It’s Time to Change Direction

Posted in Triathlon on June 3, 2013 by brianestover

Back in December of 2008 I started this blog. I really wasn’t sure what would become of it. Where would it go, what would it say about triathlon, coaching or even life in general. This afternoon as I looked back through this blog I could see it morph as my life morphed. I could tell when I was really stressed, going through major life events and when my athletes were racing really well. I was reminded of things I’d forgotten. Little details here and there, even the occasional sleep drug fueled post. Some posts I don’t even remember writing and some I remember working on for a long, long time.

Now it’s four and a half years later. It’s time to morph once more. While this may sound like I’m shutting down this blog, I’m not really. I may not be writing on here after this post but this blog will still live on. It’s time to redo the Accelerate 3 Coaching website. One of the things I wanted to do was integrate the blog and the website. Now instead of going to Accelerate3.com then coming here as many seemed to do, you can just go to Accelerate3.com to the blog section. This will be located on the bottom of the page. You will be able to access all the content from this blog, it’s moving over as well, and I’ll still be writing there. There is an awesome pair of shoes and a unique, new energy gel that I’ll be reviewing in the coming weeks.

I’m also making it easier for you to interact with Accelerate 3 and find out more about Accelerate 3 athletes. You can find Accelerate 3 Coaching on FaceBook and Twitter. Like us on Facebook and follow on Twitter.

Check out the new website, it’s going live today, June 3, in the afternoon. Thanks for checking in to this blog more then 97,500 times.

Asics DS Trainer 18

Posted in Product Review with tags , , , , , , , on May 16, 2013 by brianestover

Asics’s latest version of their popular DS Trainer series is the DS Trainer 18.

Bold colors, great ride, Asics DS 18

Bold colors, great ride, Asics DS 18

The ABQ Running Shop sent me a pair to test out. When I laced these shoes up I noticed two things right away. The most significant thing Asics did was get rid of the ill conceived Clutch Collar that they introduced in the DS 16’s. They added a Heel Clutching System in the exoskeleton of this shoe. The second thing is the shoe laces are longer, long enough to double knot on my high volume feet.

Asics DS Trainer 18's Heel Clutching System

Asics DS Trainer 18’s Heel Clutching System

Several things carry over with this shoe from previous models. Asics brought the fore and rear foot gel pads and their Impact Guidance System (IGS) over. The DuoMax Support System which is their dual density mid sole comes along for the ride from the 17’s. Asics also incorporated the Propulsion Trusstic system and Guidance Line in the DS 18’s sole as well as their SoLyte Midsole Material in it. This shoe loses just over an ounce from the DS 17’s. Something that is noticeable right off the bat when you run in this shoe.

What’s new is seamless uppers and the Wet Grip Outsole. Many shoes in the lightweight category have gone to seamless uppers giving them a leg up on Asics. This neutralizes that advantage. The Wet Grip out sole though may not be a better thing. I didn’t get to run in the rain in Tucson in this shoe to see how it fared compared to the 17’s but I did make sure to run through some puddles when I was in Asheville. I can’t say for certain the Wet Grip outsole is a step up in wet conditions but it’s a step backward on the type of trails I run daily. This shoe lacks grip on the loose layer of sand and tiny rocks on top of the hard packed dirt trails that I run. It’s lack of grip is so noticeable that I took it out of the rotation when I run on the Rillito River path. If you run on something similar there are better shoes out there for traction and grip.

The soul of the sole

The soul of the sole

When you run in this shoe you notice a few things. It’s lighter. It rides lower to the ground, not much lower, but it’s noticeable and welcomed. It’s softer. Softer in a good way. The DS 18’s possess the awesome Asics ride that you are used to. The transition from landing to toe off is smooth and predictable. When you want to run fast this shoe will go fast with you and you won’t have to think about your shoe choice. I found this shoe to be more comfortable after running four days alternating between the DS 17’s and 18’s.

Asics DS 18's

Asics DS 18’s

I see this shoe as being a great shoe for going to the track, doing tempo or threshold runs or even long runs with fast main sets. This would be an awesome shoe for long course triathlon especially the ironman distance. I’d put it in my top two or three choices for half’s. There is another Asics shoe I’ll be reviewing that I think may be a better half ironman racing shoe if you like certain things from your racing shoes. If you need unparalleled traction on trails, the Asics DS 18’s aren’t your shoe. As a day in day out runner the DS 18’s are a great choice to meet your needs. Comfortable, fast, light, everything you want when it’s time to go fast.

Ouch, This Hurts

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on May 9, 2013 by brianestover

A lot. Don’t try it at home, trust me. What is this? Crashing your bike. The Asheville camp was in full swing and going great. Other’s have written about it.

Warren Wilson College has a pretty sweet aquatics center with dry erase boards already built into the wall. Awesome!

So what’s so painful about 2.5 hours of swimming? Nothing really, unless you happen to be in the pool which thankfully I wasn’t. I got to video and analyze swim strokes. The runs weren’t painful either.

The climb up Mt. Mitchell, now that hurt, a lot, mainly b/c I’m a fatty who doesn’t climb well. But on the descent, look out, that was fun…for a bit.

Campers at the top of the climb

Campers at the top of the climb

Then on Highway 80 coming around a right hand turn I see Heath skidding across the road. A quick check to the right saw James safe then something happened. What I’m not really sure. All I remember is realizing I’m going to crash and trying to get into the sag wagon. About 8 minutes had passed between those thoughts though and that’s scary.

Piecing together what may have happened is tough, there was no one behind me. It’s only after talking with James, Heath and their talks with emergency personnel can I put this together.

It seems in that right hand turn there is a bump or something. Heath hit it and skidded to the left but stayed upright. I guess I thought he overshot the turn or something, I do remember thinking it’s good a car wasn’t coming up the road. It seems I hit the bump as well and I have a recollection of the ground rushing up and me thinking I’m about to crash. It seems I am quoted as saying “oh shit.” When you say that usually good things don’t follow.

Someone crashed?  Who?

Someone crashed? Who?

It seems I hit the ground to the left of my line instead of the right if you lost your wheel. So I was basically turned upside down and laid sideways by whatever I hit. I then rolled onto the grass and came to a stop. Was hyperventilating for a bit and started to do a hard reboot. That took a bit. It seems I was being helped to a rock to sit and kept asking “what happened?” I think I meant how did I crash, not literally what happened. I sort of recall laying a bet that I separated my AC joint and didn’t fracture my collar bone. That may have been in the ER. I had a tough time staying awake in the ambulance.

My next actual recollection after the crash is trying to sit in the sag wagon and my thigh cramping along with some pain in my left clavicle, little finger and ribs. Turns out I got a 4 for 1 special out of the crash. A fractured pinkie finger, a fractured rib, and the distal end of my clavicle fractured in 2 places. I was told that I get credit for both breaks in my clavicle. Plus a small amount of road rash. Not a lot thankfully.

The ambulance came and scooped me up, Emily rode with me in the bus and I tried to stay awake. I think I dozed off until the backboard really started hurting my head, upper back and ass. Those things are rather firm and uncomfortable.

The most embarrassing part was during the CT. But I had to pee and when the tech told me he was about to administer the dye and I might feel like I was peeing myself. I told him I should probably pee to be safe. Since my left hand was somewhat mangled and my left arm wasn’t working he had to come cut the strap on my bibs on the rightside so I could get it out and hold the container. I ended up trapping my wanker under my thumb and peeing. Easier said then done. Trust me. I’m pretty confident I fell asleep in the CT machine, or they are really quiet.

Small breaks big problems

Small breaks big problems

CT’s came back fine, which didn’t surprise me too much. X rays came back with fractures and there too I wasn’t surprised. Hippa didn’t seem to be strictly enforced at the hospital which was fine with me. Better to be in misery with others then by yourself.

I won the fight, really.

I won the fight, really.

Finally they cut off my undershirt, cleaned me up a bit, bandaged me up and sent me on my way. I tried to get them to verify my insurance using my SSN but they told me to call them. Which I did, they then told me to wait until I get my bills and then submit my card info. You’re a hospital shouldn’t you be trying to get paid sooner rather than later?

Flew back to Tucson mid week, had a Saturday surgery, removed some of the distal end of the clavicle, used bone fragments to rebuild it, used fragments to patch some other spots, a plate, 10 screws, some surgurical cord to lasso the clavicle to the coracoid process, 3.25 hours of surgery and home I went.

I will leave you with some advice. You are going to crash your bike. Try to do it in a soft field at super slow speeds. Don’t do it at 38mph going downhill. Don’t get knocked out. Wear your helmet all the time, you never know when shit is going to happen. It’s probably a good idea to update your emergency contacts in your phone, unlock your phone so people can actually use it, look over your POA and Living Will just to be safe.

It was a PB Type Weekend

Posted in Triathlon with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 16, 2013 by brianestover

Another fast weekend of racing by A3 athletes. A weekend that brought a first and many, many PB’s. At IM South Africa Nick opened up his pro career with a brand, spanking new IM PR of 8:48. But not only did he break 9:00 for the first time, knocking a measly 22 minutes of his previous IM PB, he also knocked 6 minutes off his IM marathon PB and did that after riding 112 miles faster than he has ever ridden it before. After dropping several spots early in the run, his steady pace brought him up over seven positions to net him 11th. It was a great hit out as a first time professional in a race.

Do you know what else happened in that race? Mark was racing, trying to avenge his 4th place finish from the year before. Mark rode according to the plan, letting a lot of guys ride past him. His plan netted him an IM bike PB ride dipping under 5:00 for the first time. Starting the run, he was down, way down, just over 13 minutes down in his age group. Seven guys in his age group were closer to the finish line then he was. But when it really matters, in his age group, could he do it on the run, could he pull back :30 per mile to win his age group and secure a Kona spot after riding faster than he has ever in an IM? Not just a few seconds here or there, he had to run 7.5 seconds faster per quarter mile for every single quarter mile of the race to take the lead in his age group. And he had to do it over the guy who won the age group in 2012 by 20 minutes. And so the chase began. 7 guys, just over 13 minutes and the 3k of distance already covered by the leader stood between him and the top step. Mile after mile, the splits came down, the guys in his age group fell to the wayside as he charged along the course. He moved into 6th, then 5th, up to 4th, then into the top 3. The course was getting shorter, the finish line closer. Second, after moving into second one guy stood between Mark and the age group win. With only single digit kilometers between Mark and the finish, with his competitor yet closer to the finish line, he was still minutes back. He continued the chase, the gap was coming down. Instead of :30 per mile it was :30 per km. Could he do it? Under 6k to go and no leader in sight. At 5k to go, up ahead, the age group leader came into view. With just under 4k to go Mark glides by and there is no response. It took a PB in the marathon, a 3:13:28, a marathon that was 10:41 faster than anyone else in his age group and a sub 9:20 time to secure the title. He went from 46th overall off the bike to 27th overall at the finish line. What a great race.

Half a world away, Bill and I toed the start line at the Leadman Tempe Triathlon. It’s always tough when you’ve been on the east coast and Mother Nature has slammed you weekend after weekend with bad weather. It’s hard for guys to come west and race a long course race so early in the season. I’m pretty sure Bill was a little nervous about the power plan I sent him at first glance. Add in sun, a trail run that was technical at parts, one of his first really long bike rides outside, he made a pretty good race taking a top 3 spot in his age group. The results have changed daily since the race, the above link may or may not be accurate. My race turned out well. After resorting to a Jedi swim trick to stay with the wave leader in the swim. The first 1.5 laps consisted of a few of us swapping the lead several times. I just listened to my power meter and rode according to plan with a 2 minute negative split over the back half of the race. While my watts and p/wt ratio are on the small side, just like my biceps, I confirmed that I can go faster then most on less watts thanks to a good position on my bike. My watts per lap were 208, 212, 211, 214 for an AP of 211 and NP of 221, which was lower than everyone I talked with after the race by 15-35w on the AP side. I gave up the lead in the M40-44 age group as I stopped to add nitrogen to the soil around a tree so that it grows up big and strong. With one of the slowest runs in the top 20 I strongly suspect that I was going to give up that lead even if I didn’t stop to pee on a tree. All in all a good day for A3 athletes as we got that early season race out of our way.

Bill and I working on our sunburns

Bill and I working on our sunburns

Posted in Stuff with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2013 by brianestover

A bomb at the Boston Marathon. Sports, the one event where no matter your religion, nationality, color or particular bent, it’s the one place, at least at the worlds greatest sporting events, where everyone joins together and differences are put aside. When I think of sporting event that do this I think of the World Cup, Pele and billions of people tuned in to watch the final match. People holding their breath on every shot waiting for that magical moment when someone launches a shot across the penalty box just out of reach of the goalie’s outstretched fingertips and puts the ball in the top far corner just inches from striking the cross or side bar and falling harmlessly to the pitch. I think of the Olympics, where people get out of bed or stay up to all hours of the night and day. They do this to watch their favorite sports and athletes. They also do this to watch for obscure sports. It’s the one time in four years where people stop what they are doing to watch events like table tennis, canoeing, ski jumping or curling. I also think of the worlds great marathons, London, Rotterdam, NYC and Boston to name a few. Boston, the Monday Marathon. The marathon is a test not only of the swiftest but of the smartest and the riskiest. Can you take that flyer from 20k to go and make it stick? Do you hide in the pack hoping to launch a move that brings you glory, can you reach deep inside and embrace a new level of pain and suffering to literally go the extra mile before breaking down and falling off the pace? Sometimes that roll of the dice, just sometimes it pays off.

But now that great tradition has been soiled. It’s not just a great Bostonian tradition or American tradition but a great worldwide tradition, it belongs to all of us. Over 90 different countries are represented in Boston, all of the major religions and many of the minor ones. An attack on the marathon is an attack against all of us around the world. It’s designed to rip the fabric that binds people together no matter where you live. Your beliefs may be different, but your belief in the suffering required to do Boston is the same. You may race someone down to the wire, but cross that line and it’s high fives. You each are better than you were because of that race.

Endurance athletes are bound together, it’s literally in our blood. We can look at any race anywhere in the world and instantly sympathize with those on the starting line. We know their toils, their sacrifices, the time spent suffering through the miles. If you meet someone at a race, no matter who they are you have a common bond. This is what we can not let someone take away from us. That shared sense of community that being an endurance athlete brings, that shared sense of community that the biggest sporting events in the world brings. That togetherness knowing that right then, while you are watching the final match in the World Cup, or you are running miles for That race, that someone else, somewhere else is doing the same thing.

Nerves of Jelly

Posted in Triathlon on April 13, 2013 by brianestover

It’s a big weekend here at Accelerate 3.

Last night’s power talk at the Tempe Trisports went well. Your’s truly wowed the crowd for about an hour discussing why you should use power, the right and wrong way to ride the bike leg in a triathlon and going over some case studies of actual rides from races. It seems like everyone walked away with a little more insight about how to use power and why it’s such a good tool to have. Plus the new Quarq power meters are awesome. Kevin from Sram was there to discuss the changes they made and the new models they launched.

Speaking of Trisports, I realized I’m rolling into my 10th or 11th year of continuous sponsorship from them. My relationship with them started back in 2001 or 2002. I was making the transition from bike racing back to duathlon after several years away from multisport racing. It’s awesome to have such a great giant in the triathlon industry in your corner. I’ve been very fortunate on this front. I’ll let Jeff Spicoli sum up how I feel about this relationship “Awesome! Totally awesome!”

Nick and Sarah make their debut’s into the elite racing. Nick opens his career up at IM South Africa while Sarah opens her career up at the Lifetime Fitness I want to be a crit race Leadman Tempe. I feel a lot of pressure to get their power plans correct, in fact I think I’m more stressed out about these races than any other that they’ve done. You only get one professional debut and I want everything to go right. After looking a the numbers a hundred ways and coming up with the same numbers, while reassuring, doesn’t alleviate the pressure.

There are a few A3 athletes in town for LeadMan as well. Bill is coming from the cold, winter just won’t go away east coast to Tempe to test his early season fintess. Mona is making the long drive up from Tucson to do the Olympic. Should be a good weekend of race results.

On the east coast athletes are also racing the Tour of Battenkill and Belew’s International Triathlon. Battenkill is one of those iconic bike races over dirt roads, short, steep, punchy climbs, some long climbs, mud, rough roads. The American version of a spring classic. Where the men are men and the boys are mud covered and off the back.

I’m returning to racing, well putting a number on and paying an entry fee anyway. It’s been about three years since I’ve raced a long course race and just about two years exactly since I’ve raced anything with a competitive flair. While I think I’m fairly fit, in general, I also haven’t done a lot of specific work to make myself race fit. I’ve done a fair amount of just running and riding around and not a whole lot of intervals, fast workouts or swimming. Tomorrow will either be pretty good or a pretty good implosion. Place your bets, the odds makers are evenly split with no odds in the middle ground. Makes it hard to hedge your bets. The other thing is where did all my gear go? I couldn’t find my aero bottle, had to reinstall latex tubes on all my race wheels, slime them, find my aero helmets, still need to figure out some sort of lace system for my running shoes. Holy crap, not racing is much more simple then racing. It’s total crap. When I become supreme dictator I’m having someone else do these little things for me. I also found out that I have 9 race number belts. Nine, who needs nine? On the other hand who wants to start the run with a sweat stiffened race belt? You can follow the racers around and around and around and around the Tempe leadman crit course here.

That’s all folks, stay tuned for more news later and have a great weekend!

More Races & More Wins!

Posted in Triathlon on April 9, 2013 by brianestover

It’s been a busy few weeks at the races, busy collecting hardware that is.

Chad sets a new 5k PB at the RumpShaker 5k. Two weeks later he wins the Double Oak duathlon by storming to the front at the turn around on the bike and throttling his competition.

Chad Williamson Double Oak Duathlon Winner!

Chad Williamson Double Oak Duathlon Winner!

Janine fresh off her AG win at IM Melbourne wins a race in the Telstra Triathlon Series in Western AUS. She managed to top all the elite women using her run speed to move onto the top step of the overall podium. She’s in a tough spot. The age group women want her to get her elite license, the elites want her to stay age group.

James finished 2nd overall in a hard fought battle at the White Lake Half. He battled rather chilly water, waves and wind to grab the lead late on the bike and hold it until 2 miles on the run. I’m looking for good things to come from james this season as he’s dedicated himself like never before. Of course if he tried training this much before, he’d have cried, a little, every day.

Billy won his age group and finished 7th overall at the series opener of the Tucson Triathlon series.

Dusty, Lora and Mr. I want to Bulk Up Randy all grabbed 2nd in their cateogries at TT’s in their respective area’s of the country.

Mike snagged 3rd overall in a 10k running a huge negative split, which foiled many a person’s plan to outrun him over the last 5k.

You know the best things about coaching such a hard working group of girls and guys? Keeping track of their results.

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