I was very excited to compete in the 2016 Boulder Ironman. It had been a little over 1 year since I competed and completed an Ironman (Whistler 2015). That race had been pretty miserable in terms of weather, but the race went pretty well considering, achieving a big personal record. I had not cramped, except for the swim and I had been able to run the whole marathon. I went into the Boulder Ironman thinking I was going to be able to run the whole marathon as well. After all I had trained more and I felt a lot more prepared than 1 year ago.
It was a 3:30am wake up call, after doing my race morning routine, my family and Joe Mittel, pictured below
(Emma’s godfather and really good friend) drove to T2 to get final nutrition put into my run bag and to get on the buses that would take us to the Boulder Reservoir. I was very awake, I ran into a couple of people that I know, the first person was Dave Christen, race director (hugging Mike Reilly in the pic below)
and Ernie Mantel (great triathlete, soon to be pro) and both of them told me that I looked very wound up. I thought that was a good thing. I was nervous but excited to get started. The bus ride was very quiet nobody was really talking much, or maybe I just didn’t notice, but after 15 minutes we had arrived. I immediately went to my bike to pump the tires up and to put nutrition on my bike. After that, I went to my bike bag to place some more nutrition there. The race started at 6:20am, I had finished doing everything by 5:30am and I was happy with that. Hung out with the girls and Joe for a little while longer and then started to put my race kit and wetsuit on. I usually wait until the last minute to put my race kit on as I will have it all day, don’t need to be spending more time with it on that I need to. Since I’ve always had issues with cramping, I was going to give this new product, HotShot, a try. I took one 50ml shot about 30 minutes before the start and hoped that it would last the whole swim and bike. I had placed another one in my bike bag for end of the bike, so it would help me for the run. I knew they were going to be at mile 1 with a tent, so didn’t worry about placing more of them at T2. At 6am I gave the girls a kiss, hugged them and Joe and started walking to the start.
By the time I got to the back of the line, it was already pretty full, so making my way to the very front was a little of a challenge. For Ironman Boulder they separate swimmers by how fast they think they will finish the 2.4 mile swim, starting with “under 1 hour” and increasing my 10 minutes. I definitely wanted to be in the very first wave and since my experience with being in a pack is not great, I wanted to make sure I was one of the first ones in the water. After zigzagging through what it felt 1500 people, I eventually I made it to the front, right after they had finished singing the national anthem.
Once I was at the front I saw Kenny for the first time that morning, we had missed each other at the bus pickup. It was pretty cool to see what he had done with his facial hair, below a closer look at his Fu Manchu Mustache
I also saw Liz West (Vixxen Team) and Rudy Kahsar (2nd place overall), he was standing towards the back of the first wave. I told him to come on up to the front with me, he was a little surprised, I think he thought there were a lot of good swimmers in that wave. I told him that he most likely would be the first one out of the water and that he needed to be in the front. I also saw a girl, Lectie Altman, who looked so focused and wasn’t letting anyone get in front of her. I didn’t get her name until after the race, but I remembered a similar girl at Whistler Ironman and he out swam me, so I figured she would be pretty fast also. Right before the start, I saw her doing a similar dance to Michelle Jenneke’s (Olympic Hurdler). Just in case you’ve been living under a rock and have never see it, it looks something like this:
I am still hoping someone has it on video, but if I haven’t seen it by now, not sure it’ll come out. I do have some pictures that I was able to turn into a little bit of a dance so you can get the idea. When I saw her do the dance, I knew she was for real!!
While we waited for the start, I saw Charles Garabedian, a good friend of mine, on one of the paddle boards
He yelled my name and I said hi, actually kinda just pointer at him. I was excited to see him on one of the boards as he has lead me on other races and it’s always nice to have someone that knows what they are doing leading you out.
At 6:18am they let us go to the edge of the water, I made sure I was on the very front line, I didn’t want to get hit and I knew that I just needed to swim fast the first 100 yards or so to get some separation. As soon as the gun went off I ran
dove in the water, kicked hard for about 20 seconds, looked around and I was already by myself. I immediately stopped kicking and started to find my rhythm.
Before getting to the first buoy I had 3 people either right next to me or right behind me, one of them was the Lectie of course. I kept swimming, following the paddle boarders. At around 300 meters I saw one guy pass me, he was pretty far to the right, so I decided just to stay on my line and let him go. He had a good stroke and seemed like he was taking it easy, but still swimming fast. His stroke looked so smooth, I was sure I was going to lose him. He would get about 5 meters in front but then he would drop back. The yoyo effect continued until about the first turn buoy (around .8 miles 1/3 of the way), all of a sudden he just dropped and never came back up. I knew I had at least 2 people drafting me as I could feel them really touching my feet the whole time. I don’t mind people drafting me, it will happen, especially when I’m leading. I do wish when people draft, they didn’t touch my feet every single stroke. It is so different having a girl touch your feet though, I could tell every time it was Lectie or one of the guys. With the guys you feel almost like they are grabbing your feel and pulling on you, with girls you can tell they feel bad when they touch my feet and almost in an apologetic manner. I really didn’t mind her being right there. I still didn’t want them so close as every time the touch my feet they sink my lower body forcing me to drag my legs. I then have to spend more energy pulling harder to get my lower body back to a vertical position. After a while I really got tired of them touching my feet, so I kicked hard for about 3 seconds, so that they could get the message. They stopped for about 100 meters, but then they were on me again. I led for about 1.2 miles, I felt pretty good, my stroke was long and I thought my HR was low, there is no way for me to know for sure but I felt good. Right around the half way mark I saw Rudy swim up to me, right next to me actually, I tried to get on his wake but all of a sudden he went really hard for about 100 meters. I tried to get on his draft but couldn’t he was going too fast, my chest compressed on me and I decided to let him go. After we passed 2 buoys I could still see him right in front to me, but I didn’t want to burn any matches, to try to catch back up to him, as it probably wouldn’t help me much in the long run. He settled in, he was right there, but too far for me to catch him. After he passed me, we swam into an algae forrest, I sill had some algae stuck to me when I exited the water. It was crazy the amount of algae that we had to swim through, definitely bumped the difficulty level up a notch. I still had 2 people right on my feet, Lectie and another guy, with about 700 meters left the guy did the exact same thing Rudy did to me before. Again I couldn’t catch him, this time I really tried, but as soon as I kicked hard I felt a little pull on my left quad, almost as if I was going to cramp. I immediately held back, the pull on my quad went away. I thought, that maybe the HotShot was working, smiled internally thinking that with HotShot I wouldn’t cramp for the whole Ironman and kept swimming.
With about 300 meters left Lectie tried to do the same thing, this time I thought…”I am NOT going to get checked”, especially if they have been drafting on me the whole time, so I pushed harder for a little bit and after 10-15 strokes she gave up. She got right on my feet again. I was relieved as I don’t think I would have been able to keep my hard effort for much longer. I looked back to see if I had someone else also about to try to pass us but the gap between Lectie and the next group was pretty big, so I settled in my rhythm again, by this point I couldn’t wait to get out of the water, didn’t want to cramp. My official swim time was 53:09 which is a full minute slower than 2 years ago, this time it was good enough for 3 overall out of the water and first in my Age group.
When I got out of the water I wanted to run up the ramp
actually ran for maybe 5 strides, here is proof that I did.
But then I cramped, below you can see me basically stopped trying to get the cramp off.
I walked 3 steps, as soon as the pain subsided I started to run. Lectie passed me going up, at that point I didn’t care anymore, I was just glad to be out of the water. Usually I take off my wetsuit myself, but I didn’t feel great coming out of the water, not only because of the cramp but I felt some chest pressure still, so I just let the wetsuit strippers help me. It took them almost no time, once the wetsuit was off I was so glad I hadn’t tried to do it myself. Grabbed my bike bag and went into the changing tent. I had forgotten how AWESOME the volunteers are at US races. As soon as I went in, they grabbed my bag and asked me what I wanted, what I needed, they had water there for me also and they helped me with everything. I put my socks, shoes, helmet on and started running to my bike. There was a 90 degree turn going up in the transition area and since I had my bike shoes already on I slipped and fell, heard a couple of gasps and laughs but didn’t care. I didn’t feel anything burning, so I was pretty sure my skin was intact. I had so much adrenaline at that point I jumped back up and kept running. Ran to my bike, grabbed it and saw Lectie right in front of me. I passed her before we left the reservoir and said something like: “Amazing swim”, she smiled back and we both kept going.
As you come out of the reservoir there is a little hill. My goal for the first hour of the bike was to keep my watts low so I didn’t push the hill, guess who came rolling passed me? Yep, Lectie passed me like I was standing still. A mile later I passed her again and didn’t see her until the run. Right before the underpass I got passed by the guy that won my age group, Juan Valencia from Colombia, he was flying. I kept him in sight for about 10 miles, each meter he got smaller and smaller. Right before the first big hill on HWY 52 I saw my coach, Eric Kenney, all he said was: “Settle in, do not chase him” I wasn’t going to, as Juan looked like he was outputting over 300 Watts. I really thought he eventually might burn up, but he never did. On the same hill I also got passed by a 25 year old, he was breathing pretty hard. Him I did pass back about 1 hour later and never saw him again. The weather was perfect, overcast, cool and there wasn’t anyone out there.
The only weird thing is that after about 10 miles my heart rate was still in the high 160s. I was pushing less wattage than what I had planned but I couldn’t get my heart rate to drop, not even on the down hills. I thought it was weird but I wanted to stick to my plan and my HR monitor has done some weird things in the past, so I decided to ignore it. Right at the 1 hour mark I got passed by Greg Lindquist (he got 5th overall), he was so excited and said: “Nice and steady, this is your day Conrad”. That stuck with me during the whole race, it was so nice to hear. A little demotivating to get passed so early when I knew I had at least a 6-7 minutes head start because of the swim but it was pretty incredible to see how well he was doing. Right before turning into Neva, which starts a long stretch of very fast downhill, I got passed by another person I knew, Rob Gray. He was going very fast also, so fast in fact that he didn’t even see me when he passed me. As soon as I heard him coming around (he had a disk wheel so you can hear people coming up to you) I looked up and I knew it was him, I yelled “keep it up Rob” but I don’t think he heard me. Picture below is moments before he passed me.
At mile 35 I started feeling a cramp coming in my inner thigh. I couldn’t believe it, I was baffled, “A cramp this early?” I thought, I am screwed! Looked at my power, I was still averaging less than my planned power, looked at my heart rate it was still in the 160s, I couldn’t believe it. As soon as I reached the second aid station, I grabbed water, I was so focused on trying not to cramp that I didn’t hear Christelle yell for me, she was right there, I had no idea until she showed me the amazing picture below.
As soon as I passed the aid station, I got a cramp on my hamstring, going up hill. I got off the saddle pedaled 3-4 times to get some momentum, still with pain and stretched the cramp out. As soon as the pain started to go away I kept pedaling with pain. I had the HotShot, that I was supposed to save until the last 20 minutes of the bike, for the run, but these circumstances forced me to take it at that point. The pain went away and I was able to keep going until mile 60. At around mile 50 I saw Rob on the side of the rode, he looked like he had just gotten a flat, I didn’t realize it was him until after 5-10 seconds after I had passed him. I was still just very focused on the road ahead and being as aero as possible. From that moment on until I started the last lap it was the loneliest stretch for me, I didn’t see anyone, behind or in front of me. That is about 20 miles of just me, my thoughts and my cramping coming back. I would grab water, Gatorade, Cliff shots, everything I could to get some electrolytes in me at the aid stations.
My nutrition plan was 1500 calories for the bike, I took in over 2000 with everything that I was eating and drinking to make my cramps go away. The last 40 miles, I was cramping about every 10 miles, having to stretch my legs out and just trying not to pedal when I didn’t absolutely have to. What was the most surprising to me was that only 2 or 3 people passed me on the bike, even with all the issues I was having. I saw Christelle one last time right before mile 100 and I was in a very dark place, just trying to make it to T2.
The last 2 miles are pretty much downhill, but the road is in terrible condition, so even though I wasn’t pedaling hard my legs were still trying to cramp because of all the bouncing. As I turned into the bike dismount, I took my shoes off, tried to get off the bike and my hamstring cramped again. This time I stood there for about 30 seconds to try to get rid of the cramp, looked back to make sure that I wasn’t blocking anyone coming behind me but the coast was clear. I saw Sasha, she looked super excited, but I wasn’t. I just said: “I’m not going to make it”, she responded something like “You are doing so well!”. That usually would help and and get me going, but as soon as she said that, I thought: “I still have a marathon to run”, there is no physical way that I can make it if I cramped this much on the bike. Never before had I cramped so much on the bike, maybe once or twice and it had gone away quickly, I lost count after mile 40. I knew that when I got off the bike I was in the top 10 overall still and second in my age group. I think that was the only thing that really kept me going. I looked at my Garmin and it said 4:56 for the bike portion, about 10 minutes slower than I was hoping for, but I was just glad to be off the bike.
The transition felt forever long, handed my bike to the bike catcher, my cramp had made me unclip my shoe. I ended up carrying in my hand and I asked the volunteer to please clip it back on, he said no problem. Ran to my run bag, my legs were feeling better, I got a little bit of hope. Went into the changing tent and again the volunteers were incredible. They helped with everything, they were talking to me, telling me how great I was doing and they also help me put everything back in the bag. They told me not to worry about anything, they would take care of putting everything in the bag and I ran out. I had to pee since mile 85 but was holding it since I had drank all the water at every aid station so I never had any water left to rinse myself off if I wanted to pee on the bike. So I stopped, peed, took forever I felt, came out of the PP and felt better, got a little more hope that I might be able to run.
I had grabbed my nutrition from my T2 bag and I put it in my pocket, started running. The first 4 miles are pretty much downhill. I knew I was going to feel good. As I came out of the high school, into the Boulder Creek Path, I heard a lot of people cheering. Everyone was very excited, all I wanted to do was get to the HotShot tent and to the first Aid Station to get water. My legs felt great for the first 300 meters, then I just started feeling terrible. My legs started to tighten up again and my chest started to tighten up on me.
About 200 meters from the HotShot tent, I saw Eric (my coach), I do not remember what he said to me, but I do remember what I said to him: “I am not going to make it” is all I said, he said some encouraging words back, like “yes, you will” but I think it just went into 1 ear and out the other. I couldn’t imagine feeling the pain for 25 more miles. I finally made it to the HotShots tent, grabbed one, got to the first aid station, grabbed water, drank 2 cups and poured some on my head. Made it to the first mile maker and my watch beeped 7:47 “Ok” I thought “maybe I can settle in and continue”. Although I knew I was going straight downhill and this was probably going to be my fastest mile of the marathon. At some point I saw Sasha again I was in a world of pain, I couldn’t even get myself to say anything but I did hear her yell: “Christelle is at the Y”, I got really excited when I heard that. I knew she would whip me in shape if I was slacking. Before mile 2 you come up to a little bridge, as I went over it…bam, full cramp on my hamstring again. The bridge connects the Millennium Hotel to some of the tennis courts, so there were people there. Once they saw me stop they yelled and gave me some encouragement. As usual, I didn’t let my cramp fully go away, I just let the pain go down a little and I started running again. Came to the second aid station and sure enough, Christelle, the girls and Joe were there. It was so nice to see them, I was still running through the aid stations at this point and in my head I thought: ” I can’t let them down”
Only 1 person had passed me before the first out and back of the “Flux Capacitor”, I was able to see and count the people ahead of me and I was still in 9th place at this point. After the first out and back I was finally going to be able to see how much time I had on people. Joe had told me the numbers for the guys I need to watch for when I saw him at mile 2, I looked for the numbers and they were still over 1 mile behind me. Still not nearly enough to keep them off me for another 23 miles if they kept running.
I was able to keep the cramps down to a minimum until mile 7, when we really started going up hill, I was still averaging sub 8 minute miles. After mile 7 my legs were just not happy with me, I also started getting side stitches, but not where I normally get them. In places I had never experienced them before. I changed my breathing pattern, but they wouldn’t go away. The stitches only went away if I walked the aid stations. Once I noticed that I decided I was going to have to walk every aid station, to give myself the best chance of finishing. I would run in-between them and walk the aid station. Mile 12 came and went and I was still in 2nd place in my age group. I was shocked, if I would have been in 10th place I think I would have quit, but being in 2nd, forced me to keep going. I heard so many people cheering for me and telling me that I looked strong. I do the same think for people that are running when I’m spectating, I do so even if they look like they are about to pass out, so I really didn’t believe them, but it felt great nonetheless. I know there were so many people that I know but I don’t remember acknowledging many of them as I was just trying to get to the next mile marker. So if you were one of those people, THANK YOU and I am sorry. Every time I saw my coach I would tell him that I was about to be done. He would tell me to keep my form, to shorten up my stride to think of the fundamentals. Right before half way, I got passed by 2 guys in my age group. I knew I was forth at that point. That is still podium and most likely a Kona spot, so I kept going. Same technique, run in-between the aid stations and walk through them. Dunk as much water as I could on my head, pour ice down my top. I even started drinking RedBull. That would get me going for about 200 meters and then the cramps would come back. On the second lap, the amount of people on the path quadrupled, all of them starting their first lap. It felt like a completely different race and day. The first lap I had been pretty much by myself for 13 miles and then hundreds of people around me.
The picture above was at around mile 18, Joe is telling me that I’m still in 4th and that I have to keep going. My coach had just told me the exact same thing and that a couple of the guys that were catching up to me had stopped. This is me just hoping he would tell me, you are in 20th place, so I could throw myself on the grass and call it a day. That never happened. At this point I had also expected to see Kenny on the out and back but they had just told me that he had to withdraw because if stomach issues. In this out and back I did see Lectie though, she was catching up to me. She was probably the reason I pushed through the pain at the end, I really didn’t want to get caught by her. The out and backs are great, as I saw many people I know, I saw Ed O’Malley (EK Teammate), I was able to talk to Rob Gray again for a little bit, he had caught up to me but was also hurting. At some point he started running again, I kept walking but then apparently I passed him again and didn’t see him until the finish line.
At mile 20 I saw the guy that was in 2nd place in my age group, Edwin Espinoza, from Venezuela, he was already coming back as I was heading out. He was about 1 mile ahead of me, but he was walking at this point. I said: “Vamos” and he responded “Estoy Tocado” which means I’m touched but translates more into I’m screwed. I was in the same boat, so even though I tried to push harder to catch up to him, my legs and chest simply didn’t let me. As I went by the Y one last time I saw Jenny and the girls cheering, they were cheering so hard it really help me get through that portion of the course.
The good news was that I had 4 miles left. I could NOT believe I had made it this far with all the cramps I was getting and how I was feeling. The bad news was that 3 of those 4 miles was straight up hill. I was still in 4th place so I decided to just keep going. In those 3 miles I saw so many people and everyone was cheering, it was great. I wasn’t running fast by any means and I even got a cramp in my foot that would go way when my foot was on the ground but would come back when it was in the air. It lasted about 500 meters. Right before the special needs bag area which was at mile 24ish I saw this
It put the biggest smile in my face. The person holding the sign is Hermine Higgins (top picture), she is Jasmine’s (bottom picture) mom, our babysitter. They both came out to cheer. It was amazing! After the race she told me that a lot of people thought that she was my mom, and were congratulating her, it was very funny. That really helped for the last mile, which is pretty steep. About 400 meters from the turn around I saw Edwin again, I had gained on him, not much but enough to give me some extra hope. Nobody else had passed me at this point so for the first time I started thinking that I was going to finish 4th. I started getting excited, made it to the last turn around and started going down hill. It felt amazing! My legs and chest were still tight but I knew I only had 1 mile left.
I was actually running again, not shuffling anymore. All I could think of was crossing the finish line. I heard my name many more times in this last mile, I think I even waved to couple of people. The adrenaline had taken over, my cramps were still there but I was running through them. Unless I would have gotten a really bad one, I wasn’t going to stop. The last point were I slowed down was the last aid station, I walked through it, took 2 Red Bulls this time, water and just started running again. The mile seemed longer that it should have. As I came up to the finishing chute every one was cheering, it was such a great sight. People were extending their hands for high fives. I thought about going that way to high five them back, but I knew that if I changed my stride at all, I would cramp for sure. I left a lot of empty hands out there and I’m really sorry for that, but I really just didn’t think I could make it without going straight. So many emotions went through my body in the last 20 meters, as soon as you hit the red carpet, everything around you kind of disappears and you are in your own world. This finishing experience for me was unique as I never really thought I was going to finish the race that day, but the thought of Kona, a podium finish and not letting my family see me quit forced me to push through it.
So what did I feel? I felt relief, that I was done. Humbled that so many people were out there cheering. Excited to see my family at the finish line. At this point I had NO idea what my time was, I didn’t care. I didn’t even look up the clock as I ran closer to it. I just wanted to cross the finishing chute. I did hear my name, Conrad Rodas, from Guatemala…YOU ARE AN IRONMAN! I heard the beep from my chip and then I finally stopped and let go of everything.
Ana Kelty, another Vixxen and her boyfriend Joe Kirby were catchers, I’m glad they were there as I kinda just threw myself at them. They carried me to where the water was. I couldn’t believe the amount of catchers that I recognized. Everyone was so excited. I was excited to have finished, frustrated and mad at myself but happy to be done. It took me, what it felt forever, to find Christelle, Jenny and Joe, but when I found them I gave them a big hug, Chris and I were both very emotional. After a couple of minutes, Joe checked his phone and he said: “This thing says that you got 6th” I didn’t care at the moment. I had ran the marathon in 4:00, fifteen minutes slower than a tougher marathon in Whistler the previous year. Not really deserving of a podium finish, which in Ironman is top 5. I went to the medical tent to try to get some electrolytes in me and then a massage. I saw my coach Eric as I finished my massage. I asked him if I had gotten 6th and he just shook his head in agreement. The two guys that beat me never passed me. They started so far back in the swim that they I never saw them. They had a faster time than me but I never knew they were close. Would I have been able to go harder had I known? Maybe not but it would have been nice to know ahead of time that their time was faster than mine.
After looking at the results, I got 6th for sure with a time of 9:59:00, my first sub 10 hour Ironman a 40 minute personal record from my previous best time last year. A 9 minute faster race would have gotten me second place in my Age Group. Crazy to think about that. I am not one to make excuses, I gave it my all for what I had to give that day. It wasn’t in my cards, but I was still frustrated for not being able to race how I can. The next morning I went to the awards ceremony and I received my FOTW (first out of the water) swim cap and I waited around to see if I would get a roll down spot for Kona. My age group would get 3 spots. I knew that Juan Valencia, who won our age group, had already qualified. During the ceremony the guy that got 5th place didn’t show up and nobody had seen him, which meant that if 1 person didn’t take it I would be going to Kona. I actually had a little bit of hope, until the last second when the called the last spot. A guy that beat me by 3 minutes, he took it. All 3 spots were gone, Kona was not meant to be for me this year.
Went home disappointed and frustrated, after eating something I started feeling cold. Then by 4pm I was shivering and freezing, I went up to my room laid in bed and put two sets of covers over me. Took my temperature and it was 100 degrees. All night it kept going up, all the way to 103 degrees. I hadn’t been extremely sore but after I got fever, my whole body was throbbing in pain. My heart rate was 90 bpm and I was having a hard time breathing. I was still getting chills and felt miserable. I had the fever with the other symptoms from 5pm Monday evening until Wednesday morning when I woke up with 99 degrees, it had finally left my body. While I was getting a massage, right after I had finished the Ironman on Sunday, my youngest daughter had thrown up and she had a fever also. Poor thing, had a fever during my whole race. Emma my oldest had the same symptoms on Saturday. I was so frustrated about my cramps but as I woke up on Wednesday, I started thinking that maybe the virus we all had, had been in my body during the race and that would explain the following:
- High Heart Rate during the whole race
- Chest pain
- Weird stitches in my abdomen
I am really hoping this is the case as I had already convinced myself that Ironman was not for me. If I had so many problems while being in the best shape of my life, racing the fastest and most consistent times, I had no business trying to do it all over again as I would never be able to figure out my cramping problems. Now I have a new hope. I haven’t decided what I will do next, but I can’t just stop now not knowing what my full potential is in an Ironman. I will take some time to think about where I’d like to compete next, but Kona is still my goal!
I want to thank all the companies that have made this year possible for me, these companies have supported me in one way or the other and their products are absolutely amazing. Every single company that I will list next I reached out to because I believe they are the best at what they do. Since this post is already too long I will keep it short and sweet, but I will write a post just to talk about the companies soon, highlighting why I chose to work with them.
- Roka Sports: Absolutely amazing wetsuits, swim skins, everything swimming and of course goggles, my favorites are the R1 they were amazing during the race, I had unlimited visibility and the Maverick X, incredible wetsuit! It really felt like I wasn’t wearing a wetsuit, the flexibility in my shoulders was amazing.
- Castelli: Castelli triathlon and Castelli Cycling do make, in my opinion the best cycling apparel out there. It is so comfortable and I get complemented very often on how cool the kits look. They have been incredible this year.
- Newton Running: Their shoes are just out of this world. I ran with the Distance V (the limited edition colors), you can see that on all the pictures my feet just popped. They fit like a glove, are so light and have simply changed the way I run, in a good way. When I first started running in Newtons I was heel striking and could barely run an 8 minute mile all out. Now my threshold pace is about 6:15/mile and I strike with my mid foot.
- Perky Jerky: Who doesn’t get tired of eating sweet gels and drinks during training. I know I do, having a savory, easy to eat jerky even on the bike has changed my nutrition during training rides. It is truly an incredible tasting jerky. My favorite part is that it’s so moist and soft that I sometimes even put it in my sandwich if I don’t have lunch meat, my 3 year old loves it so much that she asks for it by name.
- Trailnuggets: Local Colorado nutrition bar brand that packs over 200 calories in a little package. With all natural ingredients and it tastes delicious. My favorite flavor is the Peanut CoCo Apocalypse, once you bite into it you can taste the peanut butter that’s in the middle and it melts in your mouth. Absolutely delicious!
- Tritats: The best way to display your race number. There is a reason every single athlete gets Tritats at World Championship races, they want them to look good. Sharpie simply fades and it looks terrible.
I want to thank my coach, Erik Kenney, from EK Endurance Coaching, he has spend countless hours planning, coaching and simply being with us during this and past years. My first Ironman in 2012 I did without a coach, my time was 11:56, fast forward 4 years being coached by Eric and I’m a sub 10 hour Ironman. That is a 2 hour improvement!
Cannot forget about Kenny Withrow, from 5280Elite. He didn’t have a good day out there but we went through everything together this year, all the training and the hard work. I was definitely able to push myself harder trying to keep up with him. Training with him has definitely made me a better triathlete, I am so glad to have him as a “twin”, I mean training partner.
Here a nice video featuring both of them (Kenny’s work and Eric’s coaching)
Last but certainly not least, I want to thank my family for their unconditional support, especially Christelle, who in my book is SuperMom and SuperWife, taking care of the girls on my long training weekends, she has been there for all my ups and downs and has supported me no matter what the outcome has been. I could have never achieved what I have without her. After the awards ceremony, she was the first one to ask me what my next Ironman would be to qualify for Kona. I have heard so many woman tell me and her that they would have already divorced their husbands if their husbands/boyfriends would do what I do, but she never even thinks about it, she is just there to make sure that I can reach my goals. I am the luckiest guy around for sure. I can’t wait to be able to share our Hawaii trip with her, sooner rather than later I hope. Thank you Christelle, Je t’aime!!!!