Monday, December 14, 2009

2 down, lots more to come...

Two weeks down and feeling good. A little tightness in the right ankle from twisting it a few months back, but that still only bothers after a run and not during. I’ve had a few really good trailish runs, mostly through trails and some road running lately. Going through the local park over here it’s all downhill until it’s very, very much not. It’s about 2 miles to the mouth of the first trail that leads into the park system. You hit the first left and ‘that’s when the fun starts. My goal for the first two weeks was not to stop running until the first set of stairs, next week will be until the second.

Being all downhill for the first 2 miles is a great way to start the run, but of course with only one way in and out, what goes down, must come up. It’s a great course because you get a good hard faast pace to start off with then a good steady swift trail course to really concentrate on and pace yourself. Then you have the climb back out of there to really work the legs. The last two hundred yards climb about 40 feet through a soft switchback and pops you out at the trailhead and parking lot. I’m pretty positive that nothing glamourous has ever come running UP out that exit. It usually sounds something closer to Tom Waits wresting with a treadmill while trying to blow out birthday candles.

Nevertheless I head into that course knowing that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and all the other crap that goes along with that line of thinking. This last weekend I headed in after a pretty hard spin class and run the day before. I was looking for a good tired run to work on running through the tiredness and coming out the other end. First 3 miles I was really not buying it, then at around 3.5 I felt the legs give a bit and I picked it up with a really good pace. It was only 7 miles, but the hills were pretty constant and I didn’t walk or take it easy on the day. Knowing the run was the only workout for the day. Plus, week two, I didn’t feel like I needed to kill it out there and risk injury.

Came in with an ave. of 7:40. In the details of the run the ave. might seem a bit off. The first two miles being downhill I ran at about 5:55. It’s hard to run controlled at that speed, so that’s what I was working on, turnover, control. My heart rate was smooth and calm, about 75% perceived effort. Then the hills hit and of course I just concentrated on light and steady, no extreme burst of energy, again control. Then the long climb out back up to 80th, about 2.5 miles, steady effort, ave. 8:15. Trying to keep plus or minus 15 sec. on 8:00 minute miles. Still at about 80% perceived effort (PE). Then the last mile back to the house, all rollers up and down, I really wanted a good hard effort, so I ran at about 90% PE until I was a block from the house. I ave. about 7:00 minutes per mile on the last and felt really good, controlled.

I’ve been doing a crap load of leg work at the gym, mostly for the bike, but also for added benefit for hill work on runs.

So for the most part I got 2 really good weeks or training started and feel good about weight, fitness and cardio. Weight is the thing that I use as a short guide on something, not sure what. Anything over 130 and I feel too heavy, anything below 124 and I feel too weak. I know it has nothing to do with weight, but still, that’s my metric. So my goal fighting weight is 125.5. I’m starting off this year at 127, in comparison I started last at 133 and the year before at 131.

All this just means that I feel light and ready to start jumping into the buzz saw that training can be. I’ve also really studied and looked over old running logs and calendars to see what worked and what didn’t and to see if there were any patterns that I could just make into routines. For the most part I’m just happy the the first 2 weeks have gone so well.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

And we're off...

December 1st, training for the 2010 Tri Season starts. Ready or not...

I've waited for about 3 months now and feel really good about starting back up. On the plus side I haven't added too much weight on and my fitness never really got lost in the slow down. I've added strength training and core workouts to the off season, as most do. This is the first year I've really tried to stick with it, I try and treat it as I would a swim workout or track workout. I'm not very fond of gym strength workouts....

Anyways, I was hitting the pool about 3x a week there for about 4 weeks and was feeling solid on form, then I started building a roof on our deck and my shoulders started hurting from either the swimming or the building so I stopped the swimming for a few.

Tried over the last few weeks to get a few trail runs in, 1-2 a week of 5 miles or so. Nothing too taxing, but also got some much needed hiking in, first time in about 2 years -CRAZY. I think 5-6 nice big hikes with Alley and the dogs. It's hard to believe that surrounded by all these mountains and volcanoes no less, that it's been two years...

So up first in what is a string of one event to the next until Canada is the 12ks of Kirkland. Should be a really fun race, pacing will be interesting, longer than a 10k, but shorter than a half marathon. Seems like pace could go at around 7:23 for 10k / maybe a bit slower, never know...

Well there will be plenty to report on and plenty to write about in the next several months so hold on and here we go....

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Yeah, I could probably do that too...

I signed up for Iron Man Canada. My goal has never been to do a IM. I don't think to be a triathlete you have to ever do or think of doing an Iron Man. I hate it when you tell someone you're doing a tri and their first reaction is " so you're swimming like 3 miles and biking 200 miles and running a marathon?!?"

I guess it just shows how obscure the sport of triathlon still is. The only real thing the majority of people know about it is what NBC show's in late Dec from Kona. A 9-17 hour plus race in just over two hours...

I always feel odd when I have to tell the person "no, it's a .9 mile swim, 24ish mile bike, 6 mile run" or whatever distance it is. The look goes from - OH, Cool - to - oh, that's nice.
With the overtone of - yeah, I could probably do that too...

A friend of mine asked - so after IM what do you do? Ultra Tri's? 100 mile footraces?
I thought about it for a awhile and pondered whether or not it was worth ranting off my reason's why IM is not the end of the road or the Everest of the sport for me. (for a lot I think)

Instead I just said I'll focus on training before I focus on what's next, after all it is still some 11 months down the road. I don't think that was the answer he wanted. Good thing I'm not doing it for him...

I am doing it, after years of saying I had no interest in doing it because I feel my body is at the point of being able to take the training (no small point) and I have the support group of friends to train with in place to keep the focus over the long road ahead. Two things I didn't have in place that are going to be huge in the small details of getting ready. Just like running a marathon, you have to survive training before you can even think about running 26.2.

For myself I don't really buy the mentality of signing up for a race or event to just survive the day. I want training to be as hard as possible to reflect the race that I'm jumping into. Whether that's a sprint, Oly, 70.3 or IM. Racing at my limit has always been what the long training months have been about.

Always! If not, then what is the point of being away from family and friends and putting up with all the pain and restrictions for.

This next year of training starts soon and w/ out the thought of, for lack of a better term, training to be stronger, faster and better. I don't see the point. So I guess that's just a long way of saying that I don't see IMC as just try and survive the day, but a race.

Don't get me wrong, surviving the day will be I'm guessing 50% of the day, if I'm lucky to have it be that little, but the focus and goal is to be ready for a day of racing. A day that shows all the work in training come forward and all the goals realized. A day of racing like it was your best 5K sub 20....

Friday, November 6, 2009

Looking back at the season...

This year was a bit different than most I've had. I was looking for my first 70.3 and trying to deal with the added training time in relation to the burnout factor than hits at the end of every season. My plan was to miss the first race of the year, meaning I could postpone training for a month, hoping that I'd also push the burnout factor out a month as well.

Now don't get me wrong, I love all the training and everything that goes into making the machine move, but I also know myself. And planning ahead can save a huge meltdown on the system and to those around you in the long run.

The only thing I was never happy w/ this year was my swim training. I took a class and that improved my stroke and thought process in the water, but getting in the water was were I feel asleep on the job. Last year I did 55 swim workouts - 27 of those open water. This year I only did 18 open water swims, and 4 of those were in races. Argh!

No excuse for that! I was a bit faster than last year and just a bit fresher coming out of the water than last year, but never felt I hit the potential I could of with mroe time in the water.

On the other hand, or leg, my bike had really big improvements. I increased ave speed from 18 plus to just over 20 mph. Of course flat courses are still my down fall, need more stomp! Working on that as we speak or write, hitting the gym pretty hard over the last few weeks. If I can maintain strength and core training over the next 2 months, I should be right where I've never been before.

My running this year was above ave, but again I didn't get the track workouts like I did last year. I believe I was so hot in the run last year because of track and running at the Disco 2-3X a week. This year I just ran the Disco maybe once a week and only did a few track workouts a month. I did maintain longer 6-8 mile runs 3x a week for a larger base than last year. Also, w/ the 70.3 half marathon I didn't really know what pace I should be training at - Half speed - 7:10 / Full speed - 8:30? Didn't really know...

Overall I did as I wanted to, with a few minor notes to self.

Get your head in the game or go home. With tri season, like any other sport, the game is the whole thing. Training/recovery/racing. You can't phone in any one of them and expect to have the results or hit the goals that you sent for yourself. It's hard to remember that at 5:45am when you're leaving for the 3X that week to get to the pool for some laps. Or throw on the shoes to hit the road for your 8th workout that week and it's only Thursday.

Well, of course it wouldn't be worth it if it wasn't so damn fun and rewarding. Those are the things you have to remember, that and the way you felt when you didn't give 100% or didn't train like you knew you should of. Such a fine line...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Great way to end the season...

There is something about the Kirkland Triathlon that has such a draw for me. The early morning clouds with downtown Seattle skyline glowing in the back ground. I was feeling great and relaxed before the start, energy in the crowd was electric. I saw Chris Tremonte run by my rack and just thought, "this is going to be a great day"...
For this course, the bike is king. The hills and the handling on the descents make or break time loss and gain. Too much energy output or knowing how to sling shot up the kickers so you can leave the max effort for the big pushes and bigger gains.

The swim was by far one of the most brutal swims I've been in. I fought for position starting about 20 yards out and finally had open water with about 100 or so yards left. The middle part of the swim was two on the left, two on the right, one in front and one or two behind grabbing my legs. At about halfway I made a move with two other guys, but was swimming too hard for that part of the swim for myself so I went with them to get out of the pack we were in then let them pass me and settled into my planned pace.

At the last turn for the swim I caught the two I let pass and as planned gave a good estimated 2 minute burst of about 90%. This felt great, I cleared out of all the swimmers around me and started to quickly pass the wave in front of me, seeing a few white caps (my wave) in front and felt close enough to catch in transition.

Why it pays to recon and course, even the swim!

I knew from swimming there before you had to swim right up to the shore because it’s too rocky to run in, with the rocks being about the side of baseballs, up to about 5 feet from the run out. So as I got to shore, about 10 yards their were about 6-8 people walking out trying to balance their way as I, even through just in about 2.5 feet of water, swam up passed them all and ran like hell out of the water.

There is something, and I know I’ve wrote it before, about just running out of the water in an almost sprint. I love that! I must have passed about 15 people from the waters edge to the transition entrance.

My swim time was about 20 seconds off from what I wanted, I was a bit reserved on the swim and also having to fight so much in the water in the beginning took a bit of time out of me. Mostly though I was on the verge of burning out on swim training, only putting in 4 swims in the last 3 weeks.

Swim: 15:07

T1 - pretty uneventful, which is good...

As I jumped on the bike, swinging my leg over as I ran through the mount up area another rider just off to my right totally hit the deck and ate crap on his bike. Missed him by about a foot, whew....

I was feeling great on the bike, last year I lost focus on the bike and I know that cost me my overall goal of last year. However, I had all the focus this year and had been out on the course really pushing it for training.

In previous years I’ve told myself that the bike doesn’t start until the flat at mile 4ish. Before then you have about 4 really good hills, the last one of them being the longest and hardest. However, this year, I wanted to start on the climb before the flat part, so as soon as I passed the railroad tracks, it was on.

I had a good rhythm on the climb and was catching groups of other riders and passing them pretty quickly. At just below the crest I upped the tempo to the top and got in front of the last person in view. At the top there is a good downhill, but it ends with a really shape left hand turn. I figured, force the up hill and recover on the downhill to the flat.

Once on the flat I saw only two riders up and caught one quickly, but couldn’t close on the second. Not a surprise, flats aren’t my strong suit, but was still able to hold 23.5 MPH. I had great speed and was only using about 80% perceived energy, because Slater Rd was just around the corner, very hard uphill.

Going into Slater you have a sharp right turn and can’t carry too much speed with you because you’ll over shoot the lane into oncoming traffic. This was were I was planning to use the hardest effort of the day. I saw this interview with Chris Carmichael a few years back and he said “ You can rest when others rest, but you have to attack when others are struggling” I guess that has always stuck with me during races.

Starting on Slater there were about 15 riders about halfway up, I moved and just kept dancing on the pedals until one other rider and I hit the top before the pack. Legs were burning, but I stood up and forced the flat section to get back up to speed.

I had about two minutes to maintain before reaching the next important part of the bike course, the part I lost focus on last year, ggrrhhh! This time, I stayed tucked and focused, no one passed me, I sprinted the last part to reach the BIG downhill first and just flew down. Top speed 43 MPH

When I’m on the bike I usually have a song running through my head to kept tempo, yesterday was, “Panic Switch” by Silversun Pickups....

Bike: 38:53

T2 - ran into 3 people on the way back to my spot, felt like I was missing something, but headed out on the run...

OK, so the thing that I learned from Lake Stevens was that I didn’t do enough bike to run bricks. The thing that I realized as soon as I got on the run was, “ I haven’t done enough bike to run bricks”
Out on the run I immediately saw Alley and the rest of the posse in full gear running towards me, cheering me on. I was thinking, you’re all running faster than me, one of you finish this up for me : )

The thing I was feeling like I was missing as I left T2 was my inhaler. At mile one I had a crushing feeling in my chest and knew instantly this was going to hurt, at the same time it wasn’t getting any worse. I was running in a group of about 5 people and the guy I targeted as my rabbit was slowly pulling away. I figured, legs hurt, lungs hurt, why the hell not! I went from 7:20 pace up to 6:55 and dropped the group I was with. I held this for about 2 minutes and realized, I can hold this, let’s start hunting : )

I had two friends on bikes meeting me along the run course cheering for me yelling for me to keep bridging the gap and hold pace “you’re reeling him in” my lungs, legs and stomach were completely on fire as I saw my pace steady at 6:25. Had to push, season over in less than a quarter mile, crested the last rolling hill back to the finish and heard my gang “PICK IT UP” “CATCH HIM” - I love it............

Run: 20:09

Overall - 1:17:00 - 71st overall

The race was great, left it ALL out on the course, great friends, family and support. Beautiful day and not one regret about prep or effort used.

I had a goal of placing top 50, but ended up in 71st place. I feel OK about that, because I still PR’d over last year’s time. I had a different focus for the majority of this years training, from sprint to half-iron, so I knew there would be a little rust on the faster harder pace of a sprint.

The most important take away from the day was that I didn’t lose focus on any part of the race and kept pushing even when I wanted to stop because I hurt.

Also, let’s not forget that it’s just so much damn fun! All Photo's by Alley Kloba

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Was it really a month ago...

"The will to win means nothing without the will to prepare." - Juma Ikangaa

For most this statement means to “compete” or just get to the starting line.

It’s taken a few weeks to really think about the lessons learned from Lake Stevens 70.3. Did the work leading up to the race amount to what I was expecting as a result? Did plans work out w/ energy, nutrition and pacing?

The day before at the expo I was mostly calm, figure I’d have plenty of time the following morning to be really nervous, and trying not to get too excited over helmed. I can’t explain the relief I felt when we made it out to the lake and saw the buoy’s set up of the swim. It seemed small, my first thought was, “I’m going to hit the bike just fine”

Morning of....

Getting to Stevens was fine and the urge to throw up was just below the surface so I just went into an auto pilot mode of steps to get ready. Days before I visualize how transition set up is and how the bike will be set up. I go over it, over and over again in my head so it becomes like a picture, then on race morning instead of trying to figure out transition placement I just recreate the picture w/ very little thought needed. Like coloring by numbers...

Talking w/ the gang before the start was great, several had recently done their first 70.3 so it was very calming to hear their stories and advice before the start. I walked out to the swim w/ Joe Tysoe and he talked about relying on my training and not to panic in the swim. Stay to the outside and not to get caught up in the sprinters at the beginning of the start, that die out in the first half mile...

In short the swim went well and was uneventful, perfect! At one point I was right in the middle of the pack and had to tell myself not to panic. Although with about 20-30 people swimming to my left and right sides and just a sea of caps in front of me I was right where I should never be, right in the middle. I made my way to the left side and tracked by the buoy line about 4 feet under water. The fog had not cleared and you couldn’t really see more than 15 yards ahead of you. Creepy, but kind of calming.

Swim - 40:21

T1 went well, I wanted to slow in up a bit and make sure I didn’t forget anything for the long bike. Coming out of the water the legs felt great and I run hearing the cheers of the gang supporting. So much fun...

T1 - 1:55

The bike had lots of levels to it, I looked at it as the main course to deal w/ for the day. The plan was to ride the first loop like a training ride, no aggressive moves, just steady and make sure to take advantage of the down hills so as not to make too much work for the up hills. Second loop was going to be the same accept I was going to rush the last three hill sets on the course.

Energy was great on the bike, my paper number on the bike came loose early, about mile 3 and started to cut my inner thigh on my right leg. It felt like a razor blade hitting my leg every 3-4 pedal strokes. OUCH!

On the second loop going up the “hill” I guess most people call it I was surprised to see my gang cheering me on up the hill. Cow bells and screaming and even a giant Deviled Egg! I was maybe too focused I seeing them really cracked me up and reminded me what great friends and family I have !

The bike was going well until about mile 52-53, the last kicker hill back to transition. I could feel a change in energy and a feeling in the stomach that this was about to be a long day.

Bike - 3:00:36

T2 I slowed up a bit because I could feel something coming and ready to jump on the system. I was really hot coming off the bike so opted not to put socks on for the run. Figured it was a bad choice, but was willing to live w/ it.

T2 - 1:14

Running across the transition zone to the out gate was where I felt the slipping start. I hit the street and heard my name being yelled and the adrenaline rushes forward and you forget about the aches of the body for a few seconds, it’s great! I got about 10 minutes into the run and was hitting 8 minute pace and just tried to keep my mind off of the meltdown that I knew was going to happen. The legs left heavy and the lack of any shade the run pretty difficult, I hit the 3 mile mark and left a wave of dizziness wash over and wondered at first way it took so long to hit. That sort of left the door open for the wheels to start coming off...

I walked for a few and at mile marker 4 picked up a jog and started again, which was good cause I saw Tony seconds later and told him a was doing OK and about 2 minutes later I rounded the corner and saw the gang screaming and cheering and egging me on. I ran by giving a thumbs up as my stomach was in full revolt and the dizziness was creeping back. Down the road from them only about a half mile was the water station that my team was working.....UGH! Can’t stop and walk here either....Big smile and thumbs up here too...

The run is a loop course so I’d have to go through the same area again, but at least I knew where I could walk and not be seen. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had to walk plenty of hard races before, I just didn’t want to worry any of gang out cheering and having a good time. They come out, early, and cheer for you, that’s amazing, I just don’t want them to worry and have their day of cheers turn to concern and survival reports.
At mile 8 or 9 I saw Tony again and told him I was in bad shape, I joked a bit, but I think he could tell I was down in a hole. I kept tell myself, “energy is coming back, stay in there and this could pass and you’ll get your legs back”. The truth was my legs were feeling better every 5 minutes or so because my pace was down to 10 minute miles and I was walking every 100 yards or so, my stomach just wasn’t giving it up.

I saw joe out on the run about this time and he waved and said something quick like “ stay in there” At mile 11 after the last big hill on the run course and it was just back to the finish. I had a plan to ease down the hill, don’t make the legs work, walk the turn about 20 yards, then let’s see what’s left.

I could see the mile 12 marker coming and went from a walk to a job. I closed my eyes for a while and just told myself to be calm and breathe. I hit the 12 mile mark in full stride, the stomach started revolting the legs felt great, I was focused. I looked at my forerunner (watch) and had pace at 7:40. Legs left light and I was feeling great! ...Just stay in there... I hit the last turn and saw Joe again, done w/ his race walking down the sidewalk w/ a piece of pizza and he said “ hurry before the pizza gets cold “. I cracked up, but seeing Joe and remembering what he’s done for my running over the last year I went into track mode and just focused on leg turn over and form.

I hit the finishing shoot with my forerunner reading 7:04 pace, 7:40 for the last mile. 9:06 ave. for the overall run.

Run - 1:59:05

Overall - 5:44:01

Lessons Learned -

There are plenty of things to learn from and build on.

Swim - just get in the water more, I should of gotten to the point of 1.5-2 mile steady rather than just 1 mile swims 1-2 times a week. Also, more swim/bike bricks...

Bike - Much more time on the bike, no questions. Rode the course 4x and that was my longest rides. never when over 60 miles.

Run - I throw so much at the bike and swim in the last 5-6 weeks that I let the run go down to just 3 runs a week of about 6 miles each. Have to keep the run miles up to at least 30 miles a week.

All in all, it was my first one and I can’t beat myself up too badly. I know where I fell short and where I can be proud of, sometimes they are the same things...Go figure...

Thanks to everyone that came out to support and sent well wishes. Crossing the finish line takes so much more than just you being out there by yourself...

I'll post pictures in a few days...

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Getting to the Starting line...

It's Friday and a few days from my first 70.3 half ironman. I guess I have a lot of mixed feelings about this race. Much like last years Olympic distance, but this seems different for some reason. The others seemed personal and my goals were easy and simple. Survival seemed at a better ratio I guess.

Sunday feels a bit like the day could run away and just trying to hold on is going to be the focus of the day. Seafair was fun and training showed to pay off in many many ways, but pacing and holding back wasn't anything that needed to be applied like it will on Sunday.

Holding back in the water: 40+ minutes can be a long time in the water not to start feeling like you need to start sprinting because you're taking too long. - Have to fight the urge to spend large amounts of energy in the water.

Holding back on the bike: The hill getting out of transition will stomp you right out of the gate, " right here is where you know if you wasted too much in the water!" Is what I yelled to a training partner the last time out. Nasty hill about 2 miles into the bike, can't rush there. The loops of the bike don't start until about mile 4-5, you could loose your legs just getting out there.
Once on the course you hit a set of rollers until about 8-9 then get some flats that lead to the first smaller hills of the day. You have to know the course well enough to use the downs to recover the next hills. The back flat at about mile 15 is where refueling will happen, after a set of 3 tough hills. At the end of that small flat you'll see some clear cut to the left. That is the green lite for the first big down hill leading to the next set of hills.
The bike is a monster of sorts, fun, but hard to say that race pace will be above 15 miles per hour. The hardest hill is the one that comes around mile 52 leading back into the transition zone. With those big effort climbs spread so far around the course you have to have a steady plan in place and follow it. Even if it seems everyone is passing you on the first loop.

Holding back on the run: If I can hit the run feeling the same or better than I would at mile 13 of a marathon I should be in good shape. I have a tendency to run a bit too fast until about mile 2 so I'll have to make sure I keep it at marathon pace, which is around 8:15-8:25 minute miles. Mostly if if I stay around 8 minute mile + or - 15 seconds I should be good. I can't feel good early and run in the 6:50-7:15 area because that wouldn't last to the end.

Too much to think about, but that's some of the fun part.

I am looking forward to all the support and friends and family that are going to be out on course to cheer me and my friends on. That totally rocks! You never know how much that helps to get someone to the finish line.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Race day finally here, oh no!

I felt pretty at ease in the morning, still the morning nerves of course, but not the “ all the training is for this” type of work up. I was nursing a hurt arm so I was really just looking to feel the swim out, work the bike hard and see what the legs had left for the run. After the marathon a few weeks ago I only got 3 runs in of about 5 miles each and hadn’t got any speed work in. Marathon pace is not 5K pace, so I was on “wait and see” mode.

The swim was pretty even I start in the usual spot, back left. I started last year to move to the front, but thought that would be a bad idea for today. I was pretty relaxed at the start, talking w/ Sean K. before the start made it seem pretty much like a training swim. I hit the first buoy feeling pretty steady and even, a gap opened up as I rounded tight on the turn and didn’t hit anyone pulling through. Surprising! The stretch to the second was OK, then I got caught up in the last turn. Feet grabbed a few times, although never got hit, I felt I swam out of that turn a bit too fast and started to pace back down, going from breathing every 3 to every 2 strokes for a bit. The last 100 yards I felt great, I was catching people with about every stroke so it was making the end come faster and faster. The only downside to the swim was I stood up too soon because there was too many people standing and walking in. I got up in just below waist deep water, too much wasted energy, I covered 10 yards in about 5-6 seconds? Would of only needed about 2 seconds and no effort if I didn’t have to stand.

Swim Time- 14:30

T1 - 1:51 Pretty straight forward, I got my wetsuit caught on my Garmin, arrgh!!! I was afraid of that.

All week I was dreaming about the bike, I just needed my arm to get me through the swim so I could jump on Luke (my bike) and fly. I felt great coming out of the water and hit the bike in full stride. The day was amazing and there was no wind. The first part of the bike passes the swim course, so you look down at the chaos you just survived. Sweet! I was full sail on the bike w/ in reason, I love it. As you get on the bridge it really narrows and I saw three riders ahead of me that I didn’t want in front of me on the approach to the bridge so I did a full out sprint to pass and get in front, which totally paid off. As I hit the bridge and looked back there was a small back up riders trying to make it through.

The bridge was just amazing, wind so loud all you can hear is your breathing. Rainier wrapped in sun ready to jump in the lake. Amazing!

I was waiting for the turn around, I stayed steady and relaxed on the way out then once I hit the turn around I just shot up the small hill and did a big effort back to the small down hill of the bridge. So much fun! Off the bridge and back I only got pasted by two riders. I caught one on a small hill just off the bridge and had the other in sight the rest of the way.

Bike - 35:43

T2 - 1:14 I had a bit of trouble getting my right foot in the shoe, but no big deal.

I hit the run and wanted to stay steady until the hill, then work the hill and survive the downhill. As I got on course I saw 2 groups of about eight runners lined up. I focused on the guy in front and worked my way to him. Then the second group, then the third group just pass them. I was in no mans land for a few and that made me speed up until I found more rabbits : ) The hill sucked, but I kept saying the pain will only last a few, just a few more. Then I saw Alley at the top of the hill at the turn around, I figured she had to sprint down a few blocks around a crap load of people and straight up hill to see me there from where I saw her when I was on the bike. That made me happy, crazy, energized, what everyone feels like when they see someone truly supporting them. I grabbed a drink and shot down the course.

At the bottom of the hill I heard fast approaching foot steps, my first thought was great now the flood gate opens of people passing me back up. Sounds about right, however it was a friend Ryan passing me and as soon as I saw him, the back of him, I let out a “GO Ryan!” Almost nothing better than cheering for someone on course. I couldn’t catch him, but I used him as focus to stay close to him, or as close as I could. As I rounded the corner to the finish I was proud in the fact that Ryan was the only one that passed me in the run.

Run - 21:01

Overall - 1:14:19

Pretty good day, things to work on:

More swim training, still need more time in the water.

Flat road bike training, the flats need more work.

Get back to track workouts for speed work.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Rocked and Rolled

Seattle Rock and Roll Marathon -

What a great event! The support was the best in any race I've been in, by far. Not to say it's always bad, not at all, just that the support of the race yesterday was way over the top - in a good way...

Each water station, lining both sides of the road, had a minimum of about 40-50 volunteers. Some had 100's, mind blowing as you ran by a sea of hands handing out water and CytoMax for what seemed like a full block. Very cool.

The day was clear skies and expected to reach mid 70's - great for pictures, maybe not so much for running. It was amazing to see the sea of humanity stretched out before and behind as far as you could see. Most races have about 5000 runners both 1/2 and full combined, yesterdays had 25,000 combined. It's surprising when you see a familiar face, or even a few in the sea of people.

The day went well until mile 22, then the pain of my IT Ban started to really effect my stride and I slowed from about 8:20 minute miles to about 9:45 and having to walk about 4-5 times to let my right leg stretch out. The goal for yesterday was to finish of course, but was also not to stop moving forward, so no standing or leaning to rest. However, I felt I had plenty of energy and mental focus to stay running in the mean miles (23-26), I just had a blowout that made it physically impossible to stay running the whole time.

If I was a car it would be like both front and back tires on the right side had flats, I still had half a tank and the engine was fine, but I had to bring it in slow.

On the route I did get to see Lynn and Jaime at the turn around on 99, which was great! I can't ever say enough about what a boost emotionally seeing someone you care for show up and cheer for you. You can carry and have a lift for the rest of the race if you see someone for even 15 seconds on the course as you run by. Amazing...

Shell and Lil' K were out there as well supporting Alley, Tony and I. The three of us after 7 odd years of running finally running the same Marathon together, crazy! Alley had a great day despite falling down some stairs two days before and hurting her back and Tony finished strong having to work through some cramps late in the race.

Overall a pretty sweet day, got home had a 3 hours nap, picked up pizza and movie and crashed early. Not bad for a full days work...

Monday, June 22, 2009

Been there, seen that...

It's been a few....

Last weekend I got a chance w/ the group to go and ride the Lake Stevens bike course. Pretty sweet course! Lots of little rollers and some good, at least 3 tasty hills. The course seems like one you can really enjoy and take advantage of the rollers to swing you up the hills.

The goal would be to jump on it at least two more times, hopefully three, before race day comes.

I still need to get in the water w/ some consistency. I've only been able to get in 2x a week over the last 6 weeks. Not acceptable! I don't think I'll be the swimmer this year that I was last year. A little sad, but that's OK. Maybe that will change in a few weeks.

More later, have to run to swim class...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Bodies, rest and motion....

Last week I had a short easy, but intense training week. Week started w/ a good run ( 8.5 miles ) then a bike followed with a well planned day off. Then Wednesday fresh legs for the track, which I wanted to bury myself in - end in a redline one set out w/ a short rest and a final 400m to end on dead legs. I just wanted to put a little hurt in the room to remember the season had started : )

Then I had a bike hill climb the following day with the group - lots of fun, out and around the Mag Loop, Friday was a bike into and back from work (fake day off from training). Pizza at lunch, mmmm

Saturday was a really good honest 12 mile run. Flat first 8 miles then a nasty climb up to the house for the last four. Felt a bit heavy the first 2 miles, ran really slow and wanted to warm up into the pace that I figured would come soon enough.

I was thinking on the run, last week was heavy this week was short and striking. I read a blog entry from a friend of mine Joe Tysoe that talked about “Hammerfests”. And I guess I was thinking about that this last week in that the basic theme was every big effort needs and big recovery. One big week, one smaller - still intense, focused week.

That also got me to thinking about “Hammerfests” in general. I think they’re a waste of time and is something that only distracts or destroys your training schedule. If you have a light day because you worked yourself the day before, but your buddy wants to challenge you to a “easy” 6 mile run and you end up showing them who owns who, but miss the next two or three days of training, then what’s the point?

I love the huge long run on sentences that I can get myself in : )

Anyways -

Today I had a great day on the bike! I did my Blue Ridge loop course, nasty even for me. The last time I hit the top of Blue Ridge I had to jump off my bike and check if I had a stuck brake. I jumped off and spun front and back, but they rolled fine - %$#^%


I wanted to check recovery rate, edge upwards of 85% effort w/ out blowing up on five different hill sets, then all out on the last. I figured the 2-3 minutes back down would give me enough recovery time, without getting cold in between sets.


About a week or two away from the cardio that I want and know I had last year, but still getting stronger as I warm up.

One of the keys this year will be to not be afraid to have a good solid warm up. Sounds easy.....maybe not.

Well this next week adds a few things: swimming? Pool and open water.

Ok, like Flipper said walking home from the bar “I need to get in the water!”. I picked up a new wetsuit today so there’s no - good excuses left....

Penny of course doesn't see the need for a wetsuit

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Checking in...

It's been a great few weeks of training. I've gotten back into pretty good form and am ready to start full swim training in the next few weeks. I finally feel at the point of giving a good hard effort without thinking I'm going to hurt myself in the long run.

I think a few weeks back I put in a great effort on a 28 mile bike ride w/ about 2400 ft of climbing and ended up not doing anything for the next 2 days.

However, having said that I do think I pulled something in my left inner thigh at track on Tuesday. It nags a bit when I'm running or biking, but mostly when I'm just sitting around.
I think a few light days and ice and heat will take care of that.

Well I have a long bike today, but the weather turn rainy and windy so I might just do a short bike w/ a short run. We'll see : )

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Start adding fuel....

Tomorrow I start the direct training and get off the build phases of training. Sort of I'm in shape now to start the real training.

Being sick the last week and a half makes it feel like I'm farther behind than I am. I should of been in shape and healthy enough to race the Carnation TT on Sunday, but you can't lose sleep over what you can't control. I feel close enough to 100% that Sunday I'll start the heavy lifting towards this years goals.

The main focus will be to slow down. I've done three years of Sprints and it's hard to switch gears from 85%-90% to 80%-85%. I have a feeling I'll have to relearn pace all over again and really not ignore feeding and refueling. 2008 was a great year and I think I can learn a lot from mainly not being afraid to push at my limits. However, pushing your limits and not pacing have two very different results.

In 2007 at the Victoria Half Marathon I pushed my limits and had a great result and PR. Whereas, 5 months later at Nookachamps 2008, I didn't pace, ran with the wrong pack that was too fast and just about died 2 minutes from the finish line. Terrible day, once you overextend you can't really fish it back in, the damage has been done. That was the 10k and I knew I'd gone out too fast at mile 3,where the half course splits off. After the split is a nasty hill that just keeps climbing. I could feel my legs dead and flat about 25yards before the climb started. Urgh Argh.....

Anyways, tomorrow starts all the real work and fun! It is work, but come on now, I wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't fun.

"I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I am adding fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match."

Tomorrow I start adding fuel....

Saturday, March 21, 2009

2 steps forward, 1 step back...

The last few weeks training have been going really well.

I got in some bike rides of 25-35 miles and had some explosive spin classes that left me a bit weak in the knees, in a good way. The running was feeling on track with a few 6 and 7 mile pushes of 85%-90% efforts, 3 days a week.

And the swim, I've only had 2 swims since the last time I wrote, but one was for 30 minutes and the other was a 50 minute swing doing 8 pace laps, 2 pass laps,1 minute rest, my idea of swim training. I swim at pace for a few, then in passing mode for a few. It's my PISS swim training.

A few years ago Floyd Landis had an interview in a mag and he was talking about hill training or Steep Hill Interval Training - SHIT....

I thought that was GREAT so me and Alley came up with
PISS: Passing In Swim Situation
CRAP: Continual Running At Pace

So in the thick of training to can have your days or hands full PISS, SHIT or CRAP. Sometimes PISS as number one and SHIT or CRAP as number two...

All very messy if you don't fuel or recover properly.

Anyways I've been sick for the last few days and feel pretty rundown. I know I'll get over this soon, but I feel like I'll have to yet again start training over again. It's just the preseason anxiety that happens every year. Last night was the first late night mental check list of all the things I haven't done yet, Grrh Argh...

I do know that after I get over this cold I won't be taking days off or doing token workouts to just cross off the board. Nothing lights a fire like the thought of disappointing yourself and those that support you....

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Once again, back at it....

OK, I've been away for a few - sort of recharging the batteries and seeing what's up for this next year. As always, it seems too early to start training, then too late and you feel behind.

Well this year I'm focusing on the Lake Stevens 70.3, my first of that distance. I think the only others right now I want to say for sure are Federal Way Oly, Seafair Tri and Kirkland. Issaquah may be in there as well, but I need to focus on longer pacing not sprint. Don't get me wrong I'll probably get that first Issaquah in there to calm the racing nerves.

I want to avoid late season burnout that leads to fall-winter stalemate. I love the work and the training and the races, although sometiimes the races are the icing on the cake.

The other thing I want t do this year is race a few TT on the bike. The ones in Carnation should be a lot of fun and a great learning curve for pace and endurance. I was getting excited about the TT when I was re-fitting my aero bars on Luke. I ended up moving them back 3 full inches. I can't believe I was all superman style last year : )

Well, in about 3 weeks training for the Rock and Roll Seattle Marathon starts and I'm looking forward to really getting behind a good training schedule and knocking that down.

Alley as well said she wants to look at PR'ing at RNR. I think that means she's all in for the 26.2. Plus training usually means getting together with Team Cannoli from across the water so that's always fun.....

I think the later start on training is fine this year, mostly cuz there's nothing you can do about losing the last 2 months anyways, but still. The only concern is getting my swim back to where I was last year, if I can focus the next 6 weeks to swim I think the rest will fall into place. Falling in place meaning kicking my ass back into shape : )

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Keep in mind....

This past week the Seattle - Ballard area lost a cyclist in a fatal car/bike accident. I didn’t know him, but know plenty like him, myself included. It’s hard to understand how any day can be your last.

When I’m out running, biking or swimming I always have in mind what can be lost or what I have to get back to. I have to say that it’s never far from my mind, out on a ride or during a swim as to what I need to focus on to get back home. I feel for the mans family and can’t imagine what their days have been like to go through.

Starting another training season hundreds and thousands will be out filling the streets, getting their miles in and it’s a risky part of training. I’ve had cars cut in front of me close enough to smack their side panels and trunks. I’ve been a hood ornament 3x on a car hood while running and when that happens everything in your body wants to scream, ‘this is just not worth it’.

Is doing better in a race worth risking your life during training? I guess you could say the same about paying your bills by driving to work. In the last 2 weeks there have been 3 major fatal car accidents 2 on the freeway and 1 on a major street near by.

I guess I just want to tell all my fellow bike riders out there to be safe and remember there is no guaranties on safe passage.

Also to my car driving peeps: Their bikes, the average bike holds a cars progress up by 3 seconds. Now is 3 seconds worth a brother, sister, son, daughter, mother or father life?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Another week...

Training started again on the 1st. I've been feeling pretty good on runs and got in the pool for the 1st time in a long time. I think the last time I swam was in the Kirkland Tri.

The water felt good and I actually was reminded at how much I like to swim. It was a short twenty minute swim and the lesson was - Don't swim without ear plugs!

I was a bit dizzy during the swim from getting water in my ear. At first I swam through it then tried to get out of the pool and ended up sitting at the edge trying to focus on staying upright. Walking to the change room I was bumping into the wall then walking too close to the pool, then back hitting the wall. Once I made it back to the locker room and sat for a few I was OK. Which was good because I had to bike home.

Nothing much else right now as far as training, just trying to get back in the swing of things.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Stronging it through the weak miles...

The last couple weeks have been slow in going in getting the training season started. I blame it on the weather and - well the weather. Cold sucksssss.

Nookachamps went well, I pulled 20th out of 167ish, somewhere around there. It’s funny cause I came in over a minute slower than last year, but with a MUCH better result. I was looking at it as a training run and felt pretty comfortable during the race with the pacing I was keeping, pretty steady.

Over the last week I put in a few good runs to work and this last Saturday around Discovery Park. The run on Saturday was a bit of work, the first 3 miles or so were just real painful and heavy work. Not that it should ever be real easy, but this was just work.

Through the last rough mile I was thinking ‘I can just walk this out and get a good walk in to the top’. Then I started telling myself, ‘ you can run slow, but you can’t stop, because you don’t stop.’ In low gear and pushing up a hill I kept breathing, pace and not letting myself talk me into stopping and walking.

The line “Stronging it through the weak miles” came to mean -Keep moving through the miles you feel weak in and stay with it until you can pull out of it.

Hitting mile 4, the legs started picking up and I felt great rolling through the trails at the Disco. I ended up with a great run that started out flat and almost finishing 30 minutes earlier.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Jumping back into it...

Tomorrow is Nookachamps and I’ll use that as a training run and not a race, lesson learned from last year. I’ve put together a few good weeks of running and core workouts, not great but not sitting on the couch either. The legs feel good and ready for this years work load after a few weeks-months of rest.

Also, I signed up for Lake Stevens 70.3, I’m really excited about stretching out to that distance. About as much as I’m looking forward to jumping into more Olympic distances this year, getting into the water will start this next week. Also, biking into work for a start will begin that leg.


Complete a 70.3
Improve strength on bike and swim
Log 1000 miles running
Under 3:30 for a Marathon

Things to work on...

Bike fit
New wet suit
Pace for longer bike rides

That’s the happs’ for now...