Silicon Labs Sunshine 5k

My running training with Erik Stanley/Trail Roots has been going well. Most weeks for the last 12-weeks we've been doing 1:1 Monday, Thursday sessions, with a long run alone on Saturday. This week we skipped Thursday session so I had a chance to recover.

Angela came to the house and we jogged down together to the start. We met up with Tammy and Jenny, I did my warm up drills and before we knew it, it was time to start. I started as near to the front as I could, to avoid starting out too fast trying to dodge people. Sadly this didn't work, I still went out to fast. Starting back towards the 2-mile mark I was starting to tire, back across the bridge I put on as much as a sprint as I could, it wasn't enough for a PR though.

It was my best 5k time since I set my PR on almost the same route, back in November 2008, which was before I switched to long course triathlon.

TIME: 24:48.63, 44-seconds slower than PR.
SPLITS: 7:26, 8:10, 8:27. Average HR 154 Max HR 166
OVERALL: 72/328

Totally pumped, good result, will definitely be looking for a timed 5k in about 10-weeks and having another go at a PR.

Silicon Labs 5k 55-59

5k Times
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Annual Bike picture

It's become a ritual, the week before my first race, I make sure my race bike is ready, lubed, set-up etc. and then take a picture. 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2010, 2011

I had planned on using my Guru road bike for the Rookie triathlon next weekend, I'd have put some faster wheels on it. After a protracted FB discussion with Jack (aeroweenie) Mott, I decided to prep the tri bike.

I've only done a few races at Decker Lake/Walter E. Long Park, and did the Couples Triathlon back in 2010 on my road bike, and it was my slowest race bike time at Decker. Coincidence? Maybe... I even noted at the time, "Slower than I expected". So, tri bike it is.

Here is BR2, 2014 Config. [Click for larger pictures]

New for 2014

Shimano Di2 Eletronic shifters
Specialized Sitero Saddle
New Zipp wheel decals
Personalized name decals on top tube
Removed aero bottle holder between aero bars
Fuelbelt "bento box"

Strangely, the bike segment of the Rookie is only 11-miles, I'm so totally going to feel a fraud using a serious long distance tri bike. Still, if Jack is right, it will be worth 1-minutes 30-seconds.
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I'd not run a 10k of any sort since this race a year before. I didn't do any Olympic distance triathlons either. I came to CAP10K pretty tired after a hard block of run training, I didn't have high expectations for a fast time.

CAP10K is a huge race, it starts over on Congress bridge in Austin, runs up to and around the Capital building, and has a couple of short sharp hills, and two longer uphills, so it's not intrinsically a fast course.

My PR is also at CAP10k 2011, 53:43. So I had everychance. Angela came to race with me, we jogged down to the start, which was packed. I managed to get through the crowds to a point where I could see Logan aka Big Mouth Announcing, as always I was then introduced as the "International Superstar".

Before I knew it we were off, I went out hard to get away from the crowd, I definitely thought I was doing better on the hills than previously and at 5K I was about the same time as many recent 5k races times. I pushed on but once we got around the back of the Austin High athletic field, I was getting tired and felt a cramp or strain coming on in my left thigh.

Here is my pace chart and this demonstrates pretty much the problem.
cap10k pace
cap10k course

Although I finished strong, I lost too much time in mile 5 and mile 6 to get a PR. I finished in 56:27 almost 3-mins slower than my PR, faster than 2013, but slower than 2011 or 2012.

TIME: 56:27
SPLITS: 8:37, 8:58, 9:05, 8:47, 9:10, 9:19, 2:31 Average HR 148, Max HR 176
AGE GROUP: 85th/371
OVERALL: Gender 1885/5575, Overall 2540/11991

So a pretty good result. Here is a picture of me by the High School field, one of my low points. My coach, Erik Stanley was 4th overall and finished in 30:56. Asides from the fact that I have to do the 10k distance twice in Texas Tri series races, I want to push on for a PR in the IBM Uptown 10K later this year, if not before.


and finally, here are my 10k race results, presented from


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Drugs in Sport(Triathlon)

As per my earlier journal entries on the TBI Conference, here on Tygarts keynote; here with a copy of my blog comment on active Endurance blog post; here on the post Endurance films rant over Lance not attending; and so it was interesting yesterday to see WTC CEO Andrew Messicks interview with Triathlete Europe where he seems to completely downplay his role in cycling and busting the whole drugs issue, and also some interesting comments late in the interview about Professional Cyclists moving to Triathlon.

I'd had a few emails and questions about watching the sessions from the TBI Conference, I've looked around and the videos are NOT available either through Endurance films website, or the Vimeo account. They do have a summary video on youtube. I have a few audio recordings, sadly I wasn't ready to record during Tygarts keynote, but started during the Q&A.

Endurance Films Tygart summary view from TBI

Tygart Q&A at TBI

Panel Drugs in sport part 1 at TBI

Panel Drugs in Sport part 2 at TBI

So with the triathlon season just starting downunder with the start of the ITU races, this doesn't seem to be going away as an issue for triathlon. It isn't going away in Cycling either, USA Cycling head, Steve Johnson is now under pressure, and Tygart spoke again this week in the UK.

2014 Season

Prep for the 2014 Triathlon season is in full swing, including 1:1 run coaching from Erik Stanley, founder of Trail Roots and winner of the 2013 3M Half Marathon and numerous other accolades.

One thing this has reminded me is that short course is really hard. Sure Ironman is tough, but for the most part it's a mental game, unless you are training to go sub 10hrs, when Ironman is really hard, and eats up your life. Short course training is harder, if you want to do well. I've never been so tired. For the most part tomorrow is my day off, and most other days I only train max 2-hours.

2014-03-25 22.33.02However, my run training has been really hard. When I sat down and talked to Erik, I said not only did I want to win my Age Group at this years Texas Tri series, but I thought it would be my last year of running, either one, or both knees would need replacement. To win the tri series I'd need to be faster than both my 5k and 10k individual run times, and there or there abouts for the half marathon.

So, its not only been painful to my shot knees, muscular its been exhausting. Things are going well though, I'm already running 5k PR time, there or there abouts. Tonight, I was out for an "easy" ride, and for the first time since September 2013, on my Tri bike.

I won't be making wholesale changes this year, the biggest change is really the saddle. Traditionally for longcourse I've used a long nose, gel triathlon saddle. My old saddle was wearing thing and last year I had my share of rubbing problems. Pro Triathlete and Specialized ride Tenille Hoogland was kind enough to send me one of the new Specialized Sitero Pro saddles, and fellow Canadian Pro, Stephen Kilshaw, when he was homestaying with me for Austin 70.3, fitted it.

Today though was the first time I actually rode the bike. I never really got fitted for it. Stephen replaced the old saddle like for like. It was actually very comfortable in the aero position. My butt just resting on the sides of the wide part of the saddle. Absolutely no pressure on anything forward of that. I'm not convinced I could ride it for 56-miles, the saddle is otherwise hard. However, sprint, Intermediate, Olympic first, and some 6-months to make a decision before the season ending race, half-iron distance, Kerrville Triathlon Festival.

Next-up: Capital of Texas 10,000 meters - Goal, PR Pace.

TBI and Lance

the Triathlon Business International twitter account tweeted "@LanceArmstrong Snubs #Triathlon Industry – Exclusive Video …"

Now, I can't much get my head around this, although I am a member, one of the original individuals members going back to their formation as Triathlon America in 2010. I've been to all four US Conferences, and partially attended the International conference in London last year during the ITU World Finals, I'm not one of their insiders.

You can read my remarks here, here and here about some of this years sessions, and an interesting series of write-ups I did for the website while at the 2nd Triathlon America conference, where WTC CEO Andrew Messick spoke, calling Armstrongs return to triathlon "the elephant in the room".

Once the conference brewhaha over Lance Armstrongs potential appearance and rebuttal of USADA boss Travis Tygart was over, I thought things would die down. Apparently not based on the TBI tweet, and a scathing analysis by the folks over Endurance Films. Endurance Films are a big contributor to the TBI Conference, providing both videos for use at the conference, and filming various aspects of it. Their blog though has only marginally more content than this one, and so the "Armstrong Snubs" blog was both unusual in terms of content, and once I watched the video interview with TBI President Jack Carress, I was left confused. I left a comment on their blog, which they published. Here it is as well.

"Mark Cathcart

Interesting perspective. If TBI really wanted to hear from Lance they should offered him a platform when he approached them months ago, as Jack pointed out, and setup an interview.

It's not entirely clear to me letting Lance come would have served any useful purpose at all if you think what Tygart said was accurate.

There are a number of aspects on doping in cycling, and Lance Armstrong that are far from over. Who knew what when in the race and event industry, did they turn a blind eye to what was going on, or worse did they help cover it up? If Lance had shown up and named a bunch of names... potentially even people associated with TBI, how smart would that have looked?

Think no one else, ever, knew anything? Don't think there was anything anyone could have done as Lance hadn't failed tests? Don't think this is what Cookson is after now?

Everyone loves a comeback? Yeah... especially if they can make money off it. How do you think a Lance comeback would effect the rest of the pro athletes? Think they want to be branded in the same class? The vast majority are working incredibly hard, long hours, as totally clean athletes, with little chance of making clean, what Lance made just in one race dirty. Think they want to be tagged with the same questions if they beat Lance?

Sure Macca wants to race Lance, no disrespect, as great as he is, he has nothing to lose and a huge potential payday if it happened. The same could be said for the WTC, nothing to lose, except what if Lance had shown up and won at Kona? Fair, of course not. Not matter how you look at Lance, what you think of him, he had years of the best training, the best medical, and the best financial circumstances to support his training. Unlike say the Pro's who go to WTC races, have to scrounge around for beds, can't take private jets to races, are dependent on sponsors for handouts etc.

Sadly as Jack Caress says there is a still a lot of interest in Lance, almost all of it from old white guys. Talk to the younger generations, they are not over Lance, they were never into him in the first place. They pretty much dismiss him in the same breath as other cheats in cycling and other sports.

Sorry, I think the WTC and TBI had everything to lose if Lance had spoken, and apart from one more great payday and some class-A publicity. To qoute Tygart, we can get everything we need from other sources. Time to move on past the Lance Armstrong affair and build the best triathlon pro's into the next generation of heroes, not dwell on the past.

Mark Cathcart, TBI Member and Conference Attendee"

Triathlete magazine and EPO-BOOST

Totally disappointed to see that Triathlete magazines' January 2014 issue is still carrying these pseudo editorials which are actually advertisements. You have to actually look really hard for the word ADVERTISEMENT.

While I'm sure the product manufacturers will totally claim their products is safe,  and I'm sure it is based on the claims they make in the advertisement,  it is surely only a short swim,  bike and run from legal EPO remedy to illegal ones?

Given the focus on drugs in triathlon, with the recent debates at the Triathlon Business International conference, triathlon must not just talk a clean game, but actually be seen to be clean as well.

Yes, this product may be legal, yes Triathlete, currently owned by Competitor group, is an independent, for profit business. But really, faux editorials, sold as advertisements, authored by Mark "
The pressure to win is so enormous that many horsemen resort to whatever it takes to get a piece of the purse or a decent sale… even if it means putting their horses’ lives in mortal danger by doping them with illegal synthetic erythropoietin (EPO) drugs to boost endurance." Hanson, who seems to be just as much an expert on horse EPO as he is on triathlete performance.

There is definitely a debate, and we started to have it at the TBI Conference, about a certification, endorsement, and list of ingredients per supplements, so athletes know precisely what they are putting in their bodies. Interestingly, EPO-BOOST says they've partnered with the Banned Substances Control Group, headed by Don Catlin, a key speaker, advocate and part of the TBI Panel. Don was one of the people that answered my question about making data from tests, both supplement and athlete publicly available for analysis, as problematical.

Given EPO-BOOST is totally legal, it's just another supplement. During the same panel WTC/Ironman CEO Andrew Messick said "supplements are bad news. You don't know what's in 'em, athletes don't know what's in 'em, you don't know how they are manufactured, and they are and have been within the performance world the source of an enormous amount of angst and grief for athletes". Messick later in the panel apologized for a sweeping generalization after being challenged by a representative from Herbalife, who are a race sponsor.

So, while EPO-BOOST may be legal, isn't it about time magazines and organizations in triathlon stop skirting this legal/illegal boundary and take a principled stance. This would be a start to sending a clear, unambiguous message.

  • Current Music: Alive - Zedd

USAT Rankings 2014

If these were my high school reports, they'd be pretty much the same. "Can do better. When Mark focuses and works on his assignments, he does a great job.".

The USAT 2013 National rankings are done. In the Texas Men, 55-59, I came 54th. In my defence, I'd just like to point out that Texas is for the most part bigger than Germany, and has over twice the number of people than Great Britain. So, 54th is OK, could do better though. Secondly, I only raced in three qualifying races, Republic of Texas Half, Jack's Generic Sprint, Kerville Sprint.

Three of my local, central Texas rivals, finished ahead of me. Lane Carnes(16th), Reyes Lopez(18th), Gary Osborn(20th), David Sing(24th), Thomas Meade(45th) and Rick Margiotta(50th). I don't recall ever racing against Margiotta, who was formally one of the organizers of the CapTex Triathlon, and I beat Meade in 2013 at Jacks Generic sprint triathlon. Lopez and Sing will be aging up to the 60-64 age group this year, and of course there will likely faster guys coming into my age group.

My focus is on the Texas Tri Series, it will be the first time I've tried to complete the series since the first year it ran, and if I can stay injury free, my plan to go for the win. This should bump me up in the rankings, the [PDF] 2013 Texas Tri series winner was Gary Osborn, so I have my work cut out.

Triathlon Business International Conference 2014

My rule for re-posting blog comments is about 24-hours. Often I find that through neglect, and sometimes because the author doesn't like the comment, comments sit unapproved on trashed, rather than published. Shannon Fleck has a good summary of some of the highlights from the conference, Active Endurance "Top 10 Moments of Triathlon Business International Conference". and I felt some commentary would be useful.

After Travis Tygart of USADA's great keynote on the general state of drugs in sport, and obviously commentary on the whole Lance Armstrong affair. The conference came alight Monday night after the awards, when the "voice of Ironman" and Senior Executive at, Mike Reilly announced that the conference would be using it's "Hot Topics and General Business" session on Tuesday for a one on one with Lance Armstrong. I like a number of other people had heard Lance was going to make an unscheduled appearance, through either twitter or txt msg.

I'd sat next to Dana Willett, from Boulders' 303Triathlon at dinner and already mentioned the possibility. After Reillys announcement, she wrote it up here, along with what happened next morning.

I'm with Tygart though, and a number of other current and former professional triathletes, who reached out to me overnight, it's not clear what Armstrong could add. There is also a significant body that believes it's time to stop giving Lance the oxygen of publicity as well.

Which leads to the comment I posted in the active endurance blog yesterday which remains "awaiting moderation".

I didn’t understand the flap about Lance appearance. The only things left that we don’t know is who are the race organizers, and sports administrators that either knew and turned a blind eye, or worse, worked with him to conceal and cover-up what was going on.

If there are such people, then would it have been advisable to use the TBI Conference to out them? At what point and what expense to members and to the sport? While it might have added some publicity to the event, I can’t see this would have been a good outcome.

If Lance had such information, then it would behoove him to use this information to improve the sport and help WADA/USADA clean house, and the TBI Conference really wasn’t the vehicle to suddenly out them.

Tygarts session was good, he was a captivating speaker, covered the topic and issues well. If the TBI Conference was going to dedicate time to a follow-up, it would been better to use it to discuss and plan ACTUAL actions the organization and it’s members could take to ensure triathlon was a clean sport.