Monday, August 18, 2014

Getting Back Up Part 2-Late 2014/Early 2015 Race Schedule

So last time I talked about how crazy the last year has been for me and the detrimental effect it had on the fitness aspect of my life. Before I go forward and  tell you what’s next, I need to start with another step back

I dont normally post “body shots” of any kind(mainly because my primary purpose for exercise is to be fit and race; looking good is just a secondary benefit), but the above picture has a lot to do w/ my outlook from here on out. This picture was taken during the summer of 2009. 

Why is it significant? 

Well during this period of time I was in my best “overall shape”; my strength,speed, endurance, and body fat were all at top levels! I was still playing rugby and has getting ready for my 2nd 1/2 marathon. Due to both of those, I was lifting weights 4 times a week, doing a few distance runs a week, and doing a lot of cross training. During the summer, it was almost all sprinting, agility work, and heavy lifting. I was also running injury free!

The more I thought about it, the more I realized why I was at peak fitness… physical activity was extremely balanced; I was doing a little of everything!

During my pursuit of becoming an Ironman, I lost that balance. While the endurance part of my fitness was at a top notch level, it came at the expense of putting less emphasis on heavy lifting, sprinting, and agiliy work. As a result,my strength,fast switch speed and agility suffered. I started having injuries pop up….I lost my balance. With full and half ironman training, balance becomes very hard; it’s possible, but takes a lot of work and time. I was also single and in my early 20’s during that time. As I type this, I’m a little over a year away from being 30, I have a wife, teenage daughter, 2 dogs, a house, and a job that requires a lot of continual self education to remain effective!

Taking all of that into consideration, I’ve decided to change my endurance racing focus back to the 1/2 marathon distance!  However,I’ll still do short distance(sprint and olympic) triathlons during the summer. I love tri’s, and training for a few during the summer months will be good cross training!
Last week I signed up for a few races!

The 1st will be the Towne Lake Sprint triathlon on September 1st! While I’ve been pretty consistent with training for the last month ago, it’s still been a good 11 months since I’ve raced, so this race will be for pure fun! I won’t wear my garmin or be concerned about my finish time. I’m just going to enjoy racing again!

Since tri’s will now be cross training, I most likely won’t ever worry about finishing times; I’ll have that time and mental energy for 1/2 marathons!

The 2nd will be the Galveston 5150 Sprint triathlon on September 21st! Last year I did the Olympic distance and haven't raced since!

The 3rd will be the Galveston 1/2 marathon on February 1st of next year! This race will have a lot of significance. I was actually signed up for this race back in 2011, with my sights of breaking my 1/2 marathon PR of 1:33. I was in great shape, but had to pull out 2 weeks before the race due to a cardiac scare(I had a few bouts of chest pain associated w/ running). While living in Arkansas, I unsuccessfully tried twice to break that PR…..BUT IT WILL FALL ON FEBRUARY 1ST!! This race will significant for another reason as well. There is another race in Houston area a week later that I could have chosen, but I picked this one because 2 of the charities that it benefits are local pet advocate groups! This race will be in the memory of my furry son Dallas and his brother Jack(we adopted them from an animal shelter)!

Stay strong,
 "The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince"-Vince Lombardi

 ‎"In the world of endurance sports, exercise isn't just an activity, but a lifestyle."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

It's not how many times you get knocked down that matters, it's how many times you pick yourself back up!

So I must admit, it’s been A LONG TIME since I’ve had frequent(or any) posts! This is mainly because I haven’t raced in ALMOST A FULL YEAR!!! My workouts and attempts at training haven’t been too consistent either!

How did this happen?

Well, the answer is “LIFE”!  Life has thrown a lot of punches at me lately, and for the 1st time in my life, I went down for the count!

Let me give a little backstory 1st. Back in 2010 I set my 1/2 marathon PR, a time of 1:33, at the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon and Half Marathon. While I was training for the race, I was working 50+ hours a week as a full time college strength and conditioning coach and going to grad school full time at night. I was also finishing my master’s thesis. On top of that, 2 weeks before the race I separated my shoulder in a rugby game! 

The point being, I normally do very well at handling what ever life throws at me. This last year, though, has pushed me to the limits!

Let me recap

May 18th, 2013(a saturday)-I became an IRONMAN! The events leading up to the race, would be the beginning of the mess that life would throw at me!

The bulk of my training took place during my last semester of working on my master’s degree in athletic training; I only had 1 “real” class, but I had to study for a national board exam(required to get my medical license) and spent time searching for a job(included some travel and a lot of interview prep). Needless to say, it was a lot of stress!

-About 9 days before the race, I moved back to Texas(packing/moving is stressful)
-The very next day, my grandfather unexpectedly died
-The Tuesday of race week was my grandfathers funeral, and I was a Pallbearer
-Wednesday of race week(yes, the day after the funeral), I got married; it had been planned for quite some time and everyone in our family wanted us to proceed
-3 days after the race, I started my job

I also developed a shoulder and groin injury during training for the Ironman. With all that in consideration,I decided to take a much needed break from racing and consistently training. My body and mind needed it. 

In late Sept of last year, I started to get back in a groove and did an Olympic distance triathlon! Shorty after though, we became short staffed at work, during our busiest time of the year; I didn’t respond the way I typically have in the past and let my training take a back seat!

In early January we were back to full staff at work and my training got back on track! However, at the end of March we became short staffed again! This time I stubbled a bit, but didn’t go completely off course.

However, a few weeks later, on April 13th, a very close friend of mine from my 1st master’s program suddenly died….just after crossing the finish line of a 1/2 marathonust ! Losing a close friend was hard enough, but the way in which it happened scared the crap out of me! A few weeks later there was a memorial run in her honor, which got me back on track!

My friend Kaytie(7/22/86-4/13/14) and I on the way to Florida for a spring break trip in 2010

However, it was short lived! On June 20th, we had to put 1 of our dogs(Dallas) to sleep due to complications from seizures. I was completely devastated, and fell into a spell of awful eating and not working out!

1 of my favorite pictures w/ my furry son Dallas(11/1/11-6/20/14)

Luckily, I had some amazing friends and family who helped pick me back up after losing Dallas! I also got a little inspiration from a magazine interview with Dwayne Johnson, where he addressed some of the lowest parts of his life and how he made it to where he is today. I decided that enough was enough and I started to get back on track

Stay tuned for what I’ll be focusing my attention on over the coming months!

Stay strong(I now know how hard this can be!),
 "The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince"-Vince Lombardi

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Afraid to Run??!! An intro to endurance athletics safety education

About 2 weeks ago, on April 15th, I went for a run. It was a run that I will not soon forget. For the 1st time in my life, I was scared to run!

Why was I scared to run?

Two days before(April 13th) at around 5:30 pm, I got a call from 1 of my grad school classmates to inform me that Kaytie Joiner,a fellow classmate, had died just after crossing the finish line of a half marathon earlier that day

I was in complete shock! A very close friend of mine, 27 years old and 3 weeks away from her wedding(the race was part of her bachelorette party weekend), who was an experienced runner with several half marathons under her belt, was gone!

Along with the shock, my brain started processing all the possibles causes of death that I learned in school while studying athletic training and sports medicine...could it have been hyponatraemia(extreme lose of sodium), heat stroke, or hypertrophic cardiac myopathy(also known as HCM, a condition in which an abnormally enlarged left side of the heart causes sudden cardiac arrest).

It turned out to be none of those, it was something much scarier; an undetectable congenital heart defect. That’s why I was scared to run that day! I had also learned about undetectable congenital heart defects in school, but all of a sudden it was starring me in the face! I have a wife,a daughter, 3 puppies...what if I had an undetectable heart defect?

In the nearly 3 weeks since I lost my friend, I’ve realized a few things.

1)Kaytie would not want be to be scared to run! She would want me to continue to enjoy it the way I always have! I intend to do just that! I plan on returning to the Oklahoma City Memorial Marathon(the site of my very 1st 1/2 marathon) next year to run my 1st stand alone full marathon; I also plan on raising money for a charity along the way....all in honor of my friend!

2)While Kaytie’s cause of death was completely unavoidable, the other 3 conditions that I described earlier (hyponatraemia, heat stroke, and hypertrophic cardiac myopathy) can all be deadly in athletic participation. Over the next few weeks, I will dedicate a few blog posts to educating my fellow endurance athletes friends on the danger of these conditions, and how to avoid them. If you are an endurance athlete, please read them! If  you know endurance athletes, please help spread the information! I think this would be another fitting way to honor my friend!

Stay strong(and run safe),


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Changing Jiu Jitsu Academies

After trying out a class, I joined Paradigm Training Center. There were a few reasons that lead me to joining; 1)it’s very close to work 2) and it had late classes that I could make after work.

However, there were also some downfalls. While the head black belt is very knowledgeable and a good teacher, I didn’t feel that there was very much structure to the Brazilian jiu jitsu program. There was 1 class per night, which would usually consisted of a 5-10 minutes warm up, followed by maybe 10 minutes or so of technique work, then 45 min or so of rolling(the jiu jitsu term for sparring). For me this was a big problem. The academy that I spent the longest time at,Lovato’s Jiu Jitsu, had a very structured curriculum with a fundamentals class focusing on technique(with some rolling) and an advanced class focusing an advanced technique with a lot of rolling; student’s started in the fundamentals class and once they had progressed were able to attend both classes. I wasn’t getting anywhere near this kind of structure at Paradigm. The late time of class, which was initially a positive, quickly turned into a negative. Class time was supposed to be 8pm-9:20. However, class rarely started on time(although the professor was there on time) and class often went to 9:30. This would put me getting home at a little after 10 and getting to bed around 11 or later.  It was hard enough going to class that late, and even harder considering the lack of structure in the class/program.

So, I’ve spent that last week looking into and trying out classes at a few other academies near work that have better hours. A good program structure was also a must. I think that I was so eager and excited to get back to training, that I neglected that aspect of picking a school when I started at Paradigm. Last night, I found what I’m sure will be my jiu jitsu home for quite some time, the Rilion Gracie Academy! As the name implies, the academy is ran by Master Rilion Gracie, who is the youngest son of Grand Master Carlos Gracie Sr.(the creator of Brazilian jiu jitu). He’s only at the academy about 2 weeks a month, (due to splitting time at his other academy in Miami) but when he’s there he teaches all of the classes. When he’s not there one of his black belts teaches. There’s also a brown belt that helps teach as well, which is another quality that was lacking at Paradigm. They have classes from 6-7 pm,7-8 pm (much more tolerable than 8-9:30), and morning classes as well. The program also has separate fundamental and advanced classes.

Needless to say, I'm pretty excited and confident that I made the right decision this time!

Stay strong,


Friday, March 21, 2014

Short Course Tri's and Back on the Mat!

Yes, I’m aware that it’s been awhile since my last update, but I finally have some news to report.

First, a quick recap!

Last May I completed my 2 year journey when I crossed the finish line at Ironman Texas!!! After the race, I took a much needed break from any type of training! There were several reason for the break. 

For starters, I spent a solid 4 months training for the race and during that 4 month period I was finishing my last semester of graduate school, which included studying for a national board exam and spending a week of travel interviewing for jobs.

Then there was the time frame around the race itself. 16 days before the race my family and I made the move back to Houston, the very next day my grandfather past away(his funeral would be a few days later,11 days before the race). The day after his funeral, I got married! 3 days after the race I started a new job! So yeah, I needed a break! I also had a few nagging injuries that developed while training for the race that needed treatment and rehab.

For the last few months I’ve been back to training, but nothing specific until a few weeks ago. I’ve made the decision to stick to sprint and olympic distance triathlons as well as 1/2 marathons. I’m not saying I’ll never return to long course racing, but it won’t be any time soon! It’s definitely fun at times, but it’s a lot of work and I have other desires and priorities and the moment. 

A flame for a previous passion of mine has recently been re-lit! Earlier this month I became a member of 
Paradigm Training Center  and got back to training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu(BJJ) and mixed martial arts(MMA) for the 1st time in roughly 3 years!!! 

I trained in Oklahoma City for about 8 months while working on my 1st master’s degree and continued my training for another 5 months or so here in Houston. Shortly before moving to Arkansas for grad school, I decided to take a break from BJJ/MMA to focus on running. Shortly after moving to Arkansas, I wanted to get right back into it. However, there weren’t any BJJ school. Once I got back to Houston there desire to get back to training slowly started to grow; I forced myself to be patient and make sure my injuries from IM TX were healed!

Stay tuned, 2014 should be a fun year for short course racing and jiu jitsu tournaments!!!

Stay strong,


Sunday, October 27, 2013

What I've been up to Post Ironman Texas

Hello everybody!!!

So it’s been quite awhile since my last post(Ironman Texas race report), which is for good reason-I took an extended break after the race!!! Due to the life that the race sucked out of me and getting adjusted to my new job, I took about 1.5 months COMPLETELY OFF. This was followed by about 3 months of minimal and sporadic workouts(maybe 2 times a week). Then about 1 months ago I did an Olympic distance race in which I averaged 17.2 mph on the bike(24.8 miles) and around 10 min/mile for the run(6.2 mi), both of which were AWFUL for me(the swim was cancelled). Needless to say, that got my motivated to get back into shape!

So, a few weeks ago I started my offseason training. My main concern has been correcting some movement deficiencies that contributed to me falling short of my goal during IM TX. While training for IM TX, I neglected some of my strength training and core work, which has come back to haunt me; I lost some critical functional movement(my next post will go into exactly what functional movement is and why it’s important)! My core stability disappeared, and a lack of hip and shoulder stability lead to injuries that made for a rough day in the Woodlands!

My training over the last few weeks has consisted of lifting weight 3-4x a week to regain some of my strength and power, as well as 2 short(but fast) run and bike sessions per week(I waiting for my shoulder to get a little better before returning to swimming). All of my run and bike sessions have been done without my Garmin; during the offseason I like to focus mainly of the fun that comes with training and going off of RPE(rating of perceived exertion,aka how hard it feels)instead of the pressure that can come with trying to keep a predetermine pace.

Yesterday morning I did a 25 mi bike ride and decided to use my Garmin to see where I was at. I avg 19.3 mph! While it’s not the 22+ that I could pull of 6 months ago, it’s a big improvement in 3 weeks. I’ll do a 2-3 mi run on Wednesday with my Garmin to see where I’m at.

I’ll continue the above plan until the 1st of 2013. My goal is get my 20 mi time trial bike ride to 22 mph and my 5k run pace below 6 min/mile(I should also be able to return to swimming at that point as well!

As for 2014, my goal is to break 2 hr 30 min at the Olympic distance by mid year and to break 5 hrs at the 70.3/half ironman distance by the end of the year! If I can reach both of these goals next year, then I’ll set my sights on an 11-12 hour finish at IM TX in May of 2015!

Stay strong,

 "The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince"-Vince Lombardi

 ‎"In the world of endurance sports, exercise isn't just an activity, but a lifestyle."

Friday, July 12, 2013

New ride!

So as you can see I have a new bike! Not only that, but it noticeably looks a little different than my old bike.
My old bike was a 2011 Specialized Allez Sport Comp road bike, a very entry level road bike. Even though I knew I would be using the bike for tri’s, I was stuck buying a road bike(instead of a tri bike) due to a very significant price difference. However, I slowly starting swapping parts(a forward seat post, aero bars, shifters at the end of the aero bars, an aero base bar, aero brake levers, & a few aero hydration upgrades ; aero=short for “aerodynamic). After all the additions and a really good bike fitting the bike was really set up like a tri bike!

So you’re probably thinking, “why the change after all the work you put into the bike?”
It basically comes down to changing my main race distance from half and full ironmans to olympic distance w/ 1 or 2 half ironmans a year(i talked about that decision more in depth in my LAST POST). I also wanted to do more “cycling  only” events.
For starters, pure road cycling races don’t allow tri bikes(which mine would qualify as). Some events, such a as century rides(100 mi) and other organized rides(that aren’t necessarily a race), would allow my bike; however my old bike was set-up so well as a tri bike, that is very uncomfortable to ride in a “road” position for extended periods of time. Another factor is that sometimes olympic distance races can have very technical courses(lots of quick turns as well as quick accelerations and decelerations), which are very hard to handle on a tri bike.
My original idea was to convert the Allez back to the original road bike and get an aggressive fit. This would allow me to do the pure cycling events I wanted as well as the olympic tri’s, and I could throw on the aero bars for 70.’3(not as aero dynamic as the old set up, but a good way to have more of a multipurpose bike). This is actually the set-up that Olympian’s use(a road bike that sometimes include short aero bars)
Well due to the some of the changes I made, it would cost around $700 to convert it back to a road bike, plus another $100 for a bike fit!!! So I took the suggestion of one of the guys at the local bike shop and I sold it! I was able to sell it for about the same amount of $ that it ended up costing me for this-
a 2012 Specialized Tarmac Apex Mid-Compact; I got it for $700 off the regular price because it was last year’s model(but still brand new)! So I ended up with my plan original plan-an aggressive fit and a set of short aerobars to use when necessary!
Tarmac has alot of advantages over the old bike as well:
-SRAM Apex components(shifters, brakes, ect); these are about 3 tiers better than the components on the old bike
-10 speed(old bike had 9); this gives me a bigger variety in gear selection
-CARBON frame(old bike was aluminum); carbon is significantly lighter! My Allez(before I added stuff) weighted in at 21.9 lbs. In comparison, my Tarmac weights in at 17.9 pounds!!! A 4 lbs difference is HUGE!! Why didn't I have this bike when I had to ride though the freaking Ozark mountains while living in Arkansas!!
-Last year Specialized launched The Venge, their newest road racing bike. However, before the Venge, pro cyclist(Tour de France riders) and Olympians sponsored by Specialized rode the Tarmac, and some still do!

Can’t wait to get in my maiden voyage in(most likely tomorrow morning)
Here's some more pics!

Stay strong,
 "The good Lord gave you a body that can stand most anything. It's your mind you have to convince"-Vince Lombardi
 ‎"In the world of endurance sports, exercise isn't just an activity, but a lifestyle."