Friday, August 29, 2008

I've cracked...

The 7 weeks of put in of base training this summer was tough. I put in more miles on a consistent basis than ever before... and I did it right. I didn't push the intensity, but 6 hours on the bike isn't easy no matter whether you are pushing it or keeping it mellow. Let's just say 7+ weeks of averaging 20+ hours of training, 215+ miles of riding, and 35-45 miles of running cracked me... and I don't mean physically. My body feels great. It's more mental...

I have been really into music since I was a freshman in high school. I was really into punk and hardcore and spent many days going to see small bands in basements and in small clubs. I'll admit it... I was kind of a music snob until a couple of years ago. My taste in music changed a bit. I was still into a lot of hardcore and punk, but way more into indie rock and continued to go to a lot of shows. I also have always listened to a lot of rap... I mean a lot. This kind of surprises some people because I 've always been a scrawny white surfer kid. Ok... so what does this have to do with me cracking?

Since I started triathlon I haven't been making it to many shows so most of the music is listen too is while riding or running. I have playlists for everything depending on the workouts I am going to do:

Base run: Rap (the cool kids, atmosphere, kidz in the hall)
Hard/Interval run/ride: Metal (slipknot, metallica (mainly the old stuff), As I Lay Dying, Underoath, Emery)
Recovery Ride: Mellow tunes (nada surf, the get up kids, minus the bear, death cab, the decemberists, iron & wine, Brand New, Cursive)

Here's a video of some of my favorite rap... The Cool Kids. They rap about BMX bikes... does it get any better?

Now here's the interesting one...
Base ride (4-6+ hours): These playlists usually contain a bit of everything.... rap, metal, indie, punk... everything I got... and that's a lot. I still am really into music and buy/download a lot.

So during this last block of base training where I rode my bikes more than ever it was hard to stay focused on some my long solo missions and I was completely over all my music. I searched through my music library and scoured itunes for something new (or old) that would get me excited to turn on the shuffle and grind away miles in the saddle. First I downloaded a lot of old hardcore that I grew up on and didn't have the original albums any more. For a couple rides music by Gorilla Biscuits, Insted, 7 Seconds, and Minor Threat got me through... but then I kind of got over that too.

Then it happened... I cracked... completely and downloaded an new album by Jamey Johnson. Yep... it's a country album. It was advertised on the front page of the itunes store and a took a listen and it was a Johnny Cash-esqu with songs about drugs and drinking. I downloaded it and added to one of my long ride playlists... and I have to admit... I was really into it. So I proceeded to down more... and more... and more country tunes & albums. I couldn't/can't get enough of this "crap". I say crap because I will admit I have "hated" on country music for as long as I can remember, even while being a fan of a lot of folk indie bands (Lucero) which are very similar to country music. Like I said before I was music snob.

So I now confess to liking country music... I really can't believe I just typed that, but there is something about music about whiskey and women that make the miles tick by. My family is going to give me so much shit for this. My parents listen to a lot of country and are the ones that have heard me talk crap about country music for year and years. So there is it... I am not longer cool... Just another way triathlon has changed me.... first it was spandex, then shaving my legs, and now country music.... maybe it's time to find a new sport before things really start getting weird.

This is kind of a random post... as for training... It's going really well. Yesterday I had one of the best run workouts I have had all year. I felt like I was flying out on the trails... It's been a while since I felt like that in training. It may be the first time this year. I have been really paying attention (more than ever) to my recovery & pre-workout nutrition. Not that I didn't before but Trevor has helped me really dial in my schedule so I have adequate time to rest/recover from the intense efforts. It's making a huge difference. I can't wait for Tahoe!

I am going to start listing my workout playlists and I hope some other people start doing the same. I need some more good training tunes.

the run:
threshold and above threshold intervals in San Elijo Lagoon. I nailed this one!
playlist: Slipknot - I loaded three slipknot albums on my shuffle and kept it in shuffle mode. I have found metal (especially Slipknot) works the best for me on interval runs.

I started and ended this run at Flether's Cove about 30 yards from the beach. So within 5 minutes of finishing this hard run I was in the water. Nothing feels better... and then it was off to a massage. definitely a good day!

Recovery ride this morning... mellow, mellow.
Playlist: Iron & Wine and Lucero

have a good weekend...

Monday, August 25, 2008

Operation Incline: Week 1 recap

A view from Saturdays ride.

One week of build is in the books. The week started off great but the "strength" class Beth conned me into left me with a severe case of the DOMS in the legs. That had me feeling pretty haggard at the start of of my Thursday interval run, but once I loosened up I felt pretty good. So no more "strength" class for James unitl the offseason... and I'll be the first to admit it.... Those old ladies kicked my ass!

The weekend started off with a mellow day of riding and and an open water swim on Friday. The Friday open water swims are definitely my favorite swim workout. All the folks from the Encinitas YMCA masters program meet up around 5 and hit the water. There are two buoys right off Moonlight Beach and if you start from shore, make right turns around both of them, and then head back in it's a 600m lap. So we pretty much do laps with a jog in between... perfect for Xterra.

Saturday was hard 4 hour ride and then a quick run off the bike. I rode really hard and didn't have any expectations for the run but was shocked with how well it went. Definitely a good sign this early on. I knocked this out in the morning, came home ate, napped and then headed to the beach with Beth. We chillaxed for a bit then did some easy swimming at Moonlight. Then of course it was off to get burritos and fro-yo.... again. Second night in a row... no... it never gets old!

Sunday... I was up at 4:15am. Why? Beth was racing again. This time it was the Imperial Beach Triathlon which is quite a haul south from Carlsbad. So it was an early morning of playing triathlon sherpa. I got the bike loaded, gear on the car and we were on the road by 5 in order to hit the 'bucks before getting on the highway. As soon as we got down to IB Beth headed for transition and I set out on my long run along the Strand... solid run and pancake flat for a change... definitely got kind of bored. I made it back while Beth was still out on the bike and then just watched the rest of the race and then hung out under the sun in the park.

Biggups to my homeboys Luke and Matt. Luke pulled a sneak attack to get by Felipe on the run and Matt raced on a single speed and still laid it down. The crew from Amateur Endurance were out there racing as a relay and crushed it as well!
After the awards we headed home and then we went for an easy spin before doing what we do on Sundays... hang by the pool and cook a good dinner... and I'll say it again... No, it never gets old. I love summer!

dinner for two?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Going Fast...

I really hope everyone got to watch the Olympic triathlon on Monday. The race Simon Whitfield ran was gnarly. Those guys go so hard (I need to take notes). SQW came from falling off the back in forth to surging to the front and then holding on for second.

this is the only video I have been able to find.

It was good time to see this as this is the first week of my build phase and time to start going fast myself. Tuesday morning was a very challenging brick and only a taste of things to come.

Bike (MTB):


This workout was HARD... and it's not going to get any easier. I honestly don't know if I have ever really pushed myself as hard as I could in training. I think I am kind of a sandbagger. I mean I train a lot and am very consistent, but think I can work harder when the workout calls for it... epsecially on the run. I need to get more out of my comfort zone and get to a point, like my homeboy Trevor says all the time, "you should feel like you are going to puke!"

I also hit a strength class at 24 hour fitness with Beth. It was called 24 S.E.T. It kicked my ass... in a good way. I am really trying to not B.S. when it comes to strength and core training over the next couple of months and I think I will keep going to this class. It was different and actually a good time.... and I was one of only 3 dudes in the class. Hopefully the DOMS I am dealing with right now won't be as bad next week.

ok... time to get back to work and then hit trails for some near-puking run intervals!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Operation Mountain Goat: Week 7 Recap

Base training is over. Now it's time to switch gears and really start hitting it.

After consulting with Trevor quite a bit last week on how to plan my build up to Nationals and Worlds he suggested that in order to get the most out of my build phase that I start my first build phase this week as opposed to taking a full recovery week. So I decided to cut the volume back over the end of the week so I will be ready to go hard tomorrow. Trevor is helping me out a lot and it's good to have somebody that you trust look at your overall plan and give you sound advice. He definitely opened up my eyes to quite a few things. Mostly that I need more recovery... not something I am good at scheduling myself, but that's going to change. I plan on going harder than I ever have in my "hard" workouts and then being more focused on my recovery days. No adding workouts... nothing. Just follow the plan.

recap of the weekend:

I got back from San Jose Thursday night and chilled with Beth. I woke up Friday morning feeling pretty shelled from my long run on the previous morning. My long run on Thursday was 2 hours and the longest run I have done all year... and my last run that will be that long. I got out the door kind of late and just got in some easy spinning and then Beth I went for an evening open water swim with the Masters crew at Moonlight beach. I felt really good in the water.

Saturday while Beth was tearing up in Coronado I got out on the road for my long ride. Instead of the 6+ hours rides I have been putting in this one was only 4 and I felt great. It's hard to believe 4 hours on the bike seems short now. I was just doing some recon to find a good 4 hour route for "build" rides, and I found a killer one. The ride ended up being just over 4 hours with 7500 ft of climbing.

Sunday was a big day and not necessarily from a training perspective. A year ago yesterday Beth and I hung out for the first time. That day we met up for a bike and ride, and followed it up with time lounging at the pool, and then went to Cabo Grill for beers and mexican food. It's pretty funny that a year later our Sundays pretty much spent doing the same things.

So what did we do for our one year anniversary? We raced... obviously! Beth and I raced in the Zoot sponsored Playa Del Run aquathlon (1000m swim/5k run) in Solana Beach Sunday morning.

We got to the race, set up in transition side by side, did a run warm-up together, and then hit the water for a quick swim.

My race went pretty well. I was just out there to have a good time but there were definitely some guys out there ready to throwdown because there this was the second to last race of the series so there were some points on the line. I kind of cruised the swim and just found some good feet and stayed on them for most of the swim and then hit the run. I wasn't sure how my run would go but it was solid. I had the fastest run split on the day. I was kind of bummed that the run split started right when you exited the water. We had to run pretty far and up a steep 50m ramp to t1 and I just cruised it, but then I hammered the run. Beth also had a good one, check her blog for the details.

6th Overall
3rd AG

After the race we lounged on the lawn at Fletcher's cove and then headed home. I hit the road for some easy spinning and then we headed out for a killer lunch overlooking the beach at Ki's.

Then we hit the beach for some more chillax'n. Once we had our fill of the sand we hit Cabo Grill for some happy hour drinks and then it was home to grill up some dinner and watch the women's Olympic triathlon. A killer day for sure.

I would have more pictures from the weekend but beth stole them all.

That's it. I'll have more training info later in the week.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

business tripping...

So on Tuesday evening after a full day of training and work I boarded a plane for San Jose. I can't even count the number of times I have been up here for work. This time I am up here for a proof of concept lab and training on a new Cisco Technology... VFrame. I know... very interesting.

Santa Clara, Ca

The good part is that I am staying at a killer hotel and from being in the area so much I know where to go to run. I am only about 1.25 miles from the Guadalupe River Trail. The gym also has a killer gym, pool (for lounging), and a dry sauna. So it's not very hard to get in some training here so it could be a lot worse. They have even have a fitness concierge and you can get physio balls and yoga gear delivered to your room. At the front desk they have run maps showing a 5 mile route from the hotel and when I got back from my morning runs I was handed a bottle of water and a towel and I entered the main lobby doors to go back upstairs... pretty awesome.

Guadalupe River Trail.

wednesday morning run.

water and running route slip provided by the hotel.

Eating right and "not" drinking on these kinds of trips can be a challenge. I brought plenty of good snacks and fruit with me but the guys I am traveling with all like to have a good time and like to use these trips for mini vacations from their day to day lives (wife, kids, etc...). So they are all about hitting the hotel bar and chowing down crappy restaurants. We got in kind of late Tuesday night (9:45pm) and I decided not to be a total jerk and had a couple of drinks with the guys at the hotel bar, which was actually very crowded, while watching the Olympics on some ginormous flat screen TV's. Good times.

That's about it. I got in some solid running and gym sessions and now it's back to San Diego this evening and time for serious time in the saddle this weekend before a rest week... looking forward to it. I am really pushing myself right now and after the weekend I have planned I am going to need some serious R & R.

is it weird to be craving a huge, homemade salad?

here's some photos of the hotel... it's pretty sick.

flat screen

I love robes.

sweet sink.

and the rack.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Operation Mountain Goat week: Week 6 Recap

The kinds of notes Beth leaves me on the fridge. This ones from the morning before the Snow Valley race. She's a good roommate.

Another tough week is in the books. One more week to go, then some recovery, and then it's build time. I am stoked with the consistency I have had through this base phase. I have never been this consistent or put in this much volume on the bike. The run has been solid too but I have been really pushing on the bike.

Here's a quick recap of the weekend.

Friday started off with an early morning swim and then the plan was to meet Tom back at my place for some off road riding and running. When I got out of the pool I had a message from Tom telling me that both of his bikes got stolen from his sister-in-law's apartment downtown. Both of his bikes were sick and worth at least 10 g's together. Luckily his insurance is going to cover it but it killed our plans. So I hit the trails on the bike solo for a couple hours of climbing and then he met up with me for 60 minutes of running on my trails.

I spent the rest of Friday cleaning out my garage. So stoked it's finally clean and that Beth and I are done unpacking and moving in her in. My Padres bobblehead collection has found a new home... in my office at work! All that is left to do is to make a run to Goodwill to donate a bunch of old clothes, towels, and shoes.

photos of the garage... why does a clean and organized garage make me so happy?

Saturday was supposed to be a big day on the bike. Tom rented a bike from B&L and the plan was to meet up with Luke up in Carlsbad. Tom and I set out from my house around 8am and met up with Luke 30 minutes later. We decided to change up our planned route because Luke had a little food poisoning the day before and needed to be able to pull the plug if he wasn't feeling it. Our route was still solid and about 2 hours in Luke could not get any calories down and headed back up the coast to his car and Tom and I pushed on. At about 3 hours Tom was cracking. I think this was the longest ride he had ever done and only ended up getting 3 hours of sleep the night before. We headed back towards my house and then he went back to the crib and I kept going. Then I got a flat and was out of air. I had to used my last co2 to fix my rear tire earlier... so I was stranded. I had to call Tom for a pick up.

So it was obviously not the ride I had planned on but I still got 4.5 hours of some solid base miles.

Sunday Beth was up early to go ride in Pine Valley and I slept in. Once I got up and around I set out to run a route I had been putting together in my head for a while. The route was back on my local trails but with some new stuff and a lot of climbing. I really had no idea how long it would take... I was kind of exploring. 1:55 later I was done. The run was pretty tough but a great route. I will definitely be doing it again but probably a shorter version.

the run.

I came home from the run slammed some PowerBar Recovery drink and hit the coast for 90 minutes of easy spinning. This does wonders for me. I try to be on the bike within 30 minutes of ending my run. It starts out rough but the my legs come alive and it definitely helps with my recovery.

sunday night staple.

that's it... a solid weekend and a lot of miles riding and running for the week. Feeling good.

Views from my weekday hill workout. Climbing through the marine layer.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

good karma, hard running, and more snow valley...

Thanks for the killer photo Rich!

It's been a good week so far and the weekend is shaping up to be really fun and I'll get to that later.

good karma...

So if you your remember reading a while back about how I was a huge tool and left my precious Zipp 404 race wheel on the side of the road up in Sonoma after Beth race Vineman 70.3. Well check this out...

1. Beth goes into Hi-Tech and in talking tells them what happened.
2. Somebody overheard Beth talking about the wheel and then sent Maria at Hi-Tech a link to this thread:
3. Maria calls me and tells me to check it out.
4. I follow the directions in the thread and email a description of the wheel to Amy, the race organizer.
5. She forwards my email to Peter (guy who posted the thread) and he replies to me asking for a very details description.
6. I respond with a very detailed description and some photos.
7. It's my wheel and Peter is going to mail it back to me.
8. I got my wheel back!

here's my hot girlfriend and the infamous wheel... the last time it was ridden.

I am so stoked! I really can't believe that I got it back. After emailing back and forth with Peter he told me that he just saw it sitting next to a mail box and figured somebody had done exactly what I did. I can't thank him enough. Peter is a good dude and I trying to find away to pay him back. Ideas?

hard running...

Last night was my first track session with Du-master, Kevin Gillotti. He's getting for Duathlon Worlds on 9/27-28 in Italy. We have both committed to 6-8 weeks of track work while I build towards Xterra Nationals/Worlds and he gets ready to tear it up in Italy. Last night was our first session and it hurt... a lot. I haven't been on the track in a long time and wanted to mix up my training a bit and try to find some more speed. We decided of 4 miles of hard running broken down like this:

2 x 1 mile
2 x 1200
2 x 400

It was hard but we made it through and then knocked out some more 100m strides. It's going to be fun mixing it up on the track with Kevin and I know it will make me faster. I will still be hitting the hills on my long runs, t-runs, and tempo runs.

more snow valley...

The race last weekend got some pretty good coverage. My homeboys over at Amateur Endurance were out covering the race. I am stoked they came out. It was the first time Paul had the "xterra experience" and wrote a great article about it and also got a killer interview with Conrad Stoltz where he give me some props on my running. I am stoked they came out to cover the race and give some exposure to the Xterra scene. They have started a great site with tons of information. Go check it out!

There is also a good article on the Xterra site too!

Xterra Planet official Race report.
Amateur Endurance write up.
Amateur Endurance interview with Conrad and Shonny.
Random you tube video of the race.

The weekend should be fun. My homeboy Tom will be in town for some training and the plan right now is head out with for some mega miles on Saturday with Luke. It will be nice to have a 3 man crew on my last mega-base ride. Tom is also going to hit my local trails with me on Friday. I can't wait to get him out there. He has shown some of the best AZ has to offer and I finally get to pay him back... and then of course there will be plenty of relaxing and consumption for some cold beers. ... and the olympics & little league world series start and my DVR is programmed!

is it the weekend yet?

Monday, August 04, 2008

Operation Mountain Goat: Week 5 Recap & Race Report

Moving sucks... that's all I am going to say about that. Last was week I was busy at work, spent many grueling hours packing, unpacking, moving furniture, and on top of all that getting my workouts done. By the time the weekend rolled around I was pretty beat down.

Saturday morning we got up and Beth charged out the door for a long group ride and I relaxed a bit and then got my race prep workouts in.... A mellow ocean swim, 15 mn run w/ accelerations to race pace, and then 75 minutes on the bike with some race pace efforts. I got back from the ride feeling pretty good but there was still a lot of work to do around the house. We spent the next 6 hours doing more unpacking, moving, throwing crap away (mostly my stuff! just kidding beth). We finally finished up around 6pm and I was beat.

We hit El Caribe for dinner and then came back and tried to relax a bit before going to bed. Sunday morning came a lot quicker than I wanted and even though I was so tired Saturday night I slept like crap. I got about 4 hours of solid sleep and then tossed and turned for another 2 hours before a 4 am wake-up. It was probably the worst night of sleep I have had in months. Perfect timing!

Race Report.

Like I wrote last week, I was really looking forward to this race. This was my third year in a row racing at Snow Valley and the race has grown every year. This year Conrad Stoltz and Shonny Vanlandingham showed up to race and support Avia who has sponsored the race the last couple of year.

We got on the road early and were at the mountain around 7am. I checked in and got my gear ready to go. I ran into Conrad before heading up to the lake and we talked a bit about training and racing. He told me to take it easy on him... I think it's more the other way around. I did all my pre-race warming up including a solid climb on the bike up to the lake and t1 (2 separate transistion areas).

I have never been able to have a good swim at altitude and the lake at Snow Valley is at 6500ft. With Xterra Nationals (Tahoe) in 2 months and at roughly the same altitude I really wanted to have a good swim. The problem I have at altitude is just totally blowing up. With the lack of oxygen it's really easy to go too hard too early and not be able to comeback... and then it's game over.

ready to roll.

So I made sure to go out easy and not get too tangled up with anybody. The plan was just to slowly build my pace and effort through the 1.5 lap/1000 yard swim... and that's just what I did. I found some feet for most of the first lap and then slowly started to speed things up. I even ended up pulling a pack of four guys to the finish and came out of the water in 4th or 5th and never once felt like I was going to blow up. Solid. It was my first race swim in my Zoot Zenith and it was killer. The suit is awesome!

The bike course at Snow Valley is pretty short at only 11 miles but there quite a bit of steep climbing and technical, loose descents. When I talked with Conrad and a couple other athletes before the race all of them said that the descents were gnarly, super loose, and rutted out. So without having a chance to pre-ride and get a feel for the descents my plan was to cane it on the climbs and be pretty cautious on the descents. The last thing I need is to take a spill and a chance at getting hurt when my big races are still to come.

I got out of T1 and out on the bike in 4th place and I just hammered as soon as I hit the first climb. I was able to move into 2nd place, behind Conrad, by the end of the first series of climbs. I just kept hammering the climbs and cruising the descents... and yes... they were very sketchy, especially on the second lap when I had to deal some lap traffic. I finished the bike in 2nd place and all alone.

heading into t2

The run:
This is one of the hardest on Xterra circuit. It's only 4+ miles but there is a TON of super steep climbing... and the altitude doesn't help either.

heading out of t2 and up the easiest climb on the course. I like this video because you can see me giving Beth a high-five right before jumping over a deep ditch.

I headed out on the run 4 minutes behind 1st Place - Conrad, and probably about 4 minutes up on Shonny, and 5 minutes on any other amateur. I went hard but being "no-mans" land is tough. I don't think I went all out but had a very solid run and maintained my position.

2nd Overall
1st Amateur
1st AG

Overall Podium. Conrad, me, Art

video of the awards... If you listen closely you can hear me calling Conrad a sandbagger!

I was really happy with the race considering how tired I was going in. It was also fun trying to track Conrad down. I knew there wasn't really any chance of that but it was cool knowing he was the only one ahead me and I was actually racing against him. I got the chance to talk with quite a bit after race about everything... racing, training, bikes, sponsors... a lot of good info. Check out his race report... he give me some props... kind of. I did not almost get chicked!

"see what had happened was..."

I was also very fortunate to have a great support crew on hand. My sister, nephew, aunt & uncle, my sisters friend and son, and my biggest fan Beth were all out there cheering for me. I definitely appreciate and it does help me go faster and have more fun.

Me and my Homeboy Jon. He got 2nd in our AG and is getting to charge the Pikes Ascent in a couple of weeks... gnarly!

back to work, training, and more unpacking/cleaning!