Time for the Season to Begin!

It's an exciting time in the Adams household right now. Why? Well, the Padres season kicks off this weekend and so does racing season! All four of us start off with the Carlsbad 5000 this weekend. Yep, on Saturday Scarlett is entered into her 2nd Diaper Dash, while Taylor makes his racing debut! You should check out Amy's blog and see Scarlett in training. Then on Sunday, Amy and I do the 5k. We are looking forward to camping down at the beach with friends and just enjoying the weekend. Hopefully the weather holds up! Sure I've raced a few times this year already, but I've trained through all of them and haven't taken them very seriously. This week starts some much needed tapering. I'm currently fighting a cold that the whole house has, hopefully I win the battle because I really want to hit a fast 5k this Sunday. My running is really starting to come along now and excited for what I can do. This week my Avia Stoltz came in the mail. I guess these things are flying off the shelves because there's not too many off-road specific triathlon shoes out there. Although I ended up getting stuck with the ugliest color they are ridiculously light trail shoes (they are lighter than my road flats) and with my first triathlon of the year coming up in a few weeks, I figured I'd get some sock less running time to see if my feet get along with these shoes:

They shredded up the trails and felt soo light!
Unfortunately, they also shredded up my feet!...And trust me, I know I have ugly feet!
I'm bummed, with only an hour of running, they destroyed my feet. I figured I'd be OK since I run in my flats from time to time and in college/post college I ran in spikes sock less all the time. But my feet did not like these shoes. So I'm gonna have to figure out a way to get socks on quickly in transition which will slow me down...Oh well, better then making me suffer even more on the course!

Temecula Rec Center pool
 My swimming is really coming along and I actually look forward to going to pool. I feel that my (self-taught) technique is working and now I just need to develop some speed.  I've forced myself to swim bilaterally which is quite hard because it slowed me way down at first, but it's going to pay off in the open water because of better visibility and balance.  I haven't been able to find a masters swim that fits my schedule but I'm hoping that will change soon. And until my HOA gets it together, I'm forced to drive 15 mins away to the Rec center to swim which doesn't open until 5:30 (allotting me only 45 mins) as opposed to a 2 minute drive with the pool opening up at 5, which will give me 75 mins to swim. So I can't wait until they re-open that pool.

Over the weekend after I put in 2500 yards at the pool, I came back -grabbed some coffee and bfast and headed out to the dreaded trainer (it was pouring). I was just browsing through Netflix, trying to find a decent movie to get me through my 90 minute session. I came upon "Penthlon" starring Dolph Lundgren. Sweet...The tag line had me sold, "Play to win. If you Lose, You Die." So intense! It's an 80's flick with Dolph playing a world class Pentathlete---the Cross Country scenes where classic. Dolph didn't disappoint me and he helped me hold 20mph for 90 minutes with my average heart rate at only 127. My max is like 193ish, so holding that for 90 minutes at only 65% of max HR was a very encouraging sign of fitness.

Sunday Kevin and I manned up and hit the trails at Hodges for a trail run. It was pouring on the drive down, but cleared up just in time for the start of our run. I had found this hill on my mountain bike months ago and I wanted to attack it on a run. For those of you that have been out there, it's the water tower climb. The trails were actually in decent shape and as soon as we hit the single track we picked it up. I wanted to put in a real hard effort to try and emulate what Xterra Vegas will be like. I hear that the run is brutal - so I hammered all the way to the top. Of course I forgot my HR monitor, but I know I had it up there in the 180's. The view at the top was beautiful and after we linked back up to the main trail -we put in some more mileage and finished with a solid 13 mile trail run. I absolutely love trail running. Everything was so green and with the moisture, it didn't seem like we were in San Diego. There's something about the trails that help you (at least for me) just lose yourself where you don't worry about pace, time or really anything - you just run and I love that.

That's it. I'm fit, let's see what I can do these next three weeks.

Breakthrough Week

After struggling on and off with IT band issues since November I have finally had a few weeks of limited pain thanks to Brad over at b-project and the stretches he gave me, they have done wonders! I started working on more quality specific workouts over the past few weeks after being in aerobic training mode for which seems forever (November, 2010). Nothing too crazy because I'm still waiting to build towards nationals and worlds which are in Oct/Nov of this year. The point of these next few weeks is to give me a little peak so that I'll be in decent shape for the Xterra West Championships in Vegas which is less then three weeks away. I booked my hotel and it looks like I am going solo. If anyone wants a free ride and stay at MonteLago Village Resort, keep me company and help me out with race-day stuff let me know. The fam would normally make the trip up with me, but we will be racing the Carlsbad 5000 the week before and the Ragnar Relay the weekend after which would be way too much for the kids.

Here's a preview of last year's Xterra Vegas. Looks like the race is on the moon!

I'm very excited to race and I'll finally be able to see what Xterra is all about! I'm also very pumped to race the Carlsbad 5000. This will be my 3rd time racing in the past four years. My progression:

2008: 20:08...fat and out of shape trying to get ready for the R&R Marathon
2009: Quit running (again)
2010: 17:57...just starting to attempt to get back in shape
2011: Predicted time: 16:20

I just started doing some harder efforts on the track and am feeling good. Last Tuesday we did a 5k simulation drill where we went: 1000 (5k race pace), 800 (float), 1000r, 800f, 1000r, 400f, 200r and I did it in 17:37 pretty effortlessly, so I feel like a sub 16:30 is in the cards.

This weekend I had some breakthrough workouts. Over the course of the week I swam the most I have ever in a week which was 8000 meters (or 5 miles over 4 days) including a 1500 time trial I did to start the day on Saturday. Saturday I had sort of a race simulation workout planned. Xterra Vegas is a 1500 meter swim, 18 mile mountain bike ride and then a 10k (6.2 miles) run at the end. First up was the swim and let me tell you, it's hard to get out of the house on a Saturday morning when you can finally sleep in, the kiddos are up, the house smells like breakfast and coffee but you need to get out the door. I took a few swigs of coffee, ate a banana and headed out to the pool. I had a lane to myself, did a quick 200 yard w-up, started my timer and off I went for 30 laps...
Xterra Vegas Swim Start

I started out very hard for the first 200 meters to try and simulate the race. I know there will be a lot of knocking around at the start, guys trying to jockey for position. My strategy is to BE THAT GUY. Instead of hiding in the corner at the start I want to be right up in the mix so I can mix it up with a group that is faster than me, fight my way at the start and latch on to someones feet which will get out of the water in the mix w/my age group. I finished my 1500 meter TT in 26:17 which is like 1:45's (pr 100). I was actually pretty happy with it (although it's not fast to most swimmers) because I know on race day when I am well rested, wearing a wetsuit, property hydrated, full of calories and adrenaline I'll knock that time down a few minutes....hopefully! Mind you, I still don't do kick turns so I know that slowed me down quite a bit too.

Xterra Vegas Bike Course
 After the swim I went home, took a warm shower, ate some bfast and realized how tired my arms were. They were burning! I've never swam a straight 1500 meters before---I think 1000 was the longest before Saturday---which means I still need some work in the pool. Either way, I'm excited about my progress in the pool especially since I've been self-taught from just reading books, watching video and studying good swimmers at the pool. After doing some work in the garage and eating lunch I headed out for my ride and run. The plan was to get in about 20 miles on the mountain bike with 5X6 minute hill repeats. I found a really steep hill about 5 miles from my house that I've been wanting to check out...It didn't disappoint. There is rocky dirt on the shoulder of the road that goes all the way up so I hammered out five repeats and then immediately road full blast down. This did a few things. I had to climb long/tough terrain and then I turned around with my HR at about 85% of my max and flew back down the mountain as fast as I could which can be hard when your legs are shaking and your heart is pounding. The best thing I noticed after looking at workout data later is how quickly my heart rate recovered. It would go from 180-185 at the top of the climb and by the time I got to the bottom (about 2 mins) it would be sitting at 125-130. This is a great sign of fitness. I remember doing mile repeats back in my hay day in Ohio when I could do 7X1mile at 4:40 with 2 minute rest. The tell tell sign wasn't how high I could get my HR on the repeats, but how low I could get it on the recoveries because this is what mimics race day when you can recover from surges or hills that occur over the course of a race.

Xterra Vegas Run...Looks like another planet!
 After tacking on extra mileage after my hill repeats I headed in for a brick run. At this point I was hurting. I could still feel the efforts in the pool that morning and now with the wind picking up, I was not stoked to put my shoes and get out for another hill session-this time on foot. I quickly changed, took in a gel and did a mile warm up and noticed how easily my legs adapted. I ran 7:15 for my mile warm up and it felt effortless. So I hit it. 5X2 minute hill repeats. What made these even harder was the fact that I did them in thick grass. There aren't too many long/steep dirt hills in Temecula unless you drive to get to them so I did the next best thing and ran up a hill that had grass that was ankle deep. Each repeat went faster and faster by design and by the end of the 6 miles I was very confident for Vegas. I put in over 4 hours of effort for the day with a lot of help from Underoath and Chemical Brothers to get me through the session and although my quad started cramping up on my cool down, my body handled the load very well.

That night we did a belated St. Patties day dinner with our neighbors. Had some tasty Corn beef & cabbage with tons of good veggies, sausage, Irish potato pancakes and some Newcastle - well deserved after a long day! The next morning I woke up tired, but not sore -which is another good fitness indicator. As hard as it was on a cold cloudy morning, I headed out for a 90 minute run. No biggie--I had Thrice and Cold War Kids to keep me company during my run. 5 1/2 hours of training over two days....Great week.

Time for another quality week of training before the races begin!

thanks for reading---

Kenda Cup #2 -Bonelli Park

So I was pretty bummed that the "In the Dirt Triathlon" was cancelled this past weekend because I really wanted a good hard off road triathlon (which I have yet to do) before Xterra West Championships next month - but I had to roll with the punches. Since I had so much fun at Sage Brush, I decided to jump in Kenda's next race which was up in Bonelli Park this last weekend. The week leading up to the race was going well with my best swim to date on Monday, tested out my calf at the track Tuesday with a 5k simulation drill where I was punching out 2:30 - 800's scary easy, woke up Wednesday morning and did my first set of bike intervals of the year on the trainer...Then on my way to work, it hit. Sickness, feverish feeling. Terrible diarrhea (sorry...telling it like it is..). I roughed it through work the next two days (one of the negative things about being a triathlete---can't sacrifice vacation days because of all the races!). Friday I finally started feeling up to par. I had a late work event that night where they brought it like 200 pizzas that seemed like they had been sitting out for awhile. I was starving so I dove in. Later that night, I'm not sure if it was the pizza or a relapse of my sickness but it came back really hard. I was on the toilet the majority of the night, depleting every liquid I had in my body. I woke up Saturday feeling like I had drank all night. I just kinda slept and drank fluids all day, wondering whether or not I would be ready to race the next day...

Sunday morning, Amy and I got the kids together and headed out to Bonelli. I was feeling better, but definitely drained. I weighed myself in the morning and I had lost 5 pounds over the last three days...Definitely not what you want to see when you are about to hammer a race. But I was itching to exercise, get outside and enjoy the day with the family. The day was beautiful, this time we brought a bunch of food, some chairs a few beers and the camera...Come to find out our camera battery died. Bummer! So Amy just took some photos with her camera phone which came out pretty bad, but if you notice the pics in this blog, she used her sweet editing skillz over at a very cool site called Picnik. I highly recommend checking it out if you don't have time to learn photoshop. It's free and easy to use and she was able to make some poor quality pictures look cool.

I started my warm-up routine and was itching just to get on the course since I was unable to pre-ride the course. CAT 2/3 included a 5ish mile loop that went around the lake with about 750ft of climbing and some real rocky sketchy descents and technical sections. I think this really was my first REAL mountain bike race. CAT 3 was postponed 15 minutes so I was able to get a little more pre-riding of the course in. I felt very flat, drained and unmotivated to race (which is not like me). The call came for us to line up and I ended up in the 2nd row. They were sending two age groups 30-39 so there was a huge group of 40 of us, much bigger group then Sage Brush. As we where lining up one of the race official was explaining the course and said that anyone that breaks 1 hour will get an automatic upgrade to CAT 2. Sweet, I have a goal now!

The horn went off and I quickly pushed into the top 5 on the short concrete decent. The first hill is the longest and steepest so I quickly shifted gears to the granny gear so I could keep a high cadence and make my way up to the front. Unfortunately my chain dropped in the absolute worst place on the course. I got off, put it back on as quickly as I could but the damage had already been done. Literally everyone had passed me by the time I could find a place to mount and get going again. Then the course turns into technical single track for the next mile or so. So I had to make my way through a lot of beginner traffic as the leaders took off. I was screwed. I just decided at that point to have fun and work on passing riders whenever I could and see what I could do on the 2nd lap to break 1 hour.

After lap one I made my way up to around the top 15 and whenever there was a chance to pass someone, I pushed it. I crossed lap one in 30 mins and it gave me some extra motivation to break an hour and get the CAT 2 bump. I kept passing riders and then we hit a lot of traffic from the kids race which slowed us down more...CAT 3 sucks. I started feeling the effects of my sickness and started cramping up quite a bit but then I started using this hurt to fuel me. I started visualizing this point of the race as Xterra Vegas where I know it will be warm, I'll be hurting and there will still be people to pass. So I picked up the pace and went all out for the last 20 minutes. What helped even more was a guy I was battling. I finally made a move on a climb and then he stuck on my wheel for the remainder of the race. The competitive juices started flowing and I pushed it in the last 200 meters and held him off. I crossed the line in 57:06 and had a 3 minute negative split and I felt it. Amy says she's never seen me so done at the end of a race. I don't think it was the effort, I think it was the fact I had been peeing out of the butt (again, sorry) for the past 4 days and I was drained.

We chilled and waited for results - I had one beer and felt a huge buzz and it didn't agree with me, so I stuck with Gatorade and water the rest of the day...I ended up placing 4th only 30 seconds from 3rd which was a bummer because the awards were really sweet--had to settle for a medal. It was cool to make it to the podium (awards went 5 deep) again, despite everything that was against me and most importantly I was glad to make the bump to CAT 2. Normally I would have had to place top 5 in four races to make the upgrade. So now if I race again or not - I'll be happier to mix it up with more talent in CAT 2. Kenda Cup #3 in Fontana is in a few weeks, but I'm not sure if I'm going to do it because April is going to be a big month for racing:

Week 1 -Carlsbad 5000
Week 2 - Xterra Vegas (A Race)
Week 3 - Ragnar Relay (21 miles of running)

I'm finishing up Base 3 in my training plan this week and will skip Build 1/2 and go straight to Peak for the next two weeks before I go into a transition and start all over at Base 1 and build that to nationals. I learned this from Friel who often does this with his athletes that have an A race at the beginning of the year. This way, you only go through Build workouts at only one period of the year.

I feel like I have completely recovered from my sickness and ready to hit a big week of training this week. Happy St. Patty's day everyone and congrats to Ryan (one of the athletes I'm coaching) for a PR at the St. Pattys 10k!

Swim, Bike, Pain?

After I put my calf through misery at the Desert Duathlon a few weeks ago, I decided to take a week off of running and see if I could get whatever it was to go away. I tried running last Tuesday and at about the 37 minute mark of an hour run - the pain came back. Of course I choose an out and back run and had to hobble all the way back. Which brings me to my next point....I am currently helping three athletes with some running programs and I sometimes think I am a better coach than I am athlete. If I had an athlete coming off of a calf injury, would I send them on an hour run on the pavement? No, as Will Ferrell would say, "That's just dumb..."  So since I am self-coached - I'm going to try to start looking at myself and my training from a coaches point of view.

It's amazing what goes through your head when you've got four miles to go on a run with a bum leg. I happened to be down at the beach, so there was no rescue wagon (Amy knows about these when I'm on the bike), only rolling hills and a constant reminder every other step that I made a bad decision. I just started getting really bummed about training. I started thinking about how much time I devote both mentally and physically along with how expensive the sport is and I couldn't even finish an hour run. And...running is my strength, it's my background - I need to be on top of my game with the run if I want to compete...I finally made it back to the car and hit traffic thanks to the fact I finished my run about 20 minutes too late. It's at that point that I realized I'm a little too hard on myself. I've always been. When I ran 3:47 for the 1500 meters, which is equivalent to a 4:04 mile - I ran it on three different occasions and each time I was unsatisfied. My training showed me I was in sub 4 minute mile shape, but I couldn't quite get there-so I eventually gave up on it. I guess where I am going with this is -don't give up on what you want to accomplish. Overcome the adversity and realize that all of the good things in life don't come easy. So that's how I looked at my injury ---instead of giving up at that point, I decided what could I do about it? I turned to Brad at the B Project for some answers...

Now Brad was someone that both Michael Hansen and David Kloz highly recommended for me to go see. I kind of ignored them at the time (months ago when this first flared up) and figured I could just "foam roll it out"....not so much. So after my Tuesday run incident I set up an appointment to go see him that Friday. I rolled up, saw another fellow BSK runner doing some strength work and the first thing he said to me was, "Did Michael tell you that I am not very nice?"...great. "Uhhh, no.." He put me on the table and put me through some serious agony. I drenched the table with sweat and almost screamed a few times. This wasn't just some deep tissue massage, he went on to explain to me that he was detaching the nerve from the muscle (or something along those lines) which is what was causing all of the problems in my IT Band. Holy hell...He was great though, he explained to me what was going on and gave me some exercises to do afterwards. I limped out of there and the next day I had bruises all up and down my leg - but it felt better!

It was nice to have a week without a race and I put in a great 13 hours of training with only one hour of running in it. This meant a lot of swimming and biking. On Saturday I had my first 2000 yard swim day and my 100's have come down from 2:00 to 1:40's - which is still very slow, but a big improvement since I've coached myself in my swim technique. A few hours later I attempted to climb the back section of Vail (North side) which was unexplored territory for me (and others...I only saw motorcycle and horse tracks). I have always noticed this trail so I took it back towards the mountain and ran into some people on their horses and asked if I was going to climb it. I said, "Yea, I'm going to try..." They said I was crazy and wished me good luck. Great, what kind of climb was this? It was the kind of climb that shot my heart rate from 90 to 185 in about 400 meters. It was straight up and very technical/sandy. As miserable as it was, it was a great workout that had some hike-a-bike sections and very steep climbs -which is great training for Xterra. It's about a mile and a half climb and I had to stop about every 400 meters or so to gain my composure. I started wondering if The Caveman would be able to climb the whole thing, the first time, flawlessly. Probably...

Great beer lineup from the weekend
 The rest of the weekend was pretty chill. On Sunday I did a 35 mile bike ride, topped with a quick 20 minute run to test the calf. Since this was the first weekend we had in awhile without a race I decided to make it a "beer weekend." Since I stopped home brewing, we don't have as much beer around the house as we used to - so it was nice to relax, have a few beers, work on our yard and plant 2 orange trees and an avocado in our backyard. Can't wait for them to bear fruit!

The "In the Dirt Triathlon" was cancelled for this weekend which I am really bummed about because I wanted to get another triathlon under my belt before Xterra West Championships next month, but I'll have to make due. It sucks that my second triathlon is going to be an important one! Oh well, either way it will be a learning experience and I'll be able to get a good idea of what Xterra is all about. So since the race is cancelled this weekend, I might jump in on Kenda Cup #2 in Bonelli Park since I had so much fun a few weeks ago. Get those mountain bike skills dialed in!

Thanks for reading everyone-