Parris Island Triathlon take 2

Today was the one year anniversary to my first triathlon. Last year I did this race and had a great time except for falling on the bike and fracturing my elbow. This year I went into this race with the plan of giving it all I had and trying to do better than I did last year. For the most part this was a success.

Saturday morning prerace

My wife and I got up at 5:30 am so we could go through our morning routines(she was racing too). We had our breakfast. I had the super healthy and perfect prerace breakfast of two sour cream donuts from Dunkin Donuts. They weren’t the best but they did taste good. After breakfast we got ready checked out the hotel and headed over to the Marine Base so we could setup our transition areas.

Transition setup

We arrived and went straight to transition area to get our stuff in order. As we arrived we noticed a new detail the Setup Events had added to the transition area. They had added name tags to the transition racks and alternated which direction they faced which in theory helped keep the transition areas cleaner. With this race I decided I would start with my cycling shoes on my bike to speed up my transition times. More on that later if it worked or not.

After getting our bikes setup we went to get our timing chips and body marking. One of the first things we noticed upon walking into the pool building was that it was HOT. So hot that it was borderline uncomfortable inside the building. Thankfully by the time the race started the building had cooled some with the doors being kept open.

The Swim

The race started at 9 am but due to such a slow projected swim time it was almost 10 am before I jumped into the pool. I went into this race hoping that I could maintain a 2:10/100 yard pace. I started off a little fast but quickly settled into my groove and felt like I was able to keep an even pace throughout the swim only being passed twice and one of those times I made the guy pass me twice. The first time he passed me but then started doing his recovery stroke and really slowed down so I passed him back. Determined that if he was gonna pass me he had to earn it and keep it. The remainder of my swim was uneventful

Official swim time: 13:45 17 of 18 in Males 35-39

My official time last year(2013) was 12:59

46 seconds slower than 2013
I need to work on my swim much much more

Transition 1

I ran out of the pool building and into the transition area. Of note running on asphalt barefooted doesn’t feel very good. I made it to my bike and was able to quickly put my sunglasses and helmet on then grabbed my bike and headed out.

Official transition 1 time:
0:55 4 of 18 in males 35-39

Official T1 time(2013): 1:00
Five seconds faster than 2013. The flying mount made a difference!

The Bike

I was a bit worried at how putting my cycling shoes on my feet while riding would go because the last time I tried it I had a good bit of trouble. Today was much different. It wasn’t perfect but I was able to get both shoes on quickly without slowing to much. Once that was done it was time to put the hammer down. I quickly realized that was a mistake. Prerace I had decided I would race in my big chain ring for this race and push my pace. Unfortunately I allowed my heart rate to get to high way to quick and had to cut back. I switched to my small chainring and kept my cadence high. This worked much better. This year unlike last year was uneventful. I only had to call out to a few people that were riding in the far left of the lane where I couldn’t pass them. I kept my pace steady and paced person after person on the bike.

Official bike time:
31:42 9 of 18 males 35-39

Official bike time(2013):
1:28 faster this year.

Transition 2

The flying dismount was brilliant. I sure wish I could have seen it. I quickly made it back to my transition area, racked my bike and took my helmet off. After that though my transition time took a big hit. I went to put my socks on my feet but things weren’t going well so I scratched putting them on. I then fumbled a bit more and grabbed my visor, race number belt, and some salt tablets.

Official transition 2 time:
1:14 12 of 18 males 35-39

Official T2 time(2013):

Still an improvement by 10 seconds but I know I can still do better

The Run

I do not normally run sockless because my feet blister with every shoe that I have ever tried it with and I knew today would be no different. I just hoped that it would be late in my run. Thankfully it was.

Today’s run was good but not what it could have been. It was a strong run for me but I know that I could have run it faster. I started out to fast and had to slow myself. But after that had trouble keeping my pace high. Somewhere around the .75 mile point a man passed me and I decided to stick with him as he at the time was running about the pace I wanted to keep. This worked well till the midway point at that time a very nice woman joined us and we were able to talk some. Unfortunately my pace slowed some. I should have left them but was feeling good and stayed with them. As we passed the 2 mile point the guy I had been pacing off of pulled away. And the woman was fading some I decided to pick my pace back up. As I did this I realized the guy I had been running with so long was my same age. I decided at that moment that if I could he wouldn’t be leaving me and if I would do my best to finish before him. What great motivation it was. I quickly caught him and
Hung with him a short distance till we reached the last water stop. I passed it and he grabbed some water. That was all I needed to pull away from him and stay ahead of him till we finished.

Official run time:
24:52 16 of 18 males 35-39

Official run time(2013):

I nice improvement of 61 seconds

Final time: 1:12:27
2013 final time: 1:14:28

A PR of 2 minutes!

I could have certainly done better on the run I should have pushed it harder instead of “taking it easy” but I did enjoy getting to run with those people and talking with them

Areas for improvement:

1. The swim! I must get better and I hope to do so. We just bought the Total Immersion DVD swim training videos after hearing great things about them and expect to see improvement in my swim times after working with these videos.

2. The bike, better job of pacing so that I can stay in the large chain ring.

3. The run. More consistent pacing. I felt good off the bike but did a poor job with pacing.

Overall I am very pleased with my improvements over last year and how I did this year. I really enjoy this race and highly recommend it. It is a fantastic venue it is really cool to see the young marines in training and the beautiful island. The event Promotor, Setup Events is one of the best. I have enjoyed everyone of their events that I have done and always look forward to doing more races by them.


I have been looking forward to this race for a long time. When I first heard about it late in 2012 I wanted to do the inaugural race but I didn’t have the base but this year I was more prepared, well at least for the 25k. So this year early in December I signed up to race the 25k already having a long run of around 9 miles. Looking at my calendar I felt like I had plenty of time to add the miles to get me to the 15 I would need to complete 25k. Unfortunately my last long run in training happened in mid December and was 11 miles. Between sickness and an IT band issue that sprang upon me during that last long run that was it for me. Thankfully I was still able to get some running in to figure out what worked to help keep my IT band from bothering me.

Now on to the actual race report.

After a long restless night we got
Up early Saturday morning to go through our normal race morning routines. I got up and had my coffee and my usual toast and peanut butter. Checking the weather it was around 60-65 at our house with the temperature similar at the race site so we dress for the warmer temps boy what a shock to the system that was going to prove to be. We left out to the race noticing lots and fog and some wind. When we arrived to the race site it was very foggy and upon getting out of the car my wife and looked at each other and commented, “what happened to the temperature”. It was cold! So the jackets stayed on as we picked up her race number and got settled in. Finally just before the race I took my jacket off and got ready to race!

First to go were the 5k and 10k runners. I wished my wife well and watched her head out on her first 10k race. Fifteen minutes later it was time for the 25 and 50k racers.
My only goal for the day was to keep the pace easy and my HR low.
I’m glad to say I succeeded with both of my goals. My only other goal was to stay healthy. With my recent IT band issues I was concerned at how successful I would be. The first lap my legs felt great and I was having an easy time keeping my pace between 10-11 min/mi right where I hoped to be. I made sure early on to stop and drink water at each aid station and to not rush myself I reminded myself early and a friend did as well that today was not the goal this was just icing on the cake and to race smart. As I stopped at each water station I assessed whether I needed any nutrition. I had brought a Powerbar with me but never used it. Instead had good from the tables. This worked great for me as I primarily ate bananas, banana chips and a few crackers.

As I finished the first lap my legs were still feeling well. Unfortunately as I came close to finishing the first mile of the second loop my right leg began bothering me, I had my IT band strap on my left leg. As I continued I realized it had to be the same issue. Since my left leg was feeling good I decided to switch the strap over to my right leg. This worked well until I came near the end of the second lap and my left leg began to hurt. Thankfully I saw my wife and grabbed her IT strap put it on and kept going. Unfortunately by this third lap my legs ached a bit even though the straps were working well and my legs were beginning to feel tired. The rest of me felt great though. I kept on going though, remember my One Word for this year? Persevere and that’s what I did. I dug deep and as I neared the halfway point of the last lap I picked up the pace determined that I would get my pace back to that 10-11 min/mi magic zone I wanted.
With that I finished.
What a great experience! This was my first race on a trail and I believe it may have even been my first run on a trail. I have to say I loved it! I will certainly be adding more trail runs in the future.
The Race Promotor Low Country Ultras did a great job managing the event and I highly recommend looking into doing one of their races. Especially if you are seeking to do an ultra distance race.

Looking back what could I have done differently? Well I think my nutrition and hydration were perfect for today’s conditions. As to my training I certainly would have preferred to have gotten more long runs, over ten miles, leading up to this race. With that added mileage I feel that I could have run stronger especially during the last lap. My IT Bands I will make sure to continue to treat them with focused exercises, stretches and the foam rollers.
Overall I am very pleased with my result today and look forward to doing my next 25k or longer race but for now it’s back to 70.3 training. Long term my goal for next year to to be at this race again in early January and to run the 50k.

If you are interested in seeing more about how I did today here is a link to the data from my Garmin,

Until next time.

Today, Monday January 6, 2014, makes the beginning of a journey. Today I start training for my first 70.3 triathlon. For those that don’t know a 70.3 triathlon consists of a 1.2 mile swim, a 56 mile bike ride and a 13.1 mile run. These are all done back to back in the same day. I know what you are thinking and no I am not crazy and I haven’t lost my mind, ok maybe a little bit. I am really looking forward to this journey as this training is and the race itself is guaranteed to push my farther than I have ever gone before. This will most certainly be the most physically and possibly mentally demanding thing I have ever attempted in my life.
So what has possessed me to even consider attempting this? It’s really simple, I want to prove to myself that I can do it. That and in my first year of doing triathlon I have fallen in love with the sport so why not try a half iron distance race right? Sure.

Today’s training is starting off almost to easy. On tap for today is a 9 mile bike ride with my heart rate in zone 1-2 so it’s going to be a slow easy ride. It’s touted as an “endurance” workout but at this point I think really endurance? I did a century bike ride last year how can 9 miles be endurance, but I have committed to this plan to guide me to successful completion of this race so I will do what it says. I am sure at some point in my training I will look back and wish I was still doing those “easy” workouts.

As today marks the beginning of my training I also plan that it will mark the beginning of regular posts by me on this blog. As of now I am thinking at least once a week but other than that I have no specific plan.

Until next time.

So I have seen and heard many friends selecting a word of the year for 2014. After a quick Google search I even learned that there is even a book and website devoted to this. From the first time I saw a friend announce their word of the year for 2014 I thought it was a great idea but what word? Interestingly enough from the beginning one word kept coming back to mind, persevere. So I have decided that it will be my word of the year for 2014.

Webster’s online defines persevere as:

to persist in a state, enterprise, or undertaking in spite of counterinfluences, opposition, or discouragement

This word has so many applications for this coming year. I need to persevere with watching my eating so that I can maintain my weight loss/eating goals for this year. My desire is to get back below 200 pounds and to get more fit. Related to this I will begin training for my first half ironman triathlon(70.3) this year. This will be the most physically demanding undertaking I have ever attempted in my life. To accomplish that I will have to be consistent with my training and to not give up when my training gets difficult or doesn’t go as planned. And I will certainly have to persevere on race day as I will be out on course for somewhere between 6-7 hours.

The other and more important area where I need to apply this is in my faith. I need to persevere all that this world throws at me and focus on my relationship with God. I need to put him first in no matter what. Today at church our pastor used 1 Corinthians 9:16-23 in mapping out how our Church is going to succeed in our goals for the year. Interestingly enough this was given to us a one word as well, One. What really struck me though as I listened to the sermon was what I read in the remaining verses of chapter 9:

Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. However, they do it to receive a crown that will fade away, but we a crown that will never fade away. Therefore I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:24-27 HCSB)

Obviously as a runner and triathlete these verses got my attention but what really got me was verse 27:

Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified. (1 Corinthians 9:27 HCSB)

That’s when it hit me, persevere. How can I succeed at my training goals, my weight loss goals, my faith without perseverance.
So it was today five days into 2014 that I settled on my one word of 2014 and that I should actually make it my word.

This year I will persevere. Through the easy days, the hard days, the boring, the highs, the lows, the successes and the failures in 2014 I will persevere.


This past weekend I competed in and finished my first triathlon. I wanted to choose a race close to home that was beginner friendly. With that in mind I chose the 2013 Parris Island Triathlon put on by Setup Events. The Parris Island Triathlon is the first race of their 2013 South Carolina Triathlon Series and is touted as beginner friendly, flat, and fast. All of which it was.

My family and I began the weekend by traveling to Beaufort on Friday to check into our hotel and pick up my race packet. All went well on our trip and packet pickup. Looking back on things I wish at packet pickup I had asked to change categories for the race. More on that later. The remainder of the day was spent just chilling in the hotel room and me looking over everything I packed to make sure I didn’t miss anything.

We get up bright and early Saturday morning, about 5:45am to get all our things together at the hotel and get to the event site around 7:00am when the transition area opened up. Even though the race didn’t start until 9am I wanted to have plenty of time to make sure I had time to not miss anything. As soon as I arrive on site I set up my transition area. At this time there were not many bikes set up yet and I was pleased to see that because of my race number I had a prime position at the end of the bike rack.

ImageThis is me getting my bike set up. I had wanted to put my bike up by the seat but I couldn’t get my bike under the rack so I went with hanging it by the brake levers.

After I got my transition area set up and met with a friend who was setting up near by, this was also his first triathlon. We went over to pick up our timing chips and get body marking completed. After this we just hung around walking about, talking with others and waiting for 9am when the first racers started.

The Parris Island Triathlon swim start is all based on how fast you expect that you can swim 100 yards. Your submitted estimated 100 yard swim time is used to determine your start position and therefore your bid number. I submitted an estimated swim time of 2:15 min/100 yards. EXTREMELY slow…… What I failed to realize was that this would mean that even though swimmers started entering the water at 9am I wouldn’t start until closer to 10am. I had eaten at 6am with the idea that I would be starting closer to 9am. In the future I will certainly have some nutrition closer to the race start if my swim time continues to be as slow to ensure I have the energy as I felt sluggish by the time I got to the run.

I finally got started close to 10am into the water I jumped and began my swim. Immediately smacking my right foot on the bottom of the pool. I failed to realize until I jumped in the pool that the starting area for the swim might have been 5ft deep, ouch! I began my swim and had a difficult time thought getting into a good tempo. I struggled with water splashing from passing competitors that just threw me off, BUT I finished.

Here is a picture my wife took of me during the swim:

ImageSwim time: 12:59 I little slower than I expected but I finished. Lots of room for improvement here. I certainly am now considering getting some swim lessons to refine my stroke and help me do things correctly so that I can get a little quicker on the swim.

After this I headed out of the building to Transition one. Putting on my sunglasses, bike helmet(so grateful to have this!!) and my bike shoes. I struggled a little with my shoes but still managed to get out of Transition one in one minute even. Room for improvement but not bad for my first time with no practice
T1: 1:00

I hoped on my bike and headed out pushing hard. It was at this point that I realized that my trusty Garmin 910xt wasn’t going to be very helpful today. I had programmed my watch into the multisport mode before starting the race. Realized I hadn’t started it until halfway through the swim but remembered to hit the lap button regularly after that. The problem being that when I got on my bike and headed out and looked down to check my speed I realized that in Multisport mode everything defaulted back to KM and KM/Hr for speed. I normally train in miles and MPH. Thankfully the fields were programmed just as usual so I was able to monitor my HR and cadence on the bike.

Now here is where things got a bit hairy. I left Transition rounded the first two turns pushing as hard as I could and quickly came up on my first two competitors. And I mean I was coming up on them FAST! So fast that in a moment of reaction I locked up my rear brakes and went down. Thankfully nothing seemed broken and I got back up on the bike and got back to riding.

I loved how well the bike course was marked but the road surface on the military base left lots to be desired, that coupled with the heavy winds I was amazed I was able to move. In fact while on the bike I was never passed, well just those people that passed me while I was laying on the ground after my crash.  Other than that I Think I must have passed 10-15 people or more on the bike. I quickly learned that  because of where I started I was with lots of other people who were doing their first race and they didn’t understand the rules of the road. I lost count of how many times I had to cross the yellow line to pass people riding on the far left of the travel lane. Other than my tumble at the beginning of the bike I felt very pleased with my ride and my time. I may have been able to push it a bit harder if I had been able to see what my actual speed was but overall I was pleased with my first bike split during a triathlon.

Bike time: 33:14

After the bike I came back to Transition to switch to my running gear and get my run on. I struggled a little getting my cycling shoes off and getting my running socks on. In part looking back on it due to my injured elbow, but in part just lack of practice. I definitely need to work on my transitions. I also need to work on learning to run, training my feet, without socks. This would have saved me considerable time in Transition.

T2: 1:24

Finishing T2 I head out on the run. Looking down at my watch I realize that it is still in all the wrong units. So I quickly decide while running to just cancel out of multisport mode and switch to normal running mode to bring back my defaults so that I could get the information I am accustomed to seeing to help pace myself. Well that didn’t work. So I was forced to run the whole 5k by feel and an occasional look at my HR. Certainly not how I usually do things. I feel extremely sluggish and slow my first mile. I am sure in part that I only had one brick session this year before the race but also because it was before 6am that I at that morning. At the 1 mile mark there is a water station. I slow to a quick walk grab a cup of water and drink it then get back to running. Still feeling slow but I won’t let myself give up. As I continue going I feel as if there is a rock in my shoe picked up while putting my shoes on. I force myself to live with it till I get to the halfway mark and the next water station. I grab a cup of water, drink it, then proceed to remove my shoe to try and clear the rock. Quickly put my shoe back on and get back on my way.  I am finally starting to get into a groove and feel like I am running good, but still have no idea how fast I am running. Looking back if felt as if I was doing one of my long slow runs pace wise. I still get the occasional “are you ok” from volunteers working the course as they see the road rash on my arm.  Finally rounding the corner I see the finish line. I’m about to finish my first triathlon, giving it all I have I finish strong.

Run: 25:53

WOW!! Where did that run come from? I fully expected to see a run closer to 30 minutes and knowing that I just PR’d my 5k race distance a few weeks ago at 24:26 a very solid run effort.

Overall time: 1:14:28

Very pleased with my performance/time for my first race. Right around the time I expected it to take me. I have also learned several key areas for improvement.

1. The swim. I need a swim coach or some lessons. This is certainly my weak point.

2. Transitions Although pleased with my transition times. I did waste time in both transitions fumbling about trying to get shoes on and off.

3. The bike, work on some interval training to boost my overall speed. I average 19.4mph for the bike course but I know I can do better.

4. The run, nutrition, nutrition, nutrition. To help me feel better during the run. Continue to work on my run speed so I can finish in under 25 minutes on the run.

5. My Garmin 910xt watch. Make sure that the units are set properly on my watch BEFORE the race so that I can actually use my watch during the race.

Parris Island Triathlon was a great first race and I will be back next year. Setup events are a great event promotor and I look forward to doing more of their events. Falling off  the bike at near 20mph hurts. Had x-rays this morning to find out what if anything is broken.


I received my new Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer that I ordered from Clever Training yesterday. So it was a given when I got home from work yesterday what I would be doing.
First unboxing


As you can see if comes in a very stout box. So good so that Clever Training used the factory box as the actual shipping box through UPS.
The box came in good condition and is certainly a box I will keep for future storage and travel of the trainer as needed.
Once opening up you will find the trainer and all contents neatly wrapped in plastic and protected by lots of styrofoam


Now taking all the contents out of the packaging you are left with


From this point it’s just following Kurt Kinetics clear and easy instructions to put the trainer together. After getting the Road Machine assembled I took the new all metal skewer that Kurt Kinetic includes on my Specialized Transition Elite AL. I then mounted my bike on the trainer and set the tension. Kurt Kinetic states that you should tension the flywheel just enough to prevent slippage. From what I understand about this trainer the fluid and the fan in the fluid is set so that at the resistance is designed to match realistic resistances encountered when on the road at set speeds. It’s because of this power curve that the Trainer Road Website recommends the use of this trainer with their estimated power feature on their website.
Here is a picture of my bike all mounted on the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine


I’m now all set up and ready to ride.

Tonight my plan to “test” out the new trainer was to use Trainer Roads 20 minute Threshhold test to determine my FTP and LTHR.
This is an hour long test designed to check you max sustained ability for a given period. It’s a challenging test but gives a good guideline for current ability and improvements in ability.
If you are a data junkie like I am here is my training session on Garmin Connect
Trainer Road 20 minute Threshold test on Garmin Connect

Back to the trainer. Upon getting on the trainer I was immediately surprised at how quiet this thing is. I had been using a Bell Motivator magnetic trainer borrowed from a friend to help me decide if I even wanted to purchase a trainer. With the Bell trainer it was a struggle to hear anything over the sound of the trainer which meant the tv volume gets turned louder and it gets ever harder to hear anyone speaking. Also with the Bell trainer the faster you went the louder it got. This is not so with the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine. It seemed to be just as quiet at slow speeds as it did when I was doing near max effort. This impressed me greatly and was in fact one of the reasons I chose a fluid trainer over a magnetic trainer when shopping around.

My initial impression is that I love this trainer and it will see lots of use especially during the winter. Ben though colder weather is now working its way out here in South Georgia I still purchased it as I plan to begin using it year round for training sessions that wouldn’t be safe or practical on the open road.
This will be one of those items that I can see myself hating to love it as it doesn’t give up it just will give me as demanding as a workout as I can dish out with no coasting or taking it easy. That being said it was impressed to see that unlike the Bell Motivator that stopped as soon as you stopped pedaling the Kurt Kinetic actually does gradually slow as if you were on the road. It still slowed quicker than a ride on the road but this spin Dow. Certainly made for more realistic feel during my ride last night.

That’s is my first impression of the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine bike trainer. Certainly worth the investment. If you are searching for this trainer might I suggest going to Clever Training where I purchased from. I received great service and communication from them
You can’t find them here, Clever Training and here is the link to the Kurt Kinetic Road Machine

I hope you enjoyed my first impressions and look back again in the future as I plan to do another post after I have used the trainer for a while

I have been bragging on this hot chocolate for a while and have finally decided that it would be best if I did a blog post to share the recipe so that everyone could enjoy the hot chocolate goodness the me and my family are enjoying.
My wife found this recipe somewhere, I am not even sure where she found it as now all that we have left is a copy of the recipe. And without further delay here it is:

Malted Marshmallow White Chocolate Royale
Makes 4 cups

1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup malted milk powder(we use Ovaltine)
1 (4 ounce) bar white chocolate, chopped(we use white chocolate chips, sometimes we use milk chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips, mainly whatever we have on hand and use and equal amount to 4 ounces)
1/4 cup marshmallow creme
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

In a Medium sauce pan, combine all ingredients and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate has melted. Reduce heat to low, and keep warm.

That’s it. It is super easy to make. I suggest you try it as written the first time. It is really good and really rich. We have found in my house though that as written it is a little to rich for our tastes, so what we do is double the milk and heavy cream. Well something like that I have made it so many times now that I don’t even use the recipe anymore. I just pour stuff into the pot and heat it.

I hope that you enjoy this recipe as much as we have. I think you will

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