A year ago I had the best day of my life, I got to toe the line with the best in the world at Kona, Hawaii.
Yes, it was my slowest time by far, but what most don’t know is that I lost 2:30 hours on the first 5kms of the bike due to a mechanical problem that had no way of fixing and I had to sit on the road and wait for the mechanical aid to show up.To put it in perspective, I swam in 57:22, the race started at 6:55am, which means I was on my bike well before 8:00am and I rode 5kms in 2:30 hours. When I restarted my bike it was 10:30am! Every single person passed me, yet I got on my bike, managed a 4:48 split, which would’ve been one of the fastest of the day and then on the run, all was well until some pain showed up in the bottom of my right foot, something I have never felt before…which made me walk for most of the run and later I found out I had a stress fracture.
So, yes…the absolute best day of my life making it to that finish line. After everything I went through I did not finish last in my age group, nor did I gave up on having that Kona Finish experience.
Today, I am recovering from a hip surgery, I went in one year from the best shape of my life to be sitting down and doing very little exercise, but this too shall pass and I will be back in Kona, that is for sure.
Días como hoy me hacen pensar muchísimo en lo que quiero hacer en mi vida. Ya tengo 28 años, un pregrado en arquitectura y pronto una maestría en diseño interior. Me gusta mucho ser una persona creativa, creo que soy muy bueno en lo que hago, que tengo un futuro brillante como arquitecto o diseñador, pero también se que esto no es lo que me apasiona en la vida. Yo pensé que al venir a USA a hacer esta maestría encontraría esa pasión que tanto he buscado, y la encontré, venir acá era definitivamente algo que tenia que hacer. Estando acá encontré lo que “quiero ser” (si, a los 28 años todavía no soy…quiero ser), se me abrieron puertas hacia otro mundo que jamás pensé que existían o, mas aun, que se me abrirían a mi.
Siguiendo a amigos y desconocidos hoy en el Ironman Texas me confirma una vez más que mi pasión es el deporte. Es muy difícil expresar con palabras lo que me hace sentir, lo que me hace pensar, lo vivo que me siento cuando lo hago, los sueños que me hace tener y los que me esta haciendo perseguir. Lo que si se es que día a día me levanto con el mismo sueño, con el mismo objetivo, ser deportista profesional, demostrarme a mi mismo que si soy capaz de llegar a donde quiero, que puedo ser de los mejores del mundo, que puedo ser campeón mundial.
Esto puede sonar a cliché, puede sonar a que estoy escribiendo algo imposible, que mis resultados hasta ahora dicen lo contrario, pero si algo he aprendido en mi corta experiencia de triatleta es que no existe arma más letal que la disciplina, lo cual significa que simplemente se trata de seguir intentando, seguir queriendo ser. Por el momento hay algo dentro de mi que me mueve, que me dice que tengo que por lo menos nunca dejar de intentar. Debo por lo menos tratar de cumplir este sueño, o como yo lo pienso: este objetivo.
Esto es algo que he estado queriendo decir hace mucho tiempo y no he encontrado la manera de decirlo o me ha dado temor expresar algo tan personal, pero ahí está; escrito. De hecho es el único post en español, en mi idioma, tal cual pienso.
Hace 4 años nadar 10 piscinas era imposible, corrí un triatlón inventado por mi y unos amigos y quede de ultimo. Este año voy para un mundial. Sera que si seré capaz de llegar a donde quiero? pues no se, ojalá lea esto en unos años y pueda responder que lo logré, o por lo menos que lo intenté.
I said on my last post that I would talk about my goals for the race after, so here they are (in order of “easy to hard”)
PB on the distance, hopefully under 4:30
top 5 in my AG
win my AG
top 10 in overall
Qualify to Australia World Championship.
Now the race:
I traveled with a good friend from NYC and stayed with him in a cheap hotel about 15min away from the race. We got up at 4:00am, totally stupid thing to do since we started racing at 8:00am, but the race organizers decided to close transition by 6:00am when the race started at 6:50am. We got to transition early as hell with a coffee in our hands and our breakfast packed up in a bag. After organizing everything, getting body marked, etc, we headed to a friends car to chill and eat and wait for 2 hours! I put on my Suarez trip suit and headed to the swim start, it was finally time to race after so many months of training.
The swim was a wetsuit swim, which I liked since I had bought my ROKA Maverick a year ago and since then all of my races weren’t wetsuit legal, so it was time to test that baby in a real race and not in a hot indoor pool. I was on the last wave which meant that we had to pass pretty much everyone at some point during the race!
We got in the water 5min before the gun went off so I just swam a little, made sure my goggles weren’t leaking and set up myself right at the front, next to a guy whom I knew was a fast swimmer and I wanted a ride behind him (note the word: wanted!) As soon as the gun went off I went as hard as I could and when the group started to break up I realized I was at the front for about 400m but then a really fat dude cut into me and I lost contact with the faster guys, it was all by myself now and dodging thousands of people along the way.
the ‘M’ shape of the swim wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be, but I felt horrible the entire swim, from a ‘feeling’ point of view this has been one of my worst swims ever. When I exited the water I realized that my swim time was around 30min, way more than what I was expecting, but given the circumstances that I felt like sh*t I can take it. If my bad days are like this one, I guess it’s OK.
On to my strength…the bike. The day was pretty cool and overcast which meant worst cyclists than me would be able to keep up with me. I figured I was way back from the front guys of my AG and just started hammering the bike for around 40k passing hundreds of people. The course was pretty flat, with very little to no wind at all and I was able to ride those first 40k in one hour flat, not bad at all. for the next 30k I pushed off the gas a little bit and then at the last 20k I rode like a 2year old, bad bad mistake.
Turns out I rode 2:22, again not bad but not great and certainly well under my capabilities. When I saw the watch I was a bit disappointed but I knew I was doing a decent race but probably not catching anybody in front of me.
The run was, as always, a big question mark. I started to run as fast as I possibly could and find a rhythm that I felt comfortably uncomfortable with! It was a 3 loop run and there was just no way of knowing where you stood in the race, my guess would be that I was within the first 10 of my age group. The run is pretty uneventful, the only thing was 3 hills at the start of each lap and the heat had picked up a little bit but it was never bad bad heat. I ran a 1:34 which again left me wanting more but it wasn’t bad either.
Back to my goals:
1. I did PB on the distance with a total time of 4:32:03 and my friend from NYC beat me by one second…ONE SECOND!!!
2-4 I didn’t do any of those, I was very surprised to see that with a 4:30 I was so far back in standings, it just was a fast day with even faster guys. Ended up being 13th in my AG and 45 overall. Nowhere near close what I expected.
I nailed numero Cinco. QUALIFIED FOR THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS!!! so scratch the other 4 I just made my way into my first world championship and I couldn’t be more happy! So Sunny Coast here I Come!
Of course I look with a very critical eye my results and will analyze what happened in the race with my coach because although it has been my best race yet, it’s still nowhere near close of what I am capable of. Lots of mental training to come in the next few weeks and races.
It’s already April and my triathlon racing is finally going to start next weekend. I have been training with very little rest since November of last year and I am hungry to race.
A lot has happened after my Boulder race, I have a new coach, a new way of training, lived in NY, then back to Colombia, then back home and finally I have settled in my student/triathlete life now and made it manageable.
My main focus for this year is to participate (and do well) in any, or both, world championships. I have big goals in the sport and I know that this year is the start of it. For the past few weeks I was lucky enough to go to Boulder, CO and train with my coach, Rebekah Keat which has been the most amazing experience to be under her guidance.
My year will start on Florida 70.3 in Haines City, a non-pro race. Right now my feeling is just to race, have fun and absolutely give it my best. Being the first of five races of the year it’s not an A race for sure but I am looking for a positive result, as always.
Physically I feel well, I have improved a lot since I started with Rebekah and I know that this race will show my hard work until now. As in every race I have 5 goals to achieve, which I will keep to myself for now, I will comment on them AFTER the race, but what I cna say is that they’re tough, I am setting a high bar that I know I can get to it if I have the performance I know I am capable of.
That’s all for now, post-race thoughts and goal achieving to come next week.
Este es un artículo que salió hace un tiempo sobre mi vida como deportista en la revista Club Campestre.
FELIPE MORA CONCHA
Toda su vida ha sido deportista, durante muchos años fue esquiador de alto nivel, pero consecuencia de un viaje a Milán, donde llego a sentir que enloquecía, corrió su primera maratón en esta misma ciudad; al regresar a Colombia e influenciado por su amigos probo con el ciclismo, para luego experimentar con el triatlón, deporte que lo enamoro.\
Vive en Estados Unidos, donde estudia una maestría en Interior Design en The Savannah College of Arts and Design es hijo de Sergio Mora, Adriana Concha y hermano de Susana y Alicia Mora.
De este deporte le gusta el hecho de combinar atletismo y ciclismo “y pues la natación poco a poco la he ido sobrellevando” Expresa Felipe: entrenar tres deportes al tiempo es una actividad donde nunca encuentra monotonía, siente que la satisfacción de cruzar la meta, sea cual sea el objetivo, es inigualable, es confirmar que se es más grande de lo que se piensa, es ir mas allá de los límites que cada persona cree posible. “Es muy difícil describir lo que se siente al terminar un Ironman, competencia de triatlón de larga distancia.” Afirma Mora.
Su primera competencia en triatlón fue en el Club Campestre sede Llanogrande, organizada por el y su grupo de amigos, en la cual además llego de ultimo. “Del último puesto en ese triatlón del Club a podios, y a tener un nivel competitivo en el mundo, esto lo he logrado con muchísimo sacrificio y entrega, no solo mío sino de todas las personas que me rodean.” Expresa Felipe
El deporte le ha enseñado que hay que trabajar muy duro por los objetivos y no rendirse nunca, aun cuando los resultados no sean positivos; en el 2014 obtuvo el puesto 12 en el Ironman de Lake Placid y en el 70.3 (medio) en Puerto Rico, en el Ironman de Maryland quedo de 6 con un tiempo de 9:46 cerrando el año en la posición 50 en el mundo en su categoría. En el 2015 participo en Ironman de Texas, Boulder y finalizo con la triatlón Challenge Florida, donde obtuvo el 2 puesto y la posibilidad de subir al podio por primera vez.
El 2016 es un año prometedor, pues ha conformado el equipo GoLong4All integrado por Nicolás Uribe, Juan Eugenio Valencia, Ana María Naranjo y Julián Duque, con el cual participara en Estado Unidos, Europa y en el mundial de Hawaii; su objetivo principal será Ironman 70.3 Cartagena, en su primera versión en Colombia.
Felipe sueña con ser un deportista elite de triatlón, participar en Hawaii y ganar un Ironman como profesional, y para lograrlo trabaja día a día dedicando gran parte de su tiempo con disciplina y constancia.
Considera que no existe un sueño tan grande que sea imposible de alcanzar, pero a su vez cree que si los sueños no nos asustan, entonces no son lo suficientemente grandes; por esta razón lleva tatuado en su cuerpo la frase: “Si no puedes volar entonces corre, si no puede correr entonces camina, si no puedes caminar entonces gatea, pero hagas lo que hagas tienes que seguir hacia adelante” de Martin Luther King, frase que además de identificarlo lo define.
I started the bike and I knew it was a little uphill at the beginning for like 10k and then it was screaming fast for a long time, so my plan was to take those first 10k a little above my power zone because I had a very long stretch to recover, the only thing that I had to take care of was not to spike the power too much because that kills the legs for the run.
I started passing all of the faster swimmers, as usual, and a very tall guy flew by me just to get burned like half a mile up the hill, passed him back and never saw the guy again. The bike was going rally well and I studied and rode the course on the week before the race so I had already a strategy of when to push and when to hold back. After a very long fast section came Nelson Rd. which was practically all uphill, but it had a percentage where I could just hold to my bars and keep pushing, after that it was fast again, and the wind was never bad so the bike leg was indeed faster of what people were thinking, at least for me.
Being Colombian really gives me an advantage on hills when compared to americans, it is usually in those places where I pass a lot of people and I also know they will hurt more than me if they try to follow me, so I really use the hills to my advantage and attack there.
The first loop of the bike went well and I passed the 90K mark in around 2:20, which was setting me up nicely to a PR.
After I repeated all the first loop there was a part that was only done to finish the bike segment and the only part were you could really know where you were on the bike, on a long out and back. When I was heading one direction I only saw one guy coming back and I thought that I had to be very close to the front guys because it was desolated. In the age group racing is very hard to know where you are in your category, and honestly I never knew where I was until I started running and saw my dad.
After this long out and back came the hardest part of the course, for me, it was a long steep hill of about 3k, go down and then back up again on a very similar hill. When I got to the top of the second hill and was ready to start going down again, this was around 160k, a guy was telling us where we were and he told me I was in 12th place!
I honestly couldn’t believe it, sure I know I am a strong biker and all, but 12th was something I never thought about. As I started going down one catches me and passes me, but he stops pedaling and my power just plummets, which is never a good thing, so I make the decision to pass him again. What I didn’t know was we were approaching a very narrow turn, so I passed the guy at like 60, 70 kph and BOOM…hit the deck.
The first thought that came to my mind was Texas, were I DNF because of an injury, and I just couldn’t DNF yet another Ironman in the same year. As I laid on the floor with an incredible pain all over my body, some people came to help me but I just couldn’t stand up, it was hurting way too much. I laid on the floor waiting for the pain to go away and started to check for any broken bones, I realized I hit pretty much my entire left side hence my shoulder, arm, hip, knee and my head. When I saw, or at least I thought there was;t anything broken, a guy had my bike. So I checked it and saw that it was OK, just some painful scratches on my Trek Speed Concept, the guy put on the chain for me, and off again to finish like this.
I still had 20K to go (13mi) and I was feeling fine, the normal pain of the hit and a lot of road rash everywhere. I had to twist my arm to grab the bike because my entire elbow was bloody and with rash.
Nevertheless I got off the bike in 4:52, a pretty decent time given the situation. I was aiming for 4:40 or less, but still a sub 5 with such a crash was not bad at all.
I came into T2 and as soon as I started walking the pain on my hip was unbearable, to make it worst it was that exact hip that made me retire from Texas. But I just thought that I could run the pain away, or crawl the marathon but I had to finish no matter what.
When I started running with my ON shoes, I saw my dad, told him what happened but said that I had no pain (yea right!) then he said to me: you are in the lead.
I found this article on Time Magazine and felt that I need to share it!
Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career.
By: Joshua Steimle
If exercise stops, then everything else will start falling apart
There’s a prevalent attitude among entrepreneurs that the business, whatever that business is, comes first. It is the high priority that trumps everything else, including family, friends and especially health.
I’ve seen entrepreneurs sacrifice all these things, sometimes with tragic consequences, to focus on making their businesses successful. I’ve also done it myself, although I’m one of the lucky ones. During the years I made my business my highest priority, my wife stuck by my side, I didn’t cause any permanent damage with friendships (although I certainly didn’t nurture any) and I didn’t die.
It’s not greed that motivates us entrepreneurs. It would be difficult to justify the sacrifices we make if the only reward were money. Dollars become mere points in a sort of game. What it’s really about is building something great, doing something that matters and changing the world. That’s what makes it so easy to brush other things off. But it’s a mistake. I know that now, and that’s why today I care more about exercise than my business. But it’s not easy.
I have a growing business with 14 team members. These men and women rely on me to make sure their paychecks come on time, that benefits are there for them and their families, and that obstacles are removed so they can get their work done. We have approximately 40 clients, who are depending on me to make sure they’re getting the results that will help their businesses grow.
This adds up to a lot of tasks, and a lot of pressure. On any given day there are easily 100 important things I should be doing for my business, 50 of which are also urgent, but there is no way I can get more than 10 things done. And yet each and every week I spend at least 10 hours on focused, physical exercise.
I schedule my workouts during the workday and prioritize exercise over all my work activities. There is some flexibility, but if there is a conflict between a trail run I need to get in, and a meeting with a client, I’ll reschedule the client meeting first. I do this because I and my business can survive the consequences of rescheduling a client meeting, even if it means losing that client. But as soon as I start pushing workouts off, I’ll start missing workouts, and once I start missing workouts, I’m close to stopping workouts altogether.
Exercise must come first, or it’s unlikely to happen at all.
If exercise stops, then my health goes downhill. With the loss of physical health my productivity at work goes down. I become depressed. I lose motivation to do the things that makes my business successful. I’ve learned firsthand that excellence in one area of my life promotes excellence in all other areas of my life. Exercise is the easiest area of my life to control. It’s easy to measure. Either I get it in, or I don’t. When I do, it lifts up all other areas of my life, including my business.
For a long time, I was fooled into thinking that if my business wasn’t the top priority, then that meant I wasn’t doing all I could do to make it successful. This is an understandable way of thinking, but it’s completely wrong.
If my life is made up of 10 priorities, then it’s not as simple as saying that if I move the business from being priority two to priority one, that the business is going to benefit. The trick is to figure out which ordering of priorities provides the maximum overall benefit.
For example, when I exercise, that makes me better in every role I have, whether it’s as a husband, father, friend or entrepreneur. If I were to stop exercising because I felt that being a good business owner was a higher priority, then ironically I would end up a worse business owner than I was when it when it was a lower priority. Putting exercise first creates a win-win.
As my business grows, I see members of my team falling into the same trap I did. That’s why we’re working to institute health incentives, and why I’m not ashamed to talk about the time I take out of my work day to exercise. I know that if my team members put exercise and health before their jobs, they might work fewer hours, but they’ll feel better about themselves, have more fulfilling lives and they’ll produce better results with the hours they do work.
Race day came along and the same ritual that has worked for me in the past was all set. Wake up @ 4:00 am and get a shower, eat breakfast that consists of 2 bananas, 2 ensure bottles, 2 loafs of bread with almond butter, and grab a perform bottle for the hours to come.
My dad and I went to the Boulder High School in the car, since I always try to walk as little as possible before a race. We found a parking spot and went to T2 to organize my run gear. Which always is a Headsweats visor, a pair of oakley sunglasses, a pair of black socks, ON running shoes, race number and belt and the nutrition. My nutrition plan for this race was BASE salt, along with 4 power gels, 2 Honey stinger waffles and the rest would come from the aid stations.
Once all this was done it was time to grab the bus that would take us from T2 to the swim start, which was the only way to get there. There were so many buses to take athletes and families to the reservoir that it was literally no wait line at all.
I got to the reservoir at around 5:30am ready to set up my cycling bag and my bike prior than focusing on the race. When I arrived there the announcer was saying that the water temperature was 78 degrees, which meant no wetsuit for those hoping to qualify for awards and kona slots. I honestly didn’t care, I was just prepared for anything. After setting up my cycling bag (helmet, shoes, BASE salt, 4 waffles and 2 gels) I went to set up my bike. One thing I like to do a couple days before a race, is to write on a piece of paper everything I need to do and have on each bag, on my bike, on the swim, etc. Because with the anxiety of race day we often forget little things, like for example leaving the chain on the big ring, turning on the garmin, taking body glide to the swim, etc. After fighting with my garmin to make it find my power meter for quite a while, I had to take my bike to a corner so the watch was able to find my pedals and not the other 2000 that were around, I was ready to focus and throw on my Roka Viper Pro Swimskin.
I went to the swim start and position my self at the front of the race, where I can catch some faster swimmers and be able to swim behind them the whole way, not totally at the front but between the “under 60” and 1:00-1:10 people. The cannon went off and instead of everybody running like crazy to the water we were encouraged to walk and everybody did which made the start much smoother and a lot less kicking at the start.
I was using Roka F1 goggles, the best I’ve had so far and thanks to them I was able to spot everything quite easy, both with the sun in my face and against it. The start of the swim was nice and we got to see part of the sunrise which is always beautiful and it meant it was going to be a hot race (which I always enjoy). The swim was quite simple, a huge triangle so it made every turn about the same distance from the next which made it easy to break the swim in three parts.
Unfortunately I never found people to swim behind them and pretty much it was me all the way with some guys right behind me the whole time. I was feeling smooth and great and was really concentrating on maintaining a good effort throughout the whole swim. My main goal was to be consistent and not burn nor go too slow.
The swim was calm and beautiful and I felt really good. My goal was to be as close as possible to 1:00 and there was a time were I thought I was going to be able to swim under an hour but I guess I burned up a little and ended up with a 1:05 swim, which for me wasn’t bad at all and put me in a good place to start catching people on the bike, which is my stronger discipline. I was 12th out of the water in my AG so to get to the top spots wasn’t going to take a crazy effort on the bike.
Ironman Boulder was supposed to be a breakthrough race for me, the spot where I would finally get my slot to Kona and be able to race among the best in the world, plus some other people that go there by other accomplishments; racing a lot or paying a lot, anyway, still almost all of who go to Hawaii are the best in the world and I wanted to take a shot against all of them.
I went to Boulder with such great expectations, a race in altitude and with a hilly bike leg, Just like where I grew up and where I train every day, sounds like a good match. Boulder, as we all know, happens to be the home for many top triathletes and that had me excited too, to meet some of them and to see the place they all go to become the best in the world, and since in the future I want to be one of them it was exciting to see where they lived.
I arrived there with my dad and we were automatically blown away by the beauty of this place, it was just simply amazing, the city, the landscape, everything. Plus, you saw people cycling, running, walking or just doing some kind of activity wherever you looked.
After building up my bike, which is always uncomfortable on a hotel room I was ready to hit the roads for my first training day in the course. I had to bike 1:30 with some short efforts, just a little above race pace. Once I started my ride I felt it was meant for me, the course had these false flats, some downhill and the screaming fast flats, broken up by more hills. I felt great, my power was great and I just thought to myself that I was going to nail this race.
The next few days were all about training, swimming, running and some more biking. The swim had to be in a pool since the reservoir was only opening on certain days at a certain hour, so I went to a local pool. Every day throughout the week was the discussion about the water temperature, some people said there was no way it wasn’t going to be without a wetsuit, other said it was already too hot to be wetsuit legal, and it just went back and forth, bets came in place, pros were saying one thing, other were saying other, it was just funny to hear all of this. I was just mentally prepared for anything, Personally I couldn’t care less how the swim was going to be, I had swam a lot for this race and knew I could have a good swim that was going to set me up for a killer bike leg.
As for the run, one image says more than a 1000 words…I had the honor to run in this kind of scenery
The day before the race I was very lucky to meet Ben Hoffman and Tim Don, two guys that were incredibly kind a we had a really good conversation about a lot of stuff. I also got some good advice on the course, gear, goals, it was a just a really cool conversation. It was just so much fun to have met those two guys the day before. Oh and The Hoff speaks fluent Spanish!
It just made me even more prepared to what I came for…to win.
Little that I knew, Boulder had a little surprise for me.
(This is a post written shortly after Texas that I hadn’t published)
I haven’t written in a while and that was because I was too focused on training for Ironman Texas and keeping up with my duties in my job and at graduate school. The past few weeks had been crazy and therefore it put me a lot of anxiety in my mind.
So the Ironman Texas story didn’t start on race day for me, it started before and it couldn’t have a worse ending…I had a difficult decision to make which was to pull out from the race.
I wasn’t well, my knee was getting into a bad shape, I had bad nutrition issues and on top of that my race was over, I wasn’t going to finish in the top spots.
So after 22Km of trying to run, but mostly walking. I gave it a lot of thought and if I was going to qualify for Kona, it wasn’t obviously going to happen that day but I have another shot two months from now and for that I needed to be fulley recovered. So at around the 21km mark I saw my Dad looking for me and worried, So that was it, time to take the chip off my ankle and call it a day.
In conclusion I know I did the right thing by pulling out but that was by far THE HARDEST THING I’VE EVER DONE, it was a really sad moment, all the sacrifices done by me and my loved ones, all the time put into it, the money, the effort…all for nothing.
I am feeling better now physically, although my knee is taking a lot of time to go back to normal. Mentally I am not that great, trying to get through it and convince myself that as an athlete these things happen, and you just have to move on and look forward. So for now it is recovery time for me.
Next Up…Ironman Boulder, where I will leave my skin in the course, I don’t know how its going to turn out but this awful experience just gave me more hunger for success and to finally grab what I have been chasing.