San Diego International Triathlon RR

Well everything finally came all together. I got my first win of the year and argueably my first overall amatuer win which I'll get to later. As I said in my last post, this course suits my strengths really well and it showed. SDIT is a 1000 meter swim, 30k bike and 10k run down in San Diego. The swim course is a super calm and glassy (love) followed by a hilly bike course (+ love) and a really fast/flat run (+++love!). Perfect. Just need to execute and this time I did.

SDIT brings out a lot of local talent, which in my opinion - San Diego is a triathlon mecca so the local talent scale is super squewed! Last year I felt like I had a pretty good race and finished 6th in my age group, this year I came in with one more year's worth of experience and an arsenal behind me - Champion Factory Coaching and Wattie Ink. The combination of having elite coaching, Wattie team mates to push me and the sponsors that come with it is huge. K-Swiss, KASK helmets, ism Saddles, Speedfill, Xtreme Endurance and LOOK pedals. I use all them, believe in them and have no doubt that they make me faster. Sure, gear and support can make you faster, but you have to put in the work and the right kind of work and James was a big part of that and my ridiculous 6/7 minute PR I had from last year. Here's how it went down:

The 60 mile check in...
First of all I must say as much as I love triathlon - there are a lot of things that drive me nuts about it. One of those is checking in...the day before...60 miles away...on a Saturday. It's like I had 2 races over the weekend. Packing all of your gear, rolling down for a 10 minute check-in, going over the course - next thing I know it's 2pm and I'm NOT spending time with my family. Lame. At least I had good company though. I rolled down with my buddy Ryan who was doing his first "real" triathlon. After doing a bunch of sprints and tri club races he finally entered into something longer and killed it with a 9th place in the same age group...and once again beat me out of the water! Next thing I know it's dinner time, Olympic Trials time, bed time only to be awaken by a 3:45am wake up call. ouch. Amy didn't want any part of that (I don't blame her) so I again, met up with Ryan and rolled down to the race arriving about an hour ahead of my race start.

After getting body marking and transistion set up I went on a quick run warm up and just knew I was going to have a killer race. My legs were just bouncing and begging to hammer. We absolutely nailed my taper this race - which is soo different for everyone. I pretty much kept my workouts the same (no changes) and then gave myself  2 days of recovery. Perfect. I had a short chat with James where he confirmed with me what I was thinking all along, this race is mine for the taking.

Before I dive into the race/splits, my timing chip did not function properly - so on the results, no, I didn't swim 19 mins and run a 14min 10k..ha. The good news is I came out just behind my buddy in the swim, timed my 10k run and got my "REAL" finishing time at the end so I can guestimate pretty good what my splits were.

Swim start
Swim: 1000 meters, 14:50ish (1:21/100yd)

The goal for the swim was to line up in the front and swim as hard as I can for the first 200-300 meters or so. I've never really done that before, but this time I was confident with my recent swim progress so I just let it rip at the gun. To my suprise I looked up about 200 meters in and there were only about 5 swimmers ahead of me. One of them being my super fast swimming buddy, David Lipke who I'll get to later... I just kept swimming hard and then right around the turn around reality hit and I started to tire. Just then I run right into my "swimming nemeisis" Ryan at the last turn around and it was deja vu all over again as he pulled away as soon as he saw me. My sighting/swimming straight skills were a lot better for this race. I was able to draft a bit and navigate the course pretty flawless until the last 50 meters where I start b-lining it to shore only to run right smack into the paddleboarder yelling at me to go around the last red buoy. At least I wasn't the only one, Wattie team mate Chris Masilon did the same thing! Oh well, probably only about 15 seconds lost there.  As I made a b-line to my transistion I saw Ryan enter his rack about 15-20 seconds ahead of me, hence my "time." This is a 2 minute improvement from last year's swim and a 25 second 1000 meter PR. The swim put me in right around 16-17th place entering the bike

T1: 1:30ish

Not sure if I was that quick, but I'm giving myself quicker T times and slower race splits in case they actually correct the results! I know I was pretty quick, in and out. I actually put on my shoes this time. I had great success doing it that way in Encinitas and I feel at this point I can clip in a lot faster than riding on my shoes and slowly putting them on.

For some reason this pic cracks me up.
I look so tiny and fragile...and hurting!
Bike: 30k (18.6 miles), 44:50ish (24.9 mph)

I am convinced that this course is more fast then it is slow. There are a lot of hills and rollers, but there is also downhill to match those. You are pretty much either going up or down - a lot of fun. I pretty much went all out the entire ride. I probably only took 3 breaks from pedaling and that was at the beginning of a downhill to sneak in some FLUID nutrition. I passed a ton of people and was only passed by one guy (a pro) who was starting his second lap. I paced off of him (legally) for that first lap and he really pushed me faster then I was comfortable with which worked out great. As I made my way on the last mile stretch home I was kind of wondering if I threw my race away on that bike course. I was hurting. I am very pleased with the effort and as much as I'm happy about my run, I'm most happy about the bike. I've been working really hard and I really think that my bike fitness in coming into fruitition.

T2: 1:00ish

Sprinted to my rack to find a pretty empty one, threw on my K-Swiss Blade Lights, threw on my Garmin, grabbed a gel and I was outta there. As soon as I hit start on my Garmin I instantly hit that "zone."

Towards the finish. Thanks Masi for pic and kind words!
Run: 10k (6.2 miles), 34:47 (5:37 pace)

Leaving T2, I had a feeling I was probably top 5. I was looking for my buddy David Lipke the entire ride but never saw him. At the mile mark I hit 5:37 and James was there and said everyone is just up ahead. At that point I knew the race was for my taking so I picked it up to 5:30 for mile 2 where I saw Lipke running the opposite way and he was a little further than I thought he'd be. He's a strong runner so I knew it was going to take a big effort to reach him. So I started throwing down sub 5:30's for the next 2 miles. I slowly gained on him each mile, passed a few guys from my age group and then with about a 1 1/2 to go I came with in about 20 meters to him. I was pretty gassed from doing work, so I gathered myself a bit and then went by as hard as I could so he wouldn't come with me. It worked and with one more mile to go I tried to pick it up even more and then had another deja vu incident from last year. I got those dreaded cramps right above my knee again. Same exact spot as last year where I had to hobble the last mile in. I got a little worried and kept just slapping and punching them to try and get them through that last mile. I ended up running my slowest mile of the day (5:47) then altered my form a bit to get through that last part of the race. I looked around behind me to make sure Lipke was no were to be seen and I was relieved because I was hurting! I came up on my team mate Chris and then headed to the finish. I was looking around for anybody in my AG and didn't see anyone. James was there and said he didn't see anyone, Lipke came in and said I won it and I was pretty stoked.

When I crossed the line the clock read 1:47:02 which I couldn't believe because that put me at 1:37:02 (my wave started 10 minutes after the pro's). I knew it was a huge PR from the year before (1:44 I believe). It feels good to win a race in my age group and even if I was the overall amatuer it's pretty cool, but it's still not totally satisfying becuase there where pro's and "elites" that still beat me. Even though I beat a handful of those pros/elites I still have a lot of work to do to get where I know I'm capable of. After gathering myself I went over to the results and noticed they didn't even have me on there. Whaa?? I figured they just screwed up so I went over to the results table just to make sure I was counted. They couldn't find me and my chip didn't register...Figures...the one race I win. They did however handwrite all of the numbers that came through the finish in order. So what they did was take whoever finished ahead of me (in real time) and the who was behind me and gave me the time in the middle which ended up being 1:38 and change after factoring in wave starts (way too confusing). I was bummed because I worked hard for that extra minute but whatever, a win is a win and I'll take it. Afterwards I hung out with friends and team mates. Heather Jackson won an epic showdown against Leslie Paterson both racing as Wattie Pro's. It was a fun race and I'll definitely be doing it again next year.

Where do I go from here? Dunno. I've been pretty strapped for cash so traveling outside of here to try and get an Ironman 70.3 World Championship qualifier is out of the question. It sucks because I really feel like my fitness is where it needs to be now to kick out a good one, but I'll just have to stay local and chase that dream next year. Next up for sure is a huge 10k that happens everywhere in San Diego, the Scripps Ranch 4th of July 10k. I've been doing this race since I was like 14 and everyone that runs in San Diego, makes this a part of their 4th of July festivities. It's flat and fast, just the way I like it. The beer garden and the talent runs deep in this one though. I plan on shooting for a 32:xx 10k and that will barely get me in the top 10! I'm pretty confident I can nail a sub 33 especially after this race. I ruined myself on that bike and I still kicked out a good one, so we'll see. We'll see how I recover too, I am more sore than I was for Oceanside and Wildflower combined!

I would also like to thank my wife for nuturing this passion of mine and my personal sponsors: The Bike Shop. Hands down I wouldn't have any of the success I've had so far if it wasn't for Rick at The Bike Shop. Thank you for loaning me some fast wheels and doing all that you do! Xterra Westsuits for a big PR swim, SportMulti for keeping me heathly. Ever since I started "double-dosing" I haven't been sick (knock on wood), Rudy Project sunglasses - MONEY!, FLUID nutrition for keeping me hydrated and caffeinated and H20 Audio for keeping my long days of working out entertaining regardless of the conditions!

Some more pics from the weekend, thanks for reading!

Eating clean: Grilled Wild Alaskan salmon w/Quinoa
and a salad from our garden
Kicking it pain but doing it the wrong way.
Relaxed face = Relaxed body = Faster...not so much here.
Me, Massi and Wattie
Then us with the champ, Heather Jackson

BBQ in full force this summer

And of course, lots of beer and Olympic Trials
going on at this house. Cheers!

SDIT on tap

Well it's race week and I'm very excited to see what I can do Sunday. The San Diego International Triathlon is a 1000 meter swim, 30k (18.6 mile) bike and a 10k (6.2 mile) run. It suits my strengths really well with it being a shorter swim, a hilly bike ride and a flat/fast run. Last year I did fairly well considering how new I was to the sport and the lack of training I had behind me. This year I go in with Champion Factory coaching behind me, a Wattie team of support and an awesome Bike Shop dialing in my bike. I'm healthy, swimming, riding and running better than I ever have and I can't wait to toe the line. Here's a little update on how training in each discipline has been going:

Vail lake
The Swim: Every Monday for the past month I've been able to jump into Vail lake with the Temecula Valley Tri Club and it's down wonders for my swim. I'm swimming straight, sighting well and learning how to swim in packs. All of these have been great weaknesses of mine over the past year and I'm hoping to see some of the fruits of my labor this weekend. The water is 70 degrees in the most beautiful time of day in Temecula with the sun glistening off of the water, lungs breathing in fresh air - no other place I'd rather be. When you are in a huge body of water like that surrounded by beauty - it makes you feel alive. There's an island half way across the lake that we swim around which ends up being ~1.2 miles. Often times the winds pick up and it gets real choppy - and other times it's real calm - perfect open water training and it's become hands down my favorite workout of the week lately.

The Bike: There were a few months there where I was a little down on my bike fitness. Not just mentally but physically also. I felt so strong in the beginning of the year and then the fitness seemed to just disappear along with my confidence. Those few months of sickness and little injuries really set me back on the bike until finally about a month ago I was able to get consistent workouts again. Now I feel stronger than I ever have before and the cool thing about gadgets is that you can prove it! One thing I discovered over the weekend was Strava. Like most of you, I had heard of it before but the last thing I needed was something else to take up my time. Let me tell you, it's worth it! In a nutshell you basically download your ride (or run) data just like you would at Garminconnect - but it takes segments of your rides and compares them to other riders in the area. Basically all of the major climbs/sprints in your area. It allows you to see how you stack up against others, find/meet riders in your area, find climbs you never knew about AND allows you to see your progression over the years. Set PR's, become the King (or queen) of the mountain, place top 10...etc. Check it out and follow along with me. As far as rides go, I was able to roll down last Saturday for a Champion Factory team ride. Tons of talent -pros, former pros, weekend warriors and my coach James Walsh who lead up the ride. Three flats later, we ended up riding 4+ hours and climbed over 4,500ft. I've actually never ridden in a group of more than 5, so the big group made it fun and the time flew by quickly.

The Run: My run has definitely taken back seat in my mind. It was always the most important thing to me when I first started triathlon. Then I realized that I needed to focus more on my weaknesses. Even doing so, I've seen improvements in my run. Most of it is just getting to the run not so exhausted from swimming and biking. So in reality, getting faster in those two sports has made me a better runner. Biggest improvements I've been seeing is being able to hit my 10k pace immediately off of the bike. We'll see how that fairs this weekend.

Best part of last week? Spending time with my family on fathers day. My wife and kids mean the world to me and they made me feel extra special on fathers day. Watching my kids get older is an amazing thing. I see myself and my wife in both of them. It's almost like we are re-living our childhood all over again with them. Not LIVING our lives through them (like some parents do..ha) but just seeing them experience so many things for the first time is special. It's not to often that you are looked as a hero when you spend $2 dollars to get them an ice cream for the first time from the ice cream truck. It's such a special time to be a dad when the kids are this age. I'm not taking even one day for granted that I have with them and I couldn't be happier to experience it all with the love of my life. Thank you for an awesome day!

Best fathers day gift ever!
3 days in a row of Stone...Saturday it was growler time
with a special growler fill of Stone IPA Double Dry hopped w/Chinook
A beer (or 2) w/an old friend on Friday at the Gardens.
Stone/Bear Republic/Fat Head Collaboration

The "Will"

Still trying to get back to the regular Tuesday blog posts but have been really busy at work and have been working straight through lunch lately. For those of you that have no idea what I do at work - I am the Director of Marketing for a commercial roofing contractor in San Diego. We do white reflective roofing systems along with solar panels for commercial/industrial buildings. So I handle all of the press releases, videos, articles, website, social media, trade shows, event planning...etc. Busy job. Tack on the two hours of commuting each day (add to that if I have events), throw in 12-18 hours of training, being a husband and father  - and my schedule is pretty maxed out. It makes the days fly by, but I wouldn't have it any other way...OK, if I could work from home I'd change that!

Often times people with busy schedules that want to train for triathlon use the excuse of not having the time for it. " too..." is my favorite response to that. Who ISN'T busy? All of those top guys/girls in your age group? Just as busy as you..maybe even more so. One of the single most beneficial ways to get more out of your day is to cut out the TV. As in cutting it out completely or controlling how much you watch. I wrote a bit about about this in a time management post I did years ago - since then Amy and I actually have TV again but we are so much more disciplined then we were prior to going on the hiatus and watch it more as a "treat" than as a habit.

The saying "if there is a will there is a way" is so true. However, often times that "will" needs to be fed with passion otherwise you'll often fail. When people are looking to workout to lose weight - there has to be a deeper meaning to it then just wanting to lose weight. Because you're going to get up early to workout for a month straight - and see that you didn't lose any (if little) amount of weight. Then you get discouraged, it's not fun and you quit. That's where the "will" comes in. Instead of wanting to lose weight so you look better, maybe it's so you are around for your grandkids or maybe if you're already fit and you want to get on that podium. Just finding that one thing that excites you to get up in the morning and put in the work is what's going to get you that consistency.

For myself, it's just the love of the sport. I've always loved running (except maybe when I was doing 100+ miles/wk) and I've grown to really love getting on my bike and swim (especially open water) which has become something I look forward to everyday. The endorphins feed my mind, the slight soreness reminds me that I'm working hard and the pain I feel in hard workouts reminds me that I'm alive! I love it and I feel so fortunate that I found the sport -it's really changed my life for the better.

Speaking of workouts, I'll highlight the workout of the week for me last week. My coach - who by the way killed it in his first ultra trail race placing 4th! He lined up a fun one for Saturday and it was the second time I did it. Last time was in February which I'll get to later. It went like this:

First of all I started the day with a 1000 meter swim time trial (sans wetsuit). I was very curious to see where I was because I know my swimming has elevated big time in the last few weeks. I ended up swimming 15:45 in a metered pool which comes out to 1:26/100yd, so I was stoked. After that I jumped right into 3 x (20 min tt bike, transition and then one mile race pace effort run) with ~15 minute recover ride in between before starting the next one. I did the same exact course as I did in February so I could compare the fitness I have gained since then...I'm definitely headed in the right direction. I picked a rolling course (~500ft of climbing and the Temecula wind) with a pretty tough hill half way through where I have to throw it in the small chain ring.

Here are my splits from February:

Bike 1: 7.5 bike (~20 mins) averaged 22.6mph
Run 1: 1 mile, 6:01

Bike 2: Averaged 22mph
Run 2: 6:00

Bike 3: Averaged 21.6mph
Run 3: 6:00

Here are my splits from Saturday:

Bike 1: 7.5 mile bike (~20 mins) averaged 22mph
Transition: 25 seconds
Run 1: 1 mile run - 5:28

12 min recovery ride

Bike 2: Averaged 22.5mph
Transition: 20 secs
Run 2: 5:17

13 min recovery ride

Bike 3: Averaged 22.2 mph
Transition: 21 seconds
Run: 5:17

The take away from this workout is that I'm getting more fit on the bike believe it or not. The hard efforts on the bike are allowing me to run harder. You can see my bike splits are almost identical to what they were in February, but I dropped 40 seconds off of my run splits! That is huge. No doubt my run has improved - but no where near 40 seconds/mile. That's all bike fitness. So I'm pleased with where James is leading me in my fitness.

One more thing...Be sure to check out the Wattie Ink Elite Team Fan Page. This team seriously crushed Ironman over the weekend in Boise, Kansas and Eagleman. We are talking #1 Overal amatuers, earning pro cards, and lots of podiums. INSANE!

As always I rewarded myself with some good brew! In this case I paired a great Vanilla Porter with some Ribs I threw on the grill. Cheers! Sorry for the lack of pictures this week.

Try it.

Consistency makes a happy triathlete

Cool LukeWein painting
One thing I've learned about my personality (and I know a lot of triathletes share the same thing) when it comes to endurance sports is the importance of consistency in training. It makes or breaks my mood, my quality of workouts and really, just the balance in my life. My college coach, Irv Ray (now UCR head coach) always harped on the importance of balance and how it is vital in your success as a runner; same applies to being a good triathlete. Triathlon is totally a lifestyle - you have to live the lifestyle if you want to get any good. Lifestyle as in what you eat/drink, what time you go to bed, what you choose to read, what friends you hang out with and what your energy goes into. If your passion is triathlon then you need to feed it with the proper lifestyle and surround yourself with things and people that will make you better. Once you have that lifestyle balance its all about consistency in training. I love a tweet that was sent out from a highly respected coach talking about the definition of insanity. (Paraphrased): "When it comes to triathlon training insanity is actually encouraged: Doing something over and over and expecting a different result." It really is about putting in the work day in and day out - miles and miles of doing the same thing (swim, bike, run) that will make you faster - and eventually will yield you better results!

For myself April and May were not so consistent. Sickness along with all of the racing I was doing really offset my training and I had weeks that my mileage/hours suffered for it. The consistency that I had November-March went away and my momentum kind of went with it. My strength in all three sports followed suite. So over the past few weeks I've been able to get back that consistency and routine. That balance. Once that started happening I started waking up looking forward to training, feeling better in workouts and ultimately getting faster! My attitude towards training and racing are now at an all time high just in time for the peak of triathlon season - Summer! I think the mental game is often overlooked in triathlon. Sure, you want to the body to be ready for the season, but is your mind ready for it? I finally feel that I'm in that place. I'm having fun, I'm healthy and I'm on waiting lists...ha.

Right now I'm on the waiting list for the San Diego International Triathlon which is an Olympic distance triathlon minus 500 meters from the swim. Perfect for me! ha. It really does suite me well. Some good climbs on the bike (30k) and a flat/fast 10k run. I did it last year and placed 6th in my AG and didn't really know what I was doing. As of today it looks like I'm going to get in that race after all, so I'm pumped to see what I can do. Then there's Ironman - Vineman 70.3 which is kind of a last chance to qualify for World Championships...I know, I know.... last post I mentioned I'm sticking with short course this year and that the stars would have to align perfectly for me to do one. Well they just might. Apparently with the exception of one year everyone on the wait list has got into the we'll see if I'll have a chance to race to my potential at that distance.

Training last week? Solid. Got in the pool 6 days (1 was just a soak/recovery day), ran a steady effort mile in 4:53 at the track followed by some 150's and then had a big day Saturday where I put in a long set at the pool and headed straight out for a 4hr ride which included 4x20 mins at LT pace. I had Hebebrand as company which was nice. There was some nasty winds and some good climbs during the intervals but I felt strong throughout. After wrapping up the ride, I headed out for a 6 mile run and called it a day. It was the first time I actually felt "strong" on a long day in quite awhile. Next morning I threw in a 12 mile run to top of the weekend of training.

Ride Stats
Sorry for the random post. Stoked to see I have had over 10,000 hits to the site, at least some people read this! I've never really asked a question on the site before, but I will now. I would appreciate comments via the blog or on facebook.

What topics do you like most reading about?

1. Training stats
2. Race Reports
3. Triathlon related topics (such as this consistency post)
4. Beer
5. Family/personal

I try and incorporate all 5, but was just curious if I should focus more attention on one or the other. I don't pretend to know it all, just having fun documenting my triathlon adventures and hopefully inspiring others to do something active and be happy :)

Just a few pics this week:

"Worked" a golf tournament Friday
Getting myself fired up for a long day of training w/sweet Bike Shop kit
Hot day of training = Hefe.