Yes you’re reading that right 100 Miles in 5 hours of moving time. I did stop to vent some frustrations with some of the drivers going around Fiesta Island. That was my training highlight of the weekend training followed by a run from Del Mar to Carlsbad with the woman I’m dating. Yes you’re reading that right I said I’m dating a woman but more on that in another blog post or maybe later in this one. The downfall of the weekend of training was my DNF at TikiSwim. I joined the San Diego YMCA and stopped my 24 Hour Fitness membership as well. 24 Hour Fitness just didn’t suit my needs anymore since I’m no longer a casual gym person. The “Y” as everyone calls it has spin classes that work with my training schedule along with a Masters program that works with my training schedule as well, so it was a no brainer.
Thursday 9/25/2014 marked the “40th Anniversary of Triathlon” and Triathlon Club of San Diego along with the San Diego Track Club put on a race in it’s honor in it’s same format of “run > bike > swim > run”. I took the day off from work cause I wanted to take part in this event. I love being a part of great experiences and this one was amazing. Got to race with some pro’s and some more triathlon icon’s. I can’t wait for the 50th! I didn’t bring my Garmin with me and I wore a loaner chip however I don’t know my time yet since they haven’t been posted and really I don’t care. The experience of Tri’ing with everyone was worth it.
So Saturday I told myself I wanted to hit the 100 Mile mark on Garmin so it could be “Official” and I circled around Fiesta Island more times than I could count. I started around 6AM and little to no traffic with very little wind and the first 50 miles felt great… Then the traffic picked up cause of an event on the far side of the island so I couldn’t get going too fast cause I just don’t trust the drivers around San Diego, they are clueless. Then around mile 70 the winds started to pickup so the long part of the island had a headwind which brought me down to about 17 MPH but at the short side I got up to 28 MPH which was great. I kept everything in Zone 2 with the occasional Z3’s then finally made the last lap to 100 and called it a day. I learned 2 very valuable lessons that day. One is that I can’t go off liquid only carbs because I can’t take them in as easy as some bonk breakers in my bento box. I found that I just didn’t need grab them as much as I should have.
Sunday started out hectic and disappointed but ended on a good note. I left for TikiSwim and there had been a fatality on the freeway which left me no time to get mentally prepared for the race. I got there with 3 minutes to spare before the race started and grabbed my packet and grabbed an old pair of goggles cause I couldn’t find the other pair in my bag. With no time to warm up just as I got to the beach the gun went off and out I swam. The surf was rough with some huge sets coming in. Some people panicked and I just kept swimming. Had this not been a race with life guards I normally stop to help them out but they were going to be fine with the on course help. However swimming out I was kicked in the face and a flow of water started to come into my left side of the goggles. I thought just my goggles were knocked down so I adjusted them and started to swim only to have to stop 5 seconds later and empty them out. That’s when I discovered that I could put my finger right through! I was only at 1/4 mile when I just said this isn’t going to work and swam back to shore. Could I have toughed it out and swam without goggles probably and my eyes would burn and pay dearly for it the next couple days. I based my choice on the facts that this was a training race and not an A race. Some people have called me a quitter for not toughing it out but those same people didn’t pay over $1000.00 an Ironman race too. Either way I was more disappointed that I couldn’t finish. Went ahead with a point to point run from Del Mar to Carlsbad. I had never done such a thing and I had my doubts about it.
Time is flying by and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have my doubts that I am ready for this. The days are slowing ticking away and my mantra lately has been “This Ironman isn’t going to train for itself buddy.” I’m biking longer than I ever have before and enjoying it. This past Saturday while I was out on a 4.5 hour bike ride it was around mile 70 where I thought to myself that man 20 miles seemed so long back when I signed up for IMAZ. Now 20 miles just seems like a warm up. Now with me really having the confidence in not blowing up on the bike I can start getting in more running as well which I’ve totally been slacking on.
I really need to break this mental barrier of running is punishment again. Today after a 75 minute spin class I went out on a 2.5 mile run and had the best times in a long time and surprisingly in the heat and humidity I felt great (Yeah I just said that). I opened up my stride a bit more but watched my cadence go from 79/80 to 76/78 but my HR instead of riding that 147 BPM line dropped to 138/140 BPM. I was lower in my Z2 and my avg times per mile dropped from a 10:30 min/mile to a 9:31 min/mile. Now I did have to walk once to stretch the hip flexor a bit but then chugged along. It kind of has me wondering now if trying to get the shorter steps and higher cadence was back firing for me since I have longer legs. I’ll monitor some of the longer runs to see what’s going on with that.
On another note yes I signed up for IM Canada as well. WTF was I think is the first thing that comes to mind but I must be honest. The course looks absolutely awesome and I’ve heard excellent peer reviews of it. So why not? This is in July so it works perfectly for my St. George 70.3 in the beginning of May. At first I didn’t think I’d like some of the longer IM training but it’s kind of growing on me in a sadistic way.
Maybe it’s been 2 weeks of hills, I’m not really sure at this point as everything is running together. There have been both physical and mental hills that have brought me up and down, but it’s all part of becoming an Ironman right? You learn to juggle the demands of your work, social, and training lifestyles as volume pick up and move you to what you once thought those limits are. Slowly as you approach them you start to feel that you get that anxious feeling in your gut and you press on. You slowly move past your previous limits and the confidence builds as you start to explorer the space you didn’t know existed.
So last Saturday I swim buddied at the San Diego Triathlon Classic. I was supposed to race in this race but after careful thought with my Ironman training it just wasn’t a good fit. Especially since I had a 105 mile ride from Solana Beach up Mt. Palomar the following day. So putting the pride aside I went and rode with this great girl who is also training for IMAZ at a slow pace for a few hours (probably not the brightest thing cause of the 105 mile ride the next day). Either way we had fun and it was great time…… I guess you might call it an Irondate! Then later that night I got my run in… again this was not a good idea. The upside was I ate a TON of carbs!
My athlete Rhonda who just did her first ever triathlon back in May finally reached the podium Saturday as well. She took 3rd in the Athena division which she earned. The Tri Classic was her A race and she even surprised herself. You can follow her journey on her Facebook page “Living Instead of Existing”. She didn’t know it at the time but I decided to stay and watch her finish and cheer her on going across that finish line. I’m proud of her her finding this new found love of not just triathlon but being competitive. As I’ve been a mentor for her the goal for this season was for her to just have fun and enjoy the sport, clearly it is. Next season will be pushing a bit more (like I haven’t done enough of that) for some possible podium spots in the Athena Masters and also increasing 1 or 2 races to Olympic distances in her preparation for a 70.3 early 2016 with possible IMAZ 2016.
So now to Sunday’s fun…it really wasn’t much fun. It sucked and it sucked a lot. Started at 6Am 1 whole hour early and I knew there would be hills and a damn mountain so I used my road bike (I think I should have kept to my tri bike). My road bike is an aluminum frame which I refer to as a tank. I’ve had that thing for almost 5 years and never once had to change a tire or tube. I put thousands of miles on it and it truly is a tank. I knew I was going to be slow and I knew it was going to be a 9+ hour ride. Yes you see that big mountain in the middle of the elevation chart that was a 7-8% grade for 11+ miles? I had to ride up it and the gearing on my road bike in it’s easiest gear was a lovely 4 MPH avg going up it. I’m not going to lie I wanted to quit going up and just go downhill. My brain was telling me to quit and just turn around but my legs just kept peddling up even as I saw friends of mine going down. I stopped and let my HR go back down since the sun was beating down on me and climbing up hill keeps me in my Z4 and Z5 for long periods of time. On these stops I made the mistake of looking at my map on my phone and talk about the longest mile.. I thought to myself man I’m going 4 MPH this is going to take me 15 damn minutes to get to the top this is just dumb and why did I do this. It was about this time that my legs wouldn’t let me turn around that I finally caught up to my buddy Marcus and I thought to myself that if he can do this than so can I. Finally made it to the top with him and another guy named Steve. We caught the girls just before they went down it was a fun quick reunion (I hated all of them at this point because they beat me and weigh half of what I do.) It was at this time where mother nature decided to shower on us.. A LOT! Yeah that wall of rain was what I went through on the way down. My friend Carrie happened to snap this picture as she was going up and I was going down. At the end of the day we all got across the finish line we got our medals we endured mother nature’s 100+ heat and flash flooding. Congratulations to everyone we made it out alive and our legs truly do hate us now.
I heard someone say that after 6 hours of straight exercising something happens to you. They are right and it’s different for everyone and for me it was interesting that it was my legs that kept me going forward and not quitting when everything that I read and listed to told me it would be my body that was telling me to quick and it would be my mind telling me to stop. I felt that urge to want to keep going, that confidence that you can do this. You can finish it. People still call me crazy and say that this is not normal behavior. I would have said the same thing 3 years ago as well. But for me this is becoming the new normal and I like it. One of the best choices I made in my life was losing weight and getting outside of my comfort zone of inside the bar.
I decided against a race report for the AFC Half Marathon. I hated the race and won’t ever do it again. Since I don’t have any nice things to say about it, I’m not going to write negatively about it either. With that said I’ve had one hell of a long training weekend. As the mileage starts ramping up for IMAZ I’m finding more and more things that I’m able to accomplish. It’s not easy and sometimes it’s painful but as they all say… it will be worth it.
This past Saturday was a planned 107 Mile ride from Mission Bay up to San Clemente but due to a late start and some breaks we turned around at the far end of Camp Pendleton which made it an 84 mile round trip bike ride with 2 friends of mine. It was the first time we’ve all been able to ride together. It’s always nice to train with friends even when you’re racing alone on the bike. I only had 1 flat which was good cause any more than that and I’d be SOL. We hit Torrey Pines around mile 71 which really helped suck the life out of me for the rest of the ride. You really do start finding what you’re made out of while you’re out there on the road. Then had a nice 1:30 hour run that Sunday. Legs were tired and didn’t want to do anything.
This last Saturday I went on a 90 mile ride with plenty of hills from the start. We left early to beat the head but I have to say when the sun is out full force it sucks. It’s good training though and I’m getting used to realizing that I’ll sweat over a gallon of water and probably an entire salt container from a fast food place. Nutrition and hydration will be my make it or break it part of IMAZ. Had a 2 hour run planned for Sunday as well which went over well. I’ll most likely be running a 10:30 pace for IMAZ which I can live with.
Monday (Labor Day) was supposed to be a rest day but I did the 85th Annual Oceanside Pier Swim. Just a 1 mile out and back around Oceanside Pier. We recently had a hurricane sweep through to the south of CA which brought plenty of surf and we got a nice taste of it during the swim. It’s always a challenge to swim in the open water but with 3-6 foot waves crashing on the way out and swell picking you up and dropping you only makes for more fun. I finished in under 26 minutes which got me a 3rd place overall in the wetsuit division.
Well I’m halfway through my season of travelling for races and man it got here fast. Strangely enough this felt like my hometown race. My family from my mom’s side live in Minneapolis and while only a few of them made it out to the race. Everyone made it to the BBQ we had later that day, and that’s really what made this trip for me. I rarely get to race with my family watching so it was extra important that I had a smile on my face and that I got over that finish line not looking like death.
This race was unique for me and I had a lot of small challenges to overcome. First was the weather. It was rainy every day I was there except for the day after the race and then it was awesome. During the race it was muggy and humid, and the course had a lot of mud. The Twin Cities have been getting rained on so there were lots of flooded area’s around town and the ground was completely soaked. Second was that I rented a road bike. I didn’t have time to really get some saddle time before the race thanks to the rain. So during the race I couldn’t really feel my butt past mile 13 or 14. I also couldn’t really get into any aero position which means I was catching wind like a sail! The other stuff wasn’t as important because I was mainly there to just have fun.
No wetsuit this time While the water was warm I didn’t feel the need for a wetsuit and went about swimming without one. The water was warm so I took advantage of it. The start was a time trial start so they had us in pairs going into the water every 3-5 seconds rather than 1 big wave. The entry was a beach start which was cool because I didn’t have to wait behind everyone else wadding through the water. I got plenty of good leaps in and off I went. During the leaps I passed 4 people just inching out. I didn’t even get a swim buddy that I could draft off of in this race and there was a lot of jostling of elbows and kicks that where way off. I will say this swimming in fresh water for a change is nice. I don’t have salt crust on the face during the bike.
It’s been over a year since I had to ride a road bike during a triathlon so I knew it was going to be an experience. The course was very scenic and it went through parts of Minneapolis I didn’t know even existed. Seems the road crew didn’t either cause there were potholes, creases, and horrible divots through the entire ride. I couldn’t seem to pickup much speed either cause after mile 13 or so I could no longer feel but butt. The only reason it was still there was that every single bump I hit I could feel it. I couldn’t even get into the aero position for the ride which felt really weird to me. Of course spectators love to cross the street as bikes are going through and I almost hit a few of them but ended up in the oncoming lane of traffic to avoid them. I’m lucky I didn’t get in a serious accident with other athletes.
Well this was a 2 loop course around the lake I just swam in. It was filled with water from the rains and mud from the soaked grass. It was pretty humid and muggy out so it felt like I was running through a lake. Not to mention it was hot without the sun even being out. Thankfully I had a lot of fun and looking back it wasn’t all that bad. There was another guy going across the finish with me and we both looked at each other and said lets smile and sprint it through. So we did complete with smiles and a hi five afterwards.
Well I might do this race again next year or the Maple Grove Triathlon. It was nice to see family and had fun exploring the trails that Minneapolis has to offer. Till next year.
It really got here before I knew it, and I would by full of it if I didn’t say that I’m a bit terrified. Let’s be honest though, when you embark on the stuff you truly want to accomplish it is supposed to be terrifying. That’s what makes the accomplishment that much sweeter. I’m 2 weeks late in starting this blog post due to things coming up and trying to stick to training as much as possible.
The last 3 weeks have been a whirlwind of training, traveling, racing, and helping others reach their goals. I’m writing this as I get ready to head to Minnesota this week for a race out there. I have family out there so I’ll be able to stay with them and I’ll have a car as well to travel around. The upside to Minneapolis is that it’s super bike friendly so I plan to do a LOT of cycling. I’m excited for my family to be able to get out there and watch me race and I’m excited to see them. I grew up on the west coast for the most part and missed a lot of my family growing up and now as we’ve all gotten older we just don’t get time to spend together much.
My training for the most part has been on track however I don’t feel like I’m where I should be. Part of that is because of my break for the month of June. I think my run for the most part suffered the biggest set back and I need to get it back. However when I look at the numbers though it’s my aerobic endurance that is gone. Training for short course racing is all about speed and power over the short course instead of a steady pace. So what does that mean for me? More longer runs and bikes at a steady Z2 pace to get that endurance built up again. What does it mean for my short course races coming up? Well it means that I’m going to look at them as training and keep myself at a solid pace.
Also got to see my friend Rhonda complete her 2nd triathlon the weekend of my ITU Race. She has come a long way and it’s pretty cool to see the effect that I have had on her. From believing that she could do her first triathlon before October to now looking at training for her 3rd triathlon in September. I’ve found it’s very rewarding personally to watch people accomplish what they once thought they couldn’t.
So I’ve commit to running at least a 5K everyday through the end of May. Everyone knows that running just isn’t my strength and it’s a bad weakness in the sport of Triathlon. So the way to get better at it is to increase the volume you run on a weekly basis. Yes I know but it will only build your aerobic endurance and not your over all speed. I know this but the speed will come, the speed will come.
When I first started running back in the good ole fat boy days it was all about trying to be fast. I’d run well into my Z4 or Z5 until I couldn’t do it and then I’d have to walk to recover. To translate what Z4 and Z5 is for people… it’s heart rate training zones. I was basically flooring the gas pedal and then once the gas in the tank was gone I’d have to wait for it to fill up. I did this and slowly watched my average mile times inch lower and lower with this run/walk technique. I really didn’t have a concept of building my aerobic base. I thought I was doing the right thing, but it didn’t really click till I ran the Rock N Roll San Diego Half Marathon back in June of 2013. I found that if I kept my run consistent and my HR around 140-150 that I could run the entire thing. For some reason though it didn’t really stick and I couldn’t really explain why that number seemed to work for me. In fact I wrote a blog post about it here, and I go on to explain it a bit more but I didn’t really fully comprehend what was going on. Well now I do and I’ve known it back from my test at The Fit Stop and now since I’m in a building phase for IMAZ I can really focus on it. It’s a bit depressing to know that my Z2 pace is 10:30 according to the numbers but as my body becomes more efficient at burning fat for fuel and my body adapts the pace will get better. Again I have to trust the training.
So then what got me away from that HR training if it clicked back then? The answer is simple I got more concerned with the per mile pace instead of efficiency. That’s been my biggest hurdle is worrying about those pace numbers. As I have a training plan for my ITU Chicago race that has speed work in cause it’s an Olympic Distance I’m still increasing the volume as I build a big base for IMAZ. Yeah I’m crazy but it’s going to be fun. Now if only I can stick to the diet aspect. I went overboard during the week off and I’ve been skipping some days last week. Well that’s going to have to stop. I have to drop 25lbs of fat still, but the increase in volume at my Z2 pace should assist with it.