(note: this is a draft of a version going into the Hammer Nutrition mag)
I love sport. I love the passion it brings. I love the challenges and test. I love the glory and the risk of failure. I love the ritual of races, the community of competition and how it transcends humanity. It binds and unites us even as we strive on course to divide ourselves from each other during the event. The International Triathlon Union’s Long Course World Championships are in Basque Country Spain this year and much of the 4k swim, 120k bike and 30k run follows the path of pilgrims along El Camino Del Santiago, an 800k path that winds through this stunning area simple called in English “the way” or the way of St. James.
I started triathlon because of reasons I mentioned; because when they are all combined it felt like a pilgrimage. To be selected to the Pro National Team for this event and to race the worlds best on an international stage is humbling and added to the experience.
In my prep for this race I was challenged by the fact that USAT named the team 6 weeks prior to the race. Planning a vacation here in that time would be hard, pulling together solid training and racing well a bigger task. But I was kind of lucky, I was in my mid-season break, so while fitness was down a bit, I was rested and motivated and I crammed a ton of hard training in the 4 weeks winning one race along the way. The key for that kind of crash training plan, were you go from no training to 35-40 hours a week is recovery. Recovery started after each workout with Recoverite. I also consumed my own weight in protein bars! Lastly, I used REM Caps nightly. The reason I use Hammer products is they go beyond other products. I could get carbs an protein from a lot of recovery stinks but Hammer adds vitamins and minerals along with glucosamine for joints. I could buy valerian root someplace else but Hammer adds 5-htp a natural mood stabilizer. hammer knows 35-40 hours of training can make an athlete surely and 5-htp is a holistic way to keep oneself in a positive mental state.
The race came and the pro men lead the way…on The Way. The swim was long and meaningful, and I made the first group at the start but I have no business being in that group so as I got dropped I looked for the next group and had a great 1500m. Sadly cross winds broke up out group and I found myself solo. A bit more Bad luck hit me when I got to a turn and got sent the wrong way do to my failure to understand Spanish.
Out on the bike I seemed to have dead legs. I am not use to this short of a ride and road at my ironman pace, which was way too slow. I felt stronger and stronger as the ride progressed as I ate Hammer Gels and drank Heed. I just didn’t have enough time to get that next gear needed to drill this distance.
Out in the run I was finally coming good and felt like I was flying. The crowds were huge as Europe loves a good race and several rows deep and they set up grandstands at points. It was epic. Races in Europe are just on another level. I am pretty sure every Spaniard in every town came out. At times the crowds we deafening. I ran the first half, 15k in 61:30 (about 6:40 pace), and ran myself into 26th place among the pro men. It was one of those days when you run and feel like your feet are not touching the ground. When the reality of physiology gave way to the psychology of big crowds I stopped bonking by downing two espresso gels. I find them the perfect amount of caffeine and calories and the taste was fitting since I was running through a plaza in Spain which are famous for sipping Cafe Con Leches which are a shot of espresso. At 20k into the run I realized I couldn’t catch anyone else so I just kept an easy tempo so I would finish and be able to race again in 6 days and start training for my fall “A” race, Rev3 Cedar Point. Paz y amor mi amigos y hammer on!
Foto: men’s start.