Mountain biking at Lake Hodges
As great as 2011 was, it's time to bring on 2012! I have a lot of goals/plans for this year that I actually laid out months ago and it's for them to bear some fruit. It all starts in a few weeks as I open up the year at the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathon in Arizona. I did this race last year - it was my first 1/2 marathon and I loved it. Growing up running the mile and 800 meters; it just didn't give you much time to think. As I move onto the longer distance running and triathlon races -I'm starting to appreciate the fact that you DO have some time to think, put together a strategy and to use your mind as a weapon in a race. This years focus will be all about the 70.3 distance (1/2 Ironman). The goal is to qualify for the 70.3 World Championships held in Las Vegas in September. You typically will qualify by placing in the top 3 sometimes top 5 in your age group at any qualifying Ironman event. In this case, Ironman CA 70.3 (the race I'm doing in March) is one of those qualifying races so I will be shooting for top 3-5 in my age group. CA is super competitive so I'm not being naive going into this race -but I know with the training results I have in the bank already and if I just keep nailing my workouts week in and week out I will have a shot to qualify. If I don't get it in CA, I'm going to hit up another Ironman qualifying race in the summer.

Feed the Machine feeding me for a 4hr ride
Why 70.3's? After racing the 70.3 distance last year accompanied with some Olympic triathlon races I really liked the fact that you have those 4-5 hours to race. The Olympic distances I always felt like it was over too fast and that I ran out of room on the run. With that short 10k at the end I really didn't feel like being a strong runner aided me in anyway. I also like the fact that you have 56 miles to have fun on the bike! The Olympic distances I felt like I was loosing so much time just getting out of the aero position for a second to take a drink. So as the new year begins, it's going to be nice to get out and put in a hard 1/2 marathon effort to set up the rest of the year. This will be my third one. First - 1:18:06  Second - 1:17:05. So I've been taking a minute off every 6 months. I'd be happy if I pull a 1:16:0x, but I'm really shooting to get in the 1:15's. I really have no idea where I'm at right now. Since I've started training with James I have thrown down a pretty solid 5 & 10k on tired legs and this half marathon won't be any different. I'm not really changing up my current schedule, this is a "C" race for me so I'll train through it--although I at least won't have a 60-70 mile ride in me the day before. It will be fun getting out of town, seeing some friends and having some post race beers!

On the training front - I have been killing it for the most part. I ran into two episodes of sickness in December that forced me to take some days off, but other than that I've had some solid training weeks. Last weekend was a big one, here's how it rolled out (Thursday-Monday)

am: 2000 yd swim
pm: 1hr 30min hilly run ~7:50 pace

am: Hard 3,300 yd swim session
pm: 1hr 30 min Mountain bike

am: 3hr hilly (4,500ft climbing) bike ride w/30 min transition run ~7:30 pace

pm: 4hr hilly (4,000ft climbing) ride Avg'd ~17mph

am: 1hr 45 min run w/ 3X15 mins at 70.3 race pace. Avg ~6:00-15

Early 4:45am trainer rides
I think the best thing about the weekend was that it only took me a day to recover from all of that (light swim). I felt great this morning on the bike and ready to knock out another run later tonight. Let me tell you though, the last mile of my last 15 min set on Monday was BRUTAL. I felt exactly like I did on my last mile at the AFC 1/2 marathon which was uphill....maybe worst. As much as my mind wanted to go, I was all out going 7min pace. My legs starting locking up, HR was way up and I was shutting down, I loved it and embraced it. It was a great simulator for what is to come in March. The thing is, I have enjoyed very minute of the training I have been doing. I feel like I'm a bit sick because in the past three months I've done virtually every workout solo. I've done I think maybe three bike rides with someone and I actually don't mind it. It allows me to hammer when I want to hammer and chill when I need it. I definitely don't have a problem pushing the envelope when I'm all alone so during these lonely four hour rides I'm basically feeding the fire for this year on ways to get better, faster and dominate.

Sound a little intense? It's because it's not a hobby-it's a passion. You see, there's a big difference between the two. When you put passion in what you do -it's when you'll a. Be at your best and b. Full filled. Whether it's religion, family, work or an activity -do it with passion don't just go through the motions.

Anyway, that is all. I never have a plan on what I'm going to write in these blogs, I just let it flow and this is what my fingers had for today. Whether or not it inspires you, motivates you or just makes you shake your head -it definitely helps motivate me when I put my thoughts/feelings about training/racing in a blog format. Thanks for reading!

Some NYE Games & Beer
Kiddos at the beach
Lovely wife in a not so lovely picture. Happy New Year everyone!


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