March 30, 2007

Folsom Times

Its Friday!! This week went by so fast and I have made it through the injuries and the fiscal year end at my job. It feels so nice. I was able to get some running and bikin’ in this week with no pain and I even got to through down a brick workout. Although I didn’t have the perfect build or taper going into my Xterra races they are here and I feel ready. I feel rested . . . more than I normally do going into a race. I feel confident. I may have not had a fast workout since the Rio Bravo but I exceeded my expectations there and feel more than ready for Sunday’s REAL Mt Bike Triathlon race. I feel relaxed. It’s the weekend and we are already at Granite Bay with work behind us and a sneak preview of the course fresh in my mind.

(The smooth trail and fresh grass is almost too REAL)

The bike section looks fast and flat for the most part but there are a few spots where you HAVE to get off of the bike to cross some rocks and water. Not to mention the sand traps in a few spots. Welcome to Xterra!

(Monique wonders how we will get through the sand-pow)

Monique and I took a swim out on the lake today (~50 degrees or something) and it was the first time in my suit since last year. Did I mention I am rested? The course super fun and beautiful! We are camping just down the road from the race setup so we are going to do a small brick workout on the course tomorrow morning. Then it is on to some resting and exploring the Folsom Lake area.

March 17, 2007

Summer Time?

This weekend it really felt like summer was back in town and I just wanted it to stay around for a while. Although my IT band problem is far from over I was able to ride my bike while Monique pounded out a couple (or eight) miles or so and I got to video tape here style. Yeah…She’s got style.

My IT band is all stretched out and the pain doesn’t hurt now when I walk but I want to make sure I am fully rested before I start running again. I had planned on racing in the Keyesville Classic today but it may just set me back even longer from resting before the Xterra season starts. I have a long season ahead of me. I was also getting a pain in the front of my knee cap and googled up what that could be…. Too much of an increase in cycling. I guess I have to build a bigger base if I head into something like the Vision Quest again. How about those 100 mile sections of riding in expedition races? I will start building my base now!

Time off of my feet only meant that there was more time to get my paddle on! Too bad it is so close to my Xterra’s and I don’t have an adventure race in close range. I have never paddled so much in my life and I am starting to find my grove in it.

Yesterday, Marius tells me he paddled to San Clemente and back from his house in Dana Point. That is halfway to Catalina he tells me. Marius is a machine that does not no how to complain. I have a lot to learn and base to build in paddling too I guess. I look forward to that and a long summer!

When summer is here in Bako it is going to be HOT ! ! However, it looks like Monique, Nacho, Jet and I may be moving south soon so summer could be long days at the beach surfing again. Man do I miss those late days and BBQ's on the beach with the crew! When did we decide to move again?

Timing is a funny thing and even when I loose sleep or hours of productive work over tough decisions it is hard to know when it is the right time to take action or rest but before long the options become obvious. Geezzzz I really am learning something here.

March 13, 2007

IT Band

With a little over three weeks until my first Xterra triathlon my stress is starting to mount. Not from the excitement of the first race or my first Xterra in nearly two years but from the timing of it all. My IT Band has now totally sidelined me and I am trying to limit the time on my feet all together. Aghh.. Getting injured sucks.

The IT Band or Illiotibial band injuries are caused by the inflammation of the Illiotibial band that runs from just below the knee to an attachment near the top part of your hip and butt. Common causes are from "overloading" or "biomechanical errors". From the list of causes noted on the Stretching Institute website I would fall into a few of the "overloading" causes.

About two years ago I stressed my IT Band (same leg) and but the reason behind it was obvious. I had just started running on a regular basis and had to learn the hard way about the 10% rule. I may have a more complicated reason behind why I “overloaded” it now but the result is the same.

Looking at my Polar training software it was about four weeks of stretching before I could run without pain again. Many of the websites I have researched talk about the R.I.C.E (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation) treatment along with stretching so today I am on the ice as I write this. Hopefully, this will speed the recovery.

Looking back in greater detail at my Polar software and I can see the pattern start to immerge. I am getting good use of this software! Now I need to start using it proactively!

Even when I have kept to the 10% rule for my weekly training (which I have not most of the time) the problem is even more obvious when I review the training totals by month. Three months with no extended rest spells injury for me. Maybe I need to look at what intensity are going into the three months? Maybe I need to build a base early for endurance events like the Vision Quest or Ultramarathons?

For now, it is another learning lesson for me.

“It seems that we learn lessons when we least expect them but always when we need them the most, and, the true gift in these lessons always lies in the learning process itself.”

Cathy Lee Crosby

March 11, 2007

Santa Barbara Sun

After a long few months of traveling and long training sessions, the time in Santa Barbara this weekend was well received. Today is Monique’s Moms birthday and I spend the majority of the day looking at the view below. Life is good.

With the Vision Quest race behind me, it also marks the end of the "building" or the endurance phase for my training this season. I made it through an ultramarathon and the Vision Quest and now it is time to build speed for the Xterra races ahead. Hopefully, I will have my IT bands loose and trouble free by then.

Yesterday, Monique and I took a run out on the tunnel trail. It is only one of the stunning trials that are part of the Santa Barbara Nine Trails ultra we plan to run this November. I have heard people say that this 35 miler feels more like a 50 and now I can see why. The tunnel trail climbs just a little over a thousand feet but it is a rugged and torn trail that is exposed for most of the accent.

The harsh terrain is only surpassed by the beauty of the town and ocean views that only get better as you make your way to the peak. Then as you reach the peak the trial begins to run smooth and become enclosed by lush grass and ferns.

(Santa Barbara below and the Channel Islands back in the left)

(Monique pauses for a picture as we question the trail)

(the trial turns nice as we reach the cool air near the peak)

Our run ended early when the pain of my IT Bands just would not go away. This was not a day to push through the pain. This was a weekend of relaxation and recovery. As we headed back down my thoughts turned to how blessed I was to run these beautiful trails. Even if I had some pain in the knee that was turning into a pain in the… well, you know. I was out on the trail with my wife and best friend. I had made it through some long training weeks and even longer stressful weeks at work. We were heading down to spend the weekend with family in celebration. We were soaking up the sky and the breath of the trail. We were on our way down to eat! I was so stoked.

On the way home tonight we watched the sunset and it put the perfect ending to the weekend. The pictures really are worth a thousand words.

March 04, 2007

Vision Quest 2007 Race Report

The Vision Quest was here and it was time to prepare for the long day. Despite the lack of sleep, I awoke and felt equipped to face the day. I grabbed my bags and was off to meet Marius for some coffee. When we arrived at the Black Star canyon minutes later the crowd of some 350 participants were busy about their race prep business and everyone was commenting on how unusually warm it was. Marius and I met up with Georgina and Christi and as we talked I noticed that Ryan and his crew were parked right behind them. Ryan had been riding the course the last few weekends (starting at 5:30am to simulate race day) and had warned me through an email about cold chill that the training rides left them with. I think we were both relieved to have the warm breeze joining the excitement in the air. It was also a full moon and the sky was picturesque. Light clouds partially covering a full moon as it lay over the hills to the south of trail where we would be heading up on our way to the soccer ball.

At just before 5:30am, Chris gave out a few race updates, words of encouragement and then we were off into the darkness. In just a few miles and a few thousand feet in elevation gain, the sun was out and I had reached the soccer ball in just over an hour. Crap! I think I went out a little too fast… According to the Warriors Society we were in for 11,000 feet of climbing in our 56+ mile course so pace was paramount. I tried to keep that in the front of my mind and in my legs on the next few smaller accents. These were easier to keep pace on and before I knew I had reached the start of the motorway trail. Time for some downhill! This was such a fun part of the course and the pack was already starting to thin out.

About twelve minutes later I rolled into to the first aid station at Maple Springs and was surprised to hear Steve calling me. I was so stoked to see him! I didn’t know he was going to be there but he would be supporting Georgina, Marius and I all day. Steve gave me some pointers last year in Mammoth that forever changed my riding. He has a real charisma for encouraging people too. He grabbed my backpack and filled my water and I shoved down a banana. We talked a little and he gave me some encouraging words. I would need them in the miles ahead.

(Elevation map from

When we rode this part of the course a few weeks back it took us a little over 3 1/2 hours so when I arrived in just under 2 1/2 I was more worried than anything. Did I go out to fast? When was I going to feel the repercussions of this one? I knew the next climb would be the longest continuous climb of the day and so I was off to get r' done while I was still feeling fresh.

The Maple Springs road to four corners was a long continuous, grinding and surprisingly cold climb. I met my decision here and found what I was looking for in this challenge. Interestingly enough, it had to do with vision too. Maybe it was the paved road that turns into dirt with nothing exciting. Maybe it was the long climb that lay ahead or the consequences I was starting to feel from going out faster than I should have. In the start of the climb I found myself alone and continued to eat but my pace starting to slip early on. Where was my power? I started to eat and eat more. About half way up the climb to Santiago peak and a little over four hours into the race I started to feel nocuous. What was going on here? I realized that I didn’t actually drink the coffee I had with Marius this morning and maybe it was a caffeine issue. I need to quit that Starbucks kick. I reached into my backpack and started to dig into my bag of chocolate covered espresso beans. That helped for a little while but soon I was getting dizzy and my vision started making the rocks in front of me dance around. Woohh.. This is new. At the same time I felt like I had no power and found myself pushing my bike on some sections I had climbed before with my middle ring. What was I missing? I actually didn’t worry when the first few people passed me but when more than a dozen people rode by me I started to question myself. My thoughts started to turn negative and then I got the question. Why am I doing this again? At this point my vision was not just a few seconds here and there but I had to actually stop and sit. I took inventory and went through my requirements logically. I went through my motives and started thinking positive. I just need to get to the peak and then I can have some downhill. Hold on. You have been through worse. I have plenty of water and food but what else does my body need now? . . . Electrolytes? I had not taken anything yet so I popped two ECAPs and stretched, walked and rode at a pace I could manage. I was making progress.

(Polar Heart Rate statistics)

I passed four corners and just a few miles short of the peak I started feeling better. I remembered the Ultra that Monique and I ran on this same road just four weeks ago. She was so strong. I was and am so proud of her and that fueled me with everything I needed. After the ECAPs I stopped eating and took only small amounts of water in. I had made it to the peak and I had pushed through that “spot” for now.

At just over 30 miles I was heading into the Holy Jim canyon trail. I had never been down the trail before and it was an experience in itself. One part of the trial had a fallen tree that I managed to duck under the first branch only to be caught by my helmet on the last branch. Georgina later told us that she locked up the breaks and went over the handle bars at the sight of it. Good times on the trail.

(the good part of the trail - A picture stolen from

Reaching the bottom of Holy Jim marked the end of the Counting Coup race and the closing in on the last cut off for the VQ. Once again, Steve was at the transition area to encourage me and fill up my water. At this point I did not know where I was in the race but Steve told me I had about an hour and a half to get to the next cutoff and it was only about 30min from the transition area but the hike a bike section would follow.

The hike a bike was a concern for me because of my recent IT band issue but at this point I was feeling so much better that I was not so worried about it. I didn’t have any problems with them so far; even when I was pushing my bike up Santiago peak. I had the time to slow down even more but I wouldn’t need it. After I made the cut and started out on West Horse Thief trail I stopped to stretch. I took some Advil for some insurance on my IT bands, a couple more ECAPs and found my Ipod in my backpack. Music!! I was ready now.

I felt the best I had the entire race heading up the hike a bike section. Yeah, I was tired and started to feel the fatigue but I was so relieved not to have any issues with my IT bands and to be over the vision/nausea problem. Now I was into my music and pushing with the energy I just could not find earlier. I can run these hills, I kept thinking. People run 100 milers on stuff much harder than this. My legs were still strong from our ultra and it was nice to change up the muscles from the bike. We were in multisport land now! I actually passed six people on the hike a bike and felt so refueled by the time we reached main divide that I was back into my “normal” cadenance and power on the last few climbs. This is awesome! My thoughts were all positive now and I was so thankful. 50 miles and no flats, 50 miles and no mechanicals, 50 miles and I'm loving this course!

I made record time down the Trabuco trail and by the time I got back to the dirt road leading to the finish I was in top gear and pounding. It was nice to finish strong… It was nice to finish. I believe I crossed in about seven hours and twenty minutes. Somewhere around there. After talking with everyone at the finish line I was stoked to learn that there were no major injuries or DNF's. I got to chat it up with a few friends and meet some new people too. Another day in paradise.

The Stats

According to my Polar Watch I averaged a 145BPM heart rate and burned just under 5,000 calories during the ride. Besides my electrolyte episode (if it was from that) I felt good with my calorie intake and H20.

Fuel for the ride.
-2 handful of Mrs Mays Sunflower crunch
-2 hand fulls of pretzels
-4 hand fulls of chocolate espresso beans
-1 chocolate power bar
-1 nature valley bar
-1 bag cliff shots
-6 Accel Gel's
-1 banana
-1 bottle of accelerade
-4 advil

Stuff that I carried the entire time and didn’t use
-3 nature valley bars
-1 power bar
-2 Accel Gel's
-C02 pump and spare tube
-backup pump
-leg warmers
-space blanket
-TP (same roll from the Ultra and I'm still glad I havn’t had to use it yet) ; - P

March 03, 2007

Time is up

It is now March 3rd. 12:06am and I have just reviewed the last update for the VQ for the first time. Less than 4 hours ago I discover that the VQ was going to be on Saturday not Sunday like I had thought. I am so unprepared for this race and the stress from my job this week was brought to a new level; part of the distraction from the race. I'm tired and worried but it may be best as I will learn how it feels to go into a longer race tired.

My IT bands are feeling better and I did get a massage today. I was hoping for a day in between that and the race but that was not as big of a mistake as my swim session about 30min ago. Dang…. What would I do without Monique reminding me of these things? I am suppose to meet Marius at 4:05 to carpool to the race start. Time to say a prayer and get some sleep.