Sunday, March 27, 2011

Race in SD

First time in San Diego was great. Spent mass time hanging with Cait. We went for Sushi, pancakes, took some naps, went to a brewery, biked and ran, and wandered around down town. I wasn't feeling super sharp for the race the night before but the nap brought me around and suddenly I was feeling magic.

Race morning started out shockingly relaxed but quickly turned into typical race morning as I discovered I had miraculously lost my aero helmet...seriously unreal as I had it on my head the day before. Who knows what happened to it? Shit man, I need to get it together. I sent Cait frantically back to the hotel (she is the best) and I scrambled around trying to find a spare. I rounded up a fisher price looking helmet, which was a major win all things considered, then headed to the swim start.

I was in the second wave which I had mixed feelings about. 1. I was getting time splits to the leaders constantly which was good. 2. I couldn't react to surges in the race which was bad. 3. Not having a swim pack was not ideal and my swim time showed it compared to the 1st wave

The swim was excellent. I got dropped in the first 200 but quickly diced through 8 of the people who thought it was a 200 free instead of a triathlon. Seems like it was easy to confuse despite no pool and a wetsuit...DUMB DUMB DUMB. Anyway, the stroke felt very good and I held a high tempo into t1. Transition was a bit sloppy but not shameful and relatively good. Not sure what others are doing in transition but I will take free time if you give it to me. If you want to put on makeup and file your nails before heading out on the bike, be my guest.

The bike felt pretty rotten as I have had major tracking issues with my knee since switching to speedplays. It seems to have set off a stick of dynamite in my pedal stroke and suddenly I am herky jerky all over the road even with my new looks. I wasn't very smooth but the watts were alright and I averaged 335 with 6 dead stops. Still managed to go 59 and change. Michey Weiss held 377 so I have a ways to go but I think I can get there.

I transitioned onto the run and felt good. I was smooth but a bit sluggish until mile 3 when a guy picked me up. He gapped me but I hung on about 5 seconds back. I clawed my way back to within a second. Then he heard my breathing and surged. Rinse. Repeat 3 times. I had one more penny to spend and came back on his shoulder and tried to make a pass...I didn't have much so it wasn't all that definitive. He responded and rounded a corner. I thought I was dead until I saw a small downhill. I blasted down it and was on his shoulder again. I was running on fumes at that point and he easily coasted away as I waddled in. Second time in as many races that I have come up short with 300 yards to go. I fought like hell to make this one close though. I hit the line completely totaled and yacked four times. Satisfying effort.

Overall, athletically the race was spot on and right where I needed to be. 7th overall of ~815 racers is hard to complain about, but I was hoping my race would end up being more competitive with the top guys. It still left me a couple minutes shy of the podium and out of the money. I am knocking on the door but still not there. Competitive races are awesome but sometimes I just want to cherry-pick one and blow apart the field... Guess I just need to get faster.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Solvang Spring Fling Wrap Up

Overall review:

The camp was tough and we piled on big bike mileage. Lots of it was quite intense too and my bike muscles still are gassed. My total hours for the week were 27.5 which was by far my biggest week. The repercussions of doing such a big volume jump with so much intensity weren’t as severe as I thought but still messed with my sleep. I had a couple nights where the sound of my heart kept me awake. My dreams have been super messed up too…I don’t want to go into it but weird is an understatement.

The people at the camp were phenomenal. Lots of laughs and lots of time spent geeking out on triathlon in general.

The coaches were sensational but they took a sick pleasure in decimating me every day. They also really helped with my swim stroke which was a total surprise. Especially because the coach who helped me, Ryan Ignatz, is a snail in the water. Quote me on it. He thinks he could stick on my feet but he would be a distant memory…turns out he actually really knows swimming. People can tell you “fix this and fix that” but actually being able to make a real change is something not many coaches can do. I was blown away and it already feels like I am grabbing tons of water I was missing. Thanks Ryan.

Charlie, the camp organizer was absolutely the best. I couldn’t believe how well the camp ran and how fluidly she operated the minutiae.

The recuperation from the camp has involved tons of bagel eating. I have been blasting through french toast at a rate that would hurt Ihop's feelings. It seems I haven’t stopped eating since I got back. I’m finally getting some freshness back in my legs.

I have a race this wknd and I am interested to see how I go. I am hoping for a major fitness bump from the camp and I need it since there is a bit of prize money on the line. I checked the start list and I know some of the guys… I think it’s safe to say a couple podium spots are locked up already. Michael Weiss is going to smash everyone. That guy is so lethal across the board it is insane. He’s an Ironman winner, world champ mountain biker, and xterra winner. If I can be in the same area code, I could make a bit of money. We’ll see if the body shows up to the party.

Bob, a hard-nosed Alaskan I met at camp, is going to do the race too and made me promise to buy him a beer if I finish in the money so the pressure is on.

Also...random bit of good news: I fixed my cleat position on my bike shoes today. I went from knee pain and weak tea cup baby power to making my pedals quake with anguish and tremble with fear. I jammed the cleats back and suddenly my ass and thunder quads are firing like NPR right now. Little baby Mikey Weiss should take notice. Death and Pain are coming to San Diego.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Solvang spring fling day 6

No biking today which is a major relief. I haven't stacked up that much bike training ever (roughly 18 hrs on the bike in 5 days) and it was interesting to see how much one can actually handle on the bike day in and day out.

Today was a bit foggy and overcast...Perfect day for a run and that was on the schedule. We started out on the long run and my legs were obviously sore but loosened up pretty quickly and I cruised the first 4 miles pretty well...I started to feel the deep fatigue up some of the hills and backed off the pace a bit just to relax. I hit my turn around and started back home. A few slight down hills helped me find a bit of a rhythm and I found myself rolling and building into a fast pace comfortably. I finished the run off with a sub 6 minute mile and felt very good.

A coffee, a pack of gummy bears, and a pesto turkey sandwich went down like dominoes after the run.

Onto a light swim... Well when I say light, I mean it would have been light if I hadn't be shattered like a cheap dinner plate. We did some aerobic stuff with enough rest to catch a quick nap and it still wasn't easy enough. I worked on my form and found a little gadget that really helped me catch and anchor my arm in the water. I am going to have to pick one of these little devices up...more to come on that later I think.

Tonight is wine, cheese, dinner, and scotch.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Solvang spring fling day 5

Today was completely mind blowing. Apparently the weather is supposed to be rotten tomorrow so we flipped the long run to tomorrow and the long ride to today. I wasn't pleased as my legs were begging for a day off the bike.

I started pedaling and I had absolutely no access to my top end and had whooping cough from the race the day before. Not the greatest start but my legs actually got progressively better throughout the day.

About 30 minutes into the ride, I stopped caring about how my legs felt. The route we were on was absolutely the best cycling I have ever done. Perfect roads, amazing views, no traffic, steady name it. It was absolutely perfect rhythm riding which is my favorite type.

I got into a groove and my legs started to really feel excellent. We pushed the pace, threw some attacks, and let the down hills rip. The 5 hr ride was done before I knew it and I have just found my favorite cycling route on earth.

Just to document it so I don't forget the route, it headed out from Solvang to Los Olivos then onto Foxen Canyon then right on Tepesquet up a climb and down into a valley and finally out to Highway 166. It ended up being roughly 90 miles.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Spring Fling Day 4

Today was a massive effort. We raced up Mt. Figueroa. It is a 9.5 mile climb that averages 9%...this 9% is very deceptive as the first mile hits 22% and there are some down hills so it sticks around 10-12% a lot.

I was pitted against the camp coach who is a beast. He is a pro road rider from boulder and former pro triathlete. I was pretty nervous as sub 1 hour efforts on the bike are just nasty painful and I had never red lined a climb like that before. I knew I was climbing well but this is a completely different animal.

I took off and hit the first grade and was on the rivet immediately... 1k in and I was already ragged. I was passing tons of people and climbing well. Reality hit about 5k in and I knew I had spent all my pennies. Now it was about mitigating pain and time losses. I was cramping in the back of my hamstrings which has never happened and my back felt absolutely shattered. The camp coach ripped by me at 10k and I couldn't respond.

I was in a bad way when I finally got to the top. I threw up a few bits of bile and tossed in a couple thorough dry heaves for good measure. I laid there annihilated for about 15 minutes before I could eat or drink.

After I rejoined the land of the living, we descended 1/3 of the way down to a running trail for a brick...totally sadistic. I trotted off with my legs feeling like mud pie. I got to the turn around point and was joined by the camp coach, Jared. He apparently wanted to put the screws to me today and we hammered the second half of the run... I was happy for that to be over.

THEN...we rode back. Instead of riding easy, we had a tailwind and set up a paceline. We were absolutely flying.

Now my legs are beyond gone. I need food. I need a shower. I need sleep.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Solvang Spring Fling Day 3

Thank God for easy days...I crawled into bed last night completely smoked. I just laid there...My heart was thumping loud enough to keep me awake. That is a major sign for me...if you push through that sign good things literally NEVER happen. It took me a while to figure out that your heart shouldn't really ever beat hard while you are laying around like a lump...unless you're watching an awesome emotional hugh grant movie or something that makes you really mad I was a bit sun burned and also warm from running the engine hard all day. I woke up still slightly toasted but much better. We had an early run at the track...sounds scary but was very easy. We did some drills and cruised a few very comfortable. I actually came back feeling a lot better.

Next up was a 2 hr spin to loosen up the legs. I was testing out my new pedals and was happy to be rid of those filthy speedplays. I was pain free the whole day. No hot spots on the foot and no weird knee tension. I will ride looks til I die.

Back to the ride... I never really do recovery rides. I usually swim to recover. I just ride steady or I don't ride. It was weird to spin so lightly but kind of nice. I still would have preferred to watch tv as that doesn't hurt my butt as much but I kept that to myself.

The highlight of the ride was stopping for sandwiches...also eating my gummies.

I finished all that with a nap...maybe the most necessary nap ever in my life.

I just looked at the total for the camp so far and I have 14.5 hrs of training done in 3 days...crazy.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Solvang spring fling day 2

Wow... turns out being tired is going to be the theme of this week. I basically ended up face down, snoring in a bowl of pasta today. I had a cup of coffee that may have made me more tired. It was hard to tell...

We were up this morning @ 6:20 and straight to the pool for some reasonably light swimming. Then breakfast and onto a long ride. It was supposed to be sort of long and slow...I hate that. Needless to say I got a paceline going right off the bat and 45 minutes into the ride had shelled all but a couple. The climb hit and I spat the remainder off the back and got to enjoy one of the most beautiful rides I have ever done in perfect silence. It was awesome. I couldn't do justice to the landscape. You just have to be there. When people say "greener pastures" this is exactly what you picture...but watered way down because your imagination isn't powerful enough for this.

I got down to the beach where I was greeted by a small beach store that served ridiculously good burgers. I indulged. This combined with v8 (usually nasty but the salt content was spot on today) made the ride home much better. I headed back and was smashing it. But thanks to my speedplay pedals, my knees and feet were feeling like charlie sheen's liver. I hate speedplays. Never buy them. They are the worst thing to happen to bikes, knees, and feet in all of human history. I was motivated to finish the ride because I planned to buy different pedals immediately. I stopped off at the bike shop, got some new all white Look pedals and rode off pain free...I did all this before anyone caught me. WINNING.

Some Gummy worms, sandwiches, ice cream, pasta, bread, chips, coffee, carrot juice, chicken, and chocolate later and here I am. Still tired. Still hungry.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Solvang spring fling day 1

The first day of camp started out with a bang... 4.5 hr ride with some solid climbing through some of the country's greatest landscape. Legendary ride with some massively difficult climbs. I was feeling very solid throughout and was blasting through the hills.

We headed to a coffee shop after for some shakes. Afternoon delight...don't take that the wrong way. It was just a shake you pervert.

Run after that was almost immediate. We cruised the first loop then the majority of the group peeled off and I was left with a 90 lb running animal man named Chris. Chris has been known to run 1:05 half marathons... for those of you less running inclined, that shit is lightning. Anyways, he blasted me into oblivion. I was doing ok for a big-boned, sausage-legged rockstar but he was like a little billy goat and climbed like a whisp of smoke. I ate about 10 lbs of food after.

Good day.

In other news, I am interviewing to become Charlie Sheen's Social Media secretary. This is 100% true. I passed the first round of interviews and am now on to the second round...wish me luck, trolls. HA. luck is some heinous AA term made up by a bunch of droopy-eyed, armless, loser children. I don't need it. I have tiger blood and resentment to fuel me...luck has nothing to do with it. Peace out girl scouts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

First race of the season

The first race of the season is sort of like the first time you played pokemon. Jarring, upsetting, interesting, fast paced and seizure inducing. Thankfully it didn't prove to be seizure inducing.

Cait and I drove to Indio and set up shop. We went out for some thai food. Turns out red curry is not ideal "stomach settling" food. After that we gorged on cookies and gummy bears. As my pancreas was shocked into submission, I noticed that my tire was flat...I pumped it up to discover a leak. Total panic at the disco ensued!

Cait and I rushed to walgreens to get super glue. FAIL. Too runny. We rushed to wal MART and got bike patch kits and some more adhesives. Panic mode was awful but I finally got it to the point where the leak was super slow...

Race morning came and I was feeling good. I started quickly but in the completely wrong direction. Annoying. I jumped back to the main group and swam strong to come out in 7th or so. 40 seconds back of Inch and a minute and change up on kling.

I got on the bike quick and was super nervous that the third world fix would hold... I hit the back brake on the first hill and the junk on the tire ripped completely off and got lodged in my back brake. It rubbed bad and was making horrid noises... I ignored it and pushed to catch inch 15 minutes in. The rubbing continued for the next 18 miles. I was pushing great watts and averaged 340 for the whole thing. The speed was shit though until the junk dislodged from my brake. The speed then jumped and I shot away from the group....I also ditched inch when the stuff came loose.

I had an immaculate transition onto the run and hit the gas. 1st mile was 5:20 and it hurt. I was running in 4th overall. Inch was a ways back and I figured if I could keep the pressure on I could keep clear.

I came around the first three miles quick. I stayed moving ok but got run through by a couple pros. Ended in 6th overall and 1st amateur. I am closing the gap on some of the top guys in the area. Although this is the key stat: I beat inch and kling. Scoreboard was just like ironman florida.

Good weekend. Next race is at the end of March. Triathlon camp next week!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Magestic Hogs

One of my fondest memories is seeing potbelly pig racing at the state fair with my grandparents and sister. These races are so baller it is unreal. I would watch them every other day if time permitted. Pigs are hyper competitive beasts who don't take shit from anyone except each other. Pot belly pigs are the most deadly fast pig in all of pigdom. I've always admired them and their 'from the gun' mentality in racing. Even if they get lost on a circle track, they are heroes in my book. I'll get back to this later.
Into T1

I'm starting to come around from the early easy week feeling. The first part of every 'down' week feels like I am shutting down completely. My body is really warm and my legs feel like ham. I generally feel like I have no business exercising. It takes between 3-5 days to come out of that and then the snap returns to the legs and the heart and lungs almost feel excited to be used. My heart actually sometimes skips a beat during these couple days...super weird.

My legs feel lethal right now. I swam today and thought I needed a flop day as opposed to Jill's race pace workout. I got in the water and felt balanced and smooth. My pull felt strong and my legs actually felt good kicking (1st time in 2 years that I have actually kicked while swimming). The mini set was 2x100 on 1:30. I was told to take it out fairly strong. Goal was 1:10-1:12. I hit 1:09 and then 1:07 and felt cruisey. Then 6x100 on 1:30 where I was supposed to settle into 1:15 pace. I hit 1:09 for each of these easily. CRAZY. Again, 2 years since I could swim like this.

Back to that earlier pig nonsense, I just saw this quote and it was right up my alley.
You can't make a racehorse out of a pig. But if you work hard enough at it you can make a mighty fast pig. - Bob Akin

Lean Bacon (pig #2) slaying them around the first turn

I think I am turning myself into one lethal piggy.

RACE THIS WEEKEND! Inch, Kling, Iris, and Mariah coming for their spring break too!

Hopefully sweet porcine victory will be mine