About IMRoycer81

Richmond, Virginia, United States
Thanks for visiting! I'm a civil litigator at KPMLaw. I attended Cornell where I swam IM and Breastroke. In 2007 I filled the void of swimming retirement with triathlon. In my first tri I thought, "holy sh*t this is painful" and "when can I do it again?" Things escalated quickly and my first half was Augusta 2009 and my first full was Louisville 2011. Since 2007 I've been chasing my dream of qualifying for Kona. Prior to September 2017 this blog focused on attempts (and failures) to achieve an elusive KQ. I got the monkey off my back in my 10th Ironman at Chattanooga. There is still much room to improve and I look forward to putting in the work to become a consistent podium finisher. In 2018 I have the privilege of racing for Team Every Man Jack and look forward to learning from a great group of guys while giving back to the triathlon community. I couldn't do any of this without my amazing family. They lift me up. I am lucky to train in a fantastic triathlon town with inspirational athletes. My job, training, and daughter keep me busy, but I update as often as I can. I'm always willing to share the knowledge I've picked up along the way. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Running Strong

Throughout this early season a positive theme for me has been steady run improvement.  It seems that with each passing week my running ability and speed has been steadily increasing.  My improvement started over the winter when Moose Herring, and Rob Green invited me to participate in their weekend Hammer Trail runs.  I spent several months chasing those maniacs through the woods while building my core strength and increasing my run speed in the process.  After starting with CVE in January, I have continued to notice steady gains in my running.  These running gains have been the most exciting part of my training, and each week I feel like there is another breakthrough.  This brings me to this weekend.  For yesterday's workout, my plan called for a 75 minute run which included a 30 minute Z3 interval (half ironman pace) with a slight build to Z4 at the end of the interval.  I was able to comfortably average 6:49 pace for the interval (key word...comfortably).  A few short months ago I would not have dreamed that I would be comfortably running sub 7 minute miles.  This is truly exciting stuff and I feel I am making truly huge strides toward my year end goals.

Over the past several years I have realized that the best triathletes are strong runners.  This has traditionally been my weakness.  Thanks to CVE and the Hammerheads, I am slowly turning my weakness into a strength.  When I started this seasonm one of my prime goals was to average 8:00/mile at Ironman Louisville on the marathon (3:30 marathon).  I am beginning to revise that goal downward thanks to my awesome coach and training buddies.  Cheers and happy training.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

TryCharleston Half Iron Race Report

Time: 4:25:21 (major PR)
13th place overall
2nd place men 30-34

I have been so busy with work and training that I haven't had the opportunity to do much blogging lately.  Fortunately, last weekend I did my first triathlon of the season which gives me the perfect excuse to update my blog with a race report.

Last Friday I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina with a great group of guys from CVE.  It was an awesome crew which included Bob Flanigan, Jeff Tunstall, Justin Moyer, John Hauserman, and Brad Onofrio.  We caravanned down to Charleston and met Travis Deckert at his local outdoor 50 meter pool for a loosen up swim.  The swim was crucial to shaking the cobwebs from the 6+ hour drive.  After our swim we went to packet pickup and reviewed the course maps.  We coordinated logistics for race morning and John and I headed over to T-Deck's house for bike maintenance/clean up.  Doesn't she look good in full race attire.

After a once over of the bikes, we headed for our traditional pre-race meal of pizza and back to Travis' house for an early bed time.  On race morning we woke up at 4:30 and I had breakfast consisting of 2 packages of instant oatmeal, one pop tart, and a banana.  After breakfast we headed over to transition to pick up our timing chips, get body marked, and set up our transition areas.

The race was scheduled to start at 7:00 a.m. with the elite/open athletes.  Justin Moyer and Bob Flanigan were racing with the elites.  My wave was scheduled to go off at 7:03.  The swim was a two loop triangular course at the KOA campground lake.  The lake is usually home to alligators, but the park service comes through and does a sweep the week before the race to make sure we don't became an early morning snack.  After a quick jump in the water, I was ready to go.  I shared a few laughs with the boys as we prepared to start.

SWIM- 27:56
The water was cool and crisp and the swim was wetsuit legal.  I chose not to wear a wetsuit and instead raced for the first time in my new Xterra Speedsuit.  In hindsight I should have done a practice swim as the speed suit was a bit constricting on the shoulders and took a bit of time to get used to.  After the gun went off, there was the usual craziness of the swim start.  There was a large contingent of fast swimmers and it took about 5-10 minutes to find open water.  It took me quite a while to get into a good rhythm.  About the time I started feeling smooth, we rounded the buoys for the second lap and caught up to the later waves.  The rest of the swim was a bit more congested and I had to carefully pick my lines to avoid contact.  I never felt great in the swim but I didn't feel terrible either.  Overall I would say it was an average swim.  My time was better than the previous year, but I still feel like it was a bit slow for the distance and may have left some on the table.

T1- 1:29
The Xterra suit is well engineered and comes off easily and quickly.  It has a break away feature when you flip the zipper up and it peels right off.  The transition was wet and muddy and my feet and legs were covered in dirt.  Initially I tried to towel off but quickly realized it was futile and just put my bike shoes on mud and all.  I got my my bike gear on, took my bike off the rack and headed out toward the road for the 56 mile bike course.

BIKE- 2:20:39
AVG HR- 145
AVG Power- 246 Watts
AVG Speed- 23.6 mph

As soon as I crossed the timing mat, I hopped on my bike to begin the bike course.  In typical Danny fashion, I managed to screw up and fumbled getting my shoes clipped in.  As a result, I probably lost 15-30 seconds screwing around before I actually got moving.  My dad got a shot of me struggling to get going.

Once out on the bike course, I started out a bit too aggressively.  The first couple miles I went too hard and finally settled in at about the 5 mile marker.  There is not much to say about this bike course except that it is BORING and mentally exhausting.  After the race the boys and I joked that our favorite part of the course was the section that was "flat and straight".

I did not feel good on the bike and the whole ride was a struggle.  The ride was labored and grinding.  I really struggled to keep my power dialed in and struggled mentally with the long flat straight aways.  My goal was to ride between 240-250 watts and I struggled to stay in that range.  I much prefer a bike course with rolling terrain as there is at least some opportunity for a mental break. I did most of the ride in close proximity to Hauserman who had an unbelievable performance.  In stark contrast to me, he looked strong and smooth.  In fact there were long sections where I really had to hammer to maintain contact with him.  I really have to take my hat off to him as he had a truly unbelievable performance.

My bike nutrition consisted of one bottle of Gatorade Endurance (160 cals), one bottle of Gatorade Endurance with 2 scoops of Carbopro (360 calls) and one honey stinger waffle (160 cals).  I also had one 20 ounce bottle of water.  This seemed about right for the conditions as I only had to pee once.  The weather during the ride was cool and foggy.  I would guess that the temperature was in the 70's and the fog didn't burn off until the end of the ride.

This was the first time I rode my Zipp 808 FC front wheel and 900 clincher disk.  This is a fast setup.  Once you get these wheels up to speed they don't want to stop rolling.  It seems like the faster you go, the more benefit you feel.  At 25mph they want to ride themselves.  At about mile 35 I was already thinking that I wanted to get off the bike.  Needless to say the last few minutes were a grind and I could not wait to get onto the run course.

T2- 1:29
The second transition went a lot more smoothly.  I pulled into the transition area just behind Hause and made a quick transition from my bike to run gear.  There were no hiccups or missteps.

RUN- 1:33:49
AVG Pace- 7:10/Mile

The beginning of the run started off shaky.  I almost immediately began experiencing significant quad cramping.  Typically I have found that if you just keep moving the cramping will subside and your body will remember that it's time to run.  The cramps continued for the entire first mile.  When I hit the first aid station I had an "uh oh" moment where I needed to decide whether it was time to walk.  Fortunately the salt tabs I had popped a few minutes earlier seemed to kick in and a few minutes later the cramps died down and I settled into a strong run pace.

After initial cramping issues, my run was a stark contrast to the bike.  I felt strong and confident for the entire run.  My pace was strong and controlled.  This is where I have made my biggest strides this year and I am really excited about my run progress.  It was amazing to feel like I was running up through the field as opposed to being hunted down by the stronger runners.  There were only two runners that passed me during the entire run course.  I was able to keep my paces within a tight window with my fastest mile just under 7:00 and my slowest at 7:22.

The run course was an out and back that you had to complete two times.  I liked this particular aspect as it gave me the ability to see my CVE teammates out on the course and exchange words of encouragement.  It was also nice to see my dad at the halfway point of the run and exchange a fist pump.  The fog that was prevalent on the bike course had burned off by the time we started running.  There were times when the the sun would come out, and it would get pretty hot.  Fortunately there was occasional cloud cover which was a welcome respite from the heat.

For nutrition, I ate one package of powerbar chomps.  The rest of my nutrition was acquired on the run course.  I had two cups of coke, 2 cups of heed (gross) and water as needed.  There were a few times during the run when I thought the cramps would return but fortunately they did not.  Overall, I was extremely pleased with my run and this was the strongest segment of my race.

This race was a huge breakthrough and confidence builder for me.  I set a PR at the distance by 23 minutes (set the previous year at this race).  I am really excited about my progress and I am really pleased with my coaching from Bob Flanigan.  I am putting in the work on a daily basis, and really reaping the rewards.  Bob has put together a great training plan thus far, and I really feel like he has me on the right track to achieve my long term goals.  A big thanks to coach Bob for my early season success.

It was also an unbelievable day for my CVE teammates.  There were PR's across the board and multiple podiums.  We have a great team and are a force to be reckoned with when we come out in numbers.  Many congrats/thanks to my teammates for their inspiring performances and on course encouragement.  I am truly lucky to race and train with such a great group of guys.

Team CVE made some waves down in Charleston....
Justin Moyer- 3rd Overall- 4:13:12 (This kid is legit, and has seriously strong stuff)
Bob Flanigan- 10th Overall- 4:19:47
Me- 13th Overall- 4:25:21
John Hauserman- 18th Overall- 4:31:42
Jeff Tunstall- 27th Overall- 4:35:31
Brad Onofrio- 36th Overall- 4:43:29

I want to give special congrats to my main training partner, John Hauserman, he had a mega PR and huge breakthrough.  I love that he pushed me to my limits on the bike course and he motivated me to hammer on the run.  Hause is going to do some big things this year.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Making Strides

I normally don't have time to do mid week posts/updates, but I had a run breakthrough last night worth mentioning.  My training plan called for an 80 minute run (which had to be cut short to 70 minutes for a family dinner) with 3x5 minute intervals at half ironman run pace.  My intervals were spaced out with 5 minutes of Zone 2 running between each interval.  The beginning and end of the run were supposed to be steady state Zone 2 running.

As I have blogged previously, my goal for the marathon at IMKY is 3:30 or better.  In order to get there, 8:00/mile needs to be second nature on tired legs.  Ideally I would like 7:30/mile to become second nature so I have room to spare on the big day.  Last night the weather was perfect for a run.  It was cool and breezy.  I thought I would be a bit tired since I had done a swim test set that morning but my legs felt fresh as I started running.  I was immediately able to settle into a great groove.  My first mile (typically warm up) clicked off at about 7:40 (normally I warm up at 8:00-8:15).  I quickly settled in and my run splits began coming down.  I decided that I would begin intervals at the 20 minute mark with the goal of hitting each interval at 7:00/mile avg pace.  If executed in a race, this pace will enable me to close out a half ironman in the neighborhood of 1:32:xx which would move me one step closer to one of my goals of sub 1:30 closing speed for half iron distance races.

My three intervals ended up being 6:49, 6:56, and 7:05 avg pace respectively.  Although these avg paces climbed a bit, I feel this was due more to not keeping an eye on real time pace during the interval as opposed to fatigue.  In any event, these intervals felt comfortable and controlled and I never felt I was overreaching to hit these splits.  However, I think the real breakthrough can be found in my Zone 2 intervals.  I was able to back down to 7:19 pace between each interval which felt totally comfortable and controlled.  I recovered quickly from each harder interval and was able to settle into what felt like a very comfortable sub 7:30 pace.  After the intervals, I purposefully backed down my effort and was able to run the remainder of my miles between 7:30-7:40 which actually felt pretty easy (very encouraging).  My average HR for the run was a very manageable 151 and I never had averaged over 160 bpm during any of my intervals.  This is a testament to my growing fitness.  I am very pleased with where I am, and these small breakthroughs keep me motivated to  keep my nose to the grindstone and keep "chopping wood and carrying water."

Monday, April 9, 2012

Chopping Wood and Carrying Water

I had a great week of training last week and put in solid work in all three disciplines. I am building a firm base for August.  I truly enjoy putting my nose to the grindstone and laying the foundation for success.  I am also really beginning to feel fit.  I am definitely happiest when my fitness level is through the roof and right now I can feel myself getting stronger with each passing week.  Its not always  fun, but to achieve my goals, I know I need to do the grunt work that many people skimp on..."chopping wood and carrying water". 

I have gotten into a good routine of swimming 3x/week for about 4-5000 yards per session.  This is more than I have swam in years and I feel like I am getting into a pretty good swim groove.  I don't really have top end speed and can't hold intervals like my old swimming days, but I am confident that I am putting in the right kind of work to be faster in the water at Half and Full Distance races.  I got several quality bike and run sessions in as well and I am definitely making fitness gains in both disciplines.  I am finding it is becoming easier to hold faster paces on both the bike and run over longer and longer periods of time. 

This week was capped off by my two longest workouts.  Saturday was a 70 mile bike ride on a familiar bike route with some decent elevation changes.  I actually rode on the southside of the James River near where I grew up.  It is also the roads where I first started cycling seriously and fell in love with riding my bike (while hanging on to Travis Deckert's draft for dear life).  The ride was warm and sunny but the wind was whipping like a SOB.  It was one of those days that felt like the wind was always blasting me in the face.  Nothing kills the legs like riding into a headwind for three hours.  Despite the wind, I had a pretty strong ride on a pretty tough rolling route.  Given the conditions, I feel very good about the ride. 

On Sunday it was all about the run.  The plan called for a steady state Zone 2/3 run.  I decided that I would start the run off on UR campus and do some early hill work to get the legs warmed up and then head down towards the City for an out and back.  After the first mile, I really got into a nice groove and felt smooth and relaxed.  The weather was beautiful and I was even able to run with my shirt off.  On the way out my paces were fast for how relaxed I was running.  7:30-7:45/mile felt very comfortable.  This is exactly where I need to be in August.  I am working to make 7:45 second nature so I can bring home my Ironman in 3:30 (or better).  Little did I know, that the first half felt so smooth because I was running with the wind at my back!  After getting down to Boulevard and turning back up Monument Avenue for home, I realized that I was going to be running into a pretty firm headwind for the next 6 miles.  Needless to say, the back half of the run was not quite as comfortable.  Despite the wind, my miles stayed consistent and my heart rate stayed in control.  I ended up shorting the running route by accident, and finished my run a few minutes early.  This worked out fine since Britt and I needed to head to my parents house for Easter Dinner.
Britt and I finished the weekend off at my parents house for Easter Dinner.  Everyone was home for the holiday and I got to spend some time with the family.  It was nice to have Lummy, Ricky and Jacko home.  It is always fun to have everyone together and share one of my mom's phenomenal holiday meals.  I am definitely appreciative that I have such an amazing family.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

That Was Stupid!

The name of this post sums up my ride today perfectly.  I was supposed to do a controlled 2 hour recovery ride after throttling myself yesterday at the Monument 10k.  I decided to go out for a group ride on the Richmond Rox Half Ironman course.  I ended getting caught up in a small group and we freaking hammered the course.  Definitely was not the smartest move as I was already on tired legs.  Now my legs are cinder blocks.  On a positive note, I did beat my fastest half ironman bike leg split which is a pretty good sign this early in the season.  I enjoyed the course which is flat and fast and I am definitely going to plan on doing this race after Louisville.  It will be fun to have a half here in our hometown and I should be able to put up a pretty good time.  However, I may come to regret this effort during this week's workouts.