2017 Tallahassee Half Marathon

To say that I put a bit more pressure on myself this year to perform at the Tallahassee Marathon would have been an understatement.  Early on I set the goal of a finishing time of less than 1hr 30min and felt it would be doable.  Training went very smoothly until about 4 weeks out and then work ramped up and the situation made training a bit more difficult.

The day before the race I was at the expo for Science of Speed and was talking with many of the marathon runners.  Being around the crowd was very fun and talking with athletes about what there goals were, how there training had gone and how they were going to handle the cool start temperatures was exciting.  But in the back of my mind the question still lingered of “Will I be able to do this.”  It wasn’t completion that was the concern it was time.

The pace went out fast from the start and I made it my goal within the first mile to gauge my effort and go off what I knew I could sustain and not what the pack was capable of.  By the first tun the leaders were out of site.  I paced off another gentleman for a while and he and I discussed goals and past performances and around mile 4, on a downhill, he picked up the pace to something I was not willing to do.  A gap formed and it was up to me now.  I settled in, focused on my form and tried to keep the legs turning over as smoothly as possible.

Mile 8-10 played tricks with my head.  Mark rode up next to me at mile 9 and chatted with me for a few minutes to see how I was and crack a few jokes and with a quick time check(ran without a watch) my heart sunk.  I had spent the last 10 minutes beating myself up and had not realized that I was at mile ten, not mile nine.  After he slapped me back into reality.  I was on pace and not 5-6 minutes behind like I thought.  Mark scurried on ahead and I was left to climb the 1 mile grind up Park street to mile eleven.

The next 1.5 miles were nearly all down hill and my legs were more than thankful!  Through Cascades park I was met by my good buddy Colin who had a few motivational words to offer.  A quick sip of water and there was 3/4 of a mile to the line, all of which was uphill.  With my right calf screaming and on the verge of cramping I pushed the pace as best I could and dug in uphill.  As I hit the jog to the last 500m I saw the finishing clock read 1:27.20 and I knew I was going to make it.  I continued to push through the final 3 turns and crossed in a time of 1:28.30 and a chip time of 1:28.28.  Mission accomplished, doubt cast aside and extremely happy I snapped some photos with the kids and then was off to see my wife finish off her first full marathon.

What a great day, an amazing event and a 4 minute and 40 second PR on the same course in one years time!

Holiday Season Slump

To say “Christmas is my favorite time of year” is almost an understatement.  I love everything about it.  The Trees, the lights, the excitement of children as Santa appears, I really like the music and the true reason for celebration, the hope that the birth of Jesus Christ gives.  This year I had a great conversation with a friend who was on a very similar page as I am. He too loves the build up and excitement that comes with the season but dislikes the night of Christmas day, and particularly the day after.  This year that feeling has hit me harder than ever before, so much so that 2 days before I sadly told my wife “There are only two days of Christmas music left.”  This has lead me to seriously think about why have I been griswold-tree-in-living-roomso bummed about this. Eves dropping (sounds creepy, I know) on people in retail stores, coffee shops, at church and in my normal interactions with individuals I have come up with several reasons why there might be such a let down that hits the night of Christmas day.  These include downtime, excitement let down, a little thing I call Grinch Syndrome and a harsh reality of the New Year.

One of the most common themes I hear is that people are looking for a day off.  Whether that be from work, school or simply from the stresses of everyday life.  People love a day off or for some of the more fortunate days off.  The fact that the one day off is one of the most hectic there is and that Christmas fell on a Sunday this year leads to an even greater let down as many feel “cheated” that they did not get a 3 day weekend.

To say that the Christmas season is full of excitement would be an understatement.  The hustle and bustle of shopping, the beauty of the decorations and the exciting and climactic thrashing of present opening. With all of this now done we all sense a feeling of what now, particularly the children.  I know in our house with a 4 and 6 year old one of the questions was “So, do we get to open more presents tomorrow?” since the reality of the one day event being done was not quite understood completely.

Ah, my favorite! Grinch Syndrome. You all know that one person (at least) that never has any positive comments right? Christmas is the ultimate time for them to complain it seems.  Whether it is the music they hate, the traffic, the turkey being too dry or the Yule log on TV you will hear it.  This is a time that is even better for them than the spirited Christmas lover.  There is an unending amount of things to complain about so when this is over the only thing left is the fact that people still have their Christmas lights on their house after new years and once that wains it is back to the mundane things like weather.

Finally, comes the realization of a New Year.  For many this is a scary thing.  It is the reality that many things people wanted to occur did not happen or the fear of what they will need to or have to do in the coming year to make it better than the last. This all may be due to a lack of personal drive or simply the reality that not everything can occur but let’s be honest, for some there is a fair amount of anxiety that comes with each new day, week, month or even year.

If you fall in to either of these categories and noticed the let down of the holiday season I challenge you to refocus. Center you mind on the positives and what a New Year will bring for you.  Don’t view it as a need to lose weight but instead view it as a health improvement that will make you feel better.  Shift ygriswold-tree-in-living-room

Time for a change

I am sure you have had that garment that you put on and thought, “Uh oh.” No, I’m not talking about some Dodge Ball type stuff where you expect your team uniforms and end up with a box of bondage wear.  I mean that “yea… this wasn’t nearly this tight the last time I wore it!” thought process.  Well, two weeks ago was that morning for me.  I got up at 5 am to go on a great ride and dawned my riding clothes.  Yes, they are spandex, so they are always tight, but the ones I laid out were my “race fit” bibs and jersey.  Needless to say they are normally aerodynamic.  This time they were painted on.

Pride was officially hurt.  Mission accepted.  Get eating under control and weight loss here we go!  Yes, I know, you are probably thinking, “this nut is already skinny.” It is slightly different… I have been in some form of endurance sports for nearly 2 decades and weight is not only noticed but noticeable. Hopping on the scale confirmed I was 10lbs heavier than ever before.

I am now 2 weeks in and down 4 lbs and looking to have a total of 10lbs in weight loss within 3 more weeks.  Do you want to learn how to do it or want some help in beginning your own weight loss?  Let me know, accountability can be huge and I am more than happy to aid you in your goals as well!

birwin@scienceofspeed.org

Georgia Cycling Gran Prix

5 days of racing and spectating from the eyes of Coach Brady

Hot, humid and a hellacious amount of effort are the three ways to describe the five days 13708442_1232311846788597_1831291259313215762_oof racing at the Georgia Gran Prix.  With every day reaching 95 degrees and heat indexes in the 105 degree range, each athlete’s body was tested to its maximum capacity for cooling.  For me, it was a great and humbling experience dusting off the bike racer hat once again and mixing it up with athletes from across the Southeast.

The courses at Road Atlanta and the Gwinnett Center proved to be the most challenging for me as each lap resulted in a hard charging effort up hills that pushed me well into the red.  Not training for this type of intensity caught up with me and I soon found myself in “a spot of bother,” as Phil Liggett would say, and eventually no longer in contact with the group.

The following three days were a little different as courses and intensities suited my current level of fitness and my ability to utilize the field to conserve energy.  Each of the days ended up with a field sprint and I was pleased to take my place in the field, feeling confident that I was racing my way to fitness yet again.

20160720_191536The true shining stars were my athletes Johnny Brizzard, Travis Dorman and Jackson Griffin, who were actually racing and not just participating.  These gentlemen have put in the work over the winter months and into the season and the results were apparent.

Both Johnny and Travis raced in the Pro/1/2 field for Palmer Cycling Team and were able to work as a team, covering attacks and attempting to create breakaways.  Both worked incredibly hard and because of this work a little luck was created.  Johnny was able to get in the winning breakaway 2 days and lead out his fellow teammates to a 1st place and 3rd place finish as well as take a 4th place finish for himself on day 4.

13439145_10209379559513315_293772284776405268_nJackson Griffin, racing for Redeye Velo Cycling Team, showed his amazing form in the category 3 field and was in the break in 3 of 5 races.  Jackson had a very impressive week finishing with a 2nd place, 3rd place and 10th place finish as well as 5th in the General Classification (overall).

A fun weekend of racing and watching many athletes succeed always re-instills confidence in what you do and the fact that your methods, when applied and followed through, work.  For me, this was a motivating weekend and promising that, with only one to two days a week on a bike, I am still able to stay in the mix!  Hopefully there will be more fun adventures in the coming months.

 

Take your racing to the next level and see the same success as these athletes with a custom coaching plan designed solely for your needs.

Georgia Cycling Gran Prix – Day 2

Up hill, down hill, up hill, down hill…REPEAT!  Oh yea…and 105 degree heat index again in a parking lot.

That explains today’s crit course.  The first 9 minutes were full gas and I began to wonder how long I was going to hang on. Thankfully as the thought crossed my mind of “I don’t think i can do one more climb at this pace,” the field backed off the intensity.  WHEW!  My legs recovered and I was a happy camper.

We continued a steady hard effort as the field responded to attacks and hard pushes and the field was rolling smoothly. 18+mph up hill and 35+ mph down hill.  At 13 or 14 laps in a gap formed in front of a rider in front of me, I stood to accelerate around the fading rider and my legs said “Nope, we are done!  You haven’t done this to us in way too long.” I saw the field slowly creep away up the climb as I fought with my body to try and continue on.

Unlike yesterday I continued on.  The “DNF” after my name in yesterday’s results was not something that I liked seeing and I had determined that no matter what I would press on.  I finished out the remaining 20 minutes and worked with some other dropped riders to ease the work.  All in all it was a fun day and much better to take a placing than nothing.

Racing back into shape!

RESULTS

Georgia Gran Prix Day 1 Road Atlanta

Georgia Gran Prix – Day 1

Day one was an interesting race.  With heat indices over 106 degrees at the start of a sixty minute circuit race it was guaranteed to be a challenge.

If you have never been to Road Atlanta, it is a very neat venue for a bike race.  Corners are flowy and very fast since they are designed for race cars going much faster than what we are doing.  This makes it about as safe as it can be and fast with speeds at 40+mph.

Our group started with 45 riders and as you head out of pit road you immediately find your self slapped in the face with a 16% Georgia Gran Prix Day 1 Road Atlantagradient that is 30-40 seconds of all out effort.  The first 3 times up the hill I felt fine and was sitting comfortably in the field.  Lap 4 it became apparent that my lack of time in the saddle was going to be a negative impact on me.  I gutted it out another 2 times up the hill and came to the realization that there are still 5 more races ahead of me and if I was to have any chance either of those days I should call it quits.

Day 2 is a criterium race at the Gwinnett Center in Atlanta and is a downhill followed by an uphill finish.  Not much to it but, other than a hill and the heat of a 2:30 start.  Away we go!

Science of Speed Swag

Independence Day Dare

This year,at Science of Speed, we did an Independence Day Dare.  In honor of the 240th anniversary of the United States there was a challenge proposed to all athletes to either ride 240 miles or 240 km or to run 24.0 miles or 24.0 km.  I personally set out to run 24 km and ride 240 km.  In hindsight I was a bit overzealous with that goal and did not calculate the amount of time it would take on the bike to complete the 240km.

13613147_10103065392316191_8848765361602700776_oWith July 2nd being my daughter’s 6th birthday I set myself back from the onset and was only able to complete a 6.5 mile run.  Not too bad of a start but with blazing afternoon temperatures reaching heat indices of over 105 degrees I was subdued after day 2 on the bike.  40+ miles felt like a death march and I quickly opted to finish the run method.

The added heat lead to wet socks and shoes and blisters quickly formed on the tip of one of my toes.  I continued on and finished off a little over 5 miles on day 2.  My gate was slightly altered to accommodate for the blisters on my feet but with a quick trip to Capital City Runners I was hopeful a new pair of socks would be a step in the right direction.

Brady Irwin RunnerDay 3 and it was on like Donkey Kong.  I got up a bit earlier to try and beat the heat.  This was the best decision possible and I was glad that I pulled myself out of bed.  The run went well and the socks helped.  Even though I could still feel the blisters on my feet, the new socks seemed to help and I was able to finish out the split with reduce discomfort and just over the required 24 km.

What an adventure, my SWEET SoS #IndependenceDayDare hat is attained and I am sure there will be more of these challenges to come!

 

Take your dare to the next level with a Science of Speed coaching program.  Improve your success with the expert guidance of a SoS coach.

Tyler Carter Duathlon – Nashville, GA

This weekend was a great day for a race and I got to open up my legs to my first duathlon.  I can describe the Tyler Carter Memorial Duathlon as nothing more than great!  The run course Tyler Carter Duathlon Brady Irwin Run Coachwas smooth with with a bit of undulation, and the bike course had fresh pavement on nearly every foot of the 18.9 mile course.

The small group of 60+ participants lined up ready to go.  The race went off and 3 runners were off the front of the group rapidly.  I settled in to my pace, that I knew I could sustain and still finish strong.  I got into transition one and my lack of equipment slowed me down a bit, however, within moments I had my cycling shoes slipped on, helmet in place and I was on the road in 4th place.  I settled in with my forearms resting on the tops of my handlebars and tried my hardest to keep the power to the pedals. At 18 minutes in I caught the 3rd place rider and had 2nd place in my sights.  Within several minutes the road turned and my headwind turned into a cross wind and then a tailwind several miles later.  With 4 miles to go I had a cyclist go flying by me and no matter what I tried to muster there was nothing I could do to stay near.  Within the next 4 miles I lost nearly 35 Tallahassee Florida Duathlon Coachingseconds.

Off the bike, and a fumble in transition with my running shoes I hit the road.  Feeling heavy legged and fatigued I did everything I could to muster a 6:50 pace.  By mile 1 I had caught 3rd place and did what I could to keep my pace up.  Finishing in just over 1 hour and 12 minutes I was more than happy to be done!

Science of Speed AthletesWhat a great day for me, and an even better day for athlete Melissa Thompson who took first overall female which was a great showing of true ability after coming off a less than desired St. Anthonys triathlon.  A hat tip to Grady Smith and Colin Prinsloo who showed us all what it looked like to make going fast appear easy.

RESULTS

Back in the Saddle

For those of you who know me well and have known me for years you have seen that the past several years I have not been very driven to train or race my bike.  After Race Across America in 2012 we celebrated the birth of our second child Grayson which added quite a bit to our plate and then 11 months later he was diagnosed with Leukemia.  Talk about a tailspin…

With all of this going on I lost my enjoyment in riding. It became a chore and something I had to do.  In November my wife asked me to run the Tallahassee Half Marathon as a Brady_Irwin_running_cycling_triathlon_coachfundraiser for The Hang Tough Foundation. With some hesitation, it had been 12 years since I had seriously run, I got back into a bit of a training routine. I struggled with stupidity (ran at night without my headlamp and severely rolled my ankle) but the more I ran the more I fell in love with it again. The ability to push the pace came back the mental focus came back and I found a bit of a routine.

Day of race was no different. The gun sounding and off we went.  The adrenaline rush was back and come mile 10 going uphill the intense burn set into my legs and my mind shifted back to that driven state. I WAS BACK!  At the finish line I had turned out a 1:33.08, what I would consider a respectable time, especially for my first half marathon!

Since then, I have made the time to get back on the bike, test out my legs, and realize I am not in bike shape right now. 4x10min Threshold Intervals have been the norm for the past several weeks and the legs are slowing making their way back under me. I am by no means back to where I was for RAAM 4 years ago, in fact I am down about 20% at threshold but I do know from my personal experiences and working with many athletes that this will come back quickly to a respectable level and then it will be the fine tuning to get it up to full speed.

Certainly Not a Loss for Words

Here I sit 2 am Thursday August 22nd.  Exactly 9 days from my baby boys 1st birthday.  Nothing I am physically or mentally capable of doing other than loving this little guy.  The complete and utter feeling of helplessness.  For those of you who are unaware, my son, Grayson Douglas Irwin, was diagnosed with t-cell ALL Leukemia less than 24 hours ago.  A diagnosis that has turned our little family upside down.

Grayson is in God’s hands at this point and out of my own selfish will and desire that scares me.  With how incredibly rough the night has been for G to get any sleep I worry that tomorrow he will not start off at full strength.  With some stronger medicine in his system and oxygen flowing into his nose to keep O2 sats up I hope that he is able to get a more peaceful nights rest.

The outpouring of love that we have received from everyone is so greatly appreciated.  I apologize now if I have not responded to you. Know that I did receive your message and that I greatly appreciate it, however, with processing everything a response has come short on my list of priorities though.

I am sad that I missed G’s stint of play this evening because I could have used that, however, the time away with my cousin Paige to simply get dinner and some necessities was much needed.  Janelle is away for the night to get a solid night sleep (hopefully) and that leaves me on duty.

Janelle and I have talked at length and we both know that there is little that we can physically do to help Grayson with anything other than support and love, however, Katelyn remains a great concern and priority.  She is currently with “Aunt” Shell Hart and I can not wait to see her.  I fear her response to “Bubba’s” current situation/appearance as he has 2 IV lines, O2 sat cable, EKG leads and an oxygen mask in place not to mention the fact of the bloating in his body from the IV fluid they have him on to try to keep his system flushed and kidneys working properly.  We love her and miss her so much and it is very difficult having our family torn apart.  

ImageI needed a laugh tonight and this made me chuckle out loud so I figured I would share it!  I have no idea what restaurant this was at but it sure does make me smile.  

Thank you all again for your love and support.  We are looking at 5 weeks in Gainesville for continuous treatment and then weekly treatments after that for 3 years with whatever follows after that.  It is going to be a trying road and your prayers will never be unwanted.