Monday, March 31, 2008

First race, first win!
--Results link

Well, my 2008 Xterra race season is officially under way. Yesterday I did the Xterra Real up near Sacramento and walked away with my first ever Xterra points series win. The first race of the year is always interesting. You don't really know how fit you are (race fitness at least) and it is easy to make little mistakes since you haven't raced in a while. So, here is a recap of the day...

I started the morning excited and happy to be racing. It was a little chilly but not too bad. I decided to warm up on my bike, which I don't normally do. I think it really helped me get into the groove much quicker during the race. In years past, I have struggled to find my legs after the swim so I decided to try some new things at the early season races. So, I will be warming up on the bike at every race now.

I didn't run and instead made the rather long walk (1/2 mile) down to the water to get in a warm up. The water level was really low so the run to transition was really long. The water temp was in the low 50's so it was cold but not too bad. I got in a good, long warmup and when the gun went off I fell into a strong tempo right away. I am happy with my swim start b/c I typically go out too hard and blow up. I have worked hard this year on staying relaxed and smooth during the swim has really helped me. Actually, Reto and I did some swim start tests last week to determine if I really swim that much faster if I "go for it" when the gun fires or if I just swim strong but relaxed. What the tests showed was that I was only about 1 body length shorter if I went out strong but relaxed. One body length means I am still on the feet of some fast swimmers and I still have energy to surge and build my swim b/c I didn't blow out the first 200 meters. So, whats the take home message....relax at the start and settle into a strong tempo right away, don't blow it out in the first 200 meters but instead build the swim. It is important to keep in mind too that the adrenaline from race day gives you "free speed," which means you actually swim fast without having to really get after it. This might seem counter intiuitive but, after many years and several tests, it is the truth.
I came out of the water in the top 5 and was one of the few people to strip my wetsuit off right away, throw on my shoes and make the 1/2 mile run to transition...this proved to be the smart move b/c I made up a ton of ground on the run and was the first to leave T1.

--The long run back up

Once out on the bike I was never passed or was just me and some of the sweetest single track I have ridden in a while. The trail was perfect...the dirt was tacky and you could rail the corners! Hats go off to TBF Racing for putting together such a killer course. I was really having a great time out there and yes, I had a smile on my face! I am happy to report that my bike fitness is coming along nicely. I felt strong out on the course, much stronger then I have ever felt in the last 3 years.
Oh, I did take a pretty nasty digger on the bike. I was coming up to a rock section on the second lap and there were a bunch of people standing there talking and trying to negotiate the section (on the their first lap) and I tried to get around them and just went straight over the bars. My left leg got pretty beat up and my rear shifter took a pretty big hit. My shifting was shot for 1/2 of the second lap. So, I am sure I lost some time with this mechanical but nothing to significant. We'll see how the shifter is firing today...a visit to the bike shop might be in order (bummer!!!). My leg is pretty sore and cut up but it won't keep me from training, which is good news.

I came off the bike in the lead and tried to push the run b/c I didn't really know how big my lead was. The first mile is flat, the next 2 hilly (which suits me and I loved it) and the last mile flat. I felt okay on the run but I can tell I need some more hard transition runs. That's okay though b/c I still have 6 weeks of hard work before the BIG races start.

Overall, I am very happy with the win and I met a lot of great people. Thanks to my awesome wife Jess for the support and pictures and thanks to Ann, Doyal and Emily Mae for being such great hosts!

--My happy hosts!

If you guys are interested in doing some great races check out TBF Racing...they are well organized and make racing so much fun! I am told they have over 50 races this year.

--Interview with the Xterra logistics king

--The long car ride home

I have a rest week this week and then I move into the really hard training. Stay tuned and thanks for reading!
Oh, I will be updating my Training Bible Coaching site regularly to discuss various topics regarding training and racing...check it out!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Getting ready...

I will head up to Sacramento tomorrow morning and my first Xterra race of the year will be on sunday (
I am in the process of getting all of my gear together and I have totally forgoten how much stuff you need for a race! Plus, all of those pre-race jitters are in full swing. I am excited to kick my season off and I can only imagine the pain of racing at this point. However, once that gun goes off at 9:00 am on sunday and we all charge into the fridged waters of Granite Bay all of the PAIN I am imagining right now will be very real and all too familiar! I actually welcome it and I can't wait to charge hard and really test myself.
I will post a race report on sunday or monday so stay tuned to that. Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

My race season kicks off in 5 days...

After an awesome weekend of training down in San Luis obispo (SLO) I am ready to tackle one more week of hard work before my rest week next week.
While down in SLO Reto and I logged plenty of miles on the bike and took in some incredible scenery. I just love it down there and I am pretty positive that in the near future Jess and I will be relocating to good'ol SLO town!
I got back home late sunday after a nice easter brunch with my parents. Yesterday morning Reto and I woke up and ventured out to Garland park to do my BRUTAL hill/threshold run. I was really excited to have company and Reto always manages to push me harder then I ever can by myself. So, with his company we crushed my previous time and distance records! I am no longer suprising myself I am just stoked to be making so much progress so quickly. We finshed up the day with some mellow riding and swimming.
This morning it was back to the pool for some harder swimming in the wetsuit. Yes, wetsuit! My first race is on sunday and I need to get used to the suit again. I swam pretty well despite super tired legs from our run least that's what Reto said. He said he has never seen me swim so well so I guess I am on track to post some better swim splits then last year and there is still plenty of work to do in the water before the real races start.
So, this sunday is Xterra Real, which is a points race in Folsom. I am excited to see where I am in terms of race fitness but not excited about the freezing water temps! Oh well, it's all part of the game and I look forwrd to mixing it up with the Xterra regulars. I am not resting for the race so I still have 2 trainer workouts, a few runs and some swimming to do before sunday.
Well, stay tuned for a race report and updates as sunday approaches. Have a good one!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Rolling right along...

--Officially hairless!

The news is that yesterday I set a new time standard for my 4.5 mile transition run course. I set the old time standard last year just before world's. Again, I am suprising myself and there is no way I would have predicted that I would be posting times even close to the ones I set last year in October (when I was in peak shape).

I really like the session I did is a 2 hr mountain bike followed by a transition run on a tough, hilly 4.5 mile trail. This workout is ideal in so many ways. I started doing it last year when Reto had me performing tempo runs off the bike. I think these types of runs make you very strong, especially on race day. I run on feel. I do wear a garmin but I almost never look at my heart rate or splits (I analyze the data after the run). Why? I want to simulate a race in which I don't have a watch, I don't think about my heart rate, I just run on feel and focus on my breathing, good form, and try to embrace the pain that I am experiencing. This helps me understand my body and I have found that come race day I feel like I am just out on another one of my tempo runs. The workout is great physically but also mentally.

The years of training are paying off b/c I am starting this season at a much higher level. The times I set last year showed progression and made me happy but to be hitting even faster times then last year at this point in the season is making me giddy! I am excited to see how I progress b/c if this is my starting point I think I will have a solid season marked by significant improvement in all three disciplines.

This morning was another masters session...
8x100 1:30 send off (variable 25's fast)
4x400 pull 5:30 send off. Descend (incredibly boring but a necessary session to swim fast in a tri)
5x50 on 1:00 send off (1 ez, 2/3 fast, 4 ez, 5 fast) Swam all fast ones sub speed is developing finally.

This weekend it is off to San Luis Obispo. I love it down there and I am sure I will have some great pictures of the green hills of the central coast. Check back soon! Have a good one!!!!

Oh, I am officially up and running with Power! Thanks to Training Bible Coaching I am all set up with a Polar power meter...can't wait to test this one out!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Game time baby!!!!

Okay, the hair is gone and the hard training is in full's game time baby!!!!! Every year, once it is time to get serious, I shave the head...a bit of a ritual and it gets me in the right frame of mind to suffer and really lay it down. I love it and my close family hate it (they love it when I have hair...sorry guys! Come November you can have it all back =) ).
Training is going really well. I did my first hard run workout (hills and threshold work) and, despite a tough workout made even tougher by rain and cold temps, I set new distance records for both of my 5 min intervals (at an even lower heart rate!). I was a bit surprised since this is my first really hard run of the year, it's still early, and last time I set the record was just before world's. Since I ran decent in Maui I would say I am on track for a solid season of good run splits. Honestly, I don't really know how it's possible that I ran this fast this early on but I will attribute it to years of consistent, smart training with a lot of patience (and some good coaching along the way!).

My swim is progressing nicely and I am enjoying my time in the pool every morning, which is a big change from previous years.

We swam a good set yesterday:

4x300 pull on 4:00--descend, held 1:10's on the first and descended down to 1:08's
--1 min rest and jump straight into the 100's (tough turn around time but it makes the set what it is, hard)
8x100 on 1:40--best average (best time you can hold for all 8). Averaged 1:10's-not really fast but after the 300's and little rest I will take it. 1:40 send off makes sure you swim quality hundreds--the point isn't to have the least rest possible.
6x50 on 1:00--1 ez, 2/3 hard, 4 ez, 5/6 hard

Today's set was more mild but we did some more 300's and some fast 50's and 75's...great for the turnover and the race start speed! My upper body was pretty sore from yesterdays swim but I like to feel that way b/c it tells me that I am really working in the water and building swim specific strength.

My bike workouts are bringing a smile to my face! I am moving into harder trainer sessions and my body is responding well. Yesterday’s workout felt great!

Well, that's my training update. I hope you are all doing well. Stay tuned as I ramp things up to tackle the Xterra National Series.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Some harder training...

Well, I have a few harder workouts under my belt now and I can really tell how much more rest is needed to recover from these harder efforts. I am not going crazy hard but some cruise intervals running coupled with some harder swimming has made me pretty tired. These workouts will get easier to handle but it just shows me how important it is to build adequate rest into your weekly plan.
For the rest of the week I will be doing my weekly trainer workouts, two more masters workouts and on the weekend a long ride, tranisiton run, and long run. Mixed in will be some easy training used as recovery. So, still plenty of work to do this week but I am really enjoying the training, which is number 1 in my book!
I am also swimming pretty well and I expect some fitness jumps in the coming weeks. We did a set yesterday to break up the same old free-style sets, which was good in a lot of respects.
Main Set...
-8x200 on 3:15 (first 4 were free with the 2nd and 4th 50 back, last 4 were 50 free/100back/50 free). Focus on building the back stroke with quick turnover. Swam 2:40-2:45 at a moderate effort (it takes me forever to warmup, which needs to change for triathlon purposes as we rarely get a really long warmup in the water before the gun goes off)
-6x100 on 1:45 (25 back, 50 free, 25 back). fast. Swam 1:13-1:14.
-3x50 on 1:00 (25 free sprint, 25 back). Held 33's

This was a good set b/c to swim fast backstroke you need to kick so when you roll over to swim free you immediately have a faster, more consistent kick. A lot of triathletes don't swim stroke but it is good in terms of developing flexibility, feel for the water, power/strength, and it gives you a bit of a mental break but still requires you to swim hard (If the send off's are set correctly).
Well, have a good day and thanks for reading!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Recovery week summary

So, I officially started my 3rd base phase this morning with a masters workout. I know everyone is suffering in the mornings with the time change but I have to say it...
Is swimming just not hard enough in the morning without a time change? Wow, I was beat this morning but I actually swam pretty well so that recovery week certainly paid off.
So, last week was my recovery week and I really enjoyed it. I caught up on things and had plenty of fun with Jess and friends. I felt really good as the week progressed (nice and rested) and I start this week fired up to put in some hard work for the next 3 weeks before my next recovery week.
I did do my 5k test run on the track and did alright since I have not done ANY hard running to date. Four weeks ago I ran
20:20 at an average 168 heart rate (this is 10 beats below my threshold). This time I ran 19:10 at an average 168 heart rate. So, decent improvement and I am happy with the result. I could tell my body really wanted to run harder, which is a good sign. It was a very, very comfortable pace for me...I would love to see what I could actually run if I didn't have to keep my HR at 168. So, a good result and plenty of rest...a great week to say the least!
Now, some of the harder work begins and I am looking forward to it. It is a balancing act at this stage...harder work but you need plenty of rest. Excitement (caused by increased fitness and post recovery week) can lead to overtraining at this stage so it is up to me to find that balance between work and rest. Often times, we (athletes) want instant gratification so we cram a bunch of hard workouts together to fit them all in during a given week but the trick is to avoid this, find a balance, and remain patient. Being a successful athlete takes a long time so trying to get there all in one season is a recipe for disaster. Lucky for me, I have some incredible resources around me and I have them to keep me in check during times of transition such as this one.
Well, have a great week and thanks for reading!

Friday, March 7, 2008

Ranked #1 in the country by USA Triathlon and a new sponsor

Well, USA Triathlon just published the final 2007 year-end rankings and I am happy to report that I finished the year ranked #1 in the country (25-29, off-road triathlete), which gives me All-american status. Props to James Walsh as we finished #1 and #2 in the country. Not bad, two California kids taking the top 2 spots. The link is below if you want to take a peek.
--Click on Off-road

Yesterday I picked up a new sponsor that I am excited about. I will be working with Avia for the next 2 years. What does this shoes of course and I am stoked!!!!! They have a broad product line and I am sure we will have a long and productive relationship.

Checkout my list of "for sale" items in the post below.

Items for sale...

Hi everyone. I am selling a few things and thought I would give you all a heads up if you are in need of some wheels, mtn bike, road frame
They are listed on ebay so I will provide the link. Let me know if you have any interest and/or questions.

--Just added! Mavic SLR wheelset. V-brake and UST. Like new with less then 300 miles on them.

--Zipp wheelset with newer tires...perfect for your TT bike!

--Full suspension mtn bike...aluminum, medium, disc brakes, etc

_-Carbon road frame and fork...Love this bike but have a new one to ride.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

A glimpse into my "backyard"

Thought I would share some pictures of the area where I do pretty much all of my mountain biking and running. I am very lucky to have Fort Ord, (home to The Sea Otter Classic, The 2007 24hr mountain bike world champs and a list of other events)an old military base that has been converted to public use land, just a mile down the road from my house. There are 85 miles of maintained trails with plenty of fun singletrack to rip up!

--The "mighty" Salinas River

--Those fields provide you with just about all of the vegetables you consume

--Those glorious green hills!

--Yes, there are sheep for 3 months out of the year. The best is when your flying down some singletrack and come around the corner to a "wall" of them...good thing they are fast suckers b/c I couldn't stop fast enough if I wanted to 99% of the time!

Well, that's my world...come join me whenever you want. Good riding...

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Rest, rest and more rest

Okay, after today my second base phase will be over and it will be time for some serious rest. During my second base phase I put in a lot of miles and, while I feel tired now, I know the hard work will pay off in the coming weeks. I said in a previous post that after my second base phase I would be a new man...stronger and fit enough to tackle the harder training to come. Well, things haven't changed and I feel stronger then ever at this point in the season. I am very motivated and my competitive fire is coming on strong. Really, I couldn't ask for more at this point.
So, for the next week I will be resting...just some very light workouts, plenty of sleep, and good times with Jess and that little fuzzy creature that keeps beating me up on my runs. I am a big believer in taking your rest weeks very seriously. They are a time to rest physically and mentally. I always hear about and see people training as many hours during their rest week as they did during their base or build weeks or they keep up hard workouts but train only a few hours less..."oh, I just went easy so I am rested” or "I trained 15 hrs instead of 20 but I got in some quality sessions." Are you kidding? Seriously, get some real rest. Sure you might feel like you can keep training b/c it is so early in the season but if you don't make sure to recover properly you will be burned out come sept/oct. Trust me, I have made these mistakes and after ten years I have come to understand what real rest is and how essential it is to racing fast when it counts.
So, my advice to everyone is to take rest/recovery weeks seriously and to give your body and mind a break. No hard workouts, long rides, long some things you don't always get to do like relax at the beach, hang out with good friends, take a walk with your spouse and if you truly don't want to train then don't. I am not saying hang up your gear for a week but just don't worry about trying to cram in workouts. Keep the stress to a minimum and get in some easy sessions (perhaps 3 swims, 2 shorter rides, 2 runs). You won't lose fitness...I promise!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! You will however be excited to get back to structured training, you will be fully rested and you will continue to enjoy the hard work throughout your long season. I have a rule during easy days and rest weeks...if I don't have a smile on my face while I am training and I am not truly enjoying what I am doing I call it a day and find something that will make me happy. This rule keeps me in check during times of recovery and prevents me from doing things that will leave me burned out and tired.
Well, you know my schedule for the next week so I will check back in when I am fully rested and ready to tackle my third base phase. Have a good one and go enjoy that awesome weather (in California at least)!

--Kick back, relax and enjoy the ride!