Photo by Mario Cantu
 

Welcome to my blog. Here you will find postings to keep you up to date on news regarding my training, racing, and life. You can also find my race reports posted at the link below.

Race Reports, Archived Blog Entries, & Past Training Camp Reports

 

2016 Race Schedule
      It's almost race season and I wanted to share my 2016 proposed race schedule. Normally I publish it on my website in January or February, but in the past, there have been early season changes, so this time I wanted to wait until I was closer to my first race before I put anything out publically. I think I have really great schedule for the year. I sat down with my coach, Julie Dibens back in December and we put this schedule down on paper. Our approach is a little different than how I've picked schedules in the past. 

     The biggest change is that I'm racing a lot more than I've done in the past. The reason for this is because I used to be an athlete who liked a huge build-up for my big races with maybe one 70.3 before. This can sometime work because I could get very fit, but the flip side was that with a huge build-up, I risked over-training and injury as I tried to push that little bit more in training. This year, by racing more often, I don't have as many weeks between races so I won't have these epic builds. The other advantage of more frequent racing is that I don't put too much emotional energy into a single race. As I used to build to my full-Ironmans, I'd mentally put all my eggs in one basket. If the race went well, then great, I was on a high. If it went poorly, then I'd get down on myself. With more races, I don't have time to focus on one race too much. If something doesn't go well, then it's on to the next one.

     This isn't to say I won't have training builds, but some of my 70.3s will be part of my builds as checkpoints. My focus this year is my 3 full Ironman races - Challenge Taiwan, Ironman UK, and Ironman Taiwan. This isn't to say I won't do well on the 70.3's but they're not my focus. I've picked new races that will be fun for me, races in Little Caesars markets in the US, Canada, and Mexico, as well as some international races. I'm excited for this year and the fun race schedule ahead. 
     
   - Ironman 70.3 San Juan - March 20
   - Ironman 70.3 Texas - April 10
   - Challenge Taiwan (full distance) - May 7
   - Ironman 70.3 Boulder - June 11
   - Challenge San Gil - July 3
   - Ironman UK - July 17
   - Challenge Penticton (half) - August 28
   - Ironman Taiwan - Oct 2
   - Challenge Ixtapa - Nov 6
   - Ironman Cozumel (maybe, only if I'm healthy and we decide for a Kona 2017 points push) - Nov 27

 

 June 8 - Race Schedule Changes
    I've been updating my Facebook racing page more frequently than my website. So if you follow my Facebook racing page, you already know I've had to do some race schedule changes because of race cancelations and directors eliminating professional prize money.

    My early season was built around Ironman Taiwan in April. I treated Ironman 70.3 San Juan as a checkpoint/build race for Taiwan. I was somewhat happy with Ironman 70.3 San Juan in March. I had the 2nd fastest bike split which told me my bike fitness was on track. In that race, I faded from 3rd place to 9th place on the run. From that race, we focused on getting in some solid tempo run miles before Ironman Taiwan for weeks later. In Taiwan, I had a solid bike and run, finishing in 3rd place. I was very happy with this result.

    After Ironman Taiwan, my season plan was to chase prize money rather than Kona points. I'd worked with my sponsors this winter to ensure we were all on board with me stepping outside of the Ironman brand to race Challenge series races as well as other race series. With Megan and I expecting our baby in the middle of September, Kona is not a goal this year. With the cancelation of the professional race at Ironman Louisville, I decided to focus on other races to shoot for good prize money. My plan was to focus on the full-distance Challenge Atlantic City in June, then Metaman Bintan in August. Challenge Atlantic City had $65,000 of professional prize money and Metaman Bintan in Indonesia had $130,000 of prize money. I would sprinkle in a couple Ironman 70.3s throughout to keep me sharp, but they wouldn't be my main focus.

   About 6 weeks before Challenge Atlantic City, the Challenge race series announced they would be cutting most of the professional prize money from their races. Atlantic City cut all of the money and eliminated the professional field. So in the middle of May I was faced with having to change my schedule. Also, a month or so earlier, it was announced that Ironman bought the full-distance Metaman Bintan race. They changed the race from a full Ironman to a half. They also took the $130,000 of prize money and cut it to $25,000. So that race no longer fit my plan. I'd also planned on racing the Challenge Rancho Cordova half-distance race in California in October, but it was also announced recently that this race was canceled outright. So during April and May, almost 50% of my race schedule was eliminated. For the first time in my racing career, I had to flex my schedule not due to injury, but because of the dynamics of what races are doing to professional racing. 

    The first step was to figure out what to do about Challenge Atlantic City in June. There are three other full-Ironman races on that same weekend: Ironman Nice, Ironman Austria, and Ironman Couer d'Alene. I looked at travel to Europe, but flights now are insanely expensive. Coach and I decided to shoot for Ironman Couer d'Alene. The travel is much less expensive and the bike course is very difficult, but not technical (both factors suit my strengths, I can climb but I'm not a great technical descender). I was planning on racing Ironman 70.3 Raleigh at the end of May as a warm-up for Challenge Atlantic City. The professional field in Atlantic City was not going to be nearly as deep or strong as Ironman Coeur d'Alene will be. Coach and I decided to forego Raleigh 70.3 so I'd have a 6 week build/focus on Coeur d'Alene. I've always done better in races when I have a big block of training and focus on a single race. I've never been an athlete who does well jumping in many frequent races. It's now 3 weeks before Ironman Coeur d'Alene and I've had a great training block. It's been the best block I've had in a few years. I have one more very hard week before I start tapering, but I can honestly say everything is tracking great. If things continue as they are for the next few weeks and I have a good taper, I think I'll be the fittest and strongest I've been for an Ironman in a couple years.

    In the meantime, we also decided with the changes to Metaman Bintan, I'd focus after Coeur d'Alene on Ironman Japan. That race has one of the hardest bike courses on the Ironman circuit. Because of the drafting style of racing that is now prevalent at flatter races like Ironman Texas, Arizona, Melbourne, Brazil, etc, stronger swimmers can hide on the bike in a draft pack and save 20-40watts. Put athletes on a hard, hilly bike course and it's hard to hide in a draft. It doesn't change my swim deficit, but it levels the playing field a bit on the bike. So races like Coeur d'Alene and Japan are the ones I need to target.

    After the baby. I'm keeping my schedule open from October-December. It will all depend on how things are going with the baby, our family and my body. I may throw in a few 70.3 races. I may do 1-2 70.3s and then key on Ironman Cozumel, or I may not. Until then my focus are on these couple Ironmans over the summer.

Pat
  

 

January 8 - 2015 Race Schedule 
     After some deliberation and discussions with my main sponsors, I've come up with my 2015 race schedule. I had some different decisions this year than in past years due to changes in the professional racing landscape. The first factor was Ironman cutting the number of races in North America with professional prize money. Several of my favorite races which I probably would have raced, no longer have professional fields nor prize money. Races like Ironman Los Cabos, Ironman Louisville, Kansas Ironman 70.3, and Muncie Ironman 70.3 would have probably been on my schedule for this year, but with the new system of "age-group only" races, it really limited my choices. The second major factor changing race choices is the emergence of Challenge Triathlon really making a charge at the North American racing market. In the last couple seasons, Challenge has been adding races in North America. Over the winter, Challenge purchased the Rev 3 Triathlon series so it will now have 13 races in North America with professional prize money. Rev 3 had cut its professional prize money completely last year, but now with the backing of Challenge, who really values the professional field as part of it's race experience, re-added prize money to all of those races. The third factor this year was that I worked with my key sponsors to understand their needs of me as an athlete and combined those with my racing and personal goals. In the past, some sponsors only valued the Ironman brand in terms of race results, but now with Challenge gaining market share and media coverage, I am able to open my schedule to other race options where in the past I limited my schedule to Ironman-only branded races. 

  With those factors taken into consideration, here is my 2015 tentative race plan. I've kept a few of the races flexible, because I have some more homework to do on those races, but they're all later season (Ironman Japan vs. Metaman, and a half-distance race in October).  


   - San Juan Ironman 70.3 - March 15
   - Ironman Taiwan - April 12
   - Raleigh Ironman 70.3 - May 31
   - Challenge Atlantic City - June 28
   - Ironman Japan or Metaman Bintan - August 24 
   - Silverman Ironman 70.3 - October 4
   - Taiwan Ironman 70.3 or Challenge Rancho Cordova or Challenge Ixtapa - October
   - Ironman Cozumel - November 29

     The first race I chose was the new Ironman Taiwan. I've always enjoyed my racing experiences with Ironman Asia-Pacific when I raced Ironman Malaysia, Ironman China, and Ironman Australia, so going back for another in that region is something I've wanted for some time. The second factor drawing me to this race is that my bike sponsor Blue Bikes is based out of the US, but Blue Taiwan is the Asia distributer and is involved with the Ironman race there. Combining my wish to race in that region and to be able to represent a main sponsor one of their markets helped me make my decision to race Ironman Taiwan. I decided to go to San Juan Ironman 70.3 a month before Ironman Taiwan as a warm-up race. It'll have been some time since Ironman Chattanooga last September, so I needed a race to brush up before my "A" race in Taiwan. I raced in San Juan two years ago. Was having a decent race, but ran off course for about 4-5 minutes. I really liked the race and felt like I had unfinished business there. I also found it to be a great race logistically. No rental car needed, can walk from hotel to transition, to the expo, to restaurants, to the swim. I find races like that to be much lower stress. I'll fly a little further so that I don't spend half my time in the days before the race in a car going from A to B to C.

     After Taiwan, I've learned that I race best if I have at least 6 weeks before racing again. I need about 3 weeks recovery, then 2-3 weeks of solid training before I can be effective. I've tried 5 weeks several times, but have had very mixed results. There are no 70.3 races in North America six weeks after Taiwan, but on week 7 is Raleigh Ironman 70.3. This race has interested me since it's inception. It's a new race for me, so I find it exciting.

    I debated about not racing another full-Ironman until late summer like the I'd done in the past at Louisville. Instead race several 70.3 races through the summer. The reality is with the changes in the sport, I'm making almost all of my money at the full-Ironman races. So why not put another one in there. In June and July there were several options. I was interested in Ironman Whistler in July, but that would have encroached on my August race plans which I think are more important. So I looked to late-June or early July. Options were limited unless I raced in Europe. I've raced Ironman Coeur d'Alene 2x and watched it another time, so I felt that 3x at that race was enough for now. I like that race, but I wanted something different. That drew me to Challenge Atlantic City, which is a full-Ironman distance race. Although it's a pretty flat bike course, and I tend to do better on harder bike courses, I was interested in this race. My swim work this winter is geared 100% for me to make that 2nd swim pack which has been 2-3 minutes in front of me at every race for the last 2 years. If I make that 2nd pack, then a flatter bike isn't a concern.

     8 weeks after Atlantic City will be my second "A" race of the year. I'll either race Ironman Japan or Metaman Bintan in Indonesia. They're both the same weekend, so I can decide later. Japan being an Ironman brand race will have more publicity. But the prize purse is small and the cost of travel for Japan is very high. If I can do some things to lessen the travel costs, like using frequent flyer miles, then Japan is a viable option. I know the bike course is very hard there with pro bike times over 30 min slower than other races, which suits me well. The harder the bike, the weaker cyclist "drafters" have no where to hide. The second option is Metaman Bintan. They haven't announced if the prize purse is back on, but in the past they've had a $130,000 prize purse with $30,000 for the win. It's an independent race, so it hasn't gotten as much press in the past, but last year I noticed many of the triathlon media outlets covering and highlighting that race more. Bintan is a 45 min ferry ride from Singapore so the travel is much easier than Japan. Getting around in that region, I've found, is easier because English is widely spoken. Many airlines have direct flights from LA or San Fran to Singapore. The one thing about Metaman, is that it is guaranteed to be stinking hot and humid. When you're in the jungles of South East Asia in the summer, there are no cold fronts! It'll be +95 degrees and 95% humidity. It's the same for all competitors and I've done well in HOT races in the past, so it's not a huge negative. It's about preparing for that type of race and being mentally ready for nasty conditions. With big $$on the line, it's very tempting.

     After Japan/Metaman at the end of August, I'm keeping my schedule pretty open and flexible. After 3 full Ironmans, I need to listen to my body and pick races when I'm ready to race. I picked Silverman 70.3 in early October in Las Vegas. It's a hard course, which is always good for me (see "drafters have no where to hide"). Then I'll race another 70.3 in October/early November. There are a lot of options, from Austin 70.3, to a couple Challenge half-distance races at that time. I'll make that decision later. Finally, if my body is "on" and mentally I'm ready for another hard push late in the year, I'll race Ironman Cozumel. That is one of my favorite races of all time. I took 2 years off of Cozumel. I needed a little break after racing there 4 years in a row. Now I'm eyeing it again. They've changed the swim so it's an all down-current swim, which is never a bad thing for me. I just like the hot, windy, hard conditions there, but with amazing crowd support. I'll make the decision on Cozumel sometime in September or October.

    There's my race schedule and a little of my thinking behind those race choices. The most important factor is that, to me, it looks fun and exciting. I need races that get me jazzed up to do the hard long training hours. Going to some new places and races help keep racing fun and exciting for me!

    Here's to a fun 2015.

Pat






Maybe race Ironman Cozumel. Will not make that decision until October. It will depend on how my body is feeling after a season of racing. If I feel good, then Cozumel it is!


 

October 20 - Blue Bicycles in Kona

Photo by GoShiggyGo Photography for Blue Bicycles

     It's been a busy few weeks since Ironman Chattanooga. Megan and I moved, I went out to Kona for Ironman World Championships week (not to race), still unpacking from moving, and going to a family wedding. I'm finally home for an extended period of time after being on the road more over the last month than I've been home. Kona was a great experience. Since Blue Bicycles was the official bike course sponsor, I went out to help Blue with PR and marketing around the race. In addition to photo shoots, time at the expo, and helping Blue in other ways. I went out with my iphone and a Shimano camera to record some of my experiences in Kona during race week. Not everyone can go out to Kona so I wanted to give a feel for what World Championships week is like in Kona. Here are some of my videos:








           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

           

August 7 - Going to Louisville
     If you read my last update, you know that in terms of training and racing, the last several months have been the roughest patch I've had in the middle of a season. A couple weeks ago, I wasn't sure if I should just pull the plug on Ironman Louisville. I'd had so many fits and starts since May, that I was out of time for what I felt was proper Ironman training to be 100% ready for Louisville. I'd just spent the previous two weeks sick and it was then about 4 weeks until race time.

     After posting that last update, my coach and I had a good talk about what I should do. I had an idea in my head of what I thought was the best course of action and to my delight, when I asked his opinion, he said exactly the way I was leaning. One possibility was to cancel Louisville and spend a proper couple months getting 110% ready for Ironman Chattanooga, maybe throw in a 70.3 like Muskoka as a warm up. The alternative was to go to Louisville on whatever training I could get in. It would be my 28th Ironman, so it's not like I don't have it in my body to just go and see what I can do. Since I only had 4 weeks to get ready, do a 3 week build, then a crash 1 week taper. We decided on that I should do the latter and go to Louisville.

     I've always been someone who likes a long build-up and long taper for an Ironman, that's where I usually got my confidence. I'd spend a couple months focusing only on that race in training, then have a long 3-week taper to the event. This time, I didn't have the volume in my body to do a long taper. For this race, I'm trying something new. In these last 4 weeks before the race, we're building me for 3 of them, then I'll do a quick one week rest and recovery week, then race Louisville. Now that I have almost 2 of those 3 weeks of building in my body, I have to say that I'm very pleased at how my body is responding. I'm hitting and exceeding all of my times, paces, and power numbers. I'm actually a little shocked at how good I've been feeling and how quickly it's all been coming back. I've been sore quite a bit in the last couple weeks because I didn't have a long training block to build up and ready my body before hitting some of these bigger workouts, but my body has been bouncing back after each session.

     The second part of the decision to go to Louisville was to really let go of all expectations. When I picked this race schedule over the winter, I had the one goal of going to Louisville with the intent to shoot for the win. Now that I didn't have the training momentum I wanted this summer, I'm releasing all expectations around placement at this race. I'm trying a new build-taper plan for me after the least consistent training I've had going into a race, so I'm truly not focused on placement. If things go well, I may really surprise myself. Louisville has always been a special race to me. It always brings me positive feelings and good mojo, so you never know how it will pan out.

     As the last couple weeks have progressed well, I've found myself getting excited to race there. Now that the announcement from Ironman that after this year Ironman Louisville will no longer have a professional field and be an age-group only race going forward, I know this is my last shot at this great race. I can assure you, that in the next couple weeks and on race day, I'll give it everything I have. I've got nothing to lose.

Pat

 July 27 - Update on latest happenings
    This has been one of the roughest summers I've experienced in triathlon since I've started. On July 12th, I had another disastrous race at Muncie 70.3. After St.Croix in May, then spending most of June injured, this last race was another blow. Even now, I'm still in bed sick after a week of being sick. Things are not going well at the moment.

    I went into Muncie 70.3 knowing that my running fitness wasn't top-notch. My bike fitness was great and I was swimming well at practice. After my running injury in June, I hadn't gotten in the running training for a personal best 70.3 run, but it should have been maybe a minute, maybe two, slower than my normal good 70.3 run, not the 18 minutes slower than normal that I experienced on race day.

    In the days leading up to the race, I felt pretty good and I thought my body was "on." Race day, in the swim, I couldn't catch my breath. I had a shockingly horrible swim. When I exited the water, I could barely run to transition. My wife and parents were standing by transition and said they were worried because they could hear me breathing and hyperventilating louder than they've ever heard. I could barely breath in transition. I thought I may pass out from hyperventilating. I got on the bike and for the first 20 miles had nothing in my legs. I lost time to the entire pro field that first hour. After 20 miles, it's like my legs woke up and I started riding well. I ended up riding 2:09, despite losing about 2 minutes in the first section of the race. Despite a terrible start, I thought if I had a good run I could still salvage an okay race. I ran about a half mile okay, then my wheels fell off. I started loosing about 15-30 seconds per mile each mile from my pace. I was eventually running 8 min miles and did a little walking. My heart rate was low, I just had nothing in my body.

     The next day, I was talking through the race with my coach. He was as confused as I was about what had happened. It wasn't a rough race, it wasn't fitness, it wasn't my training. He made a comment that between this race and St.Croix, he's never seen a case like this where an athlete was doing well in training and for no apparent reason, completely melting down in races. We decided that when I got home, I'd get a blood test.

    On Tuesday after the race, I got a complete blood panel with differential (this is the type of test to look at the health of your blood). We also looked at some of the nutrients in my blood like iron, B, magnesium. I actually felt okay for a few days after the race. I thought that since I'd run so slow, maybe I was bouncing back quickly from the race. On Thursday or Friday, I got my blood test back. The first thing that showed up was two types of my white blood cells were off. One was really high (the type of cell that fights invaders to our bodies) and one was really low (the one indicating the strength of your immune system). That difference in those cells is an indication that your body is fighting a virus or infection. Right there, I had my smoking gun as to why Muncie had been a disaster. The funny part was that I'd felt okay just normally, but whatever I was fighting in my body must have been lurking beneath the surface when I pushed to race effort.

    I actually felt well through the rest of the week and had a couple bigger training sessions on Friday and Saturday that went pretty well. I figured that my body had fought off what ever virus that was plaguing me and I was good to go for my Louisville preparation. Sunday I started coughing, now six days later, I'm still coughing. I came down with some sort of bad chest cold. I've been in bed for about 6 days now. A couple times, I thought I was feeling better, would head out for an easy short bike ride or jog, and about 20-30 min in be so exhausted, I'd barely be able to make it home.

   So I'm done "testing" my sickness. I'm resting until I'm healthy. Each day that passes, my prospects for Ironman Louisville fade. Louisville was my "A" race of the year, but now coming off a running injury and now sickness, I really don't know if I have the miles in my body to do it. I'm going to wait to see how quickly I bounce back from this virus I'm fighting. But the way I'm hacking and coughing continuously right now, it's not going to be a day or two. I've had injuries and gotten sick plenty of times, but never back-to-back and in the peak time of my season. I've always had my difficulties in the winter, so this is new territory for me. I know there's a lot of time left in the year, so I'm hoping to pull things together in the next few weeks. Part of me wants to still go to Louisville and see what happens, maybe surprise myself. Each day that passes, a larger piece of me wants to not rush it, recover, and have a proper full-Ironman build and just put all of my eggs into Chattanooga in September and go in 100%. I'm not making any decisions right now. I'll update everything when I get healthy and back on track.

July 3 - Update on latest happenings
     Usually, if I'm pretty quiet on my website and social media, it means one of two things: either I'm training the house down and just too tired to pipe-up on line, or I'm injured and just want to keep to myself. It's been too long since I've given an update and the reason this time is a little of both.

     Following Ironman Los Cabos, I was excited about my early season fitness. Five weeks after that race, I went to Ironman 70.3 St. Croix and had a shockingly bad race. How I raced there was no indication of my fitness. Lets just say I did some walking on the run. I went home very down about it. I think going into that race, I was still a little tired from Ironman Los Cabos. I'd done some intensity training going into St.Croix to try to freshen up from the full-Ironman training and I think I was a little tired. Also, I think I made a bad travel decision coming in too close to the race. My travel day from Denver to St.Croix was 17+ hours. I was really exhausted after that travel and think I should have traveled a day or two earlier. From the start gun, I was totally off and just felt powerless.

     After returning home, my coach and I talked through the race. He suggested I get a blood test. From that we did find that my iron was a little on the low side. I worked with Dr. Rock here in Boulder to get me on an appropriate iron supplement to get my values back up to a level for my training level. Dr. Rock works with a lot of professional triathletes here in Boulder to make sure they keep themselves healthy training here at altitude.

   After a couple weeks, I could tell, I felt much better. I had a lot more energy and was training and recovering better. I'd written off St.Croix and was focused on getting fit to hit Ironman 70.3 Kansas and Syracuse hard in June. Then 10 days before Kansas, I hit a bump in the road. I was doing my last run speed session leading into Kansas and I really strained my hip-flexor. I didn't run for a couple days, then tried an easy jog. It was okay. Then another couple days, a little faster jog and it was better. The Tuesday before Kansas, I had a test run. I was to start jogging easy, then every 5 min, pick up the pace. If I could get to my 1/2 Ironman race pace, I was good to go. I started descending on that run and everything was going well. My goal was to get down to about 5:45 min/mile pace without any pain. I got to about 6:45 pace and then the hip flexor locked up and strained, worse than the original pull. I almost couldn't walk for a couple days it was so bad.

    Obviously, I cancelled Kansas 70.3. With Syracuse only two weeks away on June 22, I knew it was a tall order. I took about 10 days completely off of running. Then after some physical therapy, was able to start super easy jogs for about 15-20 minutes. So I'd taken about 2 weeks off running. I cancelled Syracuse because going to a 70.3 race only able to run 8 minute miles wouldn't be worth the trip. I put my name on the start list for Buffalo Springs 70.3 on June 29th in case I bounced back quickly. I do know athletes who can take time off running and within 1-2 weeks, they're running just as well as they were before the break. I'm NOT that way. I decided not to go to Buffalo Springs because again, I wasn't back firing on all cylinders. I've had almost 3 weeks of running now and I'm feeling like everything is coming back.

     I am going to Muncie 70.3 next week, but I know my running is far from 100%. I do want to get a race under my belt and back on the horse.

    The blessing in disguise in this whole mess was that I was able to swim and bike as much as I wanted with the injury. The bike didn't aggravate the hip flexor at all. So my coach shifted the start of my Ironman Louisville bike preparation earlier. Those three weeks of big biking really bumped my bike fitness back up to a level I haven't seen in about 2 years. Because I wasn't running, I could bike more, harder, and recover much faster. I'm very happy to see power numbers I haven't seen in a very long time. Last year, I never felt like I got my biking together. I feel like the old Pat again. So Muncie will be a good test of that bike fitness. It's one thing to do it in training, it's another to pull it out in a race.

   So now that my running is coming back and my Louisville bike preparation is ahead of schedule, I'm happy with where things are. My big goal this season was to peak for Ironman Louisville then Ironman Chattanooga 5 weeks later. Even though I hate injuries and I hated missing those two races, I think this is going to be a small blessing in disguise as I get to my big races of the season.

Pat

April 30 - Blue Triad SL Bike Build Report 
Click here to read about and see pictures of my Blue Triad SL. I show my customizations and equipment choices for all parts of my bike. See what I'll be riding and racing this season! 

April 17 - Ironman Los Cabos - 5th Place Race Report  

Click here to read my thoughts and musings about my 5th place finish at Ironman Los Cabos to kick off my 2014 racing season. Click here to read my race report and see photos from Los Cabos. 

 

February 18 - New Sponsor Announcement - Blue Bicycles
     I am very happy to share that I am partnering with Blue Bicycles as my bike sponsor for 2014. I've been a long time fan of Blue Bicycles and its products. I'm very excited to now be training and racing on fantastic products and partnered with an amazing brand!

     Blue started as a quest by a group of world class athletes looking for a frame that would allow them to perform at their best. A frame that that had it all - light weight for climbing, superior lateral stiffness and torsional rigidity for efficiency, vertical compliance for comfort and race inspired geometry for fit and handling that would be second to none. Blue carefully chose the right materials, combined that with engineering expertise, added the knowledge that comes from decades of racing experience all to produce a frameset that is designed with one purpose in mind - create bicycles that are built to win.

     I will be riding the Blue Triad SL this year (in the picture below). Mine will be much faster though, once I get my HED wheels, CeramicSpeed bearings, Cobb saddle, and Atomic High Performance coated parts! And my engine will be better than this one below too!

 February 7 - New Sponsor Announcement - CeramicSpeed
     I'm excited to announce another partnership for 2014. I will be a product ambassador for CeramicSpeed this year. CeramicSpeed is a premier manufacturer of ceramic bearings for cycling drive trains. I know how important incremental gains are when it comes to overall performance. When you start adding smaller gains together over a wide variety of areas, the overall improvement to your racing can be dramatic. A couple areas where we can make these kind of gains are in reducing drive train friction on the bike and improving aerodynamics. With CeramicSpeed bearings, I'm tackling the former. When I use CeramicSpeed's coated wheel, bottom bracket, and rear derailleur pulley (jockey wheels) bearings this year, the savings from reduced friction on those parts add up! It's my job to find ways to get faster whether that be through training and fitness or through equipment improvements. I'm excited to partner with CeramicSpeed in this area. I can't wait to race on the fastest parts on the market!

 January 31 - New Sponsor Announcement - ROKA Sports!
    I am happy to announce my new swimming, wetsuit, and speedsuit partner, ROKA Sports! I'm excited for our relationship going forward. ROKA is known for making the fastest wetsuits and speedsuits on the market. I'm excited to be racing with the best products from such a great company! 

     ROKA is dedicated to empowering triathletes and swimmers with products that make them faster — faster than they were yesterday, faster than they were last season, faster than their competition. Faster takes hard work, but when you find resonance in the water with your training and equipment there's nothing like it. ROKA calls it "easy speed" and it feels AWESOME. Lost it? Never had it? No worries. ROKA's here to help.

    After extensive pool and race testing, ROKA believes the Maverick Pro is the fastest wetsuit on the planet. They have not found a faster suit.  Along the product design path, ROKA discovered a breakthrough training product in the SIM. For non-wetsuit swims, the super-fast and comfortable Viper offers NASA-tested, market-beating performance. More is on the way, so stay tuned. I will be swimming and racing in ROKA's products, so look for me in the Maverick Pro and Viper at future races!

Pat

January 28 - 2014 Race Schedule
     Finally, it's time to announce my 2014 race schedule. I waited a little longer to discuss my races here on my website than in past years because I wanted to make sure my training was well on my way to those first few races (after taking some winter downtime). I've picked a schedule I think will be fun, keep me motivated in training, as well as suit my strengths. I've picked a mix of races I've done in the past where I'm confident and comfortable as well as some new races to keep the schedule fun and interesting. I'm not a guy who can race the exact same schedule year over year, I need a little variety.

   - Ironman Los Cabos - March 30
   - Ironman 70.3 St. Croix - May 4
   - Ironman 70.3 Kansas - June 8
   - Ironman 70.3 Syracuse - June 22
   - Ironman 70.3 Muncie* - July 13
   - Ironman Louisville - August 24
   - Ironman Chattanooga** - September 28
   - Ironman Cozumel*** - November 30

     You may notice is that most of these races have tougher than average bike courses. One of the first items my new coach, Michael, and I discussed after Ironman Florida last year is that racing flat courses like Florida, Arizona, or Texas doesn't suit me well. On those courses, the stronger swimmers group together on the bike and I end up chasing (draft) packs of sometimes 20+ guys all alone. I end up using up more energy chasing while those in the group can conserve energy which helps their runs while hurting mine. So, where possible, I'm picking tougher bike courses because even if guys are together on the bike, everyone has to do the work. Races like Cabos, St.Croix, Kansas, Syracuse, and Louisville all fit in this category. Even though the race organizers tried to flatten out IM Cabos this year vs the heavy climbing course from last year, it's still going to be a rolling-to-hilly bike.

     My "A" race of the season is again going to be Ironman Louisville. I thought long and hard about picking a different summer Ironman. I considered Ironmans Lake Placid, Canada, Mont Tremblant, and even the heavy prize money race in Indonesia Metaman. I just couldn't walk away from Louisville. I won't hide the fact that I want to win again. It's a race where I've finished 5th, 4th, 2nd, 1st, 2nd. I have great feelings about the race. It's an amazing race and city and it's tough as nails. You have to be fit there and no one can fake his way through that course.
 
     A race that I'm currently trying to decide is between Muncie 70.3 and Racine 70.3. They are one week apart in July. The final decision between the two will be based on how my build for Ironman Louisville is progressing. One is 6 weeks before and the other is 5 weeks before Louisville. My coach and I will make that call later. Since they're both easy in terms of travel, I can put off that decision for a little while.

     After Louisville, I wanted to pick an autumn full Ironman where I could have fun, put in a great race, and start accruing Kona points for 2015. I've narrowed it down to either Ironman Chattanooga or Ironman Malaysia on September 28. I'm leaning towards Chattanooga right now, but in a few months I'll make my final decision. Chattanooga is the logical choice for ease of travel and it's domestic race for my sponsors. On the flip side, I wasn't happy that in the middle of hilly country, they've picked the flattest bike course possible there. I was hoping for another Wisconsin, Louisvile, or Lake Placid style tough bike course. Instead, it looks like a pretty flat bike which goes against some of my original 2014 race plans. On the flip side, Malaysia is one of the toughest courses out there. I'd say the bike is average, not too flat, not too much climbing, but the heat and humidity of SE Asia's jungles makes for an insane race. Again, one that no one can fake. Yes the travel time and expenses are about 3-4x that of Chattanooga, but Malaysia also has more prize money. I had a blast when I raced there in 2009 and always said I'd love to go back. So, all in all, this is a way of me saying that I'm leaning towards Chattanooga but still can't get Malaysia out of the back of my mind. Since those races are the same weekend and not until the end of September, I can wait a couple months to make my final call.

     Finally, I put Ironman Cozumel on the schedule. This is only a "maybe" right now. I don't want to make a decision on this race until probably October. It will totally depend on how my body is feeling after a full year of racing. If I feel great both physically and mentally in October, then I may give it a go. If I'm focused on Kona for 2015, then it will be a good way to get more points after Chattanooga. If I'm tired, beat up, or mentally don't want to push after three other Ironmans, then I won't go.

    That's it for now. I'm excited about this year. I'm probably in the best spot mentally than I've been in a couple years. Looking towards this season I feel fresh and excited!

Pat

Nov 21st - New sponsor announcement: Cobb Cycling
     I'm excited to announce a new partnership for 2014 with Cobb Cycling as my saddle sponsor. What many people don't know is that I've been riding John Cobb's saddles on my bikes without sponsorship already for 7 years because he makes the best saddles. 
           
     Back early in 2007, I was looking for a new saddle because the one I had been using was causing issues. After searching around, I found what was at the time, the Blackwell Flow saddle, designed by John Cobb. After riding the saddle for a little while, I found that was the saddle for me. Fast forward several years, and John takes the design for that saddle and starts Cobb Cycling. It became the Cobb V-Flow saddle. I've been riding that design religiously since that time I put it on my bike in 2007. I'll admit, I've tried saddles from other companies, but end up coming right back to the V-Flow design. For this reason, I've always said, I won't seek out a saddle company to work with unless it's Cobb. So I'm very happy to announce we will be working together this coming year.

     Cobb Cycling makes many other ergonomic saddles besides the V-Flow, so at the moment during this off season, I'm experimenting with the others to see if they fit me like the V-Flow. I have the V-Flow on my Felt F1 road bike and am now testing the Cobb SHC on my Felt DA1 TT bike. 

    For those who don't know who John Cobb is, I'd say the best way to describe him is that he's the Thomas Edison of cycling. He has been one of the most respected innovators and inventors in the sports since before I was born. He is one of the foremost experts in aerodynamics.

From Cobb Cycling's website 

     "He has been actively involved in the bicycle industry since 1972. He first proved himself as a pioneer in the area of cycling aerodynamics when his positioning and aero knowledge were used with Greg LeMond, thus shocking the traditional European bicycle racing world. John developed a system, early on, for positioning riders in order to gain more speed and comfort. This has led riders from around the globe to search John out for cycling help. John's interest and passion for bicycling has evolved over the years. His racing background includes go-karts and an interest in car racing and motorcycling racing--all of which helped lead him to the bicycle industry. He has logged in over a thousand hours of wind tunnel testing time and has continued to be a leading innovator in developing cycling components--including wheels, hubs, aerobars, bike saddles, clothing and helmets. Manufacturers regularly consult John to gain a new perspective on product development. Riders, of all skill levels, come to John to spend valuable time working on their cycling position. Some are injured, many are wanting to go faster and many are looking for more comfort. John's vast experience can address and help solve these problems. There is a constant learning curve found in the bicycling industry. As new technology comes along, one has to be a leader in adopting these new ideas while learning to relate them to riders of all abilities. John continues to be a leader and he helps others learn how to better use these technologies by offering camps and classes. You will often see John going to and many times participating in races as he has a true passion for the sport and loves being involved. John and his wife Ginger both grew up in Louisiana, and now have roots in Texas."

    I am excited for this new partnership. I'm not just a pro who is shamelessly plugging a product, I've been riding Cobb's saddles for 7 years and wouldn't work with another saddle company!


Pat

Nov 19th - Announcement, new coach, Michael Krueger
 
     I’m happy to announce that I will be working with Coach Michael Krüger. This is the most significant change I’ve made to my training and racing for a long time and I truly believe that this is the key to my future growth in triathlon. In my Ironman Florida race report, I talked about the need to make changes for 2014 and this is to what I was referring. I am very excited to work with Michael and for our future partnership. I think this is the best thing for me at this point in time. I am confident this is the change I need to break through to the next level.

     I’ve been self-coached, or my own coach, for the last five years. I’ve had individual swim coaches like Coach Brackin who has been a great help for my swim stroke, but never having someone overlooking my entire training plan, race preparation, and recovery. Being my own coach has been a valuable experience and has offered some advantages. I’ve learned so much about myself, and training/racing “do’s and don’ts.” I’ve enjoyed the flexibility it’s offered to train with a lot of great athletes. It’s been nice to adapt my training on-the-go to what I feel like I want or need in my training plans. But now, it’s time for a change.

     Over the last 18 months I’ve really struggled with consistency in my racing. I’ve had great races and terrible races. It hasn’t been for a lack of fitness or training, in fact, I’ve trained very hard (sometimes to hard) and had great fitness over the last 18 months. What’s become very evident is that I’ve lost the ability to be objective with myself in a way where I can make prudent and logical decisions about the training and recovery I need at any particular time in my training and racing cycles. I’m someone who always wants to do more or go harder in my training. This last year, I found myself simply pulling out old training logs and replicating some old plans that had historically resulted in fitness that led to great races. The problem is that we evolve as athletes. Our bodies change over time and so do our needs. Training that worked for me at one point in time won’t necessarily work for me now. If we chase old training plans and fitness, we are more likely to plateau or over-do things, than we are to grow. This is exactly what I experienced this season.

     Being self-coached, you’re making all of your own decisions. I would make a plan, but then I would question my own judgment and decision-making. Let’s say I planned a bike-run day. I’d be resting after my sessions and think to myself, “maybe I should add a swim, I need to work on my swim” or maybe I should add a run to make it a double run day…..more is better. I would constantly question my own decisions about training: am I doing enough, am I doing too much, am I doing enough of the right things? I’d get to races and question my own preparation, getting to the start line emotionally stressed and not trusting in my own preparation. Watching my friends with good coaches, I see them follow their plans, check the boxes for each session each day, then rest and relax. They trust in their coaches and show up at races confident that they followed the plan made by an expert, and they come in with confidence in that knowledge. I feel like I can be a good coach for others because I can be objective with someone else, but objective with myself……not a chance.

     Over the last couple months, Megan and I have discussed the possibility of me working with a coach in the future. It was an easy and hard decision at the same time. I’ve been so independent and self-reliant over the last five years that putting my entire training plan in someone else’s hands was a little scary. It’s also a financial decision. The best professional coaches are never cheap. The easy side of the decision is that deep down, I knew this was something I really needed to grow. I’ve lost trust in my decision-making for making my own training to get faster and stronger.

     We decided that I was going to seek out a coach. I started by deciding on my criteria. First and foremost, I wanted to trust the coach and his/her knowledge. If you put your career in someone else’s hands, you must totally trust that they know how to get the most out of your body and take you to your full potential. For this, I know I need to work with the best. Second, the coach must have worked with and taken male professional triathletes to the top of Ironman distance racing. There are many coaches who have been successful with athletes at shorter distances and those who have been successful with women athletes at the Ironman distance, but the list is much shorter of coaches who have worked with males at the top of Ironman. My final main criteria is that the coach needs to have an approach in a way that highlights what I call the big three of training and racing: the science, art, and spirit of racing.

      The science of racing is understanding the exercise physiology of training and racing. With the advent of power meters, gps, heart rate monitors, and other technology, there are a lot of coaches who, I feel, depend too much on a science-only approach. Don’t get me wrong, this is a very very important aspect, but there’s more to the puzzle. An athlete can get far with science-only, but will not meet their full potential without the other two aspects. The art of coaching is the ability to take the science, then modify the approach based upon knowledge, wisdom, and experience. This is where the coach can look at an athlete and best find a way to apply scientific principles to that athlete’s individual strengths, physiology, areas for improvement, wants, and needs. The best coaches take the science of training and build it around the athlete rather than forcing the athlete into one scientific formula. The final piece is what I call the spirit of racing. It’s the sports psychology aspect, getting the athlete to the start-line calm and confident, ready to unleash everything and dig deep on that day. The best coaches have all three: science, art, and spirit of racing and this is what I was seeking.

    According to USA Triathlon’s website, there are currently 2,200 certified triathlon coaches in the US. I’m sorry in advance if you fall in this category, but I think there are too many people who take the 3 day course, get their certification, then call themselves coaches. There are a lot of good coaches out there, but very few who have the skill set to take professionals to the top. I was looking for the best, not one of the masses of 2,200 coaches.

     Next came the research phase. I made a list of all of the coaches that fell into what I was looking for, then I dug deep. I did a lot of reading on-line, looking into the coaches and their athletes. I talked to a lot of friends and athletes about coaches. I trust my friends’ opinions. I like getting many different viewpoints before I make a decision. I did this for a few weeks before narrowing down to two candidates. I spoke with athletes who have worked with those coaches. I then contacted those coaches to get to know them, their philosophies, understand if they are taking on clients, as well as other logistical details. Basically seeing if I am a good fit for a coach and he is a good fit for me. Through this process, I found my new coach and am very excited to work together: Michael Krüger.

     Michael is probably the best Ironman coach whom very few people know on this side of the Atlantic. Michael is from Denmark and until recently, he mostly worked with European athletes. Now he coaches athletes all over the world. He doesn’t run a large coaching-mill business that has many coaches under him working with masses of athletes. He only works with a handful of athletes so that he can give them his best attention. The more I got to know Michael, his personality, perspectives, history, approach, attention to his athletes, and his athletes results, the more I came to believe that I could really put my racing career in his hands.

     Michael was a professional triathlete himself, so right away he knows the sport inside and out and he knows what it’s like to be in the athletes’ shoes. He knows what it takes to be great at the sport. He didn’t only learn it in a book; he lived it himself. Beyond his personal racing experience, his education was in sports performance and exercise physiology from the Deutsche Sportochschule Köln (German Sport University, Cologne) the largest sports-specific university in Europe. Michael spent many years as the Danish National Team’s coach, taking Danish athletes to world championships and Olympic games. At the same time, he coached Danish and other athletes as they moved to longer distance racing. He has coached male professional athletes to be ITU Long-Course World Champions, many Ironman wins, sub-8 hour Ironman performances, and Kona top-10s. Some of the well-known male Ironman athletes he’s worked with (I’m sure there are others I didn’t know about so I‘m sorry if I missed you) are Torbjorn Sindballe, Jordan Rapp (current), Dirk Bockel (current), Rasmus Henning, and Martin Jenson (current). Talking with my friends Tyler and Nikki Butterfield, I know he also worked with them earlier this season. Michael came very highly recommended from his athletes.

     This will be a big change for me, but I’m both ready and excited. I’ve found an amazing coach who I feel we can form a great long-term partnership and can trust with my development. He and I have talked about the fact that there is usually a period of time (3-6 months) it takes for an athlete to adapt to a new coach and vice versa. There’s a learning curve for both parties as we learn about each other and learn to communicate. For this reason, this is the perfect time of year to start working together. I am very optimistic about this change and my future development.


Pat

Nov 12th - Ironman Florida Race Report
 Wow, a tough day at Florida and not in a good way. It wasn't the race I was expecting, nor wanted, but after some time to cope with the disappointment, click below for a race report with photos. I walk/jogged 18 miles of the run, to finish and not have to log a DNF to finish off my season.

Click here to read about and see photos from Ironman Florida

Oct. 27th - Augusta 70.3 and on to Ironman Florida

     I'm heading out this week to race Ironman Florida. I never posted an update for what happened to me at Augusta Ironman 70.3 at the end of September. I was excited to race in Augusta coming off of a good race in Louisville. I was feeling good in training and thought I would have a good race. My frustration with my 70.3 racing this year continued on with this race. I was feeling good, until the day before the race. That afternoon, I started getting some of the symptoms I normally feel when I'm starting to get sick. I told myself that it was probably just allergies and I'd be fine for the race. As the evening wore on, I stared feeling worse. I kept myself in denial and went to bed the night before the race.

     Race morning I woke up and knew I was in rough shape. I debated even leaving the hotel to start the race. If it were a normal training day, I probably would have skipped my workouts and stayed in bed. I decided that I'd traveled to the race, that I should at least start. I felt okay in transition so I thought I may be able to race. Sitting around waiting for the swim start, I found myself cold and shivering. I wasn't sure if it was me, or if it was indeed cold. During the swim, I felt alright. Not great, but better than I had when I woke up. When I got on the bike, I could tell that I had no legs. By about mile 10 or 15, I had completely fallen apart. I finished the bike leg, but could barely pedal the bike. I went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day in bed. I traveled back to Boulder the next morning, and then I proceeded to stay in bed for the next three days sick as a dog. 

     That race really got me down. I know that everyone gets sick periodically, but that capped off my absolute worst year of 70.3 racing I've ever experienced. It took me a week or so to shake off the race. But then I started training hard and focused on Ironman Florida. Since then, I've had my head down and have been doing my best to be ready for Ironman Florida this weekend. I can honestly say that I feel very fit and well prepared for this race. I'm swimming great, biking the best I have been all year, and am running solid. This will be an interesting race in terms of the male professional field. The published start list has 76 male professionals on it, the most in a race I've ever done. This will make for an interesting dynamic. My biggest challenge here will be to not get too rapped up in the groups that are bound to form on the bike and try to race my own race. All in all, it'll be interesting. In the mean time, I'm just getting myself ready to go and have a great race to finish off the 2013 season.

Ironman Louisville - 2nd Place
     I'm very happy with another 2nd place Ironman finish for 2013 at Ironman Louisville.

Click here to read my race report and see pictures from Ironman Louisville 

 August 15 - Pre-Ironman Louisville Pro Talk on Wednesday 8/21

If you are in Louisville next Wednesday 8/21 before the Ironman, I will be doing a pro talk that evening. Click on the event flyer (left) for all of the details. Come by the Presbyterian Center in downtown Louisville (about 1 block from transition) from 6-8 pm. Little Caesars pizza will be provided. The event benefits the charity "Angels in Disguise." Come ask all the questions you ever wondered!

 

 July 28 - Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant, Ironman 70.3 Muncie, Slump, and Life
     I realize I didn't get the race reports from Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant and Ironman 70.3 Muncie up on my website right away. I'm glad now that I did delay because the update I post today is much different than the update I would have posted in past weeks. Mont Tremblant was June 23rd and Muncie was two weeks ago. I had a bad race in Tremblant, finishing in 13th place. Then I felt terrible at Muncie 70.3 and ended up dropping out of at around mile 30 of the bike.

    After my sub-par race in Quebec, I was very frustrated, but I did my best to shake off the bad race and get back into training for a couple weeks before Muncie. I didn't think I felt particularly bad in Tremblant, but I was just moving slow. Had there not been a clock or other guys racing around me, I would have thought I was racing pretty well. It was just that I wasn't going fast for the effort level. I can best describe it like I was stuck in 3rd gear. When I returned to Boulder after the race, I got back into my training routine for a couple weeks, went to Detroit for my cousin's wedding, went back to Boulder, then to Indiana for Muncie 70.3. In the days before Muncie, I thought my body felt good. I was ready to put in a good race. As soon as the start gun fired for the swim start, I felt horrible. I couldn't swim for the life of me. I felt like I had just learned to swim. I was getting dropped by everyone under the sun. In practice I'd been swimming very well, so I was surprised. I got out of the swim and saw only 3 other bikes on the rack other than my own. I've had plenty of bad swims in my career, usually I just shake them off and get on the with rest of my race. When I started the bike, I couldn't push the gears on the bike. I struggled to pass the female pros. I felt like I was hammering and I couldn't get my speed above 23 mph on flat roads. I my body felt terrible. I kept telling myself to stick with it and my body would come around. After 20 miles on the bike, it was getting worse. After that many miles, my mind started really getting down. I was not enjoying myself. I had moved to 2nd to last place and I gave up.

     I wanted to be anywhere else in the world than on that bike. My family and friends were standing at mile 30. I pulled over and got off my bike. I hated racing so much at that moment that I looked at my wife and said "I think that's the last triathlon that I'm ever going to do, I think I'm done racing." My wife and parents were there. My sister, brother in law, niece, and nephew were there. Four of my best friends from childhood drove down from Detroit and Chicago to watch the race as well. I felt horrible. Whenever family and friends come to a race to watch, and I don't do well, I feel really bad. Even if they tell me they don't care if I do well or not, I still carry feelings of guilt. It feels great if I have a a good race and people are there. I want to put on a show for family and friends to take the time and effort to come see me. I almost cried when I got off the bike, quitting the race, and my 7 year old niece looked at me and innocently asked me if I stopped because I was feeling sick. I hate the feeling of quitting. At the moment I got off the bike I never wanted to race again.

     One of my childhood friends said to me that they'd rather be there when I am struggling and need them, than to be there on a good day; and he really meant it. We went back to the hotel and proceeded to have one of the most fun days I've had in a long time. We went to a "fun park" with batting cages and go-karts. We just played around all afternoon. I hadn't done batting cages and go-karts in probably 15+ years. We played like kids. I haven't laughed that much in years. I totally forgot about racing and that I had been ready to quit triathlon a few hours earlier. My wife, parents, friends, and I all went out to a brew pub, then "out on the town" in Muncie. We stayed out at the bars until about 1am, something I hadn't done for years. I have to say that my family and friends did what they do best. Help me keep life in perspective and remember what really matters in life. They helped me get triathlon out of my head.

     Megan and I flew back to Boulder the day after the race. I was still down for a couple days, but did my best just to get back to training, even if my head and heart were not 100% right. I found that after those couple days, I started coming around. The reason I was down wasn't because I had one bad race or even two. I've always been able to shake off a bad race. This time it was different. It was that for the first time in my racing, I felt as if I was in a slump. I felt like I work my booty off, dedicate my life to this career, and I hadn't seen the fruits of my labor in racing. The engineer in me was having trouble swallowing these last couple races. It's because of the pattern rather than a couple data points at races. After winning Louisville last year, I went to Augusta 70.3 and finished in 3rd place. More than ever before, I was excited for the rest of 2012 and was looking forward to what the future would hold in 2013.

    That October, I race in Austin 70.3. A cold front had come in and it was 37 degrees at the swim start. I've learned that my body does not race well in the cold. My body shut down early on the bike in that race so I dropped out. I shook that race off and was looking forward to Ironman Cozumel. There I pushed too hard on the bike and blew up. I ended up walking and shuffling the run. I ended the year on two low notes, but didn't let them put a damper on me. In March I went to San Juan 70.3 and that's where I went off course on the run. I wouldn't have been in the money in that race, but it would have been a pretty good race to start the year. I finished in 19th place and annoyed. When I went to Ironman Australia I was ready for a good race. My swimming was going well and I my running felt like it was back on track. In the weeks before the race, a weird thing happened, my biking went from solid, to feeling terrible. I thought my taper for Australia would take care of it. I was very happy with the result in Australia, but what many people don't know was that it was my worst Ironman bike in five years. So I walked away happy with the result, but scratching my head about my biking. Then I had these two races in a row at Mont Tremblant and Muncie. What got me down wasn't a bad race or two, it was that I had 5 bad races out of 6. That's 6th race, Ironman Australia, was good overall, but even there my biking had dropped for the first time in my career. I felt like I was officially in a slump. It wasn't for a lack of training, trying, or dedication.

     Now that I'm a little removed from these last couple races, I can see that my life this year really took a toll on my racing. Megan and I were married on March 23rd, the week after San Juan. The original plan had been for me to race Ironman Cabos the week before the wedding, then I'd be in full rest mode. After a January injury, I had to change my ealry season schedule. Coming back from San Juan, my fitness was coming along. I wouldn't change our wedding for anything. It was the most important and special day of my life. I did, however, underestimate how much the wedding took out of me physically and emotionally. Then right after the wedding, as I was training for Australia, Megan and I were planning our move from Austin to Boulder. I came home from 10 days in Australia and had 10 days to completely pack up our lives and be ready for a permanent move to Boulder. Past years' summers were easy to organize because I'd just pack up the car and go. The full move was much tougher. When I came to Boulder and I started training again, I think it took more out of me than usual. I was in the middle of moving, unpacking, and setting up life, while recovering from an Ironman, and getting used to the altitude. Hindsight being 20/20, I can see now, that all of these life events and changes were taking a toll on my mind and body. I'll call it a "silent exhaustion" was building in me. Usually getting used to the altitude alone is a multi-week process. This time with life changes and trying to race in Tremblant and Muncie, it put me over the edge. I can see this now, plain as day.

    Had I written this blog/race report in the day or two after Muncie, I would have had a much different perspective. I was in a dark place, questioning my career and racing. After a few days, I came around. For the first time since February, Megan and I have 6 weeks with no travel or life changes. We can just "be". Over the last two weeks, I can honestly say that I feel like I have the "old me" back. I've found that fire in my belly again. After Muncie I didn't want to race Ironman Louisville in August. Now I'm more motivated and focused than I've been in over a year. I've found my competitive drive and spirit. I'm excited to race. With that, my body has come around and I'm putting in training sessions where my body is performing again. A different Pat will be at the start line in August than was at these last couple races. It's been really nice training with Chris McDonald here in Boulder over the last few weeks. We're both going to be ready to go in four weeks.

     As I struggled over the last couple months, it's been valuable for me to look at professional athletes in all sports. Every athlete struggles at times. As long as we keep moving forward, every dip, lapse, or slump in performance can be overcome. As much as I questioned myself in recent times, I think this has been a very important growth experience for me.

Pat

June 17th - New Sponsor Announcement, Atomic High Performance
       I'm happy to announce a new partnership with Atomic High Performance, a company dedicated to developing cutting edge coatings, lubricants, and cycling components. I will be racing with Atomic High Performance's products on my bicycle.

     Atomic gives meticulous attention to detail to researching and improving the bicycle's drive train. Many man-hours, testing, and improvement have led to the products that Atomic High Performance manufactures. Its athletes have won gold, silver and bronze Olympic medals, world championships and set world records using Atomic's products. Atomic pushes the scientific boundaries in search of improvement and its products are extensively tested before they are sold to the public so athletes can get the most out of them. I will have Atomic's coatings and lubricants on my chain ring, rear cassette, race wheel bearings, chain, pedals, and pulleys. With Atomic's coatings and processes, the friction is reduced on all of the moving parts of the drivetrain improving efficiency. I'm excited to race on Atomic's products to get that edge over my competition. Visit Atomic High Performance's website (www.atomicss.com) to read more about their products and processes.

Ironman Australia - 2nd Place Race Report

 
Click here to see pictures and read about my 2nd place finish at Ironman Australia on May 5th

Ironman 70.3 San Juan - 19th Place Race Report
 
Click here to read my race report from Ironman 70.3 San Juan on March 17th

March 7: Swim Progress with BEST
     Last fall I blogged about starting work with Coach Brackin at Brackin Elite Swim Training (BEST) on my swimming. If you follow me on Twitter then you may have seen periodic tweets about Coach Brackin and BEST. With my 2013 racing season little more than a week away, I wanted to give an update on my progress working with Coach Brackin.

      Coach Brackin started her business of high-level one-on-one swim coaching last fall, in fact, I was her first client. After being an NCAA championship level coach at Auburn and University of Texas as well as a coach for Olympic Medalists, she opened her business to swimmers and triathletes. Since October, we've spent at least one session each week working specifically on improving my swimming through changes to my stroke mechanics. The challenge has been to work on making minute changes to my stroke while still going to swim practice in order to continue to keep and build my swim fitness. If you only work on easy swimming, drills, and making stroke changes then you'll show up at a race with a pretty stroke, but not the fitness and strength needed to swim hard for a long time. On the other hand, if you only go to swim practice, then you get fit and learn to go hard with bad form, so you'll eventually hit a limit on how fast you can go with your existing stroke.

      From October through Ironman Cozumel last Thanksgiving, we started our work. We worked on making changes while I still was training for Ironman Cozumel. I had a pretty good swim in that race, coming out of the water with athletes who in the past had been anywhere from 1-3 minutes faster. After my post-season break, Coach Brackin and I started our work again. For the month of December, I didn't go to any swim practices to swim hard with a group. Coach Brackin and I spent 3 sessions each week together going into minute details of my stroke. On the days between my lessons, I'd spend another session alone at the pool working only on those details.

      What did we work on? A better question is what didn't we work on. We've focused a lot on what Coach Brackin likes to call "connected" swimming, meaning that my core is connected with how the rest of my body moves. We worked on reducing the amount of my hip rotation. Rather than rolling way over to each side, we worked on having quick driving forces down with each hip. This produces much more power and requires less time to move into the next stroke than being over rotated on your side and having to roll way over to the other side to make the next stroke. It also drives you forward in the water rather than rolling side to side. We've worked a lot on making my breath faster so that my head gets back into the water in line with my body before the hand on the breathing side enters enters the water. This keeps my momentum driving forward, rather than taking a long breath where my hips have time to continue rolling until my body is out of balance. Also, during that long breath, the opposite arm out front is either gliding or dropping, not contributing to your forward propulsion. We've continued to drill on the traditional high-elbow catch, but also doing so by lifting the scapula. After my hand enters the water, going into my catch right away, rather than a long loping glide. We worked on the efficiency of my kick. We're not looking to produce more power out of my kick, rather a small light efficient kick will keep me more balanced in the water. In our last couple lessons, we've been working on trying to keep my elbow from dropping at the half-way point in my stroke. Preventing the elbow drop just a split second longer in each stroke will give me another few percent of power and distance per stroke improvement. We've also been working as of late on keeping constant pressure on the water with my blade (elbow to finger tips) through the whole stroke, rather that trying to get a good catch, push hard, with a release at the end.

      I've really enjoyed working with Coach Brackin. I realize that I'm at a single point in a long journey, but it's fun to see the changes over time. Day to day, it's often hard to feel improvement, but when I see where I'm at now, even as compared to just last October, I'm very happy with the progress. Each session, Coach Brackin and I work in her Endless Pool in her back yard. The pool is equiped with mirrors so I can see myself as I swim. She also has an underwater camera to record every stroke. At pools edge, she has a flatscreen TV hooked up so as soon as I pop my head up, I can see exactly what I was just doing. The visual reinforcement is so valuable. To know what we are actually doing as opposed to what we THINK we are doing is very important to help make changes. After each lesson Coach Brackin sends me a video from that day with highlights and commentary for me to study and things to work on before the next lesson. I'm attaching a link to this week's lesson's video comparing my stroke changes from October until now:

Click Here to View My Latest BEST Swimming Progress Video

      I want to discuss for a moment about working on your swimming, from my own learning. I touched on the most difficult aspect of making stroke changes earlier. How do you make changes while still trying to be fit and strong in the water. The problem with most athletes is that they take a few swim lessons, get a few good pointers and drills to emphasize new good habits. They nod their heads to the coach, then maybe do those drills on their own one or two times, then go back to swim practice and just keep doing what they've always done. Their old habits never die and they never make any improvements. I've seen this many times and I myself have done it. This time was different. After my December drill and lesson-only block, as we moved into the new year I knew I had to start getting some swim fitness back. As I said before, you can't do a lot of drills and expect to show up to a race ready to rock. So I began by only going to hard swim workouts each week: Tues, Thurs, and Sat. Mondays were my swim lessons, then Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday I spent at least an hour alone only working on the couple items for that week. I was in the water every single day. I think in January and February I may have only been out of the water maybe 3 days total. At the Masters workouts, I'd go very hard, trying to hold my form together, then the days between focus only on my form. Then in January, I got a running injury where I had to take 3 weeks off of running. So I decided to focus on my swimming. One week, I swam 50k, and the others were big volumes as well. Since I couldn't run. I'd go to the hard practice in the morning, then in the evening, I'd go back to the pool alone and work only on my drills. Between, I'd go to the gym and work on my core strength. To make the changes to something ingrained in your muscle memory, it takes hours and hours and hours to drill and change. As some of the changes have become permanent and as my first race draws closer, I started working in more practices and less drill sessions. I'm still doing at least 2 drill only swim sessions each week and one lesson, then another four hard practices, so I'm getting in 7 swims a week. This week I'll actually have 8 swims with a double one day.

      Next week when I race Ironman 70.3 San Juan I'll get to see where I'm at in a race environment. The most positive factor is that over the last month, I've moved up to the next fastest lane at swim practice. It may not sound like much, but I've been swimming my practices on the same interval over the last 3 years. I simply couldn't go any faster. Now I'm the next lane up doing every set on a faster interval. I used to do my sets on the base interval of 1:15/100M, now I can survive a practice on the base interval 1:10/100M. It may not sound like a lot, but considering where I was, I am very happy with the improvements over the last several months.

 February 24th: 2013 Race Schedule

 I have my 2013 race schedule finalized. It's taken me a while and I've gone through a few iterations to get to this point. I had a different schedule in mind originally, but a January injury set back my early season plans, but now I'm on track and think I have a really good schedule planned for this year:

Planned 2013 Race Schedule:

 - Ironman 70.3 San Juan - San Juan, PR - March 17
 - Ironman Australia - Port Macquarie, NSW, Australia - May 5
 - *Ironman 70.3 Kansas - Lawrence, KS - June 9
 - Ironman 70.3 Mont Tremblant - Mont Tremblant, Quebec, Canada - June 23
 - Ironman 70.3 Muncie - Muncie, IN - July 13
 - Ironman Louisville - Louisville, KY - August 25
 - Ironman 70.3 Augusta - Augusta, GA - September 29
 - Ironman Florida - Panama City, Florida - November 2

*Maybe race Ironman 70.3 Kansas, depending on how my recovery goes from Ironman Australia. I don't want to force a recovery. If I feel good, I'll race.

My original plan was to try to race Kona this year. The points system is tricky. If you don't want to chase points, then you need to race pretty solid every time, pick the right races, and start racing early. My original plan was to race the Panama 70.3 in February, then the new Ironman Cabos on March 17. If I had raced well in Ironman Cozumel, then raced pretty well at both Panama and Cabos, I would have been well on my way to having the needed Kona points. Except, I went terrible in Cozumel, then got injured in January. The January injury required me to take almost 3 weeks off of running, which pretty much took both Panama in Feb and Cabos in March off the table. I recovered from the injury and am well on my way back on track. I'll be fine to race a 70.3 in March at San Juan, but I wouldn't have been ready for a full Ironman on that day. So then the issue was that if I wanted to race Kona, I'd have to chase after high point races the rest of the year and even then my chances were far from assured.

So I decided not to sweat it and to pick a race schedule that would get me excited, be fun, but also put me in the position for success. I wanted to go back to Ironman Louisville one more time. I've never had the opportunity to wear the number 1 at a race and to defend a title. I wanted to have that experience while I could. I picked other races that I thought would be fun and keep me motivated throughout the year. I'm not 100% sure about how exactly I want to play the end of the year. I've penciled in Ironman Florida rather than Ironman Cozumel this year. I've raced Cozumel four years in a row and feel like doing something different. Last year's race there left a really bad taste with me. I may go back, but am waiting to make that decision until a later date. For now, though, the above is my schedule for 2013. I think this is going to be a great year!

 

 February 11th: New Sponsor Announcement - Brooks Airbrush Studio

 
     I'm very happy to announce a new partnership for 2013 with Brooks Airbrush Studio. Kevin Brooks is a very talented and passionate airbrush artist specializing in custom bike and helmet design and painting. Keven spent years working on custom car and truck paint, pinstriping, and design. Kevin decided to combine his passion for endurance sports and his talent for painting and design into a business. Brooks Airbrush Studio now produces the best custom paint jobs in the business. Kevin and I are working together to design an amazing custom aerohelmet for this year. Make sure to check out my helmet at the races this year. For more information about getting your own custom bike or helmet paint job, visit www.brooksairbrushstudio.com. Growing up as a hockey player and fan, I always loved the custom painted goalie masks, so I can't wait to sport my new racing lid....design and photos to come.

                                                              

 

Ironman Cozumel, Austin Ironman 70.3, and the end of 2012

     2012 is in the books. What an interesting year it has been. I can safely say that in terms of my racing career, this year has had the highest highs and lowest lows. I started out the year in a terrible way with a tough winter of injuries and mental challenges. I was very happy to turn things around to finish 5th at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans, then had a complete let down when I couldn’t get my body rolling at Ironman Texas and dropped out. I went up to Boulder for the summer, went to Racine 70.3 where I had a good swim and bike, but a bad run and finished with a very mediocre 7th place. Then things rallied with the in at Ironman Louisville, then when I backed it up with 3rd at Augusta 70.3. I came back to Austin in October excited for the last two races of my season, only to let myself down at Austin 70.3 by dropping out and Ironman Cozumel finishing 58th last weekend.

     At Austin 70.3 I reconfirmed something I already knew, when the mercury drops on race morning, I’m useless. The cold front that helped cause all of the Hurricane Sandy trouble in the east moved over Austin on race weekend. The normally warm temps of October were replaced by a frosty reading of 38 degrees by transition by the race staff on race morning. I tried to bundle up that morning, but coming out of the water and getting on the bike wet with the temps in the upper 30’s left me freezing and shaking as I started my ride. I learned last year at the Poconos 70.3 when it’s really cold, my body shuts down. By mile 5 of the bike in Austin, I was going backwards, not able to get my bike up to what I’d consider an average training ride pace. I pulled the plug at mile 6, turned around, and biked to transition and dropped out. I walked away frustrated because I felt like I was fit and had turned my year around, but mother nature had dealt me a race that is terrible for my weaknesses. There is a reason you will never see me at certain races, those with a chance of being very cold like Oceanside 70.3. Brrrrr, no thank you.

     I finished up my Ironman Cozumel training in November and felt confident that I had great fitness going into Cozumel. Megan, my family, and I made a trip out of the race. I cannot say enough great things about Ironman Cozumel as a race and destination. I think it is my favorite Ironman and it is easily the most underrated race in North America. I loved our race trip this year, but my race itself didn’t go as planned.

     The wind was out of an abnormal direction on race day which changed the conditions as compared to years past. The swim was surprisingly rough. I came out of the swim five minutes slower than last year with a 58 minute swim. This was especially disappointing because I had been swimming the best of my life in training in the weeks leading into the race. I was actually expecting to surprise myself, it turns out I was right, but not in the way I had hoped. I felt good in the water and it felt like I swam better than the time and placement out of the water would suggest. I later found out that the currents were so strong and water so choppy that about 200 athletes didn't make the swim cut-off time of 2:20. That's a huge number as compared to other races.

     Getting on the bike, I felt solid. I got into a good groove, the pace felt very fast, but controlled and I started picking guys off. The problem this year is that the pro field was huge and each guy I passed proceeded to sit behind me and suck my wheel. Eventually I had a line of about 15 guys drafting their buns off. I was so mad. We didn’t see a draft marshal until mile 30. He was around for about 5 minutes and then we didn’t see another one for a good hour. When the draft marshals were there the guys went to legal distance. Once he sped away, the 7 meter zone went to about 3 meter zone. My big mistake of the day was burning energy pulling the group, then trying to pull away on my own. I did that a few times only to be pulled back. They’d sprint, then sit on my wheel. I burned way too many matches.

     On the third loop of the bike, I knew I was in trouble. My pace fell way off. I had spent too much energy on those first two loops. I kept my spirits up because there has been many times where I’ve felt like my bike legs were torched, but I’ve been able to run well. Starting the run, my legs were done. I tried not to make any judgments in the first few miles on how I felt. After about 5 miles, I knew I was done. I was well hydrated, I’d followed my nutrition plan, I was just hammered. My pace continued to slow. I felt like I could jog easily without a problem, but picking up the pace wasn’t an option. I knew I was fading to the “Ironman shuffle” and to be honest I thought long and hard about dropping out. For some reason, I decided to stick with it that day. I thought about all of the frustration I felt about dropping out of Ironman Texas and Austin 70.3. In the previous 5 years of racing, I had dropped out of 4 races. If I had dropped out of Cozumel, that would make 3 in this year alone, almost the same as the previous five years combined. I just couldn’t stomach that. So I decided to stick with it and shuffle it in. I stopped and talked to my family and told them that I was okay, I wasn’t in it anymore, but I would finish and enjoy the experience. I thought to myself that they didn’t travel to Mexico to see me drop out, so I needed to finish also for them. Then, there is the race, Cozumel is such a great race with amazing energy that I felt like I owed it to the race and the other competitors to finish.

     Yes, it hurt to not have the day I wanted, but I’m happy I finished. There were many times in the last 8 miles that I cursed my pride while walking for making me finish, but as soon as I was done, I knew I made the right call. I finished in 58th place, just a small cry from the top-5 for which I was gunning. I feel like I can close the chapter on this year. It’s been a strange year of ups and downs. I learned from this race, but I don’t have any regrets. Sure, next time I may make different tactical decisions on the bike, but that’s how you learn.

     So now it’s time to close the books on the year, take a little time down, and take care of the things I’ve been neglecting or putting off for the last few months. It’s time for the annual reassessments and retooling for next season. I’m going into this off-season with a good feeling for next year. This year I faced my own personal demons as they relate to this sport. I had ups and downs, but I came out the other side fine. Here’s to a great year with great lessons.

 

Oct 21 - New Swimming Program - BEST

    
      I'm happy to announce the next step in my swimming progress this month by starting my work with Coach Kim Brackin at Brackin Elite Swim Training (BEST). BEST opened this month with personal one-on-one elite-level swim coaching here in Austin. The swim leg of the triathlon is critical for setting up my race and putting me in a position where I can win races. Not growing up as a swimmer and taking my first swim strokes at age 24, making improvements in the swim portion of has been the biggest developmental challenge for me as an athlete. I will be working with BEST because Coach Brackin's expertise and experience coaching athletes to the top level speak for themselves. She also brings with her the best set of tools with the Endless Pool and DartFish analytical software to help in the process.

     Coach Brackin is one of the most accomplished swimming coaches in the country. She was the Assistant Head Coach and Co-Head Coach at Auburn University's swim team from 1997-2005 leading the Tigers to win 7 NCAA National Championships. In 2002, she was NCAA Swimming's Co-Head Coach of the year. She has personally mentored 7 Olympians (with 7 Olympic medals), 7 world championship swimmers (9 medals including 4 gold), and 12 World University Games swimmers. Kim was also the coach of the Zimbabwe National Swim Team for both the Athens 2004 and Beijing 2008 Olympic Games. She recently served as the head coach for the University of Texas Women's swim team from 2006-2012 winning multiple Big-12 Championships with the lady Longhorns. She's also coached at Northwestern University, Davidson College, and Ithaca College. With a Masters Degree in sports psychology she understands the importance of the psychological aspects of training and racing. In her personal life, she has also been a triathlete and completed an Ironman, so she also understands the requirements of open water swimming beyond the pool.

      As of this month, Coach Brackin has started the BEST program, where she is focused on giving elite-level one-on-one swim coaching. She's utilizing an Endless Pool at her home in Austin along with underwater cameras and Dartfish analytical software to give athletes visual feedback as she works with us. As one of her first clients, we are partnering together for the long term to take me to the top. This is not a couple swimming lessons and I'm not expecting instant gratification, rather this is a long-term relationship to make the necessary changes. During my first session with her, we instantly identified several issues with my stroke. I've had people telling me things before, but to have visual feedback right there at the pool is something I've never experienced before. While swimming or performing a drill, I can see myself in the mirrors lining the bottom of the Endless Pool. Then, as soon as I pop my head up, Coach Brackin has a flat screen TV pool-side already looping the video feed of what I was just swimming. Right away, I can see that I'm not swimming how I THOUGHT I was. We all think we have an awareness of our own bodies, but until we can see it for ourselves, we have no idea. I've already had several moments of "am I really doing that?!!"

     Of course, with swimming, there are always little things we can work on, but already with Coach Brackin, I think we've hit on a major issue (or several inter-related issues). It all stems from my breathing. I breath to my right. I'm breathing late and too long. In taking too long to take my breath, my left arm has too much time out in front. Rather than go into my catch, it goes too straight and I glide. At the same time because I'm breathing too long, my hips are WAY over-rotating. That throws my body off balance. This causes two things to happen: 1) because my hips are rotating too much, the left shoulder ends up dropping too deep in the water like a plow. 2) because I'm over-rotated, my body is out of balance and it requires a strange cross kick to right my booty. All of this is very inefficient and slowing me down. As I've always said when it comes to swimming. My heart and lungs are fit, because I know I can keep up with the other guys on the bike and run, so it's not an issue of "fitness." I know it's not a strength issue because there are plenty of 12 year-old girl swimmers who can swim circles around me. So that means it's an issue of technique. The issues I pointed out above are not the only things going on, but they're the major ones and they're all inter-related. As I've said, I'm not expecting instant fixes. I've swam hundreds of thousands, rather millions, of yards in a certain way, so it will take time, patience, and effort to re-wire my muscle memory. Also, it's one thing to swim correctly doing drills and swimming easy, then it's totally different to maintain that form for hard workouts and then into races. This is why partnering with BEST is long term.

I know that Coach Brackin has the tools and techniques to lead me in this next leg in my journey. I cannot express to you how excited I am for this next step.



Click here to view an example video of our work

Sept 30 - Augusta 70.3 - 3rd Place Race Report

Click here to read the race report from my 3rd place finish at Ironman 70.3 Augusta

Sept. 16 - Interview on Triathlete Magazine On-line
Read the "get to know me" interview with columnist Holly Bennet that was published on Triathlete Magazine On-line this week.

Click here to read the article

Sept. 11 - Ironman.com article
Kevin MacKinnon wrote a nice article for Ironman.com about Louisville after he and I had a post race interview. Click here to read the piece

2012 Ironman Louisville Champion! - Race Report

Click here to read my race report and see pictures from my first Ironman win in Louisville.


                       

August 15: Angels in Disquise, Pro Q&A Wednesday August 22nd 
As part of my trip to Ironman Louisville, join me for a free pro talk Q&A on Wednesday, August 22nd from 6-8pm in Louisville, KY. Free Little Caesars Pizza will be provided. The event is for Angels in Disguise charity for Down Syndrome (http://www.angelsindisguise.net). If you're a triathlete in the Louisville area, or in in town for the Ironman, come buy and I can help answer training, racing, and nutrition questions.

PDF of the poster here



Racine Ironman 70.3 Race Report - 7th place
Click here to read my race report from my 7th place finish at Racine Ironman 70.3

New Orleans Ironman 70.3 Race Report - 5th place

Click here to read my race report from my 5th place finish at Ironman 70.3 New Orleans

March 26th: TBD
     It's been too long since my last update. There have already been two races on my schedule where I haven't started. I'm here to say that physically, the last couple months haven't gone according to plan, so for the time being, my racing schedule is TBD.

     I don't want to give a "whoa is me" account of my last couple months, rather let you know why I haven't been on the start line for my last two races and why if you see me around and ask what's my next race, I may just say "I'm not sure." The good part is that I'm now heading in the right direction. My body seems to be back on track and I'm starting to feel like myself again. I'm a good month or so behind on my biking and run fitness, but the season is long and if I delay the start of my racing by a month, it's far from the end of the world.

     Since January 1st, my body has been kicking and screaming its way into this year. I've now had five different injuries starting with one hamstring pull on New Years day. I remember sarcastically thinking "Happy New Years to Me!" when my whole hamstring locked up a New Year's morning run.  I backed off the running for about 10 days, but was patient, because after all, it was only January 1st. I did have a great 2.5 weeks of training in Florida in January after my hamstring healed. I came back to Austin on Jan 24th feeling like I was ahead of the game. I was slated to race the new Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka in February, but then the travel all fell through as the new race had problems with logistics and had trouble following through with what had been offered in terms of travel. Sri Lanka falling through was a let down, but hey, it was only early February, there was a lot of 2012 ahead. 

     Then I really hit the wall in February. I made the mistake of playing with my bike position and fit. We worked with a retul system which measures all of your body's angles while pedaling. Then you can modify your bike fit and position so that at different points in your pedal stroke, biomechanically your joints are at optimal angles to be the most efficient and produce the most power. We ended up really raising my saddle, by over 2 cm. I know it may not sound like a lot, but when you consider that I've probably ridden close to 40,000 miles in my current position without making any changes more than 1mm, that change felt as if someone told me to go out and ride a unicycle backwards. I gave the position change a week. I HATED riding because it felt so different. I quit every bike ride that week. I couldn't make over 45 minutes on a ride because it felt so terrible to me. I tried to stay as patient as possible (which really wasn't patient at all). I know that changes on the bike take time to allow your body to adapt. So that week, I pretty much didn't ride longer than 45 minutes easy. After 6 days, I mentally cracked and changed everything back to my old position. Unfortunately, I developed 3 separate injuries from the position change. My other hamstring started nagging me. My patellar tendon was inflamed and one tendon in my lower leg also got inflamed (it was either my extensor digitorum longus or my peroneus brevis). The changes to my pedal stroke were too much for my body to handle.

     So after losing that week of riding, I decided I needed to nip the injuries in the bud, so I took 3 days completely off my legs and just swam. I thought I had everything solved, so I started back in my routine. I actually had about 9 days of good training at the end of February and thought I was through the "winter blues" and 2012 was on its way. I was lined up to race San Juan Ironman 70.3 in mid March. Training was going pretty well and my running was showing signs that it was ready to come back. Then at the end of a long run about 2 weeks before San Juan, the hamstring that had been irritated by the bike fit completely locked up on me and pulled. I had to walk my way home from my run. I gave it a super easy week of running with days off interspersed by easy jogs. After a little over a week, it started to feel better and I could start to add longer and easy miles. I still had to hold off on the intensity. I ran a lot of 7:20-8:00 minute miles! Just when I felt like the hamstring was about ready to be pushed a bit, I had another snafu.

     I went out for a long bike ride on Wednesday two and a half weeks ago. The rain chances were 10% that day but the following 5 days were supposed to rain almost every day, so I decided that day would be my only chance to ride anything significant because of the coming weather. Within 10 minutes of leaving my house, it started raining and proceeded to rain for the next 3 hours....nice 10% chance, weatherman! I was about 45 miles out of town, only 3 miles from my first gas station stop, cruising at a moderate pace because I had just finished a harder effort. I was on a straight section of road in the rain and all of a sudden I felt my wheels come right out from under me and I was skidding along the chip seal road (like a cheese grater). The best I can figure is that the camber of the road on the side where I riding was steep, then wet roads, and maybe I hit some oil or some other slick spot. Luckily there were no cars. I pulled my bike off the road. I took "inventory" of myself and the bike. My hip hurt like the dickens and I was missing skin on different points on the side of my body where I skid along the road. Nothing felt broken so I felt like I was okay to get to town, wash off, and figure out the best and safest way to get home. Just then I looked up and saw two cyclists coming down the road. I remember thinking "who on earth is out on a Wednesday at 11:30am, in the rain, way out on a back country road in the middle of no where besides me?" It turns out it was Lance Armstrong and a friend. I felt like an idiot, the second time I've wrecked on my bike and the first person to find me was the greatest cyclist in the history of the sport. They stopped and made sure I was all right. I told them I was fine to make it to town. Lance's escort truck stayed with me for a while longer to make sure everything was good to go. I really appreciated them stopping.

     So I made it home from that ride, but I was really banged up. I was lucky not to break anything and there was no real damage to the bike other than superficial scrapes. I took a couple more days off of biking and running to get past the initial soreness. After a few days, I was able to get back in the pool, start easy running, and easy biking again. That was about 2.5 weeks ago and the last of the scabs are almost gone. I am still really skittish on the bike when I see water on the road. My hip isn't hurting anymore and last week was my official first great week of training without any problems or snafus since January!! In the middle of all of this, I moved apartments in Austin. That was my own choice, but the moving process always is a royal pain in the rear and left me exhausted for about a week of packing, moving, and unpacking with lackluster training during that time.

    I'm thankful that none of my little injuries were serious. Although my knee is still nagging from time to time, but it feels like I can manage it. Each event by itself wouldn't have been a problem, but the fact that they kept coming at me week after week, like waves at a beach, I never felt like I could get any momentum before something would knock me down again. I struggled mentally during February and early March because of all of this. A few times I wanted to give up on 2012. I'm happy that I finally feel like I can now do the work to get fit. I've got my head screwed on straight and I know what I need to do to get myself back to where I want to be in terms of my fitness.

   Obviously, I've had to keep modifying my race schedule as the weeks have ticked by and my time-line to get fit for races has gotten shorter. What I don't want to do is "cram" fitness for a race. I'm going to get into my routine and let the fitness come back to me. So for the time being, the first half of my race year is all TBD. I don't think I can be ready for Ironman Texas, considering that yesterday was the first long run in 6 weeks where I didn't walk at some point. I've had friends suggest I should just go race to get it out of my system, but honestly I only like to show up to a race when I know I'm fit and ready to go. I don't need to finish in 20th place to prove to myself that my fitness isn't where I want it right now. 

    So if you see me at Stacy Pool or at Jack and Adam's Bikes and ask me what my next race is going to be, I'll probably just smile and say "I'm not sure?" I'll be fine for the year, after all it is still March. I'm just adjusting my plan for the year to start a month or two later than I expected. I'm thinking that I should be able to race Ironman 70.3 New Orleans in 4 weeks, so that will probably be my season opener. From there I don't know what I'm going to race for May-July. I'm still planning my season around Louisville in August and then the rest as planned. I've got about two or three different scenarios in my head for these next few months. I'm hesitant to start booking flights because in the last few months, as soon as I set a race in stone and started making travel arrangements, everything seemed to go south.

     I'm still very excited for this year and for the great things ahead. I just have to keep my eyes on my timeline and not anyone elses. It's a challenge to sit back and watch my competition already fit and having raced several times before I toe the line for the first time in 2012. I still have the fire in my belly, but will have to adjust the start of this year.

Pat

February 27th: New sponsor announcement, TYR Sport
     I'm happy to announce my new swimming, wetsuit, and swim skin (speed suit) sponsor for 2012, TYR Sport! I'm excited to train and race in TYR Sport's products this year. Having the best swimming training and racing products and suits will help to take my swimming to the next level. I couldn't be happier to be partnered with such a great company. For more information about TYR Sport and its products, visit www.tyr.com.

February 20th: 2012 Race Schedule
     Finally! Here is my 2012 race schedule. It's taken me a while to nail it down, but I think I have a scenario that works well. I was debating for the longest time if I should keep a schedule similar to last year which worked well for me, or to change things up a bit to make it more exciting. I decided to go back to what worked well for me last year; if it's not broken, don't fix it (a lesson I learned the hard way in the last few weeks with my bike fit).

     I'm still debating between Ironman Louisville and Ironman Mont Tremblant in August, so I'll let that one lie for a little while. Part of me wants to go back to Louisville, but if I do, then all of my full Ironmans will be 90 degree+ races. Ironman Texas is hard to pass up, it's only about 2.5 hour drive from Austin, I know the course, and the timing of the race works well with training in Austin in the spring. Then after IM Texas I can head up to Boulder around Memorial weekend for the summer just as the hades temperatures start melting the pavement in Austin. The only down side of IM Texas is that I know it'll be sticky hot like all the races I seem to choose. I know this so I can be prepared for it and I do race well in the heat.

     If doing all hot Ironmans feels like it'll be too much for me this year, my alternate plan would be to race the new Ironman in Quebec at Ironman Mont Tremblant one week before instead of Louisville. The race in Quebec looks like a tough and fun course. I love hilly and hard races. Sometimes it's easier to get excited for a new race. It looks like a stunningly beautiful area and race course. I grew up only about 10 miles from the Canadian border, but I've never visited the French speaking portion of the county. I could practice my high school French...you know, saying things like the pig laughs at the toad (le cochon rit a le crapaud [note: in high school we loved the word for toad - crapaud because it's pronounced like "crappo"), my dad has no beard (mon pere n'a pas une barbe), or the monkey is on the table (le singe est sur la table) The average high for Mont Temblant in August is in the low 70s with 50s in the morning which should be nice race weather. BUT, I know from growing up in Michigan that in a race north of Montreal, even in August you can have a cold rainy day. Knowing that I hate hate hate cold, I'm himming and haughing a bit about that potential downside for Mont Temblant.

      On the other hand, it's hard to turn down Louisville. I've placed 2nd, 4th, and 5th there and part of me wants to give it one more go. Last year we had a lucky "cold" day where it was only 86 degrees on race day, but in the past it can kick up in the mid to upper 90s on race day, so I know it'll probably be another hot-n-sticky one (not to be confused with Hot-N-Ready). That's my debate between Mont Tremblant and Louisville. I don't have to decide now on a race at the end of August, especially since those two races are a week apart, so it won't change the timing of my overall schedule. It's only February now, so I can let the decision between those Ironmans sit for a month or two.
 

Here is my proposed schedule:

     - Ironman 70.3 San Juan - March 18
     - Ironman 70.3 New Orleans - April 22
     - Ironman Texas - May 19
     - Ironman 70.3 Muncie / Ironman 70.3 Rhode Island / Rev 3 Portland - July 8 (maybe, depending on how my recovery from IM Texas goes. I don't want to rush my recovery, but if I feel good, I'll race one of these three races)
           
     - Ironman 70.3 Racine - July 15
     - Ironman Mont Tremblant or Ironman Louisville - August 19/25
     - Ironman 70.3 Augusta - Sept 30
     - Ironman 70.3 Austin - Oct 28
     - Ironman Cozumel - Nov 25

      That's it for now. I like the timing and flow of this schedule. Keep in mind though, that not once in the last 5 years has my originally posted race schedule been what I actually ended up racing for the year. For now, this is my best go at it!

Pat           

February 15th: New Sponsor Announcement, Oakley
     I'm happy to announce that I'll be working with Oakley as my eyewear sponsor this year. I've always worn Oakley glasses in my training, racing, and as casual sunglasses, so I'm very excited for this relationship. Oakley makes the finest sport, active, and lifestyle glasses in the business. You can be sure that orange and white glasses will be on the docket this year!

January 27th: Clermont Part 2
     I'm back in Austin after 2 1/2 weeks in Florida to kick off my training for 2012 and Sri Lanka Ironman 70.3. I really enjoyed my time in Clermont and will probably go train there in a future winter. I think the trip/camp was well worth the time and cost. First, I spent quite a bit of time working on my swim stroke. The coach and I changed several things about my stroke that I hope will pay off in the future. I have quite a bit of work to do still to instill the changes in my muscle memory and then properly train for fitness with the changes, so the work is far from done. I know there are no silver bullets that will instantly make me swim with the lead group, but I think over the last few weeks, I've planted the seed for future improvement.

     I enjoyed Clermont as a training locale. It was perfect for a January camp. The weather was beautiful, with most days from 70-80 degrees. The National Training Center located there was a perfect hub for training with it's amazing outdoor 50 meter pool, gym, and track all on sight. The cycling there was pretty good. I think I stopped at a total of 5 or 6 traffic lights in 2 1/2 weeks of cycling. Lots of back country roads through citrus orchards. The running wasn't bad either. I can see why athletes have been choosing Clermont as a training location for years.

     I was able to get in a few big weeks of training to jumpstart my fitness for the year. The first week I was there, I was feeling the fatigue of getting back into the all-day every-day training regime. By the second week, I could feel the fitness coming back. I actually suprised myself with a few running sessions, not thinking I would be able to hold the paces that I did. I spent a ton of time in the pool, though most of it was easy swimming focusing on form and muscle memory. Now as I get ready for Sri Lanka, I'll pick up my swim training to get the zip back.

     Now that I'm home, I'm taking a few day recovery block to absorb the work over the last few weeks. Then it's back at it for a couple weeks before it's race time. More to come.....


Pat

January 19th: Clermont Training Camp
      I've been in Clermont, Florida for the last 10 days and will end up being here for 2 1/2 weeks for a winter training camp. I came down here for a few reasons. First and foremost, I came down here to work on my swimming. I'll get to that here in a moment. Second, I wanted a kickstart to my 2012 training in a warm climate. And finally, periodically, I need a little break from the cycling in Austin.

     Clermont is situated in central Florida, about 30 miles west of Orlando. It's inexpensive and easy to travel to. Clermont is also home to the National Training Center which is a facility with a gym, great 50 meter pool, track, and other training ammenities. Having that facility in a central location makes training very simple. Clermont is also far enough away from the big city that there are miles and miles of back-country rolling roads through orange plantations. There are also some pretty good running trails around town, making Clermont a nice place for a training camp, especially in the winter. The weather has been good with the temps in the 70s every day. So over all, I've found this a great place to kick off my training after the holidays and after my post-Cozumel down time. I was really out of shape coming out of the holidays, so I'm using my time here to get some miles under my belt to start working towards my 2012 goals.

     The other major reason I came here was to work on my swimming. I found a swim coach here in Clermont who is known as a very good swim coach. He was a former 1500M national champion swimmer of Russia, has his degree in swim coaching from a Russian Sports Institute, and was formerly a professional triathlete. So not only does he know swimming, but he also understands the specific differences in swimming style between the pool and open water. In my time here, we're working on my swim stroke. I'm not doing swim sessions for fitness right now, rather we are trying to change my swim stroke to hopefully bump me up to the next level in my swimming. I think we've identified some pretty important changes that have to happen, so now the challenge is to make those changes happen. Specifically, I was swimming behind my arms, meaning I was trying to start the propulsion phase of my stroke way too far in front of my body. I was swimming with too much arms and not enough lats. So we are really trying to soften my catch and get my arms under my body whee I can utilize my lats. Second, right away, he noticed that I have a 6-beat kick stroke, without the kick propulsion to really swim well in this style. So we are trying to change me to a 2-beat kick stroke which will use a higher turn-over and be much better in the open water. I know some good things are happening because my lats are sore everyday, even though I'm not swimming that hard or that much yardage. I'm really enjoying my time here and am working hard at getting in some winter bike/run miles as well as work on my stroke. It's hard to take a step back in my swimming to hopefully take two steps forward, but I can assure you that I'm going to keep working at it.

Pat

January 1st: New Sponsor Announcement, HED Cycling
     I'm happy to announce that I'll be partnered with HED Cycling this year. I'm very excited to be working with such a great company and to be training and racing with HED's products.

     The research conducted by HED Cycling result in the most advanced and aerodynamic wheels and components in the cycling world. I will be riding the HED Ardennes for training. For racing, I'll be riding a HED Stinger 7 or 9 front wheel and Stinger Disc or Stinger 9 rear wheel depending on the race course and conditions. I will also be riding the HED Corsair aero bars on my Felt DA.

     I am really excited for this new relationship and know that HED's products will help me to lay down some blazing fast bike splits in 2012!



December 14th: Opening race of 2012, Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka
I'm happy to announce that I'll be opening up my 2012 season racing the new Ironman 70.3 Sri Lanka on February 19th in Colombo, Sri Lanka. I couldn't be more excited to be racing in the newest of Ironman's races for 2012 in such an amazing location as Sri Lanka. 

http://www.ironmansrilanka.com/

I'm looking to this race is a great way to springboard my winter training and 2012 season. I've never traveled to South Asia, so as soon as I saw this new race announced several months ago, it was on my wish-list. Stay tuned for more information about the race and the other races on my 2012 schedule.

Pat

Ironman Cozumel: 2nd place race report
 Click here to see pictures and read my race report from my 2nd place finish at Ironman Cozumel

Click here to see a youtbe video of the podium ceremony

November 19th: Catching up, Pocono 70.3, Miami 70.3, and upcoming IM Cozumel
     It's been far too long since I've updated my blog. For that I apologize. I want to give you an update on the last couple months including my DNF at Pocono Mountains 70.3, my 10th place finish at Miami 70.3, and my upcoming Ironman Cozumel next weekend.

    After Ironman Louisville, I took a week vacation with my family up in Michigan. It was really great to spend quality time with my whole family. My original plan was to drive back from Boulder to Austin around Labor day. The problem was that Austin was still hitting the triple digits in temperatures every day and I really wasn't ready for that. Besides, I was still loving the training in Boulder. I decided to stay an extra month longer in Boulder until my race at Pocono Mountains Ironman 70.3 on October 2nd, then head back to Austin.

     I picked the Pocono Mountains race because my aunt, uncle, and cousins live about 30 miles from the race site. My parents and sister came out to the race as well, so it bacame a fun family trip. In the days before the race, I really didn't feel ready to race. My body just kind of felt "off". I tried not to think anything of it because I've had plenty of good races after not feeling quite right in the days before. The weather really turned south on race day for us. The Delaware river had flooded, so the swim was canceled. A cold front moved in, so race morning it was 42 degrees and pouring rain. Because we had to take buses to the race start, we got there early and then had to sit out in the cold rain for about 2 hours. The pros had a time trial start on the bike every 30 seconds. When it was my turn, I headed out ready to give it my all. From the first pedal stroke, I felt like I had nothing! My legs felt totally dead. Maybe it was the cold, or maybe it was just poor timing for a race after Ironman Louisville. Regardless, I felt terrible. By mile 3, the guy who started 30 seconds behind me had already passed me. I knew I was in trouble. By mile 10, the guys who had started a few minutes back had already caught and passed me. By mile 15, I was just sitting up and easy pedaling. My family was standing at mile 17, so I pulled over and dropped out on the spot.

    It's never easy to drop out of a race. I was really disappointed, but after a couple days I had shook it off and was back at it. I flew back to Denver from the race and started the drive back to Austin. When I got home, I put in a few solid weeks of training and headed off to Miami Ironman 70.3. Last year, I used Miami as my Cozumel prep race, so this year I did the same.

     My race in Miami came with mixed feelings. I finished 10th place, so I was not happy with that. In 2010, I had finished 7th and was looking to improve on that finish. I also swam terribly so I wasn't pleased at all with my performance in the water. What I was happy with was my overall time, which was 13 minutes faster than last year. I was happy with my bike and run times, so that left me feeling positive about those for my Ironman Cozumel preparation.

    It's been three weeks since Miami and I've put in my final Cozumel preparation. I hit up a ton of swimming during that time, so I feel confident in my swimming. Reflecting back at this time last year, I feel much fitter and stronger this year than before Cozumel last year.

    I feel bad that I haven't been keeping up on my blog for the last couple months, but I assure you I've been racing and training hard and hope to get back on the blog updating bandwagon. I'm heading out to Mexico on Tuesday and am looking forward to a fun weekend of racing.

Pat

August 31: Ironman Louisville - 2nd place Race Report
Click here to see pictures and read my race report from my 2nd place finish at Ironman Louisville

August 15: Why I didn't take my Kona Slot
     Since the first round of professional Kona qualifications came out a couple weeks ago, friends and family have been asking if I took my slot. I was within the top-40 male pros on the Kona Points Ranking (KPR), but I didn't take my slot, and here's why:

     I raced Kona three times as an agegrouper and once as a pro back in 2008. Kona is an amazing race and I believe it's where the heart and soul of the sport lies. I will go back to Kona, but only when I'm ready make an impact. It is a goal for me in 2012, but when I set out planning this season, it just didn't make sense to make Kona a goal for 2011. As tempting as it is to take the slot when it's dangling in front of you, for me I needed to make a smart business decision. Being and fan, student, and long time competitor in the sport, we're programmed to have Kona myopia and anyone who would turn down a slot is just insane!

     For me it all comes down to a business decision. A couple years ago, my close buddy, training partner, and triathlon veteran, Richie Cunningham gave me really good advice. Richie is truly a professional, he knows better than anyone how to make a living at this sport. I was talking about certain races I thought it would be FUN to go and race. He said "Hey, amateur hour is over. You're a professional now. You don't go to races you think will be fun. You go to races where you can make money."

     He's right, and that perspective is critical to maintain for us trying to make a living at this sport. Our job is to represent our sponsors, race, and make a living at it. So last winter when I was thinking about my 2011 goals and plan, I approached it with that mindset.

    My goals for 2011 are to go to races where I can make the biggest impact and have chances at high placements. In doing so, I will better represent my sponsors and be better able to support myself racing full-time. My second goal was to continue my athletic development so next year, 2012, I will be in a position to go back to Kona and be "in the mix" there.

     From a business perspective, Kona is hard to justify. Unless your sponsors make it a top priority of theirs to have you on the start line, it's tough to make the ROI work. To go out to Kona a little early, acclimate, train, then race, you're looking at easily a $3000+ trip. Only the top-10 get paid in Kona, so if you're one of the 40 other pros out of the top-10, you're down a lot of money. You're also taken out of a couple months of racing in a time of the year with a lot of good races. Also, let's face it, no one in the industry cares about you if you finish outside the top-20 in Kona.

     On the other side of the equation, if I don't go to Kona, I can get a lot of late season racing in, including two Ironmans. These races are a fraction of the cost of Kona and I have the potential to have good placements and make some money. At the end of the day, unless you're a top-10 kona guy, it's a no brainer (and there are at least 25 guys who are potential top-10 depending on how their days go).

     In the last few years, if you know me well, you've heard me talk at length about my swimming. Each year, I've made improvements. As I close the gap little by little, my overall results have improved because I've been more in the race from the start. I still have a long way to go. Kona is a race that if you're too far back out of the swim, you're not going to be competitive in the the professional race. This fall and winter, I'm going to make another charge at making another breakthrough in my swimming. It's happening now, and it's going to continue. When I make that next jump in my swim, it will completely change my racing. If I can come out with the second chase group from the water, then I'll be in the mix.

    When I've made that jump on my swimming, I'll be the first to sign up for Kona because then the trip will be worth it. After Ironman Louisville in two weeks, the new year for Kona Points starts, so I will be choosing races where I have shots at solid placements, but can also start accruing points for next year.

     That's my reasoning for not taking my Kona slot. Many friends have a hard time understanding it, but as soon as I frame it in the context that this is a career with business decisions like we all make at other jobs, then it's easier to understand.  I agree with many of the arguments for going to Kona, especially since I can never know what the future will bring or count on qualifying in a future year. But I have to make the pragmatic decision for my career.

Until then, I'm sticking with my plan for the rest of 2011:

Ironman Louisville - Aug 28
Ironman 70.3 Pocono Mountains - Oct 2
Ironman 70.3 Miami - Oct 31
Ironman Cozumel - Nov 28

Pat

July 17th: Ironman 70.3 Racine, 3rd place!
Read my race report and see pictures from my 3rd place finish at Ironman 70.3 Racine this past weekend.

Ironman 70.3 Racine Race Report

July 12th: Update from Boulder
I apologize for the lapse in blog updates, but thankfully the reason I haven't had a blog update in the last month is because I've had a great month of training in Boulder. I had a bit of an achilles problem for the first week or so I was here, but thankfully that is well past me, I'm fit, and ready to race Racine Ironman 70.3 this weekend.


A view back at Boulder and the mountains from my favorite running trail, Teller Farms. I love the run up the plateau and the view. 

First off, I have to say I am really enjoying Boulder and my time here. The training is superb, great people, and great weather. Coming here for the summer was probably the best decision I've made in a long time. It's exactly what I needed.


Riding on the Peak to Peak Highway. I know what you're thinking, "what an ugly view while riding, you must get bored."


After good running sessions, we soak our legs in the Boulder Creek. Fresh snow melt down the mountain = ice bath. It's FREEEEEZING

When I arrived here in Boulder, it was only 2.5 weeks after Ironman Texas. I was having the worst recovery from an Ironman in my experience. My body wasn't responding well and I didn't feel like myself. On top of that my achilles got really inflamed as I was leaving Austin. I took a week off of running right after the race, then right before I came to boulder, I took another week off of running. By my 2nd run here, I could feel it again. I was ready to pull the plug and take significant time off.

Then my friends Brad Seng and Joe Gambles suggested physical therepists here in Boulder who helped them with their past achilles problems. I kid you now. After one session, I was back running. It was amazing; walking into the office, I was ready to take a month off, since that session, I haven't missed a single run workout in 4 weeks. It was the most painful treatment you can imagine, but it worked. Basically, they manually scraped the scar tissue from my achilles with their fingers. Then they did dry needling, which is like a form of accupuncture. They stick accupuncture needles into your achilles to cause micro trauma to the tissue and bleeding. This brings bloodflow to the tendon to promote healing where we have no natural blood flow. The pain of the manual manipulation of the tendon was insane, like make you gag and cry at the same time pain. But it worked. II was running after one treatment, after the second, I haven't had a problem. It also helped that I caught the problem before it was full-blown chronic tendonitis, making the treatment and recovery much faster.


Up on the Switzerland Trail. Great running trail up at about 8000ft, I get freaked out thinking about mountain lions though.

That little episode only set me back about a week in my running, but on top of my poor Ironman recovery, I didn't feel ready to go to Muncie or to try to do back-to-back 70.3 weekends. I've been watching guys really starting to wear their bodies out trying back-to-back racing. So I decided to err on the side of caution, give myself an extra week of quality work, and just go race Racine this next weekend. It was tough, because as I've gotten my fitness back, I'm really wanting to race. I just wanted to be smart and not greedy with my racing.


After the climb up Big Thompson Canyon, come over the crest and Estes Park is below you. Long's Peak in the background.

So I'm now fit, healthy, and ready to race. I've now been in Boulder nearly five weeks. My training has gone great and I'm fully adapted to the altitude. I really love Boulder. I'm nearly certain that I'll be making a full-time move here from Austin next spring. My lease is up on April 1 next year, so I'm thinking that I'll probably pack up the Uhaul and head back to Boulder for good at that time. The terrain and culture in Boulder are perfect for my needs. Austin has good running and the swimming is fine, but the cycing in Austin has gotten worse and worse to the point where it's really dangerous to train full-time on Austin's roads. As the city has grown, the traffic has gotten horrible. The drivers are increasingly aggressive to cyclists and there are so many traffic lights now, that it's hard to get good training sessions near town. I have to ride nearly 45 min each way to get to even okay training roads in Austin, so I waste nearly 1.5 hours of every session in traffic and stop lights. In Boulder, I ride through two stop lights (with a full bike line, and even then drivers going wide around me) and then I never stop pedaling.


Nice little church along the Peak to Peak Highway


Switzerland Trail Run #2

There are heaps of running trails and dirt roads for every type of run. There are lots of swimming pools and several good swimming groups. There are tons of guys to train with and I have to say that I haven't found Boulder at all elitist as I had heard. I've found everyone very welcoming and the training groups actually more relaxed in attitude than some in Austin. This place is perfect for my needs. I'll have to figure out how to handle the winters here, but as I see it, I have to leave Austin now for a couple months every summer, so what's the difference if I live in Boulder and have to leave for a couple months in the winter? The quality of the cycling here makes it hard to want to bike back in Austin (sorry Austin, I like you as a city, but you're just not the cycling place you were when I started biking).

That's it for now. I'm really enjoying my summer here. I'm loving training here, I'm fit, and ready to race Racine then on to Louisville!

Pat


A recovery ride into Eldorado Canyon on the south side of Boulder.

June 7th: Adios Austin, at least for a while
It's time to go. Austin is a great place to live. I love the city itself, but in the summer, the heat becomes insane, and just plain dangerous for training properly. Rather than my month in Michigan, this year I'm moving to Boulder, CO until September. I'm packing up the car in two days and heading north.

Austin is a great place to live. The places to swim and swimming groups are great. The running trail is great, but the cycling is really suffering from the city's overgrowth. Austin is no longer the same city where I started cycling years ago. It's changed. It's downright dangerous on most of my old biking routes for cycling. The traffic is bad and the drivers are getting more aggresive towards cyclists. Then when you compound this with the unbearable heat (today it's only 98 degrees, yesterday it was 103, the day before 101, tomorrow 101.....and it's only the first week in June!!!), Austin just isn't a good place to train seriously in the summer. For this reason, I've decided to take a longer leave from home than in past years. In the last few years, I did a 4-6 week block at my parents condo up in northern Michigan.

My plan is to drive up to Boulder this week, then stay there until after Ironman Louisville at the end of August. I may go up to Michigan for a week of recovery after Ironman Louisville which will put me driving back to Austin around Labor Day.

The last couple years, the heat has really cracked me a few times. I've even had a few bouts with some heat stress and I'm always battling severe dehydration training in 100 degree temps. So I'm really excited to get up to the mountains for some good cycling and running in some more reasonable temperatures. I know Boulder can get hot, but it's not the 60+ days over 100 degrees that Austin gets!

So for now I say so long to Austin, I'll see you in September! Time to put on some John Denver in the car and head towards the mountains.

Pat

June 3rd: Bad Recovery
These last couple weeks have been the worst Ironman recovery I've experienced to date. On top of it all, I've now developed an injury and will have to take a step back. Since the race, my achilles had been a little sore. As I started back again, I thought it would heal up, assuming I took it really easy as I came back. Now two weeks after the race, I've taken my easiest two weeks after an Ironman and the achilies is getting worse. I cannot tell you how frustrated I am.

So I sit here Friday morning, after almost no training for the last two weeks, mentally ready to start getting back at it, now going to have to take more time completely off of my legs. Usually the bike won't irritate the achilies, but this time, it seems to be aggravating it. So I'll take a few more days completely off to see if I can get the healing process further along.

I've really struggled during this recovery. That race in Texas really took it out of me. I felt like it really hurt me deep down, more than others. I think some of that could have been due to the China debacle. I had to cut my recovery times way down in my training. I came out of St.Croix and approached my recovery and training based on having 4 weeks. Losing my last week of recovery/taper due to my schedule change put me going into the race with more load on my body than I like for a full Ironman. I think that set me up for this injury and the way I've been really drained the last two weeks.

I took my usual first week after an Ironman for recovery. Usually the soreness goes away, energy comes back, and then I am ready for slow, short, and easy sessions for a week. By week three, I'm ready to start adding some intensity and volume. Week 4, I'm usually ready to start crackin' again.

This time, 10 days after the race, I could still barely get out of bed. I took more days off and did fewer rides, runs, and swims than ever in the past. I felt totally drained. As everyone else who raced started getting back at it, I could barely get out of my apartment. I think I may have had some lingering heat stress from the race. Then coming back to Austin where it's 97-101 degrees every day now, really stressed my body even going out for a short jog.

The good news is that now two weeks after the race, my energy is back and am feeling like the normal me, but now my achilies is jacked up. So now it's time to get more aggressive with addressing it, which means time off. Normally, all of the Ironman aches and pains go away, but this one is now a problem. So now my focus is no biking and running for a few days to see if I can get back on track.

Pat

May 16th: Ironman China debacle, time for Ironman Texas
What a strange last few days! I learned Thursday night that Ironman China was cancelled. This was one week before I was slotted to leave for China. The following few days were very frustrating as I scrambled to salvage what I could about this situation. I am now on the start list for Ironman Texas next Saturday. I wanted to write here about the events of the last few days. I'm not here to complain about the China cancelation, there are plenty of frustrated athletes out there who I'll leave that to, but rather I'm updating you with my racing and the events of the last few days. I do want to thank Ken Glah at Endurance Sports Travel for doing his best to help me out and navigate all of the problems in the last few days. Also Heather at Ironman has done her best to help me. Ashley at Champion System also went out of her way to make sure I'll get my new race clothing in time for Ironman Texas due to these last-minute schedule changes.

I learned Thursday night that the entire Ironman China race had been canceled. Mind you, my flight for China was supposed to leave 8 days later. I was only two weeks out from the race. I have yet to learn how much money my parents and I are out from having to cancel the trip, flights, lodging, post-race trip (flights and lodging), visa fees, etc. It's safe to say the number is well into the thousands of dollars lost. Then my parents had to cancel their vacations plans as well. I couldn't have been more disapointed in the whole thing! Ironman China had announced several days earlier that the swim portion of the race was canceled due to the Chinese governement conducting work on the resevoir's dam where the swim would take place. After a couple days, I re-framed the race in my head that it would be fun to only do an Ironman bike-run and it would be an advantage for me. A few days later, I'd have a much bigger challenge in terms of my mental race preparation.

My immediate reaction to the China announcement was anger and frustration. I was angry for all of the athletes and their families with travel plans. The athletes had spent months preparing for this race only to have it taken away. I was angry for my parents who had their China vacation taken away. I was angry for myself, as this career has me on the financial edge most of the time and I was losing much more money than to could afford. I was frustrated because every day of the last 4 months was designed and executed around being my fittest, fastest, and strongest on May 29th, and all of that had to change. I was angry because this is more than a race and vacation, it's my career. I was just plain angry and frustrated.

I didn't sleep Thursday night because I had this whole problem and situation swimming around in my head. How do I approach this; how do I get past the frustration; how do I reframe this in my head; how can I afford this; how do I accept this and put in place a plan that doesn't  change the rest of my season?

Friday morning I got up and went to morning swim practice. I got out of the water about 2/3 of the way through practice because I was too frazzled and tired from no sleep that I couldn't push myself. I came home and went to work on the computer. I didn't move for the next 8 or 9 hours from the couch. My goal was to get everything worked out so I could get past this blow to my season.

The next best option was Ironman Brazil. The race is the same day as Ironman China, so there would be no changes to my body's plan in terms of taper, rest, recovery, and travel. I spent most of the day working through Brazil travel options, flights, lodging, and visa. I had everything lined up and ready to set in motion, but the race director wouldn't let me into Ironman Brazil. This was very frustrating. Every other Ironman and Ironman 70.3 race I've ever done, there are professional athletes who are added to the start list in the final hour. Every race someone shows up who wasn't on the start list. I was very frustrated that 17 days out from the race, the one time I needed that courtesy extended to me, the answer was "no". That whole Ironman Brazil project took the entire day on Friday. Ken and Heather did their best to help me line everything up, but there was nothing any of us could do with the final "no" from the race director.

The only other option I had, that wouldn't change every race for the whole season for me, was Ironman Texas coming this Saturday. The positive about Texas is that it's only a 3 hour drive away for me, so the trip is easy and cost effective. With the race next weekend, I wouldn't have to change every race for the rest of my season. The hot/humid temperatures in Texas shouldn't be a problem because I've been training in Austin. The biggest drawback is that by racing Texas this Saturday, I lost 8 days of rest/recovery from my planned taper. The last bit of the taper is when your body absorbs all of the work and training from the previous months. So I'm now faced with a "crash" 1-week taper.

I've gotten my head around this taper and put in place a plan that I think will get me to the starting line as rested as possible in one week without making me too sluggish and lethargic. I've got two messages this week and I've been putting many hours in my RecoveryPump.

The second mental hurdle for me was that by switching from Ironman China to Ironman Texas, I was also drastically changing the depth of the competition at the race. Ironman China was a normal Ironman with a smaller professional field; with that comes a set of mental preperations and expectations for the race. Ironman Texas is the Ironman North American Professional Championships. That means it has one of the deepest and most talented professional fields outside of Kona. So, I've had to completely change my plans and expectations going into this race as it pertains to my competition.

I've now gotten past the short taper, travel changes, and mental preparation changes. With each day that passes, I'm getting over the frustration with the China-Brazil events. My parents were able to get flights to Houston, so they can still come to the race. We were able to find a hotel close to the race. So now it's just a matter of getting my race gear together, resting, and getting in my short training sessions to be ready to go on Saturday. My mental focus with all of theses changes and upheaval is "I have nothing to lose" so I'll go into the race, race my heart out, and see what I can do.

Pat

May 8th: St.Croix Ironman 70.3, 4th place! Race Report
Click here to see pictures, video, and read about my 4th place finish at St.Croix Ironman 70.3

Click here to watch the youtube video of Richie Cunningham and I battling it out for 3rd place in the last 1/2 mile of the run.

April 26th: Austin Fit Magazine April Feature

didn't get a chance to pick up a copy of April's Austin FIt Magazine triathlon issue, then check it out here. I've posted the portion of the feature article on Austin's professional triathletes about me here.

                                                          

April 22nd: My new 2011 Felt DA
Back in Black for 2011. There really isn't a whole lot to say. The bike speaks for itself. It is the badest, fastest, and meanest bike I have ever ridden, period. I don't think I really ever need to ride another bike. I've only been on it about a week, but it feels amazing.  



I only have about 400 miles on it so far, so I'm still getting the fit dialed in, the feel, and personality of the bike. After that, as I always do, I'll give it a name. I'm accepting suggestions.

Pat

April 4th: Catching up on last 2 months
I've been really bad about updating my blog over the last couple months. Excuses aside, it's time to give you a complete update on my last couple months. How is my 2011 preparation going? Why didn't I race San Juan 70.3? Am I still on track for my 2011 race schedule?

First and foremost, I am getting myself caught up on my admin work (once my taxes are done!) so I should get myself back on my weekly blog updates now. The season is now here, so I'm going to be back on top of my game on this website.

So how have the last couple months been? January started off great. We had really good winter training weather in Austin to begin the year. I was healthy and starting my winter build. I decided that as part of my winter training, I would race the Austin 1/2 marathon in February. The plan was to focus on training to run a blazing fast 1/2 marathon and springboard my run training forward for San Juan 70.3 in March. At the same time, my plan was to just maintain cycling through January and the first half of February, then pick up the cycling after the 1/2 marathon for San Juan. At the same time, because my running would be more quality/less volume, and my cycling would be lower volume, I could dedicate more time to try to put in another swim specific block.

This was actually going really well for the first 3 weeks of the year. Then we started getting the cold and nasty weather. I started moving some of my running intensity sessions indoors to the treadmill. I was doing tempo runs and longer speed sets in the gym. This was going great, but in the last week in January, I was starting a 3x3 mile tempo set on the treadmill and about 1/2 mile in I strained the heck out of my hamstring. It was like when you see the sprinters pull their hammies. It locked up and I had to hoist myself up on the treadmill because my leg gave out. After looking at the days before and day of the injury, I've learned that I made a couple mistakes. First, I was dehydrated. Too much coffee and not enough water, it's easy to fall out of the hydration routine in the winter when you're not sweating and forcing the fluids like in the summer. Second, I fell into the treadmill trap of dialing up the speed too much. It's tempting to always push the button to go one more faster and see if you can hang on. Lastly, when running on the treadmill fast, it's easy to try to cheat by over-striding. The long, bounding strides let more of the belt pass underneath you for each stride. So the combination of pushing too hard, over-striding, and dehydration set me up for a nasty hamstring pull. Lesson learned!

Initially, I thought it would set me back maybe a week, tops, then I would be back on track. How wrong I was. I couldn't walk properly for a couple days and couldn't even attempt a jog for about 8 days. After getting some massage work done and treatment by Dr. Z at Advanced Rehabilitation, I was able to start jogging easy again. I thought I'd be back kicking it in a week...WRONG. For the next 3 weeks, I could run an easy recovery pace, but as soon as I tried to run anything faster than a 7:30 min/mile, my whole hamstring would lock up and threaten to re-pull. It wasn't until 5 weeks after the initial strain, that I could start pushing the pace and start doing the work to get back to where I had been. I also had to really back off on the cycling for the first couple weeks after the injury.

I found myself going into March very far behind where I had hoped to be in terms of fitness. Just as I was getting some momentum back, I caught the normal winter flu. It wasn't horrible, but it just prevented me from getting back on track for San Juan for another week when I had already been behind. I found myself about 2 weeks before San Juan in panic mode trying to cram to get whatever fitness I could before the race. In my tempo runs, I couldn't hold paces that I normally do for an average long run. I was in no place to go race. I didn't need to go and have my ass handed to me to prove what I already knew; I wasn't fit enough to race yet. So about 2 weeks before San Juan 70.3, I pulled the plug. I decided it wasn't smart or healthy to try to cram fitness this early in the year.

The upside of the hamstring pull was that I really had a chance to execute on my winter swim plan. I put in the biggest 4-5 week swim block of my life. I was doing between 8-9 swim sessions each week with several swim 2-a-days each week. I made the biggest swim gains I've ever seen. So the silver lining in my Jan-March was that. Some of that swimming speed, unfortunately, I've given back since I started my Ironman bike-run training. It's just impossible to hold that kind of swimming fitness when you're putting in the bike and run miles. The good thing is that I have made a jump up on my swimming and I know I'll have some swim times this year that will suprise my competition.

As soon as I cancelled my San Juan trip, I didn't feel pressure to cram on my training and I started a proper Ironman build. Mother nature was kind through the month of March. We had one of the warmest and driest Marches on record. I heard that it was the driest since 1912. I was able to put in the miles needed to get my fitness back.

So now it's the first week in April and I'm well back on track. I'm racing St. Croix Ironman 70.3 in 4 weeks and then Ironman China another 4 weeks after that. My fitness is far far ahead of where it was at this time last year. I would say that I'm a good month or two ahead of where I was at this time last year. My one setback this winter is past and it may have really helped me take another huge step forward on my swimming. I'm excited to race again, excited to travel, and looking forward to putting in the work over the next couple months.

You are now officially caught up on my last couple months and know why there were no times next to my name in San Juan. The small setbacks lead to long-term gains.

Pat

March 7th: New Sponsor Announcement, RecoveryPump
I am very excited to announce a new relationship with RecoveryPump for 2011. I have been using RecoveryPump's product over the last year even before this sponsorship, so I am very excited to partner with this new company.

                                                                    

RecoveryPump (recoverypump.com) is an Active Pneumatic Compression System used for recovery therapy in the maximal, endurance sports arena.  This system is an aggressive therapy to clear metabolic waste and increase oxygen perfusion by improving venous return during rest and recovery.  With maximal exertion, like that experienced during racing or training for triathlon, marathon, cycling or any high intensity or endurance exercise, the body’s natural rhythm cannot keep up with clearing the waste produced by metabolizing elements that create energy for muscle activity. The use of passive compression and/or systems that mimic “the natural rhythm” do not deliver enough compression to efficiently clear the tissue of these waste products and restore the natural delivery of oxygen and plasma to replenish the cells and muscle.  The RecoveryPump System provides adequate compression to energize the Venous System to replenish the cells.

The RecoveryPump system is an FDA approved, medical grade, Sequential, Intermittent, Pneumatic, Compression Pump (well known in the medical field as SIPC and the standard of care for acute venous disorders) that inflates 4 chambered sleeves from the foot to the hip.  Receiving massaging compression feels great and is very restorative.  

I use my RecoveryPump every day and clearly notice the benefits in my recovery. For details about purchasing a Recovery Pump, contact Doug Weatherby,
dweatherby@medsolsupplier.com.

Feb 11th: Pro Talk at Texas State University
 


A week ago, I went down to San Marcos, Texas for a pro talk with the Texas State University triathlon club. It was a good chance to meet a great group of people and to get back to the place where I studied for my Masters degree. The triathlon club was very welcoming. The group ranged from Ironman experienced to first time triathletes, so they had a lot of good questions. I had a really fun time and would love to go back again some time.


For those of you not from the Austin area, the town of San Marcos is only about 35 miles south of Austin, so the trip down there to speak with the club is an easy one, except this time. The weather this time of year in Austin is pretty manic. It can be 75 degrees one day and 25 degrees a couple days later. The weather had called for a chance of snow that night, but not starting until midnight. I thought, since my meeting with the tri club was at 7:30, I should be fine to drive home safe around 9pm, getting home at 9:30.

When I walked out of the unibuilding after 9pm, the ground was a solid sheet of ice, my car had about 1/4 solid ice on it and the rain was coming down and freezing on contact. I knew this was not good and as dangerous as jumping into the zoo's polar bear exhibit wearing Lady Ga Ga's meat outfit. After skidding out several times just trying to drive through town I thought the expressway may be better because traffic usually keeps the road more heated. WRONG!

I got on I-35 and thought I was going to die. I was driving 15mph and cars were sliding off the road. All the semi-trucks had pulled off the road for the night because it was too dangerous. The horizon was nothing but emergency vehicle flashers and lights. I have never driven in such horrible conditions. After a couple miles my knuckles were white and I knew there was no possible way I could make the next 30 miles.

Luckily,my girlfriend's parents live in Kyle, only about seven miles from San Marcos. I was almost to their house, so I skidded and slid my way to their place and spent the night. I was iced in there until the roads thawed out about 1pm the next day. I was so thankful Hillary's parents house was there and her Mom took great of me. She made sure I was fed well and had a warm bed to sleep in. By 9am the next morning, there had already been over 99 car accidents reported in Austin. It was a nightmare. So, thank you to Hillary's family for taking care of me and keeping me safe. It was quite an adventure.




A big thanks to the Texas State Univerisity Triathlon Club for hosting me and welcoming me to come speak!

Pat

Feb 3rd: Announcing a new relationship with Felt Bikes
I am happy to announce a new sponsorship relationship with Felt bicycles for 2011. I have been a huge fan of Felt's products and the company for years. Felt is dedicated to making the best and fastest bikes in the business. I will be riding the 2011 Felt DA Time Trial bike for racing and training. I will also be training on the Felt AR road bike. I am very excited about this relationship and to be working with such a great company. Look for me on my new Felt bikes soon!

Feb 1st: Off-Season Training Myths
Pick up a copy or check out on-line this month's issue of Austin Fit magazine to read the article I wrote dispelling off-season training myths. Learn from watching what the pros do:

http://www.austinfitmagazine.com/Fitness/FIT3/2011/February/learn-from-the-pros.html

Jan 19th: 2011 Race Schedule
I've posted my 2011 tentative race schedule. There are a few details I'm still working out, but this is my best shot at how my 2011 race season's going to go.

Race Schedule

Jan 12th: Austin Fit Article, Your Best Year Yet
If you haven't already read my article in the January issue of Austin Fit Magazine, check it out. Tips on the process of setting your goals for 2011 to make it your best athletic year yet!

http://www.austinfitmagazine.com/Fitness/FIT3/2011/January/6-steps-to-successful-athletic-year.html

Happy new year and here's to the best year yet!!
Pat

Dec 26th: Home for the Holidays
I'm back home in Detroit for five days for Christmas. It's always a great trip to see family and friends. I've been eating like a horse, so I'll need a food detox period when I get back to Austin. It's been a whirlwind of holiday parties, always fun. I really enjoy this time at home.

Since it's been in the 20s every day here, I've been running on my parents treadmill everyday. I'm officially a wimp about running in the cold. I didn't even bring outdoor cold-weather running clothes. When the mercury is below 30, I'm running inside.

Only another day and a half before I head back to Austin. My buddy is getting married on New Years Eve, so we'll have a great time that night. After New Years, it's back into full-on training mode. The last couple weeks, I've actually gotten in quite a bit, but it's been all pretty unstructured training. I'll need that first week in January to sweat out the cookies and wine from this week.

Tonight is the annual father-son bowling tournament that my high-school/college buddies have put on for the last 11 years. This is one of my favorite nights of the year. Team Evoe is looking to score some big points tonight. "Plan A", bowl strikes.

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday.

Pat

Dec 11th: Doughnut
 So what does "off-season" mean to me? It means that I can eat 10,000 calories of this deliciousness for dessert. It's a fresh custom made doughnut from a little place run out of an airstream trailer. Check out what I ate for dessert last night:

So what is this? You go up to this trailer and order a custom doughnut. They have different suggested specials or you can create your own. They fry up the dough fresh and create the insulin bomb for you right there. It's hard to tell the scale from this picture, but this is about the size of a baby's head. I got the one covered in fudge sauce, marshmallow, and fudge and chocolate chip toppings. Then I upgraded for $1 more to add ice cream on top (not pictured)
It was both amazing and a weeks worth of calories. This is why I love the off-season. I can eat stuff like this and not care.

Ed. Note: I actually couldn't finish this whole thing, I got through about 2/3 of it. The rest went down after my bike ride today.

Dec 8th - Feature Slowtwitch.com Interview
Yesterday, Slowtwitch.com published a feature interview with me. Click the link below to read the article.

http://www.slowtwitch.com/Interview/Patrick_Evoe_-_hot_and_ready_1829.html

Ironman Cozumel - 6th Place!!
Click here to read my race report and see pictures from my 6th place finish and new personal best Ironman time of 8:35 at Ironman Cozumel.

December 4th - Website Cleanup and Wisdom Teeth Round #2
Whilst I lay here on the couch recovering from my second round of wisdom teeth surgery, I thought I would spend some time and do a bit of end-of-year website clean-up. I archived some old blog entries and race reports, updated my schedule and results, updated photos, and made a few more house cleaning modifications. I'll get my Ironman Cozumel race report up today as well. Just like cleaning my appartement, it feels good to clean up my websited a bit.

As for the surgery, it went pretty well. I'm doing okay now. I only needed the heavy pain killers yesterday right after the surgery. I can tolerate the pain with ibuprofen only now. I had one tooth removed back after Louisville and scheduled the rest for after my last race (because they were going to be more complicated). I was supposed to get the two bottoms out and then my upper left wisdom tooth out. When the doc got digging in the upper left side, I had a second wisdom tooth behind the first. Then when he removed the 2nd, I had a 3rd wisdom tooth behind that one. I had 3 teeth where most people have one. The doc said it was like I was a shark with rows and rows of teeth. He also had to take a saw to my skull to get some of the teeth out because my bones are so hard. I don't know if that's good or bad, but I'm thinking that means I have good bone mineral density. Maybe that's why I've never had a stress fracture despite all the running miles.

So I'm taking several days on the couch to recover from surgery. It's not a bad way to start the off-season. I've made an uber-to-do list of admin items I've been neglecting during the last couple months. I have plenty to do, so I shouldn't get bored. I am getting hungry. After 2 days of liquids and soft foods, I'm not getting that satisfied full feeling. The best item I've had so far was my morning smoothy:

Frozen strawberries
Frozen bananas
2 TBS milled flax seed
1 TBS wheat germ
1 Scoop PowerBar Protein Plus Powder, Chocolate (20 gms of protein)
16 oz skim milk.

That filled me up at least for a while this morning and felt like it had mor sustinance than the bowls of jello yesterday.

Nov 29th - Ironman Cozumel 6th, great day!

I couldn't be happier with my race yesterday here at Ironman Cozumel. 6th place overall and a huge personal best time of 8:35. What a great way to finish off the 2010 season. I'll work on getting my race report up here in the next couple days. Check back soon. For now, it's time for some cookies, margaritas, snorkeling, and the beach.

It was also really fun to see my friend Michael Lovato have a great race and to be able to run for a bit with my close friend Stephan Schwarze. Michael was 2nd overall and Stephan was 5th agegrouper. Get job guys!

I've posted some race photos my dad took yesterday and vacation photos here from Cozumel, more to come soon:


Dinner a couple days before the race. Mom will be horrified that I posted this pic, but I couldn't resist when she's sporting this fashionable hat

 


View from our hotel room at El Presidente. Nicest hotel I've ever stayed in by far.


View up the long driveway to the hotel

Back yard behind our hotel room.


Hotel swimming pool. Not our stroller!

Walkway to hotel room


Warmup swim day before race from hotel in my new Xterra Velicity M Speedsuit (new WTC legal textile suit)


Warmup swim in Xterra Velocity M Speedsuit

Water is not a swimming pool, yes that's the ocean!


Cozumel has the best water for an Ironman swim in the world, bar none.


Road where I was doing a warm-up run. Just a neat road I wanted to take a picture.


Race morning at the bike racks

Pre race with my friend Dede Griesbauer


Bike out after a good swim

It was another toasty one on the run today

Dad got some good run pictures while mom gave me my time gaps to the other guys




Happy after a solid (but painful) day


To get an IV or not to get an IV? I think I'll have a Coke and a massage instead.

More pics to come

Nov 25th - Quintana Roo in Quintana Roo

I made it into Cozumel safe and sound after a long day of trains, planes, and automobiles on Tuesday. I'm settled in now and really happy to be here. I took this picture this morning on my ride. I call this picture "A Quintana Roo in Quintana Roo" (for those who don't know, Cozumel is in the state of Quintana Roo)

I've stayed the last two nights at the race hotel where I stayed last year, but today, my parents arrive and we move over to the nice El Presidente. I'm excited about that hotel and will be sure to post some pictures.

When I was in the final weeks of training for this race, I felt like this season was dragging on and was lasting forever, but to tell you the truth, as soon as I stepped off the boat on Cozumel, it was like a switch flipped and I couldn't be more excited to be here and to race. This is such an amazing venue for an event. The island and community really embrases it.

I'll get some more pictures posted in the next couple days.

Pat

Nov 22nd - Pizza Slice Aero Helmet Sticker Update
Last week, Jack, from Jack and Adams Bicycles presented me with another round of pizza slice stickers for my aerohelmet, earned in Miami Ironman 70.3. Here is the update on my season totals for helmet stickers......Pizza Slice Stickers Update

Nov 11th - Sometimes it's good to sit on your feet
I'm far from perfect. I get behind on dirty dishes, laundry, and I don't always stretch as much as I know I should, but when I learned that I can get some free swimming speed with some simple stretching, I said "where do I sign up?!"

Two of my friends, Amanda Lovato and Richie Cunningham, had noticed and pointed out to me at swim practice that I have horrible ankle flexibility while swimming. It's not an issue while biking and running (that's what causes tight ankles), but when I'm swimming, because I can't point my toes easily, I have these size 9.5 water breaks dragging behind me in the water. If my feet were pointed and in line with my body in the direction of movement, there's little drag, but feet sticking straight down are like dragging dredges through the water. I can't quantify exactly the time difference between pointed and dragging toes, but I think it's one-two seconds per 100 yards. Multiply that out over an Ironman and that's a minute to a minute and a half time savings.

So how do I correct this? Over the last few weeks, I decided to try to fix this. I need to first increase my ankle flexibility. So almost every day, I've been spending time sitting on my feet. I get down on my knees like I'm about to bow, then just sit there on my feet with them pointed. As that's gotten easier, I now put a small book under my toes to increase the stretch. It's an easy stretch that takes no effort. I get so lazy sometimes that the active stretches that take effort are just too much when I'm tired. But I can sit there on my feet! A few times, I've even eaten at my coffee table sitting like that. After a couple weeks of this, I've started to notice flexibility improvements.

The second part of the foot dragging equation has to do with the angles of my legs in the water. Talking to some great swimmers at UT, they told me that rather than keeping my toes straight, turn my knees in a little while swimming and the resulting angle change on your feet, really reduces the drag in the water and increases the surface area of your foot during your kick cycle.

I still have a ways to go on this, but I'm working on it. When I'm conscious of my feet, I notice the difference in the water. The challenge is that when I'm not focusing on these things, it's easy to go back to my foot dragging. The more I practice though, the more it becomes habit. A second per hundred is better than no gain! So going forward, I'll be sitting on my feet more.

Pat

Miami Ironman 70.3 - 7th place!
Click here to read my race report from this last weekend in Miami.

October 26th: Bike wreck, but still ready for Miami 70.3
I went down on my bike last Friday, the first time I've hit the pavement in about 4 years. Luckily it wasn't too bad and I'm still ready to go for Miami Ironman 70.3 this weekend. Friday, my training buddy, Richie and I were riding one of our last long rides before this next weekend's race. With about 30 miles to go in our 100 miles, we were coming down a hill to a low water crossing. This is where water runs over the road. Since we've had a ton of rain this year, the river has gone over the road for about the last 6-8 months. Normally, it only happens when we have a flood, but most of the year, the crossing is dry. The crossing is very slick, so we are really careful and slow when crossing (sometimes walking our bikes). The problem is that every car that drives through the river drags water up the hill from its wet tires. So the first section of road before and after the river has been wet since about March, so it's very slick for a good 50 yards up the hill.

I was coming down the hill and realized that I had a little too much speed. But by the time I tapped the brake, I was already on the perma-wet section of road and BAM, my wheels just slid out like on ice. I came down on my side pretty hard. Luckily I didn't come down hard enough to break anything. It was more of a skid across wet pavement. So my injuries were more bruising and lots of good ol' road rash. My hip has been really sore, but I was able to run at tempo the next day. Since Friday, it's been constant ibuprofen, neosporine, and ice. Everything is healing up pretty well, though I still have some nasty big scabs in different areas.

I should be fine for the race this weekend. Other than a sore hip and lots of scabs, the rest of my body is fine. I feel like the four or five weeks since August have been great training. My all around fitness is the best it's been all year. My swimming has really come around, my running is back to where it was before Coeur d'Alene and I'm biking stronger than I have since last October. So I'm very happy on several fronts. Yes, I'm frustrated with my fall, but I'm thankful it wasn't worse. It could have easily ended my year on a very bad note and I'm happy that my fitness is at a great place where I'm excited to race this weekend and really excited for Cozumel next month.

I fly out tomorrow to Miami for the Ironman 70.3 race there. It's the first year for the race and so far it's boasting a huge and talented pro field. It should be fun and challenging. I'm happy that my parents are coming again, but also that my sister is coming to watch as well. She always watches my races via the web from home, but she hasn't gotten to see a race in person since my first Kona in 2003. So it'll be a really fun family weekend in Miami. Check back the rest f the week and I'll post updates from Miami and the race.

Pat

October 22nd: Good article on pain and racing
My good friend, Kelly Williamson, posted a link to an aritcle the other day from twitter. After reading it, I thought it'd be a great one to pass along and on which to comment. The article is from the New York Times.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/health/nutrition/19best.html?pagewanted=2&_r=4

(you may need to get a log-in to read the article, sorry)

A common comment I get from time to time is one about how the races must get easier for me over time, or that any distance shorter than a full-Ironman must be a breeze for me know. As this article points out, nothing could be further from the truth. If anything, they are now more painful than ever. This is because that the more training and more racing I do, the more I learn to cope with pain. I think this is true for all pro triathletes and other top endurance athletes.

My first couple full and half Ironmans hurt, without a doubt, but at that time, I hadn't learned to accept and hold myself beyond the pain threshold for any period of time. Over time, with racing and more intensity training, I've learned to hurt better each year. You get accustomed to suffering. It doesn't mean it becomes any easier. For me, I learn to accept the pain for what it is and exist in it.

We were doing a hard swim set the other morning and as it got into the "stupid-hard" range, I turned to my friend and said, "time to let the eyes roll back in the head". She thought that meant I was rolling my eyes and was going to give up. Rather what I was referencing was the great white shark. When it goes to strike, nature takes over, and it's eyes roll back in its head. It's a process the shark goes into when it's time to strike. When it's time to hurt, I try not to think about it, I just let it happen, and go through the process of suffering. The more I learn to suffer, the longer I can hold hard paces in training and racing.

No matter how much we progress, 85%, 95%, 100% efforts always feel the same. The only thing that changes is how fast you're moving! If you have a chance, that article is a good, short read. If you want to get faster, you have to learn to really suffer.

Pat

October 6th: I'm on Twitter!!
Follow me on twitter, @patrickevoe. I finally cracked and against all my anti-narcissistic feelings, I've joined on. As I get more tech-inclined, I'll figure out how to link my twitter updates to my site automatically, but until then just go and follow me. And into the rabbit hole he fell!

September 28th: Augusta 70.3 Race Report
 Click here to read my race report from Augusta Ironman 70.3

September 24th: In Augusta, GA for Ironman 70.3 
I arrived in Augusta, Georgia yesterday afternoon. Today has been a pretty low key rest day. My parents traveled from Detroit to this race and I came here also with my good buddy and training partner Richie Cunningham. We took time to drive the bike course today. I really like this course. The swim is a point-to-point all down stream in the Savannah River. Then the bike winds through the back roads in adjacent South Carolina. Very pretty bike course. I'd say it's one of the prettier bike courses I've seen on the 70.3 circuit. The run is a really fun zig-zaging course through the downtown streets. It looks to be very fun to race. The only down side is that there are major thunderstorms in the forecast for Sunday morning. So we'll see how the weather gods treat us on race day.

I'm really excited to race. I love the 70.3 distance. It's just a really fun type of race. You can go really hard, but it's long enough that it still rewards those who have been honest in their training. I haven't raced a 70.3 since St.Croix in early May, so I can't wait to get out there and test my season's fitness at this distance. Barring a super rainy day, it should be a fast course...and it's always fun to go fast.

Tomorrow is the normal prerace day of getting the equipment ready. Doing a few short workouts, pro meeting, rest, hydration, and get ready to go.

Pat

September 17th: Big racing block 
My 2010 season-long plan has been coming together perfectly. I've spent most of the year building into my last few major races. Now that I have the fitness and speed, it's time to capitalize on it and really put in some solid races. If you've taken a look at my race schedule throughout the last 8 or 9 months, you would have noticed that I've changed it around a few times. This final version, I think fits my year and fitness.

Now that I have great form, it's time to race several Ironman 70.3s and finish off the year racing Ironman Cozumel. So my final racing block is:
 - Augusta Ironman 70.3 - Sept 25th
 - Austin Ironman 70.3 - Oct 17th
 - Miami Ironman 70.3 - Oct 30th
 - Ford Ironman Cozumel - Nov 28th

I'm looking forward to racing this block. I'm feeling good and have been recovering well from both Louisville and the oral surgery. I actually think the several extra days I had to take off because of the surgery helped my Ironman recovery. Looking back at my training log from 3 weeks after Ironman Coeur d'Alene, I'm feeling much, much better now than I did at that time. Another week of training/recovery should put me in a good position heading into Augusta next weekend. 

Pat 

Ironman Louisville Race Report
Click here to read my race report and see pictures from my 4th place finish at Ironman Louisville this last weekend!

September 2nd: Wisdom Teeth Removed = Forced Recovery
I had two teeth removed today so I've got a bit of forced recovery after Louisville, which is a good thing. Since I have some couch time over the next couple days, I will have my race report and photos up soon. I found out about 2 months ago that I needed to have my wisdom teeth out soon as well as one more molar. Then at the oral surgeons, I learned that I actually have 5 wisdom teeth instead of 4, so in all, I needed to have 6 teeth extracted. Two of those were mor immediate while the other four could wait, so I scheduled the first two as soon as I could after Louisville so I could use the surgery recovery as part of my post-Ironman rest. The other four are going to come out after Cozumel at the end of the season. They're a bit trickier and have higher risk of complications so I wanted to mimize the risk of any impact on the rest of my season.

The extraction went well today. Much better than I ever thought. Dr. K is amazing and really made me feel at ease. I must say that I'm a fan of nitrous now!

So no workouts for a few days. I can start easy bikes and runs on Saturday or Sunday. No swimming for a week because the wisdom tooth's root was too close to my sinus so I can't do anything that my build pressure in the sinus. So now that I have couch time I have now no excuse to not put up my race report in the next day or so!

Pat

August 20th: Austin Fit Magazine Training Articles
I took the time today to scan in several training article that I wrote for and were published in Austin Fit magazine. I wanted to share the knowledge beyond just the Austin readers. I've also posted them for the long term on my News Room page.

Nov-09: 5 Ways to a Faster Bike Split
Page 1      Page 2

Dec-09: Learning to Race the Day you are Given: The Mental Approach to Different Environmental Conditions
Page 1     Page 2     Page 3     Page 4

Mar-10: Sick and Training
Page 1    Page 2

Jun-10: Mental Preparation for your Event
Page 1    Page 2    Page 3

Aug-10: 5 Ways to Survive Summer Training in the Heat
Page 1    Page 2    Page 3

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