1. Tell us a little about yourself and life outside of triathlon
I grew up in Medellin, Colombia, a cycling crazy city, everybody over there has a bike so that’s one of the ways I got myself into this sport. I am an architect currently pursuing a masters degree in interior design here in the USA. So life has changed quite a bit for me, I’m in a new country, back to being a student and hopefully getting a job here, so yeah, lots of changes.
2. What is your A-Race this year and goals you have for it? I have two big races this season: Ironman Texas and Ironman Boulder. the main goal on both is to qualify for Kona. that is the focus of this season, either pass out or finish in the slots! Texas is coming up and I’ll get to race with my friends from home so I’m really looking forward to it and hopefully get my slot. If that happens I’ll just go really easy on Boulder, but on the other hand, if I don’t get my slot, then It’ll be all in in boulder. So it is kind of hard for me to say what A-race I have, I have an A goal if that makes sense.
3. have you done anything different to train for this race than before?
I have been training since 2014 under QT2 systems. I started with them because I wanted a more personal approach to my training based on my limiters, time, etc. and it has been awesome, in only my 2nd ironman with them I went 9:46 and really close to Kona, so this year my training hasn’t changed much, I am more focused and training more hours, but it is basically the same. My big change in training is that I am now training all by myself here in the US, and I come from a very hilly city (VERY!) to a completely flat one, so that has changed for me.
4. Share your favorite workout with us!
It definitely has to be any bike workout, it is my best sport out of the three and I really enjoy time in the saddle! My favorite bike workout are the tempo intervals. It goes something like warm up for 30min then go all out for 20 and rest for 5 and do that 2 or 3 times. I love the high efforts on the bike and the speed!
PATIENCE…what a hard task to accomplish in anything. Typically triathletes, or any athlete doesn’t have that much of a patience to get where he or she wants to. It is even hard to understand why you have to take days off and not be training. When in fact, by resting you are doing more than by training.
We all have to deal with an injury at some point in time and it is again, a matter of patience to step aside, do anything in your power to heal it and then…wait, wait until the damn injury is gone so you can get back to do what you love… Once you get back on the train, it is again a matter of patience to recover the fitness that you lost during the absence. Especially in a sport like long distance triathlon that a lot of your fitness comes over the years and it is a matter of building training on top of previous training, on top of more previous training, again patience, you get the idea by now.
I’ve had to deal with a couple of injuries during my short two years at doing this and one of them is very recent, exactly on spring break, where I could focus solely on training I had to make the hard decision to not do anything but recover from the grueling pain I had in my right hip. Then again, I have lost fitness and speed and still working on getting it back. What I am trying to point out is that it is no secret that any sport has an extra discipline to it…mental toughness and one of the ingredients of this toughness is patience. Learning how to trust your instincts, trust what your body tells you, trust your training and not over do it or under do it, know when to step aside for the greater good (if you want to be in it for the long haul, like myself), etc. I can keep writing about factors that require our patience and resiliency to hang in there and believe in you.
Believe in yourself, in the effort that you put into your things, and have the patience to see the results that will definitely come your way!
I am now two moths away from one of the A races of the year, it has been a tough training: through a winter (although I know it is not THAT cold here in Savannah but it does get to 0`C (32F) and below, which is way too cold for my Colombian blood), and at the beginning of the year I got really sick. Second of all, 99.99% of my training is alone, I swim alone, I bike alone, I run alone, which gets boring some times and os of now I am sidelined by an old injury that came back and I have been training very little for the past two weeks but will get back to it tomorrow and hope for the best.
These days have been very hard mentally, it is really hard to not train your butt off when every inch of your body and mind want to, but the pain comes right back and I just have to call it a day. It hits you, it plays with you, but I have to be strong mentally to come out of this and be even stronger. In reality I haven’t lost any fitness for these days off. It has been a week of 1 run (that I had to cut short), 4 swims and two bike rides. So in reality I am not taking step backs in terms of fitness. Before this happened I was having good numbers in my training, especially running I have been feeling great and fast!
I still believe that I have the capability of being in the top spots in Texas, but it is not going to be an easy task. There are some guys going from my age group that is going to take my absolute best ability to beat them or finish really close to them.
It is this immense desire to succeed and to make it to Hawaii that keeps me waking up every day and doing what needs to be done, even though things sometimes aren’t in my favor as I mentioned at the beginning. I AM CERTAIN THAT I WILL MAKE IT HAPPEN!!!!
On my next post I will write about patience, a huge factor to really be successful in ironman racing. see you all then!
2014 was an extremely positive year, an I’ve written about it in my previous posts. Another result, that I am really happy with, is that I was able to finish within the top 1% in my Age Group (25-29) in the IRONMAN ranking. It is just another token that tells me that I am on the right path to the top but still a long way to go. Anyway, its a pretty good result, out of 10,917 that raced in my age group in 2014, not only was I in the top 1%. I ended up on 59th place, with a year best of 11. (yes, there was a time of the year were I was on 11th place), still to end up in the top 60 is a really good accomplishment.
To me, all these little things help me get through the harsh times, there are days when you don’t want to do anything, don’t even want to look at your bike, but is all these accomplishments, and the future goals that make me get up, do what needs to be done, enjoy it, and at the end of the day be glad that I overcame whatever mental lockdown was holding me.
To some people this might not mean anything, to me it means that all of the training that I put in, the racing, the money, my family’s sacrifice, etc. Paid off, that I can accomplish whatever I set myself into, the only secret to it is discipline and hard work, and that applies to anything, whatever floats your boat in life…be disciplined, work hard!
One of my goals for this year is to start, or at least get, some support for my triathlon career, and I’ve already achieved two things, the first one is that I am part of the QT2 Systems Elite Age Group Team, a team full of good people, good coaching and one of the best ones out there. I am happy to represent during my training and racing a coaching philosophy that gave me incredible results last year and I hope these results will keep coming this year. Not only that, but being part of the team also means that I start to make myself noticeable in the ti world, and if going pro or being really good is my goal, I believe this was the next stepping stone in that process.
The support that comes from QT2 is amazing, fellow athletes, coaching, dietitians, is just a great experience so far, So I’m glad I could make it into the elite age group team and from now on my next goal will be to make into the elite team, or the developing pros.
The second thing is that I am able to have support from the best brand of headwear in the world, I have been their user since the first day I started doing Triathlon, I am talking obviously of Headsweats. I will be part of their 2015 ambassador program and will be representing them as well during training and racing.
I hope that these new relationships I am building will last over time and eventually can turn into something bigger, but small steps is the way to go and I couldn’t be any happier right now!
If you are interested in buying awesome swag from Headsets, feel free to contact me for a discount code!
As of this year I have changed my running shoes, why?
Well, I have been running for quite some time now with Saucony but for some time I wasn’t feeling as comfortable as I used to on these shoes, even though I had a new pair of kinvara’s. So I decided to look for another brand of shoes that might work better for me. What happens with these decisions is that it is a trial and error experiment, you just have to buy shoes until you get the ones you were looking for, and yes I did buy more than a pair before finding the right ones.
I did my research at first within the Saucony brand, since I really like them and is what my body is used to. I’ve always been a neutral runner but for some reason, maybe some tight spots, I was pronating a bit, and with my hip history I thought that maybe it was because I’ve used neutral shoes all this time and really I had to run in a little bit of stability. So I went and tried the Saucony Guide 8’s. It was awful, ever since I put them on my feet started to hurt, my legs got tighter and developed some shin splints, it was truly not the shoe for me. So after this bad experience I started to do my research away from Saucony and came across an article about New Balance in Lava Magazine, from the description of the shoe it seemed like the perfect shoe for my running gait and style. I asked a friend that recently changed from saucony to new balance and only said good thing about this shoe. I also was looking for a shoe with a little bit more of drop for training, Kinvara’s and Cortana’s are both 4mm, so I wanted to try an 8mm shoe which, theoretically, helps a bit during training, impact wise. Long story short, I bought a pair of New Balance 890’s and since the first time that I put them on I knew I had found the new shoes for me, they are lightweight, 8mm drop, just a tad of support where I need it to be, but still a neutral shoe. Haven’t had any pains, I don’t have anything negative to say about the 890’s. Maybe somewhere along the line I will feel something but as for now everything has been great and hope to continue in this path with New Balance.
I have already trained with them for tempo runs, slow runs, long runs, I have done every possible run in my training repertoire and they keep feeling better and better. I am planning, of course, on buying a pair of a more racing shoe and the idea is to go with the 1600’s, the shoe that won Kona in both genders. If Kienle and Carfrae won Kona with this brand, there has to be something especial about it, don’t you think?
I invite anyone looking for shoes to try this brand, They are coming back into the triathlon world and coming back strong!!
If you want more in-depth opinion or review of the shoes feel free to contact me.
Its that time of year where we can dream about the new season to come, and with that new challenges, new goals, and an unstoppable desire for success. For me the goal is one…make it Kona. It is indeed a hard goal to reach, but I believe in myself, If I don’t nobody else will. So in order to race in October I have to set up my 2015 plan which also sounds simple: Two Ironman races, one in may and one in August. The reason for them being two is to have a back up plan in case something goes wrong on the first one. But my determination and my training plan is set to get my ticket in May. My two races are going to be Texas and Boulder; I chose these races first because of their dates and second because of my skills. \
Texas is very hot and humid and where I come from is also really hot and where I live right now the humidity is twice what it is over there. It is a warm race and until today my other Ironman racing has been done in cool weather so it would be nice to change. Other things are that I will be racing with some friends from back home and that is always good, the goal os for all of us to qualify in this race.
I actually chose Boulder before Texas because this town is the mecca for triathlon and how nice would it be to get to know the place!, but my reasons for this race were because of the altitude, I’m used to it, where I’ve lived all my life is about 5,000ft (1,600m) above sea level so that would definitely be an advantage. Also because of the course, is also really similar to what I’m used to. The other reason is that an August race would most definitely have a roll down so that would mean that if I don’t have my expected race I still have a chance of getting my spot in the roll down. My third piece of the puzzle for this year is to find sponsorship, This is a highly expensive sport and I am finding it very hard to combine it with being a student and having almost no income. I will be part of my coaching Age Group Elite team in QT2 systems, so that is a starting point. But I will be knocking on doors and setting up a plan to find people, brands, companies that believe in what I do and want to partner up in order for me to chase this dream.
I can feel that 2015 is going to be my year, I WILL QUALIFY TO KONA. I am going to do whatever it takes to make my dream come true of being among the best in the sport.
oh, and by the way, my 2015 already started a month ago, so training is under way! I hope that all of you who are reading this reaches their goals for the season to come in whatever is that you do!
If you have any questions, comments, sponsorhip offers, or just want to know more feel free to contact me at any time!
The year is about to come to an end and the 2015 season is starting for me now. So it’s that time of year to look back and analyze what happened throughout this year and what could be done to get better and what positive outcomes I had and continue to apply them for 2015.
Thinking back on Ironman Maryland…What a race! not only did I do a sub-10 Ironman but I crashed the 10 hour line in 9:46:57, it was my PR by 45min! a bike split that was one of the fastest of the day, and the list can go on.
I decided to do this race after Lake Placid which was only two months away and it seemed a little risky to do two ironman’s in that time span but something inside me just told me that it was the race for me to do to close the season. It also seemed like a good shot to get a slot for Kona 2015. And by that time I would be already living in the U.S, so tickets were cheaper and the flight way shorter, so it seemed like the race to do.
Every race leaves you with positive things and aspects that make you think were you can improve. The most important thing about this race is that it left me thinking was that I am actually good at this, it is only my second year of racing iron distance and I crushed the 10 hour line. Since that day all I think about is how fast can I go, am I actually good enough to dedicate myself entirely to it? How far am I from breaking the 9 hour line? what about winning? I know its a long shot and probably it will take years but why not? I am certainly passionate about the sport and the life around it.
But as good as it sounds to dream with this, when I really think about it I am light years away from the real good ones in the sport. Its funny that I started to do triathlon from a running background and as of today running became my weak link. I consider myself a decent swimmer, not front of the pack but neither the back, Cycling is my strongest leg and usually I pass tons of people on it, but then it comes to the marathon where I get passed, I mean in Lake Placid I was 3rd off the bike and ended up 12th, on Maryland I was 4th and ended 6th, still a better outcome, but as always getting passed. I need to have the proper pace to be able to maintain my spots or at least give a harder fight. I think I am in the point that I have to sacrifice what it takes to win, that simple…I want to win.
This burning desire inside me that says to me every second of every day that this is what I want to do, It’s what really keeps me going and training every day, sacrificing a lot to do it, getting up, putting up with countless hours on a trainer, inside a pool, etc. Even when I just want to lay on a couch and do nothing, I get up and do it. And if I don’t I feel like sh*t at the end of the day. All of this simply because I want to be the best, I am happy when I race, when I train, I am me.
The support I get from my girlfriend, my family, especially the economic support from my father is what makes this possible. I know it sound cheesy, but it is true, I wouldn’t be able to do this without them. There’s not enough words or lifetimes enough to thank them and be grateful. What I can say sure is: THANK YOU!
As posted before Ironman Maryland turned out to be the best race I have ever had. Although a lot of external things played against me weeks before the race.
Since I am already living in the U.S getting to Cambridge, MD wasn’t the normal hustle or long trip from home. It was a one hour flight from Savannah to Washington D.C and then about 2 hours in the car. The hotel I was staying at was not in Cambridge because that is a very small town and everything was booked. My hotel was about 30min away in Seaford, DE. A good hotel and a reasonable price, definitely recommended to anyone who wants to go and race there. (Comfort inn Seaford). The race was scheduled for Saturday September 20th. I got there on the night of the wednesday before, just enough to swim bike and run a little on thursday and then rest up on friday.
The only change in m schedule for race morning was that I had to wake up half hour earlier given that I was half hour away from the race, the rest was pretty much the same ritual. Wake up, have my choice of breakfast which is bananas, bread with a lot of Nutella (secret ingredient right there!!) and something to drink. Take a shower, get ready and off to Cambridge. We got there and it was still dark but the town was already awake, lots of people around.
Made it into transition and packed my run and bike bags, if you read my previous lake placid post you know that I don’t pack my bags the day before, I just hand them in with something in them, but all my stuff is put in race morning. That way you ensure everything is organised and more importantly NOT WET from the morning breeze.
Organised my bike with the bottles, air pressure on tires, dryer the saddle and handlebars and it was go time.
The swim (1:09)
By far the hardest swim out of every Ironman course I’ve been in. The first loop was a bigger loop than the second one so it was hard to know how far I was into the swim. Anyway, once I finished the first loop I knew that it was going to be a slow time but I just figured that the conditions were the same for everybody, so if I was a having a slow swim so as my other competitors.
The water condition was good anyway, a legal wetsuit swim and the water wasn’t cold. It is a little salty though. Definitely this was the hardest leg of the day. I never found a group to swim with, I was alone for the most part of the swim but I had fun, I never felt in a hurry or desperate, I just knew that when I got out of the water it was game on for me, and do what I can do best…the bike.
The bike (4:48)
Four hours and Forty eight minutes…need I say more? that is a fast bike split! (for me).
the bike course was the same as the swim…one loop the cut it short for the 2nd time around. The course was set to be fast anyway…flat and very little wind. Flat doesn’t mean easy anyway, for the most part I was riding alone until two or three guys passed me and I was able to ride with them, legally of course, It was cool because we all rode by the rules and kept the distance and took turns at the front. It was like this until they burned down and it was just another guy and me until I burned down and he got away from me. The last part was kind of weird because since I was 20th off the bike (overall) there were very few riders and this part of the course I couldn’t see anyone in front or behind me and the road had cars so I really thought I got lost for a moment there, but turned out I didn’t. I guess this is a part on where the organisation can do better and close that road for traffic! It felt like a training ride. o made my way back into town and spotted my girlfriend just before T2 and she was happy to see me that I was going fast! she told me I was fourth!
The Run (3:43)
This marathon was a three loop run. I really liked it like this, you get to see your opponents a lot and measure how far behind or up ahead you are. Besides that you get to see whoever is following you 6 times! The marathon started and I was 20th overall, which was already pretty impressive and my goal was to run a 3:30, that meant 8:00min/mile pace. What happens in this part of the race is that people go crazy and start running so fast so a lot of people passes me at the end of the first loop, and that kind of plays with you mentally but I knew I had to be patient and pass most of them again at the end if I was able to hold to my pace. In my age group I got passed as well I think at mile 5 or 6, so I was now 5th. The course was again very flat and hot! very few shadow parts.
I was able to hold my 8:00 min/mile pace for a little over the half marathon mark and from there it was slower, but never walked or felt burned it was just the pace I was able to hold on to. At the ends of the 2nd loop I was passed by another person from my age group and I wasn’t able to hold on to his pace, which I din’t like it because I was now 6th and I had to finish 5th for a podium finish. The person behind me was very far from me so I knew that as worse as it could get I was going to finish 6th. In the last lap I had an unfortunate call of nature and was obligated to do a bathroom stop and that made me lost like 4 minutes, but it was a situation where I couldn’t run well anymore. After this “break” I had about 12k (7.5mi) to go and was able to pick up the pace a little bit. Right at the end of the marathon when pain goes away due to the excitement of finishing another ironman I saw a guy in front of me and I wanted to pass him so I had to sprint for about 1/4 mile and was able to catch him just meters, or feet, from the finish line.
Finished with a 9:46:57 time, my sprint helped me to go down to 9:46! and this was my PR by 45 minutes!!! An awesome race, awesome day. (6th overall and 38th overall)
Thoughts on the race and conclusion on my next post (So this one doesn’t become too long!)