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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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.

 

 

2015…looking ahead

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. \ Ironman_Texas1

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.

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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.
this finish line, I will cross it on 2015.
this finish line, I will cross it on 2015.

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!

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!

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