Sunday, March 30, 2008

Opening Day.

It's opening day...

I am pretty stoked that the Major League baseball season starts this week and the Padres home opener is tonight. I will be watching it on TV... Last year I was at the home opener and it was Killer!!!

My 2008 Triathlon season will also get underway this week. On Sunday I will be racing the Superseal Triathlon. It's an olympic distance race out on Coronado and should be good times. I am not resting at all for this race and it will actual come at the end of a pretty hard week as this week starts my second build phase. This race should serve as a good test and a killer workout. I have more test races coming up the following weekends which should really help me dial in my speed, work on transitions, and just get in "race" mode.

I will be doing the entire San Diego triathlon series on the Break Away Training elite team. It should be fun mixing it up with the some of the fast road guys around here and I really expect to get my ass handed to me but it will be fun to try and hang with them... and I know it will pay off when I toe the line for my Xterra races.

This past week was a recovery week and I was due. My first build phase went very well and my body handled the increasing intensity pretty well. I still had some challenging workouts this week but the volume was reduced quite a bit. Overall I feel great and rested... definitely ready to nail it this week.

Saturday I headed down the Oceanside to watch the Cali 70.3 and get in a run. I hung out, watched the swim start and then headed out for a 1:15 run. I met Beth halfway out and we ran back together and then went to watch the race. The race was killer. Biggups to all our friends that were out there racing.

Sunday morning I finished the week up with a mellow 3 hour mountain bike ride in PQ canyon with Tom and then hit the the trails for a 30 minute transition run. On the ride we just hit as much single track as possible and didn't do too much climbing. As always riding with Tom is a good time. I love the fact that I can ride for 3 hours and then run for 3o minutes and have it all be off road.

the bike.

the run.

Later on Beth and I made some fish tacos and knocked back some cold beers as we watched the first ESPN Sunday night baseball game of the year... ok I watched. She's not too much of baseball fan and she was busy making sure everything was going smoothly on the internet.

That's it. This week is going to challenging for sure and the race on Sunday should be interesting to say the least. I still haven't got my new Look TT bike so I will be riding my Cervelo. I should probably take it down from the hanging up in my garage... it's been there since last July after I raced the Solana Beach triathlon.... it hasn't been ridden since.

Here's a video from the 70.3. Potts heading out on the bike after crushing the swim. Go USA!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

I'm a tweaker...

So far this year I have done a lot of posting about riding and running but I can't remember the last time I posted something in regards to swimming. I like swimming, but I love riding and running and I don't think that will ever change. With that being said it has been going very well so far this year in the pool... and only in pool. I have yet to brave the cold ocean water and get in any open water swims.

I changed my approach to swim training this year. Last year I put in a ton of volume including a 20,000 yard week or two. I think I actually ended up getting slower as I was doing a lot of the workouts tired and just over being in the pool. This year I have slowly built up my volume to a pretty consistent 12,000 yards a week. I have placed most of my focus on my two masters sessions which are usually about 4,000 yards and then I have been swimming at my work pool at lunch. The masters sessions are when I have been working hard and the swimming at work has been more strength and drill focused.... and getting some tan action in the San Diego sun. This has been working well and I am motivated to get in the pool these days.

My work pool on a sunny day. swimming at lunch is pretty rad.

Yesterday was a day that will hopefully lead to me getting a bit faster in the water. I have been wanting to get my stroke analyzed for quite some time so why not get it done by one of the fastest swimmers in triathlon, if not the fastest. Yesterday Beth and I met up with Mark Van Akkeren who lead the swim in Kona last year with a 49:50. We spent an hour swimming and working on various parts of our strokes. To my surprise Mark said I was a "tweaker" and not a "re-builder." Meaning my stroke is not so awful that I need to start from scratch. He gave me quite a few things to work on and it all made sense. He knows a ton and is really good a conveying it to "non-swimmer" like me. I am pretty confident that if I can make the tweaks and do some of the workouts he suggested I can definitely take a good chunk out of my swim splits.

Mark Crushing the swim last year in Kona.

After the swim Beth, Mark, and I met up with Mac at Whole Foods for some chronic salads, hot coffee (we were freezing), and good times. Mac is making his pro debut at the Ironman California 70.3 on Saturday and we will be down there rooting him on. I know a lot of people doing the race so Saturday should be a good time and a lot more fun than actually doing the race... like last year. It's still probably the worst race of my short triathlon career. Also the pro race is stacked including Macca, Crowie, Potts, and a bunch of other big names... the women's side will be pretty gnarly too.

one more plug for Mark and then I am out... Check out his coaching website... he knows his shit.
Race Faster Multisport Coaching

Monday, March 24, 2008

good times and great training.

I can't believe I just finished the third week of my first "build phase" and how good I feel. Training is going well and we had an awesome weekend of camping and training out in Temecula.
View from the "Damn Climb". Vail Lake, Temecula.

We got out there Friday afternoon set up camp and then I headed out for easy lap of the Xterra course on my bike and Beth hit the trails for a run. It was perfect. Nice and warm. Friday night we hung out with all the folks from the tri club, ate a bunch of food, and knocked back some beers (probably a few too many!).

Our home for the weekend.

Camping essentials.

Despite it being pretty damn cold Friday night I slept better than I have in a long, long time. I always sleep very well when I camp. Saturday morning Luke met me and we headed out for some riding before the Racers and Chasers mountain bike race. I ended up with two laps of the Xterra course and one the Racers and Chasers course. Nothing like getting in 2:45 on the bike a couple hours before a race.

After riding we had a couple of hours to hang out, refuel, and get ready to race. The race started at 2pm and it was pretty warm (mid 80's) and not a cloud in the sky. Eight people lined up for the start of the Expert race (3 laps/18 miles) and I knew it was going to be tough. Robert, pro mtb'r and race director, was on the start line too. He wasn't racing against us but I knew he would definitely set a pretty gnarly tempo... the guy is mega fast.

The race played out a little differently than the last one. About halfway through the first lap Robert and the guy leading the race were pulling away. I was sitting in the 4th and right on third places wheel. I didn't want to try and get to the leader just yet, but put a move on third place when we got to the steep climbing and was able to get a good gap. I finished the first lap alone in second place and quite a ways back from the leader so it was time to work.

working hard up one the short steep climbs chasing the leader.

I just went hard and didn't let up and eventually caught the leader 3/4's of the way through the 2nd lap. I stayed on his wheel and put on the pressure. I could kind of tell he was getting tired and I was making him ride harder than he wanted to. He kind of blew it on a turn and I made my move and hammered by and didn't let up. I was able to get a really good gap and finished that lap in the lead. I continued to build my lead through the final lap and held on the for the win. I am definitely happy with the race and pretty shocked how much I still had in my legs after the hard week of training.

Saturday night we hung out with the tri club and ate a lot of food. It was pretty cold Friday night and Beth didn't sleep well so we packed it and decided to head home Saturday night.

We slept in on Sunday morning and then headed out for a long run on trails. I was pretty tired at the beginning but then came around. Nothing like 75 degrees, sun, 12 miles, and 2500 ft of climbing on a Sunday morning. With about 2 miles to go I was descending the single track and absolutely ate shit! Seriously. I tripped and hit the ground hard. My garmin flew off my wrist and my water bottle went flying into the bushes. I was in shock for a second and assesed the damage. Nothing too bad. Scraped up hand and both knees were bleeding. I didn't hurt but was just more of hassle. I got some pretty sweet looks finishing my run as I passed hikers and kids playing with blood stream down both my legs.

The rest of Sunday was spent relaxing and eating some killer salads on the beach for dinner with the champ.

grilled shrimp salads.

wine in plastic cups... that's how we roll.

This week is a much needed recovery week. I'll be keeping up with some of the intensity but cutting back on the volume. I want to make sure I fully recover from these last 3 weeks of quality training.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pro Multitasker

Multitasking: A mode of operation that provides for concurrent performance, or interleaved execution of two or more tasks.

Finish of St. Patty's Day 10k.

Yesterday was a gnarly day and just a part of another busy week. It seems as my workouts have gotten more intense so has work... but hopefully I am through most of that. Sometimes I look back at a day and don't really know how I get it all done, but it does get done.

I was supposed to hit masters this morning but decided to blow it off. I was at work last night until after 11pm making changes in our largest production datacenter (it's f'n huge). It was me and 5 other guys I work with and I was in control trying to keep everybody mellow. These guys tend to get stressed very easily. After a hard trainer session followed by a t-run first thing in the morning and not getting home until late I decided it was better to skip the 5am wake-up needed for masters and get some extra sleep.

Here's some graphs from a couple of my workouts this week. I'm loving the intensity. I have been finishing up these workouts feeling like I left it all out on the trails and the bike.

running hill workout. brutal.

another trainer session. I almost puked on the trainer.

This weekend should be fun. Beth and I are heading out to Vail lake (home of xterra west champs) for a camping trip with the Triathlon Club on San Diego. I am pretty much using this a mini-xterra training camp and all my training will be done on the course. There is also another Racers and Chasers mountain bike race out there on Saturday (perfect timing) and I will be racing that too. I am really looking forward to getting in a ton of riding and running on the course and just hanging out, bbqing, and knocking back some cold ones with good people. I am sure I will have a ton of photos from the weekend.

Here's some more photos from the race last weekend.

Floating. I always get photos like this from race. Feet not touching the ground. Home stretch.

I think this is between mile 4 & 5. Pain. Feeling it.

back to work....

Monday, March 17, 2008

Luck of the Irish (yeah, I'm Irish)

It's Monday morning, I have put in another good week of training, and I'm feeling really good about how everything is going right now. I am kind of shocking myself in some workouts right now with how I am performing... and that's a good thing.

Last week I made decision to run the St. Pattys day 10k. Beth was already planning on doing it along with quite a few other people that I know so I knew it would be a good time. But "a good time" is relative. 10k's on the road are hard. I would rather have my pace and effort be determined by the terrain (trail running) rather than how I feel or the guys I am racing with/against. Last year I ran 34:11 and finished 5th overall. So after a hard week of training I toed the line nice and early Saturday morning.

Pre-race dinner. $10.00 Wholefoods salad bar action.

Getting ready. Putting on the lucky pink headband Beth got me for Xmas.

My goal was to just to try and maintain contact with the lead pack and break 34 minutes on this long course (6.32 miles). When the gun went off, as usual, a bunch of guys took off... fast. I knew who the "fast" guys were so I just kept my eye on them and made sure they didn't get too far away. By the first mile there were 3 guys about 20 yards up the road and I was in the second pack of 4. I just sat in and stayed in control. Two of the guys in the front pack blew up around 2.5 miles in and we passed them. Local fast guy and eventual winner, Paul Wellman was in my pack and made a move to get to the leader and there was no way I could go with him. I hung back and ran shoulder to shoulder with a guy through 4.5 miles and we were in 3rd & 4th. During mile 5 the guy that I was running with got a little gap on me and started to pull away but I got back on his shoulder just before we got off Fiesta Island.

Last year I faded on the last mile and ran mile 6 in 5:34. This year I made sure I still had enough to throwdown a hard last mile. I was able to pull away and into 3rd place all by myself and maintain the gap to the finish... and Pr'd with a 33:56 taking third overall and first in my age group. Definitely pretty happy with the results, but it would be nice to rest up sometime to see what I can really do on fresh legs.

1st place in my AG got me a sweet sweatshirt and coupon for one large 2-topping pizza from Domino's. Stoked.

Here's the stats:
Time: 33:56
avg Hr: 189 bpm
max Hr: 197 bpm

Mile splits:
mile 1: 5:14
mile 2: 5:16
mile 3: 5:27
mile 4: 5:34
mile 5: 5:36
mile 6: 5:17
last .32: 5:18/mi pace

Beth had a killer race and Pr'd! Coming off the injuries she had last year and seeing what she has accomplished so far this year is pretty amazing. She's going to be fast.

After the race I headed home and got out on the mountain bike for 90 minutes. I just kept it mellow, kept the climbing to a minimum, and rode some of the fun single track right by my house.

with all the rain the trails have taken on a totally different look and feel. They are mega fast and green with flowers everywhere. It's pretty awesome out there right now.

Sunday morning was time to ride. I slept in a bit because we supposed to rain and gnarly wind all day Sunday so I was just going to wake up and let the weather determine my plan of attack. Well I woke up to clear skies and cool temps. Seriously, not a cloud in the sky. I don't know how much the weathermen that are forecasting San Diego weather are getting paid but it's way too much.

I have been thinking about a new loop leaving from house that would include a lot of climbing and not having to ride any of the climbs more that once. It ended being a killer loop and right out my door. 72+ miles and 6,000+ ft. of climbing!

A view from the bottom of Torrey Pines. A perfect So Cal day!(where the hell is the rain and wind?)

What is Beth doing to me? Post-ride recovery! Golden Spoon. Peanut Butter and Peanut Butter cup.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Anaerobic Power Sprints and Vo2 Max Intervals.

I thought I would go with a blog title that was a little tougher than "abs 'n arms".

I almost forgot about this until I received another email from USAT on Wednesday.

I finished ranked 2nd in the 25-29 AG for the 2007 season in USAT off road category. I am pretty stoked about this. My homeboy Trevor edged me out for first. Last year I was 5th and got honorable mention. I know the USAT rankings don't mean that much but noneless it's nice to be recognized for all the hard work that goes into racing and having a good season. So that makes two all-american awards in one year. The first one was the Xterra All-Americans that were published on Inside Triathlon's website.

Some of my homeboys killed it last year too.
Trevor Glavin: All-American, ranked 1st in 25-29 (jerk!)
Tom O'brien: All-American, ranked 6th in 30-34
Brian Barrett: Honorable Mention, ranked 7th in 25-29
Cody Waite: 7th Overall pro in Xterra US Tour (first year as a pro!)

I am pretty much done with a very busy week at work which has had me juggling my workout schedule a bit but I have still been able to get everything in. I even found a new hill in San Elijo Lagoon to do my hill work on. It's perfect and I'll definitely be back out there.

the weather has been incredible lately in San Diego. The view from the entrance to San Elijo Lagoon.

Other than that training is going well this week. My body handling the added intensity pretty well. No aches and pains. I try to have 2 hard days in a row (Tues/Weds) and then an easier day (Thurs) and then hit it hard Friday, Saturday, and Sunday before having another mellow/rest day on Monday. This format works well for me but I am definitely pretty tired by Thursday and Sunday afternoon.

20 Minute interval with "anaerboic power sprints"... yeah... it was hard.
red = HR, yellow = power, green = cadence (rpm)

I have been doing my long runs on Thursdays at lunch. Here's today's. I squeezed it in between meetings and barely made it back in time.

This Saturday I will be running the St. Patty's day 10K. I am substituting it with my tempo run workout. The course is actually a little long (6.35 miles instead of 6.2) according to my Garmin and other athletes that have run this race many times. So it's not a PR course but I ran it last year so it will be interesting to see how my times stack up. Last year I finished 5th overall and 2nd in my AG with a time of 34:11. It should be a good time no matter how it goes.

So now it's Thursday night and I am sitting hear in recovery tights with a glass of cab and getting ready to crash. Tonight I helped out a the Break Away Training weekly track workout and then grabbed some Whole Foods for dinner with Luke and Felipe. Luke is doing much better after the crash which I couldn't be more stoked about.

I have another "gnar" trainer session first thing in the AM... time for bed, but here's some random photos for you.

Dinner Wednesday night. Steamed veggies and sauteed shrimp in an Asian honey mustard sauce. Chronic.

We have free beverage vending machines at work. They usually have water and soda, but now they have added big ass energy drinks. Seriously, $3 drinks for free around a bunch in IT geeks... the machines are emptied the same day they are filled... no joke.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Do'in work...

Literally... In a couple of different ways.

First. My job. My plan this week was to head to Solvang to get in some riding with Lucho, but work prevails. A major datacenter outage last week has spawned a week of intense meetings dealing with things like RFO (reason for outage) and RCA (root cause ananlysis). Thankfully this major F-up was nothing of my doing but my boss wants me to be the one to make sure it doesn't happen again... so I had to cancel my plans to travel and train with the big boys. It sucks but I can't complain. The flexibility of my job 90% of the time makes situations like this one very easy to deal with... so I will just be training at home the week. No worries.

Second. The trainer. As I enter my build phase my workouts on the trainer are getting significantly harder. I can definitely tell that I am considerably stronger on the bike now than when I started this training plan back at the beginning of January. I have never done this kind of specific training on the bike. I started with a bunch of skill/technique work and right now I am grinding some hard, brain-hurting intervals. The "work" (kJ) has doubled for the same amount of time spent on the bike. I am never so glad to get off the bike when these sessions end.

One of the latest torture sessions:

This past weekend was good one. Saturday was solid:
swim: 45 min - 2500 yards
MTB: 3:40 - 38 miles, 4600 ft of climbing, 4 x Black Mountain (2 seated/2 standing)
run: transition run, 30 min/4+ miles

Sunday I raced in my first XC mountain bike race of the season (I am not really considering Vision Quest a "race"). They have recently started a weekly mountain bike race series called Racers and Chasers out at Vail Lake in Temecula. It's pretty low key but they race on a lot of the same trails that are used in the Xterra West Champs so the more I can get out there and race the better. The course we raced on Sunday incorporated two key sections of the Xterra course. The race was three 6+ mile laps. So including the pre-ride I got to ride these sections 4 times. This is going to be huge come race day.

I met my homeboys Luke and Eric at Vail lake around 11am for pre-riding. Eric was racing but Luke decided it was better not to race and just ride long. We did one loop of the Xterra course and then one lap of the race course. Good times.

the boys chillaxing.

By the time the race started at 2pm I was pretty tired and it was hot (85F). The turnout was small because of some other MTB races going on down here in socal. There ended up only 3 of us in Expert but I knew we would push each other... and we did. It was a mass start with all divisions heading out at the same time. I by no means got the haul shot. I think I was around 5th or 6th going into the first short, steep climb.

My goal was take it easy on the first lap and keep the other guys in sight and then make a move on the second lap and try to hold on. That's what I did and it worked. At the end of the second lap I was on the leaders wheel and just went for it.

I got gap and just kept pushing up the climbs and ended continuing to pull away for the rest of the lap. I just continued to push the pace on the final lap and felt good. I took the victory but more importantly I felt great.

Props again to Beth. She killed it as the support crew again! She even handed me bottles between laps and took some rad photos. I owe her... again. It's a good thing she can be paid back with large quantities of Golden Spoon.

$3.15 = cheap date

showing the support crew some love.

final descent.

that's it. back to the grind. thanks go out to Luke for taking some killer race photos of me.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

and it begins...

I recovered pretty quickly from VQ and even though it was longer than any ride I have been on this year I never really got out of my comfort zone. A couple of easy spins along the coast and an epic massage did the trick... and now it's time to get down to business.

Here's the only photo I have seen of me from VQ... and of course I am walking my bike. Sweet.

After a very successful 3 months of Base training it's finally time to start my favorite phase of training: Build. I am feeling really strong and more motivated than ever to dial it up. There are quite a few different names for the cycles in training but I have found that the Friel method/model of periodization works for me. It's basically Base, Build, Peak, Race. Depending on the amount of time you have before your A races the time in each cycle will vary.

The build phase is my favorite because it's when the intensity goes up... and for me it goes way up. I always forget how much I really like running and riding hard. A long endurance run does not give give me the same feeling or satisfaction as my ass kicking, xterra-specific, hill repeat workout. My trainer sessions are also right in line with my training cycles. They are getting f'n harder each session.

With harder work comes the need for more recovery time. Definitely something I need to stay on top of. I have a tendency to not want to hold back. I like going fast. I also need to stay on top of my diet... and by that I mean make sure I am eating enough. It seems when I start doing harder workouts I lean out very quickly and am always hungry. I can't eat enough. I weighed myself this morning and was 135lbs (I raced at 132lbs in Maui and I think that was too light). I really don't want to get any lighter than this. This is what I need to be racing at! Time to eat!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Vision Quest: Done.

Vision Quest:

54.93 miles
12,024 ft. of climbing.

That's what my Garmin read when I crossed the finish line Saturday at Vision Quest. My actual time was ~7:06. My Garmin pauses when I stop moving so the extra time is from stopping at the aid stations to fill bottles and to use the bathroom/bushes.

It was killer! I had more fun than I thought I would. I didn't approach this as a "race" but just a long training day. I figured it would be a sufferfest but honestly I felt pretty good the whole way. My plan was just stay on top of my nutrition and just keep it steady. I had a good idea of how hard the climbs would be, but was totally blown away by how fun the descents were. Miles and miles of fast, twisting single track... probably some of the best I have ever ridden.

The day started pretty early with a 3am wake-up. Beth and I stayed at her friends crib, Parker and Paige, in Mission Viejo so we were really close to the course. They cooked me up a killer pre-race meal. I had a couple good beers and two "personal" size pizzas. Soooo gooood.

So I was up at 3 for coffee, taking care of "business", and breakfast consisting of a PowerBar Performance Bar (peanut butter) and bottle of PowerBar endurance drink.... then more coffee. Beth is awesome... she got up just before 4am to drive me to the start (the start and finish were in different locations... and not close).

on the way.

Once at the start I got everything together and then natured called... again... not normal.... and Beth thought it was funny and decided to take a photo of my taking care of the business in front of my truck...

Once I had everything together it was off to the start line for the 5:30am gun.

The vibe at the start line was pretty mellow. The majority of the 500 racers are out the just to finish... and I was one of them. I took a PowerBar Gel before the start and was ready to go. When they sent us off it was pretty dark and just had a knog light on my bars which ended up being good enough but I just hung with some guys that had better lighting. A lot of people hammered off the start and I was just cruising and figured many of them would come back to me... and they did. The weather was good. It was in the mid 50's for the start and then after climbing 3,000 ft in the first 1:20 we were above the clouds and the sun was out and it was warm. The descents were chilly but not bad at all.

I am not going to go into too much detail about the actual race. It would just end up being too long. The climbs were long and arduous. I just sat in and kept up a good pace. I would catch people on the climbs, talk to them for a bit and then head on my way. I made sure to eat A LOT. It was nice having on my Garmin on my bars with a running clock. I just made sure to take in some calories at a set time. I alternated between powerbar endurance drink, power Gels, and powerbar bars. I worked perfectly which is why I applied for the PowerBar Team Elite in first place and am so stoked to have been a accepted. The stuff just works for me.... but the highlight of the day was the last aid station...

after a 1+ mile hike-a-bike with 1,000+ ft. of climbing I reached the last aid station which was about 6+ hours into the day. The guys at the top were bbq'ing and asked me if I wanted a burger. I said "no thanks" and asked them if they has anything salty... and they did. Anybody who has read this blog knows that my favorite snack food are Kettle Chips and that's just what they had... and my favorite flavor no less... Sea Salt and Black Ground Pepper! At this point, after hiking for 45 minutes, I was over it but after cramming in 3 handfuls of chips into my mouth I was ready to hammer! The last descent was pretty cold because I took off my arm warmers during the hike-a-bike, and we were riding on a muddy fire-road, but I was just hammering to stay warm and to get my ass off the bike.

I finished in just over 7 hours, was stoked, and felt great.

my killer (hot) support team.

Luke and Eric both had at great races as well. I am on still on a "high" from yesterday (and not from the post race beers!). It was just great to go out and "participate" in an event where the only thing mattered was finishing. I didn't care about time or racing, and everybody out there seemed to have the same mindset. I had some really good conversations on the climbs with some really strong riders and good people. There is no question I will be out there next year.