The Journey.. COMPLETED!
21 Consecutive 70.3’s in 21 Different Cities: Completed 8/16/16!!!
So this is now a reality for me. A guy who is not a paid athlete. Not receiving corporate dollars to get this done. Nor having a crew to help facilitate or mitigate logistics. Literally, my team was my small family consisting of my wife and god-cousin (filmer/editor). Luckily my in-laws surprised us up in Maine to help support the journey and hang out with the kiddos (3 and 6).
Not sure I would have believed you if you would have asked me if I could pull it off. I honestly had no clue. I had never run two 70.3’s back to back. In fact, I had never run more than 6-8 miles during my self-taught training for this journey, so there were a lot of “what if” scenarios playing out in my mind as the journey approached.
Let me back up, just a tiny bit, to explain how we handled the logistics of even getting going for a 3 week East Coast journey when we lived on the West Coast. That was simple, we sold almost everything we owned! Packed the belongings and kiddos into a truck equipped with a camper trailer and made our way East!
And why 21 days, you ask? Simple, that was as much vacation time as I’d saved up from my normal job.
So with the startup logistics handled, let’s describe the best/worst and lessons learned from such a journey.
Hands down the community responses and communication (virtual) was beyond anything I would have ever imagined. My biggest fear was being alone during the entire process, and that definitely was not the case. It was important to me to engage and keep people “in the know” with what was happening on a day to day basis. All of the social posting and comments were handled by me personally, and it was a huge thing to me to make sure people knew I was receiving their comments and responding to them. I would make the posts after each discipline (as quick as possible) and take time at the end of the day (generally at night) or bright and early the following day to respond to any comments.
Each day I would awake to excitement to see any comments and to await who may show up for the day’s efforts. I can express how humbling and grateful I was to not only receive such positivity, but also to receive company along the journey. Many of my challenges were minimized by the company and comments received from everyone. As much as I heard my journey as being “inspiring” I don’t think people realized enough that it was many of their efforts and support that kept me pushing forward each day.
This was a component that I felt I had under control. I’ve always been a “clean” eater and believed in whole food products to “fuel my engine.” I utilized mushroom products (Mushroom Matrix) for pre and post recovery and hydration, raw cacao powder (MitoXCell)for antioxidants, coconut water, as well as plant based protein (Garden of Life) and whole food bars (Perfect Bar) to supplement nutrition needs. We pre made burritos out of quinoa, vegan cheese, black and red beans, avocado and salted plantain chips. These were to be utilized for transition meals but it was quickly learned that more was needed. I received a lot of questions about my nutrition, and here was what I learned.
I ended up eating 4 complete meals through the day. Breakfast, before biking, after biking, and after finishing the run (generally dinner) and then supplementing nutrition up until bedtime. I was fairly consistent with my nutrition meals but Day 3 taught me my biggest lesson about electrolytes, more importantly my salt intake.
I had awoken on Day 3 in a fog. It had been extremely hot for days 1 and 2 and I woke up just not feeling right. The swim was at an indoor pool which was nearly 90 degrees and humid within the pool room. Not a good start. Got through the swim and began the bike, luckily having a few people with me from the community to help navigate the ride. But the reality was, I wasn’t all there. I was a bit foggy, uncoordinated and developing a migraine. My wife had seen me during a drive by hydration refuel and was concerned as to whether I would make it or not through the day. I told her I was hurting, but would continue on. At about mile 43 on the bike, we had pulled over to receive directions from the group, about an upcoming section of roads that contained some challenges. During the discussion, I had placed my head on my aero bars just to give some headrest while hearing the rest of the directions. But at that point, I teetered and tipped over. Similar to drifting off in high school during a lesson. I was able to catch myself before completely falling, but it was then that the group began to become concerned. I was ghostly in the face and the only thing I could think about was ice cream. I sent a message to an MD support who questioned my use of salt and recommended an increase in my salt intake. He also recommended taking Tylenol right away. The mothership brought Tylenol, coffee ice cream and sea salt. Roughly 7 miles later, I came back to my usual self and finished the remaining miles stronger than when I began!
From that point forward I began taking small amounts of sea salt before each discipline. Never had another issue of fogginess or disorientation.
From then, my meals were pretty consistent:
Breakfast: Generally oatmeal, with peanut butter with raw cacao powder (MitoXCell), plant protein, almond or coconut milk and dried fruits and nuts, plus a separate intake of sea salt. Also began my mushroom hydration and pre workout mushroom powder.
Pre-Bike and Pre-Run: Generally the pre made burritos with plant based shakes and more mushroom hydration. For the bike and run I would eat and/or take a long a perfect bar for the clean ingredients and relatively high caloric count (generally 300 calories for the peanut butter or carob bar). Also a small amount of sea salt was taken before the bike and run and generally again during some point of the bike and run via the mothership.
Dinner: Was the only meal that would generally be varied. Anything from pasta, to burgers but it would also contain plant based protein shakes and a raw meal shake right before bed just mainly because my body wanted fuel. I also was adamant about my recovery mushroom powders to aide in recovery which I believe made a world of difference. From my estimations I was burning between 4-6000 calories from the day’s efforts, so keeping the high octane fuel coming to my engine was key.
I believe I had awesome equipment. I chose a BMC TM01 for my bike, equipped it with Shimano Di2, 3T bars, Enve wheels and Vittoria tires. The bike worked flawlessly and believe it or not, I incurred only two flats. One of which was on the final day when I attempted a wheelie after the final ride to celebrate!
One piece of key equipment that I had utilized was a Garmin 920XT. Now this piece of equipment has more technology than I was able to absorb prior to the journey, but let me share what a little piece of magic this was.
The 920 allowed “live tracking” which was a huge sigh of relief to the mothership and a key feature to keeping me on course since almost all of the courses had been created virtually, and were changed ad hoc upon arriving to each location. The mothership could literally see my every move and correct me should I fail to remain on course. The live track feature also allowed t