Triathlete.com http://www.triathlete.com The latest triathlon gear, training, nutrition, photos, races, movers, shakers, and more Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:36:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.7.2 http://www.triathlete.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/apple-touch-icon-180x180-120x120.png Triathlete.com http://www.triathlete.com 32 32 Know Exactly What’s Inside Your Sports Drink http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/nutrition/know-exactly-whats-inside-sports-drink_307722 Fri, 20 Oct 2017 16:36:08 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307722 Here’s the breakdown of what you’re getting with the powdered version of the new Gatorade Endurance formula.

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Gatorade Endurance is on course at more than 300 races each year, including the Ironman U.S. Series and many major U.S. marathons. Here’s the breakdown of what you’re getting with the powdered version of the new formula, introduced this summer:

Sugar, maltodextrin, fructose: These first three ingredients make up the multi-carbohydrate blend in a ratio of 2-to-1 (glucose-to-fructose). Recent research published in the Journal of Sports Science has demonstrated that athletes can absorb up to 90 grams of carbohydrate per hour (1.5 grams/minute) when both glucose and fructose are ingested, rather than the before-known max of 60 grams per hour (1 gram/minute). That’s because our intestines process each type differently—good news for endurance athletes, as our gut is the limiting factor in how much energy (carbohydrate) we can absorb and use to power our muscles. The multi-carb blend should also decrease risk of stomach discomfort during long (more than 2.5-hour) training sessions and races. The osmolality is lower than the old Gatorade Endurance formula, at ~270 mOsm/L, making it mildly hypotonic, meaning it contains slightly less particles than body fluids and will be emptied from the gut quickly.

Sodium citrate: A salt derived from citric acid, it’s used in the food and beverage world to decrease the acidity of foods, balance the tangy flavor and as an antioxidant.

Citric acid: Occurs naturally in citrus fruits and is used as an acidifier, flavoring and chelating agent—an ingredient that helps keep a consistent flavor as well as shelf stability.

Monopotassium phosphate: A soluble salt form of potassium, a key electrolyte lost in sweat. This also acts as a buffering agent, which helps to maintain the pH of the solution (drink), to keep the concentration of the solution stable and help aid absorption.

Salt: Losing sodium and fluid in our sweat without replacing the sodium can lead to a decreased sodium concentration in our blood, possibly even leading to the dangerous condition hyponatremia. Athlete’s sweat contains anywhere from 400–1200 milligrams of sodium per liter and must be replaced during training and races. This formula contains just over 800 milligrams of sodium per liter.

Calcium lactate: An easily absorbed, chelated form of calcium—another key electrolyte lost in sweat. This free form of calcium helps support muscle contraction, nerve function and constriction and relaxation of muscles in our blood vessels.

Calcium silicate: Used as an anti-caking agent (since this is a powdered form).

Natural flavors: This phrase means that the original flavoring ingredient(s), for example a small vitamin/molecule/flavor/mineral extracted from a fruit, have been purified or extracted and then added back into the food/drink.

Magnesium oxide: A naturally occurring source of magnesium, an essential mineral that can help neutralize stomach acid and aid digestion.

Gum arabic: A natural gum that is produced from the hardened sap of the acacia tree, it’s used as a stabilizer to help keep the ingredients from separating out of solution in your sports drink.

Sodium ascorbate: As is stated on the label, it’s used to preserve freshness.

Beta carotene: Derived from the red-orange pigment in plants and fruits, it’s used to add color.

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Quick Set: Pull Swim Pull http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/training/quick-set-friday-pull-swim-pull_59514 Fri, 20 Oct 2017 12:30:00 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=59514 A new swim workout from Sara McLarty to take to the pool this weekend.

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Triathlete contributor and swimming all-star Sara McLarty has a blog with more than 500 creative workouts used in her Masters swim program in Clermont, Fla. We’ll feature a workout every Friday so you have new ideas to take to the pool. On her blog (Mastersswimworkoutsbysaramclarty.blogspot.com), you can pick a Monday set for a long distance focus, a Wednesday set for sprint training, or Friday for creative open water skills.

The A sets are between 4–5000 yards total, with intervals ranging from 1:20–1:30 per 100. The B sets are 3000–3500 total, with intervals of 1:50–2:00 per 100. The C sets are 2000–2500 total and all based on a rest interval.

A:
4×200 choice w/fins w/:20 sec rest
20×50 4x(2 kick @ :60, 2 drill @ :55, 1 swim @ :50) (reverse IM order)
2×250 pull @ 3:30
2×250 swim @ 3:20
2×250 pull @ 3:15
2×250 swim @ 3:20
100 easy
6×50 @ :60 (25 non-free, 25 free)
4×100 IM @ 1:50
200 cool down
*4800 Total*

RELATED: The High-Elbow Pull Of The Freestyle Stroke

B:
4×200 choice w/fins w/:20 sec rest
15×50 3x(2 kick @ 1:10, 2 drill @ 1:05, 1 swim @ :60)
2×200 pull @ 3:30
2×200 swim @ 3:20
2×200 pull @ 3:30
2×200 swim @ 3:20
50 easy
6×50 @ 1:10 (25 non-free, 25 free)
200 cool down
*3700 Total*

RELATED: Pull Buoy For Triathletes

C:
3×200 choice w/fins w/:20 sec rest
10×50 2x(2 kick, 2 drill, 1 swim) w/:30 sec rest
2×150 pull w/:40 sec rest
2×150 swim w/:30 sec rest
2×150 pull w/:20 sec rest
2×150 swim w/:15 sec rest
100 cool down
*2400 Total*

More Quick Set Friday workouts

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10 Meal Prep Tips That Set You up for Dietary Success http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/nutrition/10-meal-prep-tips-set-dietary-success_307709 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:43:49 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307709 People who are obsessed with their mason jars, bento boxes and slow cookers are onto something.

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People who are obsessed with their mason jars, bento boxes and slow cookers are onto something. As a hungry athlete, prepping meals and snacks ahead of time instead of working on a meal-by-meal basis is one of the best things you can do to set yourself up for dietary success. A task that almost guarantees you’ll eat better, stress less come mealtime and save a bunch of cash by eating out less. Here’s how to meal prep like a home-economics wiz.

1. Make a Date

Harried lives make it easy for meal prep to slide through the cracks. Instead of putting your batch cooking on the back burner for a Netflix binge, make sure to write down your kitchen appointment in advance and treat it like a one-on-one with the boss—not something to brush off . Try to set aside at least one hour each week that will be devoted to prepping meals and snacks to be enjoyed at a later date.

2. Browse Food Porn

Always prepping the same meals and snacks is a recipe for diet burnout. Who wants to eat chicken, brown rice and broccoli everyday? Hint: Nobody! For recipe inspiration, surf visual potluck sites like Tastespotting.com or Foodgawker.com, where you’ll find a feast for your eyes and plenty of ideas for nutritious, palate-pleasing dishes. From this, consider creating a recipe Pinterest board.

3. Write It Down

Once you know what you want to rustle up in the kitchen, be sure to arm yourself with a detailed grocery list of the items you need, so you’re not eating into your prepping time by needlessly driving back to the grocery store for a crucial item. Try organizing your grocery list by aisle so that you don’t waste time back-tracking in the store. The more you walk, the more opportunity there is to fall prey to impulse buys.

4. Tap an App

Use apps like Paprika and Pepperplate that help make meal prepping a breeze. Functions include creating recipe databases, organizing daily menus and developing grocery lists as items you need run out.

5. Divide and Conquer

Successful meal preppers swear by having several identical pre-portioned meals doled out among reusable containers to stay well fed throughout the week. California Home Goods 3 Compartment Food Containers ($12.95 for a 10-pack) let you prepare big batches of items like whole grains, meats, dressings and chopped veggies in advance and then divvy them up among different compartments. Once full, the BPA-free microwave safe bento-style containers stack neatly in your fridge or freezer.

6. Subzero Heroes

Working on a recipe that calls for quinoa or steak? Make your life easier down the road by cooking extras. Beans, grains and meats (not fi sh) can be cooked in large amounts at once and then frozen for quick access in the future. Instead of making a giant meat sauce ice-cube that takes forever to defrost, divide your bounty among silicon muffin cups and freeze into more manageable portion sizes. Once frozen, unmold the food hockey puck and transfer to a zip-top bag.

7. Soak Your Oats

Who says you have to cook your cherished breakfast oats. Prepping hearty steel-cut oats by soaking the grains ahead of time softens their texture, so they are chewy enough to eat without stove time. For nearly a work week’s worth of morning meals, divide 1 1/3 cups steel-cut oats, 1 cup protein powder, 1/4 cup ground flaxseed and 1 teaspoon cinnamon among four wide-mouth jars or bowls. Add 1/3 cup boiled water to each jar, stir, top with nut butter and berries, cover and chill.

8. Get Stacked

Mason-jar meals are all over social media—and for good reason. Besides good looks, they are your solution to portable, instant meal satisfaction. Grab yourself some quart or two-quart jars (we like Ball’s) and get assembling. Dressings go in first, followed by sturdy items like cooked meats, grains, beans and carrots and then more delicate foods such as greens. (Read: no more soggy lunch spinach.)

Photo: Shutterstock.com

9. One-Pot Wonders

Most chilies, curries and soups are ideal for making in big batches on a lazy Sunday afternoon to reap nutrition rewards throughout the week. When these dishes are chilled in the refrigerator, flavor compounds in the meats and aromatics like onions react with water, air and acids to be chemically transformed into new and improved tastes.

10. Think Small

If you only prep meals and not snacks, you could be setting yourself up for dietary meltdown as you give into break-room cookie temptation when a snack attack strikes. Once a week, divvy up healthy snack options like sliced apple and cheese, Greek yogurt and berries or nuts and dried fruit among single-serving containers to help you keep your distance from the vending machine.

Bonus: Make a Killer Smoothie

Nothing hits the spot after a spirited workout like a frosty smoothie. But gathering up all the necessary ingredients when your gas tank is empty is no fun. These make-ahead subzero smoothie packs are your new post-run BFF.

• 2 cups blueberries
• 2 large banana, peeled and roughly chopped
• 4 cups baby spinach
• 1/3 cup fresh mint
• 1/4 cup hemp seeds (hemp hearts)

Divide everything among four zip-top freezer bags, seal shut and freeze until solid. When ready for a smoothie, blend together contents of one bag with milk, Greek yogurt and a couple dashes cinnamon.

RELATED: 9 Nutrition Rules for Beginner Triathletes

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20 Epic Images from the 2017 Ironman World Championship http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/photos/20-epic-images-2017-ironman-world-championship_307687 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 21:18:16 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307687 A look at 20 spectacular images capture by the Getty Images crew in Kona.

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A look at 20 spectacular images capture by the Getty Images crew at the 2017 Ironman World Championship.

More from Kona

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9 products to Keep You Visible in the Dark http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/gear-tech/9-products-keep-visible-dark_307658 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 19:17:04 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307658 If your workouts take place during low-light hours, safety becomes more important than ever before.

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Shorter days mean darker workouts. If your workouts take place during low-light hours, safety becomes more important than ever before. Adding some hard-to-miss elements to your clothing or gear can raise your visibility on dark streets. From reflective fibers to DIY solutions, it’s never been easier to add some flash to your rides and runs.

 

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Explaining 3 High-End Training Zones http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/training/explaining-3-high-end-training-zones_307681 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 13:48:38 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307681 What’s the difference between lactate threshold, lactate tolerance and anaerobic training?

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What’s the difference between lactate threshold, lactate tolerance and anaerobic training?

Lactate Threshold

This refers to a level of exertion where lactate, a compound produced when your body breaks down carbs for energy, accumulates in your blood faster than it can be processed out. Lactate’s role in endurance exercise isn’t 100 percent understood. But since it’s consistent and quantifiably measured, its threshold has been used as a marker to set training zones for many years.

Training in this space is still aerobic, but it allows you to maximize your training effect with shorter interval workouts. For this reason, it is useful for athletes training for any distance triathlon and can be used throughout the year. Efforts from 8–30 minutes in duration with 25 percent rest are considered threshold training and will help you improve your power, pace or output at that threshold level.

Lactate Tolerance

This type of work happens just above lactate threshold. It forces the body to process lactate through short, intense intervals closely stacked together, raising your lactate threshold over time and improving your ability to recover from hard efforts quickly.

This is best for events where multiple surges or maximal efforts are required in quick succession, like bike racing, short-course triathlon, Crossfit and run races shorter than 10K.

Anaerobic Training

This is training done at an effort well beyond lactate threshold. Focus on anaerobic work to continue to force adaptation and fitness gains. These intervals can build sport-specific strength and are best done after six to eight weeks of general training.

Anaerobic training includes batches of intervals less than 1 minute in duration with 100 percent to 300 percent rest (think six repeats of 30 seconds on/30 seconds off, followed by 15 minutes of steady effort, repeated two to four times). Caution: Anaerobic training too early in your season could lead to injury; too close to your competition, and it could impact your performance. Try this training on the bike first, as the limited range of motion lowers the chance of injury.

Coach Patrick McCrann is the co-founder of Endurance Nation coaching systems (Endurancenation.us). He has more than 10 years of coaching experience, 23 Ironman finishes, a 9:26 PR (eight-time Kona racer) and multiple Boston Marathon finishes to his name.

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Triathletes of All Ages Share What Keeps Them Motivated http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/lifestyle/triathletes-ages-share-keeps-motivated_307676 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:57:12 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307676 What keeps triathletes in seven different decades of life motivated to keep tri-ing.

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What keeps triathletes in seven different decades of life motivated to keep tri-ing

Conventional wisdom says that we become less driven as we age. The ambition to excel beyond our peers when it comes to work, sports or social status dwindles, and instead we seek to find meaning in something deeper. For some this could be strengthening relationships with friends and family, for others it could be examining their faith, while some seek to expand their worldview by traveling and experiencing different cultures.

If triathlon is a metaphor for life—as the case has been made—then it only seems fitting that a triathlete’s motivations should change and evolve as they age. At age 25, an athlete may have the singular focus of qualifying for Kona. By 45, that same athlete might be happy finishing a half-Ironman in less than six hours so that he can maintain enough fitness to keep up with his kids.

We talked to successful triathletes from every decade—from under 20 to over 70—to find out what gets them out of bed to train in the morning and how that’s changed over the years. Whether you’re 19 and cramming for midterms or 74 and kicking it in retirement, these athletes say there’s no excuse not to be motivated through every decade.

19 & under

Audrey Ernst, 18, South Elgin, Ill.

“When I first started triathlon, I was driven by the challenge that tested my grit both physically and mentally. There were technical difficulties and a myriad of race venues that gave each race its own unique character. My initial motivations have evolved into my passion to achieve higher levels of validation in the sport. I strive to actualize my potential and overcome setbacks, injuries and unknown mishaps.”

20s

Derek Vanstone, 23, Oconomowoc, Wis.

“Initially I was driven by the goal mainly just to finish. The race medal and the finish-line pictures are nice, but eventually I got past that. I enjoy the journey much more now. I enjoy the time I get to spend working out. I enjoy the challenge of pushing myself. I take pride in what I do and hope to inspire others. Being able to eat anything and still have a super sexy body helps too.”

30s

Emanuela Bandol, 37, Penticton, B.C.

“When I’m struggling to get out of bed to train, I focus on the feeling I get once I’m done with my workout—how good I feel and how accomplished. I shut my brain off and hold off judgments about how I feel when my alarm goes off at 4:45 in the morning, knowing that I get the sunrise and the first tracks on the trails. I also ski and hike in the mountains during the off-season. I think variety is key. I’m always doing something different, and when it’s time to get back to specificity, then I do it wholeheartedly.”

40s

Jano Soto, 48, Marbella, Spain

“My motivations have totally changed over the years, and they’ve become more focused. With age you realize that often the small things in life are the most important. Just taking a couple of hours to ride each day brings more happiness to my day. Nowadays, I get to spend most of my day training, so you could say I’m a happy man.”

50s

Rob Urbach, 52, Louisville, Ky.

“One of the reasons why triathlon is such a tremendous lifelong sport is that you never truly have a perfect race. Post-race, you make the mental changes to nail your next race, but it will never be perfect. That’s the beauty—the attractive devil and never-ending challenge that keeps me motivated in perpetuity.”

60s

Bruce Cook, 65, Greenwich, Conn.

“I love the health and mental benefits derived from this sport. I usually don’t find motivation a challenge. Working to slow down the aging process is very motivating! When I am challenged, I have found that training with friends always provides the incentive to get out the door.”

70s

Natalie Grabow, 72, Mountain Lakes, N.J.

“I love the day-to-day process of training, and that has remained consistent over the years. Racing well is extremely rewarding, but I will always train or move forward in some manner, even when I can’t race anymore. Fortunately I don’t struggle with motivation. Rather, I am always grateful for the opportunity to swim, bike or run on any given day.”

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4 Ways to Make Poke Bowls at Home http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/nutrition/4-ways-make-poke-bowls-home_307669 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 20:34:12 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307669 Create this quality island fave in your own kitchen with these four lip-smacking variations.

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Plating: Chef Mikel Anthony, Photo: Sam Wells

Poke, prounounced “POH-keh,” is a raw-fish salad that’s typically served over rice or veggies. It’s an ideal and fresh recovery meal for hot summer days, packed with a punch of easily digestible protein and carbs. Create this quality island fave in your own kitchen with these four lip-smacking variations. All recipes make four bowls.

Classic Poke with Fresh Veggies

The missing piece to most classic poke bowls is nutrient- and vitamin- dense veggies. This recipe has you covered with fresh, crisp veggies that also add a variety of color and texture. 

Ingredients
16–20 oz ahi tuna (sushi grade)
¼ cup scallions, finely chopped
¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
2 T toasted sesame oil
2 T garlic-chili sauce
1 T crushed ginger
1 T honey
3 cups cooked short-grain brown rice
2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber
2 T fresh cilantro, chopped
1 T sesame seeds
2 cups shaved carrots
2 cups sugar snap peas, julienned
1 cup sunflower sprouts
½ cup thinly sliced radish
1 avocado, sliced

Directions
In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the green onions, soy sauce (or tamari), sesame oil, garlic-chili sauce, ginger and honey. Dice the tuna into ¼-–½-inch pieces and add to the bowl. Toss with the sauce until well combined. Let chill in fridge for 20 minutes, or up to overnight. Divide the brown rice into 4 bowls (3/4 cup each) and then divide the poke over the top. Sprinkle the cilantro and sesame seeds equally over the top of the poke. Arrange the cucumber, carrots, snap peas, radish and avocado evenly around the poke in each bowl.

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Dreaming of a Race-Cation? Here Are 4 of Our Favorites http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/lifestyle/dreaming-race-cation-4-favorites_307641 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:56:14 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307641 We rounded up four of the best Big Island-style events where you can S/B/R hard, then recover even harder.

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Kona fever got you dreaming about a tropical destination race? We rounded up four of the best Big Island-style events where you can S/B/R hard, then recover even harder.

Lavaman Triathlon

Waikoloa Beach, the Big Island of Hawaii
March 25, 2018

Kona factor: It’s literally down the road from Kona, and although the majority of the swim and run happen within the Waikoloa Beach Resort, the bike gives you a glimpse of the Ironman course with an out-and-back on the iconic Queen K. It’s just like racing the world championships, except much, much shorter and with less hullabaloo.

What makes it unique: This Olympic-distance race is an old-school classic. It’s been around for 20 years and is known as a favorite among locals. But this isn’t a pre-packaged, cookie-cutter event: You’ll be running through lava fields, along dirt trails, and finishing in the sand on the beach. Finally, get ready for the most Hawaii post-race party ever.

Insider tip: “Be prepared for everything. It can be a choppy swim, a windy ride and most definitely a hot, rocky run,” says Bree Wee, a former pro triathlete and seven-time winner of the race. But once you run through the beach finish line, “you’re treated to a gorgeous ocean recovery and wonderful people to talk story with.”

Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica. Photo: Wagner Araujo

Ironman 70.3 Costa Rica

Playa del Coco, Costa Rica
June 2018

Kona factor: As you run along the beach under palm trees and through screaming crowds of kids spraying you with hoses, it’ll feel almost exactly like running on Ali’i Drive—right down to the heat and humidity. Didn’t you say you wanted a Kona experience? There’s no doubt that the tough weather and wild beauty of the whole region will remind you of the Big Island.

What makes it unique: Take extra time post-race to explore the local snorkeling, nearby rainforests and wild animal reserves. Bonus: The national animal is a sloth.

Insider tip: There can be tiny jellyfish in the waters you’ll swim through. Their stings are small and don’t hurt much, but better to know ahead of race day.

Challenge Aruba

Oranjestad, Aruba
Oct. 22, 2017

Kona factor: A hot tropical island race in October—are you sure this isn’t Kona? The main thing separating this half-distance race from its highbrow cousin is the laid-back approach. A super fun event, Challenge Aruba is only in its second year, but it’s attracted a number of top pros looking to close their season out in style—sometimes post-Kona.

What makes it unique: With picture-perfect white sand beaches, this is an ideal place to kick off your off-season. If it sounds like too much work for a vacation, you can always sign up for the sprint or a relay instead. There’ll be a club competition this year as well, so get some friends to do a team racecation alongside you.

Insider tip: “Don’t let this destination race fool you. You have to earn your vacation,” says pro Linsey Corbin, who took second at the inaugural event. “The race is hot, hot, hot. And the bike, although flat, has significant head- and tailwinds as well.”

Ironman Lanzarote

The Canary Islands, Spain
May 26, 2018

Kona factor: One look at photos from the race, and you’ll think these are the lava fields of Kona. In fact, race founder and local Kenneth Gasque took inspiration from Kona and wanted to bring the same full-distance feel to his island. Lanzarote is windy, hot, brutal and breathtaking. There are certain races known as some of the hardest Ironmans on the circuit: Kona is one, Lanzarote is another.

What makes it unique: Just like the Big Island, Lanzarote is part of a volcanic archipelago. But unlike in Kona, you actually ride up these rugged mountains. There’s a reason the course records here are so much slower than anywhere else.

Insider tip: The area is also known for its athlete-focused resorts, like Club La Santa, with lap pools, organized workouts and cycling amenities. So you can arrive early, get your body used to the time change and nail your taper without worrying about where you’re going to swim.

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Photos: Kona 2017’s Age Groupers http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/photos-kona-2017s-age-groupers_307606 Wed, 18 Oct 2017 16:31:50 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307606 This year more than 110,000 athletes vied for a slot to the Ironman World Championship, and 2,350 athletes earned the right to race in Kona.

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This year more than 110,000 athletes vied for a slot to the Ironman World Championship, and 2,350 athletes earned the right to race in Kona. Here photographer Paul Phillips shares images from the epic day of racing on Oct. 14.

More from Kona

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Jesse Thomas’ Kona Race Report: That Was Hard http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/jesse-thomas-kona-race-report-hard_307597 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 23:40:15 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307597 CRAZY ASS FANS. That was hard.

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CRAZY ASS FANS. That was hard.

If you haven’t seen yet, I posted a (semi-emotional) video recap of the race just after I regained my strength and wits. Looking back on it, it was pretty raw, but it tells the basic story, and how I honestly felt during and immediately after. If you’d like to watch, see below.

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Even though I wrote before the race, given the recent family and Picky Bars awesomeness, that I felt like I had “won” regardless of how it went, I was and am still pretty disappointed at my finish. Obviously, I’ll get over it. And, believe me, I understand I’m a super lucky guy in the grand scheme of things. I’m healthy, happy, have a great family and pursue passions that bring me joy in life. This is clearly first world probs.

But I also worked my freaking butt off for this race. For a year. And for it to blow up like it did is pretty brutal. As I described in detail in my blog series leading up to the race, I started planning for this race weeks after it ended last year, with the real belief that if I changed a few things about my schedule, training plan, nutrition, hydration, and equipment, I had a legit chance at a top 10, which would have been a career bucket list goal.

To qualify, I flew myself to races in Pucon, China, Peru, and Lanzarote. I literally didn’t race in the U.S., trying to maximize points. My coach and I changed my training plan, I took a much bigger break after Lanzarote, felt fresher and fitter going into Kona. I worked meticulously with professional aid on my hydration and nutrition strategy, practiced/simulated it probably 100 times. I spent my own money to go to the wind tunnel twice to optimize my equipment and position. I took time out of work. Maybe most importantly, I missed (with my wife’s support, obviously) the first week of my new daughter’s life.

So yeah, to do all those things and miss the goal, it hurts. It hurts a lot.

Here’s How The Race Played Out:

Swim: Solid. Salty.
I had a solid swim. I lined up next to Sebastian, and Lionel was right next to us as well. I started smooth and was right in their pack. I had one freak out where I almost got dropped about 1 km in, but managed to hang on with a full gas surge for a few minutes. Then the rest of the swim was honestly pretty chill. I felt “good,” as good as you can feel swimming 4k in the open salt water with a bunch of other dudes anticipating a long ass ride and run coming. I drank a LOT of salt water. It was very salty. But I swam well and was in the position I wanted to be.

Ride: Solid. Scary.
I also rode well. I was with Sebastian, Lionel, and Cameron Wurf (who ended up setting a bike course record) for the first 20 miles or so. Things started to get pretty spicy, and remembering the mistake I made last year—staying with the Uber biker group to 60 miles and blowing up as a result—I pulled back and “let” them go. I settled into my own pace and rode with a small group for about 15 more miles, then at Kawaihae, I put in a surge and dropped that group. I started passing people and felt pretty good about my pacing and energy. I rode mostly solo for the next 30-40 miles.

Then, as you likely heard, Matt Russel caught me. He came by and said something to the tune of, “alright, let’s work together and get going!” I said, “Yep, let’s do it!” Matt and I rode together most of Augusta just a few weeks ago, so I was stoked to have some great company after a lot of hard solo riding.

About 5-10 minutes later, just after the Mauna Lani in a fast tailwind section which Matt was hammering, a van tried to cross the intersection in front of us and didn’t leave nearly enough time. In the split second I saw it coming I yelled, “oh F$ck!” Matt had an instant to slam on his breaks but there was no way to avoid a collision. According to my Strava, he probably hit the van at well over 30 mph. It was absolutely terrible. I saw bike and car parts explode as he flung to the side of the van, I swerved left and only missed it by a few feet, and briefly saw Matt crumpled on the ground motionless. It was absolutely awful and a series of moments/images that will forever be burned into my memory.

(As a brief but obviously important aside, while I haven’t talked to Matt or his wife personally, I know he sustained serious concussive and vascular injuries that may have a long term effect on his ability to compete. He and his wife just had their first child, a son, and needless to say this accident is absolutely tragic. Matt is a great guy that I’ve known and have raced for a very long time. If you are so inclined, please consider supporting his mounting medical and recovery costs, as set up by a close friend of his wife.)

After I swerved behind the van, I sat up and debated in shock what I should do. There were probably 50 or more spectators/witnesses, and a few policeman in the intersection, and medical staff on course. So after a bit of debate, I decided there was little I could do to help him, and I tried to resettle and continued racing. In all honesty, it probably took me about an hour to stop thinking of Matt—how terrible it was, and of course (selfishly) how lucky I was to have been just behind him at the time. Given that we both just had kids, raced and talked to each other at length in Augusta three weeks prior, it really shook me.

I don’t know if some of it was adrenaline or just better pacing, but I rode fairly well the last 30 miles, especially compared to last year. I started hurting and cramping a bit, but I at least thought I felt better, more prepared for a good run, by the time I rolled into T2. I averaged 8 more watts, which was great, and was a few minutes faster. So overall, a really solid ride.

Run: Solid, Until it Wasn’t. The Hardest Thing Ever.
My plan for this whole race was: time trial the course. Use people when it’s to my benefit, and don’t when it’s not. My coach and I believed that if I swam with my normal group, rode a solid ride, even by myself, that I could get off the bike and run under 2:50. We believed that was my best shot, and a legitimate shot, at getting a top 10.

When I started the run, I knew I was tired, but I still believed I had it in me. I felt smooth, better than last year, and my run training leading into it was the best it’s ever been. I was ~12 minutes down from 10th, but a sub 2:50 could honestly get me there, there were always guys that dropped out and blew up.

On the way out, I held myself back, running what felt conservative, and still ran under 2:50 pace for the first 9-10 miles or so. Then after the long climb up Palani, my heart rate/exertion started to rise. I expected to gain some energy back on the long downhill, but didn’t recover the way I hoped. I still felt ok though, I’d anticipated a slow down, because everyone slows down in that race on that section. I started having a bit of stomach trouble, but kept on my eating/drinking plan. While I slowed a bit, I still went through 13 miles at just over 2:50 pace.

Then, as happens in almost all my races, and particularly in the hot races, I cramped, and cramped bad. I tried to run through it—sometimes I can—but this one like many others was no way no how. I stopped to stretch and walk it out. That mile was slow obviously. The heat set in, and as I went by mile 14 I cramped again and it became pretty clear my body was shutting down big time. My stomach started lurching a bit and energy dropped as well.

It didn’t take long to conclude my hopes of top 10 were fading quickly. But I still felt like I could and wanted to finish well. But man, the body just shut down. Good night. This is where it became really really really hard. I was cramping, exhausted, overheated, had stomach trouble, and was getting crushed mentally. Then I passed 15 miles and realized I still had ELEVEN MILES to go in oppressive heat with a body that wanted nothing more than to stop. I tried everything—extra salt, Red Bull, bananas, whatever, but I think at that point the damage was done and it was impossible to recover. I tried to break it up mentally by running to the next aid station and allowing myself to walk to get hydration/nutrition/ice. But many times I literally could not physically run, or even jog, or even walk, because of the cramps. Of the dozen or so I had, a few were those ridiculously annoying ones that force you to stop, and then as you try to stretch it, the opposite muscle cramps! It was a freaking nightmare.

But in the midst of my nightmare, I did experience one very cool phenomenon. Nearly every pro that ran by me (maybe 6-8 guys or so) stopped and jogged with me for a while, encouraged me, etc. It was honestly awesome, and by far the coolest thing that happened to me in this race. Something I will never forget. This sport is so hard, this race in particular, that it breeds camaraderie because it’s not really you against the competition, it’s you against the environment. You get the best out of your body and some days you have a good day like I did in Augusta and some days you have a tough day like a lot of us did out there in Kona. I felt pride in the belief that, if anything, over the course of my career I have earned the respect of my competitors at the highest level. That’s a cool feeling. It also explains some of the heartbreak you feel when a competitor goes down like Matt did.

But even with the pickups of encouragement, it was still, easily, the longest, hardest run of my life. Physically, mentally, emotionally. I don’t know if I ever can or will be able to do something that hard again. I feel like it took a couple years off my life!

Final Thoughts: Despite the Pain and Failure, The Pursuit is Still Worth it. Thanks for That.
So clearly, despite the result, I’m proud of finishing. I thought A LOT about dropping out. I mean A LOT, like basically every 5 minutes for about 80 minutes straight. The pain was overwhelming and coming to terms with the “failure” emotionally after all the work and sacrifices I listed above was also brutal. There was definitely some crying. But as I mentioned in my video, the reason I didn’t quit (which I guess is both my blessing and sometimes my curse!) is the community that supports me. Like I wrote in my pre race blog the need to “honor” that support outweighed the physical and emotional pain. I like to consider myself a pretty tough dude, but believe me, if it was just me out there doing my own thing that nobody cared about or helped me with, I’d DEFINITELY have bailed at mile 16 or so. 100%. No doubt. Bailed!

So I guess in spite of it all, I’ll end like I normally do—even after a “good” race—with a huge thank you. Honestly, thank you all for your support. My wife, son, daughter, family, friends, coach, employees, sponsors, readers and DOZENS of crazy ass fans. While a failure after all that work is a tough pill to swallow, I’m a firm believer that the value of a goal is in the pursuit itself, the lessons you learn along the way, the experiences you have, and the relationships you develop. So I guess I’ve come full circle back to what I wrote before the race, which is that overall, because I’m lucky enough to have experienced all those things over the last year, while the pain of the result is tough, it’s still well worth the journey. While I’d preferably skip that last 12 miles, I’d do it all over again because of you guys.

Before you all say, “you can get em next year!” which I really truthfully appreciate—I want to let you know that there’s a real possibility I won’t race Kona next year. I’ll obviously let myself take some time off and time away before coming to any conclusions, but just the logistics of me racing it next year would require likely two Ironmans just to qualify. That’s a level of “depth” into the sport that my work/family/life, Triathlifebalance just can’t support—not to mention my body likely wouldn’t support it as well. I’m not bitter at all, I’m proud of both of my finishes here in different ways, and man, being 16th and 27th in the world is pretty dang good considering everything. I’m proud of that. It’s honestly better than I would have ever though when I started this crazy journey on a whim eight years ago. So anyway, we’ll see what happens and how I feel after a break. Thanks again guys, and I’ll check back in after some much needed R&R with family!

The post Jesse Thomas’ Kona Race Report: That Was Hard appeared first on Triathlete.com.

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Photos: The Final Hour at the 2017 Ironman World Championship http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/photos/photos-final-hour-2017-ironman-world-championship_307473 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 23:31:32 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307473 Photographer Paul Phillips returned to the finish line in Kona to capture the final hour of the Ironman World Championship.

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Photographer Paul Phillips returned to the finish line in Kona to capture the final hour of the Ironman World Championship.

More Kona coverage

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One Hour Run Workout: 50-Yard Liners http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/training/one-hour-run-workout-50-yard-liners_307594 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 20:33:24 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307594 This fun take on speedwork will keep your heart rate high and your mind active.

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This fun take on speedwork will keep your heart rate high and your mind active.

This week’s workout comes from Chris Palmquist, an Illinois-based coach working with Team MPI. Palmquist is a national team coach for USA Paratriathlon, head coach for the MMTT Youth Development Team, and a Level III, Youth and Junior-certified USAT coach.

“This is one of my favorite track workouts for improving 5km race pace,” says Palmquist. “Whether you are an off-season triathlete running fall 5-10 km races or an in-season athlete attempting to improve your speed at threshold, this workout will help you dial in your pace and develop the muscular endurance to hold that speed for a longer duration.”

For this workout, find a track with an infield, ideally marked for ball sports. During the main set, place two cones or water bottles on the track where it intersects the 50-yard line on either side of the field. These cones will mark the halfway point of each straightaway.

Warm-up
1 mile of easy running
5 min of dynamic stretching
2 x 100-meter strides or pickups

Main Set
Set a timer for 20 minutes, and run at 5km to 10km race effort (rated perceived effort (RPE) between 7-8) from one cone to the other (200 meters)
Walk or jog along the 50-yard line on the infield back to the starting cone on the opposite side of the track
Repeat as many times as possible during the 20 minutes
Count your efforts
2-minute rest/rehydration
Repeat with one more 20-minute set
Your goal is to complete as many reps (or more) during the second set as you did during the first

Cool-down
5 minutes of easy running and/or walking

More one-hour workouts

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Photos: Underwater from the 2017 Hawaii Ironman Swim http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/photos-underwater-2017-hawaii-ironman-swim_307568 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 17:39:41 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307568 Photographer Rocky Arroyo joined the more than 2,350 athletes from 66 countries to grab images of the famed Ironman World Championship swim start in Kailua Bay.

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Photographer Rocky Arroyo joined the more than 2,350 athletes from 66 countries to grab images of the famed Ironman World Championship swim start in Kailua Bay.

More from Kona

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Interviews: 2017 Kona Top Five Finishers http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/interviews-2017-kona-top-five-finishers_307561 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:42:30 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307561 Hear what the top professional finishers had to say hours after completing the 2017 Ironman World Championship.

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Hear what the top professional finishers had to say hours after completing the 2017 Ironman World Championship.

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Video: Kaisa Sali Shows Kona Consistency with Fifth http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/video/video-kaisa-sali-shows-kona-consistency-fifth_307555 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:30:10 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307555 Finland's Kaisa Sali finished fifth for the second year in the row at Saturday's Ironman World Championship.

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Finland’s Kaisa Sali finished fifth for the second year in the row at Saturday’s Ironman World Championship.

More from Kona

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Video: James Cunnama Taking Valuable Lessons from Kona 5th http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/video-james-cunnama-taking-valuable-lessons-kona-5th_307550 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:18:49 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307550 South Africa's James Cunnama made some major changes this year, including rejoining his former coach Brett Sutton.

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South Africa’s James Cunnama made some major changes this year, including rejoining his former coach Brett Sutton. Cannama chats about the long-term plan, lessons from Kona and getting ready to welcome a new baby with wife, Jodie.

More from Kona

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Sebastian Kienle on Kona 4th: I Need to Keep Upping My Game http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/ironman/sebastian-kienle-kona-4th-need-keep-upping-game_307547 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:06:09 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307547 Germany's Sebastian Kienle chats about the weight of being a former winner at this Kona race.

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Germany’s Sebastian Kienle chats about the weight of being a former winner at this Kona race, and what he’ll take away from his fourth-place finish.

More from Kona

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Video: Heather Jackson Turns in Solid Day for Kona 4th http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/video/video-heather-jackson-turns-solid-day-kona-4th_307544 Tue, 17 Oct 2017 13:00:25 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307544 American Heather Jackson says she improved on the swim, bike and run since last year's Kona podium performance.

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American Heather Jackson says she improved on the swim, bike and run since last year’s Kona podium performance, but this year it was good enough for fourth. She chats about some of the racing dynamics on course, and what she’s taken away from three years of Kona racing.

More from Kona

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Van Collides with Pro Matt Russell at Ironman World Championship http://www.triathlete.com/2017/10/news/van-collides-pro-matt-russell-ironman-world-championship_307533 Mon, 16 Oct 2017 23:03:23 +0000 http://www.triathlete.com/?p=307533 What we know about the collision. Pro triathlete Matthew Russell struck a van about four hours into Ironman Kona on Saturday, suffering serious injuries including […]

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What we know about the collision.

Pro triathlete Matthew Russell struck a van about four hours into Ironman Kona on Saturday, suffering serious injuries including a concussion and a laceration to the neck. He was brought to North Hawaii Community Hospital in serious condition, and is now expected to recover. This is what happened, from fellow pro Jesse Thomas’ eye-witness account, as well as accounts shared with local news West Hawaii Today.

Russell was riding just ahead of Jesse Thomas as the two men hammered back toward Kona through Waikoloa Village, a section of the infamous Queen K highway with a good tailwind. Ironman’s live tracking system pegged the two of them going nearly 28 miles per hour at the 76-mile mark, the last timing station they both rode through before the collision.

A truck had been allowed to cross the Queen K on Waikoloa Road, and a van tried to squeeze in behind the truck. It’s unclear whether a volunteer or officer directing traffic allowed the van to go, or if he decided to try to get through on his own. The accident is currently under investigation.

“Matt saw it, sat up, and had like a second to hit the brakes. He slid full speed into the side of the van,” says Thomas, who was riding behind him not much more than the legal drafting distance of 12 meters. Thomas swerved to the left and estimates he missed the front of the van by two feet. “It looked like his bike exploded,” Thomas says. “It was one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. The images are emblazoned in my brain.”

The large crowd of fans in the area immediately tended to Russell, and Thomas continued with his race. West Hawaii Today spoke with a spectator named Janey Brink who corroborated Thomas’ account, saying that the cyclist was going full speed when the vehicle pulled in front of him in the intersection. “I’ve never seen a body go through what his body went through,” Brink told WHT. “He came out of his clips.”

West Hawaii Today further reported that officials asked spectators to stay around to talk to them about the crash. “No one ever came to talk to us and we stayed for a long time,” Brink told WHT. “We couldn’t understand why cars in that intersection were still moving.”

Russell was wearing bib number 17. This was his sixth time racing the Ironman World Championship. The 34-year old has raced more than 45 Ironmans, notably winning Ironman Canada in 2012. He currently lives in Sarasota, Fla. with his wife and infant son, Makaio.

His wife, Gillian, issued the following statement to Triathlete on the afternoon of Monday, Oct. 16:

At this time, Matt remains in the hospital and he is getting the care he desperately needs.

Since the accident, Matt has had multiple procedures and surgeries to address the life threatening injuries he suffered Saturday.

While Matt Is resting more comfortably than yesterday we are not out of the woods yet as Matt’s doctors remain concerned with the magnitude and severity of his concussion and vascular injuries.  

Matt loves to race and I know he will want to get back to it when he’s able. However, it’s way to early to know if and when that may happen.  

At this point we just want Matt home.  Home with me and his newborn son – it’s going to take months of intense rehab to get him prepared for everyday life – and frankly the sooner we can get started the better.

We reached out to Ironman for comment. Below is Ironman’s statement, sent the evening of the race:

We can confirm that professional triathlete Matt Russell (BIB #17) was in an accident while on the bike portion of today’s IRONMAN World Championship. He suffered serious injuries that required transport to a local hospital where he is currently being treated. Our thoughts are with Matt and his family during this difficult time and we wish him a full and speedy recovery.

The collision was one of several that occurred during the week of the Ironman World Championship—not just this year, but in recent years as well—leading athletes and spectators to question whether enough is being done to protect cyclists in the area, both during Kona week and beyond. Ironman-distance record holder, Tim Don, was struck by a car on a training ride on Oct. 12. The collision fractured his C2 vertabrae, leaving him unable to compete in this year’s event. He told fans about the crash in an Instagram post and is expected to make a full recovery.

A YouCaring page has been set up to help Russell and his family with medical costs.

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