2015 FFT Pro Development Team

2015 FFT Pro Development Team

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Monday, November 10, 2014

2014 Age Group Nationals

It's been a busy few months since Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee! I've been to Canada and Arizona for a couple races with Aaron and have been busy with work too! I wanted to get this race report up a while ago but better late than never, right? I definitely had high expectations going into this race this year after coming out on top last year.

On Thursday night, Amanda and I headed up to the Chicago area to stay with my mom for the night. Friday morning we woke up and got in a short bike/run workout and then packed the car back up and left for Milwaukee so that we could get there in time for the practice swim in the lake. After that we picked up our race packets, got our bikes checked in, got checked into the hotel, relaxed for a little while, and then met my family at Carrabbas for dinner (that's where we all went last year and after the race I had last year I figured lets stick with that again!). Dinner was good and it was great seeing and catching up with my family. Amanda I headed back to the hotel, finished a few pre-race items, and called it a night.


Drive to Chicago

 Bike check in the day before the race


Panorama shot of the race venue

Race morning rolled around pretty early but with all of the different age group starts, we had a good 4 hours or so till our waves would start. I had my standard breakfast in the car on the way over to the race, a banana, a Peanut Toffee Buzz Clif Bar, and a cup of coffee. I got set up in transition and had brought the trainer with me in hopes of spinning out the legs for a few minutes (like I did last year). However, a USAT official came up to me saying I wasn't allowed to use it, which was a major bummer. There's something about a short bike warm-up that really helps me have a better race, especially for a shorter race like an Olympic, you have to be ready to hit it hard right from the start. I didn't let it phase me though as I have raced well without a bike warm-up. After transition closed, we still had over an hour and a half before our wave started. I met up with FFT Pro Development athletes Justin and Mike as well as another FFT athlete Lane and his family. We got in a few pre-race group pictures and then hung out for another 30 minutes. About 30 minutes before our wave was set to start, Justin and I went out for a 15 minute run warm-up and I could already tell it was going to be warmer than last year. It wasn't supposed to be too hot but the sun was shining and the temps were rising!
 Everything all set-up race morning

 Amanda and Me before the race

 A little Beet Root Juice before the race

 Relaxing and getting the legs loose



Swim: 19:50
The water was chilly but not too bad for a full wetsuit (low-mid 60's?). We were able to get in the water for a few minutes before the start. The gun went off and it was go time! I knew I needed to get out fast and get with a group. Justin and Mike ended up leading our group out of the water by about 2 minutes and then there was a handful of us that came out all pretty close to each other. My swim was right around the same time as last year (although the course was slightly different this year).



Coming out of the water

T1: 1:56

Bike: 56:06
I knew I needed to hammer the bike to catch up to Justin and Mike as well as the other athletes in the age groups that started before and after me. The bike felt like it was going well and although my overall average was still pretty good (26.6 mph), it was about 55 seconds slower than last years bike.

T2: 0:58 - as I came into T2, I saw Justin heading out on the run. I knew that he had been running well in training but knew I had a chance to catch him too.

Heading out onto the run!

Run: 35:01
This a great fast run course right along the lake! There are a couple of out and back points so you can see where some of your competition is too. I knew I was running in 2nd place in my age group behind my teammate Justin. At the first turn-around a little over a mile in I thought I was starting to catch him. I kept plugging along feeling pretty good. I was approaching the final turn-around and saw Justin running strong heading the other direction back toward the finish. I had calculated he had probably over a minute on me and it would be hard to catch him in the final 2 miles. I knew I needed to stay focused and continue to run strong as I was still competing against all of the other age groups out there too.
Coming down the finish!

Total: 1:53:49 - 7th Overall, 2nd 25-25 Age Group

 My Family! So happy they were able to be there!




















 
      Me and Amanda after the race                                    Me and Amanda with my nephew and niece!



Me and Justin - 2nd and 1st in the 25-29 Age Group
 
 
Overall I had a pretty good race but not quite where I would have liked to have been, especially after last year's race going so well. Races like this though become fuel for the fire and have me excited to train even harder this offseason so that I can come it in 2015 and have my best season yet!
 
Thanks for reading! I hope to have a few more blog posts coming in the near future about the Chicago Marathon and about being a guide for Aaron Sheidies, the 2014 ITU World Champion for the blind/visually impaired! 

Saturday, August 2, 2014

The Long Over-Due Blog Update! Part 1

I have been really bad at blogging about my races this year, and for that I apologize! I have been exceptionally busy with my job, training, racing, traveling to races and to the Chicago area to see my family, and doing dishes (I don't have a dishwasher!). Here's a quick update on what I have been up to the past several months including a number of the races I have done this year so far! (Lots of pictures too!)

Clermont Draft Legal Challenge - Clermont, FL - March 1st and 2nd - Earlier this year, my Fast Forward Triathlon teammate Mike Pelechaty and I drove down to Florida to get in some early season racing. We raced 2 sprint distance draft legal triathlons in Clermont. I've done this race a few times before while living down in Florida and have enjoyed racing the draft legal style when I get the chance. We were able to stay at one of my family members houses in Florida, which happens to be about 15 minutes away from the race. Thanks Jack and Trudy for letting us stay at your house again!!

 Gotta love the Palm Trees!

 Getting ready for a pre-race ride the day before the race

 No trip to Florida is complete without a trip to Publix!

 Friday night Dinner - Whole wheat pasta, sauce, and some onions, peppers, and mushrooms! 

 Mike cooking up the dinner


 Pre-race warm-up ride from Jack and Trudy's house

Race #1: This was my first race of the year and there were definitely some cob-webs to get out. During the swim, there was a large patch of fog that moved over the lake, which really through me off and made me feel like I was swimming out in the middle of the ocean. I had a slight panic attack but knew I just had to keep swimming. After a not so great swim, I pushed hard on the bike but it was a little too late as there were already a few solid groups on the bike in front of me, which was a little too much to make up. I ran well to finish out the race.

Swim: 13:33 - 39th overall
T1: 1:17
Bike: 30:32 - 31st overall
T2: 0:31
Run: 17:22 - 10th fastest run
Finish: 1:03:14 - 21st overall

Getting loose before race #1



After the 1st race - happy to be done with that one and move onto race #2
 Tommy and Mike after race #1

 Mike and Me

Me and Tommy

The finished product for night number 2 - pretty much the same thing with some spinach thrown in

Race #2: This race went much better starting with the swim. With draft legal racing, if you don't have a good swim, it's hard to recover. I came out of the water right around a bunch of other guys and knew I was in a good place. I rode hard and worked with a few others along the way as I made my way up to the main chase pack during the 3rd lap of 4. This pack was not working well together and we were losing time on the front group. Multiple times I would get to the front and hope a few others would want to go with me, but everyone was just happy sitting in the pack. At the end of the last lap, I made a final surge into transition. The run was much hotter and overall times were a bit slower. My legs were definitely feeling a little fatigued on the run after racing yesterday and a hard ride during this race.

Swim: 12:39 -16th overall
T1: 1:13
Bike: 29:12 - 5th overall
T2: 0:29
Run: 18:30 - 18th overall
Finish: 1:02:02 - 12th overall

St. Anthony's Triathlon - St. Petersburg, FL - April 25th - April 30th
Amanda and I drove down to St. Pete for one of our favorite races and places to go! We ended up renting a nice Gulf front condo for the 5 days we were there. Saturday we did the usual pre-race bike, run, and swim workouts, went to packet pickup and bike drop-off, stopped at Publix to get some food for the weekend, and went back and got dinner going. We ended up having a couple of Kashi pizzas with a caesar salad. We got everything ready for the race and called it a night.

Getting in a little ride the day before the race

Me and Amanda after checking in our bikes

Race morning rolled around bright and early. The day before at Publix I came across a bottle of Beet Root juice, which as of recently is one of the latest sports nutrition trends and something I had been wanting to try. There's a rule in sports nutrition that you shouldn't try anything new on race day (which I still recommend and advise and follow the rest of the time) but I went ahead and tried the beet root about 90 minutes before the race (as it peeks about 2 hours after ingestion). So it would be peaking a few miles into the bike.


Wasn't too sure about this bottle of Beet Root juice, but the stuff works! 
(Luckily I've found a good alternative so I don't have to drink so much)

The race went great! The swim was very challenging with a lot waves that at times were difficult to swim through. It was wetsuit legal for the amateurs which definitely helped staying on top of the waves. I came out in a good position and after a quick T1, was ready to hammer the bike. There were a couple guys in front of me and after a few miles I was sitting in 2nd. I kept pushing hard, eventually catching and passing the guy in 1st. Unfortunately I couldn't put any further distance on him and he came into and out of T2 right behind me.

I wasn't sure who this guy was so I didn't know what kind of runner he was. He sat on my heels for a half mile and then put in a surge that I couldn't keep up with. I stayed strong the rest of the way and even picked it up on the way back during the final couple miles, but wasn't able to catch him. I was happy to finish 2nd overall amateur though.

Swim: 21:56
T1: 0:59
Bike: 57:06 - fastest amateur bike split
T2: 0:45
Run: 34:46 - 2nd fastest amateur run split
Finish: 1:55:30 - 2nd overall amateur



 One of the many gorgeous sunsets


 Sunset, beach, and palm trees - doesn't get much better

 Another sunset from a different night

 Me and Amanda watching the sunset outside our place :)

 Our view of the intercostal from dinner at the Salt Rock Grill

 Dinner at Salt Rock Grill

 Mini Golf after Dinner

 I take mini-golf very seriously :)


Fast Forward Triathlon Team Camp - Boone, NC
In May, I drove to Boone, North Carolina for a training camp with my Fast Forward Triathlon teammates Mike P, Kristen L, Justin G, and Kristen's friend Shannon as well as FFT head coach Eric B. I arrived at the cabin 1st and after Eric and Mike arrived, we headed out for an easy shake-out ride on the Blue Ridge Parkway (great place to ride, with rolling hills and minimal, friendly car traffic!). We saw Kristen and Shannon out riding/running. After the workout, we got dinner ready which was Kristen's delicious cornbread casserole and a spinach salad and some delicious brownies for dessert.

The cabin we stayed at was pretty awesome!

The main area right off the kitchen

Gorgeous view from our cabin - pretty much the middle of no-where

Downstairs in the cabin
One of the many gorgeous views along the Blue Ridge Parkway 

On Saturday, we did lactate threshold testing all morning, then went for a short swim at a nearby pool, and finished off the day with an easy aerobic trail run. Needless to say, it was a great day of training and we were ready for another dinner. That night we made some delicious homemade pizzas...and some more brownies.


Eric loading up his pizza with spinach and sun-dried tomatoes, among other things

Sunday was our big endurance day. We drove out to Moses Cone Park where we ran the day before and headed out for a 56 mile bike out and back along the Blue Ridge Parkway. It was a gorgeous day with some great climbing and great views! Right after the run, we did an hour transition run with some tempo efforts thrown in. All-in-all, another great day of training. That night, Mike made an awesome quinoa vegetable dish.



                 Justin ready to head out for the ride                                       Eric also ready to roll









And Mike, ready to hit the Parkway                        


Half way through our ride on Sunday 


On our way back





Attempting a quick photo-shoot along this bridge

 Short break, last stop for the day



Some more of the great scenery we got to enjoy throughout the ride



One of the better pics we got riding over the bridge 


Eric got some great pics of everyone running down around the lake at Moses Cone Park
(Photo Credit: Eric Bean)




One of my favorites that Eric got down at the park


And a very special THANK YOU to Rudy Project for the helmets, glasses, and bag that arrived to the cabin while we were at camp! Thanks for keeping our heads and eyes safe and protected! 


American Triple-T Ohio - Portsmouth, OH
If you've read any of my blogs before, you probably know that I love the American Triple-T Ohio! It is actually 4 triathlons over 3 days and is always a great weekend of racing/training that is a big fitness booster going into the rest of the season. This is the 5th year I've done Triple-T and the 2nd year in a row I was racing with teammate Jared Milam, a Pro Triathlete I met a few years back at this race. Last year we won the male team competition and were looking to repeat. Usually the weather is on the warm side for the weekend, especially for Saturday afternoon and the run on Sunday. It was the complete opposite this year and the coldest it has ever been at Triple-T and probably the coldest I've ever raced in (Lubbock, TX for collegiate nationals was a close 2nd!).

Race #1 -Friday Night - Super Sprint - this race is mostly a formality but its still fun to go fast and get the weekend started on a good note.
Swim: 4:04
T1: 1:00
Bike: 10:14
T2: 0:43
Run: 5:57
Finish: 21:58 - 3rd Overall

Race #2 - Saturday Morning - Olympic - it was COLD this morning (Low 40's air temp!!)
Swim: 19:21
T1: 2:22 - I took the time to dry off, put on a jacket and gloves, etc
Bike: 1:10:51
T2: 0:51
Run: 39:40
Finish: 2:13:04 - 3rd overall

Race #3 - Saturday Afternoon - Olympic - still cool out, but pretty good racing weather. This is the 1st team race where those racing as a team have to start and finish together and are allowed to draft on the bike together. Its also in a different order than normal - Bike/Swim/Run

Bike: 1:10:55
T1: 2:59
Swim: 21:20
T2: 2:33
Run: 44:45
Finish: 2:22:32 - fastest team time - 2nd/3rd fastest overall


Start of Race #3 - common theme of the weekend was arm warmers, toe covers, and CEP compression sleeves 


Finally trying out the Compex after race #3. Also drinking some Tart Cherry Juice which is supposed to help with inflammation


Jared enjoying some cereal while using the Compex


Race #4 - Sunday Morning - Half Ironman - VERY COLD weather (in the upper 30's at the start!!) - By far this was the coldest race I have ever done! Obviously with the outside temp being that cold, the water temp had also dropped a few degrees and was probably in the upper 50's. Saturday morning I took the time to put on a jacket, and although at times I got a little warm, overall I was fine and never over-heated. It was DEFINITELY colder than Saturday morning from the actual temperature to the ride down to transition area (you could just tell it was colder), and the slightly colder water temp, I decided to go ahead and wear arm warmers and a jacket along with gloves, toe warmers, and compression sleeves. This turned out to be a lifesaver (literally), as my teammate Jared decided not to wear a jacket and just had arm warmers on. We started the bike together and about 5 miles in, I could tell he wasn't doing well. He was becoming borderline hypothermic (due to the cold water + cold air temp + zipping down some of the large hills at high speeds) so we stopped and I gave him my jacket. I was cold but I had built up enough internal body heat at that point and I knew he needed it more than I did otherwise he wasn't going to be able to continue on and probably would have ended up in the hospital. We plugged along a few more miles and he started feeling better but it had definitely taken a lot out of him. We had built up a pretty sizable lead on the male team behind us but at this race anything can happen. We knew we just needed to keep pushing forward, get through the bike, and run a steady half marathon to hold onto our overall lead. Jared started feeling good during the 2nd half of the bike so I just sat in on his wheel (drafting is allowed between teammates during the 3rd and 4th race at Triple-T). We came into T2 and the guys that we were racing were out ahead of us on the run. We new it wasn't over yet and had some work to finish things off. After a steady 13.1 miles which included Jared literally pushing on my back on a number of the uphills, we finished behind the guys we were racing but were close enough to them that we held onto our overall lead by a combined 20 minutes.

Swim: 23:02
T1: 3:46
Bike: 2:50:29
T2: 1:17
Run: 1:34:19
Finish: 4:52:54 - 1st Overall Male Team


Heading out on the run



Me and Jared coming in toward the finish of the run



Amanda heading out for her 2nd lap on the run



Jared and I after race #4! 1st Overall Male Team! 



 Me and Amanda after race #4



 Outside the Shawnee Lodge where we stayed all weekend


Jared and I sporting our finishers shirts, medals, cycling caps and winning belt buckles! 

If you made it to this point, thanks for reading! I'll be working on part 2 very soon, so stay tuned!