Final Thoughts

You always hear people say how fast time flies. Ironman training has been in full effect since January and I can tell you first hand that the time DID NOT fly by. It wasn't easy by any means and these last six months took everything I had both physically and mentally. I'm running on fumes and I cannot tell you how excited I am to finally toe the line and then cross that finish line next week at Ironman Coeur d' Alene. The time discipline I've had to exercise over the past few months has been beyond difficult but I managed to get through it.
Here's my workout totals since January (25 weeks):

Swim: 187,643 yards / Avg: 7,505 yards/week

Bike: 2,825 miles / Avg: 113 miles/week

Run:  563 / Avg: 22.5 miles/week

Average weekly hours training: 12.3 hrs/week

So for your typical Kona qualifier hopeful, this doesn't seem like a lot of volume. However, the quality is what has been important. Juggling family/work life with training hasn't been easy but I go into this race very confident in my abilities and still think I have a shot at qualifying as long as I execute perfectly. So how do I qualify? Well, historically at IMCDA a 9:30-9:45 in the 35-39 AG and/or top 5 will get you the beloved KQ not to mention a spot on the podium. How does that break down for me? I debated whether or not to post this, but I've let you all in on my journey, I may as well put myself out there and share what Flanny and I think I am capable of (as long as everything goes right - which I understand is the hardest thing about Ironman!).

2.4 mile swim goal time: 1:05-1:10 (1:32-1:39 pace). With the rolling start last year, IMCDA saw really fast times. I've done a lot of open water swims leading up and even a 4000 yd straight swim which showed me I'm more than capable of swimming in this timeframe.

112 mile bike: 5:00-5:10 (21-22mph). Course has 6k of climbing which really suits my strengths. Goal is to hold 190 watts (NP). Over the past several months I've held 190-200 watts (NP) for 5-6 hour rides and finished with a solid run with no problem. As long as I can stay true to my plan on the hills and not burn any matches, I should be capable of this kind of ride.

26.2 mile run: 3:10-3:15 (7:15-7:30 pace). So Flanny's magic number for me is 7:15's. As easy as it is on tired legs in training, I've never duplicated it for 26 miles after a long day. As long as I fuel properly and absolutely go beyond my comfort zone - 7:15's should absolutely be possible for me.

Total time ~9:30-9:45

It always comes down to the run in Ironman. Doesn't matter how fast you swim or how well you ride, can you execute a marathon on tired legs? A lot of that comes with your ability to suffer on the run. It can be learned but there is no doubt that the true runners have a huge advantage in Ironman. I'm hoping to utilize it.

Are these high expectations for my first Ironman? Not if you have prepared properly and I believe I have. We'll find out on Sunday! You can track me Bib #174 at

I want to really thank my beautiful wife Amy for really supporting me through this process. It hasn't been easy for her either. I get a lot of credit for being able to juggle all that I do but there's no doubt that she does SO MUCH. She really sacrificed a lot so I could train and fulfill this dream I have had and she never complained once. I am truly lucky to have her and couldn't do any of this or be the man I am without her.

I want to thank Flanny again for EVERYTHING. You can read about it HERE. Also thanks to James Walsh who also played a big part of me being competitive in triathlon.

I want to thank Wattie and all my Wattie Ink teammates for the crazy amount of support, fun and family environment you've given me. #OG

Thanks to Wattie Sponsors: Herbalife, Powerbar, Reynolds, Blueseventy, Spidertech, Rudy Project, ISM, Speedfil, 10 Barrel Brewing, TriBike Transport, 454 Tattoo, Hypoxic, Rev3 and Wildflower.

Thanks to my personal sponsors: The Bike Shop (thanks for everything Rick!), SRM, e21, SportMulti.

And lastly, thanks to all that have followed along on my journey. Whether it be on this site, Kona Journey, at Lava Magazine or years prior to this at Love the Hurt. I've had so many messages, emails and voices of support over the years and I can't thank you enough for it.



Guest Post II: Coach Robert "Flanny" Flanigan

Before I get to coach Flanny’s blog post, I think it’s important to try to explain in writing how physically and emotionally hard it was to finally arrive here. In reading Flanny’s post I had to fight back tears. He went WAY above and beyond what a typical coach does for you. He held my hand though the thick and thin. Took my calls and texts from different time zones to make sure I was alright. You see, I’ve never been much of an emotional person. I’ve always been really grounded and strong (so I thought). Ironman training has changed that in me. It’s broken me to pieces, it’s forced me to get back on my feet and it’s left me standing tall and proud whether I have a good race or not.

There’s always been this emotional wall I’ve put up my whole life. Every ridiculous hard workout Flanny threw at me when I was physically and emotionally drained from training, career and life – slowly broke down that wall. “Why an Ironman?” is the question I’ve been asked so often leading up to this race. This is why. It’s been life changing and turned me into a better man. A man that falls down and gets back on his feet holding a stronger ground day in and day out.

It truly has been a journey that I will never forget.

Guest Blog post: Coach Robert “Flanny” Flanigan, Owner - Central Virgina Endurance and Black Dragon Racing.

With just a few days until the gun fires at the 2014 edition of Ironman Coeur d’Alene I wanted to step back to reflect and comment on the preparation James has put in since the decision to pursue Ironman was made late in 2013. 

From the very beginnings of the preparation for this season, one concept was reinforced to James almost every time we spoke. The concept of consistency. The season needed to be looked at as a very long book with each of the pages being individual workouts, each chapter being a cycle (block), and the entire book being the work done to prepare for race day. Success or failure would not be determined by the individual pages of the book, but would be determined by the overall volume of the book. Getting the workouts in day after day, making the right decisions, and being consistent would be the keys to unlocking the physiological adaptations needed to accomplish the goals James had set.

For those familiar with James and his personal situation, consistency would not prove to be as easy as it sounds. As a committed family man, businessperson, and lastly an athlete the life demands took a toll on James throughout the process. This is where the value of the coach-athlete relationship comes into play and makes a huge impact. Coaching is not about training plans. Any educated and intelligent person can eventually throw together workouts and call it a training plan. It’s everything else that makes up coaching. Helping an athlete navigate the insanity that can be life while staying on track to achieve peak performance and meet their goals. The preparation period for this race threw everything it had at James ranging from illness and unexpected lows to career advancement and unexpected highs. James and I stayed very closely connected throughout the entire process and were able to course correct when the currents of life tried to push us off course.  The result was the consistency I had hoped for and preached since the start. Did we get to fill the book with as many pages as I had hoped or expected? Not really but we did get in all the key parts of each chapter, all the chapters, and the book is now complete.  We have indeed seen the adaptations we had hoped we would see leading into his first Ironman.

James will be entering this race in the best form and fitness he has ever been in, injury free, strong, fast, and most importantly with the support of his loving family. I cannot tell you how refreshing it has been to work with someone so fully committed to his family. In this sport I see many people willing to sacrifice so much to succeed and many times those that suffer most are the athlete’s family. While the goals James had set for himself were of great importance to him there was no question as to what sacrifices we would make in his preparation. Family always came first and we were all in agreement with that expectation. The sweaty hugs at the finish line will truly be a team celebration as they all took this journey together.

When James gets into those chilly waters at the start, he can do so knowing he is fully prepared to race Ironman and his only job is to execute his race plan, stay dynamic and adjust to the demands of the day, and enjoy the end of a long and rewarding journey. 

Good Days, Bad Days

Right now the bad days are definitely out weighing the good days but I'm trying not to let it get to me. I've accepted the fact that there will be days that I can't train. At first it really brought me down in the dumps. Training has a snowball effect on my brain for some reason. If I miss one day of training I am completely UNmotivated to train the next day (which you think the opposite would happen) and I just get depressed about the sport and convince myself I am out of shape and slow. On the flip side, whenever I have a good session or even better - 2 or 3 workouts in a day (rare lately), I can't wait to get up and train and my confidence is through the roof! Anyone else have this issue? It's been a battle with me over the past month to look at the big picture and not sweat a forced day off and realize that I have a great base under me and it's all about getting sharp and fast for IMCDA.

Deep down inside I know that I'm in great shape and that I'm capable of having a great race. It's going to be all about executing and learning as I go since this is my first IM. I'm really looking forward to traveling with the family and racing. Lately I've been spending maybe 30 minutes a/day with them M-F and it is killing me. I know the end is near and I can't wait to race and then taking a break away from triathlon. That break may be one month to get the house sold/buy another and then build into IM Worlds 70.3 in Canada or that break may be for 15 years so I can focus all of my energy and attention towards my family. I know it'll be possible to balance triathlon and life once I eliminate my long commute but I'm not sure if I want to do that. I may just buy a road bike and be a roadie for awhile, do some cyclocross or maybe see if I can pop a sub 2:30 marathon - who knows.

Here's a summary of last week's training which was pretty light but it was all I could do with such a busy week. I'm just going to post totals - don't think anyone was interested in specific workouts!

Totals (2 swims, 2 rides, 3 runs)
Swim: 6,500 yds /2:17
Bike: 93 miles / 6:04
Run: 26 miles / 4:00
Total hours: 12:20

Questions / Comments always appreciated!