Goodbye 2011

What a year it was. I can honestly say this was the happiest year of my life. This was the year I found balance for the first time in a long time. Finding a way to do ALL the things I love and not compromising anything. Having a full time job (with a monster commute) and balancing quality family and training time can be tricky, but if their is a will....there SO is a way. On the work front I got a nice raise and continue to help the company I work with grow even during these tough economic conditions... On the personal side of things, my wife and I celebrated 7 years of marriage, my daughter Scarlett turned 3 and my son Taylor turned 1. They are the backbone of everything I think about and do and without them I'd be that lonely tri guy you see at races that has all of the fancy gear and friends but comes home to an empty house. I'm so blessed to have such a great immediate and extended family to share life with. So off of the personal note, one of the biggest things that fed that "happiest year of my life" was getting back into endurance sports. I kind of went through some dark years from 2003-05 (work-a-holic, money driven) and 2006-09 (border-line alcoholic...and fat). 2010 I started working out again and discovered triathlon for the first time towards the end of the year. That set me up for 2011 and these are the stories that unfolded (in pictures):

January 2011

The point of 2011 was exploring different distances and different races to find out what kind of triathlon I wanted to focus on. (road vs. off-road) (Olympic vs. 70.3). To start the season off, I decided to head over to Arizona, party with some friends and race my first half-marathon at the Rock & Roll AZ 1/2 marathon.

1:18:06 Race Report here
February 2011

To start the season I decided to give off-road tri a go. To prep for the Xterra West Championships in April, I jumped in an off-road duathlon and a mountain bike race and the results came back great.

Desert Classic Duathlon: placed 1st in AG Race Report here
Snowy, Muddy & Cold Sagebrush Safari. Placed 1st in CAT 3. Race Report here

March 2011

March was just a big training month and I raced one more mountain bike race (Bonelli Park) to prep for Xterra Vegas.

Placed 4th in CAT 3, Race report here

April 2011

April would end up being my biggest race month of the year. I ended up racing three times. Carlsbad 5000, Xterra West Championships and The Ragnar Relay.

Hit 16:30, Race report here

Xterra West worked. Race Report here

Ragnar Relay. 5th in Div, 10th overall. Race Report here

May 2011

 After not having as much fun in an off-road tri, I decided to give road tri's a go. So for the rest of the year I planned on kicking out some Olympic distance races. To kick it off, I jumped in the Temecula Challenge and raced the 75 mile distance.

Placed 1st in the 75 mile race. Race report here

June 2011

In June I finally bought myself a nice bike (Cannondale Slice) and entered my first Olympic distance triathlon...or in this case "international" distance:

San Diego International; placed 6th in AG, Race Report here

 July 2011

July was one of the few months I didn't race, so I just took it as an opportunity to get in some good training and enjoy the summer.

Thanks to The Bike Shop for always keeping my bike tuned

August 2011

August was another month of solid training and my second 1/2 marathon. At this point I set myself up to do another Olympic, Sprint and 70.3 distance to wrap up the year.

AFC 1/2 Marathon: 1:17:05, Race Report here

September 2011

In September I raced my first "real" Olympic distance and had mixed feelings about the race. Point being, I need to learn to swim!

San Diego Tri Classic; 6th in AG, Race Report here

October 2011

October was a big month. I raced three times: A local tri club sprint race, a low-key tune up 8k and really, only one serious race -Soma Triathlon 70.3. I really wanted to get my hands dirty in a 1/2 ironman and Soma provided that. I found out a few things about this race. 1. I didn't train properly and I needed a coach. 2. I loved the distance!

TCSD Sprint race (my only sprint of the year). 2nd place: Race Report here

Dirt Dog Cougar Challenge 8k. Race Report here
Soma Triathlon 70.3; DNF, Race Report here

November 2011

In November I finally pulled the trigger and hired a coach, James Walsh to coach/guide me through the 2012 season. I put in a great month of training and even jumped in a 10k and 5k.

Mission Inn 10k; 5th place, Race Report here

Oceanside Turkey Trot; 4th in AG, Race Report here
December 2011

December has been all about trying to stay healthy, tweaking my diet, working on my weaknesses and getting in some solid training looking towards 2012. 

Taking my nutrition to a whole new level...

So that pretty much wraps up my season for 2012. I posted my new 2012 Race Schedule here. All in all it was such a fun year balancing my training, racing, family fun, work and life in general. I felt like I had a successful year of racing and was even able to obtain some sponsors which I'm very excited to work with in 2012.

I want to thank everyone that reads my blog, gives me words of encouragement and follows along with my journey. Cheers to 2012!

Full Steam Ahead

Well the train has departed and is in full steam ahead for Ironman 70.3 CA. It's taken awhile to get this train going but I feel like I am finally riding on all cylinders. Four cylinders if you will; Swim, Bike, Run and Nutrition. Getting back into shape over a year ago has been no easy task. I've had a ton of injuries, inconsistent training and lack of patience. I feel like my body has finally caught up with my mind and my fitness level over the past month has risen to a new level. Why? It's an an accumulation of things, really. I think the best thing I did this year was sign up for the Soma Triathlon. It was kind of a last minute decision and I'm glad I went through with it because the whole point was to experience a Half-Ironman so I know what to expect for Ironman 70.3 CA. For those of you that don't know what happened, you can read my race report here. Not gonna lie, that race lit a bomb-fire inside of me. I was pissed and my mental outlook on the sport changed. I instantly knew I needed a coach. My swim was poor, my bike fitness wasn't there, my running wasn't at my potential and my nutrition planning was waaay off. So I started working with James and he's really helped me in all three sports, plus nutrition advice along with keeping me in check with intensity/volume. What else has changed? Well my wife continues to support me 100% which means so much to me. She even goes out in the freezing garage at 5am to give me some company while I'm on the trainer. Super cool! Then, over the past few months I've been able to get some support from sponsors. Not only are they going to make me look and feel good, but the are going to make it so much easier financially to afford all of the racing/training I do.

Speaking of sponsors, I picked up two more over the past week. I am really stoked to be working with The Bike Shop in Temecula. As I mention in my Support page, the first time I walked into the shop that opened up just over a year ago -I was able to make friends and watch them grow. Rick and Rich are unbelievable people and they are so different from your typical bike shop where you go in and get shunned and ripped off. They actually care about getting you on the right bike and fulfilling your passion. Not to mention, John their mechanic is well-known throughout the industry as being one of the best in the business. If you live in Temecula, make The Bike Shop your go-to bike shop for anything cycling or triathlon related. If you are out of town and on your way to Vail to put in some miles on your mountain bike, they are on the way. Thanks Rick/Rich for your support. As mentioned on my last post, I also teamed up with FLUID. I've always used the FLUID Recovery drink but I'm excited to add the FLUID Performance into my race day/training nutrition. If it makes me feel as good as I do after taking the Recovery, I'm gonna be a happy camper.

As far as the training front goes, I've been making huge strides in all three sports. Last week I did a 1000 meter time trial swim. James coaches for Training Bible Coaching, so this was no surprise to me because I had done one before months ago when I was coaching myself (referencing the book). It's just a good gauge to see where your fitness level is so you can help determine pacing structure in future swim workouts and also see how you are progressing. The original idea was to do it in a wetsuit at my HOA pool. The rec center pool has been so busy so I didn't want any interruption during my TT. The reason for the wetsuit is because they turn the heat off in our pool over the winter months. I figured I could handle 58-60 degree water in my Xterra Vortex which I love. So I got in and holy crap! This was not 58 degrees. Definitely more like 50! I did one 50 meter lap and my face, hands and feet started getting pins and needles just like I used to get in the 52 degree ice baths I took in college post workout. I jumped out of that pool as fast as I could and headed over to the rec center. Screw that!

The Bike Shop put this on loan to me
while Mr. Slice gets some love. Blue AC1
I jumped in the water at the rec center (sans wetsuit) and after a 300 meter warm up I set off. I've been feeling pretty good in the water lately. With my speed increasing each week, I feel like it's been easier to maintain balance and form as opposed to those slow strokes I used to take. I ended up swimming 14:43 (1:28 per 100 pace). Now I know that's not fast for some, but for me it was a huge break through. 6 months ago when I did this I swam like 18:50 something. Even 4 months ago when I did a TCSD club sprint race I swam 14:50 something for 700 meters! So all of the hard work in the pool is FINALLY starting to pay off. As far as the bike goes, I am just doing a ton of climbing and a lot of hours. Last week I put in ~10 hours just on the bike. I'm starting to feel increases in power and agility. With all of the riding and dropping a few more lbs, I feel like an animal on the climbs. The running is going well too. I'm running great on tired legs and feeling really really comfortable running off of the bike. Almost better then I do when I just go out for a run. And nutrition? James has just guided me with my diet a bit. I was already eating well, but we still made a few tweaks. The biggest thing is, he's helped me with my training nutrition. I'm really working on limiting my intake and teaching my body to be more efficient with calories which will help me come race day.

Mentally I feel like that steam engine. I'm slowly picking up speed but I know there is a long road ahead of me. Careful planning and perfect execution is all that is on my mind when it comes to triathlon. 2012 is going to be an exciting year and I am thankful that some of you actually read this blog and will follow along with me on this road. Cheers!

My son Taylor on the treadmill, getting his miles in!

Token Beer shot

Busy Holiday Season

Packed the Element with the Christmas Tree
So I think last week was the first week I didn't blog in the short year I've been doing this. Work has been crazy busy and top that with training and the fun family holiday stuff we've been doing, this month has been a blur! A lot has happened over the past few weeks training wise and I couldn't be happier with where my fitness is going during this "off season." The most noticeable difference is how quickly I'm recovering. Amy would pretty much notice me limping out of bed just about every week this past year. Now I hop out of bed at 4:45am and have fresh legs regardless of the workload the day before. I know James has some pretty killer workouts in the future and I know this won't always be the case, but I contribute the quick recovery to a few different things:

1. Just having a good coach to keep me in check and not going to hard.
2. Changing up my diet...more on this later
3. Fitness gains I've made over the past month
4. Recovering with Fluid.

Besides recovering quicker, I've also made huge gains on the bike. I wish I had a power meter to gauge it, but just by comparing past rides with ones I do now and just in general how I feel out riding now have been amazing. I've been on the trainer two days a week doing a lot of drill and cadence work and then on the weekends hammering out long hilly rides. I honestly can't remember the last time I went riding without climbing at least 3000 ft and it's making me strong. On the swimming front, I'm still working on form and hoping to hop in a swim clinic soon with James and former pro and local trainingbible coach, Jim Vance. I'm definitely getting faster on my own because I've been in the water consistently and working harder than I ever have but I still need some specific instruction and video to see what I'm doing right/wrong. As far as the running goes -it's the best shape I've been in since college. I've been racing/training effectively on fatigued legs and I'm especially stoked to see how fast and comfortable I'm able to run off of the bike.

If you haven't tried it...Do it!
One thing I have changed up a bit is my diet. I've been keeping a diet log and James has been giving me great feedback on not only day-to-day stuff but also my long workout nutrition which, come to find out -I was taking in WAY too many calories. I've just been eating way more good carbs (fruits/veggies) less bad carbs (bread, pasta) and incorporating good fats into my diet. I feel a lot better, especially DURING workouts. I used to have that bubbly stomach feeling a lot, but it seems to be getting less frequent when I stick to the diet. Lastly, I've been recovering with FLUID. I take their recovery shake literally as soon as I walk in the door from my hard workouts. Not only does it taste amazing (I use the chocolate) but I do feel like it gives me a recovery boost compared to a lot of other brands I've used.

Other than that, no big racing plans until the Rock & Roll 1/2 marathon in Arizona next month. I'll be shooting for ~1:15 and most likely I won't have fresh legs for it, but I think I'm still capable especially with the way training has been going. I'll be posting next year's schedule shortly as soon as I get all of the details figured out. Here's some pic over the past few weeks:

Some wine after setting up the tree
Hit up a Strung Out & Jugheads Revenge's been awhile. FUN!
Made some homemade Kale Chips. Tasty!
Gingerbread houses with the kiddos
Plenty of good strong Winter Warmers and IPA's for the holidays at this house.


I don't write a whole lot about swimming on this blog. First of all, it's my weakness - so there really isn't a whole lot to blog about. Yesterday I was telling Amy that I kind of made a big mental realization with my swimming. I had a pretty tough session that amounted to over 3000 yards in the pool and during the set my mind really started coming around to some things. Since I am a runner turned triathlete, I tend to relate everything to running. During some of the harder sets in my workout, I was only given 10 seconds to rest here, 20 seconds there--which compared what to what I was doing prior to be coached is a whole lot less rest. I remember doing 100's with like a minute rest in between. Or maybe 2x800 with 4 minute rest in between (I didn't know what I was doing)! So I related it to running. You see it at the track all the time in workouts. You know, those track workouts you see people taking their precious time in between sets, taking extended recovery, chatting it up and not really taking the workout seriously. They just look and admire the faster runners, but the result for themselves is no big improvement. Well that has been me at the pool the past year. I didn't embrace the workout. I didn't approach each of the swim sessions with a purpose. It was more about me getting in the pool, putting in some yards and as soon as that clock strikes one hour, I was outta there as fast as I could.

Well that has all changed these past few weeks. As much as I've been working harder in the pool physically, the biggest gains I have made have been mentally. I actually enjoy the swim sessions now. Once I truly believed that, I've noticed myself becoming more comfortable in the water. I've really felt as one with the water and it's allowed me to actually find a pretty good swim stroke that lets me work with the water instead of against it. Now I know I still have a lot of improvement in my technique, but giving myself a mental overhaul has really helped me find the right technique naturally. I think to piggyback that same idea - I think learning how to hurt in the pool is important too. I think I just started to learn how to do this with evidence that I cramped on the last set of my workout yesterday and had to slowly paddle my way back to the pool deck! It's such a different type of pain compared to running and biking both in cardio and lactate acid build up/muscle fatigue. I've even experienced a swimmers high? Kind of like a runner's high? You feel a little more dizzy than usual, but still have those endorphins flowing...ahhh. it feels good.

So I encourage those that are struggling with the swim (like myself) to mentally engage yourself. Take each swim session just as serious as you would a bike or run workout. Make it count, don't put in empty yardage and you'll start seeing big improvements....I know I am.

On a side note, I am really excited to partner up with Rudy Project for the next three years. I was really hoping to land something with them because I already love/use their products. Make sure you go check out their website, they have killer deals and really cool sunglasses/helmets/gear for 2012!