverite - recovery
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator - recovery
Hammer CBD Balm - recovery


Hammer Gel - during race
Hammer Endurolyte - during race





Friday, June 7, 2019

Southern Tier Triathlon Series Race 1

This series runs on Wednesdays evenings 4 times over the summer. It has the same race director as the duathlon series, Mark Wilson. The races take place in Cassadaga, NY at 5:45 PM. The event consists of a 400 yard swim, 13 mile bike ride and 2 mile run.

The entire day threatened rain and the closer it got to race time the darker it got. At 5:40 we had a meeting in the water where Mark reviewed the rules and course. At 5:45 and on the word go we all went in to the swim. At first the water seemed very cold, it took a while before it felt comfortable. I did have a small panic attack just before the first buoy marking 150 yards. I was able to calm down and keep focused. As I turned the first buoy I realized I was actually passing people in the water ( first time experiencing this). As I rounded the 2nd buoy marking 350 yards I was still feeling very storing and aimed for the shore to finish the swim.

As I got to the shallow water I stood up and ran to the transition, where I struggled to get out of my swim suit. I looked around and saw a lot of bikes still in transition, which means for the first time I was not the last one out of the water!  I got on my bike and hammered as hard as I could, I had no idea how hilly the course would end up being but i know I wanted to pick as many people off as I could.

After about a mile I started passing people, which empowered me more. I just kept pushing the edge of where I thought I could and leave some in the legs for the run. Most of the ride was uneventful except that I kept picking folks off but then around mile 10 we started to climb a hill, that would not end. Funny thing was I wanted a top 10 finsh, top 5 if I could so I used that to push up the hill. One of the people I passed up the hill actually said...."God bless ya' as I went by. my quads were buring.....a lot!

As I finally topped the hill I had about 1 mile to go but had seen 2 more bike in front of me, i made it by them before transiton to the run. As we came into transiton I thought I had a good plan but I got passed by those last 2 people I had passed on the bike. Within a couple hundred feet I was able to get both positons back and by half a mile in I had passed another, at this point I had seen Mark Wilson pass by heading towards the finish line. The next half mile was down hill and I was closing in on another person, shortly after the turn around I passed him. Now it was a bit of up hill between me and the finsh line, I felt like I was running hard, as I turned the corner towards the finish line I was able to dig down just a bit more. I crossed the line and was greeted by Mark and several others with high fives. I finished 7th over all.

FYI: it didnt rain until the very end of the awards.

Happy doesnt describe the feeling!  Great race,good people!

Gear:
Suunto Ambit2 watch
STTC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Sidi Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO shoes

Fuel:

Hammer Sustained Energy - during race
Hammer Race PR Kit - pre race
Hammer Recoverite - recovery
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator - recovery
Hammer CBD Balm - recovery








Sunday, June 2, 2019

Race 2 of the Southern Tier Duathlon Series

This was the 2nd in a 3 race series. If you remember for the April blog I took 3rd over all and set a PR for the course. I was excited to see how my fitness improved over the month since the last race but didnt think i would surprise myself too much... boy I was wrong.

I got to the race site and started unpacking my gear and bike, looked around at who was there, like we all do ( sizing people up). I race against a few of the folks but did see some new faces as well. As I was warming up I was not feeling fast or ready, as I was in the middle of new training block and very beat up.

As we lined up to start the race I didnt push to the front like I have in the past, just kind of a few rows back, but then the race started... It took me a couple hundred feet but things started to kick in and I was in 3rd place ( so I thought). I pushed the run a bit but could not catch the first 2 guys. I had a great transition but could not even sight the 2nd place person. I raced the bike hard, I never stopped pumping my legs mashed the pedals on hills and pushed hard. I feared being passed on the bike like the month before and losing a chance at the podium. I have never attacked hills like I did on this day, I was slightly concerned that I was using up my legs that I needed for the last run but didnt care I was not going to get passed on the bike. Great news is that I wasnt...

I had another good transition but 4th place and I went out of transition together ( another mile on bike he would have caught me). It was Mark Wilson who I finished behind last month. This time i didnt have to make up 2 minutes on the run to try to catch him. We went out basically together and I ran away from him quickly. My legs were dead but I just kept putting one foot in front of the other. First place came flying by after his turn around, he wasnt looking tired at all a short while after 2nd place was coming back. I hit the turn around and figure he had a couple minute lead on me but I wasnt as far as I had wanted to be in front of Mark. after the turn around we had a small hill to climb then it was bascially flat to the finish. My plan was take the hill fairly easy then give my last energy for the remaining 3/4 of a mile.

I did exactly that I ran as if Mark was catching me and I had to be faster to hold the position. I looked back a few times and seen my lead on him was opening up but I pushed on to ensure he was not saving up for a 1/4 mile surge or something.

As I crossed the finish line I was amazed to find that the person on first place was actually part of a relay team and that I actually finished 2nd!!!!!!! I also set a PR for the course and set my age group record. The ironic thing about this finish was this; Mark beat me by 14 seconds the race before and he finished 2nd then 3rd for me. This month I beat him by 17 seconds and I was 2nd.

I surpased my expectations for the race and it was a lot of fun. PR and a course record made me feel strong the 2nd place finish was amazing. I guess that ties Mark and I for the series points and it will come down to the final race for the win!

I followed up this race with a 30 mile bike ride to cap off a great day!

Gear:
Suunto Ambit2 watch
STTC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Sidi Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO shoes

Fuel:

Hammer Sustained Energy
Hammer Race PR Kit
Hammer Gel
Hammer Recoverite
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator
Hammer CBD Balm








Friday, May 10, 2019

2019 Outrun 24 (O24)

I had big plans going into this race weekend. I was in much better shape physically and mentally than in 2018. The goal was 100 miles in the 24 hours.....the actual was 31 miles in 6.5 hours... beyond the disappointment of not hitting the goal was a back pain that I have not felt in a long (nearly 20 years) time. It started Thursday evening somehow but when I woke up Friday I was in bad shape, I was able to get in to see a chiropractor before hitting the road for the race but then sat in a car for almost 2 hours and put up tents when getting to Chapin Forest in Kirtland OH.

After getting things set up I was able to relax for a bit then went to sleep hoping to wake up Saturday feeling better. When I woke up I did feel a bit better but not great but got dressed and fueled to go run. It was cool and very gray, misty and foggy. We also had a threat of rain most of the day.

This race has a great atmosphere and it was easy to get in the mood to run pre-race at the start line.
At 8 am we began the event that would officially end at 8 am Sunday. The first 10 miles went by fairly quick and I had built the buffer of time I wanted so now I just need to stay on pace to hit the goal by the next morning. Over the next 10 miles I fell into my grove and fueling was right on point.

Over the miles I ran into lots of folks I knew and got to meet some new friends and was having a good time. However as I got to 25 miles my back was starting to really cause me issues. By mile 29 I was starting to get behind my goal time to the point that I had eaten all of my time buffer up. When I realized that I would not be able to get to the 100 mile goal in the 24 hour time limit I decided to call it a day at the 50k.

I had and still have mixed feelings about stopping. Other than my back I felt great, alert, high energy and mostly enjoying the day. However, my back was happy to stop and with the type of event it is... its not like dropping from a normal race. This race is designed to do what you want or feel like on that day.

On Monday I went to the chiropractor again and he put my back in place...again. As of this blog post its Friday and my back feels pretty good and I jumped into a duathlon this weekend. All and all I am happy with how O24 turned out. My fueling needs were handled by #hammernutrition , shoes were from #columbia1938 , and of course I wore my trusty #suunto Ambit2

Gear:
Hammer race kit
Columbia Montrail Colorado's
Swifwick wool socks
Columbia Titan Ultra shorts
Amphipod handheld
Sunnto Ambit2

Fuel:
Hammer Gel
Hammer Sustained Energy
Hammer Raw Energy Bar
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator
Hammer Endurance Amino
Hammer Race Day Boost
Hammer Recoverite







Saturday, April 27, 2019

2019 Southern Tier Duathlon

on 4/20/2019 I  competed in my 2nd Southern Tier Duathlon. I took 3rd over all for the 2nd time but this year was a ton of fun.

I am going into this spring racing season about 8 pounds heavier than normal due to some regular weight lifting all winter. I felt strong for the race but the extra weight was a concern. I got there a bit early and did some small talk. The weather was chilly and had rained all night and into the morning but stopped for the race.

As the race started I took off and went straigt to the front after a very short time I could only hear 1 set of foot falls behind me and by the turn around two of us had really broke out from the pack. On the return trip we had to climb a small hill and the 2nd place person came up and we were side by side, I felt him surge a few times but I went with him. We ended up crossing the line in a tie. In that transition he blew me away and I was chasing him the entire ride slowly he became just a dot I would get a glimps of once in a while.

With about 3 miles to go 3rd place had caught me and passed, I had a very short moment of dispare but got over it quick and reached down a bit more than I thought I was able to do and passed him back. We exchanged positions a few times until about a half mile out where I moved back into 2nd and held it to transition.

I had a really bad transition ( lost about 2 minutes to the now 2nd place person) I had a rock stuck in the upper clip of my cycling shoe and could not get it off of my foot. When I did I took off as hard as I could. By the turn around I had closed a lot of the gap but I was fairly used up. I kept digging and as I got closer I could see him turning around pretty often to see where I was. I ended up 14 seconds behind him at the finish and I had to dig deep in pain cave.

If only it was a 5k instead of a 2 miler.... lol.

This was a lot of fun and reminded me that when we think we are done we always have a bit more!!!

Gear:
Suunto Ambit2 watch
STTC tri Kit
Specialzed Roubaix Sport
Specialized Evade Helmet
Sidi Shoes
Look Pedals
Saucony Guide ISO shoes

Fuel:

Hammer Sustained Energy
Hammer Race PR Kit
Hammer Gel
Hammer Recoverite
Hammer Tissue Rejuvenator
Hammer CBD Balm