December 29, 2009

2009 Race Review

I would say that this last year has been the best year of my life so far... I also know I have said that the last few years or as long as I can remember... "Things" are always just getting better and better and I am truly grateful for the time...and people. Working towards negative splitting life takes a lot of teamwork. I was able to keep my job, my house and my mind which was a task in itself.

I met so many good people this year and value the new and old relationships in my life. Relationships. They are what is and should be the lasting and valued resource for time well spent. Time on the trail was pretty good too if that is not too cheesy to add... I logged countless hours with training buddies and my wife this year and realized just what a passion I have for these people and activities.

In what is now my fourth year of racing I thought I would review 2009 races although most of the real good stuff happened between the races themselves on trips to or from adventures that Monique and I set out to do. I also realize that it is the trips and training where I learn the most and get to spend the most quality time with my training buddies and my wife. Sometimes the madness of packing/unpacking/repeat of races takes away that time...not to mention the money associated with it. 2010 will be different in this aspect. More training, more adventures and challenges but less travel...but back to 2009 for now.

I had some simple goals for the racing season and even a simpler training schedule. I just did what I "felt" like doing for the day most of the time and I still could not manage to follow a schedule. I did have goals I would try to hit for the week but no real goals or training outline. My goals for racing were
a) have fun!!!
b) learn what works for me (training by feeling, nutrition, intensity, etc)
c) remain injury free
d) beat my 2008 vision quest time, try to win a Cal Multisport race
e) try something new - top of the list was bike road race, paddle races and open water swims
f) run any race under 7min/mi pace
g) qualify for Xterra Nationals

I met just about all of the goals I had and they were simple enough to chase after with my training plan. It is funny how tempting it is to adjust/add to your goals once the season starts! I made progress. It has also been interesting to see progress not only through the season but now that I have done some of the same races for the last few years it is nice to see real progress over a longer time period and puts it in perspective what making the grade is all about.

Just like the last two years my "racing season" opened early with the Rio Bravo Rumble race in early January. This is always a good indication of where my fitness is at early in the year. I won this event the last two years but this year I got lost on the course and took a penalty to move into a 2nd place overall but it proved my fitness had been upgraded. Stoked! I am still working on the getting lost part... I realized after this race that it was the little things like nutrition, appropriate stress and recovery that would make this season a little different. That was the results I was looking for...

Next up was some mountain bike races. I love to ride my bike! I joined up with my buddy Wes Barton to tackle the 12 hours of Temecula and I must admit that it felt MUCH harder to race as a duo than to take it on solo. 40min of an all out effort and 40min of "recovery" for 12 hours is HARD! We ended up taking 3rd place and next time around I am going to race solo again ;-)

Then after a snowshoe race and a half marathon it was time for the Vision Quest Mountain Bike race. This has been a special race for me over the last three years. When I first got talked into signing up in 2007, I was struggling just to finish and that same quest has motivated me through each year. Being able to actually "race" it this year was a treat. Riding with the pros and finishing the first armature exceeded my expectations and I learned a lot about slow consistent progress. I am signed up for next year but still not sure if I am going to race it or not...more on that in another post.

2007 - 80th overall - place 8hrs 5min
2008 - 29th place overall - 6hrs 49min
2009 - 5th place overall - 5hrs 55min

After that I jumped into my first half Ironman race. The Oceanside 70.3. I think this is the perfect distance race and was much more fun than expected. 2010 will have a lot more long course triathlon for me!

All along I was set to focus on off-road multisport this year. I really wanted to do the California Multisport Series and although it was discontinued I was stoked to have taken the win at the only paddle, mountain bike, trail run event in June.

This was the highlight of my year for several reasons. I love the people at the race, the challenge of diversity in the sports and the difficult courses that Team Sole puts their efforts into designing. Just like the Conquer the Bear series races. I got to participate in a few of them and really love the time wrapped around those events. Here are some highlights.

1st Place Overall

California Multisport

2nd Place Overall

Rio Bravo Rumble

2nd Place Overall

Snowshoe The Bear

1st Place Overall

1st Place Overall

Big Bear Paddlefest

In The Dirt Triathlon

The majority of my other races were within the Xterra Off-Road Triathlon series. Long enough to require some endurance but short enough to to experience some of that good pain! I ended up jumping into more races than expected when I started using my frequent flier miles and got my goal of qualifying for the USA Championships.

What I did not have on my goal list was a qualification to race at Worlds in Maui and to win my region for the series points. I was really stoked to accept both! Although the Nationals and Worlds were not the races I was looking for, I learned a great deal from just showing up and I am grateful for that.

One of the "themes" of the year...even the last few has been sharing the training time, travels and races with Monique. She also qualified and raced Nationals and Worlds and just like always I was as stoked to see her cross the finish line. I cannot see myself skipping some of these races in 2010. Off-road multisport is rad.

1st Place Age Group

Xterra REAL Triathlon

Folsom, CA

5th Place Age Group

Xterra South East CUP

Pelham, AL

2nd Place Age Group

Xterra Big Blue

Del Valle, CA

2nd Place Age Group

Xterra South Central CUP

Little Rock, AR

1st Place Age Group

Xterra Tahoe City

Tahoe City, CA

10th Place Age Group

Xterra USA Championships

Ogden, UT

DNF – Crash and Burn

Xterra World Championships

Maui, HI

Again, some of the best moments of the year had nothing to do with racing, training or the like . . . and I like that. Balance! The blog is all about training, racing and miles! It has been a good learning lesson too. I am perpetually focused on the negative split now and although I learned the benefit of that from sport, I am eager to apply that to every part of life. Negative Split! This year I continued to learn how to do "it" right in training and racing and it really didnt start coming together until late October when I started to "get it" and "doing it". Nailing my balance, nutrition, rest and efforts to negative split and finish strong day after day and week after week. THIS is the stuff that is most important, most challenging and most rewarding. I just finally learned what works for me and how to keep it rolling. Interesting insights for me inside and outside of racing.

I also got to do my first paddling races, open water swims, trail running races. Mixing it up. This was also the first year that I did not do any adventure races. Something I really miss and I believe will be back in my life in a stronger fashion than ever in 2010... more on that later but I am looking forward to getting more trail time with a team next year and I really think it brings out the best in me pushing limits on a team.

We are off to Big Bear for a snowshoe hike under the full moon and then some good time next to the fire place with friends to bring in the new year. See ya out there!

December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Hard to believe it is already Christmas Eve today... 2009 has been an amazing year and filled with all the adventure, friends and family that a boy could ever ask for... I am one lucky boy and I got everything I wanted and more for Christmas already!

The last few weeks have slowed down enough at work for me to get caught up on some "to do lists" that have been long overdue (like 6 months of expense reports!). Having family close is something I appreciate more and more as I get older and I have been stoked to see my newest nephew on just about a daily basis...He is 8 months old and getting sumo big already!

I have also been able to keep up with my 30 runs in 30 days and just logged #13 today. I am totally stoked that I jumped into this! I will have a post outlining some of the details but the learning that I am getting from doing the consistency, going easy and backing it up every day extends far beyond the running durability I set out to gain from it. Totally stoked about it!! It is getting easier and I am almost at my half way point where the rules I made for myself will change a bit. Looking forward to it!

Swimming - loving my time in the pool! Frequency for swimming is SO important and seeing Monique progress and keep me honest is pretty motivating. Next week I have off of work and I am planning a little "swim camp" in the middle of my run game. More junk miles in the middle of winter ;-)

the luge flagpole overlooking orange county

Riding. Yes, that has been fun too! Night rides are just warming up and it is the perfect way to roll in the end of a day. Starting to hit "the luge" with Jason now that he got a mountain bike...and a 29er at that. Just logged some miles with the Walsh Wizard yesterday on his way to 10,000 miles for the year and it was pretty inspirational. Not the miles but to see James doing it the right way. A smart, patient athlete who does his own research and has the discipline to follow it. 2010 is going to be sick training with him, Sean, Ryan, Luke, TeamSole and the rest of the crew. All fast and cool dudes and chicks who are doing it right! Stoked!

Christmas is the time of giving so in all of your shopping and holiday giving dont forget to receive..sounds simple but it takes a lot to truly accept a gift from someone. Not something I always talk about but something I strongly believe in. Christmas is not about the marketing or shopping but about THE gift. Its free and lasts forever. "But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us generously through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that, having been justified by his grace, we might become heirs having the hope of eternal life.." Titus 3:4-7 Extends far beyond Christmas or time on the trail. Truth in love.

The end of the year has us up in Big Bear to bring in 2010 and it looks to be a year of going long and new challenges for Monique and I inside and outside of training and racing. As always we are teamed up and excited for the challenge and hope we will see you out there. Be safe and Merry Christmas!

December 16, 2009

junk miles and big smiles

Time has been flying by this last few weeks...I guess I have been having fun and I really cannot remember any major milestones for the blog. Life has been good! I got my bump back to my base salary at work, have been spending record amounts of time with Monique and friends inside and outside of training and the food never stops at Casa Bluesails. I am stoked.

A few weeks back I turned another year older (33) and got to hang out with some cool people throughout the day. Not traveling for the last few weeks has been so nice. Loads of extra time and less stress. I am just going though the pictures on my camera now from my last few weeks... The one above is from Maui. I miss being there already but I cannot complain with our recent weather in SoCal either.

BDay ride fun

Now, as my friend Sean says...lets get to the things that really matter. Miles! ; -)

November was a good month. I had no training plans or schedule (still dont) and just wanted to get out and do what i felt like it. That was my one thought for a long time... Fast, slow, swim, bike, run...just do what I wanted for as long as I wanted and see where I ended up. It turns out as much as I thought I was a low volume guy I really like going long and STEADY. I really really like it. November was a good feel for it on the bike. It helped I had some good rides to do over the holidays with friends and the St George camp in the mix. Here is what I would call my bike focus block

In the 34 days ending 2009-11-29:

activity # timemileskm+ft

Road Bike16 51:19:54 796.76(3:51) 1282.26(2:24) 52819

Mt Bike8 22:51:25 183.32(7:28) 295.03(4:38) 18057

Swim17 13:45:00 23.54(35:02) 37.88(21:46)

Road Running13 8:46:06 65.97(7:58) 106.17(4:57) 3424

Trail Running6 6:12:00 42.05(8:50) 67.67(5:29) 4643

Weights5 1:40:00

Trekking1 1:10:00 2.5(28:00) 4.02(17:23)

Yoga1 25:00

Total31 106:09:25 1114.14

averages - sleep:7.7 weight:154.7lbs

In trying to be a better "tri"athlete I started to switch focus after the 29th and put some focus on my biggest limiter. Running. I also started to swim with more frequency and found that I really miss swimming. I swam in high school but never "got back into it" until recently and I think it takes that frequency to get that feel back. So that is my current goals for December. RUN, swim a lot and ride when I feel like it while getting stronger in my beer gut area. That means adding some pumping iron and some yoga for the first time. I like it. Here is what December looks like so far

In the last 16 days:

activity # timemileskm+ft

Road Bike8 13:36:04 215.42(3:47) 346.69(2:21) 5922

Swim11 10:35:00 20.61(30:48) 33.17(19:08)

Mt Bike3 5:55:00 56.87(6:14) 91.52(3:52) 8770

Trail Running5 4:52:22 35.32(8:16) 56.84(5:08) 4783

Road Running5 4:06:22 26.96(9:08) 43.39(5:40) 2776

Trekking1 3:45:00 14.3(15:44) 23.01(9:46) 3842

Weights4 3:05:00

Yoga3 1:15:00

Paddle1 1:08:00 6.35(10:42) 10.22(6:39)

Total16 48:17:48 375.83

averages - sleep:7.9 weight:154.2lbs

Perhaps I am doing too much too soon for St. George or any race in 2010 but I am not worried about it. I realize that there are far more athletic challenges (not to mention life!) outside of racing and testing of myself beyond a single day. I am really looking forward to some experimentation in 2010 to find my limits and just have fun with friends. Adventure races, super loops and ultra somethings... Pushing myself and training along side Monique and Jason the other day it just all became clear. Miles and Smiles.

Anyways, I have another goal to help me for December in getting my run frequency up and teaching me to keep my intensity under control. I am calling it the G3030 and it is based around Gordos 30 runs in 30 days. Until today I have never ran more than 4 days in a row and I have a real lack of self control when it comes to keeping my intensity in check so I think this is the perfect challenge for me to get on with. The real game starts January 1st so feel free to give it a go. I couldnt wait so I jumped right in now. It is either going to be good for me or public humiliation when I have to pull out before I get injured because lack of self control. It will be a good experience and I am looking forward to it.