by | Oct 4, 2013 | News Articles

in Two Voices

(Michael O’s)

So, let’s begin, shall we?  Let’s begin to test our long-term memory and our imagination.

The long-term memory test comes because Cory Rose has set for himself some very specific triathlon goals that extend beyond this tri season as well as beyond the next one.  Our imagination will be tested because I like numbers but I’ll often rely on each reader to add the drama that each number signifies.

Goals.  We set them each day.  We succeed and we fail with them each day.  It was the willingness to bravely share his specific event and time goals which made me want to interview Cory.  So in the future we will be able to rejoice and/or agonize with him.  But, first, let’s start with goals that have come and gone.

Cory Rose - IM-CDA 2013 RunWe are going back to Ironman-Coeur d’Alene (IM-CDA) on June 23rd of this year.  Here we will enjoy one of the top attributes of our sport – the freedom to fail and yet still always gain more than we expected in the midst of that supposed failure.

Cory had set for himself goal times for IM-CDA of 2.4 mi swim in 1:20, 112 mi bike at 20mph average and a marathon run in 3:30.  The swim went as hoped.  He exited the water on time, feeling good and ready for the bike.  On a difficult bike course he was able to maintain an average pace of 19.5 mph.  But, as other club members have experienced, it all fell apart during the marathon.

Cory shares an injury with me.  The injury results in the muscles and ligaments on the back of the leg directly behind the knee to begin to refuse to fire and lift the lower leg.  We can be feeling strong in all other respects but quite rapidly we find ourselves dragging a leg rather than running.  So for Cory the last 10 miles of the IM-CDA marathon were particularly hard and draining. 

With all time goals gone, finishing became the supreme challenge. And, as the Ironman company is great at providing us, his supreme challenge was turned into a supreme finish experience as he turned a corner to begin what is, essentially, a six block long finish chute.  People are lining the chute, banging on the barricades, blowing air horns and yelling his name (the IM company puts first names on bibs).  Tears begin to flow.  After 10 miles of painful stumbling he begins to manage to run.  And when Mike Reilly, the voice of Ironman, starts with the chant of “Cory Rose, you are an Ironman.” the tears become a flood.

Exhausting, is it not, just to consider that extremity of emotion we can have upon meeting a goal though outsiders might say we have failed since certain specifics were not met.  Where does one go from here?  Many stop, but Cory still faced the unmet goals and so, while relishing the IM experience, he has continued the pursuit.

The ultimate goal is one common to those who have entered the world of the Ironman company – KONA.  And he’s willing to share his goal date – 2015.  From my old-timer perspective that’s actually a short time-window in which to address the major hurdles – swim skills and the leg injury which has been thwarting what should be his event strength.  (From our discussion he must have good technique off the bike, something which a recent article suggests is instinctual and difficult to learn for those without that natural instinct.)

So here’s where we want to watch him in the future and check in as to how his progression toward his triathlon goals is proceeding.

  • 10/27/13   Austin 70.3 – (He’s not been able to do much run training so I expect this to be more of a “staying in touch” and technique/nutrition refinement triathlon.  But he may surprise me.)
  • 12/7/13   Rock Canyon Half Marathon – (If the leg begins to allow run training he has a pretty lofty goal for this event)
  • 6/14/14 Boulder 70.3
  • 8/3/14 Boulder Ironman
  • 5/3/15 St. Croix 70.3 in U.S. Virgin Islands – (This is an historic triathlon now owned by the Ironman company.  He hopes to do it with a best friend, Mindy, who is just beginning to enter the triathlon world.)

And now some miscellaneous items for the hardcore triathletes:

Nutrition plan: Energy from gels, Electrolytes in fluid form, Water as needed to maintain hydrationCory Rose IMCDA 2013 Bike

Key sources of hope:  (a) Galveston 70.3 in 2013?? (This is where Cory first went under 5 hours and gained the confidence to pursue the Kona dream.)  (b) Best friend Mindy (I’ve just met her once and am ready to grab her as a best friend, too.)  (c) Memories of his grandmother who was the key person taking him to his athletic events as he grew up.  She died on August 7th of this year and one final act was for Cory to bring to her, and review with her, all his medals which she had been a part of his winning over the years. 

Beginning points:  He remembers at 10 years of age watching the Ironman World Championships and saying to himself, “I want to do that.”  Then a couple of years ago when life was down a bit and he was working three jobs, he had a wave come over him at work. He remembered that long ago goal and then three months later did his first triathlon, the Oktoberfest in Longmont.  (Note his swimming beginning point here:  22 minutes for ½ mile.  He’s come a long way.)

2014 Build time:  In February and March he’ll begin his build for the big events in 2014.  We’ll need to check back in with him and see if life and good fortune are allowing him to continue to pursue these dreams.  We’ll also find out then how he has refined his training plan as he continues to learn and race over the next few months.

The Leg Challenge?:  Have no worries.  This old man gave him free advice as to how he has dealt with his similar challenge arising from overstretching doing yoga in the 1960’s.  (smile)



(Editor’s Note: Cory’s writing is in response to some specific questions I emailed him.  For fun, I’ll let you deduce the questions.)

Addressing the work part:  I work for the post office delivering mail in Pueblo West as well as working for my mother on the weekends at her store in Beulah.  The benefit of the post office is that I can normally get a good swim session in before I go to work or get my strength training in.  I’m normally done early enough in the afternoon that I can get my second workout in of either running or biking.  The definite downside of my main job, though, is just how physically demanding it is.  I’m constantly having to lift heavy bundles and trays of mail or packages.  I sit in a truck for five hours, constantly reaching and twisting — not exactly the easiest way to recover from everything I do in training, but fortunately I know how to make this type of scheduling work.

Cory Rose 2013 Boulder 70.3 Swim FinishSupport from others: Anyone’s support is nice but it’s not something I need.  I got into the sport for myself because of my dream to race in Kona and that is what gets me up every day before the sun is up and will continue to get me up no matter how many times I reach that Kona start line.  I love this sport and it has been the most fulfilling experience of my life so far.  I would almost go so far to say that this sport is my calling.

In terms of stressors I really don’t have any of significance that I can think of.  Of course, having to deal with two jobs and working seven days a week is definitely a challenge.  It can be hard trying to figure out how to squeeze a long ride in when you know it’s going to take at least 6 hours and you’re concerned about beating the sun down.  Mostly, though, I just try to not let life stress me out because there are just things you can’t control so why get upset over them has been my philosophy.

Galveston altogether was just such an eye opener for me in terms of how I performed.  I took a chance on the bike and pushed hard and was able to put in a solid run off the bike.  On the bike course down there I hit the turn around to come back and I knew I had cranked it hard coming up but I just said “Oh well, I’m feeling it.”  I got into transition and my legs felt great, so I kept pushing it hard.  I was able to run 6:15’s the first couple miles but then, unfortunately, by the time I hit the second loop of the three loop course everybody had come in for the run.  The path was so small I had to weave in and out of 2500 people.  I had to continuously slow down at the aid stations trying to get Perform and water. But regardless, I still ran a strong surprising half (and thanks for the comment).  I also had this really tough training day — one of the toughest I’ve ever endured.  The BRIC plan was for a long ride with the run.  I road two out and backs from Beulah to Pueblo a total of over 80 miles and the wind was just unrelenting.  I got thrown around so much with what had to be 30-40mph cross winds, if not stronger. With every gust I could just see the bike shooting out from under me but I kept strong and kept pushing and still finished out the workout with a 30 min run.  That ride built me up so tough mentally that whatever Ironman CDA threw at me I was ready.

Training Plan: I mostly build it by myself.  I read a lot of books coming into the sport on how to train and about making a base, build and peak kind of plan. For Ironman CDA, though, I did invest in some online coaching through Mark Allen Online.  I was very unsure how to plan how to train for IM-CDA so that helped me a lot to make sure I was doing the appropriate training and volume.  Now for the upcoming Austin 70.3 and Rock Canyon half marathon I’m back to making my own plan.  I make sure that I bike and swim at least three times a week each, but a lot of the times I swim four.  I normally alternate my days of running (when I’m able to run) with biking, so it’s biking or running every other day.  I try to plan my biking days with the weather so I can ride outside as much as possible and not be stuck on the trainer as much.

And, yes, I’m a total believer in strength training. It is something that I believe every triathlete should do.  I go in to the gym at least twice a week to work with weights and I normally throw in another day if not two of just Swiss ball core training and resistance band work.

I’m very happy with my equipment. — maybe the only thing I would change would be a good solid set of race wheels.  A new wetsuit is definitely something I might reconsider in the future but right now my Xterra Vector Pro is working well.

In both the Ironman 70.3 and the full I stay pretty relaxed through the race.  I can say that the time one is standing in the water or on the beach before the cannon fires is about the only time I get any sort of anxiety.  I normally start dancing to the music to help keep me in the moment no matter how many people stare at me, but after a few strokes out in the water I smile and celebrate in the chaos.  

I go into races with a game plan and I execute them to the best of my abilities.  I keep my mind focused on the task that is in front of me.  I don’t let my mind drift thinking such thoughts as  “Oh my god, I’m 20 miles into the bike and I still have a half marathon or marathon to run.”

I hope that answered all you needed.  If you have any more questions over the matter I’ll be happy to answer.