Game Time

Well the week is finally here. The fruit of all of my labor over the past several months will be exposed this weekend in Arizona at the Soma Triathlon. I'm definitely not putting pressure on myself to have this crazy fast race, I'm just excited to compete in my first 1/2 ironman. I really don't know what to expect, I've never raced over 4 hours before (unless you count my first marathon I did when I weighed in at 180 pounds!) but I'm glad I'll have one under my belt before I RACE Ironman CA next year. In the weeks leading up to the race, I've had some great quality days, but not as much quantity as I hoped for. The volume has creeped below 10 hrs the past 3 weeks now because of work and personal things but I still think I have a good 1/2 in me because of the months and months of good volume. It's in the bank, time to cash out!

Last weekend I decided to jump in the Dirt Dog Series Cougar Challenge 8k. It's a local cross country race that is open to both club teams and college teams. It was pretty weird lining up against both Cal State San Marcos and Cal Baptist (2 teams I ran for). I even chatted it up with a few guys that recognized me. It's good to see that Cal Baptist is actually starting to build a decent team again since they dropped the program back in 2003? Since the race was at Cal State I decided to bring my bike to the race and just ride home while Amy and the kids drove home. I had this idea last year but never went through with it. It's only 30 miles so I just figured it would be a good way to spin the legs out and cool down from the race.

Team BSK/Running Center/FLEXR

The gun went off and we sprinted out. I just smiled as we bumped and jostled into position. It totally took me back to my high school and college xcountry days. Although I'm definitely more of a track guy, I do have an appreciation for xcountry. All of the smells, sounds and even the pain associated with xcountry brings back great memories. As it is with most xcountry races, everyone went out really fast. I kinda just settled in the middle of the pack and kept my self in control by glancing at my Garmin occasionally. Because I'm racing this week, this race was more of just a "tune up" for Soma. I just wanted to open the legs up a bit, put in a solid 5k and see how I felt. I went through the first mile in 5:21 and felt amazing. It was a 3 lap course and I wanted to make sure I hit that first lap easy and then just cruise to 5k. Here were my splits:

5:33 (16:45 for 5k)

Shutting it down and having fun!
I hit 5k sub 17 which was my goal and then kinda just shut it down. I was feeling OK, but it was that part of the race where I would've had to really dig really deep and hammer for 2 miles for a good finish result/time. I opted to save it for this week, which I was glad I did. The point was to go out, get a good workout in and have fun. I still ended up going about 12 seconds faster than I did last year and placed 13th in the club race and was the 6th man on team BSK. We dominated and won the club race. After the race, I stretched a bit and then it was time to get on the bike and head out! I quickly ate a bagel, chugged some EFS and rolled out. I just took Twin Oaks Valley out to the 15 and just took the frontage roads (hwy 395) all the way home. There was some good climbing, but I felt really good and strong. I started picking up the pace a bit with about 10 miles to go and passed a big cycling team. As I went by, the guy that was leading the group broke off the group and got on my wheel. I guess the competitiveness got the best of me cause I started hammering. He stayed right on me for about 1 mile and then we hit a steep hill. I got out of the saddled and hammered even more. The power was there, I dropped him and felt very strong. I am ready for Soma. Bring it on!

Of course he wanted the biggest one!
The rest of the week was chill. That night, Amy and I hit Peltzer farms with the kids and some friends and then I was off to the Temecula Valley Tri club meeting/BBQ. Mike gave some great tips on swimming and John from The Bike Shop who is thee best mechanic gave some tips and info on upcoming 100 mile training rides. I'm excited to get in on some of those rides. Then, last night I had an amazing open water swim with my new Aqua Sphere Kayenne's. It's amazing how clear these goggles are. My last pair was so scratched up and worn out, I could hardly see out of them. Any little thing is going to help me in the 1.2 mile swim this weekend. After the swim, Mike hooked me up with his Zipp wheels for the race. He's going to let me borrow them for the weekend and I can't wait to see what kind of difference it will do in my bike split. From what I hear, it will take quite a few minutes off of my time. Thanks Mike!

We head out early Friday morning to AZ. I'm excited to see old friends, race and drink some well earned beers Sunday night. I'm going to teach my hi-tech wife how to twitter this weekend so that she can send out updates during my race on Sunday. Follow along and wish me luck!

Some more pics from the week:
Future track stars
Love having my family at the finish
Getting ready to head out after the race
Scarlett riding the pony w/mom
Little man is growing!
Scarlett in training


Charisa said...

James!! It was great to see you before SOMA. I'm sorry your day didn't go as planned. You have that FAST FAST race in you - keep at it!

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