Quick Post

The start of the swelling from a bee sting...
So this pretty much describes my week last week. I was really sore from the 1/2 Marathon. I don't think I will ever do that race again. I rarely run on concrete and I especially never run downhill on concrete. It really tore me up. Left me limping all week and my training ultimately suffered. I just did some light spinning, light swimming and massage to try and get my legs back to life. When they finally started coming around, Saturday I set out for a 45 mile ride around my usual Couzer Canyon loop and got stung on the shin by a bee. It wasn't a big deal at first, but the next few days it completely swelled up my ankle to the point I couldn't wear a shoe. It's weird because normally I don't have a reaction to stings, but this one took me out of running commission for a few days. I also decided after this 1/2 that I'm going to limit my running races from here on out.  The body just takes too much of a beating from them and it jeopardizes training. So I won't be doing many races in the Dirt Dog Series this year. I had originally planned on doing all of them, but I need to save the weekends to go big on the bike. After all, I am a triathlete - not a runner anymore. It's been taking awhile for me to realize that.

I fixed the format up on my Race Schedule and added the two races I have left for the year. I have decided to do my first 70.3 ever at the Soma Triathlon in October. So I'm basically building my training up to that race. I will do the San Diego Triathlon Classic as a little prep race leading up to it. I'm really excited to jump into the 70.3 distance. I really didn't want California 70.3 to be my first half next year because I really want to do some damage there. I figured this would be a great way to learn about the race and what to work on over the winter. Coming from a miler, this may sound silly - but the sprint and Olympic distances just seem a little short for me. I think its because I've been focusing my training (at least on the bike) for the longer stuff. I'm really excited for these next few races to wrap up the season and begin my big plans for next year.

AFC 1/2 Marathon Race Report

Going into this race, I really didn't know what to expect. I had just finished putting in a solid three week-block of training, but it still only consisted of 20-25 miles a week of running. My long runs consisted of three at 11 miles and one at 14 miles in the past month. Most of this is due to wrecking myself on the bike the day before - and that was about all my body could handle. However, the speed work and fartlek workouts I was doing made me a believer that I was definitely in sub 1:15 shape. It was kinda hard to set a plan for the race since I hadn't seen the course. Even though I was familiar with a lot of it (some of the course was on the SD International course), I still didn't know the extent of the downhills, uphills and rollers. Everyone I talked to had something different to say about the course. Some said it was faster than a flat course, some said it was a very difficult course and most said that all of the downhill will make up for the uphills...

Amy and I during the chaos of the golf tournament
To back up a bit...The race happened to fall on the same week as the most stressful week of the year for me. I am the Event Director for our companies huge annual golf tournament and it fell on the Friday before the race. Months and months of preparation go into this event and my boss always wants it perfect. The event went fine, but I was on my feet and in the sun running around from 7am to about 9pm. I was exhausted mentally and physically. The good news was I had all day the next day to relax/recover before the race on Sunday. So the week wasn't my ideal race prep week. I had to skip three days of training (because of work), but I still managed to get in a track workout, a little tempo run and a tune up run before the race. It's funny, with all of the days off I started having a bunch of little nagging injuries come to life. I only swam once and didn't cycle at all during the week and all of the sudden I start getting hip pain and sciatic nerve pain. What the heck!!??

Race morning: We stayed in Ramona all weekend with Amy's parents since the tournament and race were both in San Diego. I got up at 3:30am, ate my new pre-race breakfast---baked (microwaved) potato with butter and spike, a banana and a Powerbar. I woke up Amy and then we both headed out, leaving the kids with the Grandparents for the day. I hooked up with my buddy Jayson Swigart (Boulder -Leadville stud) and his friend Ewen North (who ran a sick 1:07 that day) at their hotel while Amy went and found a place to go back to sleep. After Jayson and I talked trash for a bit, we walked over to the finish line where shuttles were taking runners over to the start in Pt. Loma (point to point race). We got to the start and it was a madhouse. 8,000 1/2 marathoners lined up the Porto-potties. It was ridiculous, not only were their huge lines for the bathrooms, but there was no place to warm up. Literally. Security didn't allow anyone out of the area. Imagine one big circle that was bordered by cliffs with no way out. You could only run maybe 5 steps before you ran into somebody on the ground stretching or waiting in line for the bathroom. I could only imagine the reasoning behind this is people not getting back in time for the start, regardless - it was my first race I'd ever done without a warm up. Lame.

I checked my gear into the bag check in, took down a Clif Chocolate Cherry Gel that had "2 shots" of caffeine in it. I've found that I do a lot better not taking in any coffee before the race and using gels as my caffeine fix. I made my way to the front of the "non-elites" and they called us up for the start. This was probably the least nervous I'd ever been for a race. Since it wasn't a triathlon, I really didn't feel any pressure. I knew this was more of a training run to see where I'm at with my running fitness. The gun went off and everyone started out pretty hard. I decided to slowly work my way up the first mile...After all, this was my warm-up! I was told the first 6 miles were all downhill...This was definitely not the case. We hit 2 pretty steep hills in the fist 2 miles that I remember going up on my bike during SD Int'l. I went through 2 miles right at 11:24 and then that's when the downhills began. Some of them were quite steep. I decided to just open up my stride and just go on feel (not push). It felt great for the first mile or so, but then I started to feel the pounding my legs were taking. By the time we got to the 10k and it flattened out I could tell all of the downhill already took its toll on me. I had trouble finding my pace. I'd run 5:39 then a 6:02, just putting in random surges---I really didn't feel comfortable or in control like I normally do.

I hit the 10k in 34:48 which is 1:13 pace. I popped in a Margarita Clif Shot Blok to help steer away cramps. At this point I still felt strong but wondered if I should have played those downhills a little more conservatively. I saw my buddy Jayson whom I'd made a bet with. We made an over/under bet of 4 mins (him beating me) As we rounded to the 8th mile I timed it when I saw him hit a check point (what else was there to do? I was running alone and in no-mans land the whole race). I was exactly 2 minutes from him and the thought of beating him started occurring to me...Which meant a 12 pack! So I picked up the pace a bit to try and get up to him so we could work together and went 5:39 to try and close the gap. It seemed way harder than it should have. My heart rate slowly starting shooting up and this is when the pain started hitting me and I hit the wall. I popped in another Shot Blok and did every mind trick I had up my sleeve. I'd force the pace for 2 mins only to slow down the next 2. As I went through mile 11 I knew the hills were coming and boy did they ever. We had already been through some deceiving rollers, but now is when the hills came in full force. They were steep. 2 miles steep. I hit the last two miles in 6:44 and 6:27 which tells you how steep they were. Done! Surprisingly I was only passed by 2 guys up the hill - I thought it would have been a lot worse. As we came in for the last 1/2 mile I heard people saying, "Here comes the first girl!" I knew I was wearing a pink headband but I also knew the ladies were coming! So I gave it what I had and crossed in 1:17:05, which was a minute PR on a tough course.

Notice the guy in the back puking his
guts out...
I was pretty disappointed at first because I really thought I was in sub 1:15 shape...but who can complain about a PR? I also did NOT respect that course enough. It is very tough and I would have easily had 2 more minutes in me on a flat course. It wasn't just the uphills that killed me, the downhills seemed like they zapped all the energy out of my legs! I didn't cramp up, so the shot bloks seemed to have done the job, I probably could have taken another gel (all I took in during the race was 2 shot bloks and 2 sips of water). It was definitely a different experience than the R&R 1/2 that I did in AZ back in January. That one was so much more fun and pleasant. I didn't start hurting until the last few miles on that one and fell in love with the distance. This one was a suffer fest for like 6 miles...I finished up and met up with friends. Amy helped me walk to the finish area to pick up my bag. I ate a bit, drank a bit, cramped a bit and was just kinda out of it for the next hour. I was bummed they didn't have a beer garden - who doesn't these days in big events!!?? So we all headed over and got some drinks and food at a Mexican place and called it a day.

5th in my Age Group (out of 600ish)
31st overall (out of 8000 runners)

My splits:
5.25 (17:20 5k)
5:50 (34:48 10k)
1:06 (.2 on my watch)

Jay, Ewen and I at the finish area, recovering with
some Mix 1 

David Lipke and I right at the finish...I look pale and ill. Felt pale and ill!
Ryan, me and Jeremiah

Amy (my awesome supporter) and I for the finishing photo
Feeling better and happier at Happy Hour

More pics can be found here: http://www.marathonfoto.com/index.cfm?action=site.login&RaceOID=27252011M1&LastName=Adams&BibNumber=3025

Enough of this running, time to get back in the pool and bike!!!

Palomar Virgin, No more

The top of Palomar Mountain
 I just wrapped up a solid 3 week training block which included my first ascent up Palomar Mountain - which I'll get to later. Now it's time to have a recovery week and it's just in time for the AFC 1/2 marathon this weekend. I'll admit, I'm looking forward to racing, but I'm not quite as "pumped" as I would be if I were racing a tri. I guess it's because I have put so much time into cycling that I'd like to see where I stand right now in a triathlon as opposed to a 1/2 marathon. I really don't have any huge expectations this weekend since I only put in 2-3 runs and ~25 miles a week these days. I know I'm fit, I'm just not sure if I have the "racing legs" that I'd like to have for a 1/2. I'm still debating on my pacing - so to help with that Ryan and I hit up the track last Tuesday to do what I like to call a "1/2 marathon indicator" workout. It's 3X2 miles w/one lap recovery jog and the middle interval done "blind." The purpose is to hit your 1/2 marathon goal pacing and see where your heart rate lines up with it and also to get your body and mind synced together on the pacing. Going into the workout I feel 5:40 is the magic number which will get me the sub 1:15 I'm looking for. So here's how the workout played:

1st set:  5:42, 5:40 = 11:22
2nd set: 5:38, 5:43 = 11:19 (done blind) as in, not looking at your watch the whole time to try and "feel" the pace.
3rd set: 5:32, 5:26 = 10:58 (simulating the last 2 miles in the race) Not an all out effort, but a strong finish.

My average heart rate was right around 175 for the first two sets and spiked up to around 179 for the last one. I want to be sitting around 174ish for most of the race until the last 4 miles or so where I'll pick it up. My max is ~192. I felt in control the whole time (even the last set) and as long as my legs hold up - I see myself breaking 1:15. Evil thoughts (yes evil) sometimes come to my head and I often wonder what I could do in the 1/2 if I just focused on running again. But the idea of running sub 1:20 off of the bike in a 70.3 is more appealing to me now. Not sure if my body (and mind) could handle 100 mile weeks again either.

Speaking of the bike, last week was my first time up Palomar mountain. For those of you that aren't familiar with it, it's a very popular climb in Southern California and some people put it up as one of the best climbs in the US reaching up over 5000ft in elevation. The Tour of California has even been up the mountain. I was wondering how I'd fair since I would be doing this on the Slice, which is not my weapon of choice when you're climbing 7500ft for the day. I need to get a road bike...shheshh. To add to it, I was riding with Jim Dover who's a well respected cyclist in Temecula and a very strong climber.

Beautiful views as you climb
We made the 20 mile trek which including me watching Jim draft off of a van going 40mph+ going down Pala mountain. Once we started the climb my legs felt surprisingly good after 3 weeks of laying it down. As we made the climb I started getting pretty cocky because I kept thinking this wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. The problem is, it just kept going and going. Switch back after switch back, straight up. The views turned to be incredible on this beautiful morning and it was a great distraction from what was starting to become a pretty difficult climb. I kept rounding the corners thinking it was the last one only to be greeted with a steeper section. We made it up pretty fast and I definitely underestimated it which in turn earned my respect-that's for sure. I didn't time it - not sure where to start? The taco shop?? Either way, I'll definitely be hitting Palomar up more in the future. We took a little breather at the top and then headed down. Jim was nailing the decent and for about a mile I tried to stay with him to see what lines he was taking but after feeling my tire slip for a split second on a turn, I decided I'd just see him at the bottom! I'm definitely not familiar with the road yet, so I'll give it a few more efforts before I try and hit it hard.

Those really were the highlights of the week. I wanted to knock out the blog early this week because I have a busy week at work. I am the tournament director for our 12th annual Customer Golf Classic this Friday, so that is stressing me out and of course the 1/2 marathon falls 2 days after...oh well, looking forward to the beer garden already!

Here's the week summary which happens to be my biggest volume week to date:

Swim: 2hr 45 mins (7,500 yards)...w/longest straight swim to date - 1.2 miles
Bike: 7hr 35 mins (126 miles)...w/11,556ft of climbing
Run: 3hr 22 mins (26.5 miles)

Total: 13hr 42 mins
For those of you that are racing this weekend, find me in the beer garden afterwards. There is going to be a big group of us and we're going to hit up some place to eat after. Good luck to all that are racing!
The kiddos playing in the water...Love em!

An Arrogant Bastard to top of the weekend!

The Past Fueling the Future

Amy needed a "rolling" theme for her photo
project, I obliged
When you are training, some weeks you might see big gains developing physically - you might notice those in workouts or races. Well my body is definitely seeing big gains in that sense, but these past two weeks I'd have to say a switch came on for me mentally. It's interesting, when you want to see a change in your conditioning, well - you just train. Mental gains have to come naturally though. You can't force yourself to realize something. The belief has to come from within. I've been self coached ever since I started getting back into shape - something I am not used to. Growing up I had some of the best running coaches you could ask for. I had a legendary coach (in San Diego) in high school who was old school and taught me how to be mentally tough. My freshman year in college I had a coach that taught me the importance of strength training - something that was pretty non-existent for distance runners back then. Then between my sophomore and senior years I was coached by Irv Ray (author of Run w/the Best and current UCR coach) and Steve Scott (former American record holder of the mile and current CSUSM coach). These guys taught me how to WORK. HARD. Then when I went to Ohio post collegiate to be coached by Bob Schul (5000 meter Olympic Gold Medalist) on an Olympic Development team I basically then learned what it takes to preform at an elite level. It was insane amount of work load and dedication. That's when the light switch happened for me. Unfortunately I didn't take care of myself with the recovery piece and I spiraled into injury.

Might need to bring those aero bars
back a little...
That same switch is starting to occur with me again...7 years later. I would say it's more of a dimmer though...ha. Let's just say it's getting brighter and I'm starting to discover on my own what it takes to preform at a high level again...but this time in triathlon. I'm starting to get those same feelings that I had when I trained in Ohio. I'd wake up in that 10 bedroom athlete house ALWAYS sore and tired, but I'd get out the door and get my work in. It's weird, I had forgotten about a lot of the physical sensations I would get while training. It's seems as if all of my senses are bringing me back to memories that I had forgotten. The heat is bringing back the memories from high school of countless hours running in hot weather. The hills I'm running are re-activating pain threshold levels I remember experiencing in college. The taste of copper is all too familiar after hitting MV02 max intervals. The smell of the synthetic rubber reminds me of putting in miles and miles of intervals on the track in Ohio. Even the taste of the water bottle reminds me of playing soccer for 10 years. The sound of the bike coasting brings me back to when I was a kid riding my bike everywhere. I think it's important to get in touch and realize your senses when working out...especially on hard days. We are all very lucky to be able to work out, don't take it for granted and if you don't exercise - I suggest you start, you are missing out!

As for my work load this past week, here is what I did w/1 day off:

Swim: 1hr 45 mins (4,500 yards)...I know, weak!
Bike: 6hr 56 mins (123 miles)
Run: 3hr 25 mins (26.5 miles)

Total: 12hr 6 mins
There really is no excuse for the lack of time in the pool. I realize it is my limiter of the 3 sports and I plan on changing that. I signed up for Ironman California 70.3 last week and I plan on being in striking distance of the guys in my age group. That means I need to put in some serious time into the pool if I want to be serious about this. It's funny, when I started training for triathlon - I never intended to get serious about training again. I just wanted to do something active, something different and fun. But I have found out that I'm way too competitive to not take it seriously. And there's something different this time around that I didn't have before. I feel that I am WAY more mentally strong. I guess some of that comes with age, but I feel that my mental game is so much stronger than it was 7 years ago. I'm excited to see what I can do for the rest of the season, but most of all what I can do in long-course triathlon next season!
Me and the Slice had a 4.5 hour date
I guess the highlight of the week was my 80 mile ride which is my longest to date and it had 6k of climbing in it. The night before I noticed my shifting was a little messed up, so luckily Saturday morning before I headed out for the ride Rick from The Bike Shop did a little tweaking and fixed the problem. Thanks Rick! I road the first 15 miles with a former pro cyclist, Derin Stockton and a former Category 2 guy Scott McNulty so it was cool to hook up with those guys and possibly set up some more rides in the future with some strong riders. I actually received a compliment from Derin about my pedal stroke - which besides running have never received before - so I guess the 1-legged drills last winter have paid dividends! The rest of the ride was all done solo. I was very strong throughout the ride and nailed my nutrition which included 3 22 oz bottles of Gatorade, 1 water, 2 Hammer Gels, 1 sleeve of shot bloks, 1 Powerbar, 1 Tiger milk and a coke. I've always heard in Ironman of people taking down cokes for the simple sugars. I didn't really notice a difference, although maybe that IS the difference...I never bonked. After making the 2 mile climb up Cole Grade road, I got out of the saddle and sprinted with a ton of power at the top which made me very happy. All in all a good week of training.
Stats from the ride
Next up is AFC 1/2 marathon which is a little less than 2 weeks away!

Dream Trainer

Art by  Jeremy Houghton
Lights out, 8:30pm. Triathlon dreams fill my head. Racing, training, even recovering. Recovering? My eyes shoot open, adrenaline pumping...wide awake at 2am. I fight it, but the desire wins at 3:30am. I get up, pull on my bike shorts in the pitch black, tip toe into the garage trying not awake my two sleeping babes. My heart already pounds against my Garmin strap. My heart is in control you see, my body and mind are just along for the ride. I set the stage. As I pull the velcro on my shoes, it seems to send an echo in the garage that radiates silence. The Slice sits on the trainer waiting for my cue. I saddle up, hit play and the show "Mad Men" fills the screen...how fitting, I think to myself. An hour passes, sweat pours off of my body and now it's time to change gears and play music to my ears. Legs pumping harder now, heart rate climbing now....I close my eyes and enter the same dreams, only this time I get to feel the burn.

Disneyland and some training...

Last week the whole family took off on Wednesday to go up to Disneyland for three days. My work was having a trade show at the Disneyland Hotel Thurs & Fri with set up being on Wednesday. The trade show was during the day, but I was able to join the family in the morning and evenings which was a lot of fun. This was their first time and as you can tell by Scarlett's face, she had a blast. She's at that age where she really believes that the characters are real...she just can't believe it! I definitely had the same feeling that I haven't had since I was a kid at Disneyland---cause I was looking at it through the eyes of my 2 and 1 year old. That has to be one of the coolest things about being a parent, you pretty much get to relive your childhood through your kids. Important note: We definitely will not and are not those parents that want to LIVE through their child though. We've all seen those parents before...there's a big difference.

Poor lil guy...Him and I had a lot of bonding time
over the weekend.
 The first night was a bit interesting though. After setting up our booth at the hotel, I rushed back to the hotel to grab the family and we took off to California Adventure. We went on a few rides, let the kids run around and towards the end of the night we took them to go see the "Crush" show from Finding Nemo. As we were waiting for the show, there was a big hallway and Taylor was just running around arms swinging wild like always. I was just letting him run around and get some energy out. He kept falling, getting back up and I'd hold his hand around strangers, with him often yanking trying to escape my hand. Well it was either the falling, him trying to get away from me or something, but he jacked his arm up good. He started crying like crazy and Amy and I couldn't figure out why. We left the show early, rushed back to the hotel and he was still very crabby and we finally noticed before we went to bed that he wasn't moving his arm...at all. We'd even try and grab his hand to see if he'd grip it, but nothing. We figured we'd try and get some sleep and hope for the best the next day. But about every hour he'd start screaming. Of course it was the arm that he uses to suck his thumb to go to sleep, so he was miserable, we were miserable and at 2am, I decided to call the advice nurse and after telling her the signs, she advised us to take him into the emergency room. So off I went. About 4 hours later and him screaming for about 3 of those he finally calmed down after X-Rays and fell asleep in my arms. The nurse came in, checked on him and he was sucking his thumb, using that arm fine all of the sudden. She deemed it was Nursemaid's elbow. It's a dislocation of the elbow joint. Apparently, it's very common among kids their age that just learned to walk and are constantly falling while holding hands with their parents. During X-Ray's they have to straighten out the elbow and it almost always puts the joint back in place, which in this case it did. She told me to not worry about it and that I didn't do anything wrong, but to just be careful from now on because that elbow is more susceptible now. eyeyeye....

So no sleep that night, no planned run that day. Friday, exhaustion from trade shows, running around the park and having fun = another missed workout. So I missed two days of training in a row. Haven't done that in a LONG time. Granted I probably put in 10 miles of walking over those 3 days, but I'll never count walking in my training!!

Despite missing 2 days, I still had a respectable week:

Swim: 3hrs (6,500 yards)
Bike: 4hr 31 mins (79 miles)
Run: 2hr 59 mins (23.5 miles)

Total: 10hr 30 mins
Mr. Slice up top of Couzer Canyon
Not really any workouts to note. Saturday I swam for an hour and then jumped on the bike and did some climbing up Couzer Canyon that put me at 45 miles/3k of climbing. I backed that up with a 90 minute long run in the rain on Sunday which was unexpected. That run was rough though, although the picture below looks like its cool out, it was hot and very humid. I love these kind of summer days, but not when you have a long run ahead of you. The clouds/rain eventually burned off which made the sun/humidity brutal! Out of the three sports, I'd have to actually say that my swimming is coming along the quickest. My running and biking seem to have plateaued a bit (cause I don't ride or run enough!) but my swimming is finally getting there. I have finally found good body position/balance. I try to read and watch as many swimming technique things I can. There is just SO much to think about during the swim. I often forget how far I've swam because I'm constantly trying to remember to point the toes, head down, rotate hips, follow through....etc etc. Swimming is HARD. I think the faster you get though, the more enjoyable it is...I think it's that way in all of the sports. Once you start seeing results you begin to enjoy and embrace it more. During the past few months I've paid a lot more attention to swimming than I ever have. I put in 3-4 swims a week as opposed to 2-3 runs/rides a week. It's my limiter and as you hear often, you can't win the race in the swim, but you can definitely lose it.

This week I am going big (for me). Amy and the kids will be out of town Friday-Sunday so I am using it as sort of a "Training Camp" week. I'm shooting for over 15 hours this week and so far I'm on pace for it. I plan on going on the same 75 miler/6k of climbing that I did for the Temecula Challenge this weekend and put in a bunch of swims/runs around it. Anybody want to get in on the weekend of training?? Hit me up.

As always, a few more photos from the week:
Drinks at Rain Forest Cafe...Sorry for the bad pic.
Crazy Summer Thunder Storm
Me looking like a dork getting pumped to go out in the rain