GOING SUB-10

IM-Maryland

On Ironman Maryland, only 2 months apart from Ironman Lake Placid I had set my last race of the year and the first attempt to make it to Kona 2015.

It was my first sub-10 race (9:46:57), Raced with my new super-bike that only used it 3 weeks before the race, moved to a new country 3 weeks before the race…in other words a lot of things happened before this race that dropped my expectations, but little that I knew I was in for the greatest race day of my career.

Race recap, review and more to come soon on my new Ironman Maryland post!!!

(Head to the Gallery to check out race photos)

Ironman Lake Placid Race

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So it’s been a while since I raced Lake Placid but, as we all do, I remember step by step what happened during the race! So I’ll try to break it down, write about what happened personally as well as my thoughts on the race itself, course, etc.

First of all is of course race morning:
The race was scheduled to start at 6:30am, so that meant 30 minutes less of sleep than usual! Woke up at 3:30am, the normal ritual for me is to wake up and have a shower, have breakfast…bananas, bread with nutella and eggs. Grab the bag pack packed from the past night with everything needed for the race and go to transition. If there is one piece of advice I can give you is never put your stuff in the bike and run bags the day before, if it rains, like it did, then you will find everything wet. Just put something in them to make them look like they have something inside when you check them in, and then on race morning set them up, as well as your stuff on your bike. After this visit to transition was done headed down to the lake to where my friends were and started putting on the wetsuit.

The Swim (1:03:46)
So the swim started with the new “swim-smart” initiative, which is supposed to work fine, but that would only be for they first lap. I seeded myself with the under 60min people, my target was to do it the closest I could to an hour. The first lap was fine and was fast (30:00) but then the second lap is where the swim smart is not so smart, because the slow swimmers are still at the beginning of the swim so you have to pass them all, and that takes an extra effort on you to pass all these people and it will cost you time, my 2nd lap was 33:00. That said, I did an excellent swim for my abilities and ended up very happy with the results. In our “mini” competition amongst my friends, I beat every one I thought I could, so the race started in a good mental spot!
The swim in this lake is pretty good in the sense that you have the famous cable to swim on top, so you don’t have to look up, BUT it is not that easy to see with a bunch of people trying to find it, Anyway the swim is pretty easy in terms of navigation, the lake is very narrow and straight so it very hard to get lost while swimming. While finishing the swim it started to rain…hard, so I just kept thinking about the bike, that was a completely different story with the roads wet, and it was cold!

T1 
After exiting the water, you just want to get to your bike as fast as possible, since this was obviously a wetsuit swim, first hit the wetsuit peelers, Overall I think they’re one of the biggest helps in an ironman and it will help save a few seconds on that time (seconds do matter!). T1 was pretty long, about 400m to the transition, grabbed my bike gear, and then when I exited my bike was ready for me. Off to 112mi of rain, cold and hills.

The Bike
The bike started with rain pouring all over the course and the temperature lowered a lot. Since cycling is my best sport, I only thought that the rain was going to give me an advantage against the least experienced riders and it did. I was 20th out of the water and 3rd off the bike. It started with a couple of short hills on the way out of town, not very big or steep, It was not as hard as people put them, but after a couple of miles came al long descent, which with the rain it was harder than I thought. The drops really hit me hard on the body plus I had to be extra careful with not falling, so it wasn’t as fast as I would’ve wanted it to be.
After this descent then came the longest part of the course which as flat and fast as well, the good thing about the rain was that it lowered the wind a bit. After an out and back part came the real hills, but still, for me personally wasn’t the hardest part of this course, it was yet to come. On this part you went up a couple of hills ups and downs. After that there was a left turn into a beautiful scenery, but it was slightly uphill, and a crazy wind against you. It was an aerobat slow ride for about 7 miles. (the real hard part) this was when you came back into the town of lake placid. Once I made the first loop I already knew what I had coming for the second time around, only that the rain had stopped, so it turned out to be a nicer loop. the total for my bike time was 5:27:53. I was aiming for a 5:20 so I was a little disappointed, only that I knew after the race that it was the 2nd fastest time of my age group and I was 3rd off the bike. Amazing results in retrospect.

The Run
This marathon is supposed to be one of the fastest of the circuit and it effectively is a nice course to run despite the long uphill at the end of the loop. It is a 2 loop run. So I started the marathon with a downhill and trying to maintain a 8:00min/mile or 5:00min/km pace, and I did for about 9kms. But then I started to see a lot of people passing me and I personally believe I went way too soft on this marathon and could’ve ran harder. Back to the course, it was already sunny and perfect weather, so I went down the hill and for about 5kms of out and back it was pancake flat. Then back to the hill, only that this time it was up! by the time my pace had already fallen a lot. After the uphill came a couple of kilometres around the lake and lots of people which always helps. The 2nd loop was terribly slow, I was going too slow but couldn’t get my self to run any faster nevertheless I never felt bad, it was a mental block what I suffered in the marathon. Ended up doing it in 3:51:23

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Results
12th place for my age group / 99 overall. A total race time of 10:30:03 which beats my PR of 10:41:08 in mont trembling 2013. So overall I was really happy with my results and I knew I was going to suffer on the marathon given the injury I had. I was only left with a little bit of disappointment after knowing that I was 3rd and dropped all the way to 12th place. Kona was in my hands and I ran away from it! But anyway it was just another amazing experience, getting to run with all my training friends made it a unique race and definitely recommend anyone to race this beautiful, well organised race.

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since it was world cup season. had to finish with the Colombia Jersey!

If anyone wants feedback on anything about this race, hotel info, course info, advice feel free to contact me from the contact link above or click here!

Change of mentality

As posted before I have been dealing with injury for quite some time now and the race is getting closer and closer every time. So by seeing my current situation and having to take so much time off from running I have to say that I have to change my expectations for Ironman Lake Placid and just go into it with no pressure and enjoy it! WHICH IS ALWAYS THE NUMBER ONE GOAL…ENJOY AND EMBRACE RACING. After all it’s what we all want!

Now that I am a month away I have been running again for about two weeks and no pain has showed up in my hip, it has taken a lot a of sacrifice though by massaging it a lot and going to therapy a few times a week. That takes money and time, but I’d do anything to keep myself in health. Slowly and with a lot of patience I have been running well again, covering good distances and not as slow as expected. So far, since the injury, my longest run has been 16K @ 4:50/km which is my marathon goal to run at that speed.
But as said before I have already taken the pressure of my mind by knowing that I won’t be 100% prepared for the race so I’m just going to enjoy it and most importantly finish it and add another medal to my collection!

Some of my finisher medals, missing IM Puerto Rico...next is IM Lake Placid!
Some of my finisher medals, missing IM Puerto Rico…next is IM Lake Placid!

Last week, this week and the next one are my last block of high volume training so I’m trying to nail them as good as I can because since San Juan 70.3 I haven’t been able to complete a week of training as prescribed. It means that I need to stay focused, get the workouts in and hope it will help get back the fitness that I have lost due to the injury. (which I think it will!)

one last thing that I learned the hard way…stretch ALWAYS after training!

Weird face on a stretching session after a long run
Weird face on a stretching session after a long run

Dealing with injury

The past few weeks have been really hard for me, especially on the mental side of dealing with an injury that isn’t letting me train as I am supposed to, in order to meet the goals that are expected for Ironman Lake Placid.

I have a pain in my right hip which is causing me to really slow down on the run, it does`t let me go fast even though my mind and body wants to, the leg just doesn’t respond. Anyway it was fine, I dealt with it on the run knowing it will eventually go away and I could bike and swim normally, until last saturday when I couldn’t even pedal and 1.5 hrs into my long ride I had to call it a day and get a doctor’s appointment.

At this point, everything in my mind broke down, it was brutal, every negative thought came to mind, thinking about having to take a lot of days off and losing the fitness I had built and especially because I was feeling fast again on my running. It is on these situations that I have to think on everything I have done and knowing that I have to take a step aside to get better and come back even stronger, it is not easy at all dealing with an injury, dealing with everything that comes with it. But in the end I know it’s all for a good reason, for my health and future races!

What the doctors say is that it is nothing serious, but needs to be taken care of with a lot of therapy, stretching and massages (which hurts like hell, not the kind of massage you’re thinking off!). Personally I think there is a lesson to learn from everything and this injury is a cruel way that my body tells me that I need to take better care of it during recovery and do LOTS OF STRETCHING, I have now learned it the hard way and hope that if you’re reading this post you better stretch as hard as you train and learn from my experience!

For now I am back to cycling and swimming normally, and hope this week I start to run. At the end I just want to have the day of my life in Ironman Lake Placid!

A-race training

the last couple of weeks, after San Juan 70.3, have been focused on volume training for my A-race of the year…Ironman Lake Placid.
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Since san Juan results I wanted to focus on my running which I feel I have been leaving it aside for a while and on Puerto Rico I did a slow half marathon. That being said, the last weeks have included A LOT of running and my body is starting to feel it, I have been able to get a little bit of my speed back and it really feels great, especially on the mental side to know that I can go faster and run better every time. Last week I as able to run 16K and 18K both on the treadmill and the average was 4:40/k  with and average heart rate of 152bpm which is really low for me and the speed isn’t that slow. (Which left me very happy obviously!)

These weeks has also been a little hard, because it has been tons of volume with low intensity so there are days that seem that aren’t going to end, especially when done on a trainer with rain outside and on a treadmill still with the rain outside…it’s a crazy weather down here and it is raining a lot so it calls for indoor. What makes me happy about it is that it is so hard mentally that I know my mental strength is improving with these long workouts on the trainer and treadmill. So the more I suffer the better I get and the closer I am to getting my ticket to Kona!

 

 

Puerto Rico 70.3 Recap

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What a difficult race! it is the first thing that comes to mind about writing a post about it, the swim was ok, the bike had strong winds, the run was brutally hot and hilly. That is in a few words the summary of the day.

Results:
5:02:50 / 10th in Age Group / 68 overall / 58 in gender
swim: 32:39
Bike: 2:32:00
run: 1:52:36
T1: 3:41
T2: 1:54

In terms of results, my position I think it was a very good result, my best ever. Which left me very happy about the race but there’s a personal view of these times in which I am absolutely certain that they were slow for me, I know I could’ve biked and ran much faster, especially the run. So it left me with mixed feelings, on one hand it is my first top 10 and on a brutal day I performed well, on the other hand I know it was a slow race for me and I could’ve been faster therefore a better position at the end. Also I had to deal with injuries the weeks before, so in conclusion it was a good performance, excellent results and they can only get better! Now it’s time to think on my next challenge which is IRONMAN Lake Placid.

Now back to the race…
The swim was a in a lagoon formed by the ocean, so it was pretty calm but in salt water. Almost no current until the end when you get to the lagoon entrance and the current there is a little against you. It is one lap, you enter at one point and exit on a different one after swimming under a bridge (nice detail!). This has been my best swim ever so I exited the water extremely happy. (32:39)
The first transition is a very long run, I usually can do them really fast and a 3:41 can tell you it was far away from the swim exit. When you get to your bike you have sand on your feet so you loose a couple of seconds cleaning them up a little.
The bike portion of the race turned out to be harder than I thought, I was aiming for a sub 2:25 bike and ended up with 2:32, my slowest in the distance up to here. It was one loop and then halfway back you turned again for second loop to that part of the course. the first part was with the wind in your favour and it seemed that it wasn’t that windy, but as soon as your turned around the real fight begun, turns out it actually was really windy and the speed was reduced a lot which made me realise it wasn’t going to be a fast bike split. Apart from the wind it is really flat, I personally prefer a hillier course given where I come from which is really hilly.

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this awesome picture was on the IRONMAN twitter and Facebook page. Thanks to whoever took it! also made me very happy to be on the official IRONMAN media

T2 was close and fast, no problems there.
The run was really hard, it wasn’t flat at all, it was beautiful anyway, all done in old san juan. It was either up or down and the heat was unbelievable. After a first part “flat” you have to go up an 18% short, hard hill, after that it was rolling for a few kilometres and then the hardest part of the race, for me, it was about a kilometre downhill and the street made out of bricks which made it slippery, followed by a long out and back run outside of the old san juan walls. This huge wall heated up so much you could feel it by running beside it and on your other side was the sun’s heat!, a real oven over there, plus no hydration station in this part. You had to go up the hill mentioned before to drink something again! It was 2 loops.

In a hard course what a great race, I would recommend this race to anyone wanting to go. If someone would like a more in-depth review of the course, advice, hotel, any info that I can help you with please feel free to contact me and I would gladly help!

Race Week

Race week for me has finally arrived…Next sunday will be my first race of the season…Ironman 70.3 Puerto Rico.

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After some months of training, ups and downs it is finally here, a week to taper, get your body in the perfect state for the race and then 7:00am on sunday morning the gun goes off…It is really a good feeling to have a race this close and feel that your body is responding given the recent injuries. I’ve had a tendinitis near the hip for about a month and 2 weeks ago, when it was all good, it came back, (mental strength) then last week I had a swollen knee so had to take a couple of days off and keep it on the conservative side to get to race day as fit as possible. The knee is back to normal and having those days off really helped my body recover. I think it was just a way of my body telling me to back off a little bit and I did.

Now about the week, training is very low intensity and duration, what has been done is done, everything  this week is just to keep myself rested and fit for sunday. Continuous easy swims, short bikes and rides with some race pace pick ups.

I have big hopes for this race, never been in Puerto Rico before. As seen through internet and friends that have raced it, the swim is in a salt water lagoon which they say is incredible with a bit of waves at the end so it can be a fast swim, then the bikes is completely flat with some wind in your back and then against and this can lead to a fast bike and on the run the real race starts. With really high temperatures and a lot of steep hills this run seems not easy at all, so it’s gotta be an intelligent run to have a good run time.

If I have the day I expect to have I’ll have a very big chance of getting my entrance to the 70.3 worlds! which would be a dream come true…I just hope it happens and I am going to leave it all come the race…it is all in for me!
Of course, I am thinking about times and doing calculations but I don’t want to talk before race day about this…on the post race post I’ll compare the expectations vs performance.

 

I’ll write a review of how I did and about the course in the weeks to come after the race for the people that would like to go there in the future. Be sure to check back on this on days to come!

Mental Strength

these are the kind of thing to visualize
these are the kind of thing to visualize

The last couple of weeks have been hard both physically and mentally, so I’ve been meaning to write about how I have tried to keep myself going through this hard time which more mental than anything else.

The last couple of weeks have been overload weeks which means lots of hours of training and then the taper for Ironman 70.3 San Juan begins! (it started as of past monday 24/3) The week before was the longest in hours of training and it went out smoothly, did every workout and did it finishing strong and the times recorded were as expected. But last week was chaos, I wasn’t performing as I usually do and it hit me hard (mentally) because feeling my race so close and seeing awful times really worried me. To top it off saturday was a forced day off due to personal issues and then sunday was a rainy day and I was away from my trainer so had to switch and get in my long run and hope for a nice sunny day on monday (it was a holiday). Monday came and it’s been the worst day in a long time…rain never stopped so couldn’t get my long bike workout in, and most importantly a pain from an injury came back to the point that it was very hard for me to even walk. With that came a lot of anxiety, despair, and doubt.

This is the part where your brain starts playing games on you and you have to stay strong. Despite all the negativity throughout the week I knew that I have been training consistently and that the injury that I have can go away fast with therapy and now I have added massages to help my body recover faster and heal faster. I just hope that 3 weeks is enough to make me be on the start line as fit as possible and with no pain so I can have a god race and a shot to getting my ticket to Canada for the world championships! Simply what I do is try to think always positive things, not only in sport but in my life, I try to think about my efforts in training, about the people involved in this that help me train every day, the people that I love, etc. If I fill myself with positiveness then these hard days start to go by easily and I can focus on what’s left of my training and recovering entirely from injury.

This topic has lots to write about so I’ll continue this subject on posts to come, so this doesn’t become too long and too boring to read!  

Triathlete article

This is an interesting article I found today on triathlete.com about the drop of the shoes, which was mentioned in my previous post.

Personally, as said before feel better and run better with a 0mm drop shoe, I use 4mm drop for training so I don’t hurt too much my legs with all the volume but for racing a 0mm feels way better.

Should you run in a zero drop shoe?

By: Jay Dicharry

Running gait analyst and running injury expert Jay Dicharry shares his top tips.

Q: Should it by my goal to eventually run in a zero-drop shoe with a flat profile if I’ve been running for years in a shoe with a 12mm heel-toe drop?

A: It depends on the person and what they want out of running and what works for them. Not every runner needs to get down to a zero-drop shoe, but running in a shoe with firm cushioning and a minimal heel-toe drop of about 3-5mm clearly reduces the torque and impact forces on the body while also enhancing a runner’s stability.

For some people, a shoe with a 4mm heel-toe drop like the Saucony Kinvara or Brooks Pure Flow will be the end point. For other people, they might find that a zero-drop Altra Instinct or Merrell Road Glove works best for them and the Kinvara might be a useful shoe to use along the way. But it’s important to know that a runner needs to work on strength and form drills to get into a shoe with a lower drop, otherwise they could be risking prolonged soreness or injury.

http://triathlon.competitor.com/2014/03/gear-tech/run-zero-drop-shoe_95285