Hunky Dory Half Marathon

A friend of mine from South Carolina traveled out for a long vacation in Breckenridge this week and he signed up for a trail run race on Saturday called the Hunky Dory Half Marathon. Its a 13.5 mile run done mostly on single track trails, has 1500+ feet of vertical and takes place between 9500 and 10,500 feet. I decided a couple days before the race to go up there and join him. Since I raced Boulder 70.3 on Sunday, I wasn't super keen to run really hard, but I thought it would be a fun way to get in a longer run up high.

The event only had 79 runner so it was a completely different feel from the events I've grown accustomed to. The run started with about a mile of open road before heading onto single track trail. I wanted to go out quickly enough to make sure I got a clean line, but then I wanted to keep things in check as times from last year looked very slow (read: hard course). Two guys took off quickly and I didn't see them again until the finish line. One other guy and I stayed together for the first thirty minutes and then I eventually pulled away after one of the longer climbs.

My trail running skills are mediocre at best. I do alright scrambling up the hills and running along the flatter, less technical sections. However, downhill scrambling and quick pacing through the technical sections was not one of my strengths yesterday morning. I have to give major props to the guys out front for having the skill and dexterity to fly through those sections.

The course took us through some awesome terrain and around 5k to go we had to run back up some really steep trails. There were times where I was pretty sure I was just standing still as opposed to running up the steeper grades. The final 3K included some more steep technical downhill, but fortunately I didn't crash and I crossed the finish line in 3rd, well back from the leaders (they went 1:37 and 1:39, I was 1:47).

It was nice to break out of the norm and have some fun in the mountains. This past week has been a bit of a regroup following Boulder 70.3. I'll be moving into my final block of training prior to IM Tahoe this Monday as we are sitting six weeks from race day.

-j

Boulder 70.3

Boulder 70.3 The Goal before race day:

3:53:30

In my mind; it would break down to:

25:00 Swim

1:30 T1

2:07:00 Bike

1:00 T2

1:19:00 Run

I wasn't totally sure on the bike times since it's the first year with the one loop bike, but I still thought the course would be pretty fast even with some of the new rollers on the NE end of the loop.

The result:

Swim: 25:42

T1: 1:40

Bike: 2:06:52

T2: 1:05

Run: 1:20:18

3:55:37

Since I lost my timing chip prior to exiting the swim, none of the splits are exact, but I think they are close enough.

The swim and the bike both felt good and even though I felt tired at the end of the ride, it felt like I gave the appropriate effort.

The run was a mixed bag of highs and lows. I did my best to try and stay on pace, but in the end the overall effort of the day had me running a bit slower than I preferred. I passed a handful of people on the run and a handful of people passed me as well, resulting in 9th place at the finish line.

3:55:37 is a PR for me at the HIM distance so I'm happy that progress has been made. After watching Boulder 70.3 for the last few years, it was great to get out and race instead. Always nice to race at home.

After a week of recovery, I'll be building for the second Ironman of the season: Lake Tahoe.

Until then,

Justin

Thank You and Ironman Texas

Last weekend I raced Ironman Texas for the 3rd time, finishing 4th overall. I will keep it simple.

It was Hot.

I am sure you have heard as much if you followed the race at all. While the swim and bike proved to be somewhat normal, the run was more about out-surviving one another in such extreme heat. I started the run in 4th, moved to 3rd for quite some time, spent some time in 2nd for a good chunk, fell back to 3rd for another long stretch, and ultimately finished 4th after James Cunnama ran by and on his way to 2nd place late in the race. My good friend, Ian Mickelson, and I did the whole run with a standard deviation of about 30 seconds to one another, but he stayed on the better side of that range in the end and closed out a hard fought third place.

I did all I could to try and put myself in a position to win. I left it all out there and tried to close it out, but I'll have to return next year to give it another try.

However, what I really want to write is a Thank You note. Some time last offseason, I mentioned to Brooke that I  wanted to start a fundraising campaign for the Wounded Warrior Project in conjunction with Ironman Texas. My father is a disabled veteran who was severely injured in Vietnam at the age of 22. When I was growing up, my father was always an adult in my mind, but as I sit here at 32 I can see how young 22 is and I'm sure that will only increase as I grow older.

I found myself empathizing with a mind of a 22 year old and what the world must have looked like to someone that would be ever changed by the devastation of war. I am sure that fear, sadness, anger and other emotions would overwhelm me, while optimism and hope might fall by the wayside. However, history has proven this to not be the case for my father as he has gone on to achieve countless successes in a variety of ways and I want that same hope to reside in today's wounded heroes.

When I started the campaign, I was not really sure what to expect. Brooke and I put together a goal of $1967 to begin with, but we found ourselves nearly meeting that goal in the first week. To our pleasant surprise, by the time we reached race day we had $5625.20 to hand over to the WWP.

What was so gratifying was seeing the names that came up on the list of donors. I saw family, friends, people I've worked with, trained with, coached, and some I have yet to meet.

And as I saw all these names I became grateful for the all the wonderful people that have come into my life. All of your kindness and support is what has led to this being such a successful campaign.

So with all my heart:

Thank you.

-Justin

Wounded Warrior Project

I am collaborating with the Wounded Warrior Project to raise money for wounded veterans. My goal is to raise $1967.00 by the time I race Ironman Texas on May 18, 2013.

You can find my donation page HERE

Below is a copy from my donation page:

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

In May of 1967 my father was serving his country in Vietnam, as a Lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps, when was was severely wounded. He was 22 years old and was faced with a life of permanent disabilities. In spite of his injuries, he went on to become a successful lawyer, executive, professor, cyclist, and above all else, a wonderful father.

However, the wounds from war are real and they do not go away. There isn't a day where my father is not affected by his injuries and I often find myself wishing I could bear those burdens, even if only for a moment.

Today, many servicemen and women come home with permanent injuries, both physical and emotional. I can only imagine the fear and anxiety that comes with facing the unknown road ahead, but they should not be alone in doing so. The Wounded Warrior Project (WWP) is a nonprofit organization that was created to help veterans and their families with this next stage of their lives. The WWP works tirelessly to honor and empower wounded warriors in order to foster the most successful, well-adjusted generation of wounded service members in our nation's history.

This is my first year collaborating with WWP and my hope is to raise $1967.00 by the time I race Ironman Texas on May 19, 2013. I hope that my efforts can help support wounded veterans as they move forward to have successful families, careers and to live their dreams, whatever they may be.

You can help me in my efforts by making a donation to the WWP, no matter what amount. Take a sack lunch to work, gather the change in your car; every dollar counts in helping our wounded veterans and their families.

Thank you for your generosity and support,

Justin Daerr

Galveston 70.3 Profile

I won't be racing this weekend, but here is a course profile I put together for the Endurance Corner site: http://www.endurancecorner.com/Course_Profiles/galveston_half

San Juan 70.3

I traveled out to Puerto Rico over the weekend to race San Juan 70.3. If you follow me on twitter, you'll know that I posted about having a cold over the weekend as well. Unfortunately that turned out to be the main the story line on Sunday. I woke up on Friday morning at 4:00 a.m. to catch a 6:45 a.m. flight(s) to PR and I was about 12+ hours into a new head cold. I was a little hesitant to even go the airport as I really wasn't feeling too well, but I thought there might be a chance that this would be short-lived and I might feel better by Sunday morning.

The trip was long and tedious (about 11 hours+ from door to door), but I got to PR and got in bed as soon as I could.

I woke up on Saturday morning and felt even worse (terrible really), but I tried to just stay positive and proactive about getting better. I was drinking lots of fluids, using the nasal wash, everything I could to get better. I didn't do any normal pre-race workouts throughout the morning as I really wasn't up to it. Eventually around noon I went down to the hotel gym and did a very light spin on the exercise bike, just to get moving again; that went alright, so I followed it up with a quick 5-10 minute swim as the gym is right next to the swim start.

After a pro meeting and a couple other things, I went back to the hotel room, ate dinner and was in bed early (around 8:30) to try and get a little more extra pre-race sleep.

On Sunday morning I woke up and hadn't fully recovered, but I decided to give the race a shot, as you never know how things might turn out.

The swim kicked off and I didn't feel too bad, eventually settling into the second pack. Around 300 meters-to-go, someone in front of me got gapped off and I tried to go around and close, but I really just minimized the loss and came out about 15-20 seconds behind those guys. All in all, I thought it went alright and that the cold didn't seem to show itself much at all. Although, the long run to transition (about 500 meters) felt pretty terrible (but when does that ever feel good?)

The bike, however, was a mixed bag. I never really felt great, but never felt terrible either. And most of the ride, I had the good fortune of riding with some other strong riders so I could focus on racing with them, as opposed to how I did or did not feel. I was tiring out in the last 1/3, but that can easily happen in good-health racing as well.

As I came into T2, I saw I was actually a couple minutes quicker than 2011 so I thought the day might end up being better than I might have expected in the end. However, within only a few hundred meters of the run I knew that probably wasn't going to happen. I really started to feel lousy and the run quickly turned from a normal stride into a jog and stayed that way to the finish line.

I didn't really want to go to PR for a learning experience, in fact I would have happily learned nothing (or even unlearned something!) in exchange for a good race, but that's what I ended up getting.

Until next time,

j

Panama, CEC Training Camp, EC Tucson

I never got around to recapping Panama 70.3 from the first weekend in February. It had less to do with having a subpar race; I was just hammered with a lot to do immediately after the race when I got home; and then I got sick; and I then I drove to Tucson; and then I started up with Cliff's training camp; and then I had to make unexpected trip to Houston for personal reasons; and then I had to direct+coach the Endurance Corner Tucson camp; and then I drove back to Boulder. And finally things started to calm down a little bit before I head off to San Juan this weekend.

So....

Panama: I decided to do this race for a couple reasons:

1. I wanted to have extra motivation to get the training done in January (which can be difficult in Boulder).

2. I have a friend who lives in Panama City and I wanted to travel somewhere new and different.

The race itself proved to be more than I could really handle at that time of year. I do think I was in better shape than I normally am in late January, but this race is challenging: both in terrain and weather (Hot!), and its not a race you want to float through. I did enjoy the trip and the experience, but the race was more of brutal awakening instead of a pleasant experience!

At any rate, I came home and headed to Tucson for a two-week training camp with my coach, Cliff English, followed by hosting my own training camp for Endurance Corner.

I enjoy the training camps that Cliff puts on for his pro athletes. Its nice to catch up with some of the athletes that I only see for a couple weeks/year and the training is solid. Training camps are always more directed, and more challenging, than normal training blocks and they should be. Getting together with others and getting that extra 2-3% out of one another is what its all about. Its even more paramount with age group athletes that travel to training camps and its why Endurance Corner puts them on. We believe in them.

If you want to read about the details of each day at Cliff's camp, I suggest you check out Chris Bagg's blog:

http://chrisbagg.com/news/

He does a great job of recapping all the details and his skill as a writer makes it all the more enjoyable to hear his perspective.

Following the Cliff Camp, I put on the sixth annual Endurance Corner Tucson camp. We had a solid 6 days of desert training and it was great to see the progression of some of our repeat campers. The great thing about seeing these athletes improve is that I know how much work they must have put in from last year to this year. It never gets old seeing other improve because of their drive and work ethic.

After the camp ended, I headed back to Boulder and had to pleasure of navigating through a blizzard in the final hours of the trip. Fortunately, while long, the trip was uneventful.

I have only been home for a week, but its about time to hit the road again. I'll be heading to Puerto Rico to race San Juan 70.3 for the second time. I raced there in 2011 and decided to have another go at it this year. I decided to opt out of racing Galveston in favor of this race and as I prefer the SJ course over Gtown's.

I'll be back quickly after SJ with a report so check back in around Tuesday next week.

-j

2013

New Year, New Season. Greetings from a frigid Boulder. The last few days have seen single digits in the a.m.; quite a contrast to the warm winter we had last year. Even though the cold temps have made it challenging to ride, the rest of the training has been going pretty well. I decided to race Panama 70.3 this year (February 3rd) so staying on task in January has been a must, even when its a bit chilly.

After racing in Panama on the first weekend of February, I'll be heading down to Tucson for three weeks. The first two weeks I will be attending a training camp led by my coach, Cliff English. Each Spring he holds a 2-3 week camp for his athletes. Its a great chance to get out of the cold weather for a bit; and its particularly helpful in getting in some decent riding when coming from a Colorado winter.

The last week of my trip to Tucson will be for the Endurance Corner Tucson Camp. Tucson feels more and more like a second home to us as this will be the sixth year of hosting the camp. We still have spots available (as of Jan 15) so if you are interested, click here.

Following the Tucson Camp, I'll be back home and the only trips from there on out will be for racing. I haven't quite finalized the plans in March and April, but I hope to race 2x as a lead into Ironman Texas. Much of this will be dependent on my training progression in the next six weeks. The primary goal is based around performing well in Texas, so we'll be looking to make decisions (about racing) that support that goal.

Look for an update following Panama in a few weeks.

Until then,

Justin

Check out my latest article on Endurance Corner: Show Up and Blow Up

Sample Days

Follow up to my article, Eat to Perform, on Endurance Corner. ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

SAMPLE DAY ONE:

Meal One: Toast with Almond Butter, 2g of fish oil, 65mg of Iron.

Workout one: 3 hour ride with Intervals (2000-2400 kilojoules); intake of ~1000 calories in Powerbar Perform and Powergels.

Finish ride within 30 minutes of swim practice; Eat bar in the car going to swim practice

Workout two: 4500 meters @ Masters. One Gel at the end of the warm up and another 200 calories of Perform during the swim session.

Meal two: 4 eggs with goat cheese and spinach. Bowl of oatmeal with walnuts, raisins and chopped fruit.

Couple hours off.

Meal three: Toast with almond butter

Workout three: 60 minute fartlek run

30 minutes before dinner: plate of raw carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes.

Meal four: Green chile chicken with rice, black beans, avocados, onions, tomatoes and cilantro. Probably two big bowls. Dark chocolate after.

Later: Couple pieces of fruit and almonds.

SAMPLE DAY TWO

Meal One: Toast with almond butter

Workout One: 5 hour steady state ride; 4000+ kilojoules. Consume ~2000 calories of Powerbar perform, gels, and a bar or two. Probably a Sprite at one stop midway as well.

5-10 minute break before run; consume 2 gels just before run starts.

45 minute steady state run; consume 300 more calories of Perform and gels.

Meal Two: Two breakfast burritos with whole wheat tortillas, eggs, potatoes, salsa, grilled vegetables and guacamole. 2-3 glasses of orange juice.

Couple hours off.

Just before starting swim; 2 bananas.

3000 meter easy swim; 45 minutes.

30 minutes before Meal three same plate of raw veggies as above.

Meal three: Steak (medium rare), grilled potatoes in olive oil; grilled onions, mushrooms and bell peppers in olive oil. Dark chocolate afterwards.

Later: same as above; some fruit, almonds, etc. based on any extra hunger.

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I eat other things as well, but this is a pretty good example of what my training days look like. During some of my easier days of the week, you might see a similar style to my main meals, but less supplemented sports nutrition as energy output is much lower.

Ironman Arizona 2012

Last weekend I traveled down to Phoenix to close out the 2012 season at Ironman Arizona. I have finished off many seasons by racing in Florida, but I decided to race in AZ this year to give me a little more time following Ironman Wisconsin in September. The weather in Boulder was remarkably warm and dry this fall and I hardly had any challenges getting ready for a race this late in the year. Race Day:

The swim started in fairly uneventful fashion. I missed the front group, but I was following the lead of a strong swimmer that was moving up nicely as we were approaching the turnaround. Unfortunately, I lost contact at that point and was solo for a long time. I eventually bridged up to Thomas Gerlach in the last 10 minutes or so and we came into T1 together.

As ran through T1 I pulled my helmet out of my bag put in on my head and came to find that the buckles on the strap had completely broken off. I ran up to my bike and sat on the ground and proceeded to try and fix it. With a clear head, I might have been able to do something, but in this case I was sitting there for 2-3 minutes trying to find a way to put this thing together. Eventually I ripped some tape off my bike and tried to tie it together so that I could get out of transition.

I got out and started riding and within a few miles it had fallen apart. I pulled over to try to fix it again, but I quickly realized there was nothing I could do about it on the side of the road. I decided to try and ride up to the next aid station and see if there was something I could do there.

A few miles later I got the to aid station and rode straight to one of the supply trucks. I asked someone if they could see if there was any tape lying around. Someone found some duct tape and she did a solid job of taping the straps together well enough for me to continue. This proved to finally be the fix, but I had lost a lot of time in the process of finally finding a pretty simple solution.

I had a hard time getting myself back into the right headspace once I got back out onto the road. All this happened within the first 10 miles of the bike and I think that made it all the more challenging for me to deal with mentally. Prior to a race, I go through a lot of scenarios (flats, lost nutrition, crashes, etc) in my head and I know exactly what to do, but I was missing this one.

The remainder of the bike was a struggle for me. I did feel 'off', but its hard to know whether that is truly how I felt, or whether that is simply what I found myself focusing on. Racing is always uncomfortable, but if you are focusing on RACING, you keep your mind where it needs to be and the discomfort is managed.

I finished up the bike and headed out onto the run. I can't say I was super excited about running 26 miles at this point, but I know what it feels like to drop out of a race (by choice) and that feels worse to me than a subpar race. I just kept it ticking over and managed to move up about 10 places or so by the end of the day to finish 11th Overall.

I know it sounds cliche, but sometimes the day really is about finishing. It is frustrating to not be able to transfer success in preparation to success on race day, but its part of the process.

Happy Thanksgiving and Offseason to everyone out there.

-justin

Ironman Wisconsin

Last weekend I traveled out to Madison to race Ironman Wisconsin for the second time in my career. I raced there in 2009 and it definitely earned my respect as one of the more challenging races I have ever done. This year proved to be no different. On race morning we had favorable weather conditions following a recent cold front. We were going to have some pretty good wind to navigate throughout the day, but the highs were only supposed to be around 70 with low humidity and clear skies.

The race changed their swim course this year, moving from two lops to one. I thought this was a great change, even if the back stretch (1700 meters) seemed to last a long, long time.

At 6:50, the pros started and the swim went along fairly uneventfully for me. I exited 5th out of the water with a large group and proceeded to take on the more difficult challenge of the day: running up the exit ramps of the Terrace to T1. At any race, I usually see the highest heart rates of the day running to T1 without the additional challenge of running uphill for a minute-plus.

The bike course in Wisconsin is the most challenging bike course on the IM circuit in North America (now that STG is gone) in my opinion. You never have any extended climbing, but it is constantly full of hills, turns and can be quite windy in some of the more exposed areas of the course. Having said that, I find it to be a course that keeps your mind engaged and rarely lets you fall into a state of indifference. For that reason, I really enjoy the dynamic nature it provides.

Exiting the water in a large swim group usually leads to a group forming on the bike and this race was no different. During the first half of the ride, I think 6-7 riders stayed together and it wasn't until the 2/3 mark where things eventually started to split up. I felt good for the majority of the ride, but even with that in mind, Ben Hoffman (eventual winner) continued to put time into everyone. In the closing miles, Thomas Gerlach and I eventually caught the 2nd place rider and made our way back to T2 in the 2nd and 3rd positions.

Coming out of T2, I just tried to settle into my own rhythm and hoped to try and see if I could close any portion of the 10:00 gap Ben had on me to start the run. My legs felt pretty good, but I was a bit concerned about how my stomach was feeling. During the ride, my stomach had been feeling a bit off so I ended up taking in less calories than I normally would. That wasn't such a big deal, but I knew I had to be diligent about getting them in on the run.

Unfortunately, my stomach proved to be my biggest challenge for the next few hours. I managed to keep it somewhat together over the first half of the run, but I was having to stop repeatedly and couldn't keep any calories down either. Eventually it proved to be too much. I'll spare the details, but it wasn't pleasant for awhile.

I eventually dropped into 4th place with 6-7 miles to go and I knew I had to try and get some calories in me or I would concede even more positions. Over the next few aid stations I was able to get some coke in me and with about 4 miles to go I finally seemed to come back to life and started to run more steadily again. Fortunately I was able to keep it rolling to the finish line and just barely held onto 4th place.

Tough race, but a good experience.

I really enjoy Madison and the race atmosphere there is fantastic. I heard it sold out in record time for 2013 and I can understand why. Hopefully I can make it back there again some day.

Until the next one,

justin