Fun in the Sun

Well I've logged 200+ miles on the bike each of the last two weeks and have swam between 13 and 16k yards in the pool -with most of it Masters sessions...Oh yea, and I've done a little running too. To say training has been going well leading up to SOMA would be an understatement. I've felt amazing this past month and I can't wait to finally race again. Santa Barbara seemed so long ago and SOMA seems so far away! I've thought about jumping in some local sprints or cross country races but training is going so well - I'm more inclined to just keep banking these huge weeks and reap the benefits at SOMA. For those of you that don't know SOMA, it's a 70.3 held in Tempe, AZ. I did it last year as my first 70.3 and actually DNF'd with only one lap to go on the run. I got a bitter taste in my mouth after that race and I promised myself that I'd be back again this year with a little redemption. I train/race so much better angry so the fact that I have that DNF and the fact that I didn't qualify for World Championships has me going into this race fuming. I know I belonged at WC's and as much fun as it was to watch my Wattie teammates crush it there - I wanted to be racing. I just made rookie mistakes this year. 1. Putting all of my eggs in one basket (Oceanside). It was such an early race and I just figured I'd qualify. My fitness and my experience were not ready to race well that early. 2. Signing up for Wildflower instead of another Ironman qualifier. As much fun as I had at Wildflower it drains you before you even get to the starting line and it has no meaning (other then fun). 3. Not getting into Vineman. My buddy and I already had the trip planned. Go in for a 3 hour meeting the morning of sign up, get online - sold out! Get on waiting list...I was the 3 person NOT to get in...

So I'm definitely not one for excuses and I'm not using these as excuses. Just admitting my mistakes. I'm not sure I would have qualified at Vineman, hard to say. Now if I were to race Vineman right now....yes, without a doubt I would. Fitness is off the charts. Even though, again -SOMA doesn't count for anything for qualifying next year, I'm going to finally prove to myself that I can race long course. I already proved it a bit at Santa Barbara but now I'm going in with a swim that won't be embarassing!

For those of you that are not friends with me on twitter or facebook, I did a video with EZIA in Carlsbad. I did this the day after Encinitas Sprint triathlon back in May. I didn't really know what to expect when I walked in and then I see a full on studio with a camera crew and huge expensive looking cameras. I threw on my Wattie Ink kit and did the exercises for the first time on camera. I had done quite a bit of these when I used to go to Rehab United so they weren't completely foreign to me but doing them sore after racing wasn't the easiest thing to do. EZIA has an amazing facility, amazing staff and I was really lucky to do it. Before you watch it, first things first. I consider myself to be very humble. My friends/family know that the only time I talk about myself is on this blog or if I'm asked to. In the beginning of the video I was introduced as a "professional triathlete." I did not tell EZIA that I was a professional triathlete. I think they assumed I was and did not ask - so it's not their fault. I don't pretend to be one and I don't take that word lightly. AG'ers work their but off for years to get that title/prestige so please don't think I'm "one of those guys..."
Here it is: 

Triathlon Training at EZIA Human Performance from EZIA Human Performance on Vimeo.

Here's a few pictures from the weekend which includes a big day up Palomar with fellow Champion Factory teamate Andrew Callaway (who won overall amateur at SD Tri Classic). After the big Saturday we hit up Lake Hodges for a 2 hr trail run with our coach. Great weekend of training and I'm stoked to find a great training partner who will also be blowing away the field at SOMA! Thanks for reading!

Some HD shots from the video shoot

Andrew and I up top of Palomar
Getting my super angry hesh music ready for the main climb...

Stole this from Walsh. Descending Raptor Ridge, Lake Hodges
Baby girl turned 4
She's got a lot of personality!

Societe Brewing Co. 1st time, not bad
Prefontaine's first sub 4 minute mile. He was a big source of
inspiration for me through HS and college. He ran 3:57.4 here.
I tried for 4 years to break 4mins. Came up 4 seconds shy. The mile is no joke.
Now I run for something else...

Going Big...

Working and recovering
Lots of big things happening lately. Working from home, getting into Masters three days a week, BIG rides, BIG weeks of training and getting more sleep which is allowing me to do all of the above better. About two weeks ago my boss gave me the OK to work out of the house. For those of you that have read this blog for quite some time know that for the past three years I've commuted 2.5+ hours a day to San Diego and back. This obviously took its toll on my energy levels, my training and most importantly my family time. I've been at the same company for five years now and the fact that my boss trusts me to do the work makes me want to work even harder for him.  I can't tell you the impact it has had on my life. I've never really realized what kind of toll it took on me until I stopped. The biggest thing I've seen is my recovery process. Instead of the seven hours of sleep I've been getting for years, I'm now getting 8-9 and I wake up feeling refreshed and motivated to get the day of work and training done. I see my family more also which takes away that "guilt feeling" (even though Amy's never complained) for leaving hours on the weekends to jam training in. In a nutshell my life feels balanced again and I've become a happier person because of it. Stress is way down and I think I'm gonna see some BIG gains in fitness because of it...Oh wait, I already have!

My coach James, mentioned something to me that has really stuck since he said it. He said he's stoked to see me "experience training." I've never really thought of it that way before. Even after all of these years running and then a little bit of triathlon I've always looked at training as the stepping stone to doing what I love to But it doesn't have to be that way. You can have just as much or even more fun training if you get creative and get outside of your training bubble. So I've done that lately and it's been a lot of fun. If you've ever been to James' blog, he is the king of experiencing training and probably loves endurance sports more then anyone I know. It's inspiring. Here's what I've done lately...

Josh and I finishing up our big day in Snow Valley
It kind of all started with the ridiculous 150 mile ride from Santa Barbara to Huntington Beach, you can read about that ride HERE. Then from there I rode a crazy 6-8kft of climbing ride up in Big Bear, ran single track and swam in Snow Valley with a buddy which was totally surreal. The views I saw, the crazy 30%?!! grade that I barely made up will be a day that I never forget, thanks Josh! Then I hit up a 90 minute trail run in Vail. The first 30 minutes I did it with my buddy Stephane and we hit up some unexplored trails out there and ended up in Bushwhacking territory. It was awesome. It made it fun and different - "experiencing training." The rest of the run I did solo and it was a super windy/stormy day, but Vail never got rained on. It was dark, wind was howling, lightning in the background and just me and my feet making noise in the sand. I think I smiled the whole run.
Massi, ready to kill it at Leadman Bend!
Then this last week, I made another trip out to Huntington Beach to try and escape this crazy heat wave we've had and rode 80 miles with Massi. He's in taper mode, so he was feeling really good and I was polishing off my biggest week ever...Great. I actually felt fine until about 30 minutes left of that ride. I ran out of water and hadn't been drinking enough in that heat and ended up getting pretty nascous and even started cramping a bit once we got back. Chris got a good laugh out of that (as did I). On my way home I crammed as much fluids as I could and by the time I got home I showered, ate and drank some more - then CRASHED! Although I was flirting with heat exhaustion, I was pretty stoked that I got through that - and it's only going to make me tougher (and smarter!).

Now for the biggest game changer. I finally got into a Masters program. As much as I wanted to and tried to make it work, I could never fit in Masters swimming into my schedule. It's been impossible until now. I have always been so confused why I am so slow in the water. I felt like I always pushed myself and always swam 3-5 days a week consistently but never really saw too many solid results in the water. Now I know why! Masters is insane! I've never swam this hard or this long before. There's like 5 people in my lane so I'm always swimming scared (to not slow them down) and there are zero shortcuts on extra rest. Some of the best triathletes in Temecula Valley swim at this Masters so I know I'm in the right place. Can't wait to finally knock out a good swim in Soma. In the short two weeks I've done Masters, I've seen a significant gain in swimming fitness and confidence. Now if I could only move my arms when I run now....

Not really sure what's up for racing for now. I might jump into an 8k Cross Country race this Saturday even though this will be my first 21 hour week...should be interesting. All I'm signed up for is SOMA at this point and it has been my targeted "A race" since I didn't get into Vineman which took me out of even qualifying for WC's.

Until next week! Here's a few pics from the past few weekends...

Wife making homemade everything lately...but in this case it was
extra special because it was Frozen Yogurt!
Riding a lot of my easy days through the Vineyards
View atop one of the crazy peaks we did in Big Bear, breathtaking!
One FIT hummingbird
Celebrating big training days with some good beer
Tried and True recovery method...

Hosted a Running Clinic - we had a great turnout, stoked!

Also hosted "Stein Holding" contests at work
golf tournaments...they didn't tee off very well.
Been getting to spend more time with this guy...
And this one...Here's an early bday present thanks to family.
She's turning 4 next week :(

Zipfizz Product Review

So I had another huge day of training Saturday - one that I'll never forget, but I'll get to that in next week's post. This week I want to tell you all about Zipfizz. Zipfizz contacted me weeks back and asked if I wanted to do a product review on their "Healthy Energy" drink supplement. I obliged and over the past few weeks I've been doing different things with it. I'd load up on it before a big training day, I'd recover with it after a different training day and one time I even used it DURING a ride. I really wanted to see where Zipfizz fit in with my busy and demanding workout schedule. The answer? It fit in during everything I did and was really impressed with the product.

Zipfizz comes in easy to carry vials so it's really simple to slip in your cycling jersey or throw in your workout bag. The best part about it though?? It has caffeine. Ahhh, yes - my favorite legal drug out there...besides maybe endorphins. But why not combine the two? Enter caffeine powered endorphins! Just combine 16-20 fluid ounces of water with each vial and enjoy all of the different flavors they have to offer. I know every one's tastes are different, but I must admit that Zipfizz tastes better then Nunn. Nunn reminds me too much of that Emergen-C stuff and although I really like some of their flavors, not every one of them is a hit with me. Zipfizz? I like all five flavors they sent me, especially grape. I thought I was a kid again, it tasted like Grape Bubblicous! There's a huge difference between this and the gum however, there's zero sugar and only 10 calories. And it has caffeine...

My breakdown of the TIMING of use:

Before a workout: I usually slammed one when I was super tired and UN-motivated to get the work done. Usually 20 minutes before I'll sip it down and before I knew it I went from slow and mopey to all smiles and fast! Seriously. Not exaggerating here. Feel sorry for people that don't use caffeine to their advantage.

During a workout: I used Zipfizz during my LONG workout days. So my typical Saturday I'll get in an hour in the pool, come back - have some breakfast then I head out on my 4 hour ride. About half way through my ride I start getting a little case of the grumpies. I'm tired, it's hot, I'm riding solo again...whatever. I reach around my cycling jersey and pull out the glorious vial of gold (imagine it glowing as I pull it out). I just pop it in my empty water bottle, fill it up with the water fountain -why spend $3.00 on a nasty Gatorade? Then I slowly nurse that bottle of gold for the remainder of my ride and before you know it the ride is done and I'm ready for a quick transition to my run. Zipfizz has saved me a few times from the dreaded BONK.

Post workout: I also experimented with Zipfizz post workout. See above workout with zero Zipfizz. Without fail about an hour after I shower, eat and start recovering from my workout, I start to doze off (just ask my wife). The problem is, I don't have any stinking time for naps! I'm a husband with two kids and a mortgage. There are things to do around the house! There are kids to play with! There is a wife to hang out with and talk to! No time to be a deadbeat triathlon dad. This is where Zipfizz comes in. "Aren't you taking a nap?" Asks my wife..."Whaa? Why?" I'm just getting in better shape hun, no need for those silly naps. You see, my body has become a well tuned machine and I have "adapted" to the workload, can I mow the lawn??" She rolls her eyes and I finish slamming down the rest of the secret sauce of Zipfizz. Wife happy, kids happy....although I may be passed out at 8:30pm on a Saturday night...

Here's the nutritional breakdown:

9 VITAMINS: vitamins C, E, all the Bs, and folate
8 MINERALS: potassium, magnesium, calcium, zinc, selenium, manganese, chromium, sodium
ELECTROLYTES: magnesium, potassium
AMINO ACIDS: arginine, taurine
ANTIOXIDANTS: green tea extract, vitamins C and E
THE 4 G’S: Grape seed extract, Ginger, Green tea and Ginseng

Click the link below to buy online or learn where to buy it in the store!

Highly recommend it.

Make sure to grab the easy to use shaker. It also allows you to water
it down a bit if you like your drinks that way like me (unless we're talking beer).

Ride of my Life

So it's not saying much since I've only been cycling for two years - but this indeed was the ride of my life! A few weeks ago my coach James Walsh and Wattie teammate Chris Masilon talked me into jumping in on a 150 mile ride from Santa Barbara to Huntington Beach. The plan was to take the train up there, stay the night and the next morning make the ride down. 150 miles? The longest I'd ever ridden to this point was 80 miles! However, I knew I was fit on the bike and I can suffer with the best of them so I just took up the challenge and embraced it.

Massi. Dude can ride!
Friday I had a half day at work so I rolled up to Huntington Beach to meet up with Chris at his pad. Something came up for James and he was unable to make it - so it was just Chris and I and then Dusty Nabor (another Wattie teammate) was going to meet us the next morning in SB and ride with us half way. I kind of didn't know what to expect. Chris is one of the (if not, thee) fastest cyclist on our team and Dusty is right up there as well. Freaking fast dudes. I kept joking with Chris that if he rides me into the ground we were going to do a tempo brick run at the end...yea right. Friday evening came quick and we casually rode 18 miles to the train station (averaging 22mph) to ensure we got there in time for a few beers before boarding the train. Jeez, what the hell did I get myself into??

We boarded the train and to our surprise they had a bar, stocked with Stone IPA's and Arrogant Bastards. Our kinda train! The ride went by quick and before we knew it we got off and headed to our hotel. After some grub and plenty of beers we crashed for the night for an early wake up call and a long day ahead of us...

The Crew ready to embark.
 We met up with Dusty at Starbucks who was rocking the brand new Wattie Ink 454 Tattoo IREZUMI Urban Assault Race Kit  - looks bad ass! After some breakfast and coffee we were on our way. It was a gorgeous day. Seriously, couldn't have had better weather for a long ride. I told Chris from the get go that he's going to have to do most of the pulling because I just had no idea how I would handle this kind of load. I didn't want to blow up and slow us down. So Dusty and Chris took some turns pulling and there was no better place I wanted be then flying down the PCH between 25-32mph with good company and some of the most beautiful views I've ever seen in SoCal.

Ride breakdown:

-We hit 62 miles in 2:57 (avg 21mph)
-Dusty pulled off somewhere in here
-We hit 84 in 4 hrs flat (avg 21 mph)
-Lunch at Santa Monica Pier
-Then our average went to crap as we had to navigate on the boardwalk for the next hr+.
-Right around 100 miles we started some climbing through Palos Verdes (one of my favorite parts of the ride - absolutely breathtaking)
-After hitting 112 miles (Ironman distance) I asked myself if I could throw down a mean marathon time. The answer was yes.
-After descending down into Long Beach, it was just a bunch of stop and go - which I'm not used to. Chris is an animal because we'd stop - get back up over 20mph and then stop again at the next light. Repeat this like 50 times....This was probably the toughest part of the ride for me. Just not used to all of the stopping.
-One last stop, one last Coke and we flew back into Huntington.

Final ride stats: 7hrs 39 minutes, 150 miles flat, 5,557ft of climbing - averaged 19.5mph into a headwind all day believe it or not!

-Thanks to The Bike Shop for dialing in my bike.
-Thanks to ism Saddles for getting me through the huge day with no numbing or saddle sores!
-Thanks to Rudy Project for protecting my eyes and my head!
-Thanks to FLUID for the fuel.
-Thanks to Wattie Ink for the support and making us look good! Lots of compliments on the ride.
-Thanks to Chris and Dusty for letting me tag along

About 90 miles in eating lunch
at Santa Monica Pier
This ride was a big deal for me. If you would have told me I could have put up these numbers last week, I would have told you - you are crazy. James mentioned how long rides like these are more mental - and it is so true. Now let's get things straight here too - I did a lot of drafting (as mentioned before). I did some pulling but Chris did 80% of the work on the day. I learned a lot from him about riding hard. 95% of all of my rides are done solo and even though I push hard, your always going to push harder when riding with better riders (same goes with running and swimming). His riding style meshes with mine well too, because like myself he doesn't like taking breaks and he wants to keep the pace up throughout. It was a fun day and something I will always remember. Makes me want to do more big days like this. Big Sur might be next on the list...

The rest of Labor weekend was great. Spending some quality time with family. BBQ's, Beers, Games and of course a little bit of training. Life is good.

Few more pics from the weekend:

Chris let me borrow his wheel with a Powertap on it. Never used power before,
cool to see the results even though I don't really know what I'm looking at!
Pre ride breakfast/coffee.
Earned beers...On a New Belgium kick right now ever since
they sponsored the US Pro Challenge and had sweet commercials.
What can I say, I'm a marketing guy!
Tour de Fat is coming to San Diego, Sept 29th I believe
Enjoying last days of summer
Having fun with family...
And riding bikes.