IM Coeur d’Alene 2012 – Check your balls!

•May 30, 2012 • 1 Comment

I’m sitting in the Las Vegas airport after the smoothest check-in ever (yay Southwest) on the way to Connecticut for Rev3 Quassy.  The guy across from me keeps uh, scratching his privates, and while it’s a little disconcerting it made me get my act together and write a post that I’ve been meaning to for awhile.

Before I get into the nuts and bolts (shall we count how many testicle references I can make?), a bit of background:  This Sunday’s half iron distance race is part of a BIG training block in my lead up to IM Coeur d’Alene on June 24th. IM CdA will be my one Ironman planned for this year outside of the World Championships. I was sad to miss IM St. George this year, but the decision to race CdA was fortuitous in more ways than one.

CdA was where I did my very first Ironman in 2006 (I actually won the AG race in 10:20 – ha!) and it was also the course where I won my first Ironman as a pro in 2008. Needless to say, the area has a special place in my heart, but this year racing IM CdA is about much more than going for the win:  It’s about helping a Squad mate in his fight against testicular cancer, and raising money and awareness for early detection.

Here is a funny clip from the Canadian comedy troupe – This Hour has 22 Minutes. It’s about checking your prostate but the same off colour humor applies.

Derek Garcia, from Post Falls Idaho (close neighbor to Coeur d’Alene) turned pro this year, and joined us on  The Triathlon Squad – a group of professional athletes coached by Paulo Sousa.  At our first camp in Las Cruces, New Mexico, he quickly became one of the gang, brought some hurt to us long course folks the pool and a positive attitude to every workout. As race season started, we were all looking forward to some strong perfomances, and cheering each other on at our races.  Then, on May 7th, a bomb drops.  Derek informes us that he has testicular cancer and is going for surgery immediately.  WTF!?!? It was incomprehensible. How is it even possible that this young guy, I was hammering rides with weeks earlier now has cancer? It makes you think “wow, I could have cancer right now and not even know it” and that’s probably the scariest realization of all.

As athletes we are used to pain, discomfort, things aching, bumps that come then go away.  I imagine 5 hrs in the saddle can make your testicles quite sore so it can be easy to overlook warning signs something serious is going on. Sore swollen testicle are BAD – get them checked out! Ladies, do breast exams, get pap smears. Everyone get your skin checked and have regular check-ups! This stuff is important!!

This is what Derek wrote in his blog

Roughly 6 weeks ago I noticed that one of my testicles was enlarged.  Now as many of you know I spend a lot of time on my bicycle.  In the past there have been many days where I have finished a ride and been sore in this area.  At first I rationalized that maybe this was just that, a rough day riding my bike.  Then I began to think that it was possible that it was always this way.  After a few weeks of not seeing improvement and if anything it was worsening, I realized there was a serious issue.  The trouble with this is that there was relatively no pain.  Not too mention the “hassle” of getting checked out.  So here in lies reason #1 of this post.  As an athlete I have become very aware of how my body feels and functions and yet it took me 6 weeks to go to the doctor.  I urge you whether male or female, to make sure to keep tabs on the very suceptible and sensitive parts of your body that may be affected by this disease.  It is never a bad idea to get reassurance from a doctor and find out that you are indeed healthy.  The alternative is just not worth the risk.”

This issue hit really close to home, and since Ironman Coeur d’Alene is Derek’s home race, my race there is dedicated to helping raise money both for Derek’s personal struggle with cancer, and raising awareness for early detection.

Derek has an Ironman Foundation page where you can donate HERE.

Also, if you live in the Coeur d’Alene area, there is a Pasta Extravaganza on June 2 (facebook page HERE) where you can get awesome “No one Fights Alone” t-shirts and bracelets. There will be a big barbeque and fun run on June 16th, too. The Wurteles will be in attendance! Woot! More details to come.

If you are in a position to help Derek with his battle, please do. A the very least, check your balls!

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #9

•May 24, 2012 • 3 Comments

Fancy that, it’s Thursday once again. I’m most of the way through another big Ironman-build week, with less angst in general, which is always a good thing.  It never ceases to amaze me just how much nutrition alters your ability to perform and recover properly, day after day. Hence, the first 3 TTTT’s this week pay homage to nutritional goodness:

1) Variety! We  were getting a bit lazy with our fruit and veggie routine (spinach, oranges, bananas, avocado, tomato, repeat, repeat, repeat), so we did a big shop to mix it up and get some more micro-nutrients from different sources. Hurray for snap-peas, broccoli, watermelon, apricots, grapefruit, grapes… my body thanks you.

2) Salt. One very specific physiological-emotional tie that I’ve discovered in all my years of training, is that irrational anger means I need more salt!  If a few bumps in the road incite total rage for no reason it is almost always because my electrolytes are off. When one sweats as much as we do, replacing the loss is important. Bring on the V8 and giant tubs of olives!!

  

3) First Endurance Nutrition. I really don’t know what I would do without EFS drink, Ultragen (a.k.a. magic recovery potion), and Liquid shot. Not to mention my daily dose of multi-V and Optygen.  I do know that I’d be way more tired, I’d suffer more frequent bouts of irrational anger, and I wouldn’t be able to sustain my current level of training. Check out http://team.firstendurance.com/ for tons of useful info on endurance sport nutrition.

4) Having The Triathlon Squad here in St. George for a training camp! Man, 4500y in the pool goes by a LOT faster when there are a bunch of fast swimmers in the water with you. It also makes you appreciate how awesome the training is around here when you see others experience it for the first time.

  

5) This video! Hilarious. He’s SO so tired, but man, he still wants to eat his ice cream! Sometimes I feel like this after a long training day.

6) Solar Eclipse. An incredible thing to see, and it was extra awesome that we just happened to be in one of the best places on earth to view it!  Dinner with friends +  Jonny Cash, Ring Of Fire, background music = terrific evening

 

7) Calvin and Hobbs. My very favourite comic strip growing up. Clever little societal critiques, philosophical debates with his tiger and general mischief from a smart, brat whose imagination tends to get him into trouble. Thanks for being a genius Bill Watterson.

  

 

8) Having your RV used as cover in a police stand-off! Oh yeah. This officer had a large gun and was standing beside the RV, while another was using a loud speaker to convince he who shall not be named, to come out of the house and talk to them. New experience!

9) Our cat Manah. She’s cool. Not many cats are happy to just chill outside when you park the RV for a trail run.

 

10) This. Enough said (and it rhymes!)

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #8

•May 17, 2012 • 7 Comments

Grump. Feed before approaching.

I am deep into a big training block for Ironman Coeur d’Alene and that means I am often tired and grumpy. Add a few stupid drivers to a hard ride, a Triathlon Squad-mate with testicular cancer, news about ridiculous politics like bills designed to remove environmental legislation and force a pipeline thru BC, and you pretty much have a recipe for Heather hating the world in general. This is when TTTTs are extra good for me. We really do lead incredible lives, filled with wonderful people, and much to be thankful for. So to start, the first terrific thing this week is:

1) Thoughtful people. The staff at the Washington Community Recreation Centre here in Utah are all incredibly awesome. Tammy – who we see at the front desk, and often in the pool, is always a smiling face when we come to train. We’ve shared lots of good laughs (and some tears, like when I got to talk to her son that was calling from military service in Iraq).  She surprised us yesterday with a super amazing Ironman Quilt! My favourite colour is blue, Trev’s is orange (the backing) and there are awesome little touches like “strong and free” from the Canadian toques she saw us wearing all winter, or “living the dream” stitched on as well. This incredibly thoughtful gift, from out of the blue, for no special occasion, was very very touching. Thanks Tammy for making our lives better!

 

 

2) Ryder Hesjedal! 31 yr old, former mountain biker from BC (home sweet home) leading the Giro d’Italia for 2 days! Woot! Never before in the 102 year history of the corsa rosa, has a Canadian been in the lead. Way to go Ryder! Oh, and here is a picture of Trevor racing Ryder in the late 90’s when they were both juniors. Neat eh?

 

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/hesjedal-becomes-first-canadian-to-lead-giro-ditalia

3) Mighty Jerome. An excellent documentary about the 1960’s track star Harry Jerome. He was one of Canada’s finest athletes, who overcame tragic failures, misunderstandings, and horrible injury to finally win Gold in the Olympics. Inspiring stuff!

4) The Triathlon Squad’s new webpage! Thanks to Amanda Felder. Check it out!

http://www.thetriathlonsquad.com/index.php

5) Cool pictures. Not a caterpillar, and a mantis on two fiddleheads looking like our favourite vehicle

 

6) Cat vs. the internet. Here is our cat displaying her primary “um, pay attention to ME” technique (apart from lying directly on ones forearms). This comic from the Oatmeal sums it up nicely!  http://theoatmeal.com/comics/cat_vs_internet

7) Golden Corral. That’s right. You read that correctly. WE ARE NOT ASHAMED! All our cool, yuppie athlete friends that own Vitamixs and such, like to give us a hard time, but for $20 for two people, after training all day, you can get some really good food there. Ready NOW + excellent cost:food volume ratio = happy Wurteles. I had a giant salad, with beets, almonds, chick peas, carrots, broccoli etc.  Baked sweet potatoes, grilled squash, fish… (yes, there is also a ton of fried garbage but you don’t have to eat it!! and if you are engaged in a lively conversation with your husband, you don’t have to look at all the people eating the fried crap either)

8) Mobile Juicing. Kristen Wurtele – Trevor’s sister has an awesome new business. In addition to being a wicked ski instructor and climber, she now owns and operates a mobile apple juicing business (based out of Vernon, BC)!  Her clean, professional service provides you with a pasteurized, packaged product, ready for resale or personal use. The super cool, high-tech juicing machine is capable of processing 500 litres of apple juice per hour, equivalent to approximately 800 kilograms or 1760 pounds of apples. It is organic certified and uses a convenient Bag-in-Box packaging. Check it out:

9) The dude without front teeth that lives in Beaver Dam, AZ who I always see at one of my long ride water stops. He smokes, has a mullet, lots of tatoos, leathery skin – yet he’s friendly and inquisitive asking me things like “how much does one of them there bikes run ya?” laughing that it’s lots more than his truck and doesn’t even have a motor! He waves and shakes his head at my stupid past-time, but moves around nice and wide and slow when passing. Thanks man!

Not the real guy. Will have to get my picture taken with him one of these days!

10)  This video. Okay, not a fan of the sound-track, and Trevor said it’s a little slow (attention span issues?) but just watch it to the end. If you do not get seriously choked up at  3:55 well you are much less of a sentimental sucker than I am!  Words to remember: “Just because I can’t do it today, doesn’t mean I’m not going to be able to do it SOME day”.

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #7

•May 10, 2012 • 1 Comment

I missed out on TTTT last week. Sorry. I know. You cried yourself to sleep last Thursday. There were plenty of terrific things to write about, but, alas, I didn’t manage to post on time.  50 lashes with a wet noodle for me.

Back for your reading pleasure, the terrific things for this week start out with… (drum roll please)…

1) The song “Everlasting Light” by the Black Keys. It has a great beat for running or riding the trainer. I had it on repeat for several runs this week. Thanks to Trevor’s race report I’ve had Hollaback Girl stuck in my head for the past two days (oh the agony!) so hopefully this will provide some relief to any other mind-worm sufferers out there.

2) Saucony Team Kit. It is pretty much impossible not to run fast when sporting flashy red, black and GOLD run kit. No, it’s not my blindingly white torso that I am trying to highlight, but the GOLD bands on my shorts. Heck ya. Going for the gold!!  Nice detail on the Fastwitch race kicks too! Winning!!

 

3) FOOD. Duh. I have yet to meet an athlete that doesn’t like food. Having to each so much of it can get annoying at times, but we persevere.  Big salads with Hemp Hearts, and a little frozen yogurt “waffle Wednesday” trip to Menchies were tops this week. Notice the look of pure joy on Trevor’s face.

  

4) Red Cliffs Desert Reserve. See pictures below. Ya, you get the idea. Hard to complain about miles of trails for gorgeous  running around here. I saw my first Desert Tortoise this week!

 

  

5) New Joule from CycleOps Power. Smaller, lighter, better buttons for toggling through screens. What’s not to love!?

6) Swimming memes. They’ve been on a TTTT before, but there are so many funny ones!

  

7) Magic Stuff. This topical ointment (made by an herbalist in St. George, UT) is one of the few out there that really makes a noticeable difference to muscle soreness and the aches/pains/inflammation that come with the whole training-full-time-for-triathlon thing. Definitely a must have.

  

8) Being a professional triathlete!! I went to school for a long time (plant physiology and molecular genetics) and this comic from PhD (piled higher and deeper) totally nails it! Ha. Glad I reached ‘acceptance and enlightenment’ living in an RV chasing my dream. With my husband to boot! Life is pretty good.

9) Brian Regan live at the outdoor amphitheatre tomorrow night in Ivins!!!  YES! This is going to be awesome.  We don’t get out much (especially after dark) and love stand-up comedy so it promises to be a fun night! Thanks first to my AStym guy for letting me know that the show was happening in the first place (I repeat, we don’t get out much) and for the awesome folks at AtoZion for helping us get our hands on some tickets!

10) Volunteers. People that happily and enthusiastically give there time to help other people are pretty terrific. I was again amazed by the community of volunteers here in St. George, Utah. I am SO thankful and I was glad I could go to the volunteer banquet this year to say so in person.  All of the events that we do in our careers as a triathlete wouldn’t happen without them!

Trev’s Wildflower Triathlon interview with Gwen Steffani

•May 9, 2012 • 5 Comments

Decided to post this strange interview I had with Gwen Steffani the day after the Wildflower Triathlon.  Oddly enough her questions are the lyrics from her teenie bopper song Hollaback Girl.  If you need a reminder, here’s the video:

Uh huh, this my shit
All the girls stomp your feet like this

Whoa, Gwen, we need to keep the dialog a bit more family friendly.  But yes, I see where you’re going with that.  I think.

A few times I’ve been around that track
So it’s not just gonna happen like that
‘Cause I ain’t no Hollaback Girl
I ain’t no Hollaback Girl

You’re right, I have been to Wildflower a couple of times before, but just for the record, we call it a course, not a track, in triathlon.  Either way though, it hasn’t been since 2009 that I last raced Wildflower and I am a different athlete now.  Was great to knock off about 12 minutes since my last go at this race and be up near the front.  So when you say it’s not just gonna happen like that, you’re actually pretty spot on.

Ooh, this my shit, this my shit
Ooh, this my shit, this my shit

Gwen, please, there are young people and Mormons reading this blog.

I heard that you were talking shit
And you didn’t think that I would hear it
People hear you talking like that, getting everybody fired up
So I’m ready to attack, gonna lead the pack

Actually, Gwen, I don’t typically talk bad about my competitors so I’m not sure where you heard that from.  Of course I always envision myself being at the front the race… but it doesn’t always happen like that.

Gonna get a touchdown, gonna take you out

Dude, touchdowns are for football, check your facts.  And nobody really ‘takes anyone out’…except for maybe Jesse who races with a giant metal wand in his hand (See picture).  He’s maybe taking this Aviator thing a bit too far:).

Jesse and his stick

On race day, I swam ok, but really thought I could have been with Jesse and Jordan who were about 1:30 ahead.  Once onto the bike this is really a course where paying attention to watts can help you out a bit later in the day.  I rode smart and didn’t take any risks like I did a couple weeks ago in New Orleans.  Hitting a normalized power of 313 and leaving me feeling pretty good once onto the run.

A few times I’ve been around that track
So it’s not just gonna happen like that
‘Cause I ain’t no Hollaback Girl
I ain’t no Hollaback Girl

Clearly you’re pretty excited about the track thing.  It’s a course, Gwen, a course.  At the Wildflower triathlon.  A very hilly course.   Stop calling it a track.  Again, you’re right, by this point of the race I knew winning was ‘not gonna happen like that’.  Running on the hills at Wildflower is a weakness of mine for sure.  For a good long while Dustin Mclarty was with me, and even dropped me pretty good on the big doozy of a climb.  The one that reduces some to a hike, including me.  It wasn’t until we hit the final 5 or 6 miles where the hills are bit less steep that I was able to open up the gap and close some time on the guys ahead of me.

So that’s right dude, meet me at the bleachers
No principals, no student-teachers

I’m not sure I understand your question.  Ohhhhh, are you referring to the fact that Macca was on the run course spectating, but riding behind 6th place for a bit telling him that I was closing the gap and he needed to pick it up?  Yeah, he can meet me at the bleachers.  Ha! Though, I’m pretty sure I’d just ask for his autograph and maybe the bit of money he MAY have cost me 😛

All the boys want to be the winner, but there can only be one
So I’m gonna fight, gonna give it my all
Gonna make you fall, gonna sock it to you
That’s right, I’m the last one standing, another one bites the dust

This is maybe a little dramatic.  I like to keep it a little bit more down to earth, Ok?  There were plenty of people standing at the end of the race and nobody needs to make anyone fall.  Though, I definitely did get socked and ended up in 7th place.  All said I raced well, and would have liked to have done the sneak attack to get the 9 seconds I needed to get 6th (cough, Macca).  But really, 6th or 7th…whatever, not much difference.  I wanted top 5, but just didn’t have what I needed to be there today.

Let me hear you say, this shit is bananas
B A N A N A S
This shit is bananas
B A N A N A S
Again, the shit is bananas
B A N A N A S

Hmmm, that’s a little awkward.  I don’t know how to respond to that, but to be clear, I certainly don’t think you should be doing what you’re doing with THAT banana.  Wildflower was my 3rd half Iron in 5 weeks, that’s a little bananas.  They were nicely spaced though, so I managed to race them all quite well, with New Orleans being FREAKING awesome.  It’s now time to get back into a solid training block with The Triathlon Squad here in St. George in preparation for the next race… Ironman 70.3 Boise!!

After that:

– Rev3 Portland
– My main goal race of the year: Ironman New York City – US Pro Championship
– Kona? Who knows, could be a good little race to do! 🙂

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #6

•April 26, 2012 • 4 Comments

Here is the 6th instalment of Ten Terrific Things Thursday for your reading pleasure:

1) MY HUSBAND!! He is terrific on a pretty regular basis, but this weekend at the New Orleans 70.3 he won his first big race as a pro, and finished it off with a 1:13:35 half marathon. Now THAT is pretty freaking awesome! His race report is below this post if you missed it.

 

2) Traumeel. This homeopathic cream is really great. It really helps inflammation and makes bruises go away much faster than they normally do. Comes in super handy when you do awesome things like crash your bike coming into T2 just seconds down from first in a big race…

 

3) TorHans Aero drink bottles. These are the most aero-dynamic front hydration systems out there (zero watts drag when I tested it in the wind tunnel this past summer) and they are easy to drink from and look cool. Check out our cool custom decals (this word is pronounced Deckl in Canadian by the way, none of this Dee-Cal business)

  

4) Signs with a sense of humour. This one was posted outside of the climbing wall at the Washington Community Rec Centre. Today I saw that the “No”s had all been rubbed off 🙂

5) This dude. That’s some serious flexibility and strength, and the skinny jeans actually work for him.

6) The French Quarter in New Orleans. Pretty neat area. We had some post race drinks at the Lafitte Blacksmith Bar (the oldest structure to be used as a bar in US – dating back to the  1720’s) and had a mega-delicious dinner at the Three Muses with some great people.

  

7) Goobers!! Ha ha ha. I’d never seen these before (found in New Orleans) and giggled like a little kid at the name b/c a goober is not a chocolate covered peanut, it’s… well it’s snot when you suck it back from your nose into a big slimy wad in your mouth. It’s also what we called someone who was being dorky and gross when we were kids “ew, your such a goober”.

8) Adrenaline! Example in pictures below. You can crash hard entering into T2, but tell yourself “I’m okay, I’m okay”, then run a 1:23:58 half marathon, partly out of sheer embarrassment & to show that you are indeed a professional athlete & not a total tool :). Also, seeing your husband in the lead of the same race can give you another shot of adrenaline, and allow you to cross the finish line with blood running down your leg oblivious to the giant goose-egg on your knee etc…

  

9) Instant Coffee – I know I know, nasty, right? Wrong.  Some of this stuff makes a pretty wicked strong cup of joe.  Especially when you double up the dosage!  Starbucks Via  has been our race morning, hotel room, coffee drink of choice the past few trips.  Sure beats the free drip stuff, or tracking down a coffee shop at 4:00 am.  On top of that, apparently you can save 4 cents if you find a 1940’s can of maxwell house!!

  

10) All of the wonderful people that cheer for us and get super stoked when we do well. It is really heart warming to know that so many people are rooting for us and to come home to wicked things like giant “Congratulations!” signs. It was pretty fun to be treated to real (from the actual region in France) Champagne last night c/o some Canadian friends. Thanks to everyone for believing in us and for giving us even more cause to celebrate!

  

10)

Winner winner, FRIED chicken dinner – New Orleans Race Report

•April 24, 2012 • 15 Comments

It feels pretty darn good to win my first Pro race, even if it was a bit of an altered version of a normal Ironman 70.3 event.  With high winds expected for race day they officially cancelled the swim the day before the event.  I’ve never seen a race make that call on a weather FORECAST before, but they made the right decision (some are saying otherwise, but the lake was insane so perhaps that’s just a bit of bravado). The nice thing about having the swim cancelled the day prior is it gave me the best night’s race sleep I’ve ever had in my entire freaking life.  I wasn’t alone in that either, it seemed to be a general sentiment that no matter how much you love swimming, this leg of the race causes the most pre-race restless sleeps.

With the race format now being a 2 mile run – 52 mile bike – 13.1 mile run, my main goal of the day was to just stay with the leaders as long as possible.  Bang, gun goes off, I get sent to the back of the pack.  Obviously it’s not just my SWIM starts that are lacking; I seem to have issues with starts in general.  For real though, we went out bloody hard.  I was really sucking wind at mile 1.  By mile 2 the group was still pretty much together as we came in to grab our bikes.  I was in no less pain by this point, and very surprised at the size of the group given how much I was hurting.  But I went with the ‘if I’m hurting, these guys must be hurting too’ mental affirmation.  Actually, in my head I’m a bit more cocky than that, so it was more like; ‘if I’m hurting, these guys must be absolutely DYING”.  Well, to be REALLY honest…I was definitely doubting my run fitness at that point.

On to the bike it was a bit crowded (understatement), but with officials around, everyone was doing their absolute best to stay legal.  I think I was probably about 15th or 20th in the group, which meant the leaders were a good 150 meters up the road.  All I did was keep my eyes open for a break in the line and whenever a gap formed I would hammer to get up to the front and close it down.  By mile 7, TJ Tollakson and Tom Lowe had opened up a clear gap on the now 8 or 9 guys in front of me.  This brought the major decision of the day: stay with the group and probably cruise a pretty fast ride and have great legs for the run.  Or, give it my all to try and catch Tom and TJ.  My thought process was:

Only 5 spots get paid. 
Two of the best cyclists in the sport are up the road. 
Probably at least 2 runners in this group that can take me down. 
Hmmm, doesn’t leave much room for slipping up. 
What’s the point in staying here? 
Screw it, I’m going.

5 minutes later:
Oh shit, if this doesn’t work, coach Paulo will rip me a new one for making another mistake.
OK, this hurts, this could end badly.
Damn this road is rough
I’m in it now, I have to keep going
Wow my wheels sound so freaking cool on this concrete bridge

After 30 miles, at the second and final turn-around I was feeling the effort and hoping to see a big gap to the guys behind.  This did not prove to be the case.  It’s not a good feeling when you’ve been riding really hard (335 watts avg) for an hour and you make the U-turn and see a lot of people RIGHT there.  Thought process:

Son of a bitch.
This is bad.
Do I cruise for a bit and ride it in with them.
Do I keep the pressure on and potentially blow.
I wonder why Linsey Corbin told me last year they had to clear the course with ATV’s because there were so many alligators. I thought that was for real. I’m such an idiot.
Damn my avg watts are way higher than planned. This could get interesting.
Well, here comes Chris McDonald and Patrick Evoe.

Normalized power of 320 watts on the day

Chris and Patrick definitely got me charged up again.  They were both keen on opening up the gap on the chasers, and with brief glimpses of Tom up the road, on his own, it was certainly worth keeping the pressure on.  The beauty of having a couple guys with you is you can move your body around a bit and not worry about losing ground.  I gave my hip flexors a stretch, took some big gulps of EFS Drink, and did my best to share in the pace making.  In general I don’t like riding with others because it’s not steady riding.  With two others it’s ok, but even then I find the watts shooting around from 250 to 400 just to try and keep the gap even.  You can see this in the power file. Click to open if you care about that sort of thing:)

Finishing off the bike I was expecting us to come into T2 on a completely different road.  I could see the final turn and saw the street sign of the road that I knew we finished on, so took off my one shoe and rounded the corner only to see the transition about half a mile up the road.

Thought process:

Son of a bitch
Do I put the shoe back on?
That’s ridiculous
I’m a tool

So yeah, I put the shoe back on for another 30 seconds of riding, then took it, and the other off again for the T2 dismount.
On to the run I was in 3rd with Chris and Patrick right there.  Tom was up the road by 45 seconds or so, TJ was 3 minutes ahead (he rode 3 min 30 sec faster than me but took it a bit easier on the first 2 mile run), and I just had to assume fast runners like Richie Cunningham, as well as Lovato and crew were not far behind. Happily, my run legs were flying!! Sweet, I love when the run legs come out to play after being absolutely smashed on the bike.  To top it off I had a lead cyclist.  I love those guys! It’s a great feeling to have them on a bike telling the crowd what position you’re in.  My game plan for a Half Ironman run (and this 67.1 distance event as well) is to hammer the run and hang on to the fast splits for as long as possible.  There’s no holding back the reigns if I see a fast mile split.

I made up some ground on Tom very quickly with a 5:15 first mile, but then he hung there for a loooonng time.  Slowly slowly coming back.  It wasn’t until mile 9 (I think) that I started getting ready to make the pass.  I never know what to do when I pass guys; especially those that have more palmares than I do.  Do I just pass?  Do I say something?  Somehow, “good job, keep it going” is just downright disrespectful when you’re the one doing the passing.  You can’t complement someone when at that current time you’re doing it better.  I freaking hate that.  Thankfully Tom said the first word – “One of us has to catch him!” – referring to TJ still a ways up the road.  I tried to say something back but I’m not sure if I made an audible sound.  Probably not, I’m a very quiet guy even when I’m not using my lungs for something like running as hard as I can.

Once I passed Tom I could see TJ and back split him at the last U turn to see a gap of 27 seconds.  This now with 3 miles to go.  At that point I started thinking about the win a bit too much.  I don’t know where I pulled this thought process from, but it was in my head from someone or some book. Maybe it was Paulo:

Don’t look too far ahead, stay in the moment.
Just do what I need to do right now….
Catch and pass TJ
Run over the bridge and get out of sight
Sprint down the far side of bridge
Cut the tangent
Take Liquid Shot, drink water
Zip up Jersey
Look behind to make sure
Go to finish line
WHERE THE F*$# IS THE FINISH LINE!?!

I didn’t scope out the last half mile of the run or even look for the actual finish shoot.  How could I have forgotten that vital piece of the race?  Transition was RIGHT there but I couldn’t see the freaking finish shoot.  It turns out we were still a ways away from the end, we had to run back out the course and take a couple more little turns before hitting the line.  Thankfully I didn’t make any crazy wrong turns, but with Richie, Tom, and TJ fighting it out for 2nd  I certainly didn’t want to lose it in the last 500 meters.  15 seconds is a fairly big gap to close in 500 meters, but when you’re in that position it certainly does not feel secure.  Across the line with a 1:13:35 run.

It feels freaking great to win a pro race with so many great athletes competing.  Even with the swim cancelation.  The best feeling is actually running and leading the race, believing that you can win the race – during the race.  That feeling is better than even having won the race.  I think.  Of course I’d rather win the race for sure, than be in a position to believe I could win the race, but lose.  But somehow that bit of suspense is stronger than the bit of relief.  I guess I love suspense, so here’s to the next bout of suspense….

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #5

•April 19, 2012 • 4 Comments

We are on the road again today – this time flying off to the New Orleans 70.3. I’ve never been to NOLA so I am excited to check it out… Wait, really? I’m super pumped to race, but going to races and “real travelling” are pretty different.  We are a TON of fun in our pre-race, germaphobe, must-get-my-legs-up state. Hey guys, wanna hang out and watch me put my bike together, and fuss with all my pre-race stuff lined up all compulsively on the floor!? I know, let’s see the sights! We can check out transition, the swim start, key points of the run course, bike turnaround… whoopeee!! Ha ha.

The weather forcast looks, um interesting, so it may be a swim-less race. Hope not. Especially since we are having a triathlon couple’s smack- down which it the first terrific thing this week:

1) Team Wurtele vs. Team Marsh vs. Team Lovato at this year’s IM 70.3 New Orleans!  Check out the First Endurance fb page (https://www.facebook.com/firstendurance) and enter your favourite team (e.x. Team Wurtele) and your best guess at our combined race time. Winner gets $200 worth of First Endurance $$ and if you pick Team Wurtele and your time guess is wrong, but we win, you still get $20 worth of FE money. No reason not to!

  

2) Getting soaking wet with sweat on the trainer b/c you don’t want to get soaking wet with rain outside. Okay, outside = cold and wet, while the (borrowed) garage = warm and wet, but still, I always find this ironic.  I do enjoy trainer rides though, and “Slumdog Millionaire” is a perfect movie to watch for a 2 hr session. Enough suspense, action and good music c/o MIA to make the time fly keep and you riding hard.

 

3) Photo shoot with Jim Speth for Triathlon Canada Magazine. It was an “exclusive shoot” for an upcoming article so we can’t show you any of the wicked awesome swim, bike, run, or hanging in the RV shots…Instead, here is Jim himself with one of his pictures 🙂

4) Vegan shoes. No animal products required to make these suckers. Made of Hemp and other plant-based goodness. Environmentally friendly + cool looking = recipe for terrificness!

 

5) Elliott Brood. Terrific Canadian Artists. Dig their tunes. Miss hearing CBC radio on a regular basis down here in the states.

6) Substitutes for swear words that we hear in St. George, Utah:  Son of a bishop! Oh my crap. Heka good. What the H? Some of it itches. Frick. Holy Hana Montana. It’s good stuff.

7) WIND. I like the wind – sometimes. I like it during IM bike rides and every now and then when it’s super crazy it makes for some fun training days. Tripping over your own legs b/c the wind is so strong is awesome.

  

8) Great massage therapists. I’ve been so lucky to get to know some great people in Canada and the US  (I keep them sort of secret because they are too booked up as it is!) and my St. George magic worker just also happens to do terrific things like make be gluten free cookies!! woot. Not so terrific is the fact that this plate was totally full when I thought of taking a picture, then my husband saw it….

9) Redbox. We like movies but don’t have a TV etc. so Redbox is perfect. Get a DVD for $1.29 return it the next day at any other Redbox. Terrific.

and this week, instead of my usual *AWESOME* (cough, cough) cat post I am saving the best for last…

10) Janelle Morrison. Incredible person. Fellow Canadian professional triathlete who is going to toe the line at Wildflower on May 5th as her first race back from a horrific crash that, unbelievably, only very temporarily, derailed her career 1.5  years ago. She’s not just back to do a race, she is back to compete – and be competitive – at the professional level. After being at training camps together, I fully expect her to kick some ass. Here is a trailer for the documentary about her amazing Second Chance!

Ten Terrific Things Thursday – TTTT #4

•April 12, 2012 • 2 Comments

Last week was super busy, including travels from Texas to Mesa to St. George, so I missed my TTTT day. I know, you were devastated. Back this week for your reading pleasure, here are this week’s Ten Terrific Things:

1) Having a coach that is so committed to excellence that he will fly out for a day to help you address bike fit issues, adjust your position for new bike shoes etc. and get some pool deck time while he’s at it. Paulo is elusive and camera shy like the white tiger he is, so I had to use an old photo here. He has much cooler sun glasses now.

2) Pulling John. Okay, maybe not the best title, but this is a fabulous documentary, about…. well… arm-wrestling! Seriously, if you are a sports fan at any level you will enjoy this movie. I promise. If you watch it and don’t actually enjoy it, you can rant and rave and all me an idoit on this blog. Dare ya. You can rent it on iTunes – easy peasy.

3) St. George, Utah!! Love it here. Great community, quiet roads for epic rides, awesome running trails, lake swimming, pretty red rocks… Oh, and they have wifi in all their public parks – handy!

  

4) Bob the cactus. This little guy has no spines (If you want to geek out on cactus spines read this: http://www.sbs.utexas.edu/mauseth/researchoncacti/spines.htm) Anyway bob lives in Mesa and I think this little genetically disadvantaged individual is just terrific.

  

5) Swimming Memes. Funny stuff. Found their facebook page this week. The frequent use of “highly sarcastic guy” (not shown here), and the freaked out dog is funny in itself, but if you spend any time staring at the black line, you’ll get a chuckle.

 

6) This video. If you follow our facebook pages, you’ve seen it before but it’s too terrific not to include in a TTTT. Filmed in Trail BC, great cinematography, creativity and wicked skiing!

7) Ultrarunners – in general, but particularly those sponsored by UltrAspire that we were fortunate enough to meet this past week. Super cool, laid-back people; who also just happen to be some of the most accomplished Ultrarunners on the planet. Little 40 mile training run from the west-rim to Angels Landing in Zion National Park – no problemo! We got a look at the new design samples for the 2013 UltrAspire lines too (AH-MA-ZING!) and gave our feedback after test runs. Oh, and there was a music jam.  Stupid me was dumb enough to pipe up with lyrics when others forgot so they made me get up with the mic and sing… welcome to my nightmare!

  

8) Paper Showers. Occasionally, when say you are training hard and parking for free somewhere, your poop tank gets full and you can’t run any water after your last training session of the day. No need to go to bed totally crusty! Ta da – bath with a giant wet-nap to the rescue!!

 

9) COSTCO. Lots of food. Giant cart. Have our routine down to a science with the divide and conquer approach. “Agave nectar here, bam!, giant bag of spinach there, shazam!, frozen berries in the freezer section, I’m on it!” I get a bit annoyed with the excessive packaging (and how small the freezer in the RV is) but Costco runs keep us eating well and training hard!

10)  How incredibly loving our cat is when we bring her home from the kennel. A classic cat stereotype is that they give you the cold shoulder in their aloof way but, no, not our cat. It’s a cuddly, ‘don’t leave me’, purr-fest with lots of lap time. She also tends to hog my pillow.

Trevor 70.3 Texas race report

•April 6, 2012 • 4 Comments

I’m going to assume most of you reading this know what the 70.3 Texas event was: a half ironman with big points, big prize money, big names, big Lance Armstrong, big media coverage – of Lance Armstrong.

Happily I wasn’t concerned with the ‘bigginess’ of the event, I was super happy to be fit, calm and ready to simply race well.  I had some goals for the event for sure, namely a top 10 finish and meeting some time goals along the way.

This year I will start swimming in the low 25 minutes, mark my freaking word.  I’ve been swimming  around  26 minutes for 2 years now, it’s about darn time to knock that down a bit.  Unfortunately this race wasn’t the one!! Hmmmm.  A big part of it is my start….it’s just not fast enough and I end up swimming in a group that makes the swim feel far easier than it should.  Perhaps a good thing for a race like Texas where it was still wetsuit legal despite some fairly warm water.  On the other hand, overheating during the swim is really something I don’t concern myself with.  It’s just not an issue for me, unless the water started getting close to 80 F and we were somehow forced to wear wetsuits.  Heather and I simply do not share water temperature tolerances.

I’ve been riding well the past couple months so I knew if I rode the watts I planned to ride I’d bring back a lot of guys.  Typically on a dead flat course it’s a lot harder to hit high normalized power readings, but I did well, bringing home one of my better dead flat 70.3 power readings of 305 w average for the  2hr 9min ride.  That’s bang on 4.0 w/kg for me.  The challenge really becomes staying in your aero position the entire time, especially those last 20 minutes.  This is made doubly hard with sweaty forearms that keep wanting to slide off my aero bar pads.  This is something I’ve got to fix for the next race, I could hardly move my wrists by the end of it as they had seized up from gripping the aero bars so hard.

Thanks Blue, Rolf Prima, CycleOps, TorHans, Giro, First Endurance!

Racing in the heat and humidity was a good lesson.  With plans of racing Ironman NYC later this year it was a valuable day of learning what not to do in an extremely hot/humid race.  #1 – Fix the aero bar set up.  #2. Don’t wear a visored helmet.  #3. Drink more than my current nutrition plans call for.  Thinking about it, every single one of my races last year was raced in perfect conditions, and I race well in perfect conditions… 😛 like everyone…because it’s perfect, duh :).  Honestly though, my body type is quite suited to hot/humid races, way more so than many athletes out there so I’m looking forward to racing some more killer days this year.

Ouch?

Since starting to work with Paulo last year I’ve had some amazing improvements in my bike and run splits.  My run being at the top of the list and I was extremely confident going in to this race that I was going to knock off something better than my regular 1:15’s and 1:16’s of last year.  I pride myself on running well at the end of the race and i was a bit miffed that I didn’t make it happen last Sunday. I can usually tell within the first 10 strides if the run will go the way I want it, and quite frankly I felt great heading out of T2.  Soon enough though, at the first U-turn, 3/4 of a mile in, my hamstrings came so very close to cramping.

Ouch?? 🙂

This annoying stride limiter hung around for the entire run, making for one of the more difficult 70.3 runs I’ve had in a very long time.  Even so, on a day like this I’m not sure I could have ran much more than a few minutes faster than what I did (1:20:12), which would only have put me 1 spot further up the ranks anyway.  Stupid way to look at it, but that’s what most of us do, I think.  ‘Where could I have finished if I had done this…or that.’  That’s part of what keeps me motivated to race as there’s rarely a perfect race.  I certainly have never had a PERFECT race.  For this one, far from perfect, but sub 4 hours is rarely horrible, and a 12th place in a crazy field is far from something to cry about.  I’ll walk away looking forward to doing it better at the next one.

 
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