Friday, October 31, 2008

A new low....or is it a new high?

Wow...what's gotten into me? 5 days in a row of posting? Even I'm impressed.

So I've reached a new low weight. Weighed in today at 162 lbs. Good sign.

A little tired, but it's good. Tomorrow is my last BIG ride of the season. Sunday will be the last BIG run of the season. Excited to get them done!

Has anyone seen the start list for IMAZ yet? 61 pro men last time I checked. That might be a record for NA Sports. It's not a creme-puff line-up either. Should be exciting!


Thursday, October 30, 2008

Motivational Video #2

Sorry the last motivational video didn't last long on here...Here's a new one. It was sent to me by a friend, and it makes me want to do Kona again. (You may notice the video is mostly german and german athlete-biased. Not that there's anything wrong with that!)


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photo Collection Sharing #1

I don't know why, but I'm feeling a sense of appreciation for my training and racing. Actually, I do know why. I am getting fit. I'm almost as fit as I've ever been, and in a little less than 4 weeks I may well find I'm fitter than ever. Today's swim was good, (a definite improvement), and my run this afternoon was amazing. I am hitting times and speeds on my run routes which I haven't seen since Ironman Florida.

I also am well aware of the amazing opportunities and accomplishments of my life, and racing career. So I figured I would share with you all some cool photos, which I think really symbolize my life, career and pursuits. I will share them over the course of many blog posts. To start, I am sharing the above photo. It was taken by a Tri-Club member, at one of the club's monthly Aquathlon races, a few years ago.

These races are a lot of fun, simple and great workouts. I try to get to every one that I can, because of the open water swimming opportunity and the hard run which follows. I've come a long way with these events. When I start tri's in 2003, I was getting my ass handed to me at these, because I was a terrible swimmer. This year I won the event each time I entered, sometimes not even wearing a wetsuit.

But what I really love about this photo is the fact it captures me. I came to San Diego from the midwest for moments just like you see in the photo. Sunset, ocean and a self-ass-kicking.

Life is good...


Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Order restored to the universe?

It seems order may be restored to the universe. I just got back from a swim, and it was my best swim in weeks. Don't ask me how, but suddenly it was just flowing better, 2 days after a half-ironman. I was surprised at the times I was hitting, and not trying too hard.

Body feels pretty good, especially considering 48 hours ago I put out a good effort. Was on the massage table with my boy Kevin, and he said I was looking pretty good, amazingly. I'm healthy, with just a couple of blisters being my biggest nuisance.

Looking back on the race, I was pretty happy with the bike and run. If I had been in a "race" where I had some people near me, who knows what I might have run off the bike.

I was recalling my Ironman Florida prep, as that was the last time I was running this well. I distinctly remember how I said, "For me to do well at Florida, I've just got to be smart for the swim and the bike. If I do well, it won't be because I swam and rode awesome, it will be because I was smart and able to run well." I think that's something I've gotten away from, racing to my strength.

Getting things dialed in for the next and last tough block of training before IMAZ. Should be fun...


Monday, October 27, 2008

Soma - A tale of 2 triathlons

It was the best of tri's, it was the worst of tri's.

I've never read the book, (or maybe I did in high school, and just can't remember it), but I think the story would probably resemble yesterday's race for me...

This race was almost a perfect test run for IMAZ, as I was staying at the same house I'll stay at, and so much of the course is the same as IMAZ, with the lone exception being the bike, which had a total of 72 turns or u-turns! (Made for crowded course and lots of slow-and-go.)

Arrival to the race was simple and easy, and I chatted with some of the guys before warming up with a short jog and getting in the water. I was quite relaxed. I knew the field was tough, and I was focused more on getting a good effort in, but I wanted to race. The plan was to stay with the best pack I could, and then get on the bike and go, but not look at the power meter. I wanted to see what I could do and not let the numbers scare me. I wasn't going to look at the Garmin on the run either, as I was just going to see who I came off the bike with and where, and see what I could do.


Right about here is when the worst of times started. I expected Marky V to be off the front, with maybe a second pack of solid swimmers behind him, thinking maybe I could hang onto that group, or in a closer 3rd pack. It seemed that the 3rd pack was where I would be about 200 meters in, and then by about 500 meters, I was in trouble. My swimming has sucked lately, and this was no different. I thought I just needed rest, but it's clear it's not that anymore. I need to get back to the water, because I couldn't hold onto anyone's feet, and felt like I was swimming all arms, and the arms were tired. I get out of the water and tell Orlanda, "That was the worst swim of my life." She tells me there's a big group about 2 mins in front of me.

This just sucked. Struggled with my helmet, and some other items. I can tell it's been awhile. Tahoe was better, but different equipment.

I was on the bike and getting going, anxious to get started and see what I could do. I go around an early turn and hear, "PHSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!" I look down at the time on the powertap, and it's not even 5 mins in. I can't believe it. I pull over to fix the flat, and this point I just want to quit. Not only has the swim gone crappy, but now I've flatted to start the bike. As I'm starting to change the tire, I'm having a discussion with myself as to why I need to keep in the race. I say outloud, "Well, can it get any worse than this?" Next, the tire iron snaps as I'm trying to pry the tire off the rim. "DOH!" Luckily I had another, but it was crappy, and it took me nearly forever just to get the tire off. Later, my right hand was aching from the force I had to apply with the crappy tire iron.

I get the other tube in, and transfer the valve extender, (need to be prepared better for IMAZ with that), and use the CO2. Pull it off, and I can hear air leaking. DAMN IT! I realize the valve is leaking air thru the extension. I unscrew the extender and pull up on the presta tip. At this point, I feel the pressure in the tire, and it's not very good, about 100 psi. I realize at this rate I may be messing with this thing for a long time if this presta valve is this touchy. I just decided, screw it, it's good enough. If it needed more air, I would stop and fill it again, and try to get it to work. At this point, I just didn't want to be on the side of the road anymore. I packed up the crap and got going. Total time was about 8 mins of standing there.

Since I was all alone, and no one to really feed off of, I changed the plan, and decided to look at my watts. I was going to ride how I felt, but I wasn't going to let it hold me back. I wanted to see what I could do. I was facing a very crowded course now, and needed to just do what I could. I was out of the "race", and was going to get in a good workout. The tire pressure never really bothered me, but after seeing my speed, I think it slowed me more than I realized.

After reviewing the power file, the ride was great! I felt strong the whole ride, never really fading or struggling at all. It was a great ride outside of the flat. Could I have gone faster by being near other athletes? I'm sure I could have. I also would have had much clearer roads from the beginning. It was a great sign in my preps for IMAZ.

T2 and RUN
Orlanda told me I was 10-15 mins behind, so nothing much had changed since getting the flat.I took my time in T2. I just wanted to get in a good tempo run and run as I felt, with a good rhythm. I ended up feeling comfortably fast on the course, and was surprised to learn I had the fastest run split by over 2 mins, with a 1:15:35. I started off with miles in the 5:30's and 5:40's, comfortably. Finished with 2 miles right at 6 mins, with my feet aching from some blisters, need to address that before IMAZ too.

Honestly, I was amazed to see how many guys I was catching. I didn't feel like I was running anything crazy, but I was gaining on a lot of the guys. Josef Major is known for his running, and won IMAZ in April with a 2:50 run split, that was 10 mins faster than anyone else, and I outsplit him on the run by nearly 4 mins. If he's anywhere near what he did at IMAZ in April, this is a great sign for me!

Overall - 4:08:07, 12th pro, 13th overall, (age-grouper had a great race to get me by about 30 secs)

Results can be found here:

It was a great test workout, just as I was hoping to get. I expect IMAZ to come down to the run, so the next few weeks will be a concentration on the run, with a sub-focus on the swim, and maintaining my bike fitness.

I'll keep you posted...


Edit - After a double check of the tire pressure, and referencing the pressures, I rode closer to 85-90 psi! No wonder it was slow still!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

SOMA Half this weekend

This weekend I'm heading to Phoenix to get in a test race, the SOMA Half Ironman. This race fits in nicely and works as a great test and prep race, for IMAZ. It shares much of the same course as IMAZ, so attending this is like a dry-run for IMAZ.

It looks like a good number of quality pro's are showing up too, for the small prize purse, but many with the same plan as me, as they are on the IMAZ start list. A few exceptions though, as apparently Macca, Mike Simpson, and Paul Tichelar are racing too. Throw in some of the guys for IMAZ, like Chris McDonald, Justin Daerr, and Mark Van Akkeran, and it's going to be a good test!

These weeks are always a little tough training wise, because you're not really tapering, but you're not giving the green light to go hard and keep at the self-beat down. You really have to watch yourself and find that balance. I'm also coming off a big 10-day block, so I'm a bit tired and need to be sure I'm recovered for the race.

That's all to report for now, but will have more soon...


Friday, October 17, 2008

Motivational Video - (especially for the underdog!)

What gives? Suddenly I'm posting nearly everyday??? Well, got some momentum, so I'm rolling with it...

Check out this video. Pretty inspiring and motivating.


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Jackass Politicians....

I do not believe what I am hearing...Apparently riding your bike is not cool. God forbid people have to walk...Sorry Republicans, but you're looking worse every day...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Tahoe Report

It's time to get caught up again, with a brief race report of Tahoe. As I mentioned in the posts before the race, I was battling some sinus issues, (luckily it never spread to my chest to become a bronchitis or anything), but I wasn't looking to this race as a peak performance anyway. I hadn't done this race since 2005, and even then I double flatted and was unable to finish, so it had actually been since 2004, when I won the 25-29 men's division, that I had completed this race.

I took the opportunity to go as a fun race/workout, and enjoy getting back to my roots within the sport.

The morning was cold, but better than the day before, and much better than any of us expected. I set up my transition spot, and got on my wetsuit to get in the water. The water temp was 59 degrees, which was the same as IMCDA, so it was good. I think I needed to do a bit more warm-up though, with a jog, as in my training, I realize it takes me a long time to really get into a groove. This race was a hard effort from the beginning, so a good warm-up would really help!

The swim started fairly easy enough for me, as I started to the right of most of the pro's, near a bunch of age-groupers. I stumbled my first steps, but was quickly in clear water with no one near me. I could see the big pack to my left, and I started to check for the best intersection point with the pack and still swimming straight to the buoy, which was 300 meters out, and would be a sharp right turn. About 150-200 meters into the swim though, I really began to struggle with my breathing. The altitude clearly was getting to me. For a brief moment, I almost panicked! I had trouble keeping my face in the water, and felt like I just couldn't breathe. I had to remind myself that I was not going to suffocate, I was fine, but I needed to slow down my stroke rate and take longer, easier breaths, in order to regain my composure and breathing. I even told myself, "Don't worry about the front pack now, just find your rhythm and get your breathing under control. I can try to get back to them."

By the time I got around the buoy, I was fine again, and noticed I was in no-mans land with only 1 other swimmer, Chris Legh. Chris and I finished the first lap together, and I let him lead the second. I saw we had no chance of really catching the leaders, so I just got long and enjoyed the ride. One age-grouper caught us, who was an incredible swimmer, and I couldn't believe he was just staying with us. He was surging, then breast-stroking, then surging past me, then fighting for Chris' feet. I was actually thinking, "When this guy gets his head out of ass and decides to go, I'm getting off Chris' feet and getting on his." Then I saw his face, and it was the guy I was staying with in Tahoe! Billy! He's a good friend of Craig's. I had to laugh in the water.

The transition could have gone better, as I struggled to get my shoes on at the shore. I remembered in the past I would bruise my heels on the run to transition, as my feet were always numb, and the shoes would help that. Once I got them on, I was moving well. I couldn't believe it though, when I saw and heard Josiah Middaugh exit the water about 10 secs back of me. He had the swim of his life!

As I entered T1, I saw the lead group hitting the road on their bikes. Once I got on the bike, I tried to settle into a rhythm with my friend Andy Noble. He and I would be back and forth much of the bike. We'd catch some faster swimmers, get caught by some great bikers, like Brian Smith and Sam Gardner. Andy kept telling me how cold he was, while I felt fine for temperature, just struggling breathing. I was looking at the power meter, and when the pitch of Tunnel Creek Road was steady and not too steep, I felt good and was able to hold good watts. When the road got steep, I struggled. It seemed like I just couldn't put any real force into the pedals.

Once I got to the top, it was the flume trail. I was able to hold the best watts here, because it's nice and flat, just twisty. I'm starting to think I'm just warming up and things are looking good. By the time I hit the second tough climb, I'm back to struggling to put force into the pedals. Now I'm thinking the sickness might be affecting me, as well as maybe I didn't rest enough for such a serious effort.

I get to the descent on the trail, and as I remembered it, it seemed straight-forward, nothing too technical. Then I realize, I use to ride my mountain bike a lot more, and so it's a bit harder than I remember! I have a washout on a sharp turn, and decide that I will not be taking any risks on the descent. I needed to get thru this race healthy and not waste my Ironman Arizona prep.

I let one rider by, with another right behind him that surprises me, and I scrap my left shin/calf on a BIG BOULDER. (That's the blood on my leg in the photo. THANKS RICH! Click on the photo to see the bigger, more detailed version!) I get to the road into T2, and just as I suspected from my Ironman training, I'm still feeling fine. I was actually a little excited for the run. I was down in about 24th place, with even a few amateurs in front of me. I wanted to get back to running well.

Off the bike, I tried to focus on my cadence and get my rhythm. Whenever the trail went slightly down, I really opened it up. Whenever it went uphill, I tried to focus on the cadence and work hard! I passed about 8 people, and finished 16th. I had the 8th fastest run split overall, and not far from the 4th. I was really pleased with this, as these guys all train for faster run splits than I do, my focus is entirely strength.

I even managed to beat my time from 2004! Whew, what a relief! All in all, I had a lot of fun, and was happy with the performance. It's tempting to get back to doing XTERRA full-time again. But, that's still doutful.

More posts to come, but that's it for now...Will update on training and my Kona thoughts...


Saturday, October 4, 2008


Got to Tahoe this afternoon. Flight was delayed about an hour, but made it unscathed. Yesterday morning I woke up and it was clear I had finally gotten sick. My sinus headaches all week started to get worse. My hope has been to keep it out of my chest, and that seems to have worked.

I did some light workouts today, and man, it's cold as hell here! I'm coming from 2 of the hottest days of the year in San Diego, to this cold! Oh well...

Tomorrow will probably be the coldest triathlon I've ever done, so we will see how it goes. I heard that they canceled the swim today for the sport race, because of the 2-3 foot swells and wind. It will be interesting to see how the cold temps affect some athletes. Some might thrive in it, while others might just lock up.

I'm just hoping my sinus issues don't hinder me much. It's been an odd week of training, with some rest, some great workouts, some BAD workouts, some surprisingly better than expected workouts, and some sickness. Not sure what to expect.

Staying with my athlete Craig Evans, and his wife and 2 kids, as well as another nice guy from Nashville, Billy. They're swimmers, so I'll be chasing tomorrow for sure....

Stay tuned for more.


Thursday, October 2, 2008

It's been awhile...

Wow, long time, no post. Sorry about that. Sometimes I am my own worst enemy and critic, as I don't like worthless posts, so I try to put substance into each one. After a while, that becomes a burden. So with that said, let's catch-up...

- Was in Lincoln, Nebraska last weekend, watching my beloved Huskers lose to Virginia Tech. It was an exciting game, and they showed a lot of heart and fight to the end, making it the best game I've been at and seen from them since 2001, when they won at Notre Dame in overtime, with Heisman winning QB Eric Crouch. I love Bo Pelini as coach! I never liked Callahan at all, as my wife can attest to. The Huskers have a great future.

- I brought my buddy Jim Walsh to Lincoln with me for the game, and we ran with the Nebraska XC team on Saturday morning before the game. We ran this trail, and had a great 16 miler, holding 6 min pace and faster, with relative ease. My running is really coming back! I'm excited about it, and it was great to get back to Lincoln and run with the team. It's hard to believe it's been 9 years since I ran on that team. Wow, time flies. (But good to see I still hold my own!!!)

- A few weeks ago I bonked in training, HARD. The Gatorman was the tipping point. Tried to do too much in my training, trying to hit every weakness. I crashed hard. Had to take a few days off to recover, and it wasn't pretty. Then I rebounded well from my recovery week and had the biggest and best week of the year!

- This week was a different set-up, as I had to recover from the trip, still get in my IMAZ specific prep, and recover enough again to race this Sunday in Tahoe at the XTERRA National Championships. I took Monday off, then Tuesday and Wednesday were pretty big and hard. I was pretty beat, and now I have 3 lighter days to recover and be ready for Tahoe. We will see how it goes. Mostly going for fun and a great workout. The course is a lot of strength on the bike, and turnover on the run. I should have the strength, and hopefully the turnover will be there too.

As always, you can track my training log with the link on the right. So even if I'm not updating the blog very well, you can still see how things are going.

I'll post again soon, (I promise).