Triangle Triathlon 2013 Race Report


Pre Race

I learnt my lesson from last weekend and had much better prep for this race. I had a good dinner at a reasonable time the night before. I packed up all my stuff for the race the night before and put my bike and bag in the car the night before. It cuts out a lot of the stress in the morning. Just eat breakfast, fill my water bottles and go. Had a quick breakfast and then hit the road out to Harris Lake. It was about a 30 minute drive, and got there in plenty of time to get my transition area set up.

 IMG_0318As you can see my transition area is pretty minimal. The sprints are nice because I don’t worry about bike gloves that I use on a longer ride. I have one bottle filled with water and one with EFS so that is all I use in terms of nutrition. I knew the EFS would be a must for this race since it was going to be hot and humid. I wanted to make sure I was getting the electrolytes in during the ride.


The swim was 750 meters in the lake pictured above. They announced that the water temp was 90 degrees, so I was very worried about how the swim would turn out. When I checked the water temp for Jordan Lake after my open water swim the other night it said it was 88 degrees. So I took a quick dip and swam around a little bit as a warm up. If this was 90 degrees then it was much higher than 88 in my previous swim, because it was nowhere near as hot. It was still pretty warm.

My plan for the swim was to take it pretty easy. My last sprint I wasn’t too pleased with my time, but that was my very first one. My main goal was to be a couple minutes faster. I started out on the right side of the back, far side from the buoys. It seemed I ended up between the fast pack and the slow pack which was great. I was swimming on my own for a good while with no one hitting me. Looking at the map I swam fairly straight as well which is always a bonus.


Swim time: 17:31 (2 minute improvement from my last 750 m open water swim, this time without a wetsuit)


I was just over 3:00 minutes in T1 which is disappointing because I thought was quicker than that. That is something I need to work on. Also, they had just cut the grass we were running over, so by the time I got to my bike to put my socks and bike shoes on my feet were covered in grass. I probably lost a few seconds wiping them off.

bike1The bike was tough. Once again I was just struggling with the hills. I think the bike is the area where I have the most work to do. I mean, obviously my swimming needs works as well, but I feel like I’ve seen a lot of improvement over year in that. Not on the bike as much. A lot of the roads on this course were the same as on the 70.3 course but in reverse. Which meant I had to climb a lot of hills I remember flying down then. There was one guy for the majority of the course kept over taking me on the steep hills but then wasn’t as fast on the down hills or flat sections, so I spent a lot of time with him until the last two miles or so which was mostly downhill with some flats. Those last two miles felt great. I felt like I was more consistent with my speed.

Bike Time: 1:04:37


run1By the time I got off the bike, the sun was out and it had heated up quite a bit. So I knew the run was going to be tough. I also had no idea what the run course was like having never been to the park the run was in. It started out on a road and then shortly after the start went through the gravel parking lot and then was on a gravel/mud/grass path. It was through the woods so I got eaten a live by bugs. It was clear the bike had taken it out of me, and the humidity was just brutal.

There were quite a few large puddles and muddy parts of the path as well that made the run pretty treacherous. The course was a loop and then an out and back to the finish. Once I got to the turnaround on the out and back section I knew this wasn’t going to be a pretty time. I felt like I swallowed about half a dozen bugs on just the run along. At this point I just wanted to finish and wasn’t so worried about what time I would get.

Run Time: 30:15 (Officially the slowest 5k I have run in a while)

Overall time: 1:57:14

Post Race

I was slightly disappointed in how this race went. I shouldn’t have been too surprised because I was doing nowhere near as much training as I was for my first sprint since I was in half ironman training mode at the time, but I had hoped for better. It was a great race and the volunteers were amazing as always. This was a North Carolina Triathlon series race, and they always put on great events. I’d be up for trying this race again next year to try and vindicate myself, but I’ll need to make sure to keep up the training post Raleigh 70.3 because like a fool I’ve signed up for that again. After the race I went Tyler’s in Apex with some of the IOSTC for  a couple beers. After that I headed home, had a quick shower and then drove out to Wilmington for Saturday night and spent Sunday on Wrightsville beach. So even though the race didn’t go well it was nice doing it and contributed to a pretty spectacular weekend overall.

Have a good week!

Open Water Swimming

I was originally going to talk about how I started swimming for my triathlon training, but I realized that would be way too long. I’ll save that for another post later on.

Suffice to say all the pool swimming in the world does not get you totally ready to do an open water swim. My first open water swim was 750 m at the White Lake Sprint Tri in White Lake, NC. The water was about 55 degrees. It felt freezing. It was during this swim I realized how unprepared I was for open water. I finished but my time was terrible and it was a miserable swim. After that I resolved to do more open water swimming. Since then I go almost every Wednesday night out at Jordan Lake south west of Raleigh. There were times where I was doing more open water swimming than pool swimming. Now I would say I enjoy open water much more than the pool. It’s a lot more fun. You don’t have to stop and turn every 25 yards (I’m still working on flip turns). It much more variable depending on the weather.

That being said I went open water swimming Wednesday night. It was the first time I’d been in open water since the 70.3, and it was brutal. The water was about 88 degrees. It felts like swimming in a bath. I managed to get through it. I am doing the Triangle Triathlon this weekend at Harris Lake, NC so I really wanted to get one in before then. What I learned was it is easy to get out of practice. We swam about 3/4 of a mile. Here’s a map of what I swam:

Look at my oh so straight swimming lines. I don’t know what happened at the second turn.

I managed to get through the swim though. It was tough though. I had run in the morning in the 90% humidity so it felt like I didn’t stop sweating until about lunch time. Going and swimming in a bathtub after work really didn’t help.

I’ll be at the Triangle Triathlon this weekend so expect a race report Monday sometime. We got these at work today. Seems like the best kind of pre race nutrition.


Have a great weekend!

Rex Wellness Triathlon Garner 2013 Race Report

Or “How to almost bonk on a sprint”

Or “Why not to go out two nights in a row before a race”

Rookie mistakes you say? Yes absolutely. Here is my race report for the first in the Rex Wellness Triathlon series. This one took place in Garner which is south of Raleigh.

Pre Race

Thankfully I packed up my bike and all my stuff the night before and loaded up the car. That meant in the morning all I had to do was fill up my waters, eat some breakfast and then hop in the car. It was only about a 20 minute drive to the Rex Wellness Center so that made it really easy. The biggest problem was getting up. As the alternative title suggests, we were out with friends Friday and Saturday nights which did nothing to help me for this race. I wasn’t out to compete, so I wasn’t taking this race too seriously, however if I had I think I may have enjoyed it a bit more.

I got my transition area all set up. As there was only 200 or so people taking part the transition are was nice and small. I talked to a few people, had a few nervous poos which is pretty standard for me before a race, and then before I knew it we were all heading inside to the pool to start the race.


The swim was a 250 yard pool swim. I’ve never done a triathlon with a pool swim before so I figured this was going to be interesting. The pool was 6 lanes and the plan was to swim 50s in the first 4 and then 25s in the last two. This was because in the last lane there was a huge staircase took up most of the width of the last lane. It seemed pretty straightforward, until they told we would be lining up along the wall of the first lane in the water. So this meant you had to swim two lengths in the first lane, as well having people along the edge of the pool in the lane while you were swimming. Most people were confused and wondered why they didn’t just have the first and last lane be 25 and the middle 4 lanes be 50s. I was worried about this, until I actually got in the pool. The first lane was wider than any of the others so it ended up working out.

We were supposed to self seed for this race. So when registering you had to put in an estimated time for a 1oo meter swim. I could have given myself a faster time, as by the time I started it was a bit of a cluster in the pool. I got out of the pool in 4:16 (although the timing mat was at the start of the transition area so it has my time at 4:43), but I probably could have done it in under 4 minutes if I wasn’t being held up by people. My main gripe about the self seeding is, there was one kid (there were lots of kids doing the race which was great, that’s not my problem) whose parents clearly have an inflated sense of his swimming ability and gave him way to quick a time. He could barely swim and was just causing everyone to slow up behind him. I eventually got to pass him at a wall pretty quickly, but some people were getting way more annoyed than I was.


The bike was where I really started to struggle. I am definitely not strong on the bike, something I have learned over and over doing all these triathlons. The course was a 5 mile out and back. Pretty straightforward, but I haven’t been spending too much time biking the past few weeks. That with the lack of sleep and a few big hills on the course just destroyed my legs. I had a average speed of just over 16 miles an hour. Not much to say about a bike course that is straight down the road and back. Just under 37 minutes for the bike.


As soon as I jumped off the bike I knew these 2 miles was going to hurt. My calves cramped up straight away, something I have been battling with quite a lot this year. The run course was also pretty straightforward. 1 mile down the same road as the bike course. I had a stitch in my side and couldn’t get a good stride going. The course was pretty nice though. You went up a hill for a bit, crested the hill and the turn around was a little bit down from there. Once you got over the hill on the way back it was pretty much downhill the whole way back until the very end. I was hoping this run would be easy since it was only 2 miles and I’d be able to get a good pace going. But some with the bike, it just wasn’t happening today. Need to sleep more before races. Time: 18:33.

Post Race

Total time was 1:02:29. I was hoping to go under a hour for this race as it was a nice short one and I thought I’d be able to just go out hard and maintain that for an hour. Unfortunately, I didn’t take the few nights before the race seriously enough and ended up paying for it. Apart from my not so great racing, the race itself was great. Rex Wellness along with FSSeries put on a great race. It was a nice doing a smaller local race. A lot of people were out doing their very first triathlon and there were a lot of kids doing it as well which was awesome (apart from the one who was causing issues in the pool, but fair play to him he was trying his best). I’d definitely recommend the Rex Series to anyone especially first-timers/beginners. I’m planning on doing the other two (August and October) to complete the Tri-Peat they are putting on this year.

But for now I need to get ready for the Triangle Triathlon at Harris Lake on Saturday and focus my running on training for the City of Oaks Marathon.

Thanks for reading!

Getting Ready for Rex

This weekend is the first of the Rex Wellness Triathlon series. This is a three race series at the various Rex centers around Raleigh. The one this weekend is in Garner, just south of Raleigh. I am sticking to Sprints for the rest of the year and training for the marathon in November. This is a nice short one, a 250m swim, 10 mile bike, and a 2 mile run. They are offering a new Tri-Peat award if you do all three of the series this year, so that seems like a nice challenge to do while marathon training. I’ll let you guys know how it goes.

In order to get ready for this I figured I should probably get back in the pool since I haven’t swam a single yard since the Raleigh 70.3 at the beginning of June. So after work today I headed over to the pool to see if I could still get myself from one end to the other without coughing and sputtering water and SUCCESS! I managed to swim 1000 yards, albeit very slowly. About 10 yards per second slower than where I got to training for the 70.3. It at least gave me confidence that I should be able to get through this weekend.

After swimming I headed home and went out for a nice short 3 mile run. Again, I meant to do this in the morning but everything conspired against me and I had to do it tonight. The humidity was brutal, around 85% by the time I finally got out to run. This was the first time in about 6 weeks as well I did two workouts in a day and that also took its toll. If I had been motivated enough I could have made this a swim-run brick, but I think I will save that for next week when I am doing some open water swimming at Jordan Lake.

Thanks for reading!

Human Performance Clinic

Week 1 of marathon training starts for real next week, but I got in an easy 3 miles on the treadmill yesterday afternoon. I had originally intended to get out in the morning, but it just didn’t happen and by the time work finished the temperature was 90 degrees with about 90% humidity. With all of that I figured doing the miles on the treadmill was preferable, if not very boring.

Yesterday evening however was much more interesting. I went to a clinic put on by Chris from the Human Performance Laboratory about training efficiently and how to gauge your nutrition intake based on your training. There were 2 mains points I was interested in from his talk.

Note: A lot of the points made came from Chris’s studies. My opinions will be in the Conclusion section.

Train efficiently

One point I should make is Chris himself said his attitude about training has changed a lot now that he is coaching Cross Fit. I haven’t made up my mind about cross fit mainly because I’ve never tried it and not researched it enough. I’ve read some articles from people who swear by it and the people who love it seem pretty fanatical, but I’ve also read some articles that say for endurance athletes it can lead the way to injuries. Now whether or not that is more related to the Cross Fit Endurance or just the regular Cross Fit exercises I don’t know.

The main takeaway from this section of his talk was that your high intensity training sessions are your most important training sessions of your week. Seems pretty logical to me. The interesting point came when Chris started describing what happens when you start dropping volume or regularity of your workouts but keep intensity up, your fitness (he was showing graphs related to %VO2 max) stays up. As soon as you start dropping intensity you fitness also starts dropping. This is what happens when you taper, you drop the volume of your workouts, but you keep the intensity up leading up to the race. This way you maintain your fitness for you race. Something I’ll need to keep in mind for the marathon, as I did not keep up intensity in the final week of training for the half ironman.

There was a lot more he went into about intensity which could probably be a whole post of its own, so maybe I will dig more into that in the future.


One of the things he mentioned the do for nutrition was to take a baseline of what you are eating now. Don’t change anything in your diet, just keep a log of what you eat for 7-14 days. Don’t do it continuously as it starts to become a major pain and take over your eating habits, but do it for 1-2 weeks to get an idea of how much of what you are eating. Then do it again in 3-6 months to see how it has changed based on your training.

Also depending on what your goals are then your nutrition and calorie intake will be different. Mainly, you need to decide if you want to lose fat, or build muscle. From some of the studies he has done they determined that in order to lose fat you will also lose a bit of muscle. This is mainly because in order to burn that fat you need to take in less calories than you burn during the day (again a fairly logical point). This is actually going to into a slight state of starvation (his word, not mine but you get the idea) You can’t really build cells if you don’t have the calories to do it because you have burned them all.

If you want to build muscle you either need to intake the same amount of calories you burn throughout the day or slightly more so they can go towards building muscle, but the studies found that you can’t just build muscle. As you are taking in these calories you will also gain a small amount of fat.


It was a very interesting talk, and Chris obviously could have kept talking forever. I think all of us that were there also could have kept listening because in a nutshell I think all endurance athletes are a little crazy and get particularly interested/psyched/obsessive over anything that can help their training. While I don’t know how much of this will affect my training from here on out, I think at least being aware of it will help me. The calorie intake parts seems like common sense as does some of the points he made about intensity training. The talk went on for almost 90 minutes so I can only write about some otherwise no one would read all of this. It will certainly make me take my intensity workouts (intervals/hills/long runs) and my taper more seriously which can only be a good thing.


Thanks for reading!

Begin at the beginning

Here is my first post. I intended to start this earlier as I was training for my first Half Ironman, but things ended up getting in the way and it didn’t happen. Instead I am now beginning training for my first marathon, so I will begin my blog here.

This blog will follow my training and perhaps any other cool stuff I happen to get myself up to. I will include photos as well of all the pretty trails and parks I get to run around in North Carolina. It will be honest, real and hopefully sometimes funny. Stay tuned for the fun!