What does your standard training week involve? Training volume is obviously dictated by what training block I'm in. I'm typically in the pool every morning by 5:30. I train within two 3.5 hour training blocks 5:30am-8:00am and again at 5:30pm-8:00pm. I train about 20+ hours a week in the peak of my training and weekends always consist of 6 hour bike rides and long runs.
Where is your favorite place to train? When it comes to winter, I love training in Tucson. It's a beautiful place and the cookies on top of MT. Lemon are well worth the climb! As for summer, I stay home in Lake Placid surrounded by friends and family, amazing bike routes, running trails, and open water swims.
What is your favorite race? Ironman Lake Placid holds a special place in my heart due to it being my first Ironman and home town. My high school science teacher always hands out the finisher medals, so it's always fun to see her there while I'm feeling like death and throwing up all over myself; she truly gets to see me in my prime. The support that I get at that race is unbelievable, I have a lot of great memories there, and the beer is great as well!
What is your favorite 2XU garment? When do you use it and why? I practically live in the 2XU Elite Compression tights and long sleeve compression top. Recovery is paramount in the sport of triathlon. By increasing my recovery speed, I can stack workouts back to back without having to jeopardize performance quality.
What is your favorite training accessory? (heart rate monitor, power meter, pool buoy, etc...) My favorite piece of training gear is my ipod. I hate numbers; Garmins, Power Meters, and other devices drive me nuts. I obviously use them because I understand the importance of training data, but to be able to throw in some headphones and have a non-data run from time to time with just you and your thoughts is very enjoyable. I have Purple Rain by Prince on my ipod and it cracks me up every time it plays on shuffle. It's a classic!
What has been the toughest experience in your career and what did you learn from it? For two years I over trained to the extreme. In August of 2011, I raced Ironman Louisville. I got off the bike in 5th place and nearly died on the run. I didn't know I had phenomena. I then got Pulmonary Edima during the race, my left lung filled up with blood, I started coughing up the blood, and had less than half the oxygen I was supposed to have in my blood at the end of the race. I finished Ironman Louisville in 10:30, but spent 4 days in the hospital on oxygen and I couldn't breath for a month. At this point I'm still trying to untie the knots from the two years of over training and trying to get healthy again. That race really opened my eyes and taught me the importance of respecting your body. Jesse Kropelnicki started coaching me in October. Though he keeps me on a leash that's about 1 inch long, it's probably for the best. We're going to do great things together!
What is the most common training mistake you see? The number one training mistake I see most athletes in triathlon make is a lack of focus on nutritional planning before and during the race. Nutrition is just as important, if not more important than training. I say this because you can be in the best shape of your life but if you screw up your nutrition during the race, you could very well compromise your ability to even finish. I've seen a lot of people ruin a years worth of training in 10 hours just because of one nutritional error. Athletes need to really study nutrition or seek someone out who knows a little about it. Execute your training plan everyday of training and practice eating your prerace breakfast on long training days so you can learn what works for you.
What motivates you to train and race harder? I was in the Marine Corps for 6 years and while deployed in Iraq I saw some things that made me realize how fortunate I was to live the life that I have. I told myself that when I got home I would never take another day for granted and that I was going to do something amazing with my life. Triathlon is my something amazing and I train and race with every ounce of my heart for all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice and for all those who will never be given the opportunities that I'm fortunate enough to have.
Describe your diet/ meal plan leading up to a big race? I follow the Core Diet religiously. My diet consists of lean meats, fruits, vegetables, nuts and a lot of Starbucks coffee. I eat every two hours through the course of the day and stick to my race day nutritional plan during my training hours. I juice every day and have made some legendary creations, not all good! If you can juice it, I've done it. If you can't juice it, I've still done it! My race day breakfast consist of 3 Cups of all natural apple sauce, a banana, and 1 scoop of protein mix in 8oz of water.
How do you balance your training and racing life with life outside the sport? The support that I receive from my friends and family has played a huge role in the success that I've experienced in my career as a Professional Triathlete. That being said, I never take for granted the time that I get to spend with them. My older brother and Mom have decided to take up triathlon this year, so I've spent a lot of time in the pool and on the bike with them. My brother is loving the fact that he gets all my 2XU hand me downs!
What type of nutritional supplement do you find most helpful? I use all Infinit Nutrition products for training and racing. I drink MUD just about every morning before heading to the pool, I use my custom formula blend for racing and training, and use Infinit Nutrition Recovery Fluid for post workouts. As for supplements, I take whey protein, Iron Supplements, Fish Oil, Osteo bi-flex, and a multi vitamin daily.
What is the best thing about being a professional athlete? My favorite thing about being a professional triathlete is having the opportunity to travel and meet new people. Everyone has a story and most of them are amazing. After Florida 70.3 last year, I was sitting on a bench and a lady sat beside me and we got to talking. She told me her daughter was in the race, she had last over 100lbs, and this was her first triathlon. I spent the whole day cheering her on with her mom who I'd never met before. It was a blast! Those are the opportunities that make being a professional triathlete memorable.
What is the worst thing about being a professional athlete? My first year racing as a pro was a little stressful. I knew the competition was going to be increased significantly and I let it get to me. I didn't have fun because all I focused on was what everyone else expected from me instead of what I expected from myself. There is no down side to being a professional triathlete if you can keep everything in perspective and stay focused. You need to enjoy what you do and train and race for the right reasons. If you can do that, you will never have anything to complain about.
In five years I will be..... My coach and I have talked over our 5 year plan and we hope to be placing top 10 in Kona in 5 years. I'm only 24; I still need some time to learn the sport, mature, and work on my weaknesses.