Florida 70.3 Race Report

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”)

  1. PB on the distance, hopefully under 4:30
  2.  top 5 in my AG
  3. win my AG
  4. top 10 in overall
  5. Qualify to Australia World Championship.

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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.

BUT…

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.

 

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2016 here I go

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.

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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.

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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.

Featured on listoftriathlonblogs.com

A coupe of days, fellow headset ambassador Nicole Kesten, featured my with a brief interview on her awesome site www.listoftriathlonblogs.com.

Thanks again Nicole for your time and letting me be on your site!!!

Here is the interview. Be sure to check out at her page and see what’s up, her site is awesome for any triathlete!!

(Oh, and by the way she learned that is COLOMBIA not Columbia!)

http://www.listoftriathlonblogs.com/2015/03/tri-friend-felipe-mora.html

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!

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this finish line, I will cross it on 2015. (hard work + PATIENCE)

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!

Top 1%

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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!

Support for 2015

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.

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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.

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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!

2014 Season

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!

 

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

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!