Monday, March 31, 2008


Great! I've never had a knee problem before. I thought everyone got knee problems from running....apparently there's something called Biker's Knee. We got to know each other around mi. 115 of the Solvang Double this weekend.

For the first time ever, i got a DNF! I've never had such a clear indication I needed to quit.....that's probably why I never did. I got the most incredible pain in my knee, and it wouldn't go away for about 20 minutes, kept getting worse, and finally I couldn't even go 5mph without screaming.

For today, I'm a quitter! Congrats also to Michael Mack from Luxtera, who DNF'd also, but charged through 180 mi. or so in about 13.5 hours when we picked him up. Way to go on I'd guess l.t. 100 mi. of training in the 3 months before!

On a side note, this ride was BEAUTIFUL, and I highly recommend it to anyone.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

2008 Triathlon Season Preview

Well, it's going to be an exciting year. Early January I experienced the best running form I've ever had. At that point I was running 9min/mi @ a very aerobic (for me) HR of 137 which is smack dab in my Zone 2. Obviously that doesn't put me anywhere near the top of my class, but for someone who stagnated as a runner all year last year, this was exciting. I ran a 2hr half marathon (again GREAT for me) on a VERY hilly course all while it was snowing in Oregon a couple weeks before, and felt GREAT! Of course one week before the Marathon I sprained my ankle which was terrible timing!

So I did a proper couple weeks of going easy. It was tough to properly rest up my ankle, but I immediately gave up on running the marathon a week later. I thought I was well and jumped into training, though not to hard (or so I thought) after getting an "amazing recovery" from the doc on 3 weeks of Pool PT & Biking only. Then came the flu! Wow was I sick! I went from riding a super hilly 60 miles one day to delirious fevers the next. I couldn't even exercise in any capacity for over 2 weeks. Then it was almost 1.5 weeks of piddly little 20-30 min Z1 workouts. Seriously. FINALLY I started getting well and ramped up for the Death Valley century.

I think I've executed well since then, but the Superfrog Triathlon will no longer be an A race. It will be a nice training session just like this weekends up coming Solvang double century. I had one run in with a cold, but bounced back to full (flu diminished) form with 2 days of rest. This time I caught it EARLY in addition to it being a much milder virus, so I headed it off at the proverbial pass.

So, what's to look forward to this year? It looks like I'll have 2 "A" races this year. I will try to perform Wildflower as a B+ race at the beginning of may if I'm feeling it. I think my base is solid, and if I handle business I should be in good form by then. Here we go:

3/29/08 - Solvang Double Century. C Race. Good long training ride. 13:00?

4/6/08 - Superfrog Triathlon. B- Race. 5:45 => 35 + 3 + 2:30 + 3 + 2:20

4/27/08 - La Jolla Half Marathon. C Race. 2:00 = 9:10/mi.

5/4/08 - Wildflower. B+ Race. 3:00 => 25 + 3 + 1:20 + 3 + 1:03

That should be a nice early season peak. Wildflower will only take 3 hours so I should be able to bounce back pretty quick. My plan was to then back off for May to 1x a week Intervals to maintain my higher end, and do a big base/build 4 weeks with some nice ultra distance events on the weekends for fun. A little "intermission" to some fun stuff if you will. I will give myself a week of R&R (Race and Recovery) total then steadily ramp big volume for 2 weeks. I will call this the "Over"base phase if you will.

5/17/2008 - Davis Double Century. C Race. 12:00?

5/31/2008 - B2B 10K Swim - C Race. 2:00

6/1/2008 - Rock and Roll Marathon. C Race. 4:00.

I will take some time a solid rest week before launching into a peak progression for the Vineman 70.3 Triathlon up north. I will use the SD International Triathlon and possibly the Carlsbad Sprint Triathlon as HARD Peaking events to prepare for Vineman and the do a full 2 week taper up to the race and try for a good result. I also expect to way 180 or less by then which should help on the hilly course.
6/29/08 - SD International Triathlon - B Race - 2:15

7/20/08 - Vineman 70.3 - A Race - 5:40 = 34 + 2 + 2:48 + 2 + 2:12. I will shoot for 5:10 if I'm 180lbs. or less as this is a HILLY course!

So my goal for Vineman depends on my weight. but I think 5:12 - 5:15 is reasonable. I'm learning a lot about mental aspects and gameplans. I don't think I've really come close to my fitness abilities yet, and this will be my first real opportunity to tell this year since Superfrog is OUT as an A race. Going forward I will try for sub 5hr. 70.3 at the Longhorn 70.3 in Austin. I think the easier course, and 2.5 months of focused training will result in my plans coming to fruition. Imagine cutting over 1.5 hours of my 70.3 time in a year. Now THAT is meticulous execution. Of course Cancun was a disaster, so it's not as amazing as it sounds!
8/23/08 - SB Long Course Triathlon - B race. I'd like to take a good 30 minutes of my time from last year an break 4 hours.

10/5/08 - Longhorn 70.3 - A+ Race - 32 + 2 + 2:30 + 2 + 1:54! If I do 4 minutes in transition, 22.5mph on the bike, and an 8:40 mile on the run it will leave me 1:45 of leeway for whatever.

Ahhh then vacation. Unless I qualify for Clearwater, I will then plan on spending at least 2 weeks of traveling with now workouts followed by a couple of months of nothing structured.

But we'll see how all that goes.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Politics, Politics, Politics

I'm curious to know. Everyone already knows my leaning, and that I registered as a Democrat for the first time in my life to vote for a certain candidate. Still I'm wondering here how the issues compare:

1) Barrack Obama takes heat for some tapes of highly polarizing speech by his former pastor, and arguably still mentor to some degree. He addresses race directly in a speech as a response, and even refuses to disown his friend, limiting himself to disassociation with his heinous statements.


2)Hillary claims to have extensive foreign policy experience, as well as grace under fire, and follows it up with claims of landing in Bosnia under sniper fire, which she "remembered well", or was it not so well. Basically it appeared to be a slightly inflated war story.


Am I wrong dude? Personally I've done both things. Refused to drop someone just because they did something I don't like, and witnessed my own story grow in the telling. I believe these are both HUMAN actions. I also, however, believe that Hillary's response of politicking around it vs. Barrack's response of hitting a MOST contentious issue head on once again re-affirms my belief in who we should vote for. I'm not saying as a life long Republican that I'm written of McCain yet. Even though I like his honesty, war hero status, and commendable record, I still believe he's a long time politician, and that's what I DONT like in my politicians.

Death Valley Followup

There were a couple of more good blogs covering my cycling trip a few weeks ago. I thought I would link to these for all of the people I'm going to pitch to do the ride in the Fall.

A nice blog detailing a New Yorkers trip to Death Valley for a challenging century. Kind of reminds me of my first time here.

105 days to 105 miles.

A cool blog post about someone who did the 150mi ride. I've been wondering if they offered this because of the conditions, or it's always been available. Either way I'll be back for the fall.

Still a Long Way To Go

Reminder. I tried to get 5 people to sign up for this ride with my this spring. I guess it sold out in 10 hours, so anyone who waited even A DAY didn't get in, and Luis of course copped out to go to a wedding or something. Ironman?!? Get on the adventurecorps newsletter to get notified of the signup details in June.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Death Valley Spring Century 2008

Wow. Check out the CRAZY
conditions in Death Valley. Now look at the map. Is that really possible? I thought I was hallucinating with crazy winds in my face all day.

Notice the temp never got that hot. The weather predictions were as high as 85, but we didn't get close with nice cloud cover, and of course wind! I started of with the main pack with Alfredo, but quickly dropped off right away to conserve energy. This would be crucial later. I'd say 70-80 people took off at the beginning with that lead pack.

My plan was to keep my HR around 135 for most of the ride. I budgeted a Camelback with 6 scoops of accelerade each way, 2 bottles of cytomax for the first two hours, and then 7-8 PowerGels the rest of the way. I also brought 12 Endurolytes, planning on taking one every half hour. As the wind demonstrated, that would NOT be enough!

So I took off going about 20-21 with the leaders at the beginning. I was hoping my HR would settle down, but I realized that if I kept up with all these skinny dudes who were going to bonk anyway, then I would be dead. Let's say that last fall was ROUGH, because I went out at like 24mph with the leaders, and then basically suffered for 6.5 hours straight!

It was right about the 1hr. mark when I saw the first checkpoint appear.

I was HAPPY! Unlike last year when I was already feeling it after 45 minutes pacing with those fast guys, I felt great at stop 1. I didn't see Alfredo so I blasted through without stopping. No wind, no heat, everything GREAT so far! I'm guessing that's where I passed 20 of those 80 people that took off at the beginning.

The mountains and scenery were also amazing. I'm glad I took the time to take it easy at the beginning and enjoy the impressive surroundings.

Well.....I sure know I hydrated well. I had to stop around mile 30 for an unscheduled pitstop to pee. I'm actually behind on my hydration plan, but I've noticed that it's cool, and my levels are good. I let my HR drift up into the 145 range sometimes on uphills, but always back to 130 to recover on the downhills, and back to 135 on the flats. It was really enjoyable to pass all those little guys on the flats. But the hills are coming!

Uh-oh! The wind. As you saw in the report above, it was about 2 hours in that we started getting a northern wind in our faces. It felt more viscious then the data alludes to. I managed to catch up to a couple of guys and take pulls into the wind with them. We were going 8mph! When I was drafting it felt maddeningly slow. My HR was down UNDER 120 most of the time. Then when I was in front it screamed up to 150. That was all I was willing to do. Above 150 and I start to blow up.

So we're going slow. I have about 3 guys who to work with into it. Soon I was at checkpoint 2 at the bottom of the climb. Camelback is empty but I have 2.5 bottles so I just start charging. I'm guessing I passed about 30 people at various stages of refueling, and resting up for the climb. I planned on 7.5 mph up the hill. But of course, we had some wind in our faces again.

I will admit I passed about 15 more people on the uphill climb. I could already tell that the return would be dangerous, as everyone would be separated.

The downhill I reached my all time maximum speed of 48mph. I was scared. The road was bumpy so I didn't want to break. As I sat in my tuck watching the numbers increase... 44 (previous fastest)...45...46....47....48 I had to sit up. There was a curve coming, and I tenuously braked to about 30 to turn.

Finally a break. I stop at mile 65 to fill my camelback with water, grab some endurolytes, and mix some accelerade into 3 bottles for the return trip. I'm feeling great. I let my HR go up to 155 on the climb (I even saw 160 a couple times before I forced myself to back off), but couldn't even peddle on the way down. Going up took about 45 minutes. Going down was less than ten! So far I've spent ONLY 5 MINUTES OUT OF THE SADDLE!

Well....the rest is history. Look at the results
I spent the last 4 hours toiling into 30-40mph headwinds. After the decent I was a little feisty, and I kept pushing it. I went to far before I realized to back off. This would come back to bite me in the ass later.

I would only pass about 3 people on this lonely trek home. Nobody to draft. Legs cramping anytime my HR goes over 145. Miles 80 to 106 were like most of the race last time, so I was able to handle it well. Looks like I placed 12th with a respectable 7:30. Looks like they had to extend the time limit by a few hours because of the conditions. I might have pulled Alfredo in if I had taken it easy at the first sign of head winds.

All in all a great ride. In the fall I'm going the DOUBLE! Next up is a couple more easy 100mi+ weekend rides, and then a taper for the Solvang Double, and the Superfrog Half Ironman.

I will rip off the quote from the AdventureCorps Website that was put up on the event page:

“But you, by the grace of an ordeal in the night which stripped you of all that was not intrinsic, you discovered a mysterious creature born of yourself. Great was this creature, and never shall you forget him."

- Antoine de Saint-Exupery, Wind, Sand, and Stars

Yes Indeed.


Monday, March 3, 2008

Back From The Dead. February 15th-29th Training.

          Well it's good to be back. 3 Weeks with an injured ankle was tough enough. Jumping back in to soon, and getting SLAMMED by the flu was even worse. Luckily I got better just in time to get fit for the Century in Death Valley.

          I also switched to using Active Trainer for my workout logs. It's pretty handy, and seems to have a lot of the information I used to store in my custom spreadsheet like time spent in various cardio zones, and gives me easy reporting on my activities. I've included my charting for the last couple weeks:

          I'm still going to use Fitday for my foods, and also to track my calories per day, but it doesn't appear to be worthwhile tracking any more details in my spreadsheet or notebook because Active handles it all. I guess Fitday has all of my custom foods, which I don't really want to re-create, so i'll have to see how it works.

          All in all my ankle feels good, and my biking feels good as well. I CLEARLY lost some running fitness, or at least it's taking a while to get back my flow, because my aerobic pace has worsened by at LEAST a minute. I think I'm going to be ready for some power workouts on the bike right now, and running/swimming in the next couple weeks as I get back into the swing of things.

Obviously I've been focusing mostly on getting my bike fitness back. Lot's of Z2/Z3 Intervals with easy recovery seem to be a good recipe for getting back fitness without taxing oneself too much.