Monday, August 27, 2007

calculating risk...

Training Fuel from El Caribe - Carne Asada and Chicken Taco

El Caribe is rad. It's a healthy mexican joint right by my house that I just found. They don't use oil or lard. All their meat is lean sirloin, mahi mahi, chicken breast, and salmon. They even use low fat cheese and you can get whole wheat tortillas. Perfection.

ok... training...

I should feel shelled right now... I think. With the past couple of weeks and building intensity I don't think I should be feeling as good as I do right now. I have put in a big couple of weeks that have been filled some ass kicking sessions, which included a mountain bike race today. I don't know if it was the base work I did over the past 6-8 weeks, the hundreds of miles I put in on the bike, the lack of hard running, but my body is responding! I'm stoked.
My overall volume was down just a touch from last week due to Mountain bike race yesterday, but still I got in plenty of hard work. I kind of went back and forth all week whether to rest up for the sunday mountain bike race because I had a chance to win the overall series, but that would mean cutting out my hard hill/interval (running) on Friday. After much deliberation I decided not to rest for the race. The mountain bike racing is not my focus and is just for training so going in with a full week of training in my legs was call. So Friday morning was an ocean swim and then I did the run workout on Friday at lunch and took it out. Saturday was another solid day. Another ocean swim and then I rode the Swami's loop and kept it in the endurance zone (power/watts) for the most part.
Running hill intervals. Killer looking graph.

Rim Nordic #4 (Season Finale) Race Report:
Yesterday was the last race of the 4 race Rim Nordic series and I had done the first two, but missed the 3rd race (stage race) because Xterra Snow Valley was on the same day. For the overall points series they count your three best races so with one more good race I knew I had a chance to lock up the overall win for the season. I really contemplated not going on Saturday afternoon. I was tired and my friends backed out so I was going to have the head up solo. Thanks to some convincing from Beth, my brother, his girlfriend, ultimately the flip of a coin I decided to charge it.
I got up to Running Springs about 8am, registered, and then started my warm-up just after 9. I wanted to make sure to get in a really good warm-up and I was actually feeling pretty good. So at 10:06 am my race started. I got a pretty good start off the line and out of 20+ guys I was sitting at about 7 or 8 as we entered the single track climb. I didn't pre-ride the course because they only make minor changes from race to race. I was bummed to see that they took out quite a bit of the harder single track climbing on the first half of the course and added to the descent on the backside. Defintely not a change that suited my strenghts. I worked my way through some guys in the single track, one guy in AG passed me, and I passed others in my AG. About half way through the single track climbing I got stuck behind some guys from the wave ahead of me and the guy in my AG was able to get a pretty gap on me. Once I got around them I layed down and continued to push it once I got to the fire road climb (check the 197 bpm's in the chart below).
Once I got to the ridge line single track I kept pushing the pace and was passing people in the earlier waves. Then it was time to descend. The single track descent was sketchy to say the least. It hasn't rained up there all summer so all the switch backs were like full-on sandboxes and littered with rocks. I saw a couple of guys go down pretty hard. I had to make a descision. Open it up, take some risks, and try to get to the #1 guy or play it safe, hold on to 2nd, clinch the points series, and not hurt myself before my big races. It was a pretty easy descision to make eventhough I was in "race mode". So I just made sure to keep the rubber side down through out the descent and just work on my techinical skills. The 2nd lap was more of the same. I pushed really hard on the climbs and and go closer to 1 but then he let it go on the descent. I had a good gap on third place so I just held on, stayed up and finished 2nd.
I ended up with the overall series win for the Sport 25-29 division and had a really good time in the 3 races I did. For winning the series I got a nice big beer and a 1st place plaque/frame. I will definitely be back next year and moving up to Expert. Mountain bike racing is killer. Oh yeah... I rolled straight through finish line to my truck, changed into running gear and a got in a 35 minute t-run out on the trails at Snow Valley. It was a killer brick.. and perfect for Xterra.
Rim Nordic #4


waiting for the awards:

Thursday, August 23, 2007

twisted by design...

I am in the middle of another tough week. As you can see above I took a little spill on my ride yesterday morning. Nothing like hitting the ground, getting covered with dirt first thing in the morning. I swear all the guys I work with probably think I am in some kind of Fight Club. It seems like I always have some kind of visible scrapes, bruises, and cuts on my arms and legs. The crash wasn't a bad one. I wasn't really paying attention and my front tire washed out. I went down on my left side and just got some minor scraps on my elbow, hip, and shin. Nothing a little neosporin won't fix.

I am really stoked about my training schedule right now. I did alot of experimenting over the past couple of months to see how my body would respond with different schedules and playing around with rest and recovery time. My plan right now is pretty dialed in and defintely has adequate recovery workouts and rest time. My body is responding to the intensity very well and I have felt strong on the hard days and defintely pretty wiped out once the mellower days roll around.

MTB hill repeats yesterday morning (as you can see the ride started at 5:52am):

Wednesday night dinner. Fish sandwich (alaskan cod fillet sauteed in olive oil and old bay, whole grain bread, lite swiss cheese, spinach, tomatoes, onions):

Trevor rides for Matisse & Jack's and has hooked me with some samples. They make killer bars that you bake at home. You just add some unsweetened applesauce & yogurt, and then throw them in the oven for 30 minutes. They are killer, especially with coffee in the morning before a workout.

baked bars: Protein, good fats, whole grains = high-quality calories
nutrition info (per bar): 180 cals, 4.5g fat, 24g carbs, 10g protein.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Tagged... I never do this....

I have never responed when people have "tagged" me on my blog, but that's usually because I barely have the time to post as it is. But today I have a couple of minutes and because JP and Rachel both got me on the this one I'm giving it a go.

Job’s I’ve Held (in order):
box assembler
Operations Dept @ an ampitheater
Delivery truck driver
Surf shop manager
Electronics Technician (Coast Guard)
Network Recovery Engineer
IT Engineer
Network Engineer (current)

Movies I Can Watch Over & Over:
wedding crashers
anchor man
Old School

Guilty Pleasures:
Mexican food
Kettle chips

Places I Have Lived (in order):
San Diego, CA
Virgina Beach, VA
Port Canaveral, FL
Petaluma, CA
Virginia Beach, VA
San Diego, CA
Carlsbad, CA
Cardiff by the Sea, CA
Encinitas, CA
Carlsbad, CA (current)

Shows I Enjoy:
Top Chef
Hell's Kitchen
Man vs. Wild
Rob & Big
Flight of the Condors
Good Eats
Iron Chef

Vacation Spots:
Costa Rica
St. Tomas
Key West
Dominican Republic
Vancouver, BC

Favorite Foods:

Websites I Visit Daily:
various triathlete/endurance sports blogs

Body Parts I have Injured:
Awards I’ve Won:
numerous sports awards (baseball, triathlon, running)
numerous work related awards

Nicknames I’ve Been Called:

that's it ...

Monday, August 20, 2007

Putting in the work...

I just finished one of the most challenging weeks of training I have ever put in and I am feeling great this morning. I topped out at just over 2o hours last week and somehow also made it to 2 Padres games (one win/one loss) and got a ton done at work. A solid week.

It felt really good to add back some intensity and speed to my workouts and the past couple months of more "base" focused training is defintely paying off. I had one solid bike and run interval session, both really focused on Xterra racing... hills. I won't get into the details right now but by they end of both sessions I was barely hanging on which was the plan. Each of these workouts will be repeated each week with the duration of the "hard" intervals getting longer so it should be interesting to see how my strength and speed progress.

I also upped my swim volume with 2 hard masters sessions, 2 easy drill focused sessions in the work pool, and 2 long aerobic ocean swims. The swim is starting to come back around.

On saturday I got in a 3.5 hour offroad ride which included climbing black mountain twice. It was the first time I had been out there since before Temecula and on the Epic. I felt great on the climbs and in the heat... It was 90 by the time I got to the top the second time. By the time I got back to my truck it was really hot and I was kind of dehydrated. The plan was for a 30 min T-run but I cut it back to 20 and was able to put in a good effort.

Sunday was pretty typical. Long ocean swim then straight out for my long run in San Elijo lagoon. Right after it was right back in the ocean to cool off, bodysurf for a bit, and just relax. It was a killer day. I sat on the grass at Fletcher's cove, drinking my recovery shake, stretching, and just being stoked to be out training. I capped the day off with a mellow recovery spin, a soak in the hot tub, a couple of beers, and some fajitas.

Post swim/run stretching. Killer day.

Pre-ride snack: Dark whole grain toast, powerbutter, banana, granola:

Monday morning/post huge week brekkie... refueling/recover: scrambled eggs (1whole,3whites) with onions, green peppers, roma tomatoes, low fat cheese, avocado, tomatillo salsa + whole grain bagel with jam.


I'm kind of a big padres fan.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Solid Training and good eating...

So this week kicked off my specific build up to Xterra Nationals (9/30) and Worlds (10/28). For the better part of the last 2 months I have back in base building mode with an obvious focus on the bike. I got in a lot of miles both on and off road. I cut back a bit on the running on swimming but still managed a lot of long hilly runs topping out at 60 minutes and averaged about 10,000+ yards a week swimming between the pool and ocean. I also did a couple of fun races and overall am coming out of this phase feeling really good and ready to start throwing down some hard workouts.

This week I headed back to masters and have been basically been getting my ass kicked. I haven't been to Masters since the week before the Xterra West champs, but it's time to get some speed back and there is no other way. I have also already got in a good bike interval/hill session and tomorrow have a pretty challenging run workout on tap. The intensity feels good and my body is ready to handle it.

With the increasing intensity and more challenging workouts I am paying close attention to my diet. From my last post some of you may have thought that I fell off the "healthy eating" wagon, but that is far from the case. My diet has been awesome for the past couple of weeks and occasionally indulging on some beer and mexican is a necessity. As I have done in the past I am going to start covering more of what I am eating along with some photos. I like taking photos of food... I don't know why but I do. So here's some of the stuff I have been eating this week:

Monday Nights Dinner: Sauteed Turkey breat strips with red onion, red & green bell peppers, mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes

Then I mixed it with: mixed greens, feta cheese, Quinoa pasta (looks like couscous), whole grain croutons, and a balsalmic mustard dressing (I made this too). The best part is it only took about 15 minutes to make.
Pre-mix/Post Mix:

Some typical stuff I take to work on a daily basis:

Tuesday night I had a late meeting at work and still needed to get in 90 minutes on the bike after work. I got done with my ride about 6:45pm, showered, and needed some thing quick to eat. I always keep stuff like this in my freezer for when I don't have time to cook. I know frozen foods aren't best but it's better then succumbing to eating something that is not good for me just because I am starving and short on time.

Of course I ate the whole thing and it was killer.
Total: 360 cals, 6g fat, 52g carbs, 20g protein.

and of course I also had a salad:

Wednesday morning after my hard effort on the bike I had my favorite breakfast: Oatmeal. This mix had: 1 cup Bear Naked 100% Organic Whole Grain Medley, 1 scoop whey natural protein (17 grams of protein/flavorless), cinnamon, 1 packet French Vanilla Splenda, and 1/2 cup of organic bluberries:

Here are couple of other things I really like from CedarLane. I'll throw these in my lunch if I don't have time to make something.

One last thing before I wrap this up. NUUN just put a testimonial from me on their site. I can't say enough good things about NUUN or the people that work there. I am stoked to be racing for them this year.
From the NUUN site:
xterra national and world championships here we come!

*NOTE: james is one of nuun's sponsored athletes. we think he's just great! however, we also thought we'd clarify when we say "here we come!" we actually mean "here he comes"... though we will definitely be cheering and screaming for him.

"the xterra season so far has been HOT! most xterra races get off to later starts and we are still racing in the middle of the day in 90+ degree heat. this has made staying hydrated both before the race and during the race itself very important. nuun has been a key to my success. by the time i finish the swim, come off the bike, and head out to the run it's already been a long, hot day. i take in nuun on the course and it is my sole source of electrolytes and regardless of the heat, i know when i hit the run i am hydrated and ready to throw down. nuun just makes it easy-no need to fumble around with pills or the sugary drinks offered on the course. i will continue to use nuun as i train and race myself to the xterra national and world championships."

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Happy Hour = Happy Legs?

Typical North County San Diego afternoon:

So I was dragging ass all last week. I was just beat. On Friday morning I got up and hit the TCSD Friday morning swim at Fletcher's Cove. After the swim I jumped on my bike and rode the 7.25 miles from Solana Beach to work. I just took it nice and easy, but still felt tired. After work it was back on the bike to my truck in Solana Beach and then I extended my ride a little bit to make it about an hour and to try and get the legs to come alive. I started to feel a little better but I was stoked to be back at my trunk and on my way home.

Once I got home it was a quick shower and then my brother and I hit happy hour at the Crazy Burro, a mexican joint right around the corner from my house. Fridays are kind of nuts there. With Karoke in full swing the patio and bar were pretty packed. Luckily we got some seats at the bar right in front of a TV with the Padres game on. Then it was all about some Dos Equis drafts, chips, guacomole, and carne asada tacos. It defintely hit the spot.

My plan for training for the weekend was just to kind of wing it and see how I felt. If I was too tired I was just going to shut it down and really focus on feeling fresh for the next block of training. I am kind of shocked with what happened.
I slept in Saturday monring and then took my time and got up had some coffee, a powerbar and was out the door to go run in San Elijo Lagoon. I ran for 70 minutes/9.75 miles and felt great. I could have easily went longer but I am trying to very slowly build up my long runs right now. I have not run over an hour since before Temecula. Just a lot of 45-60min, hilly running. Then the plan was to get out on the bike in the afternoon, again ready to pull the plug at any time.
The ride was killer. My legs felt as good as they have in a long time and it just wasn't my perception. Watts don't lie. The power numbers tell the tale of the workout.

Entire workout (165 watts):
Duration: 2:15:18 (2:19:01)
Work: 1327 kJ
Norm Power: 194
Distance: 35.268 mi
Min Max Avg :
Power: 0 526 165 watts
Heart rate: 90 178 144 bpm
Cadence: 29 141 87 rpm
Speed: 2.2 39.5 15.8 mph

3454ft. of climbing:

Mean Maximal Power Curve:

When I first started using my Power Tap I was kind of discouraged with my power output. You read about all these guys throwing down these huge power numbers, but then I had to realize it all really comes down to the power to weight ratio (w/kg). These days I am weighing in at a hefty 131 lbs so I am defintely happy with progress over the past couple of months. It's good have some measurable data and being able to track my progress has been rad.
After the ride I cruised for some dinner and beers at Karl Stauss. Saturday nights menu consisted of a killer gilled portabello mushroom sandwich and a personal favorite, Red Trolley Ale.

Sunday I started the day with a 1.5 mile ocean swim at Feltchers cove (obviously after some coffee). I headed out solo and just cruised. It was just a mellow aerobic swim. Then I headed home chowed down on some oatmeal, watched the Padres game, and then hit the trails for some MTB action. I had another solid session on the bike with quite a bit of climbing. I didn't pin it on any of the climbs, but just sat in and grinded them out. I also managed to take spill in the last 20 minutes. Nothing major but nothing like going over the bars to finish off a solid weekend on training. The intensity will start this week!
Duration: 2:16
Distance: 19.17 Miles
3375ft. of climbing

Post ride... covered in dirt and bloodied knee:

My post workout fix: Recover-Ease and PowerBar Recovery shake.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Dialing it back a bit...

So I am changing things up a bit. I was planning on heading out for the Palomar Challenge tomorrow. It looks like a killer time and it would for sure testing my climbing legs, but I am tired. Racing the last two weekends in a row and the big weeks that preceeded took quite a bit out of me. Last weeks race was a tough one and it took longer to recover from than I anticipated.

Palomar Challenge route:

Next week begins my specific build up to Tahoe and Maui. There will be more Xterra/race specific intervals and workouts so I need to be sure I get off to a good start. The last thing I want to do is crush myself this weekend and have half-assed workouts next week while I am trying to recover. So this weekend I will still be getting in the ocean, out on the roads and trails, but not pushing too hard. I am just going to kind of relax, drink some beers, bbq, watch some baseball, and get ready to hit it hard next week.

That's it...

Monday, August 06, 2007

Xterra Snow Valley - Race Report

I am back from a weekend up in the mountains and another solid training race is in the books. It was a fun weekend of training and racing.

On Thursday evening I picked up my friend Tom from the airport and we headed back up to my place in Carlsbad. On Friday morning we met up with Trevor and a group from the Triathlon Club of San Diego for an ocean swim at Fletcher's cove. After the swim we hit the Naked Cafe for an epic breakfast. After breakfast we let out food digest and then the three of us headed out to Penasquitos Canyon for mellow offroad ride. It was pretty warm but the ride was fun.

We hit the road for Running Springs late Saturday morning. We arrived at the Snow Valley ski resort (race site) a little after noon and set out to pre-ride a lap of the bike course. We had heard rumors that the lake level was very low, and even that they may turn the race into a duathlon. It was hot as we headed up the initial climb to the lake. Once we got to the lake it was clear that the swim was going to be interesting as they were starting to drop the buoys. It was basically a big mud puddle with the level being about 15ft lower than the year before. We finished pre-riding, picked up our packets, and then headed back down the moutain to our hotel.

Race HQ:

The Lake. Last year the water was up to the shrubs on the shoreline.

The lake again. You can see the normal water link on the damn.

The Race:

After an oatmeal breakfast at Denny's we headed back up to Snow Valley. We got there in plenty of time, set up T2, and then rode up to the lake. I felt good, not 100%, but it was just a training race so I wasn't worried about it. I set up T1 at the lake and then jumped in the water for a quick warm-up. The water was nasty and kind of chilly. Definitely not the 75+ degrees I was told the day before. When I got out of the water and in the starting coral I was kind of cold. Not a good thing. It doesn't take much to make me cold and being cold before a race is never a good sign for me.

The swim was interesting to say the least. It was 2.5 laps and I have no idea how long it was. After each lap we exited the water, ran 25 yards, and then dove back into the sludge for another lap. On the first lap I comfortably swam with a pack and wasn't pushing too hard. The 2nd lap was more of the same but some the leaders started to pull away from me. When I dove back in for the last half lap the water was disgusting from all the mud/sludge being churned from all the swimmers. When diving I managed to swallow to big gulps of water and it was nasty. I got back on track and finished the swim with the leaders just ahead of me.

End of one the laps (me on far left in red B&L kit):

Horrible. Probable my worst transistion ever. When I got out of the water I felt like I had just pounded 5 jack and cokes. I was staggering all over the place. It was probably from the altitude (lake was at 7000ft.) but it's never affected me that much before. As I got to my bike I was right where I wanted to be. The guys I wanted to ride with were just getting to their bikes and Trevor was riding out of T1. In my "inebriated" state I could not get my shoes on. I was fumbling around all over the place and could not buckle my shoes. Finally I got them on and then bolted out of T1.


Once on the bike it was tough going. I was swerving all over the place and my stomach was very upset from the lake water. Due to my poor T1 the pack I wanted to be in were a more than a minute up on me. To make matters worse both my quads locked up on the first climb. There is no other way to put it other then I felt like crap. I could not get into any kind of rhythm and a couple of guys than I know I can ride with easily pulled away from me. At the end of lap 1 my legs were finally starting to loosen up and my stomach was calming down. On the climb back up to the lake I finally found a good rhythm and started to reel some guys in. I worked pretty hard on the second lap and probably made up a little time on the leaders but they were still a ways up the road.

Again not my fastest. I could not get one of my buckles on my MTB shoes to release. I finally just ripped it off and headed out for the brutal run in 7th place overall and 3rd in my AG.

This run is gnarly, and by gnarly I mean incredibly hard with tons of steep climbing and descending. I could see 4th, 5th, and 6th place all ahead of me. I knew I could get the 6th (John Hall) place but 4th (Tom O'brien) and 5th (Brian Barrett) were far ahead. They are both strong runners so I knew I was going to have to work really hard if there was to have any chance of even getting close to them.

I caught 6th place on the first climb out of T1 and then continued along the ridge line to the first steep descent. As soon as I started plowing downhill both my quads locked up again... great! At this point I didn't think there was any chance of moving up. Running on the flats or downhills hurt, but I could climb without too much pain. I made the decision to work as hard as I could on the climbs, try to cruise the flats, and take it easy on the decents. The good thing about this course when you are trying to track people down is that it is wide open and for the most can see where your competition is. I could see that I was starting to take time out of 4th and 5th. I caught Tom (5th) at the top of the 2nd big climb and was still a ways back on 4th. The third climb is the steepest and it's brutal. I was basically power walking with my hands on my knees but was still moving up but then it was time to descend again and Brian (4th) was able to extend his lead on me a bit on the descent. When we got to the turn around I was about 10 seconds down on him and I knew my only chance was going to be making a move on the 1/4 mile climb. So I made my move and was able to build a gap as I reached the peak. Now all I had to do was hold on.

I was able to hold on with about 30 seconds to spare and basically limp across the line with my left quad on fire.

4th Overall
2nd AG

I am glad this was just a training race because it was a tough one. I really don't think I had the swim, bike, or run I am capable of but I am still stoked with the results. I had to really fight it out and push through some tough circumstances.

After the race my quads were really locking up. At first I was barely able to pedal my bike to cooldown. We all cruised a couple of miles to cooldown and chatted about the race. My stomach was was still pretty jacked too. I didn't really eat anything until later that night and some Ice cold Tecate and Pollo Asado Nachos seemed to do the trick. Overall it was a killer time. Racing at altitude is defintely tough!

Top 6 overall - L to R: me(4th), Tom O'brien(6th), Ben Travis(2nd), Brain Barrett(5th), Trevor Glavin(3rd), Will Kelsay(1st - Pro)

Tom getting his dear ready at the luxurious Good Nite Inn:

The boys again - L to R: Trevor, Paul, Tom, Jonathan, Steven, Will, and me.

ready to go:

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Race/Recovery Week

After a pretty tough 2.5 weeks it's time for some recovery and some Xterra racing. The race last weekend was just used as a good threshold workout and for fun. Mission accomplished... and winning was pretty killer too!

I will be racing Xterra Snow Valley this weekend and am really looking forward to it. I would classify this as a "B" race as I don't need the points for Nationals (already qual'd) and I am pretty much rebuilding my base right now for Xterra Nationals and Worlds. But... It's an Xterra race and I plan on going full blast. I finished 2nd in my AG and 3rd Overall there last year and would like to do better.

The course is short but pretty challenging. The swim will be really short this year due to the lack of rain and low water level in the lake. Right now they are calling for an 800 yard swim. The bike is only 11 miles, but with 2,000 ft of climbing. The run is brutal! Defintely one of the hardest Xterra run courses out there. Again it's short, only 4 miles, but has plenty of steep climbs. Oh yeah... and this all takes place above 6500 ft.

I was pretty beat down after the past couple of weeks and the race on Sunday. Monday and Tuesday were super easy days. This morning I hit a little intensity on the mountain bike and then an easy run at lunch. The rest of the week should be pretty fun. My friends Trevor and Tom are both coming in town for the race and we are going to get some light training in on Friday and Saturday. Both of these guys are fast. Trevor has beat me in every race I have ever raced him in... so needless to say it will be fun trying to track him down on Sunday. The 3 of us have raced in 3 races together so far this year: AZ Xtreme Offroad Triathlon, Xterra West Champs, and the Xterra East Champs. It's always a good time racing and training... and drinking with these guys. So the weekend should be a fun one.

I am also super excited about my next block of training but I will get to that later.