Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Track" @ Mission Beach Boardwalk

We had some complications with our track workout this week, so "track" practice was at Mission Beach boardwalk tonight. I got there a little bit early , since for some reason, there was absolutely no traffic on the 5. For the first time in a while, I just kinda hung out solo on the beach right at sunset. It was very peaceful - especially without a lot of people around. There was also some really cool looking clouds over the ocean, and on the horizon, so it gave it a nice ambience. The scene reminded me of a time when I was in puerto rico when I was watching the sunrise on the beach one morning.


Anyhow, our workout was sand intervals, and it was about 5 miles. I realized for the first 2.5 - 3 miles, that I wasn't doing them correctly. I was informed later how to properly do them: when there is a break in the boardwalk wall, head onto the beach, and sprint to the next break in the boardwalk wall, which can be anywhere from 75-250ish meters. When I get back onto the boardwalk, then do a very easy recovery - a little more than walking. After doing about 2 - I realized that - man this was tough! A group of us hammered out the workout, and were all pretty beat afterwards! It's good to do these types of workouts every so often, especially since the last 200 meters of lavaman is on beach sand!

Spin & Sweat

I went to spin last night, and I am still amazed at how much a human can sweat during a spin class.... unreal.

That's it.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

26th Birthday, Cross Training & Adventure Racing

A lot of athletes aren't just athlete's in one sport, but enjoy all sorts of sports. When not doing triathlons, I certainly enjoy volleyball and surfing (it doesn't get much more socal than that!), but I have also caught the "multisport" bug, and enjoy crosstraining with other multisport sports! My other favorite type of racing is called Adventure Racing, and it is as cool as it sounds!

There are all sorts of adventure races, from the 2 hour sprints, to the 7 day ecochallenges. Most AR's include mountain biking and running at a minimum, but others can include kayaking, swimming, trekking, orienteering, repelling down a mountain/rock, climbing up a mountain/rock, and most go until after the sun sets, so lights are usually mandatory! I have done 5 AR's since moving to San Diego, all put on by a guy named Barrie Adsett. He puts on 4 FREE AR's a year in the San Diego/Baja region - for the main purpose of having FUN! It really doesn't get any better than that!
Here's how AR's work (for the ones that I have done, but all are very similar):

You get a topographical map that has grid on it for mapping coordinates (the one I used is below). On another sheet of paper, you have a series of data points. You also have a little UTM plotter, and you then plot each of the data points (called check points - CP's), on the map. When the race starts, the objective is to get each of the points as quick as possible. Sounds simple right? Here are the challenges:


* You usually don't get all the coordinates for the all the points in the beginning. The missing coordinates can be found at some of the CP's out on the course - so you usually have to go in order.

* Because it's a topographical map, you should pay attention to elevation gain and how you are going to get to each point. The last thing you want to do is get to the area where you think the CP is, and have to climb a ridge, without climbing gear!

* You usually get lost at least once. You think you know where you are, but sometimes you have no idea. You can think that a CP is in the area, but sometimes you are a few hundred meters off.

* Not being able to find a CP can be extremely frustrating - especially when you are cold, hot, tired, hungry or all of the above! Do not lose your cool. It'll make everything a lot harder.

* Sometimes an AR is a lot more adventure than race - but thats part of the fun!!!

One of the great equalizers of AR'ing is you can be the fastest person out there, but if you can't read a map, then you are going to have a long day!

So, Saturday 1/27 was my 26th birthday, and since Barrie just happened to have an AR in Penasquitos Canyon that day (which you can read about the course here), I felt this would be a great thing to do for the day! I had asked a few people to do the race w/ me, but for many reasons, no one was able to do it with me, but I did have a lot of people say "I'm totally doing it with you next time!".

Not wanting to derail the plans, I decided to show up solo, and jump on with a team. After arriving and signing in, someone pointed at me and said "Mexico!" I looked over, and it was this guy Louis that Dave Bartels and I had met when we went down to La Bufadora, BC, MX over the summer to do an AR. I asked him if he was doing the race solo, which he was, and I said "No way - we're doing it together!"



So, Lou and I started off on our adventure at 1pm, and quickly nabbed the first 4 CP's. We ran into a little bit of a problem trying to get CP5, since the coordinates for it were "315 degrees from CP4, and 45 degrees from CP6". Alas, we got it, and over the course of the next 4 hours, efficiently grabbed all 12 of the bike CP's. By now, it was about 5:30pm, the sun was setting behind the hills of the canyon, and it was starting to get dark and cold, really quickly. I was not looking forward to running apx. 8-10 miles in the dark and cold air. Lou started developing some severe leg cramping on our way back to transition, so it definitely made for a slow ride back. We got back to transition pretty much at the point where there was absolutely no sunlight left.

To most people, Penasquitos Canyon is a relatively flat canyon - and it is - on the main trail. But we spent a lot of time on the north side of the main trail, where there was plenty of elevation gain. I gotta say, that there is some killer mountain biking back there! Below is the elevation profile for the bike - but this is an ideal profile. Realistically, ours is probably much more up and down since we got lost a few times :)

With Lou's condition, he was in no shape to run, and I certainly had no motivation to go run for a few hours out in the dark! I also realized that it is my birthday, and that there should be some partying to care of later in the night, so I called it a night, packed it up, went home, cleaned up and went out with some friends in La Jolla for some good times!

What a great day to spend my 26th!

Monday, January 29, 2007

First (Lavaman) Ocean Swim


This past sunday, the lavaman team did our first ocean swim at La Jolla shores (This was a coached workout, not another polar bear swim!!)

I have great memories of last year's first ocean swim - mainly jumping in the water, not listening to Coach, body surfing non-stop, playing and laughing in the water as if I was 5 years old again. Having done some surfing in the past, I was able to acclimateto the water temp a bit easier than others, but nothing quite compares to the initial "open up your wetsuit and let the cold water in".

Being a mentor - this was one of the more enjoyable workouts - to see everyone else go through that experience. After us mentors had to do a few little surf entry/exit demo's, it was great watching everyone else jump in and splash around! After a few minutes, our Coach says "Ok Folks, it's a WETSUIT, so we have to get it wet inside. So open it up, and take in a bunch of water!!"

Of course he was met w/ some mild resistance because of the water temp. But he is the coach, and they have to listen. Sitting back and watching, nothing truly compares to seeing the face on someone when the 57 degree water makes it way down from the neck to the chest, and from the chest into mid section of the wetsuit, and then watching their face light up! After a few seconds, you'd think the pacific ocean was filled with hundreds of 7 year old girls!We had about 80 or so people there, and even the guys were screaming! It was great.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Yoga...

Yoga was started more than 5000 years ago in India, and although it is/was viewed as a path to spiritual and physiological mastery, the effects have now rippled into modern life, and is viewed as a means of exercise. Most triathletes see it as a potential injury prevention tool, and along with increasing flexibility.

Check out my girlfriend Nafiseh, current triathlete, practicing to be a quadrathlete, practicing yoga on her bike, before a run.


Triangle pose!

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Nothing better than getting WORKED at the pool...

I got WORKED last night at the pool, and it was AWESOME!!!

So good, that I am actually still on a high from it this morning.

It was one of those workouts where when you are getting told what it is, you are saying "uh oh"...

... when you are doing it, you are saying "oh man"....

... when you get home, you say "Man, that was AWESOME!"

I swam last night w/ the San Diego Triathlon Club, and courtney is our swim instructor, and she usually shows us who's boss. Another dude named Ryan showed up tonight for his first swim, and he seems to be exactly the same pace as me, so it made for a nice little competitive swim. Here was the workout (all distances in meters):

Warm Up:
300 swim
200 kick
100 pull

Starter set:
8 x 50m at race pace, 15 seconds rest between each

Main Set (odds easy, evens hard)
2 x 50m
2 x 100m
2 x 150m
2 x 200m
(note that there isn't any rest in between. Our rest is the easy odds. Sweeeeet.)

And since we had the 50m lanes tonight, we got to finish with:
6 x 50m sprints w/ 1 min rest.


Let me tell you - those sprints hurt, but felt oh so good!

1st - fast, hard, get to the other end, and you are breating pretty hard.
2nd - just about the same.
3rd - I started realizing that I was probably swimming these 50's like they were 25's.
4th - I confirmed that I was swimming these 50's like they were 25's. Once I would get to about 2/3 the way done w/ the lap, I noticed my turnover decreased. my speed dropped. I was feeling it. I looked over at Ryan, and he was doing the exact same thing. It literally was like we both had sails attached to us at the 2/3 point. get to the other side, and discuss what just happened!
5th - My calves were starting to burn on this one. I don't know how, since you probably barely use your calves when you swim. Get to the other side, and say "man, my calves are even burning I am going so hard!" Laughter followed shortly after from people in nearby lanes.
6th - oh man. uh oh. Here we go! It was basically a culmination of all of the above...

Calves burning.
Sensory overload.
Hammering.
Reach & Pull.
Breathe when only necessary.
Touch the wall on the other side.
"AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH"

100 easy cool down.

Go home.
head straight to the kitchen, devour food.
Shower, stretch, BED.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

The ultimate sign of a good workout: Waking up the next day feeling mentally and physically great!!!

Sunday, January 21, 2007

"Off" Days...

Gotta love off days, especially when they are due.

Off days to me are days that involve absolutely zero training, or physical activity. Physical activity on off days to me is defined as surfing the 'net, sprawling out on the couch, getting up to get food, and just general laziness. Replenishing my glycogen stores would be another way of looking at it.

Even though I eat nonstop, try to get my 7-8 of beauty rest a night, stretch, hydrate, eat haelthy and all that stuff I am supposed to do, participating in sports can be consuming - both mentally, and physically. Training for 3 sports can at times, seem to be 3+ times as draining. With the shear volume of training we put ourselves through, and this includes the mental aspect as well, we triathletes simply just need a day off (which is harder than it seems, because most triathletes all probably share some type A personality traits!)

Saturday's workout was not supposed to be that tough, relatively. The 'advanced' group was supposed to do 3 repeats up torrey pines hill, out the 56 bike path as far as you'd like (5-10 miles, so 10-20 miles round trip), return back to torrey pines for another 3 repeats, and do a quick transition run afterwards. I did the first ascent in the easiest gear, second in 4 gears harder, the third in the aero position, and started out on the bike path feeling pretty good. I was treating the workout like a base building workout, so I wasn't really pushing it.

I had a good time chatting with people from the team on the bike path, whom I haven't met before, and enjoyed hearing the stories of adaption to the triathlon lifestyle. To most beginners, the thought of having bike shoes clipped into pedals seems dangerous. "What if I fall? or what if I dont clip out in time?" are the frequent concerns. Other than the inevitable first time of not being to clip out, they are much more powerful setup versus sneakers. As I was explaining to one teammate how to master the clipping in and out, and finally getting her to understand that the bike shoe/pedal setup is superior, not 2 seconds later did we look up and see a teammate fall over and off of her bike while trying to clip out!!! whoops.

I felt that I was appropriately dressed with arm & leg warmers, even though the weather forecast was again "abundant sunshine", it was only in the 50's, and there was some gusts of wind out there. I forgot how much of a toll the colder air can have on your body, and I underestimated my caloric needs for the day. I didn't bonk or anything, but I was certainly feeling it at the end of the workout. A bunch of us rolled over to chipote afterwards, and I absolute housed a burrito.

After my workout, I went home, showered, and got caught up on the first 4 episodes of 24. Wow. It was probably one the more mentally draining things I have ever done a couch. I was mentally exhausted afterwards. The show is just unreal people - you need to watch it. I swear if I had a HR monitor on, it would say "You are approaching lactate threshold, even though you are laying down. What is happening up there!?!?!"

Between the workout and 24, I was mentally and physically exhausted.


Sunday, I normally do my long runs, but my body was tired. So, instead, I went out to breakfast with my girlfriend, my roomate Greg, and teammates Dana and Nelson. We went to the potato shack in Encinitas, before I aptly devoured a "man hole size pancake", I actually saw Jay and Momo coming close to the end of the ever famous del dios/elfin forest bike ride. As the name implies, the pancake IS the size of a manhole cover.







Afterwards, I felt that my time would be spent best by enjoying the "abundant sunshine" outside and relaxing! AAaaaahhhhh.... the off day - gotta love it!

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cancer deaths have decreased for the second straight year...

For the second straight year, the numebr of cancer deaths has decreased, and with 2003-2004 being the latest year w/ data, there was more than an 8 fold decrease. Although LLS & blood cancers are not called out specifically, your funds continue to help this positive trend.

http://tinyurl.com/23g47g

Thank you everyone!

Clif Bar Triathlon Start Commercial

Although this is not part of Team In Training's Triathlon training program, I do find this video highly amusing (and true)...

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

My 1st spin class!!!

I am no longer a spin class virgin.

I have now found a new avenue for pain, and I really like it (yeah, shocker right?) I finally joined the rest of america by doing my first spin class tonight. I didn't do it at a gym on a stationary bike, but on my own bike, setup on a stationary trainer. My friends Jay, Dave, Victoria, and Paul (c'mon paul, get a blog!) all have Felipe L. as their tri coach, and he holds his spin class every tuesday night not too far from where I live. Felipe comes highly recommended as a great coach, and I was curious to try a workout of his. (One of the funnier parts of the night when we first met, and he goes "Oh, yeah, I read your blog!! Jay has a link to your blog on his!!" I found that amusing - gotta love blogs and living in the digital age! Even funnier, I had read felipe's blog prior to meeting too.)

I was spinning next to jay during the workout, and we were having fun lauging at how tough the workout can be. I must say I really enjoyed it, and look forward to my next one. Even though our bikes were stationary, jay also said that my bike looks fast because of the "VROOM" on it.

My bike is yellow, which makes it look even faster, especially when stationary.


Anyhow, back to the workout.... So, here's the kicker...

...spin class is outside!

I know, I know. Even though a few posts ago, I was on the verge of complaining how cold it has been in San Diego, but I quickly learned that no matter the temperature, spin class will make you sweat. I'm not talking a quick wipe of the brow, I'm talking near puddle formation on the ground below you - in 45-50 degree weather no less.

In the past, my girlfriend always tells me about how much she sweats in spin class - and I'm like "seriously, who wants to hear about how much someone sweats during a workout?"

I quickly learned that is a legitimate topic of conversation.

There is a reason why Felipe told me to bring a towel. Within minutes, I was rolling up my sleaves, zipping down the front of my bike jersey, and reaching for my towel. Not once, not every so often, not even after every interval. It got to the point where I just wish I had a headband. I was soaked, and it was great. The funny part was when I got home, and I could definitely tell what part of my front tire was directly under my forehead by all the white dried sweat spots all over the rubber.

This workout came at the right time because I have been going through a little motivation rut, and this workout certainly kicked me back into gear. Big thanks to Felipe and Jay!

I am sure my legs will thank me tomorrow!

Update on Jeff

I talked to Jeff over the weekend, and he is doing well.

He has been on a short chemo plan for the past few weeks, and his body has been adapting to the chemo pretty good. This is especially good, since sometimes the body doesn't accept the drugs so well, especially the second time around. He will be starting 2 weeks of radiation (twice a day, M-F) next week, followed by a stem cell transplant. That certainly is a lot to swallow for me, but Jeff is one of the strongest people I know. Just talking to him, you can hear the strength in his voice that he will not be defeated. He has been doing his best to maintain a positive attitude, and it shows.

Stop on by his blog, and wish him well (through the comments if you don't have a blogger account).

http://jeffhartnett.blogspot.com

Take care!

DDDBBB!!!

Yes, the DDDBBB.

This translates to: The "Delicious Del Dios Burrito Brick and Barbeque", which also translates to: "I am having a delicious burrito barbeque after the Del Dios Brick workout on saturday"

I skipped out on the workout saturday morning to hold a barbeque at my place for the Lavaman Team. proceeds went to my fundraiser for Blood Cancer Research. Having done the Del Dios Brick a few times, along with that "DAM HILL", I know the feeling of riding a hilly 25 mile bike ride, and running 3-6 miles afterwards.
The body screams for food. It's tired. You don't want to walk. It takes an enormous amount of energy just to get your bike in/on your car. You just want to relax and have some food. Maybe even a beer. Hanging out with friends is not the priority, but it would certainly be fun if they were there, to enjoy the succulent morsels of burrito cooked up by a master chef.

The day started out cold (see post below), windy and cloudy. Then, shortly before everyone finished their workout, the clouds cleared. The sun made its way out. The winds calmed. The temperature warmed...

.... and the burritos were-a-cookin!!!

I had about 20-25 people over, and good times were had by all!

Note: never underestimated the ability of 20+ triathletes to consume over 6 lbs of chicken, 4 cans of beens, a vat of rice, tortilla chips, some of the best homemade pico de gringo gallo, and anything else you can throw at them!!!!

So, this is San Diego?

Yes, I live in San Diego, and damn, has it been cold lately!

It could be worse, I realize this. I could live in South Dakota, Manitoba Canada, Los Angeles, or even still be living in the Northeast, but when I get in the car in the morning, and my car reads 33 degrees, along with "ICY" next to it, it's COLD!

I think the general perception of San Diego, or SoCal in general is that its always warm here. Although, that is the case quite often, its not always like this. We have low humidity here, which in my opinion, is like applying a windchill factor, when compared to more humid climates. When I was home in Massachusetts a few weeks ago, 45 degrees seemed warmer.

I also find the weather forecasting funny. Yesterday's forecast was "Abundant Sunshine". Today's forecast is "Sunny". Tomorrow's forecast is "Generally Sunny". What the heck is Generally Sunny, and how does that compare with Abundant sunshine, Sunny, and mostly sunny? The beautiful blue sky looks the same today as it did yesterday!

I guess that I do need to remember that weathermen in San Diego probably do get bored quite a bit, and this is their way of having "fun".
Am I really complaining? It must be this cold weather.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Got Bricks?


Today we did a brick workout at moonlight beach in encinitas. In fact, we did many brick workouts. A brick workout is a bike followed by a run. This is a very race specific workout since we will do a run right off the bike at lavaman (and nearly every other triathlon in existance)!

The workout was 6 bricks of 2.5 mile bike ride, followed by a .5 mile run. So, brick #1 was ride 2.5 miles on the bike, get off the bike, throw on your running shoes, and then run half a mile. Come back, get your bike, and repeat. Simple enough. Probably the toughest part of the workout was running down to the beach, and then up the sidewalk hill to get back to the parking lot. The cool part was our tri coach brought a bunch of bike racks to simulate a race environment.

Doing a brick workout is not something new to me, but I did practice some new things for race day. In previous races, at the end of the bike ride before I get off my bike to enter the transition area, I leave my bike shoes on my bike. Its some what of an acrobatic move, but I just swing my right leg over the seat, and kind of balance myself and both feet on my left pedal leading up the dismount line. It helps save time, and who cares where your bike shoes are when you are running right? I guess spending half my childhood on a bike and doing jumps and a bunch of other stupid stuff kids do is actually paying off! Not to mention its a lot easier to run barefoot than with bike shoes & cleats on to get back to your transition space.



Conversely...



Some people are advanced enough to actually leave their bike shoes on the pedals when they first get on the bike after the swim. It probably shaves off a few seconds from your transition time since you don't have to worry about running through transition area with bike shoes on, then getting past the mount line, stopping, putting your leg over your bike, and then clipping in - which is really difficult when you are trying to move fast!! I was always intrigued by this, so today, I gave it a shot. I was certainly a little "off" in the first few attempts, but I think I got it down after a few tries. The key is to actually put your left foot IN the shoe, and with your right leg, kick off (the ground) to gain some momentum, do the acrobatic thing again with your right leg and swing it over the saddle (seat), and then somehow get your right foot into the shoe. This of course has to be done while moving, and not knocking anyone over in the process! Practice, practice, practice!!!

Monday, January 01, 2007

1/1/07 - Polar Bear Swim


The polar bear swim is this national "thing" that crazy people do. In cities across the US, those that have access to a large body of water, whether that be ocean, lake or river, "take the plunge" into the nice, and most likely, COLD water!

Here is the probable history and creation of the national polar bear swim, always performed on new years morning:

Some, probably intoxicated, person, some time between 12/31 and 1/1, some year (person 1): "Dude, let's go run into the ocean, no wetsuit, nothing! on new year's morning! It'll be fun!!"
Someone else (person 2), in response: "Dude, that's the stupidest, craziest thing! That makes no sense! No way!"
Another person, in response (person 3): "Dude, that's the stupidest, craziest thing! That makes no sense! I'm totally in!"
Person 2: "Dude, it's January, the water will be freezing!!!"
Person 1 and 3: "So what!"

I'll let you guess what I did on the first of January 2007 at 10:30am in La Jolla.

thats me on the left!

But what I bet you didn't guess, is that I went back in for the second time!

thats me on the right!

Nothing like 57 degree water to get your day started!!!!!

somehow, the term "dead sexy" comes to mind!

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!!!


ps- Yes, after swimming in the 57 degree water, this is what I experienced:


Home for the Holidays

aaahhhh... home for the holidays. It has been a while since I was home for an extended period, and man, was it good to be home! Home for me is Massachusetts, just outside the city of springfield, which is apx. 80 miles west of Boston. In western mass, we park our cars and drink coffee, whereas east of worcester, they pahk their cahs and drink cahfee.

Being home and on vacation meant major relaxation, and taking time off from training. Taking time off is just as important as your training say, needless, to say I was looking forward to it. It was also good to catch up with some friends from home and party it up!
However, to finish off my training before relaxation, I had the pleasure of having to sprint all the way across Phoenix airport to make my connecting flight. After a week of relaxation (and getting fat!), I was challenged with the same issue in Chicago!

Nothing like sprinting through airports during the holidays! Not only was it a mad dash through each of these airports, but of course my connecting gates were on the opposite side of where I currently landed. As if sprinting through crowded airports full of holiday travellers, but I had a laptop, camera and tripod to lug around too!

All in all though, it was good to see the fam, and to see my dad's new house!