Tuesday, March 27, 2007
Rather than trying to describe it, I'll just let you watch it...
How would you describe that sentence? Sound really cool? Sounds like paradise? Sounds like a lot of work? Can that sentence really be described as simple as the aforementioned questions?
For me, definitely not.
Going to the big island of Hawai`i to race in the lavaman triathlon represents so much more.
It represents the culmination of hundreds of miles and countless hours of training, raising funds for cancer research and patient services, meeting new friends, and above all - having fun.
I am a "work hard, play hard" type of person. I like "the best of both worlds" type situations. I like pushing my limits. I like meeting new people. I love this sport, the lifestyle, the progress made, the friendships, the competition, the lessons learned, the fact that that this sport is 90% mental and 90% physical at the same time, seeing other people "catch the bug", meeting other people outside of TNT, having the experience of one season under my belt, making new friends and training buddies, being a total tri-geek, meeting professional triathletes, blogging about the experience, the cause/mission, the fundraisers, the coaching, and training with the team.
For those that that followed me on this journey, thanks for asking me how things are going, and reading this website. Ultimately, it's the journey that I enjoyed the most. It sounds a little cliche, but it is true. The race is "relatively" easy. It's all the training and time thats hard. But its the people you meet along the way that keep going.
I have asked a lot of my body over the past 5 months. I have made numerous changes compared to last year to better prepare myself - mentally and physically. I am happy with the progress that I made over the season, especially in the last month. So, as I sit here and type this during my taper week to let me recover for the race, I am reflecting on the past 5 months, but looking forward to the next 5 days.
Of course, I am looking for improvements both in racing strategy and times this year compared to last (2:37:22, 100 overall out of 507). I am hoping for similar conditions last year - minimal wind on the bike course. I am looking to place well in my age group, and overall. I am looking forward to the friendly competition between my friends and I. I am looking forward to other triathletes racing with me. I am looking forward to the sunrise over the transition area before the race, the finish line at the end of the race, and racing back into the ocean after finishing! I am looking forward to racing this race. I feel that the training I have done over the past 5 months have prepared me for it. I feel that I am ready.
So, it all comes down this.
Sunday, April 1st, 7:30am, Anaeho`omalu Bay, Kohala Coast, Hawai`i - the Lavaman Triathlon.
Big picture: it doesn't matter how I do at this race. I chose to do Team In Training to raise funds for cancer research and for my buddy Jeff. But, I know Jeff (and I) wouldn't be happy if I didn't absolutely push the limits and see what I can do!
Monday, March 26, 2007
It was beautiful. The sun was over the horizon (we started at 9:15am). There was no wind, and the water was still and clear. I quickly got in a rhythym, and made it over to the cove in about 22:30 (about .85 miles - in a straight line!). Swimming to the cove was a bit different than swimming at La Jolla shores. At the shores, you have nothing but soft sand under your feet. As I was nearing the beach at the cove, I started noticing huge, gnarly rocks. Then there was a close up long sea grass cover. Then more gnarly rocks. And then the currently literally washes you ashore. As we were just standing there, Mark Adelman body surfed a wave onto the beach, and when the water receded, Mark was literally laying there on the sand, stomach/head down first like a beached seal.
We made our way back to the shores, and Christina Garcia and I had a pretty good pace going. I opted to not swim in the group, because I being the goofball mentor, knew that I would heckle people in the group for a continuous swim start simulation. When we first started, I couldn't help by just pummel jaybuddy and dunk him! I made it to the shores just a little bit slower than what we did for the cove - but my arms were definitely mush at the end due to the pace. Then we had the whole team move over to the LJ shores grassy area for a luau/bbq where we could go over the itinerary for Hawai`i, bike unpacking, course previews, etc. It was a great meeting, because is REALLY starting to get excited!
Nelson and I went for solid 7.5 mile run later that evening through Del Mar and Solana Beach.
and then Sunday.
I slept in.
Got up, grabbed a coffee and bagel, and read the paper outside on the BEACH.
Went back to the apt, and hung out.
Then I surfed later (it kinda stunk unfortunately).
and then I went to Greg Kurras's with others and drank wine and beer all afternoon playing monopoly, and then went to Chevy's for continued debauchery! There was a bunch of people there, supporting (and drinking) to one of our teammate's fundraiser. It was a great time hanging with people in a non-training setting.
Just because its taper week, don't let yourself go (ahem: Christine!)
Getting a bunch of triathletes together with alcohol just means trouble. Look out!
and so the taper week begins!
Thursday, March 22, 2007
And for the first time in my life, I ran a sub 6:00 minute mile!!!! My final time was 5:44!! This was 27 seconds faster than what I did in early december (6:11).
My splits were:
Lap 1: 1:23 (went out a little too fast)
Lap 2: 1:28 (yup, definitely too fast on the first lap)
Lap 3: 1:31 (oh man, this hurts)
Lap 4: 1:22 (suck it up and finish strong!)
Big thanks to captain Paul for logging the splits and Coach Dave for hooking up the new polar!
And Big props to Troy Gorostiza for taking over 30 seconds off his 1 mi TT time, and Brian Gunn and Greg Kurras for taking OVER a MINUTE off their 1 mile TT time!
Wednesday, March 21, 2007
Unfortunately on sunday morning, Alana and I woke up at 6:36am because the alarm never went off.
Thankfully, her apartment is only a few miles from fiesta, and I have never moved so fast after waking up. Literally, within 2 minutes, we put on our race clothes, I pounded a Gu, packed our stuff, and was out the door with our bikes. We got all of our stuff in the Max (my maxima), and I was sure to use all 255 ponies under the hood to get us there quickly. Thankfully, Nuno called us and assured us that Gurujan was still talking and lecturing (surprise), and that if we hurried, we could make it on time. We came roaring into the parking lot, and set up our transition areas in record time. But before I could put my wetsuit on, I realized that I had to go #2. Great. So I sprinted for the rest room. Of course, this was right in front of everyone, who of course, heckled, laughed and yelled at me for the obvious record pace to the can.
I sprinted back to transition, and everyone had already put on their wetsuits, and were starting to walk over to the swim start. I was trying to put my wetsuit on, and mentor momo was trying to help me out. She was holding my swim cap for me b/c she was gonna put it on for me. What a doll, but after I finally got my top on, I told her to put my cap on, so she did, only she covered both of my eyes :)
I got situated, and Alana and I ran over to the swim start. I had enough time to get in about a 20m warm up swim before we took the team pic. I recalled from the day before that a freind told me when she did the club triathlon with the San Diego triathlon club, and that there was numerous jellyfish in enchanted cove (on fiesta). Well, my short little 20m warm up confirmed it. It was kinda gross. We took the picture, and Gurujan let out a "3....2.....1...... GO!"
Of course, I was still sitting there my goggles still in my hands, not on my head where they supposed to be.
So, I got them on, and realized I was in the middle of the pack, which is about the worst place to start in a triathlon due to the human blender. Having been there before - I quickly strategized how to get myself out of this predicament.
And then adrenaline kicked in.
I basically just bulldogged through the group. Picking my head up every so often so I could navigate through the group if necessary, but basically my strategy was to plow through. Somehow, it was working. After about 50m, someone was the unfortunate recipient of a left roundhouse arm or elbow blow from me as I was charging. After another 50 meters, I got in front of the pack, and was essentially out there on my own.
Except for the jellyfish. And the brown water. and the diesel scent in the water.
I gotta say, I got lucky by not getting stung, but man was that water GROSS. It was also a little eery when I would stroke, and feel jellyfish. ewww. I tried not to focus on the race conditions, and just wanted to get out of the water.
At one of the turn arounds, my left arm actually got caught in the string holding one of the buoys. That was entertaining. But all in all, I was happy with the swim.
I got to transition, got my bike, and was on my way. I caught Paul about halfway through the first loop, and led from about that time to the start of the third lap. At that point, he passed me, but then I caught up to him and we rode in parallel so we could BS with each other. It was kinda fun. At one point in the course, there was actually a duck in the middle of the road that refused to move. It was probably one of the weirdest things I have seen in a race, but whatever - it all adds to the experience. Unfortunately, Paul dropped his gu flask halfway through the last lap, so I pushed through and got to the dismount line. I want to send out a big thanks to Narda's boyfriend Todd for taking a pretty sweet pic of me getting off my bike before the dismount line. Hey, I guess all that Yoga I am doing is paying off!!!
As a buy product of being late, and doing a triathlon with teammates who have never done one, and consequently dont know where to put their bikes for the fastest transition times, I capitolized on grabbing one of the best spots. I got into T2, got on my running shoes, and I was off.
This was a pretty cool feeling at this point since I was 4th out of the water, but first off the bike. I felt kinda like Stadler at IMH because I now knew I was a marked man, and it was only a matter of time before Nuno, Paul or Lamine would catch me. I was also a little worried about if I pushed the bike too hard, and also the fact that my feet were completely numb. About a mile into the run, I was entertained again by THE DUCK in the middle of the road. I tried squirting water at him, and he responded with an "AFLAC" type of quack, but again, didn't move.
At about the halfway point, Nuno, who is just an insanely fast runner, caught up to me. He took about a 10ft lead after catching me, and held for about half a mile. We started seeing the other teammates start their run, and since it was an out and back course, we were all yelling at one another "GO TEAM" "GOOD JOB" and all that mushy stuff. After I saw Alana, I decided to make a move on Nuno, and caught up to him.
We then ran shoulder to shoulder in silence for about the next mile, pushing about a 6:20 pace. As we kept moving forward, we kept seeing more teammates cheering us on, but the only thing audible out of the 2 of us was deep breathes, and the pounding of feet on the concrete. Zero words exchanged. It was very Dave Scott/Mark Allen-esque a la 1989 Hawai`i Ironman. If you have no idea what I am talking about, I refer you to this video:
We hammered on, but with about a 100m to go, Nuno dropped it into another gear, and I couldn't hang. He went onto finish 1st, and I gladly took second. The fact that I was able to run with Nuno gave me some confidence, because the guy is just an animal when it comes to running fast.
I learned a lot from this race...
* Sprints can be fun. They hurt, but they are fun. You really do feel like you are racing.
* I learned where I need to be putting 'second skin' on my feet at lavaman, since I want to run without socks (to save precious seconds in T2)
* Every triathlete should have 2 alarms set for the morning of the race.
* But almost most importantly.... nothing beats preperation and warming up for a race. But, I learned that adrenaline is a powerful tool that may not be as good as warming up, but can put you in the right mindset to tackle the challenges thrown at you in a race.
* 500m Swim: 6:57, Rank: 4
T1: 1:32, Rank: 5
* 20K Bike: 34:33 (21.6 mph), Rank 2
T2: 0:53, Rank 1
* 5K run: 21:15, Rank 3
Overall: 1:05:10, Rank 2.
What a great time!!!!!
Friday, March 16, 2007
A group of us will be renting a pretty sweet pad on the Kohala Coast (just north of Kona) for a week around race time. Here are some the suspects, and their Hawai'in names:
Kerry: inu kohana (meaning: drink naked)
Amanda: Ima Hana (or Benny Hana) (meaning: "To stir up trouble")
Kassie: Missing In Action (meaning never shows up to practice)
Jaybuddy: Lolo (meaning crazy) (look at that smile!)
Lisa: Lea (meaning mythological goddess of canoe builders) (or whatever that means)
Jen: Keilani (meaning Glorious Chief) (I think it should be Chef since the woman can cook!)
Paul: Alekanekelo (meaning protector)
Nelson: Resident Lawyer (meaning when we are too loud, having special ability to deal with the authorities)
Stay tuned for updates!
Tuesday, March 13, 2007
He is currently undergoing vigorous rest and relaxation therapy :)
You Da MAN JEFF!
Looking forward to you coming back to the left coast and getting back on the saddle sometime. The door's always open!
On Sunday, we did a 1.5 mile ocean swim in La Jolla. I got there a little early because it was absolutely gorgeous out on sunday - 75-80, Zero clouds, and Zero wind. Greg, Brian and I "warmed up" by doing about 20 minutes of body surfing in the glassy silk of the pacific with the occasional 2 foot waves. I swear, body surfing in 2 foot waves is like hitting the reset button back to 6 years old!!!
Anyhow, for the workout, it was the usual La Jolla shores to the 1/4 mile buoy off of La Jolla cove. The water was incredibly clear, and although it was 57 degrees, it was beautiful. My buddy Brian brought his Garmin GPS onto the swim with us, and logged his path.
It's a 1.5 mile swim normally, but as you can see, it's very easy to make it a little bit longer. That's one of the "tricks" to open water swimming with buoys - the course is a set length, but the KEY is to swim that length, and nothing more, so sighting is a big thing to practice. The details of the swim can be found here:
Then last night, I swam with the San Diego Tri Club. Courtney recently got an assistant coach, and this guy makes sure there is no slacking happening ever. When it was just Courtney, I was averaging about 2500 meters (including warm up), and with the new guy, that has been upped to 3000m or more. So, about 2 miles of intervals/drills, and man, do I go home and sleep well at night. We were about halfway done with the workout, and I say to Pat "Dude, we've already hammered out a mile already. Damn"
It's time to give my arms and back a rest for a few days!
Thursday, March 08, 2007
Anyhow, so at track on wednesday, we did "Patrick's speed workout". I don't know Patrick Baldwin, but have only heard of him. I know he has done quite a few TNT events, did a 2:05:00 at lavaman one year, and did 9:25 (118/1624 who finished) at Ironman Hawaii this past year. This guy is pretty damn fast.
and his speed workout hurt.
The workout was:
[(300m hard + 100m walk) x 3 + 800m @ 10k pace, 2 minutes rest] x 3
(So... 300m hard, 100m walk, 300m hard, 100m walk, 300m hard, 1oom walk, 800m @ 10k pace - and then do all that 3 times).
The 300's hurt. A lot. To the point where I was damning this guy.
but the cool part about it was, it made the 800m @ 10k pace seem sooooo slllllllooooooooowwwwwwwww. to the point where people had to tell me to slow down b/c I was so used to going fast. I am definitely a little sore today, but that's ok.
That doesn't mean I still don't want to have a word this this Patrick character....
Monday, March 05, 2007
Wake up at 5:30am for a killer ride in east county with Dave, Brian, Pat and Greg. It ended up being a hair short of 44 miles, but the conditions certainly made it quite a bit harder. The ride was in east county, where it's typically hilly. How hilly you ask? We climbed over 4000ft in elevation!!! Not only that, but there was some fierce winds in the form of Santa Ana's coming out of the east. I don't what speed they were at, but let me try to paint two separate scenario's:
* I was in the small (read: easy) chain ring, pedaling with considerable force, going DOWNhill, at a peppy 14mph. If there was no wind, I should have going 30+ mph.
* Going up the Scripps Poway Parkway hill, I was going FASTER UP the 7% grade, than when I got to the top where it is FLAT due to the winds hammering me so much.
Here is Brian Gunn's GPS Motionbased website that has all the details of our ride:
A bunch of went over to Greg Kurras's later that evening and absolutely stuffed ourselves with steak, vegatables, salad, and my (soon to be) world famous potatos! We then proceded to top off our tanks with Samoa's and Nestle cookie dough ice cream. I was so stuffed afterwards, and nearly half the people there were in food coma's 15 minutes afterwards!!! (ah.. the life of a triathlete)
Wake up at 5:30am for the March Madness 10K Trail Run. I did this run last year in preparation for lavaman, and had a respectable 52min run. Determined to do better this year, I wanted to beat that by at least a few minutes. The MM 10K is one of the tougher 10K's out there, boasting over 1000 ft in elevation gain througout the course! Due to the fact that I still stuffed from saturday's feast, I had half a powerbar for breakfast (note to self: that is not sufficient for a 10K - no matter how much you eat the night before). The MM 10K poses a little challenge to my master plan of starting at a moderate pace and build due to the nearly 2 miles of singletrack to start off the race. During this section, it's really tough to pass people because the trail can be narrow, and with plenty of rocks out there. The first 4.5 - 5 miles of the race went really well, and I was pleased with how things went. However, right around the 4.5 - 5 mile mark, I started feeling the bike ride from the previous day, and the lack of breakfast I had. Not to mention the winds at this hour were just as intense as they were yesterday. In fact, this was the first time that I have ever been SLOWED DOWN due to WIND. It was gnarly. The last mile was a bit of a struggle, and I finished with a final time of 49:20, taking a full 3 minutes off last year's performance. I was happy with the time, but knew I could do better if I had a better breakfast, and was not as fatigued from the previous day. But ultimately, this run was supposed to be a gut check for lavaman, and was happy with the results.
Go home, take a nap before swim.
Get to ocean swim at 2pm, where a group of poeple formed to do a 1.5 mile swim to from La Jolla shores to the quarter mile buoy off of La Jolla Cove.
The swim was absolutely beautiful. The water was incredibly clear about 80% of the time, the water temp very comfortable 57 degrees, and Pat and I held a great (not too fast, not too slow) pace for the entire duration. Those that chose a shorter swim option were greeted by a school (15-20) dolphins literally swimming under them, along with seals basking in the sun.
Isn't San Diego great? (Jeff: you need to make SD the #1 place to move to post graduation!)
We went to get some mexican food afterwards, then I went home, and passed out at 9pm (when was the last time you fell asleep at that hour), and didn't wake up until 7am the next day!!! 10 hours of sleep!!!
What an incredible weekend!!!
27 days until lavaman!