Mid Season Update: Making up for lost blogs

I began writing this blog over five years ago to share my experiences training, competing and living as a student-athlete at Northern Arizona University. I had always been a deligent recorder of all aspects running in my personal running log, so I thought I might as well put this stuff on a blog to allow friends and family (mostly Mom, Dad and teammates looking for a shoutout, originally) to see what I was up to. After a couple years had passed, I realized that I had created this great resource for??myself??to remember what I had done in the past, mistakes I’d made, decisions that had worked out, and perhaps most importantly, things that had previously motivated me to be my best.

I had great expectations for myself for the 2014 season. With the exception of a couple bright spots (New Plymouth WC and Yokohama WTS),??results have been fairly disappointing this year. This, in addition to the time committed to training, travel, life, etc., has created an excuse for me not to continue documenting my experiences along the way. It’s August now, and looking at my blogging for the year, I see that I have left a few holes, which kinda upsets me.

There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.
There are some great views on the Amtrak Pacific Surfliner.

I am now sitting on a train travelling south along the coast from Simi Valley back down to San Diego. I went on a short trip to Tucson (via plane) to help my girlfriend move out of her place in Tucson and over to Simi Valley (via truck/car). I have learned taking the train is quite relaxing, but can be??very slow — my departure from Simi was delayed over an hour, and then I sat at LA’s Union Station for about an hour and a half until continuing on. Anyway, all that to say that I had some time + Wifi on my hands, and thus: this blog!

My last good race update was from my first three ITU races of the season back in March. Those races were highlighted by my 18th place finish at the New Plymouth World Cup against some very good competition. Shortly after returning from that trip, I had a bit of a cycling accident, crashing into a fairly large commercial truck. I was lucky in that I??came away with just some bruised ribs and my bike only suffered a few scratches. My front wheel took the brunt of the impact and was totalled. Turns out carbon fiber makes for a pretty good one-time-use bumper, though not a very cost effective one. ENVE took care of me and sent me a new SES 3, and I was back ??on my bike in a couple of days. Swimming and running took a bit longer to come along, but after a few weeks, I put all that behind me.

IMG_2161In April I went to Barbados for a Sprint Pan American Cup race. I swam well enough to get into a group of some strong cyclists that were willing to work together, and we caught the lead pack about halfway through the race. I struggled on the run and finished up 8th. Disappointed that I missed a good opportunity to get on the podium, but happy to collect some ITU points. Results

In May I jetted off to China with training partner Joe Maloy for the Chengdu World Cup. This was my first time to China. I was happy to be travelling with Joe; it helps to have a bit of familiarity when in such a new place. I missed a very large pack on the swim and ended up time trialing the whole race on my own. My 57th place finish in Chengdu is probably one of my worst races of my career. Results??Facebook Photo Album (Chengdu & Yokohama)

Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)
Best swim of my life! (Photo by: Delly Carr/ITU Media)

I had a second chance the next weekend in racing my very first World Triathlon Series race in Yokohama, Japan. This race was wetsuit legal, and I took??complete advantage of that. I swam in the middle of the field the whole way, coming out ahead of some very accomplished athletes. I hopped on the Davison-Murray-Sissons train and we made our way up to the front of the race. This race was without a doubt the most??fun I have ever had racing triathlons! I was riding right next to guys that I’ve been watching on TV since I started the sport — Brownlee, Gomez, Brownlee, etc. It was a small affirmation that my career is moving in the direction. I held on with a decent run off the bike and came in just behind Joe in 20th. A top-20 result in my first WTS race had me??very excited for what was ahead. Results

My next race was the Pan American Championships held in Dallas. I finished 5th in this event last year when it was held in Vila Vehla, Brazil. I ended up in the second chase pack on the bike, and the gaps were just too big for me to mix it up in the front end of the race. I was 33rd. Results

We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.
We made it out to Buffalo Park in Flagstaff, Arizona a couple of times each week.

Right after Dallas, The Triathlon Squad packed their bags and headed to one of my favorite places in the World, Flagstaff! We were there for about four weeks getting in an altitude training block. I saw a few friends that I went to school with and put in a lot of training hours.

From Flagstaff I went to Chicago for my second WTS race. We were looking forward to another wetsuit swim, as the water in Lake Michigan had been quite chilly. The weather leading up to the race was pretty warm, raising the lake temperature to just under the wetsuit cutoff. The ITU and medical staff decided to ignore the temperature cutoff, and went with a nonwetsuit swim. I was well off the back on the swim, but fought like Hell on the bike. I bridged up to several guys, rode with them for a couple laps, and then ultimately broke away to see if I could cut the gap a bit more. A lot of friends commended me for my effort on the bike, which was nice to hear, but it didn’t make up for the hole I had dug myself on the swim. I finished up with a 44th place finish. Results


My most recent race was a week ago in Jiayuguan, China. Yep, two trips to China in one year. Like Chengdu this was another World Cup, but this time at about 5,500 feet of elevation. The lake that we swam in can be quite chilly, as it is fed from the local mountains (with some peaks reaching an impressive 18,000 ft!), so my hopes were that we would have a wetsuit swim. Jiayuguan is right on the border of the Gobi desert, and the days before the race were very warm. Temperatures in the lake shot up to 23C by race morning, making it a nonwetsuit swim. I hate that swimming with a wetsuit gives me such an advantage, as I want to be an athlete that can perform in all conditions, but the reality is that, at this point, it makes a difference for me. I ended up with a very similar swim to the one I had in Chicago. Again, I rode well, this time actually pulling back some time to the front pack with a 4th best bike split. I picked off a few guys on the run, but still only finished 45th. Results

(Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)
(Photo by: Darryl Carey / ITU Media)

Up next for me is a Sprint Pan American Cup race in Kelowna. I raced there two years ago, and fell in love with the area. I’m very excited to head back, this time with good friends Heather and Trevor Wurtele (they live there part of the year) and Eric Lagerstrom (also plans on racing).

I will most likely be racing the Super Sprint event in Las Vegas on September 11th. This is not an ITU event, so no points up for grabs, but it is fun, fast racing with good prize money available.

I will finish up my season with a couple World Cups in October, most likely Cozumel, Mexico and Tongyeong, South Korea.

Thanks for everyone’s support and words of encouragement this season. The highs and lows of 2014 have been very polarizing, and the phone calls, emails, and little messages I have received from many of you help me keep a level head and remind me to enjoy the pursuit.

#JiggyWC Tomorrow

My second race of the year in China is tomorrow at the ITU Jiayuguan World Cup. The trip has been surprisingly smooth, and I am ready to go for tomorrow. I just had a sitdown with Coach Paulo (it’s nice having him along the trip this time, along with The Triathlon Squad teammates Joe Maloy, Eric Lagerstrom and Chilean Felipe Van De Wyngard) and we highlighted what it will take for me to be successful tomorrow. More on that after the race!

For now, I’d like to let you know how to follow the race and share a few photos/instagrams/tweets from my adventure so far. There should be live timing tomorrow at http://triathlon.org/live. My race goes off at 9 am local time on Saturday, which will be 6 pm Pacific on Friday. The start list can be found here (I’m wearing #18 tomorrow) and results will be posted after the race here.

#TheTriathlonSquad singlehandedly created the #JiggyWC hashtag.

@worldtriathlon listened.

First look at the race venue. It’s a two lap swim, eight lap bike, four lap run. Of note: we are over 5,000 feet of elevation here. While this is my first time racing a triathlon at altitude, loyal RunPD followers know that I am no stranger to altitude as I spent six years running and going to school in Flagstaff, AZ at 7,000 feet.

As I’ve said, the trip has been quite smooth, much thanks to the great group we are travelling with from USA Triathlon, including Coach Greg Mueller and athletes Jarrod Shoemaker, Will Huffman and Jessica Broderick in addition to my squadmates/coach.

But that’s not say we’ve encountered some interesting items (or just bad translations) in the buffet and around.

"The dainty cyclone is coming." Right; sounds like no cause for alarm.
“The dainty cyclone is coming.” Right; sounds like no cause for alarm.
Some good words in there. But what does it all mean???
Some good words in there. But what does it all mean???

And finally, I did get to see the Great Wall of China a couple times while out riding. Jiayuguan is the furthest west point (“first pier”) of the Ming Dynasty portion of the Great Wall. I’ve had fun researching the area and the Great Wall in general on Wikipedia and Google Earth (which requires a VPN to get pass the Great “Firewall” of China).

P.S. Check out this article my local paper, The Ventura County Star, wrote on me a few days before I left for China!

Buffalo, Nancy, San Diego, Cancun

Beginning tomorrow I will kick off a four week block of racing that will take me to the East Coast, France and Mexico. Training has been great since my race in Kelowna, including my second and third biggest weeks of the year. Running intensity was the highest it has been since I finished up at NAU over a year ago. Swimming continues to be a year-round focus and I have swam some encouraging sets in the last few weeks. But training means nothing if you can’t put it together on race day, and I plan to show the gains I have made in these next four races.

Saturday is the Buffalo ITU Pan American Cup, which also serves as USAT Elite Nationals for the second year in a row. If I beat my 17th placing from Clermont back in March, I can further increase my ranking on the ITU Points list. This will be no small task, as I’m going into the race ranked 18th. There are guys ahead of me that I have beat this year, and I know I can do it again if I execute well. This is probably the deepest field I have raced in yet, which I think will be a good thing for me as there should be more people to work with coming out of the swim. Start list

In anticipation of Duathlon Worlds, I have been hitting the track regularly. This picture was taken by my dad at a brick session at Moorpark College.

After Buffalo, I will be staying in Boston for a few days with fellow professional triathletes Chris Baird and Brianna Blanchard. They are both from Ventura County area, and I actually ran against Chris throughout high school and while he was at UPenn, so it will be nice to spend some time with them. Chris and I then fly to Luxembourg and bus over to Nancy, France for Duathlon World Championships held on September 22. I applied to represent team USA at this event several months ago, thinking it would be a great opportunity to get international racing experience. However, I am committed to my long-term development as a triathlete, and for me, at this point, that means a lot of swimming. There is no swim portion of a duathlon (run-bike-run), so I can’t say that I have had perfect preparation for this event, but I will go out there and do my best and see I can’t get a piece of the ???80,000 prize purse! A huge thank-you to my sponsor ENVE Wheels for helping me get to France and putting me on the fastest wheels in the bunch.

From Luxembourg I will fly back to LAX and spend a few days at home before hitting the road for a quick trip down to San Diego for the F1 Triathlon. This is a crazy fast format of racing, and I’m really excited to be accepted as an entry for this event. It takes place on Coronado Island, and consists of a 300m ocean swim, a 10-lap 4-mile bike, and a 5-lap 1.5-mile run. After finishing the run, you go to T3! Take off your shoes, run back into the water, and do it all over again. If you are in the area on September 29th, I highly recommend you come out and watch. It is going to be a great spectator course, and I know the race director is hoping this will be the start of a permanent race series in the US. Back in the day, these races were quite popular in Australia. Check out the video:


Finally, my last race of the season will be my first ever ITU World Cup in Cancun, Mexico on October 7th. That I was able to qualify for a World Cup race in my first season as a professional triathlete is a great accomplishment and I plan on celebrating by sticking my nose in the thick of things with the big boys — there are at least ten London Olympians on the start list. More on this race to come, as I obviously have other things to worry about first!

Be sure to check my twitter (@jasonpedersen) or my Facebook over the next few weeks with updates from the races. If I get a chance to blog, there will be links on those accounts for you to stay updated.

FISU Taiwan Day 2

Yesterday I was trying to fight the jet lag and go to bed at a normal hour. After dinner, I crawled into bed around 7:45. I read about four sentences from my book and I was out. I slept straight through until about 3 am. I got up and had a snack and was able to go back asleep around 4. Breakfast wasn’t until 7, so it was a solid snooze.

Surprisingly nice pool

We hopped on a bus and drove to a swimming pool a few miles away. We were all very surprised when we saw the pool. It was a gorgeous 50m pool with a little shade cover that covered about half the pool. We did a 1 hour workout and then hopped out for a run. The pool was at a park that had some bike paths meandering through it and found a dirt track (a novelty in the US these days!). I did a little timed fartlek and was very pleased with how my legs felt after all the travel.

Moving the cover over the pool
A pond at the park we ran at

After lunch back at the hotel I spent some time with our bike mechanic Brian Hughes making a few adjustments to my bike. With my new Enve wheels and this tune up, the ol’ Blue is riding faster than ever!

At 4:00 in the afternoon the team headed out on the bike to check out the bike course. Dustin and I checked it out yesterday, but the rest of the team came arrived last night and hadn’t seen the course yet. A second look was probably a good idea anyway.

Tonight I will be getting a quick massage before bed from our team trainer Brent Hamula. It sure is nice travelling with an entourage!

Again, I am struggling to post pictures. I am in a lobby of the hotel where the wifi signal is much better, but posting photos has still proven to be difficult.

FISU Taiwan Day 1

Hello from the other side of the world!

After taking off Tuesday morning at 1:35, I landed Wednesday morning at 6:20 in Taipei, Taiwan. I had a window seat, which I thought would be good for sleeping, but I only could manage maybe 4 hours of sleep for the 14 hour flight. The man in the aisle next to me never stood up once! And the girl in the aisle seat must have slept a solid 8 hours with her head resting on her tray table. I guess being little has its advantages…

Interesting bus that took us from Taipei to Shangrila

My roommate for this trip Dustin McLarty and I got through customs and baggage claim quickly and met up with Team USA coordinator for this trip, Steve Kelley. We then hopped on a bus for about 90 minutes through the mountains (literally through the mountains… there were many tunnels several miles long)??and made our way to the race host hotel Shangrila in Yilan. Yilan is quite rural, especially compared to Taipei, with rice paddies mixed with the occasional home or apartment building.

Lots of tall apartment buildings in Taipei.

After putting our bikes back together, we headed out for a ride with the British boys and a couple girls from South Africa. It is very warm with temps hovering in the low 90’s and humidity above 60%. Dustin and I got a chance to look at the bike course, which is quite flat and on well-paved roads.

Since the ride we had lunch at the hotel’s buffet and are trying to keep ourselves awake to fight the jet lag. We will probably go for a little run in a bit, which should help get us through another couple hours.



Tomorrow we are headed to a local pool in the morning with the rest of Team USA (they arrive tonight). More updates with pictures to come!

EDIT: I’m having trouble posting pictures. Wifi isn’t the best here. I guess you get what you pay for. I will keep trying, hopefully they will be up soon.