Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The ugly beast rears it's head!

So here I am looking 2011 square in the eye. This ugly beast has reared its head with a veracity that I didn’t expect. I now find myself back pedaling, wondering how to tackle this monster. How in the world do I conquer? The last two months since mission bay triathlon has been a roller coaster of emotion. Somehow I acquired, against my will, peroneal tendonitis. It was a sudden onset that still pops ups on runs occasionally. Thankfully I have a genius for a coach who after a few weeks of making me rest forced me to go receive some ART treatments. Originally I was going to head up north to University City Physical Therapy, but after talking to some friends of mine I decided to check out CRAC at Liberty Station with two sessions per week for three weeks he not only had me up and running but had me practically pain free.

Now that I am pain free and back to training fulltime I feel so much more like myself. During the two months of injury correction and the lowest volume of training that I have had in months I must admit I sank to a pretty low place. With every day that slipped by without the training that I knew that I needed for both my physical health as well as my mental health I began to doubt my ability to be successful in 2011. It is amazing how much having your body feeling strong and ready makes on your mental state. It isn’t often that I am not positive. I try to see the silver lining as much as possible but during this time I had the hardest time even making it to a workout. Knowing that I wasn’t able to perform in the manner that I knew that I should be able to was devastating.

But things have taken a turn for the better. As I said my leg is feeling so much better now. This past week I found out that my sponsor, Synergy Sports/Grey Cycling is going to continue to be my lead sponsor in 2011. I am very excited about this opportunity. The more that I work with Synergy/Grey and their product the more I feel like I am supporting a brand that truly makes quality products. Look for a review of the synergy Hybrid wetsuit in the near future. But that is neither here nor there. Synergy is a great company with amazing products that I know when tried you can’t help but fall in love with them.

Other exciting news I just purchased my first road bike today. She is a beautiful Trek Madone 5.2 full carbon bike. For those of you are bike geeks she came equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace STI shifters, Dura-Ace derailleurs with ceramic pulleys, an Ultegra compact crank with ceramic bottom bracket and Ultegra breaks. This beautiful bike fully decked out with my super heavy, bomb proof training wheels still weighs in at less than 18lbs. I am really looking forward to setting out for a ride with the Swami’s group one Saturday in the near future. I have been itching to test my legs against stronger riders and now I will have the chance.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2011 Race Schedule

1/23/2011 Carlsbad Half Marathon
2/13/2011 San Dieguito Half Marathon
2/19/2011 Tritonman Triathlon
3/27/2011 Superseal International Triathlon
4/17/2011 New Orleans 70.3 Half Ironman*
5/1/2011 Spring Sprint Triathlon
6/12/2011 Boise 70.3 Half Ironman*
6/28/2011 San Diego International Triathlon
7/17/2011 Vineman 70.3 Half Ironman*
9/11/2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship
9/17/2011 San Diego Triathlon Classic
10/2/2011 Mission Bay Sprint Triathlon

*Shots to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships

2010 Is In The Bag

Well folks the 2010 race season is over now and it has been a hell of a year for me.  When I really got into Triathlons last year never did I think that I, in any way, could be competitive, at all, in this sport.  In my prior four years as a runner I had completed 5 marathons, 4 half marathons and 1 ultra marathon.  Let me be honest here.... I sucked, I sucked really bad at distance running and I wasn't much better at 5k or 10ks either.  Triathlon though is strangely different for me, I am not amazing at any of the three sports but in 2009 I found that in my first full season I was some how better than more than half the people out there.  I thought, well if I can do this well and have no clue what I am doing that means when I learn something about swimming and biking I might have a chance of doing something.

That's when I found my amazing coach, Darcy Eaton.  With her, in the last year and a half, I have raced more than 8 sprint triathlons, 2 Olympic distance triathlons, 1 half marathon, and 3 Half Ironman distance races and set MASSIVE personal records at all distance, and collected more than my fair share of hardware.  I am 100% proud of my 2010 season and wouldn't change a thing.

Moving into the off season I am working with my bike sponsor, Synergy Sport and Grey Cycling, to really help improve my bike times next year with a set of new road and tri bikes.  I really need to get off my four year old heavy ass cervelo and on to something a little lighter and a little sleeker.  I have also decided to start training a little smarter out on the roads.  I am now a proud owner of a powertap wheelset and while I haven't had them to long I am very sure that they are going to make a huge difference in the 2011 season.

As I have talked about before, my run is my weakness and unfortunately I have been out with an injury the past three weeks but tomorrow I will try running again.  I am nervous to say in the least.  I would hate for my hopes of going to worlds next year to die in the off season. 

My motivation is higher than ever though.  This week I had the pleasure of seeing some of the most inspirational athletes in the world.  The Challenged Athletes Foundation is an amazing charity.  Imagine you were living your life as the athlete that you are today, or even as the one that you have always dreamed of being.  Imagine the joy you feel when you are out there doing your thing.  Now think about how it would feel if you could no longer do it because it was ripped away from you because you were hit by a car driven by a drunk driver, born with defects, or your body just shut down on you.  I don't know about you but just the thought of it destroys me.  The desire to compete and be competitive is in all of us and the Challenged Athlete's Foundation helps the people who want to be be active in any sport do so and after hearing some amazing, inspiring stories I can't help but want to suffer to the limit that both my mind and body can handle.
2011 is going to be a great year!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A Journey of a 1000 Miles Begins with a Single Step

Today I start a journey that I should have begun this year but it wasn't one of my goals.  Today I begin the long path to Age Grouperdom.  I have been 200+lbs for as long as I remember, maybe even longer.  Going in to high school I was six feet tall and right around 210lbs.  My football coach fell in love with me the moment he lay eyes on me and by my senior year with lots of weight training I was a top notch 250+lbs offensive lineman.  I had learned to love the gym, weights and the soreness I felt the days after hard workouts.  This didn't change after high school either.  When I joined the military I kept lifting and kept gaining.  The year before my service to this country ended I tipped the scales at a whopping 285lbs!  No granted I was no tub of lard but I wasn't Ronnie Colman either.

Shortly thereafter I found endurance sports, forsake the cast iron love that I had once known and fell hard for a new mistress.  Since then it has been a slow process coming back down in weight.  By the end of my first year of running I was in the upper 230's and at the end of my first triathlon season I was in the 220's.  Now with my second season of triathlon behind me I weigh in firmly in the mid teens.

With my eye on Clearwater for 2011 this excess weight just will not do.  It was fine for the 2010 season where my goal was to rule the Clydesdale Division.  Now though, every extra pound is precious energy that I need to either save or convert to forward motion.  So with that said it is time to take a hard look at the CRAP that I am eating.  But down that doughnut, pick up the salad fork and with the help of friends and fellow triathletes drop a solid 5lbs per month for the next 5 months till my first "A" race of 2011, New Orleans 70.3.  My first chance to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The End of a Season.

So the end of the season is drawing near.  Only two more races to go, the San Diego Triathlon Classic and the Mission Bay Sprint Triathlon.  So with the season ending I guess it is time to reflect a little and ask myself, “Was this a successful Triathlon season?”  I finished last year on a rough note.  Two days before my final race of the year I was in a bad cycling accident where I fractured my orbital bone and injured my hamstring.  I still raced and actually set a 5k PR that day but the damage was done in that accident and I still have nerve damage to prove it. 

Going into the 2010 season I had set out with two real goals in mind; to get on the podium as a Clydesdale and to shave a solid 30 minutes off my Half Ironman time.  My off season training was solid thanks to the NCC Challenge put on by USAT.  I logged more miles swimming, biking, and running in the off season than I ever had and I went into my first race of 2010 feeling pretty good about myself.  The Tritonman was a good test for my fitness and a great sounding board to see where I was compared to last year, since it was also my first race in 2009.  Finishing the race I knew my training was on track since I set a course PR of 10 minutes and placing 11th in my AG. 

After Tritonman I moved into the meat and potatoes of the year.  The season totaled two Half Ironman triathlons, two Olympic distance tri’s, six Sprints, and one Half Marathon, this of course doesn’t include all the amazing Tri Club of San Diego triathlons and aquathons that got thrown in just for shits and giggles.  So did I reach my goals for the year?  Did I make it to the podium?  Did I shave a half hour off my HIM time?  Yes, I did.  With two races to go I have accumulated a total of six podium finishes this year, four second place, and two third.  As for my Half Ironman time I destroyed my HIM PR by 45 minutes, and I even set a Half Marathon PR by ten minutes this year!

Still, I am not sure how I feel about this season.  There were some things that let me down.  For instance I never took a first place finish as a Clydesdale, but on the other hand my times were good enough to put me in the top three at six races as a Clydesdale and would have placed me in the top ten as an age grouper on several occasions.  I cannot really complain there I suppose.  As a secondary goal I really wanted to hit the five hour mark at a Half Ironman.  This chance was taken from me by a dam bursting at Tempe Town Lake. 

I achieved every goal that I set for myself this season and even went beyond.  I don’t know why but that doesn’t feel as though I was successful.  Many people would say I am a crazy over achiever, PR’s left and right, podium finishes, and I even picked up an amazing sponsor in Synergy Sports and Gray Cycling.  So I guess I am just going to say thank you to the triathlon gods and be thankful.

Looking to next year what do I want to do?  Well my goals for this coming year are just as loft as last year.  I plan on leaving the world of Clydesdale and up the stakes as an age grouper, hoping to consistently place in the top ten in the 30-34 bracket and I am dedicating this season to qualifying for the Ironman 70.3 World Championship in Clearwater, Florida.  How do I plan on doing this?  Well dropping a few pounds will be necessary; shaving another 45 minutes off my HIM PR is going to happen as well.  This off season I will be focusing on my run and really bringing it down, training more scientifically on the bike by using a power meter and staying consistent with my day to day training.  I know I am an underdog in this sport, but I have been counted out before.  I have been told that I would never be sponsored, and that I would never accomplish anything in this sport.  Well, I have already proven the nay sayers wrong and I will continue to do so in 2011.  Just watch me!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Thoughts on aging.

What defines age? Webster says it is the length of existence from beginning to any given point. Thankfully this definition does not dictate the unit of measurement for said length. I am not one to often think about my age or how it affects me. But this morning I woke up to something very disturbing. Today was like no there day. I started it the same as always. I got up, took a leak, made coffee and oatmeal and checked my email. But as I scanned my email I looked down at my chest, which hasn’t been shaved in a while now, and noticed something very disturbing. Out of the hundreds, nay, possibly thousands of hairs or my chest I somehow notice the ONE hair that was not like the other. Horrified I tried ripping it out, to no avail. Losing my patience for this one hair I debated on trying to gnaw it off but quickly dismissed that as well. As a last ditch attempt I took a set of fingernail clippers to it. THE ONE GREY CHEST HAIR! God help me

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The last month

This last month has left me in a slump. My personal life was in turmoil, my training has dropped down because of school, and well…. There is school to deal with. Thankfully in the last couple of weeks a few things have changed that have left me able to focus more. My personal life has quieted down, I completed my first course at the University of Phoenix and I have picked up Synergy Sports/ Gray Cycling as a sponsor. For these three things I am very grateful!  Let me say that I just recieved my first tri kit from them and I was plesantly surprised.  The top fit great!  It didn't ride up and in the water was very sleek.  The tri shorts were amazing as well.  Unbelievably comfortable on my long ride this weekend as well as my 8 mile run.  I am really looking forward to trying out all their product, from tri clothes to carbon wheels!

Yesterday I went for my first 50+ mile long ride in months. Pallas and I ended up just over the 70 mile mark and it felt great. It was amazing just to be out there riding. Not trying to hang on to or pull the "A" group, not trying to hammer my body into a cycling machine. Just riding for the sake of riding because I love being on my bike in the middle of nowhere. The solitude and peace is something that a soul needs on occasion.

Today I had the best long run I have had since racing the RnR San Diego Half Marathon in June. It had seemed like I had seriously derailed some where despite having taken top three at every race since then. So today I set out on an 8 mile run that included 8x400 @ 10k pace. With my motivation lacking over the last couple months I went back to something that has always been able to put a spring in my step, watching the Ironman World Championships. Watch it I did, and motivation was found once again! Finally a little fire in my belly had been ignited. I had almost forgotten what it had felt like. I headed out the door and made my way to the water front. A beautiful day in San Diego isn't unusual and today was no different. After a 2 mile warm-up I hit the repeats making sure to stoke that fire that I had found in my belly today. Patting myself on the back for every victory this season has brought me. Finally after a strong finish the run was done, I was fresh and hungry, not just for food.

With my triathlon season ending in under one month I am looking towards next year. What will my season hold? Can I possibly qualify for Clearwater in 2011? I know that with consistency and dedication that it is possible. I may not be the favorite to get in but I am not the dark horse in this race either. Now I am off to look at race times, course profiles, how far slots have rolled down, temperatures and anything else that I can think of to find the perfect race or two that suits me and may just give me the chance to show that the underdog may not be the favorite but still has a shot for a "W".

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

An amazing week in review

What a crazy week. The madness began last Tuesday, this was a recovery week for me and so that meant it was time to test my fitness and Darcy didn’t let me down. On top of my first triathlon of the season being scheduled for this week Darcy was also nice enough to schedule two separate time trials for me; one a 60 minute running time trial and the other a 60 minute bike time trial. Each of these were comprised of a 15minute warm up followed by 30 minutes all out and a 15 minute cool down.

On Tuesday I was scheduled for my run TT, I was quietly optimistic about this time trial. The last four weeks of training has gone remarkably well I believe and because of that I believed that I could show some serious improvements. I know my fitness has only been getting better; I just wanted something to quantify my feelings. So that evening after work I headed out the door to see what I had in the tank and that tank was not full after having done a 95 mile ride as well as an eight mile run just two days before. My warm up reminded me of that. My calves were tight and didn’t want to loosen up and my legs were just a little heavy. By the time the meat of the TT began I knew that I would be able to go hard but I was no longer sure that I would see improvements like I had wanted to. Thirty minutes later, I averaged a 7:49 mile at a HR of 173, this as an improvement of 11 seconds per mile at a HR that was 8 BPM lower. I can say that I am very happy with that gaining 10 seconds per mile over a 30 minute run is huge especially with a HR that was much lower.

Thursday was my bike TT. After finally getting my new rear wheel, cassette and base bar installed on my bike this was my first chance to go hard and fast on my bike. It didn’t let me down, although I had a hard time getting my heart rate up I was able to fly out there. 30 minutes at 23+MPH and a HR of 157 isn’t too shabby at all.

On Saturday was the Tritonman Triathlon, my first triathlon of the season. I was seriously nervous about it. While my training has been going so very well, there has been zero speed work thus far. Just some tempo runs and hard hilly runs, nothing that would truly work on improving my top end speed that I would need to do well in a sprint triathlon. I was also very worried about the weather. They were calling for rain or race morning and I was afraid that the race would become a duathlon, and since I am NOT a runner this would out me at a huge disadvantage. As it turns out it rained through out the night but except for one brief shower less than a half hour before the race it was a beautiful day. While I have seen what my splits are officially I can say with some certainty how I did. Lining up for the swim start was a little different this time around I was competing in an AG that was twice the size as normal. On a regular day I would have only had those men in the 30-34 age range to race against but today I had from 30-39, so I had twice the competition, this two had me worried but when the horn sounded and I ran into the water my body took over and I just went. The swim was fast, I know I could have pushed harder there, much harder. I felt as though I was creeping alone even though I am pretty sure I held my own out there. It just didn’t seem as though I was grabbing water. As I turned at the last buoy I kicked up a storm to try and get the blood flowing to my legs. Running out of the water into the mud covered transition area was not fun.

T1 felt like it took forever, I didn’t want to run out with my bike in bare feet because I didn’t want huge globs of mud inside my tri shoes while biking so I decided to put them on in T1 and run out with them already on my feet. This created its own problem; mud in my cleat which made it near impossible to clip on to the pedals. After a few moments I finally was cruising along on my bike, legs churning away, trying to get a feel for the bike portion of the race. The next thing I new I was flying, 21, 22, 24, 26, 28MPH has I flew around Fiesta Island. Talk about a rush. Never before had I been able to hold such high numbers. Of the more than 300 racers I was passed by so few that I could count them on one hand. After 3 laps I was sure that I had hunted down most of the people in my age group and left them well behind me.

 I came speeding into transition to start my run and as I headed out I knew my run legs were with me that day. I was off like a bolt; the only thing on my mind was pushing hard enough that I felt like I was dying a little but knew that I wasn’t going to. I found the pace that made me uncomfortable and held on to it with all that I had, gritting my teeth often to shake out the burning feeling in my legs. My mantra for the day was “Mid sole foot strike straight below you. Good! Now recruit those glutes!” Every time I felt myself falter or slow that is what I would think about. About a mile and a half into the run the first person past me, a few moments later another, then a minute or so after that one more. It is hard being a bigger triathlete. It’s hard to know that you hammered out a great bike and these scrawny guys are going to run you down even when you are putting it on the line. DARN THOSE SCRAWNY GUYS!

So I hooked them and I tried to hold onto them as long as I could but I could see each one pull just a little further away as the minutes passed by. When all was said and done I finished this race in 1:06 a full ten minutes faster than last year, with what I believe was a 1:30 PR on the 5k run section of the race. Not a bad day.

Now this doesn’t end my amazing week. I was then honored by the Triathlon Club of San Diego. Most people who know me know that I work very hard at becoming a better triathlete so to be recognized by TCSD as the most improved male triathlete of 2009 was a huge thing for me. Never in my wildest dreams did I think that I would win an award for my efforts nor did I think that anyone, other than my coach, had noticed how hard I had been working. I am very proud to have been chosen for it and it only motivates me to work harder…. But wait we still aren’t done….. It looks like I may have a sponsor too. More details to come with that one.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Tri Expo San Diego

Today I attended the first ever Triathlon Expo. To tell you the truth I was a little underwhelmed. San Diego is the birth place of Triathlon and when it was announced that the first ever Tri Expo was going to be held here in San Diego and put on by the Competitor Group (the same people that bring you the Rock n' Roll Marathon Series, Inside Triathlon Magazine and many other publications) I thought, 'Man this thing is going to be good!' But as I said, I was a bit let down.

It is being held at the Hilton Hotel at Mission Bay Park, no one can question what a great venue they choose beyond that though... The entire expo is held in one medium sized tent. With maybe a total of two or three dozen vendors, bike shops, and races present represent this great sport. Let me say right now, thank you for coming out, I am truly grateful. To competitor I say how could we have made this really special? I have gone to MANY marathon expos’ that were much larger, better advertised and really put out there to the endurance sport population. While the expo itself was a little bit of a let down the guest speakers were A-ok Chris Carmichael, Dean Karnazes, Jessi Stensland, and Matt Fitzgerald just to name a few, all brought a wealth of knowledge to the table making learning more about performance and the history of this sport enjoyable.

I guess what I am saying is if we really want our sport to grow don't we need to do more to put it out there? I heard nothing on the local news, I saw 6 billboards for a local gun show that is almost a month away but nothing for the triathlon expo and I saw no advertisement in anything other than competitor group magazines. Don’t you think that if we plan on attracting new athletes, of all ages and abilities that we should go looking for them and not make them guess where we are?