Unwanted taper

So last week was probably the biggest work week I've had in quite some time. Early mornings, late nights made it pretty hard to squeeze in time to train. I probably could have if I was getting up a 3:30am or working out late into the night sacrificing sleep, but I don't see it as a benefit because then you risk getting sick and really sacrifice training. Instead I looked at it as a rest week so I can hammer this week.

This is what the damage did:

Swim: 0hrs 0 mins First time in over a year this has happened
Bike: 4hr 08 mins (77 miles)
Run: 2hr 36 mins (23 miles)

Total: 6hr 44 mins

Since I knew the volume would be down, I at least put in some quality workouts since I had to miss three days of training and could only put in single days on top of that. These are the sessions I knocked out:

Monday (my only easy day): just an easy 1 hour spin on the bike

Wednesday: 53 min/ 7 mile run w/2 miles at 6:30 pace

Saturday: Long run/Tempo run:

Sunday: Long ride/interval session:

I was pretty happy with the weekends workouts. The long run felt pretty effortless which I haven't had that feeling in a long time. Usually I feel like crap when mile 8-9 comes by, but I felt good so I put in faster miles/surges to mix it up a bit. I ended up going through 13.1 at 1:34 which felt really easy. Probably because I only had like 2 hours of training under me!

A little dangerous....
On Sunday's ride I was trying to get a group to go with me, but no such luck. The plan was to ride about 60 miles (3 hours) with 1 hour warm up, 1 hour at race pace, then a 1 hour cool down. It was super foggy and very dark for the first hour of the ride (even though this pic was taken at 7:30am). The first hour had a lot of climbing, then it was on. I wanted to see what it felt like to average in the 24mph range. I had a really heavy headwind, but I am continually amazed how well the Slice cuts through the wind. It gave me the opportunity to really find the sweet spot in the aero position and I hammered for 53 mins (splits above). I cut it short by 7 mins because I ran out of fluids and had to refill at a park before I hit a long stretch without anything around. I averaged 24.4 mph and I felt pretty good, but also pretty beat up. I definitely could not have kept that pace for 56 miles (especially in the wind). It gave me a lot of confidence on the bike, because I honestly felt like crap most of the ride since I hadn't ridden since Monday. My legs were really flat, but I was still able to put out some decent power in the wind. I'm excited to see what I can do in Soma next month.

TRI Club meeting up for a swim at Vail Lake!
Yesterday was an open water swim at Vail lake. The Temecula Valley Tri club has hooked it up with Jason at So Cal Endurance so we can swim there once or twice a week. This is going to be key in my open water swim development. I feel like I already corrected a few things I was doing wrong yesterday and I'm really looking forward to swimming there more in the future---especially since it's only 10 minutes from my house instead of 1 hour from the beach!

The TRI club is just starting up in full force and I think it's really starting to grow. Rick at The Bike Shop has really done an amazing job getting this club started and I'm stoked to be a part of the team and excited about the future.

Here's a few more pics from the crazy weekend:

Work event: Providing wine Tasting at a golf tournament
My baby girl turned 3!
Another shot of the lake. It's about a 1-2 mile swim around that island and back

The Drug

Actual beta-Endorphin
A depression from deep down in my gut consumes me. Mood swings, bitterness, doubt and lack of desire take its toll on me. I had been sober for two days straight - not by choice. At 5am, I finally take my medicine. Legs shaking, fresh and anticipating. Mind craving and drooling as I slip my shoes on. The beeping sound of my watch triggers what is to come.

Headlamp on, music in my ears - I take that first step into darkness and with each step I feel my heart pumping blood and the beautiful endorphins flooding my brain. The faster I go, the faster my mind transforms. The more it hurts, the more I feel again. I am an addict.

San Diego Triathlon Classic Race Report

Wow, what a race. I have a lot of mixed feelings about it but overall I learned a lot. In the week leading up to it I  put in some good work in the swim/bike/run. I threw in some intervals on the bike and run and I felt I really dialed in my swim. I did two wetsuit swims where I did 3X500 at race pace where I was hitting 7 1/2 - 8 minutes each interval which I figured would put me around 24-25 minutes in the open water. I just really wanted to get a feel for the wetsuit, the pace and my breathing. I do all of my swim workouts by breathing bi-laterally (every 3 strokes) but for races I always end up breathing every other stroke because of the pace. I definitely swim a lot faster breathing every other stroke. Not sure why bi-lateral breathing is so important. I think it's important to be able to breath comfortably from both sides (in case there's waves hitting you from one side), but when you're racing you obviously want to be able to swim as fast as possible and as long as you can swim straight (more on this later), breathing every other strokes seems to be the most effective way to swim fast.

Friday of course I had a golf tournament to work. This means standing for 8+hours, running around and usually a pretty stressful day. Although these are usually fun events where you can just hang out, talk to customers and drink beer all day - with the race the next morning, the timing was not ideal. I stayed away from the alcohol but I ended up eating out twice (which I never do) and getting home late after barely making it to check in that night. Moment Cycle Sport hosted the race and expo so I ran over there as soon as the tournament was over, checked in, hung out a little a learned some things from the talk they were having (rules, setting up transition, course info). By the time I got back to my in-laws place (in Ramona), I crashed and 4am came way too soon.

Swim start
Pre race: I got up, had a bowl of raw oatmeal with some agave, blueberries and soy milk, then a cliff bar and 2 slices of bacon. Amy and I headed down, found parking pretty easy and I was off to set up at transition while she went back to sleep. She's a trooper! I could tell the race was well organized. They even had separate porta-potties for #1 and #2! I set up my transition, got my body marking and hit up the bathroom before I headed out for a quick progressive run warm up. 30-34 was the second to last wave to start. I was so confused on why they set it up this way. I'm sure its so they can wrap things up quicker (with older age groups starting first), but it can get pretty dangerous out there, especially on the bike course. They also wanted everyone out of transition like 40 minutes before my race so I had to cut my warm up short.

Swim- 1500 meters: 33:42, Rank 53 in AG, 414 overall!

The Orange line is the desired swim route...Red was my route...
 I just stayed loose and warm in my wetsuit and before I knew it our group was allowed down in the water, put in about a 200 meter warm up and they set us off. Now this diagram pretty much shows you my swim. If I had a garmin that tracked my swim, it would most definitely look like this...maybe even worse. I just have no experience in the open water and it showed. Even with the zig-zags, I was still in decent position by the time we made our turn back home. At this point I decided to "hammer" home and try to pick some people off. This is where things got ugly. I put my head down and went for it for about 300 meters without looking up to spot. Soon I found myself swimming alone and thought to myself, "Maybe I breaking away from this little pack!" Not so much. As you can see by the diagram, after I turned at the buoy, I apparently continued to turn and head straight back to where I just was. In this case breathing from the right side really hurt me. ha. I heard 2 guys on paddle boards yelling at me. I stopped, looked up and was completely disoriented. They said, "Your going the wrong way!" I yelled which way do I go? They pointed, "That way!" So I seriously laughed to myself....You've got to be kidding me. I look up and almost all of the navy blue caps (my age group) were in the distance already. I couldn't believe it.
In disbelief

When I made that last turn I must of just overcompensated or something. I started swimming back, zig-zagging all over the place. At one point I swerved so far to the shore that I started seeing seaweed. I literally stood up and started running through the water until I finally got deep enough again. I should have just kept running along the shore, probably would have been faster! By the time I reached the last buoy, I was tired. I tried to make up for lost time and I was paying for it. My arms were done!

T1: 2:05 (almost sub 2...)
I ran through transition, saw Amy and just shook my head. I couldn't believe it. I knew in order for me to stay in this race, it was up to the swim. Swimsuit off, shoes, helmet, glasses on. As I was running out of transition I powered down a Gel, hopped on my bike and was off.

Bike: 40k (24.8 miles): 1:06:36 (22.3 mph) Rank 2 in my AG, 15th overall

Time to make up some ground!

As I started the bike, the race demons came out. At this point I knew I was out of contention to get on the podium. Heck, I was even wondering if I'd be top 20 at this point. This is when I made the decision to just go for it. I have worked so hard on the bike and run, it was time to see what I could do! So from the gun I started hammering. This course rides over a big part of what the SD Int'l course does, but a lot more climbing, including "The Hill" which was a pretty long/steep climb that we hit up twice. The course actually played to my strengths because of all the climbing. We did have to go through this ridiculous 200 yard "No pass zone" twice though. You just had to slow down to like 5mph and cruise through this section on the military base. I just took it as a chance to get some calories in...Still messed up your rhythm though. On my first lap I was passing hundreds of people. I kept looking for guys in my AG but didn't find many.

Before we hit the big climb, this guy flies by me which kind of surprised me. He had this crazy yellow TT bike and had on what looked like a national jersey (blue) that said "Hincapie" in big block letters just above his butt (like the pros wear). I was a little confused because why the hell would George Hincapie be racing a triathlon? I understand he has a line of clothing, but this wasn't that. I actually saw a few guys in the race that had national jerseys on (looking kind of like this including a guy from GBR that won my AG). Either way I was pumped so I went after him (legally). We hit the big climb and I was passing a ton of people - including him. Then later as it flattened out, he passed me again. I caught up to him on another climb and he put in another surge. After lap one I didn't see him as he was already on his 2nd lap. I was so confused after the race on who the hell he was. I later looked up his twitter and it definitely wasn't him...Which didn't surprise me, he would have blown me away! But still confused on to who it was. Didn't even see a Hincapie in the race. Maybe this guy was in the relay? Relative maybe? Dunno, but whoever it was, the mystery man pushed me. Maybe I was delusional after my swim?? At the end of my 2nd lap I really wasn't too sure on where transition was. The guy in front of me started slowing down and taking his feet out of his shoes. So I figured it was coming up so I did the same. Bad idea. We passed transition, but we had another 1 1/2 miles to go! So I did my best riding barefoot on my shoes until we finally hit the transition.

Coming into T2, ready to kill the run!
T2: 1:22
Nothing special here. I was running to my area and was actually surprised to see a lot of bikes gone. Maybe there was still hope to finish top 10? Amy was there outside the gate and actually helped me find my area. I grabbed another gel and headed out.

Run: 10k - 39:15 (6:19 pace). #1 Rank in my AG, 5th overall (excluding relays)

Trying to play catch up
The run was 2 laps and supposed to be a 5k each lap. After looking at the fastest times of the day, they were pretty slow. Mine ended up being 39:15, which is pretty slow -especially considering it was a fairly flat course. It was about 50/50 on dirt and concrete, but either way it seemed pretty slow. Dunno, maybe biking the hills took it out of everyone? Who knows, either way I was stoked to have the 5th fastest of the day. I always feel great running off of the bike...It never seems like I have to ease into it, I can hit my pacing right off the bat. Of course I forgot my Garmin so I had no idea what pace I was running. I was flying by hundreds of people. It was a pretty narrow road throughout the course, so there was a lot of slowing down, surging by groups, and dodging old folks. I noticed a lot of guys in my age group as I was passing people. The problem was, all of the guys I was passing (in my AG) seemed very slow and not very good. This just confirmed my suspicion that I was WAY back. After the first lap I started getting some serious cramping. Like the diarrhea type cramping....oh no...I was taking quite a bit of those Margarita Shot Bloks to keep the muscle cramps away, but apparently they weren't settling well. I slowed down for about a 1/2 mile and they finally went away. Lap 2 I really picked up the pace and then I started catching guys that were actually running. I started thinking I was nearing the top 10 in my AG at this point. Then with about 1/2 mile to go I see a guy that is really moving and so I put in another gear and went by him with authority. I ended up crossing the line in 2:23:00, 6th place in my AG and 35th overall. I missed the podium (once again) by one spot.

Just finding out I missed the podium by one spot!
As soon as I finished I had no idea what place I got. I found Amy and I was instantly bummed. I know I blew the swim. Even Amy said I was out of the water WAY later then she was expecting. I checked the results and was very surprised I was 6th. It was a huge sign of relief that I managed to bike and run my way back into the race. After checking it out later, I was actually 53rd out of the water so I had to pass 47 guys in my AG alone just to get 6th. If I would have just swam the same pace as I did in the San Diego Int'l it would have moved me up to 3rd place. Oh well, would've, could've....I know I need to work on siting in open water. I actually feel like my technique in swimming has gotten a lot better and I'm faster...I just need to learn to swim straight in the open water. Practice, practice.

May have thrown up in my mouth a bit...
We hit up the beer garden where they were serving up Stone IPA, Mimosa's and Wine and even better, it was all you can drink! My first beer was a bit rough and I thought I might puke...As Amy got a shot of that. How do you fix that? Drink more! After a few more, I felt great and meeting new people was fun and the disappointment of my swim faded away, only to make me hungry to get better. I think what motivates me most to get better at swimming is just so I can race with others! Every triathlon I've done, I've just had to make up for the swim. I've never really raced anyone - except for that mysterious Hincapie guy! That's what I always liked about racing and I just haven't had that yet. Once I'm able to get out of the water with the lead group, I'll finally be able to race, mix it up and actually push myself. It's hard to push yourself so hard when you're just passing hundreds of people - racing nothing but the clock.

Again, this was a learning experience for me and a good kick in the @ss for me to get in the open water more. Soma Triathlon is next month and I think I'll shine a lot more there. Mostly because you have a lot more time to make up for a bad swim! It's going to be fun to actually race the bike longer and on a flat course. All of the triathlons I've done this year just have mega climbing. Soma is flat, so we'll see what I can do there. Can't wait!

Some more pics from the weekend:


Enjoying drinks before 10am!

Just finding out transition is another mile and a half away (shoes already off)


Lap 1

Kicking it in to the finish

Fun race!

My boy already earning medals!

Pumped to Race

On the way up to Palomar again. The never-ending climb!
It's strange how much you mature mentally (at least for most people) as you get older. When I was running competitively basically until I was 22 I had such a different mind set when it came to training/racing. I basically trained and raced scared. This meant training WAY harder than I should have been and racing with WAY more nerves then I should have had. I had always put so much pressure on myself to preform well and a lot of times it back fired. I always raced best when I was confident and relaxed. I think it's healthy to be a bit nervous for a race because it can get that adrenaline going, but that deep down nervousness is when it can deter your performance. The kind that stirs your GI tract, drys your mouth and just zaps your energy. Some times it would happen for the whole week for me leading up to the race so by the time it came around, I was done before the race even started!

My 2 favorite kids! Scarlett decided
to dress up the two
Fast forward 10 years and I can really put things into perspective now. Back then running was my life, now triathlon is just a hobby. I have a wife, 2 kids a mortgage and a career - these are the important things. On the flip side, I have found it is impossible for me to do something without giving it my all. And that's why any spare chance I get, I train. Any opportunity I get to race - I race. The only difference is, this time when I go into a race - I have fun and that's what it is all about. Racing is the reward for all of those countless hours of training! There's no reason to get nervous anymore. I have a beautiful, healthy family and racing is what I get to do to go out and play. Most people don't understand how I have time and money to train & race. So how do I?

I don't eat out, I don't go to bars, I don't go to movies, I don't drink Starbucks, I don't stay up late, I don't watch TV, I don't go to punk rock shows anymore, I don't home-brew anymore (sad I know), and I don't play guitar anymore.

All I do in my spare time is spend it with my family, train and race. I have found that everything I mentioned was either taking away time from what I really love to do or taking away money that wasn't a necessity. Now, don't get me wrong - I cheat from time to time (all about balance)-but it makes it a special treat (a word my daughter loves to use) instead of a weekly habit. I'm not even saying this is the way other triathletes should live their lives, this is just the way I do it and with my responsibilities - this is the only way that would work both in time and financially.

The ride up Palomar gave us some heavy rain and even
some hail. Love this ride!
This Saturday is the San Diego Triathlon Classic. It's an Olympic Distance (1500 meter swim, 24.8 mile bike, 6.2 mile run). Although I did this distance once before at Xterra Western Championships it's apples and oranges in comparison to this road race. Although this course is hilly, it is nothing compared to the hills I tackled on the mountain bike in Vegas. I'm really pumped and for the first time this year I go into a race without any nagging injuries. I feel stronger than I ever have on the bike and swim and although my running has been neglected a bit since AFC - I know it will be there for me at the end of the race. My wave goes off at 6:54am down at Liberty Station where the race will take place for the most part. My AG is in the blue swim caps. If you're in the area, come by - Amy and I are going to get brunch after the race. Hit me up on my cell if you know me and if you don't and you just read this blog, find me and come join us! I really have no idea who reads this blog. I see my counter go up each week - so I guess people are reading it. Hope it's entertaining or even motivating to get out and train. Even if it's just my wife that reads this thing, I'm glad to have a training log for future reference and something to show my kids eventually.

Speaking of training, stats from last week:

Swim: 2hrs 0 mins (4,500 yards) weak.
Bike: 8hr 36 mins (142 miles) 13,421 ft of climbing
Run: 2hr 10 mins (18 miles) also weak.

Total: 12hr 46 mins

What was setting up to be a big week (with Labor Day in there), it ended up being pretty mild. I had to take two days off because of other responsibilities, but overall - still a solid week.

Thanks for reading!

Labor Day Training

Lots of grilling over the weekend
It's seems like its been awhile since I've had a three day weekend, so I took it as an opportunity to get some solid training in. We had something going on each day with family/friends - so I made sure to get out early and get in the miles. I put in four days of swimming too, which I'd never done before. I made a commitment to myself to get in the pool 4-5 times a week. My priorities over my first year of training for triathlon have always been: 1. Run 2. Bike 3. Swim. Because of this, my swim has not really improved a whole lot. I was only getting in the water 2-3 times a week, getting lazy with drills and just didn't strive to improve. Change is on the way. They are actually in reverse order for now. Swimming is definitely my limiter so I'm really focusing now in the water. Taking it way more serious. If I can't make time for a workout, I make sure it's a run I miss - not a swim or even a bike for that matter.

Right now as I prepare to race the San Diego Triathlon Classic I come in very confident on the bike and run, but not so much on the swim. It's because I've put in the work on the bike and run - I'm hitting workouts that tell me I'm prepared, but I haven't given swimming the same kind of attention. That's why I'm committing to 10,000 meters a week (6.2 miles) and then that will bump up to 15k then maybe even 20k come next year. It's not even that I want to become a FAST swimmer, I mostly just want to be able to get away with a decent swim but come out of the water FRESH. Every triathlon I've done so far, I come out of the water exhausted - in Vegas I was even cramping already! This takes away from all those hours I've trained on the bike. So becoming efficient in the water is key for me.

Stats for last week:

Swim: 3hr 45 mins (8,700 yards)
Bike: 6hr 30 mins (117 miles)
Run: 3hr 22 mins (24 miles)

Total: 13hr 37 mins

LOVE riding in wine country
I guess the highlighted workout of the week would have to be the 61 mile bike ride w/3X10 min intervals that I did on Saturday. I met up with the Temecula Valley TRI club at 7 and headed out towards wine country. Scott and I eventually split off of the group at around 15 miles and then after some climbing and descending we decided to hit the intervals. There's a long stretch out near Diamond Valley Lake (Domenigoni Pkwy) that is great for flat intervals. Temecula is very hilly so its not too often that I can get a long flat straight away were you can just let it go. There's a huge shoulder, lots of cyclists and lots of wind. So you can easily just get going, find your next target and pick people off. So much fun. Of course we had a headwind. It seems like no matter what part of the day it is, you're always into a headwind in Temecula. But I look at it in a positive way. Only makes you stronger!

Ride data
We took off for our first 10 minute interval and immediately my legs were feeling good. So I just went off of feel. I tried to imagine being in a race. Just staying calm, powerful, effortless. I averaged 26.2 mph and covered 4 miles exactly. We took a little over 6 min recovery and hit it again this time I hit 24.9 and was feeling great. We recovered for about 2 minutes when a cyclist we had passed earlier came up on us and passed us. For some reason I couldn't let him go, so we jumped on him and he pulled us for about 2 minutes before he bowed out. We kind of did another interval during that time cause we did 7.5 mins in 25.2mph and then I jumped right into the next one and pulled another 25.7 for 4 miles. It was great to see how effortless they were. My cycling has come a long way since San Diego International and I'm excited to see what I can do on the hilly bike course there. I picked this race over the TRI Rock because it's a big one. Last year 2010's Ironman World Champion Chris McCormack won the race so it usually draws some good talent and a larger field then the TRI Rock. By the way, if you haven't read "I'm here to Win" by Chris McCormack, I suggest you do so. Great stuff. I have the audio book if you want to borrow it. Better yet, buy it and support him -he's a great asset to the sport.

Labor day was capped off with another ride up Palomar and back, which I'll get to in my next post. It was a great week of training and this week is setting up to be my biggest week ever! (15+hrs). I plan on training through my race which is on the 17th with bigger plans of peaking and nailing my first 70.3 at the Soma Triathlon next month. Can't believe the season is almost over. Not gonna lie, I'm a little envious of all of the athletes hitting up the 70.3 World Champs at Vegas this weekend and then Kona next month. Trust me, this is fueling the fire for my big plans next year. After talking to my wife and figuring out timing/scheduling, I am all in next year! Big training goals and big racing plans. I will share more as it all develops, exciting!