March 2015 Training Recap

March training highlight was the Texas Race Camp, even if the weather didn't cooperate! The hours continue to build up across all three disciplines. Fatigue is high but not unmanageable; then again ask my colleagues what my productivity has been and you'll probably get a different story. :)

Thanks to your input, Team, I have set minimum sleep to 7 hours vs 6 which has really helped. Also enjoying Mike Roberts swim project thread which has been super informative. Thank you! 

Also managed to go the whole month without a PT visit, and somehow survived the massive fundraiser 5k for the kids elementary school (we raised over $17k!). 

You can view all my details in Strava here:

The Swim

Currently in a 4-swim week program with average yards around 10k. This is (hopefully) a good platform for the final swim push that I need to make a meaningful difference in my swim performance. Usually I don't do ^this^ part of the swim, waiting until now to get to 10k. 

Make no mistake about it, this is no year-long swim project, but it is a fair amount of focus for me given my history. 

Up Next -- looking to hit around 14,000 a week for the next 4 weeks if I can make it happen. 

The Bike

March saw the return of the #triathlon bike (P5). We also added long Friday rides come into effect, most of them indoors. This has not been easy, but the work has been really solid. Most of my long ride watts & HR have been consistent with past years -- good. :) 

I have seen the FTP and VO2 efforts fall as well. The focus has moved from hard number chasing to "best effort" and let the numbers fall where they may. 

Up Next -- two bigger rides a week are on the plan, hoping the weather plays along. I will work in some harder efforts within those sessions as well as keep one FTP session during the week. 

The Run

Built the run up to a consistent 40-ish miles a week, mostly at my low-Zone 3 effort. This has been across 4 x 10 milers a week, with two of those being a split long run on Saturday. 

Times have slowed a bit from Jan/Feb where I was more 6:30s than 6:40s, but the fatigue has gone up. I also initiated the transition to one long run on the weekend, with 13+ then a 15+. 

Up Next -- (1) a return to some FTP running as integrated into steady runs. (2) and two bigger run weeks closer to 50 miles/week, including a few 18 milers. This means more back-to-back running. I am a little concerned about this, will end to stay on top of the nutrition and recovery. 

Body Composition

Good but not great. I have been eating clean but not super lean. I am low 180s so need to stay smart to break 180. Still debating how badly I want to suffer here. 

Just about six weeks left to TX so time to make a solid push. Shiny side up!

February / Winter 2015 Training Recap

It seems absurd to be recapping my winter training, what with record-setting snowfall blocking the roads and literally enclosing the windows of my subterranean Pain Cave. I feel a strange kinship with Rocky IV training in the Russian winter, only my enemy is winter itself. But I digress... Transitioning to March means moving on to the Race Preparation phase of my training for Ironman® Texas regardless of what it looks like outside.

January Highlights

An amazing week in Clermont, Florida, for our January Volume Camp. Full recap available online here, 2016 slots available here.

February Highlights

School Vacation Week: I closed out the OutSeason Training Block with a week of snowboarding with the family in New Hampshire. I brought the trainer with me to ride, and I even managed to get in a 10 mile run on one "non-mountain" day of the week. Both kids got the 24-hour flu on different days -- add in some great wine and friends and things were less than ideal for actual training. But it was a blast!
Got Sick with Hacking Cough: After a few weeks of fighting it off, I finally came down with the cough that my poor family has been incubating since December. I have high days and low days, and the medication has really messed with my Perceived Exertion...but I am doing my best to sleep a lot, stay hydrated and stay focused.

Overall OutSeason Training Thoughts

General: One of the bigger changes I made of for this winter was following a "fixed" week, both in terms of what was done each week and day, but also similarity in the type of training was done each day. I have found that it takes a few weeks of a particular plan for my body to adapt to the workload and then force improvement. 

I also decided to keep the intervals fixed as well -- rather than changing the workload in each weekly interval session, my focus was on seeing increased power within each session. 

The Swim: Averaged 2-3 Swims Per Week After having some shoulder trouble post Kona due to my aerobar placement and my weak shoulder / collarbone, I had to do some solid rehab back in December. The focus on Jan/Feb was to work in some more rotation in my stroke to engage the lats / back muscles more than simply using my shoulders / rotator cuff. 

While there hasn't been anything spectacular here, I do feel pretty good about my baseline swimming heading into the final 12 weeks. 

The Bike: Averaged 3 Rides, 3 Hours Per Week I followed the basic protocol of Tues/Sat FTP rides of 2 x 12 minutes at FTP, with Thurs being a VO2 / 110% FTP ride with 4 x 4 minute intervals. I started off with my 12' intervals in the mid-320s back in December and finished with them consistently in the 340s. 

The VO2 4' intervals went from the 350s to the upper 360s. I am pleased with being able to get the 12' intervals up to the 340s...that's a really solid place for me to be as I am usually locked in the 330s range. 

Interestingly, the week of vacation where I rode some 90% intervals -- vs 100% or 110% of my usual training -- actually had me return to some really strong FTP work. But that could have been some rest from that week as well. 

The Run: Averaged 5 Runs, 4 Hours Per Week, 30 miles-ish. My plan was essentially two longer runs on Tuesday / Saturday, with shorter runs of 4 to 6 miles on other days. These shorter days were areas for intensity if I felt good. When I started out running in this fixed plan, I was running most of my efforts at sub-6:45/mile pace -- even the "longer" runs of 10 miles. 

That said, I never really ran intervals. My plan was to do one day of FTP mile repeats, but after the first week I realized that I could do ^that^ work, plus keep my overall running a pace pretty fast, PLUS push the bike workouts. So I made the executive decision to keep the overall pace high vs the interval work. This was cemented by the insane winter we have had so far, where many of my runs have been outside in snow, slush and ice...not to mention the usual wind. 

While my average pace has slowed a bit, I think it's just as much a function of the conditions as of fatigue.

Pros of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Great for planning / scheduling. 
  • Easy to track progress. 
  • Improved odds for consistency.

Cons of a Fixed OutSeason Week

  • Lacked spontenaiety / Not so much fun. 
  • Possibly left bike fitness on table with rigid workouts. 
  • Schedule hard to tweak with multiple snow days / pool closures, etc.

Outlining A Race Preparation Block

Again, my best laid plans are really being challenged by the weather. Looking back on my 2012 training calendar, when I last did Ironman® Texas, I was riding outside in March!!! Since that's not an option I have outlined a schedule that gives me a family-friendly plan and will (hopefully) build my fitness up through Texas. 

My targets are about 12,000 yds swimming, 7 to 8 hours on the Bike and 40 miles of running. 

Here is the basic outline: 

  • Mon - Trainer Ride with FTP / Skill Swim 
  • Tues - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long 
  • Wed - Trainer Ride with VO2 
  • Thu - Tempo 10 Mile Run / Swim Long 
  • Fri - Long Trainer Ride 
  • Sat - Split Long Run (1:10 in AM / 1:10 in PM) 
  • Sun - Long Swim (Make up any missed yards.) 

Of course along the way I have the Texas Training Camp ( to build in some miles and, if fate allows, perhaps one more warm weather expedition in April (TBD). 

Thanks for reading and for your support!

November Training Check In...

Overall my training is going really well. Pleased to report that I am over the head/chest cold that plagued me for the last month or so. I am now free to exercise without fear of choking to death as I cough...a huge plus. I have been very consistent for the last three weeks and my fitness is to the point where the numbers look good even if I don't feel like it's going to be a good workout. Pretty pumped to be here before December hits.

Sleep is okay, not great. I recently decided to pay closer attention to my caffeine intake, as I think that was hurting me. I need to focus on getting to bed at a consistent time now that my "getting up" time seems pretty locked in at 5am.

The body continues to make me aware of my desire to push my limits. Currently focused on caring for right hamstring and calf, especially after my long runs. I expect some of that fatigue to go, or shift, as my ability to run tempo for long periods of time will fade with the Fall weather (see below).

Body Composition is hovering at 185 right now, which is a good place to be. My goal is to get down to about 178 -- and really be there for race week! -- and I have a few months to do that which is nice.

The Swim -- Continue to swim about 3-4 kms a week, seeking pain-free and comfortable strokes. Still very early here so trying to get this right. My shoulder rehab continues. Current approach is that back (upper back) is really weak, and no longer holding my shoulders in position in contrast to all the aero / computer / swim "forward" positioning that I have enjoyed for many years. Have a suite of exercises I do daily, and am down to 1x PT a week right now. 

The Bike -- I continue to see progress here...shame on me for neglecting intervals during the season as much as I have. I am currently sitting on an estimated indoor FTP of about 330, and I look to keep moving that up over the next few weeks. I SWAG my indoor / outdoor FTP delta to be about a 330 is "really" a 345 outside. Would like to get my indoor FTP up to 350 for a 365 outdoor FTP. That would put my .73 race day effort at about 265. That said, finding another 20 watts -- even though it's just 6% improvement -- won't come easily (lot of work to be done yet!). 

The Run -- I am enjoying some great long runs in the 10 to 13 mile range, running between 6:33 and 6:40, and my mid-week 2x1 mile repeat times seem to be dropping. I am going to continue pushing the long runs for the short term as I know the snow / ice will be here soon enough and I'll need to dial them back to a more pedestrian (read "safe" effort), or worse yet do the work on the treadmill. When that time comes I will most likely shift to more of a steady long run pace with either 2 x FTP runs or 1 x FTP and 1 x HILL run (both on a treadmill). Still plan on keeping the long run in the 75- to 90-minute range.

Right now my basic week looks like this:

  • Mon - FTP bike of 2x12', run later if possible. 
  • Tues - FTP run of 2 x 1 mile.
  • Wed - VO2 bike of 4x4', run later if possible.
  • Thu - Swim Day + Optional Yoga
  • Fri - FTP bike of 2x12' 
  • Sat - ABP long run of 10-13 miles.
  • Sun - Swim Day + Optional Yoga

I plan on sticking with this week through the New Year as long as I continue to see improvements in the individual workouts. The only change is a steady 60' spin before my long runs on the weekend as I need to start adding a bit of ride volume to prepare for the January Volume Camp.

My target for each discipline in December is:

Swim - To build up to 3 swims a week of 8,000 yards total with no pain.

Bike - To test at 340 just before Xmas. Ambitious but I am all in.

Run - Not sure what I am going to do here. My vDOT is pretty high and I am not sure it's worth jeopardizing my health to chase a number (and body comp losses will help). I will keep my current 4 runs a week schedule and aim to log about 35 miles per week.

Thanks for reading and your feedback is always welcome!!!

~ Patrick

Fall Kickoff to 2015 [Another Coach P Update]

In the tradition of telling you what I am up to (in case you aren’t stalking me on Strava!), here’s what I have been doing post Kona.

I spent the first two weeks doing nothing. Really. Well, I organized my pantry, garage and tupperware. Cleaned the bike. Set up the pain cave. Mowed the lawn like 8 times. You get the idea. My wife can’t wait for me to start training again. :)

I too am pretty excited. This time of year I work with a handful of athletes on crafting their Annual Plan as a target for Kona (see the Additional Services Tab on the Members site, TeamEN Members ONLY!). It’s a lot of fun and very useful for me as well. A journey of a thousand miles starts with a single step, an in the Fall it is the Season of Steps!

Tentative Plan for 2015

  • 2 - Weeks Off = Total Rest
  • 8 - Weeks Run Durability = Shoulder Recovery, Consistent Long Run, Dating My Trainer, Solid Body Composition
  • 8 - Weeks of OutSeason = Focus on FTP and vDOT, Adding in 2 skill swims, Core work.
  • 1 - Week of Swim Camp / Transition = Need to rest here and be smart.
  • 12 - Weeks of IM Plan in to IM Texas = Not sure I will be able to handle a full 12 weeks…this is TBD.

The Run Durability Plan is on the agenda for a few reasons. First, I have a few critical things to focus on and it's hard to focus on them when I am also drilling myself to get crazy fast. Second, I know my ability to focus into a race is limited; this way I am reducing the "Work Time to Race" window. Third, I have experience crazy over achieving early in the OS then getting sick and adjusting...I am hoping to reduce / eliminate that pattern this year by putting it at a time when I am ready for the work. 

During this window I have several camps and events to keep me motivated and on track, including:

+ January Volume Camp [1/16 to 1/19 — (here) a nice break from the cold and a chance to keep the endurance fires burning. 

+ Birthday Run [3/8] — Don’t think I am going to run 41 this year, but I am going to start the annual tradition of a nice long long long run on this day as an early season target.

+ Texas Race Camp [3/19 - 3/22] — (here) a great chance to get dialed in to the course, my fit, nutrition and experience the “heat” on the ground. 

+ Blue Ridge Cycling Camp [4/29 to 5/3] — (hereFinal big push on the bike before the race.

As an Update

I have realized the shoulder pain that I have been dealing with wasn’t going away with rest. A trip to the PT has let me know that my back muscles on the left side are weak, such that my pec, combined with some serious “forward” rotation (think aerobats, swimming and…yes…excessive time at my laptop) has caused some issues. So it’s off to PT again albeit for a slightly lesser issue than normal. 

And my “light” focus on Run Durability has already paid off as I have my annual Fall Cold…so no pressure on me to crush the workouts…just have to be consistent. You can follow my daily progress over on Strava or on Twitter.  

How to Manage Injury Recovery Like a Professional Athlete

Seems like more and more of my friends are taking a big injury hit these days, and not all of them are crazy triathletes who are used to it. Experiencing a fall or physical setback is no joke -- it impacts almost every facet of your life, some areas more visible than others (shower anyone?). But while it might feel like the end of life as you know it, thinking like a professional athlete can help you move beyond surviving this time, perhaps even thriving. Let's get to it.

Reframe the Setback

I learned many, many crashes ago to reframe my injury time as an opportunity than a problem. Could be my obsessive need for control. Could be I am crazy. Regardless of what you might think, know this -- I am not a victim in this situation. Save the pity party for someone else. Not being able to run means I can ride. Busted hip? Time to focus on my nutrition. Physical therapy? Time to build those abdominal muscles that everyone's talking about. You get the idea. But before we get all empowered, let's get the basics right.

Find the Right Support Team

No matter what happens, know this -- you are your number one advocate in this situation. You control the records. You ask the questions, you get the results. Healthcare isn't that different than the garage you take your car to these days -- you might take it in for an oil change, but unless you point out that the engine is making some strange noise, or the wheels are pulling to the right, the mechanic won't investigate. 

Triage -- The first step is stopping the pain / damage. This is what the emergency room is great for...but while you leave focused on getting better, they don't care. They only want to make sure you won't die until you see the next person. This is where your obsessive research should begin, immediately after fulfilling your pain med prescription, to find the right health care provider and notify your primary care. 

Diagnosis -- Make sure you are comfortable with the person you have selected, as they are the primary driver in your recovery process. Not only should you have rapport with them, you should either respect them, like them and ideally both. Ask around and find out who you know and if anyone has any recommendations. Literally interview these don't HAVE TO take the first person you meet. 

Rehab -- You don't want some namby-pamby person who shows you a new exercise each week, makes sure you can do it and sends you on your way. You want some sadistic sonuvabitch who will manipulate your injury side, massage it, force it to move, bang on you, cause pain...challenge you. 

Despite the messages your brain will be sending you in ALL CAPS during these sessions, your body will seriously respond. And faster. Sessions could be as frequent as 3x a week early on, diminishing to once a week or once every two weeks until you are done.

Do Your "Homework" Like an "A" Student

The hardest part of the process is doing the work to get better. Once you are triaged and diagnosed, you have Physical Therapy. The hardest part of physical therapy? Having the time in your life to actually get to / from all of the sessions you need to attend. 

After that? Finding the time and willpower to continue doing the exercises even though you are sick of your rubber bands, 1-pound weights and breathing drills. 

But you have to. You have to do this the professional baseball player who's lifetime income potential depends on his elbow. Because your life will suck if you wake up in five years to find out that your INSERT INJURED APPENDAGE means you can't climb Kilimanjaro. Or you can't take up sailing. Or you can't play catch with your kids.

Find a New Mental Challenge

We are all so maxed out across work, home, relationships, hobbies, etc., connected to the Internet 24/7, that this situation actually frees you up to do something different. In the case of an athlete, not working out for two hours a day means she has an extra 14 hours a week to do something else. You can get a ton of shit done in 14 hours, believe me I know. 

While you are physically limited, remember that we are a complete organism designed to adapt. Any time your body suffers, your brain becomes instead of surfing Facebook at 2am, let's use this energy for a much better outcome. This is the perfect time to pick up something new that you have been meaning to do. 

For me, I cooked a new meal each night, adding those recipes to my cookbook. I also did a 30-day cleanse -- no caffeine! -- to get clean when my body was most likely to put on weight. I wrote a book. I even headed over to Coursera ( and browsed some lectures to get smarter. 

Ask yourself: if you aren't commuting to work, what can you do? If you can't drive to work, but are a passenger during rehab, how can you leverage that time? If you can't type, and have to dictate, what else can you record?

They Can Slow You Down but They Can't Stop You

This setback, as big as it is now, will be a distant memory in several months. But you don't get to that point by sitting on your broken ass lamenting your misfortune. Get to have awesome things to achieve. 

As motivation, here is the video from me in 2010 when I cracked my pelvis in California in a bike crash. Since then I have completed 8 more Ironman races, 5 more marathons and remain -- for the time being -- one step ahead of my girls.

If you have a second, please be sure to check in and let me know what your recovery plans look like in the comments below...good luck!

2014 Ironman Hawaii Race Report

I arrived in Kona with my highest level of bike fitness and solid confidence in my run and my run execution plan. As I noted to several other athletes here during the week, Kona is one of those races where you can't really impose your will on the day. I take that back  -- I think you can but you need to be in excellent physical and mental condition, have a solid strategy and ultimately some great fortune as well. 

But first my gratitude. Obviously this race is special, and getting here was the result of many weeks, months, and years of hard work.  But there are a few folks who really have stepped above and beyond -- you know who you are! Most importantly this race was also our 10th wedding anniversary -- in 2004, a very young Maura and I traveled to Kona to watch the Ironman as newly wed tri geeks. 3 years before I would qualify for my first...but the start of the most incredible decade of my life (this far!). Thanks for EVERYTHING, baby. 

My plan to arrive on Tuesday AM was thwarted by Hawaiian Airlines and some bad luck. I lost 15 hours and all of my Tuesday, landing at 10pm. This made for a slightly more stressful start than I had hoped for, but not terrible. My Wednesday busy from 7am until 9pm with three workouts and lots of admin before the Team Dinner. I was exhausted. 

My strategy was to swim twice to get comfortable in the water  -- check. I also wanted to bike and run closer to race place with the goal of accelerating the heart adaptation. I rode 80' on Wednesday followed by a 20' run. Both were hot and windy but not terrible. I feel like the acclimatization was good but I didn't recovery enough after those sessions to really reap the rewards. NOTE: Factor in more recovery time. 

In the same thought, the Underwear Run proceed to be too much. It was my first time there and I had fun, but not a good idea to stand around for two hours in the heat that close to the race. 

The wind and the heat were both high all week, and it was on my mind but I wasn't particularly nervous. 

The Swim -- 1:12:xx

I decided to line up about 50 ft to the left of the pier. I was about 5 folks back and ready when the cannon sounded. It was about crowded at first but not too bad. I was able to swim the line quite well and was comfortable. But I think I was perhaps a little too comfortable -- I was swimming smoothly but was unable to swim at a race tempi. I think the fitness was there, I am chalking it up to intimidation of the swim and the chop. Because it was wavy and choppy and not fun. I generally breathe to my left and it took me a full mile on the return to realize that I was swallowing water and should have been breathing to my right. Dowh. 

I had also been working on a new breathing cycle of 2-3-2-3 count breathing and never really put that into play. Bottom line is that I just kind of cruised the swim. 

No idea lb the time here but I felt pretty solid. The swim skin came off and I put on my arm coolers and put the salt pill canister in my left hip pocket. I grabbed my shoes and began jogging to my bike. A quick stop for sunscreen and I was off. 

The Bike -- 5:16:xx

My goal here was to ride a steady, aggressive effort. Steady in terms of VI but also focusing on not picking up the effort in the final 1.5 hours when it's hotter and headwind-ier, which had her me in the past. Aggressive in terms of riding 260 watts, a target that I had trained at but never raced at. 

Everything started off as planned with a smooth transition and a clean first 7 miles thru the Hot Corner and Palani. Out on the Queen K I settled down to get to work. 

I was riding well, was on my hydration and very aero. It was crowded but no more than usual. Then suddenly I looked up from a quick glance at my computer and there was a racer right in front of me who was club 17mph to my 25mph. My only guess is that the group I was riding off the back of just went right around him -- both sides -- and he was spit out in front of me. In my aerobars I could only yell and serve to the right. I hit his derailleur and pushed him forward as I went down on my right side. Man, it hurt. Luckily I slid off to the shoulder where no one was riding. I popped up quickly and made sure the bike and I were OK before taking off again. For the first time in my life it appears as though I had crashed the right way. The Arm Coolers helped minimize the Arm damage so it was really just my right shoulder blade and right knee. After a few miles I felt the back of my right knee getting sticky and figured it was the blood. But after reading into my pocket for a gel I realized that all four of my gels had been sacrificed as mini airbags during my crash. :( Thankfully I had backups in my special needs bag out in Hawi. 

Once I was rolling again I was just out of it. I was not ready to get super aero sure to my fear and my hip was tight and the roads were crowded. I could tell my aura of invincibility was facing fast. And then the surprise headwinds started. 30-40mph where we usually have a tailwind or at least some calm. Suddenly the road was crowded again as few folks wanted to go it alone. This section alternated hard work with no work depending on your position relative to the group. Not fun and not very safe either. My biggest pet peeve was that no one wanted to pull over to the right after completing a pass -- they were riding like an echelon and there's only enough room for four folks to do that properly. The climb to Hawi certainly helped to sort things out. When I finally reached the turnaround I had to stop to grab more fuel. 

The return trip was work, as expected. But after the challenging outbound section Italy was lacking mojo here. The watts weren't bad but they weren't what I wanted. I was the one getting passed this time instead of doing the passing. I tried to stay aero and fueled up for the run. 


I had a clean dismount and enjoyed a nice pee (also peed once on the bike) before heading into the tent. My second transition had a lot of moving parts. I feel like I did the best I could but there's probably some solid free speed to be had there. 

The Run -- 3:33:xx

I had no idea what to expect when I started the run. After my pity party on the bike and then the subsequent 2.5 hours of suck,the run was going to be interesting.  I resolved to take it one mile at a time and see what happened. 

My race plan had me running my bike HR -- or as close as I could -- for the first ten miles along Ali'i Drive. After that I would ramp it up to start running. Things started just fine -- my HR was in a good place and I could run and eat. While I wasn't concerned about actually racing at this point, my pace seemed to put me right in the middle of those coming and going. I wasn't surprised to see more than a few walkers even this early. 

The out and back went by pretty quickly and it was great to see so many friends out there. By the mile 5 point I had settled on forcing my arm coolers and adjusted my tri top for maximum cooling. But I was running into another issue -- Aid station pacing.

I knew it was bad when Dave Tallo almost knocked me over at mile 7. Basically I was out running folks between aid stations but I was talking so long to get fluids and ice that they would put another 250m on me before I started running again. This was an issue that plagued me all day on the run. So I am super happy with how well Iran across the entire marathon...but I am bummed that I ran a 3:32(?) but stopped at 24 aid stations that added up to at least 10 minutes!

But back to the race... I ran up Palani for the first time ever and it was awesome. I continued rolling out the Queen K and while it was long, I was strong through the Energy Lab. There was a slight tailwind out -- making it very hot -- tapering nice cross in/out on the Lab and a slight headwind back. Combined with the cloud cover, it was hot but not mercilessly so. 

At the turn around there I used the Porta John to lay down some very-not-yellow pee...and proceeded to drop my FuelBelt three times. Ugh. 

The return to Kona was tough but I had no cramps or nausea or dizziness. I was able to eat at almost every aid station and could even put down two 7:30 minute miles at the end! 

The Finish 

Man, I was pumped to finish and it showed on my face! This race is something special and the finish vibe really captures it. I made my kit adjustments and planned out a few hand signs for the folks watching at home -- no gang sign this time. I took a few high five and crossed in just over 10:12. 

Not my fastest or my alway but certainly a race I am proud of. Afterwards I felt a little off and used a few minutes to walk around and chat people up. I felt surprisingly good given my crash because I was smart on the run and really are and drank well. In fact while I kept drinking all night, I only had two very small slices of pizza around 11p.  Contrast that with IMLP 2009 when I ate a while pizza at the finish!!!

Positive Lessons Learned 
Thanks to my teammates for helping me continue to question the status quo and improve. 

1) Arm Coolers Better on the Bike 

John With row mentioned it and I definitely felt this one the race. The Arm Coolers helped keep the sun off and held the water I sprayed. Super! On the run though, I didn't feel any positive effects. They were just heavy and warm so I dropped them at mile 9. 

2. Trucker Hat Too Hot?

I love having the shade and the ice depository, but I think that the heart cost here in Kona is too much. I ran with the hat thru mile 19 and then ditched it. 

3) Modified Tri Bibs

Given the heat and sun I was having doubts regarding my DeSoto tri bib shorts. Al Truscott recommended that I pull the bib shorts straps down our my arms but under my tri top -- this kept my shorts on but allowed me to pull the fabric down around my waist. Epic. 

Room to Improve

While I am not here to win anything, I am interested in having a great race. Here are my thoughts on improvement from easiest to most challenging:

1. Improved Body Composition -- I probably won't ever get two weeks to acclimate to the heat here, so the best way to reduce the effects of the heat is reducing the mass I carry. Target would be 175 lbs. 

2. Swim Fitness -- I was swimming better but not long enough to be ready. I needed some longer swim sets with mixed in intervals to help me maintain a complete swim focus. 

3. Serious Sunscreen -- Once again my right side is pretty fried. This despite the separate applications of sunscreen.  I think I'll go for the Bullfrog stuff next time and put it on with help before the swim start over my entire back before putting on my tri top. I might also consider a tanning booth for a few visits to prepare my skin for the sun. 

4. Kona Specific Gear -- I am not sure I can wear my tri bibs in the future; as I was warm under my swim skin as well as the rest of the day.  While it's my preferred gear, I think the heart rate cost might be too high. 

I am also curious about the thick headbands written by some of the Pros. Wonder if that would allow me to feel cooler VS a cap. 

In the same been as weight costs, I might consider ditching the FuelBelt with my sodium solution and just staying setting with salt pulls and the occasional packet of Gatorlytes as needed. I can carry all of that in my pockets and use a racebelt to hold my gels, for example. 

Finally, I think I might have to consider a return to the cooling towel. Perhaps not the full deal but even just a bandana around the neck. Might have to talk to Dave Tallo about his ice pack solution as well since my bibs, even if modified, have a rear pocket that could hold it. 

If you are still reading, thanks. I hope my report has she'd some light on the day as well as stage relentless quest for improvement that is my triathlon journey. Hope to see you on the island sometime soon!

2014 Ironman Mont Tremblant Race Report -- 9:37, 3rd AG, 25th OA!

Short Version

For those of you who skip to the end of the book, here's your shortcut to save you from scrolling all the way down the page. I went 9:37 good enough for 3rd AG, 25th OA and earn my sixth trip to the World Championships.


This was an interesting year for me as I was returning from my not-so-great 2013 campaign of two collarbone surgeries -- August to put a plate in; November to take the infected plate out. From mid-August to essentially January I was under strict "no sweating!" guidelines to reduce the chance of infection. 4.5 months of minimal physical exertion when 96% of my body was 100% fine -- ugh.

Many of you reading this helped me make it through that tough time -- either directly or indirectly -- and I want you to know that I super appreciate it.

The Long Season

I skipped the OutSeason (Endurance Nation's winter training program) for the first time since I don't know when. Instead I went into a run-focused build-up as the Boston Marathon was on my calendar. Since I wasn't running with intensity, I turned it into a volume game and logged lots of long slow runs including a 40-miler on my 40th birthday.

It was off Texas to run another Endurance Nation PreRace Training Camp in The Woodlands. It was nice to get back on the bike for some long rides and to connect with teammates new and old.

Then it was off to Boston where I ran my slowest time ever, clearly feeling the effects of inconsistent training and getting carried away with my birthday.

Then a quick turnaround to the Blue Ridge Cycling Camp, Rev3Quassy, and our 12th consecutive Lake Placid Camp. Along the way my bike and run fitness were moving along and I was slowly working on the swim. Rev3Quassy was encouraging as I was 10 minutes faster than the prior year on less training -- and my shoulder didn't hurt in the swim.

Fast forward to July and it was all Tremblant time. We ran our first training camp up here, putting 20 folks through the bike course (twice!) and swimming once and doing one full loop of the run. It was really important for me to see the venue/course in order to put my race plan together. I thought both the bike and run courses were fair but challenging, and it was great to mentally prepare for the parts that we're going to be sneaky hard on race day.

Over the final 8 weeks I was actually training for a race again. It was exciting but nerve-wracking; I could only look at numbers from past years of training and things looked pretty solid. My run times were close, my bike fitness was better and swimming seemed equal. I targeted body composition (salad anyone?) for an additional edge and rolled into race week ready to go but as nervous as a newbie...not having raced since Kona 2012.

Race Week

I was really excited to see the Team here in Tremblant. Between racers and supporters, it was a veritable Who's Who of Endurance Nation -- veterans to newbies. Our Team Dinner saw 75+ people on hand and the Four Keys talk was also similarly well-attended. But the question on everyone's mind was the weather.

All week it was wet and cold. It's cooler here in the foothills of The Laurentians, so everyday starts in mid-fifties. But the clouds and rain were keeping the temps in the mid-sixties vs the typical mid-seventies. I had to adjust my T1 plan to allow for arm warmers instead of coolers and light gloves. I spent the rest of the week obsessing about my bike, my gear bags, etc.

Race Morning

It was dry and I didn't care about much else. :) Temps were good and it was a 3-minute walk from the room to transition. I was body marked and confirmed bike and bags were all set. It was off to swim start and Team picture at 5:45...perhaps my fastest pre-race check ever.

It was great to see the Team one last time and get some hi-fives and hugs with that knowing look in the eyes. Ironman means so much in different ways to everyone; and JT Thompson kept it real with some awesome energy.

I dropped off my Dry Clothes bag and headed to the warm up area. I had my final gel and then got in a nice 15-minute warm up swim...a first for me. Over to the start and lined up in my wave. As we waited for our turn we cheered on the folks who ran past us, having missed their start times. :)

The Swim - 1:03:4x

With the wave swim approach in effect, I "just" had 343 people to contend with. I was on the buoy line and second row. The gun goes off and we all wade in; after the first wave dove I gave it a second and then swam inside the buoy line. I was literally untouched until the 1,000 meter mark when a poor swimmer from Wave 2 hit me with some whip kick action.

With the wind from the NorthWest, we had a little headwind/chop to contend with. Nothing as bad as I usually have at home, but it was enough to be disruptive. The turns were a bit crowded but on the return I was right back inside the line for a free ride back. I only wandered a bit off course here, so I was pumped to hear Mike Reilly say that my group was swimming 1:07 to 1:10 -- as I was 6' behind Wave One that meant I was about a 1:04.

T1: Swim to Bike

This is a long run on the road, but I had plenty of shouts and didn't know that my calves (with EN tattoos of course). My bag was in the second row, 9th bag, and in line with the entrance to the changing area. Run. Grab. Run. Shoes. Helmet. Walk to bike.

I took a minute to put some food in my trishort pockets...probably lost 30" there as it wasn't easy...much easier when riding so I need to figure that out. Then again I lost food time by putting on arm warmers too. I did make the game time decision not to use my gloves as I didn’t feel that cold and I was concerned I might not be able to access my food / pockets with them on. Easy trip to my bike and a simple mount and I was off.

The Bike -- 5:08:xx

I got clipped in and started the computer. powermeter. Tried powermeter. Turned off Garmin and powermeter. Then, after about three minutes of just coming to terms with no powermeter I tried again and success!  This was the first time I turned on my Garmin, synced it up and then left it on while I maybe that’s par for the course?

My goals for the bike were to ride about 250 watts, normalized power. I expected to see some higher numbers in the 275 range for steep hills, but I was confident I could do it. I ended up riding 244w NP, which is my best ever in an IM. And that included seven rolling pee breaks as it was pretty cool but I kept on drinking like a fool. My Variability Index was 5% of my watts into space, but all in I was happy with how I rode the day.

The course is beautiful, but early on there were NO MARSHALS. One of the pros had crashed and they were all there, it seemed, as I passed. So on the outbound section of 117 on lap one was crazy. I was passed on the right side at least ten times (!) but most of this was because the draft packs were terrible.

I don’t mean “race drafting” whereby there are groups together as in Kona, I mean straight up, two inches from the wheel in front of me, not using my aerobars, and coasting type drafting. I honestly didn’t think triathletes could draft _that_ well. It was about this time that John Withrow rolled up, pulling 5 guys that had just jumped off my wheel...we made a few jokes but quickly decided to just let them go. This allowed me to refocus on my pacing and nutrition as I could tell the headwind we had out was going to be much harder on the second lap.

The road quality was awesome; you could actually put your head down and ride super aero unlike many other courses. But the hills of Lac Superior were legit. It’s one thing to ride them in training or pre-race, it’s another after a swim and a solid first 48 miles. I did my best to hold the power down and be smart, and almost everyone around me was standing up and killing themselves which gave me consolation. I even saw my family on the start of the second lap, which was a huge emotional boost.

The second lap of the bike was still cloudy and the winds had totally picked up. I really got aero and passed a ton of folks out here, including several of the jokers doing the early race drafting. Things started to get really quiet, with no one passing me after mile 15 of the bike and me slowly eating up the faders. The second climb series was harder but I was able to stay in my box. I was really passing folks on the downhill sections now as they were shelled from climbing.

Overall I was really worried about the bike and my competition, but four plus hours at some solid watts really sorts everything out. I need to remember that. For the data geeks, here the “main” file on Strava -- it’s missing the first ½ mile due to no powermeter.

T2: Bike to Run

I had a solid dismount thanks to Tim Cronk’s previous race reports (thanks!) and hit the tent. Got my bag and got to work. With my socks, shoes, race number and FuelBelt on, I started walking out of the tent with my ziplock bag to put on my hat, arm coolers, watch and stock up on more food and salt while walking (thanks Al Truscott for this tip!). I saw my family and walked over to give them a kiss and check in.

The Run - 3:17:xx

I had no idea where I was in my AG when I started, but I figured I was doing fairly well given how quiet things were. My only target was to run with my heart rate between 140 and 145 beats per minute, after keeping it as low as possible in the first 2.5 miles due to the steep hills.

Outbound on the first lap was pretty darn quiet. I didn’t pass the first runner until mile four! Running back in I could see a lot of really really fit doodes near me. Somewhere in here I was passed by the second and third place female PROs as well, so another sign things were going pretty well. Returning over the hills to town my heart rate felt good low (sub-140) and I kept it there. I was drinking and using ice as the sun had come out...and I would go on to pee a total of five times on the run (yes, while running).

Just before the end of Lap One, super Endurance Nation athlete Tim Cronk let me know I was in sixth place in my AG. I figured there were seven slots based on Lake Placid so I knew there was work to be done. Ran through town to high five the family and start the second lap.

Lap Two was insanely crowded. Tons of folks were still running but the roads and especially the bike path were like the mall during a Black Friday sale. I had to run off the side, on the wrong side, everywhere but straight. It was here, about mile 15.5 where I was passed by another person in my AG, putting me into 7th place and on the bubble.

I worked hard to keep up with him but he was moving and eventually I lost him in the crowds. I just kept running at my pace and made a commitment to run the rest of the aid stations (no more walk breaks!) and keep the pressure on. No eye contact with the folks behind me after the turn around -- game face time!

In here I saw a motorcycle escorting the third place female PRO, so I started stalking her. That gave me a good carrot to follow and I was really in the zone. No more “HIs” or high fives for the Team or fans...I was hurting switching to mainly coke and keeping the pressure on. About mile 22.5 I saw sixth place in my AG again and he was coming back to me! I started doing the mental math on what it would take and planned to make the pass just before mile 26 as we climbed into town. Running un and downhill was really taking it’s toll, but mentally I was in the zone.

About mile 25, trying to pass a clump of walkers, I bumped someone and my Garmin 305 flew off -- so no splits or HR data for me, sorry! -- and right after on a very steep hill at mile 25 I made the pass. I ran as hard as I humanly could over the last mile, and could see at the Special Needs area loop that he was not on my heels. I did my best to enjoy the final crowds through the downtown area while I chased down the third place female PRO.

I realized I was going to crash her finish party in the last moment, but there was no way to stop my legs. I just flashed the EN gang sign and then went to congratulate her on a great race.

The Finish - 9:37:xx, 3rd AG and 25th OA

Imagine my surprise when I found out I was third in my AG. Turns out that fourth and fifth place had cracked on the second lap and were lost in the crowds of other runners. It was great to see my biggest fans right behind the finish; apparently they had no issue finding me with the massive EN billboard on my head and the other EN kit, EN tattoos and EN gang sign display. That had alone probably cost me 10” per mile in wind resistance! :)

Lessons Learned

Overall I was super pumped at how well I stayed in the game menally for the run, and reaped the reward of third place. In retrospect I also made a great decision to let the early drafters go and follow my own pacing on the bike.

It is also interesting to see that I am still so engaged in racing Ironman. This was my 19th Ironman, and I am still into it. Even crazier for me to think is that this was the sixth consecutive Ironman in which I have raced and qualified for Kona. I missed two years for my broken hip (2010) and my collarbone (2013), but otherwise my performances have kept me in contention in my age group regardless of my race choice. That is definitely NOT lost on me.

I think there are some places I could improve for my next race:

  • I need to work on flexibility of my hamstrings and lower back as I had some relatively early discomfort on the bike.

  • I have to do a better job of staying super aero. I spent a lot of time looking up the road for some reason and really caught myself in hour four just not being aero enough.

  • I really like the Freezer Ziplock transition trick and will keep that for the future.

  • I was a bit aggressive with my effort on the bike and will need to be careful on days that it’s not so cool / overcast.

  • I will take confidence in my running form / comfort in the early miles. I was lower than my goal HR (never looked at pace) and it paid off with the ability to really focus over the final 8 miles.

Finally, THANKS!

So many of you have supported me over the years. Some of you directly with advice, comfort and a kick in the pants. Others have been leaders for me; just by following your exploits and hard work I am educated and inspired to improve every year, every race.  

Some of you have really risen above and beyond as my journey continues -- my amazing wife Maura and my two girls who put up with my training and general geeking out.

My good friend and stalwart supporter, Vinu Malik who has given so much -- starting before my first Ironman in Florida back in 2001!!!! -- to make sure I am at my best for every event.

To my fellow teammates who continue to raise their own personal bars and make us all better by association..I am so proud of you all and can’t wait to hear about your races and support you in your next endeavor!

Rev3 Quassy Half Iron [2014] -- Revenge Edition

The Swim

The swim was surprisingly uneventful. Nothing like a wave start -- and a split wave as well -- to make swim anxiety go away. I was a little worried about my should as I had only been swimming for a few weeks. The wetsuit actually seemed to support it a bit and while I didn't have the fitness to go any further, but I wasn't all over the place either. Net swim time was 32:xx, which was practically the same as last year before my crash and double-surgery debacle that was 2013. Win!!

The Bike 

4,100+ feet of climbing in 56 miles is just plain sadistic. I mean, there really isn't that much room in a half iron to do that. But it was done, and we rode it. 

Having an 11/28 with DI2 electronic shifters made this ride soooo much more manageable. Even when I made a shifting error, correcting it was super easy. My cadence was 86 on average and I held a pretty steady heart rate at about 139.

I was able to push the bike all day, finishing with an IF of .818 and an NP of 262 watts...both personal bests for me at the Half Iron distance. 

Knowing the course was huge -- I got out in front on my fluids and food; making me a much happier camper. I drank 4 bottles of Gatorade and at 1 PowerBar and 3 gels. I also had 3 Salt Stick capsules to help keep my gut happy.

The net time was 2:42:xx or about 8 minutes faster than last year. For you geeks out there, here is the strava file.

The Run

The run was going to be a challenge, even without the heat of last year. I felt really solid heading out of T2, and was running at a good clip. It wasn't until the hills at mile 3 that I started to suffer. My heart rate was happy between 145-150 bone, but hills had me much higher and I had to back off. I also had an issue with my shoes, as my Garmin footpod lace system had prevented me from properly tightening my left shoelace. Two stops (needed for high HR anyway) later, I finally took it off about mile 7 for good.

This was a bummer as I was running by cadence and HR, but my foot was on fire. Miles 8-11.5 were pretty solid as I was running well I the downs and flats...sub 7s...but the hills were crushing me.

I ate 4 gels and had either Gatorade or Cola at every aid station. All fluids were spiked with my Gatorlytes + Water solution.

The numbers were a 1:34:xx, or about 4 minutes faster than last year. Again for the geeks, here are the numbers on Strava.

Quick Analysis

The Finish

Final time was 4:53:xx which was good for 12th in M40-44, and 29th overall. Welcome to my new AG, I guess -- if I had raced M35-39 I would have been 2nd. :)

Always great to finish with my daughter Emma (Megan wanted to catch, not run). Went right over to the timing truck and instantly printed my splits -- gotta love Rev3.  We will definitely be back, the Rev3 Team made EN right at home and everyone loves a legitimate weekend of suffering!!!

Then it was time for rides and roller coasters and more...and cheering the rest of the Team. EN was everywhere this weekend, and it was awesome to not only meet so many friends and new faces, but to cheer them on in the race.  The East Coast vibe was strong, with many of our fellow teammates racing Raleigh 70.3 as well.

2014 Boston Marathon Report

In what was part of my comeback trail, the return to Boston was an event I've been looking forward to all year. I got it done, but it wasn't pretty. Note to self -- I definitely need to do a better job of learning to respect the marathon distance.

I ended up running a 3:21, which seems about fair on the day. In retrospect, I should've started off at 7:30s instead of running low sevens. While this is my slowest ever Boston finish, it is definitely one of my most satisfying races. Very excited to have this event by me and behind the city. Read on if you want more details.

The Training

In the past I have run Boston either off of a full season of triathlon, or with some serious run preparation. This time I did neither, as I'm on the recovery trail from my broken collarbone and double surgery of 2013. I also decided to kick off this year with my 40 miler on my 40th birthday which was great for my endurance...but not for race speed.

After a week of recovery, I roughly had five weeks to Boston. During this time I held my runs pretty steady and was looking to see some speed come back. Fortunately, things started to look pretty good in the last 7 to 10 days. I was finally getting my cadence back to where like to be.

However this is only the beginning of what I would call "race speed." Instead of spending several weeks honing my effort at this pace, I only just discovered it before the event. Unfortunately, I decided to follow those feelings vs what the numbers from my training told me when I decided upon my pacing plan for the day.

Race Morning

My favorite part about this race is how it's such a community factor for everyone who runs. The last couple weeks of training was great, connecting with my friends and doing some long runs together. Even the trip up to the race itself was fun, reminiscing about our workouts and last years event.

Part of the tradition involves heading up to the race start in Hopkinton. Our friend has a house there, and it's chock-full of runners of all ability levels. Again, great time to connect and reflect on the past year.

As I left the house, I realized quickly just how hot it was getting. I decided on the spot to get rid of my base layer as well as to not put on my calf compression sleeves. Both were excellent decisions, but neither would help stave off the true effect of the heat in the race.

I headed down to the race start about 9:20 and immediately it was clear that security was on high alert. I made sure to say thank you to as many of the first responders as possible. It was hard to do, because there were just so many of them. I've never seen so many police officers, National Guard, soldiers, you name it. But I've also never felt so safe as well.

After the national anthem they had a flyover from several helicopters...and then the race was underway.

My Race Plan

Knowing that the first 4 miles are pretty steep downhill, my plan was to go out at an easy pace..let the numbers be a little fast before settling into something comfortable. I was guessing that I would probably sit around 715. This is based on the past few workouts before the race.

Nutritionally, I was going to take three caffeinated gels the 30-minute marks before transitioning over to Cliff Bloks with sodium.

The Early Miles

Ever since my 40 mile run, I have noticed that it takes me about 20 to 25 minutes to really listen up. As such, I didn't put any pressure on myself early on. I just dialed in a take-it-easy pace and kind of stuck with it. Eventually the numbers started to point down around 710.

This all very manageable early on and as it was still relatively shaded -- I wasn't feeling the effects of the heat. I was very diligent with the nutrition making sure to drink Gatorade at every single a station. I never missed one.

I felt pretty easy going all the way through mile 10, and that's where things start to get a little wonky.

The Body of the Race

Just about mile 10 I started to realize how thirsty I was, and how the aid station seem to be further and further apart -- even though they clearly weren't. I also so it's a notice that my quads are tightening up, a phenomenon that I had felt last year around mile 15 was already having an effect on me. I'm not a very good downhill runner, and my quads get fatigued very easily. This year was no different, in fact I think it was actually worse than usual.

Rolling through the midpoint of the race on the way to see my family, things were quickly becoming work. I felt fine going uphill run the flat, but as soon as I started to go downhill things just didn't feel right. My pace was still relatively strong, it wasn't coming easy.

I virtually had no momentum, and almost had to push myself down the hill. When I saw my family at mile 15, I let my wife know that the rest of the race is going to be a little bit rougher than I'd hoped.

By this time I was hitting every aid station like it was my job, taking 2 cups and drinking as much as I could. It still didn't help that cottonmouth feeling which came back almost as soon as I left the aid station.

I did stop twice to pee -- once at about mile seven and the second time around mile 16. In both cases it was difficult and I could tell that I was already under the gun from my hydration despite consuming five bottles of fluid the day before and more race morning.

The Hills of Newton

For most runners, this is where the race begin. The hills and represent for the biggest challenges the marathoners will face in their career. For me, this is where my race ended. It was clear that whether I was running up, down, or on the flats, I was in trouble.

My quads were already toast, and this hilly section brought in from pain to my hip and abductors. There was some fine line of a stride that I could run that allow me to keep moving without cramping… But I'm really sure it wasn't pretty.

Looking at my splits, it appears that my average splits quickly drop to close to the eights due to the terrain and my legs.

Without a doubt the saving grace of the day where the incredible crowds. As exciting as the section of the course always is, this year's edition of the race had spectators at least 10 people on both sides and more energized than I'd ever seen before.

If any of you are reading this report, I hope my race to you. Thank you.

The Home Stretch

Before the race started, I was really excited about the final 10K. Historically I've had a really tough time here, and I was hoping that in 2014 will be my chance to break that curse. As you have probably guessed by now, it just wasn't meant to be.

I was forced to stop it ever eat station to drink as much Gatorade as I could, and walk several steps. I probably have never felt so sorry for myself as I did at this time during this race.

Thankfully I was able to use my experience on the course, and the amazing crowds to keep my motivation up. By this point in time I was really not able to digest anything else that I was taking in… So I simply focused on moving forward.

While the finish line was as spectacular as usual, the crowds were so insane all the way from Boston College -- there was almost no difference. The energy, cheering, and support was physically tangible.

I rode that wave as far as it would carry me through the final steps over the finishing line being my chance to close the book on the past year and everything that happened.

The Aftermath

Having crossed the line, I spent the next 10 minutes congratulating my fellow runners. The amazing energy that I felt on the course had bubbled over into the crowd of spectators and beyond. Leaving the finish line to meet my family I was stopped and thanked by more people that I can remember. It quickly became clear to me that this race, this year, was just as important to me as it was to the city and the people of Boston.

While there's no doubt that I earned the finishing time you see next to my name, those numbers don't tell the real story about how the day went down and what I experienced. To everyone who ran I say congratulations. To everyone who supported us, I say thank you. To everyone else, I say...I hope to see you in Boston next year.

The Details

Forty Miles Complete! A 40th Birthday Celebration and Fundraiser

March 8th, my 40th birthday has come and passed...but the pain and stiffness in my legs reminds me that yesterday wasn't a dream: I ran 40 miles. All of this was for charity:water to raise money for a clean water project -- we've raised enough to give clean water to more than 225 people -- but you can help us do more by donating something -- anything-- to the cause or by helping to spread the word:  (Thanks!!)

The Day

Simply couldn't have asked for better weather! Despite freezing cold conditions all winter, it was sunny and eventually got up to 55-degrees. Unbelievable...clearly someone was smiling down on me.

The Route

This was a simple 5-mile loop that started from my house. While the roads weren't in great condition -- and the ice melt filled the roads with puddles -- I was generally really pleased. There were a few slight rolling hills in the first 2 miles. Then we transitioned to a 1/2-mile segment of dirt road running. Then it was onto the bike path for over 1.5 miles before turning to a false flat home.

Honestly the hardest part of the day was running on the snow and ice that filled a few of the shadier parts of the bike path. But the change in speed / terrain was worth it.

The Support Crew

I can't say enough to everyone who helped make this happen. What was a crazy idea over a year ago had turned into a distant dream after my multiple surgeries last year and extended layoff.  And then the comeback trail was more off road than straightforward. But I couldn't have done it without these folks:

* FuelBelt (
The awesome folks at Fuelbelt HQ have been helping to fuel my workouts since my first Ironman in 2001. They have stuck with me through it all. With a surprise birthday burrito for pre-run fueling to enough race day nutrition to support a local 5k -- these guys get endurance sports and are just as focused on being an industry leader a they are with supporting the real grassroots of our sport and lifestyle. There is no completion in the hydration space -- FuelBelt all the way!

* Mike Silva & The Foundation Performance Team (
Mike started 2013 with me planning on how to make "Patrick 2.0" -- bigger, faster, stronger. Then I crash my bike and we spend the next 5 months, before / after multiple surgeries, putting my pieces back together again. Mike is not only an excellent physical therapist, but his staff are very smart and capable as well and the facility is also top-notch. I hope you never need physical therapy, but if you do, there's only one place to go in RI (and now southern MA): Foundation Performance.

* Ellen McNally @ Chiropractic Performance Center (
Ellen is my go-to check in person to make everything is in alignment...which it usually isn't.  In addition to helping me with ART and kinesiotaping, she recently added Mike to her staff to make sure I do all of my stretches properly. A fantastic resource for active people in RI!!!  (Side Note: She also works at Titleist for all you golf freaks out there.)

* Richard Johnson @ The Proper Fit (Fall River, MA -- 508) 672-0334)
Richard not only is one of the funnier guys you'll meet, he's a living walking breathing encyclopedia of running shoes. He has helped me transition to the right shoes for my feet after years of discomfort.

My Run Misfits

When I moved to Barrington almost three years ago, I jokingly referred to it as the "Boulder of the East" in reference to the famed endurance Mecca that is Boulder, Co. And technically we have some solid claims within the triathlon space. From FuelBelt and TTBikeFit to Endurance Nation, we have quite the industry gathering.  But it's not the brands but the people behind them that make this community so awesome.

My run kicked off with Vinu Malik of FuelBelt...a 38 time Ironman finisher with 7 Kona finishes and a race resume that dates back to 1986. He was injured since our last long run and he gutted it out for 10 miles before coming back on his mountain bike for the last two loops. Epic.

We linked up with Lisbeth and Todd Kenyon of TTBikeFit on Lap two. They snuck out of a CompuTrainer session to get in a short run with me. And then they came BACK to run the final lap with me when I was seriously hurting. They put in 17 miles with me and to/from the route -- their longest run since Lisbeth, a multiple Ironman AG world champion, raced in Kona last October!

I owe my biggest debt of gratitude to BJ Gumkowski who drove an hour from Newport to start the day with me. After promising to run with me on Twitter, he confessed during Lap One that he hadn't really been training for anything in particular! I can't imagine what he'll do when he does focus, because he put up 30 legit miles. I think the hardest lap was #7 when he threw in the towel...I was so used to his presence!

And there were several other folks who did a fly by, including Mark Searles, Ted Fischer, and Tom Meehan. Plus it was so nice out there was a ton of support out on the road itself!

The Execution

My plan was to not go out too fast, and given the multiple folks we had dropping in / checking out, the pace was perfect -- just around 8:00 to 8:10/mile. Once things quieted down, we were able to dial in 24 really solid miles (from 12 to 36) that were almost all sub-8s. It wasn't really until the last z3 miles of the day that the fatigue really seemed to impact my ability to keep the pace up.

My legs held up really well. I did have to change my left sock twice due to hot spots, and had to wring out my skull cap as it was full of sweat. I really only had one misstep all day on a frost heave. My left adductor was starting to bark at me a bit towards the end, but it was very manageable.

I managed to average 7:59s across the whole day -- sub 8 was the goal! -- and my pacing was pretty smart according to the file on Strava

If I were to change my plan moving forward, it would include some flavor of the following:

  • variety in drink flavors...too much orange
  • caffeinated food across the day instead of just coke at the final few pit stops.
  • way more lube...even minor chaffing quickly became a problem.
  • better dissemination of the RoadID tracker so others could follow / find me.

Again, Thanks!

A lot of people made this day possible, and I can't thank them all. But more importantly, we raised some money and awareness about the importance of potable water to the world. You can learn more about how you can help or give up your own birthday here: Charity:Water.