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!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

"Let's Finish This"- SpeakUp Race Team, Shamrock Half Marathon, and Monument 10K

It's been a few months since I last updated the blog and frankly nothing has happened since my last post which would necessitate an update...mostly its been chopping wood and carrying water, tons of time on the treadmill and trainer. This is the first time I've put in big work from January to March.  Ironman in Mid May means much more work had to be done over the winter than what I've been accustomed to.  It's been a big adjustment and certainly has not been without its struggles.  It goes without saying that I am really over this effing winter and beyond ready to get some warm weather riding under my belt.  I hated every second of my three hour ride in 40 degree temperatures last Sunday.  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!! DAMN YOU WINTER!!!!  Fortunately, it looks like things have turned and I have had several good rides this week under warm sunny skies...

Despite the tough winter conditions, this year has been better in one significant way.  The HTC crew has been fortunate to bring Dave and Grace Gallagher into the fold and their involvement has brought new meaning and importance to our group, goals, and training.  Dave and Grace started the Cameron Gallagher Foundation to honor their daughter who passed away in March 2014 after completing the Shamrock Half Marathon (A Tragic Anniversary).  The Gallaghers are easily the most inspirational people I have ever met.  In the face of unspeakable tragedy they created the SpeakUp5K and the Cameron Gallagher Memorial Foundation to carry forward the legacy of their daughter and her dream of creating an organization that helps kids battling depression (SpeakUp).  Cameron's vision is alive and well through the efforts of the Gallagher Family and countless friends and supporters.  Within that framework, I want to share Dave's words from the days leading up to the anniversary of Cameron's passing.  I find that my words and sentiments regarding Cameron and SpeakUp always feel insignificant....so I'll let Dave do the talking!!!!(Dave's Inspirational Words)

To mark the anniversary of the birth of the Cameron Gallagher Foundation and SpeakUp, over 200 racers committed to racing on behalf of Cameron with the goal of raising money for the organization.  The event was a rousing success and more than $35,000 was raised in connection with the 2015 Shamrock Marathon weekend.  It was an outstanding weekend, filled with love, inspiration, and which truly honored Cameron and her legacy. The highlight of the weekend was when Cameron's best friend, Abby Donelson, finished her first full marathon in honor of Cameron (Abby ran with Cameron in 2014). Abby is an outstanding young woman who has spoken to large audiences about Cameron.  Do yourself a favor and watch Abby's TedTalk on Compassion (Abby Donelson Ted Talk).  Personally, it was nice to do a race where the focus was on something besides my own selfish goals and my time. It was fun to start with all the SpeakUp runners who  had one common goal and purpose.  I can't say enough how much the Gallaghers have impacted me in the short time that I have known them!!!

Now on to the selfish stuff....Race Reports
 Shamrock Half
1:26:52, 6:37/mile
23rd AG, 121st OA (of 8815)
Splits and Data

The start of the Shamrock Half was typically cold but comfortable once we got going.  I did not get the opportunity to do any warm up before the race which did not help my overall performance (but also wasn't the sole reason I was slower than expected).  All of the SpeakUp runners started in Wave 8.  This presented some challenges in that we had to run through several thousand runners before we could get clear .  The first pace group I remember running through was the 2:15 pace group.  This gives an idea of just how many people started in front of us.  Despite the challenges, it was fun and inspiring running with a group of people sharing the same vision and purpose.

This was one of the few times that the entirety of the Hammer Crew did a race together.  Always awesome to race with the boys!!!!  We started together and had to bob and weave the first mile.  The first mile was really slow and we ended up running all over the place (including the grass on the side of the course).  I was actually surprised how long it took to get clear space. I really didn't get clear until somewhere around mile 7.  Justin, Rob, Moose and I ran together for the first mile, Justin pulled away shortly thereafter leaving Moose, Rob and myself together until somewhere around mile 3.  Rob fell back to run with Tunstall at Mile three, and Moose and I ran shoulder to shoulder until Mile 7ish.  Somewhere in the military base we separated and I ended up running a few seconds ahead.

In looking at the splits, they were fairly consistently in the 6:30's.  The slower splits seem to coincide with my recollection as to those miles where the traffic was heaviest and I had to weave most.  The overall time was fine but I was expecting a better result.  I don't think a 1:26 was indicative of my fitness level.  I feel I had a 1:25 in me (and was hoping for a 1:24).  The funny thing is that I can't pinpoint anything that was really wrong with the race.  I split as consistently as I could (despite the crowds), I felt good, I didn't overextend myself and my cadence/efficiency has improved substantially.  All objective measures say it was a good race except for the overall time.  Because of those factors, I feel ambivalent about the result.  It was good (but not great) and I think the time doesn't reflect my fitness level.  Fortunately, I had a chance to redeem myself a week later at the Monument 10K.

Monument Avenue 10K
38:22, 6:09/mile
First 5K- 19:10, Second 5K- 19:12
28th Age Group, 130th OA (of 26,843)
Splits and Data

The week between Shamrock and Monument was moderate.  I did a fair amount of volume but nothing from an intensity standpoint that would crush me.  I was certainly doing enough where I didn't think I was going to be setting the world on fire.  10K is a tough distance for me. The short stuff is so much harder than I am accustomed to, and I really don't love racing above my red line over short distances.  However, I think these races are vital to test mental toughness (because they are so damn painful) and they really prepare you for the rigors of going long later in the season. The intense pain of a short race is so much different than the slowly creeping, soul crushing pain of an Ironman.  It is a good stimulus to experience both in training!!!!  Going into the race my goal was to do something in the low 39 minute range.  A dream day would be to crack 39 minutes and go 38:59 (truthfully I wasn't convinced this was realistic).

The morning of the race was bitter cold, and having learned my lesson from Shamrock, I elected for a much longer warm up.  I purposely parked about 3 miles from the race and jogged to the starting area.  Once I arrived I did some drills and strides and timed it out fairly well so I didn't have to stand around in a singlet freezing my nuts off (shout out to Sherpa Pa for the clothing assist as per usual).  The race plan was to go for broke and hope I wouldn't pop.  My buddy Dan Szajta told me he was gunning for a low 37 so I thought I would try and hang with him as long as I could....If I blow up who cares, bigger (and longer) fish to fry!

The race started and I did my best to stick on Dan's shoulder.  He was cooking and I went through the first mile in 5:58.  When I saw that split I almost sh*t my pants.  I haven't run under 6 in as long as I can remember (let alone in a race).  My immediate thought process was, "oh dear, what have I done?  This is going to get ugly fast!".  I re-assessed the situation and decided that the "Stick on Dan's Shoulder Plan" was not tenable and it was time to call an audible.  I backed down the second mile to 6:10 and I seemed to settle in and feel more comfortable.  The third mile was my slowest but I attribute that largely to the uphill section right before the turn around and the stiff headwind.

In the back of my mind I kept waiting for the meltdown....but it never happened.  Don't get me wrong, this race hurt like a mofo but it was manageable misery.  I was able to lock in around 6:10 pace and I stayed consistent all the way to the finish.  I crossed the line with a 1:20 PR....I was shocked!!!!  This is one of the biggest PR's i've had in the last 5 years (relative to the distance of the race).  It took me forever to crack 40 minutes, and my last few 39 minute efforts almost put me in an early grave.  The race hurt but I was able to jog 3.5 miles back to my car at just slower than Ironman pace and I felt pretty good for the rest of the weekend.  No real soreness or hangover from the effort.  Needless to say, this race gave me a nice little jolt as I head into my big Ironman block of training.  I feel this race was indicative of my fitness, and I crushed a PR having done no speed work in preparation for the distance.  Needless to say, I am very excited with where I am and I think big things are in store for a certain race in May.

I learned a couple of things from Monument: 1) I think sometimes I race too cautiously.  If you told me before the race that the first mile would be under 6 minutes, I would have told you I would be walking by mile 5.  I learned that sometimes you need to be fearless, take a chance that you might fail, and the results might surprise you in a positive way; 2) Warm up and cool down is important!  The warm up was vital for me to be able to crank that first mile and the cool down after the race allowed me to continue training through the weekend and into the early part of this week (I have had a phenomenal training week thus far). 

I feel great about where I am right now and I am about to hit 4-5 weeks of big volume including one (or more) Gordo Weekends.  I feel rejuvenated and prepared for what is coming.  As always thanks for reading and I welcome any questions or comments.  Happy training to all and good luck to everyone as Race Season gets underway!!!!