Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm back!

Wow.  Life has been crazy busy!  I'm not even really sure where I left off, and what my last post was about.  Oh, wait.  It was about Eric Byrnes.  That's right.  To summarize, I was contacted about an article being written about Eric Byrnes on Active.com.  Well, I don't believe that article came out yet (or if it ever will!).  But what I do know, is that Mr. Byrnes is one sneaky individual!  Let me explain...

I would say that it's fairly well known across the galaxy that there is quite a rivalry between myself and the one they call Byrnsie.  It all started a few years ago when he challenged me, or maybe I challenged him, or maybe I imagined it all - oh whatever - to a head-to-head race during Ironman Arizona.  It pains me to say that he won fair and square, though I am still looking into the helmet that he wore on that fateful day.  Anywho, he has moved on to race in a few other Ironman races, such as the brutal Ironman Lake Tahoe.  And honestly, I have to give him some major credit for that one.  Apparently there was ice on some of the bike saddles in the morning!  Yikes!

Photo from Competitor.com

Fast forward to my Ironman Arizona 2013 race.  My swim went as planned (I didn't drown!) and my bike went slightly faster than planned (a new bike PR!).  As I was out on the new Ironman Arizona run course, I was frequently looking at the other athletes heading back the other way (as they were ahead of me at that point).  I was racing with a lot of family and friends, so I was trying to keep an eye out to see if I recognized anyone.  Around mile 5 or 6, I just happened to look over and who do I see?  None other that the blasted Eric Byrnes.  What!

I spent the next few miles trying to figure out what his angle was here.  Had he secretly registered under a different name in order to catch me by surprise?  I came to the conclusion that he had heard through the grapevine that I was trying to put in some serious training and he was obviously intimidated.  Therefor, he probably became ill at the thought of telling me that he was going to test his luck against me for a second time.

As I ran by him the first time, I yelled, "Eric Byrnes!"  He looked over in total shock, and immediately picked up his pace.  I stopped to try and offer him a very sportsman-like high five, but he just turned and continued on.  This really set me off!  I couldn't think of anything else except for what I was going to say to him if we crossed paths again.  And in about 13 miles, I got my chance.

We were crossing under the Mill Ave. bridge, meaning he had about 2-3 miles left, and I had around 7. As he was just about to pass me, I yelled out "Byrnsie!  I'm coming for you!"  It may have sounded a lot like "Yeah Byrnsie!" to him.  But I promise you, I was most definitely NOT encouraging him.  I was instilling the fear of God in him!

During those 13 miles, I had made up some ground, but not enough.  Probably only about a mile, if that.  I did the math, and knew that there was no way I could catch him...this time.  So I carried on with my little truffle-shuffle run and focused on finishing this thing out with a new PR.

When I came across that finish line, my first thought was, "Where is Eric Byrnes to rub in his victory and pour salt on the wound?"  Luckily, he was nowhere to be found.  He probably took his moral victory and got the heck outta Dodge!

Aside from this little surprise battle during IMAZ, the rest of the race went pretty well.  I will be writing up a full report in a bit, as well as a season report since I got busy (or lazy) and didn't really write much this whole season.

But bigger things are on the horizon!  In just a few short months, I'll be making another attempt at qualifying for the Boston Marathon, since I choked by twenty-three seconds last year.  Until then, enjoy this little video of some awesome ear candy:

Friday, June 7, 2013

My rivalry with Eric "Byrnes" on...

Get it? Burns on! Ok, that was pretty weak. Moving on...

A couple of days ago, I opened up my email to find this little gem:

Now, he didn't come right out and say it, but I'm pretty sure Mr. Byrnes is behind this. He is obviously paying the folks at Active to right an article in his favor. Why would he do this? Simple. He is still devastated from how close I came to finishing within 45 minutes of him. To put things more clearly, this is how Ryan at Active describes it:

Ryan, I couldn't have said it better myself! Ha! 

So be on the lookout for an article about Eric Byrnes doing Ironman Arizona back in 2011. I'm fully expecting that there will be a personal challenge of my manhood in the article. And it will probably be hidden so well that only I can decipher it! Well played Byrnsie, well played.

My water-proof goods from X-1!

The couple of weeks ago, Sherry accepted to be a part of Team X-1. And as I said, this company makes waterproof cases for smartphones and MP3 players. Well, I received my first order of goods to start using!

In the picture is a waterproof case for my iPhone and a waterproof case for an iPod shuffle. I'm very excited to start using these products as swimming something I usually dread because it is usually very boring!

Thanks again to X-1 for allowing me to be on this team, and I can't wait to use these products and provide some feedback!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Let the training begin!

This is actually a few days late, as I have been pretty busy. But IMAZ training has begun! And when though I am posting this a little late, my training actually started on Monday...with a rest day! Booyah!

I have decided that I am not going to post my weekly training plan this time around. I decided this for a few reasons. First, I am predicting that I won't have the spare time each week to right a blog about my weekly plan. Secondly, and probably most importantly, I'm pretty sure most of you don't care to read what I am doing each and every week. If you do, then buy a copy of this book:

And with the start of my training, it only means one thing...IMAZ is only 24 weeks away! Yikes!

Friday, May 31, 2013

Team Aquaphor welcome kit!

For the last week, I was out of town on a little family vacation. The trip was amazing! Prior to our leaving, I received word that my Team Aquaphor welcome kit was supposed to be arriving while I was away. This wasn't a problem, except that I kept seeing posts from other team members with their box full of goodies! Fortunately for me, my box was waiting for me when I got home!

As you can see, there were some clothing items to get me started, as well as some full-sized samples for me to use. There also was about a billion of the little samples for me to hand out at races. So you know what that means...track me down at any of my races (race schedule coming soon!) to get your free sample of Aquaphor!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Another team!

Last week, I was talking with some of the Team Aquaphor members, And they told me about another team called X-1.  I wasn't exactly sure who this team was, so I had to do some research. What I found was that this team is powered by H2O Audio.

This company makes waterproof cases for various electronic devices, mainly smart phones and MP3 players.

So I'm very excited to be a part of this team. I will be doing a few product reviews on their products, and can't wait to start using them while I am swimming!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Setting a goal for IMAZ

Is deciding on a goal finishing time for an Ironman race taboo?  Maybe.  Is deciding on a goal finishing time for your first Ironman race taboo?  Probably.  There's just so many variables involved with a full day of racing, it's hard to predict.  You could absolutely base your goals off of how you have been performing during training, and maybe you have done a half iron-distance to use as a gauge.  But it's still a tough thing to do.  Just about everyone I spoke to before my first Ironman said to not worry about the clock, and just enjoy the day.

Now that I have done 5 Ironman events, I at least have a few bench marks to go from.  My last Ironman race I was able to achieve an 11:26:22.  This was at Coeur d'Alene too, so I'm hoping that on a flatter course, I will be able to have an improved bike and run time.  The swim is a sensitive subject for me, because I just pretty much suck at it.

After taking some online calculus courses, and concocting a highly accurate equation, I have been able to come up with my goal time.  Now keep in mind that this time is assuming that everyone goes as to planned, and that the weather is wonderful, and I have a jet pack strapped to the back of my bike.  Ok, maybe no jet pack.  My goal time is going to be 9 hours and 45 minutes.  Let me break down my time goals so that this makes sense.

For the swim, I am always slow.  I didn't look at my exact times, but I think I've always been between 1:15 and 1:25.  So, I'm hoping for the shorter end of that spectrum and am shooting for 1:15.  On the bike, I am really going to try and put in some serious work and get a little faster.  I believe I finished the bike portion in my last IMAZ race in about 5:45is, so if I get serious about my training, I am hoping for about 5:30 on the bike.  Then comes the run.  I just set a PR in a stand-alone marathon earlier this year, with a time of 3:05:23.  I don't expect that to translate straight over to the Ironman, but I am hoping for somewhere around 3:45.  Add to all of that about 15 minutes for transition and other variables and you get my goal time of 9 hours and 45 minutes.  Oh, wait.  Did I say 9 hours and 45 minutes?  Crap.  I had my shoes on when I was trying to count.  I guess that actually comes out to 11 hours.  Sorry for the confusion!

So yes, my goal time for this year's Ironman Arizona is going to be 11 hours.  Do I think it's possible?  I would absolutely love to finish in 11 hours, so I hope so!  But it really all depends on my training, so if I don't do it, I can only blame myself.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Planning my season

Having the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the wonderful teams that I am a part of comes with some great benefits.  But the cost of those benefits is usually a commitment on the athletes part.  And in my case, my commitment is to do a certain number of races during this race season, and represent these companies at my races.  And because the 2 marathons that I already ran this year took place before I was offered a position on any of these teams, I am in need of adding races to my calendar.

My goal race for the year is Ironman Arizona, taking place in November.  And since this is my goal race, I am going to be putting the majority of my focus on improving my Ironman performance.  Meaning my training will all be geared toward Ironman fitness, and ideally, so would any other races I do.  However, racing an Ironman comes with a pretty steep price tag.  And since I'm not a professional athlete, and I thinks it's a good idea to at least let me family eat twice a week, I probably shouldn't be spending an absurd amount of money on other races.

Another factor that comes into planning my race schedule is timing.  Since I don't work a Monday through Friday job, I don't have every weekend off.  In fact, because most races take place early in the morning, I can really only do races if they take place on my second day off.  So that limits my options quite drastically.

Fortunately for me, the teams that I am on are not very strict on the types of races I do.  They can be triathlons, 5k's, swimming events, cycling events, etc.  As long as they are considered "endurance" events, then it counts.  So at this point in time, I have a decently long list of races that both fit my schedule, and don't break bank.  The next step is to run it all by The Wife to make sure that there's no other scheduling conflicts.

To find my possible races, all I did was a simple Google search.  Maybe I missed something?  Let me know what races you have scheduled and maybe I'll add it to my list!  Once my schedule is finalized, I'll be posting it here, so you can find out where I'll be and you can track me down for some free samples!

Monday, April 29, 2013

My first 2 hour ride of the season

On Saturday morning, I decided it would be a great day to go for my longest bike ride in quite some time.  How long?  Well, the title says it all.  It ended up being about 2 hours and 10 minutes.  Not too bad.  However, I am feeling pretty sore right now!

Normally I don't feel too sore after a bike ride, but this time was a little different.  Not only did I do an hour and a half bike ride on Friday morning, but then I went ahead and did a pretty solid leg workout.  Unfortunately, I forgot about this little bit of advice:

I always seem to forget that I get pretty sore after doing after leg day, and doing a long bike ride the day after leg day is probably not a great idea.  And of course, I do understand that plenty of people would say that bike riding is "active recovery".  Well, that's only if you treat your ride like a recovery ride.  And I'm not really a huge fan of doing a 2 hour recovery ride!  Ha!

So Saturday morning came along, and I met up with The Captain.  He was riding his trusty steed in the form of a tri bike, and I was riding my old Trek 1000, with saddle bags on the back (I use this bike as my commuter bike).  Luckily, traffic was nice and the weather actually wasn't too hot yet, so the ride went fairly well.  I could tell I was getting a little tired toward the end, but I also didn't eat any breakfast and only had some Gatorade for nutrition.  Not my smartest bike ride!

Which brings me to today, feeling pretty sore, as I sit here writing this.  But the good news is that pain is weakness leaving the body (it cracks me up when people say that!).  Really, the good news is that I'll only be sore for today and should be back to my regular self tomorrow.  I guess I'll have to do another workout then...

Sunday, April 28, 2013

My first taste of the Vega One bar!

A few weeks back, I posted a picture of a little care package that Vega sent me, which was one of the amazing benefits of being a part of Team Vega. Inside that package were some items I have tried, as well as some brand new items that I had never tried. One of those items was the new Vega One bar.

There's a few different flavors, including chocolate cherry, chocolate almond, and double chocolate. Now, to be clear, I am part of Team Vega, but they are not compensating me for writing a review (other than sending me some samples). So this review is my honest opinion based on my personal preferences.

Of these flavored, my favorite was the double chocolate, and my least favorite was the chocolate almond. The chocolate cherry was also very good, but not my favorite. I felt that each bar had a very good initial taste, with a bit of a "health bar" after taste. Not something that I would say was bad, but just something that I noted was there. I compared these bars to other health bars that I've had in the past (for example, Cliff), and I honestly place them near the top, if not the very top. The reason why they would actually be at the top of my list is because of what is actually inside of them.

In each of the Vega One bars, there is 15 grams of plant based protein, 6 grams of fiber, 1.5 grams of Omega-3, antioxidants, probiotics, and greens! The greens blend is a mix of alfalfa grass, spinach leaf, broccoli florets, and kale. And the antioxidants are from grape seed extract, maqui berry, goji fruit, a├žai berry, pomegranate seed, and mangosteen fruit! And there's also chia seeds! Even better, you get all of that for only 250 calories. It's actually pretty amazing.

The only thing that I could see as holding back anyone from buying these bars is the price. And I'll be honest, I have always thought that. But when I started to look into exactly what was in these bars, and thought of the cost of all of those high quality ingredients, it is actually not that bad. It's not something that I would eat multiple times a day, but it would be a tremendous on-the-go snack!

Overall, I would say that I was thoroughly impressed with the taste and quality of the new Vega One bars, and have found that it will become a regularly stocked item in my household. I highly recommend that you give them a try!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Team Aquaphor 2013!

Well, it looks like I have another team to add to my list for this season! And it's another one that I'm pretty excited about. It is Team Aquaphor!

Team Aquaphor is a team through ActiveAmbassadors, much like my Team Marathon Bar was for the last few years.

If you don't know about Aquaphor, take a moment to go to their website at www.aquaphorhealing.com. It's a great product, and I may have a few samples to hand out at my races this year...

Woo hoo!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

My goodie box from Vega

Today I came home to a wonderful surprise. My box of swag from Vega arrived! I was sooooo excited to see that box sitting by my front door, because I can't wait to taste some of the flavored that I haven't tasted yet. And, as an added bonus, they also sent me some samples of the new Vega One Bar! Booyah!

I will be writing up some reviews on these delicious packets of health once I've fully comprehended just how delicious they are...

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Getting back on the saddle

Thursday will mark the second time that I have ridden my bike since November. Granted, I'm only riding about 18 miles, But I'm still pretty excited to be back out there on the roads. Of course, The Wife went ahead and made sure that my life insurance policy was up to date. Suspicious? Maybe...

I will say that I have been testing out my new CycleOps PoweCal and it is working great! If you don't know what it is, it's basically a heart rate monitor that estimates your power output based on your heart rate. I'll be writing up a review based on my personal experience in the weeks to come.

In other news, it sounds like I might have another marathon in my near future (like late April). I will keep you posted!

That's all for today. Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Less than 36 weeks

I decided to bust out the old calendar and take a peak at what the rest of this year is looking like for me, training-wise.  Well, as it turns out, this last Monday was 36 weeks until Ironman Arizona.  That means I need to get my little butt in gear and start building some base before my plan kicks in in another 12 weeks.

Over the last few months, I have been focusing strictly on running, so I haven't done any cycling or swimming since October/November.  Yikes!  I'm in the process of going through my training plan and mapping out exactly what I am going to be doing for the rest of the year.  As it stands right now, I don't have any other races that I'll be doing as I build up for IMAZ.  I may or may not add in a race or two (depending upon any sponsor/ambassador requirements...), but at this point, the teams that I am on (Team Vega and the CycleOps Grassroots Athlete program), I don't have a need to add any more races.  

(On a side note, for anyone who watches The Biggest Loser, did you happen to notice the CycleOps trainer in the makeover episode?  It was there!  Of course, the name/logo was taped over with black tape so they didn't have to pay CycleOps...)

As I did with IMCdA, I will try and post my training each week.  What I have also done is I have set up a Google document with each week broken down.  I'm not sure that I'll post that on here, but it should make it easier for me to post my schedule at least.  So for the rest of the IronClan...you better start training!  Thirty-six weeks will go by a lot faster than you think!!!!!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Is this in my future?

I've been reading a few different sport-related books lately, one of which is called "Finding Ultra", by Rich Roll.

He has a pretty interesting life story, which he explains in the book.  He goes through a few ups and downs in his life and eventually landed on the decision that he needed to make a change in his life.  He starts with his diet, switching to a plant-based diet.  Then he decides on doing an Ironman.  Unfortunately, didn't realize that Ironman races sell out a year in advance and he did not want to wait that long.  He ended up stumbling across Ultraman.  I don't want to ruin the story, in case you decided to read it, but he ends up surprising himself and many others.

I happened to learn about the Ultraman a year or so ago, when I actually came across some stories of Rich Roll online.  Basically, it's a 320 mile stage race, done over 3 days.  It kicks off with a 6.2 mile swim and a 90 mile bike ride on day one.  Day two brings a 171.4 mile bike ride.  And day three closes the race with a double marathon, 52.4 miles.  The times from each day are all added up, and the athlete with the least amount of time is declared the winner, however anyone who completes the race is still a winner in my eyes.

Fast forward to yesterday, and I was looking around on the ever-popular Slowtwitch.com.  I navigated my way over to the forums and there was one in particular that caught my eye.  It read "New Ultraman announced".  I clicked on it, and found a link that sent me here:

So, I looked around a bit and pondered my future.  I took a look at what the price-tag on something like this would be, and it turns out, it's a mere $1800!  Add on to that the fact that you have to travel out to Florida and provide your own support crew/supplies, and this race starts to get a little pricey.  Needless to say, I ran it by The Wife and I will not be registered for the inaugural running on Ultraman Florida.

But, with such a great location, my family could go to Disney World while I torture myself!  It sounds like a win-win for the whole family!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Applications open for Ironman Foundation Team

If you competed in an Ironman, then surely you've heard of the Ironman Foundation.  Through the years, this program has been called a few different things, and has been presented in a few different ways.  This year, the Ironman is offering another unique opportunity to be a part of a team, supported by the Ironman Foundation.  This team is called the Ironman Foundation-Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team.

I can't say that I read every detail word for word, but I can tell you the quick and easy version.  From what I gather, there will be 40 athletes on the team.  Each athlete will receive a cycling kit and a tri kit, along with a couple other clothing items.  As part of the team, you will need to race in BOTH and Ironman and Ironman 70.3 event, as well as raise $1000 to support the Ironman Foundation cause.  Also, you will be involved in a few charity events to represent the brand.  Another perk will be that you will receive a low bib number at your races, and a reserved seat in the VIP area during the athlete dinner.

It actually sounds like it would be a really fun team to be on, and would make your Ironman experience even that much better!  Good luck to everyone that applies!  Oh, and you better hurry, because the application period closes on March 12th!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

CycleOps Grassroots!

Back in early February, I received an amazing email from CycleOps.  The purpose of this email was to inform me that my application to be part of the CycleOps Grassroots Athlete program has been accepted, and that I had been chosen to be on the team!  I'm not going to lie...I'm pretty excited about this one!

CycleOps is pretty much a household name when it comes to cycling and triathlons.  They are known for their trainers and power meters, but also have a few other amazing products such as real-time, online training videos that sync with your power meter.  Very cool stuff.  I have been using my Fluid 2 indoor trainer for a few years now and have definitely gotten my money's worth from it.  Recently, I purchased a new device from their lineup, called the PowerCal.  What this little guys does is estimates your power output based on your heart rate.  I haven't used a power meter before, but have found the PowerCal to be a great introduction to training with power.

I'm very excited to have this opportunity, and thankful to the CycleOps group for picking me.  Here's to a wonderful 2013 season!

Monday, March 4, 2013

Race Recap - The Phoenix Marathon

This year, the Phoenix Marathon was originally going to be my goal race of my early season.  My plan was to train like crazy, attempt to qualify for Boston with a finish time of under 3:05:00, and then take a short break before getting into my IMAZ training.  Well, then The Captain talked me into signing up for The Arizona Marathon, which would take place 13 days before the Phoenix Marathon.  I though, "Eh, I can always use the Arizona Marathon as a training run and drop out if need be."  Well, that didn't happen.

In case you didn't see the post, I ended up finishing the Arizona Marathon in 3:05:23.  Unfortunately, I was 23 seconds shy of qualifying for Boston.  But no worries, I had just shy of two weeks to fully recover enough to try again!

We (my mother-in-law and I) arrived to the finish line at 4:45 am, and waiting in line about 5 minutes before boarding the school bus that would be taking us to the starting line.  After what seemed like a very, very long drive, we arrived at the starting line.  We both had the same idea of heading straight to the bathroom lines.  Once that was taken care of, there were a number of those tall patio heaters that were set up to keep the runners warm.  It was only about 50*F, but the extra little bit of warmth was nice for a few minutes.  At about 5:45, I decided to go get in line for the bathrooms one last time.  I finally got out of that line at about 6:15, which cut into my warm-up a little bit.  A short jog later and I was at the starting line, stretching and waiting to start.

Just before the gun went off, a group of runners slid right in front of me, and I overheard one of them saying that he was shooting for a 3:00:00 pace, which was what I had in mind.  I decided I would stalk them for the race and let them do the pacing.  This was a great idea in theory, until I realized that they were moving much faster than their planned pace.  Here's a look at the first 5 miles, just to give you a taste of their 3:00:00 pace:

Mile 1: 6:31
Mile 2: 6:28
Mile 3: 6:35
Mile 4: 6:30
Mile 5: 6:52

Granted, the first few miles were downhill, but still.  I probably should have been smarter than to keep this pace with them.  Unfortunately, I was not.  In fact, I stuck with them and their pace for 13 miles.  My goal average was 6:52/mile, and it wasn't until mile 16 that I slowed to that pace (not including miles 5 and 6, which were actually a pretty rough uphill climb).  At mile 16, I began to slow to right around 7-7:15/mile, which I felt was alright since I was so far ahead of my goal pace.  But, when I got to mile 21, I started to fall apart.  Again (just like at the Arizona Marathon), I decided to walk for 30 seconds at the aid station.  Then I picked it up again and made it to mile 22 and walked again for 30 seconds, only this time, when I tried to get back up to speed, my left knee did not want to cooperate.  At that point, I decided to walk a bit more.  I walked for maybe a minute or two when the 3:05 pacer went blowing by me.  I tried for about 10 steps to go with him, but it wasn't going to happen.  And once that happened, I had given up and was just going to get through the last few miles however I could.

I was able to get myself back up to a very slow jog and shuffle from aid station to aid station until I finally rounded the last corner and made my way to the last straight away.  I spotted The Wife and my kids and took a little detour over to go thank them for supporting me before I limped my way over the finish line.  I ended up with a 3:14:48, which isn't a bad time, but still upsetting for me.  Going into this race, I was actually feeling really good.  However, since I just did a 3:05:23 effort 13 days prior, I wasn't sure if I would be able to do the same effort again.

Aside from having just raced, I think I also messed up my pacing early on by coming out way too fast, and I think I also messed up my nutrition plan.  In the Arizona Marathon, I ingested way fewer calories than I had planned, so for the Phoenix Marathon, I tried to ingest more calories, less often.  It seems that maybe that plan did not work out too well.

And, to top everything off, this was only the second race in which I didn't set a new PR.  And the last time that happened?  It was January of 2009.  So it's been a while since that has happened.

Aside from me being a little disappointed with my finish time, my mother-in-law did amazing!  It was her first marathon EVER, and she killed it!  And about 2 hours after I finished, I got to do a 1k fun run with my kids!  Luckily, my daughter isn't too fast yet, so I was able to shuffle along and keep up with her while pushing my son in the stroller.  And the finish line area was amazing!  There was a ton of free entertainment and food for both the runners and spectators!  My daughter had so much fun playing in the bounce houses and whatnot that I am considering this race again, because I know that she won't go crazy waiting for her dad to finish running!

So, unfortunately, no Boston Qualifying for me this year.  It turns out that I was 23 seconds short this year, so next year I'll just have to train a little bit harder and race a lot-a-bit smarter!  Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I'm going to unveil another new team that I am apart of!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

My new team!

With the sad ending of Team Marathon Bar, I have turned my hopes to other locations.  I am still hoping for a little something from ActiveAmbassadors.com, but there's no telling whether or not that will happen.  So, when I received an inviting email about a month or so ago, I immediately responded with a "heck yes!".  And this is what I received as a reply to my reply...

If you don't know anything about Vega, take a minute to head on over to their website and look around.  In a nutshell, Vega was created by a professional Ironman triathlete (Brendan Brazier) as a means to supplement his plant-based diet while on the road.  Vega has grown to a world-wide brand, and continues to grow.  And even more than that, Brendan and Vega are doing everything they can to support people who want to work toward adopting a plant-based diet through the Thrive Forward series.  This is a free, online series with videos and spreadsheets to help explain the benefits of eating cleaner.

I first came across Vega a few years ago when a guy I work with had a tub of this funny plant-based protein.  I gave it a try, and to my surprise, it was delicious!  I didn't really think too much of it at the time though.  Fast forward to about a year and a half ago.  My wife and I decided to adopt a mostly plant based diet.  Not knowing a lot about what we were doing, I searched the internet for how to go about being an athlete that was mostly plant based.  I almost immediately came across Vega.  I recalled my previous experience with Vega and knew I had found the promised land.

But why take supplements if I'm supposedly eating so healthy?  Because life is life, and in all reality, it's pretty stinkin' tough to have a varied enough diet to be able to get EVERYTHING that your body needs.  I do my best, but there's bound to be areas that I fall short with such a busy schedule.  But, thanks to Vega, I know that I am getting the nutrients that I miss, and still getting them from plant-based sources.

I'm not too sure what all Team Vega is going to entail, because I'm still waiting for my welcome package to show up.  But as soon as I know, I'll let you know!  In the mean time, why don't you go check out that Vega website!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Race Recap - IMS Arizona Marathon

About a week and a half ago, I participated in my first race of the year.  I had set my sights on this race a while back, mainly because of the price.  Since it is a smaller race (I think the marathon had about 400 competitors), it was dirt cheap!  Also, I had heard that it is a great race to qualify for the Boston Marathon, which is one of my goals.

A few years back, the Boston Athletic Association (BAA) changed/updated the qualifying times for the Boston Marathon.  And with these new qualifying times, the application process was also changed.  The long and short of it is that, in each age group and gender, preference is given to the faster runners.  For example, if you beat your qualifying standard by 20 minutes, you get to register in the first wave.  If you beat your qualifying standard by 10 seconds, you will get to submit an application, but may not actually get registered based on how many people ran faster than you.  Which is exactly what happened to me when I qualified for the 2011 running of the Boston Marathon.  At the time, there was a 59 second buffer added to the qualifying standard (so my official standard was 3:10:59).  I finished in 3:10:26, which was fast enough to qualify, but not fast enough to actually get into the race.

When the qualifying standard was changed, my age group was given the new standard of 3:05:00.  However, based on the numbers I have been seeing around the interwebs, I feel that a marathon finish time of 3:03:00 would be a fairly safe time that would actually allow someone in my age group to get into the Boston Marathon.  So, that has been my goal.

As I have in the past, I have been following the FIRST Run Less Run Faster program.  Unfortunately, mainly due to convenience, I did almost all of my training on a treadmill.  I have done this is the past and it turned out to be alright, but I wasn't too sure about this one.  The other problem with my training was that while I did get most of my runs in, they weren't always as prescribed.  For instance, my long runs were rarely done as one long run (due to work obligations), but done as a couple of shorter runs on the same day.  Not ideal, but I still got the mileage in.  So, off to the race!

I got to the starting line at about 6:30ish a.m.  My wife was kind enough to drop me off, instead of me having to leave extra early, go to the finish line, and catch a bus to the start line.  When she dropped me off, I immediately started my pre-race routine.  Bathroom, check in dry clothes bag, warm up jog, bathroom, stretch, warm up jog, and some light stretching until the gun went off.  With it being such a small race, I was only behind the race clock by about 2-3 seconds.

The first few miles were a nice and easy downhill warm up.  I actually felt pretty good and was really just trying to hold back and not run too fast.  I settled into my pace and held a pretty solid 6:47/mile for the first 14 miles.  At mile 15, I started to feel a little mentally tired, but saw this pair of guys up ahead that I set my sights on.  I caught them at about mile 16, at which point I just tucked in behind them to draft for a bit and rest.  I began talking with them and found out that they were brothers, and the one in front had already qualified for Boston, so he was here to let the other brother draft off him in hopes to lead him to a BQ.  Unfortunately for me, their goal time was about 3:08, meaning they were probably running a bit slower than I needed.  I hung behind them for 2 miles, at which point I offered to take the lead for a bit, and planned on pushing the pace a little closer to my needed tempo.

When I jumped up front, we quickly dropped the brother that was still hoping to qualify.  I offered to slow down to let him catch back up, and the other brother said to just keep going.  And so we did!  I stayed in the lead until mile 20, at which point I needed another break.  I asked Mike to take the lead for a mile or so, and he moved to the front.  After about a mile, he just looked back and said, "Sorry man.  I'm done."  Well crap!  I was really looking forward to keeping this teamwork going for the last few miles, as it was allowing us to take turns resting.  But, there was nothing else to do but keep going.

I finished up mile 21 and felt ok, until I got to about mile 21.5, at which point I snapped mentally.  I decided to walk for one minute.  After my minute was up, I decided to revert to my Ironman marathon strategy, and walk for 30 seconds during the aid stations.  Well, because I walked twice during mile 22, that mile killed my average as it took me 8:09 to complete that mile.  I was able to get somewhat back on pace for the last 4 miles, even with walking, but I couldn't recover time-wise from that long mile.

I reached mile 26 and looked at my watch, noticing that I was at about 3:03:30.  I knew that I wouldn't get a good enough time to get into Boston at this point, but I decided to sprint my little butt off to try and still come in under 3:05:00.  I rounded the final corner and was giving it all I had left in the tank, until I saw the race clock at the finish line say "3:05:10".  At that point, I eased up.  Which was actually nice timing because it was right when I ran by my super amazing support crew family (and a special support bonus in The Captain, his wife, and their son).  My official finish time ended up being 3:05:23.

So no, I did not complete my goal of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  However, I still had a great race!  I set a new marathon PR by over 5 minutes!  And, my time was good enough for 9th place overall (8th male), and 2nd in my AG!  There's not really a whole lot that I can complain about.

The good news?  I have another shot this weekend!  The major question is whether or not I have been able to recover enough in 13 days to put forth another all-out effort for 26.2 miles.  Only time will tell!

Monday, February 25, 2013

No more Team Marathon Bar

Over the past 3 years I have been very fortunate to be on an ActiveAmbassadors.com team.  There are a few such teams, and I am very glad that I was chosen for Team Marathon Bar.  Throughout my time on the team, I was able to talk with a lot of people about racing and training nutrition.  This not only helped me spread the word about Marathon Bars, but it helped me learn what other people do and are successful with when it comes to nutrition.

Unfortunately, I was informed that there will no longer be a Team Marathon Bar.  Marathon Bar was the title sponsor of the Rock n Roll series, and they were using our team to help promote the brand at the races.  But since Marathon Bar is no longer the title sponsor, they did not have a need for a team.  I'm really going to miss being on this team and representing this brand, and I actually do like the bars!  The funny thing is, I think my wife is going to miss it more because the team clothing they gave us to race in was very easy to spot!

So for this season, I am hoping to get onto another team through ActiveAmbassadors, or any other teams for that matter.  But I hope it happens soon as I've already done one of my races this year, and another one is this weekend!  Time is running out!  Aaaaaaaahhhhhhhh!

And I just wanted to say THANK YOU to Team Marathon Bar and ActiveAmbassadors for the amazing time that I've had these last 3 years!

Oh, and happy birthday to my buddy Cody!  Here's a little 311 love for you!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I've returned!

No, I didn't actually go anywhere.  I just got lazy!  And not in the sense that I stopped working out.  Hopefully that is never a problem.  More in the sense that life has been pretty busy and something needed to be put on hold...which ended up being my super informative blog!  Ha!  And I know you were all sitting on the edge of your seats, checking your email multiple times a day and refreshing my homepage once an hour hoping for an update, only to be disappointed.  And for that, I am sorry.  Hopefully after reading this little update, you will be able to get a decent night of sleep!  In all reality, I live with my only reader, so she is pretty up to date on the athlete side of my life...doh!

I believe that the last time I posted an update, I mentioned something about trying to qualify for the Boston Marathon again.  Well, I had my first race of the season, which was to be my first attempt at qualifying, on Feb. 17th at the Arizona Marathon.  The results of that race will be coming to your computer screen in another couple days, in the form of a race report.  Just be warned, it's a nail biter!

In other news, I am very fortunate to have a few dealings in the works on the sponsorship end.  No, I'm not talking about getting paid like a professional, but more along the lines of what I did with Team Marathon Bar for the last 3 seasons.  Again, that info will be coming soon.  In fact, maybe I'll start treating you to some inside information starting tomorrow morning....

And with that, my first update in what seems like forever is done!  I was really just letting all of you know that I have not yet died, and that I will have some exciting posts coming up!  So grab some coffee and just keep hitting that refresh button until those updates show up (which will be tomorrow morning, I promise).