Slayer’s Ironman World Championship at Kona: Getting High (and Low Lights) – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

Qualifying in October last year was the performance of a lifetime and it delivered a qualifying slot to the Ironman World Championship in Kona! This was the trip of a lifetime. The reward for a great race that followed many hard years of endless yards and miles. Or was it punishment for being self-interested and passionately shooting for a dream goal that most will never achieve?  Despite a year to prepare, I was still going to have to contend with the course that produces the second slowest results on the ironman circuit even though it’s not the most challenging topography. What was I getting myself into?

Give Them What They Want

You want the inside story. Admit it. You want my secrets like if I crapped myself during the race (negative but I did pee on myself a few times), was I emotional at any point(s) (yes but more on the fear and frustrated side than happy/sad side), does she still love me after all this hell (debatable but may depend on the phase of the moon more than the actual training), and how much alcohol I consumed the night before the race (one bottle of nice Justin California Cabernet Sauvignon but over a few hours. Hey, anti-oxidants are healthy right!?)

Not What They Don’t Want

You don’t care about my heat adaptation process, my fueling, hydration, electrolyte and caffeine plans, my pace and power metrics, my placement overall and in age group (unless you’re a hater who wants to show the world I suck and didn’t deserve to be there, or a data geek and there are many of you out there but you can private message me for that information).

I don’t want another boring race report floating out there.  So here are my highlights and lowlights from Ironman World Championship on the Big Island of Kona in Hawaii. My apologies if I forgot to mention you or if I left something funny out.

Highlights and Lowlights

Highlight 1. THE RACE!

From the rock star treatment throughout the entire race-cation and amazing festivities like the Underpants RunPath 5k/10k, which DocSlay podiumed on, and Hoala Ironman Training Swim and pre-race activities beforehand, to the helicopters blaring overhead and the cannon blast to start From the tropical fish swimming beneath our feet during the swim, to the expansive lava fields and breathtaking ocean views on the bike, to the amazing adoring crowds and views of top professional triathletes dueling it out on the run, this event was everything I was hoping for and more!

Lowlight 1. THE RACE!

The theme of the day was ‘be aggressive”. For everyone else but me. I just wanted to ensure I finished my one and maybe only Kona and soaked it all in! Maybe next time, I will go for a more aggressive and faster race. This put me at odds with the field right off the bat. In contrast to my usual balls to the falls approach, I began the race defensively as noted in my pre-race Facebook post and it only got worse as the day wore on.

My race nearly ended within the first 5 minutes of the 2.4 mile swim as I got pummeled like a mouse in a hungry lion’s cage. A relative newcomer to swimming without a wetsuit for the first time at the distance, I was struggling to catch my breath and getting swam over and clobbered on the back of my head multiple times by aggressive swimmers. This sent my heart rate through the roof and it took about 10 minutes of swimming head above the water to settle down and find a rhythm. Thankfully, I got out in time and immediately saw the team on the balcony overlooking the swim exit and I didn’t DNF (did not finish) given my state of panic. However, that wasn’t the only aggressive part.

Once I was on the bike for the 112 mile ride, I was confronted with the most aggressive referees I have ever seen (and I have served as an aggressive one myself so maybe it was #karma!). I am not complaining as they did their jobs but it was humiliating as a referee to get nailed myself. In fact, I got nailed for my first dreaded drafting call early (5 minutes in the penalty tent) for not keeping my focus and pulling over to the center to make a pass of a group of elite women. However, for whatever reason (probably got distracted), I failed to complete the pass within the required 25 seconds. So, while not gaining any drafting benefit, I did violate the letter of the rule and deserved some penalty time with a full penalty tent of fellow transgressors! There were about a dozen in the tent with me and a volunteer who jokingly took a selfie with me, but I took it as a chance to get a nice little rest on the early part of the bike post-long-swim.

One penalty is too many and equaled the amount of times I was penalized in my entire Ironman life. However, that was not the end of that aspect of this lowlight. I actually got another in a similar vein in the mid 90 mile range on an uphill with fierce headwind and me out of the saddle.

This 2nd penalty (along with another 5 minutes in another full penalty tent) put me precariously close to the dreaded DQ (disqualification) for three infractions so I was forced to soft pedal the final 15 miles or so to avoid any possibility of not getting my medal! I believe my split for the final section of the bike was 13 miles per hour when I probably have never had a bike split below 20 miles per hour in any of the other half or full ironman races I have done. All of this may have cost me another 20-30 minutes plus a lot of unwarranted aggravation.

This aggression also included natural elements of wind and sunny heat.  The aforementioned headwinds along with crosswinds were by far the most aggressive I had ever ridden in. I watched lighter riders being blown off their bikes and being shifted on the road. Some smaller athletes were pulling off the road to eat and drink as they couldn’t take their hands off their handlebars, to do so without potentially crashing. During the bike and run, the sun and heat radiating off the black top and lava was like an oven baking us. That’s all fine and dandy when you’re not doing an ironman but they add to the difficulty of this long grueling event.

Highlight 2. Friends and teammates on course!

Having my close buddy, athlete and fellow coach Wes Hargrove aka Coach Taz racing with me was just amazing. We got to share the stress throughout the build, march into battle together, and encourage each other on course when we started the swim and passed each other on the bike and run. There was my all-time ultimate favorite Sherpa, Julie aka DocSlay to make sure I was ok on all fronts, which was no easy feat between my mood swings, magnified ironman anxiety, and medical complications of late.

There were some other misfits and Reapers of the highest order including the Taxes, Seth and Becky Waltman aka Coach TaxSlayer and Tax Dr., Chuck aka Coach BAMF and his wife Beatriz Sims, Kim Hargrove aka Coach Kim Possible, We also had Viper aka Steve Smith, our team photographer and videographer and IronMouse aka Amy Smith, who volunteered nearly all day catching sweaty near death athletes including me when my leg cramped after my infamous bottle smash at the finish line. They are both of #TeamTagg. Also from the team, was the Millers including Jarhead aka James and his mother Theresa Miller, who raced strong herself, and our new friends, the super cool couple, Alex Baggett and Angie Norrell.

It was awesome to also see many others we knew and really liked like the generous and wise Hauschildt‘s (Melissa and Jared), the Kinmartins, Izumi Z. (who got married in Kona the day after she crossed not too far behind me), Bea, Betty, Thomas, and all the greenies of my former team Dynamo Multisport, etc., These folks made all the difference to us on the lead up to and on the day. It helped me immensely to keep a positive mental attitude in the tough conditions.

LowLight 2. No Socks!

You never know how much the little things mean until you do ironman. Then you learn that these little things are more important than you can imagine. Due to some more forgetfulness on my behalf and some other foul ups like trying to swap socks to my run bag late in the game because of the sopping wet floors in the changing tents, I went out on the bike sockless and preceded to get a severe sunburn on the tops of my exposed feet. Then onto the 26.2 mile run, with the sunburnt and already blistered feet, I made things far worse in the soaking wet shoes. Obviously, this was my biggest error. I’ve never experienced such pain as feet pain and I am not quite the masochist I appear to be. I won’t go as far to say it was as bad as natural childbirth, but, damn, I have never suffered so much as I did from blistering and sunburn feet as I did on race day. I know, suck it up Slayer.

Highlight 3. 2 Week Vacation!

Admittedly, I was desperate for my kids to be there with us when I crossed but school was still in session so that made it a no go for them. Thankfully their grandparents came in to look after them while we traveled. Regardless, who goes on vacation to paradise (except for the dastardly aspects of the race) in Kona for a week before and Oahu at Turtle Bay Resort with some of their closest friends in September? Generally, never us. Enough said but I have to mention the joint massage on the beach cabana with DocSlay, several meals at the amazing Jackie Rey’s restaurant owned by Athens’ Real Estate Guru Reign Streiter’s brother in Kona, the umbrella drinks and great bartenders Eddie and Dennis at the pool bar at Turtle Bay, and the fresh fish (aka Poke Bowl).

Lowlight 3.   Tourist Helicopter Rides.

Somehow, of the four of us riding, I drew the most dangerous open door front passenger seat in the PI Magnum helicopter ride we attended while at Turtle Bay Resort. Within a couple minutes, with my right butt cheek half out 1000+ feet in the air and a lot of turbulence, I had enough. However, we had 50 minutes to go and I could barely breathe, let alone talk. Thankfully, the pilot asked me how I was doing while I was white knuckling the oh s**t strap and turning white as a ghost myself. DocSlay helped me to communicate I was not having fun and he took me back early for the walk of shame which I am sure Steve Smith aka Viper or  Amy Smith aka IronMouse captured on film.

Highlight 4. Slayer Video Productions.

With the help of DocSlay and Coach Taz, some of those videos were some of my/our best mass communications work ever. Ok, maybe that overstates it but they didn’t suck and they drew some laughter and praise despite the complete amateurish and sophomoric nature of them. I have to give thanks to Chance Regina of Fusion Sports US, Micah Morlock of Georgia Cycle Sports, which deals my favorite brands like Specialized, Lee Stansell of TifosiOptics, Jason Williamson of Orr Carbon wheels, Varun Sriram of Generation Ucan, and Crisp McDonald Owner/Race Director for Go Race Productions for the encouragement and guidance on these funny videos and support throughout the year.

Lowlight 4. Some of the Things were Letdowns.

I hate to be a downer but not all was as it seemed on social media. Although I heard so much good about Lava Java and Kona coffee, I found it hard to find a great cup of coffee except for on our Greenwell Farms coffee tour and at a Frenchman’s Café near Holy Donuts in Kona. In actual fact, the food in general wasn’t all that special to me except for some spots like Jackie Rey’s, the food truck stops in North Shore of Oahu, and some fish and poke spots. The Luau we went to later in our stay felt like some trumped up pseudo religious cult experience and wasn’t as authentic as I had hoped. I expected to be at a pig picking and it was a big Disney-like production complete with long queues to get in and long waits to get to the mediocre buffet.

Another huge letdown was not being able to keep up with all the positive messages coming in from the mainland. Y’all crushed my PM, text app, FB, IG, twitter, and email!

Highlight 5. I got my medal!

The ironman monkey on your back that grows into a gorilla by the time of the race is gone. It can become a burden especially in the case of such a unique and big opportunity. With my medical issues there was some doubt if I would even race again and it would ever happen, and it finally did! What a relief…

Lowlight 5. Ambiguity.

With such a singular focus for the better part of the last decade, I am now suddenly left without a clear target even though I have a few good ideas. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing per se as it allows me time to refocus on what’s important. However, for me, getting there and finishing was the challenge. Now I need to figure out what’s next apart from enjoying my family and doing better with coaching and at my office.

Conclusion

So there you have it. Maybe this isn’t the race report the data geeks wanted but it’s the highs and lows of my day in the sun, heat, wind, hills, and aggression of the racers and referees. There’s a little taste of the behind the scenes.

Finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t say that I couldn’t have done it without your support whether you are near or far, family, friend, or acquaintance, etc. Folks like Angela and Reuben Adams, Kirk Smith, Kim Stemple of #WeFinishTogether, Ryan Marsh, who trained a lot with me, and each and everyone of my athletes and supporters.

I wanted you to see what the “real” elite athletes may not show you. I wanted Kona to be accessible and less intimidating. I wanted to provide an insider’s view from a regular former fat joe who made it to the top of the mountain for a brief moment.

I sure hope you will someday be able to go watch if you can’t compete. I also deeply wish that you can capture your moment and see that it’s not all good but that the good far outweighs the bad. Thank you for following along during this aspect of my life, your life.

Hit me up if you want more of the nitty gritty details or to be a part of the squad. We would love to have you join the fray! This year and event has only brought so many of us closer. From the youth of TriKidsGeorgia to the merry band of misfits aka the Reapers and all our families, there’s genuine unity that you can’t understand unless you are a part of it.

Your Race Pace Lies – the Phantom Speaks – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

We have a relatively newer athlete from Raleigh, North Carolina area who goes by the nickname of Phantom. Scott Whalen stays below the radar and gets the training done with a busy job and active family. He’s a veteran of the long course game and approached Coach Slayer several times over the years to discuss various triathlon concepts finally pulling the trigger on coaching services in 2016 for A races of Ironman Augusta and Ironman North Carolina 70.3. He’s also raced Lake Logan International Distance and Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 this year. Phantom has been rocking along with the new coaching approach and feeling happy, building momentum, and showing renewed confidence. He had a much slower race in Augusta this year than previous years but was happier than ever. Read why below:

The Phantom Speaks

Hey guys I am new to the team and a lot of you may not really know me yet.  Coach Slayer took me on as an athlete in June of this year and I completed my first big race under him last weekend at Augusta 70.3.  It was my 4th time racing that course and my previous best time was 5 hr 10 min.  I had a goal of breaking 5 hrs this year and came into the weeks leading into the race feeling confident I could do that or at least break 5 hr 10 min.

Race Conditions Soured

As you all know, as race day got closer, it looked like the weather may be less than ideal for racing or getting a personal record (PR) but I was still hopeful. However, the day before it was clear it was going to be brutally hot so Coach Slayer and I decided to revise our game plan for the day to adapt to the things we couldn’t control.

Then on race morning it was non-wetsuit legal for the first time ever which for me was not ideal since swimming is my weakest discipline. But, hey, you can only control what you can control that day was doing my job with the conditions at hand.

We Adjusted

We decided to toss out our pacing goal on the run and go by feel as well as walking the aid stations to hydrate and get ice (I usually don’t walk aid stations).  He told me that if I keep moving that I will pass a lot of people that will be walking like Zombies and I will continue to move up despite what is likely to be a slower pace on my run.

I followed the revised plan to adjust my race pace to the conditions and my expectations for a certain time accordingly. As usual, Coach Slayer was right and I continually climbed up in the rankings all day from 137th on the swim to 70th off the bike to 31st after the run.

How It Ended Up

So did I PR?  No on the overall race time but the answer to me was an unequivocal Yes! It was my highest placement in an Ironman branded event by over 15 positions on my fastest time and 36 positions over Ironman Chattanooga 70.3 in May this year.

The moral is that it is not always about race paces or overall time but rather how you compete against other age group athletes, how you express your coaching or wisdom, and how you perform in the conditions and the day you were given.  I could have been devastated that I missed my time goal by 25 minutes but instead I am stoked to have done so well on that course, under those conditions on that day!  Thanks again to all the TriCoachGeorgia athletes, Sherpas, and coaches and especially to Coach Slayer as you all are a true inspiration and motivation to me.

Ironman Augusta 70.3 Recap 2016 – TriCoachGeorgia

Thirty-six racers, coaches, family, and friends invaded Augusta, Georgia the weekend of September 25th, all ready to take part in the annual Ironman Augusta 70.3 race. As with most years this is a huge team event for TriCoachGeorgia due to the proximity of our athlete base. Coach Spartacus (aka Brian Patterson) and Coach Godfather (aka Chad Kimbrell) went above and beyond with the welcome to all of is out of towners, setting up a big team dinner Friday evening, providing transportation to different parts of of the course, and staking our teams claim of 10th and Broad St with tables, tents, and refreshments. where we gathered as one and cheered for athletes on the run course.

The above average early fall temperatures brought about some never before changes to race day. On Sunday morning athletes arrived to find out this year’s event would not be wetsuit legal. A little bit of a shock to some, but the Savannah River current was still flowing strong. No fear or concern shown with any of the TCGa athletes as they made the necessary adjustments and got ready to DO THEIR JOB’S! By the time they all hit the run course the heat index was close to 98 degrees, and the suffering began. We couldn’t be more proud of our athletes and how they faced down these conditions. All 36 started the race, and all of them finished. There was no quit shown in this crew. No matter how fast or slow, they continued to move forward to hear their names called as they crossed the line.

A special shout out and recognition to the following athletes who not only overcame the difficult weather circumstances, but qualified for the Ironman 70.3 World Championships in Chattanooga next year:

Jarhead (aka James Miller)
KO (aka Robyn Wodzenski Wilham)
Emanboom (aka Estevan Price)
Judas Priest (aka Judith Garrard)
Hurricane Sandy (aka Sandra Murphy)

Making Lemonade: A Great Example of How to Use a DNF to Your and Other’s Benefit – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

Mrs. Taylor Lewis, aka HFT and one of Coach Slayer‘s (Dr. Harvey Gayer) long term athletes, is an Ironman already. She’s run ultra marathons. More importantly, she’s a great mother with three children, wife, and works full time as a registered nurse. Taylor values balance and we all know how hard that can be to find in endurance sports.

Taylor knows how to grit out the hardest workouts in the worst of conditions living in the Florida Panhandle. Unfortunately, the race selection of and build for Ironman (IM) Boulder were plagued with some challenges. However, she had a good swim, smashed the bike, and did not finish (DNF) by fainting just past 12 miles into the marathon run. Medical personnel ended her day as she struggle to regain her sensibilities. This led to some valuable introspection that we thought would be useful for others.

List of HFT’s 15 Takeaways from her IM DNF

What follows is a list of what she learned from her DNF. Taylor was kind of enough to allow us to share her thoughts:

I am very fortunate in so many ways. I have a great support system. I strive to have a positive attitude even when the chips are down. Even though it hurt to not finish the race, I choose to view it as a win in the process of my athletic development. There are so many take-aways from this race. I learned so much about IM and about myself.

  1. I still love IM.  There is no doubt that I want to do another. I’ve had a very hard time finding motivation for this. I was sick to death of 3:30am wake-ups, always being tired, and feeling bad about myself when I didn’t complete a workout.  I started this race with the fear that this might be my last IM.  But it’s not.  I love this lifestyle, the good, the bad, and the ugly.  There will be more IMs and that idea thrills me.
  2. I will never again underestimate an IM swim. I got through this swim, but it was a miserable experience. I don’t want to feel that way again.  I realize part of this had to do with location. I think the same swim at sea-level and I would’ve been okay.  But I also wonder if I had done more swim training if I would’ve been better prepared.
  3. I fell in love with cycling again. Riding indoors all the time is mind-numbingly boring, but it’s safe and it’s convenient.  After seeing that accident where one of my fellow competitors died, I don’t have any desire to ride outside. That could’ve been anyone. My understanding is that the rider swerved into the car lane, but if I had been 10 minutes ahead of where I was, I could’ve been involved. That scares me. Also, indoor training prepared me very well for this course. There was approx. 4400 feet of climbing on this course and I feel like I handled this was confidence and grace. Indoor riding is what’s best for me.
  4. The mental game is as tough as the physical aspect of a race. I almost psyched myself out about the bike course before the race even started. I didn’t trust in my training as I should have and the truth is, Coach Slayer had done his job and I was well prepared for this bike course. Trust in your training.
  5. Don’t underestimate the effects of altitude.  Enough said.
  6. Don’t underestimate ‘dry heat’ and lack of humidity. I didn’t hydrate enough in the weeks leading up to this race and during the race. I also underestimated what it would feel like being a mile closer to the sun.
  7. Always face IM one piece at a time. It’s overwhelming to think about the entire distance. Buoy to buoy. Aid station to aid station. It’s not impossible. How do you eat an elephant?
  8. I should’ve spent more time practicing nutrition. I didn’t do well with keeping up with water, electrolytes, and nutrition and I couldn’t remember when I had taken what last.
  9. Lose weight. This would be easier if I were 10+ # lighter! Duh!
  10. People care about me and support me and I don’t always recognize that. This event brought a lot of that to my attention and I’m grateful for all of them.
  11. Sunscreen is my friend. The arm coolers saved me, but my hands were so sunburned. So were two small spots on each side of my back between the tri top and the edge of the arm coolers.  My lips were sunburned too.
  12. This course is one of the best I’ve ever raced on at any distance. This was hands-down the best marked course I’ve ever seen. The volunteers were all incredible.  And the course was breathtakingly beautiful.
  13. My coach and team are phenomenal. I am blessed to have Coach Slayer as a coach and to be part of this incredible group of people. I know I’ve been difficult to coach for this, but he’s hung with me and supported me throughout it all.
  14. My husband makes a great Sherpa.
  15. IM is not a family event. It’s a selfish athlete event that my family goes to. I find that it’s difficult to make an IM trip a true family vacation. I’m stressed already about the race and then worrying about making sure they have a great vacation adds another layer of stress that isn’t fun for anyone. I don’t know that I’ll drag my kids and mom and sister to another one. Family support cannot be taken for granted and that support happens throughout the IM journey. From the first time that IM crosses my mind, I have to have buy-in from those who are going to be most impacted. IM is a very long day for spectators and it’s just not a place for kids to hang out. Once they’ve seen me race it’s not so much fun for them to watch over and over again. They were there when I did IMFL in 2014. They’ve seen the finish line and they understand what it is about. They don’t need to keep doing it. I’ve already talked to my husband and kids about IMFL in 2017 and they are behind me all the way. But the kids won’t be there for all of that one. Maybe for the finish line, maybe not. They cheer for me in training sessions and all the time already.

Conclusion

As I finish writing this on Thursday morning following the race I’ve had a lot of time to reflect.  I watched the IM Boulder race video recap that Ironman makes for all the races and I felt sad watching people cross the finish line. I really wish I had been able to do that. But that has been the only time I felt bad about what happened. I have NEVER pushed myself to that point before and I know that I gave everything I had to give in this race.

Swelling in my hands and feet is going down and sunburns are fading. I am ready to go again! Thanks for reading.

TriCoach Slayer Update: 666 State of the Slay Pre-Kona – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

Everyone including me is so tied up with so many things and people in their world, I’d like to say welcome back to mine! As a professional listener in my coaching and licensed psychologist positions, I rarely get to talk about me and there have been some real golden nuggets.

As I am wanting to do, here is a quick little update of where I am in the Kona build. I can’t wait to do my job with my dedicated wife and inner circle as sherpas on race day 10/8/16 on the Big Island. Moreover, I get to race with my close friend and hero, professional triathlete Melissa Hauschildt aka The Haus/House, my loyal friend, fellow coach, and athlete Wes Hargrove aka Taz, and other friends like Dynamo‘s Thomas Odom.

Best Sponsors and Affiliates Deserve Shout Outs on the Big Island

Given how well they have treated me and the team, I long to represent and pay back in small way the team’s fantastic sponsors and affiliates. These include GO Race ProductionsTifosi OpticsSpecialized BicyclesGeorgia CyclesportORR Cycling Carbon Wheel SystemsFusion Sports USFleet Feet Sports AthensROKA SportsRunning WarehouseGeneration UCANBASE PerformanceInfinit NutritnNuun HydrationSBR Sports, Inc.

Not Been An Easy Year

Before I start, I should say that my buddy, athlete, and fellow TCGA Coach Seth Waltman aka TaxSlayer told me after I qualified last October that all I had was one job for the next year, “Stay healthy!”. That turned (turns?) out to be a lot harder than I expected.

Blood Clots are a Bitch

In addition to your garden variety of muscle strains an ironman in training gets, I survived the second bout of blood clots or (deep vein thrombosis) DVT’s after the Boston Marathon in April. Dehydration and the trauma from the Armadillo bike wreck last year seem to be at the root. Because of the risk of further clots killing me, I am on anti-coagulants for life so, although I can swim and run outside, I only get to ride outside on a rare race day (the Vascular Surgeon said no more than 2-3x a year for Triathlon due to the risks). That was a huge scare but we adapted when the news came back that I could, in fact, race!

The Hematologist had previously said that, like Chris Bosh in basketball with recurring clots, “the game is over Dr. Gayer” which left us devastated until we went through the full process of all the appointments and the Vascular Surgeon gave me the option to race a couple times a year (off the meds for 24 hours).

An interesting fact is that the Vascular Surgeon told me the travel to and from the race is actually more risky than the race itself as my blood is more dynamic while moving and clotting happens when you are immobile and dehydrated.

Weight Loss Remains an Issue

As I collected my Kona slot on the Ironman Maryland podium as 2nd in the 45-49 age group (AG), the guy in front me who came 1st AG, Edward Walker who had qualified 13 times thus far and making this year his 7th time racing on the Big Island, told me it was a amazing but tough race and would separate the men from the boys. I asked him what he meant.

Paraphrasing what he said, “those age groupers that draft can’t get away with it due to the course, conditions, and closer umpiring. He also cited one other major factor that shakes the age group out, size of the person. In a matter of fact way, and ignoring that I was 6’4″ and just under 200lbs., he said the bigger guys melt. This is nothing new to me and I am not trying to win or place. I just want to finish strong, enjoy the event and our first trip to Hawaii, and hopefully not suck/do my best/race steady.

The Plan

So with 66 days now until my first and perhaps only Kona Ironman World Championship, it’s time to bring the scale down for real (and bring the training up a notch). I weigh 199 today. I want to race this one below 190 and closer to 180 than 190.

Having said that, I have never been down that low so I will take what I can get. I know how to fuel to train instead of train to eat, make smart decisions, and show commitment. For August, I need to run 40-50 miles per week, swim 3x per week with one longer swim, and bike 250-300 miles per week minimum.

That’s Not All Folks

And I need to be a better husband, Dad, and professional and coach. I can’t let any of the balls that I am juggling fall. This will require significant dedication and support. I’ve got it in spades. Thank you all!

Deep Appreciation

As I will be there for you during this time period and hopefully have been in the past, I hope you will be there for me and help to hold me accountable. I plan to lean out, stay healthy as possible, and wreck myself until the taper in 52 days around 9/25. Whatever you are pursuing, I hope you have the passion I have for this life of ours and the people close to me. I believe in us. WE WILL DO THIS. Thanks for following along!!!

9Lives’s Ironman Raleigh 70.3 Race Report – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

Many of you know our loyal and dedicated athlete #9Lives aka Richard Nasser and you know how difficult Ironman Raleigh 70.3 can be. It is known as one of the tougher swims for the distance and the heat and humidity has been known to crush many a triathlete’s dreams.

Tough Winter/Spring

Coming off a difficult Winter with another bike wreck that was both physically and mentally challenging and limited training, #9Lives had to do quite a bit of traveling for business and leisure in the Spring. Nevertheless, he had a tremendous short ramp up despite some foot issues that emerged.

Results Speak Louder than Words

#9Lives performed admirably in spite of many obstacles on the day as well. In fact, it was just a sublime race and we are punishing his race report because we believe it would convey too much to the reader about how triathlon is more than just a physical sport. Coach Slayer often says that endurance sports are 90% mental and 50% physical. Well this race result was a great example.

Coach Slayer and #9Lives plotted the course. #9Lives than executed a brilliant race on a day described by a well known local triathlete as “Cambodian jungle conditions.” The heat and humiditiy were overpowering, the morning of the race was nerve racking, and the result was even more rewarding for what had to be overcome. Here follows the unedited #9Lives’ race report for Ironman Raleigh 70.3:

General Info:

Division
25-29
Age
29

Race Summary:

Swim
00:45:12
Bike
02:35:24
Run
01:47:28
Overall
05:14:35

Pre-Race:

I did not want to do this race. I wasn’t in good swim shape and injuries and travel have thrown off my training year. No one I knew was there, it was going to be 90 degrees, and there were two transitions 40 miles apart.

Raleigh was a cool college and young professional types city, and upon conversing with several, locals I realized it’s a very nerdy place, which I love. We got there and it was 94 degrees, and very humid. We checked into hotel at about 6:30 PM and I planned to go out for a 2 mile jog, but needed more and to see what my race pace felt like in this heat and what heart rate it produced. Looked like about 7:30 would be a 162 HR and that I would need to be a little slower than that so that I wouldn’t have to suffer and walk like I did in Miami. Then we went out to dinner had a couple drinks and explored the city. Fun night! The next morning we walked 1.4 miles in the heat and it was miserable. My anxiety started to build, but then I thought to myself “if it’s hurting me it’s killing zem” quote from Sebastian Kienle. Ali had all the things we needed, maps and plans and things like she does.

Today she wasn’t ready to deal with my child like disregard for organization, so fortunately AWA treated us amazing, we skipped the lines, got a cool cap, I felt like an OG walking into the hood. Plus I had a tan, hot blonde walking around with S-Works Shiv Di2 with 808’s and 404’s. Sex. I remember my first expo in New Orleans with my road bike with aero bars, and I knew that clicking sound the carbon wheels make just gave me goosebumps. I met Jason from Orr Wheels at expo which was cool because I wanted his full back disk for my bike, and we were Facebook friends, but hadn’t met in real life. Ali pulled out the “things to get at expo” list and we picked up a few things and headed to drive up to transition to check my bike. I observed the roads all looks very nice and smooth, and not too many potholes, looked like it could be a fun ride.

The T1 area was like a camp sight full of expensive bikes, colorful garments, and stress. I got on my bike to spin my legs out a little from the run of the previous night. Ali carried my bag and the lists were good. It felt like a good fit and the Rudy Project helmet felt fast, because my other helmet shows my ears and I know I’m not aero if I can hear the wind draft. Plus it looked fucking badass. I unclip. Am ready to set up bike. Head to T2 and get ready for the race the next day. I felt my seat tilted forward a little bit, which it does sometimes if the screw is too loose, and I was horrified to see a completely severed piece of my saddle, that meant that the saddle was gone, and it also had my hydration strategy, the double bottle wing in the back.

We checked the bike in and called the bike store. We had to stop by to pick up a bladder because the one I had was from the previous owner on eBay, and probably should have been quarantined weeks ago, I typically only drink from bottles while training. None of their locations had a tri specific saddle, and it was 4:30 on saturday, all the bike shops closed at 5:00 and we still hadn’t eaten since breakfast.Needless to say I was a wreck, luckily Ali told me “stop being a little bitch, we will figure it out – call Wei, call Slayer, call Ironman, we will find a saddle.” Slayer had a back up, and I found a triathlon store 20 minutes away that closed at 6:00, and it was by Panera Bread which was an extra bonus because that is Ali’s favorite. I got a similar ISM because luckily the guy had my same bike, so I had good advice, and he told me it would fit the wing too. Now it was too late to go to T2 so we had to set it up now by between 4:00-5:15am, joy my wave was at 8:12. We drove back to hotel went and had dinner and went to bed at 9:30.

Race Day:

I slept ok, only woke up 2-3 times, which is good for me. Got up around 4:30, rushed to get stuff together and find T2. We pulled the truck out of the parking deck, and Apple maps took us nowhere fast, it was 5:13 and T2 was nowhere to be found, then we had to figure out a back up plan. Ali said she would just throw the bag over worst case, but we found it and made it in. But hold let me rewind 30 minutes. I woke up and said, “fuck this race, I’m not in shape, I don’t know anyone, my bike is broken, and I’m 20 pounds over where I raced in Miami that had wind and I walked.”

Ali was like whatever do what you want to do, but we gotta get your bike. So I eventually calmed down, but was not in a happy morning smile mood. I hated everyone in T2 laughing and smiling and shit, fuck them, “I hate triathlon.” We find a gas station somehow in the hood, and people were still up from partying the night before, I picked up my gatorade and cliff bar for the race, and headed back out to the car. There was a freaking crackhead touching and pretending to wash the windshield with with a piece of newspaper or some other bullshit, I don’t like when Ali drives, she’s in the driver’s seat after I told the crackhead to get the fuck away from my car and he looked and me and didn’t say another word and we drove off. I was ready to go out and just get it done, I’m not going to let down Slayer and TriCoachGeorgia and TriAugusta and ATC and ITL and everyone in the fucking triathlon world. So I went in, got my bike fixed, set up everything and left transition the last guy out.

I go back to find Ali, tell her that for her Ironman I can go into the transition since I’m a coach. Then I smiled. I’m slowly chipping away at her mentally to get into the sport and she is getting there, but she is super organized whereas, I am like a cannon of confetti mixed with gun powder fired into the Grand Canyon, I just kinda go, and go hard. I get to the swim start to chill and mentally get ready for this race. My bike is ready, time to do my job, and be the best I could be that day, I forgot my heart rate monitor which I rely on, but that was good in the end, but I could go by power and pace, and I was ready to just suffer through this swim, and get to the bike. I go to grab my….goggles. I left two pair in the hotel room. Shit! Emergency, fuck this I quit. Ali told me to find Wei then Wei pointed me in directions I can’t find a tent, I’m getting Facebook notifications, and I am freaking out, I am in line for the port-a-potty. All of the sudden Ali walks back up to me with a pair of old goggles. Miraculously Ali just walked towards swim start and woman had found them and asked if anyone was in need of extra goggles. It was on. Ali saved the day.

Swim:

45:12- 2:20 per 100 m

Swim I just tried to stay relaxed and not work too hard as I have swam less than 10,000 yards this year. I swam over distance on the friday before the race so I knew I could complete the distance. I used this as training, and I would actually call this my most comfortable swim yet. Most 70.3’s I am 30-40% breast stroke, but this one I was able to stay calm, sight, and freestyle 90% of the time. I was hitting age groupers who were stopped, zig zagging, or panicking. The first 300 yards I drafted off some feet in front of me until I realized that he was zig zagging, so I passed him and went off on my own. I felt my time should have been faster, but the water got extremely choppy, which didn’t hurt my breathing, I am just not as muscularly strong in the upper body as I have been before. I got to T1 at 45, which was about 10 min slower than I expected considering I relaxed and breast stroked and stopped in Miami for a 40 min swim.

T1:

2:54

I rushed to my bike, caught my breath a little, popped a caffeine pill and ran with shoes on to slowly clip into bike. Transitions will be a good thing for me to work on this year especially mounting and dismounting.

Bike:

2:35:24- 21.62 mph

I felt pretty good at the beginning, but made sure I held back especially at the beginning. I started to have mini races with a few people, but would end up passing them and taking off after a few miles. I felt very strong on the bike. My nutrition was a water and gatorade at each station, a clif bar, and the initial 2 gatorades I began with. I was crushing people on hills more than I have ever experienced, I was effective at using momentum, rpm control, and limiting redlines, to take advantage of a course where bike handling skills helped. Max speed was 44 mph, and I mentally just blocked out the fear. In my head I was thinking “If i crash, it’ll just hurt, but not giving my best hurts worse.” So I tucked into aero and pushed watts down hill. I watched power meter for redlines, but not as good at using it for consistent effort, which is something I will work on, since number wise I should have gone 10% faster. I get to the end of the bike and legs are a little tired, but I played it right and knew I could run. My main goal here was to have a well done run split no matter what the speed. I had been traveling, 20 pounds heavy, achilles problems and fear of a broken foot, so I made sure I set myself up for a successful of a run as I could. I saw a guy from ATC at about mile 53 and passed him screaming “Go ATC, you better catch my ass on the run!” I saw he was in my age group and I was pumped to get off the bike.

T2

3:37

This was confusing as I wasn’t too familiar with rack spot and this was a long transition. I started running in my shoes, then stopped to take them off and continued running with shoes, helmet, and bike. I didn’t want to get my HR up too high during this because my goal was the last 2-3 miles of the run to be fastest, so because of a caution for that I took it a little easier.

Run:

1:47:28- 8:12 a mile

I decided to go first mile by just pure feel. It was about 7:31 or so, so I tried to maintain this effort, even though I knew because of hills, and the 94 degree heat with no shade that pace would go down at higher effort. I was 20lbs over race weight so I got hot really fast. Every aid station I would soak myself with water, grab a gatorade, and put ice in my crotch to cool the jewels, but this got excruciatingly hot. I was looking for Ali at mile 2, but she wasn’t there, which my mind began to freak out a little, but I retook control. I remember Slayer saying, “your problem with ironman is that you get bored and let your mind wander,” so instead of freaking I thought “just run, it doesn’t matter if it’s 11 min/mile, just run, one foot in front of the other.” I see Ali at end of the first loop, and was pumped, but dreaded the second loop because it was hotter, and people were in more pain. It is much harder to run when every single person around you is walking.

There was one point when I was the only person running on the 1.7 mile hill; everyone was doing the death march. I hit mile 10 and things got very painful, the heat was overtaking me, and I was ready to quit. I couldn’t do it though, it was this late in the game and I wasn’t going to let myself or Slayer down. The ATC kid did pass me at mile 3-4, but I could see him. I saw the bright colors, and just tried to keep his pace or faster. He was racing another guy in our age group. Mile 12 I went for the pass and got it. The other guy & the ATC kid was racing was still ahead, so it was me vs him now. The last mile I was on his tail, but I was probably close to max heart rate: everything hurt, and I was seeing stars, but I wasn’t about to give up that pass. The last mile was the fastest mile, and I sprinted through the finish 17th in age group, finding out later that my bike and run were faster than 16th place guy I was racing at the end, he just got me by 8 min on the swim.

Yes there were a lot of challenges and this wasn’t my fastest time but I was happy regardless. I gave it my all and overcame the negative voices in my head and had some negative splits on both the bike and run. Now I can get back to working hard for the late season races. Thanks for reading along.

SBR SPORTS Welcomed as Proud New Sponsor of TriCoachGeorgia

INTRO

As triathletes we focus on the primary, tangible pieces of equipment we need to perform at our best. Things like our bikes, shoes, helmets, and other apparel. And then there’s SBR Sports This company put its primary focus on many of the intangibles we don’t always think about, but are very important in making your training and racing a success. Which is why TriCoachGeorgia reached out to SBR Sports.

TRISWIM

Separate shampoo, conditioner, body wash, and lotion.  Unlike our resident TCGa Coaches Slayer, BAMF, and TaxSlayer, those of you still donning a quaff on your lid will love the shampoo and conditioner.  Great for shampooing after your pool swims to remove chlorine and chlorine odor, hydrates, and moisturizes.


SBR Sports TRISWIM Product link

TRISLIDE

Hands down one of the best products on the market for not only getting into that tight fitting, difficult wetsuit, but also prevents chafing and blisters.  It’s safe on all fabric types.  Do yourself a favor and always keep a bottle of it in your transition bag.  But be warned!!!!  Your tri-friends will all want to borrow it.


SBR Sports TRISLIDE Product link

FOGGIES

No one likes putting on their swim googles right before a race start and have them fog up on you.  Avoid this issue with Foggies.  These wipes are fantastic.  Individually packaged, defogs, cleans, and you can even reuse them several time if you keep in an air tight pack.


SBR Sports FOGGIES Product link

DERMASPORT

Swimming, Biking, and Running puts a lot of stress on our skin. Dermasport is a 4-step daily skin care product designed to help protect your skin from environmental damages. Helps to strengthen, rejuvenate, and restore balance.


SBR Sports DERMASPORT Product link

SKIN SLICK

As much as TCGa Reapers spend sitting on their bikes, this product will come in handy.  A continuous skin spray lubricate that help reduce chaffing, blistering, is sweat proof, and save for all fabrics including bike short chamois. Also doubles as a lubricant for wetsuits.


SBR Sports SKIN SLICK Product link

CONCLUSION

The entire crew here at TriCoachGeorgia is very excited to be associated with SBR Sports. We hope our connection with them will encourage others to check out all of the products they offer. SBR Sports offers all TCGa athletes & team members a 30% discount on the range of SBR products.

Race Plan 101 – 5 Tips by Coach Longman – TriCoachGeorgia

About three weeks ago many of us competed in Ironman 70.3 Chattanooga, and it was a very special day. No, I did not qualify for 70.3 Worlds or set a new personal record. Instead, I met my “big race goal” for the event: to compete with a positive attitude and genuine happiness. I even surpassed my “tiny goals”: avoid re-injury of my rotator cuff and peroneus brevis, pace by heart rate, and finish with a huge smile.

As you can tell from above, I am a goal-oriented and detail-driven person; like most triathletes I have met. It is easier to feel a sense of control and accomplishment if we will just take the time to create and use a race plan. Below are some simple guidelines to use. If you would like more detail reach out to me, Coach Long Man, at longman@tricoachgeorgia.com.

Top 5 Race Planning Tips for Triathletes

  1. Set a “big race goal” well in advance; some examples: just to finish, set a personal record, qualify for a championship, to be able to smile for the finish line fans, et cetera. When setting this goal, know your limitations, level of training / fitness, and likely race conditions. Reach high but be realistic!
  2. Two weeks out from the race use the big goal to set specific “tiny goals” for reference during the event. Examples for a long course race might include: swim comfortably within the pack or don’t ever stop swimming, nail 75% of FTP wattage or negative split the bike leg, run at 135 bpm or just walk the sag stops, verbally encourage other racers on the course, hydrate every 15 minutes or eat every 30 minutes, et cetera.
  3. If this is an “A” race also write down a script for the entire event weekend including food you will eat, an equipment checklist, a time table for where to be & when, et cetera. Anything you can do to remove pre-race stress is a good thing!
  4. Share your plan with your coach or a trusted mentor who can provide feedback. They will help you avoid common mistakes like trying a new nutrition protocol on race day or setting too aggressive a target pace for the bike or run.
  5. And of course the golden rule, everything can & will change on race day. Have a mental plan A & B for each leg; especially when doing long course racing.

 

The Hurricane Hits the Mountains of Misery: Find Your Spirit – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

TriCoachGeorgia has athletes at all levels. One of our originals was the first to go to Ironman Kona in 2013, and went back a second time in 2015 after winning her age group at Ironman Chattanooga in 2014.

Hurricane Sandee Daust is an elite age grouper that has been involved in the sport of triathlon for nearly 10 years. She’s accomplished all of her competitive triathlon goals which includes qualification and competing in several Ironman including the 140.6 and 70.3 World Championships.

Where Next?

At the end of her 2015 season and while relaxing in the Hawaiian breezes contemplating her recent Kona finish, Hurricane decided to make a change in her endurance sports goals. She decided to get off the hamster wheel and follow her heart on all training and racing decisions. She found a new challenge and her coaches sponsored her effort. She just completed the Mountains of Misery century ride in Newport, VA and here is what she had to say about it.

Hurricane Sandee Hits MoM

“I have met many of my bucket list goals in triathlon with the pinnacle being trips to Kona in 2013 and 2015 so I decided that 2016 was going to be the year to “Do Epic Shit”.  I like to do different events; the tougher the better. I thrive on a challenge and earlier this year I completed my first 50 mile trail race when I found the Mountains of Misery century ride. 

As I considered the event I said to myself, “I’m glad I thrive on challenge because this ride could be the challenge of my life.” My personal life has seen some drastic changes and my training hours are extremely limited so the decision to do this ride was made knowing I was going to have to draw on my huge endurance base to make it to the finish.

And so I chose Mountains of Misery. I anticipated it to be ‘Hell on Wheels’ and it fully lived up to my expectations. The first major climb left my undertrained legs aching. But walk up Johns Creek, Maggie Side, I DID NOT!. My body is my slave……mind over matter.  At points the grade was 15% with an overall average grade of 8%.

Yes, there were some nice descents and I’ve never free pedaled more in my life to recover for the last 40 miles to come. Lots of rolling hills and false flats had me wondering how I was going to finish the last climb. Four miles to go it was REAL.  Each mile was marked on the pavement to count down my sadistic pleasure. Four miles of 12-16% grade winding up Mountain Lake. When my whole body was quivering I stopped to gather myself. 

Hurricanes don’t walk!! We blow through obstacles, NO QUIT allowed. I was going to finish in a way I can be proud and represent. I’ve never endured that kind of pain before. I was physically and emotionally wrecked and made whole peaking that last climb and the finish line was filled with my tears as I  cried at the top. When thinking back to my 2016 plan I wasn’t sure what exactly was in store. Mountains of Misery and the physical and mental/emotional demands is what makes it “Epic Shit”.”

Conclusion

Sometimes it is best to step back and take on different and exciting challenges. Your endurance career can ebb and flow. Ultimately, you have one life to live and we want you to have the best life you can choose.

Finally, it should be noted that not only did she podium a Masters 10k the day before, Hurricane Sandee completed the Mountains of Misery century ride on her triathlon bike and the coaches of TriCoachGeorgia say this is also Epic Shit. Take a page from her book and find your spirit.

The Results Just Kept Coming – TriCoachGeorgia

Run for the Reapers: TriCoachGeorgia May 2016 Update

As the calendar turned from April to May, the athletes of TriCoachGeorgia and TriKidsGeorgia started to turn their sights to several races across the Southeast. And their momentum grew proportionally to their strong performances.

The month kicked off with the Go Race Productions weekend series at Tall Pines. The weekend consists of an Olympic distance race on Saturday and a Sprint distance race on Sunday. The Reapers were well represented on Saturday as CJ O’Mara, Ingo McLean, Candace Kimbrell, Chris Cosby, Troy Garland, Will Boling, Amy Del Guercio and BJ Danson all competed. Many of them saw the podium after putting up stellar performances.

On Sunday, many of the youth team came to race individually or in a relay.  Jack Hayes, Harry Duncan, Jack Stansell, Ben Waltman, Keaton Tsepas, Ellie Gayer, Amy Gayer and Addie Hayes all raced hard and enjoyed having teammates to compete with and against. The Reapers Relay team of Simon Casey, Isaac Hayes and Jake Gayer came prepared to win the relay division against teams made up of adults. The preparation they made lead to a win in the relay division. The adults were represented by Seth Waltman, Becky Waltman, Julie Gayer, Chris Cosby, Candace Kimbrell, Chef Hav Usry (TV star on the Food Network) in his first race for the team, Richard Nasser, Jon Lunn, new team member Amy Del Guercio, and Amy Peavy Smith. TCGa was well represented on the podiums on Sunday.

While some of the reapers were racing at Tall Pines, other team members were completing their final preparations for Ironman Chattanooga 70.3. Team members started to arrive on Thursday. More members arrived on Friday and spent the evening together at Chattanooga Brewing Company. A great time was had by all on Friday and it will be a night many will not forget anytime soon. The final team members arrived on Saturday for the Sunday race.

During the awards ceremony, TriCoachGeorgia was announced as the first place winner of division 4 of the Ironman Triclub points series. TCGa had over 50 team members racing, being a volunteer, Sherpa or spectator cheering everyone on as they competed. Too many members raced to discuss each person’s race, but there were several outstanding races.

Dani Jordan, in her first half ironman with TCGa, competed and set a 20 minute personal best at the distance. Dr. Dick Thompson, aka Terminator, took home a fifth place finish. He received a spot in the 70.3 World Championships in Australia too. Finally, our new friend of the team Sebastian Kienle won the overall race and as he entered the finishers shoot did the Slayer hand gesture that the team is known for.

While Chattanooga was a one day race, Chad and Candace Kimbrell drove from Augusta, GA to Ohio to compete in the epic and iconic American Triple T triathlon. This race consists of a sprint distance race on Friday, 2 Olympic distance races on Saturday and a half ironman race on Sunday. Each racer gets points for each race and after the final race, awards are given for overall performances in the series. With her stellar performances, Candace placed second overall for the women. Chad raced hard and received many compliments for competing in the races with his single chain ring set up on his Shiv.

At the inaugural Mountains to Mainstreet Triathlon and Festival in Greenville, SC Chris Keysor, Dr. Brad Shephard, Paul McGinty, Anna Vukin and Dr. Peter Schriver competed in this new half ironman race. The race consisted of a 1.2 mile wetsuit legal swim, a challenging 56 mile bike and a 13.1 mile run that finished in downtown Greenville. TCGa Coach LW aka Lauren White, supported the athletes and commented that everyone had a great day. Stellar results for the Gator, Chris Keysor, who impressed George Hincapie on the course. George singled him out on the bike course.

In Knoxville, TN at the Knoxville Rev 3 Half Iron distance race, TCGa’s own Joan Jett aka Carrie Giordano, competed on this very challenging course. Prior to the race, Carrie commented on how hard the bike course was going to be with all of the hills and elevation changes. While the course was challenging, Jett did her job and finished second in her age group.

Finally, several members of the kids’ team raced in AAA Super Sprint and Youth Dash and Super Dash in Claremont, Florida. Simon Casey took second place overall in the male non draft legal race against competitors that were significantly older than him. In the 11-12 female division in the youth race, Emma and Jenna Champer  took the top 2 spots on the podium. Other team members competing and having great races over the weekend were Carter Fowler, Caiden Fowler, and Mya Champer. All the kids raced hard, had smiles on their faces, cheered for each other and enjoyed an after race meal together.

May has been a very busy month and the June will not slow down for the reapers. The next race for many of the team members is the Go Race Productions, Trybee Sprint Triathlon. The youth team starts swim meets in the month of June, the 3rd Annual Choobs camp in Chattanooga and the month ends with another weekend series of races at the Go Race Series Hartwell YMCA Olympic and Sprint triathlons.

Get in touch if you want to join the team that slays for team membership, coaching, training camps or just camaraderie! They would love to have you join the fun and #DoYourJob so you can #ReapWhatYouSow.

Coach Slayer’s Top Tips for Preventing and Dealing with Injury and or Soreness – TriCoachGeorgia

By Coach Slayer

Introduction

It’s often said that Ironman training will exploit your weaknesses. The same is true, to some degree, for most triathlon distances. As humans, we are all vulnerable and triathlon finds the weak physical and psychological spots.

To maximize your true potential, you must avoid going on the disabled list. We are all seemingly just one workout away from a potential season-threatening injury. To prevent this from occurring, you need to utilize both physical and psychological tactics, such as self-monitoring and getting accurate feedback. How can you do this?

Tips for Preventing Triathlon Training Problems

  • Start by following your coaching orders or training plans and don’t race your race in practice
  • Don’t train based on what your friends are doing
  • Ease up when you feel “niggles” in your muscles
  • Use rest, compression, elevation (and ice sparingly) method post-training, strength training, dynamic stretching prior to sessions and lightly stretching post sessions
  • Wear the appropriate gear while training
  • Take good recovery between key sessions
  • Run on soft surfaces
  • Don’t train or race when in pain
  • Don’t add too much training too soon

While these are good guidelines, there are some injuries that you can’t prevent. As a result, we have to do our best to manage or treat them.

Dealing with Problems

First, that means accepting there is a legitimate problem and not pressing on, making matters worse.  Much like the grieving process written about by Kubler-Ross, there are stages you will circle in and out of as you come to terms with the change in your capabilities and the uncertainty of when you will be back to speed. These include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. You don’t go through these stages in a lock step process as was once hypothesized.

Second, you must get a trusted professional opinion and be committed to follow that advice. Experts in these areas include a nutritionist, physical therapist, orthopedist, chiropractor, acupuncturist, sports medicine MD, a psychologist and psychiatrist. People snicker when I say those last two, but we all have issues and these issues have an impact on our behavior, thoughts and feelings, which all, in turn, impact our training.

The Role of Sports Psychology

Sports psychology is a matter that doesn’t get nearly enough attention. As it pertains to injuries, there is particular utility to triathlon. For example, if we view triathlon goals as more of a “destination” vs. a “journey”, we will deal with a lot of frustration during times when our bodies are letting us down. The goal destination (e.g. sub 6-hour HIM) is harder to cope with when you can’t reach it. Therefore, we try to advise more of a journey or process vs outcome orientation where we are constantly learning, keeping a realistic perspective, and modifying in order to achieve what is realistic at the time given the conditions.

Your best point to judge your performance is not always when you finish the race and look at the clock or results online but as you progress through the day of the race. Using some rational, as opposed to emotional, thought, and getting some good objective feedback will be key if you are dealing with injury.

Your thought process should be scrutinized to ensure you’re not allowing your competitive urges to drive the train and comparing yourself unfairly to others.  When you realize that you are embracing pain that will actually be detrimental for your training and racing in the long run, you are showing a personal weakness that is actually helpful/telling in injury prevention. We also need to make sure we are not forgetting that health and strength are key, as opposed to looks or holding onto an ideal of looking skinny to our detriment and creating eating disorders.

Conclusions

All told, we need to examine all aspects of ourselves on a regular basis to prevent and manage injuries and avoid needless stress and frustration. We can contribute to our best performances by making rational and clear choices, retaining perspective, and preventing and managing injury properly. This may mean utilizing a variety of resources and changing the way we think, which can change the way we feel and act. Learn to redirect your energy to other healthy avenues.

As Santayana wrote (in The Life of Reason, 1905): “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it” (suffering along the way!). Try to be a wise person as you #DoYourJob. Contact us if you have any questions about whether you should step back or plow forward and consider a coach from TriCoachGeorgia as a great sounding board in these dilemmas.

Virgin Olympic Distance Triathlon Voyage: S’later Takes St. Anthony’s Tri – TriCoachGeorgia

Introduction

TriCoachGeorgia is quite a diverse group. People of all backgrounds populate the team. There are also people of different shapes and sizes. Many think that the team is one of giants; however, there are many smaller sized athletes as well. No matter the background, shape, size, or color, the athletes share one thing in common. They just won’t quit! Indeed, #NoQuit has become a popular hashtag for them.

S’later for See Ya Later!

One of the team’s hardest working athletes is Missy Dobbins Hatchett aka S’later. She also goes by MissFitness, as she is a certified personal trainer in Northeast Georgia. She and her husband Tommy headed down to St. Petersburg, Florida for the iconic and stacked St. Anthony’s Triathlon. Not only was this her first Olympic distance triathlon, it was her first open water race as well. We thought her race report would give you a little insight the mindset of a successful first timer.  Here is her report in her words:

St. Anthony’s Apr. 24, 2016

“Never say Never…and overcoming many fears would be a good theme. A few years ago when asked if I “do triathlons” my immediate response was “No. Never. I don’t want to swim in icky waters with people kicking me in the face”.

Well…there you have it. A runner of many races in my “comfort zone”, I finally stepped outside and did it. And I must say, the results were not too bad for my first attempt. This was my first olympic distance triathlon race and my first open water ocean swim. It was also my first time on a bike for racing purposes.

I had prepared diligently for the event. I swam, bike, and ran more than I ever thought possible. Above and beyond triathlon training, I took good care of my body. I stayed true to regular Myofascial Release weekly and Chiropractic adjustments/muscle work/stretching (Thank you Todd & Dr. Kevin). As regards to the training plan, I never strayed unless I insisted on some extra rowing or plyometrics. (He might not admit it but Coach Slayer hates it!)

Pre-Race

On the days leading up to the event, what helped most was having a solid support system. My husband was with me and participating. He has been the biggest support through all of this.  My close friend Noelle whom I started running with 16 years ago (she’s now an USAT All American and 4-time Ironman) was by my side up until the gun. My coach was there to chat the night before the race. I should note that I also got a practice swim the day before with my crew which calmed also my nerves and set aside some fears I had.

As the morning started, I was nervous and anxiety ridden just like any other race. I had to take multiple pre-race trips to the potty, but I was brave and lined up, ready to go. I thought of all my training and support.

Race Starts!

The swim went surprisingly well and the water was calm. I made my way around the buoys and easily transitioned to the bike. I was prepared for the bike but took it down a notch due to the heat/sun and my own newness at the distance. Coach was there to help shout at me on the early stage of the run and reminded me to pace myself and gave me a pat on the back, which was awesome. I ran strong with some of my best 10k pacing ever.

As I came through the finish line, I took time to quickly review my race. I reflected that I was indeed prepared. I was so prepared that I enjoyed the entire event, even some minor noob foul ups. I even smiled the whole way. I was gracious, and I thanked the cops, volunteers, and spectators. I was humble and felt blessed every step of the way.

I also want to note that four years ago, I almost lost my foot. I fought and after 3 surgeries, 2 grafts, 3 months of hyperbaric chambers and a year in a boot, I vowed to never give up, fight back and not slow down. I don’t forget that and say the Shechechiyanu (a Jewish prayer thanking G-D) every transition to keep me grounded.

Finished Strong

So, it ended. I finished smiling, happy and proud. Throughout the entire event, I felt pretty darn good. I budgeted my energy sources well and stuck to the plan. I did not let anxiety overcome me. I challenged myself yet also listened to my body & my coach. My friends, family and team were shouting me out online and in person. But, of course, I was wondering how I placed like everyone does.

It turned out that I was minutes away from 1st place in The Novice Division that I transferred out of at the last minute to race as a regular age grouper. But, I didn’t need an award that day. I was victorious in so many ways.

Want More

I am humble, but I strive for more. My schedule now includes more short course triathlons and then my A race, Steelhead 70.3 in August. Steelhead, I’m coming for you! I hope to be lucky enough to have all of the same gifts I had at St. Anthony’s triathlon including calm water, great weather, and a stellar support network. I hope I can keep my body well-trained and my head mentally prepared.

Conclusion

Thanks for reading. As for me, I have to get right back to work. I have a 10 mile run & 2000 yard swim in the early morning. Wish me luck, and I will do the same for you. Hollar if you see me on course or out training. If you are looking for a good team or coaches, I’d love to see you on our private forum and/or at the the races! #DoYourJob!”