Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Xterra SC Champs race report

Xterra South Central Champs is in the books and it was far from what I was hoping for. I had a mix of emotions after the race. Much of me was disappointed and upset but I couldn’t help but appreciate the other things that I experienced while I was in Texas. The people were amazing (especially our homestay), I made new friends, and I got to train and race on some cool terrain. The experience as a whole was great but I have struggled to get past the fact that I sucked big time on Sunday. I can’t quite put my finger on why I felt so bad b/c I feel that I went into the race rested and excited to put up a good fight.

The morning of the race I was having a hard time taking a deep breath. I kind of dismissed it but during my swim warmup I really noticed it and it was bothering me. Truthfully, I tried not to think about it too much b/c the gun was about to go off and I figured it was just raceday stress or something. I had some good feet for about 400 meters and then I just fell apart and honestly felt like I was drowning. It was by far the worst swim of my life. I was just dying out there and there was nothing I could do about it. I was trying hard but I just had nothing. People I normally out swim by quite a bit came out well in front of me and people I normally swim with put like 2 minutes on me. Seriously, talk about a horrible performance!
So, I naturally carried some disappointment into the bike but I tired hard to just forget about it and push the pedals as hard as I could. Again, I was just stuck in one speed and I just fell further behind, unable to ride with anyone that passed me. Then came the run….let’s just say I was done and could not wait for the finishline. I tried to push the pace but the tank was empty (despite taking on plenty of calories). Overall, I just felt sluggish and anything but fast. I was also feeling the heat, which if I am going good I rarely even notice. No excuses here. I tried hard to go fast but I just had nothing. I got crushed by everyone and I am still baffled by what happen exactly. There is no question I am in better shape then Vegas but nothing on Sunday indicated that. I know we all have bad days so I am calling it that, but I would be lying if I don't feel beat up and bummed out. It is obviously time to move on so I will focus on getting fit for Bama and Richmond in three and four weeks.

The good thing is after nearly 2 weeks of no running my leg felt good during the race and feels good today. I will try some running this week and hopefully we have turned the corner and I can get in some actual run training in the next few weeks.

The highlight of the trip was probably the massive amount of Texas BBQ I, I have never tasted such good stuff! The Salt Lick lived up to it's reputation and I can't wait to go back.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Xterra South Central Champs

I got to Waco on Wednesday so I have had the chance to ride the course a couple of times. It is a great course but certainly tough. Nothing but up and down and the short climbs are steep and some are pretty technical. On raceday, it is going to be very challenging.

We swam the course this morning and the river has a major current. We are swimming with and against the current for a one lap swim. We swam 350 meters in a touch over 4 min with the current and a little over 7 min against, a pretty big difference! The water temp is 72 so no wetsuits for the pros but wetsuits are allowed for amateurs. Why they think pros have a higher tolerance for colder water is beyond me =) Truthfully, I think you would overheat in a wetsuit...I was 100% comfortable from the first step into the river. The current will definitely be a factor during the race. Swimming with the current for the first 350 means there will be less of a gap to the leaders but once we start swimming against the current it is critical to find some feet to draft off of to save some energy and get towed along.

I personally think the run will be a big deciding factor in the race. It is going to be hot and humid (92 degrees!) and the run is hard with a lot of short climbs. I wish I wasn't injured (it is getting much better after the decision to take 2 weeks off from running so hopefully we have turned the corner) and have been running but, at this point, there is nothing I can do except give 100% and be willing to "die" on raceday. Reto and his brother (1996 olympian in pentathlon) always told me you are going to "die" at least six times during a hard workout, meaning that at least six times you will be at your supposed limit and ready to quit. So, to do well you have to be willing to "die" and mentally dig out of that hole and keep fighting until the end. So, no doubt it is going to be a physical and mental battle on Sunday and whoever can gut it out and push through the challenging conditions is going to do well.

On another note, Renata and I have the BEST homestay! The family is amazing and they live right at the park so transition is literally a few minutes by bike. We had a great little dinner party last night at the house...tons of locals and other Xterra athletes. I am really impressed with the people here in Waco...the hospitality is top notch and people are such a pleasure to interact with. It is incredible how much the community is supporting the event and I am sure there will be a lot of spectators on Sunday. This has truly been a great experience so far and I look forward to Sundays race. Well, nap time for me. Have a a good weekend everyone!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Getting old....

Ha, ha not really old but I do turn 31 on Monday and I can tell I am getting older b/c everything takes longer to heal and I move a bit slower in the morning until my body catches up with my mind.

Speaking of healing we made the call to stop running for two weeks to let my shin splint fully heal. The initial recommendation was to back off to 50% and we tried that but the issue still lingers. I can run but I hate having something nagging and holding me back so the decision was made to give it complete rest. Obviously not ideal heading into Texas (the 2nd Xterra series race) but I didn't run much before Vegas and had a decent run. I have increased the intensity in the water and on the bike so hopefully some of that high intensity training will carry over to the run. I have befriended the elliptical machine...I hate being inside on this stupid machine but it does simulate running to a certain extent and will keep some fitness.
--Picture taken by Rich Cruise...I look pretty awkward but in my defense it was a pretty steep drop :)

Drives me crazy I can't go into these important races with some proper training under my belt. Vegas showed some potential for good results since heading into Vegas I had done very little interval/intensity training, just basic strength and aerobic work. I have logged some solid training in the last two weeks and I will carry it into Texas. Really though I just want to be 100% healthy so that I can toe the line without anything holding me back. I will be there ready to race for sure but the question remains, if I wasn't injured how would I really do? Well, I know at some point I will be 100% so I look forward to that day but for now I am still focused on doing well and putting in the hard work. The run in my mind is always about guts and heart anyway so weather I am injured or not it will be all about suffering on raceday. I guess in some respects not knowing what to expect out on the run can be a blessing...just go for it and see what ya got!

I have a lot of training this weekend and we also have some good friends in town so there will be plenty of good times. The padres are in town, good beers will be in the fridge, the BBQ is primed, and I hear the weather will be killer...a recipe for success if you ask me =) All of this will be needed as I age up one more year...31 here we come!

I leave for Austin on Wednesday. Really excited to see this town since I have heard so much about it. I have also heard great things about the trails in Cameron Park so it will be fun to pre-ride the course for a few days before raceday. Well, that's it from here. Have a good weekend and stay tuned!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hard training is hard and makes me tired =)

The training intensity has gone up and it wears me out! Ha ha I like it though but some days are harder then others. My running is still minimal and has zero intensity. My shin splint is feeling MUCH better and I think we can start to mix in some harder running soon ( I hope!). We are starting back slow but I am actually starting to feel like I have forgotten what it's like to run bueno!

The swimming and riding are hard though with several interval sessions each week. Times up climbs seem to be dropping and wattage is up, which are all good signs. Lesley and I are finally on the same page so we have managed to get in some good training sessions has been nice to have some company. It can get a little lonely out there when you have a long ride filled with intervals and no one else to share in the pain ;)

So, a lot of training on tap this week and heading into the important races. Managing to juggle Skinfit work, coaching and training at the moment but I notice that if I get one bad night of sleep I am done for a couple days. I have been logging some great sleep lately but I always feel like I could use just a little more time with my head on the pillow (despite 9+ hrs). That's training for you though.

Got a couple new products to tackle the season with...2010 SJ hardtail (thanks to B & L and James!), which is much lighter then my 2009 version (crazy!) and my new vendetta wetsuit from Xterra. The suit fits like a glove...I love it! They are seriously making such nice suits!

It has been really nice to be home and spending time with Jess. We had a great weekend hangout with friends and family. We even hit up Stone Brewery for Mothers Day, which was nothing short of amazing. I want to own that brewery!

So, that's it from here. Back to work I go!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Busy, busy...

-Skinfit booth at Wildflower

Man, the last 3 weeks have flown by. Sea Otter, Vegas, Wildflower, and now (finally!) home at the beach. I had a blast but traveling that much breaks me down!

-Home away from home...sleeping in my Skinfit booth at Wildflower

It feels good to be back in S.D. for a few weeks before heading off to Texas for the next stop on the Xterra circuit. I am ready for some consistent and hard training. Jim has me doing some interval training on the bike, which I am excited about b/c I will need some high-end fitness heading into the next few big races. Before Vegas I had only done a couple hard sessions...I had base fitness and strength but no high-end fitness so these intervals should help. I am also starting back with some light running and the leg is feeling better. We are going to build up slowly but more then anything I look forward to logging some running miles on the local trails. I am hitting masters at UCSD a lot too in hopes of decreasing the deficit out of the water. My pool times are faster then ever so it drives me crazy that I am getting so smacked in the races. I actually consider myself a much better openwater swimmer then a pool swimmer, go figure. Plus, I am at Rehab United pretty much everyday doing strength work, mobility, art, ice, etc. The crew there is amazing and getting me back to 100%

Skinfit has been pumping...I am slammed with work, which is great! So, between Skinfit and training there isn't much free time. I am enjoying it though and, as long as I can get a good night sleep and a nap every once in a while, I will survive :)

- I will leave you with this pic...Avia pulled out all the stops providing endless amounts of booze for the weekend. Plus a full taco bar both nights!