Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Running in Icy Conditions

Running in icy conditions from Matt Chrabot on Vimeo.

Running on snow and ice can be slippery. I've been using
Ice Trekkers
the past year and they have worked very well. They aren't as light as Yaktrax, but are much more durable when running between snowy surfaces on pavement.

Sure I can get some snow shoes, but it rarely ever snows enough to make it worth while in Virginia Beach, VA or in Colorado Springs. I've slipped and fell a few times over the years and since I've been wearing the ICEtrekkers, I haven't really had any problems.

Happy running.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Q&A With American Olympic Hopeful Matt Chrabot

Inside Triathlon’s Courtney Baird caught up with American Olympic hopeful Matt Chrabot as he prepares for the ITU World Championship Series Grand Final in Budapest. Chrabot finished fourth at the most recent World Championship Series event, in Kitzbühel, Austria. It was the best ITU finish by an American this year.

Written by: Courtney Baird You’ve had a breakthrough season this year with a 9th place finish in Sydney and a fourth place finish in Kitzbühel. To what do you attribute to this recent breakthrough?

Chrabot has broken through in the ITU World Championship series in 2010. Photo: Janos Schmidt/

Chrabot: I guess you could say I got my act together. I stopped screwing around in between workouts and hard days. I also took myself less seriously. Sounds a bit more complicated than it really is. I read that you’re living outside Paris while you prepare for Budapest. Is that true? If so, what’s the training like in France?

Chrabot: Yes, I’m living in Poissy. The training is good…except when you show up for a track workout and come to find that the gates are locked (which happened 10 minutes ago). Can’t stress over it though. There are some great running trails less than a mile away, so I’ll just do it in the woods and measure the distances with my GPS watch.

Chrabot has broken through in the ITU World Championship series in 2010. Photo: Janos Schmidt/ The Olympics are only two years away. How is your preparation going to change as we get closer and closer to the Games? And what would it mean to you if you qualified?

Chrabot: Well, basically, the course is currently set up to be a pure runner’s race. It’s pretty much a symbol of what the ITU racing has become in the past several years: a flat, boring bike then a runner’s race. Running is my main focus and has been for the past few years, whether my results have shown it or not.

Qualifying for the Olympics is huge! Racing in the Olympics is the very pinnacle of the sport—any sport for that matter. But simply padding my résumé is not why I want to compete. I’m all about racing at the highest level. What’s your day-to-day life like as you live and train as an Olympic hopeful in Colorado Springs?
Chrabot was edged out by defending champion Matt Reed at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. Photo: Paul Phillips

Chrabot was edged out by defending champion Matt Reed at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. Photo: Paul Phillips

Chrabot: It’s fairly uneventful. Days and weeks blend together as one giant blur. It’s broken up by races and trips around the world. Living at the training center definitely has its advantages, though. Mixing it up with other athletes from different sports from around the world is a great way to share ideas on life and training as an elite athlete. You’ve mentioned on your blog that ITU’s courses are too “easy.” Why is this? And what’s the perfect course for you and why?

Chrabot: From what I hear, these races are expensive and complicated to put together. The ITU and its organizers get so caught up in this that they tend to take the easy way out and just come up with a simple and convenient course in the end. The feedback on my blog I received from some of the athletes and ITU was very positive. They’re looking to include more difficult courses sometime in the future…it makes racing more exciting!

The perfect course for me would include an ocean swim with giant surf, hilly bike with steeper climbs that are over a mile long, some technical descents, and a rolling hill run course. I have no idea where to find a place like that. Maybe the Rio 2016 course?! The pronunciation of your last name is a little confusing for some. How exactly do you pronounce it?

Chrabot: It’s “Matt Shär-bòt.”

Chrabot was edged out by defending champion Matt Reed at the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon. Photo: Paul Phillips

Friday, August 13, 2010

You Get What You Pay For (that’s a freakin’ metaphor. I know these things are expensive)

Yesterday in the race briefing the ITU reamed us out for acting like goofballs on the bike in London and not creating enough buzz with the media.

First of all, I think the ITU has come a long way, and is doing an excellent job. I’m glad to see the athletes are really starting to engage themselves with the age group athletes, etc. Now that I got that out of the way, here’s what I’m really going to write about.

You want real trash talk, just put a microphone in the middle of the bike pack…you’ll have to bleep out half the words for TV though…

The ITU and media want exciting races. Big City, Big Crowds. BC. All the WCS races seem like they’re modeling after the final day of the Tour de France on the Champs-Élysées. The first half of the race is all smiles and waves, the last 20Km is all out racing. There’s the beautiful scenery of Paris, but it’s designed for the sprinters. Only a handful of guys have a legit shot at the win. Breakaways rarely succeed that day.

With the courses we’re racing on, it reminds of exactly that. Accept we get yelled at for waving at the camera and crowds. Big City, Big Crowds? It ends up being Boring, Crappy racing. You don’t need incredible background scenery to come up with an epic race. It’s the same thing every time. The same guys in the top 10. If the viewers want to watch something with beautiful background scenery, don’t you think they’d watch the Discovery Channel instead?

Sure, let’s have the races like Hamburg and London, but how about a killer race course like the Escape from Alcatraz? Only the strongest, most well round triathletes will shine. Maybe the same guys who place in the Top 10 will still all be in the top 10. We can only speculate for now.

As of right now the athletes representing the rest of us are also some of the most successful guys in the sport. Not only that, but you guys work your ass off, and I fully commend you on that. Thanks for all your hard work and what you do. They’re badasses, but the guys are sort of like the sprinters racing on the Champs-Élysées. Now, if we race on one or two impossibly hard courses a year, you might have to take a pay cut if you can’t hang and not get your usual top 10 finish, or just skip that one in the series. And no, I don’t feel like running for a committee anytime soon.

Tomorrow we’re racing in the beautiful town of Kitzbuehel…in a valley surrounded by alps and epic climbs. There won’t be any of that in our race though. You’ll see it in the background, but we won’t be there. I’m not suggesting we race on more dangerous courses, but if the racing is going to be more exciting, we’re going to have to race challenging courses.

Ok, tomorrow will be tough, especially if it rains like last year. Cold, wet, windy, rainy….miserable. (Man, that was hard! I didn’t even make the main pack! )What the television viewers really want to see are ocean swims with giant surf, long steep climbs, technical bike courses (quit it with the 180 degree turns already), and hilly runs. Challenging courses that will rip the race to shreds because they’re hard, not because it’s dangerous and guys are crashing.

Oh, not all the athletes will like a hard race? Then stay home you sissy.

Now, back to preparing for tomorrow's race...

Monday, July 26, 2010

Racing Hurts, Quit Being a Pansy

The 2010 season has been another breakthrough year for me. Kicking things off with a half marathon in February running a 1:10 on a hilly course with heavy volume and limited tempo work to consistently performing in just about all of my races.

3 Podiums thus far:

1st Miami International, 2nd Monterrey World Cup, 2nd Lifetime Fitness Triathlon.

Recently, I guess I should say I “took part” in the World Championship Series London. The race took place in Hyde Park and was a test run of the Olympic course. Just about all the athletes showed up 100% ready. I too thought I was one of those guys.

Now before I go on, I’m not one of those triathletes who writes Sappy-All-About-Me-Pathetic Post Race Blogs. Who actually read those? Boring! I’d rather have an extra bold 24 ounce coffee, eat a high fiber multigrain muffin, and watch an episode of Dr. Phil while stuck in traffic on a hot summer day with no A/C. Now if your bad race was epic in any way, do tell… I find it difficult to talk about myself on a regular basis, so as you can see my blog posts tend to be a bit limited.

Welp, I had a bad race. Yup. Late afternoon race starts have been my Achilles Heel. Looking at the performance of my “participation” (I dare not call it a “race”) now in hindsight, I think was a good thing. I had a great swim then a fairly solid bike. Things were going according to plan. After that it turned sour.

Could taking 51st, having to hop the fence in the middle of the run to take a dump in a port-a-john then get back in only to have the same urge 1km again before the finish actually be a good thing? Perhaps. I had the same problem at the World Championships last year in Gold Coast. Just when I thought I solved the problem stemming mostly from a miscalculation of nutrition, I’m irritated and back to the drawing board 10 months later.

Consistency is the name of the game when you are a professional in any occupation. One hit wonders come and go. Doing it well is a priority if you want to make some money or go places. I’ve come into this sport from the bottom of the totem pole. I’ve made lots of mistakes… and repeated some of them. The key is you have to learn from your mistakes and make improvements, not make the same thing again, and carry on.

Performing fairly well for the past year has been great. But lately I’ve gotten lackadaisical; I’ve gone back to some bad habits. Staying up late and having a few drinks the night before key workouts, drinking too much coffee on occasion, and goofing off a little more than I should. Nothing excessive, but I know what my threshold is now. When you’re still kicking ass, making money you wonder where that tipping point is. The fine line between kicking back, and kicking too far back.

Losing to Matty Reed by less than 10 seconds at Lifetime Fitness Triathlon, taking 3rd in a four way sprint for 3rd place at a French Grand Prix the following weekend, and a pathetic showing on the Olympic course the third and final weekend; it’s time to trim the fat. Sunday’s piss poor performance in Hyde Park kicked me repeatedly in the nuts then said “wake up and stop screwing around!”

Ok, this sounds a bit better: Taking to 2nd to one of the greatest non-drafting experts of our time while beating the current 2x Ironman World Champion by a minute, then the following weekend sprinting against two Olympians with multiple World Cup Victories (Kris Gemmell & Fred Belaubre) and the 2008 World Junior Champion (Vincent Luis) along with two of the best guys on the planet taking 1-2 (the Brownlee brothers) isn’t a bad two weeks. But! Capping a 3 weekend race series off with a 51st place finish in London is bad and a good wake up call. That and a 26th place finish at the Des Moines World Cup is both disappointing and unacceptable.

No, it’s not time to race less, but better preparation and more careful planning will do the trick.

The best triathletes in the world race towards Olympic glory in the ITU draft legal format. Period. Either I have to show up ready at 100% and throw down against the best, or pack up and “go longer”… oh don’t worry those are on my hit list, but further down the road… business first, fun later.



Upcoming plans:

To get a month of high quality sea level training in at a training camp with Jarrod Shoemaker and Greg Rouault in Poissy, France after Kitzbuhel WCS beginning mid August to prepare for World Championships in Budapest in September.

For now, back to Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Silver at the Monterrey World Cup in Mexico

I flew into Monterrey with just a few days of recovery under my belt from the WCS race in Sydney. I was feeling fresh, ranked #1 in the race, and optimistic about a great performance in the Fundidora Parque. The race venue was a former steel foundry from 1900 to 1986. The park contains several industrial buildings from the old Foundry making the park a famous Archeological Industrial Site in Mexico full of beauty and ambiance. It also contains extensive walking tracks, an artificial lake, playgrounds for children and a 2.1 miles (3.4 km) permanent Formula 1 road course which is popular with joggers, bicyclists and inline skaters. An ideal place for a triathlon in a city setting.

Only problem was that the canal we were swimming in was terribly narrow and compact. It kind of meandered its way from city hall in down town to the Park where the race took place.

The start pontoon was set up at the widest part of the canal. After only 150-200m or so, it bottle necked then curved to the left. If you couldn't get out fast enough in the opening 50m, it was easy to get spit out the back...which happened to me.

I made a poor decision by picking one of the worst spots on the start line. Should have stuck with my initial gut instict by starting on the far right.

The water was only about waist deep, so it made for a very shallow swim. I had such a great swim in Sydney, I thought I'd have something similar in Monterrey. Boy was I wrong.

Coming out of the water about 60 seconds down from the leading group of 10 or so, I was lucky to have in company some of the best cyclists in the race. We were able to close the gap down to about 30 seconds. Because of my American teammates and friends up the road, I was hoping the main field wouldn't catch them but at the same time the gift of too much time would almost render our run performances meaningless.

Out onto the run, I was able to run down everyone by the end of the 3rd of 4th lap. Catching the race leader, Joao Silva, was out of the question. The race for the last 2 podium spots was on. I put in a big surge to try and shake off Manny, Seth, and the German, Greg Buchholz.

I noticed I felt much better while I surged, so I just maintained that pace until I picked it up once more right before the finish. In the end I held off the German and former U23 World Champion and cruised in for a 2nd place finish.

Overall, I'm very pleased with my performance. After such a rough swim and getting kicked in the chest very hard, I'm happy to still take home the silver and have the fastest run of the day.

For now, I'll relax during these next few days and prepare for the next World Championship Series race in Seoul, Korea on May 8th. My dad, who lives in Tokyo, is flying up to watch the race. I'm really looking forward to having family at a race on the other side of the world from home!


Friday, April 16, 2010

9th Down Under!

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - American athletes got off to a strong start in the first event of the Dextro Energy Triathlon ITU World Championship Series Sunday with a combined three top-10 and five top-15 finishes in Sydney, Australia.

USA Triathlon takes a look back at last weekend's action and looks ahead to this week's biggest races on the elite calendar in what will become a regular weekly feature on

Chrabot, Kemper Post Top-10 Showings
National team standouts and Colorado Springs, Colo., residents Matt Chrabot and Hunter Kemper took ninth and 10th, respectively, on the men's side. Chrabot crossed the finish line in 1:51:56, and Kemper was close behind in 1:52:07. Click here for USA Triathlon's recap of the race.

"Preparation heading into this race was the best ever," said Chrabot, who won the Miami International Triathlon March 14. "I proved so by coming out of the water in the top 10 and opened up a significant gap late in the bike. Unfortunately, I couldn't bridge up to Hunter in time so we could work together on the bike and save our legs for the run. I was a bit fried coming off the bike, but still felt very good.

"After leading the run for almost 5k, I was confident I would hold off the chase pack, but my legs grew very tired, and I started to fade fast. Ninth is a great finish in a WCS race, but I wish it could have been closer to the podium after such a monster effort."

Project 2016 team member Chris Foster (Redondo Beach, Calif.), who had already logged three top-six finishes in ITU Pan American Cup events in 2010, impressed with a 14th-place finish in 1:52:40 - just 33 seconds out of the top 10. Kevin Collington (Orlando, Fla.) of Project 2012 was 35th in 1:54:50. Full men's results are available on the ITU website.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Matt Chrabot Featured on The Endurance Planet Hour

Endurance Planet March 24, 2010

People have been butchering Matt Chrabot’s last name for years. He’s been called everything from “Shar-bow” to “Crabpot.” But after his win at the Miami International Triathlon, Chrabot (pronounced shär-bòt) will be a recognizable name to professional triathletes everywhere.

Listen to Matt in this Endurance Planet podcast.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Austin Half Marathon; 1:10:22

Recently, I decided to make an effort to "step up" as "they" tend to call it, and run a half marathon. I flew down to Austin, Texas to test out my running legs to RACE my first ever Half Marathon. I ran the Virginia Beach Rock and roll Half Marathon back in 2003 under my friend Tim Norton's name and ran somewhere in the 1:50 range...

I flew into Austin to do the half as just a gauge to see where my fitness is at for this time of the season. As an ITU triathlete where the races are won with the fastest run times, a half marathon is a great way to see what I'm able to hold at around a tempo run effort.

This wasn't used as a test for an Ironman 70.3 effort. It's been a week since I raced and am finally fully recovered. My legs hurt so bad afterward. I could barely walk at all. I don't know if I can hurt that long in a 70.3. Maybe in Clearwater...since it's practically draft legal and I wouldn't have to work that hard on the bike...

The Race
If you're ever thinking of running Austin, expecting to run fast you'll be in for a surprise. It's very hilly. There's some nice rollers in the first 10K, which is how I took it out in 32:15, but shortly after that there are these short, small, steep hills that totally zap you away from your rhythm.
At 10 Miles I came through in about 53:00. I wanted to throw the towel in at this point. My legs were beginning to cramp bad and all the Tex Mex started to catch up to me. I think my 12th mile split was around 6:00 or something. The last little bit is down hill right past the capital.

Kudos to David Fuentes for sticking it to me. We came through 10Km together then he put two minutes in me by the finish.

Pain is a good thing sometimes, it says you're still in the game and haven't given up.

Up next: Miami International Triathlon; March 15th.