2012 Ironman World Championships – Thursday

Doran | October 22nd, 2012 - 11:20 pm

As I mentioned previously, I am lucky enough to have a wife willing to plan a vacation around Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii (or so she let me think, anyway).  The next few posts will focus on my experience as a spectator and triathlon fan, which was absolutely incredible.  You’ll see the common theme all throughout, but if you are in to triathlon, this is a MUST SEE event.  After reading the next few posts, you can judge for yourself.

Thursday morning at 5:20am we departed for Kona. We flew out of Norfolk and connected in Charlotte and Phoenix. I had hoped to catch up on sleep during the flights, but didn’t sleep as much as expected because Sons of Anarchy is awesome. We downloaded first season to watch on the trip and were instantly hooked. But you probably aren’t reading this for advice on TV series (dude, watch it), so back to Ironman.

We stepped off the plane in Kona at 2pm local time after a solid 15 hours of travel. The airport is all outdoor / open air and really laid back. I don’t know if anyone even works there. No jetway, just walk down steps and boom, you’re in Hawaii. It wasn’t even very well signed. The weather was definitely warm and humid, but not unbearable. Despite the fact that it was about my bedtime on the East Coast (8pm) and it had been a long day after a tough few days of work, I was invigorated. I’m in Kona to watch Ironman World Championships and wanted to take in as much as possible in the next 4 days.

Getting off the plane in Kona - that's my excited face

We drove straight to the Pier in Kona and quickly got our bearings in terms of race hotel, transition area/finish line, Ironman Store, and then made the 10 minute walk down the famous Ali’i drive to the Expo. I had read that Chrissie Wellington was going to appear at two of her Sponsors’ booths between 3pm and 5pm. Walking around was crazy. Everyone was super fit. EVERYONE. In most cases, even the family/spouse of the athlete could probably beat me in a race. It is insane. Everyone is wheeling around $5,000 bikes and wearing spandex. Not even a random tuft body hair or fat to be found. It was basically the opposite of America, and made me feel fat, pale, hairy, and completely inadequate in every way. Walking up towards the expo, I was shocked to see a line of only 6-8 people to meet Chrissie and get her book signed. This was awesome. I normally get super nervous around pro athletes and really do not like to bother them for a picture or another boring conversation with a stranger (probably the same one they have 100 times a day). But there is something about the vibe that Chrissie exudes which is very friendly and open. She was taking her time talking with each fan, playing with their kids, and just smiling her signature open mouth smile the whole time. So, with surprisingly little need for CJ’s encouragement or introduction, I made my way up and said hello to the Queen of Kona. Honestly, I didn’t know what to say, so I just kind of mumbled that she’s inspiring and I hope she is enjoying her year off racing. She probably would have talked for a few more minutes, but I just posed for a photo and hurried off. I’m so weird with pro athletes.

Chrissie Wellington and I - Crazy


Chrissie - now with her signature smile

For someone with a strong desire to see pro athletes up close, but phobia for meeting them, Kona is a very strange and conflicting place. They are everywhere, they are accessible, and they are generally pretty approachable. I saw Chris Lieto for the first of many times, Greg Bennett was signing autographs at the Trek tent, and a few other pro women were around as well. I was actually shocked how many I saw, and even more so, how many I could identify. Turns out, I am really into triathlon. Who knew?

Lieto and Bennett

Then, the most frightening and completely awesome thing happened. I saw Mark Allen. Not even 10 feet away and talking to another age grouper, outside the confines of his Mark Allen Online Coaching booth. No table or tent to separate this living legend and 6 time Kona winner from the rest of us mere mortals. I stopped, I stared, I whispered to CJ “holy $%#@, that’s Mark Allen”. Big mistake. CJ marched right up to him with me in tow and said, “Hi Mark, this is my husband Doran, he’s a triathlete and a huge fan of yours”. And there I stood, basically eye to eye with Mark Allen, looking like a deer in the headlights. He asked if I was racing and I said no, I haven’t done Ironman for a few years (I conveniently neglected to mention I was also about 2 hours too slow to qualify… minor details). He then said he’d like to coach me and handed me a flyer for his business. With that, I was in complete overload and took the opportunity to grab a quick photo and go about my business of only stalking (and certainly not speaking to) the Pro’s.

Mark Allen and I - He wants to coach me, no big deal

We spent a few hours walking around the expo and Ironman Store, tasting free samples and ogling at expensive bikes and wheels. We saw several other pros manning the booth for their sponsors. Then we made the first of many stops at the famous Lava Java cafe. The food and coffee are awesome there, the view of the ocean can’t be beat, and it’s sort of the hangout for athletes. We split a delicious fish sandwich for dinner and we made our way to the hotel. CJ was a real trooper to tag along after a full day of travel and in that heat. It is definitely hot in Kona. I know that sounds dumb, but its worth repeating, it is hot in Kona. Even with a little cloud cover (of volcanic fog, vog, as they call it), I was sweating profusely the whole time.

Honestly, I could have gotten on a plane back that night and still have had an amazing experience. I’ve heard so much about Kona and Ironman World Champs that I was already on cloud nine after just a few hours on the Big Island. I couldn’t wait to see what the next few days would bring. Stay tuned, as the stories and photos only get better over the next few days.  Below are a few more pics from the expo and race area.

Trek Bikes - it looks like bright colors will be the new rage next year



General shot of a row of the Expo


Drooling over Cervelo's... what's new?


Crowie or Macca? Choose a side!

Cervelo P5 - Simply Faster... saw tons of these on course


Specialized Tent... the Shiv looks incredible... if only I had a spare $6k

Pro ladies - signing and chatting

Running Tour of Nashville

Doran | October 29th, 2011 - 8:51 pm

This past week I was lucky enough to spend a few days in Nashville for work.  I’m convinced that the best way to get to know a new city is by running.  I stayed at the Hilton downtown, right near the touristy section of Broadway.  It was only a few blocks from the river, which had the stadium on one side and a bike trail on the other.  I found Nashville to be fairly conducive to the active lifestyle, with a decent trail network and bike share.  I spent a little time near Vanderbuilt University, but did not explore enough to get good feel for that area.  There was a great pedestrian bridge to get to the stadium, I used the incline to run sprint intervals one day.  Trails were clearly marked and seem to lead to residential areas, allowing for a run/bike commute to downtown.  However, during my runs (often between 5-6pm), I did not see too many people taking advantage.  Below is a map of the Cumberland River Greenway (on which I did a fair share of my running) and some pictures from my jog around town.

Map of Nashville and Cumberland River Greenway


View of Country Music Hall of Fame from my hotel room


Stadium and Pedestrian Bridge, from the Broadway St side of the Cumberland River


A nice shot of the pedestrian bridge


Wide open on pedestrian bridge, the grade eased towards the center, steeper on sides


These signs were all over downtown, very helpful


Eventually I started to follow these markers on the trail


Some cool statues along the way, I wont post them all


Where else would you see a horse-drawn carriage randomly?


The trail goes past a little history, Fort Nashborough shown here


Up north the trail gets a bit more industrial


Back near town the views are great though


Nashville, as seen from pedestrian bridge


It was getting dark as I passed Nashville's first public school, just a few hundred yards from all of the honky tonks on Broadway. Impressive building.


Bike Share station, at a very central location. Nice!

Nation’s Triathlon 2011 – Why I Chose NOT to Race

Doran | September 13th, 2011 - 10:57 pm

All summer, I have been training with the goal of racing my best at Nation’s Triathlon.  For the past few months, it has been this goal that has gotten me out of bed at 5:30am to swim or provided inspiration to push extra hard on my weekend brick session.  I started tapering about two and a half weeks out from the race, and was following a very strict workout plan that I thought would result in peak performance.  The past few weeks provided unique training challenges; there was an earthquake, a hurricane, a tropical depression (bringing weeks of rain), and my pool closing down the week of the race.  However, I remained focused and was still doing the workouts necessary to stay on track.

On Thursday afternoon (before the Sunday race) it was announced that the swim portion would be cancelled due to dangerous conditions in the Potomac River.  Hurricane Irene brought with it tons of rain the week prior, and the week of the race featured a tropical depression which continued to dump water on our already-saturated region.  It was the right call.  The river had caused flooding in many areas, the water was flowing quite rapidly, and debris was floating everywhere.  It would have been dangerous and reckless to hold the swim.  But that didn’t change the fact I was extremely disappointed and really frustrated.  The swim leg is my strength; without it, a triathlon is, well, a duathlon.  I am not a duathlete, I’m a triathlete.  Two other important factors also entered the mix that Thursday.  We are moving the next week (which is a big enough concern) and our cable installation was now scheduled for Sunday morning between 8am-noon; race time (Verizon didn’t show up).  Further, it was the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and CJ did not feel real comfortable about me gathering with a few thousand of my closest friends in the middle of DC, after the warnings from Homeland Security about a possible threat.   So I made a really hard decision; I chose not to race Nation’s Triathlon.  On Friday I signed up for Giant Acorn International Distance Triathlon on October 1, which will now be my top priority race.

However, since Nation’s Triathlon is a first class event, I did swing by the Expo to see all of the vendors, check out new equipment, and pick up my race t-shirt.  Since I hadn’t been putting in much volume, I also needed to workout!  After the Expo on Saturday I went to West Potomac Park for a long brick. I also stopped by the transition area and saw all of the set-up activity and triathletes racking their bikes.  It had a great feel and I was starting to second guess my decision not to race.  But by this point, the decision was made.  I had a great 25 mile ride and 8 mile run which told me that my taper was successful and I was pretty fit.  Hopefully I can now build back up for two weeks, participate in Ragnar Relay on September 24th, then race fast at Giant Acorn.  Below are some pictures from Saturday, which turned out to be a perfect day, weather wise (as was Sunday). 

Expo - Pacer's running store carried the official race merchandise

Packet pickup was very organized and well-staffed

Expo had all the local triathlon/bike shops, as well as nutrition and gear vendors

Nation's Tri race goodies: a great bag and top notch technical t-shirt

Transition Area - Athletes were racking their bikes

Absolutely perfect weekend weather in DC; my Cervelo enjoyed it

The Potomac had receded quite a bit by Saturday, but was still over its banks

Post-brick shot. Looking like a skinny, weak triathlete. Honeymoon muscles gone.


Another reason not to race. Our place was in shambles!

Triathlon Tip-of-the-Week #4: Race Belts

Doran | September 8th, 2011 - 12:17 pm

Today’s Triathlon Tip of the Week relates to a relatively inexpensive and very simple peice of gear that every triathlete should own: a race belt.  This is a simple band that clips around your waist and holds your race bib / race number.  In triathlons, race numbers are always required to be worn for the run, but not usually the bike or swim (make sure you know the rules for your specific race).  This allows you to clip it on quickly in T2 and get moving. There is nothing worse than being out of breath, wet, sweaty, and in a hurry while struggling to put on a t-shirt in the middle of a race.  Avoid this hassle and enjoy a faster transition! You can pick one up for $5-$10 at running stores, a triathlon expo, or online.  For a few bucks, they provide several important benefits:

– No need to mess with (or remember) safety pins before a race

– No need to wear a specific piece of clothing to which you have affixed your race number (greater flexibility in rainy/cold/hot weather)

– Faster transitions: Grab the belt and go, instead of putting on the shirt with your race number pinned on

– Can easily put on at any stage in race depending on preference.  Some wear them under the wetsuit and leave on for the full race, some put on in T1, I prefer to clip it on in T2 (only for the run).

– Comfort: Slide the bib number around back during most of the run so it doesnt get in the way, and only display the number in front during the finish (as required at most races).

Typical Race Belt - also happens to be the model I own


Three happy guys... what do they have in common? Race Belts

Triathlon Tip-of-the-Week #3: Tapering

Doran | September 2nd, 2011 - 6:14 pm

With the season coming to an end, and my own A Priority Race coming up (Nations Triathlon on September 11th), I thought this would be a good time to discuss tapering.  Also known as “Peak Period”, this is usually the 2-3 weeks leading up to an A Priority Race in which an athlete reduces volume and increases the specificity of training based on the A Priority Race course and pacing.  Much has been written about it and I’ll try to keep this post to a few of the main tenants of tapering for peak performance.  The objectives of the peak period are to:

–          Reduce long-term training fatigue

–          Make your key workouts more race-like (usually brick workouts with race-pace intervals)

–          Recover between sessions with very easy workouts (mostly swim and bike)

The first two weeks should gradually reduce the volume of training by 20%-30% each week.  Run volume is the most important to reduce, as it causes the most stress.  Conversely, swimming can usually be held fairly steady.  Training sessions will fall into two categories: recovery or race simulation.   The recovery workouts should consist of easy swims and bicycling, at a reduced duration and intensity compared to normal training.  The race simulation workouts are usually swim workouts or bike-run bricks with intervals at race pace.  These sessions should be performed using the same equipment and nutrition as race day.   Race simulation sessions can be performed 2-3 times per week and will not be the full race distance, rather simulate race intensity and conditions.  Leave two to three days between these simulations for a full recovery and easy training.   The week before the race will usually have a day or two of full rest (no workouts) and a few days training two or even all three disciplines (if possible), but for very short distances.  Again, intensity should be race pace.   The combination feeling very fresh and worrying if you have put in enough training will make you want to train more than  you should.  Do not fall into this trap!  In the last few weeks you cannot gain more fitness, but you can turn up to the race too tired.  Try and hold back when these feelings creep in.

The taper weeks, are also a good time for:

–          Finalizing Race Plan (wake up time, nutrition before and during the race, pacing, time goals)

–          Practicing Transitions (this is the easiest way to save time!)

–          Minimize Life Stress; focus on relaxing and resting

It is getting towards the end of the season, if you are racing within the next few weeks, good luck!

Taper swims with Fred prior Ironman Florida are some of my best triathlon memories.

Running was fun too. Everything feels great when you are rested. But remember, SAVE IT FOR RACE DAY!

Zoot Ultra TT Shoes: Product Review

Doran | June 23rd, 2011 - 7:36 pm

Zoot Ultra TT's - my 1st racing shoe / triathlon-specific shoe

    Since I planned to race only Sprint and Olympic triathlons in 2010, I focused more on speed and shorter distances.  One of the areas I thought I could gain some time was by changing my footwear.  The past few years of Ironman racing, I have used the average pair of running shoe “trainers”; heavy, structured shoes that provide a good deal of stability.  I replaced the normal shoelaces with Yankz (http://www.yankz.com) and considered those my triathlon race shoes.  With less time to train and more focus on shorter faster races, I thought some triathlon-specific race flats were in order for the 2010 season.  I hoped their benefit would be two fold; less time in transition and lighter shoes leading to faster 5k and 10k splits. Runners know that lighter shoes provide significant benefits to speed.  Obviously, lighter shoes require less energy per stride than normal trainers. 

Nike Air Zoom Elite 4

Nike Air Zoom Elite 4

My past four pairs of running shoes have been the Nike Elite 4 and 4+. The Elites are a stability shoe, and I continued to do the bulk of my training sessions with these.  However, for key speed workouts and races, I bought a pair of Zoot Ultra TT 2.0’s.  I wish I could say that I tried on several different models and picked these as the best.  However, my wallet made the decision for me. I had been looking around for awhile, when they suddenly went on sale for almost half off at www.trijungle.comZoot describes the shoes below:

“The Ultra TT 2.0 is a superb lightweight trainer that is great for tempo runs, everyday training and racing. The easy to slip on, comfortable upper has more room than the previous model and is easy to secure. The ride is performance oriented, smooth and transmits a feel for the road.”

This sounded perfect for me.  The TT 2.0’s weren’t the lightest, most minimal shoes Zoot offered, yet they were much more race-oriented than my previous shoe.  From my very first run, I felt fast in these shoes.  They are light, minimalistic, and I found it hard NOT to pick up the pace.  However, adjusting to this type of shoe does take some time.  My first few runs were similar to wearing the Vibram Five Fingers.  My calves were a bit more fatigued during and after my runs.  With a few weeks worth of training runs, I was ready to test them.  I wore them at the Crystal City Twilighter 5k  where I posted a slightly disappointing 20:37.  However, I credit them with my fastest 5k ever a few weeks later at the Culpeper Sprint Triathlon; posting a 19:22.  At this point, I still hadn’t run sockless in them.  Part of the reason I purchased triathlon shoes was to take advantage of this time savings in T2.  So I wore them without socks at the Luray Sprint Triathlon.  I posted a blazing fast 55 seconds for T2 and a solid 20:48 5k on very, very tired legs.  In the fall, I raced them sockless again for 10k at Nation’s Triathlon and the Mount Vernon 5k Turkey Trot.   I recently opened the 2011 season at DC Triathlon using the Zoot’s as well (race report coming soon).

The Zoot's are great in transition, with easy to pull loops

After a year of training and racing on these shoes, I have the following observations.  They are definitely the brightest shoes I’ve ever owned, but it makes me feel I have to perform well to live up to the flashy shoes.  They are really fast in transition, the loop at the heal and assymetrical lacing system works great in triathlons. I really appreciate the light weight of these shoes (9.2oz vs the 11.0oz to which I was accustomed).  The weight definitely makes a difference, I feel instantly faster in the Zoot’s.  However, to achieve this weight, Zoot has certainly sacrificed structure and stability.  This reduced structure has positives and negatives.  It encourages better run form, similar to running barefoot.  I would hesitate to run further than a 10k race in these shoes.  I did one 8 mile training run, but wouldn’t dream of running a half marathon; too little structural support and very little padding.  The sole is basically a piece of light foam, covered by a thin insert to provide cushioning.  The most disappointing part of the shoe is not the lack of padding, but the lack of support.  The upper is constructed of a fairly open-weave fabric that makes the toe-box feel almost non-existent.  No matter how tightly they are laced, my feet still slide around within the shoe.  Zoot seems to have addressed this issue in their new models, such as the Ultra Kane.  Although this is a definite negative, it hasn’t been a deal-breaker for me, as I’m still racing in them. 

Minimalist construction of the Zoot Ultra TT's

Zoot designed a perfect lacing system for this model.  The laces are not meant to be tied at all, in fact they are bonded at the end with a piece of plastic.  To tighten, you simply pull the plastic end of the laces and the top eyelets on the outside provide enough friction so they stay tight.  All of the lower eyelets are plastic, allowing the laces to slide easily and distribute the tension evenly throughout the front of the shoe. This is perfect for triathlon.  The shoes slip on quickly and easily, thanks to the loopholes on both the tongue and heel of the shoe.  Then the racer can tug the laces tight and get out on the run as quickly as possible.  Another necessity for triathlon shoes is the ability to drain water.  Whether its sweat from a hot race, liquid from aid stations, or running through rain or standing water, triathlons generally involve wet feet.  The Zoot Ultra TT 2.0’s drain well through holes in the sole and cushioning, as well as the loose weave of the upper.  The inner lining is soft enough to allow for comfortable sockless running.  My first run without socks caused a few small blisters, but this is normal.  After the initial break-in run, I had no issues at all, even in wet, rainy conditions.

Overall, I like these shoes.  I think they’ve helped me run faster in the short races this year.  However, having never worn any other triathlon-specific shoe, I’d be hard-pressed to recommend them.  I would really like to test Zoot’s newer models, as well as the offerings from Newton, K-Swiss, and others.   Further, I’m interested to see how they would compare with a pair of lightweight running shoes equipped with Yankz.

Honeymoon Body to Triathlon Fit in 3 weeks?

Doran | June 6th, 2011 - 1:27 pm

Relaxing poolside in St. Lucia - Hopefully buff enough for my new wife

For me, being at my best in triathlon means being fairly skinny and not putting in much time at the gym. Over the last 3-4 years my weight has fluctuated between 138 and 155lbs (I’m 5′ 8″). I have learned that 140-145 is a good weight for Ironman racing, 145-150 is ideal for Olympic/Sprint distance, and 155 is best for looking fit/healthy/muscular for normal life. After last triathlon season, with a wedding approaching this May, I made a conscious decision to bulk up for my wedding and honeymoon. I was getting a little pressure from my friends, CJ, and myself; I wanted to look good for the big day. Also, I had to be strong enough to carry my bride over the threshold!

Starting last October, I put in a lot of time at the gym. I lifted 3-4 times per week, cut back on the cardio, and increased my protein intake considerably. By March I was weighing 155lb, looking big (for me), and set a new personal best on bench press with 235lb. During this time I was doing almost no swimming or biking, but I was running about 50-60 miles per month to stay lean and maintain some cardiovascular fitness. In April and May, things started to get hectic leading up to the wedding, but I managed to generally maintain my size and cut a little weight to look pretty lean. I’m really happy with how things went, and this really is my ideal “life/beach/healthy” body. I’m planning to write a post on what works for me personally in terms of gaining size and strength while also staying lean; maybe it will be helpful to others.

2008 post-Ironman Florida vs 2011 post-Honeymoon - Notice Arms & Abs

I hadn’t been back from the honeymoon for 48 hours when I saw it: DC Triathlon – June 19, 2011. Basically 3 weeks away. I hadn’t been doing any swimming or biking, and not even much running. In the MONTHS of April and May I averaged monthly totals of 2,000 yards swimming, 75 miles biking, and 26 miles running. Contrast that with one WEEK in October 2008 when I managed 8,000 yard swimming, 93 miles biking, and 25 miles running. Clearly, I am in no condition to race a triathlon… or am I? I knew I’d be getting back into tri’s after the Wedding/Honeymoon, but was this too soon? I couldn’t resist, I pulled the trigger and registered for the Sprint (800m, 20k, 5k).

So I had 3 weeks to get into some form of triathlon shape again.

As I write this on June 5, it has been 1 week of triathlon training and I have two weeks to go. This week I swam 3 times (1,000 yards each session), biked 50 miles, ran 11, and put in a solid bike-run brick workout. After a week back in triathlon training, I have a few observations:        
1) Big arms and good bench press max do NOT help you swim fast. Swimming is my strength in triathlon, but I have basically lost it. My recent workouts have been 1,000 yards each and I’m struggling to hold 1:30 pace per 100 yards, which used to feel so easy (I used to swim 4,000 straight at this pace in training, like clockwork)

2) Gaining leg strength in the gym helps tremendously on the bike. I don’t have the best endurance yet, but I do feel fairly good considering the long layoff.

3) A base of run fitness is very important. Besides being the most difficult discipline to get back, it also puts the most stress on your body and ramping up too fast can lead to injury. Throughout the bulk up process and busy pre-wedding months, I managed to keep logging a few runs a week. This has paid dividends, I’m still capable of running a pretty fast 5k. Anything much longer would be a challenge, but I think I can go out there and fake it for 5k.

4) I really, really missed triathlon training. I now remember how good it feels to swim, I LOVED putting the race wheels on the triathlon bike and taking it out for a ride, and I enjoy running fast.

I honestly have no idea how the race will go on June 19, but I do know I’ll enjoy every minute of the race and entire atmosphere surrounding it. Something tells me I just might surprise myself. Either way, I have the triathlon bug again and can’t wait to get back into training.

The Lighter Side: DoranMan Weekend Re-Cap

Doran | May 2nd, 2011 - 2:51 pm

Admittedly, Qwickness hasn’t been the most exciting website the past few months.  This is due to a variety of factors, notably Doran has been preoccupied with work and a wedding, while Fred is attempting to successfully launch a business.  Further, it has been the off-season, and neither of us has done much racing or serious training. However, with a new season approaching, and the wedding a mere two weeks away, I’ve resolved to start posting again. There’s no better way to get back into the swing of things than a recap of my bachelor party, the Doranman.  Normally this would have no place on an endurance sports blog… but this wasn’t your typical bachelor party.

My best friends know me well, so they planned a bachelor party weekend around my personality.  A ton of effort was put into it, and the weekend was a smashing success.  I have to thank Garrett, David, and Ben, as well as the 11 other attendees.   The following is a general outline of the weekend.

Several of us arrived in Virginia Beach late Thursday night, leaving all day Friday for prep work and picking up others from the airport. We rented a gorgeous house on the beach that easily accommodated the whole crew.  It was recently remodeled with all new paint, carpet, furniture and appliances; the place was the perfect base of operations.  As participants arrived, they were greeted by a huge DoranMan banner and the registration tent. 

Our place of residence for the weekend and event headquarters

DoranMan Banner, Registration Tent, and Participants

Promptly at 6pm Friday, the event officially kicked off with packet pickup and a briefing on the weekends’ schedule and competitions.  DoranMan race packets were contained in an appropriately branded  (and sustainable) re-usable bag.  The contents included all the necessities:  race number, competition rules and regulations, schedule for the weekend, branded water bottle, mini-gold bond to prevent chaffing, DoranMan tattoos, and of course, a performance fabric DoranMan T-shirt.    Each event is individual, but participants were grouped into teams of 3 (with one team of 2) for the sake of accumulating points throughout the weekend.  Each event provided 40 points for 1st, 30 for 2nd, and 20 for 3rd; with the exception of the title event, for which points were doubled.  As the bachelor, I could give out “bonus points” for anything I wanted.  Usually this would be 5 points for cooking dinner or 10 for picking up someone at the airport or an unexpectedly brilliant performance.  As you can see in the picture below, diligent records were kept of each event, and point totals tallied on “the big board”. The winner of each event would also get to don the “yellow jersey” until passing it to the winner of the next event, in true Masters fashion.  Race numbers were to be worn and visible at all times, under penalty of immediate beer chug. 

As event organizer, Garrett provided briefing to the weekend warriors

Race bag and contents... what else could you need?

Friday night was a relaxing night at DoranMan HQ, with everyone getting to know each other, enjoying the house, and excitedly anticipating Saturday’s competitions.  The field events kicked off Saturday morning at 10am with the national anthem and reciting the pledge of allegiance.  We then began the competitions at a nearby side-street.  Everyone took turns competing, timing, and/or judging as necessary. The field events included the 40 yard dash, bike skills event, standing broad jump, shuttle run, sit ups in one minute, and of course, the DoranMan Triathlon. 

The sit-up competition was a difficult start to the day for many of us

Action shot from the bike event

Race officials took their job very seriously

Michael took first in standing broad jump. It didnt really suit us endurance athletes

You can see the competitive juices were flowing all day, especially during the 40 yd dash

The DoranMan was far and away the most anticipated event, and it really lived up to the hype.  It commenced with a beach start, followed by a 30-40 meter swim in the rough and frigid 58 degree F ocean. After being knocked around by the surf and disoriented by the cold water, it was a long run up the beach into T1, located on the deck under the house.  In the DoranMan, participants were REQUIRED to put on socks, shoes, shorts, a shirt, a bike helmet, and drink a beer in T1.  Competitors then ran down the driveway and across the street to where the bikes were parked and jumped on a bike, first come first serve.  The object was to ride to the fence in the backyard of the house across the street and back.  The degree of difficulty was increased by a nearly invisible clothesline at neck height and the fact the backyard was basically a sandbox.  After completing this arduous bike leg, participants ditched the bikes and helmets and ran back across the street to T2, which consisted of five spins on the “dizzy bat”.  The woozy racers then had a beach run around the adjacent house, grabbed another “performance beverage” in the aid station and finished under the DoranMan banner, breaking the tape.  Racers were seeded in heats of 3 by expected race time.  Every heat involved a very close race, making it an extremely fan-friendly event, while also challenging participants of every level. 

DoranMan Course Map - as you can see it was quite a challenging event

Heat 1 - Looking good at the start line

Heat 4 - We took it pretty seriously, I may have taken a little head start

Heat 3 all together in Transition 1 - everyone had a different strategy

Heat 4 takes on the bike leg, again everyone had their own strategy for maximum speed

Heat 4 races to the Aid Station, knowing the finish line is near

Heat 4 produced 1st, 2nd, & 3rd place overall, with Donnie taking the crown; his team was quick to congratulate him

The group (minus 1) on the back deck

The Big Board showing the final scores after an incredible weekend that challenged mind and body

DoranMan was also a great way to kick of the race season, and will hopefully give new life to the Qwickness website as well.  Stay tuned for further updates.

Training for Ragnar (or any long-distance endurance event)

Fred | March 4th, 2010 - 8:28 pm

Wow, after a flurry of posts here, Doran and I both got super-busy and dropped the ball for a bit. To keep things moving along, I’m presenting here a note I sent along to a friend who is putting together a team for Ragnar Relay in Washington, DC in September. The question was: “I was wondering if you could give me a couple of pointers to relay to my team about race nutrition so that we don’t “bonk” in our race.”

The most important advice I think I can give to prevent “bonking” is this: in training for it, almost all of your teams long runs should be at a pretty low intensity. This is a pace at which you can hold a conversation, or be able to close your mouth for 20-30 seconds and breathe only through your nose.

The reason is that higher intensity runs use carbohydrate as a fuel and lower intensity runs use fat as a fuel, so if you run at a low intensity, you are training your body to preferentially use fat. This is important because your body has a very limited amount of carbohydrate to burn and an almost limitless supply of fat. Somebody my size probably has about 2500 calories of carbs stored in their body, so I can run for about 3 hours at high intensity (800 calories per hour) before I run out, which isn’t enough for a race like Ragnar. Alternatively, a pound of fat has 3600 calories, so even people with almost no body fat have many hours of energy. If your body is preferentially burning fat, you can go much, much longer.

So, while other runs at higher intensities should be done, these runs will be really important to train your body to use fat as a fuel. You and your teammates may find that it is harder to run slow than to run fast, and takes a lot of self-control to start a run at 10-minutes mile pace. But keep in mind, your realistic average race pace is going to be somewhere around there. You can probably take a look at the results from last year and get an idea of how long it will take and what pace you will average. If your long runs are going much faster than that, it probably isn’t the ideal way to train.

The other important part of this is that “fat burns in a carbohydrate fire,” so practice using gels or drinking a bit of gatorade or something. I like Clif gels.

This advice is pretty specific to a long relay-race such as Ragnar, but the idea of training your body to use fat as a fuel is pretty integral to any endurance training.

Photo courtesy mcamcamca under Creative Commons