Itching to Race

So it's been exactly a month since my last race and I am feeling it! I had a few different races planned for this month but they both fell through. However, as much as I want to race - this has been a very consistent month of training and I'm starting to feel the fitness gains I've been looking for the past year.

As promised form my last post, here are my numbers from last week:

Swim: 2hr 40mins (6,100 yards)
Bike: 4hr 40 mins (90 miles)
Run: 4hr 10 mins (32 miles)

Total: 11hr 30 mins

This is with one day off and only 2 rides. I really want/need to get my riding up to 4 rides. The swim was so so and I was happy with my run totals. I'm going to try and start dialing in my run for the next month in preparation for the AFC 1/2 marathon. I am shooting for sub 1:15, but after these past two weeks I think I might be closer to 1:13...we'll see. I am SO much stronger/faster than I was when I ran my first 1/2 in Phoenix which was in January and I posted a 1:18:06.

I had another solid weekend of training too. Friday started with an hour long tempo run at 5am (talk about waking up the legs), and then Saturday I did a swim/bike brick with Matt. Over the past year I've noticed that I'm not as strong on the same bike after swimming hard. I'm sure a lot of that is lack of efficiency in the swim, but I always feel really winded and it takes awhile to get into a rhythm on the bike. So I'm going to try and work on swim/bike bricks to go along with my bike/run bricks. So Saturday we rode up to my HOA pool, put in about a mile and transitioned onto our bikes and off we went. The goal was to just chill and put in a few race pace efforts over a 53 mile course. I thought this was great 70.3 training (1.2 mile swim/56 mile bike). He took me on a pretty cool route that I'll be sure to do in the future. We put in about 3 different 20 min (above race pace efforts) towards the end of the ride. We ended up averaging around 28-30mph for those intervals, just taking turns with the lead. It was a lot of fun and I couldn't help but wonder how I were to feel if I put in a 13 mile run at the end. I was pleasantly suprised to see that we averaged over 20 mph for the whole ride with as many stop lights and pit stops we made.

The next day I met up with an old college teammate (Ricardo) to run up the Indian Truck Trails (just south of Corona - Cleveland Naitonal Park).  He took a little time off running too but was back at it full force and is trying to dip under 1:10 for a 1/2 this year. The plan was to go up 2500ft up the trail for about an hour and then just cruise back down. A little college background...I was coached by Irv Ray (now coaches for UCR) and pretty much every single weekend of the year (unless we were out of town) we ran up Mt. Baldy (and sometimes the Indian Truck Trail). For those of you that are unfamiliar, it's anywhere from 8-12 miles all uphill. So round trip, we're talking 16-24 miles for the day. The crazy part wasn't the distance and the climbing we did though, it was basically a race every single week. We would HAMMER. Probably not the smartest thing to do every week, but it sure made us strong and taught us how to hurt.

We just kept it at conversation pace the whole way up and tried to stay in control the whole time. My heart rate skyrocketed at first, but eventually it settled down. I was curious to see how the legs would react with this being my 3rd hard day in a row, but they actually started feeling stronger as the run progressed. We thought about putting in 16 for the day, but turned around to make it 12.5 instead. It's amazing what the landscape did as you climb 2500ft. It was a desert and a little warm and the bottom and then eventually it turned into pine trees with cool breezes near the top. I imagine you could easily get in 30+ miles up there. We went up about 6 and we could see switch backs up for miles. Looks like it would be fun on the mountain bike some day too.

All in all it was a great weekend with family and friends and a solid week of training. I'll leave you with a blog you have to read and a few photos:

Jesse Thomas - he won Wildflower earlier this year as a first year pro. He's one of the few true "runners" I've seen in blog land and he's a pretty funny dude. Seems like all the successful triathletes come from a swimming or biking background. Not this guy...and he also started late into triathlon after lots of time off, which I can relate with.

Green Tea IPA. Buy one! It's a Collaboration w/one of Stone's former brewer's.
They are moving off the shelves fast so I would get one quick. 9.2% and very good with sushi :)
This is pretty funny, because although you can't see it, we are reading "TRI Kids" magazine.
It comes as an insert with USA Triathlon Magazine and I showed it to her and she loved it.
She wanted that to be the bed time story that night. Start them early!!!

1 year of training in the books...

Most of you that have been following my blog know that I just started doing triathlons last year. July marks one year of training in the books. It's seems so long ago, but July is when I got my first bike and started cycling. It's crazy how much I've learned about the sport in such a short time and how much work I have to get where I want to be. I really didn't know what I was doing at first. I bought a mountain bike because Xterra appealed to me and I rode a lot on the streets at first with these type of strap on pedals. My idea of off-roading was riding the horse trails that surrounded my neighborhoods! Eventually I put on some real pedals and started riding real trails around Temecula and San Diego.

Then the swimming. I should try and dig up a video of Amy did of me when I first started swimming. It was really scary. Like, maybe I should put this video camera down and make sure he's not drowning kind of scary. Amy swam in high school and I'm thankful she didn't just laugh out loud and tell me to quit while I'm ahead. But I stuck with it and have finally found some form - although I need a coach bad. Any takers??

And then the running. Injury and frustration have been the story here. The problem is, I still train like I used to. Pretty wreckless...kinda like Fam talks about I guess. Back then I never got injured. I rarely stretched, iced, massage or anything. Unfortunately, those habits still exist with me and if I want to get to the next level, I know I need to focus more on recovery. But other than little set backs here and there, my running has progressed leaps and bounds over last year.

The purpose of this post is to really reveal everything about my training that most triathletes won't do. That is numbers. I was pretty shocked to see how low everything is. I know these numbers are skewed a bit because when I first started training it was very low for about 2-3 months. I was just trying to figure out how to balance everything out (still am).  Regardless, I post this as more of motivation too. I feel like I've become pretty fast/respectable despite the low training hours/miles. This only means one thing to me. Get the work done!

So here is my data that I snagged from my Garmin after year 1 in the books:

Distance: 130,737 yards or 2,500 yards a week  (about 1.5 miles/wk)
Hours: 70

Cycling (Road and Mountain Bike):
Distance: 2,444 miles or 47 miles a week
Hours: 164

Distance: 765 miles or 15 miles a week
Hours: 104

Strength Training
30 hours

Average Weekly Training Volume: 7.07 hours

Now I would say that my training volume is more around the 8-11hr range now and that my cycling mileage is definitely over 100/wk now, but running is MAYBE 20-25/wk and swimming is more around 6,000/wk. One thing I do see from it all is that there is a lot of potential. I'm making a slow transition to 15 hours/week and hopefully I'll find a way to 18 which is my magic number right now. Everything has just been high intensity and not many junk miles - which is what I need. I know it'll allow me to recover better and stay away from injury.

I'm hoping that by this time next year my average weekly training training volume will be doubled. To hold myself accountable to this (after all, this blog is a training diary too) I'm going to start posting weekly totals for each discipline, kind of like Andrew Hodges does in his blog. I think this will be a great way to hold myself accountable on each sport; because although TrainingPeaks shows weekly totals, it doesn't break it down on the free version I'm using.

Finding the Balance

Couzer Canyon ride
 I really feel like I'm finding a good balance with everything in my life. When I took off 6 years of training and quit doing anything active (which I'd never done before since I was 5!) I felt like my life became extremely unbalanced. Not to get to personal or anything but besides my marriage, everything else pretty much sucked. I was moving from job to job, partied too much and kept looking for what it was I was missing. I now know that I need endurance sports in my life. It really does balance your time, energy, faith, finances and outlook on life (at least for me). I need it so bad now that if I'm forced to miss a day of training, Amy can tell right away because I'm miserable to be around. It's like a drug to me - but with good side effects :)

Tuesday nights at the track have now turned to Tuesday nights at Discovery Lake in San Marcos. As much as I love the track, I like the fact we switch it up periodically throughout the year. Plus the fact that most of it is running on the dirt, my fragile legs get a little break from the pounding. I had a great workout last week and it was really the first time I tested my calf with anything fast. I was surprised how effortless everything felt despite little to no running. I still can't believe how much cycling can improve your running - I've been seeing huge gains and I've only been running a few times a week for the past month.

Green Flash Brewery
 Thursday night my buddy Bobby and I hit up Green Flash and their new tasting room in Mira Mesa. I would say it lived up to all of my expectations. They had a lot on tap to taste and I couldn't believe how busy they were on a Thursday night (pic doesn't do justice). I'm really stoked to start filling up my growler on the way home now. Afterwards we hit up the Padre game only to watch the Giants tie us in the 9th against our only All-Star and then beat us in extra innings. Bummed on the Padres this year. Looks like we'll be playing with the AAA Padres soon. Fire sale. One cool thing though, earlier last week during the All-Star break I was able to go up on top of the Batters Eye and check out a roof that we will be doing. It was pretty cool to be next to all of the retired numbers up top, especially Tony! We will be making room for Trevor Hoffman's number. It's supposed to be a secret, but everyone knows about it!

On top of the "Batters Eye"
 On Saturday, I basically duplicated the 60 mile ride I did the week before. But this time it wasn't as hot and miserable. My legs felt like crap from a tough week of training, but I still rode about 1 mph faster than last week. These are starting to feel so effortless and I'm excited to see what I can do in a 70.3. Which by the way, I'll most likely be focusing on half-ironman's next year. After a year of training/racing triathlons, this is what I have learned: I definitely prefer the road over off-road. I love mountain bike racing, but the off-road triathlon (Xterra) not so much. I think this goes back to how I always hated cross country and loved track. I'm a slight heel striker and when you run off-road it can really zap your energy because you're constantly pulling at the terrain as opposed to running on the road (or track) where you have a slight bounce in your step on the concrete and not as much energy is wasted. Plus, I just like going fast. Xterra's are filled with ton's of technical sections and hills which means a slower pace and plays to the strong. The road, it's just all about speed. I also did my first half marathon and absolutely loved the distance. And after doing a sprint and an Olympic distance triathlon, I feel like the race is just over too fast. It doesn't give you much time to think or get settled - you're just all out. That's why I'm hoping to open up with my first 1/2 Ironman next March at the California 70.3 then maybe do Vineman 70.3 later in the Summer. Excited.

Sunday just called for a 90 minute long run and I did it right smack in the middle of the day where it was in the 90's. It was pretty brutal but I got through it and I'm actually glad that it was so warm, it's time to start acclimating to the heat as races are going to start heating up! Next up is an Aquathon this Thursday night with the Triathlon Club of San Diego. It's just a mellow race from what I hear. 1000 meter swim and a quick transition to a 5k run on the beach. I want to do it more for just some open water experience and a good workout.

Few more pics from the week:

Saturday's ride

Recommend the "Palate Wrecker"
Our seats for the night up in the Toyota Terrace
This is the room where the games are filmed
Question of the day. How am I going to say no to her???

10 Reasons to Race

Putting in countless hours into training, work, activity...basically fill in the _______ can really drain you after long periods of time without any type of result, reward or gratification. This is very apparent in endurance sports. You train basically everyday and depending on what your event/sport is - you might not race for months on end. Some people may pick up the sport just to loose weight, but it's the same thing; often you don't see the results you're looking for even after months of training. I think it's really important that if you put in hours of training that you race from time to time. That's when you get a chance to see some of the fruits of your labor and enjoy the fitness that you've worked so hard for. Sure, with endurance sports getting more and more popular - races entries are expensive, you have to get up early and some people may even be a little intimidated to race because of their lack of fitness. What the entry fee doesn't tell you is this:

#1 You get to accomplish something difficult with other people you've never met before and get through it together, who knows maybe even make a new friend!

#2 There's almost always someone faster or slower than you are, which makes you fit it with everyone!

#3 You basically feel like you're floating for most of the day after coffee, energy gels and caffeine shots.

#4 You realize that porta-potties at races are probably the worst porta-potties in the USA.

#5 There's a reason why everyone is smiling at the finish line. It's called accomplishment, it's called reaching a goal, it's called endorphins (or runner's high) and it's called relieved.

#6 Beer never tasted better at 9ish in the morning after racing so hard.

#7 Beer never hit you so fast after just racing so hard!

#8 It's the only time it's ever OK to walk around with a huge metal around your neck.

#9 The leg soreness/fatigue you have for the next 24-48 hours is a wonderful reminder of how much fun you had.

#10 It fuels the fire inside of you to get up, train and do it all over again so you can get a new PR!

I especially want to touch on #10. Training can get very discouraging if you're putting in countless hours each week and you don't race, you get injured or even burn out. Every time you race you learn something about yourself. You may learn how hard you can push yourself, what you need to work on or maybe you just take new motivation into your next block of training. For me all of those happened after the San Diego International. I was getting pretty discouraged with training after getting hurt, putting in countless hours by myself and nothing to show for it. Although 6th in my AG may seem great, I looked at it like I got my butt handed to me. My swim was pathetic, my transitions were terrible, my bike was so-so and I failed to finish strong on the run. It really ignited a fire inside of me to make things right. These past few weeks I've been just hunting for any free time I may have to go out and train, learn something online and find training partners to push me to the next level. It's been working, I feel like I've found a groove with all of my time commitments and it's going to make a big difference for the rest of the TRI season.

Last week's highlights include:
Doing 5 hill repeats with the Slice up a .6 mile 400ft elevation climb with a training partner. Brutal!
Doing my first 1 mile swim (straight) and then hitting up 45 miles and 3500ft of climbing
Doing my first long run in months with a training partner. The best thing about it? My calf held up.

Next up, I'm gonna try and jump into TCSD's Aquathon next Thursday which is a 1000 meter ocean swim followed by a 5k run on the beach. Should be fun!

Some photos from the week and some from SDIT:

All SDIT pics courtesy of 3 Hot Shoes

Why does my face look so fat and happy??

The Slice and I have become quite good friends...

Pretty sure this is around the 5k mark
Not a fan of mass-marketed breweries, but "Rotator IPA" is actually pretty good
And it said this under the bottle cap...Kinda ties in w/the blog post no??
We donated $5 to our church's "local farm program" and received a bunch of fresh produce!
My love and I at my bros wedding last month

4th of July Weekend

I had a pretty bad case of the DOMS a few days after the race. I think most of it was due to that hard 10k at the end. I only put in about 8 miles worth of running two weeks prior to that race to try and nip my calf strain. So pounding out a 10k on concrete with a bum calf tore me up pretty good last week. I took Monday and Wednesday off completely to try and shake the soreness/fatigue. After a few swims and some light spinning I was ready to go come Saturday morning. I set off on a 60 mile solo ride on the Slice. I was out the door at 7:30am and you could already tell it was going to be a hot day. After a quick pit stop at the fire station to refuel, I starting making my way down Sage road for what was going to be a scary decent. For those of you that are familiar with Temecula this is a pretty steep/technical decent and it's also pretty shaded so you have to be careful with the pot holes. Instead of hugging the white line I rode about 3-4 ft to the left of it so that cars would a. see me better (shade) and b. not drive me off the shoulder. Well this truck with an empty trailer comes out of nowhere screaming by probably around 55 mph (in a 35mph zone) and just misses me. At this point he is in the other lane with a blind corner coming up and sure enough a car from the other side is coming. He swerves sharply, barely avoiding a head on collision and his trailer somehow follows his sharp swerve and comes within inches of hitting that car. Then he has to correct himself and the trailer then fishtails onto the right shoulder and somehow he pulls out of it. It was one of the scariest most ridiculous thing I'd ever seen. I'm already super cautious and sketched out about riding on the road. I feel so venerable because your life really isn't in your hands, it's in the hands of the drivers around you and that's a scary thing! I didn't as much get shaken up as I was just so dumbfounded about this driver that was in such a hurry that he put my life, his life and the lives of whoever were in that car in danger just to get somewhere quicker.

Besides that, the ride was pretty uneventful. I just wanted to cruise a long ride, limit my stops and get back before it got too hot. With about 15 miles to go, the heat was on and I was feeling it! After having a few heat exhaustion episodes in my running days--I've become pretty sensitive to extreme heat. My HR starting rising way up, I started getting a little dizzy and had shortness of breath---all signs leading to heat exhaustion. I pulled over for about 15 mins, filled my water bottles back up, doused myself and rolled out. Within about 20 minutes my bottles felt like hot tea. It was definitely in the 100's by the time I was getting back home. Glad that was done! Here's the data from the ride:

On Sunday morning, Matt (from the race last week) and I did a brick workout. I told him I was pretty beat from my ride the day before, so we just did 35 on a flat course followed by a 5 mile run at 7 min pace. It was the first time I had run since the race and my calf felt slightly better so I'm excited that I didn't do too much damage from the race. Data from that ride:
I was stoked to see that even on a chill ride we almost averaged 20mph. My legs definitely started to feel it towards the end of the run. On the 4th I woke up, put in 3k yards in the pool and then Amy and I rode down with the kids on our bikes to the 4th of July parade they have down in Old Town. We had a lot of fun riding down as a family and it was really nice to just spin the legs out a bit as they were pretty beat. So even after taking two days off last week on a recovery week I was still able to get in 9.5 hours of training.

The weekend wasn't just full of training either. I think we BBQ'd Friday-Monday every single night with family, friends and neighbors. Good company, good food, good beers - Amy and I even snuck in some mojito's one day when the kids were down for a nap! The 4th has become quite a fun holiday weekend for our family and it seems to kick off the summer. Oh yea, I obviously didn't race the Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10k which I was bummed about. I was looking forward to racing that all year but I know my calf wouldn't have been happy about I just put in a solid weekend of training, probably better on all fronts. Check out my tentative schedule for the rest of the year here.

Few more pics from the weekend:
Future triathletes!
At the parade
I also made a really good tofu recipe. For those of you that don't dig tofu, try this, I think you'll change your mind:
I pack extra-firm tofu, (drain water, cut into cubes) put on non stick pan (no oil) and brown.

While that’s cooking, in a small bowl combine 2 tomatoes (chopped), 1 shallot (onion diced), 2 cloves of garlic (diced), few tablespoons of lemon juice and olive oil. Add salt, pepper and generous amounts of diced fresh basil and stir it up. After tofu is done browning, pour in bowl and mix, cook for about 3-5 mins on medium heat.

Serve with couscous and hummus