Wednesday, February 28, 2007

It was bound to happen...

It was bound to happen, I've gotten a cold. I had a slight touch of the flu about 2 weeks ago, but it lasted only about 24 hours. This is luckily just a bit of throat and sinus inflammation. No yellow or green mucus, so no infection thankfully. Started to happen on Monday night, and yesterday was not so good, today has actually been worse.

I feel a little miserable, so I'm not training. A bit bummed about it, but what can you do? Right now I just have to get healthy and ready for Panama. Peter and I ironically had a conversation on Monday evening, and he said I just need to stay healthy. He told me even if I missed 3 days, it wouldn't be a big deal, but missing a few weeks would be. Then I got sick that night! Will probably miss about 3 days, so hopefully it won't matter. Luckily it's my recovery week!

The tough part is that my voice has been affected by this, and tonight I have to do a talk at B+L San Diego. I should be able to give it, but it won't be easy.

If you're able to come, check it out. Starts around 6PM, at the new store in Point Loma. The talk is called, "20 Ways to Improve Now!" It pretty much means what it says, giving you 20 different ways you can be faster overnight!

Hope to see you there, and hopefully I can speak fine!

Vance - 2007 NFA

Monday, February 26, 2007

Choosing a bike company

These next few weeks I find myself in the enviable position of having to decide on a bike company to ride for. Sounds great doesn't it? Well, it is pretty cool, but it is an important decision to be made.

Many would say, "Just go with the company that gives you the most money!" If you said that, then you aren't really aware of what's going on in the bike industry. There is little to no money to be had. Those who get the money are at the very top, (ie Normann, Michellie, etc).

So if money's not the issue, what is? Good question. Here are some of the points I'm having to weigh:

1. What companies do I like? Luckily, I've narrowed it down to the 3 companies I like, Specialized, BMC and Kuota.

2. What are the companies giving you? This is probably the most important factor, besides liking the bikes. Obviously, I need to consider what is best for me, and what support they will provide to help me reach the highest level possible.

3. What is the potential for growth? I have had the same sponsors for over 3 years, since I started triathlon. I have never had an official sponsorship with Specialized, but have been locally supported by the reps for the past few years. I have been hoping this would grow into something bigger and better, but that hasn't happened as much as I would like.

I actually was turned down by their corporate office for a "Global Athlete Sponsorship", but was told they would be contacting me again with an offer, as they want to support me. That was a month ago. They don't have an American, or even a top level Ironman athlete. They're a California based company, and I'm a sponsored athlete from one of their biggest and best retailers. Who knows what will happen? I hope to hear from them this week. One thing I've learned from this is that the major corporations don't have the same timetable as athletes. They drag their feet.

BMC seems to be one of the coolest companies, or perhaps the most glamorous. Bikes like the Time Machine, Pro Machine and Fourstroke. All beautiful, impressive bikes. BMC has one major female triathlete, but no males, no Americans. This could be the opportunity I need. We are discussing more things, and the final offer is yet to be made from them.

Kuota is the smallest company of the three, and honestly, they seem the most eager to get me on their bikes. Of course, they also have Normann, so I may have to play second fiddle to him for awhile. Tomorrow afternoon I will be picking up a Kuota Kalibur and test riding it for a few weeks, to see what I think. Still working out the details, which will come after the test period.

In the end, I simply want to find a company that will stand by me and support me as much as they expect me to support them. I want to commit to a company, and have them commit to me. I don't want to jump around from year to year. Let's hope that happens. Stay tuned for more, I'll try and post some pictures of the Kuota Kalibur when I get it.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Rolling along

So it's been a few days, and I'm trying to make the blog regular, if not daily.

I had a pretty good weekend of training, with 3 workouts on Friday, a big brick Saturday, and long run today.
Things went really well on Friday, finishing with my best run in a long, long time. Feeling quick and moving well. Checking the split at certain markers on the course, I could tell I was moving quickly.

Saturday was a switch, as Mac and I joined a few other guys and headed north onto Camp Pendleton, riding some of the CA 70.3 course. It was just under 6 hours for me, but the ride was never ridiculous, or super hard. We threw in some faster sessions, but we were really smart on this ride. I got home and Orlanda rode her beach cruiser alongside me while I did the transition run. (The beach cruiser was a wedding gift I got her).

We went to Crown Point Shores, and did some running drills in the grass. She did the drills too, as I'm coaching her to her goals in running, the latest being a 1:45 at La Jolla Half-Marathon.
On Sunday, I did the long run from Cardiff. It was a good group, and the best I've felt on this run in a LONG time! I had to slow it down late, and cut it a few minutes short, as my hip flexor was starting to bother me. It might have been the drills I did on Saturday's t-run, in combination with the Wednesday ride. Luckily it's been fine the rest of the day, and I see Dan tomorrow to fix it and continue to monitor the soleus.
I'm starting to finally understand the training, and getting it down right. Pete and I have traded emails, and he's excited about my progress, especially mentally. I'm much more disciplined now, and I now get it! The consistency of my training is getting so good, and I'm progressing so well, that my confidence continues to skyrocket!
I'm pretty excited about Wildflower! I also found out I will see some familiar faces down in Panama for the race. Should be good! More details to come soon!
Hope your training is going well too. Tomorrow starts my recovery week, so two days off! Monday is the first day off, and of course, it's PACKED with other crap. Not sure that fully translates to a day off, but it'll have to do.
Vance - 2007 NFA

Friday, February 23, 2007

Some random thoughts...

Here is something you guys might have missed. I'm doing a "Racer Diary" for, and I'm pretty excited about it. Here was the first entry, if you missed it:

The cool thing is, you can actually access it from the front page, not having to fish thru blogs to read it. I'm heading to Panama in less than 2 weeks, and will be doing a day-by-day diary, and blog here, on my journey and travels thru the country. I'll have some pictures, as well as other cool stuff to share. Stay tuned for that!
Here's the graph of the 10 times up Soledad workout...

You can see how nuts some of those were, altitude is the lower graph, HR the upper. Mac and I were pushing them pretty good. I had to do the last one on my own, as Mac used a hill on his way home for his last one, and you can tell I really fell off on that one without him there to keep me honest. It also didn't help that it was the last one!

This weekend is the Desert Classic Duathlon, out in Phoenix. I won this race last year, and am a little bummed I am not going back to defend the title. It was a good field last year, with guys like Simon Whitfield, Jasper Blake, Lewis Elliot and Leroy Popowski. One of my athletes, James, is going. I told him he needs to make sure he enters the raffle! Tons of cool stuff! I missed the raffle last year, as I was warming down extra, and was bummed I didn't get any tickets! If you're going, enjoy the event. It's different, and fun. The bike course is a butt-kicker, and the raffle is killer.

In other news, I've really been doing a lot of butterfly in the pool this winter. This week I decided it was time to start getting away from using fins while doing it, and seeing how fast I could swim. My best with fins for a 50 yard fly was 33 secs, but most in 35-33 range. Wednesday I did a full 50 fly in 40 secs, no fins. This morning, finished the workout with a 50 fly, 36 secs, NO FINS! It's coming along, and boy does it work your lats!

I used to hate stroke, but now that I'm learning fly, I'm beginning to like the challenge of it. It's extremely hard, good for the core, and develops a lot of power in the water. We'll see how it goes from here.

Thanks for the emails from those of you reading my blog. More to come...

Vance - 2007 NFA

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Back on track!

The past two days have been a big boost to get me fired up and back on track! Tuesday was a good swim, followed by a 14 mile run steady, SOLEUS FEELING GREAT! Dropped it down under 6 min miles and the heartrate was still so low, I wondered if it was right, or my splits were off. Held it for about 6 miles, no problem.

Today started off with a solid swim, even rocking the butterfly! Finished with just under 5000 yards, then home for some breakfast, and waited for my training partner and friend, Mac Brown to show up. Then he and I proceeded to put in 4 1/2 hours on the bike, and get this....10 TIMES UP MOUNT SOLEDAD! Yes, that's right, 656 feet of climbing, 10 times, for over 6500 feet of climbing! We went up the steady inclines, the step-ups, and even the STEEP, STEEP ones. We did two sets of 5, odds were big gear seated, evens were high cadence, or out of saddle.

It was probably the hardest single workout I've done this year so far. After the ride, it was home and out the door for a 30 min easy jog. Feeling great and surprised how quick I ran considering how trashed my legs felt. AND THE SOLEUS FELT GREAT!

It was great to have Mac with me, as it kept the workout intense and consistent, NO LET DOWNS!

So tomorrow is my day off. What does a pro triathlete do on their day off you ask? Everything else in the world that needs to get done outside of swimming, biking and running! That means a crap ton of errands, eat, massage therapy, and whatever else my wife tells me!

I'll try to get a copy of the data from the workout to post here, especially the elevation. In the meantime, I hope all of you are healthy and training well!

Vance - 2007 NFA

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Decisions, decisions...

Some of the coolest things I get to experience as a pro triathlete are all the options and opportunities before me. These range from choosing a local workout to do, with certain training groups, (like the Swami's ride, or the Sunday Cardiff run, etc), to training camp possibilities.

Peter and I have discussed some possible training camp options, including one of going to Flagstaff to train with Simon Whitfield, and his band of merry triathletes at altitude. Another is the possibility of going to British Columbia later this year to train with Peter for a number of weeks, and/or going early to Kona.

These are all cool opportunities, as last year I went to Victoria and trained with Peter, Brent McMahon, Paul Tichelar, and some of the many other top Canadians, which helped me quite well! There is even the possibility of returning to the Olympic Training Center, but I'm not sure that is going to happen this year.

So I will wait and see what Peter and I decide on, but it's cool to consider all the possibilities.

In the meantime, I have some workout opportunities here. I can go back this afternoon and train with the fast, not-so-little Macky, and put in another solid run effort. I was up early this morning, getting some ART done on the calf, and it is MUCH BETTER! Hit the pool after the session, and swimming fairly well. Baby steps, but it seems almost every swim I am improving, and that's always a good feeling.

One frustration I've had lately is a lack of weight loss. Yesterday I met with nutritionist Kim Mueller, (, and she had a really good analysis of my diet and how to improve. Most of the problem seems to be that I don't eat enough, and my body is in "survival-mode" so to speak, so it doesn't want to lose the weight. Instead I just can begin to feel sluggish. Since my volume has been low, I've thought my calorie intake should be low. When I'm training high, my weight comes down more, so I eat more. Unfortunately, if I don't give the body the fuel to burn, it won't burn off the fat mass, instead it will break down proteins and become catabolic.

So I'm back on the higher calorie diet, and trying to make wise food choices. Of course, she's made it a lot easier for me with meal plans, guidelines, grocery lists, etc. We'll see how it goes!

Vance - 2007 NFA

Monday, February 19, 2007

F-ing Soleus!

When I was at the Olympic Training Center last year, I worked a lot with Bobby McGee, (, and he taught me a lot about running, and the technical parts of it. Besides teaching me the importance of body position and cadence, he taught me that running fast is all about the soleus muscle, in the calf. It's definitely true, as anytime you have sore calves after running fast, it's your soleus.

What I've learned on my own is that the soleus muscle is a real pain in the ass! If it's in a bad mood, you can forget about running fast, and maybe forget about running in general.

Last week the soleus was starting to bother me. Thursday I was on the table with my massage therapist, Friday morning ART guru Dan Selstad, and two more sessions scheduled on it in the next 36 hours!

One of the things I've been most excited about this year so far has been my health. I've been consistent in my training, and healthy. Then the soleus starts copping an attitude! DAMN IT!

Got in the run yesterday, but it was a SLOW 1:50. It was not because of the soleus though, so I should probably be thankful. It had a lot more to do with Saturday's HUGE ride and crappy t-run. So I'm taking it as a blessing that I felt like crap, and was not able to irritate the soleus anymore.

In other news, it's raining today and the weather sucks. Yes, I live in San Diego and I am actually complaining about the weather! Rain sucks!

The good news for today is that everything has been confirmed, and I will be heading back to the country of Panama for the Portobelo International Triathlon! This race is gnarly! Stay tuned for more cool info on that.


Vance - 2007 NFA

Saturday, February 17, 2007

Long ride, short t-run day

Sorry I missed Friday's blog entry, doing this daily is a challenge! I had three workouts yesterday, including a sprint session in the pool, a bike trainer workout, and a water run! Plus all the stuff I was running around doing.

Today was a BIG day, the biggest of the year so far. I did the Swami's ride from B+L in Solana Beach, big loop, which amounted to just under 6 hours on the bike, with parts of it pretty quick with the local top cyclists, some triathletes.

This week was the first time in a few weeks that Chris Horner was not on the ride, which made it much tighter a pack today than in the weeks past, as Horner normally strung everyone out.

Rode with Mac Brown, a top amateur Ironman guy, 7th American overall at Kona last year, and Peter's other athlete, Andy Christian, who's raising money for the Semper Fi Fund. It's a cool fund which helps families of wounded Marines who come home and need help.

After the ride, I did a little 30 min jog, just to see how I felt. Felt pretty good at first, but then crappy after about 10 minutes. Oh well, when it's big days like this, it's all about just getting in the time.

Tomorrow morning I'll be out running long in the AM with the boys in Cardiff, headed down to Torrey Pines. We'll run up the big ass hill, do a loop on some of the trails, then back, which will be about 17-18 miles in 1:50. Should be good!

This is a picture of the view from Torrey Pines State Park, where our run will go tomorrow.

I'm conducting an open-water swim clinic tomorrow afternoon as well. I'll try to post some pics. Otherwise, it's good to be feeling better and getting in some good miles, getting stronger!

Vance - 2007 NFA

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Back to work tomorrow

It became really clear that it was not just a small intestinal problem, it was definitely a bit of the flu. Luckily for me, it was mild enough that a couple days off seems to have me back at 100%. We'll find out for certain tomorrow.

Been battling a small calf issue too, posterior tibialis and soleus. It's actually the same thing that slowed me for much of last year. Tomorrow morning I'm headed to see my ART guy, Dan Selstad. Dan works on all the big Ironman folks here in San Diego, (Michellie, Sian Welch, Kate Major, Paula, etc.) I'm another one of his success stories, as he helped keep me healthy and ready for Ironman Florida. I'm seeing him as a precaution, so he'll nip this crap in the bud! I'm pretty sure I know what's causing it, so I'll need to discuss it with him.

After I see Dan, it's going to be a big weekend! Friday is a big swim, (sprints), with Saturday being long on the bike and a short t-run, and Sunday being a long run, over 2 hours.

On another note, I'll also be doing a racer diary for, so check it out in the coming days!

More to come...

Vance - 2007 NFA

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Ohhh...that hurt!

So little Macky kicked my butt late on the run, the last big hill we climbed. Pace was high and intense for awhile. 12 miles with them, then I finished it off with a few miles of my own, easy. Reviewing the heartrate data shows I probably went too hard. When I got home I emailed Peter, (my coach Peter Reid), and told him, "I'm f-ing wrecked!" He called me up a few minutes later a little worried. I was also pretty beat because I came straight from the pool to the run. Put in about 4200 yards, with 2400 of it pretty quick.

Here's the actual HR data, if anyone is interested, along with the elevation chart, because it was hilly as hell! You can actually see how high my HR got on the last hill, 180 bpm!

About an hour after the run was over, I was at B+L San Diego picking up my bike, and I got hit bad with some stomach issues. I probably had to sit on the toilet over a dozen times over the course of yesterday evening and night. It was bad, and I slept horrible.

Taking today off to get rehydrated and recovered fully. Tomorrow was supposed to be a day off, so I might just do a swim and light run, but not sure yet. Playing it by ear.

I found out Macky ran 1:55.72 last year, as a freshman in high school, and 4:24 in the mile. Not bad times for a senior, much less a frosh! And he's strong as hell right now. I was invited back for next week, but I don't know if Peter will let me, or my intestines!

We'll see how things go from here.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Making the blog daily!

So I've come to the decision that if I'm going to do this blog, I've got to do it right. I'm going to be making it daily, or as daily as I can possibly make it. This is supposed to help people follow my journey of training and preparing for my goal races, so I've got to make it worth following.

Today is a typical Tuesday for me, sleep in to get rested up, then do a noon masters swim at UCSD. After that it's a big run workout for me. Today I'll be heading up to University City High School to run with the distance kids there. They have a youngster named Macky Fleet, who just finished 28th at the USATF Junior XC Championships in Boulder, CO. He's only 16, and the kid went sub 1:55 last year as a frosh in the 800. Coach McCarthy loves having me come out to train with his kids, and I haven't been out there with them for awhile, so this should be cool. It's not often our training schedules match, so it's a good opportunity. I also love to support high school kids running track. It's not often they get to see someone who's running for a living, (swimming and biking too.)

Macky is a kid I've watched grow up for the past 6 years, and man, he's getting big AND FAST! It's exciting. I've known his dad, Dale, and that's how I've followed Macky. Dale was a stud steeplechaser back in the day at Washington State, in the low 8:40's. Scary to think how Macky is much faster than he was at the same age!

If the name University City High School sounds familiar for track, it's where Felix Sanchez graduated from. Felix has been named Track and Field News Athlete of the Year before, and is one of the most dominant athletes in the world of Track and Field.

Should be fun...I'll post about how it went later.

On another note, I've changed my definition of Sponsor. The companies in the previous post "SUPPORT" me with product, but they do not pay me a salary. When someone pays me, then I will consider myself SPONSORED. More on this to come...some cool ideas and plans.

Vance - 2007 NFA

Thursday, February 8, 2007

2007 Announcements!

It's now 2007, and time to announce the plans for this year!

First, I am excited to announce the confirmed sponsors for 2007!

Zoot Sports - I have been with Zoot since my first triathlon. They sponsored me following my first race, the San Diego International Triathlon in! Today, I am the elder among all their sponsored athletes, as no one has been with them as long as I have. I am excited to continue the great relationship with Zoot, and the employees who have become good friends. I'm also extremely excited to be using the Ultra line of products, and especially the new Zenith wetsuit...AMAZING STUFF!

B+L Bike and Sports - B+L has been with me actually longer than Zoot, as they loaned me the bike I did first triathlon on! With their new store opening in San Diego, they have grown up right along wth me. Look for some cool events soon with B+L and me!

Mizuno - Mizuno is a sponsor I brought from my running days into triathlon. Best shoes around. I think my feet would rebel if I ever changed!

Rudy Project - This is now my fourth year with Rudy Project, and I love their glasses and equipment! Few things can be better than using equipment you love and believe in.

Other sponsors will be finalized shortly, but I felt it was time to start getting things out. Stay tuned for a few more announcements!

My 2007 Race Schedule
March 11th - Portobelo International Triathlon, Panama

May 5th - Wildflower Triathlon, Lake San Antonio, CA

May 20th -XTERRA West Championships, Temecula, CA

June 24th - Ironman Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

October 13th - Ironman World Championships, Kona, HI

October 28th - XTERRA World Championships, Maui, HI

November 11th - 101 World Championships, The Woodlands, TX