2010 Year in Review

You hear everyone say it at this time, "Can't believe the year is over already!" A lot of things have changed in 2010 and although it looks like most of the change came from my weight loss -it actually changed the most in my mind. The weight loss and fitness just followed suite. Most people don't believe that I used to weigh 180 pounds and that I lost 40 pounds of that over the past year. I think this pic accentuates the man boobs and gut I used to have:

I made commitment in November of 2009 to start running again. I was sick of my weight and I just wanted to get in good enough shape to get the weight off and do a 5k here and there. I ran the Carlsbad marathon in January of 2010 after only 3 months of training (not smart). I stuck with the 3:30 pace group up until mile 18, then my right leg fell apart and ended up walking/jogging/limping the rest of the way in to a 4:14.
A month later my son Taylor was born:

Not satisfied with my marathon result, I kept doing some non-structured training and managed to lose about 10 pounds. I bought The Mistress for some mountain bike fun and for a little Cross Training. In March I teamed up with a friend and did The Muddy Buddy. We managed a flat within the first 2 miles, but still ended up placing 2nd overall:
Leaving the mud pit

The Mustache has definitely made a comeback

In April I did two races. The Vista Distance Carnival 2-miler on the track and the Carlsbad 5000: 

Another nice gut shot

Finished in 10:57 (struggling!)
Carlsbad 5000:

Not loving this hurt: 17:57

Post race. Sweet 2nd chin!
Then a few weeks later some friends and I organized a team to run the Ragnar Relay. It's a 12 person relay where you have 2 vans and each runner has 3 different legs over a 24 hour period. So we basically all ran close to 20 miles in 24 hours with no sleep. This race was not only one of my top 5 running experiences (so fun!) but it also turned a switch in my mind that transformed me from wanting to lose weight, to wanting to be competitive again. It wasn't necessarily because it was a competitive race, but it was the fact that I ran strong for close to 20 miles with little training. Here's a little video that we put together from the race:

Oh, and you better believe that Hairforce will be back in 2011! I'm excited! After Ragnar, I started hitting up track workouts every Tuesday with the SDTC which quickly helped me lose the necessary weight and get my fitness back up to par. In May I entered my first Xterra Trail Race at Mission Gorge and I got a taste of what they were about...Tough! I placed in the top 10 in my AG, but knew I had a lot of work to do. In June I ran a local hilly 5k and although I improved little over my (over 30) PR, I felt strong and it motivated me even more to better myself:
On my way to a 17:52
Then in July I raced the Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10k and had another (over 30) PR of 35:50 which placed me 5th in my AG. Even though my running was progressing, I kept getting little injuries here and there that kept setting me back. Whenever I tried to up my mileage over 40/wk I seemed to get injured. I was having so much fun riding my mountain bike when I was hurt, I started looking into the possibility of doing some off road triathlons. After doing the Xterra Trail race earlier in the year, I was familiar with the fact that they have a whole series of races each year. After reading blog after blog from different triathletes and enjoying the different training, I became even more motivated and in July I decided to dedicate my training exclusively to the triathlon. My Homeowners Assn already had a junior Olympic size pool, so I started learning to swim again and even got a little help from Xterra pro Trevor Glavin. I bought a little road bike to get some bike strength and in September I raced my first sprint triathlon, the TRI Rock:

Rockin the Forge, trying to keep up with the TT guys

Ran the 2nd fastest run split of the day (17:40) and placed 1st in my AG in my first TRI!
Wow, so the triathlon training and racing was way too fun. After the race I finally started to get serious again about my training. It had been about 8 years since I took training seriously, but I really felt a strong desire to be good again. Most of all, I was (am) having fun doing it!

Since Triathlon season was over, the rest of fall I just focused on training, racing some Dirt Dog Races and preparing for my first season as a triathlete. My weight is down to about 140 pounds which is right where I want to be:

Over 30 8k PR 27:55
Other year highlights are getting my 5k down to 16:45, completing a 70 mile ride, winning my first Mountain Bike race, racing in my first Cyclocross race and actually learning how to swim half-decent. As 2011 approaches, I have built great base fitness in all three disciplines and in two weeks I will be racing my first half marathon at R&R Arizona.

BRING ON 2011!

Happy New Years everyone--

Merry Christmas!

Can't believe it's almost Christmas! Having two kids already speeds up time and when you add triathlon to the mix, like I did in July -time seems to slip by even faster. Kids definitely add a different element to my training routine. Talk about being flexible and having a plan A,B&C! Sometimes a rough night might push my morning workout or maybe no naps might change up my routine over the weekend - you just never know what each day will bring. I look at it as a positive though. I'm constantly shocking my system by training at all hours hours of the day (anywhere from 4:30am to 8pm). So come race time, I know my body will be well adjusted to the time of day and temperature--no matter what it is. It just cracks me up sometimes when I run into athletes that are single or have no kids and they say they have had no time to train. That's not really the reason in my opinion. They just don't want it enough!

Last week was the lowest volume of training I have had since May. I was really sick. I ended up taking four days off, but the good news is --it killed the sickness pretty quick. I had a fever, coughing up crap...etc nasty stuff. I'm glad I listened to my wife and bagged a few workouts and then slowly got back into it by the end of the week. Years ago, when I was single and training, I definitely would have still pushed it and delayed my sickness for another few weeks. The only workout of note was my Sunday tempo run. I did the same exact course I ran last Sunday, only this time I was coming off of sickness and oh yea....it was pouring rain.
Run Data:
So I was pretty stoked to finish and see that my time was faster and my heart rate was lower (see last weeks workout). I'm starting to get really excited for my first 1/2 marathon next month in Phoenix. I really don't know what to expect. I'm shooting for sub 1:18, but we'll see. My flight's booked, going out there with Kev and staying with some friends. It'll be weird to spend so much time away from the family but it will also be good to focus on my first race of the season and start things off with a BANG! 

Swim time is nothing of note and as for the bike, I'm finally getting myself a trainer, and it's not just because of the rain. With the time change I've had problems scheduling bike rides in consistently and I know once I have a trainer, there is no excuse. Eliminate any chance for excuses!

Speaking of eliminating excuses, it's about time to get ready to go to the track to do 3X2 mile repeats at the track and the rain is DUMPING!

Till next week---Cheers!

1st Mountain Bike Race

My first Mountain Bike race is in the bag and it came with a win. Last weekend I originally planned on doing the Xterra Crystal Cove 17k trail race, but when I went to register Friday, it was sold out! Good thing I had a plan B -Racers and Chasers had a MTB only class going on up at the Cahuilla Creek in conjunction with their Octane race. Let's just say their weren't many people in the race, but a win is a win! The course had 2 sections, with the first section going up some very steep soft sand as part of the motocross course then it turned into single track the rest of the way. I was glad it was 90% single track, because I feel that is my weakness on the MTB. There were a lot of technical sections and a lot of steep climbs that really helped me with my MTB skills -which I feel still have a long way to go. One thing I'm starting to figure out on the mountain bike is, it's a lot different then the road bike as far as fitness goes. There are a lot of quick/hard bursts and less long sustained efforts like you would get on a road bike.  I feel like my fitness on the road is pretty high, but off road I have a lot of work to do to get where I want to be for Xterra next year. Amy and the kids came out and jumped in the bouncy, while I was suffering on the course. Of course we forgot the camera, but Amy managed to snap a few shots with her phone.

The day before on Saturday, I went for a 9.5 mile tempo run. I hadn't done a longer tempo run in months (IT Band) and I was curious on how I was going to feel. The goal was to keep my heart rate just under 170. The course I picked out was pretty diverse- lots of dirt and a few hills and I actually had a lot of fun rocking out to the new Kings of Leon and knocking out 7:15 pace. My average heart rate ended up being 162 and I felt really relaxed and strong.
Data from the run:

As I write this I decided to call off tonight's track workout. I'm sick like everyone else it seems like and I want to get better in time for this weekend. Racers and Chasers is having another MTB race down in San Dieguito. I ride a lot of this course already, so I'm very familiar and am excited to race my again.

What do all of you do when you are sick? Do you train through it? Go easy? Take days off? When I ran competitively, my coaches rule of thumb was always: If the sickness is below your head (ie. chest cough, sore throat, flu) don't run, if it's just a head cold--run through it. I guess I'll just listen to that advice for now, cause I'm coughing up crap. Lame. Hopefully I can bag this sickness in time for the weekend.

Till next week---

New Love

I think this picture show how much fun I had at my first Cyclocross Race down at Cal State San Marcos last weekend. It's funny that the first time I race my mountain bike (besides Muddy Buddy) it's in a Cyclocross race where mountain bikes are scarce. For those of you that don't know what a Cyclocross bike is, they look like this. Basically an off-road, road bike (if that makes any sense). Although I knew I probably had the heaviest bike of the day, I couldn't resist checking it out especially since it was just down at Cal State San Marcos.  

Future Track Star

It was an 11am start, which was nice cause we could sleep in, get the kids ready in time and head down. Scarlett was able to run around on the track, dance to the pre-race music and the weather ended up being perfect. The course was designed by my friend and fellow BSK Masters champ-Michael Hansen. Since it was my first one, I had nothing to compare it to, but it ended up being a lot of fun. We did 7 laps on a 3k loop (about 13 miles total) which included some barriers, a short steep climb, a mud pit and some technical sections. My only exposure to Cyclocross was from what I had seen online and the documentary Pure Sweet Hell.

 I started in the CX4 class and there were about 30 in our race. I actually saw 4 mountain bikes, so I was not alone! My goal was to just feel out the race. I didn't know how hard I could push or even how long. I haven't even touched interval work on the bike, just some long rides with a lot of climbing (base work). My goal was to just have some fun and compete. It was a mass start and everyone started sprinting. I kinda chilled towards the back and after the first turn, the barriers came and instantly I saw the first crash. Some dude hit the barrier hard (I guess he couldn't unclip?) and there was a pile up right behind him of three other guys. This is awesome! I had practiced for the first time the night before flying dismounts and mounting, and got the hang of it pretty good.
The laps went by pretty fast, but I quickly realized why a light Cyclocross bike could play in your favor. I would make up time on the short downhill and technical sections, but they would just pull ahead on the long straights. So it seemed like the whole race I would be right on the guy ahead of me, then when there was room to pass (on the straights) they would just leave me. I also imagine those barriers and hills where you have to carry your bike would be much easier with 15 less pounds to carry! After seeing another guy hit hard in the mud section (he just layed there until a volunteer helped him off the course), I ended up finishing 16th out of 29 riders and was the 2nd mountain bike to come in out of the 4. I just missed getting some gear by also placing 2nd place as a "first timer." 

I forgot my heart rate monitor, but I would be interested to see how high it got. It seemed like the whole race was spent just under my Lactate Threshold level. I never felt out of control or like I pushed it too hard. I had so much fun and I'm already checking out bikes for next year's season. Another year of training, a light bike and going all out, I know I could be competitive in this. I can't wait to do another and even better, Amy and the kids really enjoyed the atmosphere and the fact that it's very spectator friendly (unlike most running races). After the race, Scarlett immediately insisted on sitting on my lap (which was a great way to end a race). We all just chilled out -checked out the awards and watched the kids have fun.

Planting the seeds for Taylor.

Besides the race, the week of training was pretty low key. Tuesday's night track workout I did 5X1 mile repeats with a 400 meter jog. I ran 5:37, 5:33, 5:24, 5:21, 5:20 for an average of 5:27. My average heart rate was only 172, so I imagine that my 10k pace could potentially be sub 5:30 right now, which is a huge breakthrough from what kind of shape I was for the Dirt Dog Series. I'm starting to see big gains in my running. As for the bike, I just need to continue putting in the mileage and low gear strength work. Swim? You mean I'm supposed to swim!?? Well, I've been putting in about 1-2 days a week lately. Just trying to find the right times to fit it in my schedule consistently.

 I end this post with a "Lucky Bastard," a great new beer from Stone. Although I am not as obsessed with beer (my hobby while I was not training) like I used to be, I still like to enjoy an occasional good craft brew after a hard week of training. Why this beer, well, I really am a lucky bastard. I have such a great support system from my wife, I have two beautiful kids, I have this crazy drive to be an elite athlete again, I have 10+ years of hard endurance training in the bank - that come to find out is slowly starting to reveal itself again (muscle memory is very real). I'm just a lucky bastard. Cheers to the holidays!

Thanks for reading-