Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Reflecting on 2010

Well 2010 has come to an end and now seems like a great time to reflect on last year.... Goals are a funny thing for me. It seems even when I reach them I always find something that I feel like I could have done better.
I'll start with the road running races that kicked off the year. The season kicked off with a 3 minute 5 miler PR at the St. Paddy's Day 5 in Spokane. My goal was to run sub 30 and I went low 28. You'd think it would have been a great feeling however... I was beaten by a dude pushing a stroller! WTF! Sorry for the harsh letters, but that hurts! I'm hoping the kid in the stroller was small but to be honest I never saw him since I was behind him the ENTIRE time!
Next up, was the Rapid Rabbit Run 5 miler. I finished 5th there the year before and it starts at East Valley High School (my Alma mater). Oddly enough as a baseball player there in high school we were forced to run it, and I hated running so much that a group of us ducked into a neighborhood about 1/2 a mile in and waited about a half an hour then jumped back in. My how things have changed. Anyway, back to the race. My goal for this was to finish top 3. I ended up winning it. My first ever overall win! This was a great feeling! I actually couldn't find much wrong with this one. I even got a trophy.
Two weeks later I did the Recycle Run. It was a dead flat 4 miler and I again took the overall win. I was able to run with more confidence knowing I had won a race the week before. The best part about this race? They give away recycled trophies and I got first pick. Naturally I went with the biggest one. The figure on top was of course a man in a wheelchair. Another great race.

Here's a close up shot of my Grand prize
The week after was Bloomsday! I love this race! 40,000 people running through the streets of downtown Spokane. I've ran this race over 15 times, but I peaked at 10 years old with a 58:40. Last year I went 44:xx and I thought that was my peak, but this year I was running better than I ever have and cut 3 minutes off from last year. I finished 70th and after the Kenyans were dropped from the age group ranks I ended up 10 in my AG. Nobody lets my head get too big though, some of my friends were quick to point out that I got chicked by 13 women. I didn't get beat by any stollers though.
After Bloomsday it was time to start the tri season. As I've said before I like to start my season with Onionman in Walla Walla. This year was
no different, however I'm horrible about procasinating and I let this race fill up before I signed up. This left me scrambling to find a spot. With a week left I finally tracked down a spot. A local triathlete named John Martinek wanted to get rid of his wifed slot. I met him at his house and got everything squared away. This left me without a hotel plan so I decided to drive down the morning of. I Got there with about an hour to go and got ready to roll. I wanted to go top 3 in my AG and I didn't quite get there. I finished 10th overall and fourth in my AG. I was a little disappointed, but it was still did better than the year before and I ran my best 10k ever. I thought this was setting me up for a great Ironman CDA.
In the week following Onionman things started to fall apart. My left leg was struck with ITBS. I shut down the running for the 3 weeks before Ironman and skipped The Moses Lake Tri. It was really a bummer, because I was running better than ever prior to this.
I think this is a good place to stop as this is getting a bit long. Next time I'll dig into Couer d' Alene the summer and my thoughts on Kona.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Team Planet X 2011

I'm sure everyone is getting sick of seeing pictures of bikes on my blog but I got some exciting news last week.
As you can see I sold the Cervelo and bought the new Felt b12. Well.... 2 days after I got it all put together I found out that I have been selected to be on Team Planet X for the 2011 season. The team is made of 25 age groupers from around the country. I'm super excited for the chance to represent an elite team like this. I guess I better start hitting the training hard if I'm going to be racing for more than just myself.
For those of you that don't know Planet X is an awesome bike and wheel company.
Where else can you land a full carbon bike with Sram red components and deep carbon race wheels for $3500?

I'm honored to be a part of the team next year and can't wait for 2011. However this most likely means my brand new felt b12 has to go.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Out with the old, In with the new!

I sold the Cervelo, and I really feel good about the a local triathlete that will be giving it a new home. This was an excellent bike for me, but my carbon envy finally got the better of me. So without further ado I'd like to introduce the new Felt. After one trainer ride I can say that it feels great. Robin at Fitness Fanatics did a great job getting me old all squared away in a much more aggressive position than before. I just can't wait until the roads are clear so I can take her out and see what she can do.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Time to let her go


I ended up falling into an incredible deal on a new Felt tri- bike so the wife is enforcing the one tri-bike per person rule. The Cervelo has got to go! It's a 2008 54 cm ultegra build. I bought it new from Fitness Fanatics in July of 2008 and have completed 3 Ironman races. This bike and I have been through a lot together so it's a little bitter sweet to let her go. We've tremendous highs together (5:09 Ironman Cda bike split, our trip to Kona together) and some lows (the well documented crash). In regards to the crash the bike came out a lot better than I did with only a scratched right bull horn and a scratched pedal. It was completely gone through by fitness fanatics and I put another 500 miles on it post crash including Ironman Hawaii. Would I ride it if it was defective? No way!! I'm gonna be a dad soon and I have to provide for the family. So here are some pictures. I'm including the various nicks in the paint none of which is any more than a nick

Can't get much more aero at this price
Upgraded Cee Gee's pads. So Comfy!
Nick in the paint from cable rubbing
Brand new Felt 3.3 Saddle if you want it.
Or the original Profile tri saddle.
Paint chip from the trainer.
Another trainer paint chip
Foot rub on the crank arm. Not from the crash.
Another paint chip from the trainer.
Scratch in the decal.
Paint rubbed off from the aero drink bracket.
Paint Chip from lack of flexibility. Can't my leg that high.
11-23 cassette

Paint chip from trainer again.

The damage from the crash. Now covered by new bar tape. You can't even tell it's there.
Lightly scratched brake lever.
Pedal is pretty scratched but I rode it for the rest of the season. Just looks ugly.

Well there you have it. If you have any questions feel free to e-mail me at mallen4574@aol.com.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Pictures from Hawaii

I know most people hate looking at pictures of other peoples vacations, however I just found more pictures I thought I would share with everyone.
Underpants Run 2010
Wow!! I am white!

This race is kind of a big deal. Just look at the size of the screen.
The pier the night before.
Getting the finish line set up.
Checking the bikes in is even a big deal. There are at least 20 people with clipboards doing the counts for what equipment people are using.
Let the madness begin!
Morgan looking for me in the swim. Do you think she found me?
The view from the pedestrian bridge set up near the hot corner.
This is probably the best bike picture I've had in a race. Good work Dad.
That's me to the left of the fist.
5 miles in. Thats as far as my lips could move towards a smile.
No better feeling that coming down the finishing shoot!
My friends got a little bored waiting for me to come back to town so they decided to do backflips off the pier. Notice the rocks down there.
Relaxing the day after the race at Hapuna Beach.
Our private black sand beach. The location is top secret.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Ironman Hawaii

Ford Ironman World Championship
Kona, Hawaii
United States
World Triathlon Corporation
80F / 27C
Triathlon - Full Ironman Y
Total Time = 10h 57m 31s
Overall Rank = 967/1850
Age Group = M25-29
Age Group Rank = 80/92

Pre-race routine:

We arrived in Kona on Wednesday October 6th. By that time Avis had ran out of cars even though we had pre-paid more than 3 months earlier. I had a pretty big group come with me and we needed not one, but two cars. After standing in line for 30 minutes they got us one Nissan Versa. Luckily they paid for a taxi to take my bike and some of us to the condo, otherwise I would have really been stuck.
Getting there this late left me pretty much Thursday and Friday to get registered and get my bike put back together and all my race day gear ready to roll. This was my first mistake. If I could do it all over again I would have gotten there on Saturday or Sunday before the race so I made sure I could get a look at the bike course and really settle in.

On Wednesday my friends John and Jeff decided to go for a quick run when we got there on Ali'i. We were staying down at the end Ali'i so it was nice to be a little ways away from the pre-race hoopla, but we were still close enough to see everyone out getting ready for the race. It's amazing to look around and be running amongst the best athletes in the world.

The next day I did my first swim at dig me beach with Jeff. This was one of the things I had been looking forward to more than anything! We swam out to the Coffee's of Hawaii boat and had a cup. I have to admit, it's pretty awesome to essentially swim out into an aquarium to a boat that serves up hot coffee in the morning. After that I hurried over to the underpants run. It was pretty hilarious, and a little embarrassing as it was obvious I was the palest person out there.
The rest of the week was getting registered putting the bike together and trying to soak everything in that I could.
Event warm-up:

I woke at about 3:45 and showered and got my breakfast all ready. I tried to keep things as normal as possible but, for some reason I just didn't have the same nervous excitement that I've had in Coeur d' Alene the last two years. The whole week I just couldn't seem to rap my head around the fact that I was doing an Ironman that week. I had hoped it wouldn't carry over to race day, but I still couldn't get all that pumped up for it. I think part of the problem stems from my bike wreck 6 weeks ago. My fitness never really got to the point I wanted it to, so I never really put any pressure on myself. Without the pressure I just felt kind of flat.

On the way to the car I realized that I forgot my goggles and quickly ran back into the condo to grab them. Disaster avoided. We drove down in the dark and I went to body marking. Everything about this race screams professionalism. From body marking to the transition areas to the all the volunteers. It was great to get those numbers on and make my way back to my bike to pump up the tires and get ready to go. At the transition area I ran into my friend Derek Garcia who was also racing and would go on to PR on a very tough day. He gave me some great words of encouragement and even prayed for me. Finally I was starting to get excited! Thanks Derek that helped a lot.

Swim 1:19:40


The swim here was by far my favorite part. For the last year and a half I had pictured myself floating in the bay waiting for the cannon to go off. It did not disappoint. Floating out in the ocean with the helicopters circling overhead and the national anthem being sung it was a truly magical feeling. Looking back Alli'i drive was probably the coolest part. Imagine floating in the bluest water and looking back at the road to see 20,000 people crammed onto a road and a point all going crazy waiting for the swim start. I'll never forget this moment as long as I live.

As far as the actual swim goes I was completely comfortable the entire time. I never pushed (as you can see in my time) and I pretty much just took it easy. The beauty about swimming a 1:19 here is it puts you in the back of the pack where its pretty well thinned out. I was able to draft a little here and there on the way and a lot on the way back. I think this may have been part of the problem. I had no idea where I was time wise out there until I stood up on the steps. I'll admit I was a little disappointed when I came of the water and saw my time.

What would you do differently?:

This is where I will put a lot of focus next year. I really need to become a faster swimmer. I know what I have to do, but I just need to get my butt in the pool.

T1 5:33


Another place I always seem to leave time. I put on socks and shoes in the tent and took the time to put on Zoot arm coolers. I was extremely worried about burning the new skin I had grown after my bike wreck and these seemed to keep me really cool throughout the day.

What would you do differently?:

Move with more of a purpose through here.

Bike 5:21:04


If you feel like your bike isn't quite up to par at your qualifying race, take that feeling and multiply it by 100! The old aluminum yellow Cervelo was looking pretty ghetto in Hawaii. Everyone there was on a $5000 $6000 bike. I really need a new bike!
Anyway, I came out of the change tent to see my bike looking pretty lonely on the rack next to my other age group competitors. It honestly kind of deflated me a little bit and I made the decision to just enjoy the rest of the race and not try to kill myself on the bike to make up time.
The first 10 miles on Kuakini are extremely packed! There isn't really any room to maneuver so you just stay in the packs and wait until you get out onto the Queen K. By the time I got out there I was itching to go! I actually hit the road feeling great so I decided to go at a pace I thought was reasonable go as long as I could. For the first 50 miles I was flying! I was passing people like crazy, and I felt awesome! At that point I started seeing the pros coming back. That was another one of those times where I remembered "Hey, I'm in the Super Bowl of triathlon right now, and I need to enjoy this" About five minutes after that I hit the wind climbing into Hawii. Wow! I've heard about these winds but this was insane. I was doing everything I could to stay on the road all while climbing uphill into the wind. At that point I was averaging 23.1 mph according to my garmin. By the time I made the turn around I was down to 22.0 mp9h. Mentally I was even worse. That was demoralizing. At that point I made my first nutrition mistake. I had a powerbar that I normally eat at the halfway point but I couldn't get it open. I ended up throwing it away and not eating. I think this played a major part in my mental state. Food tends to cheer me up when I go through rough spots. Oh well you live you learn.

The rest of the way back was filled with my trying to get back on track, but never really getting there. At mile 90 I made another mistake that resulted in me not having anything on the bike to drink for 12 miles. As a result of this at mile 108 I had two terrible cramps running from my groin to my knee. Luckily the course is mostly downhill from there so I was able to coast at about 12 miles an hour for 2 miles.

I starting really feeling sorry for myself and I looked at the guy next to me and told him how I was feeling. Luckily he was a very nice guy and explained to me where I was.
"Look around you man, there are a thousand guys sitting on their couch wishing they were in your shoes right now."
These words really spoke to me. I should feel grateful to be where I was. From that I point on I rededicated myself to enjoying every part of this experience. I lost the competitive fire but I could still have fun!

What would you do differently?:

Execute my nutrition plan. I can't let my fragile mental state ruin my whole day. You spend a lot of time out there and little mistakes can end up costing you a lot of time.

T2 8:33


I came off the bike barely able to walk. My bike shoes have been killing my feet lateley. I think my feet tend to swell on the bike causing some horrible pressure points.
The run around the bike racks is long! Mine was more of a hobble and it cost me a lot of time. By the time I made to the changing tent I was starting to feel a little better. I had a volunteer help me get my CEP compression socks on. It took awhile, but they were well worth the trouble. I refueled and sun screened up, and I was out the door.

Run 4:02:51


I knew coming out of transition that this was going to hurt. However, to my surprise it wasn't all that bad. I started off running 7:15-7:30 for three miles. Then I slowed way down. Now I was sure that this was going to be a death march. I continued to try and take in calories but nothing seemed to help. I hit the first port-o-potty at mile 6 and ended hitting about 6 or 7 more throughout the race. My one complaint about such a huge race was the complete lack of port-o-potties. There was one per aid station and it was always 100 yards off the course.
Anyway, back to the race. The support on Ali'i was awesome and seeing my family friends really gave me a boost. Everyone on that stretch was great! Heading up to the Queen K and out to the energy lab I had pretty much settled into that 9 minute pace with 3 or 4 minute bathroom stops. This continued for the rest of the race until I made it to the bottom of Palani. From there its only about 1 mile to the finish. It was time to soak it all in and try and look pretty for the finish shoot. I came around the corned and I could hear the crowd going crazy. I quickly realized that a woman was sprinting behind me. I made the decision to not get into a race with anyone coming down the shoot. I wanted to enjoy it and try and find some space so I could be by myself crossing the line. The problem is that girl that sprinted past me was now stumbling about 20 yards ahead of me. Then she went down. I had a real life Gatorade commercial happening in front of me. I ran up to her and tried to pick her up as she tried to struggle to her feet. I could see in her eyes that she was absolutely gone. Luckily some other medical people came to her aid and I was able to continue on to the finish. I looked back to make sure I was clear of people and then all of the sudden two more women came sprinting to the finish. This is where I feel the need to say if you have the energy to sprint the finish shoot you didn't pace that well, and your missing the point of finishing this race. Oh well. I have a couple of women in the shoot with me, nothing I can do to control that.

What would you do differently?:

I guess sprint the finish shoot.

Post race

Warm down:

Massage, Pizza, Pizza. I visited with my family and told my wife if I ever signed up for an Ironman again to punch me in the face. The next day I was already planning my way to get back to Kona and race again. It's amazing how Ironman does that to you.
Next year the plan is to race in the 70.3 world championships in Vegas. I feel like I'm ready to race these big races, not just participate. In 2012 I will be back and I will be a lot faster!

Monday, October 4, 2010

Pardon my absence

It’s been a little while since I last blogged, and for that I’m sorry. Things have been extremely busy this last month around the house. As some of you may know my wife and I are expecting our first baby in January, and if you know my wife Morgan at all that means a lot of planning and getting things done as soon as possible. Unfortunately that’s not the only change to our family dynamic. We lost my grandfather a little over 2 weeks ago, and that added a little more emotional stress to deal with. But, exciting times are ahead and I know he wouldn’t have wanted us to dwell on the negative.

As far as the Kona training goes, things finally started to turn around about a month ago. I’m able to run with minimal tightness in my hamstrings and was even able to get a few long rides in after my accident. The last of my scabs fell off about a week ago and I feel like I’m pretty much all healed up. I’m sure this is a phrase echoed throughout the world from anyone about the compete in an Ironman or marathon, “If I only had three more weeks, I know I would be right where I want to be” but for me this really rings true. My fitness is just coming back to where it was before my injuries, however it left me no time for a good taper. After speaking with some very knowledgeable folks I decided to continue to build pretty much into the week of the race and use a short taper to try and recover some of the energy I know I’ll need on October 9th. That meant no long runs. The logic behind this strategy is that they take too long to recover from and there wasn’t time to bounce back from these workouts. My longest run would be 15 miles with a few 10- 13 milers sprinkled in. As far the swimming aspect of training goes… it is what it is. I tried to get to the pool as much as possible but I just couldn’t get focused on trying to get faster. I went about two weeks without getting in the water while I waited for my wounds to close, and that hurt my training more than anything else. Once I healed I made sure to put my time in, but I definitely could have done more.

So here I sit staring out the window into the rain, in Spokane with 5 days left until the cannon goes off, and I can’t help but be jealous of my friends that are already in Kona getting ready for the race. Soon enough I will be joining them. See you Wednesday!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Titanium Man 2010

This was my first race since my accident 2 weeks ago. Actually other than running on the treadmill and a trainer ride it was my first real workout since I wrecked. Surprisingly it went pretty well.

Things have healed up pretty well in the last few weeks. The only exception to that is my forearm and elbow where I had my stitches. The biggest problem there is the fact that I can’t get down in my aero bars properly. I really hadn’t even tried it before this race so I wasn’t too sure how the bike ride was going to go. Luckily, I had been refitted on my bike by Robin at fitness fanatics two days earlier. She changed some things and it helped to relieve the pressure on my forearm.

The morning started with my getting up a little earlier than normal to get my arms all bandaged up and get down to the multi transition set up before the race. It turns out an hour isn’t quite enough time to get everything set up for this. I was scrambling to get things in the right spots and get my tires to inflate (zipp valve extenders suck. They either won’t accept air because the valve rattled closed at some point or they leak around the connection from the original valve to the extender. After battling with that for 20 minutes I finally got it all straightened out and was ready to rock and roll.

For those of you that haven’t had the chance to do this race it is great! It’s also a bit hectic to get things set up. The swim is a downstream, point-to-point swim. T1 is 1.5K downstream and T2 is about a mile upstream from the swim start. So you have to drop your run stuff off, drop your bike off, then go get your timing chip and body marked at the swim start. It’s a workout before you even get started!

Swim- 19:53 (40th overall, 6th AG)

With all this happening, I ended up getting my wetsuit on with 2 minutes to spare. I scrambled into the water and swam as far towards the middle as I could before this thing started. As I was swimming out there I heard the air horn blow to start the race, and we were off. The plan was to start towards the front and see what happened. There had been no swimming for me with my open wounds, so this was my first time in the water in two weeks. It definitely felt like it too. As soon as I got started my arms felt heavy and I didn’t feel like I was making any progress. Oh well. Not much I can do about it now, so I just kept going and tried not to let it effect me too much. Before I knew it I was at the end with a kayak telling me turn in to shore. This swim was right into the rising sun and I literally could not see a thing! I cut it straight for shore and probably only lost about 20-30 seconds by swimming off course.

T1 (1:29 35th overall)

Not so good here. I had a hard time keeping my bandage on and getting my wetsuit off. I need more practice for sure.

Bike- (1:05:13 6thoverall, 1st AG)

I knew from the get go this would either make me or brake me. I hadn’t tried to ride in my aero bars yet but, I hoped that I could get down and setting into a groove. The ride started with me resetting my Garmin as I had forgotten to do that before hand. Then getting into my shoes. Those two things went pretty well, so I put my left arm down, and eased my right arm into my normal aero position. It became immediately clear that that was not going to work. I tried my arm slid forward farther, but that didn’t work either. Finally I settled on having my wrist resting on the pad and reaching out whenever I had to shift. This seemed to work okay and I decided to just go with it. As soon I settled in, a big bump in the road came out of nowhere and nearly shot my aero drink out of the bracket. I looked down and realized I had forgotten to put on the Velcro seat belt. It took a few tries to get it in the right spot but eventually it worked out and I was off. About 5 people had passed me right away and I passed them back as soon as I found my groove. Things continued on albeit painfully with every bump in the road sending shockwaves to my cut. I only ended up getting passed by one guy on the bike, but when he did pass me he was gone instantly. I thought to myself “wow, that guy can motor.) It turns out he’s a guy from Spokane that I had heard of before with the reputation of an uber biker that kills it at every race. I made note of his race number too see if I could bring him back on the run. The bike finished and I was in 13th overall and 4th or 5th in my group.

T2- (52 seconds, 40th overall, 6th AG)

This is where things took a turn for the worse. I came off the bike right in between to guys and at this race you hand off you bike and run up to and area where all the bags are layed out in order by race numbers. Theoretically someone yells your name as you come up to the bags and they have in their hand when you get to them, and hand it off to you. This however, did not happen when I came up the stairs. I was number ten and I could tell the volunteers didn’t seem to know what was going on so I yelled my number multiple times, but no one grabbed my bag. No big deal, I was able to run up and grab it myself. When I did this I took my helmet and put in the line of bags where I had just taken my bag from. The problem with this is you are supposed to take your helmet and put it in your run bag after you empty it out. My helmet had my number on it and it was right where my bag was, so I figured it would be fine. Come to find out later it was not fine. After the race was all over I went to get my helmet and to my surprise it was nowhere to be found. After going round and round with race volunteers it was determined that someone set it off to the side of all the other race gear, so no one would trip over it. From there no one knows where it went. I left the race with no helmet. Luckily the race director was able to find it somehow and it was returned to me.

Run (39:46 3rd overall, 1st AG)

uncharted territory here. I really hadn’t run more than 6 miles since July and both times I did it then I had to stop due to IT band problems. There was no telling how this would go. For the first mile I was really feeling my lack of run fitness, as it took me forever to catch the guy in front of me. From mile 1 to the turn around I settled into a
good pace and started to feel good. There was one guy in front of me that was running well, and he stayed about 30 yards ahead of me until about the 5k mark. At that point I decided to just go for it and see how many people I could pick off on the way back. I knew there were 4 guys within striking distance so I kicked it up a gear and gave chase. I was able to bring all three of them back pretty quick and one of them happened to be the uber biker from Spokane. He hung with me until about ½ a mile to go then I was able to go into cruise mode and finish the race.

End Result (2:07:13 5th overall, 2nd AG)

Overall I feel great about the end result. My training has been limited especially with my recent crash so it feels good to know that I can still throw down a PR on limited training. Beyond the helmet incident (which was partially my fault) this was an awesome race. I’ve been to races costing three times this much that aren’t as well put on.