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The GOOD and BAD of Treadmill Running


It’s that time of year.


It’s cold outside. Wet. Snowy. Icy. Windy. Dark. Quiet…


And you’re registered for a spring marathon.


Ha! Good luck!


…just kidding. But in all seriousness. What do you do when you’re about 4-6 months away from a huge event this time of year? You don’t have many options, to be honest. Run outside in any or all of the conditions listed above…or run on a treadmill.


Most people choose to run on a treadmill if they have the access. By “access” I mean if they “own” one. I’d go out on a limb and say 99% of people training for races have some sort of gym membership. So sure, of course you have access. But driving to the gym in these conditions also has it’s limitations. First of all, if you want to run EARLY, you might not be able to. You probably need to wait until 6am when the gym opens. For those of you who like running earlier than that, your hands are tied! Not to mention, the gym requires significantly more preparation compared to running on a treadmill you own. Get stuff ready, warm the car up because it’s been sitting outside in the elements overnight, prepare your gym bag, prepare a shower bag, prepare your fuel/supplements, etc. etc. I own a treadmill and all I do is put my sneakers on, walk downstairs, and go. It’s pretty awesome. Any time of day, too, which is a huge plus.


This time of the season comes around and I typically always find myself on the treadmill. I’m not saying it’s either GOOD or BAD…but I’ll provide some feedback I’ve experienced lately, and you can be the judge.



Pacing is KEY for big marathon preps. Race pace, tempo runs, tempo intervals, sprints, long slow distance runs, anaerobic intervals…all of these can be controlled on the treadmill very easily. You can kind of FORCE yourself to adhere to your program a bit better by seeing your pacing. When you’re outside, you may have a goal in mind, but it’s up to you to move your body at the appropriate pace to get the specific adaptation from the session. The treadmill does the work for you. If you’re running a tempo run at 20 seconds faster than your marathon pace, you can be guaranteed (if it’s calibrated correctly) that the treadmill will stay at that pace the entire run. If you’re attempting to run a long slow distance (LSD) run on the treadmill (I do NOT advise this), you can easily select pacing that falls within the 2-2:30 SLOWER (yes, you read that right) pace that’s required (I’ll dive into that relevance another time).



Temperature is also important when you’re running for awhile. If you’re running outdoors in 90+ degrees, your fueling changes. You prepare differently when you’re in different climates. At least, you should. When you’re running on the treadmill, you can also use a fan! If your pain cave is super hot and humid, crank that fan and get some airflow! The temperature greatly influences your pacing as well. If the temperature is very hot outdoors, you are FORCED to slow your planned pacing. I once raced in a marathon that used colors to indicate the severity of the temperature. It was so hot and humid that it was recommended athletes should reduce their planned marathon pacing per mile by 90 seconds…what marathoner you know would drop their overall goal time by 40 minutes?! NONE. Needless to say, lots of athletes hit the wall very early and completely bonked in that race. I was one of them. But the same concern should exist when the weather is COLD outside! Your thermoregulatory responses CHANGE in different temperatures. It’s good to “practice” what you feel like and how you should fuel if you’re racing in cold or warm temperatures. Everything changes when you get off the treadmill.



This is a curious one, but relevant in my opinion. Let’s keep it simple. If you’re indoor on a treadmill, you can wear less clothing because the climate is controlled (see above). But if you’re running outside this time of year, you are bundling up! This IMMEDIATELY raises your skin, core, and total body temperature. Without diving into the physiology, all three of those metrics matter. Yes, the cooler outdoor temperatures will surely prevent you from overheating, perhaps. BUT you will likely start sweating faster due to the microenvironment created by skin and clothing contact. Just a thought…it may not negatively impact your run, HR, performance, etc. but it’s certainly something to be mindful of. Because again, if your temperature and/or thermoregulatory responses are altered, your fueling should also likely change.



This is an easy one. Treadmill has no distractions. Outside running has a lot of distractions. Due to the required awareness of outside running, it’s possible that you’re expending more energy simply by focusing a bit more (mentally, and also your running gait, avoiding potholes, skipping over sidewalks, running off the road if a car passes, etc. etc. – this all burns extra energy and requires mental focus). This is both good and bad. You’re expending more energy, yes. Perhaps that’s good in terms of caloric burn. But it’s NOT good in terms of running economy. Running economy refers to metabolic cost at a given intensity or pace. In simplest terms, if you’re running at an 8:00min/mile pace on a treadmill for 10 miles, let’s say your HR is 130bpm. Now let’s take the 10 miles at 8:00min/mile outside instead of the treadmill. You’re wearing sweats, winter hat, gloves, it’s rainy and dark so you have a headlamp, you’re dodging cars as they pass, and jumping over sidewalk edges…your HR may jump to 145 for the duration of that run, at the (alleged) SAME intensity. Make sense? This is avoided by running indoor on a treadmill. BUT running without distractions isn’t really practical, is it? I mean, when you’re racing, you absolutely will have to deal with some of those distractions. The treadmill does NOT prepare you for dealing with those distractions, and may, in fact, provide you with a false sense of efficiency at given speeds.



This is one that certainly favors road running, in my opinion. The treadmill may have some advantages related to some of the items that you can “control,” but in terms of injuries, there are some specific negatives associated with the treadmill it’s important to be aware of. First of all, when you’re running outside, sure there’s the potential for injury. These potential injuries are related to stress, excessive volume, maybe tripping over something, vehicles, etc. But on the treadmill, the interaction between shoe and belt isn’t favorable for the hip/knee/ankle/foot. The impact is high. Higher than outdoors; almost like a pounding that can become dangerous if too much volume is on the treadmill (sure, this also depends on body weight). But hip/knee/ankle stress is high on a treadmill. The potential for overuse injuries is a bit higher here. Theres also the obvious potential to fall off the treadmill! Again, if you’re too distracted with Netflix or not paying attention…BOOM. There goes the season. Lastly, damage to the bottom of the foot, or some form of plantar fasciitis can occur. Damage to the deep tissue is possible due to the excess stress. This also depends on the shoe you’re wearing and your efficiency with each foot contact. Talk to a professional if this is overwhelming!


In summary, I’m not really sure what’s “BETTER” this time of year. I know the treadmill has some benefits. I know running outdoor has some benefits. Both can absolutely be used, and I think you SHOULD incorporate both at different times for different reasons, especially this time of year.


Please feel free to reach out if you have any questions about any of this! And share your thoughts, too. Which do YOU think is best???

72-Hour Water Fast

Recently I decided to do a 72-hour water fast. That’s right…I only drank water (with electrolytes) for 72 hours. I’ll be honest, it’s somewhat of a “fad” lately, although fasting has been around for forever. This “72-hour water fast” has been made popular recently by a few mainstream influencers. People like Gary Brecka, Dana White, Joe Rogan…have all shared either personal experiences or thoughts about the concept. Naturally, the almighty social media algorithm pushed found its way to my feed, so I did a little (only a little) research before deciding to give it a try.

I’ve never been one to fast. Not at all. I think the last time I intentionally fasted I was 18 and wrestling. I have probably fasted for 3 days + back then, trying to cut weight, doing things dangerously, not emphasizing salt/electrolytes while doing it, working out in sauna suits…not smart.

Fast forward 15 years and now I’m doing it again with purpose. Well, what actually is the purpose? I’ll get into that later. For now, take a look at how my fast went from start to finish.


Sunday Dec. 17, 2023 – final meal before fast at 5:00pm

We had been traveling to see family this past weekend. As we were driving to on the highway, I mentioned to my wife that I might start the 72-hour water fast on Sunday after our dinner together with everyone. She, of course, said I’m an idiot but I still stayed the course.

Around 4:30pm one of our family members fired up the grill and I ended up finishing my meal by 5:00pm. I put absolutely zero thought into WHAT my final meal should consist of. No clue?! Since we were grilling out, it was the typical burgers/hotdogs kind of meal, so I was fine with that. I filled up by 5:00pm. We had about a 2-hour drive home so I decided that 5:00pm meal was the last one. No need to wait to start at 7:00pm after eating again that night. Plus, it was close enough to actual dinner time that it would be easy to make it through the night.

Really no effort up to this point.


Monday morning Dec. 18, 2023

No real issue waking up. I decided I would train/exercise regularly during the 3-day water fast, but this day actually got away from me. I could have squeezed something in later in the day, but I figured it might be smart to kind of just calibrate how I’m feeling throughout the day, and not force in the session. So I actually didn’t exercise on Monday morning like I usually do.

I had planned ahead (a little bit) in terms of electrolytes. I like to train with LMNT sticks! So I used a couple sticks each day, simply added it to my water and drank it throughout the day. I could certainly tell the difference when I hadn’t had LMNT for a few hours. Not only is there a little flavor to it, but the electrolytes help regulate blood volume and hydration as best as possible. Some of these electrolytes can be missed when you aren’t consuming food. Additionally, I know some amino acids are missed during fasting periods, but I didn’t plan well enough to supplement with anything else. Not a big deal, according to what I had read, so I was still in a good spot.


Monday Dec. 18, 2023 – 5:00pm: 24 hours into the fast

That first full day wasn’t tough until dinner time. My body’s internal cues for fuel started taking over and dinner time was somewhat of a struggle. Even still, it wasn’t awful. I was only 24 hours into the fast and still feeling okay, all things considered. I believe I had two sticks of LMNT today. Drank a TON of water on top of the LMNT-mixed water. Was feeling decent. It helped going to sleep, too.


Tuesday Dec. 19, 2023 – 6:00am: 37 hours into the fast

I decided to train today. I woke up and decided to run. Right now, my “running” is on the treadmill. I have three little girls, one on a bottle in the mornings, and all three currently with horrible sleeping habits. So outside running is hard to come by for me. I just take the baby monitor downstairs and hope to get my session in. Anyways, instead of doing intervals or tempo efforts, I just decided to run low and slow for about an hour. The run did NOT feel good. I ended up stopping at 45 minutes because it felt kind of awful, honestly. The heart rate response was fine, not weird at all for the intensity. I just felt off, and of course was lacking energy. In any case, the feeling actually went away about 30 minutes post-exercise. The endorphins kicked in and I was feeling as “normal” as possible. Actually felt pretty good.

Later in the morning I even went to the gym and lifted for an hour. That lifting session was nothing to call home about, but I still lifted. I’d even call it a productive session. It certainly felt strange without fueling prior and fueling after…this is why it’s important to supplement with amino acids when doing something like this. But I was so close to the end already, I could deal with the discomfort.


Tuesday Dec. 19, 2023 – 5:00pm: 48 hours into the fast

This was somewhat of a victory! I kind of celebrated with my wife. Well not really. She had wine while I had…water. But I felt completely fine. Energy levels clearly lower, but not feeling ill or anything bad. I can do anything for a day, right??


Wednesday Dec. 20, 2023 – 5:00am: 60 hours into the fast

Didn’t sleep great. I’m not sure if this was a side effect of the fast, perhaps my chronological rhythm was thrown off without typical feeding times. My internal clock was acting wonky, and sleep wasn’t great overnight. In any case, I woke up feeling decent, but tired. I hold a weekly “team ride” virtually on Zwift. I decided to hold it this morning during the fast. We accumulated about 1800ft of “elevation” virtually, which was about double what I had planned. I mistakenly miscalculated the difficulty of the terrain. My intention was to keep the course easier, and I slipped up. Oh well!

Interesting phenomena here. At minute 50 of the 90-minute ride, I felt INCREDIBLE. I had been keeping the entire ride VERY light up to that point. But at minute 50 I felt so good that I planned to push a little intensity over the last 30 minutes. I was able to push pretty hard for the last 30 minutes, and once again felt great after the workout. Thank you endorphins. I am still absolutely slamming water and LMNT at this point. Pretty much all day. After my workout I checked my body weight, knowing this would be the lightest I would be throughout the 3-day fast. I was 11 pounds lighter than my starting weight. I knew as soon as I started drinking more after the workout I’d put it right back on, and I was right.


Wednesday Dec. 20, 2023 – 1:00pm: 68 hours into the fast

At this point I know the end is in sight and I’m starving. It’s one of those things that when you know the last mile or two is coming of the marathon, those miles feel harder…simply because they’re the final two miles. Mental? Likely. So I needed to try to stay busy. I did my best to stay occupied but I was very very hungry. Still overall felt okay, though.


Wednesday Dec. 20, 2023 – 5:00pm: 72 hours into the fast

Well I made it! It wasn’t bad. The wife says, well why not just keep going? … I digress. I had taken my daughters to a trampoline park earlier in the day, then out to lunch at Chik-fil-A. You better believe I got myself a sandwich so I could eat immediately at 5:00pm even though we had dinner plans later. So 5:00pm comes around and I absolutely murdered that chicken sandwich. It did nothing for me haha! I was still incredibly hungry but knew it was best to not simply continue devouring food.

We went to Texas Roadhouse. We hadn’t been there in forever and I wanted a good steak so we gave it a shot. I forgot how good those dinner rolls are though…and appetizers… so by the time my steak came out, I had begun digesting some of the food I’d eaten, and my stomach felt like it had shrunk maybe 3x smaller than normal. All of a sudden I was incredibly full. I did eat about half of my steak, but I literally wasn’t able to finish it! Weird feeling…

Okay so why did I do this.

Well first of all, I’m not always the person who fully thinks things through. I DO, but not always fully. So the “research” I did was minimal. Not a lot more than hearing (podcasts) and reading (social media) a few different things. I quickly just considered it a challenge and decided to try it. Of course after making that choice, I then made sure that I did it safely by adding in sufficient electrolytes throughout the day. That was a gamechanger, by the way.

But, what are the benefits.

The biggest “potential” benefit is something called autophagy. This is a cellular process that is linked to cellular repair and regeneration. I also say “potential” benefit because although this is researched and documented information, every human being responds to physical demands inherently differently (hot, cold, exercise, food, NO food, etc.). The metabolic benefits can potentially include things like increased insulin sensitivity, reduced inflammation, and of course there is also the possibility of acute weight loss. When you put your body into a state of starvation, your body will naturally transition from carbohydrates to fats as a predominant fuel source. So there’s potential to lose a little bit of body fat. I think in total I lost about 6 pounds. That’s weight I assume will come right back once I’m back to eating normally.

The other big “reason” people do this is as it relates to cancer. The autophagy concept kind of plays in here. Regeneration of cells, repairing cells, etc. There is a thought that conducting a 72-hour water fast can exponentially reduce one’s risk of EVER developing cancer due to this autophagy concept. I’m not going to throw a percentage out for that statement at all, because it’s important to note that the research related to fasting and cancer isn’t necessarily definitive, and I’m certainly not going to reference a social media influencer’s percentage as it relates to cancer risk. BUT if it is possible to reduce cancer risk from a 72-hour water fast, why the heck isn’t EVERYONE doing this?! …


Maybe they should be.

Ohio 70.3 Race Report

Ohio 70.3 Race Report – 7/23/23

This race was awesome. This is the second year I’ve done this race, and also the second year the race has been held in Sandusky, Ohio. A quick backstory…this race used to be in Deleware, Ohio. It was announced to be held in Sandusky about 2.5 years ago, and I immediately jumped on it. My wife’s family has a lakehouse in Sandusky, Ohio! So naturally, it makes sense for me to race out here! I’ve ridden this course countless times and I absolutely love it out here. We spend a lot of our summer weekends out in Sandusky, so this race is kind of special to our family. Family support at races like this is very important. Having experienced the great support last year, I knew this would be an awesome race for me. Let’s dive into the race report.

The city of Sandusky

This city is pretty cool. Ironman Village seems perfectly placed, right by Jackson Street Pier. Nestled in perfectly, with the single transition area only 2 blocks away from the swim start. It really is a great start to the race. The downtown atmosphere is great in Sandusky. The run course has TONS of opportunities for support and hype. That’s important and plays a role in how these races are perceived. More on that when we get to the run.

Pre-Race Logistics

Really no issues at all here with driving to the destination, parking cars, walking, etc. Unlike Happy Valley 70.3, everything is all very close together. There is only one transition area, making things simple. Before the swim, it was announced that the swim would be wetsuit “optional.” That means the water temperature was recorded between 76.2-82,9 degrees F. At 76.1 degrees, the swim is wetsuit “legal,” meaning all athletes can wear their wetsuits without penalty or adjustments to placing, etc. In a wetsuit “optional” race, athletes can still wear their wetsuits, but are then no longer allowed to compete for podium spots, qualifications for worlds, etc. So technically, I could have raced in my wetsuit since I am nowhere near age group qualifications, etc. However, I made the decision to skip the wetsuit and wear my swimskin. The swimskin is not buoyant, so it is legal to wear in a wetsuit “optional” event. Unfortunately for me, it was the first time I ever wore my swimskin. I do NOT advise this and it was a mistake of mine for a couple reason. 1) I put it on backwards initially, and didn’t realize it until I attempted to pull it up 10 minutes prior to the race. I quickly got out of line, changed it around, and got back in line. And 2) it chaffed my neck BAD during the swim and it stung for the rest of the day. Had I worn it prior to the race, I would have been aware of this and prepared better. Oh well.


This is a hard swim. It was hard last year, and it was hard again this year. I was better prepared for it mentally this time around. I knew my time would be slower than a typical race, so it didn’t surprise me when I came out about 8 minutes slower than my typical pacing. Last year I was expecting a full 10 minutes faster for my swim time. So when I came out of the water last year, I was pissed off when I saw 10 minutes slower than expected. This year, not the case. I knew it would be slow and it didn’t bother me at all. The swim is slow for a few reasons. First of all, the swim entry is a jump off a boat! Pretty awesome. But since you’re jumping off a boat, the official swim START line isn’t for about 10-20 meters into the swim. Not ideal, but it’s a cool swim start. The swim begins with about 200m straight out, then a sharp left. This straight-away is the longest straight-away of the swim. Although the swim is protected, early morning makes this direction against the current. After this long straight-away, another hard left, then a quick hard left again. Now there are two lanes of athletes swimming in opposite directions. The difficult part about this is that the athletes are wayyyy too close to one another, in my opinion. I’m not sure why these lanes are so close to each other, since there is tons of space to expand the distance between swimmers going out and swimmers coming in, but I digress. The fact that these lanes are so close to one another presents an issue. It creates somewhat of a “washing machine” or “blender” effect. Noone was aware of this last year. So tons of athletes were frustrated with the difficulty of the swim. I think Ironman chose to leave it as is for the simple reason of just leaving it a difficult swim. Why not? If you don’t like it, don’t register. (that’s what I’m guessing Ironman is thinking about the swim course design) I’m not a huge fan of it, but I also kind of like that it’s difficult. So I actually swam well, but finished in about 47 minutes. A full 8 minutes slower than Happy Valley 70.3 just 3 weeks ago (a swim where I intentionally pulled back my effort in preparation for a tough bike course).


I love this bike course. I’ve honestly probably ridden it 15 times or more in the past two years in preparation for each of these races. I rode it most recently by myself in about 2 hours and 37 minutes. I pushed it hard like a time trial to see just how fast I could ride during the race.

***Side note. I was dealing with a left hip/groin injury before Happy Valley 70.3 that prevented me from running at all in the 3 weeks leading up to that race. During Happy Valley 70.3, I crashed my bike badly at mile 50. Subsequently leading to a concussion and now a right hip/side injury. So leading into Ohio 70.3, I essentially had NO run training for 6-7 weeks. Yes, I jogged a couple times, but couldn’t really TRAIN the run appropriately. That being said, I rode my bike much more than normal and my bike fitness was in a great spot. So I rode this bike course hard during the race***

I rode this one tough. I had no idea how my run would feel during the race. But in the week or so before Ohio 703, I had attempted a couple run-offs that felt good ONLY after I pushed the bike pretty hard. So that led me to push the bike pretty hard during the race. I think this was my best decision and I’m glad I did it. The course is completely flat, so it’s essentially full gas the entire time. No brakes, minimal coasting. I ended up with a bike split of 2:34 and I was thrilled with that.


I actually started the run off feeling incredible. I was averaging in the mid 9’s per mile for about 6 miles and for that first hour, I actually thought I could hold that pace. I was surprising myself. I realized between miles 6-7 that I would NOT be able to hold the pace. It was important that I start walking the aid stations and fuel as best as I could. I did that and still ended up having a decent run (considering I didn’t really train the run). I averaged 11 min/mile. Not good for me AT ALL. But for this race, I was pleased. It came out to about a 2:35 half-marathon. Again, not ideal but I was happy with my effort. The run course also has a ton of spectator interaction. I love that. A lot of my Victory Multisport teammates were there cheering everyone on. That’s probably the best thing about VMS in my opinion; the crew of teammates who tag along to these races in support of others…just amazing and appreciated that so much during the race, just like at Happy Valley. So thank you to that VMS crew! (#irondads) But even moreso, my wife was able to get all three of my daughters on the run course to cheer me on and say hey. I saw them all multiple times and it just absolutely made my day. A lot of family came out to support me at Ohio and it was an incredible feeling. These races are hard. Over 70 miles. You get to the point of feeling like you want to quit multiple times. You often feel like “why am I even doing this. I wish this was over.” Etc. Etc. But seeing family can change your attitude quickly. I loved seeing everyone, it makes the world of a difference, so thank you to my wife and all family who came out to support me.


In total, I raced 5:58. This is the EXACT time I raced this course last year. On the surface, one might look at that and think, “hmm. why no improvement over a year?” But for me, I look at that and I celebrate it. Here’s why. I have 3 kids. One of whom is only 3 months old. I started putting a lot more effort and time into coaching my own athletes this season. I never once followed any formally structured plan. Did I “wing it”? No, but I had no formally structured program. I lifted a lot more this off-season, so I came in about 10 pounds heavier than last year’s racing weight. Lastly, I couldn’t run for about 7 weeks of this season. So yes, I look at the EXACT same finish time as last year as a victory. One I definitely celebrated!

Now that this race is over, I’m excited to rehab all of the injuries. Left hip/groin, right hip/side, and my concussion. Thankfully, the concussion symptoms were almost completely gone the couple days following the crash, so now I’m focusing on my lower body injuries. The off-season is a time for just that; repair, rehab, rest, and building for the next season. Since Ohio 70.3, I’ve actually been able to run, and that’s exciting. Things are looking up and I’ll be following a fairly strict off-season schedule in preparation for 2024.

Because in 2024, I’ll be heading to Lake Placid for 140.6.

I Crashed at Mile 49 of the Happy Valley 70.3 Ironman Race

That did NOT go as planned…

I had a pretty lofty expectation for the Happy Valley PSU 70.3 this past weekend. I went to Penn State for a short time as an undergraduate student, I am a very big Penn State fan, I LOVE State College, my triathlon team sent 30+ athletes to the race, and I had about 10 of my own athletes racing!! It was a big weekend for me, and I was excited for it.

Looking back, I can say that all of those variables likely created an unnecessary amount of stress on the day, but I still felt super excited and that I was handling it appropriately. I was honestly MORE excited to see how my athletes performed. Sure, I was focused on my own race, per usual, but racing a 70-mile race WITH my athletes was a cool feeling. I hadn’t raced any triathlons since OH70.3 last season in late July, so nearly 1 year.

**I’m going to give a quick recap of how the day went for me, but will dive into much more detail on an upcoming podcast episode**


The swim was just gorgeous. One of the best Ironman swims I’ve ever been a part of. With only TWO turns on a clockwise course, this was ideal for me. I’m a right-side breather so this was very comfortable. The water temperature was 75, making it a wetsuit-legal swim. This wasn’t necessary for me, but it was helpful to have the wetsuit I suppose. I swam well. My goal was 40 minutes. I’m capable of a bit faster, but the bike course is challenging, and I wanted to come out of the water feeling fresh and ready to attack. I came out in 39 minutes, so I was off to a great start.


This bike course is the hardest I’ve ridden. Thankfully, I rode it before race day with some friends. A beautiful bike course, with nonstop rolling hills and two very steep climbs. The entire course totalling just over 3600ft of elevation. Up to the first climb was very simple. Some rolling hills, lots of speed and smooth roads. I was able to average over 20mph at a low heart rate up to the first climb. Things were certainly going as planned up to this point. The first climb came around mile 28, and it was 1 mile long, averaging about 5% incline. At one point, the incline touched 15%, but just for a moment. This climb was very steep, but short. I was prepared for it and executed well. My effort on the bike was near perfect, to be honest. I was closely monitoring my heart rate before each of the hills, and that allowed me to calibrate my overall effort. I conserved quite a bit for the hills and it paid off, as I slowly passed a lot of other athletes during each of the climbs. Between climb 1 and climb 2, there was a stretch of about 10 miles. These were fast miles once again! I picked up more speed and slowly started passing more athletes. I was able to conserve my energy for the big climb efficiently. Still feeling great. The big climb came around mile 40. Again, I was prepared for this, having ridden the course before race day. This climb was nearly 800ft of elevation over 3 miles, averaging 7% incline. Honestly, not too bad of an incline, but 3 miles is a fairly long climb. Once again, I passed many athletes on this climb. One of my own athletes saw me passing people and gave me some kudos. I was feeling great. After this climb, the course is essentially over! With only 13 miles to go, it’s a nice cruise into T2. I finished the climb and started calibrating my effort so that I could give the run a good effort. I slightly pulled back my effort so I could recover my heart rate. I was very in tune with how my legs were feeling, and honestly I was VERY confident I could put forth a sub-6hr day with a 9:30-10:00 average mile pace during the run. That was my big goal and I was on pace! Here’s where things went bad…

The course is essentially constant rolling hills. I made a pass on an athlete during a small rolling hill, and as the hill started descending, a sharp left hand turn approached. The road was wet because it was raining for at least an hour during the bike. Since I had gained speed from making a pass, I needed to hit my brakes before the turn. I hit my brakes harder than I would’ve liked, and my back tire begain fish tailing on the wet road. Once this happened, my center of gravity was compromised and I went over my handlebars at 29.2 mph. I landed directly on my head, right shoulder, and right side of my body. I laid there in a daze. Did not feel good. My head was dizzy, I was seeing stars, and eventually realized my hip was messed up. To what degree, I wasn’t sure. After about 5-8 minutes, I slowly got up and gave my bike a look. Everything seemed okay, but since I wasn’t sure, I went very slow for the last 7 miles to get to T2. So now I’ve lost the 8 minutes on the side of the road, and even more time because I was cautiously riding back to T2. I didn’t realize how bad my hip was because the injury was so acute. I had plans for a 2:55-3:00hr bike split and ended up with 3:13hr. My run would also be greatly affected.


I took my time in T2. Still in a daze, with a headache, wondering if I should even continue the race. I quickly decided I would continue. This run was essentially a SLOG. I wasn’t even able to hold a 10-11minute mile pace. Uncharacteristic for me. I was defeated and got quite emotional on the course. All of those factors I mentioned earlier started to resurface. I felt happy, sad, defeated, alone, determined, proud…it was a mixture of good and bad, and I was dealing with it in real time at a VERY slow pace and while in pain.


I ended up finishing the day around 6:40hr total. About 45 minutes slower than my goal of sub-6hr. Frankly, it is what it is. EVERY race is different. Literally every single race can be so incredibly different. Weather, sleep, fueling, mechanical issues, shoe laces, etc….the smallest variable can change the entire course of the day. This race simply became a war. Will I finish the race? became the question. I wanted to finish badly, so I decided to just make it happen. Finishing on the 50-yard line of Beaver Stadium was almost a dream come true. I love State College and this feeling made it all worth it.

I did go to the medical tent post-race, got a diagnosed concussion, and I took it easy all week this week. Thankfully, my head is fine! Now I’m dealing with some very deep muscle bruising. Thankfully nothing is broken.

I’m proud of this finish. It wasn’t what I had in mind, at all. But this race took a turn for the worse, and I was still able to battle it out and experience a great day with my teammates and athletes! I’m hoping to give Ohio70.3 a solid effort in a couple weeks. Thanks for all the support!

FULL NOTES from Podcast Episode 76: Happy Valley 70.3 Race Preview


  • Here we go…
  • Be sure to go through the Athlete Guide
  • Bike cutoff is 6 hours, not 5.5 hours
  • Run cutoff is 8.5 hours
  • Transition 1 is a large parking lot, close proximity to the beach, anticipated QUICK exit from water to T1
  • Very calm water, anticipated comfortable swim
  • My numbers for reference throughout bike course; 33 years old, average power = 165W, average HR = 139bpm, peak HR = 176bpm, average speed = 15.2mph, total time on bike course = 3:45
  • Smooth exit to T1
  • The turnaround out-and-back from transition is not positioned well. Unclear where it will be and anticipated congestion when slowing down to turn around
  • Lots of speed after the turn around
  • 150 is very flat and smooth, opportunity for a lot of speed directly upon exiting Bald Eagle State Park
  • Some traffic on 150 but this will be controlled on race day – local and event traffic only
  • Very fast first 10 miles
  • Slow down onto Sayers Dam for some odd back road turns
  • Course is fast to start, but athletes still need to be calibrating effort early
  • Be careful by the train tracks between 14-15 miles. Some athletes will slow down big time to get over these train tracks, but they’re very smooth so keep your speed and feel confident doing so
  • Jacksonville road is very smooth and fast, small rolling hills, peaceful back road
  • First rolling hills of any significance occur around mile 20
  • Lots of headwind and crosswind on the entire course, beginning around mile 25 on Jacksonville, nowhere to hide
  • Around mile 26, there are a few MASSIVE potholes on a descent, be careful
  • Stay in aero for this first big descent around mile 26, shortly after potholes
  • First climb at mile 28 is only about 1.1 mile long, 600 feet of climb, up to 15% incline but only for a very short duration. Plan for this climb ahead of time, it’s quick
  • After the climb, HUGE downhill with tons of time to coast into stop sign before turning onto Nittany Valley
  • Halfway point of total elevation occurs at mile 33. Final 23 miles has same amount of elevation as the first 33 miles. Know this ahead of time!
  • A lot of wind on Nittany Valley Drive, very smooth road, big stretch of aero


  • Here comes the big climb…
  • 2.8 miles, about 900 feet of elevation
  • ½ mile into this climb requires a very unsafe left-hand turn while ascending the hill. It appears this turn will be closed to local traffic only, so hopefully will not need to pause your climb
  • The 3 mile climb is hardest during the first 1.5 miles
  • The climb hits 10% for a short duration, but averages about 7%
  • The 4% and 5% sections feel like a break at times!
  • Overall this climb is not terrible. Some people will underestimate this climb, or perhaps over-bike up to this point. Would not be surprised if you see some walkers out there.
  • Prepare for this hill and plan for between 15-22ish minutes of work
  • My average power output was 249 watts over 19 minutes of climbing the big hill at mile 40
  • Big descent following the 3 mile climb is not unreasonable to hold 25mph. You likely need to ride the brakes for the full mile. Very easy to stay under 25mph.
  • The turn at the bottom of the descent is NOT an issue. The turn itself is tight, but you have plenty of time to coast into the turn if you’re staying under 25mph
  • STAY UNDER 25mph – this will be clearly marked on the course
  • Church is windy, but FAST! Make the turn after the big downhill, and take off
  • Slow down turning onto Linden
  • Lots of aero into T2
  • University Drive is a SNEAKY hill! Don’t underestimate it!
  • Anticipated high energy coming into T2
  • T2 is a huge asphalt parking lot, very simple in design!
  • Run course will be great for spectators
  • Small, weird turnarounds for the run course, but it will be condensed and high energy with spectators on campus
  • Minimal elevation on the run course
  • Make sure you PREPARE your transition areas and all THREE bags!
  • Red, White, and Blue bags for preparation


  • Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me at hillpursuit@gmail.com with any questions!
  • Have a GREAT race! See you out there!
  • WE ARE!!

Mighty Moraine Man Preview

The Mighty Moraine Man multisport event is this upcoming weekend. I have athletes racing in the Aqua Bike, Sprint Triathlon, and Olympic Triathlon. It’s gonna be a very exciting weekend! I won’t personally be racing…but I’m very familiar with the area. I ride/run out there quite a bit, especially because it’s only 15 minutes from my house, and over the course of a couple hours it’s really “easy” to get some nice elevation. Okay onto the good stuff, I rode the course this morning a couple times and some tips/reminders came up that I felt were worth sharing. Have a read and please share this with other athletes who you know are racing!!

  1. There seem to be NEW potholes on the course. I’ve raced in a handful of these events. They’re fantastically organized and the course is consistent. However this morning I did notice a couple new potholes. Some old potholes are repaired! But there are a couple new ones entering/leaving Transition, as well as a few other places. Thankfully, the newer potholes are all on inclines, with exception of heading back down into Transition. Something to be mindful of.
  2. If you’ve NEVER raced this race before, you NEED to be careful with your bike handling. There are a lot of sharp turns that are easy to miss if you aren’t fully paying attention. At times I was going between 30-35mph around some turns that I’m familiar with, and this popped into my mind. Please be careful with your bike handling.
  3. Calibrate your effort going up the hills. There are a lot of rolling hills. Be mindful of that. The “biggest” one is likely at the turnaround past the marina. But honestly it’s short enough that you can probably just give it some juice to get it over with. After a quick turnaround, you’re back to 35+mph, so be careful on that descent.
  4. It was kind of buggy, to be honest. Make sure you’re wearing sunglasses on the ride and run, no doubt.

A couple race morning reminders…

  1. Bring a flashlight or headlamp! When you arrive it will be dark for awhile. Plan for that!
  2. Be early. This race is packed. Saw Joella this morning while riding down to transition and she had mentioned that this is a big one. So please be early.
  3. Read the athlete guide. You did not get a bib in your packet because you will likely need to pick it up race morning at check-in. Plan for that.
  4. Put your stickers on your bike properly. If you don’t know how, ASK SOMEONE.
  5. Mark your body or have someone mark it for you. I think I heard this is happening again at this race, so when you show up, there should be some volunteers there to help you mark your age and race onto your body. In any case, ask someone for help and how to do this. Maybe even bring a sharpie to make sure you have what you need for this.
  6. Prepare your transition area simply. Don’t make this complicated. Rack the bike, put your helmet/glasses on the handlebars. Place any fuel inside your helmet. Have a towel sitting out, maybe another one close by to dry off. Have socks/shoes/sneakers all close by and ready to slip on. Make sure your bib is ready to go for the run.
  7. Get a race bib belt. You can get one delivered by Saturday from Amazon here Amazon Racing Bib Belt
  8. Consider getting lock laces. If you DO choose to get them, run for a few minutes on Saturday in them so you know they’re good to go. This might help save some time in T2. You can get them delivered by Saturday from Amazon here Lock Laces from Amazon
  9. Give yourself time to warmup in the morning if you wanna swim a bit and get loose.
  10. When you get OUT of the water, unzip your wetsuit and pull it down to your waist while running to T1. Goggles off the eyes and leave them on your forehead. Get into T1 and grab some fuel while stepping out of your wetsuit! Move quickly and efficiently.
  11. Make sure you’re carrying what you need on the bike. That means fuel (if you need it), water bottles, mechanical things like extra tube (or two), co2 canister with valve, bike tool and/or kit, etc. Carry it on the bike. If you DON’T know how to change your tire…that might be a problem. At the very least, even if you have never changed a tire/tube, you probably know how to, or understand how to. Have everything you need. If you find yourself on the side of the road replacing a tube, TAKE YOUR TIME. It is what it is. If it happens, don’t be flustered. Just get it done and get back to it.
  12. Strap your helmet on BEFORE leaving T1.
  13. Do NOT mount your bike before the mount line! When you do mount, get off to the side and let the crazy people fall over in the middle of the road. Take your time. Clip one foot in, give a push off, off you go.
  14. Make sure your bike is in an appropriate gear for the bike start. The initial portion of the bike right out of T1 is uphill. Plan accordingly for that.
  15. Unclip one of your feet before you get to the dismount line. Take your time and lean to that side before unclipping your other foot. Let the crazy people fall over in the middle of the road. Take your time and do this right. Not worth risking injury and the rest of your race/season by trying to do this too fast.
  16. In T2, get your sneakers on and take off. Put fuel in your kit if you need to and get running.
  17. Grab a water at the aid stations, if not to drink, at least to throw in your own face.

Those are the thoughts that came to mind. Although I won’t be racing, I’m going to try and bring my oldest daughter and come support a lot of you! Best of luck. Race safe and have fun! See you this weekend.



4 miles every 4 hours over 48 hours…

I will begin this ultra challenge tomorrow night; Thursday March 9, at 10pm. The final run will be on Saturday night at 6pm.

I got exposed to this Goggins challenge for the first time last year around this time of year. Apparently this is something that David Goggins does, and he invites anyone and everyone to join him while he’s doing it. At least that’s my understanding. Last year I was hoping to do it, but had some family plans. This year I was intentional about finding the time to attempt this challenge. Since I’m technically on Spring Break this week, I’ve made the effort to find the time in my schedule, so I’ll be giving this a GO beginning tomorrow night.

Apparently Goggins is too busy to solidify a date for the challenge this year, so he informed his faithful followers that they should complete it whenever they want to, regardless of whether or not he completes it this year. That was about a month ago, so I found time in the schedule and I’m up for it.

It will be a tough challenge, no doubt. I have ZERO experience with ultra running. I do, however, have a full Ironman under my belt. So I’m somewhat familiar with the mental and physical challenge this will present. There are a few things about this ultra event that I love…1) there is no barrier for entry. Anyone anywhere can complete this event. There is no entry fee, there is no fitness requirement, etc. That makes this an easily accessible (relatively speaking) ultra event for the everyday athlete. 2) I love that this event requires a significant amount of preparation. Part of endurance sport is developing the fitness, no doubt. But for an event like this, waking up and running every 4 hours won’t be enough, even for the fittest of the fittest. 3) I love that this event includes the element of sleep deprivation. This is a hard one to really prep for. I like that this poses a challenge in itself. And lastly, 4) I love that this event pushes people to new levels of their mental capacity. With minimal sleep, running in the dark, running during the day, needing to fuel, supplement, sleep, shower, recover, etc. will NOT be easy. I imagine this will be just as much of a mental challenge as a physical one.

I am planning to start at 10pm because I want to have a normal night sleep Saturday night into Sunday. Selfishly, I don’t like missing Sunday church, so I’m hoping I’m well enough to get up for church on Sunday. I’m lucky I’m able to even attempt this. Since I’m on spring break, I have the luxury of starting this on a Thursday evening. Lucky me, I guess…

I don’t have too much of a game plan to be honest. I’m very prepared mentally, and I have a routine in mind. But I know I’ll need to adapt on the fly. I’m hoping to run the 4 miles in just under an hour for each of the 12 runs. During the 3 hours of recovery, I will sleep during the night sessions, and try to maintain some normal circadian rhythm throughout the day sessions. I will rehydrate immediately, use my hyperice for at least 5-10minutes, put my feet up for at least 1 out of the 3 recovery hours, and make sure I’m eating enough. I won’t be too picky with WHAT I’m eating. I’ll simply make sure I’m eating enough. I also plan to take an ice bath after my run in which I WON’T be heading to bed right after. That will probably be after the 10am run on both Friday and Saturday. I’ll take more ice baths throughout the day if I feel like it, because the cold bath typically wakes me up in an instant. That’s why I won’t be taking a plunge after EVERY run. One of the difficult logistical aspects of this event is the clothing. I’ve done my due diligence to ensure I have at least 7 full outfits ready to go and lined up. I will do laundry ONCE during the event so that I am able to refill my wardrobe. Having everything laid out ahead of time is one way I hope to reduce the number of things I need to remember. Lastly, since I know this will be a crazy mental game, I am planning to read a short devotional for runners before and (maybe) after each segment. This should hopefully keep my mind on the right track and help me stay focused.

So here we go. 12 separate 4-mile runs, every 4 hours, for 48 hours, totaling 48 miles. This is my first dip into the world of ultra running and sleep deprivation. I’ll do my best to document as much as I can so I can provide a full report after the event.

See you on the other side.

EPISODE 71: Get to Know Coach Ashley

Today we have the pleasure of formally introducing Coach Ashley from Case Specific Nutrition. Ashley has recently joined HillPursuit in a collaborative effort to provide nutritional services to our athletes. She is a highly decorated athlete and coach, who has a ton of expertise in the Nutrition space. As a registered dietitian, she is able to work with any and everybody, ranging from those with metabolic diseases to individuals trying to qualify for Kona. Ashley is a huge asset to our team and we’re lucky to have her! I hope you enjoy learning a little bit more about Ashley in today’s podcast episode. Enjoy!

– Meet Coach Ashley from Case Specific Nutrition

– Athletic Background

– Dealing with Injuries

– Unique introduction to Sport Nutrition

– Own Personal Race Goals! Big ones

– Building a Nutrition Plan TOGETHER

– Expertise with diseased populations, Ironman athletes, and everyone inbetween

– 1-on-1 Consults

– Stay tuned for Nutrition Shorts from Ashley


– @beaming_dietitian_

– Contact us on Facebook and Instagram @hillpursuit, and email at hillpursuit@gmail.com

– Check out our STORE, COACHING, WEBSITE, and YOUTUBE here!! https://linktr.ee/hillpursuit


EPISODE 70: Performance Over Pounds

– Kenny is feeling GOOD (still)

– Should athletes worry about their body weight???

– Importance of PERFORMANCE vs WEIGHT

– It’s okay to gain weight during different sport seasons

– Leave vs Fat Mass

– HUGE congrats to Sky for FTP improvement!

– Having Blind Faith

– Kenny shares nutrition/performance client success stories

– Athletes are built in the off-season

– Cold-Water Immersion … Bro-Science or Real Science?!

– Sauna and Cold Plunge Benefits

– Nutrition Short Clips are coming

– Find Kenny at Progressive Strength Project on Socials

– progressivestrength12@gmail.com

– Contact us on Facebook and Instagram @hillpursuit, and email at hillpursuit@gmail.com

– Check out our STORE, COACHING, WEBSITE, and YOUTUBE here!! https://linktr.ee/hillpursuit

February “Tune-Up” in the form of a 10-mile Race

It’s pretty early in the season, so opportunities like this one don’t come along too often. However, I recently was able to race a 10-mile race in one of my favorite locations; the North Park Boathouse loop in Allison Park, PA. I’ve raced out here a few different times, but it’s been a full year since the last time! In the past, I’ve used the race series at North Park as a building prep for the Pittsburgh Marathon. Unfortunately this year, I’m unable to run the marathon, but the races are still nice little “testers” as the season approaches. In fact, the season might already be HERE!

I love racing for a few reasons…first and foremost, it’s always a great opportunity to test your fitness. Regardless of whether you’re in phenomenal shape or if you need to start dialing things in a bit more…races will expose you for exactly where you are at that part of your training. Whenever you race, you should ALWAYS have an intelligent plan, and go after it. Racing brings out significantly more adrenaline than any training session can. So going hard during a race truly is your best expression of where your fitness currently lies. I also like racing for the comraderie. I’ve been coaching with VictoryMultisport for awhile now, and the community is just second to none. We had a handful of athletes racing, and even more there to support and cheer each other on. It was awesome. Race day energy is like no other energy, and it’s even better with teammates to support one another. Very thankful for the VMS crew!

So my plan for the race was really just to go hard. 10 miles is short enough that I can push pretty hard the entire time, but long enough that if I make a mistake, it will count. Well, I made a small mistake, but it really wasn’t a huge deal. I came out a little hard for the first 2-3 miles, averaging about 7:45-7:50 per mile. That’s nothing too fast, but it was a little fast for me where I’m at RIGHT NOW. So I was forced to calibrate a little bit and I pulled back. I ended up average about 8:12/mile and I’m completely happy with that! It was a very cold day, I chose to wear only short sleeves, and at first I was concerned with that decision, but it ended up being a good choice. I heat up fairly quickly, and short sleeves helped me stay cool and controlled.

I love opportunities to truly test fitness. When mistakes are made, however big or small, they’re really just learning opportunities. So for me, coming out too hot taught me a small lesson in terms of where my fitness is right now. It’s not quite where I thought it was at the start of the race, and that’s okay. I have over 4 months until my first race of the season, and tons of time to prepare. In my eyes, the real race season begins when I’m about 4 months away from my first “A” race. My first “A” race is HappyValley70.3 in early July. So in about a week and a half, I’ll begin a 4-month specific prep. That’s what I consider to be the “in-season” and I can’t wait.

For now, I’m just happy I got the opportunity to race and test my fitness! Congratulations to all other racers who got out there and braved the 25-degree starting line!

Onto the next one.