Transition Week

Team Hair Force - 5th in our Div (co-ed) and 10th overall
out of 454 teams
 After three weeks of racing hard; this past week was just an easy transition week to recover both physically and mentally from the past month. Ragnar Relay was a blast and we found out that we finished 5th in our Division and 10th overall, so we were stoked! As fun as it was, I have been super tired lately, needing like 9 hours of sleep, feeling drowsy during the day and just dead legs - so this break was much needed. Today is the first day I actually feel like there is some pep in my step (except for my left foot)...In my last post I wrote about how I had some pain in my foot after running hard on a sloped road in the Ragnar Relay. Well I went to the doctors and got it x-rayed and there's good news and bad news. I didn't fracture it, but he said I have a "Peroneal Tendon Strain." Basically it's from overuse, running on uneven surfaces and/or worn out shoes. I think in my case it was all of the above. He said if it's not torn it will take 2-3 weeks to heal, if it's torn more like 2 months. So needless to say, I'm going to be taking it easy with my running and really focus on getting some work done on the bike and swim.
The dam right behind me
 I have been loving the time change, it's given me a chance to get out on the trails after work. Wednesday I hit up Lake Hodges and hit some new trails that I had never ridden on before which took me past the lake, past the dam and all the way down to the Mission Gorge trail (kinda runs parallel with Del Dios Hwy). I just wanted to keep riding and explore the new trails but I eventually had to turn back before it got dark. I felt very strong on the bike and as much as I seemed to push, my legs never seemed to feel tired-a good sign. Then on Saturday I headed out for my Couzer-Canyon loop. It's about a 50 mile ride with about 3500 feet of climbing. I hadn't been on Blue Steel in a long time and it felt really good to get out on the roads instead of hammering on the trainer. My foot hurt a bit when I would get out of the saddle, but other than that, I crushed my previous best on the ride by 30 minutes. Definitely getting stronger on the bike.

Other than a few swims and some much needed rest, the rest of the week was just family time. I have really missed hanging out as a family and the racing kinda took away that balance. The kiddos are growing up so fast and when you spend a little bit of time away from them you realize how much they grow/develop each week! Even though the season has just started I feel like I have learned so much about triathlon, where I am and what needs improvement. I revised my race schedule for the year which has a few more off road tri's, a road triathlon and even signed up for another 1/2 marathon later this fall. Hopefully I'll be jumping into some local -low key triathlons along with some more mountain biking for the rest of the year. THEN. At the end of the year after it's all said and done I'll decide what I want to focus on for 2012. I haven't written this year off, but before I fork out cash for a nice bike and pay to enter races around the US, I want to know what kind of triathlon I want to focus on (off road, road, short distance/long...). Until next week----

Ragnar Relay

Well I'm finally done racing for a bit. I just finished up with the Ragnar Relay this past weekend and it has become one of my favorite races. Last year, it really was a life changing race for me. I re-discovered my love for running and haven't looked back since. The race is from Huntington Beach to Coronado (200+ miles) and consists of 12 teammates, 2 vans and each runner runs three different legs over a 24hr+ period. You just drop off your runner, play leap frog (cheering them on) then once their leg is done, they hand off the baton to the next runner at an exchange zone. Repeat 36 times and you finish! You get maybe 1-2 hrs of sleep if your lucky - but the energy of the team, the race and the atmosphere helps you get through it. The legs this year were set up like this:

Runner1st Leg2nd Leg3rd LegTotal
14.9 miles |5.3 miles | 5.5 miles | 15.7 miles
25.0 miles | 9.2 miles | 7.4 miles | 21.6 miles
35.3 miles | 2.7 miles | 5.7 miles | 13.7 miles
44.3 miles | 5.6 miles | 6.1 miles | 16 miles
52.5 miles | 6.6 miles | 3.0 miles | 12.1 miles
62.7 miles | 5.4 miles | 4.3 miles | 12.4 miles
77.3 miles | 8.2 miles | 9.7 miles | 25.2 miles
85.4 miles | 6.5 miles | 5.9 miles | 17.8 miles
96.1 miles | 2.4 miles | 8.3 miles | 16.8 miles
105.4 miles | 3.8 miles | 6.4 miles | 15.6 miles
116.0 miles | 2.1 miles | 5.2 miles | 13.3 miles
128.0 miles | 5.9 miles | 6.1 miles | 20 miles

I was runner 7 unfortunately and to make things worse, Ragnar's miles were off. Every one's Garmins were off quite a bit, including mine. Mine actually rung up at exactly 26 miles. Add on top of that record high temperatures throughout San Diego and Riverside, and it was a pretty challenging few days!

Amy and I were Sid and Nancy
Our team name was Hair Force---influenced by your 80's hair bands: metal/punk/ get the idea. A big part of the race was not just the running part; but dressing up, decorating your vans and showing energy out on the course which gets you in the running for different awards. It was a lot of fun seeing people anywhere from 16 yrs to 60 yrs old dressing up and having fun. It went down like this: 
Van #1: (From left to right): Heather (Lita Ford), Bryan (Nicki Sixx), Cheree (Madonna), Irving (Slash), John (Dusty Hill) and Sabrina (Joan Jett)

Van #2 (from left to right): Melissa (Wendy O.Williams), Eric (Dimebag Darrell), Kim (Cyndi Lauper), Kev (Bruce Dickenson), and finally Me (Sid Vicious) and Amy (Nancy) being disgusting

The Start:

Although it doesn't look like many teams, it's because we were the last (fastest group) to start at 2pm. Teams had been going in groups on the hour since 6am that morning. The goal is to try and get all the teams to finish around the same time the next day between 12-3pm. There were actually close to 500 teams and over 5500 people in the race, not to mention volunteers, spectators - it was crazy - easily doubled from last year.

After the first van was done, they handed off to me and I was set to run 7.3 miles (my shortest leg). I started my run in Corona and a volunteer had said it was 95 degrees about an hour ago. Holy crap it was hot. I'm so used to running at either 5am or 6pm, this heat was new to me. The run was basically a sidewalk with a few rolling hills and NO shade! I wore my heart rate monitor for this one and I knew within the first few miles that it was going to be a rough one. I was in the 180's for the majority of the run and was only averaging 6:18's. To give you an idea of how the heat can effect you, I was averaging 173 for my heart rate in my 1/2 marathon in January and my average pace was 5:55...crazy. I felt it, at one point I started even getting a little dizzy and almost stopped to gather myself. I passed quite a few people, got lost for about 300 meters with another guy and was very happy to finally see the exchange zone where I passed to Kevin. This was by far my toughest leg of the weekend. At this point I knew our times were going to be a little slow because of the nasty heat. It didn't seem to cool off until later that night.

Once I was finished, I handed off to Kev, then he gave it to Melissa who handed off to Kim, then Amy, then Eric. One of our bigger mistakes of the year was not bringing enough food. I'm not sure if it was because we were in Van #2 this year, but it seemed like all of us were hungry all the time. We had to eat during weird times of the day---lesson learned for next year. Poor Amy got lost on a poorly marked turn off and she ended up running 9 miles instead of 6! She is a newer runner and 6 had been her longest run to date, so 9 kinda pushed her over the edge and the true Nancy came out! I was so proud of her though, she rocked! We ended up catching all the same teams pretty quickly so it didn't really effect our overall time. By the time our van was done it was close to midnight, we got a bite to eat in Lake Elsinore and headed down to Fallbrook for the next major exchange zone to try and get some zzz's. The exchange zone ended up being terrible, they didn't let us sleep outside our vans and had the choice to either sleep in the weeds, on top of our vans or inside our vans...We choose the latter and after sleeping for on and off for about 2 hours I woke up to a nasty van filled with heavy breathing, condensation on the windows and smelly run stank. It was about 3 in the morning and it was time to try and get pumped for my 2nd leg which ended up being just short of 9 miles along hwy 395.

It was nice and cold, my kind of running---I headed out in the very dark quiet night and headed up the 395 towards Lilac (that monster of a climb). I usually ride my bike up this hill and it's no big deal. I'm used to a lot of traffic and noise from the freeway, but with it being in the middle of the night all I could hear were my footsteps and a bunch of blinking lights ahead of me of other Ragnar runners making their way up to the top. It was awesome. But after about 2 miles of running on a very slanted road I felt a sharp pain in on the outside of my left foot. I've never had foot issues before in running and thought maybe it was just an irritated nerve or something. I ran towards the middle of the road the pain subsided a bit, but it scared me because it felt like something was not right. I powered my way up the climb and managed to average about 6:50 on the 2 mile climb. Once I reached the top, I hit up a water station and started charging the downhill. I think at this point my foot was numb so I picked up the pace and passed like 15 people hitting a few 5:25 miles - I was having fun. We finished near a coffee shop and although I felt good, my foot was burning.

Our van continued to make it's way to Escondido all the way to Carlsbad before handing it off once more to the other van. We ate bfast and made our way to the next major exchange zone down in Del Mar. It was only about 7am and it was already getting hot. This made it impossible to get any sleep this time. The beach and the vans were hot, so we just had to wait it out for the other team to arrive. With all the down time, I decided I should probably go get my foot wrapped (I still had no idea what I did). As the medic did some tests on my foot, he said that I most likely broke it (slight fracture). I guess the outside of your foot is one of the most common breaks amongst runners because of how tiny the bone is-never knew that...So he made me sign a waiver and told me I shouldn't run my next leg which was a 10 miler of course. I told him to just wrap it up and get me some drugs. At this point I was really wondering whether or not I should run. I've trained so hard in the off season and now that tri season is here, I can't wait to race. A broken foot would definitely put a damper on the season. I told Eric and Kev that I was 67% sure I could finish my leg. If I had to step off, they would have to be my substitute. Let me tell you, they were thrilled...I ended up starting to feel pretty good as the drugs kicked in (and the Rockstar) so I headed out for a hot, hilly 10 miler.

Besides the downhill, my foot felt OK --good enough to finish it. The heat started getting to me towards the end. With about 4 miles to go I caught up to this guy that was probably going about 3 seconds/mile slower than I was so I slowly reeled him in. The last mile was straight up hill so I caught up to him at a light and we battled for about a 1/2 mile then I crushed him the 2nd half. Once I finished , I look back and this guy was as dramatic as it gets. He collapses onto the ground yelling for water all intense, scaring all the women and children around. Pissed himself...People got all worked up...ridiculous. I told him he should have been working out at Rehab United - maybe he could have hung in there....jk. I was glad to be done. I covered 26 miles, almost 2000 feet of climbing and averaged 6:15 pace. If you put my 3 runs together it gives me a 2:41:32 marathon time. I imagine on a flat course, with a few long runs in my bank I could hit that time, maybe faster if the weather was right. So I was pretty happy about my splits overall. Now it's time to get some xrays and hope for the best!

Amy in her last leg still smiling!
Our van brought it home, Kevin, Melissa, Kim, and Amy looked super strong even on their 3rd legs. Then it was time for Eric to bring it into the finish. He had a 6 mile leg and we knew we'd be cutting it close because of the traffic we had fought all day long. Eric was flying at mile 4 when we passed him and when we get to the finish line parking lot there's a 1/2 mile long traffic jam just to get in. We were bummed but still having fun. By this time of the race everyone is just delirious and everything seemed funny. Our van had a few good laughs as we waited to get into the parking lot. Once we finally got to the finish, van 1 was waiting for us and told us how Eric out kicked some guy coming in. Last year the finish line was the best part, so I was pretty pissed we missed it this year. However, it was Ragnar's first year doing it on this course so you have to figure there would be some hiccups. This was just a major one. Hopefully they get it right for next year.

One thing Ragnar did do right this year was the beer garden. I was expecting Bud Light as we crossed the finish line, but they had Stone and Lost Abbey! Our team all had some beers, reminisced on the the past few days and just took it all in. We are not sure yet what place we got, most likely top 10, maybe top 5 in the co-ed division, we'll see. You really do find yourself on your 3rd and last leg in Ragnar. Your body is beat, everything in you tells you to quit - but you press on for yourself and your teammates. You can't do that in much of anything. Testing yourself physically and mentally, cheering your team on, staying positive and then getting buzzed after only one beer at the end...good times. That night we stayed at the El Cordova hotel which was a really cool Hotel that was in the middle of a Spanish looking village.The next day Amy and I hit up some breakfast and ended what was a great weekend with friends.

Time to get over this Ragnar hangover and get back into triathlon mode. I've been really sore and tired all week. If I did break my foot, at least it will force me to focus more on my swim!

Thanks for reading, and thank you Hair Force for such an amazing weekend!

Some more pics:

Van 1!

The team minus Melissa (she's running!)

Sixx getting ready to roll

Hair Force!

Ladies enjoying the finish

Getting our hard earned metal

Dinner at the El Cordova

Racing Photos

Just a few photos from racing over the past few weeks:

Carlsbad 5000
Rocked the Peace bandanna

Form looks weird/awkward here

Home stretch
I may look weird, but the guy behind me looks way worse..

Xterra Vegas Photos:
Pretty pissed at this point

But still having fun in the dirt

One of the few flat sections of the course
Rough day...

Despite my poor outcome, I did find out some encouraging news from the Xterra race. Apparently the swim was over a mile long (not 1500 meters) and they didn't stop your swim time until you left transition for the bike leg (same goes with the bike-run leg). So I know I was in transition a very long time after that swim (probably 4 mins no joke). And although it doesn't do me anything for my overall time -which is all that matters,  it still shows me that I wasn't in THAT bad of swim shape. 

The Ragnar Relay was an amazing race and experience this past weekend. I'll share more about that this week in another blog post. 

Xterra West Championship Race Report

So the race was a total disaster. I've been pretty down about it - not gonna lie. I hate using any type of excuses, but I did have quite a bit going against me for this race. I could just say I had a bad race, suck it up and move on - but I think when certain things can justify a poor performance, it's important to pay attention to what you did wrong in a race whether it be preparation, race strategy or mechanical issues so that when you race again, you can do your best to avoid the things that slowed you down or didn't allow you to race at your true potential. In this case - I think my two biggest mistakes were:

1. Jumping in a full distance/tough Xterra race after only having one triathlon (sprint) under my belt.
2. Not getting open water swim practice in.

Now Xterra was definitely as tough as I imagined it to be. After doing Xterra Mission Gorge Trail run about a year ago, it opened my mind to what real hills are and Xterra gives you plenty of them on the bike and run. Here's my detailed report of the race: (sorry for lack of photos-I didn't have my camera women!)

View from my room
 I took Friday off and headed up solo to Lake Las Vegas in the morning. I got up there in about 4.5 hours and got settled in at my room in the nice MonteLago Village Resort. The room was crazy nice and I was pretty bummed I couldn't enjoy it with Amy. My room sat 100 meters from the start/finish/transition -so it was an ideal location viewing the lake. After checking in, I headed out to go over the bike course. I had no idea of what to expect--just a lot of fire roads and a lot of climbing. The terrain was very loose and sketchy at the bottom of some of the descents which made for tricky braking - which I found out the hard way. After only about 20 mins into my pre-ride I went down pretty hard on my ribs/right side. I got up a little shaken up, bleeding everywhere -but the pain actually felt good and it felt good to kinda get that out of the way and made me pretty pumped to race. I finished the first loop in about 47 mins -just chillin and figured at race pace I would probably finish around 1:30ish for the bike portion...That night I hit up the Irish Pub, grabbed a Dogfish Head 60 min IPA (couldn't believe they had it out there in Henderson, NV!) and some meatloaf and iced my ribs when I got back to the hotel -they swelled up a bit and I was hoping it wasn't going to effect my swim.
2010 Xterra World Champions
The next day I just relaxed, checked out the Xterra University clinic put on by Conrad Stoltz and Shonny Vanlandingham and listened to the pre-race briefing. It started to rain and I went out and ran a portion of the run course. I guess they changed it up from previous years and added some ridiculous climbs that even Conrad and Shonny said they would be power walking up. Overall I felt prepared, my legs felt good - the swelling on my ribs went down and couldn't wait to get to the starting line for my first tri of the season -something I've been craving to do since I crossed the finish line in my first tri last September.

Everyone starting to set up for transition
My race started at 8:30 - I woke up at 5:30 - ate a big bowl of oatmeal, a banana, a Powerbar and just sipped on some Heed up until my race. I went down and set up transition and got my body marking taken care of. #100, sweet lucky number! I was very calm and relaxed and even wrote it on my hand like I used to do when I ran competitively. It's just a constant reminder to stay relaxed before and during the race which is when your body performs at its best. At 7:30 I put in some short tempo efforts on the bike, broke a little sweat on a very cold morning - threw my bike back in transition and went back to my room to stretch a little and get my wetsuit on.

Swim start just underneath the bridge
 The Swim (1500 meters or .96 miles):
The pro's went off at 8:30 sharp, with 39 and under a short 3 minutes behind them. I got in the water for the first time at about 8:20 and was shocked at how cold the water was. It felt a lot like the ocean a week ago and it took my breath away! I spent some time blowing out air underwater to try and acclimate my lungs/face to the water (a tip from Triathlete magazine) and swam out about 150 meters to try and warm up. My form felt good and I was ready to go. As soon as I turned around to head to the start, the cannon went off for the pros and the announcer yelled that our race starts in 3 minutes!" I kinda panicked and sprinted to the start (which was a deep water start underneath the bridge). As soon as I got there I was huffing and puffing and then the gun went off for our race..Crap! This was the beginning of the end for me. My Heart rate was sky high from sprinting there and with the excitement of the start of the race and the kicking/elbowing at the start, I was unable to get into any type of rhythm. I started breathing every other stroke which I haven't done since my first tri --I was just trying to get my breathing under control! Every time I tried to breath bilateral, I came up gasping for air. At this point I just dealt with breathing every other stroke which totally ruined all of the training/technique and form that I had been practicing for the past 6 months. I couldn't get myself to rotate properly, my 2 beat kick which I felt I had perfected was out of whack and I felt extremely uncomfortable in a wet suit. My arms felt tired and were burning after the first 400 meters! I made my way to the first buoy (ran right into it of course), made a right -swam to the next buoy which was about 150 meters away (yup, ran into this one too...) and then started my way back. At this point the yellow caps (Ages 40+) started passing me and I knew I was in trouble. I usually swim like an arrow ---I even practice swimming in the pool with my eyes closed to make sure that I swim straight --but with me breathing from the same side, I was zig-zagging all over the course - I tried to sight here and there, but I was just very inexperienced in the open water and it cost me big time. After time trialing a 26 minute 1500 meters a week ago I got out of the water in 37:13.

T1: I ran to my transition area pretty dizzy and out of it. I was already cramping from the swim and had trouble getting my suit off because of the cramps. Holy crap, am I this much out of shape!!!?? The thing is, I expended a ton of energy in that swim and it was taking its toll on me before I even started the bike. I have no idea what my T1 time was but I can tell you that it was probably very slow.

Bike (18.6 miles):
As soon as I got on my bike and made my way up a little switchback hill I cramped up again right in front of a bunch of spectators...I can see them thinking to themselves..."Holy crap, this guy is going to struggle out there.." They were right! I just cruised for the first mile which was on pavement, I took in a gel and a bunch of Heed to try and subside the cramping. What's the deal with cramps! I never had this problem running! Age!!?? I started feeling better as we made our way onto the dirt. I started passing a bunch of people right away and luckily most of the course was fire roads so there was plenty of room to pass. There was a ton of climbing and my 30lb bike started taking its toll on me on the first lap. For some of the hills I had to shift to the lowest gear (easiest) possible just to get up. I handled the technical sections well and never had to hike-a-bike at any point except for a dry river bed crossing that had ridiculous rock formations -I think everyone dismounted for this section. I flew on the downhills, trying to make up all the precious time I lost. Then when I made my way to the first single track section I hit an embankment going pretty fast which did something to my front brake. I heard some serious rubbing going on and I stopped for a bit to try and bend it back into place, but with no luck. Looks like I'll be riding the 2nd lap with no help from my bike. It was pretty bad. When I stopped pedaling, I would automatically slow down. The 2nd lap I just tried to pass as many people as I could and get through it. Then on a rough downhill section, I hit it pretty hard -nailed my line but my bike didn't agree. I now started hearing some weird buzzing noise coming from my rear. Still have no idea what I did, but let's just say The Mistress doesn't ride the same anymore. I realize now why people buy the $2500+ bikes for these races. My $800 F5 is just a "Trail" bike -which pretty much means a souped up commuter bike. The Vegas course pretty much destroyed my bike. I did what I could on the bike and finished with a 1:44 split. Pretty much the same pace I pre-rode the course in...sad, but considering my mechanical fails - I guess I can't expect much more out of it.

T2: My transition went OK, I went sock less for the bike and decided to do the same for the run. I wore my flats since my new Avia Stoltz tore my feat up a few weeks ago. Just threw on my race belt and visor and headed out.

Run (10k or 6.2 miles):
I didn't wear my Garmin but my legs felt pretty good right away and I started hammering and passing a lot of people in my AG. At this point I had no idea where I was in my AG, but the fact that I was still passing women in the 15-19 AG - I knew I blew the race in the swim and the bike killed me even more. Still, I wanted a respectful run and after 2 miles I was feeling good and then we hit the crazy hills...My cramps instantly came back. This time both hammys and both quads. Brutal. I shuffled up some of the hills and power walked most of them. Every time I tried to run, they would cramp up again. I found that if I just locked my knees I could shuffle up kinda -Looked so ridiculous! I kinda laughed to myself because me and my buddy Eric always joke about why we put ourselves through so much agony with all of our responsibilities...."Dude, I am a 32 year old man, with a wife, two kids a full time job and a mortgage... -that guy that beat you is 28, still lives with his parents and is trying to make the big time.. Kinda funny because you actually see a lot of that. I finally crested the last hill and made my way back to the transition area. My legs felt great on the flat and on that last 2 miles I could tell I was hitting sub 6 minute pace...but there was no hope---I was bummed. I was passing 50 year olds, 16 year old girls and was depressing. I finished my run in 47:59 which is like 7:45 pace...shows you how brutal that run course was. As soon as I saw the clock coming in I saw 3hrs + and it just confirmed my nightmare of a race.

Finishing time: 3:09:55, 15th in my AG and 107 overall. Terrible!

After the race, I rushed up -showered and checked out of my room with 2 minutes to spare. As I was packing my car - I sat in my seat for a second and literally passed out with all of my gear, bike and stuff scattered around my car. I was out for like 30 mins! was almost like a drinking type of pass out. Crazy, I burned a lot of calories out there but after the little cat nap I felt better and ready to drive home.

I learned a lot from the race and although I was really down afterwards -it gave me a chance to re-evaluate my season on my long drive in traffic home. So there's going to be some changes:

1. I won't be doing the Xterra circuit this year. This race was a good chance for me to see where I was at and it showed me a few things. I have a lot of work to do in the water and I need a new bike. I didn't spend a weekend away from family and spend all of that money to get 15th in my AG. When I do these races, I want to do them right and I need a better bike to be competitive (amongst other things). So for the rest of the season I'll jump in some local road tri's and see how I like those. I'll probably still jump into Xterra Snow Valley (which is local) but other than that -instead of traveling everywhere to these Xterra races, I'll save the money - pay off some debt and save up for a bike so I can do this right.

2. Time to join a tri club and get in regular open water swimming
3. Join a masters program

My wife helped me put things into perspective since this was only the 2nd triathlon I've ever done, I'm still very new and although I'm learning quickly, experience is the best way to learn. I don't want to leave the impression that I didn't enjoy Xterra -cause that's not the case, I love having fun in the dirt. But I also want to explore what the roads have to offer too and see how I fair--that's what 2011 is all about.

Sorry for the long-drawn out post and lack of pictures. When Xterra releases all of the photos, I'll post them. It's time to relax a bit this week and get ready for the Ragnar Relay this weekend, I'm excited!

Carlsbad 5000 Race Report

This was the second year in a row that we camped down at the beach during the Carlsbad 5000 race weekend. We love to camp with family & friends and with races back to back days - it made sense to do it again and I'm glad we did. There were about 15 of us that camped down at South Carlsbad State Beach and it was fun to hang out, actually take in some nice weather and relax a little before I get serious for Xterra Vegas this weekend. I didn't really have many expectations for Carlsbad; the last time I did a 5k on the road was last summer when I was still out of shape so I decided to just take in the weekend, enjoy the kids and Amy's race and just have fun racing.

Saturday we took the kids over for the Junior Carlsbad race. They were both in the Diaper Dash. For those of you that have kids, I highly recommend taking them to this race. It is so much fun seeing so many little ones running around excited about running! I really think it helps set the foundation for them too for when they get older that exercising is fun. Scarlett and Taylor where ready to rock with the new capes Amy made them. The Diaper dash is just a 100 meter race on a mat (in case they fall) and with Scarlett being her 2nd year running it, she was giving T some tips. There was a big group of us there cheering on our kids and they each both got a medal and some snacks at the end and overall I think they had a blast. Here's a few more pics of the race:

Scarlett running after dad. Wow, fast!

Taylor boy running in with mom

Collecting their hardware
Later after their race I wanted to get out for an open water swim. I haven't swim in my wetsuit since September so I wanted to get a feel for the open water again (especially how cold it is). Probably wasn't the safest thing to go solo, but I had a few strong swimmers on shore keeping an eye on me in case things turned ugly! The water kinda took my breath away, but I got in some time in the suit, felt pretty strong for the most part and it felt good to give my legs a bit of an ice bath the day before the race.

The orange cap came in handy

Heading out in some choppy water

Scarlett (like daddy) needed to get in a 2nd workout after the race and went all the way up the stairs on all 4!
 That night we cooked up some good food, had some beers and laughed really hard at some of the games going on:
This game is called "Ball Tangle"

Now for the race. We headed over to the course (which was about 5 mins away) and I started warming up. My legs felt a little heavy from being on my feet so much over the past few days - but I didn't let it bother me. My goal was to just go out around 5:15 and just see how I felt. Sure enough I hit the 1st mile in 5:15 on the dot, made the first turn and started picking it up a bit. The thing about this course is--even though they say it's the "Worlds fastest 5k" it is deceivingly slow. There are a lot of rolling hills throughout, including the hill as you make your way to mile 2. I hit the 2 mile mark in around 10:30---still on pace even though the effort was way harder than the first mile. I opened up my stride a bit on the little down hill before you make the u-turn and make your way towards the final turn.
With the wifey after the raceRockin the new
headband I got the day before at the EXPO
and my new Rudy Project Swifty's
I just worked on my cadence and passed a lot of people. I felt like I was just getting started to race when the final stretch came and I had to kick it in. I finished in 16:30 flat and was a bit disappointed at first. Even though I posted 16:20 last week as a goal, I really feel like I am in 16:00 shape. Of course the camping, the sun, the beers and fun probably had a toll on my effort -but I got over it. I haven't really been putting in much speed work -and I know my bread and butter workout to get in 5k shape is 30X200 and I haven't done that in years! I really feel like I could have maintained 5:18 pace for another 2 miles which is a good sign. It's funny when I ran the 800 and mile in college I used to think a 5k was an "endurance race" - now I feel like it's a sprint. All of my training definitely points at longer events. I'll get a serious test this weekend at Vegas with a 1500 meter swim (just short of a mile), 18.6 mile mountain bike ride and a TOUGH 10k trail run. After my race, I had my 2 free Pizza Port beers with some friends that tasted extra good with my over 30 PR and then went to go cheer Amy on. She has been struggling with some cramping and rib issues - but was so pumped to race. I actually ended up jumping in the race with her to pace her a few times during the race - I figured the worst thing they could do it to tell me to step off. She had a monster PR (beating her time by like 10 minutes from last year! I was so proud of her all of my other friends that raced and overall just had a great weekend.

Time to get ready to charge Vegas this weekend!