Ironman Preparation: Learn to Be Bored And Don’t Be a Meerkat – By: Kelly Williamson

September 24th, 2015 - Posted by zoot

Kelly in Field in Crested Butte

It’s no secret that Ironman isn’t the most exciting of sports. Having grown up a swimmer, I’ll liken it to a 1650 race in the pool. That is 66 lengths of the pool. That’s a lot of back and forth. Or if you are my father, perhaps your idea of ‘boring’ is a 400 IM (where you swim a 100 butterfly, backstroke, breaststroke and freestyle). He filmed a 400 IM race of mine at state meet one year, and when I excitedly watched the video, I saw myself dive in, swim a length of butterfly, flip then… … … oh wait we’re back, and I’m finishing my final length of freestyle. I asked my dad “What the hell dad? Where was my race?!” to which he replied, “Oh, well it got a little boring there in the middle.” It was less than 5 minutes! How on earth he has endured spectating some of my Ironman races is beyond me; oh right, we can thank bocce ball and mid-race naps for this.

Whether you are a seasoned triathlete, multiple Ironman finisher, or just getting into multisport, one thing you’ll find is that it isn’t the most stimulating of activities. Sure, we get to change disciplines and in our training we essentially get to alternate between swimming, cycling and running; which is refreshing. But the acts themselves, they are vastly endurance based and require substantial time commitments regularly to see performance gains. As we draw close to the end of the year with of course Kona looming on everyone’s minds, I figured I’d hone in specifically on Ironman training boredom…a few things to consider, and when approaching a big race, a few things to avoid.

Every time I really dig my teeth into an Ironman prep (call it the 4-8 weeks prior to the race), there are a few key workouts that I like to knock out. Realize that some of these change over time, but I figured I would explain just a few of them that I’ve done over the years. While Derick (my husband and coach) and I often reference “what has worked in the past”, we are also flexible because things change (among many things, our bodies change) so what worked 2 years ago may not work today. But the one recurring theme I see during Ironman preparation is that a few solid, long, boring workouts are a staple and they are very helpful in training not only the body for a very long day ahead but the mind for the challenges that the repetition and long miles will bring on race day. Additionally, what I think makes these all the more challenging is that they are not “easy”. While they are often done at a steady endurance level of exertion, I am constantly staying engaged and aware of the effort; so the tendency to “zone out” is often curbed by needing to stay strong throughout, much like what race day will require.

Blog Pic Swimming Over citySwim – My go to swim workout is an open water swim of at least 1 hour, straight, without interruption. This may be in Lake Austin with Derick paddling ahead of me (30 minutes out/30 minutes back with the goal of going a bit faster home) or in Pure Austin Quarry which has a 750-meter loop marked with buoys (consisting of 5-6 loops). I will aim to do this once a week for about 4-5 weeks going into a race. I find that my hip flexors get sore the first few times but this often goes away as the weeks progress. Additionally, I’ll find my shoulders, neck and/or back get sore some days but all of these small aches and pains remind me what to expect on race day. (If you don’t have access to open water, you could do something like 30x100s in the pool on short rest, perhaps flipping before the walls on a few to simulate open water starts, or a 3k or 4k straight pool swim).

Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 11.45.39 AMBike – This one has varied over the years. I used to hop on the trainer and do a 4 hour ride with 4×45 minutes at close to or just above Ironman goal power with 5 minutes recovery. Lately, I have opted for heading outdoors as I find it is good for me to deal with the external conditions (namely winds) as that is what I struggle with in Hawaii. A standard prep ride going into an Ironman is to do my 100-120 mile long ride but finish it on a looped section. My two options are an 8 or a 9 mile loop. I’ll do anywhere from 1-3 hard loops at the end of the ride, depending upon the day. While this is not really so ‘boring’, it mentally challenges you when you’re very tired (and in Texas heat often depleted) and forces you to really dig deep when you’re ready to just cruise home. It’s made even more fun if you have someone to chase. Derick did this with me a few weeks back, and he gave me a small head start on our 9 mile loop. Of course it’s the most fun when you manage to hold him off. J

20150803_175726~2_resizedRun – While running is something I love to do (almost as much as swimming), no doubt training to run 26 miles off the bike ‘well’ requires some serious work. This year we have upped the quality runs to 5×2 miles, and each week shortening yet progressing the pace on these to 6x2k and 8×1 mile. While not necessarily boring, these workouts are mentally challenging since the goal is to make the last interval the strongest. One good standard mentally tough run would be the fast finish long runs. These often consist of a long run in range of 19-24 miles but with the goal of running anywhere from 2-4 miles ‘fast’ at the end. You have to stay engaged throughout the entire run, checking pace to assure you’re “within range” then prepare to drop it at the end. Ironically, I often find that the bulk of the run feels tougher than the end; almost as if my body is more efficient at the faster pace. These runs are great for both physical and mental strength.

A few things ‘extras’ I would recommend as you dial in the big weeks and begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel (ie: rest around the corner!). I don’t recommend perusing blogs, tweets, and media about how much everyone else is doing. This is a fantastic way to doubt yourself, question your own preparation, and it gets you absolutely nowhere. I’ve seen people write of doing 400 mile bike weeks, 38 hour training weeks, and 30k+ swim weeks. They write of how absolutely exhausted and trashed they are. This could get in my head, but then I realize that if I got near these numbers, I would not make it to the start line in one piece. Trust your training, communicate openly with your coach, and commit to your own personal goals based on your own body. Asking questions is good; being a meerkat is not. Curiosity killed the meerkat, and it will kill your Ironman if you let it.

I do recommend focusing on specific workouts that will boost your confidence. By this, I mean dial in what you know you need to do to be successful on race day and commit to it. Do not put unreasonable goals and expectations on every workout. Remember, racing an Ironman entails being able to sustain a consistent pace for a long day; to be mentally, emotionally, and physically strong; not to be overly heroic at any one point (unless it’s the end). While I managed to do 5×1 mile at 5:30 pace a few years ago, I have realized that to run 26 miles at 6:35 pace, it’s smarter to do longer intervals at a slightly slower pace. I had to let go of “seeing that speed” and embrace relaxing into a workout and accomplishing a workout that is challenging, yet attainable; and more specific to the goal.

Have fun in your preparation! Swim with friends, do your easy rides socially, and hop into a small race here or there. Remember that while there will be some long and lonely days, there should always be an element of fun; and it is with consistency in training, belief in yourself and your program, staying healthy and enjoying yourself that you’ll get the most out of your race.

-Kelly Williamson

Making Pizza by Ben Hoffman

September 18th, 2015 - Posted by zoot

My life has been focused around two main goals over the last decade: winning Ironman Hawaii and building amazing pizzas.


Generally speaking, winning a world title is probably a fair bit harder, but that doesn’t mean that it creating thin crust masterpieces has come without some trial and error. Burned crust? Many times. Over-saucing and over-topping leading to sogginess? Definitely. The perfect pizza? Still in pursuit, but getting closer…


The pizza is one of my favorite foods, and often my pre-race meal. Almost every city and country has this staple on tap if you are traveling, and most of the ingredients are readily available if you want to build your own. It certainly ranks as a bit of a “comfort food,” but it can be fairly healthy, and sometimes that comfort and familiarity is helpful in calming pre-race nerves. Finally, this is pizza I’m talking about, people. Do I really need to say much more…?


So what have I learned in my many years of pursuing the perfect pizza? Just call Domino’s! Just kidding. Here’s a few rules to follow, and some instructuons for the way I make most of my pizzas now:


  1. Get a pizzaIMG_8685 stone. Although this isn’t the way I have been cooking my pizzas lately, it’s a great kitchen utensil to own, and will bake a pizza more evenly and quickly. Emile Henry out of France would be my suggestion.
  2. Make your own crust. This adds a little time, but it’s seriously easy to do and worth it. If you don’t have time or the inclination, stop at a local pizza place to buy some of theirs (most places will do this), or purchase pre-made dough at the grocery.
  3. Get creative, or keep it simple, but make sure things are fresh. We grow our own basil and tomatoes for margherita pizzas, and have even made our own sauces (still perfecting this one…).
  4. Generally speaking, hotter than you might think is better. For the oven, I aim for 450, and for the grill, closer to 500-550. Depending on your altitude, pizza construction, etc., this will vary a bit, but that’s part of the fun and challenge.
  5. From learning to toss and stretch your pizza dough to the optimal thickness, to spreading the right amount of sauce and ingredients, pay attention to what works and what doesn’t. I would generally say less is more. As in, aim for thinner crust, less sauce, and fewer ingredients.



My current “pursuit of pizza perfection” has led me to the following recipe, found online at:


As always, feel free to adjust as you see necessary… Experimentation can lead to great things!


When you grill pizza, you need to have everything ready to go — all the toppings, the sauce, the cheese. This is because the key to pizza on the grill is to top the pizza after you’ve put it on the grill. It also helps if you cook the dough for a minute or two, flip it, and then top it.


What You Need

1 ball pizza dough (about 1 pound), store-bought or homemade
1/2 to 1 cup tomato sauce, store-bought or homemade
Cheese such as torn mozzarella, grated Asiago or Swiss, and grated Parmesan
Toppings such as herbs, thinly sliced vegetables, pepperoni and salami, prosciutto, chopped greens such as kale, or diced tomatoes
Olive oil

Grill, gas or charcoal
Metal tongs
Metal spatula


  1. Heat the grill: You should heat it quite hot;my grill was about 600°F with the lid on while baking this particular pizza. Aim for at least 550°F. If you have a choice on your grill between direct and indirect heat, set it up so the pizza is over direct heat.
  2. Gather your ingredients and toppings:Set up a table or bench near the grill so you have easy access to everything. Good grilled pizza is as much about the organization and logistics as it is about actual cooking!
  3. Also have your tools close to hand:You will want a pair of long metal tongs. A spatula may be helpful, although not absolutely necessary. You may want a hot pad or oven mitt if your grill lid gets hot.
  4. Prep your dough:It should be stretched or rolled out into a thin circle. (Circle-ish — as you can see, my pizzas usually resemble continents more than they do the moon!)
  5. Brush the dough with olive oil: Brush one side of the dough with oil; this is the side you’ll lay down on the grill.
  6. Grill one side of the pizza: Take the lid off the grill. Lay the dough round on the grill with theolive-oil side down. Brush the top of the dough with a thin layer of olive oil, too. Let the dough cook for about 3 minutes, with the lid off, or 1 to 2 minutes with the lid on. Use the tongs to lift up the dough from time to time, checking on how it is doing. You want grill marks on it, but you don’t want the dough to get crispy; it should be just set.
  7. Top the pizza: Flip the dough over with the tongs or spatula. The dough should come up easily and flip without tearing. Now is where your organization comes in! You need to top the pizza quickly. Spread on a thin layer of sauce, some cheese, and toppings. It shouldn’t be too heavily loaded, or the pizza won’t cook well.
  8. Cook the pizza: Put the lid on and cook for 3 to 5 minutes. Use your sense of smell; if the pizza smells like it’s scorching, take the lid off and move the pizza to a cooler part of the grill or turn the heat down.
  9. Remove the finished pizza: Remove the lid and check the pizza. The edges should be crisp and well-done, and the cheese should all be melted. Drag the pizza off with the spatula or tongs. Let cool for 3 minutes, then cut into pieces and eat!

Recipe NotesIMG_8687

  • Every grill is different! You know your grill and it cooks differently than mine. Your pizza may take longer or shorter depending on how hot the grill gets and where your areas of direct and indirect heat are. Consider your first pizza a sacrifice to learning just how to control your grill temperature.
  • Cooking times will vary! On that same note, of course, you need to keep an eye on the heat. This method works perfectly every time on my own grill, but the timing depends on how thin you stretch your dough, and how hot your grill gets. Flipping the dough gives you an extra measure of control and certainty, though, that the crust will be cooked through by the time your toppings have melted and warmed.

-Ben Hoffman


What’s for Dinner? By Kelly Williamson

August 18th, 2015 - Posted by zoot
What's for Dinner? By Kelly Williamson
One of the most common questions I get when talking to fellow athletes is that of my diet. People always want to know what I eat when racing (fairly simple, a lot of gels), but also what our diet looks like regularly. Do we eat gluten free or vegan? Do I eat 6,000 calories a day? What do I eliminate, especially going into races? How strictly do we eat?


I always enjoy this topic because, while my husband Derick and I eat very healthy, we also eat balanced and we make it a goal to enjoy what we consume. To answer the above: No, we do not eat gluten-free. I’ve never tried eating vegan, but never had much of an interest. I did ‘think’ I was gluten-intolerant about 9 years ago when I was having some stomach issues. I eliminated my evening beer for a few days, then I came home one night with a 6-pk of beer in hand. Derick asked me what I was doing with it. My response was, “Yeah, I don’t think it’s the gluten.” (Some self-control, right? Turned out, I had gallstones and later had my gall bladder removed! Poof..stomach issues resolved!) I have no idea how many calories a day I eat; I don’t count them. I don’t eliminate anything, regularly or as I head into big races. I figure there are enough other stressors; no need to deprive myself of the things I enjoy (such as coffee, chocolate, ice cream and good beer); especially if I know they directly are not going to negatively impact performance. I would not say we are strict with our diet; but we eat ‘consciously’. I try to focus on assuring that I get enough calories, protein and good quality foods, especially after workouts; but at the same time I listen to my body and eat more when hungry and a bit less when I feel full. I’m a huge fan of fresh lemon in water, which I can sip on most of the day. One weakness I have is that I am a meal eater. I grew up in a family that ate 3 meals a day. I like to be hungry for meals, and enjoy them. I often don’t need a lot of snacks because often times, I’m wrapping up a workout right before a meal; so in lieu of a ‘recovery smoothie’, I often just go straight for a full meal. Derick and I often realize we probably eat healthier than we think, because any time we travel, we find we come home craving our usual staples; good coffee in the morning, a solid breakfast, avocado/veggie/turkey sandwiches for lunch, dark greens, salmon…and of course our favorite indulgences to stay balanced.
What's for Dinner? By Kelly Williamson
On this note, I wanted to share with y’all one of our favorite go-to dinners. Almost every night we have a massive salad, which includes some mixture of the following:
Dark greens (spinach, kale, and/or swiss chard) – Berries (often blueberries and raspberries) and/or Apple – Red onion – Nuts (pecans, almonds, walnuts or sunflower seeds) – Quality cheese (fresh soft mozzarella or goat cheese) – topped with a vinegar based dressing and a creamier dressing (my favorites are Briannas Blush Wine Vinaigrette and Delmonico’s Ranch). I’ll always add beets if we have them cooked up. I love lots of color and variety among veggies, fruits, nuts and cheese. 


Derick has affectionately termed these “Kelly Salads” and he would like to see me start selling them. I just see them as dinner! This is always ‘part’ of our meal, rarely the entire meal. We often make ‘quinoa bowls’, which include:
Quinoa (cooked in chicken broth to add flavor) – Chopped bell peppers – Garlic and onion – Chicken sausage (often a flavored kind, Aidells makes some great ones especially spinach and feta or habanero and green chili; Open Nature is very good as well) – topped with a bit of shredded cheese. And you can easily get creative with these; toss in tomatoes, black beans, avocado, or whatever else you prefer. 


Of course, no lunch or dinner is complete to me without something sweet. After lunch it may be some sea salt dark chocolate (Lindt makes a great one and pretty inexpensive) or a chocolate chip cookie, and after dinner most nights I have a small bowl of ice cream. Actually, who am I kidding; every night I eat ice cream. My favorite is cookies and cream with some peanut butter mixed in.


When I begin to prepare dinner, I love to open a good beer, relax, and slowly start the preparation process; often after taking our pup for his evening play, it means the day is done, and whether it was good or bad; it’s time to put it behind you and settle in to the evening. While we often prepare simple meals, I find that after all the workouts and the ‘going’ all day long, the process of dinner prep is one of the most relaxing times of the day when Derick and I can turn on some good music, catch up and often talk about things non-triathlon related. When your husband is also your coach, this is something we both often crave! 

-Kelly Williamson

Team Zoot Run Application

August 3rd, 2015 - Posted by zoot


Team Zoot Run

Zoot Sports is pleased to announce the launch of Team Zoot Running! *Open to US Residents

We are developing a roster of the most talented elite runners, community leaders, and influencers to represent Zoot on raceday and everyday in between. Team Zoot members will receive an exclusive Team Zoot apparel assortment, access to discounts on all Zoot apparel, gear, and footwear and early access to product lines and launches.

In return Team Zoot members will be asked to do what they do best; run, coach, lead, connect, and provide feedback. You will receive an exclusive package for a discounted rate of $100 value for $300 retail value.

If you are interested and meet the qualifications below please proceed to the application link:

Team Zoot Run Application

*Application closes 8/17 at 12:00am (PST)

Team Zoot Run Qualifications:                          

Membership Requirements

  • Sub 2:46 Marathon (M)
  • Sub 3:15 Marathon (W)
  • Sub 1:19 Half Marathon (M)
  • Sub 1:33 Half Marathon (W)
  • Sub 35:30 10k (M)
  • Sub 41: 30 10k (W)
  • Sub 17:00 5k (M)
  • Sub 20:00 5k (W)


Over 1,500 followers on run related social media outlets

Membership Responsibilities

  • Provide Zoot with important feedback and comments on our products
  • Assist with product launches and product promotions to generate excitement for the brand
  • Race and train in all Zoot apparel, footwear, and gear
  • Post one social media post a week tagging @zootsports or #teamzootrun


Happy Training and tag #TeamZootRun #ZootRun #LoveYourRun in your media posts!


Diego – Sneak Peek

July 17th, 2015 - Posted by zoot


Men's Diego- Solar Flare/Pewter/Zoot Red

The Diego delivers neutral cushioned comfort, perfect for those long runs or if you want an everyday bounce to your stride. Featuring Z-Bound™+ and a Progressive Forward Roll in the midsole, you will be protected from impact as well as a smooth transition to every run.


The light weight and breathable mesh with a seamless no-sew creates a secure and supportive fit. The sock like feel of the BareFit™ internal liner allows your foot to stay put and breathe with speed.


Created for premium cushion and to reduce fatigue from impact on the body, the Diego is designed to work as one complete system. Midsole layers of Z-Bound™+, ZVA and a dedicated heel crash pad combined with high traction carbon rubber, blown rubber and Progressive Forward Roll create a comfortable transition through your entire stride.


With a 4mm drop, the Diego combines both cushion and a dedicated heel counter responsible for stability so you will feel recovered and ready for the next run! A perfect blend for long runs, high mileage, or simply additive comfort, the Diego creates an innovative running experience.


Offset: 4mm

Weight: Men(9)- 12.50z, Women(8)- 10.8oz

Category: Neutral

Availability: Coming Soon!

Heel/Toe Stack: 26mm/22mm


Men's Diego-Solar Flare/Pewter/Zoot Red

Men's Diego- Pewter/Black/Zoot Blue



Women's Diego- Pacific/Light Blue/Punch


Women's Diego-Punch/Deep Purple/Solar Flare




Men's Diego- Pewter/Black/Zoot Blue


Women's Diego-Pacific/Light Blue/Punch




Which Wetsuit is Best for You?

July 13th, 2015 - Posted by zoot

WETZOOTS to suit all needs.

Since 2005 Zoot has been creating world class wetsuits specifically designed to for triathletes to swim fast and get out of the water feeling fresh. Our wetsuits have maximum flexibility and floatation to help you get out of the water feeling fresher. We have several levels of wetsuits accommodate all levels of swimmers.

Loaded with amazing features and the best technology, Zoot wetsuits consistently receive top accolades from both athletes around the globe. With the use of only the best neoprene in the appropriate places throughout the suit, you will enjoy maximum flexibility in the shoulders and floatation in the hips. SCS Nano and SCS are world class speed coatings that will help you glide through the water more efficiently. In order to keep the water out of the suit, we’ve added Zero Water Friction Free Neck and Zero Water Cuffs to our wetsuits. The Moontape Reinforcements along with the best Neoprene and speed coating ensure maximum durability.


WETSUIT TECHNOLOGYWETZOOTS to suit all needs.1. ZERO WATER FRICTION FREE NECK – Comfort neck panel sits flat against the neck to limit water entry and stop chafing.

2. CFD – CONFLUENCE FLUID DYNAMICS allows the swimmer’s arm to travel through the water with less energy expenditure and higher velocity.

3. ZERO WATER CUFFS – 1mm cuffs wrap around the wrist allowing for powerful strokes while sealing out the water.

4. SPEED RELEASE ANKLE PANEL – A strategically placed 2mm super stretchy panel at the base of the leg speeds transition in T1.

5. DORSALflex ZIPPER – 2mm of neoprene down the back zipper for stretch and improved lung expansion.

6. ZONE Rx CORE STABILIZER – Core stabilization ensures optimal body position and preserves core strength.

7. MOONTAPE REINFORCEMENTS – Strategically placed Moontape and spot reinforcements on the arms and legs ensures maximum durability.

8. SCS NANO – The most hydrodynamic and durable wetsuit coating available. Less friction. Less drag. More speed.

9. GLIDEflex – Grooved panels increase stretch for maximum lung expansion, shoulder rotation and extension.

10. SCS – SUPER COMPOSITE SKIN – A hydro-dynamic coating that allows the suit to glide through water more efficiently, improving neoprene’s surface abrasion resistance, durability and strength.

11. DYNAhull DYNAMIC STROKE TECH – Single seam sleeve construction maximizes the neoprene flexibility, increases reach and streamlines stroke efficiency.

12. SUPER STRETCH INTERIOR LINING – Zoot’s super stretch non-absorbant polyester interior lining allows for maximum reach and enhanced lateral flexibility.

13. AQUAlift – Aqualift provides maximum buoyancy raising your legs and torso in the water for increased power and speed.

14. OKD – OPTIMAL KICK DESIGN – Leg patterning that works with your anatomy to increase kick velocity, frequency, and efficiency.



We have several categories of wetsuits including Prophet 2.0, Z Force 5.0, Z Force 3.0 and Z Force 1.0. The Z Force 3.0 and 1.0 are also available in sleeveless. With nine men’s sizes and six women’s sizes, you are sure to find a Zoot wetsuit to fit your body. Below is a brief overview of our wetsuits, click on the links to see the full descriptions of the suit.

Prophet – The pinnacle of wetsuits, the Prophet 2.0 offers the most cutting edge technology, the best hydrodynamic coating, core stability, and the most innovative patterning on the market. More details can be found here: Women’s and Men’s

Z Force 5.0 – Evolutionary design with a great balance of flexibility for flawless stroke mechanics and floatation. More details can be found here: Women’s and Men’s

Z Force 3.0 (show full sleeve and SL) – 2014 Triathlete Magazine “Best in Class”, this suit continues to perform on top because of the great balance and buoyancy. More details can be found here: Women’s and Men’s 

Z Force 1.0 (show full sleeve and SL) – Named “The Top 10 Triathlon Essentials for Beginners” by Outside Magazine, the Z Force 1.0 wetsuit has the features of a high-end wetsuit without the price tag. The Z Force 1.0 is consistently classified as “Best Wetsuits for Beginners” by Triathlete Magazine. For more details, click here: Women’s and Men’s 


WETZOOTS to suit all needs.When the water temperature is 78 degrees or colder, USAT allows triathletes to wear wetsuits during races. From 78-84 degrees, wetsuits are allowed, but age group athletes who choose to wear one are not eligible for prizes. In the case where a race would not be wetsuit legal, you can experience some of the wetsuit benefits by wearing the Zoot SpeedZoot. This state-of-the-art swimskin was developed with ULTRArevo water repellant gloss fabric and bonded seams to reduce surface drag to make you fast in the water. Our advanced technology of bonded neck and arm closures keeps water out for an even faster swim. More information can be found here: Women’s and Men’s

For the past 10 years, Zoot has been perfecting wetsuits for triathletes. Loaded with features including ZoneRx Core Stabilizer, SCS speed coatings, and Aqualift, our full range of suits accommodate all levels of swimmers. Get out of the water feeling fresher with Zoot wetsuits.








Building By: Ben Hoffman

July 10th, 2015 - Posted by zoot


Having grown up with a father that was a master carpenter and custom home builder, I was always spending time on the job site and gleaning construction skills. I remember being only 5 or 6 years old, and I would sweep up at the end of the day for my contribution and a chance to hang out with my dad. Later, I would help out after a school day or on a weekend, and in college I spent a couple summer breaks building homes with my dad over the summer break. Although I will never reach a level of expertise that compares to his, I learned enough to get by and tackle the occasional project.

In fact, I often find myself filling offseason time with construction projects, or even taking on the occasional one in season. When I bought my first home in Boulder a couple years ago, the first thing we all did was convert a garden level area of the house to its own separate living quarters. Fast forward to my offseason after Kona last year, and Kelsey, my parents, and myself all took on a massive effort to rehab an older home that she bought in foreclosure. It was a 6 week push to completely rebuild the kitchen and bathroom, redo flooring, repaint the interior, and all the other fun bits that go into a remodel. There is a deep satisfaction for me in having something so tangible and visible come to life, be reborn from mediocre to great through hard work. Although most of my “builds” are based around an Ironman, I get equal satisfaction from these.

The most recent weekend project was a patio that Kelsey and I built outside for a small seating area. We had no real experience with laying a flagstone patio, but we managed to turn out a nice and level place to enjoy an occasional dinner in 3 days between my training. It’s not exactly the standard strength training, but I’m pretty sure my “caveman crossfit” helped work my abs, back, and arms!Buildingwithben

At the end of the day, it’s nice to be able to have enough confidence to work on some basic construction projects around my place, and it gives me a mental break and refresher from the grind of training, while reinforcing my strong belief in hard work. What’s your next DYI project?

-Ben Hoffman



Our Escape By: Kelly Williamson

June 24th, 2015 - Posted by zoot
Derick and I met in Colorado back in 2003, at the Mt. Evans Hill Climb; which is a bike race that starts in Idaho Springs, CO (7,555 ft) and goes 28 miles to finish at the top of Mt. Evans (14,130 ft). We were both living in Colorado Springs at the time which is where we stayed until our move to Austin, Texas the summer of 2006. While we’ve loved more than we ever imagined possible about Austin, we are both mountain people at heart.

The first time I qualified for Kona in 2010 we decided it would make sense to escape the Texas heat for some of the long training (summers here are intense, often 70F but 80-90% humidity early mornings but by afternoon 90-100F with 40-60% humidity) so we immediately decided upon Salida, Colorado. (Little did we know that for the next 4 years, we would head right back there every summer for about a month of training and fun to escape the dreaded Austin summers). Many have not heard of Salida. We knew of it from having lived in Colorado Springs, we would occasionally go there to camp, mountain bike and just explore one Colorado’s many small mountain towns. It is nestled at the foot of the Colorado Rockies and the western bank of the Arkansas River, at about 7000 ft. It’s often said to be in the ‘Banana Belt’ because of the cool comfortable summers and mild winters. It even has a 25-meter indoor pool at the Salida Hot Springs center; which for a town of ~5,500 people is pretty impressive. You can do your workout then slip into the ‘other’ pool which is a natural hot springs. Roads to ride are endless; and even though there are only about 2 ways out of town, one road takes you up Poncha Pass (9,000 ft) and once descending you can ride for miles on a fairly flat terrain. The other route takes you to the neighboring town of Buena Vista (20 miles away) but then you can begin the 20 mile climb to the top of Cottonwood Pass (~12,000 ft). The amazing thing about riding in Salida is the lack of stopping; coming from a town such as Austin with a massive population, it’s incredibly refreshing to get on your bike and just keep pedaling, uninterrupted. As for the running, there are a ton of trails though many of them go UP…so you have to be prepared that if you’re not intending on pushing yourself, you either stay off of them or you really learn how to run easy. One of my favorites is a dirt road (Ute Trail) that we’ll take to for long tempo runs. I’ll jog to the start of the dirt (about 3 miles from town), and Derick will mark every mile with flour. The most I’ve done is about 9 miles uphill; the road on goes forever, and the grade undulates but is always going up in some capacity. Last summer, Derick and I took to this road for some cyclo-cross bike rides which was a ton of fun. We would spend 3-4 hours exploring these dirt roads and occasionally pop off onto trails, which is of course interesting on a cross bike, especially when you have the lack of technical skills as I do.


But the best thing about Salida is that even though I am there to train, it almost doesn’t feel like it. We wake up early, have coffee on the porch; often visited by a few deer in the yard. Mornings are almost always cool and quiet. There are absolutely no distractions. Life is simple. The commute to the pool is all of 5 minutes. Never traffic. The commute to the gym is 5 minutes on a cruiser bike. The commute to the beer store is 5 minutes, and I’ll toss it into the bike basket and pedal home. Derick often does all of his work in the mornings, and will head to the trails for afternoon mountain bike rides (or vice-versa if storms roll in during the afternoons) and will fish most evenings after dinner. I savor the easier training days or days off when we can pick up a float trip together, or an excursion to Mt. Princeton Hot Springs for the day. Every evening, we pedal down to the river with our dog Amico (named after the local pizza and brewery, Amicas) and let him play in the rapids; easily my favorite part of the day.  We pedal back home with a worn out pup, crack open a good beer and make dinner; often from fresh veggies and meats we pick up at Ploughboy, the local market and kitchen. We enjoy our dinner on the back porch and rarely turn the TV on. It’s definitely a Work Hard, Play Hard philosophy when in Salida. It’s Our Escape. What’s yours?


-Kelly Williamson

Training (or Chilling) with Music: What Moves You? By: Kelly Williamson

May 21st, 2015 - Posted by zoot
Music has the power to inspire. While people and events clearly serve as inspiration, something as simple as songs inspire me daily. Music works as a conversation starter; it gives you deeper insight into who people are; it can even spark a bond between two people. I’ll never forget when I met my husband Derick. I was 24 at the time, likely ruminating about some triathlon related event in my life which I am sure was “massive” at the time but in the big scheme, a small bump in the road. (He was working for a coaching company at the time). I said to him over one of our earlier conversations, “You have to laugh at yourself, because you’d cry your eyes out if you didn’t.” This dude was good. Without missing a beat, he replies, “You’re an Indigo Girls fan, huh.” Well, he sure knew how to win a girl over… a GUY who knew this line from a song? Spark. Bam. Done. Here we are, some 13 years later!


Every evening when Derick and I make dinner, we turn on a Pandora station and catch up on our day with some good tunes in the background. Some of the frequent Pandora stations you’ll find in the Williamson household include the likes of Robert Earl Keen, John Fullbright, Jason Isbell, Ray Wylie Hubbard; Brandi Carlile, the Highwaymen radio. Clearly, pretty mellow stuff for the evenings. The wonderful thing about music that you can always find something to suit your mood; and on that same note, music also has the ability to change your mood. I can find myself enjoying a beer, making dinner, my mind running through events from the day, stressing out; then I find myself singing along with a song and it seems worries can melt away. It can allow us to shift our focus often to a more relaxed state without even consciously realizing it.  


Seeing that I love music and a good many hours of my days are spent training solo, it gives me massive time to spend with my good friend, Kelly’s Ipod. While I love good company for a long bike ride, I also get excited as I prep for a 5-6 hour solo ride, getting the bike ready, the nutrition set up, rolling out the door, and putting my music in my ear (right ear only of course). While I can appreciate solitude and silence, it makes some of that alone time a bit more pleasant when I can cruise through the Texas hill country being serenaded by some of my favorites. Likewise, when I have to crank out a tough set on the bike or on the trails, I turn it over to those who can get me in the mood to shut off the pain and dig as deep as possible. It seems there’s always a song for the occasion, be it a mellow 5 hours or a hard as hell 6 minutes. There is something about focusing on song lyrics and averting your attention directly from your effort that can allow you dig a bit deeper and enjoy the experience a little more.


On that note, I wanted to share some of my top song choices; broken down into two categories. Long endurance workout favorites, and hard session choices. Of course these lists are frequently changing, but some are tried and true staples. Maybe you can find a new song or two in here. But ultimately, find what moves your mood and go with it!


Long Mellow Sessions
I Like Birds (Eels)
Follow Your Arrow (Kacey Musgraves)
Whim of Iron (Slaid Cleaves)
Happy (John Fullbright)
People are Crazy (Billy Currington)
Old Before Your Time (Ray LaMontagne)
Gone Again (Indigo Girls)
My Hometown (Charlie Robison)
Enjoy Yourself (Todd Snider)


Hard Sessions
Back in Black (AC/DC)
GDFR (Flo Rida)
No Church in the Wild (JAY Z & Kanye West)
Glory & Consequence (Ben Harper)
In the End (Linkin Park)
We Can’t Stop (Miley Cyrus)
Dani California (Red Hot Chili Peppers)
Ni**as in Paris (JAY Z & Kanye West)
Lonely Boy (The Black Keys)
Mainstream Kid (Brandi Carlile)
Dark Horse (Katy Perry)


-Kelly Williamson

5 Training Tips to Spring into Shape!

May 11th, 2015 - Posted by zoot

It’s time to spring into shape and begin a fresh training schedule with new ideas to get you stronger and ready to race.

Add a little spring into your step with these 5 training tips:

1)   Set Goals

Set one big goal for the spring season training, something to look forward to. It could be training for your first 5k, racing a half or full marathon you have always wanted to do, or reaching a personal best by the end of the season. Keep it simple and stick to what inspires you! Write it down and gain confidence in that goal.

Set mini milestone goals to motivate you to achieve that one big goal you set for your spring season. Milestone goals can be as simple as eat more greens, get 8 hours of sleep a night, take a few minutes out of the day to stretch & strengthen or finish a run a little faster than normal. It is important to be consistent with your goals and reward yourself!

2)   Track Your Progress 

Write down your weekly training in a training journal. Map it out and watch the progression. Write down weekly miles, hours of sleep, and how you felt in each workout. This allows organization to your training and a method to track what works and doesn’t work. It is also nice to backtrack and see what you did days, months, even years ago.

 3)  Mix Things Up

Workouts- A variety in your training can strengthen different muscles in the body and create an overall balance.

Hill Repeats- Is there one hill near your home that you despise walking, biking, or running up? Well, here is a great workout for you. One day a week confidently focus on that hill. Start slow doing 3 reps up/and recovery downhill. Eventually, you can increase the hill reps, allowing your muscle fibers to adjust to the alternative terrain. Hill repeats will increase your heart rate, strengthen and tone your glutes, and most importantly your mind and body will naturally adapt to the hills, allowing confidence to overcome every step of the climb.

Intervals- Interval training is a great way to mix up your workouts. Instead of going by distance, go by time. Set your workout to segmented intervals. For example, you can run 1 minute fast, with 1 minute recovery, 2 minutes fast, 2 minutes recovery, 3 minutes fast, 3 minutes recovery, etc. Intervals are a great way to see what pace is right for you. You can decrease the recovery time to see how well you adapt to recovering. Intervals are a great way to get you fit and in that racing mode!

Tempo- Tempo is also known as a lactate threshold run and is a faster paced workout to help you gain endurance. It should be at a faster pace than your normal run pace and a little slower than your race pace. It should be a pace that you can keep for a longer run and should feel comfortably hard. The more training, the higher you can push your threshold. So how do you find your threshold? You can start by adding 30-40 seconds to your average 5k-10k pace. If you average 8:00 per mile in the 5k your threshold pace will be relative to 8:30-8:40 per mile. It should be a hard yet comfortable pace you can do for 15-20 minutes continuously.

Location– Mix it up with the location of your runs. If you run the same route daily it could easily lead to burn out. Try to run on grass or trail for longer runs to reduce the impact, and recover faster.

Find a running friend– A friend running next to you can help keep the pace of the run honest and consistent. A friend to run with is a perfect way to motivate you and create a positive attitude. It is nothing like a good conversation to make a long run go by when you have a friend to talk to and reach out to. A running friend can also critique your form and help improve your stride.

4)   Strength- there is more to it than just running! 

Body mechanics – Work on the little things to strengthen for an overall balanced body. Each day focus on a part of the body to make it stronger!  

YogaStrength is not only important physically but mentally as well. Take a few minutes out of your day to stretch quietly and clear the mind through meditation. It not only relaxes you but freshens the body for your next run!

CoreThe core is the foundation to running. With a strong core your body can move mechanically, creating less tension in the hips, glutes, and legs. Even if it is 5-10 minutes of core while watching television, your abs can still get a nice workout.

5)   Race More, Race Faster       

April racing brings May personal bests! Do you get the nervous jitters at the starting line? Well, the common cure is to race. The more you race the more confident you become and your body gets accustomed to the adrenaline. Believe in your training and know that you are ready for any race!


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