Category Archives: Racing

Beach 2 Battleship Full Race Report

After a hard three month build and some serious blog silence, I’m here to say that I thoroughly enjoyed my first iron-distance triathlon.  There really are not any ways to describe the emotion, the pain and the mental fatigue that have occurred over the past few months of my life.  There have been a couple weeks that completely fell apart on the training plan and left me questioning my abilities to even get to the starting line; days riddled with body image issues and the entire spectrum in between.  The adage of “the race is the reward” could not have been more true for Beach 2 Battleship.

Pre-Race:

Waking up at 4:00AM is never fun and on race morning it wasn’t any more pleasant.  We woke up to 36* temperatures and a slight breeze.  The weather took a turn for the cold two days before the race and improved the day after; typical.  I scarfed down a couple bagels with peanut butter and drank a delightful french press before getting ready to head off to T1.  The music selection was pretty crucial for the pre-race routine: lots of Black Angels, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, some current hip hop and some electronic to get the blood flowing.  All in all I felt pretty good, then we got to transition and I froze.  B2B is pretty unique due to the “point-to-point” nature of the race and the logistical nightmares that brings to transitions.  We checked in bikes the day before in T1 (Wrightsville Beach) as well as T2 bags (Wilmington Convention Center).  This isn’t really a big deal for me and I just rolled with it.  It’s less stuff to carry on race morning, honestly.  After making sure everything was groovy with Cera the Cervelo and checking T1 and special needs bags I boarded the (heated) trolley to head to swim start.  Once at swim start, a bunch of us sat under a gazebo and froze while nervously chatting.  Swim start is located on the southernmost tip of Wrightsville Beach in an estuary; it’s easily the most beautiful location for a swim  that I’ve ever had.
Swim – 56:05 – 19th Overall
Whoa, that actually happened.  My goal time was 1:05 for the swim since there would be a slack tide on race morning (it was definitely slack) and we would be swimming into the chop of a Northern wind.  Right at the start, after taking off my sweats and “donating” them, my left nostril begins to bleed.  Awesome.  I guess the salt water stopped it and I didn’t really ntice after 200m of swimming.  Honestly, this was the largest question mark in my race in terms of pace and timing.  I knew I had the breakaway speed to stick with the first couple groups, but I had no idea how well I could get “attached” to that group or how I would end up feeling past the halfway mark.  I did have a lot of confidence due to the last month of my training, though.  As I started to shed bike workouts, I added long swim sets in their place with a lot of 6×500 main sets.  I was swimming these in a very particular way: fast for the odd 100s and medium for the even 100s.  This  strategy was my way to simulate the breaks that happen naturally in a triathlon swim.  In my experience, when you’re drafting and working with a group no one knows how to maintain an even pace due to the lack of metrics in the open water and the pace jumps all over the place.  I figured that I would need to be able to swim hard after the 90 degree turn at 1.8 miles (I did) and that the last half mile would be a total sprint (it was).  I got kicked in the face at the turn buoy due to one of my group mates trying to sight from a breast stroke and my left goggle filled with lovely salt water.  I swam on, one-eyed.  I ended up working with 5 other swimmers and we exited the water together around 54:0x.  Climbing up the ladder to exit was 0% fun as my left calf said, “Hey, it’s time to cramp!”  It shook out quickly and I was off to the wetsuit strippers to take off my Xterra Vortex 4.  After a nice, warm, freshwater shower it was off the races and T1.
Swim Gear:
Xterra Vortex 4 wetsuit, Aqua Sphere Kaiman clear/chrome goggles, Garmin 310xt
T1 – 5:52 – 19th overall
After the swim I saw Alex, Mom and Dad, Dad yelled out “top 20!” and I was instantly energized to keep on pushing.  Frozen toes, arms and fingers were the typical vibe in T1.  I absolutely flew through due to the lack of a change of clothes (good decision) and my general attitude of: “this is a race”.  This was my first race in my Castelli Body Paint Tri Suit and I couldn’t be more pleased with how well it fit, dried after the swim and just, plain “worked”.  I threw socks, arm warmers and some DZNuts “InHeat” embrocation balm on in T1.
Bike – 5:24:35 – 33rd overall
I’ve never been so cold on a bike in my entire life.  Coming out of 71* water and into 40* air temperature was a huge shock to my body.  The first twenty miles I was borderline hypothermic (I’m guessing at this) and was shivering so badly I had a hard time handling my bike (which is actually one of my strongest skills) and actually had thoughts of needing to ditch.  The air temperature was compounded with a gnarly headwind for the first most of the ride, making things worse.  I had planned to negative split the entire bike due to the wind and my feeble knowledge of the course.  I rode well within myself the whole way and had very few problems the whole way.  I didn’t hit any of the aid stations except for the special needs station at mile 55.  The volunteers were incredible and even refilled my water bottle for me as I was standing over my bike replacing other bottles and flasks.  This was a truly fast “pit stop”.  I rolled out of the special needs area and passed a couple guys ahead of me.  I had given up a couple spots early on in the race to some speedsters, but had also passed four other guys before special needs.  I figured I was around 18th at this point and felt really comfortable.  I got freight-trained by a pack of three guys around mile 70 and just felt dejected,  I dug deep and kept them within sight the rest of the way, though.  I was looking forward to my Blue Red Bull that I had in my rear bottle cage that was planned for mile 90.  I had been toying with Red Bull during training and, I must say, it does “give you wings”.  I took the drink down and my heartbeat slowly rose from the 150s to the 160s and my legs felt alive for the last 22 miles.  I rode the last 22 in just under 1 hr.  Unfortunately, I got another nosebleed (other nostril) and had to wipe it all over my awesome pink arm warmers.  I passed more guys up the road and started downing all of my nutrition for the run in hopes of catching a few more.  We caught up to the back of the half iron race that was happening and I turned into a cheerleader for each person I passed.  For me, triathlon has been a life-changing activity and I want other people to feel the positive emotions and uplifting spirit that I feel when I race.  I don’t care if I’m winning by a mile or losing by a mile, it’s something that I feel I have to do to continue growing the sport in my own, small way.
Bike Gear:
Cervelo “Cera” P3C 58cm w/sram Rival/red groupset, 53/39 172.5 crankset, Vision Carbon Cockpit, Mavic Cosmic Carbone Ultimate wheels w/11-23 Sram Red Cassette, Bell Javelin Helmet, Bontrager Hilo RXL Shoes (size 47), Castelli “toe thingys” toe covers, Castelli Body Paint Tri Suit, Castelli 9 socks, Garmin 310xt
Bike Nutrition:
2 bottles – 4 scoops orange Gatorade + 4 Saltstick Capsules
2 flasks – “custom race fuel gel” Gel Recipe
1 bottle – H20
1 bottle – 1 can of Blue Red Bull
2 bars – Pro Bar Fuel
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What a great bike mount! (not)
T2 – 4:37 – 52nd overall
I figured I was in a pretty good spot after the volunteer took Cera from me and my legs still felt pretty good.  I ran through the convention center, grabbed my bag and got to work getting my arm warmers (now covered in blood) off, and putting on: my Skora Phase shoes, Chicago Bulls headband and grabbing my gel flask and electrolyte stick.  I even took about 1:30 to run through the bathroom to clean off my face from some dried blood.  Out of the convention center I went!
Run – 5:03:23 – 280th overall
For as strong as the Swim/Bike went, this could not have gone worse.  The time is actually deceiving because it was really the tale of two polar opposite half marathons.  I ran out of the convention center, saw Alex, Mom and Dad, and Dad yelled out “15th!”.  This made me believe I was Kenyan and I took off, charging toward my competitors and trying to crack the top 10.  Quickly, I passed the next three guys up the road and was running 7:40/mile pace.  I knew this was about :30/mile faster than I wanted to run so I backed down a little bit.  Knowing I was in 12th meant it was hard to hold back and I probably blew myself up in the process.  After 4 miles, the lead female (pro) passed me and I hung with her all the way to mile 9.  I absolutely messed up nutrition in 4 miles.  At some point, my salt stick dispenser came out of my pocket, rendering me without some needed electrolytes and I didn’t take any electrolyte drink down through the first 4 aid stations (HEED, YUCK!).  At mile 9, around 1:15 into the race I started cracking.  My hips, legs and stomach started feeling empty and dead.  Instantly, I knew it was a nutrition error from the first part of the race and an inexperience issue that came from getting caught up in “racing” over being smart.  This burned me badly.  I maintained a run/walk to the halfway mark (1:50-ish) and held 12th to that point.  Then I had to walk.  I walked most of the second half of the marathon in what can only be described as a “death march”.  Even though things blew up and I completely imploded 8:30 into the race, it was the most rewarding experience I’ve ever had.  I was on pace to be near my 10:00 super goal and was well within a high goal pace for 10:30.  Walking through the second half gave me plenty of time to think and to reminisce about the first five years of my career as a triathlete.  I’ve come such a long way from the guy that swam a 45:00 1500m olympic distance, the 1:15 10k and the death that I felt like on that day in May of 2009.  I can’t wait to race this distance again and use the knowledge that I’ve gained to really compete.
Run Gear:
Skora Phase Black Running shoes (size 12.5), Castelli Body Paint Tri Suit, Castelli 9 socks, Smith Pivlock V2 Glasses w/chrome lens, Chicago Bulls Headband
Run Nutrion:
2 flasks – “custom race fuel gel” Gel Recipe
1 can – Blue Red Bull
HEED, Cola, Water and random snacks at aid stations
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Death running, personified
Total – 11:34:02 – 98th overall (of 820)
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Trudging to the end, covered in salt, sweat and feeling like death.
All photos from Alexandra Alcorn, for more pictures, check out:  Alex’s Blog
Reflection, what’s next and gratitude.
I have so much to be thankful for after this odyssey.  I am forever indebted to Alex for putting up with a, sometimes, crazy schedule of training and the mood swings that come with IM training.  I’m thankful to have incredible parents that have supported me from the first race of my career and continue to do so.  Having Alex and my parents out there cheering was all the motivation I needed to keep on moving and to try and give them a good show as a reward for their own sacrifices.  I’m thankful for Setup Events putting on a great race and, some day, I will come back.  As I said above, I can’t wait to race another iron-distance event.  I’m currently looking to 2015, a spring race and having the hopes to use my last year in the 25-29 AG to qualify for Kona.  It’s a huge goal, but I’m essentially taking two years of focused work to get there.  Next season will be a little lighter (for triathlons) than the past couple.  There will be a couple of half irons, a couple olympic distance races and maybe a random sprint.  The goal for 2014 is to qualify for 70.3WC and race in olympic distance national championships in Milwaukee.  I’m also going to get into some bike racing and keep building my bike engine to help my run.  I’m going to run a spring marathon and (hopefully) take advantage of some residual fitness and BQ for 2015.  Yes, that puts my 2015 schedule (in an ideal world) like this: Boston Marathon, June/July IM, July/August 70.3, 70.3WC and IMKona.  Ambitious? Yes.  Out of reach?  Maybe.  Good goals to have?  Certainly.  In the immediate future, I’m going to have some unstructured “training” for a few months alongside a focus on a strength program to do some body maintenance and preventative strengthening (I’m talking to you, ankles and hips!).  I’ll start ramping up for my spring marathon in mid-January (yay, treadmill).  Lastly, thank you for reading this blog and for keeping up to date with my trials and tribulations.  I’m going to be a bit more diligent over the winter (because I’ll have time) to keep everyone in the loop on my progress.
Until then, stay active!
Cody
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Summer Season Recap and the Push Toward Beach 2 Battleship

It has been a very busy two months of racing and training for me.  Since my last post and since Buffalo, I have raced: High Cliff Half Iron, Waconia, Lifetime Fitness MPLS, Tri for a Cause and Chisago Lakes Half.  Shwew, that’s a lot of racing!  I won’t go into full detail on all of them, I’ll just touch on the highs and lows in chronological order.

High Cliff – 4:56

My “hometown” race in Oshkosh was a total blast.  I had a solid swim followed by an average bike and a “decent” run.  Unsurprisingly, this course always finds a way to just decimate me on the end of the bike and the run.  I still ran a respectable 1:49 (A Half Iron PR, sadly) off of an admittedly overcooked bike.

Waconia – Fish Out Of Water

Another stacked field in Minnesota, go figure.  I figured that this would be a great race to test some of my speed with considering it is a sprint-ish distance.  I also decided it would be awesome to race in a speedo (it was, see picture).

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All in all, it was a good time, nothing particularly exciting about my results or progress, just good racin’ fun!

Lifetime MPLS – The Monsoon

Thus began the tumultuous bit of my season.  A massive storm rolled in overnight and through the morning causing part of the olympic distance bike course to become under a foot of water.  This altered the race to being a sprint distance for everyone, bad news for anyone lacking the speed necessary to compete at that distance (read: “Cody”).  I sucked it up and then just raced.  What was supposed to be my “A2” race turned into a total mess and I ended up just trying my best.  The swim was utter chaos, the bike was wicked tight and a little dangerous due to roads and density of riders and the run was the run (see suffering photo below).  Again, not much to write home about.

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Tri For A Cause – 7th Overall

New friend Brian (Sames) and I were texting back and forth on Thursday about the weekend and decided to race on Saturday in Crosby, MN.  Awesome idea because this race was a total blast with great setup and a great RD.  We also figured we would be at the pointy end of the race and have a good chance to race against each other the whole way.  I counted on my swim prowess to get me out of the water a couple minutes ahead of Brian, hold it on the bike and then just get smashed on the run.  As it turns out, my swim prowess was fine but, only :20 fine.  Brian was second out of the water, right behind me and laughing the whole way.  Apparently he’s found some swim pace.  You can guess how the rest went.  I faded to third on the bike with some finicky saddle mishaps and then imploded on the run on my way to 7th.  Massive stomach cramps were the order of the day during the run.  Good times.

Disaster, Catastrophe, Etc.

In what can only be filed under the “ugh, that sucks” category, I spent Wednesday after Tri for a Cause running through a Doctor’s office and a hospital.  I had been having some stomach pains and some good bouts of nausea for the past week in my lower right abdomen and it had gotten unbearable.  I ran through CT Scans and the whole medical runaround to find out….nothing.  No appendicitis (good) but no other ideas.  I went home and continued to not train at all the week before Chisago.  I decided to give it a whirl on race morning anyway.

Chisago Lake Half Iron – Not Meant to be

Race morning came and my sickness was tolerable enough to at least give the race a try.  After the madness of setting up in transition was over and after I had “warmed up” by splashing in the lake it was go time.  I ended up having an alright swim (32:15) and got out of the water feeling like death warmed over.  Nearly throwing up the last half of the swim was less than pleasant and it took me a while to get things sorted out on the bike.  In general, the bike course at Chisago is a total mess.  Riding through grass, bike trails and rough roads is not a fun thing on a TT bike.  I also had a pretty stout nosebleed on the bike between miles 10 and 20.  I ended up riding near a group of 4 other guys for the first 30 miles and we all just kept a sane pace.  We made it through the 40km mark in just over an hour and a couple of the guys dropped back (smart) while three of us continued to hammer onward.  I started to fade badly in the last 10 miles and decided to consolidate my losses and just relax on the way in if I were going to have any chance at running a decent half marathon on this day.  I finished the bike (which was 57.1 miles instead of 56 miles) and started the run.  I was feeling pretty normal for the first mile.  Surprisingly, I was able to hold 7:30/mile pace and feel like I had more.  Then it all came undone, quickly.  Right around mile 1.5 my stomach started to hurt and I was instantly nauseous.  At mile 2 I threw up all over the place.  It was not pretty.  I ended up deciding not to finish the race and leave on a stretch and hoofed it back to transition.  A DNF always sucks, but this was the right decision.

Recap, Review and Looking Forward

It’s been a really interesting season.  I’ve really found that I have a good enough swim/bike to keep myself competitive within the local races and that my run continues to improve.  I’ve had a pretty successful summer.  I’m incredibly proud of Alex for her work and her great results at High Cliff Sprint (2nd AG), Waconia (2nd AG) and Chisago Sprint (Swim PR and she would’ve been on the podium if not for a bum tube).  She’s going to continue to improve with every race and it’s just awesome to watch!  I’ve also made some awesome friends and met some awesome people in the past couple months.  I’m now taking a week of unfocused training to relax and recuperate before my 12 week Ironman build.  I’m a process guy with a great attention to detail so I’m really looking forward to seeing what I can do with a hyper-focused 12 weeks!  I’ll check in more regularly with my training totals and such between now and October 26th.  Until then, train hard and have fun!

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Race Reports From the First Quarter

Whoa, where did the last three weeks go?  I found myself muttering this before the gun went off on Sunday for the Buffalo Triathlon.  This race report will catch you up on all things Cody during the past three weeks, spanning three races: Gear West Duathlon, Apple Duathlon and Buffalo Triathlon.

I had a nice week off between Cinco Du Mayo and the Gear West Duathlon in which I did a little bit of maintenance training.  Gear West and Apple were both “train-through” races for me because I don’t quite have the running pace to keep up with the fastest guys (you know who you are).  With that being said, we’ll jump into the fun.

Gear West Duathlon May 19, 2013

Run 1: 20:25

Bike: 42:50

Run 2: 21:52

Overall: 1:27:20, 1st in 25-29 AG*, 35/250 overall

*Three of top Four overall “elites” were 25-29, whatever, I’ll take the fake victory.

An interesting race, considering the awful, difficult and muddy run course, I’ll be back.  It was a pretty tough race for me to get into a comfortable pace with my running right out of the gate.  I ran 6:02 the first mile and then spiraled downward as the course became more and more muddy.  It was just a tough run course, period.

My bike has been neglected due to the awful weather we’ve had all spring and this pace wasn’t really a good indication of my fullest potential.  A 23.3 mph average isn’t really all that stellar for myself, I’ll work on it though.  The bike course was easy with a couple good rollers.

Run 2 was even less fun.  The course was pretty trampled and destroyed after all ~300 athletes ran through the first loop so it was a mess.  I actually saw a few people crash on the run course, that was pretty atypical.

All in all, I performed as well as I could have expected.  Live to fight another fight, they say.

Apple Duathlon, May 25, 2013

Run 1: 19:23 (6:15/mi.)

Bike: 54:16 (22.7 mph avg.)

Run 2: 20:50 (6:43/mi.)

Overall: 1:35:46, 4th in 25-29 AG, 38/300 overall

Another grey and dismal day for racing.  Being that Apple was a world qualifier, I fully expected to be off any podium for the race.  Lots of out-of-staters came here and all the speedy folk from my age group were there as well (minus a couple, notable speedsters).

Run 1 was pretty fun, I’ll admit.  I went out hard and stayed with Brian (Sames) for 100m, then he dropped me like Chinese class.  I ran hard and finished sub 20 in the first 5k to set myself up for a decent position on the bike.  The hills of Sartell were pretty pounding on the legs and the wind started to pick up toward the end of the run.

The bike course was windy.  There are no two ways about it, I had no legs for the winds and got frustrated pretty quickly.  I also pushed a few too many buttons on the garmin and didn’t have data during the bike.

Run 2 was also, surprisingly, strong.  I felt pretty good after my middling bike efforts and pushed up the hill and out of transition.  I knew I was somewhere in the top 5 and that no one was really close to me in my AG so I could coast a little bit.  I coasted the first couple miles and then dug a little deeper to ensure that I wasn’t caught by the next athlete behind me (who happened to be in my AG).  All in all it was a fine day.  Brian took 5th overall, because he’s an animal, and won the AG.  The next three in AG were within shouting distance so, I couldn’t complain.  Alex also had a great race and completed her first duathlon after the unfortunate crash a few weeks earlier.  It was way fun to cheer her on as she came in.

In general, duathlon season was fun.  I am glad to get some fire into the legs and feel the competitive streak come back for race season.  I couldn’t WAIT to get to a triathlon so I could swim!

Buffalo Olympic Distance Triathlon, June 2, 2013

Swim: 22:20 (1:22/100 yd., OD PR)

Bike: 1:05:52 (22.4 mph avg.)

Run: 43:10 (6:58/mi.)

Overall: 2:14:24 (OD PR), 14th in Elite, 24/388 overall

Ah yes, the first triathlon of the season, a great way to shake out the legs and make sure the wetsuit doesn’t have any holes!  The entrant list looked pretty thin a few days before the race and I thought that, perhaps, I could sneak my way into a top 10 overall.  However, my luck being what it is, fast folks showed up last minute.  I still felt I could finish respectably and learn a lot after seeing some of the fast names that showed up and I (somewhat) did.

Swim:

The water was pretty chilly, there’s no other way to describe it.  Alex and I swam in Cedar Lake on Thursday and knew what we were in for this weekend (She raced and did AWESOME on Saturday at New Bri).  I decided before the race that the only chance I had of a high finish was to have a great swim.  Knowing the field pretty well, I picked some drafting partners out before the race.  I ended up swimming with Patrick Parish and Ben Trnka most of the way.  I ended up doing less work than Ben or Patrick due to our not really being familiar with one another’s pacing (i.e. I was slowing when they were and vice versa). Regardless, it was a great swim and I exited near the pointy end.

Bike:

Oof, my bike legs are just not there, yet.  Again, windy, frustration, dropped chain, middling result.  I need to find some of that top end pace before my half (two weeks, I know) so I can have a prayer at making some noise in High Cliff (other than a whimper).  I passed a few dudes and was passed by two, all in all, uneventful.

Run:

I checked my watch after leaving T2 and saw “1:31:xx”.  Knowing that it’s windy, the run course is tough and that it’s early in the season I felt quite pleased about all this.  As you’ll see in the run data below, Buffalo is no joke for a 10k; the first 5k essentially brutalize your legs to a point of no return and then you have to blast down the hills the last 5k.  As I was blowing up around mile 3 I decided to coast for a half mile and see if I could recharge the legs.  Apparently it did the trick.  I ran the last two miles in ~13:00.  I caught Ben in the last mile and was totally taken by surprise; Ben is a far superior runner to myself and was obviously struggling.  I’ll take the overtake on the run any day though.

As I crossed the like in 2:14:24 I felt really happy with my results considering circumstances and the odd training season that has preceded the triathlon season.  I’ve got a LOT of work to do if I want to maintain my goals from pre-season, though.  I need to put in a good training block between Buffalo and High Cliff so I can compete for a high finish there.  In general, I feel optimistic and motivated for the next phase of the season!

Data from Buffalo:

Bike:

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Run:

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Race Pictures from Buffalo:

Swim Exit

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Bike In:

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Finish Line Suffering:

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Whoa, that’s a long report…

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3 Spoons Full of Story

For a Plant-Powered Body, Spirit, and Mind

Next Level Fitness

We gain strength, courage, and confidence by each experience in which we stop to look fear in the face

Devon Palmer

Pro Triathlete and Triathlon Coach