Ironman Chattanooga Photo Blog

Last weekend I traveled out to Tennessee to race Ironman Chattanooga. I had never been to this part of the southeast and I enjoyed getting a chance to see a new part of the country.

The race turned into one of the hottest races I have ever done. It wasn't quite as hot as Ironman Texas in 2013, but it was close with temperatures in the high 90's and not a cloud to be seen.

In the end, I finished up in 5th place behind some quick dudes. I felt as though I was racing from the start of the swim to about mile 10-11 of the marathon. After that, I had to shift to a bit more of a survival approach in the heat. While I do prefer warm weather races, this was a bit too much. Fortunately I was able to hold it together and finish in the top 5.

And now the photos:

The airline sunset photo is a bit overdone, but it was a cool one as we headed into Atlanta on Wednesday evening.

The airline sunset photo is a bit overdone, but it was a cool one as we headed into Atlanta on Wednesday evening.

Meet Leo. Our homestay in Chatty had this awesome cat and we hung out throughout the weekend. Leo does tricks for treats including jumping through hoops. Leo is awesome. Be like Leo.

Meet Leo. Our homestay in Chatty had this awesome cat and we hung out throughout the weekend. Leo does tricks for treats including jumping through hoops. Leo is awesome. Be like Leo.

Made it out to the Ironkids race on Thursday evening. Always a blast.

Made it out to the Ironkids race on Thursday evening. Always a blast.

Looking at T1/2 from across the Tennessee River.

Looking at T1/2 from across the Tennessee River.

Some pre-race contemplation.

Some pre-race contemplation.

Chatty Sunset

Chatty Sunset

Checking out the Run course on Friday. Athletes crossed over this bridge twice in final mile of each run loop.

Checking out the Run course on Friday. Athletes crossed over this bridge twice in final mile of each run loop.

Pro panel with last minute location change to get out of the sun.

Pro panel with last minute location change to get out of the sun.

Made friends with this guy while previewing the bike course.

Made friends with this guy while previewing the bike course.

Last ride before the race.

Last ride before the race.

Race morning warm up. I often jog as part of warm up, but opted against that because of the morning temps.

Race morning warm up. I often jog as part of warm up, but opted against that because of the morning temps.

Waiting for us to get the thumbs up to go into the water. Had to wait pretty close to race start time because of the lack of daylight.

Waiting for us to get the thumbs up to go into the water. Had to wait pretty close to race start time because of the lack of daylight.

Warming up. Current was evident, though maybe not as much as it was in the race's first year.

Warming up. Current was evident, though maybe not as much as it was in the race's first year.

Race start. Somewhere on the left side of group.

Race start. Somewhere on the left side of group.

I promise there was a bike ride at some point, but I don't have any photos right now. In this shot, you can see Matt and I running together and just catching Eric Linkemann. You can also see Jeff Symmonds closing the gap just behind him. At this moment, spots 3-6 were only a few seconds apart. I believe this was mile 9.

I promise there was a bike ride at some point, but I don't have any photos right now. In this shot, you can see Matt and I running together and just catching Eric Linkemann. You can also see Jeff Symmonds closing the gap just behind him. At this moment, spots 3-6 were only a few seconds apart. I believe this was mile 9.

Volunteer: "What do you need?" Me: "Everything!"  

Volunteer: "What do you need?"

Me: "Everything!"

 

My 140 character summary of the day.

My 140 character summary of the day.

Post race with Leo.

Post race with Leo.

Awards

Awards

We headed back to Atlanta and stopped at Varsity; a famous hot dog spot near downtown and Georgia Tech.

We headed back to Atlanta and stopped at Varsity; a famous hot dog spot near downtown and Georgia Tech.

Also had a little time to check out the College Football Hall of Fame. Pretty cool spot. Wish we had more time to check everything out, but we only had about 45 minutes before having to get to the airport.

Also had a little time to check out the College Football Hall of Fame. Pretty cool spot. Wish we had more time to check everything out, but we only had about 45 minutes before having to get to the airport.

Lot of helmets.

Lot of helmets.

As in triathlon, you have to do the work.

As in triathlon, you have to do the work.

That's all I have from this trip. I'm heeading over to Kona next week to help out the Endurance Corner team. I will try to get a good group of photos while I'm there.

That's going to be a wrap for the 2016 season for me. I will follow up in a few weeks time with some thoughts as to how it all went and what I have planned for next year.

As always, thank you for the support.

-Justin

Ironman Canada - Whistler 2016

This year I went back to Ironman Canada in Whistler, British Columbia. Last year, the race conditions were so difficult (cold and rain) that I honestly felt as though I was doing this race for the first time. With better, seasonal weather, I set out with the following goals:

Swim: 51:00

Bike: 4:45:00

Run: 2:50:00

Assuming, 4 minutes total for two transitions, it would put me right at 8:30.

Actual splits were: 50:25, (T1 2:22) 4:48:07 (T2 1:02) 2:56:16. I managed to beat my swim goal and even banked some extra time with the quick T2. The bike was close, but I didn't make up as much time in the final 35K as I thought I could. The run was a little better than the time reflects as I had a bathroom stop and accidentally ran off course for a few hundred meters and had to turnaround and run back to the turn I missed. However, being a bit off here and there starts to add up and in the end I finished in 8:38:12 and 4th Overall.

Now, in the continued spirit of less words and more photos, the 2016 Whistler photo blog:

Not actually from the race, but this is me going up St Vrain Canyon. While getting ready for IMC, I did several long rides that all finished with a 90 minute climb up this Canyon. This closely simulates the closing 35K of the IMC bike course.

Not actually from the race, but this is me going up St Vrain Canyon. While getting ready for IMC, I did several long rides that all finished with a 90 minute climb up this Canyon. This closely simulates the closing 35K of the IMC bike course.

More from St Vrain.

More from St Vrain.

The view from Squamish where we stopped for lunch on the drive to Whistler.

The view from Squamish where we stopped for lunch on the drive to Whistler.

Looking back at Green Lake from the final aid station near the run turnaround.

Looking back at Green Lake from the final aid station near the run turnaround.

Our friends, Jenny and Rob Ferris, joined us on this trip. I do the majority of my swim training with Jenny in Boulder and here I am demonstrating proper breaststroke technique to the former Olympic Trials swimmer. She appreciated the tips.

Our friends, Jenny and Rob Ferris, joined us on this trip. I do the majority of my swim training with Jenny in Boulder and here I am demonstrating proper breaststroke technique to the former Olympic Trials swimmer. She appreciated the tips.

I did all my pre-race swims in Lost Lake which is walking distance from where we stayed. It's a great spot to do some swims. The run course also does a loop around it on the dirt trails.

I did all my pre-race swims in Lost Lake which is walking distance from where we stayed. It's a great spot to do some swims. The run course also does a loop around it on the dirt trails.

The Friday afternoon Pro Panel with Trevor, Maik and Andy.

The Friday afternoon Pro Panel with Trevor, Maik and Andy.

Friday dinner included a trip to CreekBread Pizza; an awesome spot with this impressive pizza oven.

Friday dinner included a trip to CreekBread Pizza; an awesome spot with this impressive pizza oven.

Saturday morning I helped out with the Ironkids run. More than 500 kids participated. Always great energy here.

Saturday morning I helped out with the Ironkids run. More than 500 kids participated. Always great energy here.

Simon Whitfield, two-time Oly Medalist including gold in Sydney, joined the Ironkids run on Saturday. It was a pleasure to meet one of the sport's greatest athletes.

Simon Whitfield, two-time Oly Medalist including gold in Sydney, joined the Ironkids run on Saturday. It was a pleasure to meet one of the sport's greatest athletes.

The final pre-race swim in Lost Lake.

The final pre-race swim in Lost Lake.

Riding over to drop the bike off at T1.

Riding over to drop the bike off at T1.

Checking. Double checking.

Checking. Double checking.

At the pro panel I told the audience my secret of eating a can of Pringles and a Klondike bar before racing. Here's proof that I was serious.

At the pro panel I told the audience my secret of eating a can of Pringles and a Klondike bar before racing. Here's proof that I was serious.

When we got back from dropping the bike off, we saw a mama bear and two cubs just outside our condo.

When we got back from dropping the bike off, we saw a mama bear and two cubs just outside our condo.

 

 

Race morning. Venue isn't pretty at all.

Race morning. Venue isn't pretty at all.

They changed the pro swim to a beach start this year which I prefer.

They changed the pro swim to a beach start this year which I prefer.

Making the turn onto the 2nd loop of the swim.

Making the turn onto the 2nd loop of the swim.

Brooke and Rob waiting for me to come back from the Callaghan climb.

Brooke and Rob waiting for me to come back from the Callaghan climb.

Still waiting.

Still waiting.

Rolling through.

Rolling through.

Off to Pemberton.

Off to Pemberton.

Rob Ferris aka ROJO. Rob came to the race to help support me; a few weeks ago he finished solo RAAM in 5th Overall.

Rob Ferris aka ROJO. Rob came to the race to help support me; a few weeks ago he finished solo RAAM in 5th Overall.

About 1-2K into the marathon.

About 1-2K into the marathon.

Love this shot from Jenny of Brooke helping me on the final loop of the run.

Love this shot from Jenny of Brooke helping me on the final loop of the run.

Jenny took this shot of me and Brooke shortly after the race. It seems like a sweet moment of race reflection, and by then it was, but the reason I made my way away from the finish line was to throw up repeatedly. Good times.

Jenny took this shot of me and Brooke shortly after the race. It seems like a sweet moment of race reflection, and by then it was, but the reason I made my way away from the finish line was to throw up repeatedly. Good times.

Soaking the legs the morning after the race in Lost Lake.

Soaking the legs the morning after the race in Lost Lake.

Before the awards ceremony. Probably my 9th cup of coffee that morning.

Before the awards ceremony. Probably my 9th cup of coffee that morning.

Ski jumping venue from the 2010 Olympics.

Ski jumping venue from the 2010 Olympics.

Venue for the Biathlon competition at the 2010 Olympics.

Venue for the Biathlon competition at the 2010 Olympics.

The whole gang.

The whole gang.

The symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

The symbol of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games

I have thoroughly enjoyed traveling to Whistler and racing Ironman Canada in back to back years. Hope to get back there again some day.

Until the next one,

justin

North American Championship: IMTX 2016

Ironman Texas started in 2011 and I have raced 5 of the 6 races since then. Last year was the only year I missed; I had to pull out the day before the race because of pneumonia. Having sat out a year, it was great to get back out there again. This year's race had the deepest, and biggest, field I have ever gone up against in an IM outside of Kona.

My last two races in Kona, in 2014 and 2015, have been less-than-stellar, to say the least, and I really felt that this year's IMTX would be a good opportunity for me to improve on my "big race" execution. While the bike course was entirely new, and only 95 miles, I felt that my familiarity with the the rest of the course could help me in this respect.

The day turned into a mixed bag of ups and downs, as any race does, but IMTX continues to come down to the final loop of the run for me. Every year, my position has changed in the final 8-9 miles and this year was no different. I was still outside of the top ten around 30K into the run and came across the finish line in 6th. I had a goal of trying to get into the top 5 at this race, but ultimately came up 40 seconds short. After a two year hiatus, it was a great feeling to cross the finish line in The Woodlands again.

Now, the pictures.

Since 2012, the EC crew has met up for a pre-race dinner on Thursday evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and get some good energy.

Since 2012, the EC crew has met up for a pre-race dinner on Thursday evening. It was great to catch up with everyone and get some good energy.

The Woodlands Waterway at Sunset; part of the IMTX run course.

The Woodlands Waterway at Sunset; part of the IMTX run course.

The pre-race Pringles load continues.

The pre-race Pringles load continues.

As a TAMU grad, a pre-race Freebirds was a necessity.

As a TAMU grad, a pre-race Freebirds was a necessity.

Checking the T2 Bag. I allow myself to go through it twice. Then move on.

Checking the T2 Bag. I allow myself to go through it twice. Then move on.

T2.

T2.

Race Morning Set up.

Race Morning Set up.

Nice to have personalized bike racks.

Nice to have personalized bike racks.

MPRO swim start.

MPRO swim start.

My Bro and my nephew waiting for me to hit the bike.

My Bro and my nephew waiting for me to hit the bike.

Exiting the swim.

Exiting the swim.

Hustling out of T1.

Hustling out of T1.

Mat Steinmetz won't be happy with this head position, but you had to be more heads up at times on this course. Photo; Lars Finanger

Mat Steinmetz won't be happy with this head position, but you had to be more heads up at times on this course. Photo; Lars Finanger

Turning.

Turning.

And now, the run. Photo: Sherry Daerr

And now, the run. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Crossed paths with EC athlete, Walter McCormack, just when my aunt Sherry was snapping some shots. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Crossed paths with EC athlete, Walter McCormack, just when my aunt Sherry was snapping some shots. Photo: Sherry Daerr

More yogging.

More yogging.

Checking the pace. I haven't run with a Garmin in an IM in a few years, but this weekend I raced with one; having it set to 2K auto splits. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Checking the pace. I haven't run with a Garmin in an IM in a few years, but this weekend I raced with one; having it set to 2K auto splits. Photo: Sherry Daerr

Running through East Shore. Been amazing to see the changes in this neighborhood on the run course since 2011.  Photo: Kirk Noyes,

Running through East Shore. Been amazing to see the changes in this neighborhood on the run course since 2011.  Photo: Kirk Noyes,

Frantically reaching for Red Bull. Photo: Lars Finanger

Frantically reaching for Red Bull. Photo: Lars Finanger

Triathlon Royalty: Brandon and Amy Marsh. We shared the same homestay with Noyes family this weekend and it was great to see them cheering on athletes on the run course.

Triathlon Royalty: Brandon and Amy Marsh. We shared the same homestay with Noyes family this weekend and it was great to see them cheering on athletes on the run course.

Happy to be finishing.

Happy to be finishing.

Catching up with EC athlete, Pablo Testa, at the awards.

Catching up with EC athlete, Pablo Testa, at the awards.

Chatting with Scott Langen, of Ironman, and Tim Floyd, of Magnolia Masters.

Chatting with Scott Langen, of Ironman, and Tim Floyd, of Magnolia Masters.

An honor to be on stage with these athletes.

An honor to be on stage with these athletes.

Grimaldi's Pizza is good.

Grimaldi's Pizza is good.

Afternoon flight back to Boulder followed by an ice bath. On to the next event.

Afternoon flight back to Boulder followed by an ice bath. On to the next event.

And now we are on to the rest of the season.  I have not finalized all my race plans yet, but I do plan to toe the line at Boulder 70.3 in four weeks.

I would like to give a big shout out to the Noyes family of The Woodlands. They have been so generous and helpful to me and Brooke and have treated us as an extension of their family. Thank you for everything.

Until the next one,

justin

Wildflower 2016

Last weekend I headed back to Wildflower to start the 2016 race season. I really enjoyed racing here in 2014 and was very much looking forward to toeing the line again, especially since I now felt I knew the course much better and hoped to improve on my 5th place finish from two years prior.

I got through the swim and the first run feeling ok, then got onto the bike. Unfortunately, about a mile into the course, I took a hard turn and my aerobars dropped. The base bar ended up being loose in the stem and I had to ride rather cautious until I got to the first aid station. I stopped there and asked for bike tools and proceeded to try and tighten the loose bolts. However, these particular bolts are angled and without a bent allen key, I could not access it. I tried to maneuver things around to try and make it work, but I just couldn't make it happen.

After about ten minutes of getting nowhere, I got back on the course and tilted the bars upwards and tried to keep leverage with my elbows. It wasn't the best set up, but it got me through the bike leg and I was able to finish out the day (and race) with a steady run.

I had not had any issues during pre-race rides and even though I presumed all was well, I should have rechecked all my bolts and made sure all was race ready. It is a mistake I had to learn the hard way and one I will be sure not to repeat.

At any rate, it's on to Ironman Texas on May 14th.

Now, the photos:

Pretty sure Petro snapchatted from every mile marker.

Pretty sure Petro snapchatted from every mile marker.

Pre-race spinning

Pre-race spinning

More pre-race spinning

More pre-race spinning

Turnaround selfies above Lake Nacimiento

Turnaround selfies above Lake Nacimiento

Lake Nacimiento. Starting to fill back up.

Lake Nacimiento. Starting to fill back up.

Running on Oak Shores back roads.

Running on Oak Shores back roads.

Thanks to the personalized cap from Sanitas Brewing.

Thanks to the personalized cap from Sanitas Brewing.

I was tied for the lead at this point.

I was tied for the lead at this point.

Petro came through 2nd in his age group off of <10 miles of run training per week as bike racing has been his main gig this year.

Petro came through 2nd in his age group off of <10 miles of run training per week as bike racing has been his main gig this year.

I had to drive since Petro had the faster bike split.

I had to drive since Petro had the faster bike split.

Post Wildflower chow down at Jeffrey's. Becoming a tradition.

Post Wildflower chow down at Jeffrey's. Becoming a tradition.

Got to do a sweet pre-flight ride on Sunday above Palo Alto. Thanks to Petro for the loaner bike and to Vinnie for lending out his visor helmet.

Got to do a sweet pre-flight ride on Sunday above Palo Alto. Thanks to Petro for the loaner bike and to Vinnie for lending out his visor helmet.

Really love racing Wildflower and hope to be back for the 35th anniversary next year. For those who have never raced here, you need to put this one on your list.

Until next time,

Justin

Semper Fi Fund - Ironman Texas

Since 2013, we have helped raise money for disabled veterans and their families. This year, we are partnering with a new charity, the Semper Fi Fund. This charity was founded in 2004 by a group of Marine Corps spouses and has earned the highest possible rating from charity watch dog groups. We all want to know that the money we donate goes to the causes we support and the Semper Fi Fund manages to do just that, setting aside an astonishingly low 6% of its revenues to cover their overheard expenses.

My father, Lt. Richard Daerr, USMC, was severely wounded in May 1967 during the Vietnam War. At 23 years old, he received injuries that would change him for the rest of his life, receiving a disability rating of 100%. After nearly a year of repeated surgeries and hospital residence, he entered into a world with a "new normal."

Despite his physical disabilities, Lt. Daerr went on to earn his law degree from the University of Texas and his MBA from George Washington University, leading into five years of service as counsel for the United States Justice Department in Washington D.C. Eventually Richard entered the business world and transitioned from a role as lead counsel to an executive position, ultimately becoming President of a Houston-based company called CRSS.

In 2000, Richard helped teach a course on International Business at Arizona State University as well as a rotating professor for a course on Entrepreneurship at the University of Houston. Several years later, Richard became a professor of International Business, Business Law and Business Ethics at Western State College in Gunnison, Colorado. He also established the college's Business Internship program and helped create a new Landman program in the College of Business.

In the early 2010's, Richard stepped down from his role in education and returned to Texas, where he resides with my mother, Karin, in the country outside of Hico, Texas. Never one to stay inactive, he continues to help advise emerging companies and serves on the board of several as well.

Richard has always enjoyed his time in the country and I think if he had the option, he may have chosen to be a cowboy if he could do it all over again. He finds his peace in the countryside of Texas just as I find it in the mountains of Colorado.

My Dad often speaks about my athletic accolades the way I just spoke about him: with ultimate pride.

Richard came back from Vietnam and had to face a 'new normal.' Many of our veterans today are faced with the same thing. The difficulties and the challenges they face are real and will last their entire lifetime.

My father has never lived one day of his life since May 26, 1967 without pain.

The physical and emotional scars of war will never be erased, but with our continued help and support, they can be eased.

Please consider making a donation to the Semper Fi Fund to help veterans, like my father, and their families.

Donations can be made HERE.

Thank you for reading,

Justin

Ironman Hawai'i - Kona 2015

"A lot excuses, none of them good."

I heard this once from my friend and colleague, Sue Aquila, and I think it pretty much sums up my thoughts about Kona this year. I had tremendous support from my family, friends and sponsors and for that, I want to say a very sincere, Thank You.

Hopefully next year I can give it another (better) shot.

Now, in the continued spirit of less words and more photos, this year's Kona Photo Blog with commentary:

My cat, Siggy, helping with the packing.

My cat, Siggy, helping with the packing.

Shot from the shore of our condo a few hours after I arrived.

Shot from the shore of our condo a few hours after I arrived.

A sunset photo snapped by Brooke on her first night in town.

A sunset photo snapped by Brooke on her first night in town.

The overalls I'm wearing are not ironic, nor do they have anything to do with the fact that I went to Texas A&M. I actually find them to be quite helpful when doing extensive work on my bike. 

The overalls I'm wearing are not ironic, nor do they have anything to do with the fact that I went to Texas A&M. I actually find them to be quite helpful when doing extensive work on my bike. 

I met Laurel Wassner back in 2011 while training in Tucson with Cliff. This year she and I were the final professionals to qualify for Kona on either side. Photo was snapped after the pro meeting on Thursday.

I met Laurel Wassner back in 2011 while training in Tucson with Cliff. This year she and I were the final professionals to qualify for Kona on either side. Photo was snapped after the pro meeting on Thursday.

Our condo we rented was somewhat unassuming from the road, but the inside grounds and the view of the ocean were pretty fantastic. 

Our condo we rented was somewhat unassuming from the road, but the inside grounds and the view of the ocean were pretty fantastic. 

Had the pleasure of having a few swim sessions with friend, and swim coach, Tim Floyd (center). Pictured here is his crew from Magnolia Masters in The Woodlands, Texas; including defending IMTX champion, Matt Hanson.

Had the pleasure of having a few swim sessions with friend, and swim coach, Tim Floyd (center). Pictured here is his crew from Magnolia Masters in The Woodlands, Texas; including defending IMTX champion, Matt Hanson.

Brooke and I with one of the best in the biz, Dave Christen (RD of IM Boulder, Boulder 70.3 BPeak and various other legs of IM races around the States).

Brooke and I with one of the best in the biz, Dave Christen (RD of IM Boulder, Boulder 70.3 BPeak and various other legs of IM races around the States).

A photo Brooke snapped about 5-10 minutes before starting. All the paddle boarders do an amazing job of making everyone hold the starting line. It's unlike any other race in the world with an in-water start.

A photo Brooke snapped about 5-10 minutes before starting. All the paddle boarders do an amazing job of making everyone hold the starting line. It's unlike any other race in the world with an in-water start.

Mark Pietrofesa and I hanging out on White Sands Beach. We first met in early 2008 through Gordo Byrn. Since then, he and I have met up all over the place and have met at various race sites around the world.

Mark Pietrofesa and I hanging out on White Sands Beach. We first met in early 2008 through Gordo Byrn. Since then, he and I have met up all over the place and have met at various race sites around the world.

A shot of White Sands Beach. One of the few beaches situated on Ali'i Drive.

A shot of White Sands Beach. One of the few beaches situated on Ali'i Drive.

Another Brooke sunset shot.

Another Brooke sunset shot.

A flower. That's all I got.

A flower. That's all I got.

Art Gallery in Hilualoa.

Art Gallery in Hilualoa.

Working through the various pre-race set up tasks.

Working through the various pre-race set up tasks.

Brooke and her mother, Gail, at bike check in.

Brooke and her mother, Gail, at bike check in.

This post race photo was snapped by good friend, Dave Walker, from Boulder. To my right is Rachel Joyce, who put together another solid race in Hawai'i, finishing 2nd, her third straight podium finish in Kona.

This post race photo was snapped by good friend, Dave Walker, from Boulder. To my right is Rachel Joyce, who put together another solid race in Hawai'i, finishing 2nd, her third straight podium finish in Kona.

Ray Picard and I. Ray is originally from Mexico and currently resides in Hong Kong. He and I have known one another since 2012 and it's been a real pleasure to see him progress every year since then. He has numerous strengths as an athlete, but one of the most impressive is his resilience in the heat; an absolute must to be successful when training in Hong Kong.

Ray Picard and I. Ray is originally from Mexico and currently resides in Hong Kong. He and I have known one another since 2012 and it's been a real pleasure to see him progress every year since then. He has numerous strengths as an athlete, but one of the most impressive is his resilience in the heat; an absolute must to be successful when training in Hong Kong.

Brooke and I got married on a beach north of Kona in 2010. Our anniversary fell on Monday after the race and we were fortunate to celebrate our 5th anniversary on the island.

Brooke and I got married on a beach north of Kona in 2010. Our anniversary fell on Monday after the race and we were fortunate to celebrate our 5th anniversary on the island.

This church is situated on the one other Ali'i Drive beach near the run turnaround.

This church is situated on the one other Ali'i Drive beach near the run turnaround.

A few days after the race, I drove Brooke up to see Hilualoa and the surrounding high mountain terrain. When I have spent some extended time in Kona, I always liked to ride up high where the roads are quiet and everything slows down. Brooke and I walked from the main road down to a place called the Hilualoa Inn and found this view. Going to need to stay more than five minutes some time soon.

A few days after the race, I drove Brooke up to see Hilualoa and the surrounding high mountain terrain. When I have spent some extended time in Kona, I always liked to ride up high where the roads are quiet and everything slows down. Brooke and I walked from the main road down to a place called the Hilualoa Inn and found this view. Going to need to stay more than five minutes some time soon.

A very amateur attempt by a mainland-Colorado-boy at bodysurfing.

A very amateur attempt by a mainland-Colorado-boy at bodysurfing.

Sup.

Sup.

Palm Trees.

Palm Trees.

Our flowers from our anniversary leis headed out to sea.

Our flowers from our anniversary leis headed out to sea.

Sup.

Sup.

Sup.

Sup.

A photo snapped in the first mile of run by long time friend, Kevin Burnette (of Modcraft Studio in Boulder, CO). Kevin and I raced numerous times against one another while were in college in Texas. Every race we ever did, he ran me down and beat me. One day, when he inevitably caught me on the run, I decided I was going to run with him until I died. I thought I would last a few seconds, but I managed to stay with him for the next four miles. Even though he ultimately still got me in the final 100 meters, that race changed me as an athlete, even to this day. It was the first moment I truly found that the limitations we place on ourselves always begin in our minds. 

A photo snapped in the first mile of run by long time friend, Kevin Burnette (of Modcraft Studio in Boulder, CO). Kevin and I raced numerous times against one another while were in college in Texas. Every race we ever did, he ran me down and beat me. One day, when he inevitably caught me on the run, I decided I was going to run with him until I died. I thought I would last a few seconds, but I managed to stay with him for the next four miles. Even though he ultimately still got me in the final 100 meters, that race changed me as an athlete, even to this day. It was the first moment I truly found that the limitations we place on ourselves always begin in our minds. 

Ironman Mont-Tremblant

Photos and commentary about last weekend's race at Ironman Mont-Tremblant:

This shot was taken six days before I was supposed to race Ironman Texas in May. I was in the medical center getting treatment for pneumonia. I ultimately decided not to start IMTX and looked to get back into racing later this summer. I had eyed both Ironman Canada-Whistler and Ironman Mont-Tremblant as potential races. In the end, I decided to do both, with the second event of Mont-Tremblant taking place three weeks after Ironman Canada.

 

 

I took part in the Ironkids race on Friday morning. I loved seeing the kids scramble to be up front to get a better start position.

I took part in the Ironkids race on Friday morning. I loved seeing the kids scramble to be up front to get a better start position.

With Mike Reilly and Lisa Bentley at the start of the Ironkids race. Photo credit: Robert Mahaits

With Mike Reilly and Lisa Bentley at the start of the Ironkids race. Photo credit: Robert Mahaits

Day before the race involves a lot of resting and eating.

Day before the race involves a lot of resting and eating.

People always ask what I have for dinner before a race: rice, soy sauce, chicken, and orange juice. I usually have avocados too, but the local IGA's produce was a bit rough this trip.

People always ask what I have for dinner before a race: rice, soy sauce, chicken, and orange juice. I usually have avocados too, but the local IGA's produce was a bit rough this trip.

Had some Pringles too. Have to have something you enjoy when carb-loading.

Had some Pringles too. Have to have something you enjoy when carb-loading.

Taking the pedestrian gondola down from the top of the hill of Mont Tremblant village. Trying to save the legs as much as possible before race day.

Taking the pedestrian gondola down from the top of the hill of Mont Tremblant village. Trying to save the legs as much as possible before race day.

Personalized bike racks for the professionals were a nice touch.

Personalized bike racks for the professionals were a nice touch.

Drinking copious amounts of coffee at 4:00 in the morning on race day. No matter how many of these races I do, I will never enjoy how early they start.

Drinking copious amounts of coffee at 4:00 in the morning on race day. No matter how many of these races I do, I will never enjoy how early they start.

Getting the bike ready in transition.

Getting the bike ready in transition.

Looking back at Mont-Tremblant as we walked over to the swim start.

Looking back at Mont-Tremblant as we walked over to the swim start.

45 minutes to race start.

45 minutes to race start.

30 minutes to race start.

30 minutes to race start.

20 minutes to race start.

20 minutes to race start.

One minute to race start.

One minute to race start.

BOOM! At the pro meeting they told us "At the start, there will be a starting gun, a cannon and fireworks. Whatever you hear first, GO!"

BOOM! At the pro meeting they told us "At the start, there will be a starting gun, a cannon and fireworks. Whatever you hear first, GO!"

I exited the water in 5th place in 51:39. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

I exited the water in 5th place in 51:39. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

Awesome photo, taken by Korupt Vision, in the closing miles of the bike leg on a very fast section of the course. I exited the bike in 4th position. I was well off the lead, but 2nd-5th were within ~4-5 minutes at the start of the marathon.

Awesome photo, taken by Korupt Vision, in the closing miles of the bike leg on a very fast section of the course. I exited the bike in 4th position. I was well off the lead, but 2nd-5th were within ~4-5 minutes at the start of the marathon.

This shot was taken just before entering T2. They had moved the mount/dismount line back about 100 meters from where we started so I swung my leg off the bike way too soon resulting in me having to ride my bike in like skateboard, with one foot on the pedal and one pushing off the ground. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits

This shot was taken just before entering T2. They had moved the mount/dismount line back about 100 meters from where we started so I swung my leg off the bike way too soon resulting in me having to ride my bike in like skateboard, with one foot on the pedal and one pushing off the ground. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits

Onto the run, I moved from 4th to 3rd position around 18K. At ~25K, I moved into 2nd position, but 2nd-5th remained tight all the way to the finish. Only about 5 minutes or so remained between all four position by the finish line. This shot was snapped less than a mile before the finish line by Sara Gross. I like this shot as I rarely tend to look away from the ground when I run, but I think I was happy to see a friend at that point.

Onto the run, I moved from 4th to 3rd position around 18K. At ~25K, I moved into 2nd position, but 2nd-5th remained tight all the way to the finish. Only about 5 minutes or so remained between all four position by the finish line. This shot was snapped less than a mile before the finish line by Sara Gross. I like this shot as I rarely tend to look away from the ground when I run, but I think I was happy to see a friend at that point.

My wife, Brooke, greeting me at the finish line. I felt rough. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

My wife, Brooke, greeting me at the finish line. I felt rough. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

I think this photo captured how I felt moments after finishing. The heat and the effort had taken a major toll on me and I felt it. Around ten minutes after crossing the finish line, I became very sick and probably threw up everything I had tried to put down in the last part of the run. It wasn't pretty. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

I think this photo captured how I felt moments after finishing. The heat and the effort had taken a major toll on me and I felt it. Around ten minutes after crossing the finish line, I became very sick and probably threw up everything I had tried to put down in the last part of the run. It wasn't pretty. Photo Credit: Robert Mahaits.

Fortunately, I didn't throw up on the reporters.

Fortunately, I didn't throw up on the reporters.

Awards ceremony. Glad I wore shorts because it was hot in there.

Awards ceremony. Glad I wore shorts because it was hot in there.

Good buddy, and EC athlete, Rob Mohr, made the podium in his AG with a 9:39 (in his 2nd IM ever).

Good buddy, and EC athlete, Rob Mohr, made the podium in his AG with a 9:39 (in his 2nd IM ever).

Nice sunset view from the Gondola in MT.

Nice sunset view from the Gondola in MT.

My cats' reactions when I told them I had a good race.

My cats' reactions when I told them I had a good race.

Racing IM Canada and IM Mont-Tremblant three weeks apart was one of the more challenging things I have attempted and completed as an athlete. In the end, it worked out pretty well with a 3rd and 2nd place finish, though I'm not certain I would attempt that close of a double again (at least not in the near future!). Hopefully I can recover soon enough and try and race a little more before 2015 ends.

Cheers,

Justin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ironman Canada - Whistler

Horstman Glacier.

Horstman Glacier.

When I used to be into snowboarding, I had numerous places I wanted to to visit for that purpose. Since I've started triathlon, I've made trips to Park City, Queenstown (NZ), Wanaka (NZ), Lake Tahoe and now Whistler… …all in the summer months. Not what I would have thought many years ago.

For those that weren't following the race, it was, by far, the most difficult race I have ever competed in. Ironman races are generally pretty challenging. Ironman Canada has a solid bike course making for some additional challenges in ideal conditions. However, this year's race brought cold temperatures and heavy rain. Putting all those components together and you have an extremely challenging race.

The weather in Whistler during race week had seen cool temperatures and sporadic rain leading into the event with the race day forecast being the worst of the week. The bike course in Whistler loses elevation across the first half and gains it all back in the second half. With that in mind, I felt that if the weather could just hold out until mid-morning, we would be 'just fine' even if heavy rain rolled in. However, we basically had the opposite occur, with the heaviest rain falling during the first half of the bike (beginning as soon as we started the swim) and eventually letting up on the back half. I don't know how cold it was early on, but my Garmin showed an average temperature of 44 degrees for the whole bike. With those conditions, you can see why a number of folks were pulled from the course for hypothermia.

 A basic recap of the day was something like:

The swim start just before the rain rolled in….

The swim start just before the rain rolled in….

1. The swim:

Bell, Barrett and Buckingham exited the water at about 48:20. Ambrose and Symmonds came out around 51 high, and I came out of the water with a group right at 53 minutes. Generally felt good in the swim.

The 2010 Winter Olympics Ski Jumps near the turnaround on Callaghan Road. (Photo not from race day)

The 2010 Winter Olympics Ski Jumps near the turnaround on Callaghan Road. (Photo not from race day)

2. The Bike:

0-32K: Was able to stay warm enough because of the ~12K up Callaghan Road.

32-45K: Trying not to freeze descending Callaghan.

45-79K: Trying to stay warm.

80K: I think this was the coldest point of the race for me. I remember seeing the 80K sign and I felt like I was shivering uncontrollably. 

95-120K; flat part of the ride in Pemberton Valley, which is also almost 2000 feet lower than Whistler. There is a turnaround on this road and I could see Kyle (Buckingham) had a big lead, but 2nd-4th where not too far out of reach. First time since the end of the swim I'm starting to think about 'racing' again.

120-145K; tried to stay on top of things back across the valley, but starting to fade a little. Hoping the final climb will bring me back to life.

145-180K; climbing back up to Whistler. Originally, this had been the point in the race where I hoped to put time into everyone else. However, I felt totally wiped.  This final section I tried to just do my best and make it to the start of the run.

Running back to town on the first loop of the run.

Running back to town on the first loop of the run.

3. The run:

3K: Moved into 4th

Maybe 10K?: Moved into 3rd; 

10-30K: This was probably the best section of running for me, got the split to Victor and Kyle (running together in 1+2) down under 3:00 at one point. Thought there might be a chance for one more spot.

31-32K: starting to fade; gap to front is going out again.

32-42K: looking around every corner for that finish line.

42.2K: 3rd place.

I had a couple takeaways from this race:

1. Coming back from pneumonia in May made this race a bit emotional for me. I was so sick a couple months ago and being able to competently compete again was very fulfilling.

2. I tend to do better in races of attrition, but those races almost always involve hot weather. Being able to work through a day like that in the cold was also very fulfilling.

Until the next one,

J

Top 3 in Whistler.

Top 3 in Whistler.

Awards Ceremony.

Awards Ceremony.

Pizza oven at Creekwood Pizza in Creekside Village.

Pizza oven at Creekwood Pizza in Creekside Village.

Green Lake near the run turnaround.

Green Lake near the run turnaround.

The downhill mountain bike scene in Whistler is amazing.

The downhill mountain bike scene in Whistler is amazing.

Olympic Village

Olympic Village

 

 

 

Ironman Texas Withdrawal

This afternoon I have to give the unfortunate news that I will not be starting Ironman Texas this year. Last Sunday I was diagnosed with pneumonia. If this had been any other race, I would have withdrawn that moment, but this race has, and does, mean so much to me. With that in mind, I wanted to wait until the last possible moment to make a final decision.

After a final examination from my physician this afternoon, I feel the risk to my health is too great to make the start tomorrow. I was driven all week by my emotions, but I had to set that aside when making this final, difficult decision.

Thank you to my family, sponsors and The Woodlands community for providing so much help and support while preparing for this special race.

Good luck to everyone racing tomorrow; I will be joining you again next year.

-Justin