Monday, March 30, 2009

week of 3.23.2009 - recap

Last week was tough and I am glad it's done. This week will be all about recovering from the last 3 weeks of hard training and getting ready for another solid block that starts next week.

grinding up Los Pinos road on Saurday.

On Saturday Ryan and I headed WAY out to campo to the Sagebrush course in prep for next weekends race. I really had nt expectation for the course and was just looking forward to getting in some miles in the warm weather (80's no arm/knee warmers!). The course ended up being killer. Solid climbs and probably some of the most fun descents I have ever ridden. They were like a cross between a bobsled course and a BMX track. We got in a solid ride and I'm stoked to race there this coming Sunday.

ryan. climbing.

view from the top.

Sunday was the day that I had been looking forward to/dreading all week. I was stoked to head down to Coronado and watch Beth and everybody else race but I know the half marathon in the SuperFrog relay was going to kick my ass... especially because I had already done a lot of riding in the days leading up and had already logged 35+ miles of running prior to Sunday.


on the beach.

Long story short. The 13.27 course on the beach, packed sand, soft sand trails, gravel roads, and into a significant headwind for half of the course kicked my ass! I headed out on the run with my team in 3rd place, 14 minutes back from 1st and 6+ down on 2nd. I am friends with both the guys are the teams ahead of us and they are really fast so catching them wasn't going to happen. So I just wanted to cruise the run at a solid pace and not fade at the end. Just run steady... and that's what I did. The course was hard, not fast at all and beat me up.

running through the tunnel... on the home stretch.

race photos stolen from Dave Kloz... again! I owe you some beers.

Our team finished third in the relay and everybody had a good time.
13.27 miles
1:20:47 (6:06/mile pace)

Beth had a solid race too... finishing on the podium once again! Check her race report for the details.

After the race we headed over to Jim's house for a post-race BBQ. Good times!

post-race. firestone walker Union Jack IPA. so good! Thanks Trevor.

the lil monster staying warm at the party.

Training recap. a big one!

Monday: MTB LT/Climbing Ints, EZ run, EZ spin
AM - 2:03/18.66 Mile MTB - 5 x 8-15 min climbs. working hard!
- a very solid session. it was the same exact course that I rode last thursday morning. i took significant time off ALL the climbs and felt good. worked really hard.
- Food: dry cereal before. protein/recovery shake after.

Lunch - 44:23 min/6.02 mile run
- hit the trails at lunch. just cruised, easy miles. the first 2 miles were kind of rough but miles 5 and 6 I was feeling pretty good.

PM - 1:18/20.29 mile road ride
- mellow road spin with beth. tough getting out the door. we were both tired but we got it done. good spin. headwind on the way out and sweet tail wind on the way back.

Tuesday: track workout, strength/core, road ride
AM - 1:07/9.42 mile track workout
- met with the crew at UCSD. cold. good effort. Brandon came around which helps. we are pretty much the exact same speed so we worked together. workout:
1.5 mile WU
8x100m strides (1 mile)
Mainset 4 x 1200m with 800m recovery
#1 - 4:06
#2 - 4:06
#3 - 4:02
#4 - 4:10 (dialed it back)
1.5 mile CD
- Food: dry cereal before. Recoverite after.

Lunch - 40 min strength/core/myrtl
- hit the gym at lunch and did "300" workout again. solid and quick
- food: killer chicken/egg salad/avo tacos and carrots.

PM - 1:42/26.02 mile road ride
- i hit the again after work and road a new route. got a bit lost and felt pretty good. just gettting in the miles.

Wednesday: EZ ride, core, EZ run
AM - 1:30/22.16 mile road ride
- up early and on the bike for some more miles. nothing hard. just spinning out the legs and getting in the miles. awesome morning, no clouds, no wind, and not too cold.
- food: dry fruit & cereal before. protein/recovery shake after.

Lunch: 30 min core/stretching/foam roller
- hit the gym at lunch for some core work. 20 minutes solid work with the physio ball and med ball. Also did 4,5,3 min planks. Then I hit the foam roller for 10 min.

PM: 42:57/6.14 mile trail run
- Lululemon run. Another solid crew and a good run. I was pretty tired rolling up but thankfully Beth, Chris, Rachel... and later Brandon pulled me through. We ended up a bit faster than last week and I would like to keep that trend up.

Thursday: EZ Run & massage/adjustment

AM: slept in!
- I actually slept in and just lounged this morning. I was up around 7am had some coffee and a killer breakfast burrito. It's amazing how much an extra 1.5 hours of sleep feels.
- Food: black coffee & Breakfast burritto: whole grain tortilla, 3 eggs (one whole/2 whites, chicken breast, onions, mushrooms, salsa, avocado, jalapeno tabasco sauce.

Lunch: 57:47/8.04 mile trail run
- just easy miles. cruising. nice and warm. I contemplated taking it down into the canyon and getting in some hills but decided to keep flat and mellow.
Food: clif nectar bar before. Recoverite after.

Friday: MTB intervals & EZ run
AM: 1:29/13.96 mile MTB ride - Vo2/Race Pace intervals
- on it early this morning and it was a good one. 3rd week of doing this workout and this time it consisted of 8x3min at race intensity with 1min recoveries. Followed up with 2x90", 2x60", 4x30" all out on equal recovery. I felt good and was able to hammer. I love this workout. feels like racing.
- Food: dry cereal before. protein/recovery shake after.

view from the ride. "san diego" moment at 630am.

Lunch: 43:27/6.2 run
- i hit the trails at lunch and was only planning on 4 miles but I felt really good and the weather was perfect so I just rolled with it and got in 6 on the trails. i built the intensity through the 3 miles out and then did 8x30" accellerations to 10k/half marathon with 90" recoveries on the way back. I felt really good on the way back. last run before the half marathon on sunday... we'll see how going into the half marathon with already having 35 miles running in the legs feels.

Saturday: MTB Sagebrush Safari course pre-ride
AM - 2:26/22.04 mile MTB
- Killer course. more details above. felt good.
course profile.

Sunday: Long run (superfrog relay)
AM -25 min/3.03 run w/u - 13.27/13.27 run/race
- Superfrog relay. tough course.

Totals for the week:
Time: 17:42
Road bike distance: 68.54
MTB distance: 54.66
run distance: 52.11
Strength/Core: 1 strength session + 2 core sessions

time for some rest!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

is it sunday yet?

I am in the middle of a tough ass week of training that will culminate with a half marathon on Sunday through the soft sand of Coronado. This is the 3rd week of first build phase and it's a big one. the third week of a 4 week block (with the the 4th week being a recovery week) are always the toughest for me. I am battling the the fatigue from the previous weeks while continuing to push myself. And with my focus being on just mountain bike racing and running I am trying a bit of a new structure to my training. Trevor taught me a lot about working in single sport blocks for triathlon so I am applying that to my 2 sport training.

My 2 x 4 week build blocks are structured as follows.
week 1: bike focus
week 2: run focus
week 3: combined (hard!)
week 4: 3 x R's - rest - recovery - regeneration

It's a new strategy for me. We'll see how it all works come 5/2 & 5/9.

I have already logged a lot of miles riding and running this week and am definitely feeling it. After a couple of "easier" days (wednesdy/thrusday) I will be ready to dial it back up on Friday and through the weekend. Thankfully I have massage and adjustment lined up for this evening... i need it!

Saturday Ryan and I are heading out to Alpine to pre-ride the Sagebrush Safari race course. The Sagebrush Safari will be the third race of the west coast US MTB Cup series on 4/5. With next week being a recovery (still some solid work, just less of it and more rest/recovery time) week I am hoping to be more rested than normal and ready to throwdown with big boys again.

Course Desciption:
Probably the most diverse and challenging course in the series. A fast paced start with a big climb gives way to a fast fun single track. Wide open fire roads, a hike a bike, and a long single track descend toward the finish. Categories 2 & 3 will go approximately 18 miles, while the Pros and Cat 1’s will add the climb to Mount Pinos which adds about 7 miles to their ride.

Like I said before I will be "racing" a half marathon this Sunday. I am teaming up with my Breakaway homies, Felipe & Luke, and we are racing the relay division of the SuperFrog XXXI Triathlon (half ironman distance). Felipe will be swimming, Luke will be caning it on the bike, and I will do what I can on the sandy, 2 lap half marathon course. It's going to be tough for sure... oh yeah and there's money on the line. $1000 to the fastest relay team and there are some really strong teams coming out. Show me the money!

The other thing I am really looking forward to is that SuperSeal (the olympic distance race run in conjuction with SuperFrog) will be Beth's first triathlon of the season. While she's not totally resting for it I am stoked to she how she does.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend. There's a lot going on. Justin and Allison with be throwing down at the US MTB Cup race in Fontana. Eric and Mark will be racing the first Xterra of the Season up in Folsom. Then there's SuperFrog and SuperSeal which a ton of local people are doing. Awesome weeknd of racing.

Monday, March 23, 2009

week of 3.16.2009 - Florida trip and training recap

After some long days of traveling, long nights of partying, and some long windy running we are back in Carlsbad... it's good to be home. We had a killer time in Florida... Bythe and Zandy's wedding was super fun... BEST BAND OF ALL TIME!

Even with all the festivities we were both able to get in some solid training on the right coast. I knocked an 8 mile run and strength session on Friday while Beth was fulfilling here bridesmaid duties and then Saturday we teamed up for a long run. We got in a solid 15 miles up and down the coast. It was definitely not an easy run. The first 7.5 miles we battled a gnarly headwind before making the turn around. Beth killed it. She hung with me for the entire 15 miles. She is getting so strong and I'm getting really excited to watch her race this year.

long run route:

North lake trail we ran back on:

Sunday morning, the night after the wedding, we were up at 4am to catch our 6am flight back to SoCal. We were back in town by 1045 am to rain and wind. Driving home from the airport I pretty much decided to not ride my bike and just stay in and embrace the shitty weather, drink some beers and catch up on the March madness... but then... the sun came out around 1pm so I jumped on the bike for some miles and to spin out my legs from the 15 miles on saturday, and it was good call. I got in some mellow miles and definitely felt better afterward.

so the recap... solid week considering the travel and late nights (st. patty's day, rehearsal dinner, wedding!)

Thursday: MTB - LT/Climbing Intervals
AM - 2:11/18.45 mile MTB
- I got on it early before we got on our way to the airport. I felt ok. the 2 runs and 15 miles wednesday definitely had me feeling a bit sluggish. I got through the 5 climbs and the plan is do the same climbs next week... but faster.

Friday: EZ run & strength in West palm Beach
AM - 45 min Strength & core
- after sitting around the hotel for too long and watching the rain come down i headed down to the gym. shitty gym but i got it done.

PM - 55 min/8.06 mile run
- after sitting the around the hotel some more the rain finally stopped. I bolted out the door and got it done. just cruised through west palm beach, easy, flat running. it was nice and humid. i forgot how much I love running in the heat and humididty. Good run.

Saturday: Long Run
AM - 1:49/15 mile run
- after a late night and sleeping in Beth and I headed out for out long run on the coast... in gale force headwinds on the way out. brutal. but we were clicking off sub 7:20's so it was solid. She killed it. By the end of the run I was over it. I hate running on roads/sidewalk!

Sunday: EZ spin
PM - 1:51/28.37 Road ride
- got out the door for some easy miles. see above.

Totals for the week:
Time: 14:52
Bike Distance - 48.67 mi
Run Distance - 50.78 mi
MTB Distance - 31.49 mi

Thursday, March 19, 2009

busy week...

just a busy week with work, training, st. patty's day, getting ready to head to Florida for a wedding, and our cabinets getting refinished at our place making it tough to use the kitchen and cook.

Since we are out of town this weekend and I obviously won't have my bike, I making this more of a run focused week. I have been gradually upping my mileage and with the SuperFrog half next weekend (I am running the half mary in the relay) I want to back it off a bit next week. So this week I am going big!

a quick recap of the last couple of days.

Monday: EZ run & spin
lunch - 44 mins/6.03 mile run
- super mellow "shake-out" run. felt good.

PM - 1:19/20.3 mile road ride
- EZ spin on the coast with Beth. My legs felt really good just spinning. got a flat... lame!
AM - 1:25/13.05 mile MTB - Vo2/Race Pace intervals.
- same workout that I did last week but the intervals were 5x4min on 2min recoveries and then some max effort sprints. I am really liking this workout and hitting the intervals. In the past I have trouble really pushing it hard on the bike first thing in the morning but that hasn't been the case so far.

Lunch - 42 min/6.07 mile run
- more easy miles. descended pace for the middle 4 miles. Good run. Warm. Sans shirt.

- met up with trevor and jess and Beachside Bar & Grill in Encinitas. Killer happy hour. Warning: $4 22oz Firstone Union Jack IPA's are dangerous!!

Wednesday: double run day!
AM - 1:17/9.5 mile run
- hit the local trails, KOM course. first time in a while i have done this run and loved it. I felt ok. Probably too many beers last night!

Lunch -30 min - core/stretching/myrtl/foam roller

PM: 43 min/6.14 mile trail run
- lulemon run. another good crew. solid, even pace tonight. beth ran strong with us.

this morning i will be heading out on the bike before heading to the airport. Beth and I will be in West Palm Beach for the weekend for Bythe and Zandy's wedding. It's going to be a quick trip but I am sure it will be a fun one. I am hoping to get in my long run on saturday morning before the festivities. Anybody know any good run routes in west palm? I am assuming there are no trails... and I am not trying to get eaten by an alligator.

one last thing. run critique. My homeboy Jim Vance sent me a rad photo critiquing my run form... which I definitely could work on. Have guys like Jim looking out for me is awesome and much appreciated!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Week of 3.9.2009 - 10k Race report and Training Recap

A very good week of in terms of training including a 10k on Saturday that I am very happy with. My body is definitely handling the intensity very well and I think I have done a really good job with recovery in all respects (schedule of hard/easy workouts, nutrtion, massage/foam roller/sauna, and nutrtion).

On Saturday morning I cruised down to Mission Bay to run the 29th Annual St. Patrick's Day 10k. This was my third year in a row doing this race and it's always been fun. As always going into a race with a week of hard training in the books is always tough but with bigger races in the coming months resting for lower priority races is not going to happen and I think I am better for it in the long run. Running a hard 10k on tired legs is tough, both mentally and physically, but I know it makes me stronger and more willing/able to deal with "race day pain" when the big races come around.

I did a longer warm-up than usual with Brandon. We got in just under 5 miles of easy jogging and some strides. I had a good sweat going when I got to the line and felt pretty good. There were a bunch of really fast dudes there. Last year I got 3rd overall with a 33:56 and I knew that wasn't going to be the case this year with the crew at the starting line.

The race:
I felt pretty good from the gun and the starting pace was pretty mellow... or so I thought. I think my longer warm-up did the trick because the I was loose and initial pace didn't seem out of control as it usually does for me. I was in the second pack in the first mile of about 7-8 guys and the front of 5 guys were already getting a little gap going. I ended up going through first mile in 5:12... little quick for sure. I backed off my pace just a tad and just tried to stay with the group I was now in of 4 guys.
Long story short. the guys kind of got away from me and I finished the race running the last 4 miles in no man's land... all by myself. On the backside of Fiesta Island there was an annoying head wind for miles 3.5-5. It wasn't gusting or anything but just enough to make you not feel like your were running fast. If I could have stayed with the pack I could have tucked in and drafted off of the bigger guys but I blew that chance early on when I didn't respond to the increasing pace.

I finished the race in 33:58 (2 seconds slower than last year) and that was good enough for 10th ovearall. Even though I was 2 seconds slower I am very happy with my race and where my fitness is right now. I was really curious to see what I could do and what impact the foot injury and lack of winter running would do to my form/speed. The weird thing is even though the time is almost identical to last year the effort felt quite a bit easier.

I remember feeling totally gutted when I crossed the line last year and this year I felt a bit worked, but like I still had some in the tank. The pace of the entire race just felt more comfortable and the only thing I can attribute that to is the consistent track workouts I have been getting in. I haven't done consistent track work for the past couple of seasons and I can already tell it's making a difference.

here's the splits.
mile 1: 5:12
mile 2: 5:23
mile 3: 5:32
mile 4: 5:37
mile 5: 5:37
mile 6: 5:20
.26: 1:15

final turn sequence with my homeboy and teammate Adam.

I stole all the photos from Dave!

Sunday was a different story.  Ryan cruised down from HB for some riding.  Beth (FW), Ryan, and I headed down to Solana Beach to meet up with Mary for a solid 4 hour ride.  Another long story short... I totally blew up 2 hours into the ride after climbing highland valley rd (KOM in tour of CA).  To make things worse I got a pinch flat .25 miles from home on the final descent!  I was over it but made it home with almost 4 hours in the bank.  Tough day!  Beth and Mary rode super strong... I am glad am I am not a chick having to race them and stoked they didn't drop me on the way home!

Recap of the week's training.

Monday: off/recovery
- I slept in a bit but was still pretty sluggish. Delayed fatigue! During lunch I hit the gym for some light stretching and foam roller work. I contemplated an afternoon spin but it was windy and I was still tired so I just relaxed.

Tuesday: Track, Strength,& EZ Spin
- AM - 60 min/8 miles
- Track session. I felt pretty good. With the 10k on Saturday, and the fact that I am not doing the 5k that the guys I am training with are running I dialed my pace back a bit. After getting some instructions from Dave I ran in control and right around 10k pace. The pace felt solid and like I wasn't really pushing. good. The workout:
1.5 mile w/u
8x100m Strides on 100 recovery (1 mile)
3x1 mile w/ 400 EZ jog recovery
#1 - 5:24
#2 - 5:25
#3 - 5:18
1.5 mile c/d

I pushed a little hard on the last 800 of the the third mile. Definitely felt the pace increase a bit but was able to hold on.
- food: dried fruit, black coffee, & diet mtn dew before. Recoverite after.

Lunch - 40 min Strength/core
- did my version of 300 workout. 40 mins of continuous work. solid.

PM - 1:38/25.5 mile road ride
- I hit the road after work to spin out the legs. I felt really good and I know this will help with recovery from track session. I need to ride after track as much as possible. Super nice afternoon...great day to get out.
- Food: dinner after ride. Grilled pork chops & veggies (sweet pots, brussell sprouts, mushrooms, onions, & asparagus). Epic!

Wednesday: MTB, Gym, & Run
AM - 1:29/? mile MTB - Vo2 intervals
- Solid ride this morning. First "hard" training ride. 6x3 @ Vo2/Race pace with 2 min recoveries. I had a lot of fun during this work out. Felt good to push it. Great mtb race simulation.
- Food: dried fruit and coffee before. Protein/recovery shake after.

Lunch - 25 min core/myrtl/foam roller
- just a quick session at lunch.

PM - 44 min/6.15 mile run
- Lululemon run. Good crew. We ran a route that I mapped and it's a good one. I felt pretty good on the run and didn't push it at all. Running with groups in the evening is good for motivation I would have just slogged otherwise.
- Food: Clif Nectar 90 minutes before and various snacks at home. Huge salad for dinner afterwards... and some wine.

Thursday: EZ Run & Strength/core
Lunch - 57 min/8 mile run
- Just cruised my work trail and extened it 2 miles to get in 8. My left calf is still pretty tight down into my Soleus. Not painful and loosens up after is start running. Just a niggle. Ice it right after run in my office.
- Food: big bowl of cereal (go lean, cheerios, puffed corn, strawberries, bluberries, black berries, protein powder, flaxseed meal, and almond milk) for breakkie. V8 3o minutes before run. Recoverite after.

PM - 30 min strength session + 17 min dry sauna w/stick
- hit the gym after work and wasn't feeling it all but got it done. I lifted heavy and got into it after warm-up. the workout:
3 x 12 pullups/15 dips/30 knee-ups
4 x 6-10 bent over barbell row (115lbs)
3 x 8-10 barbell curl (60lbs)
4 x 8-10 dumbbell bench (45lbs)
3 x 8-10 overhead tri ext (45lbs)
3 x 10 lat shoulder raises (20lbs)
- food: larabar before. dinner after -salmon salad with a ton of veggies & some baked tortilla chips.

Friday: EZ ride & EZ run
AM - 1:30/22.5 mile road ride
- I got on it early and it was still kind of dark... and super cold. I froze. I felt ok and didn't push. Just kept it mellow.
- food: black coffee, dried fruit & pb before. protein/recovery shake after.

Lunch - 27:50/4 mile run
- I hit the work trail again. This run was to shake out the legs for the race on Saturday. I descended the first 2 miles out and then on the way back did 5 x 30" accellerations to race pace on 90" recovery. Legs felt good considering the training that has gone on this week.
- Food: V8, peanuts, and some random samples from Whole Foods before. Recoverite after.

PM - 60 min massage + adjustment
- gnarly deep tissue work. A new lady gave me a massage and worked me over. Dr. Jack said my upperback and neck were way more tight than usual. I am chalking it up to the race last weekend and maybe lifting heavy yesterday. Feeling great afterwards.
- Food: pre-race meal. egg & veggie (sweet pots, b. sprouts, broc, onion, peppers) scramble with corn tortillas and guac... made into tacos.

Saturday: St. Patty's Day 10k & EZ spin.
AM - 1:45/15 mile run (warm-up, race, cooldown)
- See RR above.
- Food: sports drink & black coffee only before. Recoverite & KIND bar after.

PM - 1:12/20 mile road ride
- Just an easy spin on the coast and felt great. No fatigue/soreness in legs... at all. Not even tired. Weird.

Sunday: Long ride
AM - 3:53/60 mile road ride.
- see above.  tough day on the bike.
- food: too much to talk about!

totals for the week:
Time: 16:12
Bike Distance126.62 mi
Run Distance41.26 mi
MTB Distance13.7 mi

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Stepping it up!

Well... first things first. Yesterday morning and 1130 am I pulled the trigger and registered for Wave 1 of the Pikes Peak Ascent! So stoked. After my early season peak in May my training will focus towards this race. I am really looking forward to the training, the race, toeing the line with some good people (Beth, Jon, JP, Kevin?), and watching others (GZ, Justin) crush the full marathon the Sunday after.... and of course the post race festivies & beers (I am counting on GZ for an epic home brew post race)!

That's the big news. Other than that training is going really well this week. I have entered the first of my two build phases leading up to my A races on 5/2 & 5/9. This means it's time to add some serious intensity to my training. I have done some already on the run with the track workouts the past couple of weeks and just little on the bike in the races the past couple of weekends but now it's time to step it up a notch more regularly in training. These are definitely my favorite training phases for sure.

It's kind of a race phase too. I don't think there is really any better way (for me at least) to train for the intensity of racing without doing some lower priority races and really throwing down. So that's what I will do again this weekend at the St. Patty's day 10k. This will be the third year in row that I have done the race. Last year I finished 3rd overall with a 33:56. I am not sure what I am really capable of this year. I am not sure where I am at after not running for a 6 week span in December and January due to my foot injury. That being said... the track workouts have been going really well and I have felt better/faster each week. So I will show up Saturday morning ready to see what I have in my legs. Hopefully I can hang near the front and the fast guys can drag me to a new PR on the course... if not... no worries. They have a killer beer garden afterwards!

Since I am racing on Saturday I backed up two big days this week so I can have two mellower days towards the end of the week. I had solid track workout early tuesday morning with some solid mile repeats. I was able to hit 5:24, 5:25, and 5:18 for the miles and I felt like I was in cruise control. Then my ride yesterday morning on the trails was solid. It included 6 x 3 min Vo2/race pace efforts on 2 min recoveries followed up by some shorter max effort sprints. I was stoked with the way the workout went... I mean it hurt but not as bad as expected. I am already looking forward to another hard session like this next week. I finished up yesterday with solid 6.16 mile trail run with the lululemon crew. good times.

The loop we ran last night is one I mapped out for the girls (and guys) at lululemon and it's 90% on trails... and right from the shop (see map below). We'll be running the same route every Wednesday evening at 6pm for the next several of weeks so come out and run. It's a great crew and a good time.... and there's always a group down for happy hour afterwareds.

For more info on the route click here.

One last thing... Saturday is National Chip day (my favorite snack)! So rip open a bag and crack a beer... i know I'm going to!

That's it...

Monday, March 09, 2009

2009 Counting Coup Race Report

Counting Coup

On Saturday I raced Counting Coup up in the Santa Ana Mountains. It was a good day for sure. Counting Coup is advertised as a 44 +/- mile, 8,000 +/- ft of elevation gain mountain bike race. This runs in conjunction with Vision Quest (56 miles and 11,000 ft of elevation gain) which I did last year.

Last year I approached Vision Quest as a long training day and just wanted to get through it feeling good... and I did. I used the race as a "carrot" to get me out the door and on the bike all winter for long base rides to make sure I was prepared, not only for VQ but for my Xterra/racing season. I didn't push the pace during the race over the 56 miles and just made sure I took in enough calories and water. It was fun but the last climb, including the 40 min hike-a-bike is something that I could have done without. So this year I signed up for Counting Coup with a plan of riding a little harder but still using it as my training "carrot."

I decided late last week (I think Thursday night) that I was just going to go for it and see what I could do. My only goal was to break 5 hours and I thought with the training I have done so far this year that I could definitely do it. My long rides leading up to the race had topped out at 4 hours this year, which was down from last year when I put in several 5-6 hour days on the roads and trails.

Friday night I headed up to Ryan's crib to crash and hang out. After a good beer I got my gear ready to go and crashed for the early wake-up. We were up at 330am for the 530am start. After a couple of cups of coffee and a 30 min drive we were at the starting line... freezing.

We had to ride about a mile to the start line and got there 5 minutes before the start. Perfect, but we were definitely cold. My hands were already numb but figured they would warm-up once we started hammering up the first climb. I didn't get a good spot on the start line at all and that's my fault. I was being courteous of the other guys around me and didn't want to be "that guy" that shows up at the last minute and pushes his way all the way to the front.

The Race:

Due to my bad starting position I had to work my way through a bunch of riders in the first mile and then it kind of opened up a bit. I was feeling good, a bit cold, but I was riding a good pace and just kept passing people one by one. The goal was to go hard and really see how long I could keep it up. It took me 1:47 to cover the first climb of 15.5 miles. Last year it took my 2:17 to get there so I knew things were looking good. I descended Motorway with a couple of solid riders. I just sucked wheel and road a little above my comfort level on the sketchy descent but we were rolling!

I reached the aid station at the bottom of the descent and my hands and feet were frozen. I was little behind on my calories due to the cold and numb hands (hard to squeeze/hold bottles). The volunteers at the aid stations in this race are awesome! I handed one an empty bottle and they refilled it with water and then I saw my friend Kerrie. Stoked. My hands were so cold I could get into my jersey pocket for my gel flask. I called her over and she got it out for me. I also had another volunteer rip open a bar for me. So I had 3 people working for me... it was killer! I slugged some gel, threw half a bar in my mouth and rolled away.

Aid Station sequence:

roll in...

fumble around with numb hands...

see Kerri and call to her for help...

throw a bunch of food in my mouth and head out...

The second climb up to Santiago Peak starts on with quite a few miles on asphalt which seems to suck all the energy out of you. I felt flat during this stage of the race but just kept moving and was still making some passes. I started coming around once we hit the dirt again.. thank you caffeinated gels. I started this part of the climb with a couple of guys and had a few more in our sights. After a mile of riding together I realized that they were all doing Vision Quest and we were going the same pace. I should have been riding harder... so I did. I dropped a couple gears and just started hammering the climb and really didn't stop until the I reached Santiago Peak. I was able to ride away from everybody and didn't see anybody else on course for quite a while. It was nice and sunny but it was still cold. My hands and feet were still totally numb. I new descending was going to be a challenge.

Right before the peak I caught Marco Arocha who won my class (kicked myass!) last weekend at Bonelli... super fast and cool guy. I kind of road away from him on the climb but he quickly caught back up to me once we started the descent. On the descent we rode through several patches of snow/ice. I took a spill on the first section of snow. Nothing major. I just got caught up in a rut, went down, and slid 10 yards across the ice. A couple of scrapes later I was rolling and continued down Holy Jim. Once I was past the technical sections I started hammering and was riding well... and having a blast.

At the end of Holy Jim I hit the fireroad and threw it in the big ring and gave it everything. I knew I was going to break 4 hours. 5 miles later I crossed the line at 4:33 and ended up finishing 4th overall. Soooooo Stoked!

I hung out after the race for a bit and talked with the guys that finished just ahead of me. I was stoked to see Ryan finish in 5:55. A super solid race... and he's just getting started.

The race was hard and I was kind of shocked with my result. I thought sub 5 hours and a top 10 was attainable but really wasn't expecting to feel as good as I did. Maybe I'll go back next year and shoot for the win!

All my friends has great days too.... Check their race reports.
Luke (and go Vote for him again!)

Week of 3.2.2009 - Training Recap

Just training info....

Monday: Strength/core & Easy Run
Am - 40 min Strength Session
- I hit the gym before work. Solid session 10-12 reps of each excercise. Didn't want to move up in weight or lift to heavy due to race on Saturday. I will likely lift heavy again on Sunday.
- Food: Dried fruit & nuts before. Protein Shake & Banana after.

Lunch - 42 min/6 mile run
- EZ run at lunch. Just cruised on the the ridgeline trail. Legs felt pretty good... kind of shocked after Sunday's race. My pace vs. effort is definitely going up. I was easily hitting 7 min miles and it felt like and easy jog. The track workouts and consistent running is doing it's thing.
- Food: Jazz apple 30 min before. Recoverite right after.

Tuesday: EZ Ride & Run
AM - 1:50/28.56 Mile road ride
- I just cruised down the coast to Del mar and back. Super mellow. Checked out Sky Loft on way back. I will doing Vo2 hill repeats there for sure. 3-4 minute climb. No traffic.
- Food: trail mix before. protein shake after.

PM - 45 min/6.17 Mile trail run
- I hit San Elijo Lagoon on my way home from work and just ran easy again. Not pushing anything this week. Only hard run workout will be the track Thursday morning.
- Food: 2 clementine's and 1/2 Bora Bora before 45 min before. Recoverite after.

Wednesday: EZ MTB, Core, Lululemon run
AM - 1:30/13.35 Mile MTB on Local trails
- felt good this morning... Not great. I just cruised up the single track climbs not pushing at all. Just spinning.
- Food: dried fruit & trail mix before. protein/recovery shake after.

Lunch - 30 min core/myrtl/stretching/foam roller
- easy session at lunch.

PM - 41 min/5.35 mile Run
- Lululemon group run. Shorter route. Just cruised. Track in the morning and want to be ready.

Thursday: Track & Strength
AM - 1:10/9.45 mile Track Session
- Another solid morning on the track. My pace is starting to feel more in control and I can actually feel the pace and have a good idea of how fast I am going. I was feeling pretty sluggish on the warm-up jog and strides, but felt good during the workout. The goal was just to hold 5k pace throughout. I am pretty stoked the both sets are pretty identical. Good pacing. here's the workout:
1.5 mile w/u
8x100m strides/100m recovery (1 mile)
mainset (all with 200 recovery jog):
600 - 1:55
400 - 75"
300 - 56"
200 - 36"
100 - 18"
1 mile easy jog
600 - 1:55
400 - 77"
300 - 55"
200 - 36"
100 - 18"
1 mile easy jog
1.5 mile c/d

- Food: black coffee and handful of trail mix before & diet mountain dew code red before. Recoverite after.
- put on recovery tights right after and had them on until lunch.

Lunch - 40 min Strength/core
- I did my version of the 300 workout again. Solid.
300 core on ball
4 min plank
30 pushups
30 pull ups
30 dips
30 overhead tri ext
30 dumbbell curls
30 back ext
30 lat shoulder raise
30 dumbbell snatch
30 close grip pull down
30 push ups
300 core circuit on ball
4 min plank
40 weighted trunk twists

PM - 60 min massage & adjustment
- first time at chiro in way too long. Made more appointments.

Friday: EZ Ride
AM - 1:25/21.75 mile road ride
- hit my "hood" loop for some easy riding. Just enough to shake out the legs.
- Food: dried fruit before. Killer protein/recovery shake (hammer whey, banana, mango, berries, almond milk) after.

Lunch - 20min stretching/foam roller
- I hit the gym at lunch a quick session of stretching and foam roller action. feeling good.

Saturday: Counting Coup - Mtb Race
AM - 4:33/42.55 Mile MTB race
- Good day. See race report.

Sunday: Long run & Strength
AM - 1:31/12.3 mile run
- I didn't set an alarm or anything and just got, had some coffee, did some things around the house and then headed for San Elijo Lagoon. I ran through the lagoon, then up and through San Dieguito Park and back. Solid run but definitely not fast and feeling the race yesterday (as expected). I forgot how hill San Dieguito park is. These are the kinds of runs that make strong/tough. Just getting through it.
- Food -trail mix, bird feeder bar & coffee before. Power recovery drink w/half scoop of hammer whey added right after.

Late AM - 30 min Strength session & 15 min sauna w/ stick
- I headed straight to the gym after run. Not very motivated but knocked it out. After the workout I hit the sauna for 15 min and worked over my legs with the stick. Felt great.
- Food - scrambled eggs and sweet potato pancakes after.

The week: 16:30
Bike Distance 50.21 mi (2 road rides)
Run Distance 39.27 mi (5 runs)
MTB Distance 55.9 mi (1 mtb ride + race)
3 Strength/core sessions

Overall a big ass week. Nothing to intense except for the track workout on Thursday and the race on Sunday. I wasn't expecting to put in this much time. It just kind of happened. I am definitely feeling it a bit and am pretty tried today (sunday). Gonna take tomorrow off and just relax the rest of today.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

My Decision

Two roads diverged in a wood and I - I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference - Rober Frost

So it took me a while to make this decision. It has been weighing on my mind since last fall and then when I hurt my foot I kind of let it go. After my foot healed I made, and posted, my "tentative" 2009 race schedule. Well I have been doing a lot of training and thinking in the first couple months of the year. While in New Jersey last week I made my decision final and can't tell how good it felt... like a huge weight off my shoulders.

I had already decided to take a year off from racing Xterra seriously. The reasons were the uncertainty of the new format, the cost of travel, and lack of desire. So I decided to race a couple of Xterra's this year and do some other fun events. Beth is also progressing quickly on the mountain bike and we are planning to charge the Xterra circuit in 2010. Anybody who knows me knows that I don't do ANYTHING half-assesd. Nothing. It's not in me.

So for the last couple of weeks I have been putting in the miles on the bike and run, feeling great and loving every minute. Every session in the pool has been a struggle and not the actual workouts. I have actual been swimming pretty well considering the lack of volume but all the workouts have seemed like work. I have not enjoyed them and all I was thinking about was running.

So I have made a huge decision... for me at least. I have been going over it for weeks and I am sure Beth is sick of me talking about it. I also consulted with a lot of friends and talented athletes (you know who you are and I can't thank you enough) to make sure I was doing the right thing. So....If I am really going to take a year away from Xterra... I really need to do it and really go after some other goals.

Most triathlete's have come from a single sport background and reached their potential, plateaued, or just got burned out and then turned to tri. Not all... but a lot. I did not. I just jumped into triathlon in 2006 without any real training in any of the 3 sports. I surfed, "jogged", and rode my beach cruiser to the beach and bars. When I started training it was obvious that my strength was running and over the course of the last couple of years my run has continued to get stronger as well as my riding. My swimming progressed quickly and then I have kind of plateaued over the last year. I am fast enough to compete and that's fine with me. I don't really like it enough to give up time on the trails to spend the required time in the pool to gain a minute or two. I'd rather run and ride.

So since I had already decided to take a year a way from racing Xterra seriously I am going to take it another step further. I am not going to race any Xterra races or triathlons in 2009 (maybe some club race if I feel like it). I definitely still plan on jumping in the TCSD aquathlons this summer just because there are so much fun.

So the new plan.

I am going to see what I can really do with my running and race mountain bikes for fun. The focus of my training will be running. I want to run trails and mountains... both long and fast and really see what I am capable of. I will still ride my bikes because I love it and race XC mountain bike races because I feel like it's great cross training and so much fun. I have been doing the same kind of training for 3 years and I am ready to change it up and try new things.

What will happen if I focus on my strength and on what I really WANT to do?

We'll find out!

Some people I'm sure will be shocked with my decision and think I am foolish for walking away right now after the year I had last year... but it's not for good. I will be back in 2010 with a lot of running and riding under my belt and I am pretty confident that I will be faster than ever. I'm just going to do what makes me happy.

Another factor in my decision was that I want to be able to support Beth and her racing goals this year. She has some pretty lofty goals that I know are totally attainable and I want to be there to help and be her sherpa at as many of her races that I can. I love watching her race and want to do everything I can to help her go fast and have stress free races.

So that's it. Here's the new tentative race schedule.

3/1 - US MTB Cup #1 Bonelli Park - C (completed)

3/7 - Counting coup mtb race (44 mile mtb) - C (this weekend)

3/14 - St. Patty's day 10k - C

3/29 - Superfrog Triathlon - Relay/Run 13.2 miles - C

4/5 - US MTB Cup #3- B

4/19 - Trail of Torment 10k - C

4/25 - 8 hour mtb race, 2-man - B

5/2 - Idyllwild Spring Challenge - A
5/9 - Xterra Malibu creek 14 miler - A

5/23 - Mount Wilson Trail Race - C

6/7 - Santa Barbara Bike Festival XC MTB - C

6/14 - Holcomb Valley 15 Trail Race - B

7/4 - Scripps Old Pros 10k - C

7/11 - XTERRA Sugarbush Xduro- 20km - B

8/16 - Pikes Peak Ascent - A

Aug-Nov - Dirt Dog XC Series - B

9/13 - Xterra Trail running Nats - A

9/27 - US MTB Cup Finals - Las Vegas - B

12/6 - NorthFace 50 (50k) - A

Other possiblities depending on how are season's (me and beth) going and scheduling.

June-August - Rim Nordic MTB Series

10/11 - Chicago Marathon
11/15 - Catalina Eco Marathon

I definitely won't do all of these but it's an outline. The first races I want to peak/taper for will be on back to back weekends. They will be the Idyllwild Spring Challenge XC MTB race and the Xterra Malibu Creek 14 Miler (trail running). I want to see what happens if I go into a mountain bike race actually rested and ready to go as opposed to just training through it. The weekend after is another Xterra trail race. Can I peak and perform well at both? I'll find out.

The other A races will be the Pike Peak Ascent, Xterra Trail running Nationals, and the NorthFace 50k in December in San Francisco. I will also be charging the Dirt Dog XC season from August-November with the BSK team (schedule is not posted yet).

So My training for the next couple of months will be focused on building up my running volume and picking up the intensity on the bike. After the races in early may I will likely take a short break and then start my Pikes specific training block... well that's the plan for now.

If anybody knows of any other gnarly trail running our mountain bike races send them my way. I'd love to see what's out there.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Race Report - US MTB West Cup #1 Bonelli Park

I was up early on Sunday morning and on the road for Bonelli Park in San Dimas. I got there right around 8am and was blown away by what I saw. Most of the mountain bike racing I have done have been smaller local races and this was going to be my first "big" race, but I had no idea how big. The race set up was huge. Tons of tents, vendors, killer start/finish area, big mac trucks wi logos for the US series all over. I was kind of taken back. It's more than I have seen at US Xterra races... including nationals and worlds. I was stoked!

So I went and picked up my packet before the the crowds showed up. There ended up being just under 700 people racing over the course of the weekend. Again, bigger than any Xterra race I have done. I was still kind of in shock of the whole thing. I didn't train specifically for this race but for most of the people at the race racing Pro, Cat 1, and Cat 2 THIS is what they train for. Just like I trained and focused on Xterra West Champs last year. And this being the first race of the season, and a brand new US series, a lot of people came out. I noticed a lot of license plates from outside of Californian in the parking lots. Like I posted about last week I would be racing in Category 1 against some really good mountain bikers, but once I was at the race I realized just how hard it was going to be and kind of felt out of my league.

#6... really... I must have been one of the first people to register.

Ryan met me just after 8 and we headed out for a lap of the course. His race was at 1030 and mine 1230 so we had plenty of time to cruise the 7.5 mile loop that included 1000+ ft of climbing per lap. The course wasn't too technical. Just a lot of fire road climbing and super fast descents. On the pre-ride I was definitely feeling the 4 hours of road riding I did the day before and didn't feel great, but I have never rested for a mountain bike race so I really wasn't too worried and just ready to give it everything I had.

After the pre-ride I headed down to the start to watch Ryan race. He was racing his first real mountain bike race (he went off course in his first attempt last year... so that doesn't count). He killed it... especially after not really riding in 2 weeks because of being sick. He finished 7th in the 25-29 Cat 2's. Solid! Beer Earned!

After he finished I started my warm-up. Nothing crazy. Just 25 minutes of getting the legs ready. The race was delayed a bit and right before 1pm we were off. I was in the 3rd wave (1 - pros, 2 - cat 1 all cat 1's under 30, 3 - 3-34 cat 1's). My class was huge compared to any race I have done. 25 guys lined up for the Cat1 30-34 race. Nuts!

Lap #1
My plan was too not go out too hard and just kind of feel it out then really start getting after it on lap 2. Well that plan went right out the window about 5 minutes into the race on the second major climb. I was some where in the middle of the pack and the guys I thought I could hang with were starting to get away. So I hammered to bridge the gap and then just kept pushing for a bit. I was hurting... it was hot (85+ degrees with no shade). I pulled away from the group and then was caught by a couple guys that I passed near the end of the lap. I had no idea where I was in the race.

Lap #2
I just kept it steady and caught and passed quite a few guys. Just a solid lap. Nothing special. I had Justin just ahead for me so I just paced of off him. I could get to him on the climbs but he would blast the descents and leave in the dust! Seriously... the dude is FAST and we were talking shit back and forth... good times!

Lap #3
I was actually feeling great the the start of the lap and I could tell others were fading. I nailed my nutrition and was ready to make my move. So I did. Right after the feed zone I went for it and was able to get a way and then just rode scared for the rest of the lap hoping none of the guys I was able to ride away from would catch me. I knew I had to work the climbs because I usually lose a bit of time on the descents (gotta work on that). Nobody else passed me. I crossed the line and was stoked and figured (hoped) that I finished some where within the top 10 in my class.

done... and so stoked. I had so much fun racing.

Right before heading back home I headed over to check the results.... and was totally blown away. I ended of finishing 4th out of 24 finishers in the 30-34 Category 1 race. I really couldn't believe it... I was only about a minute from making the podium.

4th Place out of 24

So it was a great race for me and the whole vibe, production, and people out there race were awesome. I was stoked to be able to hangout and race with Ryan, Eric, Luke, Justin and Allison. I am sure they will have race reports up soon. Seriously, I had the most fun I have had at a race in a really long time and knowing that you gave it everything you had on the course is so gratifying. It's been a while since I have had that feeling.

Once I got home and cleaned up I hung out with Beth, who killed it in her first century including being the 10th woman in the KOM! Killer! We had a couple of beers and then hit El Caribe for a mexican fiesta. A pretty perfect day.

Mahi mahi & Carnitas tacos

tortilla soup.