Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Half Distance Duathlon?

The Rev3 series finale was a half distance triathlon in Venice, FL. The winds were very strong and caused dangerous rip currents in the gulf, so the swim was canceled and replaced with a 1.5 mile run. I was a little disappointed, because I do triathlons to compete in all 3 sports, but swimming is my weakest, so I knew it would not hurt me to replace the swim with another run. It has been a long season and I was excited for a solid taper going in to this race.  I was feeling good the last couple weeks, but I am still a little weary of the half distance...this was only going to be my second race.

It was very windy, as I stated before, so there was no way I was going to lead! I was glad when there were 2 guys that wanted to be in the front on the way back.  I sat behind them and let them fight the head wind.  I was 4th into T1 and 3rd out...perfect position for me at that point in the race.  Once out on the bike I started watching my watts.  I knew where I had to be to have a good run, and the line I did not want to cross.  I have never been that close to the front at the beginning of the bike, usually I am 1-3 min down coming out of the water.  It was a strange feeling, and I liked being there, but it was a long race so I had to chill and relax early, so I let the pack go.  It was a crazy tailwind going out so I knew the wind was going to punch me in the face all the way home.  I rode a steady pace for the first half of the race and then really tried to ramp it up with 11 miles to go, I wanted to be as close to the front as I could.  I got as far back as 13th place and then started to pass people as they began to fade.  I knew by the end of the bike that I rode a little too hard, but I did what I thought I had to. My quads were jello coming off the bike, and I figured the run would get interesting.  I got in to T2 in 7th and did what I could to move at the beginning of the run. I probably went out a little too hard but I thought if I could pass guys early, then I would be able to stay away.  Well I passed guys early, then the wheels fell off the train.  I moved up into 3rd place at the halfway mark.  I did all I could to keep moving, but I stopped sweating at 3 miles, so I tried my best to hang on.  When Viktor went around me I tried to stay with him, but my body did not respond...I was in survival mode.  Then I heard Ben coming up behind me, I tried to dig deep, but there was nothing I could do.  I was dead on the road, I had to hope for the finish line to get here before someone else passed me.  I was able to hold on for 5th place.  That ended up being just good enough to sneak into 4th place in the series.  So even though my legs still hurt 3 days later, and am hobbling around, it was all worth it.  It was my last race of the season and now I have two weeks to relax and recover before I start building for next year.

It was a hard race, but it fit well as the end to this season. I went through a few rough patches, but just kept going forward with the guidance from Greg.  I would not be where I am without him!  I would also not be able to compete week in and week out without the help of my sponsors: N.B Properties, Bralin Laser, Champion System, Profile Design, Rudy Project, BH Bicycles, Cobb Cycling, Scott Shoes, CompuTrainer, Hofferth Chiropractic, Pro-Form Bike shop, and Express Press.

Melissa as well as her aunt and uncle, Katie and Ryan, came down to Florida with me.  It was great to have them there cheering as well as someone to hang out with post race/end of season!!  It was a fun weekend and am glad I did the race. The Rev3 crew puts on the best races and series in the US.  I am glad to have something that great in the sport of triathlon.

"When you reach the end of your rope, tie a knot in it and hang on." ~Thomas Jefferson


Monday, October 29, 2012

REV3 Series Title!!! and 2nd at REV3 FL!

Before and Now.

Yesterday, I had the biggest race of my career. REV3 Florida was the season finale and the decisive race for the Pro REV3 Series Title. Before the race, people kept asking me how I was dealing with the pressure. There was the title and 30+K on the line- and the title race was all coming down to whether Lauren Goss or I had a better race on that single day.  Lauren has been having a really great year and I knew the day was going to be tough. However, I am not sure I felt that much pressure.  I have everything I really need in life right now.  Greg and I set the goal of winning the REV3 Series way back in January and it was something that I really wanted- but I knew I would be ok, more than ok, if it didn’t happen either. I have been overwhelmed this year with the support and love I have received from people in Charlottesville, people connected with the Ulman Cancer Fund and REV3 and other folks around the country. It has been humbling and deeply satisfying to connect with people over triathlon and to be given so much from these people all the time.   I have been given so much this year.   My sponsors have really stepped up to support me this year, and I am so thankful for that.  Thank you Profile Design and Rudy Project, thank you- I am so lucky to have these superior products (ie: Altair Wheels, Wingspan helmet, Wahoo wetsuit, best sunglasses EVER, profile drink systems, ect..) and so thankful to be associated with two companies so deeply dedicated to the sport of triathlon. Also deepest thanks to Quintana Roo for my super speedy CD 0.1, Hammer, Champion System and Computrainer.  I have an amazing local team in the Ragged Mountain Racing Team.  They are a rock in my life and have supported me in everything I have done this year. Dana Thiele and Mark Lorenzoni have created a great community of serious athletes that has been so important in so many lives, including mine.   I am so grateful to REV3 and their sponsors for making the sport of professional triathlon possible. I am so proud to be associated with REV3 this year.  REV3 treats the professional like real professionals; they are absolutely great to us, and to all of their athletes. They do things the right way for the right reasons and I am continuingly impressed by their commitment and conviction to do the right thing by all of their athletes.  Lastly and, most importantly, I am so thankful to Greg Mueller (and Lisa, his better half =) ). His passion and drive to be the best triathlon coach in the world and to make his athletes the best in the world is contagious.  He really has a gift- and it is mostly his passion for what he does and the love and dedication he gives to his athletes.  I trust him for advice in so many areas of my life and I know he is committed to helping me achieve my dreams, both in sport and in life. He is a different kind of elite triathlon coach, he makes you love the sport more- never any less.  Thank you, Greg, for getting me here!!

I didn’t feel pressure this weekend because I really have so much already, never did I think I would have so much in life.  I have lost a lot in thirty years of life so far with losing people I love and some other really tough challenges- but I seem to be getting it all back in different ways now. How could I have felt that much pressure on Sunday? I have what I need; more than I could ever want- to even think of it is crushing.   I have had nothing to lose this year and, for that, I have been given even more.

Sunday, The Race.
                                                               Photo by Eric Wynn/REV3
Due to Hurricane Sandy and a Riptide warning, the swim was cancelled. We started the race with a 1.5 mile run. Like most of the group, I went out conservatively and just tried to tuck in from the wind and relax. I knew the day was going to be long enough.  Coming into T1, Lauren had about a 10 second lead on the field but I had a quick transition and was with her pretty quickly on the bike. Alicia Kaye and Becky Lavelle rode by us hard and eventually Malaika Homo made her way by us as well.   I rode with Lauren until about mile 30, when we made a sharp left hand turn directly into the headwind (did I mention the winds were 25-28mph).  I had an instinct that this would be a good time to try to put a move on and I committed to riding hard for the next 10-15 miles. I put my head down, hammered on the pedals and tried not to look at my watt meter.  At mile 45 there was an out and back so I could see that my move had worked and I had  put something of a gap back to Lauren. At mile 50, I started to suffer really really badly. I have never suffered so badly on the bike and it took every ounce of my will to make it to mile 56, the pain was really really bad. Coming into T2 I was very concerned about having to run a half marathon. My legs were so shot that I had a hard time standing out of the saddle on the last rise over a drawbridge on the bike. I couldn’t imagine being able to run at that point, nevermind race. I grabbed my run gear and tried not to think about it. I started the run very conservatively (not that I had a choice) and started running at 620-630 pace, instead of the usual 555-605 that I have been starting out at.  I tried to keep my miles in the 620 range for as long as I could and I just hoped that it would be enough to hold Lauren off.  Then, interestingly, I found myself in second place all of a sudden. It seems as though maybe I wasn’t the only one suffering the consequences of such a hard bike in the wind.  I came within about 30 seconds of first place with 3 miles to go but I was suffering so bad at that point. I didn’t want to make any moves that might cause me to walk or cramp and risk the series title win. Becky (in first) pulled away from me pretty hard after she saw me at the last turnaround and put some time into me in the last 3 miles. I finished second, sealing the series title, and was thrilled. I was very happy for Becky, she is such a great athlete and a true professional through and through.  I was, and still am, overwhelmed by winning the series and still not sure it has sunk in yet. 

Something I did well on Sunday was being able to focus on the race in front of me the whole time. Anytime a thought about the series or what winning would mean or the amount of money came into my head, I tried to block it immediately and just focus on exactly what I needed to do at that moment in the race.  This is something that Greg takes about a lot- being in the moment. The idea is to not think about what you still have left to do or in the next 7 miles or winning or anything like that.  Just think about the moment in front of you and what you are doing in that moment. If you can do that at all points in the race, you will have done all you could. I think the same probably applies to life- what can I do in this moment, right now, that will move me in the right direction? Do that and just that, without worry for the rest of it.

After the race, I talked in the car with a friend who came down from Charlottesville to watch me (again, I am the luckiest.)  We talked about the fear of failure and I think that is a big piece of why I have been able to win 4 races and the series this year. This goes back to the beginning of this story but I think I am becoming less afraid to fail- which is an easy thing to say but is actually very difficult to move toward in my core (I imagine I am not alone here.)  Having so much unconditional love and support right now from people around me and having my health and a future I look forward to makes it hard for me to feel like I have anything to loose; I have it all already.  Certainly I can lose these things, but it is not going to be from failing to win a triathlon series title.  Somehow that frees me. For that, I am thankful.

Thank you everyone again, time to party!
                                                                Photo by REV3 Photography

Monday, October 22, 2012

Toyota US Open Triathlon (Dallas)

The final stop of the Lifetime triathlon series is the Toyota US Open Triathlon in Rockwall, TX (just east of Dallas).  I won the elite amateur race here two years ago.  I enjoy the race as a whole, but I still have mixed feelings about the Lifetime series.  I decided to do this race for my sponsors...BH and Champion System are large supporters of the Lifetime series.

I knew going into the race that it was going to be a chilly weekend.  I was prepared for it but at the same time I was not.  I do not have the amount of body fat necessary to perform well in cold temperatures.  As much as I want to mentally, my muscles lose too much of the elasticity to perform at the level I would like to.  I remember one time when the heater was broken at the pool where I workout.  As much as I tried, after 30 min I could no longer swim hard in the cold water.  I knew it was something I was just going to have to deal with.

The air temperature at the start of the race was 48 degrees, by far the coldest triathlon I have ever been a part of. The water was the warmest part of the race, but still not cold enough for a wetsuit.  It would have been nice to come out of the water a little overheated before getting on the bike.  I knew I would have to overdress to survive the bike and in turn the race.  After a very lackluster swim I took my sweet time in T1.  I wanted to put on a long sleeve and knee warmers so my body would make it through the bike.  The stretchy material of the long sleeve led to the slowest T1 of my life and one of the slowest of the day.  Oh well!  I had a pretty good bike ride, but the leaders were riding at tremendous speeds.  Cam and Ben rode 3 min faster than the rest of the field.  I had a good T2, all things considered.  I took off my knee warmers and long sleeve, because I knew I would get warmer on the run, and still had a middle of the pack transition.  The hardest part of the day to swallow was missing the fastest run split.  Chris Foster out ran me by 15 sec.  I'm not mad about Chris outrunning me, he is a solid runner and triathlete, and I was training through the race to get ready for Rev3 Florida.  It hurt because the pay day at Lifetime races is terrible if you are not in the top 4.  So instead of coming out comfortably ahead on the trip, I lost money on it.

I did this race for my sponsors and I am glad I went, it just wasn't a great investment for me.  It was nice to chat with Brien from BH and Ronnie from Champion System.  I look forward to long partnerships with both companies, they both make top of the line products.  A big thanks goes out to Melissa for coming with me.  She was a trooper and hung in there during the race.  She was freezing but still able to give me split updates, words of encouragement, and a warm smile while I was racing.

Set your goals high, and don't stop till you get there. ~Bo Jackson


Sunday, October 21, 2012

REV3 South Carolina and REV3 Maryland Race Reports


This past weekend I won REV3 South Carolina.  It was such an awesome experience and a wonderful follow up to winning REV3 Maryland, The Half Full Triathlon, the weekend before.  (BTW- ALL the profits from the Half Full Triathlon go to the Ulman Cancer Fund for young adults. It is a really special race and everyone should think about it for their race calendars next year. There were 29 cancer survivors competing and 92 % of all competitors raced in memory/honor of someone. It is a special atmosphere and a real celebration of life and hope.  It should be on everyone’s radar for next year!!) 

South Carolina was such a great experience, mostly because of the awesome competition (awesome as competitors and buddies). It was great to catch up with my Canadian friend Tenille Hoogland- but I knew she was going to bring the heat - that is what she does. She is such a fierce competitor and someone who is not afraid to ride the bike all out- it was going to be a hard day with her there.  Malaika Homo has also decided that she is going to dominate everyone on the bike in the late season races and I think both Tenille and I were surprised by how much time she put in on us during the bike course- wow- I was impressed with that.  As a recap of the race, basically I had a good swim for me. This put me about 2 minutes down from the leaders coming out of T1. I caught 2 girls on the bike and was sitting in third at mile 35ish of the bike- a position that I was not surprised to be in at that point considering the strong swim/bike combos of both Tenille and Malaika.  Starting the run, I was about 4 minutes down from Malaika and about three down from Tenille. I knew my run has been going well recently so I thought that I had a shot at the win if I just focused and ran smart. I found myself in the lead at mile 7 and from there I just tried to run as comfortably home as I could (although I have realized that the last few miles of that half marathon are never comfortable not matter what.)

Right now I am sitting in the lead of the REV3 Point Series Race, which is a $25,000 prize to first place.  That, coupled with an additional $12,000 on the line for the win in Florida next weekend means that there is quite a bit at stake, to say the least, for this upcoming decisive race. When I think about the situation though, I just feel so blessed to be where I am right now in general and have this awesome opportunity going into next weekend.

The thing is, I have pretty much already won. Not the money, but in general. I have an incredible coach who is unmatched in his dedication, care and investment in me as both an athlete and, more importantly, as a person. I have people from Charlottesville flying down to Florida with me to see the race that care about me, no matter how I do. I have sponsors that have been with me since the beginning of my professional career and have supported me long before I ever started winning races. Profile Design and Rudy Project, in particular, have supported me with the best products on the planet and really believe in me.  These sponsors do anything they can do to help me succeed- which says a lot about their dedication to this sport as well as their dedication to their customers.  Quintana Roo, Hammer, Champion System and Computrainer have stepped up this year to help me in any way they can, also enabling me to use the best products on the planet (it feels good to believe so strongly in the products of my sponsors). I am so thankful to REV3 and their sponsors like Pilot, who make it possible to pursue a career in professional triathlon.  We are so blessed in triathlon that the money is there to make a living. I have friends who are dominant professional runners and swimmers who struggle, so I know we are lucky.  It is all thanks to organizations like REV3 and their sponsors that support the pursuit of professional endurance athletes and a quest to expand the limits of human performance.   Mostly I have won because I am healthy, happy and living a great life right now. It may sound nauseatingly cheesy, but that is how I feel. I have a great future, no matter what I decide to do, and I have the freedom and support to pursue it.  To be toeing the start line next Sunday in the position I am in right now- it would be insane for me not to realize that I already have it all.  Of course I am going to turn myself inside out on the course next Sunday, but no matter what happens, I am loved, supported and blessed beyond anything I ever imagined- the rest is just gravy…and it is going to be fun....

 Can’t wait.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Life as a pro triathlete and medical student- thank goodness for a great coach and some amazing sponsors!!

Life as a pro triathlete and medical student- thank goodness for a great coach and some amazing sponsors!!

I finally just started my second break from medical school for the year and I will get the next month off while I finish my triathlon racing season!  I am excited and back to rest and recovery as a major factor in my training. The key elements to my ability to be able to race as this level and be in medical school at the same time have definitely been both a superb coach and fantastic sponsors. Greg’s approach to rest, recovery and not overtraining has really kept me healthy and not burnt out through a very difficult stretch of full time pro training and full time medical school clinical rotations.  Sometimes less is so much more and with the stress and decreased sleep of medical school we have come through the other side injury free, fresh and ready to rock the end of the season! I was even able to pick up a win at REV3 Wisconsin during my med school stent and a 3rd place at REV3 Maine, so Greg definitely had me doing something right! The right coach makes all the difference- couldn’t be more true in my situation.

The other folks I would like to thank are our sponsors. Profile Design has supported us with absolutely everything we could possibly need and at any moment in time. They have never said no, they always make it happen and they are a true support to professionals in this sport.  There is absolutely zero possibility that any of us could race professionally without sponsors like Profile Design.  Their wheels, wetsuits, stems, bottles…the list goes one….have kept us going all season and we are thrilled to be with them because they have, hands down, the best products. Rudy Project is another sponsor that has always shone a deep commitment to the pro triathlon community. If you ever see a pro race, you will see that almost every pro in the field is racing with a Rudy Project Wingspan helmet.  This is simply because it is the fastest helmet on the market (tunnel tested by John Cobb) and your helmet matters, a lot. Quintana Roo has helped me with the fastest bike I could ever dream up, the CD0.1. I just received my Computrainer, which will be an absolutely essential piece to being able to train full time and pursue a medical career at that same time (I would said this is a “must have” training tool for anyone who works full time and has a little cash to spend on getting faster).  Thanks also to Hammer for the best nutrition products in the world and Champion System racing gear that stands in a class alone.  It would be impossible for me to do triathlon and med school without this help from these amazing companies and the people behind them. Thank you so much for everything.

Friday, September 21, 2012

USAT Nationals

Last year I happened to be the runner-up at USAT Nationals and 3rd overall at the race.  This year I wanted to do well, but with it being my 3rd race in 4 weeks, I was not sure how it was going to go.  Going into the race I was battling some fatigue but once the horn sounded I felt surprisingly well.

Swim - It was not a wetsuit swim, but the water and the air were chilly so I decided to warm-up in my wetsuit.  In the first 200m I was repeatedly smashed into and took another "punch" to the eye.  The physicality of the swims seems to happen to me a lot, so I am starting to wonder if all swims are like this or if I just happen to be the one that swerves all over and causes the contact.  But at any rate I was tired of it so I did what I normally do in this situation: I grabbed the hip of the person to my right and pushed him under me to the left so I could be on the outside.  I felt good in the water and I knew I was swimming well, because I was with William at the first buoy. I maintained contact with the people around me and for the first time in as long as I can remember I got out of the water in a good position and I still had some energy.

Bike - Once on the bike there were single people strewn out on the road and I could see a pack about 15 seconds ahead.  I rode as hard as I could to catch William, he got on the bike about 5 seconds before me.  I knew if I caught him, we could catch the pack within sight.  Once we caught that pack I realized there was another pack about 50 seconds up the road.  Darn it!!  I had a good swim but I was afraid this was going to happen...Ben Kanute is a great swimmer and a very strong cyclist. If he had a pack with him, I knew it was going to be a long day.  There were only about 4 guys in my pack that wanted to/could do any work.  I spent a lot of time pushing hard at the front and after 3 laps of maintaining or losing 5 seconds I had to start thinking about the run.  Not what I wanted to do but with minimal help and a strong cyclist at the head of the front pack I had to cut my loses, keep it close, and wait for the run.  I still spent a lot of time at the front of the bike pack, but it was more to keep my pack going than to catch up.  I also spent some time drifting back to yell "words of encouragement" at the rest of the guys with me.  At the end of the 40k we were 2 min down.  I had a lot of ground to make up on the run.

Run - My transition was a lot better this year!  Although, I still struggle to get my feet in my shoes occasionally. I was off and running with a lot of lonely ground to make up.  Finally after 2 laps I caught someone.  Then I caught Ben Kanute.  It was frustrating to lose time on the bike, but after seeing him death march the run, I knew I made the right decision to not go all in and try to catch the front pack.  On the last lap I could see 3 guys 25 seconds up.  I tried all I could to go faster and run them down, but I ran out of road.  I finished in 7th.  Not a stellar place, but I was happy with how I raced and how I felt during the race.  It just wasn't in the cards to have a repeat of last year.

Thanks to my mom for driving me to and from Buffalo, NY and for getting me where I needed to go.  And thank you to my amazing fiancee!!  Melissa, her mother, and her sister, Kristyn, made the 7 hour trip Saturday morning.  It was great to have them there for the race.  It was also nice to have Greg and William's family there to cheer on Team IE!!  And thanks again to all my sponsors.  This life would not be possible without them!

Never complain and never explain.  ~Benjamin Disraeli


Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back-to-Back with BH

For the second time this season and the second time in my life I raced on back-to-back weekends.  What I learned, the second time around is not any easier.  I raced at Rev3 Maine on August 26 and then Hy-Vee US Championship this past weekend.  I debuted my new BH bike at Rev3 Maine and I couldn't be happier.
It is not only the lightest bike I have ever rode, it is very aerodynamic and incredibly rigid.  All the power I put into the pedals goes straight to the rear wheel.  Thank you BH!!

Rev3 Maine -  Another incredible race put on by Rev3! I like doing their races, but they become more fun each time out. I truly feel they are the best race series in the country.  The swim was in the ocean and although I felt like I was swimming well, I found out when I exited the water that I lost a lot of time.  Not sure what went wrong, but sometimes I seem to lose loads of time in the water.  Once on the bike, I felt good and was moving well.  The age group half distance athletes went off first so it was a little crazy riding through them for the first 6 miles.  At the halfway point I was in about 6th and felt like I could make up a spot or two before getting off the bike.  On the way back I was feeling the hard pace and slowed down a little bit.  I was able to catch one more person and get off the bike in 5th.  I felt good starting out on the run and could see 3rd and 4th place.  I caught Dave Thompson at around 2 miles and had my sights set on Richie Cunningham up the road.  He won the previous 3 races, so I knew I was having a pretty good race to see him on the run.  I kept up an honest pace, but wanted to shut it down a little bit with Hy-Vee coming up the next weekend.  With a mile to go I could see Conrad Stoltz up the road but had no idea how far ahead he was.  I was torn on what to do, do I throw it down with all I have to try and catch him or do I keep the current pace and live to race hard the next week?  I could not make up my mind and before I knew it I was half a mile from the finish with no chance of catching Conrad.  I finally shut it down and cruised into the line in 3rd.  It was a good result and got me into 4th in the season series, 10 points out of 3rd.

I made the trip to Old Orchard Beach, Maine with my sister who was 32 weeks pregnant.  It was a great trip and race, but I discovered I live my life eerily similar to a pregnant lady.  My sister and I had similar schedules when it came to eating, napping, going to bed, and having to pee.  Thanks to her for coming with me and being a trooper all weekend. 

Hy-Vee US Championship - With it being the largest prize purse in the sport everyone wants to get in, and do well once they get there.  It is the most fun race of the season too, having such a strong field doing laps around large crowds in Des Moine, IA.  Although I achieved a good result for me, I did not have a particularly great race.  I had a good swim, but my race went down hill on the bike.  Greg and I have lengthy discussions all the time on what happens in races.  Some people blame bad results on random things or terrible excuses instead of their poor decisions made during the race, whether it's riding too hard and having a poor run or choosing to drink a certain "sports" drink.  Post race I always try to determine what went wrong and how to fix it.  This one was a head scratcher though.  There were to many factors to determine what exactly went wrong; back-to-back weekends, heat (average temp of 92 during the race), or swimming too hard.  It seems that I always struggle on the bike when I lay it all out in the swim.  It is something I wanted to do in this race though, I wanted a good swim to set up a great race.  I felt good for about two laps on the bike, but struggled to find my legs the final two laps.  Macca and I had a little chat in the last 2 miles of the bike about how we both did not have the legs on the bike.  Once the run started I wanted to make up some ground but the struggles on the bike leaked their way into my run.  I did what I could to move through the field, but I was not passing many people.  It was a death march on the road and one guy actually started walking. The crowds were amazing and I kept pushing until I crossed the finish line.  I finished in 13th place, one spot better than last year.  I will take it, at the beginning of the season I did not think I would even make it into the race!

Thanks to my beautiful fiancee (Melissa), my mom, my grandparents, Greg, Lisa, the Deckards (John and Robbie), the Bachmans (Aaron and Lindsey), and Jake Rhyner for their words of encouragement on the bike and run.  It was a hot, hard day and you all got me across the finish line.  Thanks to Greg for getting me ready for the race.  Thanks to my mom for driving the group to the race.  And thank you to all my sponsors (Team IE, N.B. Properties, Bralin Laser, Champion System, Profile Design, Scott Shoes, Cobb Cycling, Rudy Project, Computrainer, Express Press, Enzyme Research Laboratories, Pro-Form Bike Shop, Hofferth Chiropractic and now BH Bikes) for helping me compete at the highest level.

Learn from the past, set vivid, detailed goals for the future, and live in the only moment of time over which you have any control: NOW.   ~ Denis Waitley

Kaleb (@VanOrt_Tri)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Giant Eagle

 I did this race last year and really liked the course layout and the overall organization of the race.  This year it was part of the 5150 series, so I was excited to have it on my race schedule again.  I was mentally ready to race, but there was a problem, I had been battling some serious fatigue for about 2 weeks before the race.  I started to recover a couple days before and was feeling good about my chances of doing well at the race.  The will to win sometimes is just not enough though.  

The swim was a little shallow coming in and everyone started dolphin diving.  I started dolphin diving as well, but I did not have the energy to sustain the pace so I just swam in and lost a few seconds. Overall I was very happy with my swim and I got out of the water in a great position (for me).  Once I got on the bike I had a hard time getting my legs going.  It was a struggle to hit the watts I wanted but I was able to get there.  This race had a respectable field but if I could put together a good day, I could finally get a win!  I fought hard the entire bike and was able to get into T2 in second.  Dave Thompson once again was ahead of me and I knew if I could run well I would have a shot at catching him.  It just was not my day.  Everything I tried to get my legs moving was not working.  I was going to have to buckle down and just hang on for second place.  Overall it was not a great day but I was able to grab a second place finish and enough points to qualify for Hy-Vee.  A victory is still eluding me but hopefully some day I will achieve it!

It was great to have Kyle in the race as well.  Racing is a lot more fun with teammates in the race, even though it is every man for himself.  He had a good race and ended up 3rd.  IE did a great job at putting 2 guys on the podium!  That must mean that Greg knows what he is doing!  :) 

Since it was close to home I had a lot of support at the race.  Melissa, Greg, Lisa and I drove down together the day before the race and my Mom and Dad made the trip down the morning of.  It was nice to have a great group there cheering me on, too bad I had a rough day of racing. Melissa's friends, Kelly and Mark, who live in Columbus made it to the finish line.  It was great to see them.  Sorry I was a little grouchy while talking to you! Thanks to Greg for driving Lisa and Melissa around the bike course.  It was nice to get race updates and some encouragement along the way. I have the best fans and sponsors, and they all make racing at a high level possible.  Hopefully next time out my body will cooperate with my mind!!!

"It is impossible to live without failing at something, unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all" ~J.K. Rowling

Kaleb (@VanOrt_Tri)

Friday, July 27, 2012

New York Podium

I finally made it on to the podium in a non-draft race!  Half way through my second year as a pro I was able to slate a top 3 finish in a non-draft race. Greg and I have been working hard so it was nice to have a great result to go with it.

Swim - The swim was in the Hudson River west of Central Park.  The current was extremely strong in the morning so I was looking forward to a fast swim.  I was hoping to get out of the water closer to the leaders than I normally do.  When the horn sounded at 6am we dove in the water and down the river we went.  The first 300m was a battle in the water.  Some guy kept knocking my in the face so I swam over him to the left side.  Once I did this I drifted a little too far and ended up alone, all by myself.  It was nice to not have someone bashing me in the face but now I was not getting the benefit of drafting in the water.  So I headed back to the right to try and get on feet.  I got close to the group and when I tried to get back into it and catch a draft I found my buddy again, and took a few more shots to the head.  I had had enough so I drifted back to the left and swam solo to swim exit.  It was fun swimming in the Hudson current other than the copious amounts of sticks I kept swimming into and over.  Once out of the water is was a long run to T1.  I could see some people in front of me and  ended up catching one person between swim exit and T1.  

Bike - Once out on the bike I wanted to make up as much time as I could.  I was riding hard and hitting my goal watts early on.  It was fun riding around New York City with no traffic.  The city is so busy and chaotic, but they shut down the north bound lanes of the Henry Hudson Parkway for the bike course.  We even got to go through the toll booth for the Hudson Bridge.  I couldn't help but smile and get a little chill as I rode by Van Cortlandt Park.  That was the location of the Big East cross country meet my senior year. The team won going away and that confidence carried us all the way to a 3rd place finish at NCAA Nationals, the best finish for the Men's team since winning the national title in 1957.  By the halfway point my legs were feeling the strain of the work I was putting in on the bike but I was in good position, so I had to push on.  With 1 mile to go we did one last flip and headed to the exit off the highway.  I got one last look at where everyone was ahead of me.  I was sitting in 5th place, but with a good run, felt I could get into 3rd.  Jordan Jones was way off the front and at the time, during the race, I had no idea who was so far ahead.  

Run - I got in and out of T2 as quick as possible and started chasing down the guys ahead of me.  We entered Central park just before a mile and I passed Chrabot for 4th place shortly after that.  Once around him it was a lonely run knowing Dave Thompson was ahead of me.  We finish within 20 seconds of each other all the time in races.  He is a great cyclist so it all comes down to whether or not I can catch him on the run.  I kept getting updates from runners in Central Park that I was close, or that he was right up the road, but at no point could I see him until around 4.5 miles.  I figured I could catch him at the point but nothing is ever guaranteed in a triathlon.  I finally caught him right around 5 miles.  We had a brief exchange of words and I was on my way.  I respect Dave as an athlete and I feel bad about passing him late in races, but he races his way and I race mine.  Sometimes he has enough of a lead coming off the bike to get across the finish line ahead of me and sometimes I am able to run him down.  It would make for great TV if triathlons were more mainstream!!  I was excited to cross the finish line in 3rd.  I am still fighting to hopefully win a race someday, but I will take third...for now.

Post race I got in a cool down and enjoyed my Hammer Recoverite before heading back to Central Park for awards.  On the podium they interviewed each of us.  I was not ready for this but my fiancee, Melissa, assured me I did not sound like a complete idiot!  And before leaving the men's and women's podium finishers got to enjoy a champagne toast.  I big thanks goes to all of my sponsors!  It was nice to finally get on the podium for them.  They give me a ton of support and make this lifestyle possible.  Thank you Greg!!  This result would not be possible without your guidance.  Sorry you were in Europe during the race and missed the live updates!  And a huge thank you to Melissa!!  She put up with me prerace and was there for me during the race.  She gave me split and place updates throughout the race, kept my family and friends updated, and cheered me on with a smile!!  

After a nap and food we headed out for some sight seeing.  We went to time square and fought through all the other tourists!  I thought the city as a whole was busy but this place is 100% nuts.  We went to Rockefeller Square and found where they tape the Today show adn went into the Nintendo store.  And then we finally made it to the south east corner of Central Park.  We went into FAO Schwarz and saw the giant piano and then walked by the famous Plaza Hotel, where Kevin McCallister stays in Home Alone 2!  

It was a great trip and I am glad I was able to do the race.  It was very well run and the scenic tour of New York added a little extra.  I would do it again next year but it is right around the time of my wedding so I will not be able to.  I look forward to doing it again in 2014!!

I've worked too hard and too long to let anything stand in the way of my goals.  I will not let my teammates [coach] down and I will not let myself down. ~Mia Hamm 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Painful Half Debut

This past weekend I competed in Rev3 Quassy.  For the first time in my life I decided to do a half ironman.  I want to do well in the Rev3 series and I know in order for that to happen I had to step up to the half. Once again Rev3 put on a spectacular event and I am glad they are involved in triathlons.  Check out the race recap video here: Rev3 Quassy

Swim - The water was low 70s so I did not have the good luck of a wetsuit swim. The swim started off very well and I was on feet in a small pack to the right.  I was drafting a guy who was drafting Matty Reed...I knew I was in a great position!  Then the pace slowed down and I knew we came off Matty's feet and now I was following someone who was in over his head.  I went around him and stayed course on the right side while I could see everyone else was far to the left.  I knew crossing over to the other pack would cost more energy than swimming solo. Everyone came together at the first buoy and I was able to get on feet coming around the turn.  The pace was comfortable to draft off, but I would've been swimming too hard to break my own way through the water.  I also did not know how hard I should be swimming since I still had 56 miles of biking and 13.1 miles of running to tackle once I got out of the water.  So I just settled in and waited to get out of the water!

Bike - It was a chilly morning in Middlebury, CT so I decided I was going to put on arm warmers in T1.  This proved to be a little difficult with wet arms but I was very happy I had them on when I started riding.  The first 4 miles were a net downhill and I was a little chilly even with the arm warmers on. Greg and I laid out a plan for the bike of holding watts we felt would get me off the bike quickly but still have legs to run.  Based on my workouts leading up to race day I was thinking about riding at lower watts so I could make it off the bike.  Three weeks before the race I bonked 75% of the way through my bike workout and 2 weeks before the race I got so dehydrated I could not get my heart rate lower than 180 on the bike.  This made me a little nervous but my body always seems to come through on race day so I did not worry about it too much. I was amazed at how fast everyone rides fro 56 miles.  I rode 8 watts higher than we agreed on and still lost 8 min to the top 6 guys on the bike.  Maybe in the future I will be able to improve my biking but for my debut and for where my cycling is right now, I will take it.  I told myself to relax till 30 miles and then go faster if I could.  At about 30 miles I had to pee so for the first time in my life I peed while I was biking!  The only trick that I had to figure out was how to get relaxed enough in order to go.  Finally on a long downhill I was able to.  After that it was time to ride and forget about watts until the finish!  I rode a hard relaxed pace until T2.  It was a little faster than I was expecting to go but I am not sure how much faster I could have gone for 56 miles.
Thanks Rev3 staff for the great shot on the bike.
Run - The first mile was a huge downhill.  I was trying to slow myself down and stay relaxed but my legs were starting to get away from me.  it was not taking a toll on my body to let my legs go, so I went with them.  It was rolling to "flat" until mile 4, and then the real fun started!  It was uphill from 4 to 6 and then some rolling to uphill  till 7.  That is where I really used a lot of energy.   Looking back on the race I think I should have let my average pace go a little through here to save some energy for the back half.  But things were still going well when I got to mile 8.  As mile 10 approached I knew things were getting bad.  I tried coke for the first time on a run but that did not help either.  After averaging 5:30s through 10, I went 6:05 pace for miles 11 and 12 and then on the uphill, kick in the pants, final mile I did all I could to run a 6:50 last mile.  There was nothing left in the tank and my legs did not want to go any longer but I made it to the finish line.  

Post race I stumbled around for a little bit and ended up getting some food.  I was so happy to see my fiancee, Melissa, when I got done, and I was able to lean on her and walk around post race.  It was great to have my mom, Greg, Melissa and Nicole's husband, Wes, at the race.  Greg drove them all over the course on the bike and run!!  It really helped having them out there!  I could not have done it without the guidance from Greg and the cheering from a great support group!!
Top 10 Podium!  Thanks for the great photos sweetheart!
In all I am happy with my debut at the half ironman distance.  I still have a lot to learn about the sport or triathlon as a whole and especially about racing the half distance.  I will hopefully be back at Quassy next year and I plan on doing another half at some point.  I just need to work on my biking, because the top guys really know how to lay down a fast split!!

Always do your best.  What you plant now, you will harvest later.  ~Og Mandino


Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Hammer Endurolytes Product Review

I did the Memphis in may triathlon last weekend in incredibly hot conditions.  The pros start 3 hours after the age groupers.  The gun did not go off until 10am and the average temperature on my Garmin for the time I was racing reported 97.5 degrees.  Luckily, I had Hammer Endurolytes for the race.  I took four Endurolytes on the 40k bike ride and carried more Endurlytes out of T2 with me so I would have them on the run in the event of cramping.  I ended the day 3rd overall and had the fastest run of the day by a minute.  I was able to perform under extreme heat because I had Hammer Endurolytes to prevent cramping and keep me hydrated to finish strong.  Thanks Hammer!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Long Time Coming

Wow, it has been a long time since my last update.  It is amazing how time flies!!  Over the past few months I have been working really hard in the pool and on the bike.  At least I am starting to see gains on the bike!  I have been on the start list for 4 races but I had to take the first DNS of my career in Mooloolaba, Australia.  

  I got some sort of stomach bug 2 days before the race that required frequent trips to the rest room.  The night before the race I still wanted to make it to the starting line but when I woke up in the morning I had very little energy and still had a hard time keeping calories in my body.  It was a miserable trip, but helped me realize how much I rely on my family and friends when I am sick.  Without a result at this race, my dream of making the 2012 Olympics Games was dead.  It is a tough pill to swallow, but Greg and I have been looking at 2016 since we paired up, so that dream is still alive.

Nautica South Beach Triathlon
  This race was the weekend after Mooloolaba.  I got home after 26 hours of traveling on Monday night.  I then left for Miami on Friday morning.  It was a crazy turn around but I wanted to get a race in before St. Anthony's a month later.  Greg was a little weary about me racing not only a week after getting sick, but also less than a week after traveling 26 hours from a place that is 14 time zones ahead.  I told him not too worry, I was not going to kill it, I just wanted to race, to remind myself how it feels to do a 40k individual time trial on the bike after swimming 1500m and before running a 10k!!  I did not have the greatest swim, but I never really do in rough water.  This swim was a point to point swim in the ocean.  The surf was not too bad, but still a lot rougher than what I have been swimming in - a 4 lane pool at the health club!  My bike went surprisingly well.  As I was saying earlier, my work on the bike is starting to show up in races!  Once off the bike I tried to stay relaxed and have a good run from start to finish. The field was very strong for an early season race!  I passed a lot of people on the run and ended up 6th.  I had the second fastest run, 18 seconds slower than Javier Gomez.  For those of you that don't know, Gomez is one of the fastest runners in the sport.  I will take that after all the stuff I went though in the previous week and a half.

Now the one thing I hated about the race:  the prize purse associated with lifetime fitness!!  I was 6th place in a strong field and I walked away with $400.  This barely covered my hotel in "beautiful" South Beach, Miami!  I am not sure what keeps pulling be back to lifetime races, but I am not sure if I will do any more this year.  They pay appearance fees for the top guys to come in, and they win the majority of the money.  The top 2, sometimes 3 make a good amount while everyone else struggles to pay for their hotel, let alone their airline costs, between the ticket and bike fees!

Now the good from the race: my girlfriend and her family were at the race cheering me on and then I got to spend a week with them in Ft. Lauderdale.  Thanks Melissa, her parents, her brother Zach, and her Aunt Katie and Uncle Ryan, who I believe set the wheels in motion for us to get together almost 2 years ago, it was great having you all at the race and it was a fun way to recover from the first non-draft race of the season.

St. Anthony's Triathlon
 Once again I was up against a strong field!  Almost anyone who is anyone in non-draft racing showed up for the race.  The swim went well for the first 500 while we were in the sheltered area of the swim.  Once the pack got out into the rough waters of Tampa Bay, I was not able to hang with the pack and ended up losing a good bit of time again during the swim.  Once on the bike I let it go.  I was not going to wait for the run, I wanted to try and make up time on the bike. I had a great bike split, but I paid for it on the run.  I got off the bike with Chris Foster and I had a hard time keeping pace with him for the first 2 miles.  He ran at Penn State so I knew I had good company, but my legs were not listening to me. My legs did not want to turn over so I just let them do their thing and waited for them to come around.  When they finally did I just tried to catch as many people as I could over the last 4 miles.  I ended up 8th overall and still had the fastest run split of the day, after handing out some high fives right before the finish line.   I was very happy with the result, but a little frustrated in my swim.  I think I had the fastest bike-run combo on the day.  If I can sort my swim out I might actually be able to win a race in the near future.
 A big thanks goes out to my mom for driving me around all weekend and putting up with me prerace.  And thank you to one of my sponsors, Bill Hohler of Bralin Laser for cheering me on at the race. It was also great having his wife, Mary, and mutual friends of ours Mike and Joyce Boswell there.  Post race they had a cookout at their place so it was nice to relax and enjoy the evening with some friends.

Rev3 Knoxville
  This was the first time in my life racing triathlons on back to back weekends.  I was a little nervous because I could remember having a hard time racing 2 weeks apart in past years.  With the help of Hammer Nutrition, I was able to not only get ready for Knoxville, I was able to have a good result.  I took Recoverite immediately following the race at St Anthony's and after every workout during the week, as I usually do.  I also used Hammer Nutrition's whey protein every night before bed, to safely raise my hGH levels to allow me to recover and boost my immune system to keep me healthy.  This allowed me to finish 4th at my first Rev3 race of the season.
  The swim was a wetsuit swim in the river.  I have not had a good swim yet this year so I was hoping the wetsuit would bring me a little luck.  Last year I had my best swims in my wetsuit.  My swim was ok, but still not where it needs to be.  Once I got out of the water I was off on the bike, and once again trying to make up as much time as I could.  Chris Foster and I were  together again, this time it was on the bike though.  We were never really close to one another though.  He would put about 5-10 seconds on me and then I would end up passing him and getting a little lead.  It was like this for most of the ride until we started catching people.  This got a little chaotic, trying to navigate through 7 guys while climbing and descending small mountains on the back roads of Tennessee, all while trying to ride within the rules.  With about 3 miles to go Chris was going to pass me over some rail road tracks and dropped his chain.  I felt bad and initially slowed up as if I was back home riding a training ride with Greg, but then I snapped back into race mode and hit it hard back in to transition.  I came off the bike in 6th place and passed two guys within the first mile.  I was in 4th and feeling good enough about how the race was going to not notice how bad my legs were feeling.  At the turn around on the run I got to see how far behind 3rd place I was and how close 5th place was to me.  I made up my mind that 5th would be just fine but did not want to settle for it.  I was able to keep a fast enough pace to stay ahead and finish in 4th, my best finish as a pro in a non-draft race. It was a hard 2 weekends of racing but I proved to myself that I could do it, I just don't know how many times I will!
  A big thank you goes out to my Grandpa for driving me all the way to and from Knoxville.  He made the trip quick and it was great to hang out with him for the weekend.
  I am excited to race in the Rev3 series.  They do an amazing job of putting the races together and they have all the triathletes in mind throughout the weekend.  The expos are very family friendly and very welcoming to athletes who travel with kids.  I think Rev3 is the best race series currently going on in the US and I wish other series could learn something from the way Rev3 takes care of all the athletes.

Thank you to Greg and all of Team IE for getting me to where I am, and N.B. Properties, Bralin Laser, Profile Design, Scott Shoes, Hammer Nutrition, Rudy Project, Champion System, Cobb Cycling, Computrainer, Express Press, Enzyme Research, and ProForm Bike for being great sponsors and allowing me to compete to the best of my ability.  I would not be putting up the results I am without their support.

"Follow your dreams, work hard, practice and persevere. Make sure you eat a variety of foods, get plenty of exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle." ~Sasha Cohen


Friday, May 11, 2012

Thanks to Hammer!

As some of you know, this season is my first season racing as a professional.  However, I’ve had to forgo my first three races due to an injury.  Six weeks ago, I had a little spill on my bike that resulted in a small fracture of my wrist and some soft tissue damage.  I have been in a cast for about 2.5 weeks…only five more days to go though!  Since the fall, I have not been able to swim.  However, this hiatus from the pool has allowed me to focus on my bike and run…a lot!  I am not able to ride outside, but have been putting in a lot of time on the Computrainer and using my new Quark for my workouts…sometimes twice a day!  I am worried about getting back into the pool, but I know the time I’ve put in on the bike and the miles on the run will pay off!
With this injury, I have looked to Hammer Nutrition for a lot of help!  I have been using Tissue Rejuvenator three times a day and Vanilla Whey Protein powder in my smoothies and at night before bed.  Both products have helped me recover from my injury and accelerated the healing process.  I truly believe they have made a difference.  I also continue to enjoy Strawberry Recoverite following my hard workouts.
Back in the pool 24/7J in a less than a week and hopefully back to racing in a few short weeks!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Secrets to Success

Everyone wants to know what the secret to another athlete’s success is. It seems to be a common question, “what are they doing different than me that makes them better?” Many times we are looking for that perfect practice, set, or drill that will help us qualify for nationals, a world championship, or just give us a personal record.  I learned something about this back in 2001. I discovered what champion’s do that makes them great.         
                I was a counselor at the Longhorn swim camp for kids 18 and under. If you are not familiar with the University of Texas swimming, well simply put, they are the best. They routinely have one of the top teams at the NCAA’s and on the men’s side it seems as if half the Olympic swimming team is made of Texas swimmers.  Being a swimmer this was a thrill for me to be at the camp as a counselor and learning from Eddie Reese (the head coach of the Men’s team). I was not alone. All of the counselors wanted to know what drills they are doing that make them so good. What practices they are doing that make them so much faster than everyone else?  After the first week of helping and coaching at the camp we, the counselors, were disappointed. I remember all of us sitting around and talking about how these are the same drills we do or give to our swimmers when we swim or coach. Many of us thought we were not getting the secrets to their success. But in reality, we were. It was right in front of us.
                I learned the secret when I was able to observe several practices of the Texas swim team. It was a thrill to see what Olympic and World Record Holders were doing. After attending several practices I came to a realization. These Olympic swimmers were doing the same drills that the coaches were giving out to the 10 and 12 year olds. The drills consistently reinforced good habits and proper technique so that when the swimmers did go fast they did it right. What they did better than everyone else was the basics, the fundamentals. There was not some top secret formula that no one knew about. The Men’s Texas swim team just reinforced what skills the swimmers needed to do to be fast.
                I feel this is the same for all athletes in all sports. If you are constantly looking for a short cut, some secret, then you will never realize your top potential. The secret to success is right in front of us. Do the right things right and be willing to put in the time. If you do that, then you will find success and you can obtain your goals. 


Tuesday, March 20, 2012


This race was one of the toughest, hottest, most fun races I have done yet.  It was about 12 minutes long for an Olympic, 97 degrees for the day, 10+ extreme UV index, high humidity, super steep hilliacious climbing for the first 2 miles in and out of transition and fairly hilly run- a quarter or which was on sand!
Race morning I was a little nervous about my gearing on my bike- this course definitely requires a 28 cassette and I only brought a 23.  This was my major learning point of the trip. Always always make sure you know the course in case your gearing is off.  With the grade of hills out of transition, I was imagining myself walking my bike up the road ( “please let there not be a Slowtwitch gallery picture of me WALKING my bike on the course, God!”).  Blaaahhh!...
This was one of the first swims that I was actually able to draft the whole time- wow, what a difference! The effort felt quite a bit easier than usual but I didn’t feel I had the power to get around and make it on my own so I sat in and let my super speedy Profile Design Macho speed suit do its thing.  I knew it was going to be a long, hot, death-march type day so I was happy to be a little conservative in the swim.  I came out with 2 other girls and we were about 1:20 down from the leader (kind of a lot of time but I felt great out of T1 so I think this was the right choice- I am rarely under a minute down anyways…)
What is a speedsuit you say?:
Straight out of T1 we rode on a gravel dirt road for about 200 meters.  Pretty awesome- just have to cross your fingers with your tires and hold on tight…..but made it out the other side ok…

Then we started climbing…grades were really high in some places- like probably 15+%... I said earlier that I had a 23 cassette (EVERYONE else has a 27/28) and it was a total standing, grind-fest for the first 2 miles up and down these crazy climbs.  I got caught at the top of the last hill, which didn’t surprise me at all but then really pushed hard on the downhill and got away again.  One of the things that is really awesome about my Quintana Roo CD0.1 bike is that it is soooo super aero. Riding downhill I am able to stay with people much heavier than me- which rocks going downhill in races. Thank sooo much to Skip at Nytro for helping me with my bike..Nytro does so much for the triathlon world- they rock!!

 I had the new Altair profile design wheels on and they rode super fast too- very happy with them and an AMAZING value if anyone is in the market. Also had the new Profile Design Volna Aero bars for the first time- which literally have taken 1.5 pounds off my bike- amazing how much aerobars matter!! I had no idea!!

….Anyways, I got to the front of the bike race by the middle of the first loop, but it took me quite a while to catch Bree Wee- who was in first most of the bike. Super strong cyclist and super fun person…and awesome picture of her racing a cow on the site:  With about 8 miles to go, I started to get really really hot. This is when I learned my second lesson of the day.  Remove the vent block in my Rudy Project Wingspan aero helmet when it is 97 degrees out…you think I would have figured this out by now.  The Wingspan has this great design where you can interchange the vent space pieces depending on the weather:

    Check out all the massive vent area if you freaking remove the cover!!
But obviously there is user error if you don’t actually use this great function =)  So my head was getting very hot –  I decided to start singing to myself. I figured this might take my mind off the fire burning under my helmet…so what better song to sing than “Ho Hey” by the Lumineers:
I came into T1 first off the bike with about 30 seconds- so figured I had some time to put on some socks...and Yes, I am the only pro I know who wears socks in an Olympic distance race….
I was fairly confident that I was one of the faster runners in the field but you never want to be too confident of anything so I definitely tried to get into a comfortable cruise rhythm pretty quickly- not too fast, not too slow.  The one issue I was having was the heat but three things saved me:
1-      Lots of salt the night before. This is a trick that a lot of pro use…I literally drowned my food in salt the night before a hot race and have not had a cramp since doing this..(but no guarantees!)
2-      Hammer Endurolytes and Hammer Heed- such great products and such a great product company!!  Being a biochemistry major and a med student, I have researched nutrition products a lot and I am absolutely convinced that Hammer has the best stuff- which is why Team IE only uses Hammer.    There are several specific reasons for the superiority of these products…I am doing a full write up on hammer products this week so check out the TEAM IE blog this week for more details on this if you are interested:
3-      CARRY  YOUR WATER WHEN IT IS HOT!!  Big deal.  Mark Lorenzoni and Dana Thiele of Ragged mountain racing have repeatedly pointed out to me how Ryan hall carries his water bottle with him away from the bottle station for miles after pickup- while all of his competitors take a few sips and drop the bottle.  This is a big deal when it is hot and water can be a major unrecognized resource on the run.  Water on your head – also very important to keep core temps down in hot weather- use water however you can on the run to stay cool. Once core temps rise, trouble ensues so you have to prevent against this.
The run was super hot, hilly and a significant portion was in the sand so it was epic.  After the first loop of the two loop course I could tell I was pulling away pretty comfortably so I tried as much as I could to back it down. No need to burn any more matches than you have to in March.  However, I was getting super hot and just wanted to stop running so I think my mind and body were battling with what pace they wanted to run…
Mind:  “Slow down, chill out, don’t be stupid, do what you do best- chiiiilllll”
Body: “Just hurry up and finish, this kind of sucks, hot, painful, don’t slow down – I just want to lay down- get there so we can lay down and eat”
Funny- because usually the mind and body have the opposite conversation; I think they met in the middle this time.
Crossing the finish line for my first pro win was huge- I was so happy that it was at a Rev3 event too.  The race director and event directors are such warm, nice, caring people. I had a blast with them.  Thanks so incredibly much to my genius genius coach Greg Mueller (sooo thankful for him!!) and my husband, Wes Radetsky. 

Thanks to Champion Systems for making the best suits in the world! Cant wait for the new pink one I just got!
Lastly, here are some cool interviews and videos  on me at the race:
Thanks for all your cheers!! Go Team IE!