Monday, April 25, 2011

Going long...

Well, Ironman St. George is coming fast. The work is done and now its time to rest up and taper down with shorter race specific workouts. Kind of crazy this major race is in less then 2 weeks. I feel like I just signed up for it. I will be perfectly honest, the past few weeks were Xterra focused so I feel like I fell behind a bit with the travel and Xterra racing. This weekend though I put in some big miles and feel more on track.

Coming into this year I thought it was possible to excel in both Ironman and Xterra...well, I can tell you that its not possible (unless your a total freak like some of the select few that do well in Kona and Xterra Worlds). I think you can be decent in both but not great. 70.3 and Xterra go well together for sure but not Ironman and Xterra.

I needed all the base training to get back "normal" after two years of injury but when it comes to racing the two are near impossible to manage at a high level. Xterra is my focus and part of me is bummed I have this monster race that will no doubt leave me barely able to walk for the next two stops on the Xterra Tour but I am putting all those thoughts aside and focusing on St. George. I can't have any outs or seeds of doubt on the day. So, it's go time and I feel ready. I have done the work, I feel strong physically and mentally, and I am honestly excited for the challenge. There are certainly questions in my mind like how my body will respond, is my nutrition right, etc but when I look back on what I have done over the last 6 months I really think its just another day similar to the countless days I have already logged. While I haven't ever done an Ironman I think my years of experience are invaluable...I know myself and how to "problem solve," which for Ironman is key.

It is going to be a crazy 4 weeks. I am off to wildflower to man my Skinfit booth, then right after I am off to St. George for a week, then to Santa Cruz for the next Xterra Tour race, and then on to Alabama for the 4th stop on the Xterra Tour. Makes me tired typing it but it will no doubt be a fun adventure! I lived a privileged life! Gotta get back to packing!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

7th at Xterra South Central Championships, 6th in the Pro Series

The second stop on the Xterra Tour was this past weekend in Waco Texas.
Waco doesn't bring about thoughts of amazing trails or a place you really want to go visit but this race is easily the BEST race on the entire circuit in my opinion. The trails are incredible, the race is challenging, and the community/people are over the top nice! I LOVE this race and can't wait to go back.
My homestay is perfect and they really make you feel at home. I can't thank them enough for all they do for us! When I say us I mean all of us pros and racers...they bend over backwards to make this race a success and without their support I don't really think it would happen.

I was excited to race on Sunday. I felt ready but the course is challenging enough to make anyone suffer so I really didn't know how I would hold up. The swim was wetsuit legal but the water was way to warm so we all overheated in the water. I was so ready to get out of my wetsuit at the end of the swim...felt like I was in a furnace! I was sitting pretty good for about 2/3rds of the swim and then got gapped slightly...totally a stupid mistake but the water was really murky so you couldn't really see feet. Plus, there is a current so when swimming up stream in the river it's critical to stay on feet. When you can't see them though it makes it kind of tough. So, a little lack of attention on my part led to a gap and I lost about 20 sec. No doubt my swim has improved over last year and I think it will only get better. Still a long way back of the leaders but it's decent enough to put me in the "fight."

Then onto the bike and I would say it took me about half the ride to get my balance. I hit more trees in the first 30 minutes then I think I have hit in my entire cut up shoulders are proof of this! Seriously, I was so annoyed. Just making stupid mistakes but my riding did seem to get better as the race went on. I am still riding too slow though. I think all the Ironman training has been great (and necessary) in terms of getting me strong and fit but when it comes to high intensity mountain biking I just haven't put in the time on the trails. The good news is Ironman is over in 2 1/2 weeks and I can get back to Xterra specific training and hopefully get my riding up to par!
On the run I had some work to do. Ran from 10th into 7th. The first half of the run I didn't see anyone so I didn't have a gauge of how I was running. Then I caught Adam Wirth and he said another athlete (Will Ross) was 30 sec up. I finally saw him and bridged up. He hung tough though and I couldn't drop him. We ran side by side for the last 1/4 of the run and we finally saw Patrick Valentine about 1/4 mile out from the finish. At that point I just put my head down and charged ahead. Caught him just before the finish and crossed in 7th. That's my best finish to date and I got my first paycheck ( a small one but it funded beer and BBQ in Austin!).
So, I would say it was a good race for me. It moved me into 6th in the series. It wasn't a perfect race for me but it was solid and much improved over years past so I am happy. Moving in the right direction for sure. Huge thanks to Adam Zucco and Trainingbible Coaching for keeping me healthy and strong!
Now the focus is on Ironman St George (2 1/2 weeks away). I already miss my Epic 29er but after this long distance nonsense I will be in Santa Cruz and Bama for the next two stops on the Xterra Tour. Probably not able to walk but I will be there for some fun =)

--My buddy Tom O'Brien KILLED it. First amateur and 14th overall!

Finally made it out to Hoover Dam before the race in Vegas.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

8th in Vegas at the first stop on the Xterra Pro Tour

Managed to put together a decent result for the first big race of the year. While 8th doesn't sound like a very impressive finish on paper there were a lot of positive things that happen yesterday. There are also some obvious things that need improvement. I am still processing it all and have some thoughts but too knacked to share them all now and gotta get packed up to head back to the beach before a Wednesday departure for the next stop on the Tour in Waco, Texas. Can't wait to see all the great people over there and eat some BBQ!
Overall, I am happy. Things are moving in the right direction for sure and I finally felt like I was really racing out there (obvious in the sprint finish with Cody!), which makes it so much more fun. It was a heated battle for 6th-12th...just look at the times and you'll see what I mean.

I have tons of cool pics and video (loving the flip) that I will share later.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Racing and then some more racing....

I spent the later part of last week working my Skinfit booth at the CA 70.3 expo. It was a very productive couple of days for Skinfit but I always forget how exhausting working an expo can be...the set up and break down are a lot of work and being on your feet all day for two days in a row is enough to break anyone! Anyway, it was fun, successful, and tiring all at the same time.
So, Saturday morning came way too fast but Mike Clinch and I powered up to Bonelli Park in San Dimas for Xterra Renegade. It was either do a hard workout on my own or go get in a race on the dirt...I opted for the race and I think it was a good call. Racing Xterra is always really hard and a shock to the system so I am glad I got in one race effort on the trails before the next two weekends of all-out =) efforts in Vegas and Waco. Managed a win, which is always nice but truth be told I was there for the workout and not much else (we had to get back to Oceanside to watch the "real" stoked for James and Beth Walsh and Adam Zucco...they killed it!).
They changed the run course this year at Renegade making it crazy hilly, which I was happy about b/c Vegas AINT flat! I felt really sluggish in the water but it really wasn't that surprising after lugging around heavy boxes and working my ass off at the expo for two days. Once I got on the bike though I felt good and the run felt effortless. Overall, a good prep race and now the focus is on the "big ones" in Vegas and Waco. These ones count and everything else has been prep. So, it's time to rest up with plenty of easy workouts and some race intensity to keep the system firing.
What's blown me away the most so far this season is my ability to recover from these hard efforts. Almost like I didn't even go hard the days after when I am training...proof that all the aerobic base work I put in has paid off. After Superseal Adam and I strung together 3 HARD, 4 hard days in a row (including the race) and I actually felt great everyday. I have never been able to bounce back from olympic distance racing the way I am now.
I am off to Vegas for the first stop on the tour this Thursday. I will have a lot of family and friends there so it will no doubt be good times. I am looking forward to this race a's always interesting b/c it's the first major event of the year stateside and usually EVERYONE shows up. Time to rock n' Roll!