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!!