Thursday, July 31, 2014

Product Review: Specialized RBX Sport Womens Cycling Shorts

Many of you have heard of Specialized. The reputation for their bicycles is unparalleled. They are a dominate force in both road cycling and triathlon. Few of you know, however, Specialized rolled out a line of cycling clothing in 2013 to prove they can create quality apparel at an exceptional price point.

The other evening I showed up at Inside Out for the infamous Tuesday Night Ride. I showed up with everything . . . but my shorts. Unfortunately this is how I acquire 95% of my gear. Thanks to forgetting stuff I have had to purchase water bottles, socks, shorts, sports bras . . . the list goes on. It's what happens when you live life on the fly! Anyway, I forgot my cycling shorts and really did not want to purchase another pair. I don't know if you know this but a good quality pair of shorts is expensive . . . worth every penny . . . but still expensive. I decided to take a peek at the rack anyway and found a pair of Specialized RBX Sport Cycling Shorts at only $49.99. At that price I was happy to take a risk on the shorts. I figured if Specialized can make a good bike I bet they can make a good short too!

And I was right (as usual).

There are a few things I noticed right away:
  • A loose and incredibly comfortable waistband.
Initially thought the shorts were too big but the waistband is wide (like your favorite pair of yoga shorts) and generous. Standing straight up and admiring myself in the mirror it seemed awkward but sitting on a bike the band is perfect. It comes up to almost the belly button but does not dig into you like most waistbands do. I know several women are hesitant to try bib shorts, which are incredibly comfortable; these shorts are a close second.

  • The longer inseam and silicone grippers create a smooth fit.
The fact of the matter is longer shorts are more aero. Textiles used to create cycling apparel are usually more aero than skin but let’s ignore the textile/aero discussion for the time being. If you are a lady blessed with strong shapely legs the last thing you want is a pair of shorts that divides your shapely legs into two distinct ecosystems. I have purchase shorts with legs holes so tight my muscular legs end up looking like two marshmallows I licked and stuck together. These shorts don’t do that. The band at the leg begins just above the knee where the leg is most narrow and the silicone grippers are subtle but effective. While the shorts are long I would argue they are most flattering

Silicone grippers
  •  The padded chamois is generous. 
I do not like to feel like I am wearing a diaper right before I hit the road. These shorts will make you waddle a little bit but if you are constantly complaining about your butt hurting when you ride these are definitely the shorts for you! There is not a lot of padding towards the front of the chamois so if you are going for a long ride on the tri-bike I might save these for a long day on the road bike as most of the padding is concentrated towards the back. I have worn these for rides lasting longer than 4 hours and have been grateful for a little extra padding.

No rolls here
The RBX line of Specialized apparel was designed specifically for hours in the saddle. Despite the fact that these shorts are considered “entry-level” they are not only comfortable they have a UV protection of 50+ and are made with VarpoRize moisture transfer knit fabrics:

So, um, the wicking works
These shorts are comfortable but they stand out as a quality product at an extraordinary price. They are well constructed with non-chaffing seams and will do you right on those long rides. Still not sure if they are worth it? Well compare them against this $52 completely ridiculous and non-functional "next-to-nothing" tank top. Point proven. Find you a pair at Inside Out today!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Ironman Raleigh 70.3: Tim "The Ferg" Ferguson and Red

Editor’s Note: This long overdue race report was finally constructed through a long conversation over far too much wine. The following is a transcription of that conversation.

Tim: So, Raleigh 70.3.

Red: Raleigh 70.3.

Tim: Man, where do we start? Do you remember? Did you have fun? Why did it take us so long to sit down and do this?

Red: You’re never on time to anything.

Tim: I’m going to need to have another drink.

Red: Of course I had fun! It was my first half-ironman in a town that is close to my family. Having them there for support with all the other emails and texts and gifts.  It was awesome.

Tim: Who knew gifts came with triathlon racing?

Red: Who knew? (Thank you for my gift Timmy).  I also had fun on our dinner date on Friday night.

Tim: Cowfish is pretty awesome.  So we’re supposed to recap the race and the weekend. Where do you want to start?  We need to pick a starting point or it’ll take as long as it did for you to choose a race kit.

Red: Whatever. 

Tim: Why Raleigh? Why a 70.3? Why? Why? Why?

Red: I’ve been to A LOT of races as a spectator.  It was nice to not feel like a lazy chump on race day and to be in the mix.  It was just something I thought I wanted to do after watching you race a lot.  People told me I should go to somewhere more exciting…. so why Raleigh?  It was awesome having my family watching me and racing with people I knew.  Hanging out with my brother, sister-in-law, nieces and cousins before the race was a good distraction to calm the nerves.  I even did a little yard work with my brother!

Tim: Secret pre-race workout huh?

Red: It’s a good heart-rate stabilizer.

Tim: We got up to Raleigh on Friday, checked in at the expo, shoved our faces with Cowfish, and my parents rolled into town. On Saturday morning we got up and did a quick workout in the AM with The Champ.

Red: Yeah, let’s talk about that workout.

Tim: What?

Red: Do you remember what you said to me? For the bike?

Tim: Oh, you’re still mad about that?

Red: YES!!!!!

Tim: I told you that after you made it out of the 5k stretch from T1, you would hang a right onto 64 and it would be a super fast stretch of the course.  And you’re mad at me because Mother Nature decided to blow her hot air in our faces on that stretch. That about right?

Red: YES!!!!!

Tim: Well, sorry? After that workout we met my parents for breakfast.  Then you went on to your brother’s place and I took a nap because I wasn’t feeling too great.

Red: Yep. Then the TriKitten showed up and we eventually made it to our pre-game dinner spot – MellowMushroom – and had dinner with your parents, Jenny’s mom, and my cousin Erin.

Tim: That place is a must.  I’m hungry. You want to order some pizza?

Red: Focus. Let’s finish this first.

Tim: Alright. I guess I’m drinking my dinner.  Let’s talk about the race itself.  Talk about the swim – I mean, this is the longest swim…and, well, race….that you’ve done.

Red: It was rather warm. I really, really doubt it was wetsuit legal by the time my wave went off at 8:15 and I was standing in the sun baking.  It started off well as I was only in the washing machine mix for a minute or so before I found some space and a girl to draft off of for a little while.  Once she dropped me, I felt like I was going SO SLOW and there were so many yellow caps in front of me.  I had a tinge of anxiety as the water got a little rougher the further we got, but just tried to stay calm.  When I looked at my watch as I got out, it said 36 something – I was pleasantly surprised.  My official time was around 37 something.

Tim: What happened?

Red: Ha. Well, I accidentally followed someone to the medical tent instead of the wet suit strippers.  Then I had some trouble with the strippers.

Tim: Um, yeah…….nevermind.

Red: Leave it alone.  It just took a while!

Tim: It was pretty warm. I have done the race both years and each year it is “magically” under the WTC limit. It’s incredible.  This year, fortunately, I brought my wetsuit down to the start.  I had a good start to my swim but ultimately my goggles fogged up really badly. Time for new ones I guess.  I was just watching outlines of caps and splashes, and almost blew by the first turn buoy.  I got caught up in some prior swim waves and was trying to make my way around them. I found some clean water and started navigating towards what I thought was an orange buoy.  Soon enough, I almost ran into a kayak! The lady said, “Hey, you’re off course.”  I took a moment to clear my goggles and holy crap, I near the middle of the triangle.  I took the straightest route to get back on course towards the final turn buoy, but it took a little out of me.

Red: Well your time seemed pretty good.

Tim: Thanks. It was around 30-ish something. Even though it was unbelievably hot, I’m thankful for that wetsuit.  How was your bike?

Red: Well, we already went over your devastating lie about how fast 64 would be.

Tim: Yes. The point was made and noted.

Red: The thing that turned out to actually be true, was Jenny’s point that “It will pay to be conservative on the first half of the course.” This was definitely the case since the 2nd half was all large rollers and lots of wind.  I was able to prep myself mentally to not be too disappointed when my speed started slipping.  Overall it was fine. I didn’t love it, I didn’t hate it.  The rollers are nice to keep you stimulated and engaged versus a flat course. Of course I got a little sore towards the end of the ride and it made me wish I had gotten a new bike.

Tim: N+1.

Red: Huh?

Tim: Nevermind.  And yes, I will admit the biggest different between this year and last was the wind on the bike. We had a slight tailwind the year prior and this year a heavy headwind.  I got gobbled up by the second half of the course. I just felt absolutely terrible.  The wind and the hills ate me up.  Sylvain came rolling by me like I was standing still.  I couldn’t wait to get off of the bike. I mean, I usually feel like that in long-course races. But I really couldn’t want to get off the bike.

 Red: The most annoying thing of the whole race happened on the bike for me.  My water bottle fell halfway out and was getting knocked around by my pedal stroke. I had to stop and adjust it because I just couldn’t get it situated right.  That, and the fact that towards the end of the bike there was a really bad smell of cow poo. 

Tim: That sucks.  We’ll have to get you new water bottle cages to go with your new bike!!

Red: Yeah.  Especially when I was checking my bike in the night before the race and a guy says to his wife, “See honey, you aren’t the only one with a road bike.”

Tim: Triathletes….

Red: So what about the run? The first loop for me was awesome.  My watch was all over the map the first mile, so I unknowingly went out a little stronger than I should have.  But, I settled in and had a great first half, slightly ahead of my planned pace. I was smiling and having fun.  I saw you at the end of the first loop and you were trying to give me advice like “You’ll have to dig deep on the 2nd loop” and “stay consistent on the ups and downhills.”  I thought – come on, I’m a pro at this now. I don’t need your advice, not after that 64/wind debacle, I am cruising!  A half mile later, right after I saw my family (and my ridiculous mom who was in a red Ariel wig), the pain started to set in.  I did have to dig deep and your words did help me keep pace.  It felt like it took twice as long but I was almost to the finish.

 Tim: Well, you’re welcome.  It always is tough – the second loop. Even though they changed the course from last year, there was still enough elevation change that you had to stay focused.  I was really proud of you for staying strong and continuing to run even as other competitors started to walk because of the heat.

Red: I know! I think that actually surprised me was how many people were walking around me.  It was eye opening being in the last wave/non-“elite” group at how many people were walking, primarily the second lap.

Tim: That was actually my favorite part of the race – watching you run.  My run was pretty good considering how I was feeling, but it was made even better by watching you run while others walked.  There isn’t a whole lot better than capping off a race like this being able to give everything on the run and being able to run strong down the finishing chute.   It was cool for me to be able to do the race and then have something, well, someone to look forward to continuing their race.

Red: Yeah, I actually expected to be more anxious about the race in general.  I think I ended up being more relaxed for my race than when I am going to watch you.  I knew the plan you helped me with would get me ready.

Tim: So you’ll do this again?

Red: Ha. No. I don’t think so. Maybe. I don’t know.

Tim: Sounds like you’re trying to figure out your race kit again.

Red: Priorities.

Tim:  Any other parting thoughts before this gets posted to the magic that is the ICE Racing blog?

Red: I guess that being out on the race course as an athlete made me realize how awesome it is to have people out there cheering for you. Seeing the faces of loved ones can really help give you that extra boost to keep going.

Tim: Well, I am proud of you.  Now it’ll make me more proud if you get a new bike!

Red: We will see, Tim. We will See.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Lake Hickory Triathlon

Andrew Fletcher (or, as he is more commonly known: "The Fletch Wound") doesn't race particularly often. Between working for The Bank, taking care of his farm and raising his prodigy (commonly known as "Whit") with his wife, he is a pretty busy guy. But when he does, he writes a sweet race report about it that gets posted on blooger, Facebook and Twitter.  

Like any other race day when you live down in Mexico (Waxhaw), the day started with a 4am alarm.  Having packed most of my things up the night before, I grabbed a quick breakfast and was on my way up to the race pretty quickly.   The drive was relatively uneventful except for the 30 – 45 minutes worth of rain I drove though all the while praying it wasn’t going to be raining during the race.  Thankfully I arrived at the race to rainless skies and comfortable temps.  I parked, grabbed my packet, and setup my transition area.

I got in the water about 5-7 minutes prior to the scheduled start time to warm up.  The race was wetsuit legal but I opted to go without one since I figured I would spend more time getting the suit off than what I gained by wearing it.  As we got out of the water from the warm up it was announced the race start had been moved back 10-15 minutes because there were quite a few people who could not find the race site.  I’m not sure how long the start was actually delayed but it was more than enough time for me to be shivering almost uncontrollably.  Finally, after the national anthem, we got in the water and the gun went off.

The picturesque swim setting; with ROCKS.
Swim – 6:23 (2nd)

I was sort of surprised to see the setup of the swim course had changed for this year.  Last year the course went from one side of the point to the other but this time it was setup in a rectangular configuration.  After the gun went off I took off pretty much as hard as I could.  There was a little bit of jostling around but for the most part I swam beside Carrie Andrews for the majority of the swim with the other folks in the open wave close behind.  To be truthful after the second turn buoy Carrie put a 15 yard gap on me and was out of the water first.  I beat her to the timing mat though because that’s what really counts, right?

T1 – 0:49

T1 was pretty uneventful.  Got my biking gear on and headed out of T1 in first.

Bike – 42:54 (4th)

As I came out of the park I put my head down and pretty much tried to hit threshold watts to get out of sight of anyone behind me.  As I passed mile 3-ish Sonny Dyer came riding by me and a decent clip.  I was pleasantly surprised to find the amount of traffic on the second loop of the bike was much lower this year than last.  Last year there were a few times where I just sat up and pedaled along at 10mph because traffic couldn’t pass the slower cyclists.  There was no problem whatsoever this year.   Sonny and I traded leads back and forth a few times until the final climb on the second loop where he put in a monster effort and gapped me by maybe 30 yards.  I was able to reel him in a little as we made our way back to the park but I was content to let him have the small gap as I had heard from one of his clients that he wasn’t going to turn in his chip after the bike.  Right as I entered the park I got passed by the eventual winner (Adam Weeks).

T2 – 0:39

I came into T2 a little hot and as I went to rack my bike I was carrying a little too much momentum and bumped it hard.  I was relieved it didn’t fall down but it definitely gave me a little scare.  Got my shoes on and headed out of T2 right behind Adam and Sonny (yes, he decided to run).

Run – 18:57 (3rd)

Out of T2 and running straight uphill!
For anyone who hasn’t done this race the run is a killer.  Straight up out of the park for a mile or so then up and down some pretty substantial hills on the out and back sections.  This changed too (slightly) from last year in that the short out and back was first rather than second.  On the first hill out of the park Adam, Sonny and I were pretty close together.  However, as we neared the top of the road into the park Adam pulled away.  I knew I didn’t have the energy to try to match him and continued to close the small gap on Sonny.  I passed Sonny just as we made the first turn out of the park.  From there I just tried to maintain a good pace and maintain a good gap on Sonny.  I came over the line in second place but was beaten by a UNC student who entered age group instead of open.  Overall, I feel the race went well and I’m happy with my performance.

(thanks to Jones Racing Company's Benji Jones for the pics!)

Thursday, July 17, 2014

You protected??

Isn't it amazing what a difference 10 degrees makes?? Temperatures in Charlotte have dropped from about 93 to 83 degrees and it feels amazing out. I know most of the people who read this blog are getting out there and taking advantage of the cooler temps but I seriously doubt the hot temps kept you off the road either. It is hard to stay hydrated when sweating profusely through a 4 hour ride or even a 45 minute run. Imagine how hard it must be for your sunscreen to keep protecting your skin from sun damage through all that salty sweat! Most athletes fail to wear sunscreen on a regular basis and the results are not only damaging but laughable . .

We have all heard and all used the excuses: "Why bother with sunscreen when I am just going to sweat it all off?" Or: "Sunscreen makes me sweat more!" How about: "I try to put on sunscreen but then I sweat and it stings my eyes!" One of the facts we have to face as consumers and athletes is that all sunscreen is not created equal and all sunscreens are not created to handle the demands of the swim-bike-run lifestyle.

When choosing a sunscreen for outdoor exercising make sure it: 1) is a broad-spectrum sunscreen, meaning that it will protect you from both UVA and UVB rays; 2) has a SPF of 30 or higher; 3) is water resistant; 4) is non-comedogenic.

Thanks to the generosity of Linda "I ain't scotch" Leiser  and Charlottesville Dermatology the members of ICE Racing received several different kinds of sunscreen to try.

Hands down the biggest hit was the EltaMD UV Aero Broad-spectrum bodyspray. It is a dry spray that absorbs quickly and outlasted some of our longest rides. You spray the sunscreen on, rub it into the skin, and forget about it.

While it should be reapplied every 2 hours to maximize protection (same is true for all sunscreens) it is kinda difficult to make that happen on a 5 hour ride in the mountains. We usually end up with some sun damage one way or another but this sunscreen continued to protect us through all the sweat and salt.

Lori had this to say about it:
“I'm obsessed with this sunscreen. Literally never ride my bike without it. And it works through serious sweat! 5.5 total hours on the bike at the beach this weekend in the baking sun!

EltaMD is only available through your dermatologist so make an appointment to get your skin checked and pick up a bottle. Your skin will thank you.

We just received a few bottles of MDSolarSciences Quick Dry Body Spray and this stuff is just as popular. It is available online by visiting the MDSolarSciences website. They have an amazing line of products from the body spray to tinted moisturizers you can use everyday.

Skin cancer is no joke and neither is looking old when you aren't. 

Thursday, May 29, 2014

USMS Open Water National Championships

May 17th I was fortunate enough to travel out to Chattanooga, Tenn for U.S Masters Open Water Nationals.  It was my first time EVER in Tenn.  Let me start off by saying, OMG driving through the mountains during the sunset was quite the sight to see.  

Ok this was from last weekend but I am reminiscing about the sunset

But before that- We ( Mady and I ) had to wait till after her physical therapy session to leave that Friday.  Ended up around 4:30....UGH FRIDAY NIGHT CHARLOTTE TRAFFIC. :/  Here I am, sooo excited to do my first open water race.  And I am driving 3 mph... sighs.

After many of long hours, we arrive around midnight.  After getting settled I look to fall into pre race rituals.  I lay out all of my things for the next day, as to not forget anything.  Take a shower and have a nutritional shake, working on loosening up the muscles from sitting for 6+ hours.  I brought my foam roller, spent some time relaxing on it, working the legs and lats.  Not quite ideal, but hit the pillow around 1am.

Next morning, its cold.  That is the only way to describe it.  Not a little cold, not brisk, its wet and cold.  Luckily, I carry an extra 20lbs on my body for such certain situations, but it was still just, cold.  Up around 7 we grabbed a small meal from a midnight diner attached to our hotel.  We get to the check in, grab my number, my chip, and now I am ready to go.  On a normal day, I would have taken the time to suit up and go for a swim to warm up. With water temp at 70 and the air temp under 60, ''warm up'' seemed something of a myth.

Instead I sat in the car, heat and music blasting.  Once to the point of a slight perspire, I stepped outside and started some activation.  Muscles still felt stiff from the drive, so I made sure to get some stretches in to open up the hip flexors and shoulders.

Race time!!!  So excited, its been right around 10 years since I have stepped in a open water setting.  At the start of the gun, I took off.  Lining up the buoy way down yonder, I take off.  Up to that point, I felt like I had been working fairly hard, so I had no fear of a simple 2.4 mile swim.  OUCH

I start cranking, fast hands, strong lats, take a nice easy lead.  I start backing off some to realize there is a man on my feet as well.  No worries, swimming with a buddy is much better then swimming alone.

He takes the lead and we trade off on work throughout the duration of the first lap.  Mind you, I HATE latex caps.  For whatever reason they do not stay on my head.  At the end of the 1st lap (of 2) the cap falls off for the last time.  I tuck it in my suit and keep going. Recently got a hair cut, but didn't take enough off the front end.  When I go to sight the buoy, all I see is...darkness -_-

Now I am struggling to see where I am going, the body is getting fairly fatigued, and I am still cold.  Not how I remember open water swimming.  We continue through the second lap, I seemed to have spaced out and the other guy pulled away.  No worry, time to crank the lats again.  I seem to have swam farther then hoped, it took almost the whole lap to catch up.  I can sense him tiring quickly, which is nice because I have a nice reserve in the tank for the last sprint.

We come around the buoy, I turn the legs on...within the same breath, my left thigh and right calf cramp.  This was no ordinary cramp.  My tiny calf felt like a boa constrictor.  Every time I tried to straighten it out, it got tighter.  I ended up swimming the last couple hundred meters breaststroke, trying to get my body in order.  Finished the race 2nd overall and 1st for age group.

This will be one of my most memorable races to date for a couple reasons.  It was def a reality check.  There is a huge difference between just ''swimming'' a workout, and working hard for 45min.  The latter was much harder on the body and I most certainly was not ready for a 45min hard session.

Also, you are what you eat.  Putting in crap, you body puts out crap.  I underestimated how hard the race would be on the body.  Lesson learned, eating more ''real'' or ''whole'' foods will be a major part of my diet from here on out.

Unless we are talking celebratory crap which is 100% acceptable

Within those 45min, I had a lot of experiences that I will need to move forth in my journey with Open Water Swimming.  I will take them, learn from them, make the adjustments and try again.  Next race is June 7th, I will be competing in 3 racs, a 5k-3k-2k all in the same day.  It is called ''Poseidon Race''.

I like that title, I want it.  Until next time, 

Happy Training!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Carolina International Triathlon

I was pretty excited back when the Jones' announced that the Carolina Half would be moved to early May and that [new for 2014] there would be an international distance race option.  I knew, due to the timing of tax season, that signing up for the half distance a couple of weeks after the deadline would not be in my best interest.  So with that I signed up for the shorter option. I had been looking forward to this race over the months leading up to it mainly because of its proximity (I’m a huge fan of the Davidson area) and I knew a lot of friends would also be racing in some form. Additionally, I had heard so many wonderful things about the prior year event and how well things went that I wanted to give it a try myself.  

Race week arrived and with it came the typical race nerves.  I probably wouldn’t continue the sport if these nerves were not present come race time.  I had toyed with running and cycling races already this season but this was my first full triathlon race so I was looking forward to opportunity to racing locally with some fantastic and fast folks.

In terms of the race logistics, I didn’t quite leave myself enough time to get to/from the different transition areas but luckily Woody was there to save the day for Tim and me.  He gave us a ride back to the swim start giving the two of us just enough time to squeeze into our wetsuits before our waves started.  I would like to point out that from a race organization standpoint the point-to-point process was very smooth and communicated effectively to the athletes; I just didn’t leave my house with enough time to get my stuff set up.

Swim – 23:57 (9th)

The swim started off and I quickly realized that I would be swimming solo for the majority of the leg as I was only able to hang with Ashely, Fletch, and Zack until about the first buoy (if that).  After losing contact with “the pack” the swim was rather uneventful.  I was concerned with the sighting difficulties after making the first turn as it would be directly into the sun.  Luckily I had mirrored lenses and other swimmers ahead splashing just enough for me to get a feel for the general direction I should be headed.  

T1 – 3:04

In pre-race thoughts, I had planned to exit the water and immediately remove my wetsuit before the long journey to T1.  However, what actually happened was that I ran to the top of the hill before stopping to strip.  I finished the running to my bike at a very modest pace to avoid the unnecessary spike in heart rate.  

Bike – 1:06:50 (2nd)

I jumped on the bike knowing that I had some catching up to do but I was unsure of just how far ahead the other open men were.  I was given some wise coaching advice to build my pace over the bike leg so I tried my best to hold back the urge to time trail it up to the leaders.  Eventually I caught Andrew and then shortly after saw Zack in the distance.  Knowing that it was still early in the bike I didn’t push too hard/rush to make the pass.  Zack and I traded positions a few times before I was finally able to pull away.  I wasn’t quite sure where Ashley was…I kept hoping that he had taken a wrong turn or that I had already passed him and just didn’t realize it because I never saw him in the distance.  He. Was. Just. That. Fast.  I should have known.  I just put my head down and continued to build my effort for the remainder of the bike course not knowing the time gap.   At some point, as we were making our way through the neighborhood, a bystander said that he was 40 seconds ahead.  I wasn’t too confident in this dudes calculation as I still could not see anyone; but I suppose 40 seconds was just far enough to keep him out of sight.  As I approached the last hill to exit the neighborhood I saw a blue tent and thought that I was about to be at the transition area so I decided to get out of my shoes to prepare for dismount.  However, I was way wrong and still had a solid .5 of a mile to go before reaching the dismount line. 

T2 – (:32)

I was pulling my ride into T2 as I saw Ashley heading out onto the run course.  I quickly estimated that he had about a minute on me so I knew I would need a quick transition if I wanted to make up any time on him.  What happens next is a big rookie mistake and isn’t recommended at home.  I went sockless in my new Pearl Izumi Tri N1 kicks (more on this later).  I was really excited to try out this triathlon specific shoe so I made the decision to pass up on my previous racing flats and run with these instead.  I was very impressed with the ease of installation and as a result was out of T2 in a flash.  Which is all that really matters, right? 

Run – 39:32 (3rd)

Having previewed the run course the prior weekend at the end of the bike course preview ride I was prepared for the rolling hills I would encounter.  I didn’t really have a run specific goal for this race so I just tried to take the first little bit on the conservative side in an effort to save a little for the end.  I never saw Ashley until the turn around so I could not really gage how much time he had on me or if I was making up any time.  Knowing that he is a strong runner I knew that it would be difficult to catch him but I didn’t let that deter me from trying.  So just before exiting the greenway and making my way up the mountain (aka Patrick Johnson Ln) I could tell that blisters were forming on my left foot.  In fact, it was starting to get pretty painful.  Luckily I had the steep climb to take my mind off the pain in my feet.  Shortly after reaching the top and making my way towards to turn around I saw Ashley coming.  He looked pretty strong still so I asked him to slow down a little so that I could catch up.  Unfortunately he did not take me up on this offer and continued to run away. 

I checked my watch at the turn so that I would have an idea on how far back Zack and Andrew were.  If I recall correctly, it was approximately a 1:30 before I saw Zack so I knew that I needed to keep my pace strong since I didn’t have any time to waste.  Running back through the hilly hood my feet really began to hurt.  Typically I don’t feel these sort of things during the race so I knew that things weren’t going to look pretty when I removed by shoes (and believe me, they didn't).  Anyway, by the time we climbed out of the neighborhood and made our way back onto the flat section that would lead us into the finish I was certain that I would not catch the Honey Badger.  I crossed the line second to a very competitive field and was very pleased with my performance.  

To top off a great day of racing a group of us headed to the Ackerman abode to participate in some more pizza eating, sun bathing, and collaborating fun. This was a perfect way to seal up a great day of racing.