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2015 Ironman Florida 70.3 – Race Review

Posted by Ed Crossman in Nutrition, Race Review, Triathlon

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There just are no easy races. This was the real kick off to the season with my first A race. It turned ugly.


This year is my year for speed. I want to get faster at everything, especially some shorter distance races. I’ve been riding most all of winter, starting around the end of December and I have been ramping up my run fitness. Leading into this race I set PRs at 5k, 10k, 13.1, and Olympic distances.

Michelle and I took Friday off work and drove down to Haines City fairly early on Friday which was nice and more relaxing than usual. We met up with Ted and family to head over to registration. I got my race day wheels on and went off on a easy bike ride. I hadn’t ridden a disc wheel in a long time and it was fast…more on that later.

The next day on Saturday we went for a little warm up swim and jog. The water was warm, which meant probably no wet suit. So after a quick practice swim and cry I was left with just hopes of having a decent enough swim. I actually had a little trick in my pocket. The week prior to the race I had a swim session with the great Sam Morgan, one of our coaches. He took some video, had me do drills and broke down exactly what was holding me back from speeding up to mediocrity at swimming…and even threw in some tips on how to get fast! If you are wanting to get faster, not sure your form is on par I would highly recommend setting something up with Sam…well worth it for a one-on-one.

So no issues in the days leading up to the race. Morning of we made Pancakes in our room, it was super early so no pictures. We made it to Lake Eva around 5am, found a parking spot at a bank and made our way into transition. Somehow I got All World Athlete status so I had a rack real close to bike out. The other cool thing about AWA status is that everyone around me has setup transition before. So bikes were in the right spots and there wasn’t overflowing excessive transition areas. I found Michelle and we went to the team tent to wait for the start.

I went down to watch Michelle start the relay in the first wave and went back to the tent and downed my EFS pre-race. I saw Chris Pratt in the tent next to us. He was racing with a former Marine. I wished them a good race and went out to the swim start.


I don’t know what happened but I was a swimming machine. I didn’t think it was very crowed at the start, but it got a little crowded at the turns (6 of them). I kept aggressive in the corners and worked my technique, just as Sam suggested. I knew towards the end this was a fairly good swim and when I finally stood up I saw a 39 on my watch for the first time…ever. I almost did a mic drop and stopped the race right there…but I kept going.

The transition area was long and my bike was at the end. Which was way better than the other way around. I popped on my shoes and helmet…then took off my swim skin, doh…and was off on the bike.

Swim: 39:39 (PR)


Now my race starts. I was in one of the later waves so there were people everywhere. I just hammered it…maybe a bit too much to start…but flying past people was great. My plan was to maintain around 250-255watts. I knew the first part was faster than the second, and I could probably bank some speed so I let myself go a bit above my planned wattage. I was up around 265w 10 miles in and eased it to about 260 at the halfway point. My heart rate was a bit higher than expected. It was hovering in the higher 160s, I think this was my unravelling. Especially on hot days, it is key to keep the HR low. For the second half of the bike I did lower the wattage and averaged around 249…but my speed was actually almost identical. I think we did have a little wind in our favor on the second half.

Much like the swim, there are a lot of turns. Too many. But I have been riding outside a lot and am very confident with my bike handling skills. I was passing a lot of people through the turns and as well as just out of the turns. My coach always says fast bike splits are about doing a lot of little things right. Same with hitting the hills. I spotted a lot of people getting out of the saddle on climbs that didn’t need it. I see this a lot when people hammer an uphill and coast on the downhill. Not in a race. Hammer a steady effort especially leading up to a hill, put a little higher effort on the uphill, be sure to shift to a harder gear almost at the top, then hammer a steady high cadence effort through the downhill.

I think I hit my nutrition well. I took down about 500-600cals of EFS liquid shot, 200-300cals of efs, lots of water, and 4 caffeinated salt tabs. My legs were a little fatigued but nothing excessive. I jumped off my bike, slapped on my shoes, grabbed my race belt looped around my visor, got some sun screen, and was off.

Bike: 2:22:54 (PR)
Normalized Power: 256w (265 1st half v 247 2nd half)
Average Power: 251w (260 vs. 241)


I started fairly confident in the run, although my HR monitor was not reading on my Garmin. My legs felt tired, but were loosening up, my gut was fine, and I was taking down cals and salt. I could not pee on the bike (tried twice) so I went around mile 2. I finished the first of 3 loops in 33 minutes. I’ll take that.

Then things got ugly. My gut got angry. I could feel the sun baking me, my internal temp was boiling over and my HR would not shut up! There are 2 fairly steep hills on the first section of the loop and I was walking on the first hill. Until I got the tap from Ted, who made me run…at a reasonable pace. This was a life saver, just chatting for a bit pacing me out. Towards the end of the second hill Ted took off and I tried to just keep it moving to the next aid station.

I did take an extended stop to get my HR down, get some salt and calories in and prep for a better lap 3. It was a little better but not by much. I jogged out the last half mile and crossed the finish.

Run: 1:54:55

It was a 5:02 effort. My goal was not to die, which was only about 10% achieved. I really wanted a solid time and I set myself up for it, I just couldn’t finish it off. But I have a plan for the rest of the year and this was a great data point.

So it time to recover, race a bunch of shorter distances races through June, then July starts the journey to 2016 Worlds in Australia. I want to go, I will go, and I have plenty of time to get to it.

The Hunger Bomb

Posted by Ed Crossman in General, Nutrition, Training


Training has been ramping up in preparation for the first race of the season. This means long bikes, hard runs, and of course a few swims.

What this also means is a heavy dose of some hunger bombs. I can usually get through a 3 hour ride on the weekend and mow down a good sized dinner. Then continue like normal for a few days. But every so often, it hits. That feeling of constantly being calorie deficient and all I can do is eat!

I have found different intensities of hunger bombs.

Code Red Hunger Bomb

This is the most intense feeling of hunger. It is experienced by some shaking limbs and intense hunger feelings. Food must immediately be consumed…lots of food.

Code Orange Hunger Bomb

This is much less intense than code red and comes with no limb shakes. It is just a constant hunger feeling. Snacking is not the cure! It is a start. Snack immediately and make plans for more sustainable food.

Code Green Hunger Bomb

This is more mental than anything. It is the feeling of, I just burned x,xxx calories and need to eat! You have your pick of dish, go wild.

Feeding the beast as much as you like is great in this part of the season. You need some mass to build better muscles, and the extra weight makes training a bit harder. But once a race gets close it’s cutting time and nutrition should be more closely monitored to avoid the hunger bombs.


REV3 Age Group Championship Knoxville Race Report – Ed

Posted by Ed Crossman in Race Review, Triathlon

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This last weekend Michelle and I got to race the Age Group Championship for REV3 in Knoxville. This is the first year for the Age Group Championship and we thought it would be fun to do…it was mostly fun.

If you are not familiar with the REV3 AG Championship they used races from last year to assign points. Points were based on how well you finished with the lowest score going to the winner and then it goes up from there. You must have completed 2 races to qualify and they only invited a certain number of participants that qualified. If someone did not sign up they rolled it down to the next person.

Since racers could qualify with both Olympic and Half distance races REV3 made this a wonky distance. It was a 1.2 mile swim, 40 mile bike, and a 9.8 mile run. It proved to be wonky indeed. Do I race it as a long Olympic or a short Half.


Leading up to the race I was eating well and sticking to the training plan. I felt strong and went through my short taper with no real glitches. Just 2 missed workouts due to some travel. We had some local italian the night before and got to sleep early.

I woke up around 4:45, got dressed, put my timing chip on (always one of the first things I do), and started some pancakes. Since the hotel breakfast is not started we try to bring our grill and make our own. We were out the door by 5:15 and walking to transition.

Everything was set up at transition, tires pumped, towel down, stuff organized, emptied out stomach, and before we knew it we were both in our wet suits walking the quarter mile to the swim start. We had our pre-race juice (1 scoop EFS pre-race, 1 scoop EFS, 12oz Poweraid zero). We drank those on the way.


The swim went a bit up stream at first but then turned around and most would be downstream. The temperature was 68 race morning so it was delightfully refreshing. I had my full sleeve wet suit for this one.

We watched the pros start and judas they can fly through the water. Soon after my wave was in the water for our mass start.

This swim went very well. It was not crowded, and when you did get close to someone they moved. That was different. I felt strong and stayed somewhat straight in line with the buoys.

Time: 38 minutes – PR for the distance.


There was a bit of a jog to the transition area from swim out, but it was no big deal. In no time I was off with my shoes on, helmet strapped, nutrition loaded, and glasses on.

The bike course was hilly, and I knew it going in. However I didn’t fully comprehend how close together the hills were and how little respite I would have. I had a range of power in mind to hit, but I was going to let the day let me pick the final number.

Heading out on the bike we jumped onto an on ramp, crossed the river and started on the 36 miles of 2 track country roads. They were well maintained and still open to cars. But all the intersections were blocked off by police.

The first real climb didn’t come until mile 7 but was followed by a quick descent. Which was then followed by another climb, followed by a quick descent…followed by a climb…and on, and on, and on. The most significant climbing seemed to be around mile 32. At that point I knew my legs were shot. My quads were burning and it was hard to maintain any kind of power.

I made sure I fueled up on the bike. My legs were burning which meant I was burning fuel. I cleared one bottle of liquid shot, 20 oz EFS, and another 20oz of water. I would have liked to drink more, but it was a cool hilly day, not the best conditions to be grabbing bottles. I still felt ok for nutrition.

The weird part of this race is that there was an Olympic and Half going on at the same time, on the same course. At mile 26 I met up with the Olympic athletes. Which meant more people to pass.

With 2 miles to go and the river in sight we hit the steepest climb yet. Luckily it was short, but I could tell it was breaking all the cyclists around me. I had to stand to use some body weight to turn the cranks.

Time: 1:58, Ave 20+mph…meh


Coming off the bike my legs were burning. I spent an extra few seconds on the ground putting on my shoes. I think it helped a little. At least for motivation.

I hit my first mile time. I was keeping my cadence as high as I could knowing that would help ease the load on my legs. It didn’t help for too long. My cadence dropped a bit and so did my speed.

I did get to see the pros as they were finishing up their run course. They were running fast. This was one of my favorite parts of REV3 races, but the pro race series is going away so I will not get to enjoy it at REV3 again.

Just past the olympic turn around we jumped onto a paved trail. I knew the running hills were going to start. We got a little warm up to get our attention with a short hill. But then you came around to a beast of a mountain. An athlete in front of me put it best…”F@#k”. It was tough, but I kept my feet moving and fired from what was left of my glutes.

The course leveled off for a bit and we headed into a neighborhood for a decent descent right into hill 2. Just as tough as the first and at this point my legs are screaming ready to quit. I was having none of that and fought through as tough as I could.

I held a steady grimace on my face the whole way back. I am not sure how I kept running, my quads were on fire. I slogged along as fast as I could knowing I needed to finish the whole thing quickly. Coming back through the Olympic turn around was reassuring, then heading back up the long steady uphill road to the transition area was nice. Knowing there was only a short uphill to the finish chute kept me going. I emptied the tank on the way up to the finish and crossed the line exhausted…barely standing…legs still on fire with pain.

Garmin time – 1:17

Post Race

After about 5 minutes in a chair I hobbled up to my feet and I was able to check my times. Unfortunately they were having issues with their timing and it said I finished 5th in my age group. Later it turns out I finished 6th, just off their 5 person podium. Bummer. Total time was 3:57

I hobbled back to transition to get my Ultragen and my quads started cramping up on the downhill walk. What more could I ask for, my body was drained.

Would I do it again, probably not. It is a weird distance, I would have much rather prepped for a Half or an Olympic. It’s just weird, fun, but weird.

Pictures to come.


A Nutrition Update

Posted by Ed Crossman in General, Nutrition, Training, Uncategorized

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So it has been a while since I first posted about trying out First Endurance. I have had plenty of time to practice, experiment, and race using some of their products. I have to say, I like them.

At first glance the price can be off putting. These products are a little more expensive than the others. However you get a stronger product. As painful as it is each time I am purchasing, I have to remind myself that this stuff works.


I’ll start in chronological order of use on race day. The pre-race taste like butt. Well, what I imagine it may taste like. There are ways around it, and if you do not have access to those taste altering things, you may want to skip it.

My early morning and pre-race concoction is 1 scoop pre-race, 1 scoop EFS, and 12 oz Powerade Zero…Strawberry or Fruit Punch do me well.  This makes it tastes like Kool-aid, and you can’t go wrong with that.

What is nice about this combination is the electrolytes from the EFS. It is great mentally knowing you have proper hydration in your system before your swim.

Pre-race does not have the same effect as most other pre-workout powders. These are things like N.O. Xplode or CO2. I have tried those and they get you super pumped. My ears will tingle, and I will be super hyper. However with those pre-workouts I noticed they are dehydrating. I would usually cramp up on the swim at some point. I do not like that.

While Pre-race does not get you amped to the max, it does wake you up and get you focused on the task at hand.


I have bounced from Gatorade, to Heed, to Skratch and I have to say EFS has one of the strongest flavors.  I like it, it is a change and doesn’t take time to get accustom to the flavor. I use the Fruit Punch and just like I described above, it tastes like Kool-aid.

One of the best parts of using this is that I know it is loaded with a ton of electrolytes…its what plants crave. Well, maybe.

I have yet to do a bike race with EFS, however my training with it has gone well. That’s not to say that Skratch or Heed was not working on my bikes. I still have some testing to do.

Liquid Shot

Liquid Shot is First Endurance’s “gel” or “gu”, however it is not really a gel. This stuff is more fluid than gel, and it goes down easy.

One thing I noticed is that you can buy it in individual 400 cal squeeze bottles, and then in bulk in large bottles. You can reuse the squeeze tubes, but when you first buy them the liquid shot has settled. The separation makes it a little thicker than usual and it is hard to get out during a race. I would advice you to open the bottle and stir it up pre race.

The bulk sized container though has the good stuff. This is luquidy and the Wild Berry flavor is the bomb. I like the taste and it packs a lot of calories.

I raced with this during the Miami marathon. I didn’t use the squeeze bottle, but instead filled a handheld bottle with about 10ozs of it. The race was hot and humid and I could feel it just 3 miles in. I could feel my stomach turning slightly. Once I started on the liquid shot it straightened out and I felt great. I still used salt tabs with Liquid shots for the marathon since it was super warm out.

I think I will stick with the liquid shot.


The post race fuel. Your body craves it after workouts. This stuff is the jam. I usually go with Tropical Punch (I wish the flavors were consistent throughout their products)  and mix it with 20oz PowerAde zero (I try to buy the 32oz bottles, 12 for pre-race, 20 for post workout).

I like that it has 20g of protein along with lots of other goodies.

Comparing it to other products, I am not sure if I can tell that it is better than the others. I used Recoverite religiously for a year or so and loved it. It is the same feeling with Ultragen.

So I guess it comes down to preference…and flavor. I have tried Recoverite since, and it is not as good tasting as Ultragen.

I will finally be able to test this nutrition mixture at HITS Ocala. It will be an Olympic distance and I will be firing hard. I have a tendency to start the run with a bit of a gut issue, but I believe that is due to a lack of calories. I do plan on consuming more cals on the bike in the form of liquid shot, and drinking 1 bottle of EFS (along with some water).

And one last thing, this all sounds like an ad for First Endurance. Well you can tell by the unscientific reporting and the cost description as a sign that I most certainly have not received anything free from First Endurance. Would I like to get free stuff from them…oh heck yes.

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.