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Country Music Marathon, Part 2: Raceday, Raining, Posing and Fueling

People say that you shouldn’t try anything new during a race but I must have broken that rule more than half a dozen times in this marathon. My running form has completely changed from six months ago and my cadence is much higher, closer to the optimal 180 steps per minute (or 90 strides) that is needed for proper Pose Running technique to be effective. I also ran with my iPod and music for the first time and tried to listen to songs that were generally in the 90 BPM range to help me maintain the cadence I needed. This helped tremendously and I want to dial this in even more. I also used the RunKeeper app for iPhone and so every five minutes a pleasant female voice alerted me to my total time, total distance and average pace, which was excellent because I didn’t have to wear or look at a watch at all.

In terms of nutrition and race fueling, I completely changed that as well. For the first 17 miles of the race, the only nutrition I took in was a mixture of organic whole coconut milk, honey and Chia seeds plus 6-8 ounces of water at every aid station. Starting at mile 18, I began using Hüma Gel, a brand new all natural/real food energy gel that is very easy on the stomach and tastes amazing. I had never used Hüma before but met the founder/creator at the race expo and was intrigued by the natural energy and claims that athletes using the gels had never experienced any stomach or GI issues. He is also a fellow Pepperdine alum so that was a plus. Being in the experimentation mode that I was, I was excited to give the gels a try, even testing them during the race. I had three gels between miles 18-22 and that worked incredibly well. Look for a future post detailing more about my first experience with Hüma and why I am excited to be working with them. In the meantime, check out their website (www.humagel.com) and Facebook Page (https://www.facebook.com/humagel). I will definitely be using their products in future races. For the last 5K, I fueled with two CLIF Shot gels (Citrus flavor and Double Shot Espresso) for that extra kick of caffeine to help me finish strong. 

I ran in my Inov8 F-lite 230 shoes which have been a great starting point in my transition to minimalist running. They have a 6mm heel-to-toe differential and 3mm footbed to allow your feet to start to strengthen and perform their natural function. I’ve been transitioning to minimalist shoes since February and these Inov8’s are the only shoes that I’ve run or trained in since that time. I’m definitely taking the transition slowly and I’ll be writing more about minimalist running in the future here. Read an interview I did with Dirtbag Darling, my good friend Johnie’s community dedicated to girls who like to explore and adventure in the great outdoors: http://www.dirtbagdarling.com/2013/04/dirtbagging-101-intro-to-minimalist.html.

During the actual race, I felt very strong for the first 12 miles, averaging about an 7:45-8:10/mile pace with my cadence at 180+ steps per minute. Things were still going well through about mile 16 but it was around that point in the race that my new running technique started to break down and I had to revert to some heel striking with a slower cadence. I still knew that I could finish but my pace and form were deteriorating. It was now just a question of how long it would take me. I will be tweaking quite a few things in my training for the next marathon, including racing a few half marathons and incorporating some training days of 3-4x 5K intervals with adequate rest. The last 10K of my race was extremely difficult, especially around miles 22-24, and I had to stop a couple times to stretch. My legs were in a lot of pain and it became a mental challenge to get one foot in front of the other.

I didn’t mind the rain very much and I think it actually helped keep me nice and cool during the race; the puddles and flooding were the main issue because that meant my feet and shoes were completely water-logged during the whole race. This race was just about as painful as the other marathons I’ve run but definitely in a different way. First of all, the balls of my feet, calves and knees and hips were very sore. This definitely makes sense and is typical for athletes transitioning into Pose Running. I had absolutely no stomach issues, however. This was encouraging and I’m now excited to perfect my Coconut Milk/Honey/Chia mixture and also supplement with more Hüma Gels! Overall, the race was an absolutely fantastic tour of Nashville and the fans were amazing. I saw so many signs that kept me going and took my mind off the pain. The rain even seemed to bring out more enthusiasm from all the fans!

I finished in a time of 3:49:56, which is nothing to brag about by any means, but I was pleased with that performance given how many things I changed up and based on a long run of only 8-miles. 

I know I’ve just scratched the surface. This is only the beginning of my journey into CrossFit Endurance and re-wiring my nutrition so stay tuned for much, much more!

Desert Triathlon Race Report: March 4th, 2012

“Why is everyone swimming that way?” I thought to myself as my arms churned through the waters of Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta, CA, just outside of Palm Desert. During the swim warm up before Wave #1 of the 2012 Desert Tri, one of the paddle-boarding life guards had pointed out a buoy that I thought was the first turnaround point. This was not so, I discovered soon after the gun went off, and I hastily corrected course and fell in behind the other swimmers. Thankfully, this rough start to the race would not be a foreboding for my finish line result.

I got through the 3/4-mile swim in a terrible time of 21:38. There were rumors that the swim was somewhat longer than 3/4-mile, which made me feel a little better about my time. Regardless, I’d only swam maybe a dozen times since resuming training (post-Ironman) in January, so I couldn’t beat myself up too badly. I blitzed out of the water and one minute and fourteen seconds later I was clipped into my FELT AR5 bike and flying across the flat and fast roads of Palm Desert. Did I mention it was a very flat and FAST? The Bontrager HED 9.0 deep dish wheelset, courtesy of my coach last year, Anthony Barton, helped a great deal also. For the first half of the 24-mile bike portion of the race, I was averaging nearly 25 MPH! Being 6’3″ and close to 190 pounds as a triathlete sometimes makes it tough to keep up with some of the smaller guys, but when the bike course is flat, I eat those guys for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My speed tapered off towards the very end as I could definitely feel the fire-like burning of the lactic acid building up in my legs and although I blazed through T2 in one minute flat, my body felt like lead and my lungs were like a forest fire. My bike time was 1:01:13.

I started the run off at 6:30 min/mile pace with my coach, Ariel Rodriguez, running beside me for the first few minutes to spur me on. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t hold that pace for long and it took all I could muster to keep it under 7:00 min/miles foe the remainder of the race. The 6-mile run course was two laps around the lake and mostly flat with a mixture of dirt and paved trails. I finished with a time of 41:26 and an average pace of 6:54 min/mile. After the finish, I cooled down with one more lap around the lake to make it an even 9 miles of running. This was done primarily in lieu of the upcoming LA Marathon on March 18th that I’ll be running.

I placed 1st in the M20-24 age group in what was my last official race in that category since my 25th birthday is this Friday! My official time was 2:06:31 and my closest competitor was 12 minutes back. Here’s the link to the results page: 2012 Desert Tri Results

Pro Heather Jackaon ended up winning the whole race and therefore “chicking” every guy there! Her background is in ice hockey and so that’s where she got her legs! Her bike speed is ridiculous and she can run. She shreds it in the swim too! check out her cover article in this month’s issue of LAVA Magazine: http://lavamagazine.com/features/video-behind-the-scenes-with-heather-jackson/#axzz1oVOl02En.

My friend Jason May got 4th overall and won the 35-39 age group. Another friend of mine, Reilly Smith, won the 30-34 age group and got 11th overall. Friend Tom Burbank won the Clydesdale division and Scott Chaney got 2nd in the 35-39 age group and 6th overall. Another friend and colleague of mine, Curry Michels, got 8th in the 30-34 age group. Overall, it was a great day!

My next race on the calendar is the LA Marathon in 11 days on March 18th. For those of you living in Southern California, it’d be great to see you out there somewhere along the course as I run from Dodger Stadium all the was to the Santa Monica Pier. 🙂

Who am I and why do I wake up every morning?

I dug this up from an exercise I went through about 14 months ago while reading a book called The Dream Giver, by Bruce Wilkinson, a book that explores the concept of discovering one’s created purpose. I highly recommend it for those who are searching for fulfillment or who feel that there’s got to be something more than what they’ve experienced so far in life. I know this book helped me tremendously.

It’s a bit raw and uncut but I’m posting it because it re-inspired me as I read it today and I hope it inspires you as well! Enjoy. 🙂

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Q: What have I always been good at?
A: Talking with people, meeting strangers, connecting people, communicating, public speaking; athletic pursuits, racing, being active, pushing people in sports, motivating and inspiring people because of who I am and what I do; traveling solo; snowboarding; writing; numbers, financial concepts.

Q: What needs do I care about most?
A: The need to protect unborn children; the need for people to be healthy, eat well and exercise to prevent numerous types of injuries, diseases and problems; the need for people to be inspired and motivated–to be excited about life; the need for people to feel accepted and valued and to feel that what they’re doing matters and is having an impact.

Q: Who do I admire most?
A: My dad, Bono, Lance Armstrong, Mark Zuckerberg, Tony Robbins, anyone who’s raced an Ironman, people who are living their dream, my mom, Heather, Joelle, Troy, my family, people who quit their job to go travel around the world, Paul Richardson, Tim Ferriss, Daniel Silva, Richard Branson, Laird Hamilton, Erwin McManus, Tim Chaddick, Joe Focht.

Q: What makes me feel most fulfilled?
A: Pushing my body/mind to the physical/mental limit, essentially challenging myself; traveling, international travel, adventure, thinking on my feet while traveling, being somewhere totally new in the world when no one knows me and no one that I know has any idea about exactly where I am; having deep conversations with people about their passions or dreams or brainstorming new ideas; the feeling I get when I know I’m doing what God created me to do.

Q: What do I love to do most?
A: Experience adremaline highs; go fast downhill on my bike; travel around the world; meet random people on the way, there, and returning from trips; read Dan Silva novels; write about intense experiences and dreams and create writing that moves people; connect/talk with people; adventure with my family; snowboard; go for a swim in the ocean with friends on sunny days with no wetsuit; trail run; mountain bike; watch inspiring movies; race; speak in front of people and inspire them.

Q: What have I felt called to do?
A: Change the world; travel around the world going on adventures and meeting new and interesting people of all cultures; live in a foreign country(ies); learn the 6 UN languages over a period of 5 years by living in each of those countries somehow and discovering a way to finance it without having to go into debt; race an ironman (CHECK!); start a nonprofit; become a motivational speaker; race triathlons at a higher level.

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