Monthly Archives: February 2013

Be calm. Be brave. It’ll be ok.

Before I get to running, I had a 5 minute TT on the bike today. This was actually my second go in two weeks at this, as two weeks ago I flew out of the proverbial gates and was crushed before 2.5 minutes were up. Today, with targets in mind, I rode a much smoother (full) 5 minutes. That’s not to say I felt good afterwards:

I had one of those runs on Monday where everything just felt pretty good. Easy pace felt easy. Nothing hurt. But the path to getting out the door was far less than easy. I had to convince myself, really convince myself, that 25 minutes of easy running had to get done (it was on the schedule). And I think I know why.

Just like Costa Rica and Quassy last year, I’m afraid that I might have to adjust my goals. The #mangledankle set me farther back than I’d like to admit. While I was out in Boulder, Steve made it pretty clear that <2:50 at Boston is pretty much out of the books. I’m beginning to wonder if sub-3:00 is even out of the books as well. Too be honest, Monday’s run was the first run where I actually felt back to my “old[1]” self. Maybe it’s because I haven’t raced in 3 months (even Super Sunday, where I ran tempo and that felt easy, didn’t feel like a great run and definitely wasn’t me racing). Maybe it’s because I’m a bit heavier right now than I have been in a year or two. Maybe the ankle isn’t fully healed (it’s still in a perpetually swollen state, even if it doesn’t hurt at all). What I do know is that there are still 7.5 weeks to get ready (or as ready as possible) for Boston. Running will get easier. Trust the plan as it is formed now (as much as I can).

What do you do when you think you need to readjust?

  1. Emily, I think, will get a kick out of this because my old self, the old self she remembers very well, is not someone who could run the 4 miles easy and feel like it was easy. What I meant was pre-injury me

Boulder, Sponsor Style

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So last time I wrote, I told you I’d talk about the tri-specific stuff (aside from meeting people) that we did in Boulder. It’s odd; I never thought I would be a sponsored athlete of any sort (although I suppose you could say that growing up, most of the time I was sponsored by my parents). But aside from hanging out with the Normatec people at almost every Rev3 event last year, I hadn’t really spent any time with any of my sponsors. So it was a real treat to hear from them.

First up was SBR Sports, the makers of TriSlide, Foggle, and TriSwim. While the amount of time I spend in the pool could best be described as minimal or lacking, I’ve loved these products when I’ve used them: the TriSwim stuff is fantastic, and last year I never had a problem extracting myself from my wetsuit like I had in years past. We learned quite a bit about why the product was created and that TriSlide was for external use only (seriously, this stuff is ridiculously slick to the point that it makes dry tile into a veritable sheet of ice… TriSlide hockey/broomball anyone?).

Next up was a new sponsor, Compex. I’m really interested to try out E-Stim. A few years ago I got to play with some e-stim stuff in a professional PT environment, and I’m curious to see what effect it can have.

Later in the afternoon, we headed out to the Pearl Izumi US HQ. We were taken on a tour to see some of the past ad campaigns (some of which were deemed to be too racy to release to the public), meet the custom kit creators, meet the President (of Pearl US), and see where the pros’ kits are made. Cool thing that Pearl does for their pros? Each kit is custom built to a pro’s specific build. So it’s not a Medium, it’s a Jesse Thomas. We also heard from Tim DeBoom about how awesome Pearl is to work with (he’s helped design some of the graphics for the shoes). We then heard about the upcoming run and triathlon lines from Pearl, and the complete relaunch of their running shoes (which are currently being launched). This was quite the treat, and I look forward to getting to try them out.

That evening, we drank.

The next day was more sponsors. First up was Biotta. We got to try the beet juice and the nutritionists on the team went way into depth about how fantastic beet juice is for you, so I’ll have to acquire the taste. I was able to drink the whole sample I had, so I’m assuming I’ll be able to acquire it. There were some worrisome moments later in the day, as beet juice is very red and looks a bit like blood in certain situations.

Next we had Reynolds wheels. So cool to hear about how they make their race wheels (I love load testing stuff, when things are pushed to their breaking point). And um, if anyone wants my SRAM S80s, I’m willing to give you a good price so I can get me some Reynolds.

Quintana Roo was up next, and we heard about their bike lines. The biggest concern is that you don’t always fit on a bike, so if I’m not on a QR, that’s the only reason why. The bikes are slick and sweet. But we’re going to try and fit me on one (sorry wallet!).

Last up was Powerbar. I had the same pre/misconception last year as I think everyone does about Powerbar: it tastes like crap. Well, it did back in the late 80s/early 90s, but I can say they’ve definitely remedied that problem. They’re releasing blends this year that are the consistency of pureed fruit, which should be pretty interesting and probably more conducive to ingesting during longer (10+ hour) efforts.

While it was really cool to be out in Boulder, the key takeaway that I got from hearing all of the sponsors was how invested they are in creating the best product possible. It’s one thing to just receive stuff from sponsors; it’s quite another thing to have them come in, explain their philosophy, explain how much you (as a customer and sponsored athlete) mean to them, and display their enthusiasm. And I know that this can all sound very arrogant; I don’t mean for it to be. I’m truly humbled by all of this.

Want to try some of the gear that I’ll be getting[1]? Let me know. I’ll see what I can do.

  1. The compex, Normatec, Biotta, SBR and PowerBar stuff is probably the easiest to share. You cannot ride my race wheels. You cannot ride my race bike.

Ode to Boulder. Or Oh Boulder. Or Uh Oh Boulder.

For now, I’m going to gloss over the actual meetings and celebrations of the Rev3 summit out in Boulder and focus on the rest of the trip out West. Next time I’ll tell you all about the sponsors and the team.

Driving in to Boulder was somewhat spectacular. Even in the dead of night, the shadows of the Flatirons and the Rockies (not knowing the region well enough, maybe it’s the Front Range?) are spectacular. During the day, they are even more spectacular.

The snow pack in Colorado has been disappointing this year. The bases at most of the I-70 resorts (Keystone, Copper, Loveland, Vail, etc) are right around 30 inches right now. But it’s a totally different type of terrain, snow, and altitude. I didn’t know how long I wanted to ski on Thursday so I headed to Loveland Ski Area. Much of the more extreme terrain was closed, and the wind was whipping across the ridge, but still, I was out skiing (and freezing). While small and mostly above the treeline, there are some magnificent views and you can see the exhaust pipes from the tunnel (the tunnels are a marvel; when an overheight truck approaches, a loud siren goes off and all traffic is prevented from entering the tunnels.
As the day wore on, I decided I needed to get back to Boulder so I could meet teammates for dinner. But first, I wanted to drive over Loveland Pass (pass #1 of the week) and see what the drive was like (I had never driven over the pass, just through the tunnels). The view at the top? Truly awe inspiring.

Met some teammates for dinner. Someone confused architecture for archaeology (Indiana Jones designs the best buildings). We drank Imperial because it reminded us of Costa Rica and opportunities missed. Later that night I drove back out to the airport to pick up Maggie, Ryan, and Tonia. We got back to the hotel, Ryan and I cracked a beer, and we watched the end of one of the American Pie movies before crashing around 2AM MST.

We made the decision early in the weekend that 5 of us (Ryan, Jeff, Maggie, Lauren, and I) would be going to one of the resorts to ski on Sunday. We met in the lobby at 8AM, jammed the trunk full of equipment, and started off for Winter Park. Once again, the mountain pass (this time, Berthoud Pass) was beautiful: low clouds, snow, tree lines, and switchbacks. Maybe someday I’ll bike the passes.
Gang of five.
We had a great time at Winter Park. We spent the majority of the time in the trees (my first time ever) finding what powder we could, falling into wells over and over again, and laughing it up.

We drove back to Boulder that night and Lauren, Maggie, and I met up with Courtenay Brown for dinner: Tibetan food. I had a yak stew (yup!) because when in Tibet, do as the Tibetans do. While I had met Courtenay briefly before and talked multiple times at length with her, it was the first time we had actually sat down together and talked. Didn’t disappoint: she’s just as cool in person as she is online.

Headed out to Copper Mountain on my own. It was nice to be back at the place where I learned to ski way back in the day. They even still give out Jolly Ranchers at the ticket window like they did 20+ years ago. During the day it started to snow, and while the visibility wasn’t great, the skiing was: there were steeps with deep powder, endless bumps as big as a sumo wrestler, and tree skiing galore. Got in a full day there.
Trees please!
That night, I headed to Avery Brewery. They do a number of taproom only beers, so I had a mint chocolate stout and an IPA that was taproom only[1].
Mint chocolate stout
Decided against skiing (gasp!) and went running up in the foothills/Flatirons/Front Range/whatever. It was there I came up with a brilliant business idea: truck in a ton of oxygen to Colorado. Up the trail into Shadow Canyon, lungs burning, feet searching the snow for good footing… just totally at peace with everything. The run included a lot of stops going up (to catch my breath) and down (to take photos). I thought about stopping at 1 mile going up. But I kept going. At 1.25 miles, I thought about stopping, but still, I went up. At 1.75, I decided that I would get to two miles and turn around.

Lunch was with Steve and MarkyV. I had never met MarkyV (nor Steve for that matter, though we had corresponded). We had a raucous lunch at Rueben’s Burger Bistro, which had 42 beers on tap (including nitro Mojo) and a terribly misleading signpost for the mountain passes in Europe. It was a very motivating (there are things I might be able to achieve), comforting (seems even the really fast people lose their motivation in January), and hilarious (Newton pumps: not happy with 0mm drop? 4 pumps to 4mm!) lunch. Finally had dinner with my cousins in Denver, then drove to the airport and waited in a nearly deserted terminal for my redeye flight back to Boston.

And now I am seriously considering a move to Boulder if I could only keep everything the way it is now. I love living near my family. I love the feel of Boston. But I also love the feel of Boulder/Denver. And the mountains. It’s not an easy problem to solve. It has very little to do with multisport and more to do with comfort. Any suggestions on what I should do? You ever come across this situation?

  1. Next time you go to Boulder, I recommend you go there. The staff there was pretty awesome (though perhaps that was only due to the weather which was nasty)