Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stepping things up...

As of Monday afternoon things have changed a bit. When I got home from my ride I had a voice mail from my coach saying something about the LA Triathlon and my goals for 2007. I called him right back and we started talking about my plans/goals for 2007 and a possible oppurtunity at the LA Triathlon. He talk about the EAC (Elite Amateur Competition). Here's the info from the LA Triathlon page:

"We are please to announce the new Elite Amateur Competition (EAC). The top five overall finishers, both male and female, in the EAC will qualify for the Life Time Fitness Series Championship (LTF) to be held in July of 2007 in Minneapolis. Each qualifier will receive complimentary entry, airfare and lodging at the Life Time Fitness Triathlon. You will compete for the championship against the qualifiers from the 2006 New York, Chicago, and Life Time Fitness Triathlon Qualifiers to determine the top amateurs in the sport of triathlon."

You have to submit a resume to get into the EAC race. So on Monday night I updated my resume and sent it off. I thought it was going to be a longshot. Eventhough I have done really well this year, it is my first season and I have only done one Olympic distance race. On Tuesday afternoon I received an email saying that I had been accepted to race in the Elite race and that they would gladly transfer my entry.

I immediately started to think that I was in over my head. There's going to be some fast guys at this race and I have no idea if I can hang. My goal prior to Monday for the the LA Triathlon was to try and get on the podium in my AG while using it as a B race leading up to Xterra Nationals. Well that's changed. Now I am going to try to scrap my way into 5th place. I know it is a longshot but I I am going to go for it. My coach thinks that if I can somehow get into the top 5 and qualify for the Championship next summer I will be able to compete for the title. He has plans for me to really ramp up my cycling this offseason. My run is there and my swim gets better by the week, so it's going to be all about the bike.

At the very least this will be a good experience for me and will really let me know where I stand with the fast guys. That's not to say I am not nervous about stepping into the ring with these guys.

Ok so training this week:

AM: swim - Masters - 4000 yards
Lunch - Weights - lowerbody/core
PM: Bike - 1:53/34miles - easy ride

AM: swim - Masters - 4100 yards
PM: run - 60 min - intervals(5x3min hard(sub 5k pace)/3 min recovery

AM: swim - Masters - 4000 yards
Lunch: Weights - upperbody/core
PM: Bike - 2:40/25 mile Mountain bike - 2 x Black Mtn

I have felt good this week but swimming Masters 3 days in a row was tough. By the last set yesterday I was nuked. I could feel myself falling apart on the last 200 but I was leading the lane so I had to try to keep it together. I got through the 200 in 2:48 which isn't the fastest I have swam a 200 but with the way I felt it was fine by me. I did nail my fastest 100 on Monday and it came at the end of a hard workout. A 1:17 for 100 yards. I couldn't believe it when the I touched the wall the coach told me my time. I have been really motivated in the pool and having good coaches has been the difference. They stay on me, push me, call me out for slacking, and have really helped me work on my stroke. They have even offered to help me taper my swim workouts leading up to races. Good people.

Ok that's it for now. I have to get back to my anxiety about the LA tri.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


Well this recovery week did the trick. The two previous weeks I was hitting 20+ hours of training and this past week topped at just over 14. The upcoming week of training is going to be a tough one and the fact that my brother and his girlfriend will be in town will defintely make for more distractions than normal. I'll definitely have to juggle my schedule around and try not to drink too much.

The weekend:

AM: - Bike - 4 hour/70 mile

The purpose of this ride was to just get out and ride. I rode from my apartment in Encinitas, through Camp Pendleton, and turned around in San Clemente. There were times that I pushed a bit but most of the ride was just steady. My nutrition was on the money and felt good for the entire ride. When I got home I made protein/recovery shake, took an ice bath, and then took a solid nap.

AM: - run - 90min/12mile easy run

Just a long easy run. I didn't push it but felt like I could of. I was stoked that I felt so good and not tired. After the run I stretched, took a contrast shower (30sec cold/1min warm x 5), made a shake, and took another nap.

I have been really trying to maximize my recovery. I am right in the middle of my most important and intense training of the season. I really want to put in some good races at LA, Tahoe, and Maui. That's going to take getting the most out of the workouts I am putting which means recovery is going to be the key so I can be ready to go day after day.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Feeling good...

My recovery week is coming to an end and I am feeling pretty good. Yesterday I did a club Aquathlon and pushed pretty hard on the run and was expecting my legs to be feeling it this morning, but they aren't. I did a good cool down and propped my feet up when I got home and I am sure that is why I am not too sore.

AM: 40 min easy run - just focusing on cadence
Lunch: 15min stationary bike/15min stretching
PM: Club Aquathon - 1000m swim/3 mile run

I was really looking forward to this club race. I had a really good time at the last one. It's a great workout and a chance to race stress free. When I got down to the beach I was feeling pretty tired and honestly did not want to run hard. There was a really good turnout for this race including my coach, members of the UCSD Triathlon team, and a lot of fast guys from the club. I warmed up with a 5 minute jog and about 300m of easy swimming.

The Swim:
The start was pretty congested. There were about 150 people from the club doing the race and everybody sprinted for the water as soon as the horn went off. I started right in line with the buoy. As I was diving through the waves my goggles got knocked sideways and I had to stand up and put them back, and missed my chance to get out clean. I dove back in and just followed the draft of a group of about 20. The first 200m was really rough, a lot of feet and elbows. I was able to stay really relaxed and just got through it. I didn't bother sighting to often as I had so many people just ahead of me, this was a mistake. The group swung about 20 yards wide of the buoy so I had some ground to make up. Once around the first buoy I got into a really good groove and started to pass a lot of people and got on some feet for a while. I think I ended up being in the top 10 out of the water, but I was quite a ways behind the lead pack that included Marc and Jim. Overall the swim was good for me. I didn't feel like I pushed it at all and was still able to hang near the front.

The Run:
After tranisitioning out my wetsuit I went out on the run in I think 8th place. The run was 2 out and back loops. Just like last time I looked at it like 4 laps (2 out, 2 back) and my plan was just descend on each lap. On the first lap I passed a couple people but I was feeling like crap. As I got near the turn around I could Jim, my coach, leading with Marc in 2nd. At that point I was in 6th and new if I went hard I could into third, but that was probably going to be it. So I picked it up at the first turn around and made up a lot on ground. At the next turn to start the second loop (3rd lap) I picked up my pace again. On this lap I ran my way into 3rd place and then at the final turnaround I just gave it everything I had and was actually feeling really good. I ended up finishing third with Jim in first and Marc in second. I am not sure how much they beat me by but I was really happy with my run and I'll take finishing 3rd to those guys anyday.

I was really stoked about the swim. Seeing constant improvement defintely keeps me motivated to keep getting up at 5am to hit the early morning master's sessions.

Friday (today):
AM: 1.5 mile swim - took it easy
Lunch: weights - upperbody core (still to come)
PM: chiropractor/massage/epsom salt bath
(still to come)

As for the weekend... I have a 4 hour ride tomorrow that will be done at an easy pace and then a 90 minute run on Sunday. Then it's back to hitting it hard next week including a 4 mile XC race on Saturday!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Recovery is my friend.

Well I have hit the middle of a recovery week and I am feeling really good. This isn't a full on recovery week as there is still quite a bit of volume but minus the intensity.

Monday: Recovery/rest day
Lunch: 25 min spin on stationary bike/15 min stretching

AM: swim - Master's - 4000 yards
PM: run - 60 min easy run

My swim was really solid yesterday but I probably pushed it more than I should of during a recovery week. I can just defintely tell I am getting a lot stronger in the water and am really motivated to go hard in the pool. There was nothing eventful about the run, 60 minutes easy and I was kind of tired.

AM: swim - Master's - 3500 yards
Lunch: weights(still to come)
PM: ride - 2:30 - easy effort (still to come)

I did a good job of holding back in the pool this morning. It also helps to have two really good Masters coaches. I told Chris (the main coach and leads the workout on m/w/f) that I was in a recovery week and that I was going to take it easy. Usually he pushes my and I like that, but today he really helped me take it easy and helped me work on my form. I usually lead or swim second in my lane but today I just hung on the back (4th). I didn't have to think about laps or intervals and I just cruised. I made all the intervals without even really trying and most importantly after 3500 yards I got out of the pool feeling fresh. I have a good long easy ride this afternoon and light weight session at lunch.

On Gordo's blog he just put up a link to an outline for his presentation on Maximizing Athletic Performance. There is a really good quote in the outline:

"Until you can “do consistently”, worrying about “what you do” is pointless"

I agree completely with this statement. I believe consistency, when it comes to traing, is by far the most important thing. A lot of people can throw down some big/intense workouts every now and then but getting out there day after day, week after week, month after month and doing what it takes is going to make you better. I believe consistency is why I have been successful and have been getting faster in all 3 sports, especially when it comes to swimming.

I saw another quote that I really liked. It was from Bjorn Anderson who just won the Timberman 70.3.

"If you feel in control you are not going fast enough"

I know this does not apply to all race distances, especially IM. This relates to what my coach has been trying pound into my head, and that's to "commit" and to have confidence in my ability. He thinks I can go even faster and push a lot harder in races than I have so far. I just need to get over a mental barrier and know that I can push the pace and will not blow up. It's a fine line but the fact that I keep finishing races feeling like I could have kept going or went harder shows me that is still have some work do.. mentally.

Finally, here the official results from my XC race this last

3rd Annual Bake At The Lake XC 4 Miler
AG: 5/12 - 10th overall
time: 22:11
pace: 5:33/mile

Here's photo taken from the last 1/2 mile. You can tell I am hurting.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

a solid weekend...

Another solid weekend in the books. I am pretty tired right now and can barely keep my eyes open as I watch the Redsox hopefully hang on to beat the Yankees. I just got out of another epsom salt bath and my body is feeling good even with all the training.

So this is what went down:

AM - XC Race - Bake at the Lake - 4 miles
20 min warm-up
22:05 Race
50 min run after race
1:32:05 total running

I recently obtained a sponsorshp with Mizuno and one of the obigations is to compete in local running events as well as keep up racing in tri's. Saturday was my first race with the team and I was pretty nervous about it. For the first time in my very brief racing career there was some expectaion to perform well. This race was the first of the Dirt Dog cross country series. At each race along with the individual competition there is also team competition. Most of the major shoe companies were represented and some other local clubs. There were about 10 of us from Mizuno including myself and my coach. Other than my coach I had only met one of the other guys before. So the pressure was on to make a good first impression.

The course was a rocky, hilly 4 miles - true cross country. I never know how fast to go out in a running race. I find much it easier to run off the bike because then you just run as hard as your body will let you. When you start out fresh it's all about strategy and not letting yourself get gapped by too much by the lead pack. I went out kind of conservatively but was probably only 10 yards behind he leaders. The course was tough. I ended up finishing in 22:05 and I think in around 10th place (they havent published the results yet) and probably 30 - 60 seconds behind all the guys ahead of me. Out of all the people on my team I finished 2nd and was even able to hold off my coach in the last 1.5 miles. We ran side by side for about 3/4 of mile then he told me to go for it and that I better not lose to him. So I went for it and finished about 20 seconds ahead of him. I was spent. I don't know if I have ever run that hard for that long. I pretty much ran all out for the entire race.

AM - swim - 1.5 mile ocean swim
Midday - Bike - 3:35/36 mile mountain bike
Run - 30 min off the bike

Today was a long one. I started the day off with a mellow 1.5 mile swim with the tri club. After that I came home and hung out for a bit then headed off to the trails. I rode all throught PQ canyon and climbed to the top of black mountain before heading back. I was feeling it by the end of the bike but as soon as I got of the bike and started running I felt better. After the run I stretched for 20 minutes and headed home.

It's just after 9pm and I am about to crash. I am heading into a recovery week so tomorrows a day off and I'm sleeping in! I will start to hit hard again on the weekend but the hardest workout I have during the week will be a showdown with Marc at an aquathlon on Thursday. I am going to try and not let him whip by as much this time. We'll see... he's coming off a half marathon today so I may have a very slight chance of catching him on the run...

Friday, August 18, 2006

It's all about recovery

Well as you can probably tell my blog template has changed again. When I switched it over to my blogger account to my google account (which is a beta version) some of the formatting of my page got jacked. It would of been an easy fix, but the beta version does not let you edit the raw HTML... yet. As soon as they do I will fix everything and get all my links to race reports and other blogs back up.

Update on my neck:

It feels great. As of this morning the stiffness is completely gone. I am really glad I skipped my swim on Tuesday and gave it a couple of days of rest. I still got on my bike though.



AM - Swim - Skipped due to neck/upperback stiffness.
Lunch - 20min stationary bike/Core
PM - Bike - 2:20/36mile - Hill Repeats of Torrey Pines
Torrey Pines (outside):
1 - 6:38
2 - 6:44
Torrey Pines (inside):
1 - 5:12
2 - 4:55

I was supposed to get out on my mountain bike and do a couple hill repeats of Black Mtn. Due to waking up with a stiff neck and after talking it over with my coach we decided it was probably a better idea to stay on the road for my ride. Riding offroad is a lot more taxing on the body. So the plan was to head out on the road and see how it felt. If I felt any pain or discomfort I was gonig to head back home. If I felt good it was out to Torrey Pines for some hill repeats. Well, suprisingly, I felt great. I had to hold myself back on the ride out. I wanted to hammer. When I got to Torrey Pines I climbed the outside twice and the inside twice. I haven't done hill repeats out there since early May and I crushed my old times, which is a very good sign. All the climbing I have been doing offroad is defintely working. After the ride I took an ice bath, relaxed, and watched the Padres get beat, again, by the pathetic Giants.

Thursday: Rest/Recovery day

Slept in
30min on stationary/recumbent bike (very little resistance)
15min of stretching
Chiropractor - Adjustment
60min Massage
30min Epsom Salt bath


AM - Swim - Master's - 4000 yards - Speed day
Lunch - Core (still to come)
PM - 60min easy run (still to come)

I was kind of nervous to get in the pool this morning, but after a couple of strokes I could tell my neck would not be an issue. I lead the lane for the first two hard sets and hit all the intervals. It was solid. I let a this fast chick take over and just cruised after that.

I have been thinking a lot about recovery and my approach to it. What got my thinking about it was reading Simon Whitfield's blog (thanks for the link Mike). He is a super fast triathlete from Canada. His blog covers his training and he always mentions what he did for recovery with same kind importance as what he did during his swim/bike/run workouts. It defintely got me thinking.

So now I am approaching recovery and rest days a bit differently. For the most part I think most of us see a rest day on our training plans and think "ok, there's a day I don't have to do anything. I can just hang out". At least that was the attitude that I took. Instead I think we should be looking at these days and be thinking about how we can maximize recovery during those 24 hours. Now I am approaching these days with the same kind of preparation as a workout day. Typically when I get my weekly training plan from my coach I look it over and start mentally preparing for the week. I know what days I am going to be working hard, going long, and what days will be for recovery. The night before my hard workouts I defintely start thinking about the next days work and being mentally prepared and definitely helps. Now I am doing the same things for my rest days. I have a plan for my recovery days. I want to get the most out of these days so the day after I am truly ready to hit it hard again mentally and physically.

Yesterday was a rest day and I took full advantage. I slept in (got up at 6:45am as opposed to my daily 5am wake up). I then just hung out and worked from home a bit, had good clean breakfast and headed into work. At lunch I hit the gym and rode stationary/recumbent bike for 30 minutes while reading the latest issue of Inside Triathlon and then stretched for 15 minutes. Riding the stationary bike is something I try to do everyday druing the week. I don't really use any resistance and helps to get the blood flowing in my legs and loosend them up before I stretch. After work I headed to my Chiropractor for an adjustment and followed that up with a 60min massage. Then after dinner I soaked in a epsom salt bath for 30 minutes. I was in bed by 10pm, slept great, and woke up this morning ready to go hard in the pool.

This weekend:


AM - Run - 4 mile XC race(running only) - warm-up/race/cooldown for a totaly of 90 minutes

that's all I am doing tomorrow.

Sunday (big day):

1.5 - 2 mile swim
4 hr Mountain bike/30min run
Weights - lowerbody

I am really looking forward the XC race tomorrow morning. I am going to really push it. My plan is to go out with fastest guys and see if I can hang for the entire 4 miles. Sunday should also be fun.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Sitting one out...

ok... Last night I switched blogger account so it uses my gmail account. Then I wrote out this whole post only to have it not publish correctly. Here is try number 2.

Yesterday morning when I was jumping in the pool (feet first, nothing crazy) I must have tightened up right before I hit the water because I tweaked my neck/upperback a bit. I got through the workout and it's not sore it's just more annoying than anything. It feels a lot better this morning but it still feels a little off so I am canning my swim this morning. I figured it would be better to skip a day and let it heal totally than force it and potentially make it worse. Plus I have a massage/adjustment scheduled for tomorrow and I know that will help. So instead of grinding out 4000 yards this morning I am drinking coffee, listening to podcasts, and just hanging out.

I was kind of scared to wake up Monday morning. I was pretty sure my legs would be pretty sore after 7+ hours of riding. This was not the case. My legs did feel sluggish but I really didn't have any muscle soreness and after all the climbing I endured I was pretty stoked. Thank you ice bath. Thank you Fat Tire.

The week so far:

Lunch - Weights - upperbody/core
Pm - 60 min run

I felt really good in the weight room. I warmed up with 20 min on the recumbent bike and the stretched for 10 min. After work I headed down to fletcher's cove for an easy run. About 30 minutes into the run I really started to feel tired. I just wanted the run to end and because I forgot my ipod at home so I had no distraction. This bad patch only lasted about 5 minutes and I ended up finishing the run without really pushing it at all. After the run I put on my trunks and swam/soaked/floated/bodysurfed in the ocean. I have been doing this quite a bit after my runs. It is really relaxing, refreshing, and good for recovery.

AM: swim - Masters - 4000 yards (tweaked my neck jumping in the pool)
PM: Weights - lowerbody
PM: Bike - 60min/16 mile Recovery spin(small chainring only)

Even with my neck bugging my I got through the swim and then headed to work. Afterwork (early afternoon) I hit the gym for some good stretching and a lowerbody strength training session. My legs are still feeling good. After I left the gym I head straight home and the plan was to get in a 60 min easy spin on the bike, but I was pretty tired and not feeling it. I thought about just skipping it but knew that the easy spinning would do a lot for my recovery. So I got home slammed a red bull and headed out the door with my bike. 10 minutes into the ride I was stoked I did. I just cruised 16 miles up and down the coast. It felt great. I didn't push it at all and let many cyclists blow right by me.

Tweaking my neck first thing in the morning pissed me off. I have dealt with neck problems a lot in the past. It's from all my years of snowboarding/surfing/skating. A year and a half ago it was really bad and the slightest thing could cause muslce spasms in my neck and it would cause my neck and upperback to tighten up. Thanks to my chiropractor it hardly ever happens anymore. What happened yesterday is minor in comparison. It's not painful it just feels a bit off, very annoying.

Well that's it for now. I am going to just hang around my apartment, drink more coffee, watch sportscenter, and do what "normal" people do before work. I don't like it!!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Blood, Sweat, and Gears...

Wow... this week was by far the toughtest to date. Here's all the stats and workout info.

Weekly totals:

Total Time: 24:27
Swim: 14,200 yards
Bike: 148 miles
Run 26.5 miles
Strength - 1 day upperbody, 1 day lowerbody, 3 days core

AM - Swim - Masters - 4200 yards - Speed
PM - 60 min run - Easy
I went surfing after the run.

AM - Run - 1:15 Coached workout - 30 min worth of hard running
PM - Bike - 2hr/28mile easy recovery spin, small chainring only

I felt like crap going into the run workout from lifting (lowerbody) on Thursday, but once the workout started I pushed through it. After the first set of intervals (3min hard, 6min hard, 2 x 4min hard - all with 90 sec recovery) we ran a timed mile. I was able to nail my fastest so far - 4:50. I really can't believe how strong my running is getting. After the run I headed home relaxed and then went on a 2 hour easy spin and just really took it easy only averaging 14 mph.

AM/PM - Bike - 7:15/60 Mile Mountain bike - Hardest ride of my life.

This week was huge and culminated with a 7+ hour mountain bike ride today. I met my coach at his house at 7am and we hit the road about 7:30. We met up with three other riders, all Xterra competitors, including 2 females (one being a pro mountain biker). We all road together for 4.5 hours, climbing a ton, and really working on technical descents. The vibe was awesome. My coach and the others were giving me tons of tips on technique. I learned a lot. At the 4.5 hour mark the others left and it was just me and Jim, my coach. We hit a local market refilled our hydration packs and water bottles and then set out for our next climb - Cowel's Mountain. We got to the base 4:45 into our ride and 45 minutes later we were at the top. It was hands down the hardest climb I have ever done on a mountain. The first half was super technical and the second half was super steep fire road. I was so stoked once we reached the top. I really couldn't believe that after 5.5 hours I still had juice in my legs. We then headed down the mountain and back to Jim's. We hit the 7:15 mark just as we pedaled back into his drive way. I was crushed, I crashed 3 times, and was covered from head to toe with dirt and blood (i have photos). It felt great, like I really accomplished something. I don't know what it was.

I got home made some food, took a shower, and then an ice bath. I am guessing I'll be asleep before 9pm.

I have another big week on tap. Due some recent happenings (I will get to it later this week) I will be running the first race of a cross country race series on Saturday. That's it for now... I need to get back to my beer and prop my feet up.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Turning it up a notch...

Let me start this off by saying I was planning posting this last night but did not have the energy to type... This is probably a sign of things to come.

I have started my biggest/hardest training cycle so far this year. The last couple months my coach had my training really targeted on my running and swimming. I was kind of impatient and kept asking him where the big/hard bike workouts were. Now that my running is right where it needs to be it's now all about the bike (and swim, lots of volume). I will be pretty much maintaining my run workouts but probably only one day of intervals instead of two. I am also going into a heavy lifting phase with my legs which I am sure will have an effect on my workouts, but it's something that needs to be done. We'll see.

I plan posting a lot more of the couple of weeks as I prepare for the LA Triathlon (B race), Xterra Nationals (A race), and Xterra Worlds (A race). My plan is to really peak for nationals and hopefully carry that fitness into worlds. The LA Triathlon will be my last road race of the season and should serve as good indicator of where I am at 3 weeks out from Xterra Nationals.

Training so far this week:

Monday - Rest/Recover
I went to the gym at lunch and road the stationary bike for 20 minutes with very little resistance (I do this on most rest days). This always helps me loosen up my legs after a hard workout or race. Then I stretched and did some light core for 30 min.

Tuesday - Swim/run
AM - Swim - Masters - 4000 yards (20 x 200 varying intervals)- 1:15
PM - Run - Easy 1:15 trail run

Wednesday - Swim/weights/Bike
AM - Swim - Masters - 4000 yards (speed work) - 1:15
Lunch - Weights - upperbody/core
PM - Bike - 2.5hr/25 Mile Mountain bike - 2 Hill Repeats of Black Mtn
1 - 13:34
2 - 14:20 (I was crushed and rear derailleur was jacked)

Thursday (today) - Bike/Weights/Swim
AM - Bike - 2hr/35 mile road bike - 5 x 6min hard (zone 4-5a/80-90 rpm) 2min recoveries
Lunch (still to come) - Weights - Lowerbody/core
PM - (still to come) - Open water swim with coach and other athletes

This block of training is going to be tough. Last night I didn't finish my ride until 7:15 and then had to drive 20 min home. I got home took a shower, made myself some dinner, got my gear and food ready for today, and then passed out on my couch... just to get up at 5am and get back out on the road for my ride this morning and then head straight to work.

I don't think I am going to have too much time for anything else besides training and work for the next couple of months and that's fine by me. I really want to see what I am capable of in Tahoe and getting stronger on the bike is gonig to be the key to me having a good race there.

I am gonig to be posting about my workouts every 2-3 days... it should be interesting to look back on when the season is over. Looking over my eary season posts has already been intersting and comical...

Monday, August 07, 2006

Snow Valley Off-Road Triathlon (Xterra Points Series)

Finally another Xterra race. After doing 3 road tri's in the past 6 weeks and not doing an Xterra races since June 18th in Richmond I was anxiously counting down the days until this race.

This race was held at Snow Valley ski resort in the San Bernadino mountains. It's about a 2 hour drive from San Diego and LA. It was kind of different being up there with no snow because in the winter I am usually up there snowboarding a lot. This was going to be my frist race at altitude and serve as good practice for the Xterra nationals in Tahoe. The eleveation was 6500ft at the base where the T2 was, and 7300ft at the lake for the swim.


I got to Snow Valley around and noon and the weather was perfect, mid 70's, sunny, and a nice cool breeze. I met up with a couple of guys I know and we headed out to do one loop of the bike course. the bike course was short (12 miles) and mostly on fire roads but there was a lot of climbing, and the trails had a lot of loose packed sandy sections. We took it easy, checked out the lake, and the finished up the ride. I did take a good spill on the big downhill section for the course. It was really sketchy because it was a really long fast section and it was super sandy. I manage to get a couple of pretty good scrapes and bruises but nothing major.

After the ride we walked the run course and I was shocked at how hard it was going to be. There was also a ton of climbing on the run and some super steep downhills. I am always stoked when I see a hard run course because I know that defintely plays into my strengths. Before heading back down the mountain for the day we drove up to the lake for quick swim. Until then I really didn't notice a too much of difference being at 6000+ ft. In the water I put in a couple of surges and really felt short of breath. It kind of felt like I was swimming harder than I actually was. Not a good sign for me.


Swim - 1000m:

From the base of Snow Valley you had to ride or hike 1.5 miles up to the lake. There were two transition areas. T1 was at the lake and T2 was at the base. I chose to ride and use it as my warm up. I felt good and I was ready to swim.

I lined up in the front and on the inside. I am by no means the fastest swimmer but I have found starting with all the fast guys helps. They leave me behind in the first 100m but then I am out of the crowd and don't get too beat up. The swim was going well but I was again defintely feeling the altitude. I just kept on pushing. I was able to draft off of a guy for a bout 75% of the swim and can't believe how much it helped. I had my best swim to date and was 7th out of the water.

The transition area was kind of packed and it was single long line of bikes. It took me about 15 seconds to find my bike. I kind of blew it. Other than that it was quick. Wetsuit off and in the bag. Because it was shorter course I decided to not waste my time with gloves and glasses (not really a good idea in hind sight).
I was in complete shock when I was leaving T1 on the bike and they told me I was in 6th place.

Bike - 12 miles - 2000ft of climbing:
The bike went pretty well for me. My strategy for the bike was to really push on the climbs and take the downhills conservatively. I am not going to win races on the bike and I knew if I could stay on 2 wheels I would have a chance on the run. I did get passed by one guy in my AG group in the first couple of miles and he was killing it. There was no way I could keep up with him. Then came the big downhill that I ate it on the day before. I took it conservatively, probably too much so, and got passed by a couple more guys. I was now in about 10th overall. On the next lap I caught all the guys that passed my on the downhills on the climbs. The same thing happened on the second lap heading into T2. They blazed past me on the downhill. Heading into the last section of the bike and into T2 I could already see the guy in my AG out on the run. He was way ahead of my at this point.


Fast easy. My sister (who I have coached into giving splits at T2) yelled to me that I was 5 MINUTES behind the leader in my AG and in 10th overall. "Crap... time to go for it."

Run: 4 miles - crazy hills

I felt really good coming off the bike but I was kind of mad at myself for letting those guys gap me so much on the downhill. In the first half mile (uphill) I passed one guy and he was having a hard time. After that I just made it my goal to catch the next person ahead of me. At the end of the first major climb I had pulled up right behind 2 more guys and then passed them both right after a super steep downhill. The next climb was the longest and it was tough. I was now in 6th and could see 3 guys ahead of me and they were all walking this 1/4 mile climb. I knew I had to run it. I caught and passed one guy on this hill but it felt like I was running in place. I got to the top and really turned it on on the flat and the next downhill. Back at the base I caught and passed a guy I know and was now in fourth. I was now in the only real flat part of the course so I turned it on, and then quickly got to the next climb which was the steepest. I could see the 3rd place guy near the top and he was walking. I charged up but with 20 yards to go it got so steep that I was forced into power walking with my hands on my knees. I made it to the top and was really feeling the effort I was putting in. Right after that climb it was down the other side on fire road. At the end of the road there was the final turn around. Right after the turn around I passed the 3rd place guy and gapped him on the climb back up and then it was back down the super steep trail. I was in 3rd all alone and that's how I would finish.

3rd Overall
2nd AG

This was by far my best race I have had. I was stoked to be able to move from 10th to 3rd in the run on the most challenging run course I have raced so far. They said it was only 4 miles but it was harder than any 10k I have ever ran in a race. I really had to dig deep for it though. The guy in my AG that had a 5 minute lead on me going into the run finished 2nd overall and only beat me by just over a minute. So I took about 4 minutes out of him on the run.

I love Xterra racing. The courses are awesome and people are amazing. I started this season not knowing anybody at these races and now I know dozens from all over the place and it's cool to be able to catch up with them from race to race. It is a totally different vibe than road racing. I was stoked to have some of my family out there too. My sister, nephew, aunt and uncle all made 2 hour drives to come out for the day and all had a blast.

I can't wait for nationals!!! Back to training tomorrow.