Sunday, November 30, 2008

time to get back to work...

My aunt Nancy and uncle Rick hosted Thanksgiving. Good times as always!

First of all Thanksgiving with my family was awesome! Plenty of good times and way too much good food. Beth continued to impress my family with her healthy concoctions.

the fam, food, & wine.

the champ. she's pretty awesome.

my uncles dinner plate.

It lead to this.

and then he rallied to join us for post clean up/dinner walk to work off all that food. Keep the foot on the gas uncle Rick.

On Saturday Beth and I headed out to Topanga State Park for the Xterra Turkey Trot 15k. Beth was able to get into the race but Lucho had imposed a heartrate cap for her which meant no going above LT on the on the climbs. The race started with 2.5 miles straight up so I couldn't see how this was possible.

pre-race. trying to stay warm.

I warmed up for 20 minutes and got a good sweat going eventhough it was stil kind of cold. I got to the line with 5 minutes to spare and then they said the race was going to be delayed 10 minutes. The sweat quickly turned to chills and my muscles were getting tight. 15 minutes later we were ready to go. I got right in front next pro triathlete Chris Foster and a coule of local guys that had won the race before.

A bunch of guys went really hard off the line right into the 2.5 mile climb and I let things shake out. About 200 yards in it was down to just four us pushing up the climb. Chris Foster went off the front, and it was me and the guy that won last year shoulder to shoulder, and we were able to pull away and create a good gap on the rest of the field.

Then we hit the single track descent and at mile 3 my race was all but over. I felt great but my quads were not liking the descending and were on the verge of totally locking up. Then right as I passed the 3 mile marker both my quads and IT bands totally seized up. I stopped to try and stretch, walked, shuffled, and just tried to keep moving... but it was slow. It took a while for people to catch. Frist was my friend Pat Baldwin and then it was Jon Toker of Saltstick, who ironcially enough gave me a saltstick cap in hopes that it would help. Nice guy.

I finally exited the single track walked through aid station at mile 4. I was done, but had to finish the race to get back to the start. So I ran/jogged the ups and shuffled the downs. I was able to keep it together enough to finish, and ended getting passed by quite a few guys on the final steep fire road descents. It was brutal but I still had fun cheering they guys on that were passing me by giving them time splits and telling to catch the guys ahead of them.

So the turkey trot was just that... I definitely trotted the last 6 miles. I finished the 15k in 1:17 and that's about 15-20 minutes slower than if I could have run the whole thing. I am not sure why my quads locked up. Nutrition/hydration was typical, my body felt great, I was able to nail the climbs. The only thing I can think if is getting warmed, then getting cold, and then going hard right off the gun for 3 miles kind of shocked my muscles.

post-race. stoked it was over.

No worries though... I have the Las Vegas Half Marathon next weekend and then the next race in the Xterra Series on 12/14. It's on!

Beth had a good race... even with a HR cap. check out her report.

This week brings a little more structure to my training. I will actually be getting back in the pool a couple of times a week from now on, making sure I get in two rides (I have not been on my mountain bike since my last lap of the 12 hour race), and keep pumping the running volume up. I am loving the running!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Turkey, Travel, and Trotting

I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It's all about hanging with the family, eating & drinking too much, and watching football. I really like Christmas too, but the stress of shopping and buying presents kind of kills it. I would rather focus on the hanging out, eating, and drinking.

Beth and I are headed out to the Palm Desert to spend Thanksgiving with my aunt, uncle, sister, and nephew. It'll be a small crew but fun for sure. After the big day on Thursday we will be heading to LA on Friday to visit some of Beth's friends and stay with my sister.

Then on Saturday I will race. Twice. First is the Xterra Topanga Turkey Trot which is a gnarly off road 15k.

Elevation profile for the 15k.

Then we'll haul ass home and head to the Cal State San Marcos track for the 5th Edition of the North County Beer mile. I already have the PBR in the fridge!

So the holiday weekend is looking full and fun.

Other than that my awesome girlfriend has transformed. See she is normally going nonstop. Between work, school, and training she has some very busy days and I am usually on the sidelines just trying to do what I can to help her out. Well this week, with it being a holiday week for her school, she hasn't had to go to work. Not to say she isn't busy because she has her marathon training and his finishing up a HUGE project for school.

But somehow with all that going on she has morphed into a cross between Betty Crocker and Rachel Ray (but say hotter in my opinion). In the last couple of days she has made Pumpkin Bread, Pumpkin Pie, Chicken-veggie-spinach soup, Butternut and apple soup, cranberry sauce, artichoke spinach dip, banana oat scones, but I am probably missing something. I think that's it. And it's not like she is just following recipes either, she makes all kinds of tweaks to turn most of these holiday treats very healthy. Good looking out dog. And if that wasn't enough when I got home from work yesterday she had also done laundry, cleaned guest room, and was cleaning the kitchen floor! That's why she's the champ! Hopefully if she has a spare minute she will get around to posting some of her recipes on Vo2 Maxxed.

Chicken Veggie soup. Mega healthy and sooo good.

Whole wheat banana oat scones. Maybe one of the best things she has made... for me at least.

They are not going to last long.

Time to go eat!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Good Times & Great Running in San Francisco

Beth and I headed to San Francisco on Saturday morning for a weekend of partying and running. Obviously the two don't go very well together but we had a great time. Beth was throwing and engagement party for one her best friends from high school, Blythe.

We got to that airport Saturday morning around 10:30 and were stuck! The airport was fogged in and no southwest flights had been allowed to take off or land all morning. Luckily we already checked in online the day before so we didn't have to deal with that mega line. The flights were so backed and the gate area was so packed that they weren't even letting any body to the gates. So thousands of people were in the "security line" at a complete stand still for hours.

Our flight was supposed to leave at 1130am but it was no doubt delayed, but only by 90 minute while most of the other flights were canceled or delayed up to 4 hours. After standing in line for an hour and a half and not moving they called our flight and we went to the front of the line and were on the plane to SF in less than 30 minutes. We were so stoked to be on the plane.

Saturday night was killer. Blythe and Zandy cooked us an awesome dinner of Turkey burgers, sweet potato fries, and a mixed green salad with avocado and tomatoes...(check v02 maxxed for the recipe) and we opened a couple bottles of wine before we set out to the party. The bar, The Wine Jar, for the party was literally right around the corner and the party was super fun. There was plenty to drink and a lot good people.

Our awesome hosts. Bythe and Zandy.

good wine. Educated Guess.

Beth going big!

me and the lil' monster

Sunday morning was rough... for Beth. I woke up feeling like a million bucks, but poor little beth was shelled! She could not move or get out of bed. I thought for sure out planned 18 mile run through the city was not going to happen, and was kind of stoked about it. But Beth rallied like never before. After some Excedrin and a big breakfast Beth told me she was ready to go. I was shocked but I agreed to head out.

The run turned out being awesome. Beth nailed all of her paces and I felt great the whole time. It was the longest run of my life in terms of duration. 2:18 and about equal in length to my longest run... 18.17 miles... with quite a bit of climbing (sorry lucho). The route that Beth created was amazing. We started in the city, then hit golden gate park to ocean beach, then up to El Camino Delmar and the California Coastal Trail, out and back over the golden gate bridge, and then along Crissy Fields to the Marina. The best run of my life hands down. It was exacty what I was talking about in my last post. I was running for the sake of running. Sure I was helping hit her paces but we were just out there exploring the city and the time and miles flew by. I'm so stoked Beth got herself together and made me go on this run.

The route.

The rest of the day was spent relaxing and watching the Chargers totally blow any chance at making the playoffs this year. I am glad it's over... no more stressing on sundays... ok not really I'm pissed! First the Padres and now the Charger have both had horrible seasons. Being a San Diego sports fan is not easy.

I was up pretty early this morning to get in one more run before we had to head to the airport. I met up with JP who was in town for some eating and good times. We headed up Fillmore and down to the bay and then out to the Golden Gate Bridge. It was good route and then we ran back up Fillmore which was super steep. I was really surprised with how my legs felt after yesterdays effort.

this morning's run. Check the last climb.

Now I am back home and tired. Time for Monday night Football and some of Beth's home cooking.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

a brief change of focus...

Things are going well and I am definitely enjoying my "unstructured" training.

Last year after worlds I couldn't wait to get back on the bike and back in pool. I was really motivated by my performance in Maui in 2007. It was a huge breakthrough for me. It showed me that my focus on the cycling was paying off and I was able to ride like I never had in a race.

This year my motivation is quite a bit different. I am super stoked with how things turned out at Worlds this year. My goal for the season was just to get on the Podium but to actually win the World title in AG was a huge bonus! I am finally at a point where I feel comfortable with where my riding is. Don't get me wrong... I still have A LOT of work to do. I have only been cycling for 3 years so I know there is still room for improvement and to get stronger.

Then there's swimming... I was happy with my swim in Maui, but I have to get faster if I am going to get my racing to the next level, but right now I am burned out on the pool right now.

Running... I love it. I could run everyday... and kind of plan to.

So starting next week, 4 weeks after worlds, I am going to start a more structured run focus block that will last through the end of January. The reason I am doing it? I want to. Bottom line. Since I started training back at the end of 2005 I have never spent time just working on my running while cutting back on the other sports.

I will be running a lot and doing quite a few running races in the coming weeks, again, solely because I want to. I talked this over with Trevor quite a bit he's in agreement. It will be good for me and then when the new year rolls around and it's time start working hard on the bike and getting in the pool 4-5 days a week I will refreshed and ready to get after it.

My focus over the next couple of months will be the Xterra Socal Trail Running Series. I will be targeting 4 events in the series and also running the Las Vegas Half Marathon when I am out there to support Beth (I gotta find something to do for about 3 hours before I will be waiting at the finish line to document the Beth vs. Fatdad battle). So here the schedule:

11/29 - Xterra Topanga Turkey Trot - 15k
12/7 - Las Vegas Half Marathon
12/14 - Xterra Crystal Cover Trail Run
1/10 - Xterra Boney Mountain Trail Run - 21k
2/1 - Xterra Mission Gorge Trail Run - 15k

I have already been running quite a bit, nothing focused, but just running. It's so simple... I love it. I will still be riding a couple of days a week, probably one mountain bike ride and one longer road ride. In December I will start getting in the pool 1-2 days a week to keep the feel so I am ready when the real work begins. I will also be in the gym getting huge! In January I will start riding a bit more and get back to Masters at least a couple of days a week, but right it's all about running. I'm stoked about it.

Here's the profile for my first race in Topanga next weekend:

I also posted good Matisse & Jacks bar recipe on Vo2 Maxxed.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

a busy weekend!

Well it's the offseason... sort of.



Trevor was in town all week getting work done for Skinfit and his coaching business which means I have actually had a training partner. He conned me into going to Masters on Tuesday which totally wrecked me. It was the first real swim workout I have done since Maui. I also got in another killer run with Beth on Wednesday. It was a good week.

The weekend end was gnarly.

On Saturday Trevor and I raced in the 12 hours of Temecula as the Skinfit/Matisse & Jacks team in the 2-man division. To those that aren't familiar with endurance mountain bike racing this means that during the 12 hours we would be trading laps. The goal is to get in as many laps as you can in the allotted twelve hours. Each lap was 10 miles with about 1300ft. of climbing and took us both about 50+ minutes per lap.

Trevor on the start line.

The course was tough and there were definitely some really sketchy spots. Our goal was to just complete 12 laps and we did which was good enough for 3rd place but it was hard... really hard. It was definitely one of the toughest races of any kind I have ever competed in. My total stats for the race were:
6 laps (two night laps)
5:28 riding time
58+ miles
8000+ ft of climbing

It was really hard but I had a lot of fun. I finally got to meet and hang out with Allison and Justin. Good people for sure. We pitted with Justin (pit crew), Allision (racing solo), Luke (racing solo), Jens (racing solo), and Tommy (racing solo, single speed!). So me and Trevor were the only team and we got to witness some amazing efforts by our "crew".

Allision - 10 Laps - 1st Place Solo Female Pro
Luke - 11 Laps - 2nd Place Solo Male Pro
Jens - 10 laps - 1st Place Solo Expert and winner of the Series
Tommy - 7 Laps

These guys are hardcore and I have no idea how they do it. I was so impressed and blown away with what they did. I was, and still am, shelled by the six laps that I did.

After the race we packed up and I headed home to get what sleep I could before getting up early Sunday morning to go watch Beth run the Silver Strand Half Marathon. To no surprise to me she killed it, pr'd, and reached one of her season goals. Check out her race report... I am proud of her and knew she could do it.

my champ.

After the game we hurried home to watch the Chargers game and re-hydrate (well at least I did).

The rest of the day was spent lounging, watching the Chargers blow their season, and we even got in some time by the pool. It was 85 yesterday and I don't think summer is ever going to end.

Lucho has created a monster.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Almost Famous...

OK... so I am nowhere close to being famous, or would I want to be but I just had a couple of good write-ups done about me and I am stoked and grateful that people would even take the time to mention me.

In the Sports section of this morning's San Diego Union Tribune there is an article about me winning my age group at Worlds. I did the interview last week and really didn't know how it would turn out. The writer, Glae Thien, did a really good job and I really can't believe it's on the 2nd page of the sports section with a big photo, and opposite a story of the Padres possibly trading Jake Peavy. Nuts.

Here's the online version:

The second write-up just came out in the Xterra newsletter which highlights all the age group world champs. The below photo and text are from the newsletter.

30-34 - James Walsh (Carlsbad, CA) 2:55:17 – James Walsh had an unbelievable race at this year’s XTERRA World Championship. After three years of racing and training, he accomplished his goal of being crowned an XTERRA World Champion and was 2nd overall in the amateur division (top American). Walsh was out of the water in 131st and from there blew past the competition with his age group’s fastest bike and run times. He finished nearly 10 minutes ahead of last year’s 30-34 champ Alexander Eiler.

Other than that I have just been having fun riding and running whenever I feel like it.... and enjoying sampling many new beers. I have been able to run with Beth quite a bit which is always a good time, even if she makes me wake up at 5am to do it.

This weekend Trevor and I will be racing as a 2-man team in the 12 Hours of Temecula. It's going to brutal but a good time for sure. I know a bunch of people heading out to race so in between laps should be fun if I am not too shelled!

Then on Sunday, if I can walk, I will be up mega early to go watch Beth cane the Silver Strand half marathon. It's a point to point race so I will be dropping her off at the start and sitting around waiting for her at the finish. I am guessing I will see her hot little face when the clock shows 1:27:50. There's my prediction. All she wants to do is break 1:30 which should not be a problem with the kind of shape she is in.

So I should have a good update for next week with everything going on this weekend and hopefully I will have a bunch of photos and video taken with my NEW CAMERA. I had to get a new camera because Beth thought it would be fun to take photos at 530am on Wednesday before our run while wearing kid gloves. I don't mean "kid gloves" like she was being cautious and careful, but actual kid gloves from Target. She bought 10 pairs a couple of weeks ago. While taking a self portrait she dropped the camera, it hit the table, and then straight to the ground. The camera was busted! So we took that camera to get fixed and I got a new one, another Canon. I wasn't to stoked with the Nikon anyway so this was a good excuse to go back to Canon.

that's it.

Monday, November 10, 2008

"Offseason" Training Camp!

The past weekend was awesome. It's everything an "offseason" weekend should be about... Mountain biking, trail running, good eating, football watching, and plenty of beer drinking.

Trevor showed up at my house early Friday afternoon with a ton of Beer... I am not kidding. He hit up the Firestone Walker Brewery the day before and picked up a bunch good beers including a 64oz growler filled with unfiltered Double Barrel Ale... my favorite. After a mellow afternoon ride in perfect weather we headed home and started to work on the growler!

Saturday morning we were up early (only the second time since worlds that I have woken up to an alarm) to head out to Temecula for the Racers and Chasers XC race, which was part of the Hillibilly Bike Bash. I was stoked that Beth headed out with us. Trevor and I are now racing for the same team... Skinfit/Matisse & Jacks. We got our new kits in the mail just in time for the race. They're sick!

The race... it went OK. It hurt and I had to work hard but I was able to win my age-group and so was Trevor. It was a good debut for our team and a good time. Luke also had a solid race, handily beating me overall, but placing second behind Trevor. I am glad he's kicking somebody else's ass for for change! Next week will be a big challenge when we are racing the 12 Hours of Temecula as 2-man team.

me and the real champ.

After the race we headed home and then I showed Trevor of my training grounds at work. Then it was home for some dinner and good wine, provided by Luke. Having a good friend whose family owns a winery has its perks. Like trading sport nutrition for wine!

Sunday morning all 3 of us headed out to the "ranch" for a run. Beth had 18 miles to get in a was meeting with some friends and I just wanted to show Trevor more of the training he has in store when he gets all settled down here in SD. We ran super mellow but in some really windy conditions. Poor Beth had to battle 30 mph winds and rain on the coast for the last 10 miles of her run. She's tough!

The rest of the day was filled with watching football on the couch, with more good beers and good food. The weather was pretty crappy so spending a day inside was perfect... and the Chargers finally got a win... barely. They still aren't looking very impressive.

It was a great weekend and next weekend is looking like much of the same.... there's still plenty of beer to drink.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

a fun weekend on tap...

I am really enjoying myself. It's nice to just do whatever I feel like and sleeping in if I don't feel like getting up (or had too many beers). Last night I was out with the boys from B&L for some beers and grub. good times!

Here's a couple things from the World Championships.

Highlight Video

This weekend should be a fun one with some fun, mellow races. Trevor is cruising down for the weekend are we are going to do a XC mountain bike race out in Temecula. The Racers and Chasers XC race is actually part of huge mountain bike event out in Temecula this weekend, The Mongoose Hillbilly Bike Bash.

Then on Sunday we will be heading out to Mission Trails for the Triathlon Club of San Diego's offroad duathlon. It's a short event but it's a pretty tough course and it will be fun for sure.

Then... finally... on Sunday afternoon I get to sit my ass on the couch and watch the Charger's game. The Chargers had a buy last week and I didn't get to watch the London game because I was busy racing in Maui. So after the race on Sunday we'll cruise back to the house, fire up the grill, and knock back some beers.

* late addition.... the weekend just got better. I just go a text message from Trevor. He picked up half gallon of unfiltered brew from the Firestone Walker brewery (one of of my favorite beers) today.... maybe we will blow off the races and just drink beer all weekend!

Monday, November 03, 2008

Operation Normal Life: week 1 recap

Is it really November already? Perfect sunny day on the coast.

Ok... I don't really plan to post a "normal life" update every week, but I thought it was fitting considering all my "operations" leading up to Maui.

The past week has been great. I got back in town late Monday night and was really glad to be home, but right back into the grind at work. I'll be super busy at work the next couple of months which is a good thing. I like working my ass off in the offseason so I don't feel so guilty when the spring and summer rolls around and I cut back on the work hours. So between now and the new year I will be working quite a few nights and weekends... no worries.

As far as the "normal life" is concerned it's been really good. I have not woken up one day to an alarm since I have been back. That's been really nice and I am now in a sleeping groove. I did some riding and a couple of runs over the weekend with Beth. Just good times and to get the junk out of my legs... and to balance the amount of chips and adult beverages I have been consuming!

I am trying not to go into full-on offseason mode just yet. Beth is 5 weeks out from the Las Vegas Marathon and needs to remain focused. I don't want to be too bad of an influence by staying up late and eating whatever I want. So I am going to try to help her remain focused and ready to kill the marathon. So I will still be on a semi-healthy eating plan until after the marathon, which is good for me too because I am going to run the half mary in Vegas. Gotta earn my partying... right? I'm also going to run with Beth whenever I can. Yesterday I joined her for the second half of her long run. It still blows me away is doing 20 mile runs like it's nothing. It's impressive... and she pretty much caned me yesterday, but it was a good time for sure.

I'm trying to be supportive, really! Keeping Beth company while she was spinning her legs out.

Beth enjoying a cold beverage at dinner on friday night. don't tell her coach!

After the run yesterday and a quick stop by B&L it was home to the couch, football, beer, and chips & dip. Don't worry the chips and dips were pretty healthy. Two kinds of organic baked tortilla chips and a healthy chicken/bean dip I made.

The other highlight of the weekend was a killer dinner Saturday night. We headed over to Mac & Meredith's for good times and V02 Maxxed worthy feast prepared by Marky V. Mark grilled a bunch of fish and chicken, made a killer salad, and some saffron rice. Beth and I brought the wind and of course some frozen yogurt for desert. Check Vo2 Maxxed for more details.