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Ironman 70.3 Honu 2017

Posted by Brandon Dillon on June 13, 2017

On June 3rd 2017 I would attempt my 4th Ironman 70.3 The first being this race in 2015 which took me about 9 and a half hours to complete due to some massive blisters on the balls of my feet which made even walking the 9 miles feel like it was bare feet on pins and nails the entire way. I didn’t walk right for 3 days after till the blisters went away lol. 

The next race I did was Silverman, I got very nautious and had no energy on the bike and didn’t make it half way. Never did really figure out what it was but it was not to be my race that’s for sure!

The next event was Galveston Tx in April of 2016, you can read about that race below but I felt great but had 2 mechanical issues, broken rear spoke and my seat dropped on me because the fitter didn’t tighten things back up properly. I missed that cut off by about 11 min just not being able to run any faster.

So my cousin Bill back in Michigan said last year if I sign up for Honu will you? I said of course! =) this was in August of 2016, so I started training again. In November I started officially working with Michellie Jones and she knew this was going to be a big race for me as well as IMAZ in November of 2017.

My biggest issue is weight, after 2 years of training and listening to people and suggesting and trying to figure out this whole nutrition thing for long rides and how to “fuel” properly I was disappointed that I was still 310 lbs. I was much fitter and stronger but I was 175-180 in high school and after when I used to lift weights, so yea the number isn’t everything but when you are that much over weight doing anything is tuff. So even though everyone kept telling me you cant lose weight training for Ironman’s and I mean virtually everyone told me you cant do it I did what I normally do, decided to prove them wrong =)

Not going to lie you would think working out 20 hours a week would make it easy to lose weight but its really not and no matter what you are doing from not working out to training for Ironman or just doing things to stay active its 90% what, when and how much you eat. As the saying goes you cant out work a bad diet. Just look at line backers and sumo wrestlers they are big dudes! They eat extremely healthy they are all obese. So it matters a lot about eating and if you are going to focus on something and you want to lose weight focus on your nutrition first vs going to the gym or running biking, hiking what ever more, you will see far more results that way, and that’s what I started doing.

In December I focused on eating and after talking to my other cousin about becoming more fat adapt I started following his advice. My Goal was to keep my carb intake total at 50 grams or less for the day. That was hard so I decided to keep it under 100 g per day. I looked at everything I was eating and found ways to remove empty carbs get rid of sugar up the fat and protein intake. I also cut out using sports nutrition on long rides and runs and stuck to water and propel which is a electrolyte water. I think doing this was one of the biggest things to help me drop weight as before I was bringing a lot of calories in bottles and bars on long 3-4 hour rides, and I finally realized you just don’t need it if you are training at a zone 2-3 pace. I wont go on but I can about all the nutritional stuff I did to lose weight if you want hit me up and I can tell you more about what I did and still doing to get down to under 200 but I ended up being about 271 at Race day for this race down from 310 which is what I was at my previous races.


The swim for this race is just amazing, the water is a nice warm 80ish degrees and its crystal clear and there are so many things to see it is just an amazing part of the race. They changed the course this year to do a modified rolling start. I was happy to be in the first wave!! so sucks waiting an hour + for your wave to start I would rather it be mass start then wait for wave 25 to go which is what happened in Galveston lol

But they still did AG wave starts and inside each age group they had us line up in based on our projected swim time. There was 25 and under and 25-35 then 36-45 and 46+ I got in the 36-45 because I was shooting for about 45 min. Swimming in Hawaii even though you cant use wet suits the salinity of the water is the highest here then anywhere else in the world short of the dead sea so you are far more buoyant then you are anywhere else so PR swims are common due to that.

I came out of the water in about 52 min, it was a run in beach start and as we lined up there were rows of 4 people and every 4 seconds those 4 could go, I didn’t like it as much as the pure swim finish time and single rolling start but it did smooth things out and only think I bumped in to 2 or 3 people the whole time.

The transition from the beach is across some sand, some pretty deep and up hill to a changing tent because yea I cant ride 56 miles in tri shorts yet =(

So I jumped in to my cycling bibs and got on the bike. I took a Efuel watermelon gel about 30 min before the swim start and I had another on my bike to take as I started the bike ride. for some reason I had a knot in my stomach after a couple of miles and in my head I was like WTF…..

So I pedaled on and decided to sip my water and Efuel drinks I had in my back two bottles and just pedal on hoping it would go away. I also had planned and took 1 salt pill every hour on the bike, which I did. My plan was to drink a bottle of water and bottle of calories between every aide station, I think I fell short on the nutrition side a little bit drinking hot efuel and Gatorade is just not appealing or taste good lol I did pick up a few cliff bar shot blocks and had about 7 of those on the bike after the turn around at Havvi.

There was a brutal, and I mean brutal head wind heading up to Havvi, it was forecasted to be 30-35 mph…. it was every bit of 20-25 while going up hill. I was trying to be somewhat conservative so I would have a good run and this bike course having about 2500 feet of climbing and being completely rolling hills at a minimum, I didn’t want to go too hard but felt like I was going too hard at times and tried to keep aware of that and manage my time.

I loved the down hills because I hit 50 mph a few times and its fun flying by people =) Even with a tail wind there were some cross winds and were a few pucker moments for sure. I kind of knew I may have gone too hard or I should have taken more calories on when the last big climb up which is about 8 miles left I was feeling it.

Still had a knot in my stomach it never went away but kept drinking and pedaling. Even with that wind I finished the bike in 3 hours and 35 min which was about 45 min faster then my 2015 time and there was almost no wind on that day.

So I was rather pleased with the results of that considering the course and conditions it was good I think I can get 30 or so min faster and going to work on that and by working on that dropping more weight =)

This being a split transition I had to check a run bag the night before along with my bike. I put in some running shorts, shirt some Pjur anti chafe, shoes, socks, bib and hat. I had another gel as well but didn’t use it and just got some Gatorade and water on the way out.


Both transitions used these box framed wheel holding racks which are 10X better then the bar which holds the bike by the seat. I hope all races switch to these as they just work so much better.

My guess is they use these because of the wind which is first reason why they are better is that they hold the bike in place.

Second there is no issues trying to get your bike especially for those of us who do not ride Small bikes under the bar with your bottles on back.

So ya just better all around.

I got changed put some Pjur on my feet, (this stuff feels amazing while running and was hoping it would keep the water off my feet so I wouldn’t get blisters)

and got on my run. Like I mentioned on the way out I got some water some Gatorade and some ice for my hat.

started off semi ok still had this knot in my stomach and after a mile I had to dive in to a porta john for a few. then the knot was gone =) and could run better.

My goal was to run the whole thing and avg like 12:30 min miles with walking the aide stations, that ended up being 15 min miles.


The run course is nice, its two loops an aide station every mile, lots of great volunteers and its through the golf course and half of it on the fairway.  Now you might think that sounds nice, running on grass… well its a double edged sword.

They water the grass in the morning so you got his steamy head coming off the grass. some of the fairway is really nice and low cut and that is ok to run on aside from the steaming heat coming up.

But then you get this stuff that’s longer and it just takes a lot more work to run on and its got that steamy heat coming up off it lol.

So ya its interesting running on grass. There are some hills and I planned on walking those but on the run I just kept getting hot even though I was drinking every station but trying not to drink too much where I had a bunch of fluid sloshing around in me.

after like mile 4 instead of putting ice just in my hat I would take a cup of ice with me to just let them melt in my mouth, this was a huge thing as it kept my mouth from getting dry and wanting to guzzle everything in sight.


On the run I caught up to a guy who was doing the same, run walk as me, and we decided to

run walk together. There is a big lesson to be learned here not just in racing but in life in general.

We talked and kept each other motivated and it was good to have a running buddy. this was his 9th 70.3 and first time in Hawaii. He started about 45 min behind me so he had more time then I did to meat the cut off of 8 hours and 30 min.

while it was comfortable doing this together I had a choice to make looking at the clock. I knew how much time I had and how far I had to go, my original goal was under 8 hours and it was looking close when I started the run, the heat and walking due to the heat made that harder on me. But I had to look at him and tell him I gota go faster, to reach my goals and my cut off time.

it wasn’t because he was bad or anything it was just comfortable having someone moving forward but we were in two difference places and if I had stayed comfortable then I wouldn’t have finished.

I thought I would see him at the turn around but not sure if I just missed him or what but after I took off running with 4 miles left to go I never did see him after that.

In life its easy to get comfortable, complacent and go with the flow and you have a decision to make, go after your dreams and goals or let others hold you back.

My Run was 3 hours and 28 min and I crossed the finish line with a total time of 8 hours and 15 min

After 3 years of training, and 3 previously failed attempts at the 70.3 distance I finally did it! These events are really just a very long conversation with yourself about how bad do you want to hurt and how bad to you want it. It truly is a mental game so much more then physical, while it does take great physical stamina to do this, getting through it takes mental tuffness.

I get that tuffness from my leadership and personal development I have been doing for about a decade now. Its the constant input of audios, books association with like minded people and the cutting out of TV and radio some 15 years ago that have made all the difference.

As they say garbage in garbage out, you just cant put in all that negative and not helpful stuff on a daily basis from the TV and radio and expect to have a positive and strong mental faculty you just cant.

Its like expecting to eat garbage everyday and expect to be healthy and in good shape, and the mind is so much more important than the body because the mind controls the body. I know I wouldn’t be mentally where I am without the constant input of improving and learning I get from books and CDs and association and I strive to be better today then I was yesterday.

So many people helped me in this journey and I wont get to name everyone so if I miss someone I am sorry, two people that have helped me a ton are Jondi Bernardo and Michellie Jones.

Jondi helped me start training for this and triathlons in general back in 2014 when I first started this crazy stuff =) and still helps me a lot as we look at my training peaks data and so on, of course Michellie Jones for putting up with me and giving me great workouts and answering all my questions =)

To people that have said kind and encouraging things along the way there are so many thank you for all the support I don’t want to list because I know I will forget and its quite a lot of people cuz I have awesome friends but you know who you are =)

To all the haters out there who were mean and negative towards me,  try and be more positive =)

Now its on Ironman Arizona coming up November 19th, just have to double what I did and try to shave off an hour or 2 =)

The same goes for 70.3 distance, sub 6 and close to 5 hours is the goal =)

Till next time!



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There are good people out there.

Posted by Brandon Dillon on September 15, 2013

Two weeks ago I was feeling better from all the sick people around me bombarding my immune system from the cold, flue, pneumonia that I was feeling up for one of my usual weekend rides along the cost from Oceanside CA down past Carlsbad. Friday night I noticed my tire off my bike was flat, from sitting in the house for a week, I thought that was odd but I went to this great bike shop in Oceanside called Omega Bikes (they are closed on Sundays for Church! how awesome is that! They list that on the open sign)

So I went in first thing Saturday morning at 10 am and got a new tube, I was up at 7 so I Was ready to go for a ride immediately,  So I parked at the free public parking at the Oceanside Pier (yes free parking at a beach!)  and got on the bike and started riding south. Well after about 7.5 miles and about 3 miles from anything but houses and open area along the coast highway I got a flat on the front tire I just got replaced. So I was like well it happens, lets get back and get it fixed. I wanted to chill on the beach and do some swimming in the ocean too that day.

So I thought it would be an awesome idea since I wear cycling shoes to take those off and just walk barefoot, cuz it wont be that far and I Can get it fixed in down town Carlsbad, ya that’s 3 miles away. So after a mile barefoot walking on cement I decided to put my cycling shoes on lol. Then after another mile my feet started to burn and hurt, the next mile I thought I was going to die. So I took the bike path down to the Carlsbad coaster train to see if I can get on the train to ride home but the next one was in 3 hours!

so I called a bike shop that I found on my Windows 8 phone that was like a mile away to see if they had pick up service and could do a tube for me, and they couldn’t even change a tube for me today let alone pick me up =(

So I walked from the Station up the road a block to the Surf Shack

I asked the guy behind the counter if he had a tube which he did for beach cruisers but not my road bike, so we filled up the tire to see if it would hold air at all so I Could ride the 3 more miles to my car but it wasn’t holding air. So this girl who was in the shop looking around who’s named I found out later to be Chrystal said.

“I’ll give you a ride back I live right by there.”

I declined at first, not sure why but she said it a few times so I accepted her offer. We went to put my bike in her Escape and I met her 4 year old daughter Dainica and her boy friend Kevin who;s family owns the Carlsbad Alkaline water artesian mineral well which was across the street from the surf shop

it was really amazing to meet some great people that helped me out in a big way, the next day my feet were blistered up good, had I walked another 3 miles I Can only imagine how bad they would have been. It took a few days of careful walking but by Thursday I was back to normal and rode the following weekend and saw Chrystal and Kevin running along the path I bike on.

And the water is great!

Carlsbad WellWP_20130831_002

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China Getting Ready For GA

Posted by Brandon Dillon on December 7, 2011

If you didn’t know I am a HUGE fan of flying and Aviation, so I will be posting on the fun of flying sharing that with people, educating them on aviation and what its really like because it seems that out of the 700,000 people who are pilots in the US (military not included) no one has a understanding of what its really like or what it can do for you or the enormous satisfaction of learning to fly or just fun of riding along to go somewhere, be it for fun or business or both.  So if you want to know more about flying or aviation in general or learning to fly or anything flying we will have a lot to talk about and I will be posting about that in all its forms from Government world wide things to the personal local level.

thank you

Last week the Civil Aviation Administration of China unveiled more significant legislation to aid Chinese GA growth. The release of the General Aviation Airport Construction Standards (draft) for public commenting occurred on November 30, the first anniversary of the central government’s official announcement for airspace reform. (Click here to download the .DOC file.) These standards are the country’s first set of governing rules over the definition, planning and construction of general aviation airports.

The draft version has 30 clauses covering the areas of airport zoning, infrastructure and equipment, service, and environmental protection. Compared with existing Chinese airport regulations, these standards are less strict and offer greater flexibility, therefore allowing unprecedented room for GA infrastructure growth.

In this draft, GA airports are divided into three categories. CAT1 airports are those capable of accommodating aircraft with up to 29 seats, or over 3000 monthly takeoffs and landings. CAT2 airports serve aircraft up to 9 seats or up to 3000 takeoffs and landings per month. CAT3 limits to aircraft with 4 or fewer seats and total monthly movements of no more than 600 takeoffs and landings. Control towers and automatic weather reporting systems are optional for CAT2 and CAT3 airports.

While such flexibility is much welcomed, the categorization method is somewhat ambiguous and prompts certain questions like how will it interact with airport and airspace planning as well as traffic type and volume? What, for example, if a Cessna Caravan wants to land on a CAT3 airport, carrying six passengers or flying empty? The notes section of the draft (.DOC file) claims that these categories were formed based on “an airport’s impact on public welfare”. They are “irrelevant” to the airport’s physical scale, adopted technologies, ownership or utilization. The standards named “safety, suitability, economy and sustainable growth” as their guiding principles but did not contain any actual administrative procedures such as planning application and approval process. The 10-day public commenting period will end on December 10.


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