April 28, 2009


I have been slammed lately… April is proving to be a BIG month for me and I have been playing catch up on my rest days. I am stoked to grow my weekly builds into a good month now and will have more details on that in the next post.

Today is a solid day of rest for me and I am starting to plan out my next attack for the month of May. I learned a ton this month by loosely following a training outline but sticking like glue to my goals for the weeks and month. The hardest and biggest change for me was to NOT race. It allowed me to gain some consistency that I have always been lacking and let me set baselines for each sport. . .something I have never done before and should pay big dividends for the rest of the year(s).

The baseline for the bike was all built around the new power tap. Two weekends ago (did I mention I have been busy) I got in my FTP(Function Threshold Power) test on a long weekend ride. I elected not to race the Julian Death March and instead on that same day I put in 92 miles and about 10,000 feet of climbing up and around Palomar. The ride probably ended up being bigger than the race but it was training so the focus was very different. Although it was not the ideal protocol for testing FTP it was more realistic for me. Ideally you would want to be rested and get in a good 20 minute warmup before smashing yourself for 20 minutes with all you have got and then just crawl home. I was going into the test with some fatigue from the week and started the 20 minute ALL OUT effort after one hour into a 7.5 hour ride. Was I ready for it… I don’t think anyone ever is!

Vu was right about a few things... You need a hefty dose of motivation and someone to push you throughout the test. Twenty minutes is A LONG TIME when you are pushing yourself as hard as you can go. . . I was riding with Glen, Keevin, Rick and Luke and when we stopped at the mini mart I let them all take off before me when we got going again. I thought I would have some motivation chasing them down when I started my test ;-P The only problem was that they were not testing and we had an hour or more climb ahead. They are not stupid and were pacing themselves!

I caught Keevin, Rick and Glen in the first few minutes and then rode with Luke for a bit before the pain really set in. My first ten minutes was solid, 15 minutes hurt and I started to fade and made a final push to 20 minutes. Despite the lack of training at that intensity and horribly timing of some music on my Ipod I think it was a good test and now I have a baseline set.

I averaged 321 watts (322 Normalized) for the 20 minutes and taking 5% away (due to not using a 60min TT effort/time) I would get about 305 watts for my Functional Threshold Power. I averaged 165bpm on my heart rate during the test and 3,532kJ for the ride. A new record for me. If it is good or bad I am not sure but I have a baseline set and some insight into my strengths and weaknesses. One thing I noticed right away was that I could maintain a lower effort in watts for a MUCH longer time. Obvious I know but I think in the future I may do a 40min or even a full 60min test and then some 1-5minute sprints too.

Using that data and my gadgets proactively I have started off April with some quality training. My swimming, running and paddle sessions have a "local loop" that I am using to measure progress and my motivation is at an all time high. I have also seen my watts going up on each ride and it is really motivating... I have a long way to go but progress is progress. I am still weeks away from any race and stoked to be getting in the training time while the trails are green and not baking hot...yet. See ya out there!

April 23, 2009

Training Buddies

The last few weeks have gone by so fast and have been packed with busy days. . . I am grateful that I have been able to keep my training on the UP and still take care of "life stuff". Racing this year has taken a big change for me. I am racing less but more focused than ever on training and I am learning so much by training with my buddies. It is a true team effort and I am stoked to see everyone progressing toward the unique challenges that we have all taken on. I continue to think about Ned Overends book (Mountain Bike Like a Champion) where he describes his co-author, Ed Pavelkas early years in mountain biking.

“Ed rode his Stumpjumper for the next couple of years, but he always rode alone. No rider near him had a mountain bike yet. He learned how to ride by trial and error, figuring out for himself many of the moves described in this book… One of his favorite trails was a loop that took 45 minutes to ride. It included nearly every obstacle – rocks, roots ruts, logs, ledges, ditches, slippery climbs, and even an old beaver dam that he could ride across (sometimes)… He thought he must have been pretty good.

Then Ed visited Crested Butte, Colorado, to ride at one of the first Fat Tire Bike Weeks. Guys rode around him. Women dropped him. Elderly hikers asked him to please get out of their way. It was almost like he’d never been on a mountain bike before. He stumbled and stalled where other riders make it look easy. He realized that all of his solo riding back home had done very little to teach him the skills and speed that other riders were developing. He learned as much during one week with good riders on Rocky Mountain singletrack as he had in two seasons of riding alone."

That has been ringing in my mind for a few weeks now. . . The right friends will take you further than you ever thought possible . . . in training, in life and even the occasional beaver dam.

I am reaching a new level of lifetime fitness and it is all because I am training smarter and taking care of the things inside and outside of training with detail I didnt even notice before. It will be interesting to see it play out in whatever race is up next and I know that it is just the beginning if I can stay consistent. However, when the fitness fades, and it will, the memories of time on the trail with my buddies will still provide a greater reward of getting to a "level" or tackling a challenge that looked too big when started and doing it together. Not to sound sappy but what would I do if I didnt have training partners to tell me to "suck it up buttercup!"

My #1 buttercup

The M's (Monique,Mandy&Marius) know how to keep it real

Last year, just two weeks before the 12 Hours of Temecula I had never ridden over 70 miles in my life...The thought of 12 hours of single track was a bit much but Keevin and Sean continued to keep me going in the right direction. At the race itself and leading up to it. I honestly never dreamed of putting away 123 miles in the dirt. . . Somehow they did and made me own up to it.
Where would I be without the comedy, wisdom and coaching of Sean Clancy and constant inspiration and guidance from Team Sole? Adventure racers know how much your team can pull you through and take something that looks painful and turn into a springboard of self confidence and enlightenment. Just look at Sean's face and realize that this is his quote that I throw around. . . "pain is good, extreme pain is extreemly good!" ha ha ha!!! Good times!

This weekend a grip of people are heading up to Hurkey Creek for the 8hr and 24hr mountain bike races. Some friends are doing a first attempt and a few others are going for the gold. A heafty dose of motivation and teamwork is required for each and everyone attempting it. Luke will be up there and is reaching some great fitness this year and I know he will be crushing it!

Luke up in the mountains where he belongs

I have only got to ride with Luke a few times but everytime we do it is a BIG day of climbing on the bike. Looking forward to much more of that stuff in the months ahead. I could go on and on about how each of these guys and gals inspire me and I am looking forward to seeing a few of our friends new to all this get some "wins" under their belts too. . .

When everone gets back from Hurkey. . . ITS ON! Sunday is an all day epic multisport day with some paddle, run, swim, bike and trail time to a new level. Looking forward to seeing everyone out there!

April 14, 2009

weak to week

Last year, I started working on just getting one day a week of "solid training". . . That included getting enough rest the night before/after, eating right and putting in quality workouts for each sport. Even if it was only running or swimming once a week I had one day to focus on getting it right.

I still have no training schedule or periodization format that I am following this year...not that I don't believe in periodization but I am honest enough to assess that I lack the discipline. I have a hard enough time focusing on one type of racing and I love to race often ;-) However, this year, I am working on putting together a few good weeks. This takes in the art of balancing the quality of training and still getting the volume and frequency across each sport AND still taking care of "life stuff". This last week was a "big" week in all areas of my life with work and new family member that I am totally stoked about!!! My newest nephew Kadin Hardy!

J-Har and baby K-Har hangin out

This is also the first time in the last three years that I have no races planned for about 5-6 weeks. The next race I am actually signed up for is the St. George IM almost 15 months away and the BIGGEST days for me this year will not even be races but some epic multisport days(more on that later). I am just enjoying training . . . maybe even training for training sake?

the dirt....best training grounds around

After the 70.3 race I took a day off and then just kept a good block rolling through the next weekend. I managed to pull the frequency from running and swimming that has eluded me for the last few years and got in my first week with more than 3-4 sessions in each sport. Stoked!

My focus will continue to be on my frequency in swimming and running and it has already proved to be a big help. The flow of getting in more sessions a week felt really good and helped me keep the intensity in check. I learned a ton this week from sticking to the short schedule I made including a deeper requirment for time managment and staying hydrated!

Yes, its a mess and that was only Thursday!

This week I am starting off with some recovery and then rolling into the weekend with a power test and continuing building from there....Not sure where it is going yet but I am steering clear of injury and my motivation is at the top of the meter. If I keep this up maybe I can work on an ATP next year?

April 09, 2009

Power Time

About a month or two ago (a few weeks before VQ?) I got myself a PowerTap. Yes, it is power time and hopefully it will prove to be a useful tool for me in training. As I am moving up more in volume I know it will take a more efficient use of my time on the bike to manage the stress vs. rest equation and I am hoping that the PowerTap will help me to get more specific with my time on the bike.

So far I have had it on about a dozen or so rides but I have yet to do a "test" for my FTP or max power. I have just been collecting data through my normal rides because I have been between races here and there in the last few weeks. It has also pointed out how much "work" I do on the mountain bike (I have it on my road bike wheel) and mostly use the road as my recovery rides and longer endurance "tempo" type rides. I am sure I am missing some good data on the mountain bike but another hub for the dirt is out of the question so it time for power training on the road. Now that I don't have a race for a few weeks I am planning a test similar to what Vu conducted but I know I am way lower on the weight to power ratio.

Here is some data I got so far. Any suggestions, etc would be appreciated. I am stoked to start some specific training with it after I figure out my FTP and all that but I am not getting too caught up on power. I hear it is like crack and I dont want to become a pwr craker.... Besides with paddling, running and swimming I have a lot of other things to balance in training AND in life.

Probably the best endurance ride I have had with it so far was the Oceanside Half Ironman race this weekend. I was planning on keeping my watts under 170ish for the beginning because I didn't want to go out too fast but then I moved it up to 200ish. After the big hill (if you did the race you know what I am talking about!) I just rode by "feeling". It was comforting to know my pacing was spot on! I was very conservative and felt absolutely fantastic on the run.

(Yellow=Power, Green=Cadence, Blue=Speed)

I was also stoked to see after the race that my biggest 60min was in the prime spot for the race (highlighted above in black) which showed that I started easy and took the last 15-20min off the bike easy to get ready for the run. The software I am using is the WKO+ software that I got after a recommendation from James. It is a lot better for tracking power over multiple workouts, weeks, etc. You can also make some good guesses for "power performance" and so far I am rated as a "untrained -non-racer". HA! I have a lot of work to do!

Yesterday I rode our local loop with Keevin down PCH and up the river path and threw in a few sprints. This is really the fist sprints I have done this season so it is a good baseline. I did 10 total and was averaging the mid 800's and maxed out at 1,047 watts. Good or bad I don't know yet but I am itching to do a test and baseline my power at a few different time measurements. Here is the graph from the ride using the PowerAgent software that comes with the PowerTap for free. Great tool for individual workouts.

This is the fist time since I have started racing that I have nothing planned for almost five weeks and I am really looking forward to just training. I got the book "racing and training with power" and have a test scheduled for next Friday to determine my FTP. Besides the power on the bike . . . I am back to paddling and slowly bringing up my volume in my swim and run (through frequency) to add a well balanced power to the multisport training. I am looking forward to the warmer summer months!

April 04, 2009

70.3...Im in love

I had about ZERO expectations going into my first half ironman and I am so stoked that I did...I really enjoyed and "took it all in" throughout the day and I can see why so many people call it the "perfect distance". Long enough to enjoy each discipline, short enough to recover and race often and if you have the proper volume going into it you CAN actually "race" the distance. I had a blast!

The swim was nice and warm and despite getting my goggles knocked off it was smooth and steady. I found out the numbness in my hand that I had last week at the Xterra REAL was from bad form...pulling my shoulder out too wide. I got it corrected and had no issues at all. Before I knew it I was running up the carpet into the transition. They go all out for ya!

Do you see the arch at the end of the transition?

It was 2,100+ racers from 30 countries huge!

Getting on the bike was going to be all about self discipline and patience. I really went easy at first and I think that it paid off. I felt solid until the very last mile and the run would prove I went out easy...maybe even too easy. Just like Folsom, this race showed me that my bike is spot-on but I need some work on the swim and run. I got to ride with Sean for a bit before he passed me by and as we hit a downhill on the "no passing zone" I got to take in another new experience. It was like a baby bird taking flight...almost instinctively, unplanned and necessary... I was peeing off the bike like a natural. ha ha!! It was efficient, fast and felt great!

Sean also mentioned about how lucky we were for starting in a later swim wave (19th&20th) because we would have a good time passing people the entire time on the bike. I didn't realize how much it helped until I passed about 500 people and that it was only about halfway through the bike. Seriously, it was kind of odd when more than 10 seconds went by and I was not passing someone . . . Not that I was going that fast but I guess you have to expect that at a race with thousands of people...it was pretty cool.

Bikes R Fun!

Time to run! I was scared about the run but I knew I had held back on the bike and felt pretty fresh. I had my pace set on running something I could manage. No sense in killing myself at a distance that is beyond me. The last time I ran 13 miles was the Surf City half marathon. To my surprise I felt great right out of the transition. I kept it slow until the first turn around and then started stepping up the pace on the way back. It felt so good. Something about shifting my hips and balancing, it felt effortless. . .balanced and FAST. I cannot remember enjoying running so much.

As I ran back towards the finish area I was running with a group of three guys and we were moving at a good pace. What I didnt know was that they were on their way to the finish and so was I....yikes! I crossed the finish line as they called out my name and tried to give me a t-shirt. I'M NOT DONE! Where is the turn around?? It was a bit crazy and I was bummed but tried to save as much time as possible. I wanted to keep running so I ran back through transition and made my way back to the turn around... Lesson learned.

Maybe a little "too" focused on the run?

As much as it sucked it was actually a moment that made the race for me. I started building expectations throughout the race and after that little mess up I stepped back and decided to really take it all in on the last run out. Seeing Melissa, Josiah, Kirstie, James and Team Wiens out there really lifted my sails! I started thanking every volunteer, reaching for every high five and stopped to stretch with Keevin when I passed him the second time ;-) I got to focus on my running form and enjoy my finish of my first (of many) Half Ironman events. I was stoked!!

Joshiah captured the moment with this pic - Thanks bro!

Results were posted before we even got our pizza at the finishers tents! Modern technology with athlete tracking is a little crazy but I like it!

TOTAL SWIM 1.2 mi. (32:00) 1:41/100m
TOTAL BIKE 56 mi. (2:35:49) 21.56 mph
TOTAL RUN 13.1 mi. (1:39:03) 7:33/mile
T2: BIKE-TO-RUN 1:53
(Total Time 4:51:49)

I got called over to the timing tent because of my two finishes and they adjusted my run to the final finish. My first spit to the missed trun around was :36min (record pace for me) and my final time was still only two minutes behind my Surf City stand alone 1/2 Marathon. Good stuff.

Finishing was icing on the cake! Having Monique and my buddies to race along side and seeing a ton of friends out there cheering everyone on made me feel like the lucky guy I am. I'm in love!

April 03, 2009


This week has been a bit crazy...I just got my laptop going today and it was a strange experience to be without it for a few days.  I dont know if it was the conficker worm that started it or just the fact that windows blows!  ;-)  Work has been crazy too and I am just glad that it is almost the weekend.  Time to get out and swim, bike and run further than I have ever gone before in a race!

Monique and I are heading down to Oceanside tonight to meet up with the crew for check-in and then some killer carbo loading dinner.  I am looking forward to some good learning lessons from my first half ironman and just taking the experience in.  I dont expect to "race" the distance with the volume that I have going into it plus it is not a "priority" event for me so it makes me feel at ease today.  Just what I need!

Results are also posted on Xterra now for the Folsom race and I am stoked to get top points going into the series... Maybe I can make it out to another race this year??  I know that the Xterra and Calfornia Multisport races are just about the right distance for me to  "race" and keep a pace that is managable.  A four mile trail run sounds a lot better than 13 miles on the road!!  

Tomorrow will be an interesting learning experience and since it is my first 70.3 I know I will get a PR at any pace.  . . just need to finish it up.  It should provide a ton of insight into what training and pace I will need for the St. George full Ironman next year so I will be taking notes.  

Predictions!   Just thought I would add this in for fun ;-)
Me - Swim 30min, Bike 2:48, Run 1:40
Sean - Swim 28min, Bike 2:21, Run 1:29
Keevin - Swim 41min, bike 2:40, Run 1:45
Chuck - Swim 48min, Bike 2:40, Run 1:38
Monique - Swim 38min, Bike 3:41, Run 2:00