Changing Up Nutrition

Posted by Ed Crossman in Nutrition, Triathlon

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It has always been my nightmare…cramping up, melting, DNF. Luckily it has only become a reality once, but I still do not think I have a full handle on race nutrition.

My one crash and burn story is from Nov 2012 during the San Antonio Rock n Roll marathon. It was hot. It was my first marathon. It did not go well. I paced where I wanted to be for the first half, but then my upset gut took over and I spent the next 2.5 hours in agony.

I learned later that salt pills are a good idea on hot days. Silly me.

Fast forward to my last race, REV3 South Carolina and my gut did not want to race, nor did my cramping left calf. It was no where near as severe as the marathon, but something went wrong and I want to find out what it is.

Ultragen, EFS, Pre Race

Ultragen, EFS, Pre Race

First Endurance

So I am on a mission to try out something new, just before race day. Next race is in 3 weeks so I will have about 1 solid hard week to test it out.

I picked First Endurance and snagged their Pre-Race (powder packed with awakening products), EFS sports drink (standard mix with water), EFS Liquid Shot (comparable to gels, but more powerful), and Ultragen (Post workout you mix with a drink, I like Powerade zero).

So I will be trying these out over the next few weeks to see if it helps any. There is so much nutrition out there and everyone reacts differently. I am hoping this will shake up the routine and lead me to a great race in Nov…REV3 Venice 70.3.

More later.



REV3 Anderson South Carolina Olympic Review

Posted by Ed Crossman in Race Review, Triathlon

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With the last race of the season a month away it was a great time to get a good race in. Anderson South Carolina is only a 1.5 hour drive from our new place in Atlanta and so it was a perfect place to test the training.

I really wanted to see my progress at this race. I have been hitting the run really hard and maintaining my bike. I have also discovered a new pace when swimming. I now have a tempo-ish pace…which is better than my other do not die speed.


We arrived the day before around 3pm and were able to get checked-in and scout our T2 area. T1 was a few miles up the road so we drove up and checked our bikes. This course sports the fun ‘clean’ transition at T1, meaning everything you leave behind must be bagged up. The volunteers drive everything over to T2 for pickup (they actually had mine dropped off at my bike). I do not mind it much at all.

Race morning we woke up kind of late, I slept in an extra 15 minutes which is super unusual. I made some pancakes, we ate, we clothed, and were out the door on time. T2 was set first and went quick. When we jumped over to the shuttle there was a huge line, however the volunteer called us up as racers got priority over spectators. 🙂 Sweet. We made it to T1 in plenty of time and we were watching the starting waves in no time. Great pre-race!


In no time I was suited up in my sleeveless wet suit and at the calm waters edge. The swim started fairly crowed. There was a lot of bumping and I went out too fast. My so called tempo-ish pace transformed into a sprint and I was out of breath. I tried for a few meters to keep pushing but still trying to calm my breathing. About 60% through the swim I caught my stride and was grooving through.

The swim is in a lake and has you circle around a peninsula, so you are constantly swimming left. There were quite a few back strokers going sideways in this course.  I had to move a few out of my way. Also a breast stroker was keeping pace with me. I still need to work on my swim.

Time 29 minutes…right on pace.


I had heard mixed stories about the bike course. It was hilly, it was helly, it was hellacious! But I had seen previous bike splits about an hour so it couldn’t be too bad. Well it was slightly more hilly than I wanted. The first 5 miles was a net up hill with nothing too steep. The middle of the course sported a few fairly steep small ring hills. I kept pushing and was passing a lot of cyclist. Especially some of the downhills. I hit 42mph max and averaged upper 30’s in a few spots. There was plenty of intersection control by the police, but we were still on open roads so there were still a few cars on the loose.

Around mile 16 it almost ended, my left calf cramped massively. A car was on the course and was pacing behind some riders…riders I needed to pass. I slipped around the car and waved my arm out as I took off. Then bam…cramp. I stopped pedaling to stretch it and work it out. It took almost a mile to work it out to get back to speed. I downed another salt pill, chugged some Skratch, and gulped some more of my gel. It worked as the cramp did not return.

One other odd thing that has never happened in a race before is someone was drafting off me for about 4 miles towards the start. I kept glancing back and they were riding real close to my rear tire. I slowed down, sped up, swerved to the left, to the right, he just kept drafting. I had no clue what to do. So I pressed on and eventually I was alone.

Time 1:07 – Great considering the hills (~1,500ft of climbing) and the cramp.


The run sucked. Actually I should clarify and say I sucked during the run. I started with a little side stitch from the start and just past mile 2 it was amplifying. I needed to control it. Luckily I was able to control it for the second half of the run after a gel and salvage my race. And it turns out that last kick bumped me to the age group podium.

The course itself is hilly throughout. A lot of long uphills and downhills. Plenty of aid stations. The temperature was rising slightly but I was still able to cool my core temp.

Just before mile 3 another racer passed by and I noticed his age group was the same as mine. Up until then I hardly noticed anyone’s age group. He had been trailing behind me for a few but my side stitch was having the better of me and he overtook me. I knew I had to stay on his heels or else it would be a lot hard to overtake him later.

I paced behind him for almost a mile before we hit the most significant uphill of the course around mile 4. The gel was kicking in and my side stitch was subsiding and I felt good enough to push a bit at the start of the hill, so I did. I passed the other racer and I was able to keep a pretty good clip through the hill and was able to maintain a pace close to what I had planned for the whole run.

As the finish line was in sight I checked back and saw a lot of space behind me. I still found the energy to give it one last sprint at the end.

Time 44:30 – A good effort.

Overall – 2:24

I was happy with my time, and once I checked the results I was happier. As usual I was not first on the list, but I was second. The first place guy ended up with 1st overall which means that the age group 1st place went to me…I’ll take it every day.

So with that, I was first in my age group, and it came down to some racing at the end of the run. That’s what makes it all fun. I had a great chat with the other age grouper afterwards and he had the same battle rolling through his mind. He got 2nd in the AG and got to the podium as well.

REV3 Anderson 2013 was a great race, 10/10, well supported, well organized, would race again.



Race Report – 2013 IM Steelhead 70.3

Posted by Ed Crossman in Race Review, Triathlon

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2013 Steelhead Review

I signed up for this race because it promised fast flat rides and a point to point swim with the current. The description was not far from the truth.


We flew into Chicago the Thursday before the race and drove out to the hotel on Friday. We stayed about 30 miles from the starting line. We checked in and dropped off the bike by Sat and were fully carb loaded by Sat night.

The morning plan was to hit up an IHOP and head to the race. However IHOP had different plans. We were greeted by the staff telling us the place was closed until 6am…too late. So plan B turned into McDonalds. Unfortunate yes, but we needed calories!

A quick 2 burritos and a egg sandwich later and I was setting up transition. I had everything set with plenty of time. I suited up half my wetsuit, grabbed my goggles, swim cap, pre-fuel drink and headed out for the 1 mile walk to swim start.


This was a point to point swim in Lake Michigan. It was my first beach start, and first swim in rough water. I have watched these swim starts in videos and it looks like everyone barrels out into the water, dives in, and swim like crazy through the waves.

It is nothing like that.

Everyone walked out through the shallow parts, which seemed to last forever. I was somewhat sick of wadding through knee deep water and dove into a wave to start swimming.

I was awful at swimming in waves. I came up for breath at the complete wrong time and caught a wave in my open mouth. It startled me a little and I stood up to catch my breath. I jumped back in and tried to get a rhythm. I was again thrown off by an unexpected wave, but I motored through to the first turn.

It was 8 yellow buoys followed by 8 more orange ones until the turn to shore. One straight shot that lasted forever. The waves were a little hard to adjust to but it was not too terrible. They did slow up the swim quite a bit and I missed out on my goal swim time.

Swim time was 46 minutes

PS, that with the current thing was a sham!


A quick run through the narrow long transition area and I was switching to the bike. I took a deep breath and jumped off for the bike start.

I knew the bike would be flat and it delivered as promised. I felt great so I knew I could attack the bike.

My wave start was 4th to last, so there were plenty of athletes on the course already. I passed many many athletes on the bike. I was extra careful not to spend too much time in the draft zone, 4 bike lengths!

I powered through the first half and was greeted with some favorable winds and downhills on the return. Each time I looked down at the Garmin I was surprised at the speeds.

Bike time was 2:29!


Transition was fast. My legs felt great. I was ready to rock this run.

I started out fast and I knew I should hold back. I am not sure if that was a wise decision or not, but I am still happy with the outcome.

The run had a few good hills mixed into the mostly flat/downhill terrain. There were two loops around a neighborhood and the old Maytag corporate campus. The aid stations were well stocked with plenty to drink/eat. It was a dream.

A few troubling things did happen on the run. At mile 9 my Enduralytes fell out of my pocket. That was not too bad. Around mile 9 my race belt came off. Luckily I was holding it so I just tucked it under my jersey. Then my ankle started to tingle with the feeling of a cramp…then my hamstring at mile 12.

I knew the cramps would be coming soon so I took off running hard. The last 3 miles I was gritting it out. It was really tough but I was holding it together. My training was paying off.

The run through the finisher chute was amazing. I was slapping hands and cheering like crazy as I tried to sprint it out. I crossed the line and it was all I could muster. I stopped completely exhausted.

Run time was 1:44.

In summary

This explains it all:

After IM Steelhead 70.3

After IM Steelhead 70.3











The race was great, 10/10, would race again!

2013 – Tri Waco Olympic Race Review

Posted by Ed Crossman in Bicycling, Running, Swimming, Triathlon

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So this was our first repeat race, however we did bump up the distance to an Olympic distance. It was tempting not to sign up for the 400 meter swim sprint, but this worked out well for prepping for Ironman Stealhead 70.3 next weekend.



We love races that start outside of our hotel. And this was the perfect setup. We woke up nice and early, ate some peanut butter sandwiches and a banana and we were set. We brought all our gear down and were all done by 5:30am.

It is a nice feeling to sit down and relax knowing that transition is all taken care of. However we would find out later that someone decided to setup inbetween us, yes we setup right on the outside of the rack side by side.


I hate the swim, and this was no exception. The swim lane was pretty narrow and there was a lot of swimming over each other. After about 400 meters it kind of cleared up until each turn.

The swim was uneventful until about halfway through and a foot cramp popped up. There is not much to do but relax and flex my foot up. extending the toes out makes it a bit worse. I did have to flip on my back for a sec but the cramp was manageable afterwards.

I finished kicking hard and clocked a time of 34 minutes, my fastest time by 40 seconds.


I was pumped to have a Zipp disk and a 404 on the front for this race. It was 25.25 miles of really flat good roads. The shoulder had only a handful of bumps and holes, but overall a great course.

The ride out was slightly uphill, but it was super fast. After changing directions I found out it was because there was a pretty decent wind rolling through. The ride back was tough with the head wind. I kept pushing and pushing remembering my previous time trials and how my legs felt afterwards. I knew even though there was burning I could manage it through the run.

I passed quite a lot of people since y swim was a bit slow, and finished in 1:06.


I was feeling good at this point and was ready to rock the run. I had forgot to bring a gel so I had to pack my soft flask I used on the bike in my back pocket. It was kind of awkward bouncing in my pocket, but it was definitely needed.

I had heard there were some sneaky hills about 2 miles in that we missed last year on the sprint. So I was slightly cautious with my pace, but still pushing it. And when we hit the hills I was glad I did save some energy. We did about 262 ft of climbing on the entire run, I think about 80% of it in the middle 2 miles.

These hills broke athletes. I saw many walking but I kept pushing uphill and downhill. There were a total of 3 hills, each a steep up and down, then we hit the same ones on the way back. After clearing the hills I felt much better and kept my pace up.

The final turn onto the finishing bridge was a giant relief. I pushed as hard as I could in the final few meters and barely mustered a quicker pace. The run time was 46 minutes…super happy.

This pic explains it all…it is my foot…too fast 🙂

My foot at tri waco

My foot at tri waco


Great race, great support, 10/10, would race again.

Catch up post – 2013 HITS Marble Falls 70.3 – Ed’s Review

Posted by Ed Crossman in Triathlon

So I have slacked on getting this review out, slacked a lot. That’s my bad. Here is how it went.

We stayed right next to the race start, one of our favorite things to do. It makes packet pick up and race day travel so much easier. For this trip we brought cooking items, both the rice cooker and flat grill.

We made up rice cakes and prepared our pancake batter Friday night. We were going to be prepped with as much food as we could. This was our first race and we had no idea what we were doing 🙂

Race Morning

We woke up early and gathered in the hotel lobby. It was too early for the hotel breakfast, but we were able to set up a grill for our pancakes. It was nice. Plenty to eat at 5am.

We then made our way down to the transition area to setup. Everything checked out, everything was set, and now it was time for everyone to start.


The swim was a mass start of both full distance and half distance racers. About 200 people. The water was calm and not too cold. I used a full sleeve wetsuit and I loved it. The swim was mostly uneventful and I finished in 41 minutes.

I exited the water and started running up and luckily we had strippers. A quick pull and I was off to jump on my bike. T1 was less than 3 minutes.


I loaded up on food and jumped on my bike. I packed 4 rice cakes, a soft flask of hammer gel, and two bottles of Skratch labs electrolyte. My plan was to drink one and pick up water.

The bike started out with a bit of a hill outside T1. I tried to eat my first rice cake but noticed something I did not plan for, a dry mouth. I ended up stuffing down about 2.5 rice cakes, and plenty of Hammer gel. This route was a bit hillier than expected and we ended up climbing about 3,000 feet. I ended with a time of 2:53. I was then out of T2 in about 3 minutes.


I was feeling good coming out of T2 and I blew right by the first aid station just outside of the transition area. The next one was not for another 1.5 miles. It was immediately apparent that it was going to be hot and I was going to have trouble. I fought off some cramping in the first half and muscled through the second half until the hill of hills. That unforgiving hill just 2 miles from the finish.

I finished the run in 1:59, just eeked under 2 hours. Total time was about 5:40, I am definitely going to work on lowering this.

The last of the bike rides

Posted by Ed Crossman in Bicycling, Training, Triathlon

The ride felt great. I really just want to see what this Strava plug in looks like.


The Home Stretch

Posted by Ed Crossman in General, Training, Triathlon

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It is getting darn close to race day. To make things more complicated we have moved (just up the road) and seem to be booking more travel for work, Sounds like a great excuse to do nothing.

Wrong. Just the opposite. It stinks coming home tired from work, to a house full of boxes and then trying to squeeze a workout in. But it has to get done. Just swam a small 1600 yard set in the pool. This following my longest open water swim of 1.2 miles in some chop.

It is definitely worth it to push on through since working out does bring some calm into your life. Then I destroy everything when I race! I cannot wait.

Publix’s Georgia Half-Marathon Race Report

Posted by Ed Crossman in Running, Training, Uncategorized

This year Michelle and I decided to travel to Atlanta to race a half marathon for our 4th anniversary. It seemed to fit in nicely with our HIM training plus Michelle came up with a sweet name for it, our Half Marathon-iversary.


We booked the closest hotel we could to the starting line and I do not think it could get any closer. We arrived late Thursday night and had plenty of time to explore before the race on Sunday.

One thing we have learned is that we should keep the sight seeing walking to a minimum the few days before the race. We did walk a bit the Friday before and went on a short 3 mile jog, but it was not very intense. The Saturday before the race was relaxed.

Race Day

We started dark and early. We had preped our clothes the night before and we were quick to get dressed and start our nutrition. We made peanut butter and banana sandwiches and drank some pre-fuel.

The weather was perfect, cloudy and a bit humid. The humidity kept us warm for how early it was in the morning. We walked out the front of the hotel and my corral was right out on the street. Within 10 minutes the race started.

It was slightly odd that they announced each corral would start within 30 seconds of each other. What happened was a rolling start and before I knew it I was off.

I was unaware of the elevation I would be facing but I was going to race hard anyways. Turns out there were a lot of hills. Not the Texas rolling hills we have experienced, but rather sharp inclines followed by sharp declines. So I knew I would have to hit the downhills a little quicker and power through the up hills.

I worked on using a slight change in posture in the uphills and focused on using more of my hamstring and glutes. I would lean forward slightly and not launch off my toes as much going up hills.

Nutrition wise I hit every water station for Powerade or water. I had 2 Hammer gels, one around mile 6 and another around mile 10. I do like the late gel to help me finish strong. And it showed in this race as I increased my pace for the final 2 miles which increased almost 100 feet in elevation. I also took about 6 Endurolytes to keep my electrolytes up.

Overall Result

1:38 overall which equates to a 7:26 min/mi pace. I was able to finish strong and I felt great afterwards. I would say it was a great success.

The Dreaded Doctor

Posted by Ed Crossman in General, Injury, Training

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EvilDoctorI feel bad for titling this as I did, but unfortunately there are certain careers that people do not like to use. The dentist, the police, the exterminator, and as an athlete…the doctor!

It started early in my life when I was playing football. It seemed that every time I would visit the doctor I would come out with a cast or crutches and be sentenced to ‘no sports’ for a while. It was always a bummer and this bad habit has stuck with me today.

But at times it is necessary to go visit. To check up on aches that ache a bit more than an ache should be aching. In my case it was a bit of the knee pain.

The last 5 miles of a particularly grueling uphill both ways kind of 51 mile ride I felt some soreness. No big deal, I’ve had it before, lets start this 30 minute run and shake out the soreness.

The run did not go so well and I have not run since. Now when I try to run the pain in my knee is intense after only a few strides. I then have to walk or stop. That is is when I knew I had to see…the dreaded doctor.

I make a visit to the doc sound awful but with increasing popularity of endurance sports, sports doctors have sprung up everywhere and you can select your favorite. I like mine so it isn’t a hassle or a pain (pun unfortunately kept in after an internal cerebral debate).

For my particular ailment there really wasn’t anything structurally wrong with my knee. Everything looked great, which is kind of not what I wanted to hear. Now there is nothing to fix. So it is on to my next adventure, Airrosti. More on that later when I go.

So I guess the moral of this wall of text is to go to the doctor and find your solution. The goal is to exercise pain free and to exercise for years to come.

Extra Ride Day

Posted by Ed Crossman in Bicycling, General

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The great Corporate Holiday structure.

I always loved seeing a calendar full of corporate holidays. It meant long weekends, less work, paid days off…and now, extra ride days.

Presidents Day ride in front of Mission Espada

Presidents Day ride in front of Mission Espada

I took advantage of the latest installment of corporate holidays and rode a nice relaxing 22 miles. It was great to not push it (except for a little sprint here and there) and to take in the air.

What was especially gratifying was knowing that I am usually cramped up in a cubical staring at my computer screen. Even though I do enjoy my job a ton, I definitely prefer the bike riding option.

It is definitely not easy training for a 70.3 while working full time, and going to school, and working side projects. But holidays make great opportunities to add in those extra base miles.

The next holiday is not really a corporate one (even though it should be) but we are taking another day off for it. St Patrick’s day will be fun and will be filled with running. And of course some Guinness afterwards.