Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon

So I attempted another long course triathlon and it finally came out in my favor. Although it was a bit shorter from a 70.3 (1 mile swim, 35 bike, 10 mile run) it still stretched me from my regular comfort zone of Sprint/Olympic distances and I came away with a good overall result. This is how it went down...

Since the race was on a Saturday, Amy and I headed up Friday (sans kids) and along the way we stopped at the Ronald Regan Library. We normally wouldn't have made the pit stop but they were having a Disney exhibit at the end of the tour and Amy was really excited to go. The Ronald Regan tour ended up being really cool. I highly recommend it. My favorite part was being able to go in Air Force One. It was the actual plane that hosted many presidents (including Regan) and was only retired in 2002. The Disney exhibit ended up being pretty cool too. I wasn't as excited about being on my feet for 3 1/2 hours, but all in all it was worth it.

After the tour we headed up the coast -spent a lot of time in traffic and finally got checked in at our home stay - which Kim and Kirk helped make happen. Thanks again! We then headed over to the EXPO and finally got our grub on at Whole Foods. When we lived in Boulder we ate and shopped there a lot and forgot how good the food is and the selection they have, good stuff! I tend to go pretty simple the night before a race. Chicken with rice and some veggies. Just clean - easy food. After dinner we just headed back to our home stay, relaxed a bit and turned in pretty early for what would be a 5am wake up call.

Pre race fuel; Sweet Potato, banana
Wake up, power down a banana and a sweet potato and start hydrating with some water and Zipfizz with caffeine (which I'll be doing a review shorly on). We headed down and bike check in was really easy and overall just a relaxed atmosphere. I ran into fellow Wattie teammate Dusty Nabor who gave me the run down of the course and ended up crushing the Aquabike himself getting 3rd overall! I put in a 10 minute run with some pick ups and my legs felt rested but yet just not quite the bounce they had at SD International. I put in some serious training blocks coming into this race, so I wasn't expecting to have million dollar legs. Soon enough it was time to get my Xterra Vortex wetsuit on and get in a solid warm up. The water had a little bit of chop to it, but it seemed glassy to me compared to the Vail Lake swims I've been doing lately. I got in about a 10 minute warm up with some decent efforts to get the blood flowing in the arms and I was ready to go!

Swim: 1 mile - 32:34 (1:50 pace) 35th in AG, 335 Overall

Knew I had a lot of work to do...
So the plan was to just be aggressive from start to finish in this race. I've had so many breakthrough weeks in the bike and run, I figured an all-out swim won't hurt me. So I lined up front and when the gun went off I just went after it. I went as hard as I could around that first buoy and the went all out for the next 800 meters or so. I was passing a lot of swimmers, hitched a few rides with some and overall I was in pretty good position. Then as we made the turn around to head back ~1000 meters in, the wheels fell off. I mean - I hit a serious wall. My legs started cramping a bit, my stroke slowed way down and I started getting passed by all the guys I worked so hard to pass earlier. I just ran out of gas and swam a little over my head. I just put myself in survival mode at this point and just went through he motions until I finally came out of the water. Dizzy and a little out of it, I felt like I was out there for an hour! This is hands down the worst swim I've ever had in a race - but I went for it, proved to myself that I can swim fast (just not very long...ha). So it really just comes down to swim fitness. I was only able to swim a few times during those two stressful work weeks I had, I felt like I really lost form during then. It's amazing how quickly swim fitness can disappear if you are not constantly "on it." There was one encouraging thing in the week leading up to the race. I had a local swim instructor (Carol) analyze my swim. I've never had anyone do it before - I am self taught through YouTube videos, swim smooth, what I read...etc. Carol is a masters certified coach, multi-year Kona qualifier and great swim coach. She gave me great news that my form is terrific. I only had one minor flaw in my stroke which was a "claw" hand in entry but other then that - she said I looked great! Good news. It really just comes down to putting in more solid/consistent work in the water. Excited.

Leaving T1
T1: 1:19 (5th in AG)

Part of this good T1 is that my rack (along with all of the other 30-34) was right next to the bike exit. So as much as I was out of it - I still managed a good transition.

Bike: 35 miles - 1:34:35 (22.2 mph) 2,324 ft of climbing - 3rd fastest in AG, 19th overall

Leaving out of T1 I was pretty gassed. I burned a lot of matches during the first part of the swim. Immediately after pedaling the first few strokes my legs felt loaded and energy levels were way down. I slammed down 1 of 3 caffeinated gels that I would consume over the next 90 minutes along with my 22oz's of FLUID Perform. The first 30 minutes I was in recovery/survival mode. I was averaging 18-19 mph and STRUGGLING. The thing is, I didn't let any of this get me down. I was so mentally strong that every single doubt, every single negative thought and "evil" that crept in my head I smashed it immediately.

Thanks to The Bike Shop for loaning me some Yellow Speed!
Just kept with my mantras, ignored the negativity and pushed more as the pain increased. I was prepared to hurt. I kept my KASK helmet's visor up the whole race. It was sprinkling pretty good the first 30 minutes of the bike which made the roads really slick and sketchy. Amy said she saw lots of carnage on the course. Blood everywhere! Including the dude that got second, props to him for getting back up and handling it. My legs eventually starting coming around although they just never had the power I'm used to day in and day out on the bike. That swim was a game changer for me in the bike/run. I'm starting to realize really quick that in order to have a good bike, you have to be a strong swimmer! Same goes with the bike/run. I pretty much did all passing on the bike, only a few passed me. Once we hit the last climb of the day I rolled up on a guy that looked pretty fast in my age group and I asked him if he had any idea how we stood in our age group. He just looked at me struggling/defeated and said we were waay back...This was a pivotal part of my race because I could have just thrown in the towel and chilled the rest of the race but instead it pissed me off - so I picked it up those last 10 miles and ended up passing a lot more riders heading into T2. I was 35th out of the water and looks like I rode myself into the top 10-15 after the bike. So overall, happy with the bike for how I was feeling. Toughed it out and didn't throw in the towel.

T2: 1:28 (10th in AG)

T2 was a little bit slower because I threw on socks. Anything over a 10k and I get blisters - so not worth the few seconds for the two weeks of pain (although this decision almost cost me a place!)

Bringin it in last 100 meters full blast!
Man in speedo pictured behind...
Dreams Crushed!
Run: 10 miles - 59:57 (5:59 pace) 1st in AG, 6th overall

So it was game time coming out of T2. Most of the bikes were already racked in my row so I knew I had a lot of work to do. I was telling James that usually within the first 1/2 mile you can tell what kind of run you were going to have and today was no different. My legs felt "crampy" if that makes any sense...ha

Cramp"y\ (kr[a^]mp"[y^]), 1. Affected with cramp. 2. Productive of, or abounding in, cramps.

Basically you just run that fine line where if you push a little too hard they start coming on real heavy. So I just flirted with that line throughout the 10 miles. And that "line" ended up being 6 minute pace which I was actually really bummed about. My running has been off the charts and running 5:45's should have been possible on an average day. Not this day though. The really enjoyed the run course. Easy out and back course along the coast. 2 miles flat, 2 miles uphill, 2 miles flat, 2 miles downhill, 2 miles flat. I nailed all of the flats and downhills sub 6 and uphills ~6:18. I was passing a ton of runners and the cool thing about the out and back is you could see where you stood overall. The elites and master elites started 5 minutes ahead of us, so I could pick out pretty well who they were. Then I started seeing a few guys about a mile from the turn around that looked about my age including Jacob Ford whom I raced at San Diego International (and barely beat him with about a mile to go). We gave each other a five in crossing paths and said good job. I wondered at that point if he was a. either having a great race b. I was having a crap race or c. He was in the elite division. Ended up being a little of a and b cause he ended up winning!Either way, I continued to press and never let up. Right around mile 9 - the wheels started to come off a bit. My cramping was getting worse and my face went from relaxed to a grimace. The only problem was I could see one other dude up the road in a speedo. From a distance he looked like he had gray hair so I hesitated just a bit at going after him because I was hurting pretty bad. But then I thought I'd never forgive myself if he was in my age group. Time to bring out the old school miler speed.... here weeee go.... My Garmin shows I hit 4:09 min/mile pace on that half mile so I probably put in about a 2:04-2:10 800. I sucked him up real fast with only a 100 meters to go and after I saw that the gray hair was actually a beanie and he wore a "32" on his leg so I picked it up even more so he wouldn't dream of coming with me. It worked and I even put 4 seconds on him in that last 100 meters. Yup, speed is still there. Why am I doing long course again??

Final results: 3:10:03 - 2nd in AG, 18th Overall - 13th Amateur

Upon finishing, Amy said she thought I was ~8th place coming in - but at least 2 relay teams came in so I figured I was around 6th place. Although my place held at SD International, not so much here. There were some old fast dudes behind me that ended up crushing me!!! I ended up 18th overall. I was stoked to do as well as I did with such a poor swim. Everyone in front of me swam between 21-27 mins. I swam 32. It's obvious what I need to work on. The good news is, if I had a weakness in the three sports - I want it to be the swim. Obviously it's the shortest distance of the three in triathlons but also you have less chance of injury - so I'm going to get my ass in the pool more and get fast. Simple as that. Afterwards Amy and I rushed back to the home stay, I showered and had a much deserved Sculpin and then we headed back to the awards ceremony. We chilled with Dusty while we waited for awards to start and he knew like every single person there, it was pretty funny. He introduced me to Coach Gerry of Tower 26 whom I've followed via his email blasts, Dusty's reports and Jesse Thomas/Reilly Smith reviews. Nothing but positive things and he was a really cool guy. I'm hoping to get out there for an ocean swim or two with that group.

That's a wrap. Another one in the books and now it's time to rest a bit before heading BACK to Santa Barbara for an epic weekend on the bike. Here's a few more shots from the weekend, thanks for reading!

The ride up - feet up, Skins Compression on
Wife with Mr. Regan

Me at the TRON exhibit

Amy at the Pirates exhibit (part of the "special" Disney Tour)
And finally my model is pictured with Air Force One...Pretty cool!
EXPO Check in - barely made it before it closed
The Swim
Lonely T2...notice all of the bikes already racked :(
Amy got a cool shot of part of the run course

Checking results...

Dusty and I waiting on awards

BBQ at my bro's
Kids riding with their cousins in the dune buggy!

Physical Achievement

Our summer garden. Watching it grow
 There's something about accomplishing something through physical means. Sure, getting a promotion/raise at work, acing a test or having a successful career are definitely achievements that should never be overlooked. The thing is, often times those things have money tied to them and are money driven. If you detach the money completely from them - are you still satisfied?? I think physical achievement is catching on. Never has running, triathlon, extreme sports and outdoor sports (list goes on) ever been so popular. I think people are seeing the importance of health, exercise and the deep down satisfaction of accomplishing something that you never thought you could do. Then you get that "bug" for the sport and it becomes a lifestyle, it rubs off on your kids and you realize that you just set a foundation for future generations in your family to live an active lifestyle. Pretty powerful. I think it's no coincidence that often times the career, money and success follows suit of an active lifestyle because you think more clear, have more energy and never give up until you reach your goal!

Over the past two years or so I've surrounded myself with people that fuel my passion, inspire me and make me want to be a better person and a better athlete. On the flip side, avoiding people that are negative, bring drama to the table and leave me depressed after hanging out. I think often times we overlook who we hang out with, what we listen to, what we read and what we watch. It's what feeds our minds. Input, output. Or what my mom used to say, "Garbage in, Garbage Out." Recognizing this and doing something about it can really change your life as a person and as an athlete.

Kendra after destroying the field!
I've been so inspired by brand new triathletes at the Temecula Valley Tri Club. Some came from a zero training background, or a running background, maybe swimming and even motocross! They just decided to take it up and watching the dedication and commitment to a goal is amazing. Even Rick, The Bike Shop owner is getting on the podium in triathlons and he barely knows how to swim!! ha...Then you have my wife Amy who with two kids and the difficult job of being a stay at home mom has been on a training terror lately. She is a machine! I think she's going to do some Dirt Dog Cross Country races with me this year, so I'm excited for that. And of course you have my two sister -in-laws. Traci and Jessica. They both decided to train/race the AFC Half Marathon and both did awesome, very cool to see! My buddy Eric who was training for SOMA, got hit by a car cycling - but has such a great positive attitude about it all and is slowly getting back on his feet. There are so many others that amaze me - too many to list, including my Wattie Teamates!!! It's been very inspiring. And speaking of inspiration, my friend Kendra whom I ran with (different teams) in high school started training for triathlon about two years ago and just CRUSHED it at the inaugural Ironman New York City triathlon finishing the #1 Female Amateur OVERALL! Check out her BLOG and read about it. So amazing, and so so excited for her. It's rare that I take the time and track athletes during crazy weekends with training and family activities but watching Kendra work her way up to the top spot was very cool to watch. Makes me want to try an Ironman....hmmm.

Find what inspires you, latch on to it and don't let it go.

This Saturday I race the Santa Barbara Long Course Triathlon. It's a 1 mile swim, 35 mile bike and a 10 mile run. Looking at past results it looks like a pretty big race and some big names have shown up in the past, so I'm excited to see what I can do in the OVERALL results. I haven't raced since late June and although this little break from racing has done wonders for my form, I can't wait to toe the line and race hard. I want to personally thank Kim for setting Amy and I up with a home stay up in Santa Barbara. We didn't have the money that these fancy Santa Barbara hotels charge so now we'll be comfortable at her friend's Kirk facility. Thanks Kim and Kirk! Amy is going to be roaming around on the course taking pictures and tweeting out my results. If you haven't already, follow me on twitter, info on the left side of my page.

Here's a bunch of pictures. The blog is definitely getting an upgrade since I just got an iPhone. Takes such good pictures and easier to post. Never going back!

I made the news in a heated Mayoral Debate!

Hit up the racetrack in the executive suites (of course..ha)
Lots of playtime with the kids
Grillin it up in the last days of summer...
There's a reason why wineries are all over out here...Perfect
growing conditions. Our Flame grape is going off! Soooo good.
Scarlett told us that she's going to be an Olympic gymnast
AND win a gold medal in triathlon. Love that girl!
Vail Lake choppy swims
And some good beer to close out summer

The Coyote and the Rattlesnake

OK, bare with me and the title. I tend to draw inspiration from a lot of things - in this case, it came on the final bike ride last week on what was the toughest, longest and most intense week of training I've had so far. More on this later....Sunday morning I woke up for the second time in as many days with a 4:45am wake up call to beat the heat and "meet" my expectations of being a good husband and father ie. not being gone all weekend training! I set two alarms so I don't sleep though it...Eyes wide open on the first one. Sweet, got plenty of sleep. First steps out of bed...Nice, not really sore after six tough days. Slam down my oatmeal concoction; 1/2 bowl oatmeal, 1/2 Amy's homemade granola, banana, almond butter, coconut flakes, few pecans, chia seeds, a little bit of honey and almond milk. Two ice cubes in the coffee (so I can drink it faster), three Sportmulti vitamins, kit up, FLUID bottle and nutrition for the day ready and I'm out the door at 5:30am with my blinking red LED light (circa de Ragnar) behind me and the sunrise in front of me.

There's something about bringing up the sunrise on your bike. You know that feeling when you are doing something special? I get that feeling when I ride early, dunno why. I don't want it to sound like I have this ego or anything (far from that), it's just a good feeling, like I'm making huge progress and in a way I am. Not only physically, but mentally I make big gains here. Me and the Slice and the road to myself. I plan out a hilly four hour/70 mile ride that I have to back up with an hour run off the bike. For now, "Let's just focus on the bike," I tell myself....I hear the tires rip the pavement and echo off of the walls across the street. Normally, I just hear traffic...this IS special. Music is off for now - time to soak it in...Can't believe how good my legs feel...Let's enjoy this day.

I rip down Pala mountain and head towards Cole Grade road. As I make the turn to head toward the climb I see what looks like a dog coming my way. Great, just what I need...For those of you that knew me in high school, let's just say I had a lot of fights with dogs on early morning runs before school. I've pepper sprayed more dogs then you'll ever know! Ramona doesn't have a leash law...ha. As I approach it, it's just trotting along on the other side of the road and I can tell instantly that it's a tame dog just out on a stroll. But as I get closer I find out it's a coyote with a huge rattlesnake dangling from it's mouth. You know how dogs smile? Well this coyote was smiling ear to ear and had a glow in his eyes. Now I don't know who's in the winning corner when it comes to coyotes and rattlesnakes but I would guess they both do their fair share of damage on each other. This morning the coyote won. He had a look in his eye that he could accomplish anything. Normally coyotes are scared to death of humans and cars. Not this one. His confidence was beaming. He got his kill. He conquered fear. He won and didn't have a single worry in him. I couldn't help but smile as I passed by because I want to be that coyote in triathlon. Soaring with confidence, knowing I did the work and all of the right things. I want to win!

I finish up the ride with ease. I hit over 200 miles on the bike for the week and my legs just seemed to get stronger each day instead of weaken and breakdown like they normally do. 10am I was out the door for my run and the thermometer read 100 degrees right on the button. It actually didn't seem that bad though - I've been training through some tough heat lately and combine that with exceptional bike/run fitness and the heat just becomes easier to manage. Oh yea...and I'm 138 pounds! All in all it was a great week and I'm going to post something I haven't done in a long time. I'm going to break it down for you day by day with Garmin files. Now keep in mind, this isn't what I do week in and week out. I'm normally around the 12-15 hr range. James labeled this a "crash" week so the volume and intensity is up more than normal. I was always very shocked and impressed with training logs some guys would post on their training and it would always amaze me on how much they trained and at what level they would do it at. I'm nowhere near the top guys yet, but maybe this will inspire someone reading this to train more to help them reach their true potential.

am: Bagged the 45 minute morning run. Listening to body.
pm: 45 minute open water swim at Vail Lake.
Notes: Recovery day from a tough weekend of training.

am: Bike intervals

Notes: As you can see, big mix of intervals, some on hills, some on the flats.

pm: Run group workout

Notes: Basically this was 2 x 1 mile, 1200, 800 w/400 jog. I didn't stop my watch and caught the tail end of the first mile rep, but I basically averaged 5:14-5:33 on these.

am: 3+ hour/50 mile/4300 ft of climbing easy ride.
pm: 1 hour massage/adjustment session from Dr. Brett

am: 1 hr/3400 yard pool swim. Drill, kick, interval session.
pm: Solo Track Session 5x1 mile w/200 jog recovery

Notes: Buried myself in this one. Hot and Solo with tired legs is not easy. Averaged between 5:21-5:42

am: 1 hour easy recovery spin on the bike
pm: 1 hr/3000 yard pool swim. 50's and 500's

2.5 hour bike ride with 3x20 min efforts with a 5k brick run "steady"



Notes: Saturday felt effortless. My legs aching to race.

4hr/67 mile/5,400ft of climbing with a one hour "mellow" brick run



Notes: Great week of training!

Weekly Totals:

Bike: 12hrs 14 mins (206 miles)
Run: 3hrs 28 mins (30 miles)
Swim: 2hrs 39 mins (8500 yards)

Total: 18hrs 21 mins

So the intensity was there every single day except Monday and it was a huge confidence booster knowing that I can handle that kind of workload with...well, my workload.

And just to show you I don't take all of this too seriously, I leave you with one of my favorite SNL clips where Gus Chiggins (Will Ferrell) discusses Coyotes and Rattlesnakes!! Enjoy.

Inspiration all around us

If Oscar made it this far, how far can you go?
 Holy crap! I am inspired. Television does nothing for me and the thought of wasting hours watching sitcoms and reality shows depresses me like soap opera's and daytime television. HOWEVER. With the Tour de France and then now the Olympics on - I have been glued to the set. My eyes have been burning from late night dates with inspiration. It's amazing to watch these athletes perform at the biggest stage and see all of the fruits of their labor come into fruition. Few moments pop out at me. Oscar Pistorius and his amazing story and performance getting into the freakin Olympic 400 Semi-finals as a paraplegic. Watching McKayla Maroney nail a perfect vault in team gymnastics competition only to fall in the individual competition. Did you see her look into the eyes of the Romanian that beat her afterwards? She gave her a look like the Romanian took her soul. And in a way, she did. Then of course there's Galen Rupp. That silver medal just inspired a 9 year old boy somewhere in the US to run instead of play soccer and he very well may be the next great American distance runner. Finally, we can stop talking about Billy Mills. Love Billy, but that was in the 60's for crying out loud! American distance running is back!

Treated myself to some IPA's
So besides being inspired on the tube, I finally wrapped up two stressful weeks of work where I put in a lot of hours. It all capped off with our customer appreciation golf tournament that I was the event director for last Friday. It went really well and I'm glad that it is over. Back to reality! After a long day Friday I woke up the next morning, swam an hour with my friend Mike and then hit up a long ride. I hadn't been on the bike for an entire week and was a little nervous of how I would feel with all of the extra work/stress I was putting in. It ended up being a pretty decent ride. I would have an hour where I would feel like garbage and then the next I would feel great. Then, the next morning I set out on a little tempo run to see if I could back up the big ride from the day before. So I put in 6.5 hours in two days and only 7.5 hours for the week. Talk about a weekend warrior! I had no way around it though with my work schedule - so James and I just tacked it on as a short "mid-season break." I probably needed it...

Haven't done this is awhile, Garmin files:

The Bike

The Run
Now it's all about sharpening up my run and swim. My confidence is soaring on the bike right now but with the lack of running and swimming the past two weeks I need to get back to being at least respectable on the swim and have my running "weapon" in my holster for the Santa Barbara Long Course triathlon on the 25th. I picked this race because it fits my strengths; except for maybe the 1 mile ocean swim which will hurt me a bit but then it's a hilly 35 mile bike followed by a 10 mile flat run - Score! I'm really excited to race since I haven't since June. I feel like I am a completely different athlete than I was even in June and have made some big breakthroughs both physically and mentally. I can't stress enough on how much James and Champion Factory Coaching has elevated my fitness. I already have way too much on my plate to worry about workout plans. All I do is listen to what James says, put in the work, listen to my body and my fitness is off the charts righ now. Can't wait to race....If anyone is racing up in Santa Barbara and wants to split a hotel or knows of anyone in the Santa Barbara area for a home stay - let me know!

Here's a few more pics from the last few weekends:

Scarlett with her "custom" safari hat
My boy Taylor. Loves to play with trucks, dirt and smile often. Perfect boy.
Love being a dad