Thursday, May 24, 2007

24 Solo

Check out the trailer to this 24 hour mountain bike race, and one man's quest to win a 7th title...




http://www.24-solo.com/

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Encinitas Tri

I woke up at the ungodly hour of 5:30am Sunday morning to go to the Encinitas Triathlon to cheer on a bunch of friends doing the race, and to work on some sports photography (my other hobby).

By the time we got there, the transition area was packed, and everyone was in good spirits.





Former Ironman Champs Greg Welch and Paula Newby-Fraser were also in attendance doing some cheering, and announcing the start times.


When I first made my way down to the swim start, I couldn't help by notice that there was finally some surf in the water. Although the surfer in me appreciated it, but the triathlete side of me said "well, at least it will make for an entertaining swim!". We watched the elite's and pro's make an attempt at battling the waves, but the currents were a bit on the strong side. After a few minutes, the race director's realized that this was not going to make for a fun swim - and had each successive wave run north up the beach to deal with the south pulling current.

This is a little slideshow of the first men's group to take the plunge:




Afterwards, it was onto the bike...

Some Pro:
Felipe:
Michellie Jones: Emilio DeSoto:Gurujan Dourson:


And of course the run:

Luke Walton:

Mike Plumb:


I gotta say, I was really jealous of those out there racing, but it was good to be out there supporting, cheering, heckling, and gettin some snaps! Great job to all those out there!

All pics can be found here: http://new.photos.yahoo.com/rcdenner147/album/576460762402098700

Monday, May 21, 2007

Palos Verdes Half Marathon!

On Saturday, I ran in the Palos Verdes Half Marathon, on the palos verdes peninsula of west LA. This was my first half marathon, and I was treating this as a training event for Vineman, which is 2 months and 2 days from now. My buddy Nelson was running it with me, and girlfriend Nafiseh was out there supporting us. Going in, I was a little intimidated about distance, but since I wasn’t really racing it I, all I cared about was just finishing the thing.

It was a beautiful overcast morning in the upper 50’s/lower 60’s – perfect running weather. The PV Half is considered a “hilly” half, boasting 1200 ft in elevation gain – with 2 very substantial hills coupled with constant rolling hills. The scenery and landscape was a bit reminiscent of the Pacific Grove Triathlon. Here is someone’s GPS reading of the course: http://trail.motionbased.com/trail/activity/2772357

My game plan was to take it easy during the first half – go out at about 75%-80%, and then really push it coming back. I wanted to take it easy in the beginning so that I wouldn’t be burnt out and walking like many were doing at around miles 10-12.Fortunately, everything went according to plan. I hit the turn around at just under 1:03, and new it was game time. I also knew that I had a lot of climbing to do going back to the finish line, so finishing under 2 hours would be a fun goal. I took a gel after the turn around, and really hit my stride right at the bottom of the 2 mile hill.

I felt really good going up the ascent, and started passing a lot of people. The hill seemed like it never ended, but once I got to the top, I knew that there were a few rollers before the major downhill, and flat after that, so I started picking up the pace. I was making mental notes on the “out” where to start dropping the hammer, and things were progressing nicely. I hit the downhill, and me and one dude started going back and forth. I had enough of this, and started running at about 10K pace. I hit about mile 11 (so, 2.1 miles to go), and was amazed at the amount of people that were barely running, or walking. I am thinking to myself “C’mon people!”. After witnessing another half mile of this, I just started egging people on as I was passing them – “C’mon!” “Pick it up!” “let’s go”. Some people followed, others probably cursed me in their heads. Nearing the finish line, it was an all out sprint, finishing just under 1:56 (by my watch).
Check out a video of me finishing:



I had an unofficial goal of finishing under 2 hours, but I was really happy with was my descending splits: 1:03 going out, 53 coming back, never feeling like I pushed too hard, and knowing I had more in the tank afterwards. Granted the weather conditions at PV are a far cry from what vineman is going to throw at me, but I mentally feel a lot more confident about the half marathon distance.

Afterwards, Nelson and I hit a beach in LBC, and passed out for a few hours, and then swam a mile @ 2nd st and bayshore in Long Beach. It is a bay with a section roped off for swimmers. It was nice because I really felt safe since it was in a bay, and only in 15 ft of water. The cold water felt absolutely incredible on the muscles.

We made our way home later that afternoon, and I rested up to be resident photographer for the Encinitas Triathlon the next day (more to come!)

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Extremes"

"Going to extremes." We've all used the phrase before, and we know what it means.

Some people are scared of extremes. They fear them, don't believe in them, think they're wrong or simply put, think they are too 'extreme'.

But using word extreme is, as most things are, a relative term.

Let's take some guy named Tom who has done a few Ironman's, a couple multi-day adventure races, and climbed some of the highest peaks on multiple continents. If you're an athlete or “outdoorsy” person reading this blog, you're probably thinking that those are some really cool things to accomplish, and can relate to the desire to accomplish more. If you’re an athlete who likes to race in the local 5k’s, 10k’s, sprint and/or Olympic distance triathlons, you may not feel as extreme as Tom.

But, let’s say you know a couch potato who is probably out of shape, overweight, and revolves his life around TV shows. To that person, YOU are extreme. Why would you waste all your time exercising to do all this swimming, biking and running? That’s so extreme.

But wait a minute, as if running wasn’t enough work, you have taken on the task of swimming, biking AND running so you can do a triathlon – all 3 back to back back? That’s pretty impressive! Wow!

Before you know it, you may have actually inspired that couch potato to get off their fat ass and get into shape. Maybe they work their way up to a 5K, and a few years later, actually finish a marathon. By your extreme ways, you have influenced someone to do something that thought they would never do, and never be able to do.

Is a marathon really that extreme? What if the socially accepted distance of a marathon was 52.4 miles? Would running a half marathon of 26.2 miles be that extreme? Of course not – it’s all relative.

What I described above is no different than a college student studying a lot. Isn’t studying a lot extreme? Is the desire to get an A an extreme, especially if the median/average is a C+? Status quo anyone? What about someone putting in extra hours at work, or to start a business, so they can make the deal, make more money and live a better life?

When was the last time you didn’t push yourself out of your comfort zone, and still accomplish something great? Some of the best things in human history have been accomplished by those going to these so called extreme’s.

Only you can define those extremes for yourself. To most people, an extreme is the outward boundary of their comfort zone – some comfort zones are bigger for others. But what happens when you take yourself out of your comfort zone and accomplish something – something BIG? You realize what you just did - you moved your extreme limit out a little bit.

And now you want to move it out even farther.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Never underestimate...

... the power of recovery...

... and finally using 50m lanes in the pool.

I have felt pretty rested after taking some time off after last week's gauntlet of training.

Tonight was swim practice with TCSD, and it was a really good practice for me. Admittedly, I haven't been swimming as much as I would like, and last thursday's ocean swim was a wake up call for me. My strength and endurance just isn't there like it was pre-lavaman, which doesn't surprise me since I have concentrating on building my endurance in the bike and the run since the swim at vineman is only a couple hundred meters longer than lavaman, where as the bike and run are more than double.

So tonight at swim, we swam in the 50m lanes, and I am a HUGE fan of the 50m lanes, which also means I can't stand 25m lanes. Swimming for me - it's all about getting into a rhythm, and simply put, I just can't do that in the 25m lanes. I feel like I am constantly turning around. Not to mention flip turns fall in the nearly impossible to do category, which makes it even more frustrating. At any rate, tonight's swim was a big confidence booster for me, both mentally and physically.

I also learned that my uber-endurance-athlete-neighbor-one-of-the-coolest-guys-on-the-planet Graham Cooper may be joining me in the pool soon as he prepares for his Tri One-O-One - Clear Lake, Western States 100 (which he won last year!!!), and Ironman Canada race season.

Not bad, eh?

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Adaption, Recovery and the Journey

Newton's 3rd law of physics: "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction"

After last weekend's and Tuesday's workout sessions, I have been pretty exhausted. Starting Wednesday, I was tired quite a bit, and constantly hungry - to the point where it was pretty uncontrollable. My girlfriend and I even joked around that I was probably PMS'ing, since I was craving and eating lots of chocolate and greasy food - which are atypical items in my daily diet (although I do admit - I am "like a girl" when it comes to chocolate because I do eat it everyday. Troy G - I am sure you are barrelling over in your chair right now.)

But after giving it some thought, I believe that it is my body adjusting to the increased volume of working out. Maybe I am not consuming enough calories? Maybe I am not recovering enough through stretching, nutrition or backing off for a day? Maybe I am just having an off week? Maybe it's all of the above!

When people ask me what I am training for, and I say "for the Vineman Half Ironman", maybe I just need to stop and realize that hey, I am training for a half Ironman! 70.3 miles. Most people don't even like to drive that long in one day, nevermind having their body be their own engine for that distance. It's not like I can just turn up the training and not expect to feel any different.

I know that one of the reasons Dave Wilcox enjoys trianing for full Ironmans is because of the journey. It is the journey of finding out what your mind and body can do, what it can push through, and when it says "enough". Along the journey, you get out of your comfort zone. You can achieve what you didn't think possible. You probably look fear in the face, and keep moving forward (fast enough so it can't draft you :)

What I have experienced over the past week is all part of the journey - the Road to Vineman.

I know when I can push more. I know when I can push through fatigued muscles & mindsets that say "Man, I really don't wanna go workout" or "I can deal with the pain" or "Going home sounds so much better than working out". But I also know when to say "I need some recovery time and recharge - mentally and physically."

For now, pass the Ben & Jerry's "Everything but the...."

Friday, May 11, 2007

Vineman Pics

I stumbled across some pics on xtri.com from vineman last year. Granted you can't really 'see' during the swim, but the swim course looks absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Which seems about right, since I have heard that the course is nothing BUT beautiful.

Here is a pic from the swim course:

Hump Day through Friday

After tuesday's workouts, I was overdue for a day of rest. I got home from work at 6:30pm, laid down in bed for a while, wrote on my blog, and finally got up at 8pm to have some wheat thins & cheese, with some Ben & Jerry's to wash it down, and went back to bed until I fell asleep. I woke up thursday morning feeling quite refreshed!

Thursday afternoon, I met up with Lamine, Alexis, Ginger, Brad and Fat Boy Troy at La Jolla Shores for some ocean swimming. I haven't dipped my toes in the pacific since lavaman, so I was eager to get back in the water, especially since it has warmed up considerably since I last swam in La Jolla.

The swim itself was a bit on the eery side since I could never see the bottom of the ocean, and there was a greenish tint to the water. On top of that, the waves in the water would create shadows, which would give the impression that there was a fairly large animal underneath me. AGH! Nonetheless, I made it back safely. However, the swim definitely made me realize that I need to do these ocean swims way more often. 1.) my sighting was COMPLETELY OFF. There were a few times when I would break off at a really weird angle, and other times I was swimming in the most jagged of lines - if you can even call them lines. 2.) my arm endurance isn't quite what it was 2 months ago. It might be the fact that I have been hitting the weights quite a bit lately and they are tired, but regardless, I need to build up that strength/endurance since I am hoping for a 35-37 minute swim @ vineman.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Solana Beach to Ramona and back

Since I was about 1 of few triathlete's from SoCal that didn't do WF or Mission Bay spring sprint this past weekend, I felt that I had to due some pretty grueling workouts in honor of those battling it out on the course.

Last Saturday, I did my longest ride to date: 65 miles from Solana Beach to Ramona and back. I originally was going to ride somewhere between 35 and 40, but then I got the idea: "Hey, it's cinco de mayo today (5/5/07), so I should ride at least 55 miles." I swear, the brain totally works different when working out, especially when you are only 20 miles into a ride. Be sure to check the training picture link over on the right.

The ride took me a little longer than expected at 4 1/2 hours, and that was mainly due to the "balls in my face" headwinds that I had to deal with the ENTIRE way back from ramona. It was a challenging ride because 1.) I have never ridden that far/long before, 2.) I hate wind, and 3.) I hate wind, and 4.) It was so windy that I had to pedal with a respectable amount of power going DOWNhill just to maintain speed, nevermind increase it. Unfortunately, I don't know what the elevation gain was, but I would estimate it to be about 4000-ish. Needless to say, I was happy to be home, eat, and hit the pool, jacuzzi, and then lay poolside and take a nap for the rest of the afternoon.


One new thing I did practice on this ride was the placement and consumption of solid food. Some people can rely on liquid calories on longer bike workouts. I simply can't. I think that I am going to have to take in some solid food during the bike at vineman, but unfortunately, having to dela with unwrapping solid food and consuming it is a bit burdening. I needed a way where can easily get to my solid food, and consume it without putting myself, or others, in danger, by unwrapping and eating. As you can probably tell in the picture, I broke apart a power bar and placed the pieces on the top tube of my bike. It seems as though powerbars have a glue like characteristic to them, and stay stuck to the bike even going over potholes and bumps. The advantage to this is consuming a piece anytime you want, rather than shoveling the entire thing down the gullet at once!

Saturday night, I went for some actual cinco de mayo celebration with some friends, and actually slept in on sunday, which felt fantastic.

Sunday afternoon was spent pool side and on the beach hanging with friends, and then I went for my long run, which also happened to be my longest run to date. I ran from my place in Solana Beach to the top Torrey pines, with a little Guy Fleming trail detour. I believe it was about 10.5 miles, which took me a little under 2 hours.

All in all, a good base building workout weekend - BBWW - the double b double dub!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

San Diego International Triathlon

I finally signed up for the San Diego International Triathlon (1K, 30K, 10k), and I signed up for one main reason:

Revenge against the course.

Last year, I got my arse kicked.

My swim consisted of overheating in a wetsuit, and having my hamstrings cramp up on me multiple times. If you think about it, you don't use your hamstrings AT ALL when you swim.

I got on my bike, and thought "I had a crappy swim, it's a flat 10K, and the last 3 miles of the bike course is almost all downhill, so I am gonna hammer the bike", so I proceeded to ride my bike in a pretty agressive manner - meaning, hammer.

Well, about 1000ft into the run, it was evident that I hammered the bike as if I didn't have to run a 10K afterwards. I opted not to run with a hat or visor since it was overcast all morning, adn didn't think I needed my sunglasses, so I left those in transition. The way the course is laid out, you are running facing the east in about 80% of the run. It just so happens that at the point where I realized it was going to be a long, somewhat miserable run - the sun came out, and was absolutely beating down on my face!

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. I would tend agree with that statement.

Granted I finished in the top third of the race, but I am looking to get revenge against SD Int'l, and hopefully pull a sub 2 hour race, as compared to my 2:08 race last year.

Game on.

Three-a-Day and an ICE BATH

Today was a hard workout day for me.

7:30am - morning gym/weights session
12:00pm - one hour of ashtonga yoga
6:00pm - track workout

Since the track workout for the carlsbad workout is never posted, Coach Mike always greets us with surprises when we get to the track. Today's workout was:

4 x 800m @ 10k pace
1 Mile Time Trial

Needless to say, after the 2 aforementioned workouts included, you guessed it, working out my legs, and simply put, I was not physically, nor mentally, prepared for a 1 mile trial! It was quite evident by my 6:08 finish time, 24 seconds slower than what I ran in March. But, Mike was quick to point out that running while fatigued is only gonna make you faster & stronger, both physically and mentally. There was also an interesting article in Triathlete Magazine that said "the greatest stimulus for fitness adaptations occurs when you pedal in a fatigued state. This is when your neuromuscular system really has to get creative to find new patterns of muscle recruitment to susteain a desired speed." Granted the workout in the article was geared (no pun intended) towards biking, but I have a feeling the same can be applied to running.

Anyhow, after all this fun, I came home, had some dinner, and decided to take an ice bath to help my legs recover from a strenuous day.

Yes, an ice bath is a bath tub full of cold water and ice.

Yes, it gets your attention when you get in.

Quickly at that.

Granted it wasn't a 'true' ice bath as I only had 8 lbs of ice (20-30 lbs would have been better), but it's safe to say that my legs got a taste of what an ice bath might feel like. An hour later, they do feel a little bit better, but I'll let tomorrow be the real judge of that.

Yes, I may take my training a bit more serious than some. But, in case you are wondering, no ice baths are not what I would consider FUN (polar bear swims are not in the sam category thank you very much!) I mainly did it for the recovery benefits, which are explained pretty well in this article.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Palos Verdes Half Marathon!!!

I am officially signed up for the Palos Verdes Half Marathon - my first official half marathon!



This will be a training run/gut check/experience for me in preperation for Vineman Half Ironman, which has a half marathon as the run course. I will not be competing for time - merely just completing the event. It is also my hope that the beautiful scenery of running along the coast of palos verdes and ocean breeze don't make that course that hard (relatively of course).

Here is the elevation profile of the course:
www.palosverdes.com/kiwanis/elevation%20chart.pdf