So it's been about 7 months since I've written anything and it's mostly because my season has been pretty tough up until this point. I've put in a ton of work during winter for the swim, and bike, and run but burnt myself out a little bit in Feb. Then got sick.
I started out the season 0-2. with me getting sick 3 times before Oceanside 70.3. And getting sick again before Wildflower Long Course.
It was pretty much a repeat of last year. First being injured during November, and then being ill the whole winter. I had to build my fitness slowly through May and June.
There were positives to take away from my first two bad races
Oceanside, i had one of my best swims ever despite the officials messing up the start. With a big pack moving forward due to current while the others followed orders to move back before they sounded off the gun without warning. Typical. I might sound like a b****, but that's what blogs are for right? little details that never get talked about
Anyways, I swam a 26:53, which was only 3 minute down from the first leaders. Where I used to be 5-7 minutes down. I'm definitely making progress in the swim.
Wildflower, let's just say it's a race that i would like to forget. But i went away knowing that I need to learn how to start better during the swim consistently. And i also went away knowing that I need to put in good work and get in good shape.
1. All the work I put in for the swim was worth it. All the strength work, band work, stretch band work, etc. Extra mileage. Form. I just need to execute
2. I need to warm up properly for the swim. Fast twitch muscles need to be turned on.
3. I need to start the swim without getting strangled and stuck behind slower swimmers. Finding the right feet, and making the right decision at the right time is crucial. Also losing a good draft, without fighting for hell fro it, will lose me 2-3 minutes if I dont fight for it at the moment.
4. I need to be lighter to run fast.
For some odd reason, After Wildflower, I became extremely motivated. My mom called me fat after she came back from Taiwan and was like "what have you been eating? you're looking a bit chubby". And also the fact that I got my ass handed to me again at Wildflower was no fun at all. I knew I needed to step everything up to another level.
With the help of my coach Nicholas Thompson from Tridot, we came up with a plan and made numerous changes to my training. We changed my diet. We lengthened our runs and are doing a lot of double runs now to split up the wear and tear. And we make sure I'm having fun. And I have to admit, the last 6 weeks have been the most fun I've had in a long time.
I swim with an awesome group of ladies and gentleman at Menlo Masters. We put in the work day in and day out. I explored new roads on my road bike. I started running my old cross country trains again. I'm enjoying everyday of training.
Monte Rio went super well despite the heavy training load leading in. My bike was on, and my running legs were there. I averaged 5:29 for the slightly long 10k run. Without the data, the feelings in my legs told me that I was going in the right direction.
I flew into Victoria Canada on Wednesday, to stay at my friends Carlos' house, a fellow pro on the ITU circuit. I immediately fell in love with the town with quick access to the race venue and a ton of trails, great thai restaurant, and grocery store. The weather was cold but nothing colder than California's rainy spring and winter this year. So I felt right at home. Played a couple of X Box Call of Duty killing zombies was also pretty awesome. I was relaxed and felt good and quietly confident before the race. So I told myself, let the games begin.
The swim was cut short due to weeds in the lake. The volunteers did the best they could to drag out as much as possible but we had to swim just over 1.5k. I had a decent start and was able to hang on to the second pack but gradually I lost touch during the last 300m. I kept myself in it, and got to work.
Bike: 2:16:55 24.5mph
The bike was amazingly beautiful but also quite technical with a ton of turns, ups and downs, rollers. I've not been running power meter this year on my bike and it seems to work pretty well. Going off of RPE and heart rate, I paced myself well, catching 4-5 racers before dying a little during mile 40. Luckily, Jonathon Shearon took up the lead and I followed him all the way back into T2. The weight loss the last couple of weeks really helped me going up all the hills. Victoria is anything but flat!
The run: 1:20:56
Right as I got off the bike and took my first 5 steps. I knew I was going to have a good half marathon. I felt strong throughout the first lap. I was caught by Adam O'meara who was absolutely pushing it. I was able to hang with him and we caught Jonathon as well. I started dying during the second lap, and after dropping my drinks at an aid station, Jonathon and Adam put 10 seconds on me and I wasn't able to catch them.
As I began to fade and was in survival mode, I kept fighting. Thoughts of, "this is happening again" crept in. Bonk fest alert. For two years I never had a half marathon run I was proud of. The last one was December of 2013 where I ran a 1:17 at HITS Series Palm Springs. I thought maybe I really just don't have it. But as second loop comes to 3 miles to go. I saw Adam and Derek Garcia, also a fellow competitor not far up ahead. I got a second wind, and passed Derek forcibly, old school cross country style, 10 seconds sprint, to make sure he doesn't latch on to me. I caught Adam at the out and back hill and during the downhill, just ran for my life like I stole something.
I sprinted down the finishing shoot with a total times of 4:00:51. My best half ironman time ever. *I know the swim was a bit short, but the run was a little long according to my garmin, so I'm gonna call it a fair race. Either way, I was ecstatic and finally have a breakthrough race. And 51 seconds from breaking 4 hours!!!!
Taylor Reid won the race in 3:49:10, which puts me just 10 minutes + behind him. Not saying I'm proud to be 10 minutes behind, but it's the closest I've come to the winning time at any half ironman(I was 15 minutes behind at my best performance last year) And I was 2.5 minutes outside of the money. I'm just grateful and happy that things are coming together for me and all the hard work hasn't gone to waste.
I'd have to be honest and say that I've thought about quitting racing professional numerous times the last couple of months. For 5-6 races I've been always 15-20 minutes behind the winner and never seem to make any real significant progress forward. There's signs of improvement from training but I was never able to put it together in a race. Triathlon is really really freaking hard. And Victoria at least, extended my expiration date by another year.
I realize that I was caught up in things that don't matter. I was comparing myself to other competitors. Comparing my results. Comparing my age and their results during the same age. All this comparing made me feel very down and just unhappy everyday. I realize most of it was just myself, my self doubt, my pride, keep feeding me with negative thoughts "maybe you're just not good enough", "you should probably get a real job and focus on that". I was taking myself too seriously.
I was also scared of my health. I've never been sick back to back to back 3 times. And then a 4th time. within 2 months. I was worried that maybe my body was just empty and had nothing else left to give. You hear horror stories of athletes never being able to come back to where they were. And I was really afraid that I might not have it anymore.
I began to just let it all go, and say look, I'm lucky to be doing this. I have great sponsors, Zoot that provides me with everything I need for racing, from wetsuits to racing flats to aero racing kits. I got Boom! Nutrition who has the best gels in the business. I got my family supporting me and my mom cooking me great meals, accommodating my weird diet. I got my dad. No matter where he is, what time zone he's in, always giving me a text of good luck before my race. I'm healthy, and still improving. I have seen friends and competitors who are injured, or have health problems that impede their triathlon career. I'm extremely fortunate to be doing what I love with all the support I have.
So whatever happens in the next couple of months, whatever results, if you see me out there, remind me why I'm doing this. I'm doing this because it's my passion. It's my dream. I'm out here because this is fun. Slap me in the face if you need to. Because honestly, that's what all of us are doing this for. It's not for the finishers medal. It's not for the prize money. It's not for the sponsorships. It's not for the t shirt. It's not for the socks. We're out here because we are crazy, and we love doing triathlons, and it's fun. This is how we play. This is how we do it. So Relish every moment. Like my mentor Brady says, every moment is like a lemon, and "squeeze the living shit out of it" and enjoy every moment, because you never know if it's going to be taken away from you.
If you've made it this far, thank you for reading. And hope you've enjoyed my race report. And hopefully you have fun out there as much as I do!
happy training and racing!
I couldn't have done this without my coach Nicholas Thompson. From day one he believed in me and never lost faith. Always willing to look for solutions and always willing to talk to me whenever I need a chat. thank you! let's keep working!
I have to thank Team Zoot! Shane, Jim, and Duncan have gone above and beyond to help me out, and promote me with Zoot. I really appreciate what you guys do for me!
My sponsors, Zoot, (amazing wetsuit, race suit, and running shoes)
Boom! Nutrition gel that doesn't bonk
Zealios skin care, sunscreen made for athletes
Pedro at P-Fits for dialing in my fit
Carlos for showing me Victoria
Ed for your hospitality
Chris Bowen, for giving me a lift, and chat about England! good job on the 15min PR you rocked it.
My mom, sister, and my dad for putting up with me.