About Me

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San Francisco, California and, Carrboro, North Carolina, United States

Tuesday, November 8, 2011


My season has finished and I wanted to thank my training partners and pass along an old article from the NY Times, "To Train Harder, Consider a Crowd".  To the pro-swim group, riding partners, P-Ride cyclists and running friends, thanks for making me faster!  I could not have done it without you. 

Group training is an aspect of performance that has never been scientifically studied. Exercise physiologists say it can be impossible to demonstrate its value because usually too many things change simultaneously when people start to run in groups: the coach, the location, the training regimen. To do a proper study, it would be necessary to assign athletes at random to train alone or with a group, assessing their performances after a period of time — something that would be extremely hard, if not impossible.
But despite the lack of solid evidence that group training helps, more and more athletes are starting to think it does. And, they say, there are lessons for amateurs who want to run or swim or cycle faster. The right workout companions, they say, can make all the difference.
“In sports, you need to train at race pace,” said Edward Coyle, an exercise physiologist at the University of Texas at Austin. “To do that, you need a coach and you need teammates to push you.”
Recreational athletes can benefit, too, Dr. Coyle said. Many run by themselves or without a specific program. “They probably underestimate their ability,” he said. Group runs “would help them tremendously.”
The article makes it simple, to go faster, train harder and train with a group. 

See everyone out there.


Monday, October 31, 2011


Beach 2 Battleship was an excellent race to end the year.  Any one looking to finish with a half iron distance or full iron distance race should definitely race B2B.  Set Up Events puts on a top-notch race and the City of Wilmington has a lot to offer.  I'll be back next year!

My goal coming into B2B was to set a course record and go under four hours for the race, but I didn't acheive all of those goals because the wind and weather had different plans. I battled the 20 mph wind, slight rain, and cold weather to set a new course record, 4:08:19, but missed out on going under 4:00.  Next year! 

Swim: 20:42

The B2B swim takes place in a channel connected to the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway and is timed with an incoming tide providing a nice strong current for the swimmers.  The current is a bit slower for the half iron distance than the full (because the half starts quite a bit later than the full), but the current was still moving.  The gun sounded and I went straight to the front of the pack and off the front.  I had a lead kyaker paddling with me for about 500-600 meters and I thought all was great.  However, suddenly, the lead kyaker splashed me and pointed to the red buoy about 75-100 meters to the left of me and shouted for me to go left. I was shocked! I had not been sighting other than to look for him, and now I'd swum about 100 or so meters off course. (Lesson for the future: don't rely on the kayaks! from here on out, I'll always do my own sighting.) I still made it to the first buoy in first place, however, my lead was only about 25 meters.  I swam well and on course for the rest of the swim and had about a 90 second lead coming out of the water.  Without the little sighting problem, I think I would have exited the water in just about 19 minutes, and with a lead of almost three minutes.  Oh well..it was time to bike, no time worry.    

Bike: 2:18:29 (Fastest Split of the Race)

This was the toughest 56 miles of riding I've done all year.  The first 35-40 miles were almost all into a head/cross wind. I rode nearly as hard as I could but was only going 21-24 mph, making for a long day in the saddle. In addition, the temperature dropped to about 50 degrees, and my super fast, but skimpy Kiwami tri kit wasn't offering too much warmth. About 30 miles into the ride, I was shivering but kept a positive mindset and hammered away.  I kept saying to myself, "ride strong, create a big lead, and maybe I can still get under 4 hours."     

Run: 1:24:16

Coming into T2 I was super cold and shivering, but with a lead of a little more than seven minutes.  I handed off my bike to the T2 volunteer and went to get my running shoes on.  I had a little trouble getting on my shoes, my hands were not cooperating and were shaking too much.  My shivering likely costs me about 30 seconds but once the shoes were on, it was out onto the run to warm up.  

The first few miles of the run were excellent and I maintained a 5:45-6:05 mile pace.  I made it to the run turn around at mile 6.55 in 39:18 and was excited to be on pace for a sub 1:20 run.  At the turn around, I also was able to see where my competition was.  It took nearly three minutes to see the next runner, Kenneth Svendsen, a very strong runner and triathlete.  Kenneth took 9th overall at Augusta 70.3 so I knew there was a fast guy behind me but I had just under a six minute lead.  Miles 7-10 were not as fast as I had wanted, my right hip started to give me some trouble. I knew I was in for tough final few miles.  I also knew Kenneth was running fast.  I came through mile 10 in 1:01 not a blazing fast time, but fast enough to still run under 1:20.  However, the final 5K was a struggle.  The combination of my hip and fatigue slowed me down and I shuffled the final 5K in 23 minutes. I was a little worried Kenneth would catch me, however, I kept my focus and stayed positive.  I came through the finish chute with a new course record and won by a bit over one and half minutes.     

Full Results

Rounding out a great race was all of the support I got during the weekend. I had a wonderful homestay, and want to thank them for the hospitality. Also thanks to my coach Dave Williams, his wife Monette and my better-half for cheering me on. 

B2B was an excellent way to end the season. I've raced twelve times this year, including eight 70.3 distance races, and I have had a great time racing at the elite level again.  I can't wait for next year, but first, some rest and recovery.  

Post race I was wrapped up like a burrito and got a massage. 

Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'm very happy to announce I'll have one more shot at racing a half iron distance triathlon this year.  I'll be racing the Beach 2 Battleship race on October 29.  B2B is one of North Carolina's best races and it will be a great way to end the season.  I'm also looking forward to hanging around and cheering on all the participants in the full iron distance race.  This will be first time at an iron distance race and watching everyone cross the finish line will be something else. 

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


REV3 Anderson

I was really looking forward to REV 3 Anderson, I felt very fit and ready for a break out performance.  I knew I could swim with the first group, ride with the main group, and if my run came around to where my training indicates, I would have a great race.  However, on Friday morning I woke up to find my lower back/right hip killing me.  I could barley walk, much less do 70.3 distance race.  I spent nearly all of Friday working from the floor.  I drove down to South Carolina on Saturday morning, my back/hip was a bit better, but not 100%.  I could swim and ride, but running really hurt.  I planned to go out Sunday morning and see what would happen.   

Swim: 24:39 (5th out of the water)

I led the swim for the first 300-400 meters. I planned to let Brian Fleischmann pull the rest of the way, but I thought Richie Cunningham took a better line to the second buoy so I hopped on his feet instead.   This wasn't the best choice, we lost a bit of ground to the guys ahead of us, but stayed within 20-30 seconds of Brian.  I came out in 5th and was ready for the bike.     

Checkout the video below, that's me in lead! (I am wearing the silver cap in the left of the screen, however, the announcer thinks I'm Victor.)

I am in the front of the group
photo by Eric Wynn
Bike: 2:18:57

The bike started off fast.  Andrew Starykowicz showed off his superb cycling skills and power and took off right away. In all, about nine or ten athletes came out of the water within a minute or so of each other and two chase groups formed.  I was riding strong and taking a fair amount of pulls.  For the first 40 miles or so, all was going well.   About mile 41, a referee gave me a penalty. I can admit when I make a mistake (I've made a few earlier this season and have always admitted to them) but this was just a bad call by a referee.  As my group approached a hill, all of our speeds slowed and the ref said I was drafting.  During the stand down period, I asked what I had done, and she said I was 8 meters behind the guy in front of me and not the required 10 meters.  I responded by asking her how far back she was and if the distance between me and the other rider stayed constant. She replied that she was 20-30 feet behind us and no, that I was moving back to open the gap further but not enough. I asked how she could distinguish between 8, 9 and 10 meters from a distance of 20 feet and with riders moving 20-25 mph and changing position. I didn't convince her, and the stand down dropped me back to 14th. I hammered the last 16 miles trying to catch up (not a smart move) and lost another minute or so and did a number on my legs.

Check out the video below.  At about 30 miles there were two chase groups, I was in the second group, riding well.  You can see me at :34-36 seconds into the clip.  The two groups would come together about 15 miles later.

Run: 1:25:16

Not too much to report on the run, other than it was a tough day.  My back/hip acted up right away and I struggled through the run finishing with a 1:25 half marathon.  Only part of the run that I can be proud of is that I did not quit, even though I was quite tempted at each mile marker.   However, I really want to finish the race and not end up with a "DNF".   

Total: 4:10 (16th Professional)

I think I have one more race in me, but before that happens, I need to get my lower back/hip taken care of. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Pinehurst Triathlon -- First Overall Course Record

After two races which I did not finish it was time to break the streak and get back on track before Rev 3 South Carolina

Going into the race I felt tired and not too fast.  I had put together some tough workouts over the week and also put in about 50 hours of work.  But after a quick talk with my coach we decided it was a good idea to go out, race, and put in a good effort.  We knew I would not be on top of my game but it would be good to get things going before next weekend. 

1500 Meter Swim

The plan for the swim was to go out fast and get away.  I took the first 200 out at a quick pace and then settled down for the rest of the swim.  At the first buoy I realized I had about 100 meter lead on second place and decided to keep pushing the pace to the extend the lead.  I exited the water in 19:32 and had about 3 minutes on the next competitor. 

30 Mile Bike

I decided to push the bike today and see what I had.  The course was hilly and the wind tough, but I kept my focus and rode hard.  I've been trying to ride at a lower cadence and it seemed to help on some of the false flats and downhills.  I powered through the course and extended my lead to a bit over 8 minutes.   

10 Kilometer Run

I had a good lead off the bike and tested the legs on the run.  They were tired but I chugged along.  This course is great, hilly and tough, but beautiful as well.  Other than a couple sections were I slowed up, I kept a decent 5:40 pace up and finished strong. 

I finished in 2:09:04 and a victory by a bit over 11 minutes. 

Rev 3 is looking to be a stacked field and I'm really excited to see what happens. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Augusta 70.3

Swim -- 19:31

Augusta 70.3 started off great.  Instead of lining up with all the other athletes I opted to stay to the far right and have clean water to start the swim.  I wanted to avoid all the fighting and wrestling that can go on at the start of pro men's race.  The gun sounded and I took off.  I could see the fastest swimmer in the group Kyle Leto to my left and slowly worked my way towards his feet.  By 400 meters into the swim I was on Kyle's feet and we were off the front.  About 600-700 meters we hit a patch of kelp and Kyle accelerated.  Unfortunately I got a bit tangled up with the kelp and Kyle swam away.  I continued to swim well and exited the water about 30 seconds down on Kyle but about 1:00 ahead of the main contenders.
Bike -- 2:14:18
Leading up to the race I was worried about the bike.  I was riding a borrowed Cervelo P4.  The P4 is a super fast bike but this P4 was a size 51cm and my P3 is a size 54cm.  After making some adjustments and taking it out for a few training spins I thought I was set to go.  All was well for the first 25 miles or so, I was riding strong and sitting in either second or third place (Kyle Leto had gone off the front).  So far this was my beset performance at a competitive 70.3 field.  I was riding with the some of the best athletes and holding my own.  However, about mile 35 my hip flexers and hamstrings began to cramp.  I tried to work them out by spinning and standing but nothing seemed to work.  At mile 40, the group accelerated and I cramped badly.  As my hamstrings cramped, I could not keep the pace and the group rode away.  Coming into T2 I was still in 8th place and had a decent lead over 9th and 10th.  However, getting off the bike I cramped very badly.  My hamstrings were absolutely done.  After about a minute struggle to put my shoes on, I attempted to start the run.    

Run -- DNF

My legs did not cooperate today.  The different bike and angles were too much for hamstrings and hip flexers.  I simply could not run.  Lesson learned, race my bike and my bike only...
Rev3 South Carolina on October 9 is the next key race. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

Great Week of Training

I was still recovering from my flare up and the travel back to North Carolina, so Monday and Tuesday were good training days but not excellent.  I still felt a little weak.  I did do one thing super well and that is sleep.  When my body is not 100% because of my Crohn's, I make an effort to sleep at least 8 hours and if I can push it, 10 hours.  During the previous week and this week, I considered sleep and a lot of it, as important or even more important than a workout.  I slept a good 10 hours on Monday and another 9 and half Tuesday.      

By Wednesday I was feeling better and ready to tackle the tough workouts.  On Wednesday, Alex M. and I went out for an awesome ride and we really pushed the pace.  The workout called for an hour around threshold so Alex and I went to hills of the P-Ride beat up the hills pretty well.  It was perfect.  We both worked hard and my climbing legs are finally coming back to form. 

Thursday called for a key swim and a key run and I hit both workouts out of the park.  The key swim included a broken 1650 and with the subtraction of rest, I swam it in 18:18 (1:06 pace per 100 yards).  The run was tough, 10 X 600 meters @ 4:50 mile pace, followed by a minute easy.  I broke after number 8 but determined to finish, I ran 9 and 10, albeit a little slower, but nevertheless I finished the workout.  This was a great day that was top off by a Carrburito burrito. 

Friday, I was back in the pool with Justin P and Alex M, and Justin threw out a tough set.  The session was 5000 yards, with a main set of 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, all on the 1:25 basis.  The 1:25 basis challenged our arithmetic skills, but after a bit of a struggle, we figured out the times and the three of us took of to swim.  We all swam great.  Justin swam well and Alex is swimming better than he ever has.  I too had a good swim, hitting, 6:42, 5:20, 4:26, 3:15, 2:10 and 1:02 for the swims.  I'm feeling strong in the water. 

Hurricane Irene arrived on the North Carolina coast on Saturday but Justin, Alex and I went forward with our plan to ride 4 hours together.  The weather was not too bad in Chapel Hill.  Chapel Hill is about a 4-5 hour drive from the Outerbanks of North Carolina so we anticipated some rain and strong wind gusts.  Our expectations came to light but in all the ride was very enjoyable.  I did get a kick out of riding 13mph into a headwind and working almost as hard as I could.  I followed up the ride with a 4.5 mile T-Run, with the first 4 miles run at 5:40 pace.   


On Sunday the weather was perfect.  Justin and I had an excellent long run on the Tobacco Trail.  The GPS map is a bit boring, it's an out an back, but the run was great, really enjoyed it.  To finish up the week, Elizabeth took time away from her mountain biking to join me for a nice easy swim.  It was a great week of training.


I am racing again soon!  I'm looking forward to racing with Team Challenge and competing in the San Diego TriRock Olympic Distance Triathlon on September 11.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

LAKE STEVENS 70.3 (6th Place Finish)

Swim -- 24:45

The swim at Lake Stevens is generally a fast one.  The water is clear and with many buoys the sighting is excellent.  On Thursday I had an excellent workout in the pool and I was excited to race this weekend and come out in the first swim group.  After the a short warm up of about 500-600 meters I quickly realized that today I was feeling a bit sluggish.  I was lacking the power I usually have in my stroke.  Knowing this I prepared to swim a smart race and conserve my energy.  I wanted to find a good set of feet to swim with and just sit behind them and not work too hard.  The gun went off and it was a fast start.  I tucked behind the wake of another swimmer and this is where I would stay for the first 1400 meters of the swim.  My choice of swimmers was not excellent, we were sitting in about 6th and 7th place and at the turn buoy 2nd through 5th were only about 20 meters ahead of us.  However, over the course of the next 400-500 meters the front group extended its lead to about 50 meters.  Feeling the pace was a little slow, I swam to the front and pulled the final 400 or so meters.  I exited in 6th place, about 30 seconds down from the first group. 

Bike -- 2:23:04
Jeff Symonds had a bit quicker transition than I, and he exited T1 with about a 5-10 second advantage.  Jeff is a superb cyclist, so I wanted to ride up to him and then have him set the pace over the next 56 miles.  I rode hard for the first mile or so, caught Jeff, and then dropped my chain.  I dropped the chain right on a downhill and it cost me about 10 seconds.  At over 35 mph, Jeff was gone.  I would ride solo for the next 10 miles until I was joined by Stephen Kilshaw.  I was happy to see another rider, because I was still feeling weak.  About mile 20, Stephen and I would catch super fast swimmer Gavin Anderson.  The three of us would ride the rest of the course together, alternating taking leads.  With two miles to go we had a short climb and then a left turn.  I made a bonehead mistake and rode up next to Gavin but did not go ahead of him as we turned left.  I instead drop back 10 meters.  A referee was right there and under the USAT rules this was a legal position, but under WTC rules, it was not, and the infraction would cost me a 4 minutes.  I rode towards T2 with Stephen and Gavin and as they rode into T2, I made a detour to the penalty box and started to serve my penalty.  Without the 4:00 penalty I would have ridden a 2:19, not too bad on day when I did not feel excellent.     
Run -- 1:20:04

After serving the penalty I decided to make a go of it and try to run down at least one athlete and move up into 6th place.  I also had the goal of not having any athletes run me down.  Again I felt a bit weak on the hills, but on the flats I felt great.  I ran well and put together a string of sub 6 minute miles.  At the turn around I saw I had taken some time back on Gavin, but Stephen was running great and putting time in on me.  I kept focus, stayed positive and said I was going to run my way into 6th.  With about 2 miles to go, Gavin's gap on me had been brought down from 4:00 to 35 seconds.  With a mile to go a spectator told me I was 22 seconds down.  I decided to give it all I had and I ran as hard as I could.  With about 400 meters to go I caught Gavin.  I felt great but I then thought, how I am going to run the next 400!   I kept my focus and kept running well.  I turned right towards the finishing chute, peaked over my shoulder and saw I had a good lead, and ran to the finish with a smile on my face.  6th place, another top 10 finish, I was very happy with it.  On a day when I did not feel excellent, I put together a good performance and was proud of myself for overcoming my sluggishness and my penalty.  

After taking a few easy days of training, and still feeling weak, I realized that my Crohn's had flared up again, but this time in different location and with different symptoms.  I think the travel between New York, North  Carolina and Seattle was too much.  Coupled with too many nights of only 6 hours of sleep I was in a hole.  My sluggishness is a result of my blood volume dropping some, and it's impacting my strength and power.  However, with some good rest and careful eye on my diet and sleep, I should be back to full strength soon.       


Thursday, August 11, 2011


On Saturday morning I traveled to New York to compete in the New York City 51.50 Triathlon.  We started by jumping into the Hudson River and swimming 1500 meters downstream (with the current = fast!). Once out of the water we had a 40 kilometer bike ride from Manhattan to the Bronx and back, followed by a 10 kilometer loop through Central Park.  I've been racing all 70.3 distances this summer, so heading into the race I was very excited to test my speed in the shorter Olympic distance triathlon and see how I could do against some of the sport's best.
Swim: 14:02 (1500 meters with the current) 
Exiting the water sans cap
and goggles.
I was a little worried about swimming in the Hudson River.  A recent NY Times article detailed serious pollution problems in the river, so swimming through it did not sound appealing. In fact, it was a real possibility that the swim would be cancelled until the final water quality report the day before the race declared the river safe. Hopefully the report was accurate because I swallowed an awful lot of the Hudson in the short 14 minutes it took me to finish the swim (gross.).

The weather Sunday morning was not great: rain, rain and some more rain.  After a 45 minute delay to the start of the race, the race director called the male pros out to the dock and we were set to go.  The swim started off with a dive from the pier and I made a tactical error by starting in the second row of athletes.  The gun fired and we were off.  Being in the second row, I quickly caught a couple slower swimmers and was rewarded with a quick kick to the face.  The kick was perfectly placed right under my left eye, taking off my goggles and swim cap and leaving me in a daze that lasted about 500 meters.  I was also a bit disgusted that I was now swimming through the Hudson goggle-less exposing my eyes to the disgusting water. During my dazed and confused state, I dropped off of the lead pack, but regained my composure and made up some of the gap over the final 750 meters. I left the water about 30 seconds down from the first swimmer, but was happy to be in a pack of guys 4th through 13th.  

Bike: 1:01:02
With the horrible weather my goal was simple: ride well and don't crash.  The road was full of puddles and because of the "stagger" rule, I had no choice but to ride straight through several puddles.  I don't mind getting wet, but the puddles were actually hiding potholes and upon approaching a small pool of water, I had no idea if I was in for a little splash or for a jarring encounter with a hole. In the first 5K I nailed a pothole at full force.  The impact sent my areo bars down, but fortunately I stayed upright.  Overall, the 40K was challenging with some nice short climbs.  Particularly hard was the ride home; the final 20K was into a tough head wind. Combined with the rain and road quality, times were not too stellar, but I was happy to have stuck with a good group (riding at the front this time to avoid any penalties) and came into T2 in 5th or 6th place. 
Run 34:52 -- I had a smooth T2 and was excited to start the run in the top 10.  Including myself there were seven athletes in our group, Tim Reed, (3rd place), Kevin Collington (5th place), Dylan McNiece, Joshua Amberger (7th place), Kevin Everett (8th place) and Jared Woodford (10th place).  The run led us up a slight incline away from the river and towards Central Park.  Tim Reed started the run at an extremely fast pace and took a few of the other runners with him.  The first mile I struggled badly experiencing some cramping in my upper back.  I was quickly gapped by the group and went into damage control.  I needed to relax and find a good pace.  About a mile and half into the run I found my stride and started to reel a few of the guys head of me in .  I first caught Jared Woodford and then set my sights on a few others.  Jared and I ran together for a while, we passed Andrew Yoder who had gotten off the bike ahead of us and we were gaining ground on the athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th.  With less than a mile to go I made a surge and created a gap of about 30 meters between Jared and me.  I kept running my pace to secure my 9th place finish.  After rounding a turn, I headed into the finish chute with a good lead over 10th. 

Next up is Ironman Lake Steven's 70.3 on Sunday August 14.  Shooting for another Top 10 finish.  

Friday, July 15, 2011


REV 3 PORTLAND -- 4:03:57

SWIM (25:58)
Wetsuit or no wetsuit?? That was the question that the pros were asking the day before the race.  We all received emails earlier in the week that the water temperature was 62 degrees -- well below the 68 degree USAT pro limit for wearing a wetsuit.  However, after swimming in Blue Lake before the race, it was clear the water was warmer, but... just how much warmer?  On race morning we were notified of a "non-wetsuit" swim.  I'm strong in the water so a non-wetsuit swim benefits me (less competition from the guys who get extra help from the buoyancy of the wetsuit).  However, I don't have a rubber speed suit and I knew at least a few athletes would have them and would benefit from the extra hydrodynamics they offer. 

Race time! At 8:00 a.m. the gun went off and I bounded into the water and did a couple dolphin dives.  Rounding the first buoy I was in fourth place, right behind Graham O'Grady, James Cotter and Richie Cunningham -- a fantastic start for me.  All these guys are top world class athletes.  Around 400 meters there was a quick acceleration and I lost Richie's feet, but continued to swim strong. I exited the water in 4th (and was the first guy out of the water without a speed suit) just about 30 seconds behind Richie and James and 1:15 or so behind Graham O'Grady (who won after leading the race wire to wire).  I had a good lead in front of 5th and was feeling really positive.

BIKE (2:12:34)

My plan was to work my way up to James and Richie and ride with them for 56 miles just like I did at Eagleman 70.3 a few weeks ago. I was hoping to stick with the group and get off the bike in a top 5 position. All was going according to plan until I received a "stagger" penalty.  In the Rev 3 series, no matter how far the rider is ahead of you, you must staggered to the left or right.  I was riding in 5th position behind Chris McDonald who was about 300-400 meters ahead of me.  I stagged into the middle of the road to comply with the rule, but the road condition was terrible, and I had to increase my effort to maintain speed. However, on the right side of the road, the road was smooth and fast.  In an attempt to push the rule to the limit and avoid wasting energy, I shifting slightly to the right, hoping I could stay left of Chris, but also on the smooth road.  Unfortunately for me, the referee deemed my riding position in violation of the rule -- my decision cost me a penalty.  The referee pulled me over, I got off the bike, and stood on the side of the road and watched the other pros scream by.  During my 3 minute stand down I went from 5th to 14th.  

At the end of the penalty I jumped on the bike and hammered away.  I came into T2 in 11th, with the goal of running myself into the top 10.       

RUN (1:21:29)

I came off the bike with Jesse Thomas and Nicholas Thompson and set my aim on running with them as long as I could.  I was excited to have the company of these two great runners and was hoping that they'd help lead me into the top 10. 

The first two miles went to plan.  I ran about 5:35 pace and stuck right behind Jesse and Nick.  We had passed one runner, putting us in 9th, 10th and 11th. Plus, we had the 8th place guy in our sights.  In mile 3, I slowed and lost touch with Nick and Jesse.  By mile 6, Mike Levato and Chris Bragg caught and passed me. I gritted my teeth and carried on, finishing 14th in 4:03:56. I did not have a horrible run, I held about 6:25 pace, but could not get my pace down to 5:45-6:00 pace, where I really want to be.       

In all, I was happy with the race and my performance.  I had an excellent swim, recovered after a 3:00 mistake on the bike and had a decent run, not great, but not horrible.   

I'm also pleased to announce that 4:03 is a new personal best for the half ironman distance. Now to get my running speed up and crack 4 hours as soon as possible!

Monday, July 4, 2011


I don't have much to report other than I've been training very hard and getting myself ready for REV 3 Portland.  The race is July 10, 8:00 PST and you can follow it live on Sunday

Rev 3 Portland is a half iron distance race.  Top two Americans on the course will earn a trip to the ITU Long Course World Championships.

Back to training!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Week of June 19-26

Monday was a morning swim and nice zone 1-2 bike ride.  Alex McDonald joined me for the swim and ride, and it's great to see how much stronger Alex is getting.  It's amazing that only a few months ago he was in a wheel chair with two broken legs.

Tuesday always means Pro Swim Practice and Coach Dave delivered.  We had another great practice and we're all getting so strong in the water.  Dave's an excellent coach.  Highlight of the practice was an all out 200 and I almost went under 2 minutes.  I came in 2:00.4, quite a bit faster than my first Pro Swim Workout in February!

Tuesday evening was a long run with a 20 minute section at 5:13-5:18 pace.  That was a tough run.      

Wednesday's workouts called for a 2 hour session on the trainer followed by a transition run (and swim in the evening).  After yesterday's run, the bike was tough but the T-Run went well and there was no cramping on the run or the afternoon swim.  I think the salt is working.   

Thursday was more Pro Swim and a nine mile run in the afternoon.

Thursday evening my nephews from Indiana joined us for a couple of days.  It was great seeing the kids and Adam and Natalie.   

Friday morning I hit my swim workout and had another strong swim.  After the swim I headed out for two hour ride.  The ride was followed up with a trip to the Raleigh Children's Museum and a showing of Cars 2.  Everyone enjoyed it.    

Saturday means the P-Ride and it was another good effort with some long pulls and even some jumps off the front of the group.  It felt great to be riding fast.  However, the weather was very warm and the heat and humidity got to me.  Fortunately my better half joined me for my second half of my Saturday ride, so I was able to put in four hours on the bike.

Post P-Ride with my better half.

Sunday means a long run.  I ran around Chapel Hill and ended the workout with two miles at tempo pace.  I hit the two miles at 5:30 pace and called it a day.  Wow, 90 degrees is warm but this weather is making me stronger. 

Mark joined me for an easy 3,000 yards in the water and with that, the weekend training was finished. 

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Race Site for the Bandits
Triathlon Challenge
I decided to race this weekend because I wanted to clear my mind of not finishing at Eagleman 70.3.  Fortunately, my coach agreed and we decided I should race the Bandits Challenge Triathlon in Wilkesboro, NC-- just a couple hour drive from Chapel Hill. As a few other elite atheltes from the North Carolina area would be racing, it looked like there would be some good competition.   

I traveld to Wilkesboro with a fellow elite triathlete (Mark) and we checked out the course Friday evening. We'd been hearing rumors that the course was tough, but I was pretty sure that all that NorCal hill climbing coudln't be beat. But upon investigating the course I was impressed! The course was packed with hills on the bike and a run that included an 18% hill that we humble racers would have to summit twice! This was no race for the weak.     

Swim -- 19:26 (Fastest split of the day)

There was another strong swimmer  (Dave) in the elite wave and my coach and I decided that the best strategy was to take it out fast and see if I could get away.  My coach did not want me to settle for finding Dave's feet and swimming his pace. At the start, I took the swim out fast. After about 300 meters Dave was on my feet, and I contemplated slowing my pace and letting him pull me.  However, I remembered what my coach wanted me to do so instead of slowing, I surged and created a small gap. After a few more accelerations over the next 500 meters, I expanded the gap to about 20 meters and pulled about 30-40 meters away by the end of the swim. I exited the water with the fastest split of the day and headed into transition in first place.     

Bike -- 1:10:02 (Fastest split of the day and course record)
I learned what Bandits is all about straight out of transition as I took the nasty, steep climb to the top of a dam. I hammered it, and settled into a nice pace. At mile 2, I encountered the longest climb on the course. The climb isn’t very steep (about 7-9% grade), but it is over a mile long. I surged to the top, and looking over my shoulder, estimated that I had expanded the 30 second lead I had in transition into at least a minute.  The remainder of the course is 25 miles of rolling hills with some tough climbs.  I continued to push the pace and I entered the second transition with about a four and half minute lead. 

Run -- 37:47 (Second fastest split of the day)
The run course at Bandits is what makes this race famous. There are three VERY steep climbs, but fortunately, they're not very long.  First,  is the same climb out of the transition area up to the top of the dam at the start of the bike. However, the climb on the other side of the dam that racers climb twice on the two-loop run course is crazy hard.  Words just don’t do it justice. The race director estimates that over 90% of all participants walk the hill during the race. 

After conquering the first climb, running the flat out and back I section, I descended to the other side of the dam and prepared myself for the 18% climb on the way back.  Wow, when I hit the climb it hurt, just like all those super steep hills in San Francisco. Staying focused and keeping my running form, I made it to the top of the hill.  I had to do the out an back section and then the hill one more time.  I had lost a little bit of my lead on the first loop, but still had a gap of over 3 minutes.  After running the out and back, I went down the steep hill and began to think about staying focued on the way back up.  The second trip up the hill was tough.  My quads and calves were screaming, I wanted to walk, but I kept my focus and made it to the top.  I enjoyed the run into the finish.  I was shooting for the course record (2:13:29) and I thought I could have it.  As I ran down the finish shoot, I saw the clock ticking away 2:08:55, 56, 57.  I was very happy I had the course record and put together an exceptional race.  I put my arms up and finished in 2:09:06 and set a new record. Full results here. Winning is always fun, and it helped me keep positive and confident as I move into the next phase of training. Plus, it's fun to race with all of my new training buddies and the Chapel Hill crew had a strong showing. Mark finished 4th overall, and several friends from my swim group also had really strong finishes. It was really nice to see lots of friendly faces out there.

Sunday included a long ride with Elizabeth and Josh.  A perfect end to great week of training and racing.

Happy Father's Day!   

Thursday, June 16, 2011

No Rest After Eagleman

There was no rest for the weary after Eagleman 70.3.  Before I describe the week of training, I first have to give major props to my Honda Fit for averaging 44 miles to gallon for the roughly 800 mile drive.  

My legs were sore on Monday.  All cramping had taken its toll.  So the workouts called for an easy swim and a 90 minute bike.  Fellow pro triathlete and fast forward triathlon owner/coach Alex McDonald joined me for the swim and ride and provided some great insight with respect to my nutrition problems.  Thanks Alex!

Tuesday morning meant I was back at the Pro Swim Workout.  My coach Dave Williams took no time to throw us into the fire.  The main set was a tough one: (i) 4 X 100 @ 1:10, 200 easy; (ii) 4 X 100 @ 1:05, 200 easy, (iii) 4 X 100 @ 1:15, 200 easy, and (iv) 4 X 100 @ 1:05, 200 easy.  For the first set of 4 100s on the 1:05, I made 3 but missed number 4.  I dug deep on the second round and made all of them.  I was back to swimming fast and my confidence in the pool was up after having a less than stellar performance on Sunday.  

I followed the swim up with another easy ride.  

Wednesday was a moderate swim of 4000 yards and 7 mile run.  I was back to feeling strong.  

Thursday another Pro Swim Workout and another tough one at that.  The main set was a 400 fast and 300 fast, and I came through in 4:21 and 3:10 respectively.  My swim is feeling great in the pool, I just need to put it together in a 70.3 race.  The weather forecast called for thunder and lightening, so I decided to stay inside for my bike ride.  The trainer ride was not too bad, as I was able to watch the movie No Limits, the Prefontaine story on Netflix.    

I'm looking forward to this weekend.  On Saturday I'll be racing the Bandits Triathlon.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Easgleman 70.3

Eagleman 70.3 was a tough race.  The weather was not particularly warm (only 82 degrees) but the day was very humid, with the humidity level about 90%.  I did not finish the race but did learn quite a bit and was generally happy with my performance.  I made some mistakes but I also made some improvements and I stayed positive through the whole race.  I also learned what part of my nutrition game plan I need to revise.  

Swim 27:10
I have been swimming excellently in the pool and was looking forward to a great swim today.  The pro field separate into two groups quickly, a group to the far right and a group to the far left.  I found myself at the far right.  I was swimming with some strong swimmers, but the guys to left had taken a better line to the turn buoy and were quickly ahead of us.  I've been working on staying positive and my mental preparation paid off.  I focused on my swim form and came out of the water in 8th place, right behind Richie Cunningham and James Cotter. 

My feet on top of my shoes.  The cyclist
next to me missed the group.
Bike 2:11:03
I had an excellent start to the bike.  James Cotter and Richie Cunningham created a small gap at the end of the swim by dolphining the last 50 yards.  Out of transition, the guys were about 200 meters ahead of me.  Knowing how important it is to ride with strong riders, I jumped on my bike and started pedalling as fast as I could.  This was very much like a ITU race, I didn't put my feet into the shoes for the first mile of the ride.  Once I made it up to them I put my feet into the cycling shoes and we were off.   James Cotter and I begin to rotate taking pulls and we kept the early pace about 27 mph.  However, Richie opted not to pull and decided his best bet would be to let James and I do all the work on the bike.  Looking back at this James and I should have forced Richie to do his fair share of work, but we did not, so Richie got a free ride for 56 miles (it paid off for Richie, he ran his way from 9th off the bike into 2nd place).  James and I worked well together and I led the group into transition 2 in 7th place.     

I jumped off the bike and once my feet landed on the ground both calves cramped up.  I limped to the bike rack, hung up the bike and slipped on my shoes.  I was hoping the run would loosen up my legs and I could hold a decent pace.  I thought a 1:20-1:24 would be great and likely place me in the top 6 or 7.  I started off at a 6:15/mile pace and knocked out the first 2 miles.  They were not easy but at least I was making progress.  I was passed by James and Richie, so I found myself in 9th place, but holding strong.  I had a big lead over 10th, so I was looking forward to my first top 10 finish.  I kept running, putting together miles between 6:40 and 7:00 pace.  I hit the turn around and was still in 9th place, only 6.5 miles to go.  After the turn around I felt great and put together a mile and half of 6:05 pace.  I thought wow, I'm finally running, now just to keep it together and maybe move up a place.  However, at mile 9, things unraveled.  I started cramping badly.  My pace quickly dropped down to 8:00 pace.  In between miles 9 and 10 I was passed by Andrew Hodges and now I was in 10th place.  It was at mile 10 my body just gave way.  Both calves and quads were done, they completely seized up in a total cramp.  I could not even walk.  At that point, I decided to call it a day.  I didn't want to damage my muscles any further and wanted to make sure I was good to go for the next few weeks of training.      

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Week of Eagleman 70.3 (Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday)

Eagleman 70.3 is fast approaching and I am feeling well and fit.  For a taper week I decrease the volume and the intensity of the workouts.  The days right before the race are usually quite easy, with just enough work to keep me feeling fresh and ready to go. 

Monday was a recovery ride.  I really enjoy the opportunity to ride with Elizabeth, so she joined me for the ride and we went out Monday morning and rode roughly 85 minutes around Carborro.  A great way to start the week.

I followed the ride up with a swim at the Triangle Aquatic Center.  It was excellent to swim long course meters.  After putting in 3500 meters it was time for lunch.

Tuesday morning means it's time for a Pro Swim workout.  The key sets were a 500 for time and 100 time.  I swam well and put in some good work on my form.  I'm feeling great in the water and hope it translates to a first group swim on Sunday.

Tuesday's evening workout called for 5 x 800s @ 2:26.  I ran each on the 2:26 and felt strong.  With a warm up and cool down I ran 9 miles.  I finished the day with a dinner at my favorite casual restaurant, Carrburritos.

Wednesday called for a 90 minute ride with 10 one minute efforts at 95%.

I took the Time Trial bike out and the ride went great.  I really pushed the 10 one minute efforts.  In addition, the weather was warm and not many cars were on the road, another perfect day of riding.

3 more days to race day!  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Saturday and Sunday (June 4 and 5)

I am racing Eagleman 70.3 next weekend, so this weekend's training was toned down from last weekend.  My Saturday ride called for a lower effort than the usual P-Ride so fellow fellow North Carolina pro Justin Park and I opted out of the P-Ride headed out for our own ride. 

It was an absolutely perfect day for riding, a wonderful way to start the weekend.  The ride was relatively easy, with only one 30 minute sustained effort.  Justin and I put together a strong effort two hours into the ride, and then rode back into to town for the transition run. 

The T-Run went well.  I took out the first mile at a fast pace, coming through in 5:12. The rest of the run was easy and nice way to end the training session.

Sunday called for a 12 mile run and a light swim.  Justin joined me for the run.  The run felt great, I am acclimating to the weather and feel fit for next weekend.   

I swam easy, only 2000 yards all focusing on swimming smoothly and working on my form.  My better half, Elizabeth, joined me for the swim and then we headed out for a nice dinner, a perfect way to end the weekend.   

Friday, June 3, 2011

New Doctor and New Drugs

While living in California, I had a great network of health care professionals helping me stay healthy and physically fit.  I had been working with a GI specialist, a nutritionist, and massage therapist/acupuncturist, and their combined efforts helped me race my way back into professional status last year.   
It's always difficult to establish new doctors after a big move. Fortunately, there are great medical resources in Chapel Hill, but it still takes time to get all of the pieces in place. As I met friends in town, I began asking for doctor recommendations and also did some web research on Crohn's specialists. I found a primary care physician and set up an appointment for an physical and to get a referral to the Chron's group at UNC. The physical went well and I was really impressed that my primary care physician took a lot of time with me to really explore my medical needs. She made me feel really comfortable and well-cared for. Other than the flare up I've expreincing, I'm glad to report I have a clean bill of health. Plus, I walked away with a referral to a GI specialist. 

On Tuesday I met with my new doctor at the UNC Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology.   We discussed my medical history, my current condition and how my athletic goals and working life affect my Crohn's. We then began to discuss my options for getting my flare up under control, and ideally, in remission.  My doctor offered me three options for new medication, each with its benefits and drawbacks. My doctor outlined his preferred treatment, which he was confident would eliminate my symptoms, but could also cause side effects that would negatively affect my training and racing. He suggested that the other treatments would also help me feel better, but would likely be slightly less effective in getting me into remission.

To be honest, it felt like a really big decision. On the one hand, getting into remission would be amazing. On the other hand, I am so used to living with my symptoms -- and training through them -- that I'm not sure that the benefits would outweigh the risks. I'm just not sure that I'm willing to trade off my training success as I work to rebuild my fitness, especially if there are alternative treatments with less risks (though also, likely, less rewards). 

My doctor and I talked through the options, and I decided to follow the more conservative approach. But even this approach had a snag. Before I even picked up the new perscription, I consulted the US Anti-Doping Assoication website to see if the drug was on the 'banned' list. Indeed, it was, though I can file for a Theraputic Use Exemption (TUE).  I am currently in the process of applying for the exemption and will hopefully be on the new medication within the next few weeks.  Until then I am taking my current medications, taking my supplements, and trying to increase my hours of sleep. 

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Saturday and Sunday (May 28 and 29)

Saturday = the P-Ride! 

Another great P-Ride followed by an extra hour on the bike.  I put in some strong efforts on today's ride and I'm extremely happy with my fitness on the bike. 

After the 3:15 on the bike, I ended up at the track for 3 X 800 meters.  I knocked out the 800s on the 2:40-2:43, not as fast as I wanted to go, but still a great workout.  The map below may be the most boring garmin map ever.   

In the last couple of days I have begun to acclimate to North Carolina's summer.  Wow, it's significantly warmer than a San Francisco summer!  I've enjoyed pushing myself in the heat the last few days because it's only going to make me a stronger athlete.   

Sunday was another great day of training.  After a 30 minute ride on the trainer I headed out for a 16 mile run.  Again, I was very impressed with how warm and humid it can get here.   

This was an excellent week, I put in 20+ hours of training and billed nearly 40 hours.

I have signed up for Eagleman 70.3 on June 12. 

My fitness and form are really coming together.  My run is still a question mark but I am expecting a good performance with a strong swim and bike. 

Sunday, May 29, 2011

THURSDAY AND FRIDAY (May 26 and May 27)

Pro Swim (5300 yards)
Another great swim workout.  This may have been the best work I have done in the pool in the last 5 years!  The main set was a long one, 3000 yards.  It was a pyramid set with the following:
100, 200, 300, 400, 500 on the 1:15; and 500, 400, 300, 200, 100 on the 1:10.  I made all the intervals and felt tired but great at the end of the swim. 

I ended Thursday with my first track workout in over a month.  It was a tough one but went well.  The workout called for 6 X 1000 with a 400 jog in between each.  I hit my target times (3:07 for each 1K) and was very happy to be back running again.    

After the two solid workouts Friday was an easy day of running and swimming (and lots of work).

Below is an interesting video about head position while swimming.  Over the past few weeks I have focused on this aspect of my swim stroke.    

Thursday, May 26, 2011


At the moment, I'm feeling fit.  My run is not there yet, but my swimming and cycling have consistently improved over the course of the year.  Tuesday's and Wednesday's workout were further evidence of this. 


Tuesday's Pro Swim Practice was another example of just how much Dave knows about getting athletes into shape.  Dave gave us a tough and fast set.  Main set was 5 X 100 all out.  Between each 100, we had 60 seconds of work on the stretch chords.  My arms were burning,  but I came through strong, swimming all of them between 57 seconds and 59 seconds.   

Tuesday ended with a 9 mile run at 6:30 pace.  


Early in the morning was full of attorney work, then I headed out to the pool.  I put in a solid 4600 yards at the pool.  Since I often hear I have one of the ugliest swim strokes around, I've been trying to work on my swim stroke and swim form.  Wednesday's set called for some one arm drills and finger tip drills, so hopefully I am learning. 

After the swim, I headed home shot off a few emails, and then jumped on the bike.  The weather is getting warmer now and I am hoping that by training in the heat, I will race well in the heat.  I did 4 loops on the ride, putting in a good effort to start off each loop. 

After the ride I threw on the running shoes headed out for an easy transition run around the neighborhood. 

Wednesday was an awesome day.  Any day I can get 4+ hours of training is a good one. 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday May 23, 2011

On Monday morning my legs were definitely feeling the 15 mile run on Sunday.  Fortunately, Monday only called for a moderate swim followed by an easy ride of 90-120 minutes. 

The swim was fantastic.  Elizabeth and I met up with fellow pro triathlete Alex McDonald.  Alex is an inspiration.  Alex was involded in a serious cycling accident about 3 months ago, breaking both his legs and suffering a number of other injuries.  However, Alex has stayed positive throughout the healing process and is already walking.  He's also back to swimming and riding.  It's truly amazing.  Check out the video below. 

We hit the pool for 3750 yards and all felt great afterwards.  Another good swim.    

Following the swim Elizabeth and I went for an easy ride around Chapel Hill.  I got lost only once on the ride (as you can see we were riding towards HWY 40).  Some of my friends in Berkeley will not believe I got lost only once, since I seemed to get lost on nearly every ride in Northern California.     

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A Great Weekend of Training (BACK TO RUNNING!)

Saturday means the P Ride and as always it delivered.  A great, fast and hard ride. 

Sunday, time to get out for a run, a long run. 

My calf did all right and I remembered how much I love to run.  It was nice run around Chapel Hill with Josh and Mark, two training partners from swimming.

Before heading over to a friend's home for a BBQ, my better half and I hit the pool for a short swim.

This was nice weekend of work.