I had raced the inaugural REV 3 half Ironman distance event in 2009 at Lake Quassapaug. That course was very challenging but fair. The race course design has changed many times over the years, but the topography of the area will always lend itself to a very challenging course. The 2015 edition did not disappoint.
Swim: 27:54 (11th)
I was looking forward to starting in the elite wave. I enjoy the competition and it's always nice to get clean roads. I was able to get a good start and I noticed a group of 3 swimmers to my left. I worked hard to bridge up to them, then tried to stay in their draft. It was almost an ideal draft. I was working hard to hold my position throughout the entire swim. At the final turn buoy, the swimmer right in front of me seemed to slow a bit and a gap opened up. I was able to bridge up to the top 2 swimmers and followed them into the beach. I was really happy to come out of my wave in 3rd place.
Bike: 2:35:11 (4th)
I was able to come out of T1 in 2nd place overall. I knew the bike course was going to be challenging, so I tried to settle in. My coach, Paul Regensberg, asked me to hit the first half steady and try to build my effort on the 2nd half. I seemed to be sticking to the game plan for the first 40k of the bike. My power and heart rate numbers were decent. I knew I was not going to set any personal bests this day as I just did not have the necessary outdoor riding sessions in the bank. This course never lets you settle in. It consists of a lot of short steep hills with lots of technical sections.
I was able to enjoy the lead car until the aid station around mile 25. At that point, an athlete (Pierre-Ives Gigou), went by me like I was riding training wheels. He was so smooth and steady. I knew right away I was not going with him. I hit the 30 mile point after the longest climb of the course and tried to hit the gas as coach prescribed. It was at this point that I realized there was not anything in the tank. So I focused on trying to stay as steady as I could the remainder of the bike. Gigou, a first year pro, put almost 13 minutes into me the remainder of the bike. While I would not have held Pierre on my best day, I know I could have made it a bit more interesting if my fitness was a bit more in line (typical triathlete excuse :-)). My normalized power results came in at 236 watts, which was 36 watts lower than I had produced back in 2009. It was one of those days.
Run: 1:23:40 (3rd)
As I came off the bike, I received the information that I was about 12 minutes down. That was a bit disheartening. Coach Paul had asked me to do the run section as a good training day. I focused on my rhythm and tried to find a pace I could settle into. The run course was so undulating that I was all over the map. By the time I hit the hills during the last 5 miles, I was pretty fried and ready to get the race finished. However, even though I was really fatigued, I ended up running better than I had planned.
Overall Time: 4:29:12 (2nd Overall)
I entered this race season with the game plan of a late season peak. Usually I need to be at the top of my game this time of year in order to qualify for the Ironman World Championship. With that realization, I was happy with my results on the day. I gave what I had on the day.
A college athlete of mine recently asked me about the importance of sleep. He has a busy school, work and social schedule. His sleep was starting to suffer and he wanted to know if sleep was really that important to his endurance goals.
Coach Chris’s response:
I emphasized to my athlete just how important proper sleep is. Growth hormone is released during sleep and there is added hormone production when sleep is extended past normal ranges. On the flip side, a two hour reduction to one’s normal sleep pattern is equivalent to consuming enough alcohol to register a .05 blood alcohol level. While the average adult gets 7 to 7.5 hours of sleep daily, there have been recent studies done on athletes that show enormous benefits to athletic performance when they are able to get 10 hours of sleep per night. ESPN even did a story where they stated that sleep is the “magic pill” for athletic performance.
I mentioned to my athlete that there are many devices on the market today that track the amount and quality of sleep. I, personally, use the Timex Move X20 to track my daily sleep patterns. I find that it really helps me stay more consistent. I’m also able to better understand my energy levels on a daily basis.
LifeSport Coach Chris Thomas has over 10 years of coaching experience and is USAT certified. Chris is also an Ironman 70.3 World Champion (M40-44). He enjoys working with athletes of all levels. Contact Chris to tackle your first triathlon or to perform at a higher level. Find more tips on Twitter@LifeSportCoach.
Wow, what a race! This has been on my bucket list of races to do for quite some time. I had heard how challenging the race was from several athletes. However, just like most things, you have to find out for yourself! I came into the race having completed 2 outdoor rides since competing in the Ironman World Championships back in October. Both of those outdoor rides where done out in Arizona on Mt. Lemmon during my Timex team camp. So I had not been outside in the northeast in about 7 months. I had logged plenty of trainer miles, so I knew I was fit. I just didn't think I was race fit.
Here's the profile of the run course. The race starts with one 5 mile loop that includes 900 feet of climbing. It's single track for the climbs and groomed wide trails for the decents. I really enjoyed the first loop and felt ready for the bike. I knew it was going to be a long day, so I kept it pretty easy in zone 1 for the first loop.
Once I got onto the bike, I realized right away that I had made a big technical mistake. I still had my 11-25 rear cassette on from Hawaii. The first hill made me realize what a rookie mistake that was. My legs were working right out of the gate. There were sections of the bike that were a bit technical on a couple of the descents. Fortunately, my friend and prior winner, Mitch West had warned me to be cautious on the first downhill. The remainder of the bike was very challenging but enjoyable. By the end of the 3rd lap and 8,406 feet of climbing I was ready to get off my Trek Speed Concept. It had served me well, but I was ready for the 2nd run.
My friend Mitch had told me that there were sections of the run that were really steep and would need to be walked. During the first loop of the race, I was thinking to myself that he had no idea what he was talking about. Well, as soon as I hit the run the 2nd time, I knew immediately what Mitch was talking about. Oh my gosh, my heart rate was running high and I was getting pretty dehydrated. I managed through the 3 loops by just focusing on keeping one foot in front of the other. It was not a run, but forward movement. The only real excitement came towards the end of the 2nd loop, when I almost stepped on a huge black snake. I screamed and jumped over it at the last second and I was very happy that there were no witnesses to my little freak moment. That certainly got my heart rate racing again. I crossed the finish line in 7:20:19 and managed to take the overall title. It was an experience I will not forget.
I love to learn. I also love to test. Each year I try to do something new to learn about my body and how I can maximize my physiological potential. Over the years, I've tested the following: VO2 max, blood threshold, sweat loss, metabolic efficiency, and wind tunnel. I always learn a lot from each experience. This year Standard Process came out with a new type of Genetic and Fitness assessment using DNA analysis. The link is here: http://www.standardprocess.com/Standard-Process/NutriSync#.VUuwRZMeo3Y
The steps were very easy and not intrusive at all. I had to take a brief survey and do two cheek swabs. I sent the cheek swabs back to the lab for analysis. I was then provided with a 22 page report that gave me feedback on how I can improve my nutrition and fitness. This report is based on the analysis of my DNA, so it is completely unique to me.
I discovered many interesting things from the report. One item that was especially interesting is that I have a salt-sensitivity. As an endurance athlete, this sensitivity can create some issues in my longer events. From an athletic stand point, my genes showed that I, personally, benefit from a combination of power and low intensity endurance activities. The report showed that I am at 77% of my potential for my nutrition and lifestyle. Overall, the report was very thorough and I look forward to working on the areas I need to improve on.
I've been really enjoying using my new Timex Move X20 (http://www.timex.com/move-x20
) to track my movements, texts, caller id, and most of all my sleep. Here's a great source to improve sleep patterns. For most adults, about 25% of their nightly rest is deep sleep. (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/follow-sleep-routine)
I also take a supplement called Mintran from Standard Process. My nutritionist recommended it for me due to the following qualities:
Min-Tran is a vegetarian product that contains mineral complexes to support emotional balance.
Supports a healthy nervous system
Mild calmative that helps maintain emotional balance
Helps ease the effects of temporary stress
Supports the actions of neurotransmitters that regulate mood*
I'm 10 days into my yearly purification program (https://www.standardprocess.com/Standard-Process/Purification-Program#.VLEuXnseo3Y) and I feel fantastic. I've lost all of the holiday cheer that I had managed to put on since finishing the Ironman Worl Championships in October (10lbs). Now I'm back to my normal race weight. I did an 11 mile run this morning without having anything for breakfast and only used water. I felt really strong the entire duration. I am really looking forward to the remainder of my program and 2015.
What is your "go to" remedy to stay healthy? I am asked that question many times this time of year. My response is:
1. Sleep 2. Probiotics 3. Healthy nutrition habits 4. Appropriate supplements (if necessary).
I have been able to track my sleep patterns recently using the Timex Move X20. I love keeping a record of my sleep patterns. It's very interesting to see the good, bad, and ugly of my nightly sleep. I take a daily probiotic to help keep my gut healthy and fend off the common cold and upper respiratory infections. I try to keep a very simple nutrition pattern that includes nutrient dense choices.
I get my blood checked 2 times a year to see where I might need to supplement in order to keep things in balance. I usually find that I am deficient in Vitamin D and B12. So I use the appropriate supplementation to get back into balance. I also try to keep my immune system as strong as possible. So I use three products from Standard Process to stay in front of things. The first is Immuplex, which helps support normal range white blood cell activity. I also take Eleuthero, which helps to support immune system function, promotes vitality, physical, and mental endurance. Finally I use Ganoderma and Shiitake which helps to promote the body's normal resistance function. Stay healthy!
Career Highlights: 2009 USA Triathlon Amateur Athlete of the Year, 2012,2013, 2014 USA Triathlon Masters Athlete of the Year, 2014 USA Triathlon Olympic National Championship Masters Champion, 4 X Ironman 70.3 World Championship Age Group Winner (2008, 2009, 2012, 2013), 18 X 70.3 Overall Amateur Champion, 8 X Ironman World Champion Finisher (4 X Top 10 in Age Group), 2015 American Zofingen LC Champion
I started competing in triathlon in the summer of 2000. I had always been intrigued by the sport since the early ‘80s when I would watch the Hawaii Ironman on TV. I got into running at a young age (6yrs old) as my father was a big marathon runner back in the late 70’s, early 80’s running boom. I did my first 10-mile road race when I was 10 years old. I also played ice hockey throughout my childhood and I stopped running my sophomore year in high school in order to completely focus on ice hockey. I did not run again until the fall of 1999. During that race, a friend of mine mentioned that he competed in sprint triathlons, short duration races lasting around one hour. I was immediately interested and I signed up for my first triathlon in July of 2000 up in Falmouth, Ma. I was immediately hooked. I loved the competition. I especially liked the aspect of the three sports and how one could continue to practice and improve in each sport. I believe all three sports compliment each other. I also really enjoyed the idea of challenging myself to see where I could get. So, while triathlon is a competition, I see it more as a race against yourself then others. It is a very addictive sport, but I think it’s probably one of the healthiest addictions that I know of. The training is also a great stress relief. I worked in New York City for the past 5 years and down on Wall Street for 2 years. The commute and the lifestyle can get pretty stressful at times. The training really helped me de-stress and stay focused. I have three little boys and I really enjoy sharing the sport with all three of them. I don’t care if they ever compete in a race, but I do believe it’s important to expose them to healthy opportunities in life. I would say that the hardest endurance scenario I’ve faced was actually the first half ironman I competed in up in Laconia, NH, which was the Timberman race. I’ve completed four full Ironman events, but that half ironman was my first attempt at the distance. I feel, in hindsight, that I just was not properly trained for the event. It was an incredible eye opening experience. I don’t think I’ve been more tired then the moment I crossed that finish line. However, the human mind is fascinating, as I was looking forward to the next race less then 24 hours after.