Monday, July 31, 2006

Solana Beach Triathlon - a year later...

This weekend I raced in the Solana Beach Triathlon. It was just a sprint race (400m/9miles/5k)but there was more behind me racing in it than just doing another sprint.

It was exactly a year ago this past weekend that I decided I wanted to get into triathlon. I was riding my beach cruiser down to the beach to check the waves, meet a friend, and grab some breakfast. I was hungover from drinking the night before and just feeling like crap. As I got down to Solana Beach (about 5 miles from my apartment) I came across the Solana Beach Triathlon. For years I had been intrigued with triathlon but always found excuses to not give it a go. So I sat there watching the race, watching all these fit people having a blast and all I could think is "damn... I have to do that".

I didn't immediately start training for triathlon. I was in a pretty serious relationship at the time she alreay complained about the lack of time we spent together with me working, surfing, and running all the time. When that relationship ended in September of last year is when I decided I was really going to do this. In October I did a Triathlon Club of San Diego beginner's race and I was hooked.

So here I am a year later and can't even believe the success I have had so far. So the race...

Solana Beach Triathlon:

I woke up yeserday morning and looked outside and everything was wet. It was drizzling and would continue to mist/drizzle throughout the morning and race. I was kind of stoked. There was no heat and humidity so I knew I was would be able to put in a fast run.

Swim - 400m:
It was windy and raining down at the beach and there was also a little swell in the water. Not really fast swimming conditions. With my building confidence in the swim I was ready to just go all out. I was in the first wave with all the AG men 29 & under and all the elites. It was a big wave with well of 100 guys and I knew with the short swim and choppy conditions that the swim would be a rough one. I lined up right behind the elites so I could hopefully hang on their feet. With all my surfing and how comfortable I am in the water I was stoked with the conditions.

The swim ended up going relatively well. I just put my head down and swam as hard as I could for the entire 400m. With all the chop I ended up swallowing a lot of water. At about the 300m I was starting feel my pace, but I just grinded through it. I was in the top 10-15 coming out of the water and probably about :45 behind leaders.

Bike - 9 miles:
My plan was just to go as hard I could for 9 miles. I was watching the Lifetime Fitness Triathlon on tv Saturday and one of the announcers was talking about how the Pro's race and said "their mentality has to be if it's not hurting you are not going hard enough". So that's was how I was going to approach this race. So I get on the bike and start just going for it. On the first loop and I was pretty much holding my ground and passed a couple of guys. I did get passed by two elites, Emilio Desoto and Mac Brown(he is an animal on the bike). I was starting to make up ground on the lead guys and then right at the start of the 2nd lap I was forced to come to a complete stop to allow a fire truck and ambulace to cross the street. So I went from going 25mph to a complete stand still. I took about 30 seconds until I could get back on my way. It broke my momentum and losing 30 seconds in that short of a race is a pretty significant amount of time. Another guy that got stopped was pissed, screaming and yelling. I just blew it off. I mean there is an ambulance heading down the beach somebody could be dying or injured and we are just doing an insignificant sprint race. Some guys just take it way too seriously.

To try and make up time I just hammered the entire 2nd lap. I was seriously starting to wonder how much I would have left for the run considering I did not rest at all for this race. I am guessing I was in about 10th coming in from the bike and was pretty sure I was leading my AG, but I wanted to take down some of the elites and other guys that have beat me before.

Run - 5k:
I was feeling pretty good and the fact that I was dripping wet and there was still a light mist was nice. It was also a 2 lap run so I knew at the first turn around I would be able to size up leaders. When I got to the first turn around I was a little further back on some of the elites than I had thought, but I was also leading my AG. I passed a couple of guys on the first lap and then it was go time. I had planned on making my move on the last mile. When I got to the last mile and the last turn around I was still probably 10-30 seconds of the 3 guys I knew I could catch. I knew I was going to have to put in a really fast last mile and knew I had it in me but wasn't sure if it would be enough. I quickly started to make up ground but it didn't seem like there was going to be enough distance to reel them in.. I thouht I made my move too late. After the final turn there was 100 yards left and I just gave it everything. I passed 3 elites in the last 100 yards before the finish. It was hardest I have run in any race. I was full on sprinting. It was awesome. It's what I have been waiting for.

1st AG out of 68 - 48:28
5th out of 1100 Overall

I would have finished 4th if I would have competed as an elite(more on this topic later). The first place elite was just less than a minute ahead of me. I know if I rest and continue to get faster in the water and on the bike I can hang with these the leaders.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Friday 7.28.2006 - a long thursday...

Typically Thursdays are when the fatigue of getting up early, training, and working all week starts to get to me. By the time I get home from work Thursday night and go for a run/ride I am spent. It feels good though because Fridays are light for me with just a 1.5 mile easy ocean swim in the morning.

Training prior to yesterday:
weights - upperbody/core

Masters swim (4100 yards)
52 min run (4 x 6min @ 10k pace w/2min recovery)

Masters swim (4000 yards)
weights - lowerbody/core
60 min run - easy

Yesterday was a long one. I did 2+ hour mountain bike in the morning before work and a club aquathlon in the evening. Sitting in my office in the afternoon I was already tired. Riding offroad definiely beats you up a lot more than riding on the road. So at 4:30 I left work and head down to La jolla for the race. This was first aquathlon I have ever done and it was a good time. My goal was just to swim "hard" for the whole 1000 meters and then try to catch Marc (who is a very strong swimmer and runner) on the run. Well first part was a total success. I came out of the water in the top 10 which was a complete shock to me, but it was not fast enough to catch the really fast swimmers. I ended up finishing 4th and got in a really good running race with Emilio Desoto. The run was and out and back to Scripps peir and you had to do it twice. So I looked at it like 4 laps and my goal was to just get progressively faster with each lap. At the end of the "third lap" i caught Emilio but he did not want to let me pass and kept surging. Right at the turn around I passed him and made a move and he countered and stayed with me. I kept up the pace because I wasn't sure if he could actually stay with me and as soon as he fell off my stride I made my move. I was able to put a good gap on him and just keep increasing it to the finish. The race was fun and food after was epic. Marc ended up winning the race and I was stoked for him. Maybe if the run was longer I would have been able to track him down, but I really don't think so as he had a really good lead on me coming out of the water.

Needless to say that after the race I was done... I didn't end up getting home until just before nine. I hit the shower, grabbed a Fat Tire, and then crashed. I am racing the Solana Beach Tri (sprint) on Sunday and then Xterra points series race in Running Springs, CA the following weekend. I figured I would wake up pretty sore this morning but I am actually feeling really good.

On another note... I was reading Gordo Byrne's blog the night after my last post and came across this:

"The combination of our non-athletic commitments (work, family, other) impose constraints on us that limit both our training and our ultimate performance. Most people take comfort in these limits because they obscure the fact that most athletes are not doing everything that they can to achieve athletic success. That’s not a value statement – that’s a statement of fact. Most people make daily choices that result in limits being placed on their performance in all areas.

If you want to beat someone then you have to be willing to out-train them – consistently and for a long time. Sitting around telling yourself that you are doing “everything you can” won’t achieve that ultimate result. Results come from a relentless drive to remove anything that isn’t connected to your ultimate goal. Of course, few people have an idea on their ultimate goal either."

That about sums up everything I was trying to say: I am willing to make those sacrifices to reach my goals.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Tuesday 7.25.2006 - Training and Randomness

First I will get to my training. It's been going good... a lot of running.

I also have started swimming with a new masters group. It just started and it's at the YMCA just up the street from my apartment. So three mornings a week I have been jumping on my beach cruiser, riding up the street, and hit the 6am workout
. I spent sometime talking to the coaches before I signed up. The reason I decided to switch to a different program was the location and the workouts. The new workouts are 100% freestlye and as the coach put it, "designed for triathletes and open water swimmers". Perfect. In the last weeks I have hit my personal best times for 100's, 200's and 300's. Now I just need to get those times to translate to the races.

Running has been good. A lot of interval work mixed nice long slow runs. I think with my speed in races a lot of people would be suprised how easy it take my "easy" runs. Early in my training I was going too hard too often. With the help of my coach I have dialed back and really worked hard when I need to and also taken it nice and easy when I need to as well. The benefits have been tremendous. I go into my hard workouts feeling fresh and ready to push it as opposed to sore and tired. My run is solid right now, but with as fast as I have been able to go I think I am still scratching the surface. I am yet to have race where I am satisfied with my run split.

Ok.. here are some random thoughts/conclusions about my training and triathlon...

With my quick success in triathlon I get a lot of people asking me what my athletic backgroud is. "Did you run in college?" "How long have you been racing?" When I tell people that I do not have any racing background in swimming, cycling, or running and this is my first year I get some pretty shocked looks. I am just a former baseball player that has been surfing and running (just for the sake of running) for the past 15 years. They often say "you must be a natural". I don't entirely agree with this. I don't think you can be a "natural" in a sport like triathlon. There are too many different aspects when it comes to doing well in a race. Of course genteics come in to play and your VO2 max and lactace threshold might be higher than normal, but it's more what you do with that advantage.

To me it's all about the training. I believe I have been successful because of my work ethic and consitency. Nobody is around when I am getting up a 5am six days a week and 630am on my "sleep in day". Dragging my butt to the pool is not always easy nor is doing a hard interval run after a long day of work. Either is going to bed at a reasonble hour on a Friday night instead of partying with my friends. But I do it. I don't skip workouts or make excuses. I have a coach and a great plan and follow it precisely. I talk to my coach a lot so my plan reflects how much time I have and how I am recovering on a daily/weekly basis. If he feels I need a day off he gives me one. So to me my success comes from getting out of bed every morning and out the door and not bullshitting.

I find a lot of people (not just in triathlon/sports but in everyday life) talk about what they want to do and even know what it will take to get there but when it comes down to it they are not willing to make the sacrifices to attain it. I am.

that's all I have for now. I hope this doens't sound arrogant or anything like that. It's just that I am a firm believe that hard work does pay off... if... you really put in the work.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Camp Pendleton International Tri - 7.15.2006

Well it's been about a week since I have posted anything. Work has been taking up most of my free time, but that's how it goes. here's my report for the Camp Pendleton International Triathlon. It was my first olympic distance race and things defintely didn't go my way. I ran into some problems but still put together an OK race. I really like this distance and look forward to racing it again, which I will on 9/10 at the LA triathlon. Here's the report, with splits, and the splits I want to nail in LA.

Swim - 1500m + 300 yard beach/road run to T1: 0:27:16

My plan was to go for it in the swim, but it didn't really work out that way. About 200m in I took a nice heel kick to that adam's apple. It stopped me dead in my tracks for a second and then I turned it back on. Then around first turn I swam through a nice pool of boat fuel. I never felt like I was swimming fast. The swim wasn't tiring me out but I just didn't have a fast gear.

Goal for LA: 24 min

T1: quick as usual, but a little winded from the swim and long run to t1.

Bike - 40k: 01:07:12

I felt pretty good on the bike and had rode the course before in training. It consited some decent climbs. I passed quite a few people on the bike and only got passed by 2 guys which were both in the 30-34 AG and were crushing it. Most of the guys i was passing wree in my AG and had some pretty nice race wheels. It always feels good to blow right by somebody on Zipps with my stock Easton Vista's, but aero wheels would have been nice on this course. There was a pretty good head wind for the first half of the course. Also at some point on the first half of the course I threw up. I think it was the fuel i swallowed. I just took a swig from my bottle and hammered on.

Goal for LA: sub 01:05:00

Run - 10k: 00:36:45

I felt good getting off the bike and left T2 about 50 yards behind a guy that blew by me on the bike. About 1.5 minutes into the run I hear a bunch of people yelling but I just kept going but they kept yelling... all I could hear was "wrong way". CRAP! Apparently me and this guy blew right by the first turn. There was a group of marines that were supposed to be directing us but they were all laying down in the grass not paying attention. So there I am standing still screaming to make sure they were yelling at us.. and they were. by the time I got back to the turn I had probably lost about a minute. I was seventh in from the bike but while I was running off course 3 guys passed me.

the run course was two laps and it was shaped like a "Y" with 180 degree turns and each leg. I like this a lot as you could really see how far ahead everyone was. I worked hard in the run and passed seven guys and finished 3rd (some of the guys I passed were in waves behind me). It felt really good to be running that hard and just taking people down one by one.

With out the wrong turn my run time would have been somewhere in the 35+ minute range.

Goal for LA: sub 35 minutes

3rd AG
10th Overall
4th fastest run split

Goal for LA: sub 02:05:00
swim: 24min
bike: 1:05
run: 35min

(this will be the first time I am setting time goals for myself)

After the race my coach gave me 3 days totally off to just rest and recover. Kind of like a mid-season break. It felt really good to get back it today!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Carlsbad Triathlon - 7.9.2006

Yesterday I competed in the 25th annual Carlsbad Triathlon. I am in full-on training mode right now and this was defintely a "C" race, but I really wanted do the race. I only live about 5 miles from where the race is held, it's right along the beach, and there is usually a good Elite turn out. This year was no different. Luke Bell, Ian Pyott, Lewis Elliot, Michellie Jones, and Heather Fuhr.

3 hour/52 mile ride - Rode throug Camp Pendleton

I was feeling kind of tired going into the weekend and not really 100% after running the 10k earlier in the week. I was not planning on resting at all for this race so I didn't. I felt really good during my ride and probably rode a little harder than I should have. No worries.

Sunday: Race Day

Transition opened at 6:30 and I was there ready to go. I got body marked, but all they were doing was putting your number on you, not your age. This always annoys me. I like to know what guys are in my AG while on the bike and run. They also had the waves set up kind of weird.
Wave 1: Elite/Men 30-34
Wave 2: Men 35-39
Wave 3: Men 40-44
Wave 4: Men 29 & Under

So I was in wave 4 and new I would have to swim through people and was kind of bummed that I would be able to go head to head with the Elites.

Swim - 1000m - Ocean swim/Beach Start

We started about 10 yards from the waters edge and it was full-on sprint of 85 guys charging the water. The surf entry was fun as there was a little swell in the water. I got out to the first buoy just behind the lead pack. I just cruised through most of the swim and came out probably a minute or two behind the top guys. Overall I was happy with the swim and it didn't take anything out of me.


Super quick. Wetsuit came of with no problems and I was out.

Bike - 15 miles - rolling hills

If felt pretty good going out on the 2 lap bike course. Heading south was fast and there were a couple of short steep climbs, which I took out of the saddle and passed quite a few people (most were in the waves ahead of me.) At the first turn around point my legs were starting to feel the ride from the day before. I could tell I was kind running out of juice. It didn't help that the northbound part of the loop was mostly false flat straight into a head wind. I got passed by 2 guys that were in my wave, but wasn't sure if they were in my AG or younger. So I tried to stay with them. I was able to hang with them (not drafting) through the end of the first lap and half of the second. When we hit the wind and false flat they put a good gap on me. They both had aero carbon wheels and aero helmets and that may have helped them a bit, but my legs were feeeling pretty dead by that point.

Quick again. In and out.

Run - 5k - mostly flat with a couple rolling hills

I immediately saw one of the guys that passed me on the bike about 50 yards a head of me. He was easy to see as he was wearing a UCLA Bruins Tri suit. I was feeling pretty good on the run and just went for it not knowing what place I was in. It took me about a mile to catch him and he was running pretty good but I was able to blow by him. I could then see a head for about the next mile to the final turn around and saw two guys ahead of me that I knew were in my wave. One I knew was younger but the other I wasn't sure. So I just worked on tracking them down. A caught and passed the first guy pretty quick and then it about another 1/4 mile to get to the next. Once I caught him I tried to push him because I knew I wasn't competing with him (he was in the 20-24 AG). I tried to encourage him to keep up with me so he could build his lead on the guys I just passed. He hung with my until the final turnaround at mile 2. I just poured in on after that and put a 30+ seconds on him in the last mile. My legs were defnitely hurting but I just grinded through. There was really big crowd and their cheering defintely pushed me.

Finish - 1:16:38
1st in AG out of 44 - by almost 3 minutes
12th overall out of 1000
I also beat everybody that started in my wave (29 & under) which I was pretty stoked about.

I would have finsihed 8th (7th was only 2 seconds faster than me) if I would have competed with the Elite Men. I really want to race toe to toe with these guys to see just how much faster I can go with them pushing me. I also curious to see how much faster I can go with some actual rest and tapering, but I am saving that for Xterra Nationals.

I will be doing the Camp Pendleton International Triathlon this coming weekend and my coach really has me taking it easy this week. It will be my first olympic distance race and I should be feeling pretty fresh. We'll see how it goes.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Tuesday 7.4.2006 - Long (big) weekend

I can't believe it's already the 4th of July. The days, weeks, and months seem to just fly by when all you can think about is your next race or workout...

This past weekend has been really solid from a training standpoint and I also managed to get in a lot of fun and hanging out at the beach over the holiday weekend. I just fired up the grill and friends are on the way over for a cookout so I though I would get this post in before I have has too many Fat Tire's.

1:40 run (30 min warm-up, 40 min of intervals(26min hard,14 recovery),30 min cool down
2 hour easy ride - 35 miles - up to Oceanside and back

45 min/1.5 mile Ocean Swim - del mar
3 hour/30 mile Mountain bike - Black Moutain

3000 yard swim
weights - upperbody/core

10K - Scripps Ranch Old Pros - 34 minutes flat
1.5 hour easy ride - 26 miles

10K race report:
My plan for this race was just to go as fast as I could coming off my weekend of training. Typically my Tuesday runs aren't my best. I usually still have that sluggish feeling in my legs and don't get back to feeling 100% until around Thursday and after the weekend I just put in I was curious to see how I felt. I am racing a lot in the coming weeks and they are all B or C races. My coach has me using them as good race pace brick workouts and for race experience. I don't really plan on tapering for any races until Xterra Nationals on 10/1.

Upcoming Races:
7/9 - Carlsbad Triathlon(sprint) - C
7/15 - Camp Pendleton Triathlon(olympic) - B
7/22 - Tri Club race(olympic) - C
7/27 - Tri Club Aquathon - C
7/30 - Solana Beach Triathlon(sprint) - C
8/6 - Xterra Snow Valley - B

I got there early, got my bib, hit the port-o-john, and then started to warm-up. After the first 5 minutes I knew I was nowhere near 100%. I would say I was at about 80%-85%. My warm-up consisted of 25 minutes of easy jogging with some pick-ups and strides. I had a nice sweat going and got to the front of the start line with 3 minutes to spare.

I did run into Heather Fuhr and Michellie Jones and said good morning. They seem to come out to all the local events.

After the warm-up I had to come to terms with myself. This was my first 10k, I have no idea how to pace for a race like this, and I am not feeling 100%. I decided that I would be happy if I could hold a 5:30/mile throughout the race.

The Race:
The gun went off and I pulled in behind a pack of Brazilians and Elites. The pace felt right but I had no idea what I was doing. I was just going to run how I felt. Right after the start there is a good climb I was in about 20th place (i think there were about 700 runners).

Mile 1: 5:25 - Perfect, this is right where I wanted to be.

Mile 2: 11:00 - holding.

Mile 3: 16:22 - Maybe pushing to hard

Mile 4 - 5 - Not sure of splits, but I think I kind of fell off my pace for these 2 miles. Not feeling bad though, just not really sure on how hard I should be running at this point in the race. Push or save it for the last 1.2 miles???

Mile - 6.2 (end of race) - 34:00 - I ran pretty hard for the last 1.2 miles and felt good. I still had some left in the tank after I finished, which always seems to be the case. I need to start pushing myself harder in the run. Getting faster is all mental for me. I feel like my body is definitely in shape to go harder/faster.

10th Overall
not sure about AG because I left before the awards... I was starving.

Post race:
I felt good. I could have defnitely carried that pace for more than 10k. I cooled down with an easy 15 min jog, and then grabbed a cold one from the beer garden.

I am defintely happy with my time considering how I felt. A 34 minute 10k comes out to 5:28/mile so I was right on my goal. On 7/15 I am doing my first Olympic distance tri so it will be interesting to see how my 10k times compare... and that was the whole point of doing this race. I think I like running off the bike more than just from the line. It's easier for me to guage where I am at and deal with it rather than just starting the run fresh.

Well that's it... 2 hour Mountain bike in the AM!