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.

Exercise: Top priority

I found this article on Time Magazine and felt that I need to share it!

enjoy…

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.

 

Why Exercising Is a Higher Priority Than My Career

The Swim (Part 2)

Swim 1:05:26 / 12th in AG / 73 overall

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.

 

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before the start

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.

Swim 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.

Boulder Resevoir

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 Texas

(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.

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!

patience

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!

New Year, New Gear

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.

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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.