I’m half an Ironman!

I got the pleasure of racing in the Vineman Ironman 70.3 on July 18th. It was one of my huge long term goals and here is a brief recap of what I went through.

This really should have been posted last month and I also have a couple more posts that I’m working on that I need to get up as soon as possible. I should be in detention.

Early Friday morning, all the way back on July 16th, I packed up all my tri gear into our Prius, took my lovely beagle Coleco to the vet to be boarded, and headed off to work for the day. After the longest day of work ever, Kelly and I then headed off to Santa Rosa, California for the eventful weekend! My triathlon club, SVTC, was awesome enough to reserve some rooms at a decent hotel located only about a 10 or so minute drive from the T2/finish at Windsor High School. Of course the very first thing we did Friday night after checking into our hotel was head on over to the Trader Joe’s to stock up on food!

Saturday morning was the race expo and packet pickup day. This was my first Ironman branded event so I didn’t know what to expect. It was very well organized though and my nerves were calming down quite a bit after being around all the other triathletes. I got into the merchandise booth as soon as it opened and picked up quite a bit of stuff. A jersey, tech shirt, tea mug, a tech hat, and a pretty awesome long sleeve tech hoodie. Also worth mentioning was the ‘finishers shirt‘ that was in the packet pickup. Can’t complain about expanding my (pathetic) wardrobe this way!

I think M-Dot have jumped a few sharks now – an Ironman branded bed!? haha!

We spent the rest of Saturday afternoon roaming a bit around Santa Rosa. We went to the Life Is Good store where I picked up this awesome water bottle. (I totally saw it on EatingRD‘s blog and I *needed* to own one) I also picked up a few running and cycling related shirts for Kelly and I. It’s a bit on the expensive side but it’s good quality.


Anyway, on to race morning! If it weren’t triathlon evening in a block of rooms for triathletes there would probably be quite a few pissed off people this morning. At 4:45am the alarm went off and Kelly started up the blender we brought to make race morning green smoothies! I downed a bagel smothered in Justin’s almond butter and started packing up the car. The swim started at Johnsons Beach in Guerneville which is about a 20-30 minute drive from our hotel. I wish I got there earlier because the racks for my age group were packed to the brim! I’m sure the guy with the Cervelo P3 next to me wasn’t happy about me moving his stuff over, but too bad – I somehow beat him out of the water anyway! I also lost Kelly in the crowd after getting my transition setup — and the kicker is she was holding my wetsuit. By the time I found her, utilized the porta facilities, and got the wet suit on, my wave was already getting in the water. I was nervous, anxious and angry but she made me stop for a photo – I don’t know how I was forcing this face. haha.

I’m one of the heads in the back.

The 1.2 mile swim was a lot easier than I was expecting. The water was actually very nice and my only complaint was that it was too shallow at some points. I had to stand up and walk during some sections because I was hitting the bottom of the river during my front crawl stroke! That would be fine if the rocks weren’t so freaking painful to walk on. I finished the swim in 45:42. Not an impressive swim by any means but I certainly wasn’t the last yellow cap out of the water so I was happy. I have a lot of room to work on improving and the fact it wasn’t that long ago that I couldn’t even swim 2 laps in a pool without stopping to rest.

I was allowed to hand off my wetsuit, cap and goggles to Kelly during transition since T1 is quite far from T2. After a slow T1 (I’d like to have a few words and a steel cage match with whoever thought it was a good idea to put this on rocks) I headed out on my favorite part – 56 miles on the bike! This is where I get my confidence booster because I start catching up with some people from the waves before me and a few rare passes by people on buzzing triathlon machines. About 10 miles in I was making a pass and felt a surge of pain in my lower lip. I thought the guy a bit in front of me kicked up a rock or something. I reached down to feel my lip and felt something moving — a BEE was stuck in my lip. I yanked him out and chucked him away and tried to make sure there wasn’t a stinger left in there. I had a nice numb lip for the remainder of the day though. The bike course was beyond beautiful. Passing wineries left and right was very motivating to keep pushing on. Unfortunately there weren’t many photos of me on the bike but I did get this one. Funny timing since I was half way on the aero bars so must have been shifting when they took it.

I finished the bike course in 3:09:29. I could have done a bit better but was worried about Chalk Hill. (For wine drinkers, yes this is where the Chalk Hill Winery is located at!) There was quite a bit of talk on how hard of a climb it was and coming at mile 40ish was a killer. I was saving some juice for that and I wasn’t even sure when it arrived until I saw some people near the top saying only 400 feet left to go… doh. I did try to make up for it by hammering a little bit more during the remaining miles but I was relieved once I saw T2 in the distance but was thinking about how in the hell I was going to run a half marathon after this.

T2 was a few minutes longer than it should have been but I had to reapply sunscreen which apparently I’m not very good at – more on that in a second. The run course was pretty nice, shaded in some parts, and baking hot in other parts. I was getting tired but wanted to keep on trucking but I could feel my skin baking in the sun. There were aid stations at every mile of the run course and I took advantage of the water at each. I ate some Chips Ahoy at the turn around aid station which tasted sooooo good at the time. I wanted to kiss the girl giving “showers” out there too which consists of just pouring a pitcher of water over my head.

During the second half of the run course I ended up run / walking it until the last mile. I was certainly in pain by then and I could feel my neck and shoulders burning up. I saw the 12 mile marker and my emotions hit me that I was going to complete my first half Ironman so I started running and told myself no walking breaks.

(That time isn’t correct since I started in the 2nd to last wave.)

Boy that last mile hurt but I did it all 7:04:36. I have a *lot* to improve on and I learned a lot from the experience. My nutrition went very well for me which was one of my biggest fears. And I hate bees.

Muddy Century Buddy Triathlon

I’m pretty bad at updating, ‘eh? I did quite a few events since the last post! Let me recap some of it.

Kelly and I drove up to Napa for a little mini-vacation for the summer. It was for our 5th anniversary. I don’t know where time goes but it certainly goes somewhere fast. It has been five years since we got married and drove across the United States in a Penske truck and stopped in Sunnyvale, California. That was fun but I don’t think I ever want to drive 2,000 miles on I80 ever again! Sadly Napa is only an hour and a half away but it was my first time there besides running through it during The Relay the previous week.

We celebrated our anniversary in style… by riding in our first century, Echelon Gran Fondo. Or in normal terms, 100 miles on a bicycle. It was a beautiful ride with about 5500 feet of climbing around the Napa Valley. It started in downtown Napa and headed toward Lake Berryessa with a loop back to St. Helena before returning to Napa.

We met up with some great bloggers: CaitlinHTP, EatLiveRun, EatingRD, LiquidJill. (Linked to their recaps!) I stole photos from Jill’s gallery … hope she doesn’t mind – I’m terrible at taking pictures and she took some great ones!

Kelly wearing her Velo Girls jersey in style!

Cute pic of Kelly and I before I blew up on the climb!

I thought I had my nutrition worked out pretty well with some HEED in my bottle, clif bloks and some gels. I tried to eat some salty things at the two aid stations before the big climb. Unfortunately I didn’t react well to all the sugary stuff and felt really nauseous in the middle of the climb. I had to stop for a few minutes because I thought I was going to hurl. After HTFUing up a bit I hopped back on and made it to the top. I never had tums before but they certainly work. I downed one of those along with a can of coke. (First time willingly taking in HFCS in a couple years!) I felt much better after that. So my nutrition needs some adjusting. The climb is almost a carbon copy of one of our local climbs that we train on, except that usually comes at mile 22 of the ride … this hill came above mile 60 somewhere! Doh.

Overall it was a great experience. I had some gripes with the organization but they vowed to fix a lot of the issues for next year’s ride. 100 miles on the bike in Napa with a bunch of pretty ladies? How can I complain about that!?

Shoot to a couple weeks later, we got really muddy. We participated in the Columbia Muddy Buddy. It is a hybrid mountain biking and running event you do with a partner. Basically there are five legs to the race and one starts on the bike while the other runs. After a mile or so you have to do an obstacle and switch places. Kelly’s bike doesn’t have a quick release seat post so we used my Cannondale F5. It’s a bit big for her but she managed very well.

I rode the mountain bike first.

Kelly ran. You’re required to wear a helmet at all times, not that Kelly shouldn’t since she falls a lot even on good surfaces.

I did 3 legs on the bike and 2 runs and Kelly did the opposite. The obstacles were pretty easy. A wall climb, a cargo net climb and slide, balance beam, and crawling under some net. Those weren’t much of a challenge, but the first leg of the bike certainly was. Almost right from the start line was a pretty intensive climb in dirt and it wasn’t very wide to handle our starting wave. Combining that with not being able to wear my SPD shoes/pedals since we had to run made it very hard. I had to walk up a patch since there was people still walking from the wave before us and I lost traction. ugh! After that it was pretty smooth sailing. Until…….


At the very end of the race you have to hook up with your partner and crawl through a pit of mud. We weren’t nearly as muddy as a lot of other people but we were still covered pretty bad. Kelly thought it would be cute to splash me with mud… which I ate some of obviously. ugh. We ended up finishing in about 1 hour and 6 minutes. I know we could’ve done much better but didn’t know what to expect. I think if we were 10 minutes faster we could have placed in our age group. Next year! 😉

Sorry this is getting long already. The latest event I did was the Silicon Valley International Triathlon. It was my first try at the Olympic distance – 1500 Meter Swim (.93 miles) – 24.9 Mile Bike – 6.2 Mile Run. It was my second open water swim after the Stanford Treeathlon and I felt a million times more comfortable. I do have to work on my sighting a lot more but my form was much better.

I have quite a few photos of this so here I go. (Click on them for huge photos if you’re insane)

Transition setup!

Lake Almaden. Beautiful little lake right off of Blossom Hill road.

Me before thinking I might die in said beautiful lake.

Getting kicked in the face multiple times!

I survived 🙂

Bike out, stoppp, hammer time!

Coming back in on the bike.

Starting the suffering run.

I finished! I look like death but I was really happy, I swear.

And my beautiful photographer had to get in there somewhere. Thanks for taking the photos 🙂
My time was not very good but I learned a lot from the experience and I’m a hundred times more confident for my upcoming Ironman 70.3 in a few weeks. I had a blast doing the race and it was very well organized and put together. Nutrition wise I drank in 2 scoops of heed on the bike and had a gel before the run. I hammered a little too hard on the bike and suffered a bit on the run but I think it was worth it. I’m a terrible runner anyway so it was expected. I now have times to work on and destroy for next year. I’m definitely signing up for this triathlon again next year.

Next up on the schedule is the Vineman Ironman 70.3. It will be the hardest race I’ve tackled so far, so I hope I have a positive blog post about that in the near future. Thanks for reading!

My training plan

Quite a few people have asked me what kind of training plan I follow so I figure I would throw together a short post describing my routine. I’m not competitive by any means and it’s usually a battle for me to stay out of the last few spots in my age group. But hey, maybe some day soon that will change! It wasn’t that long ago I would never have considered doing this stuff!

I try to incorporate swimming, cycling and running throughout the week along with two days of full body strength training. So essentially my template “base” schedule looks like this:

Cycling (30-45min) Run (short) Cycling (30-45) Run (short/speed|hills) Rest Long Run Long bike ride
Weightlifting Swim Weightlifting Swim

I definitely stress that this is just my template. I live in the San Francisco Bay area and am lucky enough to have a ton of events going on all year round. Because of that I end up dropping some things and/or moving them around a lot. For instance I dropped a couple of the cycling workouts when The Relay was getting closer. I also dropped a long run since the Echelon Gran Fondo Century is coming up. I have, however, been pretty strict about the swimming since that is my weakest of the three and I don’t want to drown during the Vineman Ironman 70.3 coming up in July!

I try to follow the 10% rule during the runs only by adding a mile or two to the long runs on the weekend. For example, a couple weeks ago was a 10 mile run followed by an 11 mile run the following week. In swimming I’ve been trying to build up to the 86 laps to mimic the half Ironman I will be doing. I’ve been doing a lot of work on my stroke trying to make it much more efficient but I end up doing something like 200 yards, a bit of rest, repeat. As I get stronger I’m trying to make those intervals longer.

I can’t find a good photo of the pool and I’m scared to bring my iPhone near the water but this is what it looks like, but imagine there being lanes! It has a saline system in place so no disgusting chlorine smell! (It’s a digital concept photo but it does look as awesome in person!)

As far as my weight program goes, I follow a pretty simple program:

Bench Press
Straight leg deadlift
Incline dumbell press
Lateral pulldowns
Chin ups + dips

Incline bench press
Seated military press
Leg curl
Leg extensions
Seated rows
Chin ups + dips

I try to add 1-3 exercises depending on how much time is available and how I’m feeling that day. The compound exercises (bench press, deadlift, squats, military press) are the most efficient and what I concentrate on the most in the gym. If I’m really short on time just getting in and doing those lifts are well worth it. I did quite a bit of weightlifting when I was younger and I feel it’s one of the most beneficial things anyone can add to their training programs.

Any questions please post a comment! 🙂

Things I have coming up soon:

Echelon Gran Fondo Century (May 23rd)
Muddy Buddy (June 6th) !!!
Silicon Valley International Triathlon (June 13th)

Quick Turkey Chili recipe post

Someone asked about a Turkey Chili recipe and 140 characters on twitter aren’t going to cut it. Here’s just a quick run down:

I make it for lunch for Kelly and I on Sunday afternoon and it generally makes enough for both of us to eat for lunch for the entire week with a little leftover Halving everything will work too and it’s chili so do what you like! It’s pretty spicy, so change things around according to your taste. I buy most of the stuff from Trader Joe’s but I’m sure the equivalent can be found around wherever.

Around 2.5lb of ground turkey
3 cans of no salt added diced tomatoes
3 white onions
celery stalk
5-6 cloves of garlic
2-3 red bell peppers
2 cans of black beans
1 can of kidney beans
3-4 jalapeños (I leave the seeds in!)
8-10 Serrano peppers (I leave them in here too!)
4 tablespoons of chili powder
1.5 tablespoon of cumin seeds ground up (or use 1tbsp cumin powder)
2 tablespoons of cayenne pepper
kosher salt + ground pepper
Big squirt of ketchup (I use TJ’s in house ketchup since there is no HFCS in it)
Few (ok I do a lot) shakes of the chipotle Tabasco sauce

Brown the turkey and drain the fat and throw it in the pot. Then I do soften up the onions with garlic, and throw them in the pot. Toss everything else in the pot except for the beans and add probably about 3-5 cups of water. Let it simmer for a few hours and stir occasionally. When there’s maybe like 30 minutes or so left throw in the cans of beans. (I usually do it earlier but I’m lazy.

Warning though that it’s pretty spicy so maybe just use jalapeños and 1tbsp of cayenne pepper if you’re a chicken.

Some audio shows (podcasts) I listen to.

As I get a little older I’m finding myself listening to a lot more talk shows rather than music. In my car if I’m not flipping through some music mp3s or cds in my changer, I’m usually on AM listening in on some political shows. When sitting around or on a run I like to listen to podcasts to pass the time. I think the fastest and least painful run I ever had I was listening to the ‘Surely You’re Joking Mr. Feynman’ audio book and it made the miles fly by so much that I was going to tack on a few more miles to get through another chapter! So here’s just a quick short list of some of the things I subscribe to, broken down into topics.

Eating and Diet:

The Beyond Diet Podcast
The hosts Keith Klein & Dan Rodriguez cover a variety of interesting topics on nutrition and make some great suggestions on what you can adapt to if you’re looking to fix any nutrition issues. One of the best tips I’ve heard on the show is when they made the suggestion of becoming a “food carrier” — i.e. carrying your food around with you. This way you won’t be tempted to stop at the local fast food join because you’re in a hurry and not sure what you should eat for lunch or dinner. You will have it already taken care of! Good advice. I’m not 100% sure of Keith Klein’s credentials as I see “CN” and “CCN” on the website. As far as I’m aware there aren’t standards on who can call themselves ‘nutritionist’ like there is for the registered dietitians. Either way — I haven’t heard any bad advice on the show and it overlaps with a lot of books and material I’ve read over the years. Dan Rodriguez plays the role of ‘the average consumer’ while Klein answers his questions. It’s really easy to understand and very straightforward.

Inside Out Weight Loss
The host Renee Stephens takes more of physiological outlook on dietary changes and covers topics such as how to not sabotage yourself and how to overcome cravings. I listen to this a lot when I’m in or getting ready for bed. Stephens voice is really soothing to me for some reason and makes me relax a lot! hah! Overall it’s a really good show and provides some great info. A lot of the shows are divided into parts and I’d suggest a listen to Easy Exercise Motivation series for a good primer into the show. And for some reason I really want primo water? Not sure why!

Naked Nutrition Radio (Formerly Max Out Radio)
I was really hesitant to listen to this since there hasn’t even been an episode since 2008 but I really like it and still go back and listen to a show here and there. I started listening to this a couple years ago when I saw it on the bodybuilding.com audio pages. The host Mike Roussell happens to be a PhD candidate in Nutrition at Penn State. Too bad I didn’t listen to this when I was actually at Penn State. It used to be called Max Out Radio and it recently changed it’s name and rebranded when the Naked Nutrition branding came around. If you can get over the silly name, the fact there’s rarely any episodes out and not a big back catalog it’s actually a really good show. The interviews on the show are really good and informative. Some of the information may be over a newcomers head but after a little reading it’s very easy to get on pace with the info. I’d reccomend listening to episode 6 with Marty Gallagher, by far my favorite ep!


The Fredcast Cycling Podcast
An excellent podcast about cycling. The host, David, covers all aspects of riding from gear reviews, current and upcoming races with results, the dreaded doping and many other various cycling topics. Although I get jealous since I can’t afford most of the products he reviews it is definitely a great learning experience. I actually listened from episode 1 to 120 in only a couple of months and try to catch them when he releases them now. I think out of all the shows, oddly enough, my favorite is actually episode 4 (show notes) when he interviews Emily Metzloff about her and a friend cycling from Honduras to San Diego. The interview quality isn’t super great but it is passable and well worth a listen to. Emily’s log, which I read after listening to the interview, is also very awesome and has pictures of their journey. You can see that here.

The Age Grouper
My favorite Triathlon podcast. Jeff & Eric cover many triathlon topics such as their favorite gear, athelete interviews, training plan advice etc. They don’t have their earlier shows online yet but they said they’re working on adding them. Audio quality is good and the interviews are awesome! I highly recommend checking out the interviews with Craig Alexander and Kristin Armstrong. They have the one on one interviews and audio from the talks they gave out at a local tri store in Chicago. Well worth the time listening to this show if you’re into triathlon at all — or if you think you might be interested. Also listening to the “Newbies!” episode is required.

Zen and the Art of Triathlon

I really enjoy some of the ‘live’ events the host records on this. He will take audio when he’s out doing things such as on training runs or even on the bicycle. It’s a completely different change up from most shows since it’s not very structured and off the wall a lot of the time. Some of the topics are kind of strange and lately he’s been going into the natural foods kick and blending every vegetable known to man. Still worth listening to in my opinion!

Games and Technology:
I don’t game or follow technology as much as I used to. I think the transition from college to the 8-5 work day dampened the passion I had a little bit.That being said here’s a few things I still do enjoy listening to a lot:

Games and More Entertainment Radio (GAMER)
New Shows: here Archive: http://hwhq.com/
The entire crew of this show is a bunch of thugs and have terrible taste in video games. Er, actually, they’re all good people. I’ve been hanging out on the internets with them for years now and have them to thank for spending quite a lot of money on video games! They cover mostly the latest and greatest games but they’ll throw in some random stuff in there too. They’ll usually review some movies and such as that’s the “And More” part of the name.I never got into other gaming shows as this always satisfied my needs.

Other random gaming show: mentions: Retro Gaming Radio – show on old school games, no more new shows but older ones are worth checking out. Limit Break Radio podcast about Final Fantasy XI.

Off The Hook / Off The Wall
These are both of the 2600 related radio shows. Off The Hook evolved in the late 80’s and picked up steam in the 90’s as a computer hacking and technology related show. They cover a lot of topics such as hacking and phreaking but they also go into a lot of things like human rights and political topics. I even listened to this back in the day when real audio was the standard format so it’s been around for a long time. Off The Wall is a fairly recent show that is sort of a spinoff. It usually is only hosted by Emmanuel and takes random topics, usually current, and runs around yelling with it’s arms cut off. It’s an interesting show and hard to explain but well worth a few minutes to check out. The archives of both shows are on that page.

Wow that was a lot longer than I was expecting. If anyone has any recommendations on some shows to check out I’d love to hear them.I do listen to some other shows but nothing as religiously as the above stuff! Get listenin’!

New Years Run for a Healthy World – Palo Alto (10k!)

I’m only a month and a half late on this post! Keep positive, right? My wife and I kicked off the new year by waking up early and running in the “New Years Run for a Healthy World” in Palo Alto, California. It was a very small time race but surprisingly well put together. 220 people took part in the 10k race and I’m not sure how many were in the 5k run/walk. It was at the Baylands area in Palo Alto which I am very familiar with since I did a few runs in that area previously. The weather was pretty nasty earlier so the course was still quite a bit wet but I managed to avoid the huge puddles. Although I did see an adorable little girl skipping in the middle of the huge puddle, much to the dismay of her father.

My race time was not great, but that is expected. I’ve got a long way to go but the main thing is that I’m moving. I spent too many years lounging around playing video games and eating unhealthy, so making real life numbers go up instead of digital ones is a very welcome change. My time ended up being 1:00:09 (9:41/mile) — I should have picked up the pace to go under one hour! I was in 130th place out of 220 though.

I stole a terrible photo of me from the race photos site. I would have gladly paid $5 for a digital download to compensate the guys time and equipment but $25 for a .JPG is absurd.

It was a great way to kick off 2010. A year or two ago if you told me I’d be waking up at 7am on New Years Day, missing part of the Penn State Bowl game and running in a 10k I would call you a whackjob… now I am the whackjob.

Next up — recap the Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon that happened the weekend before last!

And last, I applaud this guys choice of running wear! I wonder if it wicks sweat? 🙂

2010 Tentative Race Schedule

I put together a quick list of the events that I am planning on doing in 2010 baring any terrible injuries. I’m sure I’ll add more to it as I find more events I’m interested in. I’m going to make an attempt to do race updates with my terrible results, terrible photos and recap of the suffering events on here. The only uncertainty here is running the SF marathon a week after doing a Half Ironman. I think I’ll save the Big Sur marathon for 2011!

  • January 1st – New Years Run for a Healthy World – Palo Alto (10k)
  • February 7th – Kaiser Permanente Half Marathon – San Francisco
  • February 28th – Stanford Treeathlon 2010 – Redwood City (Sprint distance triathlon)
  • March14th – Go Green Race – 10k
  • April 17th – 2010 Sea Otter Classic – Gran Fondo – Monterey (Century) *replace with Vineman sprint tri?*
  • May 8th – Los Altos Hills Pathways 10k
  • May 16th – Bay to Breakers – San Francisco (12k)
  • May 23rd – Echelon Napa Valley Gran Fondo (Century)
  • June 6th – Muddy Buddy – San Jose
  • June 13th – Silicon Valley International Triathlon – San Jose (Olympic distance triathlon)
  • July 18th – Ironman Vineman 70.3 – (Half Ironman distance triathlon)
  • July 25th – San Francisco Marathon
  • September 26th, Stevens Creek Trailblazers – Mountain View – 10k
  • October 3rd – Bridge to Bridge – San Francisco (12k)
  • October 10th – Steamtown Marathon – Scranton, PA

Let me know if anyone has any suggestions on some interesting (or cheap!) events going on in the San Francisco Bay Area. I think I have become addicted to race bibs.