Race Reports

Oceanside 70.3 Race Report: Make Your Own Luck

by Jason Weilert

FinishThe 2014 Ironman 70.3 in Oceanside was targeted as my first Half Ironman a long time ago, I don’t remember exactly but it was at least 9 months.  Once I finished the Santa Barbara Long Course in August I began to focus my thoughts on this race.  This was going to be my first shot at a HIM and I really wanted to do well.  None of this, "I just want to finish crap". I wanted to race and perform at Oceanside.  In order to do this I knew I needed to make a big change to my training, one that would require me to not skip Strength Training anymore.  I had learned to be okay with red boxes in Training Peaks for strength workouts, but I had come to learn, from experience, that late in the race I would need the strength to fight off fatigue, cramps and general doubt.  So I committed myself to two strength sessions a week from August to March.  I immediately felt the difference as I was stronger in all my races during the winter and had the strength to finish races, something I lacked in 2013. 

Leading up to Oceanside I had very strong workouts in my final bricks.  I was doing excellent on the bike and then just hammering it on the runs.  I felt so strong and my confidence was sky high.  Because of this I was not nervous at all or experiencing any of the common pre-race freak outs.  I was calm and confident that I not only earned my place at the starting line but I was there to show off my months of hard work.  There are no secrets in this sport, if you want to race well you need to train and train hard.  In addition to all the hard work leading up to the race I put together, along with the help of my coach, a race plan detailing everything starting with my day before the race, including meals and amount of sleep, all the way through to crossing the finish line.  I printed out this report and took it with me, reading it over before dinner Friday night, before I went to bed Friday night and once more while eating breakfast on race morning.


Bandit 50k Race Report

by Gerardo Barrios

I took a big risk when I planned out my winter running racing calendar and had the Bandit 50k Ultra Trail Race culminate an 8 week period with a 50 Miler, a road marathon and a trail marathon. I took two weeks off after Ironman Lake Tahoe and then got ready for the North Face Endurance Challenge 50 Miler in 8 weeks. I expected to have a strong base to run Carlsbad Marathon on January 19th and then two weeks later the Sean O'Brien Trail Marathon.

Bandit GerardoFrom October 1st until February 1st I ran just under 700 miles. 80% was on trails.  I ran a very fast trail half marathon 2 weeks before my 50 miler and I felt some of the fatigue from that race. Then I ran Carlsbad Marathon on January 19th and was confident I could qualify for Boston by running 3:24 or better.  Three of my previous four marathons were Boston-qualifying and the only race that wasn’t came down to the brutal heatwave that hit Boston for only the 2nd time in its 117 year history. I ran a 3:14 and ran a solid race, steady at my expected pace for the first 23 miles and slowed down the last 2 miles before I found a little extra speed to finish within a minute of a personal best. Nutrition was a factor that I needed to address in the next two races. 

On February 1st, I ran the Sean O’Brien Trail Marathon at Malibu Creek State Park. I knew most of the course pretty well and all I wanted to do was run a solid long run to get me ready for Bandit. When I found out I was in the lead at mile seven that idea dissipated and I went for the win. I pushed the first 20 miles and limped the last 7 miles to finish in first place by 2 minutes. After that race I had already made up my my mind that I would skip Bandit since I had achieved my goal of winning SOB26 and felt like I had had enough of running. My foot was in more pain at the end of the race. After two days of doing as much as I could to recover quickly, including a massage, I was still riding the high of the win at SOB and I decided to run Bandit after all. 

30k GroupAs a coach, I know that there is no way I can go into these events and perform at my best. I knew it wasn't going to be easy and I didn't want easy. I needed a challenge that I could learn from. My goal was to see how far I could push my body and mind with limited running. My last 3 seasons have been mostly injury free and I have increased my mileage dramatically in that time running over 1000 miles each of the last 2 full year. I have been doing the bulk of my base training in the fall and winter running mostly trails and during the triathlon year, just maintaining for endurance and race efforts for half and full ironman races.  


Ironman Lake Tahoe 2013: The Story of One Survivor and Finisher!

by Debbie Sullivan

IMLT FinishIt all started five years ago when I crossed the finish line at Vineman in August 2008 and 5 minutes later announced “I am never doing another Ironman again, I am cured!”

Fast forward to June 2012 when my neighbor Amy started sending me emails about Ironman Lake Tahoe.  “C’mon we have to sign up.  We can drive to the race, we don’t have to fly.  It won’t be that hard and I’ll train with you. And we’ll get a tshirt and a backpack.” This is the same friend who thinks 100-mile trail runs are fun. But that’s another story!

So with the promise of a tshirt AND a backpack, I began to train during the winter of 2013 with Fortius Coaching.  The swims and runs were right up my alley. The bike rides were a whole new level of training (and agony) that I had never experienced before! 

The Mulholland Challenge training ride with my coach and teammates was a rude awakening.  I hadn’t been on a bike for that many hours since 2008 and the climb up Decker Canyon was an unending slog at 3.5 mph. So Easter weekend, while everyone else was eating jelly beans and chocolate eggs, three of my LaGrange teammates went out with me to ride Decker and Piuma again. A few weeks later, I started out with my coach and teammates to ride the official Mulholland Challenge.  Again Decker Canyon was the bane of my existence and I hit 2.6 mph this time before I was forced to clip out and walk around to get my legs working again. Throughout the spring and summer, I was determined to “Beat Decker” and three weeks before IM Lake Tahoe, I had another chance at it.  With “The Betty’s” and a few other friends, we rode up Pacific Coast Highway to Decker Canyon for one last shot.  I would love to say I climbed it at 10 mph but it was closer to 4-5 mph. There was no swearing this time, no crying, no falling over – it was just straight up the hill!  And then, we climbed Piuma just for fun.  That day of riding was proof that we could handle anything Lake Tahoe threw at us!

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New York City Marathon: Not Giving up on the Dream

By Rich Waisfisz

rich waisfisz nyc3Wow! Wow! Wow! I cannot believe that I actually ran 26.2 miles and in a row no less!What an amazing accomplishment since before 2012 I had never run more than 4 miles continuous in my life. For whatever reason I used to always say to my parents that someday I was going to run the NYC Marathon. My mom said “You can’t even run to the stop sign without getting winded!” Clearly they knew what kind of son they were raising. I had made a promise to myself that I would run it before I turned 25, then 30, then 40 and then before I got too old and broke a hip! Since they have both passed away more than 5 years ago I knew my window was starting to close.

As age creeps up on us our metabolism has a funny way of slowing down and for the first time in my life the #2 was the first number on the scale. My friend Nicole Britvan from Syracuse said I should start swimming with her triathlon team. My idea of a triathlon was eating, drinking and sleeping. I can honestly say that when I met Coach Gerardo Barrios and the Fortius Racing team, it has made a huuuugggeee impact on my life. After listening to Mark Shainman and Bodie Olmos talk so much about all their races I decided to have a talk with Gerardo in late December 2011. He asked me over lunch, while I devoured the bread basket, what my goals were. I told him the #1 item on my bucket list is to run the NYC marathon and I don’t really have a #2 item. Shockingly he said that he will put a plan in place to make it happen. We would start with some 5k races, then 10k’s, half marathons and then the big one! When I started meeting some teammates like “Coach” Alison DeLucca, Alex Carrion, TR Albert, Kelly Walsh, Caritta Lee amongst others, for some 6am weekday runs I knew it was time to buckle up. I would get so excited when Alison would tell me that we just ran 5 miles or 6 or 7. Sorry T, but I know I need to work on my badass pose to make our photos come out better!

I used to, and still do, get nervous before each and every race due to my lack of experience, confidence or whatever you want to call it. This was especially true before my first 10k at the Great Race of Agoura. My anxiousness was lessened when my brotha from anotha motha and fellow New Yorker Evan Kent, said he would run it with me. Or more like he’ll be there with me and ran it about 20 minutes faster than I did. However, we both had fun eating pancakes and taking pictures with the Lorax!


Laurels Over Labyrinth

By Jason James

265 days.

37 weeks.

10,656 hours…had passed since my epic race at Ironman Florida and once again here I was – tip toeing to the start line with 2500 athletes from across the globe at Europe's “Kona” – the holy “Ironman” grail –The European Ironman Championship in Frankfurt, Germany.

IMGermany_BikeKnown as the City of Goethe, Frankfurt’s dynamic and internationally renowned financial district is home to some of the most avant-garde skyscrapers in Germany.  Its famous skyline and history attract a vast field of sculpted triathlon gods and goddesses such as the likes of Brown, Al Sultan, Raphael, Gohner, Allenhurst, Steffen, Van Vlerken, Zelenkova, just to name a few.

Known for having some of the fastest finishing times of any “M-dot” race, triathletes racing at this event have the most impressive athletic resumes you can think of and a wide range of racing experience.  The field is so impressive that the overall cutoff time is 15 hours compared to the 17 hour cutoff at other Ironman triathlon races.

In the weeks leading up to the race, behind the clouds of doubt that shroud the desire to finish well, was a brilliant blue sky of great conviction, "Yes, I'm hungry for this again!"  So I sat down, in silence and re-evaluated myself as an athlete and with my coach, Gerardo Barrios, formulated a set of clear goals and strategies that slowly gave me the confidence and mental fortitude I needed for this feat.


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