April 30, 2007

Xterra Castaic Lake

Although I was set on racing the Castaic Xterra off-road triathlon this year it just was not going to happen…Looking back I am glad things worked out the way that they did. Monique and I were spent after our race from the day before (more on that to come) but we volunteered to work an aid station as a team once again for the race instead. It was another wonderful experience and a lot of work!

(Monique enjoys the calm before the storm)

It was still Bloody HOT outside and I really felt for the off-road triathletes giving it their all. The swim was nice and flat but the rest of the course looked crazy. I wish I had a picture of the first climb on the bike.... It was a unique perspective to watch a triathlon. I have only seen a few and never an xterra from this view. The "fast" guys really do know how to pace themselves and I think it adds to that "smooth" look of grace as they move about.

we had been camping out with the OC Multisports crew and got to talk about our adventure from the day before over a fire after our race. Now we were watching them all give it a go at a MUCH more intense pace. Unfortunately, Jon Clark got sick that morning but I hear he is a really fast guy...That sucks because he seems super nice... In fact, all of the guys were pretty fast and we saw coach Michael Collins leading the way out of the water was quick to get out of the transition and start the baking process in the hills. Did I mention that it was hot?

Our aid station that we were working was at the end of a long out and back and we saw competitors two times as they make their way through the run. In typical Xterra style there was a very steep "hike" section up to our aid station that slowed down runners before they got to us. If I only had a camera with the looks on some of their faces... Definitely a different perspective.

Posted some of the pictures over here and must admit that volunteering for the event was much better than I thought that it would be but Todd Jackson makes it easy as he is a really cool guy. Big Blue puts on great events I would would do it again... if I am not racing myself

; - )

April 25, 2007

Desert Triathlon

Total last minute race time...

Monique and I decide to join up with the OC Multisports crew in Palm Springs for the Toyota Desert Triathlon for another race.

Weekend after weekend and the race continues but my running injuries got the best of me. We still had a great time hangin' out with the MultiSport crew and got to meet some other cool people too like Jessica and Dave and Jodi Ruby... Inspiration all around!

We took a pre-ride on Saturday of the course and then it was off for a BBQ and relaxing at a local casa. Good times in perfect weather.

April 17, 2007

LA Triathlon Series #1

I am so proud of Monique! This weekend was her 29th Birthday… or 19th ;-) and she celebrated with family and a 2nd place finish at the LA triathlon series race. This was her first triathlon of the season but I am sure it will not be her last!

(Monique with Mom and Dad at the finish line)

I remember when Monique and I first moved to Bako and she couldn’t run around the block. I remember when she could not really swim across the pool without walking somewhere in the middle. She has come such long way but it is not from the training. I think she is averaging about 3-4 hours a week but her technique improves with EVERY practice. The girl has so much talent and she is so cute!

She was concerned most about the swim but she started out conservative and saved the best for last. Her transition times were excellent and she managed to pass three or four people every time she ran over the timing chip line.

(Transition setup saves SoO much time)

I took note of who was in front of her out of the water and then ran over to the bike course so I could get some pictures and see how she was doing on the street. Monique picked up the pace and I counted less than ten girls in front of her (she was 98th overall out of the water) as she was finishing the bike section. She was hammering and another transition was in her favor. Now racing for a podium spot she was down to the run and she looked relaxed and smooth... I kept yelling encouraging things to her but quickly got the "go away"! Okay I said but remember POSE! :-)

(I wonder if she was thinking about POSE??)

Her energy and focus was now devoted to bringing it home and she did just that... She had the best run split yet and solid race finishing in second place for her age group. Not bad for the training time that she put in... She is all talent!

April 08, 2007


In keeping with the lessons I am learning about getting help and reducing the exposure to injury, Monique and I signed up for a running workshop this weekend. “Running Injury Free” How can a runner resist with a title like that?

The workshop covered the proper mechanics, muscle balance and the POSE technique for running. POSE follows an efficient method for going the distance and going injury free! “The Pose Method is a system for teaching of human movement, by determining the key poses, and a model of working with the laws of nature instead of against them. In running, this is achieved by using gravity as the primary force for movement instead of muscular energy.” (You can find out more here). In addition to the instruction, we were video taped to review our current technique (or lack there of) and had some great advise from experts Michael Collins, Brian McKenzie and Dr. Chris Barney that reveled insight to my recent injuries, Monique’s calluses and some preventative steps we can take to reduce muscle imbalance. Good stuff!

I also met the “foam roller” and have been practically making love to it since that day. Ohhh, if feels so good! :-P The mental side of understanding how things are “suppose to” work efficiently and applying them is another thing but if feels so good to be taking steps a better way than what we have been doing. The efficient method will help us whether we are racing top speed in a triathlon, trekking across a ridge in the middle of nowhere or starting and finishing a long day of running an ultra. Time well spent.

Take Home Notes:
-Falling is limited by our fears but it is free energy in motion(gravity)
-Pull is the primary force instead of pushing on the legs(much less effort)
-Keep your body limbs close - Injury is enhanced by your levers
-Strength training is a good thing, even for/especially for endurance sports
-Rest does not necessarily help you recover but working through the injuries is better on your mind and body.

April 06, 2007

Time to take some notes...

Having to deal with an injury really set me up for some serious reflection on my training schedule and what lead up to my stressed IT band. It has now been over three weeks of dealing with the pain and not being able to get a good workout in. I also feel like I am loosing my fitness from the base I have built. Too much time to look at other races and think! I think that I have reshuffled my race schedule ten times in the last few days…

I have learned a lot about myself from my training and blog already… Some of the things I already knew about and are just “in my face” obvious when I look back at my Polar training log or the list of races that I was contemplating on competing in this season. The first is the fact that I love being out on the trail and working towards a goal. That is a good thing. . . I also love to multitask and I believe this is why ‘multisport” is so much fun for me. Adventure racing or Triathlon offers the diversity that I crave. This is why I love my job too. I would get so bored focused on just one thing but I tend to thrive when I can pull multiple things together. That can be as good as it can be bad. . . Professionally, I find myself spread thin too often. In my training I find the energy or excitement for the next thing without resting enough or having enough focus on the sports needed for my next race.

Although I can push my schedule to make time or my money to make it happen it only lasts so long before it is time to pay. It is usually one of the two running short or my body that needs the balance. Balance.... I want to be on the trail for a long time so I have to think "endurance" : - ) Maybe I don’t want to get so focused on race results but I don’t want to get injured or cut myself short from being overzealous. What I need is a plan. What I need is the discipline to stick to it. What I need is someone from the outside to keep me honest with these two points.

Despite my pain and the bad start I really had a wake up call from my first Xterra this season. I started the year with the RioBravo and had a first place overall finish. That felt great and I had focused on the Bike/Run for that race but my training was suppose to turn “triathlon” after that race and it didn’t. I have not been swimming but once a week. I had not turned the intensity up or stuck to any schedule. What is a tempo workout? Where was my training schedule? Where was my technique work? What was technique work? I have to admit that I just was not prepared with a plan.

I learned a very valuable thing from this race and recent injuries. Hopefully, not too late for this season... I needed to stick to a solid training schedule for three major reasons(and maybe look for some help in keeping it)

1) Injury prevention – I don’t want to be limited by an injury for races or life in general. A planned training schedule will limit my exposure to injury incorporate rest, etc.
Work + Rest = Success

2) Race readiness – Even if I love being out on the trail and training I need a purpose. I need to work towards a goal with an organized plan. This should be obvious but I need discipline in this area and a map to keep me on track.

3) Focus – Similar to above but specific to my schedule or session for the day. This will help my intesity level either hight or low, technique and sport specific training. Maybe I wouldn’t be paddling three times a week before my triathlon if I was not injured or maybe I wouldn’t be injured if I wasn’t paddling when I should have been swimming? Chicken or the egg but the result is the same. A solid training schedule will allow me to focus on the task at hand and support/be supported by the first two.

Now that I have been enlightened I need to put it into action!

April 02, 2007


I always hear stories about people starting the swim in a triathlon and getting kicked in the face or getting caught up on the crowd. I can now join the group on that one. I swam in high school and have surfed for long enough that I have always been able to get out in front on the swim, get to clean water and get into my rhythm early on. Not this time! With one mass start of over 300 competitors it was a mess that I was not ready for. It may have been the shock from the cold water or the kicks to the face but I found myself struggling to catch my breath and stay afloat after only about 50 meters…. Backstroke to a light breast stroke my swim became a means to stay afloat and regain my mind. My mind was flooding… this is my first Xterra of the season and I was supposed to be ready…

(the race is off and somewhere in the crowd I am sinking! ;-O )

This would be another wonderful learning lesson for me… This is what tests or races are for anyways. I really had not been swimming or training like I should. I don’t have a schedule, coach or team that I work with... Perhaps an insight into my recent injuries? I would repeat countless times on our way home yesterday “you train like you want to race because you WILL race like you have trained!”

Attitude is everything so I push on and after I reach the second buoy I find my rhythm. I may have lost valuable time in the process but I have the majority of the race ahead at this point so I remain positive and press on.

(trying to make up time on the bike and enjoying the ride)

My transitions and the tricky spots on the bike course that practiced the day before go over perfectly. Most people were more than accommodating when getting passed and would pull to the side at the first mention of “on your left”. All except the one guy who did not want to move over after several attempts to pass him on my first lap. After four attempts to pass I surged uphill and called “on your left” only to have him turn left and push me off the trail and into a rock. Agghh… And it was uphill! Over the handlebars number one! I get passed by a few people who are willing to let me squeeze by again only to catch this guy and go over the handle bars again! Crap! I should have reported this dude but again I learn to look for the optimal passing opportunities and take it as a learning lesson. Getting back on my bike again I realize that I dropped my gu and bottle off of my bike and have another lap to go. Its going to be a hard(er) race I thought to myself. I eased into the pack that passed me after crash number two again and this time just pass without a word. I still pushed as hard as I could on the bike and made up some spots and lap number two was a bit better.

Looking back on my bike leg, I felt flat. No real power or push when I needed it or reserves to push from. Did I not recover enough from the VQ? How much time do I need? Maybe taking the time off from my IT band is what left me feeling flat? Maybe I should not have ridden the course yesterday even if it was at a very slow pace?

On to the run I found my pain had returned to my knee. This is definitely from the bike because it was hurting before I left the transition area. I run and pray. I felt better on the run than I did on the swim and bike but now I have to deal with my pain. I have a focus now that I needed the entire race. It is funny how pain does that and before I know it my pain is gone and I am feeling the finish line suck me in. I have juice left at the last sprint and end up passing two guys (too bad they were not in my age group) in the last mile but it is pretty insignificant at this point. I was just nice to race it to the finish. I am still far from where I though I would come in from a time perspective but I am pleased to finish and join a happy crowd.

(The finish always looks good but the clock is what gets you)

A disappointing finish for me at 2hr 11min when I was expecting a sub 1hr 50min time but again I will have to defer to the lessons learned and stay positive. What did I expect? How was I planning on getting that sub 1:50 time? What was I doing about it? Why didn’t I ask and do something about these questions a few months back. : - )

Time for reflection later. . . The day was still beautiful and there was good food and conversation to be had. The Granite Bay area is a wonderful place to explore and the people at the REAL Mtn Bike Triathlon make you feel at home.

Monique took some cool pictures of the race and area that you can check out over HERE