The Accident...

So those of you that follow me on FG/IG or Twitter saw my post about cutting off my fingertip on Christmas Eve last week. What a way to celebrate the holidays right!? Amy and I were late as usual getting out of the house. I decided to help out by cutting the veggies with our new Mandolin Slicer! The cucumber didn't fit the guard so I decided to just use my hands...literally! That thing cuts so fast. You can't even feel if it's cutting or not because its so sharp. Before I knew it I hit my right ring finger slightly and then hit my middle finger really bad. [This is about to get descriptive so go to next paragraph if things gross you out!] As soon as I cut myself I didn't think it was that bad until I moved over to the sink and saw my fingertip fly off into the sink and down the hole. Blood started really coming out. I stopped the blood immediately by pinching down on below the cut and that's when I saw how bad it really was. My bone was peeping out of my nail. The cut was a diagonal cut so the bottom of my finger is fine. Imagine a clean cut through the nail down to the bone and out.

1992mandolinIn the heat of the moment I did not get pictures. Only my lucky wife, kids and neighbor who brought over his medic kit and saved me from bleeding all over the place and saving me a trip to the ER. Why didn't I go to the ER? Well there's not much you can do with a fingertip. There's nothing to stitch, It's too deep of a cut. I decided to kill the pain with Ibuprofen and beer for the rest of the day and keep an eye on it to make sure it stopped bleeding which thankfully it did. The last thing I wanted to do on Christmas Eve was to go wait in line at the ER for them to just do exactly what my neighbor did - stop the bleeding. During those few minutes of staring at my finger while I waited for some help the first thing that came to my mind was no swimming (like the sick triathlete I am). I've been making some big gains in the water recently. 5 days/week I've been in the water putting in 3-5k each time. Flanny has incorporated a lot of specific drills which has really help me be more efficient in the water. And then...I cut my fingertip off...1 month - maybe more away from the pool while I watch my swim fitness float away :(

[caption id="attachment_2530" align="aligncenter" width="224"]photo 4 The damaged goods..[/caption]

However, I'm not going to let it get me down. I'll take this time to really focus on biking and running and get better that way. I'll start the season a little behind in swim fitness but hopefully ahead in B/R fitness so it doesn't hurt me as bad. In the meantime I'm practicing my pain tolerance for the season. Flashing back to it, after loosing a good amount of blood, my neighbor was patching me and my exposed bone up and my wife instantly felt me get warm and sweaty. I was starting to pass out haha. Unreal. I laid down, took in some water - toughened up and went back for more. Before we knew it we were down seeing family in San Diego, enjoying Christmas while my finger throbbed with my heart while all the good beer made me numb.

This was all a good reminder to be thankful when you are swimming, biking and running because any day a freak accident like this can happen or you can get injured and it can be taken away from you. One of my goals next year is to really appreciate the fact that I get to do this - not HAVE to do this. Sure training seriously can take a lot of the fun away from the sport but I will use this accident as a good reminder that I am lucky I get to do what I do.

Well next week officially kicks of my "Kona Journey" with LAVA magazine. I built this site and have blogged months ago to help build some interest leading up to January. Hopefully it will provide great exposure to my sponsors and inspire those that want to be fast even if you are juggling a full time job and family with kids. I'm a little nervous to show the world all of my workouts - 1. It will be boring 2. I may be too slow and have no business qualifying for Kona haha. Either way, I'm excited to get some feedback and really embrace the training and hard work that lies ahead!

Hope all of you have a great and safe New Years!

[caption id="attachment_2532" align="aligncenter" width="224"]Thanks Adam for patching me up! Thanks Adam for patching me up![/caption]

photo 3


Holiday Beers

Like most people, this is my favorite time of year. Even though it's 75 in San Diego, it still FEELS like the holidays around here. Even though I ran with my shirt off at the track last night - there's that winter air smell and feel that you only get during the holiday season. I'm not afraid to admit it - I have Christmas music on 24/7, Christmas candles burning, Christmas lights hanging, decorations everywhere and traditions we are passing on to our kids. It's a lot of fun and I don't think I'll ever grow out of it. Especially since this is also the time of year where some of my favorite beers come out.

There's no doubt that I love to consume plenty of holiday beers. What better way to make something even better? Beer makes everything better! I also love to take this time to share my favorite beers with my friends and family. This year I thought I'd share my shopping list with those I can't buy a drink or share one with. Here's my top 5 Holiday Beers.  Feel free to light that candle, turn on some Christmas music and pour yourself a Christmas ale - no better way to wind down after a day of hard work and training.

My Go-To Christmas Beer

[caption id="attachment_2512" align="aligncenter" width="300"]sierra-nevada-2009-celebration-ale Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale[/caption]

I absolutely love this beer and it's always in my fridge during the holiday season. I would actually buy this year round if I could. It's easily accessible in just about any grocery store. It has the perfect malt-to-hop ratio in my opinion. Rich dark color, hoppy flavor with sweet undertones. A must have!

Favorite "Spiced" Ale

[caption id="attachment_2513" align="aligncenter" width="176"]imagesQ29HJHQK Anchor Brewing Christmas Ale[/caption]

Anchor Brewing is one of the few breweries that survived prohibition by selling root beer at the brewery while some speculate; still selling on the black market to stay afloat. What you get is a very old brewery that knows how to brew the old school way. The cool thing about this beer is it changes every single year. Same "style" of beer - think Thanksgiving/Christmas spices with a dark/rich color and flavor. Perfect pairing with Christmas dinner.

Favorite Winter Warmer

[caption id="attachment_2514" align="aligncenter" width="300"]339197_300350166662843_205756879455506_991978_428337210_o Avery Old Jubilation Ale[/caption]

If you can get your hands on this, snatch it up right away. I fell in love with this beer when we lived in Boulder for a short stint. Even though it only gets down to about 40 degrees at night out here for us, after a few of these you'll warm right up. I'm fascinated with the copper color, toffee flavor and how smooth this beer is.

Winter Warmer Part II

[caption id="attachment_2516" align="aligncenter" width="300"]12172012-best-winter-ales-anderson-valley-winter-solstice Anderson Valley Winter Solstice[/caption]

Anderson Valley always has good beers but this one is slowly becoming one of my favorite holiday beers. Weighing in at 6.9% ABV, just think Carmel apple flavors that are really thick and warms you up instantly. Bonus - it comes in cans!

Strongest Winter Ale

[caption id="attachment_2517" align="aligncenter" width="300"]sam-adams-utopia-xl Sam Adams Utopia[/caption]

Advertised as the strongest beer in the world weighing in at 27%ABV - what better way to warm up during the holiday season?? I've been lucky enough to try it - as it's not easy to find in some areas. It's not carbonated like your typical beer. It tastes a lot like a fine cognac - sweet/strong but with a ton of flavor. It's the holiday season, dish out that $150/bottle and share it with your family - it will truly be something everyone will remember!

Wishing everyone a very Merry Christmas. Drink good beer, have a lot cheer. Be Safe. Love you all!

Weekend in LA

Last weekend was a blast. I took off Friday from work and headed up to get a professional bike fitting from THE man Jim Manton from ERO Sports at the Velo Sports Center aka. The Olympic Training site for the US cycling team.  I literally got fit a stone throw away from the $15M dollar indoor Velo track and was even treated to some Olympians doing some high cadence work on it while Jim worked his magic. Those that don't know Jim's name, he fits the US and Canadian cycling teams, has fit just about every major pro triathlete in the circuit and to my benefit is good friends with Wattie so I was able to afford seeing him without breaking the bank! I went away with not only a better/faster fit but also walked away with a lot of insight of where the future of cycling is going. It was a lot of fun talking with Jim and just the whole experience at the 125 acre "Official Olympic Training site." If you're looking for a fit, I highly recommend going to see him - even if you have to fly far to do it. Thanks to Massi for recommending him to me!

Here's my before/after pics:

[caption id="attachment_2496" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Before Before[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2495" align="aligncenter" width="300"]13 After[/caption]

I'm no where close to an expert on bike fit but here are some numbers and a breakdown of some of Jim's thoughts on my old/new fit:

  • My old fit likely caused the injuries I've struggled with over the past year (all on my right leg)

  • My old fit likely contributed to a lot of the cramping I was getting in races

  • Jim recommended 165mm cranks opposed to my 172.5mm cranks

  • My new fit includes a 6cm increase in drop

  • Reach was extended to 4.5cm

The biggest thing I see is in the before pic I look like your average Joe triathlete and the after pic I actually look like I am racing. My old fit never felt comfortable. Everything always seemed forced and awkward. With the new position Jim mentioned climbing in the bars will be a lot easier, I'm going to be a lot more aero and also get more out of my entire pedal stroke = more watts. Looking forward to 2014!

11After the fit, I headed over to fellow friend/team mate Dusty Nabor's house to get ready for a fun weekend that was going to be capped off with his annual Christmas Party. Wattie team mates from all over the country flew in for this one. Why? Because he throws really really good parties. Some of us arrived Friday and he surprised us with a limo and a great dinner/night out in North Hollywood. We ate at Bow & Truss, enjoyed some of the best wine I've ever had including a Justin Isosceles. Amazing!

Ba5sEztCAAA1OdOWoke up the next day with a bit of a headache but still knocked out some yardage in the pool under a misty rain with some awesome team mates. Dusty prepared a great workout for JJ, pro Erin Green (another Flanny athlete) and I. Erin and I were treated to some very fast experienced swimmers in Dusty and JJ. JJ even picked up some things I was doing wrong in my stroke so - I had some good tips/coaching from a dude that hadn't touched the water in months, goes in and crushes the workout! After a great bfast it was onto a 2.5 hr. trainer session in Dusty's training lair room. I had to get a ride in (thanks Flanny!). I just adjusted the volume up to try and drown out all the partying, laughing and fun the rest of my team mates were having. Luckily I had a little bit of company - some gave me sombrero's to wear, some brought gifts of donuts and beer (love my team mates). I was glad when that ride was over. Then it was time to prep the mind, body and soul for some fun that night!

12Nacho aka. Ron Schmidt my roommate for the weekend got some rest and naturally started drinking before the festivities. Nacho does not drink water come to find out. Like, seriously doesn't drink any. Just beer and coffee. So awesome/inspiring. We headed to the hotel bar where we saw the man Wattie himself show up with his lovely lady Heather Jackson. The rest is just a blur. Lots. of. fun. Basically laughing/dancing the entire night. Everyone had a permanent smile on their face and I can't thank Dusty enough for an awesome night. After he made a little announcement the team presented Wattie with a year-end gift for all he's done for the team. We gave him a Breitling watch. Baller!

[caption id="attachment_2497" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Wattie & HJ Wattie & HJ[/caption]

Some more pics from the weekend:

photo 1photo 3 photo 4 2 1

Also got a cool video of the track HERE.


[caption id="attachment_2491" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Dinner! Dinner![/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2499" align="aligncenter" width="225"]Trainer time... Trainer time...[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2509" align="aligncenter" width="223"]Capped off the weekend with the family at the Seaport Village xmas light boat parade! Capped off the weekend with the family at the Seaport Village xmas light boat parade![/caption]



Minor Set Back

So I took a week off of blogging to enjoy Thanksgiving with family and friends. There's no doubt it's one of my favorite times of the year. It's just a great way to get all the families together to enjoy some good food, beer and watch the kids run around. I even hit up some local breweries (Societe and Stone) with friends to make the long weekend an even better one.

Flashback a week before Thanksgiving and I was on the track doing 10x400 repeats at 5k pace. I was contemplating whether or not to jump into an ultra competitive "Turkey Trot" a week later and this workout was going to be my answer to that question. I was just getting back into the swing of things running wise and hadn't really done any speed work so a 5k was going to be questionable at best. After cranking out 10 all right in at 1:17 (5:09 pace) with only 40 seconds rest I felt really good and decided to pull the trigger on racing a week later. The goal was to go 16:16 which is what I did 2 years ago on the same course. I felt it was obtainable and was really excited to race until...

abc6ac2f8c328e2674a2c9f415da6aedTuesday I was slated for a short little tune up workout on the track. Some 150's and 600's, just to get the legs woken up for some speed! After only a few reps my calf grabbed and I was done and so was my shot at an over 30 5k PR a few days later. Even though it was my calf the injury really lies behind my knee. There's some weird misalignment with some tendons/muscles (excuse my lack of savvy-ness here) that creates issues from the knee all the way down to my heel on that same leg. It's been giving me problems dating all the way back to San Diego International this year. We think it is stemming from a poor bike fit. So this Friday I'm going to see Jim Manton at Ero Sports. He's fit folks you may have heard of: Bradley Wiggins, Heather Jackson and a ton of other pro's not to mention a few of my teammates who said to never use anyone else. So needless to say, I'm excited to spend some time there and get my bike fit done by the best in the business.

There are a bunch of other exciting things in the mix for 2014 - some I can't share quite yet but it's really starting to motivate me during the "off season." My blog will go live at Lava Magazine starting in January which I'm excited about and is already opening some cool opportunities. Although I will be posting all of my workouts, I still want to keep this blog intimate. Not a place to just see numbers but more of an avenue of inspiration (so I hope).

[caption id="attachment_2476" align="alignleft" width="300"]photo Some cold 4:30am wake up calls with Mike & Sarah![/caption]

For now my life has been all about the pool. Been spending a lot of time there and I feel like I am seeing drastic improvements in my efficiency/form. My swimming "fitness" isn't quite where I want it yet but I'm definitely going faster with less effort which is so SO huge for me. Not only do I have fast lane mates but a lot of them are coaches or have a very successful backgrounds in swimming. So I've just been trying to learn as much as I can and come into 2014 as a different swimmer. I want to be that triathlete that gets on the bike and can hit it hard right away without the swim taking away from the bike or run which it always has done to me in the past. For those of you that have trained with me know that my bike and run times in races don't nearly match what I'm truly capable of. I believe that it all stems from the swim. It's equivalent to doing a 2x1 mile run all out and then trying to do a fast 56 mile ride and 13.1 mile run afterwards. I'm getting into oxygen debt and cramping up just 30 minutes into a long race! I'm hoping to change that next year and race up to my capabilities because I really don't think I've reached my peak or potential yet. Hopefully these consistent 16-20k yds/week with a 12 week drill/technique swim (2 times/week) gives me fresh legs for the bike/run, gets me on top of the podium and ultimately to Kona!

As far as the mustache goes...December 1st came and the mustache left! Movember was a lot of fun. I raised a little money and got a lot of weird looks. It will truly be a month I'll always remember!

[caption id="attachment_2478" align="aligncenter" width="300"]mustache photo 1 Fun times with Jaime & Irving![/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2479" align="aligncenter" width="225"]photo 3 Me and the wifey[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2481" align="aligncenter" width="300"]photo 5 Cousins on the trampoline[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2480" align="aligncenter" width="225"]photo 4 Cheers to the holiday season![/caption]

Back to it...

San Diego is as beautiful as ever and I've been back at it for a few weeks and its amazing how balanced your life feels/becomes once you get back to your old routine. For me it's always hard that first week or two and then it's almost like you gain momentum with your motivation after each week. For me the less I swim, the more I hate it. The more I do it, the more it becomes a routine/a part of my life and I actually enjoy it because I'm seeing progress. Where as, if I'm not swimming enough, I feel fat and slow. Same goes with the other two sports.

[caption id="attachment_2462" align="alignleft" width="259"]boma My beautiful bride hanging out with my mustache.[/caption]

Besides enjoying the nice weather and going to a fun holiday Gala event, my "official" Ironman training has started. That means some early testing in all three sports so I can track my progress which is huge for me. Flanny's philosophy is to incorporate speed/intensity now and volume later - something I completely agree with. Traditional plans call for those long volume base miles and then add intensity as you get closer to the Ironman. Trouble with that is - you're risking injury when you combine volume and intensity at the same time. This way avoids that scenario and definitely fits me better as I am prone to injury.
The other cool thing about doing it this way is I can gear up to rip a fast 5k, 10k, 1/2 marathon this winter. So I set myself an early season goal. A couch to 1:13 half marathon plan haha. My (over 30) half marathon PR is 1:14 which I did in 2012. I never ran one this year so my tentative plan is to race the Surf City Half Marathon in early February and try and dip under 1:14 with only Ironman winter training under my belt. We'll see. My early testing this week shows me slow and out of shape. I'm sure the fitness will come back pretty quick but I have a long way to go to hold 5:38 pace for 13.1 miles!

beerBesides drinking good holiday brews, I've really been putting a lot of time in at the pool. Past few weeks I've been getting in the water 5 days a week and for the first time in a long time adding in some drills I've never done before. When I first started swimming I worked a lot on drills, got comments that I had good form so stopped doing them. Tons of volume later, I really haven't improved a whole lot. So Flanny has me on a custom 12 week program a la "swim camp." He's incorporating drills into certain workouts that really get you in-tune with body awareness and water feel. After only one week, I can honestly say I feel a lot better in the water and even feel faster. I'm excited to see where I'm at in 12 weeks.

I've got the first half of year's race schedule for 2013:

Feb. Surf City Half Marathon
Feb. Palm Springs Century (Sat), Palm Springs 1/2 marathon (Sun)
Mar. Desert International Tri
Mar. Black Dragon/CEC Training Camp
Mar. Ironman Oceanside 70.3
May Wildflower LC or Ironman St. Croix 70.3
Rest of the year: TBD

There's no doubt this is my favorite time of the year. Especially when you participate in Movemeber! Check out my page here. You also get a little time off to refresh mentally/physically. You get to eat what you want and drink a lot of great holiday beers. You get to see family more than often. You get to set your goals for the next year.
You start dreaming.

[caption id="attachment_2464" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Our hotel view Our hotel view[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2466" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Beautiful San Diego Beautiful San Diego[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2465" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Prepping for our night out Prepping for our night out[/caption]


[caption id="attachment_2463" align="aligncenter" width="300"]Mustaches are funny. Mustaches are funny.[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2458" align="aligncenter" width="200"]Love her! Love her![/caption]


12/6 Hrs of Temecula MTB Race

So I gained 9 pounds during my 2 weeks "off" haha. Boy that comes on fast when you are eating/drinking whatever you want and being lazy! During this time Wattie team mate and friend Dusty asked if I wanted to join him on the 6 hr - 2 man team relay at So Cal Endurances 12/6 hrs of Temecula. It's like 15 minutes from my house, how couldn't I!?? The only problem was I was fat and out of shape. So the weekend before the race I decided to get back on my mountain bike and try and get some legs back before the race. It was a lot of fun to get back on my bike and hit the trails.

When I first started training/racing triathlon and started a blog back in 2010 I thought I wanted to race Xterra's. So my first bike was the same mountain bike that I rode last weekend, a Cannondale F5. It's just a solid (as in very heavy haha) entry level hardtail mountain bike. I raced the local Kenda Cup's and even upgraded to Cat 2 before I raced my first and last Xterra. The Xterra West Championships in Vegas. That race made me realize I was a rodie haha. As much fun as I like hitting the trails on the MTB and trail running, I don't like RACING on the trails. Huge difference. However, this last weekend - honestly I had a lot of fun and miss the whole vibe that comes with mountain biking. Most triathletes are so intense, dress dorky and are usually a-holes. Mountain bike races there are more beards, beer and camping involved. Nobody takes themselves so seriously. It's definitely more my style but let's not get carried away, there's no way in hell I'm going to go back to racing off road!

[caption id="attachment_2452" align="aligncenter" width="381"]photo 1 Race Start[/caption]

Karin (another Wattie team mate) and Dusty rode down race morning to perfect weather and serious Tough Mudder traffic which was held the same day only miles away. It made logistics a little tricky at first but we figured it out - damn joggers that like to splash in puddles (a-hole triathlete)! Got checked in, hung out and before we knew it the horn went off and Karin and Dusty were off!

[caption id="attachment_2449" align="alignleft" width="300"]1394377_10202328739201173_1607446132_n Dusty having fun![/caption]

With my rusty fitness going into this race I was hoping to only put in 3 laps and let Dusty take care of the rest. He ended up putting in 3 3/4 laps which worked out great as I don't think I could have done another lap. This course was tough! I have pre-ridden the course the past few years just for fun and there's no doubt this was a lot harder. Even the race director announced they added some tough sections they've never put in before. The course was simple: 1st half - fast & fun, 2nd half - hard & technical. Before I knew it, Dusty came flying in and I was off.

1146734_10202328739121171_1391269004_nEven though I was a little out of shape I pushed that first section pretty hard. I was telling Karin and Dusty the dangerous thing with me is that I am in better shape than I am technical - which is not a good combo in mountain biking. I found myself in a ditch within 15 minutes lol. I had a little too much pressure in my front tire that first lap and it slid out on me, over corrected, rode in a bush for a few seconds then over the handle bars and rolled down into a ditch. I was literally laughing out loud to myself. I got up with just some minor scrapes, carried my bike back up to the course where a little kid rode by and said "Are you OK mister?" I chuckled and got back to it. After passing the "baton" back to Dusty I saw that Karin took a spill too in her first mountain bike race. She did the 1 lap race and ended up winning - no big deal!

I stripped down to dry out the clothes, grabbed a bunch of food and drinks like I had all day until Dusty came in. It's amazing how fast 45 minutes come. I felt like I sat down for one minute before we decided it's probably a good idea to get to transition. The rest of the day was pretty uneventful for the most part. It just got harder and harder. We floated right between 10th-13th place most of the day and ended up placing 12th overall which I was kind of shocked as a lot of talent goes shows up to this race. It was Dusty's first mountain bike race too and with his MTX/off road back ground he handled the course really well and killed it! After my 3rd lap I was told that I was done. Best news I heard all day. Beer me!

happy hourWe capped off the day with dinner/drinks at my favorite gastropub in Temecula, The Blackbird Tavern. Amy and I got babysitters and enjoyed great company with Karin and Dusty. One of my favorite things about racing is sharing it with others over a beer. After each beer the race becomes harder then it really was and you become faster -it's awesome! We had a blast and maybe someday when my Ironman days are over I'll get back to racing on the mountain bike.

Race stats:
12 813 Wattie Ink 7 5:19:11
0:32:48 0:45:30 0:45:04 0:46:53 0:49:23 0:49:43 0:49:47
My splits are in bold. We had very similar splits, glad I didn't slow him down!

My average heart rate for lap 1 was 175! I thought I screwed up but was able to maintain an average of 172 HR for the entire race. Fitness and ability to hurt is ready to get this Ironman training started!

Here's a short little video I put together, enjoy!

Ironman with Kids

I think it's safe to say that most triathletes are self centered. Not all, but most. You almost have to be to be competitive in this sport. The sport demands hours and hours of your time - time that could have been spent with your spouse/significant other, your kids, your friends or maybe even a hobby that doesn't suck all your time away? For this post I want to specifically focus on doing this sport with kids because it's completely different then having just a spouse/significant other or a dog to look after.

IMG_2761I have a 3 and 5 year old. Right now time with daddy is more important then ever. It's their developmental years. Experts say a child's personality is fully developed by the time they hit 1st grade! (no pressure parents).  These years are the years that my wife and I develop that eternal bond with our kids. We teach, train and develop their behavior, morals and establish rules that they will forever take with them. Our influence plays the biggest role in their future lives! Parent/s have a lot on their plates. So why choose the one sport/hobby (except maybe golf) that can potentially risk the time you should be spending with your kids and family?

I've used the sport as a growth tool for me and my family. All of the discipline, over-coming adversity, patience and tolerance I get from triathlon transfers great over to my career and upbringing my family. The sport teaches me a lot about myself. It promotes a healthy lifestyle to my kids. They see me workout constantly and they want to be like daddy and mommy so they always want to S,B,R! We have eaten a lot healthier since I started racing and the time I do spend with them is always quality time. Instead of going out to bars or hanging out with friends at night, I am home playing with my kids and going to bed early so I can get up for that early morning workout before work. In a way, triathlon makes me a better person. It's a dangerous sport to flirt with though. There are many broken families from obsessed triathletes so balance is key and so far I believe I have done a good job even if it has sacrificed training time :)

clockThose that read this blog or follow me via social media probably think I'm doing a lousy job as a parent. All of my posts are triathlon or beer related haha. The truth is, I do this on purpose. Besides some pictures, I don't really want to expose my wife/kids lives to the world - they never asked for that! Sure, I'll post from time to time but I'm going to try and keep this blog all triathlon (and beer) related. At home, it couldn't be any different. They are my world, triathlon is just a little garnish in my life. Of course I have big goals and HUGE commitments this year in trying to qualify to go to the big island but I have other real life commitments that KEEP triathlon as just a hobby of mine. I have a career (Marketing Director), a mortgage, a wife of almost 10 years and two beautiful kids to look after. Balancing all of this with ~15-20 hours/week of training really is a work of art. I posted twice on this subject at my old blog (time management) that you can read HERE and HERE about how I do it.

And this is the reason why I decided to do this blog. This is a completely different journey then those Kona qualifiers that only have themselves to look after. It's really really really hard to balance work/family/triathlon. Day after day after day. If you don't have kids you have no idea. If you have kids and think it's not hard you're probably not training enough or neglect your family. I know it's possible to do it because there are others just like me that are in the same boat and have qualified. They inspire me big time. To juggle a family and still be one of the fastest AG'ers in the country is amazing to me and over anything else, that's what I'm striving for.

When January starts and LAVA starts publishing my blog posts on their site, I'll be documenting every single workout I do leading up to IMCDA. With the workouts I'll be trying to get you inside of my head of all the highs and lows that I go through. Too many blogs are filled with fluff about how great their life is and it looks like to the readers that everything just comes so easy. It's not easy and I'm hoping to translate that to my readers. I'll also give insight to how I balance the family/work/triathlon balance in hopes that maybe you can benefit or give me tips of your own!

[caption id="attachment_2441" align="alignright" width="225"]IMG_2727 Time to put down the donuts![/caption]

Back in March when I qualified for IMWC's at Oceanside I blogged about how I was going to focus and go "all in" for 6 months leading up to Vegas. To have tunnel vision focus and discipline that everything I do surrounds me getting better at triathlon. It's a very hard thing to do! I screwed up a lot, lost focus, regained it and ultimately learned a lot about what it takes to get (semi) fast in long course triathlon while still being a great husband and dad. I know I have a long way to go at this point to qualify for Kona. I thought I would have been a lot faster this year but things just didn't work out like I had planned and I didn't come anywhere close to my goals (besides racing WC's). However it was a great learning experience year and guess what? It's that time again. My quick two week unstructured/break is over. I basically have 8 months until IMCDA. The focus is back, the determination and motivation are at an all time high and I'm excited to share with you my Kona Journey.

I would love to hear comments from you parents that are Kona Qualifiers that have a great family/work/triathlon balance. Give me your tips!!

My Craft Beer Obsession

Those that have followed me over the years know as much as I love triathlon, I have a tremendous passion for beer. It all started in 2005 when I moved to Boulder, CO which many of you know is a huge beer town and home of the American Homebrewers Association. Like most, I drank BMC beers (Bud, Miller, Coors) with an occasional Sierra Nevada Pale Ale (when I felt crazy). When we moved there I noticed there were a lot of breweries in town. So I started visiting them and tasting and going to festivals and sharing with friends. I remember going to a the main liquor store there every week with my buddy Jayson and each getting a mixed 6 pack of different beers, come home all giddy with excitement. We'd carefully taste them and rate them on Beer Advocate. I'd read every book and magazine I could get my hands on. I wasn't training, so BEER was my passion (hence the 45 pound weight gain..haha). By the time we moved back to San Diego I felt like I had a degree in craft beer. I started home brewing obsessively and become really good at it. I got to the point of building a business plan to open my own brewery in 2007 called Four Corners Brewing Co. With my dads help I put together a business plan, logo, artwork, had a line up of beers and started going after funding for it. Then in October of 2007 plans changed drastically. Our place burned down in the Cedar Creek Fires. All of my equipment and work became ash. We were devastated. Starting from scratch again was not my idea of a good time so I turned back to endurance sports to "start over." To this day, I still feel like I made the right decision and haven't looked back.   Over the past few years in triathlon I've come to find out that the two actually go together pretty well and just as you assume a triathlete owns a bike;  they love beer the same.

san-diego-beer-glassThe United States craft beer industry is booming. The recession actually fueled the boom as history shows when the economy takes a downturn tobacco and alcohol sales take an upturn. This time it was different though. Craft Beer pioneers such as Anchor Brewing Co (one of very few breweries to survive prohibition by brewing sodas and selling black market beer on the side), Sam Adams and Sierra Nevada helped bring craft beer to the masses years ago. Then over the past several years breweries such as Stone Brewing (west coast) and Dogfish Head (east coast)  put out "extreme" beers, which in my opinion started the mass exodus of breweries that has put US on the map as having the best beer in the world (one of the few things we are the best at these days). Sure, I may be a little biased since I grew up in San Diego, live nearby and work down there which is considered the "Beer Capital of the US" and some would argue the world. It's an exciting time to be a beer enthusiast. There are breweries, gastro-pubs, and bars opening up every single week around here and makes for some fun experimentation, social interaction and every single dollar is well spent in helping a long-standing tradition of craft beer boom again.

beer1One of my favorite things to do after a race or long/hard workout is to sit down with a beer. For some reason I love taking pictures of that first one poured, almost like it's a work of art. I'll pour it carefully, make sure the lighting is just right - adjust it accordingly and snap the photo while my mouth is drooling. Sometimes my wife will catch me in the act and just snicker although she's used to it now. Then as I would a glass of fine wine, I'll study the color, head, aroma, retention and take that first sip, taking in all the flavors in complete satisfaction of another successful workout completed. That first taste seems to ease the tension in my muscles, release the mental strain of the workout and with each swallow, my mind replays the workout and overwhelming motivation takes over me. Usually the beers stop at two, especially with the "extreme beers" as they fry your palate and hit you harder and I have a family to run! The days I drink with friends or do yard work around the house I like to stick with the "session beers" which are basically beers with lower alcohol content so you can consume more without getting wasted but still deliver that great quality craft beer taste and have a refreshing quality to them.

1So this is why I drink craft beer and make such a fuss about it. If you haven't jumped on the bandwagon or you prefer wine, I suggest you give it a try. If you don't like beer, you haven't tried the right one yet. I am convinced anyone and everyone can find a beer they like. Unlike wine, beer actually holds the ingredients that you smell and taste. You know those vanilla and caramel notes you smell in your wine? Ya, those are not actually in the wine - what you smell and taste are just grapes. Beer? Yup, those coffee notes, those tart cherries, that chocolate taste or those hops? Those are the actual real ingredients! Having a hard time justifying buying a $14.99 four pack? Compare it to your wine purchases and it makes it easier to pull the trigger.

Learn to appreciate beer, some of my best conversations came over a glass of craft beer. It tends to cut through the small talk that unfortunately consumes so many adult conversations. Yes, I know work is busy, the kids are growing up fast and training is hard. Share a few good beers and you'll make real friends that open up to you. Beer becomes a truth serum in a way - it gets rid of the insecurities we all have and breaks down that wall we put up in conversations. It can deepen a friendship or make a new one. If you consume responsibly it can effect your life in a very positive way. Of course with beer comes those times where we aren't so responsible and we make an ass of ourselves (me included) ha! Comes with the territory and I'm OK with that.

So cheers to a good beer! I leave you with a few tips, a few pet peeves and some of my favorite brews! I would love your comments!

  • Proper glassware is very important in beer consumption. The reason why you don't drink wine out of the bottle is the same reason why you shouldn't drink beer out of the bottle! Your cheating yourself out of all the delicious flavors and aromas! Serving different style beers in the right glassware is key. Use this page as a great guide. **Side note, drinking a session beer out of the bottle while you are working around the house, on a boat, plane...etc is acceptable haha!

  • Never freeze your glassware! Unfortunately the trick bar tenders and restaurants use to mask the flavorless BMC beers have transferred over to homes! You don't want your craft beer ice cold! It masks all those beautiful flavors and aromas, the whole point of spending that $14.99 for a four pack!

  • Try to buy your beer from local breweries or liquor stores. Support local! It's what will keep great beer in the fridge. Buy a growler, fill it up at your local brewery or find a liquor store in town that carries a great variety. Develop a relationship with the owner and they'll bend over backwards in trying to get your requests in the store.

  • New to craft beer? There are a ton of beer rating websites. I again, prefer Experiment with different varieties, there are a ton of them and ask your craft beer friends for advice.

  • Don't drink and drive. This is an obvious, but all those years you drank two beers and felt fine to drive can be different if your putting away two beers with 10% ABV content.

  • IBU's. International bittering units. You see this on beers more often these days. The more the units, the more bitter and likely it has more hops in it.

  • Don't ever buy Mr. Beer. If you want to home brew, do it right. Go to your local home brew supply shop. If you don't have one nearby, you can buy from dozens of online shops.

  • Try pairing beers with food just like you would with wine. We host beer tasting/pairing parties which is always a really good time.

  • Cook with beer. You can create great food with beer because beer is food! Right now we are marinating some pork with for a Stone Smoked Imperial Porter chili!

  • Don't be an ale snob. Craft breweries are putting lagers back on the map. They can be extremely refreshing and not leave you with that fogginess that often times comes with a lot of ale the night before!

Some of my favorite beers:

DIPA's (Double IPA's): Russian River Pliny the Elder (very hard to find in bottles now), Bear Republic Cafe Racer 15

IPA's: Ballast Point Sculpin, Green Flash West Coast IPA 

Pale Ales: Oskar Blues Dales Pale Ale, Stone Brewing Pale Ale

Pilsner: Lightning Brewery Elemental Pilsner

Lager: Maui Brewing Bikini Blonde, Sam Adams Boston Lager (one of the few mass market craft beers I enjoy!).

Brown: Dogfish head Palo Santo Marron, Rogue Hazelnut Brown Nectar

Stout: Left Hand Brewing Milk Stout, Alesmith Speedway Stout

Porter: Stone Brewing Smoked Porter, Breckenridge Vanilla Porter

Winter Warmers: Deschutes Brewing Jubelale, Sierra Nevada Celebration

Barley wine: Avery Brewing Hog Heaven, Sierra Nevada Bigfoot

Belgium: Lost Abbey Ten Commandments

Sour: Russian River Supplication

2013 Soma 70.3 Race Report

SomaSoma marked my last race of the year and also last as a 30-34 AG'er. Next year I'm moving up to the hardest age group (in my opinion). Every year it seems the fastest guys are 35-39 which tells you how different our sport is to other ones. It takes years to get that swim technique down, years to get the power on the bike and finesse on the run. I'm looking forward to being the "young" guy now in my age group.

[caption id="attachment_2399" align="alignleft" width="300"]IMG_2708 Love AZ sunrise & sunsets[/caption]

This is the 3rd year in a row that I've done Soma. It's in Tempe, AZ - Amy and I have friends there that are so gracious to put us up in a 2nd home to stay and it really does feel like a vacation and Arizona is so pretty this time of year. We rolled out on Friday with the kids in tow and I ran an easy 30 mins with Eric in the foothill trails to shake the long drive out and after some stretching/strides and my legs felt good.
I probably didn't have any business doing this race. With all of my energy and focus devoted to the 70.3 World Championships, my LACK of focus for this race really showed its colors. I ran into a soleus injury a few weeks ago, then hurt my wrist/arm which really set me back in preparing for this race. However, I signed up for it and the chance to hang out with friends became more appetizing than ripping a PR on a deceivingly hard course. However, when race day came I was ready to bury myself and see what happened. The biggest reason why I did this race was to get another 70.3 under my belt and once again, I learned a lot and am glad I did it. Here's how it went down...

IMG_2707First of all, The Bike Shop hooked me up with some race wheels and I am so grateful for how much they supported me the past few years. Without any race wheels I've been bumming off of friends (again, thanks so much everyone) and when The Bike Shop had some, they loaned them to me with no questions asked. Needless to say, race wheels can have a huge impact on your bike split and your overall time and I can't thanks them enough for loaning me these sweet Normatec wheels which rolled me to a 2 minute PR bike split.

Swim: 1.2M 36:46 (AVG 1:44/100) -25th in AG

So before you think how slow of a swimmer I am, there were only 2 AG'ers that broke 30 in the swim so it was obviously long. Then when you get out of the water and go up the stairs you have wetsuit strippers then a 100 meter run to T1 where your timing chip finally goes off - so needless to say there were a lot of slow times. As I've mentioned before in triathlon - times are not the important factor, placing is. To much emphasis is put on time and often times it can let you down. In this case, I was 25th out of the water where normally I am in the 30's-50's so I was pleased enough with my swim.

Soma3The start was pretty calm when comparing it to worlds. Thank goodness it was a wetsuit legal swim so I was rocking my custom Blueseventy Helix along with my Blueseventy Element tinted goggles. I got on some feet all the way to the turn around, I peaked at my watch at 1000 yds and I was 15:xx so right on pace for a 31-32ish swim which is where I thought I'd be with the lack of swimming I've been doing lately. Well I lost the feet and swam most of the 2nd half solo and I was really fatigued by the time I got to the finish. I had issues getting up the stairs and just felt like I was in slow motion in T1, totally out of it and expended waay too much energy to start a 70.3.

T1: 1:27

Bike: 56 miles 2:28:45 *bike split PR (AVG 22.6mph) 4th fastest AG

This bike course is slower then you think it is. There's only 1500ft of climbing but the difficult part is there are 30 U-Turns and a ton of dangerous/slow turns. So you are constantly breaking rhythm and burning matches each time you get back up to speed. It's a 3 loop course and my plan was simple - 3 even splits. I didn't quite know what those splits would be so I just rode hard on my ism TT saddle out of the gate to see what that first lap split would be and it ended up being 49 mins. So for the next 2 laps my goals was to just match or beat that. I ended up going 49, 49, 50.

[caption id="attachment_2402" align="alignright" width="199"]232323232fp543_5_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;773232_nu0mrj Rolling in with my sweet Kask helmet[/caption]

My biggest problem of the whole race came on the first lap of the bike course. There are some huge bumps on the course and one of them ended up knocking my Speedfil R4 (which I love) rear mount bike cage right off. I heard it fly off with my water and realized getting water for the rest of the ride was going to be difficult as all my calories were in my concentrated bottle below me. I ended up having to grab water at the aid stations and holding it/drinking it for a bit and having to ditch it which really set me back on water and eventually sent me into dreaded cramps when the run came.

The biggest take away from this race was from the ride. Flanny decided to put me on 800 liquid calories on the bike which I'd never done before, I've always done food. It was a mix of Powerbar Perform, CarboPro and more electrolytes from my Recovery e21 tabs. Even with the lack of water to wash down that concentrated bottle, my gut handled it fine and my energy levels where a lot higher then they've ever been in a long course race. BINGO! By the time I was finishing up the 3rd lap my legs started seizing up a bit but not too bad. I kind of took 5 mins to gather myself and get ready for the run (hence the 50 min lap) and was trying to get as much water into me as possible as I knew I was dehydrated which was causing the cramps.

T2: 1:12

Run: 13.1 miles - 1:32 (AVG: 7:03 pace) #1 Run split in AG

IMG_2710Usually you can tell what kind of run you're going to have within the first mile. Leaving transition in my FuelBelt and KSWISS Kwicky Blade Lights, my energy levels were up and my legs felt pretty good. My first mile was 6:34 and it felt very easy. In my head I was thinking "Dang, this might be my day where I finally break 1:20 - I'm feeling good and..." Ahhhh CRAMP. Literally as I was thinking those thoughts in my head I cramped up real bad. Quads and Hamstrings locked up. I stopped and stretched them out as best as I could. I was carrying some Perform in my FuelBelt bottle and I had a salt tab in there which I started sucking down quickly. The cramps finally released but as I tried to get back up to speed it felt a lot more labored and every time I'd get my pace below 7 minutes the cramps would come on again.

So I basically went into survival mode and drank as much Gatorade and water as I could at the aid stations. Run hard, cramp, stretch - repeat. This went on and on. It's a flat 2 loop course and as I fought my way through the first lap and I didn't see too many runners. My AG started 4 mins after the pros so it was pretty lonely out there. Just me and my cramps :) I finished the first lap in 44:30 and and still had the goal of breaking 1:30 at this point. After all, the first step in breaking a 4:30 HIM is a sub 2:30/sub 1:30 which I had never done before. I also think its a good gauge as to whether you over-biked.

[caption id="attachment_2404" align="alignright" width="204"]IMG956286 Running scared![/caption]

Well the cramps got worse and my sub 7 min miles turned in 7:15's, 7:45's - total survival mode. Then (of course) with about 1.5 miles to go I pass a guy in my AG. I hadn't passed too many throughout the race and I had no idea where I stood. I did the math in my head and thought I'd be right around 4:37-4:40 so I thought this might be a battle for the podium. I'm not going to lie, I hate it when I pass someone from my AG late in a race when you are freaking HURTING. It really does make your willingness/ability to handle pain come into play. How bad do you want it? It was pretty hard to dig deep - especially for how much of a dark place I went into for worlds. I did my best to pass him with authority and after a few turns I could tell I wasn't really shaking him. Each time I'd try and pick up the pace I'd start to seize up so I did my best to not stop and stretch them out. That last mile seemed sooo long and I was very happy to say the least when I made the final turn towards the finish.

232323232fp54349_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;776932_nu0mrjAs I rolled in I kept looking back to see if I shook him and he was no where in sight. That last final push got me on my first 70.3 podium and although I didn't PR and am not happy with the time, this goes full circle about what I talked about earlier. Time doesn't matter, the podium does! With a 1:32 being the #1 split in my AG, I realized how hard that run really was, doesn't look good on paper but I'll take it.

Total: 4:40:39, 3rd in AG, 23rd Overall, 19th Amateur

[caption id="attachment_2406" align="aligncenter" width="199"]232323232fp54375_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;778432_nu0mrj Out of it[/caption]

So that's a wrap on the 2013 season. I can't thank Wattie Ink enough, my team mates, sponsors, friends and most importantly Amy and the kids for supporting me throughout the year. It was definitely a success and a break through from last year. Time for some R&R to recover the beaten up body and mind.

Cheers to another break out season next year! Here's a few more pics from the weekend:

[caption id="attachment_2407" align="aligncenter" width="300"]232323232fp543_9_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;774632_nu0mrj Kids having fun with Trenton![/caption]

[caption id="" align="aligncenter" width="300"]IMG_2719 My biggest fan :)[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2409" align="aligncenter" width="300"]232323232fp54357_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;497832_nu0mrj He took a photo of the podium[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_2411" align="aligncenter" width="225"]IMG_2712 2 Green Flash West Coast IPA's will get rid of any post race discomfort![/caption]

232323232fp734_4_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;778732_nu0mrj 232323232fp54384_nu=3269_29;_375_WSNRCG=39649;773_32_nu0mrj   IMG_2724