Tuesday, October 6, 2015

It's been 5 years

This post is a little premature by a few days, but this Friday is my 5 year wedding anniversary with the wife.  Usually my posts are about training, racing, products, or random things, but the truth of the matter is that none of it would be possibly without the support (cough, cough, most of the time), from the wife.

A little background on us is we actually met when she was 12 and I was 13.  I was her first slow dance ever, and I was actually her junior prom date back in high school.  She will admit that she had a huge crush on me throughout high school, so I like to remind her every once in a while that not many girls get to marry the man of their dreams, or at least their high school crushes.  We never dated back then, but we reconnected after about 15 years of not seeing each other and dated for about 2 years before tying the knot.  What's cool is that we have pictures from her junior prom (which there is no way I will post) and also have pictures from our wedding.  It happens to be a very nice full circle.

There are very few people in this world that can put up with me.  I tend to have a lot of moods, keep to myself, have little desire to socialize except for during racing/training, so the fact that we have been together for this long is pretty amazing.  The wife definitely puts up with a lot of crap and while I am not an emotional or affectionate person, she definitely deserves some type of award.  She is the one who allows me to travel for both work and racing, put the long hours in on the asphalt, and recognizes when I need to get out and just run to calm me down.

There have been some rough patches over the 5 years, but there has never been any between us.  Every couple fights, but we have limited ours to the most stupid things that are insignificant in reality.  I can't think of any drag it out, no holds barred, punches being thrown fits that we have had which is quite amazing if you know both of us.  We are both strong opinionated people, so the fact that we can somehow make it work is special.

The wife has taken care of Thunder when I travel for work, and has given me Riley, so life seems pretty good. And without her support, I could never have become the TriRunningDad so this anniversary is for her.  What seems to be very coincidental is that the 5 year anniversary present is considered the "wood" anniversary.  I'm going to use the fact that I bought her a house this year, and cash in that the house has wood as her present.  I think it definitely counts.

To the wife, thank you for the past 5 years, and looking forward to many more.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

HoneyMaxx New Flavor

It's new and it's taaaaasty
It is very rare that I can get excited about a gel flavor, drink mix, electrolyte supplement, or anything that I ingest for the sole purpose of my training.  However, that is exactly what happened within the past 2 months.  My take is that since we eat and take in all of these things for fuel and calories, they really aren't all that exciting to begin with.  Most gels taste roughly the same so it's really just a matter of what consistency you like or what agrees with your system during training and race day. And with the exception of a few drink/electrolyte supplements, every product is identical.  But HoneyMaxx has released their new flavor and I am super stoked that I got my hands on it.

Like I do with a lot of my reviews, I give the disclosure that I am not paid by any company and I typically pay for the products that I review.  I am a product Ambassador for HoneyMaxx and have been using their products exclusively for the past 2-3 years.  I'm proud to work with such a great company and race in their gear.  With that being said, it is my responsibility to be honest with my reviews and if I don't like something about their product, I will not hide my opinions.  The team at HoneyMaxx has not asked me to be positive just to be positive, which is something I respect about them.  They want their customers to be just as happy with their products as I am with mine.

So what is this new flavor?  It is HoneyMaxx Pomegranate Acai Blueberry.  Yes, that's a mouthful to say, but it is even a better mouthful to taste.  I have always grown up drinking and preferring some kind of Lemon-Lime flavor for my drinks, probably because it is the most common.  It is what I have been racing with for years, so I was hesitant to try something new, especially something so drastic as Pomegranate Acai Blueberry.  But part of the perks of being an ambassador is I get to try new flavors out.  In this case, because I was racing and didn't want to interrupt my training weeks before a race, I only got to stare at the bag of mix without trying it for weeks.  It was sitting in my training section of my house and I kept walking by it and wishing I could taste it.  Once my triathlon season was over, I ripped open the bag and mixed me a nice electrolyte cocktail.

So how does it taste? Different, good, clearer, tasty all are words that come to mind.  Let me explain a little.  If you have ever tried HoneyMaxx Lemon/Lime or Orange you know it has a great taste.  The taste builds as time goes on, but there is definitely a Honey tinge that you goes through your mouth. Obviously it's because of the main ingredient being honey.  The flavor isn't in your face obnoxious like most drink mixes and anyone who I have met who has tried HoneyMaxx is instantly converted because it is so much better than anything on the market.

Pomegrante Acai Blueberry is a very different and unique flavor to the sport drink market.  I can't think of anything that can compare so if you want something different, this is worth a try.  With so many boring flavors out there, it's nice to spice it up a little.

When mixing the flavor with water and taking my first few sips, I couldn't believe how clean this tasted.  Maybe I was expecting more of a kick in the face from the 3 flavors, but it wasn't like this at all.  Each one of the ingredients complimented each other but not over the top.  They were all very subtle individually, but collectively they all blend perfectly.  I wish I could come up with a better word to describe but as I sit here and write this, I'm drinking a glass of HoneyMaxx Pomegrante Acai Blueberry for fun, and clean still is the best word.  You just know what I mean when you drink this.  The taste is smooth, crisp, while being more drinkable than you can imagine.

The makers at HoneyMaxx have also fixed the "problem" of having the mix not dissolve easily.  I've often had to let my HoneyMaxx 1.0 sit overnight to dissolve, but with the Pomegranate Acai Blueberry flavor, they have incorporated the 2.0 mixture so once you mix it with water, it dissolves and you instantly have your flavor. They also added 100 mg more sodium than in previous versions, which is a welcome addition to someone like me who has experienced cramping problems in hot conditions.

As a whole, I think the Pomegranate Acai Blueberry is a great addition into a market that doesn't have a lot of variety.  By infusing the market with a different flavor, our taste buds are able to break out of the norm during those long tedious workouts and enjoy a splash of something to invigorate us so we can push through those barriers.

Check out this great flavor, and the originals, plus a BRAND NEW WAFFLE that even I haven't been able to get my hands on yet.  Don't worry, I'll be just as excited for that.


Keep on pushing past those limits!

These long summer workouts have been fueled by some great products,
HoneyMaxx has kept me going. 

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Challenge Poconos Race Report

I've been slacking on the blogs and race reports this season, but I think it's been hard to keep up with everything going on with the move to the new house, the construction going on at the new house so the wife, Riley, Thunder, and I are living with my parents for 2 months (help me), and with training/racing, it's been so hard to sit down and put everything into words.

But my final triathlon of the season was last week at Challenge Poconos.  I was originally signed up for the Half, but over the course of this year (and it started last year), I realized that I really enjoy shorter races compared to longer races, so I switched to the Olympic.  I have always wanted to race this course, from the time it was the Ironman race to last year when it was Rev3, to this year when it was Challenge.  It's close to my house, I used to snowboard in the region, they have a Nascar race in the region, and it is naturally a beautiful area.  So this year, Leo and I signed up and headed out last weekend.

In my experience, Challenge/Rev3 always puts on a great race.  They care about the experience and not just about making money.  I'm always disappointed when it comes to the race expo, but overall, its a pretty good experience.

Practice Swim with some Cobb Mobb gear
Leo and I got there Saturday in time for the practice swim and bike check.  I'll get to the swim course later, but the Expo/packet pick up/Bike check was a total cluster f%&ck.  They were in 2 different locations and trying to find parking at either was horrible.  It took hours to get from one to the other.  But we made our way to the practice swim and had some fun.

After that, we headed out for some dinner and an early bedtime.

Race Morning:
Getting to the race was a little logistical nightmare.  Since there wasn't a lot of parking near the venue, we had to park in the ski resort and they bused us to the transition area.  Not a big thing, but kind of annoying having to deal with it race morning.

Finally at transition, we checked our gear in, and I got to see an old friend who I went to high school with.  It was nice to catch up and spend some time talking.  We have been speaking for a while now since I've gotten him to use HoneyMaxx, Rudy Glasses, Fusion Gear, so I'm glad to see someone likes my recommendations.

Once we were ready to go, they Half athletes were getting under way, and the Olympic athletes were started a little while later.

The swim course was both good and bad.  The course went about .5 miles AGAINST the current, which sucked, no wait, it SUUUUUUCKED.  It was like swimming through quicksand.  What also happened was I got punched in the face twice.  I have never been punched in the nose during a race.  We all kicked, claw, scratch, etc, but I got a direct punched in the nose to where I had to stopped and check to see if I broke my nose and was bleeding.  Even the kayakers asked me if I was ok.  I was, so I went after it.
At the turn buoy, we finally went with the current. WHOA this pace changed.  I was flying.  Every stroke felt like I was being propelled through the water.  The about halfway through the return swim, the water got shallow and there was a wall of seaweed.  We all had to stopped and figure out a way to get through it.  It was crazy, but it hurt all of us and not just me.
Finally through the wall of seaweed, I got to shore and started my run through to transition picking off a lot of people.  What sucked was I lost my goggles on the run.  Boo, these have been with me for 2 seasons and I really liked them.
Swim: 30 minutes- not great but I was 8th in AG so the currents effected everyone so I don't care about time.

Having driven the course the day before, I knew what to expect.  The first 4 miles were uphills, and the next miles were easy rolling hills.  I grabbed my bike and headed out on the course.  I actually strapped my GoPro to my aero bars and filmed the entire bike course, so I'll upload my videos in a bit.

I didn't mind the hills of the first few miles, but the roads weren't paved so my arms were vibrating so much it hurt.  They closed the roads so it was great to open roads to go after everyone.  I found a guy who was riding about my pace and we worked together to pick off the field.  We were doing it legally, which was good because we saw a group of 4 in front of us get penalties for pack riding (more on that later).

The course was very scenic and fun to ride.  Nice rolling hills, but flat enough to really push the pace. Nothing special, which in my opinion was a good thing, so I got back to transition and was ready to roll.

Bike: 1:08- happy for the most part.  Probably would have liked a few minutes less, but I'm good with it.

I figured I was about in 6th in AG after the bike since I saw people in front of me on the bike on the turn around so I knew I had a chance to pick some racers off.  I was ready to go.

I also had my fathers GoPro in my tri kit so I was going to take some pics of me on the course, which I was excited for.

I guess I never learn from my mistakes.  About 1/2 mile into my run feeling good, my left hamstring cramped up.  Bad! I couldn't move.  It was the same exact thing that happened at the Great Six Flags Triathlon in May.  I was feeling good, in contention and boom, a huge knot forms in my leg.

Trying to take a pic on the run
So I was forced to rest on a tree and watch my competition go by while I'm just sitting there for about 3-4 minutes massaging the cramp out.

Finally after kneading the knot out, I got back on my imaginary horse and went to work.  My legs felt great and I picked up the pace to hit miles of 6:16, 6:21, 6:19, and 6:24.  I kept passing everyone who passed me while I was stopped and they were all shocked and how I recovered so well.

Just some (blurry) shots of awesome scenery
For some reason, I thought there was a chance I could still get on the podium, even after me stopping.  I kept passing everyone and noticing the ages on people's calves, and no one was in my age group.  So I sucked it up and gave it one last push.  I caught one runner about 1/2 mile from the finish and realized I couldn't get anyone else so I coasted in while taking a few pictures of me in the finishers shoot.

Run: 45 minutes- great run except for the 3-4 minutes I was stopped on the road

Post Race: 
I waited for Leo and my high school friend to cross the finish line and hung out. Due to them not opening transition for close to 3 hours, Yes, that's right, 3 freaking hours, after I crossed the finish line, there was nothing to do but wait.  This really needs to be fixed for next year's race.  It was so boring, nothing to do, and we then had to wait for shuttles to take us to our cars, then drive to the bikes, and this took a while because the roads were closed.

As the awards ceremony started, I said to Leo, if I lose out on AG podium by 3 minutes or less, I'm going to be pissed.  As my Age Group came, 3rd place podium was 62 seconds in front of me.  62 damn seconds.  Which meant I would have been up there sans cramp.  I was pissed.  I stewed for a good hour after that, and then kept checking the results and found out that the 3rd place AG was actually one of those who got a 2 minute penalty, so he really beat me by 3-4 minutes (though I saw him get the penalty and didn't really think he deserved it).  But knowing he beat me by that time, it helped ease some frustration because even though it would have come down to a sprint finish, at least I know he wasn't as close as I thought.

All in all, the race was great.  I think the transition, bike gear check, bike pick up, and timing could definitely be improved upon for next year, this race is one that I will likely do again.  I loved the course, I loved the atmosphere, as Challenge always puts on a great race.

Now that Triathlon season is over, it's Marathon season.  Let's get running people.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Finding that inner motivation

Over the past few weeks, it has been hard to find that motivation to fight the pain within and push through some of the harder workouts.  With moving into the new house and getting everything in order, and really not having an "A" race anymore, there just seems to be that inner conflict of pushing through those tough parts of the workouts that make you stronger.

Ever since last year, I started to realize that I enjoy shorter races a lot more, so I change my "A" race in August of the Challenge Pocono Half to the Olympic.  As a result, I'm already at the fitness level that I need to do well there, so it really is fine tuning my workouts for that race.  With Alcatraz being over, I'm ahead of where I need to be so trying to spend more time on the roads than I have to in order of building my base fitness is just something that I haven't been able to accomplish.  I'm finding that instead of running 14 miles, I'll cut it short to 9-10 miles, or spending an hour and half on the trainer instead of the 2 plus hours.  While this isn't a horrible thing, especially since the distance for an Olympic race is shorter than that, it's more of me not having that inner voice telling me to push myself.

I've always prided myself and making the most out of my workouts and pushing as hard as I can, but now when a hard part of the workout comes, I start to dread it instead of looking forward to it.  I always love going up hills knowing that they will make me stronger.  I'm starting to find routes that avoid the hills.

It could be the heat of the summer, it could be knowing that my fitness is relatively where it should be, or it could be something that I can't put my finger on, but I need to get on it and quick.  Pushing through the pain is a good thing to me, so I want to make sure that I get that part of my training back.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Finding new running routes

A few weeks/months ago, I wrote about how the wife and I bought a house and are moving out of NYC.  Well, that day came about 2 weeks ago and we are now living in our new house.  While there is plenty to get excited about, one thing that I am most freaked out about is now I have to find new running routes for all of my workouts.  Most people love to go and find new routes and explore, but I am the exception.

For over 11 years, Central Park in NYC has been my "home course".  I did the math and figured out that I have done over 2000 training runs there, 50 plus races, 2 marathon finishes in the park, a few triathlon/duathlon finishes in the park.  What this means is that I knew every step of that park and every way I could possibly train.  My training was dialed in for that day specifically and I knew exactly what I needed to do and how I can customize my route.  Now, I need to find new routes near our house.  Not exactly something I'm looking forward to.

I have been out on 5 runs since moving in to the house.  Not knowing the landscape, it has been a true try and find approach.  For example, my street is at the bottom of a hill, so that automatically means that every single run that I go on starts with a pretty decent uphill.  Bad for a warmup and first mile of a run and also not great for the finishing mile since it's all downhill.

Also, now I have to deal with streetlights, stop signs, cars, and pretty much what everybody has already figured out how to deal with over the years.  But this is all new to me.  Central Park is closed to traffic, has no lights that runners have to abide by and once you start, you don't have to stop unless you want to.  Now, I have to deal with all of this constantly.

Let me say that when on vacation or in new areas, I really do love to run and explore.  It's great to see a new place, see the views, get a feel of the culture.  But when I have to rely on all of these things for structured training, I think it's going to take a long time to get used to.  I said to the wife the other day that I just need to find my "go to" route.  Meaning the route that I can do whenever I need to get a run in, or if I need to judge my fitness.  Whether it be 5-6 miles, or 10 or whatever it is.  I need to have a fall back route that I can go to whenever I need it.  Because right now, it's just explore and find, and I'm not liking it.

It's funny what runners consider problems when compared to the other things going on in this world.

Friday, June 12, 2015

I Escaped From Alcatraz...barely

This past weekend was my "A" race for the year.  Well, kind of.  I thought it would be, but looking back, I probably could have done more considering it was my "A" race.  Either way, over the past weekend, I Escaped From Alcatraz.  At least I tried to.

Escape from Alcatraz is one of the bucket list races for every triathlete.  The fact that we swim from the fabled island of Alcatraz is something that every triathlete wants to do.  This year it was the 35th year of the race and I somehow got into the lottery back in October.  Given how hard it is to get into the lottery, I figured there was no way I was going to turn down this chance to race the course.

Being stupid and jumping in to the water with no wetsuit for a practice swim
So last Friday, the wife and I packed up and flew across the country to San Francisco for the weekend.  After spending Friday walking around and site seeing, Saturday brought a practice swim in the Aquatic Park and then race check in.  Swimming in the Aquatic Park was a necessary evil.  The water temps was 52 degrees so I wanted to see how cold it was going to be the next day.  Yeah, um, it was cold.  Like cold that I couldn't feel my hands.  After 10 minutes thought, everything was numb enough that I enjoyed the swim.

The race expo was a big long disappointment.  I thought with how big this race is that there would be more there but only a few exhibitors and it took 2 hours to wait on a line to sign 4 waivers that I wouldn't die by getting eaten by a shark, freezing to death, piss off a seal, or have my sperm count lowered permanently and everything in between.  I planned it so that I would be there for the race meeting which also turned out to be a let down.  Given the difficulty of the course, I wanted there to be more explanation on how to navigate the swim/bike and what to expect.  All I got was "watch the videos on the website", which I have done countless times.

After the expo, it was time to have dinner and get some sleep.

Race Morning:
Waking up at 4am is not fun.  But that's whats required to get to transition, to get on a bus, to get on the ferry, to wait.  I set my transition up pretty quickly and got to the ferry about 530 am.  So I settled in my seat on the floor, made some friends and hung out for the next 2 hours.  Its amazing to hear stories from other athletes. What is also cool is that most of the pro's hang out in the common folk section so we get to talk to them and hear what they have to say.  I had a chance to sit with Andy Potts who was looking to go after his 8th win.  It was also pretty cool we were wearing the same exact race kit.

At about 7/7:15 they start making announcements about the start so it was time to get my wetsuit on and get ready for the start of the swim.  Once 7:30 came around, it was go time.  There is no hesitation at all.  Gun goes off and they shoo all athletes off the boat.  Over 2000 athletes are off that boat in less than 6 minutes so it's a free for all and if you are scared to jump off the boat, you get pushed so you better do it yourself so you can at least expect when to go.   Looking down at how deep the the water is from the boat, I thought it would be worse.  So at least those fears were quelled once I got outside the boat.  I got out on the boat deck and was ready to jump.

Once on the boat deck, you have about 6 seconds to jump before either someone pushed you aside or fear gets in the way.  I waited for neither and when I saw clear space in the water, I went for it.  The good news is that it wasn't as cold as I thought.  Nice.  One thing went my way. That's about it for the swim.

Knowing swimming isn't my strength I just wanted to get through it and thought the current was going to help.  We are told to site at a few landmarks, but it was so foggy that it was hard to do.  I finally got my bearings and my first landmark and started to go.  The first few minutes were great.  I had a great rhythm and thought this might be my day.  Then I just had no idea what to do. I lost my sighting, realized this is a long swim, and didn't think I was going to finish it.  I had a panic attack without the attack.  I never thought I was in danger, but I kept wanting to stop.  I would swim for a few minutes, stop and tread water, think I couldn't finish and then start up again.  But I kept saying this is not a race I want to DNF on.

The one question a lot of athletes have in the swim is when to move on to the next site marker.  I had no idea so I was going after my first one for probably too long before changing my direction to the next one.  This probably cost me a few minutes but that didn't matter.  My swim sucked regardless.

I really thought I was going to DNF but I finally got my wits about me and made it to shore.  It's a half a mile run to transition area and I couldn't be more thankful for that.

Swim: 44 minutes.  Horrible.  Nothing positive to say about this.  This could and should have been 10 minutes faster.  No excuses but I really need to improve my swim.

Grabbing my stead and heading out to the bike
(in the far right in the white/yellow speed suit)
I got on my bike and just went.  I knew I had a serious deficit to make up but I also knew this was a tough and hilly course.  Once on the bike, I was going after it.  Surprisingly, the hills didn't bother me at all.  Maybe it was because I was behind so many people that I kept passing everyone who I am naturally faster than.  I thought the hills were going to be hard, but I was rocking them.  This really impressed me as it shows that my bike training paid off.  I was killing the hills and so happy on the bike.

What goes up, must come down.  San Francisco is not a flat town, so these huge ass hills I was going up, I had to come down.  Usually not a problem, but they were some steep hills and technical turns on them.  Let me say that I have NEVER been so scared on a bike before in my life.  EVER. not after my crash 2 years ago, not any time.  People were bombing down these hills at like 40 plus miles per hour.  I was not comfortable with this but in order to not get run over, I had to do this.

It's weird that I was looking forward to going up hills since I knew I could pass people, but I also knew I would be the most safe.

After 16 miles, the course became flat again and I made my way back to T2.
I saw the wife as I was entering T2 and she said I rocked the bike course.

Very happy after coming back form that rough bike course
Bike: 57 minutes

This is the only part of the race I enjoyed.  The run was just awesome.  You get some amazing views on the run.  Like the bike, it was extremely hilly, but I loved the hills and they didn't bother me either.   At the 1 mile mark, I saw Andy Potts running with the eventual winner Eric Lagerstorm and that was cool.  A few minutes later I saw Lauren Goss (my triathlete crush) and Miranda Carafree in the 2nd and 3rd positions on their way back in.

The only part of the race I actually enjoyed
The run course takes you on streets, trail, stairs, steps, beach and the infamous sand ladder.

I was cruising on the run.  I felt good and was pushing the pace.  The only thing looking back on is I probably could have pushed a little harder but not knowing the course, I didn't want to bonk so I stayed within a good zone.

After running on the beach under the Golden Gate Bridge, you get to the Sand Ladder, which is a 400 step ladder consisting of, you guessed it, sand.  Everyone is told to walk it, but I tried to do my best to run it.  The problem with being so far back is there were so many people on the ladder when I got there that it was hard to pass people.  I did my best and ran and walked the ladder.  After living in NYC, it wasn't as bad as I thought.

After the sand ladder, its basically 2 miles of downhills and flats to bring you home.  I really enjoyed this part and found myself running with another racer until I pulled away with about 3/4 miles left.

Coming into the finishers chute, I couldn't be more happy this race was over.

Run 54 minutes (including the sand ladder)

Total Race time: 2:44- goal was 2:30-2:35, so if I had a decent and normal swim I would have hit my goal

Overall thoughts:
This race was supposed to be enjoyable, but with me being miserable during the swim and the bike and scared on my bike, this was a total let down for me.  I thought I could do well, I thought it would be great, but all I wanted it to be is over.

I do recommend that anyone who wants to do this race should try and get in.  its a once and a lifetime event, and though I didn't enjoy it, I am glad that I got the opportunity to do it.  Swimming from Alcatraz was cool even if I hated it.  Not many people get to say that they did that.
Post race pic
Now that I survived Alcatraz, the wife and I are heading to Napa and Sonoma to enjoy some time off and drink this race away.
Enjoying some relaxation after a long race weekend

Monday, May 18, 2015

Great Six Flags Triathlon Race Report- When everything goes perfect...until

Yesterday was my first race of the season.  I was super pumped for it.  I couldn't wait to see how all the hard training I did this past offseason was going to pay off.  Having Alcatraz coming up in a few weeks, I knew I needed a prep race to get all the kinks out.  I signed up for the Great Six Flags Triathlon, which as the name implies is held in Six Flags Amusement Park.  Pretty cool, right?

The Kingda Ka as a backdrop for our race is pretty cool
Going into this race, I had a pretty good idea that I was going to podium somehow.  Either overall or at least in Age Group.  I have raced this series before and knew that I could really go after the top prize.

So how'd it go?

I got to the venue at 5:30 am, which is really weird.  Think about walking down Times Square or the Vegas Strip at like 5 in the morning.  Everything is on, but no one is there.  To see all the roller coasters and games all lit up with no one around was pretty cool.

Minimal transition ready to go
I checked in, racked my bike and set up my transition.  Looking at my transition, I realized I was completely minimal for the first time in a while.  All I had laid out were my Skora's, race belt, and Rudy Project Sunglasses.  Everything else was on my bike and ready to go.

The race directors warned us that we should bring a second pair of sneakers to the swim start since transition was literally gravel.  Not soft gravel, like hard gravel, plus the run from the swim to T1 was about .5 mile and it was on that bumpy type of amusement park surface.  Did I listen?  Of course not. I brought 1 pair of shoes and walked timidly to the swim start.

The swim was held in the lake in the amusement park where they do all the water shows, fireworks, etc.  It was cool, but since it wasn't a lake that had access to fresh water, it was the cleanest.  It made swimming in the Hudson River feel like I was in the Maldives.

After changing my stroke this past offseason, I wanted to see if I really got faster.  Or even if I didn't, did I swim easier.  We got to warm up for a few minutes which was cool, and then then got us all ready in a time trail start.  I'm liking the new time trial start most races are doing now so everyone doesn't get run over.

Once I crossed the timing mat, it was on.  I got into a rhythm and went out to the first buoy.  Once I got there, a bunch of us realize the race director didn't tell us about the "hidden from view" buoy so instead of taking a smart route to the buoy, we now how to redirect and go in a different direction which probably added some time.

The swim was a 2 lap swim, so once I got the first lap down, I actually picked up pace and had the proper route so it seemed like I found something in my stroke.  I used this to pass a lot of people on the 2nd loop.

Coming out of the swim and the run from T1, I realized the shoes were probably a smart move.  I passed a bunch of people who were looking for their shoes and I didn't lose any ground, but it was a hobbled and hurtful .5 mile to my bike.

Swim: 28 minutes
For me, not bad. Would have liked 26 minutes or so, but also first open water swim and didn't know about one of the buoys

The bike was great.  The course had a lot of stretches of roads that didn't have a lot of turns, so any time you can stay down in aero and go after it is really fun.  The course had some rolling hills, but nothing super bad or anything that I thought was that hard.  Maybe that's a good sign for Alcatraz.

I was wearing my new Rudy Project Wing 57 helmet with the visor.  I love the visor.  It's awesome and cool looking.  However, for the first 6 miles or so, there was so much condensation on the visor that I was basically riding through a fog.  After taking my finger and wiping the dew from the inside (why didn't I think of that earlier), it was clear sailing.

Since the course had both Olympic and Sprint going off on the same course, whenever I passed race volunteers and asked them how many people in front of me, I kept getting different answers.  One time, I was told 25 people ahead of me, the next I heard 5, then 10, and so on.  It was until about mile 22 that I only saw people with "S" on their legs so I knew I was in pretty good shape when the race director told me I was in 5th.

The only bad part about the bike was that my Garmin Vectors weren't reading power on the left pedal so I was getting half data so I have no clue how hard I was riding other than by feel.

As I was coming into T2, I was feeling good and happy.  I started humming the theme song to Jaws since I knew I was going out for the hunt on the run.  I made a few people laugh when they heard me

1:10- 21 mph avg. Wanted a little higher but it'll do

Now it was time to have some fun.  I threw on my Skora's and went to town.  I got into a good rhythm and my file mile was tracking at 6:16 pace.  A little faster than I wanted, but I knew I could hold it and calm down for the next 5 miles.  At the first mile marker, there was a water station and once I got there, everything just went.  My left hamstring cramped up, and I couldn't move.  It was just one big knot in my leg.  I tried to rub it out, I tried to hop, and make it relax.  But nothing.  I was stopped for a good 3 minutes.  3 FREAKING minutes. I was really contemplating calling it a day right then and there.

After the cramp subsided, I continued on the run.  I stopped feeling great and now just wanted to get through the race.  I didn't know how many people passed me, but I kept passing people on the run and thought maybe there still might be a chance for an AG podium.  I really had no clue what to expect, but there was only one way to find out.

I crossed the finish line with a 10k time of 46 minutes.  I was pissed.  I felt like I could have gone under 40 minutes that day, and then boom.  My race blew up.

I checked the results and looking at them I found out I finished din 13th Overall place and 4th in my AG.  The difference between me and 2nd place in AG was 36 seconds.  36 freaking seconds.  I would have easily had this and probably a 7th place finish without that damn cramp.

Overall, my race was good.  I'm both happy and mad at how it went. Without the cramp and my stoppage time, it would have been a very good day at the office.  But, not everything happens in a vacuum, so I have to take what I can get. I'm not bummed I missed out on a small little trophy, but I'm upset for not doing well for all my partners.

Thanks HoneyMaxx, Skora, Cobb Cycling, and Rudy Project for being there with me.  The results weren't there, but I'm thankful for all the support.

Next up is Alcatraz.  Let's hope there are no setbacks there and I got them all out of my system here.