Essential Sports Nutrition

10/18/18

No one likes a complainer


There's no denying that a cancelled race, shortened distance or course change will evoke a lot of emotions for the athlete who has invested time, money and energy in to participating in the upcoming race. Although no athlete can predict or control modifications and cancellations, it's part of the game when preparing for an outdoor activity which requires a venue that is impacted by outside forces.

As a coach who puts on triathlon training camps, I empathize with race directors. While athletes may feel otherwise, I can't imagine that any race director wants to put time, energy and money into a race, only to cancel it. Because many race directors are athletes themselves, there's nothing fun about cancelling a race, changing the course or venue. Recently, Ironman made the decision to cancel Ironman Florida in PCB due to the devastation of Hurricane Michael. Prior to that, Ironman 70.3 North Carolina was cancelled. This was the right thing to do as each city tries to overcome the significant damage that occurred. Ironman Chattanooga had a cancelled swim and Ironman Kentucky had the swim shortened. 

Whether it's a tune-up race, fun race, key race or a race of a lifetime, every athlete will handle the decision of the race differently. While some athletes will agree with the decisions that are made (whether they like them or not), a large number of athletes will voice their unhappy thoughts and feelings about the situation. Essentially, it's a lose-lose situation for the race director and staff.

Soon after IMFL was cancelled, something happened that I have never seen happened before. The event was moved to a new location (Haines City, FL) just one day later (Nov 4th). This is unheard of! I can't imagine the stress, money, time, energy and overall effort that is involved to put together a 140.6 mile event, in a new location, in just 3 weeks! It takes me many months just to plan a 5-day triathlon training camp for 15 athletes! If you'd like to volunteer for the event, you can do so HERE. I think it's absolutely wonderful that this is happening!

Despite the two options that Ironman provided for IMFL athletes to still put all that training to good use in a new venue, on the same weekend OR to defer to another Ironman (Texas) less than 6 months later, there has been a lot of complaining. I'd like to think that triathletes are a special group of people who are genuinely nice, supportive, caring, resilient and mentally tough, but this has not been the case as I've heard many nasty, negative and mean comments made by triathletes over this recent decision.

This brings me to the purpose of this blog....complaining.
Thanks to various modes of communication, such as on forums, private groups and social media, many athletes are venting about their thoughts about the recent decision of moving IMFL instead of cancelling the event all together. Athletes are venting about their lack of options and the money lost due to the recent cancellation of the event in PCB. Athletes are downright not happy. While it's ok to vent (you don't want your negative thoughts to add up), it's best to share your thoughts with a close friend, your coach or a family member who can help you work through those uncomfortable feelings. Venting in a forum (or on social media), with a group of like-minded individuals, has the potential to escalate into stronger feelings of anger, frustration and disappointment. Knowing that others are listening, the complainer often comes with an agenda - needing to feel validated, sympathy or attention. While there is no real solution to the situation, complaining often feels like the right thing to do for some athletes because it feels good to complain.

Interestingly, complaining doesn't change a situation. However, it can certainly change your mood and perspective. Complaining is exhausting and draining - for both the complainer and those who choose to listen. For many athletes, complaining is a default setting. When things don't go as planned, complaining is the norm It's all the athlete knows to do. If complaining seems like the easy solution when things aren't going your way, I encourage you to change your perspective. Here are a few ways to ditch your negative thoughts: 

  1. Think positive thoughts - While this is easier said than done, there has to be something good in every situation. Instead of only seeing the negative, try to see the positive in the situation.
  2. Vent - Instead of using a public forum to enlist help from strangers, find comfort in talking to your coach, close friend or family. You may even consider speaking to a therapist who can help you work through uncomfortable feelings.
  3. Acceptance - Don't waste energy on things you can't control. Complaining will not solve the problem. Try to be less judgmental if you are playing the blame game. Focus on something else that is good in your life and surround yourself with energy givers.
  4. Limit your exposure - Stay off forums and avoid complainers who only see the bad in a situation. Be the voice that will inspire others. If complaining does not cause real and positive change, it's not worth listening to (even if it's in your own head).
  5. Move on - Life goes on. There will be other races. As an athlete, things will not go as planned and certainly not every race will go as planned. If you feel like the weight of the world is on your shoulders right now, take a deep breath and remind yourself that there's more to life than just one race. 

10/17/18

IM Kona '18 Race Report


When the alarm went off at 3:45am, I stayed in bed for another 15 minutes to let Karel have the kitchen to himself as he made his espresso and pre-race meal. When I got up, I was quick to go outside to the patio to let Karel do his own thing without getting in his way. Karel’s mom stayed in bed as we told her to watch the swim from behind the building in front of us as it would be too crazy for her to go down to the finish line area. Karel was incredibly calm and I couldn’t sense any nervous energy from him. It was a mixture of excitement, readiness and confidence and of course, gratitude that he had a healthy (and injury free) body at the end of a very successful season of racing. Around 5:15am, Karel was ready to head to the race venue. My job was to carry his special needs bags (and drop them off) and to grab his pump from him after he pumped his tires. 



Due to the rain the night before, Ali’i drive was a little wet but the air temp felt very comfortable. Crowds were already lining up on the wall to watch the swim start, the finish line was fully assembled, you could hear Mike Riley (and the other announcers) and there were athletes everywhere. I walked with Karel behind the King K hotel and dropped off his special needs bags before wishing Karel a great race and giving up a good luck kiss and hug. Karel went into the athlete-only area to get body marked (temporary tattoo) and weighed before heading to his bike on the pier. 




During this time (which moved rather quickly, I was surprised with all of the athletes!), I made my way to the pool area behind the King K as that was my meeting spot for Karel to hand me his pump. Around 6am, Karel came back from his bike, handed me his pump and I gave him one more good luck wish. 




He looked really calm and relaxed as he was listening to his music. I waited just a little longer to make sure he didn’t need me for anything else and then I walked down the road to get a spot to watch the swim start. During this time, Karel did his jog warm-up to our place, went to the bathroom once more and then jogged back to the pier – all before 6:30am. With Karel’s wave starting at 7:05am, he gave himself time to get close to the stairs entering the water so that he could get in a 10 minute swim warm-up with a few efforts to get the blood flowing. 










Making friends. 


2.4 mile swim
Aside from the chaos that comes with a mass start, Karel had his best non-wetsuit/Kona swim. Karel lined himself up to the far left of the buoys and near the front row. The buoys were spaced every 100 meters which made it easy to mark progress. Plus there are a few landmarks to the left which help athletes know how far they are (ex. the “boat” looking hotel by Huggo’s is about 1000 meters in). It was really important for Karel to try to accelerate hard from the front and then settle into a good rhythm. This was something that he practiced in the practice swim the previous Saturday. Karel was most proud of how he felt on the way back from the two turns (around the boats – which are the only two turns of this swim course) as he felt strong and exited the water feeling relatively fresh and not exhausted. The way back to the pier is typically a little slower due to the movement of the waves/ocean and layout of the course but Karel felt like he was able to swim strong throughout. 



T1
Whereas any other Ironman may have a small group of athletes exiting the water between 1 hour and 70 minutes, IM Kona is a bit different. With so many fast athletes in one race, it’s not uncommon to have 30-80 athletes exiting the water within a few minutes. Karel made his way up the stairs (which are only placed there for race day), through the hoses to rinse off and then to his T1 bag. Karel did not have anything in his bag since he had his cycling shoes and helmet on his bike (mandatory for all athletes to have their helmet on the bike, shoes are optional in bag or on the bike pedals). When he grabbed his bag, he took off his swimskin and then put it in his bag before running to his bike. No need for Karel to even enter the changing tent. Once he got to his bike, he put on his helmet and made the long run with his bike all the way around pier. Every athlete has to cover the same distance/path around the pier, which makes for a very long transition area.



112 mile bike
Karel was filled with happiness when he got on his bike (flying mount) as he was thrilled with his swim. Going into the race, Karel had a stretch goal of trying to get in the top ten for his age-group. Not knowing what the weather would be like, Karel was more focused on chasing the competition versus chasing a time (then again, Karel doesn’t care about times when he races). With his swim time being a few minutes faster than in 2016, Karel felt like this would set him up to be with faster cyclists. Having a lot of confidence in his run, his goal for the next 112 miles was to put together a solid bike, nail his nutrition and deliver himself to the run.
It was only a matter of a few pedal strokes that Karel realized something was wrong with his bike. His electronic shifting was not working. This meant that he was stuck in one gear and one gear only….for the next 112 miles. And not just any gear but a very easy gear. Karel went from such a high, to such a low in a matter of seconds. He suddenly felt so empty, sad and confused. Even as a bike mechanic, this was a mechanical issue that was completely out of his control. With the upcoming in-town section taking only about 20-25 minutes, I wasn’t sure why I didn’t see Karel flying down Palani after he exited the transition area. When I finally saw his neon-green kit coming down the hill, I was super happy to see him. But what came next was not what I expected to hear….
“I have no gears.” 


My heart immediately sank into my stomach and I couldn’t believe it. Karel later on told me that he got of his bike within the first mile and tried to jam the chain into another gear for more resistance. No go. Compared to the 24-27 mph speeds that other athletes were holding to cover the “in-town” section, Karel was averaging 15 mph. 


As soon as Karel shouted that to me about his gears, I felt like I needed to help. I didn’t know what to
 do so I just started running to my condo. I left Karel’s mom on Palani (there was no way I could communicate to her what had happened since she doesn’t speak English) and made my way to the condo. Luckily, our condo is just a block from Palani. My heart was beating so fast, I was sweating like crazy and I just felt so sad for Karel. Not even a few miles into his 140.6 mile race and his day of racing was overwith. Sure, he could still ride his bike but it was going to be a very long morning of riding with just one gear. Plus, riding in such an easy gear means a lot of pedaling which means a lot of mechanical and cardio fatigue. I also worried about Karel’s hips and back (which he has to be so careful with when he rides) and just the overall emotions that he would be carrying with him for the next 112 miles. 


When I got into my condo, I grabbed my bike because my first thought was “He can ride my bike.” Then I thought, oh that’s silly. Then I thought “I have a battery! He can use mine!” I searched for some tools because I thought he would need those. I know little about bike mechanics (prior to this incident, I didn’t even know where the battery was in my bike) but I have seen Karel work on bikes enough to know what tools he uses/needs. All of this was in a mega panic and feeling the need to help my husband. 

After I grabbed my bike and a small tool gadget, I sprinted my way down the stairs and rode across the street. I was hoping that I didn’t miss Karel for I really wanted to help him.

Luckily, I spotted Karel. I yelled and jumped up and down so he could see me. At first I thought he was going to keep riding but he stopped soon after he saw me. He pulled over to the side of the road in pure sadness and told me that he has no gears. When I saw a tear fall down his cheek from under the sunglasses attached to his helmet, that was my sign that I had to switch from wife to coach. Whereas I wanted to give him a hug and be emotional, I knew that would only make him more upset. We moved on to the sidewalk on Kuakini and Hanama (around there) and as Karel said “And I had such a great swim…” I stopped him from talking as I knew his emotions were taking over. I said “take my battery. I even brought your tools.” Karel was overloaded with his thoughts about this unfortunate situation and told me that he didn’t think it would help. He was convinced that the wire shorted the battery due to the rain as he clipped the wire prior to travel when removing his aero bars and secured it with electrical tape. I told him to try and he swapped my battery for his (from inside the seat post – aha, that is where it is!) and his biked shifted! Karel took the tools with him just in case he didn’t them again and I told him not to let this get to him. There was very little communication between us during the few minutes that this battery swap took place as I wanted Karel to stay calm. Karel is not one to over-react, play the blame game, make excuses or get angry so his emotions were purely from disappointment in the situation. He knew that his top 10 goal would no longer happen even though he now had the ability to shift his gears. I told him that I love him and to give his best and that everything will be ok as he rode off. Even though he lost a good 15 minutes in the first 7 miles or so of the bike, I still felt like he would be able to be in the race, so long as my battery worked for the rest of the ride.

As I walked back to the condo with my bike, I felt a bit of relief that I could help Karel during is helpless situation but I felt sick to my stomach about the situation. I just helped Karel cheat. As I made my way to the condo, I couldn’t help but think that we just broke a very important rule with triathlon racing – no outside assistance. I knew this meant a disqualification so I just hoped that Karel would be able to continue the race and cross the finish line for I know Karel and he is not a cheater or a quitter and would not want his race experience to be taken away from him. Even if his goal was no longer reachable, he loves to race and I wanted to give him the opportunity to race – even if he wasn’t an official finisher.

Karel’s mom came back to the condo and she was visibly upset because she didn’t see Karel on the bike. I showed her a picture that I saw him and gave her a thumbs up to signify that he was ok so she wouldn’t worry. Before the race, I made a time-line for Karel’s mom so she knew about when Karel would be where on the course so she could go and cheer. Well, I had to adjust those times because of the incident.

Sadly, I couldn’t feel happy about what just happened. Rather than feeling like the hero in this, I felt disappointed that we cheated. I knew Karel would feel the same way so I just hoped that he was able to enjoy his day before he would need to tell an official that he received outside assistance. To help with my emotions, I went for a run along Ali’i drive while listening to the live broadcast on my phone and periodically checking the Ironman tracker app to see how Karel was doing. When I saw that Karel was riding a more normal speed, I did feel better that he would be able to ride more comfortably by choosing his own gears to change throughout the race. I notified our team (on our private Facebook team page) that Karel had a mechanical but I wanted it to come from him to explain to our athletes what had happened, especially since we still needed to speak to an official.

After my run, I returned back to the condo, showered and ate, watched more of the live coverage and continued to track Karel. Although he was making good progress on the course, he continued to move back in places. This told me that something was not right. When I looked at this split paces compared to other athletes, I knew something was wrong. He was still moving much faster than in the first few miles with only the easy gear but far slower than what he is capable of riding. I tried not to think much of it and I was just counting down the hours until he got off the bike.

As Karel was getting closer to the transition area, his time was not bad but it could have been so much faster. On a record setting day with no wind, I knew something was not right as he was nearing 180ish place off the bike. 

T2
Karel had a quick transition and was relieved to be off his bike with his feet on the ground. The temperature was heating up but I had no idea what was going on with Karel. Why was he riding somewhat fast if he only had one easy gear but also so slow compared to what he could have ridden?

26.2 mile run
When I saw Karel running on Kuakini before heading to the out and back section on Ali’i drive, I gave him a big cheer. He quickly told me that the battery stopped working again and he only had one gear for most of the ride. Later on, Karel told me that the battery only worked for about 20 miles and luckily, when the battery died, he was in the big chain ring. It was still an easy gear and on any other typical Kona day, it may have been fine with wind but on a day that required a lot of resistance on the chain, he was forced to pedal at a very high cadence just to keep the momentum going. But with every climb, the gear was too heavy, which forced him to get out of the saddle a lot and to use a very slow cadence to get over some of the hills. This was a very poor way to ride the course, not to mention the mechanical and cardio fatigue that occurred for over 90 miles. He had a lot of low moments during the ride as he was helpless being passed by so many athletes. He refused to quit and tried to make the best of the decision and adjust his position or figure out the best way to gain speed (or make it “easier” when climbing) whenever possible.  In addition, he still focused on good nutrition but because of this very inefficient riding style, his body was under a lot more stress compared to if he would be able to ride at his preferred cadence (around mid 80’s) and change his gears.

After I saw Karel on the run, I yelled to him “Put together a run that you will be proud of!” and that seemed to stick with him as he was running really well, with good form and at a great pace. Again, I had no idea how much the ride took out of his legs and heart but I knew my mission for the day was to keep him going. Karel isn’t a quitter but it’s easy to give into the thoughts in your head that it’s not worth it – especially on what was turning into an extremely hot marathon run at the Ironman World Championship.

I rode my bike (without the ability to change gears – since I had Karel’s dead battery) on one of the side roads so I could see Karel once more on Ali’i drive. I rode on the opposite side of the road, took a few pictures and a video but didn’t say anything to him.


I knew he needed to get into a good place with his rhythm (and thoughts) so I just tried to be invisible. After a half mile of watching Karel run, I turned around and made my way to the top of Palani to wait for Karel once more. 



When I saw Karel running up Palani (the steepest hill on the course, occurring this year -with the new course-around mile 7-8ish), I told him that he is running one of the fastest paces at this point in the marathon. Even though it was not possible to pass 150+ people over the next 20 miles, I wanted Karel to know that he was still having a good race. And most of all, I wanted to make sure Karel still felt like he was racing. The bike was now in the past and the focus was on getting him to the finish line with the best run that he could put together on the day. 


Karel said that the run was incredibly hard – one of the hardest Ironman marathons that he has ever run. It was so hot out there and there was no cloud cover. He had no idea of his pace or overall run time as the focus was on running from one aid station to the next, walking through the aid stations and taking care of himself with ice/water and then surviving to the next aid station. Karel was later shocked when I told him that he ran a 3:15 marathon and moved from 181st to 82nd. With the wind at his face as he got closer to the new entrance of the energy lab, it started to get very hot and very tough for Karel. Despite his body breaking down and his mind exhausting, something inside of him kept him going.

Although Karel slowed down (as everyone does in the marathon), he was still putting together solid splits according to the tracer. I was just so proud of Karel for what he had overcome and how he was able to still run so well. 



I went back to the condo to tell Karel’s mom to head outside to watch Karel finish and I made my way to the bleachers to capture Karel crossing the finish line. As Karel made his way over the finish line, I could tell he was completely empty – mentally and physically. What a day.





Post race
I made my way to the patio area by the pool where I stood to meet Karel in the morning. Thankfully, our friend Livingston was volunteering and snapped a picture of Karel and called me so I could talk to Karel. Karel was absolutely exhausted and told me that he just wanted to lay in the grass for a while and go to sleep. I told him to take his time and that I would meet him when he was ready. Livingston wouldn’t let Karel fall asleep so he stayed with Karel until he was able to get up. Karel went to the bathroom, rehydrated a little (no appetite to eat) and about 20-30 min after he finished, he hobbled his way to me. I told him that I was so proud of him and he said that was the hardest thing he had ever done. As we were walking, I wanted to bring up the battery swap but I hesitated as I knew Karel was lacking some brain cells to think. Once Karel started to talk a little more (although clearly disappointed), I mentioned about us needing to talk to someone about my outside assistance. Karel agreed and said he was thinking the same thing. Neither one of us could live with this scenario if we didn't tell an official. Even though my battery didn’t technically help Karel (he still rode 90 miles on one gear), it was still outside assistance and we always want to play fair and by the rules. Plus, we feel that being a good role model for our athletes and having integrity for the sport means doing the right thing.
Although the day was not as Karel planned, the goal shifted from being top ten to finishing and Karel was just so relieved to have crossed that finish line.  Even if he was disqualified, he just wanted to finish what he started and to know that he never gave up on himself. It was not about proving anything to anyone or getting kudos for his performance but more about racing for himself and doing the best that he could out there. Karel really appreciated that I told him to put together a run that you can be proud of for he carried that with him for the entire run. He didn’t come all this way and train this hard just to give up on himself. More so, his bike was still functional, even with one gear so he wanted to pay respect to the sport and do what others would love to do – even with only one gear.

After we made our way back to our place, Karel was feeling super nauseous. He took a shower and laid down in bed. Unable to eat anything, we started with some soup and over the next 2 hours, his appetite slowly came back. His mom was super proud of him.



Nearing 7pm (when athletes can start checking out their bikes), Karel mentioned that he was feeling ok enough to walk around. We both wanted to find the head bike official (Jimmy Riccitello) as soon as possible as we wanted to take care of this situation for we both didn’t feel good about it.

Karel and I slowly walked to the King K hotel (official race hotel) and went to a room (Lost and Found) to see if we could locate Jimmy. The volunteer we spoke to was very confused. The convo went like this.

Karel “I’d like to speak to the head bike official about a situation on the bike course.”
Volunteer “OK, is this about another athlete?”
Karel “No, it’s about myself.”
Volunteer “ Did another athlete do something?”
Karel “No, I’d like to disqualify myself.”
Volunteer “Are you sure?"
Karel "Yes.”

We waited over an hour for Jimmy to be found (during that time Karel collected his bike and gear bags as I waited in the room) and once he came, we told him the entire situation of what happened. Jimmy was a bit speechless as he couldn’t believe that Karel wanted to disqualify himself at the Ironman World Championship. Jimmy said that he really appreciated the honesty and that he would write down Karel’s number in case anyone complained about what they saw but in all fairness, he didn’t feel that Karel was deserving of a disqualification. He told us that although it is outside assistance, it was not something that was planned to help Karel gain the competitive edge and I was not offering Karel something that he could use as an advantage over his other competitors. We expressed several times that we felt like it was the right thing to do, Jimmy took note of it but didn’t feel it was worthy of a DQ. We thanked him for allowing us to share the situation and he thanked us for being honest about the situation. I think he was a bit taken back by it all and a little speechless.

Afterward, Karel got back his appetite in full force and wanted a burger and fries so we picked one up outside of a restaurant (Karel only managed to eat half) and headed back to our condo.


It was a very emotional, exhausting and tough day for Karel but he is incredibly happy that he finished. He said even if the bike would take him 7 hours, he was going to finish the race. While Karel had to deal with more than he had planned to deal with over the course of 140.6 miles, he is heading back home with a finisher medal that means more to him than any finish time or finishing place. Onward and upward we go.

Thank you for your support and for reading. 


10/15/18

IM Kona '18 Race Report - Quick Recap

In sport, every athlete is seeking that perfect race. The race where everything goes smoothly, the weather is perfect or your strengths outweigh your weaknesses compared to your competition. 

The "perfect race" scenario played out for many athletes at the 2018 Ironman World Championship. Records were broken, PR's were set and dreams came true for many athletes. Crossing a 140.6 mile finish line should never be taken for granted and even for those who did not reach personal goals, the achievement of crossing the Ironman World Championship line is now embedded into the memory bank of every athlete.

Karel did not have his perfect race. For the first time ever, Karel had a mechanical issue on the bike. His electronic shifting was not working as soon as he left T1....less than 75 minutes into the race. Six years of riding with electronic shifting and never has he had an issue. Talk about bad luck. Because of this, Karel could not change his gears. He was stuck in an easy gear with 112 miles of riding ahead of him. Because of the calm winds, this was a day where having "big" gears would allow you to ride fast. Karel is not angry or making excuses. He actually blames himself as he clipped the wire to his Di2 as he was packing his bike before our Kona trip two weeks ago, and secured the wire with electrical tape. He's done this in the past and it worked out and even this time around, he had no issues with his bike over the past two weeks. However, with the massive downpour on Friday night, the taped wires were impacted by the rain (otherwise, the wires/battery is just fine in the rain) and it drained the battery overnight. Karel did not realize this until he tried to change his gear at mile 0.1 of his upcoming 112 mile bike ride.

Whereas it would be easy to dwell on the could have, would have and should haves, Karel is very proud of what he overcame to reach the finish line. 

You see, when an athlete has a perfect race, he/she is instantly rewarded with the feeling of satisfaction and gratitude. There's nothing wrong with that and as a coach (and athlete), the "perfect" race is worth chasing. However, things don't always have to go as planned to achieve the perfect race. More so, if you are hoping to have a perfect race every time you race, you'll likely be disappointed far more than you'll be satisfied. Does this mean that you should give up on chasing your goals because the odds are against you in having that perfect race?

Sport can be cruel and unpredictable but it's important that when you lose, you don't lose the lesson. In other words, giving up because of a mistake, failure or low moment teaches you nothing. Sure, when things don't go as planned, it's ok to be emotional, upset or disappointed, but when you give up, you immediately lose the opportunity to overcome whatever set you back and learn from the situation. And more importantly, learn more about yourself.

If an athlete always has a "perfect" race, he/she never gets the opportunity to learn the important lessons that sport teaches us. If your natural response to unfavorable "perfect" race scenarios (ex. bad weather, tough/fast competition, mechanical issue, nutrition issue, etc.) is to give up, you ingrain the habit of giving up when the going gets tough.

While no athlete should sacrifice health in an effort to get to the finish line, many athletes give up when things don't go as planned - even though the body still has the ability to move forward. These pressure cooker situations often emotionally break athletes and throw them off their game and thus, the immediate reaction is to give up due to excuses, negative thinking and the thought that continuing "isn't worth it." But when you give up, you also give up on any chance that you have to have a good outcome. For any outcome is better than not finishing what you started.

No athlete trains or hopes for race day issues, whether it's physical, mental or mechanical/gear related. But these things are bound to happen. Especially if you are racing for 140.6 miles.  When you give up, you give up on your effort, the progress you made and on the possibility for a comeback.

In contrast, if you try to see the best in the situation or try to fix the situation, you at least give yourself a chance that something good may happen. And that's something you can be proud of. Every athlete is bound to have race day issues. It's not about IF those issues will happen but how you respond to them. While you may not reach your race day goals with a setback, you can cross that finish line with satisfaction, excitement, confidence and gratitude that you are a tenacious competitor who always finds a way to persevere, no matter what the day gives you.

Although Karel did not have his perfect race, he was given the race day scenario that provided him with the perfect platform to show his mental resilience and integrity to the sport. 



Karel started the day off with a phenomenal swim showcasing his continued improvements with his swim fitness. Despite a bike performance that costed him a lot of mechanical fatigue due to having to spin at a very high cadence (115-120 rpm at times versus his normal mid-80 rpm cadence) or riding with an extremely heavy gear when there was a climb (often standing for the entire climb), Karel was able to pass over 100 athletes in his age group on the run (185th place to 82nd place out of 266). While it wasn't his fastest marathon run off the bike, he suffered a lot during the run and never gave up on himself to put together the best performance possible on the day, with the scenario that he was given. 


Karel's Race Results: 
2.4 mile swim: 1:04.45 (course PR)
T1: 3:01
112 mile bike: 5:17.27
T2: 4:13
26.2 mile run: 3:15.50
Total: 9:45.15
11x Ironman finisher
3x IM Kona finisher