It has been a while since I wrote anything on my blog. I want to get back to updating it more often, more than just race reports. It has been a very busy winter with family, work and training, but now I finally have some time to start talking about my plans and 2016 goals. I’ll start my first post, hoping it will give you a glimpse of things to come this year. I also want share with you some of the things I have done since my last race in 2015, the 70.3 Ironman World Championships in Austria.
If you have been reading this blog or following me on Instagram, @conradrodas I made it clear that I wanted to qualify for Kona last year. I had high hopes, but the only Ironman triathlon I raced, Ironman Whistler, was a very tough day for me and I wasn’t fast enough. if you want to read about all it, you can go here. Since then, I have been trying to figure out what I could have done differently or better and I came to a very simple conclusion, I did the best I could for the way I had prepared. Whistler was a personal best for me, but still not good enough. I realized that my preparation wasn’t the best and that I didn’t show up to the race the way I should have if I wanted to qualify.
This year, I have the same goal, the main difference is that I’m hungrier, I want it more and I have been working hard in the off season to prepare better. I decided to race Ironman Boulder, for the qualifying race, in the 35-39 Age group. 2016 will be my first year in this age group, if you look statistically this age group is even faster than my previous one, so I have to be an all around faster athlete and I will still have to have a great all around race, plus this Ironman only assigned 40 qualifying spots this year. Which means that I’ll have to finish first or second in my age group to get a spot. Or be in the top 5 and hope that the guys that beat me don’t take their spots. It’s an ambitious goal, but if I have a good race, I really think I have a chance.
Why write a blog?
A lot of people ask me this question, for me it’s simple. I started writing my blog just to keep a record of the things that happened in races, this way I could go back and read about all my mistakes and things I did right. I didn’t write the first post until 3 years after my first Ironman and by the time that I wrote it I had already forgotten so much of what happened in the race, I didn’t want that to happen again and so it all began. However, after a couple of posts some of my friends started telling me that they had enjoyed reading the race reports and that I was inspiring them to be more active. After they told me that I realized that I could share my experiences with everyone and still get the satisfaction of knowing that someone out there might get a little inspiration just from reading. As long as that continues to happen, I’ll continue writing my blog. I also want to show everyone that if you want to do an Ironman triathlon it’s absolutely possible.
ANYONE can complete an Ironman, if they put the time to train and set their minds on finishing. A lot of people tell me that I’m either crazy and that they could never do it. I don’t believe that, it’s just a matter of wanting it. I hope that throughout this year, I can inspire more people to reach their goals, whether it is completing your first Ironman triathlon or running your first 5K, it doesn’t matter as long as you can set your mind to achieving a goal. I don’t want to compare myself to anyone, everyone has different lives, but I am hoping I can show you, that even with having a full time job, being married and having 2 little girls you can reach any goals you set for yourself.
A little about myself:
I’ve talked about races a ton in the past, but I’ve never really written about who I am and what I do. I have a full time job as a Marketing Manager in the Medical Device industry. I cover North America, with the exception of Mexico, which means I cover US and Canada. Having such a big territory means that I have to travel a lot for work. On top of that, my company’s headquarters are in Munich Germany, so I have to travel there also about once a quarter.
“How much do you travel?” It’s a very common question I get asked. It is hard to put it into numbers, but I can explain it with the amount of miles I have flown this year alone. We are in the middle of April and I have flown over 90,000 miles this year already. You can see the miles flown this year circles in green below:
How much is that? Flying from New York (JFK) to Los Angeles (LAX) is 2500 miles, one way. 90K miles is equivalent to flying back and forth between those cities 18 times. A couple of weeks, this year, I’ve spent 1 night in each of the 4 continental US time zones. This of course makes it a little harder to train, it has become a fun challenge to schedule work and training around my travel.
The hardest part for me is scheduling time with my family, which is the most important part for me. How can I work, train and still be able to spend time with them? Being on the road so much, when I come home, I want to spend as much time with them as possible. Still, trying to get the necessary long hours on the bike. After Ironman Whistler, I was very disappointed and Christelle (my wife) could see that, so we had a conversation about the amount of training that would require in order to have a chance to qualify for Kona this year. We agreed that during weekends I would have to spend long hours training, but that I would still try to make time for them. How much am I training? I would say that I average between 8-15 hours per week, depending on travel of course. I realize this is not as much as other elite athletes qualifying for Kona, but this is part of the challenge for me. For the winter months reaching the training goal was not that difficult. I was able to get up very early (4am) and simply get on the trainer for 3-4 hours and be done by the time the family was either getting up or having breakfast. One of the reasons we moved to Colorado was to enjoy the mountains and skiing, so we want to go up the ski resorts and take advantage of living so close to them. Winter is also the most important months for base training. It is difficult to do this with a ton of snow on the ground and we had plenty this year and in order for me to still train, I had to adapt. I took my bike with me and rode before we skied (on the trainer of course).
I took this picture while in Breckenridge, I really don’t enjoy riding while it’s 0 degrees Fahrenheit (-18 Celsius) outside, but in order for me not to wake people up in the house, I trained outside. My limit for riding outside was always in the high 20s F (in the minus single digits C), but that day was the coldest I have ever been on my bike outside, granted I was not moving and there was no wind, which made it possible for me to ride outside. I am hoping that now that we are going into spring and the days are longer, I can train earlier as we have a little more daylight.
Going back to traveling and training, it is hard and expensive to take my bike with me everywhere I go, so when I’m on the road I mostly swim and run. I get as many hours as possible on the bike when I’m back home. Luckily, I don’t have to spend that much time in the water, since I come from a swimming background. This gives me time to work on my running, which is good, because that’s the discipline I need the most improvement in. For the last 2 years I have always looked for a pool with a master’s swim program, if possible, to get my swims in. This has not only been great to get a coached workout, I’ve gotten to swim in some pretty awesome pools and have met some great people. Most masters swim programs have an early morning practice and by 7am I have already gotten at least 3000 yards in.
The run is a little more challenging. You can of course just go out and run anywhere, but half of my runs require specific training, for example, intervals or tempo runs. It’s hard to do intervals while waiting for lights to change. In order for me to find the best route to run, I have to research the area and map my run prior to going out to know approximately where I’m supposed to run and turn around, this also allows me to plan for any big hills, or certain areas to look out for. This has led me to some amazing places to run also. How so? I have been able to see cities in a whole different way, I’ve been able to sightsee a lot more than I would have in the car, it is my favorite way to see a city. Since I usually run very early, there aren’t that many people out which makes a place look completely different, very calm.
It’s not always easy to find the best routes to run, so sometimes I rely on social media. It’s amazing how helpful the swim/bike/run community is on Instagram. I have met some amazing people this way and they have sometimes given me recommendations on what to do, but other times they even take me out and have trained with me, showing me their favorite spots. This would have never happened without social media. Want to give a shout out to the following people @portugale9 @trialsoflifeloveandfirness @runbikecode @1lauracameron @inpyn @rdejadab @Kmullervy @conormullervy @kwithrow3x @drsashafluss @r1cky check them out on IG, they are worth a follow and they are amazing athletes also.
Talking about social media, if you have been following me, you probably noticed that I changed my bike. Before IM Whistler I got a bike fit and I realized that I had purchased a bike that’s simply too big for me. I couldn’t get on an aero position to either go faster or use less power (watts) on the bike. I had to sell my Cervelo P3 and get a smaller frame. I decided to get the Felt IA4 which is the same frame geometry that both Miranda Carfrae and Daniela Ryf are using.
Just in case you don’t know who they are, they won the 2014 and 2015 Ironman World Championships, respectively. I figured, if it’s good enough for them, it should be good enough for me too. My position has gotten a lot better also. I won’t know how much of an impact this will have on my performance, but at least I’m trying to do everything possible to go faster.
Here is a comparison of both my positions; on the top is my old position and the bottom is my new one.
It doesn’t look too drastically different, but it’s very significant when it comes to aerodynamics. I was maxed out on the Cervelo P3, meaning my upper body could not go any lower. Now on the Felt IA4 I am significantly lower, which should make me more aero.
The last 2 years I signed up and competed in an early season 70.3, this year I’m not going to do that, instead I’m going to focus on just 1 race, which is Boulder Ironman, on August 7th. I will race 1 half before the full Ironman, this time I will be racing in Germany, Kraichgau 70.3, the rest of my races will in local races in Colorado. Both sprint and Olympic distances. I am mostly looking forward to see how much I will improve this year with all the changes I am making.
How to find out what I’m doing?
I have separated how I share my life on social media. I have a Facebook account, but this is private and usually just post about my family. I have an Instagram and Twitter accounts @conradrodas where I post about training, lastly I have a snapchat account (conradrodas), here you can find out all the crazy places I’m going to in almost real time.
I want to thank a couple of companies for their support, Roka, Castelli Triathlon, Newton Running, Trailnuggets, Perky Jerky and Tritats for their support this year, you have made it possible for me to be where I am by providing the best gear and nutrition for training and racing. If you guys have any questions about those brands please do not hesitate to shoot me an email firstname.lastname@example.org I’ll be more than happy to share my experiences with their products. I also have discount codes for most of the products, so feel free to shoot me an email or message on any of my social media outlets.
Thanks for reading and I hope to see you back here soon.