Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Norseman Draws Near

blueseventy has become the swim partner/sponsor for the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon in Norway.  In the words of last year's Norseman champion  "Norseman is like going back to the roots of triathlon"  Leading up to the 2012 edition (August 4-5th) of Norseman we are following the training and thoughts of Drew Marlar. Drew completed Norseman in 2011 so he provides a "been there, am doing it again" perspective triathletes can relate to.  This is Drew's second installment to our blog.

Here we go again . . . I just read the notification from Norseman that there was a rock slide on the bike course and they are going to need to re-route us this year through a long dark tunnel.  This is exactly why I love these people so much.  Other race organizers would simply cancel this portion of the race but not the Norseman.  They know Norseman athletes can handle a little adversity and simply ask us to make some smart decisions to accommodate the challenge - like bringing some extra lights and a reflective vest for the bike.
Adapting to the unexpected is at the heart of endurance training and racing to me and Norseman is no exception by any stretch.  Norseman asks athletes to go beyond what their normal race expectations are and to keep reaching outside of their comfort zone.  Way outside.  Last year was my first Norseman and I was frightened by the steep ascent late in the run course.  I met an athlete during the race meeting that assured me that almost no-one will try to run the last 11 miles because it is too steep.  Hearing that was a relief and felt like a warm hug.  I instantly relaxed and felt satisfied that I could walk that portion of the course without because many athletes would.
This year I am thinking differently and I am inspired by my good friends and training partners at Dynamo Multisport.  My buddy Haley Chura (www.haleychura.com) recently broke 10 hours at IM Houston and won her age group by a huge margin.  She was already fast before this race but she kept pushing herself to meet this goal.   She worked her butt off to run an incredibly smart race and I was standing in front my computer screaming my head off as I watched the live video of her finish at 9:59:43.  My other friend (and coach) Matthew Rose (www.thebackhalf.com) recently blew through his swim and bike PRs at IM Brazil only to have a terrible bike wreck at Mile 100.  He was on pace to blow away his prior bike split with a 4:46 when he crashed in the last aid station.  Bloody and pissed off he put his bike back together and finished the race in an amazing 19th place in his age group.  He was surrounded that day by volunteers and spectators telling him that it was okay to quit (and a few even tried to force him) but he shut those doubts away and pressed on.  Amazing.  I think Churchill said "If you are going through Hell, keep going."    
Most impressive of all is my running friend Molly (no time for blogs when you run as much as she does).  She just completed her first 100 mile trail running race in San Diego.  She held on strong until she got to the aid station near mile 75 and the wheels started to come off (if only she had wheels).  She pushed doubt out of her mind and got some much needed help from one of the aid station volunteers.  Her "trail angel" put her back together and she hobbled out of that aid station, and then jogged and then ran to finish in under 30 hours!  People talk a lot about not quitting but this is the real thing.  Her body was screaming at her to stop but she put 100% of her focus on her goal and that determination carried her to the finish.  It's crazy for sure but there is nothing I respect more.     
Drew on the Norseman 2011 run
These examples are inspiring me this year to take what is already a huge challenge and see if I can push myself even further.  The diversion through a tunnel only makes Norseman more "interesting" and the last 11 miles of the marathon begs to be walked but does it have to be?  I'll be thinking about Haley, Matthew and Molly on that last turn when I hit the ascent and accept the challenge to see how much farther I can push myself.  Watch out Gaustatoppen.  I'm not scared of you this year and I have these three incredible athletes that will carry me up your little mountain.     
Learn more about the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon here: www.nxtri.com

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

wind, wind and then a little more wind

blueseventy pro athlete Guy Crawford sent over his Honu 70.3 race report and reflects on the epic big island winds and what it is like to line up against seven time Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong.

Love coming to the Big Island to race and train, although this time the wind made it really hard for me to enjoy the Queen K …For the week leading into Honu 70.3 Kate (Bevilaqua) and I based ourselves in Kona. Our last long ride to the bottom of Hawi was crazy the cross winds made it really hard to keep your line on the road and then later in the week the wind seemed to increase. OH NO!! Come race day the forecast was wind, wind and then a little more wind… With Lance Armstong on the start line the media seemed a tad heavier than usual…( which was cool )


Once the gun sounded and the initial white wash of the start settled down I found myself on Lance’s feet and continued to swim in the top 5. The swim was as I expected it to be ( a big group ) and 8 of us exited the water within 15 sec’s of each other.

Now here was where I had to make a decision - ride for as long as I could with the likes of Lance, Greg, Chris and the GCM AKA Maiki or ride my race. I decided to ride my race (in hind sight maybe I should have tried to ride a bit harder in the beginning) however decisions made and I was feeling really good riding at a comfortably hard pace. Riding up Hawi was crazy. The wind felt like it was pushing my front wheel out from under me. Congratulations to all that got through that ride, it was intense. 

At the turn I had lost some serious time to Lance and quite a bit to the other 3 in front. I decided to ride hard down Hawi, the wind played with my head a few times, but I rode through it for the most part and was stoked with the way I descended. You have to keep thoughts like, "If I fall off at this speed, I’m probably going to die" out of your head.

Onto the run and by this point the field was totally split apart. I ran out of transition and onto the golf course where the spongy grass started sapping the energy from my body ..YAY…for the first 3-4 miles I didn’t see a soul, except for the awesome aid station volunteers. Then once out on the first real road section I spotted Maiki and Chris still 6-8mins up the road. I kept my pace and tried to run strong through the windy sections and fast with the tail wind. Leading into the last 2 miles I could see the gap to Chris and Maiki was coming down quickly, 3mins , 2mins, 90sec and then 1min…I was running people down (that doesn’t usually happen). In the end I ran out of real estate and was 64 sec’s off the podium.

Happy with my day, mixing it up with some of the best in the sport. The guys in front are all legends in Triathlon. Big congratulations to everyone who battled the wind ( Pele ) and finished in those conditions.


1. Lance Armstrong (USA) 3:50:55 (Course Record. 2:01:46 bike split. Whoa.)
2. Greg Bennett (USA) 3:53:41
3. Chris Lieto (USA) 4:05:55
4. Maik Twelsiek (GER) 4:06:16
5. Guy Crawford (AUS) 4:06:59

blueseventy athletes in BOLD. 

Now it’s time to recover and then start our build for IM CDA in 3 weeks time.

Nice work Guy. We're looking forward to seeing you kick some butt in Coeur d'Alene.
Follow Guy Crawford at guycrawford.us/