Goodbye 2011

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

January 2011

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

1:18:06 Race Report here
February 2011

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

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

March 2011

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

Placed 4th in CAT 3, Race report here

April 2011

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

Hit 16:30, Race report here

Xterra West worked. Race Report here

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

May 2011

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

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

June 2011

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

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

 July 2011

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

Thanks to The Bike Shop for always keeping my bike tuned

August 2011

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

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

September 2011

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

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

October 2011

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

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

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

November 2011

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

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

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

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

Taking my nutrition to a whole new level...

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

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

Full Steam Ahead

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

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

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

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

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

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

Token Beer shot

Busy Holiday Season

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Thanksgiving Week

What a week to be thankful for. I was able to get in a lot of family time, training time, pick up a few more sponsors and even race a 5k Thanksgiving morning. It was really nice to have the four days off and get in quality time with the things I love to do! Let's start with the race. James set my schedule up for the week to have a big cycling weekend block and pretty much chill prior which means I was actually going to have some fresh legs going into Thursdays race which I was excited for. My last 5k was the Carlsbad 5000 back in March and with the vast improvements I had been seeing in my running lately, I was shooting for a sub 16. Well Thanksgiving morning I woke up sick. Amy and Scarlett both have this nasty sore throat/cough and as much as I tried to wash my hands and stay clear of germs - I got sick alongside with them. Even though I felt like crap, I just decided to do it anyway. It's not like I was doing a 1/2 or anything.

Since Amy and Scarlett were sick, I just took off solo and arrived down in Oceanside about an hour before the start. After checking in, I headed out for my 2.5 mile warm up and felt just OK. My legs felt great but the junk in my lungs kinda gave me some issues. The race was out of control, there were 5000 people in my race! I barely made it to the start in time and  met up with some other BSK teammates and before I knew it the gun went off. My goal was to go out in 5:10 and just get a feel for the pacing since I haven't been training at this intensity. I came through in 5:12 and felt pretty good. I couldn't believe how far back I was from the lead pack, a lot of fast guys came down for this one. Mile two I kind of fell asleep a bit and lost focus and once I looked at my watch and it read 5:17 for mile 2, it woke me back up and I realized there was only a mile to go! I picked up the pace and started reeling in some guys and then with 800 to go, I really changed gears and charged in for a 16:16 finish.
My splits:
I placed 4th in my AG and 16th overall, you can check out results here.

I had a big training weekend lined up, here's how it went down:

Friday's ride: 3 hours, lots of climbing

Saturday: Put in 2500 meters at the pool then a 4hr ride up Palomar, again- lots of climbing

Friday and Saturday I rode while sick - but it wasn't enough to take me out of commision. I thought I could defeat it even with the load of work I was putting in, but Sunday morning when I woke up, I felt like hell. I had a 3 hr ride/30 min run scheduled but with me sweating with feverish conditions - any exercise was going to do more harm than good. Either way I was pleased with the work I put in and the monster ride on Sunday gave me a lot of huge mental/physical breakthroughs. With over 10k of climbing in two days, I still had decent legs on Sunday morning...starting to get fit.

My sponsorships for 2012 are really starting to take shape and I'm really excited to add Xterra Wetsuits, SportMulti, and FLEXR to the mix. Check out my Support page to learn a little more about them. I have a few more that I am trying to line up and I'm excited to see that all of the hard work I've put in is starting to bear a little fruit. Alongside my coach, I think 2012 is going to be a huge breakthrough year for me and I'm pumped to go out and compete and bring my best.

One more thing, check out this video that a buddy of mine from San Francisco sent me. He helped put this race together, it's the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. They definitely put some twists in the race as opposed to your typical Cyclocross race. Man, I hope Santa puts a Cyclocross bike in my stocking this year, it looks like a lot of fun, we need more races like this in SoCal!

And of course, some additional photos for your viewing pleasure..ha. Thanks for reading!

In route, start of mile 3 I think
Here's a pic w/the fam and the in-law's

A little Mountain Bike action last week. Fun to get on the trails!

Scarlett and I braved "Black Friday" together
On top of Palomar mtn with Amy's homemade Carmel swirled pancakes and some much needed Coke!
Post ride beer....It say Palomar (check) by the way...
Can't get enough of this lately...

Training and some gear

Well the volume continues to creep up and I just continue to feel better and better each day. I thought at first the new workload would really hammer me, but as I said before-having structure in my workouts has really taken a burden off of me and now I feel like I can really train. After three weeks of solid training, this week I am recovering and getting ready to throw down 10 hours on the bike Fri-Sun. I've never put in that much saddle time before over a three day period so it will be interesting to see how my body handles it. Before it begins, I'm going to jump into the Oceanside Turkey Trot 5k on Thanksgiving morning. I've always wanted to do this race and I'll actually have some legs for it, so I'm going to let it rip and try and break 16:00. I ran 16:28 back in March at the Carlsbad 5000, so I don't see why I won't. It's just going to be fun to go fast! Here's my volume from last week:

Swim: 2hrs 45 mins (7,700 yards)
Bike: 9hr 47 mins (166 miles) w/9k ft of climbing
Run: 3hr 7 mins (23 miles)
Total: 15hr 40 mins

I used to think 20 hrs was completely ridiculous, but now I'm seeing that it IS possible, even with my tight schedule. The only way I make this work is by planning/executing my weekly schedule with family, work and training without a hitch. I pretty much can't cheat even a 1/2 hour of sleep or take a long lunch or forgetting to pack my bag the next day. I have to be on top of it to make it work. I've always thought I've been very disciplined with my time, but now even more and I honestly believe that I'm becoming a better husband, father, employee and athlete because of it. Good stuff.

I'll break down the highlights of the week:

Months ago we signed up Scarlett for her first "Princess Ballet" class. She barely made the age cutoff (3), and after weeks of classes, the parents got to watch the "final performance" and talk about a proud dad. She fit right in with those girls and I was sooo proud to say the least. Gymnastics might be up next...of course I'll keep the nightly running races through the house in gear. Start em early!

I also obtained a sponsor, H2O Audio for the 2012 season. You should check out their website, a lot of good deals. I'm really excited to try their products and it looks like that's going to happen sooner than I thought, this was waiting at my doorstep last night...gear! Stoked. I've never had a pair of $150 waterproof headphones before, it's definitely going to beat the "stock" headphones I've been battling with for years!
I have a few other opportunities in the works right now too and I'm really excited to partner up with other companies to represent their brand while I train and race in 2012.

I guess the other highlight of the week was my ride on Saturday. It was a beautiful morning and I headed out early with Mike Hebebrand and we went up Cole Grade. He split off and went home while I climbed Lake Wolford again along with Valley Center road, Couzer and Rice Canyon. Lot's of climbing! With about a mile to go to my house I obtained a huge gash in my tire. I looked everywhere to try and find what caused that big of a puncture, but couldn't find anything. I tried to patch it with a cliff bar, but after putting in a tube and heading out it only last about 2 minutes and another puncture. That gash was just too big. I had to call Amy to rescue me and by the time she picked me up I had to bag the 30 minute run I was supposed to do cause there where things to do! At least I got in the ride before all of that happened.

On the swimming front I'm starting to see some good improvements. I definitely wasn't pushing myself enough in workouts before. It is very common for me to have some lactate acid build up in my arms in some of these workouts I'm doing now, which never occurred prior to being coached. I know I still have a lot of work to do on my form, but the swim is improving. I'm learning how to hurt in the pool just like I do on the bike and run. I'm completely switching my mindset when it comes to swimming. I don't want to just be an average swimmer, I want to be a great swimmer. I know this is going to take time, but I need to make it happen.

A few more pics from the weekend:

My only pic from last weekend's Mission Inn 10k...Last mile, in a world of hurt!
Hit up Stone Brewery for a "recovery drink" with an old friend.
Taylor and I bummed watching the Chargers
Yes, more good beer.