September 29, 2009

Xterra USA Champs and the long drive home

Its a few days after the Xterra USA Championship race and I am just starting to wrap my head around what happened. It felt like a long trip and I have unfortunately spent the last two days laying on the bathroom floor throwing up out of both ends... It should have been apparent that I was running myself down but I sure didnt see this coming. I am just hoping it is not the swine flu.

Ogden is a beautiful place and the race was a good experience. A great venue for an Xterra with a real mountain bike course with lots of climbing, singletrack and some technical sections that continued into the run. My goals for the race were to A) come into it feeling fresh / race ready and B) to have a solid run off the bike. Unfortunately, I didn't get either of them. I have a long list of lessons learned from this one and was actually pretty disappointed about my race. No complaints or excuses just an experience to learn from! It is one of the challenges of racing to get it all right and this time it was just not my day.

I have a long list of mistakes I made and will definitely learn from them. Like my good friend Josiah told me "sometimes learning is better than winning...". Not that I was planning on winning but this was an important race that I thought I had dialed in... I wanted to test my fitness and have a race that peaked the end of the season. I had felt much better in the weeks leading up to the race and just didn't have a snap or feel fresh on race day. I guess cramming in some projects at work, standing around at Interbike and staying up late drinking the week before the race is not the optimal taper week. My biggest weakness was not sticking to a plan and it was my mind that was just exhausted. I had some of the best preparation in the weeks before the race but when I was reduced to walking on the run I really just wanted to crawl under a bush and go to sleep.

(Pro pics over here - Monique made #20)

The course started with a mass start swim in the Pineview reservoir and I blew up getting to the first buoy. I am not sure if it was the elevation or the fast swimmers all around me but I found myself breast stroking and dizzy. I am sure Worlds is going to be a bit crazy swimming with a fast field also. I made the call to swim off to the side and try to get clean water. No drafting but I was able to calm down and swim it in before we started the climbing on the bike.

I have never dropped a water bottle on the bike before that I can remember but I dropped both of my water bottles right out of the starting on climb. I didnt think it was a big deal but looking back I should have gone to pick up the one I dropped with my calories(vitargo). The course climbed, climbed and then climbed some more. I got some really good beta about the course from some locals at Edge Composites who ride the course every week and I was so glad that I did. After about 16 miles of climbing you get to the base of the Snow Basin resort and that is where the steep climb starts. The last 3-4 miles are technical singletrack and a lot of fun.

I have been working on my run with more focus than ever and the first three miles clipped by pretty quick. We started with a climb right out of transition and I was able to run the entire climb without pushing to hard. My goal was just not to walk at all and negative split the run course. This should have been easy with the remainder of the course on a singletrack downhill slope. My legs felt ok. My lungs felt good. For some reason I started walking, and walking and walking. Even on the downhill sections. It didn't feel like a bonk but I was not into racing. Sounds strange and bugs me more than anything else but it is honestly how I felt. Was it mental? Was I bonking? Was i beating myself up mentally and just gave up? I kept telling myself this was an important race but just didnt care as herds of people ran past me. I ran the last mile or two and just wanted to finish. To be honest I was surprised to break 3hrs because it felt like I was out there all day. When I finished I realized I took two GU's in my pocket on the run and never even thought to take them. lame.

Monique put down an awesome race. I saw her running down to the finish and I really didnt even recognize her because she was running so fast. Her technique looked totally different and she had a strong finish. Four plus hours of solid racing.

I am feeling much better today than yesterday and just hoping to get things dialed in for Xterra Worlds. I just want a solid race and THEN after the race I will be on the beach with a drink in hand!

I really didn't plan on racing Xterra next year but I kind of miss it already. I have learned so much, met some amazing people and had the time of my life this year. I realize that I was racing best when I was racing more often. Some of the races that I felt best (May-June) were in a mix of 5-6 weekends of racing in a row. Besides the Santa Barbara tri (where I skipped the run) I have not raced for over 13 weeks when I did the Tahoe Xterra. That is a HUGE gap for me and maybe part of the lesson to be learned.

We got to see some of the Mountain to Metro events and festival before we left Ogden and it was a good reminder to "get out and live" . . . or race an Xterra and "Live More". After laying on the floor for a couple of days it sounds awfully good and just something I cant see myself not doing in the future.

September 25, 2009

On the road again

This last week has snuck by rather quickly... Last weekend, Monique had a baby shower to host so I headed out to Bonelli with my brother in law (JHar) for the first cyclocross race of the season. I was planning on running support for him and snapping some pics of a few friends out there. . . Check out his boost!

Monique met up with us later in the day and we did end up racing too. TeamDuke was putting on a relay race and we JHar and I teamed up for some fun. Just two short laps each of some pretty intense effort but it was a good time and a great reason to get out and race.

Im lovin' it!

Monique clearing the podium...feerrtt

The next day we were going to stick around for the XC race but after some strange twist of events ended up in Big Bear. Little did we know there were a hand full of our friends who made it up too. Funny how that happens sometimes. Our group did a killer ride out from Team Sole base camp to Onix summit and then rode some of the most amazing single track. I LOVE BIG BEAR! We are always finding some new goods every trip there and the weather was perfect. After our ride the girls went for a paddle and I got in a quick T-Run. Good times all night.

Time has been flying by...on the road. We headed out to Interbike this week and put down a ride and walked and talked for hours at the show. It was like a huge bike shop with stuff that is not in a bike show We met some really cool people and had a great time hanging with the Intense crew.

the blue skies of Blue Diamond

Last night, we finished up our Nevada tour with a hike down some canyons outside of Bolder City. A bit of adventure scrambling up and over rocks in the dark to relax in some natural hot springs with the ones who inspire me most. It is hard to describe just how happy I was sitting in the hot water and looking up through the canyon walls into a sky filled with stars. Next time we are just going to spend the night down there...


Monique and I just pulled into Ogden, UT tonight in time to grab our race packets and check-in to the Marriott. I am beat...After the bling of Interbike and a solid week of adventure I am physically and emotionally drained. Ha! Good times for sure. The venue here is amazing and it has been almost 8 years since the last time we were up here. The temps should be in the low 70's and the trees are all starting to change into bright colors. A killer time for racing! Tomorrow is XTERRA Time!!

September 17, 2009

Hot Banana

Most of my weekends have been filled with laughter and plenty of time to just enjoy life...actually a lot of my weekdays could fall into that category as well. I am stoked I have such a flexible job that allows me to manage my own time. That is why I really didn't mind working last weekend for a network security cut-over. It has been a while since I have done one of those and it was a good reminder about the need for details, teamwork and what executing a good plan is all about. Not that it went was actually a complete cluster but that is another story...

On Saturday, I had my grandfathers funeral. Yeah, weeks after we got my family organized and it was time well spent. What a weekend huh... Don't get me wrong. No complaints here. The only thing I was bummed about was that I didn't get to see my hero Paul for his 40th birthday bash and watch the rest of the Conquer the Bear participants finish the series. Jordan, the youngest competitor finished the series with his first marathon just days after getting back into the country from his summit of Indonesia's tallest peak. Now that is a busy schedule.

cooks corner, whiting, dreaded hill on the way to old camp & down the luge

I did have one window before the funeral on Saturday and I put down a good peak workout. I have learned a lot from training with Sean and one of the big influences have been to establish baselines for performance. How do you know if you are progressing or if workout A is more productive or better quality than workout B? I also continue to learn a lot from James and have tried to incorporate some running workouts he helped me out with recently. My running frequency and duration are helping me get more consistent volume than I have had all year I and I feel like this is the best quality running I have ever been able to keep up with. Injury free and stoked!

running IS fun!

One thing I have been thinking about is that I don't really have "race sim" courses... I found one that is pretty close to Xterra efforts and have been modifying it over the last couple of weeks. Better late than never! I start off on the bike a quick warmup and then a 10min 30sec all out granny gear stompin' wishin I had monster truck torque effort and then I nail it at race pace for the first hour. Then I just try to hang on for the downhill back down the luge. It is a pretty technical trail and the Spider has just been eating it up. The bike rounds out at just under 20miles and 3,500 feet of climbing. It is a downhill finish so the negative split effort comes from the run off of the bike through O'Neil park.

I love my Spider!

Hiding from the heat

THAT is a hot banana!

My body and mind are feeling pretty good and I made some changes to some nutrition and supplements after my foot issue a month or so ago. My good friends at have been hooking me up and keeping me healthy and recovering faster than ever. I started taking Hammers Tissue Rejuvenator and I am continuing to use it for maintenance. Good stuff. I also am taking SportMulti and a fish oil everyday. I probably should have been taking this all along with my volume going up and for overall health maintenance.

NO plans this weekend except we may volunteer at the Kenda CUP Mtb and Cyclocross races this weekend at Bonelli with TeamDuke. Then we are off to Interbike next week on our way to Xterra Nationals in Utah. Hope to see ya out there!

September 09, 2009

themes of the times

Deciding not to run at the Santa Barbara triathlon turned out to be a great idea. I am finally getting the volume (the correct frequency and duration) in my running and I can honestly say it has never felt "easier" to sweat it out on two feet. I just finished up a two week build period that was by far the best quality training I have put down all year. Here is a snap shot of what I have been doing since the SB tri

In the 17 days ending 2009-09-07:

activity # timemileskm+ft

Road Bike10 20:44:57 350.58(3:33) 564.2(2:12) 13766

Mt Bike5 10:41:00 83.79(7:39) 134.85(4:45) 13303

Trail Running8 7:11:59 46.76(9:14) 75.25(5:44) 6766

Swim8 6:40:00 10.33(38:43) 16.62(24:03)

Road Running3 1:11:00 8.47(8:22) 13.63(5:12) 434

Weights2 50:00

surf1 30:00

Total37 47:48:56 499.93

On Monday, we had planned a Palomar loop to finish out the holiday weekend but after a few people dropped out and we already put in a big weekend of training and driving so we decided to stay local. We made some calls after a casual breakfast and assembled a cyclocross crew to head for the trails. We ended up putting our bikes and bodies to the test. . .

I have had a few themes running in my head the last two weeks also and I thought I would share it out a bit.

One theme that I have been stepping into is that of confidence. I had this podcast in my ipod for about a month back in May and listened to it four of five times during my early morning paddle sessions. I always considered myself a humble student of sport and figured that confidence was just one step closer to being cocky. I kept my distance from confidence because the last thing I wanted to end up being was a cocky jock dude... Then I realized that it was just the fear about someone else misinterpreting or maybe a deeper fear that I would not live up to what I think I can do... Confidence maybe not running at the Santa Barbara Triathlon because I know I can do better than blow myself up for one race. It maybe holding back on rest days and trusting the process that my body/mind will get the rest it needs. I am seeking that confidence to set goals inside and outside of the sport that I know I can reach even when it will take a great deal of effort to get there. When I see this confidence in others it is the most inspiring thing to me and I hope my confidence will do the same for my friends.

After seeing the results from a few workouts in my WKO+ software about my power on the bike I really started thinking about the negative split theme. I have seen my power on the bike run down again and again a sub-par performance by starting out to hard. I have felt the pace slow on my run sessions or had to cut my session short because I blew up in the beginning of the workout. I have been living and training around a positive split... Partly because of lack of discipline or maybe lack of confidence that I can finish stronger than I started but mostly because lack of practicing it.

It takes practice! This is something ingrained in the way we can go about a workout and inevitably will be played out in a performance on race day if you practice it. My workouts over the last couple of weeks have been focused on finishing strong. Completing the last interval, repeat or set "better" than the one before. It is not a bad habit to ingrain into your character either. What if I can end the season much stronger, faster, healthier that when I started? What if I can be a better athlete in my 30's than I was in my 20's? What if I could be a better husband in my 40's than I am in my 30's?

All this is a lost without the theme of balance. As fortunate as I have been to log in some quality miles in the last few weeks I have also been slammed at work. Just enough balance to make me appreciate getting to sneak in a training session between meetings. I am stoked to get out and train, recover and celebrate with my friends. That is the balance that pulls me back around every time.

I am focused on keeping the balance, being confident in who I am and finishing strong! A theme I plan on keeping for life.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn't serve the world. There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others." Marianne Williamson