Monday, December 31, 2007

2007. Done.

Well here it is... the obligatory year end post. I think it's somewhere in the terms & agreement when you sign up for a blogging service that you MUST have a season review post. Lucky for me (and you) I already re-capped all my racing a month ago. You can find it here:
2007 Season Review

I got some good news this week. I was selected as a 2007 Xterra All-American. I am definitely stoked go get recognized for racing hard all year long. You can read about it here on Inside Triathlon:
2007 Xterra All-Americans

I am back in San Diego and I have mixed feelings about it. Don't get me wrong I love it here but every time I get to spend time with my family I don't want it to end. I have given some thought to moving back to the east coast but I know the lifestyle I live right now is not possible back there.

The flight back to the west coast was a long one and I finished reading "The Paleo Diet for Athlete's". It's a great book with a lot of great information... not all of which I think will work for me. Ironically I already follow a lot of the aspects of the diet (high protein/moderate starchy carbs and a lot of fruit and veggies). I really thought the chapters on fueling pre-workout, during training, and post-workout were killer. They put a lot of emphasis on recovery nutrition which I know is key and something that I know I can work on. There is not way that I could commit 100% to the Paleo diet. I like peanut butter, oatmeal, cereal, and yogurt too much. I will continue to follow my diet but here a couple of things that I took from the book that I will be adding to my diet:

1. more good fats. Flax and Olive Oil
2. Periodization of of Diet. (base = more fat/moderate carbs, build/peak = less fat/higher carb)
3. pre and post workout nutrition strategies
4. more* grass fed/free range lean meats.
*I already eat a lot of meat but it seem like it's 90% chicken and turkey. I need more red meat and fish. I also want to try some leaner cuts of pork.

I think that's it. One of my goals for 2008 is to re-vamp my diet. It's already pretty damn healthy but I think with addition of the items listed above and a couple of other things I can do better. I will get into that in my "2008 Goal Post" (another obligatory blog post).

Peace and Happy New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Good times and Good Eats.

I am having such a good time back on the East Coast that I have changed my flight to stay another day. I also want to see the New England Patriots take a crack at perfection. I was supposed to be in the air when the game is on but now I will be hanging out drinking beers with the family. Much better.

I got in another good run on Thursday. This time it was a tempo time trial on the track. My parents still live close the high school that I graduated from so I ran from the house up to the track and performed the following run test to get a gauge of my aerobic pace and I begin my 2008 assault.

From the Training Bible:
Tempo Time Trial. Warm-up about 15 minutes raising heart rate to 10 bpm below lowest heart rate in 5a zone. Then start 3 miles/5km on track at 9-11 bpm below lowest 5a zone number. Exactly! Time? Cool down in heart rate zone 1.

I warmed up with 15 minutes of easy running and 10 strides working my heart rate up. My LT is 176 bpm so I was going to try and stay between 165-167 for the test. I took mile splits and was pretty surprised. I was actually expecting to be a little slower right now.

3 mile: 20:50 - avg HR 166 bpm
1: 6:58 - avg HR 166 bpm
2: 6:56 - avg HR 166 bpm
3: 6:56 - avg HR 166 bpm

I will be repeating this test during my recovery weeks and hopefully will see the time drop quite a bit. It should be fun. I am all about measurable results these days.

One thing I have been a lot of here is eating... and eating good homemade food. Last night it was pizza night at the Walsh household and my dad killed it! He conjured up 6 gourmet pizzas with everything made from scratch including the dough, pork/fennel sausage, and creme fresh.

before the oven: pesto, sun-dried tomatoes, artichoke hearts, chicken, and feta.

before the oven: pesto, roma tomatoes, havarti cheese, and scallions

putting together another one. BBQ chicken... one of the favorites.

another killer, post oven: leaks, pancetta, onions, and goat cheese

good work dad... time for a beer.

later on it was back to the bar with some friends for more of this.

my brother, courtney (his gf), and me getting crazy celebrating their b-days earlier in the week

Over the course of 2 nights Chris and Courtney cleaned out the entire family playing c-lo and Left-Right-Center.

that's it for now!

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Kicking it on the East Coast

Another beautiful day in VB.

After a solid ride and a really mellow day of traveling I made it to Virginia late on the 23rd and have been having a killer time. The last two times I have come back here it has been for the Xterra East Champs and the last time my parents came to California to visit me it was the Cali 70.3. It is very nice to be able to just hang out and drink and eat whatever I want and just relax without the stress/focus that come with getting ready to race.

Pre-flight ride. Nothing 2:45 with 5,000+ ft of climbing!

Power data.

after a quick check in I was able to snag a seat at the bar in the airport waiting for my flight. Being able to knock back a tallboy of Red Trolley and watch football is about as good it can get in the airport.

Training wise I have done 2 x 60 minute zone 2 runs and hit the gym yesterday as the weather was shithouse. I have been staying very disciplined with my running. I have been paying no attention to pace and just making sure I keep the HR in check and focusing on turnover. Check the data below... yeah... I am pretty impressed with myself that I have been able to dial it back, resist the urge to run fast, and been able to keep the HR in zone 2 for large chunks of time. Hopefully this is building a good aerobic base and preparing me for the harder running that will come later on. I am really starting to get the itch to run again!

Getting to run with beth. wearing completely ridiculous gear helps with motivation to run slow/Zone 2... so does trying to keep up with a hot chick!

run data. Check all the time in Zone 2.

12.22 Long run with Beth around San Diego bay.

12.24 60 min run in VB.

12.25 clocking in another 60 minutes in VB.

Spending all this time relaxing has given me plenty of time to think about my 2008 goals. I will definitely post some of them up here soon, but not the race specific ones. I'll be keeping those to myself.

Dad doin' work.

the feast.

only on the east coast!

Time for me to get back to eating... and drinking. Happy Holidays!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'm on Vacation!

As of 10pm tonight I am officially on vacation.... and I definitely need it.

My first month of training for 2008 is about 3/4 of the way through. I will finish it up with a big weekend of training and then head back to Virginia Beach for my rest week and some well earned vacation. That's one of the reasons I started my first block of base training at the beginining of December. I knew I would be heading back east for the holidays and wanted to line that up with a recovery week. Work has been super busy and that along with getting back into the swing of training everyday and the increasing volume has left me in a zombie like state most weeknights (sorry beth!).

Here's what my day looked like today.

5am - wake up, coffee
6am - masters (1 hr/3300 yds)
730am work - work nonstop from about 8 am to 4pm
430pm - Run (1 hr/8+ miles - Z2)

data from my run. new training peaks graph.

6pm - get home make dinner

part of my dinner. Egg scramble: 3 whites, 1 whole egg, feta cheese, and Trader Joe's Greens with Envy (brocoli, asparagus, spinach, and lima beans), and hot sauce.

7pm - head back to work for cutover
10pm leave work... officially start vacation!
1030pm - put on some recovery tights and poor a glass of wine... good start to my vacation!


It's a pretty typical day but work has been taking up more time than usual.

To say the least I am really looking forward to my vacation and spending Xmas with my family. This will be the first vacation I have taken in the last couple of years that has nothing to do with a race and the it will mark the first time I have been home for the holidays since 2003. It will be nice to be able knock back beers with my Dad, brother, and friends and not have to worry about an upcoming race and not to mention having to pack a bunch of extra crap and a bike.

Another bonus is the Chargers on playing on Monday Night Football on Xmas eve. I can't think of a better way to spend Xmas eve than having some drinks with the family and watching the Bolts "do work".

Training... I have a big weekend on tap before I get on my Sunday afternoon flight. As for next week it will just running and hopefully getting in the gym a couple of times. I will be performing a run test on the track but more on that later.

I will post again soon... Virginia can get boring...

here's a couple photos...

Me and beth.... before she dropped the hammer last weekend.

another training peaks graph. trainer workout. Training Right DVD: Climbing.

Have a happy holidays!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Killer Weekend.

First things first. I finally purchased my own domain name and you can get to my blog at:

The original URL ( should still work and redirect you to the new one.

Second. Be warned. This post will be a long one. I have ton of photos from the past weekend. Read on.

I haven't posted my race schedule for next year but one of the events that has really stoked is Vision Quest. It's an endurance moutntain bike event on 3.1.2008. This race will kick my ass. It's 56.5 miles with 11,000+ ft. of climbing. To say the least I will have put in a lot of miles to make sure this thing doesn't totally annihilate. I figure this race will be a good motivator to get out the door and ride. Saturday was my first ride with a group of guys that are also doing Vision Quest and Counting Coup (race on same day but just a little shorter).

We started at the east side of PQ canyon and road all the way out to sycamore canyon mostly on trails I have never ridden before. When all was said and done we got in 4.5 hours and 5300+ ft of climbing. The climbing was tough at the end but most of the ride was aerobic... just what I need.
Here's a map of our route.

View Larger Map

Elevation profile.

The guys stopping for some grub and to take of some layers.

One the of the best parts of riding with these guys is that they always bring some post ride beers.

Sunday was another awesome day. Beth and I were up early and headed for Orange county for Xterra Crystal Cove trail race.

Thankfully I was not racing and was heading up there strictly as the support crew. The race wasa gnarly 15k and she killed it.

I got a free ticket to the gun show as she was trying to intimidate the other runners.

She was the top amateur female and the only woman that beat her was Heather Fuhr... pretty amazing. She finished in 1:13:34. You can read her race report over on her blog.

Beth picking up her 2nd overall and 1st place age group hardware.

The course was brutal. I went for a what I thought was going to be a mellow 30 minute run after they went out. I just followed the 5k course thinking it would be easy. It wasn't. I ran very slow to try and keep the HR under control but the climbs were killer. It made me very thankful that I was not running in the 15k.

"mellow" run profile.

Even though we were headed up there for the morning I sill wanted to ride. So what I did do? Well I packed my bike in the car in the morning and then rode home from Laguna along PCH. It was a killer ride and a good 3 hours spent in zone 2.

getting ready to hit the road.

ride data.

I got home just as the 2nd quarter of the chargers game was starting. Nothing like chips, dip, and beer straight off the bike!

celebrating a chargers touchdown... no time to change.

The Chargers killer the Lions and clinched the AFC west for second year in a row.

to say the least it was a killer weekend....

last photo... Beth and I totally raided the Clif bar tent at the race. Nothing like free samples.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

base, base, base...

Base training is hard... at least for me. I like swimming hard, grinding up hills on the bike, and running fast/hard and this time of year that is absolutely the opposite of what I should be doing. This is when it pays off to have somebody (or a group of people) in your corner keeping you in check.

I had a good talk with my friend/coach/mentor Jim Vance this week as well as a couple of email exchanges. Every time I talk to him he leaves with something to think about. In a sense I think I am a great athlete to coach because I have as much motivation and commitment as anybody out there. On the other hand I like to smack myself down too much. I am not a fan of rest days or traditional base training but I know they are essential to having any kind of success. Without proper guidance and advice I would probably dig myself into a deep hole before the season even began.

I have been working with Jim since my first season racing (2006). I can honestly say that I would not be where I am today without his help. He has taught me a ton over the course over that last two seasons and I have been able to watch him become a better/smarter coach. The though of myself coaching some athletes has definitely crossed my mind and is something that I am very interested in doing in the future. I just want to make sure I am as educated and knowledgeable about training before I step into that ring and just add to pool of unqualified coaches. It seems every triathlete these days is a coach and the good ones are few and far between.

so back to base training... here's a couple of graphs.

Zone 2 run. I pretty much had to walk up the hills to keep the HR down and still got it up to 180 bpm at one point. The avg was 158 thouhg. (my zone 2 is 150-159).

Hill Repeat workout # 2. This was my second crack and it looks better. Power (yellow) was up and HR (red) was down just slightly.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I am kind of lagging on the training updates but in away that's a good thing. It means there has been plenty of training going on, but also work haa been keeping me pretty busy.

A good chunk of my weekend was spent on the bike. I clocked in 7:45 in the saddle from Friday through yesterday. Friday was an 1:15 on the trainer while it was pouring (again) outside and then Saturday and Sunday were long endurance rides (Zone 2). It always amazes me that the more time I spend in the saddle the better I feel. Yesterday I put in the 3 hours with Tom (sorry for kind of blowing the "mellow - zone 2" ride) all around North County and could have easily rode another couple of hours.

I am slowly ramping up my running and got in about 15 miles last week and will extend that a bit this week. I also swam 8000 yards of mostly form/technique base swimming. The next two weeks are all about the bike to kick start my training before I head back to Virginia Beach for xmas.

I got an unexpected kick in pants yesterday when it comes to my swim training. I have just been keeping it really mellow with my swim workouts and swimming solo at lunch in the pool at work. Yesterday when I got to the pool at lunch I thought the water felt kind of cool and noticed the pool guy was there. I dove in and almost had a heart attack. The water was freezing and the pool guy confirmed that the heater was busted and would probably be a good week before it was fixed.

so what did I decide to do? Head back to Masters. My original plan was to keep swimming solo until January, but there is no way my scrawny butt is swimming in a cold ass pool and I need to be in the pool right now.

So this morning was my first masters session since mid October and it was quite the wake up call. The workout was 3600 yards and it was killer. I really enjoyed it and the motivation from the other swimmers really helped. I was pretty surprised that I was easily holding 1:22/100 yds throughout the workout. Not bad for December and the first time I have really swam hard in 6+ weeks.

ok...back to work...

here's a couple of photos from the weekend:

me and beth in the midst of one those "I am never drinking again" nights. good times.

mid-ride snack on saturday:

pre-ride fuel on sunday.

working on getting "totally yoked".

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Training: Phase one.

As much as I enjoyed the last month of just doing whatever I have felt like doing I do like having a plan and schedule. The first 3 months of my training will be about working on my limiters. It has become apparent that over my frist 2 seasons of racing that the two things really holding me back are my swim and my bike. While they both strong enough to keep me in contention it is frustrating to always have to track people down on the run.

Most of my races breakdown like this:

decent swim without pushing too hard, and I come out 1-3 minutes down on the leaders (amateurs).

the bike is the wildcard. Typically I lose another couple of minutes to the leaders leaving me about 5 minutes down at the start of the run. Maui was the first time where I acually made up time on the bike. Hopefully that trend continues in the future.

I usually have the one of the fastest, if not the fastest, run split when it comes to the amateurs. In xterra the runs are typically 10ks and making up five minutes, even with a fast run, is almost impossible unless somebody totally blows up.

So what am I going to focus on the next 3 months?

1. Bike - Force
2. Swim - Form/Technique

I believe these are two thing holding me back from really going as fast as I can on race day. My training will be focused around these two "limiters" through my base phase.

In the next couple of weeks I will be meeting with a highly reccomended swim coach and spending a lot of time in the saddle before I had back to Virginia Beach for Xmas.

Along with a lot of big gear work on the bike, long Z2-Z3 rides, aerobic running on hilly trails, and drill focused sessions in the pool I will also be hitting the weightroom on a regular basis. I think I will benefit from some added muscle and overall strength. Last year I lost quite a bit of weight without even trying. It just melted away as I was training for the 70.3. In 2006 I raced at ~142lbs and this year I was 10lbs lighter at ~132lbs. I feel like a lot of the weight I lost was muscle as I was already pretty lean. I also noticed a considerable loss of strength across the board in the gym. After a month of eating (still pretty healthy when compared to most) and drinking my face off I am at a whopping 135.6. I don't have any weight goals and am not really going to focus on weight. It will take care of itself. I just want to pack on some lbs of muscle and build a good foundation heading into the long Xterra season.

Here's some date from my first big gear/hill workout from Tuesday morning. Jim posted a great article on his coaching blog about tracking fitness using heartrate and watts. The workout below will be done weekly on the same hill. The only variable will be that I will increase the number of intervals as well as increase the duration as training progresses. This was my first crack at it:

4 repeats x ~10 min @ Zone 3 power (threshold, my current ftp is 250 watts).
1,3 seated @ 50-60 rpms, 2,4 standing @ 50-60 rpms

power agent graph. Pretty consistent.

Here's the data from my first seated and standing attempts. These will be my benchmarks.

Interval #1 (seated):
Duration: 10:55
Work: 157 kJ
TSS: 17 (intensity factor 0.966)
Norm Power: 241
Distance: 1.663 mi
Power: 314/240 watts
Heart rate: 166/161 bpm
Cadence: 70/57 rpm
Speed: 11.6/9.3 mph
Pace: 8:52/6:28 min/mi
Hub Torque: 236/172 lb-in
Crank Torque: 510/358 lb-in

Interval #2 (standing):
Duration: 11:08
Work: 160 kJ
TSS: 17.9 (intensity factor 0.982)
Norm Power: 246
VI: 1.02
Distance: 1.675 mi
Power: 337/240 watts
Heart rate: 167/161 bpm
Cadence: 70/53 rpm
Speed: 12.8/9.2 mph
Pace: 25:25/6:32 min/mi
Hub Torque: 231/170 lb-in
Crank Torque: 538/382 lb-in

Garmin graph of "my hill"

That's all for now... Time to go run!

Monday, December 03, 2007

Day one, week one....

My training for 2008 kicked off this weekend. After a couple of weeks of easier stuff and just doing whatever I wanted I am ready to go. I have not put in any challenging workouts or hard weeks of training in 7+ weeks. (2 week peak phase before maui, race week, 4 weeks post race) and my body feels great and really strong.

Last week I got on the bike quite a bit and that will remain my focus for the first 3 months of training. My plan is to ride, and ride, and ride in December, January, and February. The 2 month of cycling focus I put in during July and August paid huge dividends when it was time to throwdown in Maui.

I am still planning my race schedule but I will post at least the first half later this week. I am doing some new things that I am really excited about. Let's just say that I will either love riding my bike even more or I won't be able to stand the site of it.

I went to a Run clinic put on by Jim on Saturday and it was killer. We went over a lot drills and were filmed and analyzed running. My form is in good shape but there are some things I can work on and now is the time to do it.

Here's some photos from a ride Tom and I got in on Sunday. It dumped rain here all day Friday and the canyon was basically a swamp. We rode from the west to east and our bikes were covered in about 10lbs. of mud by the time we got to Canyonside Park. We then opted to head for Black Mountain on the roads. We climbed to the top, enjoyed the views and then cruised the 56 bike path back to our starting spot. I felt really strong on the climb, maybe the best I have ever felt out there. It was a good time... and that's what I am all about right now.

The ride:
2:40, 26.95 miles, 2328 ft. of climbing.

Pre-ride pit stop.

Temp at start of ride... not warm.

winter fuel.

looking back down the climb.

another view from the top. All the rain made for clear skies.

mud is good for your bike.