Follow my training and fundraising progress towards Ironman Boulder. Help me raise $4,000 for Ironman Foundation's Community Fund to enhance the well-being of the Boulder community through charitable support.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Race Report - IRONMAN Boulder (8/3/2014)

My first reaction to "writing a race report" as I sit down is to begin in January when I made the decision to spend the better half of 2014 training for IRONMAN Boulder and continue paragraph after paragraph on to the demands that ensued.  Finishing an IRONMAN is more about the hard work and dedication you put in.  This includes the highs, the lows of training day in and day out for almost 8 months.  The support required from your family, weekday and weekend.  All of this, before even getting to the actual race report.  I'll spare you that level of verbosity and leave you with a few photos, my support and a brief recap of the race itself.


I can't say it enough.  You can't get through all of this without them.

The biggest thanks goes out to Christine, my lovely wife, the mother of my 2 precious kids and the most supportive IRONWIFE I could ever have.  She is not only the wife that supported this effort and cause but also was my nutritionist, my coach and my friend.

My coach Nicole Clark for helping me figure out how to get through this year -- her 9 month journey during this time period while giving birth to her little Lucas.  All the while, answering my late night texts of my complaining, whining or worrying.

I also give thanks to the medical professionals that helped me get through a knee injury and subsequent surgery in 2013 to the end of the this race.  Dr. Stephen Paul at Boulder Orthopedics, Dr. Jason Glowney at Boulder Center for Sports Medicine, Carole Thiele my Physical Therapist.

I thank other medical professionals for injury prevention and recovery.  Kat Hearty the best sports massage therapist in the world and Dr. Kevin Reichlin at the Colorado Athletic Club.

My new triathlon friends at Lifetime and with the IRONMAN-Foundation Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team--it puts a smile on my face knowing that many of you will be lifelong friends.

Other friends and family for believing in me, thank you.


Together, we raised $4,500.  Thanks to all of you, a total of $100,000 in grants will given to local nonprofit organizations from the Ironman Foundation (IMF).

I can't thank each and everyone of you enough; our $4,500 was one of the largest single fundraisers for this event and cause in 2014.  This also gave our team the ability to volunteer with great organizations such as Environmental Learning for Kids (

I thank you, the IRONMAN Foundation thanks you and the youth and other non-profits in the Denver/Boulder area thank you.


Days leading up to the race, my anxiety levels were extremely high.  While I was confident in my ability to get through the race and I had no specific worries or nerves, the stress was high.  This continued as it always does until my head first bows below the surface of the water on race morning.  As my head pops back up, my first breath of open swim fresh air and sun shining in my face leads to a sudden rush of adrenaline, happiness and freedom.

Backing up, the race morning all began with a 3:30AM alarm clock, shoveling food and drink down my mouth and racing off to the Boulder High School (Christine dropped me off at 4AM).  Once I arrived to the Reservoir, the standard transition routines begin.  Check your tires, put air in your tires, stretch, use the bathroom, continue sipping on electrolytes and begin clearing your head.  My teammate and friend David Tolbert hands me a bracelet, "HARDEN THE FUCK UP!" - I laugh but little do I know how many times I will glance down and this during the day when I am feeling low.  THANK YOU DAVID!

THE SWIM.  2.4m.  This was the most enjoyable part of the day.  The adrenaline, the excitement, the cool body temperature,  the sun on the back of your neck with the cool rush of water, and to be honest the easiest part of the entire day.  It would last only 1 hour 22 minutes.  I exited the water with so much energy and excitement.  No panic, stress or anxiety the entire swim.  I avoided all serious face kicks, took on no water in my goggles, felt strong the entire way.  

I also learned that I could push myself, even over 2.4 miles, a lot harder than I did in this race.  I finished 3 minutes quicker than the fastest time I was expecting and not only left a lot in the tank but felt GREAT.

THE CENTURY.  112m.  I felt strong for the first 56 miles of this course.  I also received a penalty on the first half for drafting that I would not serve out until after mile 90--constantly thinking about that 4 minute stop and not knowing where the tent was.  This was a horrible feeling!  Note:  This was NOT intentional drafting!

I began to realize how many great people I have met throughout this journey.  With thousands of people in the field, you do not expect to bump into many.  BUT I DID.  Steven, Nick, Joe, Molly, Dianne, and everyone else--this is one of the first great feelings of the long day.  Seeing your friends begin their struggle or endure as we get to the end of the bike.

The second half would begin at special needs.  A quick bathroom break and nausea sets in hard.  I would not eat my sandwich here.  I still attempt to maintain as much nutrition as possible through my gels, bonk breakers, salt stick and power bar fruit as possible.  I maintain my water schedule and dump as much cold water over my head, neck, back and legs as is possible.  At some point I meet a woman that had just attempted IRONMAN Switzerland and DNF'd due to nausea -- we exchange conversation off and on for at least 20 miles and she tells me that she told NO ONE about entering IRONMAN Boulder.  She did not want to let anyone down this time so she planned on surprising them after she crossed the finish line.

This nausea would last until I began the run slowing me down 25% over the course of the last 56 miles on the bike.  I would need to dig deep and fight from puking as I try to maintain cadence over the false flats.  I would get to a point where I wondered if I would even finish the bike, even though I had less than 15 miles left.  I knew I would, but the question still came up.  I wondered if I would DNF like the lady I met earlier.  I wanted nothing but to stand on my feet and run.

THE MARATHON.  26.2m.  BUT it turns out, I would not run.  At least, not for a large portion of this leg. While I was nothing short of ecstatic about being off my bike and beginning to throw one foot after the other, it became very clear right away that the second half of the bike had physically wrecked me.  The remainder of this race would become a balance between running 9:30-:10:30 minute miles to walking 13:00-14:00 minute miles.  Although when I saw how fast my friend Jennifer was power walking, I implemented her moves and easily improved my walk pace!

The course was a 2 loop including 3 separate out and backs.  Brutal mentally.  However, this layout also means TOP CLASS SPECTATING.  I've never seen this number of spectators in the past.  It also means that you get to see your teammates and friends over and over and over again.  I would get rushes of adrenaline each time I saw everyone.  When I cheered for them and when they cheered for me.

Seeing my wife Christine, sons Ethan and Noah, my mother and father more than once during the run would lift my spirits again and remind me that they know I will see them at the finish line one way or another.  The echo of Ethan yelling "GOOOOO DADDD" rings through my head until the end.

I would run half of this course exchanging positions with my friends Orrick and Jennifer and/or running alongside them.  The three of us would finish this race within 10 minutes of each other.  Knowing they were so close to me through to the end was like a gravity to the finish line.


Estimate:  11:59-13:55 hrs
Actual:  13:26:13 hrs

Based on my paces and how I was feeling the week leading up to the race--I printed some estimates for my family to help plan their spectating the day of the race.  I expected something under 14 hours.  I'd have a shot at a sub-12 hour race.  You might be wondering how there is a 2+ hour differential between these.  If you have ever done an IRONMAN or a race that takes more than 8 hours you will know that there are so many things that can go right or wrong.  You'll also know that there are even more unexpected eventualities. 

Overall, I enjoyed my experience and started the year with the intention of nothing more than finishing.  I'm happy to report I suffered no injuries and my knee held up through all the rigors of IRONMAN Boulder.  

Friday, May 30, 2014

Win a grab bag of ‪#‎TriTeamForGood‬ Sponsored Gear!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Waking and Running, for a cause!

Up at 4:55AM for a ~2 hour run with great IRONMAN Boulder training friends.  I wake up reminding myself that my efforts are helping raise money for the community around me.  Thanks again to all my donors, $1,460 down--$2,540 to go.

I'll admit, I've never been a morning person...but consistency is proving that it gets easier.  A friend of mine turned me on to the iPhone App (Sleep Cycle) that tracks your movement and is supposed to gently wake you up over the course of 30 minutes beginning when it detects increased movement and signs that you are leaving REM.  So far, I've been pretty happy with it.

It also allows you to track your resting heart rate (RHR) through the camera/flash.  I am not sure how accurate this method is but apparently my RHR has lowered over the past few months as it was 49bpm this AM compared to the 57-60 range late last year.

A group of about 10 of us ran this morning at Big Dry Creek Trail beginning in the dark at around 35 degrees F.  It quickly brightened, warmed up and led to a great morning.  Quickly followed by a "super shake" made by my wife Christine as I walked in the door--THANK YOU!

Next up?  1.5 hours on the bike later today, a sports massage and probably an ice bath!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Race Report - Prairie Dog Half Marathon (April 13, 2014)


Not only was this the first race of this distance since my knee surgery, but also the first time I have run 13.1 miles since my knee surgery in March 2013.  I'd be lying if I said I didn't have a little anxiety as to how my legs would hold up.

I've been considering myself in "rehab" with various aches/pains I attribute to the imbalances caused by the injury and surgery; having spent more than 100 hours with more than a few practitioners.  The most recent of which has been Dr. Kevin Reichlin who is most known for his medical work with the Garmin-Sharp Pro Cycling Team.  I believe I was able to both make it through this race and maintain pace/cadence largely due to the work he's done helping me correct imbalances.

I also attribute my recent progress to:

  1. The strength training regimen I have been following with teammate and coach Nicole Clark including some kick-ass TRX sessions
  2. The self-control I've forced myself to adhere to with not pushing myself too hard, too fast
  3. The bi-weekly sports massages with my friend Kat Hearty
  4. Icing therapy with my Cryocup and HyperIce Knee Compression Wrap
  5. "Foam Rolling" with my Trigger Point Quadballer
Now on to the race!  COLD!  At ~30 degrees with a combination of rain the night before, sleet, snow and wind--this race was not for the faint of heart!  In reality, I dressed for the occasion including a nice thick layer of Aquaphor on my face and neck to keep the needles from stinging and it was a refreshing, brisk couple hours!

The handful of footbridges were covered in ice and slush--thankful no one fell as far as I know.  Mostly uneventful otherwise, except for the mile around Tucker Lake.  Thick slushy mud.  Hard to get much footing and again thankful no one fell or hurt themselves as it would have been easy to roll an ankle or slip.

Coming up on the last mile, a woman I had not seen the entire race came charging up on me and asked if we were on track for a 2-hour half.  We kept pace and I held her hand high in the air congratulating her on hitting her target (and mine, for that matter!)

2 hrs - 46th place out 150 and more importantly, healthy, happy knees!  It's now time to pick the pace up as I continue preparing my body for IRONMAN Boulder on August 3rd, 2014.

Other successes:

  • While my pace started out a bit too fast, as I tend to do, I maintained a slightly increased pace throughout the race averaging slightly above 9min miles for the first half and slightly below 9 min miles for the second half
  • I maintained a cadence of 180 the entire race.  This has been a big area of focus for injury prevention in terms of consistently maintaining a fast turnover.
  • Newton Motion IIIs have been a great training partner and worked well for this race.  Looking forward to more mileage on them and racing in my Newton Distance Elite later in the year. #hellobetter

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

March: Month of Recognition!

Looking forward to continued momentum on my IRONMAN goals in 2014 and more consistent training.

Hometown Recognition - Warren Times Observer

After seeing the press release on, the Sports Editor (Jon Sitler) from the Warren Times Observer asked if he could do a piece on the team and my involvement.  I was obviously happy to share my story in hopes that it would inspire some others to enter the world that is multi-sport.
View the full article here.

MBA - Completed in March 2014

Suffice to say, if the demands I was putting on myself and family were not enough with IRONMAN training alone--the MBA was the cherry on top.  I finished just this past week.  A great program and great friends but it is now time to move on and get training!

IRONMAN ambassador, From Warren to England to Colorado, Gallagher representing national IRONMAN Tri Team well

IRONMAN ambassador

From Warren to England to Colorado, Gallagher representing national IRONMAN Tri Team well

A younger Brian Gallagher dabbled in organized sports growing up in Warren.

But one of his fondest memories of the area is mountain biking.

"It was one of my past-times, I guess," said Gallagher, who has since cycled all over the world.

"Rocky Gap was one of the places I frequented, the Hearts Content area, and Chapman's Dam," said Gallagher.

A journey that started in Warren County has taken Gallagher all the way to England and back to the states again, in Colorado.

The journey has now led him to be named among 49 people in the entire United States to the 2014 IRONMAN Foundation-Newton Running Ambassador Triathlon Team.

Gallagher and 48 others serve as ambassadors for IRONMAN triathlons and Newton running shoes - competing in IRONMAN events, but, more importantly, giving back to race communities.

On being named to the national team, "I'd never been so surprised and excited in my whole life, other than having a couple of kids," said Gallagher. "I'd felt like I won the lottery. It is my life passion and always will be."

It's been a while since Gallagher started mountain biking in Warren County, but the IRONMAN triathlon is another story. An full IRONMAN (140.6) triathlon consists of a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike, and a marathon 26.2-mile run. There are also Half IRONMAN races consisting of a 1.2-mile swim, 66-mile bike and 13.1-mile run, which Brian has competed in among dozens of other triathlons of varying distances.

Gallagher will take on the IRONMAN Boulder (140.6), a full IRONMAN triathlon, later this year.

Obviously, the biking came first, but his father became his inspiration for running. After a traumatic injury nearly prevented his father, Bill, from ever walking again, "I kind of started running for him," said Brian. "I sort of took it upon myself."

After meeting his future wife at college in Rochester, N.Y., they moved to England for three years.

"A buddy of mine who I worked with and I started running at lunch," said Gallagher. "That was the start of my endurance training. He had started doing triathlons, and he told me about the AlcaTri: Escape from the Rock Triathlon (in San Francisco).

"That same day he told me about it, I said, 'I'm going to do that next year,'" said Gallagher. "I got my credit card out (and registered for the next year's race). From there, that was kind of the start."

Gallagher liked the sound of triathlons.

"I just really liked the competitive nature of it, the competitive nature with myself as well, trying to get better," he said. "I was getting into running, and I'm a pretty good cyclist.

"I just can't swim," he thought back.

And the Escape from the Rock had a "pretty daunting swim compared to other triathlons," he said.

The Escape from the Rock triathlon includes a 1.5-mile swim from Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. The race continues with an 18-mile bike ride out the Great Highway, through the Golden Gate Park, and concludes with an eight-mile run through the Golden Gate National Recreation Area to The Marina Green.

"My wife loves to tell the story," said Gallagher. "She said, 'let's go to the pool and see how you do.' I stopped mid-length - that's how bad I was."

Gallagher said his anxiety was constant throughout the year leading up to the Alcatraz triathlon in 2008.

"The weirdest feeling is the anxiety I had all year was the worst right at the edge of that boat looking down into the water," he said. "As soon as I popped up from the water, it was nothing but excitement and adrenaline.

"I think I realized I was finally a competent swimmer after having done a couple Olympic-distance triathlons," he said. "In 2008, I did the London Triathlon... I remember getting out of the water in the Royal Dock and feeling like I could swim forever now. I've probably done 30 triathlons of varying distance. I stayed active with the sport no matter where I was at."

Relocating from England back to Rochester, then Rochester to Virginia, and Virginia to Colorado, Gallagher enjoyed being involved in running triathlon clubs "and really enjoyed mentoring others and getting them into the sport," he said. "I just loved being part of the community; it wasn't really about the events anymore, but the community itself."

Gallagher injured his knee, which ultimately required surgery in October 2011, during a Tough Mudder adventure race.

"Even though I was off for a year and a half to two years, when I got to Colorado I still stayed involved with the community," he said, "because I just loved this sport."

That sort of leads up to the IRONMAN Foundation Team.

"When the application process (for the IRONMAN Foundation Triathlon Team) came out this year, I had no idea I'd make the team. I thought it was a long shot, but I needed an outlet outside of my career to be more involved in the community, or in philanthropy in general."

The initial meeting of all 49 members nationwide will take place later this month - 24 returning members from last year's IRONMAN Foundation Team will mentor 25 new members to the team, including Gallagher. And all 49 will work together to decide "what philanthropic activities we will be involved in," he said.

There is also an upcoming five-day "camp," he said, in which members will fly into Boulder, Colorado, "to train together and get out into the community.

"I think they chose some people who are newer to IRONMAN as well," said Gallagher. "It was really about people who are excited about the brand - from pros down to people who are new and just passionate."

The Team is also hitting social media running.

"(We) are sharing our stories there," said Gallagher.

The Team is also raising money to support the IRONMAN Foundation's Community Fund, which gives back to non-profit organizations and charitable organizations across the United States. By raising the exposure of service through sport and the good that the triathlon and triathletes bring to communities around the world, Gallagher would love for that to affect Warren.

He said his father is trying to draw him to the Tango adventure race held in the summer in the Allegheny National Forest.

Warren will always hold a special place.

"I consider myself an avid sportsman; always in the woods, hunting, biking, fishing, camping," said Gallagher. "That's what I did. That passion I had for that stuff is not gone, but the level of that passion I have for those things has definitely (steered me toward) triathlons. Being outside and really enjoying nature, that's part of what a triathlon is, too. That's why I was excited to talk to you. I love seeing people get into the sport and I knew the sport is growing, especially in smaller communities like Warren."

© Copyright 2014 Times Observer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014


"There will be a day when you can no longer run.  Today is NOT that day."

I thought I would never be able to run again at one point.  Someone very close to my heart will never run again.  Every day someone's dreams are shattered.  Every day something so basic is taken away from someone.  Every day--horrible things happen to wonderful people.

Never taken for granted the simple things in life.

Here are some great suggestions to staying injury free, bookmarked from last year (source:

Include rest days into your training plan by taking a complete break from training both physically and mentally. Get off your feet, rest your mind, rest your body for the day. I recommend training no more than two weeks consecutively without resting. Novice and/or masters athletes may require “off” days more frequently.  Recovery weeks, typically less hours spent exercising or less miles trained, should be included every third to fifth week.  Recovery days, easy non-intense training, should follow hard training days.
There are a number of ways to incorporate recovery into your routine. Biofoam rollers and massage sticks help sore, achy or stiff muscles recover from exercise. Watching movies, spending time with family, reading, listening to music or socializing with friends can all be effective relaxation strategies that allow you to disassociate from physical exercise and reduce tension while developing positive mood states of happiness and calmness.
Essential for physiological growth and repair, routinely physically active individuals are encouraged to aspire for 8 to 9.5 hours of sleep each night. Cardiovascular performance can be compromised by up to 20 percent with sleep deprivation while reducing reaction time, the ability to process information and emotional stability.  Naps are always icing on the cake.
The goal of post-exercise nutrition is to restore muscle and liver glycogen stores, improve hydration and repair muscle tissue. You should eat 15 to 30 minutes after exercise, preferably as soon as possible, when the muscles are most receptive to fuel. Muscle replenishment and tissue repair can be accelerated if you combine carbohydrates and protein together in a ratio of 4 to 1.
Weigh yourself before and after exhaustive exercise to determine how much water you lost. Stay hydrated by consuming at least 24 ounces per pound of body weight lost within six hours after exercise. Performance begins to decrease after only a two percent loss in body water. Include electrolytes to eliminate the risk of hyponatremia if engaging in activity for more than four hours.
A proper warmup is a key component to preparing the body for the demands of any training session or competition. Developing a pre-race warmup is unique to each individual. Performing a warmup will elevate heart rate, VO2, and increase blood flow to the connective tissue and local muscles to be trained. This in turn will raise muscle temperature and help decrease joint and muscle stiffness, therefore improving range of motion. Warm-up periods of five to 15 minutes are recommended with the effects lasting up to 45 minutes. After 45 minutes of inactivity, re-warming may be needed. On the other side of the coin, the recovery process and preparation for the next day’s training begins with a proper cooldown.  Low-intensity aerobic exercise, such as aquatic-based training, light jogging or cycling, are effective cooldown activities for clearing lactic acid and lessening the severity of muscle soreness.
Strength training is essential for preparing the body for the rigors of training and racing. It facilitates bone health and enhances injury resistance, including factors that contribute to overuse injuries. It can help bridge the metabolic power gap between swimming, biking and running by boosting lactate tolerance, as well as assist with delaying fatigue.
Correct equipment minimizes unwanted stress. A bike should fit you, not you fit the bike. Cycling posture and position is individualistic for maximizing aerodynamics, power, efficiency and comfort while minimizing injury potential and discomfort. Running shoes should fit your gait pattern. The road will wear your shoes faster than running on trails. How to know if it’s time for a new pair? New shoes may be in order if the grooves on the outsoles are worn smooth, or the upper appears stretched causing the foot to slide off the midsole. Note that midsole foam may take up to 24 hours to recover from a run, so training with a second pair of running shoes may provide more protection for your body.
Increase annual training hours, or training volume, by ten percent or less. For example, if you ran 20 miles this week, your total mileage next week should not exceed 22 miles. If you are training according to time, for example, and your triathlon program called for 15 hours of training this week, it’s recommended training hours not exceed 16.5 hours the next week.
Proper interval training can improve VO2 and anaerobic threshold.  Intervals allow your body to adapt to and eventually race at greater speeds.
10. KNOW THAT MORE IS ALWAYS BETTER. Recovery allows your body to adapt to training loads. Conditioning should be specific to the event you are training for. Training volume can be defined as the combinations of how often you work out (frequency) and how long you train (duration). Training volume is going to look different for an Ironman triathlete versus a 5K runner.