Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Racing, Injury and Life Updates!

After a good month off in May, some great training in June, and a few life changes thrown in the mix, life is better than ever!

#1 I think I have temporarily solved my heel problem.  I don't think anything can fix it until I take a few months off and seriously put some time into rehab and strengthening.  From my earlier post, my achilles tendinosis comes and goes with increases of run mileage.  Not quite the sharp pain I was feeling in the beginning of the year, but definitely a mental block keeping me from putting some hurt on my body while running.  Enter Hoka One One!  

Slowtwitch had an great review on these shoes last year, but at $170 and legs feeling great, I had not interest in trying them out.  Enter 2012 injury desperation and having them on sale and I was sold.  Getting the trail version first at a discount and running in them, I was sold from the first mile.  The extra cushioning was either a placebo, acting as the heel lifts recommended for my injury, or just held my feet better and removed much more impact.  I don't know and don't have anything scientific for you, but after putting in 10 miles with the Mafate 2, and then buying the Bondi B's the next week and getting a 16 mile day in, I was free of the second day soreness in my heel I had been experiencing.  This revelation lead me to be extremely excited for my race at Vineman 70.3!

#2 Always a great time up on the Russian River.  I have a perfect setup with one of my longest, best friends buying a cabin just west of Guerneville that I get access to.  Nice 5 mile warmup ride to the start.  Bike racked, business taken care of and ready to rip up the river.  Little disparaged about the late wave, 7:50 after a 6:30 start to the race, but everyone has to deal with the same, so I get over it.

Into the water for a little warmup, they guys in my 35-37 AG wave are definitely friendly for a change and some good banter while we wait for the start.  Waiting wasn't the right word as all we hear is this Charlie Brown teach voice say something, then "GO!".  Half the wave lets out a "Really!?"

Love my Fit2Race
Probably better that way, and keeps everyone honest.  I had clean water and kept to the middle of the outbound traffic for most of the upstream half.  Not much drafting, but clean water was suiting me as we encountered many people from earlier waves.  Some shallow spots where my long arms hit gravel too.  At the turns, people were wading, causing a log jam.  I navigated this fairly well and no standing.  Heading back toward Johnson Beach and I finally get some good feet to draft off and we make great time back, with good navigation as well.  Pushing hard to the finish and a good run up the beach I know it was a good swim, for me at least.

Swim Time: 30:36 - 250th Overall 37th AG - Full minute improvement over last year.

The bike went as planned from a race perspective.  Navigating wave traffic on my way out River Road, trying to be nice, but still having to yell "ON YOUR LEFT" a few times.  Luckily everyone except for one lady obliged with courtesy.  I won't repeat what she yelled back.  The course is a great one on the 70.3 circuit with the exception of 5 miles of really crappy 1960's concrete.  You have two big climbs and plenty of rolling vineyards.  Never boring with bends and it can be a task to stay aero at times with some of the 90 degree turns.  While overall the course is not "difficult", it can be a technical course with lots of gear shifting and turns to make bike handling skills a very large benefit.

One strange thing that I still can't figure out is the loud hissing I heard right before Chalk Hill.  I thought I had blown a tire from what it sounded like, so I even slowed down, but wheels were rolling true and no mushy feeling either.  Figured a CO2 popped, but both were sealed afterwards.  Nobody around me pulled over to fix a tire either.  Thinking back, there were a good deal of either live or dead snakes on the road there, and maybe I had a close encounter?

Taking Chalk Hill hard, flying down the hill and my one tragic event occurs.  My last bottle of water violently ejects off my back wing.  I'm down to maybe a quarter bottle of perpetuum for the last 10 miles of the bike.  I pretty much say screw it, and drive my body into dehydration for those last few miles because I wanted a stellar bike split.  Hammering away at 300-320 watts the whole way, I wanted to close hard as running was not going to be the strong suit for the day.  Hoping I had kept up on my drinking I was expecting the worst when I go back into transition and off my bike.

Bike Time: 2:22:42 40th Overall 7th AG - 1:30 improvement over last year

Slow transition because with my new Hoka One Ones, I haven't had a chance to dial in the speed laces, so having to tie them up took a minute.  Up and out of T2, slamming down as many cups of Gatorade and water I could gram and I'm out on the course.  Amazing friends Stefan and Virgilio are waiting half a mile down screaming and I'm feeling good.  Definitely a lot left in the tank, but since I hadn't tapered for this race, my bike suffered slightly, so I couldn't put myself into the red out there, or on the run.  My heel puts a mental limiter on my for the run anyways, so off on the road and I'm clipping away at the miles between 6:30 and 7:00 pace on the way out.  Rounding La Crema Winery and still strong running at sub 1:30 HM pace.  The route home was changed this year to "Help Traffic".  I guess its neighborly, but I love seeing everyone on their way out and cheering for people I know.  Now you run a short downhill/uphill out and back, where I can see my competition eating up time on me.  Definitely the 1st place AG'er from two waves back charging.  The legs are cooperating and letting me drop the hammer a bit more for the last three miles.  Virgilio was out on his bike yelling for Mike and me, giving splits to where our competition was.  I knew I was 3rd or 4th in my wave at that point, and so a near miracle for a podium.  Still wanting to push and get a good time I see Stefan cheering, and some other SF Tri Peeps along the finishing mile so I'm stretching my stride and pushing all the way in.  Eric Gilsenan gives me a great welcome over the PA and I'm happy with a new Vineman PR!

Run Time: 1:27:16 50th Overall 5th AG - 7 sec improvement over last year

Total Time: 4:27:10 28th Overall (removing Pro's) 8th AG

Very happy with the result as this was a test race to see where I was and make sure everything was a GO for IMNYC.  Happily, two weeks later, my heel has been holding up, and another great training week is in the books.  One last weekend, then its on to some taper and recovery before the big race.

#3 Amazingly as a triathlete and the world of Ironman, something even bigger has happened in my life recently.  The girlfriend has been creeping into posts, we moved in together, and she is an amazing person in my life.  On a beautiful summer day up on Mt. Tamalpais while hiking up to West Point Inn (site of our first hiking adventure), I proposed to Whitney and I was lucky enough to receive a yes.  Full story here.

There aren't many things to compare to some of our adventures in racing, but this tops anything I've done in life.  Whitney and I are looking forward to a long, healthy life together.

Sorry for the shackiness, but I asked some random MTB'ers to act like they were taking a picture with my camera, but I had it set to video.


  1. First, I'm glad to read about your recent Half IM experience. But wow! You are so lucky to have a video of proposing to your fiancee. You'll probably watch that over and over throughout your marriage. Congrats!

  2. It’s great that you were able to find and buy a pair of shoes that will help you keep going even with your heel injury. However, you were also right when you said that the best way to deal with it is to take a few months off to treat and rehab your foot. Pushing the exercising even with the heel problem could turn it into something worse and that could require more than rehab. Treat it now, and you’ll be preventing further injury. Good luck and congratulations on your engagement!

  3. Amazing article.loved reading every bit. (Y)