Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Xterra World Championships 10.29.2006 - Maui, HI

I am back home in San Diego after what has seemed like a really long week. Traveling to Maui and getting the chance to race in a world championship was incredible.

Just to get an idea of hard this race is here are some quotes from the winners:

Hamish Carter:
"It was really tough, a lot tougher than I thought," said the 35-year-old from Auckland, winner of the 2004 Olympic triathlon. "At one point during the run I didn't even know if I could finish."

Melanie Mcquaid (3 X world):
"Never has this race ever been longer or harder than this year and I am absolutely stunned to have had the race I did on Sunday."


Our (my sister and nephew went on the trip with me) flight
at 7am from LAX. After what seemed like and endless flight we touched down in Maui at 9am local time. We picked up out rental car (jeep commander) and headed for out condo in Kihei. We checked in and then head down the coast for some snorkeling and exploring. Later on I went for an easy 40 minute run and was feeling great.


First thing in the morning we head down to the Maui Prince (host hotel and race site) so I could check in, pre-ride the practice bike course, and then go for a swim. You are not allowed to pre-ride the actual bike course which adds significantly to the difficulty of the course. The practice course was pretty short. It only took me 30 minutes to do the loop but it was blazing hot out there. After the ride I went for a swim. The swim was great and I felt really good in the water. When I got about 400 meters offshore I came across a reef and a bunch of sea turtles. It was killer. After the swim we grabbed some lunch and then drove to the top of the volcano.


We headed back to the race site and my sister and nephew went snorkeling and I got in a 20 minute run and an easy 750 meter swim. I was feeling really good, completely relaxed, and ready to go. That night we went to the pre race dinner and I really began to realize how big of a deal this race was. I already new that there was a big international presence (out of the 33 guys in my AG only 10 were american) but seeing all the countries represented at the dinner and all the videos from the races was mind blowing. I really felt fortunate to be there and knew that I had really accomplished something... and the food was awesome.

Sunday: The race.

i was up a 5:15 am without an alarm and got a really good night sleep. I had a cup of coffee and then a Snicker's Marathon bar and a bottle with 2 scoops of carbo pro and a NUUN tab. This was different from my normal pre-race meal. I usually have a whole wheat bagel with natural peanut butter, honey, and a banana. I have had some stomach problems in my last few races so I changed it up.

I got to the race site, set up transition, and got body marked. The race was supposed to start at 9 but got pushed back to 9:15. I sipped on water mixed with NUUN, and took a gel about 8:30. I got in the water and swam about 500 meters to warm up and was really feeling good in the water. After I warmed up I talked with my sister and the got blessed by the Hawaiian priest. I was feeling completely relaxed, not stress. It was kind weird how calm I was, even my sister noticed.

The swim: 2 x 750 meter laps w/ a 50 yard between laps

I lined myself up right behind a group of pros and when the canon went off I charged it. I quickly found a good draft and really didn't caught too much with anybody. I hit the first buoy feeling really good and got around it in a big crowd. I stayed calm and just kept on pushing and staying on peoples feet and knees. At the end of the first lap I knew I was having a good swim. I looked around on the run between laps and I had pro men and women all around me. The second lap went really well too. I felt relaxed the whole time. The swim felt easy and I was stoked running up to transition... and I was even more stoked to see most of the bikes still in trasition.

swim split(2 x 750m, 50 yard run, 75 yard run to T1, T1): 24:46

Bike: 19.8 miles

This by far hardest course I have ever ridden but I was feeling really confident after a really good swim. I immediately started passing people on the climbs. The course was treacherous. All the descents were filled with lava rocks big and small. I just opened it up as much as I could and flowed. I saw a lot of people crashing and people stopped fixing flats. I have never seen so many people go down (including a number of pros), and these weren't minor crashes. Some of them were nasty leaving people waiting for assistance off the volcano. I got passed and also did my fair share of passing. After the last downhill I hit the paved road that led back to trainistion. I was so stoked to have made the whole ride without going down or having any mechanical problems. It thanked the Hawaiian preist for this at dinner.

Bike split: 2:02:41

Run: 6.9 miles

I felt pretty good leaving T2 and knew I had some work to do. I think I was in 11th or 12th place in my AG heading out on the run and knew there were a couple guys within reach. The first 3/4 of a mile are on a golf course and paved road with rolling hills. I started passing people right away. At the 1 mile marker it turns uphill for 3 miles of relentless, hot climbing. This is where I made my moved. I was dropping a lot of guys on the climb, including guys in my AG. I had moved up into 6th place once I reached the top and I was with a pro male as I hit the aid station and started the rocky descent. At this point I was caught by a guy in my AG and he dropped me on the downhill. I was in shock. For the first time I couldn't respond to his surge. This had never happened to me before. This kind of broke me mentally. After the descent I hit Makena beach. This is where I fell apart. The beach is a mile of super soft sand and there was a 20mph headwind. It took everything I had to keep moving forward and not breaking down and walking. Then we headed into the "spooky forrest" and I was concentrating on turnover, but I was bonking big time. Then it was back onto a black sand beach, again with super soft sand and wind. I was crushed, but I kept moving. Soon enough I was running over the rocks and corral, back onto the golf course, and then onto finish. This was the hardest run of my life. I hit the wall but luckily only got passed by one guy.

run: 53:07

Overall: 3:20:34 - 7th in AG (of 33), 62nd overall (of 575)

As soon as I crossed the finish line the heat hit me like a ton of bricks and I was out of it. I was walked directly to the Med tent and draped with cold towels and given fluids. They were about to give me an IV but I started coming around. Nothing has ever felt that good. I finally left it all on the course, but wish I had more to give. I think I really blew it by not eating enough before the race. I was bonking hardcore over the last 2 miles. If the race would have been another mile I would have had to walk.

Overall I am very happy with my race (and first season). I had a breakthrough swim for me, and my bike was solid. For once my run wasn't there which I know will not be a regular thing. I still have tons of room to improve and I hope I can qualify and get back there next year. I want a podium finish in 2007.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006


I have been slacking... just on the blog. I have been putting some good training sessions and work has been keeping me really busy. Also the World Series is on so instead of jumping on my computer in the evenings I have been watching some baseball.

I am ready for Maui. It became really apprent this week. I have been really cutting back the volume since the begining of last week and I am starting to feel really, really good. Monday in the pool I swam my fastest 100 (1:14) ever, and it was on the last interval of a 3800 yard workout. Yesterday I drove out to Black Mountain, warmed up, and then rode the climb. I finished in 12:55, again the fastest I have ever done. I woke up this morning and couldn't wait to get in the pool. After a quick swim (2200 yards w/ 3 x 500) I hit San Elijo Lagoon for an easy trail run. I felt strong and quick. I am ready.

I am all packed and after I get a massage/adjustment I will be heading up to LA to my sisters. Tomorrow morning I will be on a plane for Maui. I can't wait.

Monday, October 16, 2006


My workouts this past weekend were tough. Physically and mentally. Luckily it was the last real hard stuff before the Xterra Worlds. I do have some big swims on tap but most of the intense stuff is done.

On Saturday I ran in the Balboa Boogie XC 5k. Again, these races are always tough with a bunch of fast guys coming out. It rained on Friday night so the course was nice and muddy. Just for fun I decided to wear my HRM during the race just to see what my body would be doing while I was running pretty much as hard as I can. Here's the numbers:

5K (3.1 miles) XC race: 16:30

AVG HR: 196 bpm
MAX HR: 202 bpm

Mile 1: 5:05 (I actually ran by the guy calling splits at 5:01)
HR: 197 bpm
AVG HR: 191 bpm
Ascent: 40ft

Mile 2: 10:30 (lap: 5:24.4)
HR: 198 bpm
AVG HR: 197 bpm
Ascent: 20ft

Mile 2: 16:30 (lap: 6:00)
HR: 198 bpm
AVG HR: 199 bpm
Ascent: 40ft

I went out pretty hard, and looking back, probably too hard. Mile 2 was really tough, and mile 3 was a mud pit, but I did have a nice little kick over the last 1/4 mile. Overall I finished 10th once again. Later on in the day I got in a 2hr Mountain bike.

On Sunday I did a really tough brick workout on Fiesta Island. I warmed up with 4 easy small loops (10 miles) and then turned it up. I did 3 sets consisting of the following:

bike - 2 laps (2.5 miles each) HARD!
run - 1 Mile all out right off the bike
bike - 1 lap easy

Here's my splits (just the hard intervals, I didn't include the easy lap):

Bike (2 laps): 13:18
run: (1 mile) 5:34

bike: 13:59
run: 5:38

bike: 14:12
run: 5:34

This workout was extremely tough and I was still feeling the prior days race in my legs. As hard as it was I really enjoyed it and it's something I will do often in the future. I would like to get the "hard" bike splits down aroung the 13:00 and run around 5:15. We'll see when I do this fresh.

This morning I was back in the pool for a Masters session. I tacked some extra yardage and got out of the pool after 4700 yards.

Friday, October 13, 2006

it's been a while...

I haven't posted anything lately and it's just because I have been busy. I took a couple days off when I got bact from Tahoe and then got a couple good days in last week/weekend, and this week has been a big one. I am really looking forward to getting back out and racing. Nationals didn't necessarily go the way that I wanted but it was good learning experience for sure. I will definitely have a different approach/attitude when I toe the line in Maui in a couple weeks.

Here's what went down over the past week:

AM: swim - masters - 4200 yards
Lunch: strenght - core/uppebody(light)
PM: run - 60min - trail run - Fartlek

AM: swim - masters - 4000 yards
PM: ride - 2.5 hour MTB w/ 2 x Black Mountain

AM: swim - masters - 4000 yards
Lunch: run - 60min easy

AM: run - easy 30min
Lunch: strength - core/stretching
PM: swim/run - Club Aquathlon - 1000m swim/3 mile run

AM: swim - masters - 4000 yards
Lunch - strenght - upperbody (light)

I am feeling suprislingly fresh today. The aquathlon was a good time last night and I took third once again. My swim is continuing to improve and I keep coming out of the water in a better position with less people to track down on the run. Last night I was the sixth person out on the run and ran my way up to third. Jim and Marc finished first and second once again.

I have some pretty intense stuff lined up for the weekend including a XC 5k, but I might have to get a little creative with scheduling as it is supposed to rain for the first time in months.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Xterra National Championships - Tahoe - 10.1.2006

I don't even know where to start. The last week has been kind of nuts. I'll just go over it day by day. I have a lot more on my mind about this race that I will have to save for another post.

AM: swim - Masters 2500 yards
PM: ride - easy 40 min spin on mtb

On Thursday I got got all my gear ready to go and got in an easy swim and bike. While I was on my ride both of my quads started cramping up. It was really weird because I never cramp up. Luckily I had a massage lined up for later in the day.

PM: ride - 3 hr Pre-Ride of bike course

We got on the rode at 3am and arrived in Tahoe around 1130am. The weather was perfect and we headed out on the trail around 1pm. The ride was epic. The view from the flume trail that overlooks lake tahoe is one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen. As killer as the scenery was the ride was tough. Tons of climbing and it was really sandy. There is a lot of single track on the course and even where it was double track there was really only one line due to all the sand.

AM: run - 1 loop of the run course (easy) - 5k
PM: swim - easy 1000m swim in the lake

We headed down to the race site on Saturday morning to watch the start of the Xterra Nevada Sport race. They were racing the same course but with only one loop (750m) of the swim and one lap (5k) of the run. We hung out and watched the race and then headed out for an easy run of the course and then hit the water for a swim.

Saturday night we went to the Xterra dinner and it was killer. Great food, cool awards presentation, and slide show of all the races. There we even a couple of photos of me from the race in Richmond, VA. I got a couple of strange looks when I headed up to the bar and ordered an ice cold Sierra Nevada. I hung out with quite a few of the guys from my AG and they were all really cool guys. The vibe at Xterra races is quite a bit different than the road races that I have done. Everybody is more laidback and just ready to just lay it down on the course.

Sunday: The Race


The race started at 9am so I was up a 6 for some coffee and breakfast. It was cold outside. It was about 40 degrees when we got to the race. Everybody had beanies and gloves on. It looked more like everybody was going snowboarding as opposed to swimming, biking, and running. I warmed up with a couple of miles of running and the put on my wetsuit and got in the lake. I did a longer swim warm-up than usual. I really wanted to acclimate to the cold water and lack of oxygen.

Swim: 1500m (2 x 750m laps w/ 150 meter run in between)
Time: 30:34 (swim,run to T1 - 1/3 mile,T1)

With a couple minutes to go before the start I spotted a quite a few of the guys in my AG so I went and got in the mix with them. We were to the far left and lined up right behing a group of pro men. I was really loose and relaxed prior to the start. When the cannon went off it was mayhem. The first 250m to the first buoy was rough. Everybody was all over eachother and combined with the lack of oxygen due to the altitude it made breathing tough. I was able to hang with the guys in my AG througout the first lap. When I hit the beach and started to run the 150 feet to start lap two my legs were super heavy. I tried to run but felt like I was barely moving.

Lap two was pretty uneventful. I didn't feel like I was swimming fast but I was consitent and didn't get dropped. After the second lap it was a 3 minute run to T1 and my feet were completely numb.

Pretty standard. I had a bit more trouble getting my bike shoes on because my feet were numb but other than that I was in and out.

Bike: 32k
Time: 2:07

A mile out of T1 you hit Tunnel Creek road and then it's 1600ft straight up(2500ft of climbing on the course). The climb was tough and super sandy. It is a double track road, but due to all the sand it rode like single track. For most port there was single line with limited areas to pass. This is probably where I made mistake on the day. I wasn't aggressive enough. I should have passed more people before I got to the flume trail (all single track/no passing). I got passed on the bike by some guys but also did my fair of share of passing during the 32k, but I wasn't nearly aggressive enough.

T2: In and out - Passed a guy in my AG in T2 and never saw him again.

Run: 10k
Time: 37:50

The run course was pretty fast. There weren't any hard climbs just a lot of twisting, turning, and obstacles. I passed a lot of people on the run and finished with the 19th fastest run split overall and 3rd amateur on the day. I felt pretty strong on the run.

Overall: 3:16
8th AG
74th overall

I am not very satisfied with my performance. From a physical standpoint I felt great but I didn't "race" hard enough. It's all mental. I don't know way to say it. I didn't take the chances I needed to on the bike. I could have made more moves on people and really pushed the pace on the climbs. I felt physically capable of doing it, but I held back. I raced safe and racing with that mentality on this course is not going to cut it. My coach called me out on it too. I am stoked to have a coach that is not going to sugar coat anything and will tell me how it really is. I have a lot of work to do and it's just not in the water and on the roads and trails.