Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Some thoughts on Taper...

1. I love Taper
2. I love Taper
3. If you really want a good swim workout, piss off your swim instructor beforehand. Not only will she call you out at swim practice, but she'll give you a damn hard workout (read: "The challenge has been brought, Ryan!")
4. I love Taper

Even though I "shouldn't" be doing a hard swim workout during taper, Courtney (really) does think different on this topic, and I am glad to accept. I feel great today!

The body and mind are definitely benefiting from taper this week.

ps- aaahhhhhhh I love taper...

pps- if you say/read taper a lot, it ends up just sounding weird.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Work may have saved my life on Friday

A few weeks ago, my buddy Nelson asked me to go to the Padres game with him on Friday the 25th, to which I agreed. On Wednesday afternoon, I got a text from him asking if we were still on for the game Friday. Knowing that Wildflower is coming out next weekend, I wanted to get in an ocean swim - but with the a 7pm game, there was no way I was going to be able to do the 6pm cove swim. So, my swim plan as of Wednesday night was to do the Friday swim at Fletcher's cove @ 7am. Fletcher's cove, after all, is a mere .7 miles from where I live.

The plan for Thursday night was actually to have a 7pm web conference with some developers in India (11.5 hours ahead of us). But when I got into work Thursday morning, they had requested that we reschedule the web conference until 7am Friday morning. I was kinda disappointed that I wasn't gonna get to swim, but I have been burning the wick at both ends lately, so I was cool with skipping the swim in the interest of "unwinding" with some friends (it is taper time after all).

Shortly after the conference ended, the phone calls and emails started, and work pretty much came to a hault for a while. As you can imagine, as time went on, my perspective shifted quite a bit. Some co-workers asked me if I knew Dr. Martin (I didn't), and after telling the above story a few times, it kinda kicked in.

I did a bike ride Saturday morning with someone who was swimming at the time of the attack, and to hear the recollection was chilling to say the least.

It is times like these when the cliches of "live life to the fullest" are no longer cliches. These are times to remind us to be thankful and respective of our environment, abilities, families and community. I know that the next time I have one of those "Man, I am lucky to live in such a beautiful place" moments, Dr. Martin will certainly come to mind.

I may not have known him, but that doesn't mean I can't learn from him.

God Bless,
Ryan

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Food Review: Smart Balance Peanut Butter

If you are anything like me (which I hope you aren't), you eat peanut butter daily. Not only do I have a tub of peanut butter at all times in my cabinet at home, but I have one at work too. But not just as work, on my desk. Yes, on my desk - not in a drawer, not on a shelf, on my desk. I normally eat it with my finger right out of the jar until I just can't reach it anymore, then which I have to get a spoon. Couple that with 25c apples at the vending machine, and as they say in the burroughs - fuhgedduhboutit!

I won't go so far as to say I am a peanut butter snob, but I obviously do enjoy it, which is why I wanted to let you know about my new favorite brand: Smart Balance Peanut Butter.


I was a little skeptical at first. I figured "I dunno, 'chain' type of company making peanut butter", but it was on sale, and I was OUT of PB, and having never tried it before, I said what the hey.

I have had other peanut butters that are OK (normal brands), some that are just a little over bearing in taste (wild oats), I've "endured" a "reduced fat" (ie. increased sugar) peanut butter (don't EVER buy this), and I have had some good ones, but this takes the cake. It just tastes damn good. Plus, you don't have to stir it (I always make a mess if I have to stir my PB).

Nutrition wise, it boasts no less than 1000mg of Omega-3's per serving (65% DV). The only ingredients are peanuts, flax oil, sodium, and a touch of molasses. The molasses just gives it the slightest sweet taste, all at a moderate 1g of sugar per serving.

My latest concoction is 2 tbsp's of SBPB, 1.5 bananas, 1 scoop of vanilla whey protein powder, a squirt of honey, a little milk and water - and bam, you got a solid shake.

There you have it folks. Next time you are at the grocery store, look for this stuff, and let me know what you think.

ps- Chunky is the work preference with Creamy holding it down in the apartment

Monday, April 21, 2008

Colorado @ Elevation

Some highlights from the trip...

Week during the conference: Ran and/or swim everyday

Thursday: Probably had the best swim of my life.

I found probably the nicest pool I have ever swam in, and had one of the, if not the, best swim ever, all at 5500 ft. I literally just jumped in, and started swimming. I don't know how far I swam, but I can tell you I did 5 sets: 10 min, 12 min, 14 min, 12 min, 10 min. Based on my estimates, they were all done at below base pace. On top of that, it really didn't feel like work. It just felt great. Was it having a lane to myself? Maybe. Was it not following a prescribed workout? Possibly (I have a problem (?) with that whole "shoot from the hip" mentality). Was it the entire west facing side of the building looking at the Colorado rockies providing motivation? You could say that.

and for a closer look through the windows...


Friday: Run turned Hike @ Chautauqua

Thursday, I headed over to this park to scope out the trails for a run on Friday. The gentlemen I spoke with, (People call me "Jake") was a 'weathered' individual. He was a fairly 'seasoned' dude, had long silver hair, a long santa clause type beard, a mustache that curled like rollie fingers, and looked like he could tell stories for the rest of his days. I told him that I was in town for a conference which was now done, and I wanted to do some running. His first suggestion was to do a 1.3 mile loop. I said "Man, I am looking for like 6-8 miles". He looked at me and said "Boy, where do you live?" After answering him, he stated "People train here in Boulder to run in San Diego, now I can send you up Green Mountain at 8100 ft for a good 9 mile round trip, or you can take this here 6 mile jaunt." We exchanged some laughs, and I was on my way.

I will let you decide if he was having a little too much fun with me on my "How NOT to run in the Colorado Rockies" media diary (Pardon me if this is a little too much like Man vs Wild):

Conditions...
The Route...



video

Serious elevation gain in just .2 miles!


Snow!


video


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video

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Stats from the "workout":

Distance: 4 miles
Elevation Gain: 1650 ft!!!!!
Pace: 15 min/mile(damn!)
Max Grade: 49%!!!!

That was Friday, it is now Tuesday and my quads are still a little sore!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Ride around the Bear

I am officially signed up for my first century - Ride around the Bear!

In a nutshell, it's a 100 mile bike ride around big bear lake. All I gotta say is check the profile!


Big thanks to Andrew for telling me about this ride - I think it's gonna be great prep for IMLP. It's doubtful that I will do this on the 'velo, so I think it's time to break out the allez from hibernation (get it? hibernation, ride around the bear. WOW! you can stop reading now)

Pardon the horrible joke, but my brain is deprived of oxygen right now since I am in Denver for the week to do some elevation training, errr I mean attend the OAUG conference. But in reality, it's been a tough week balancing work, meetings/sessions, and trying to take advantage of training at elevation. The weather here has been all over the place. Monday was sunny and 75, Tuesday was incredibly dry (so dry, I turned around .75 miles into my run realizing I wouldn't be able to do 90 minutes without water) and incredibly windy (it's not often that wind slows you down when running), and today it ...


SNOWED!!!! The ground was warm, so it didn't stick, but it is safe to say that I didn't pack winter gear for this trip here. S'all good tho.

I will actually be here through the weekend for my buddy Greg's wedding, and plan on hitting up Boulder, the other triathlon mecca. Damn, am I lucky or what? Stay tuned for pics!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Hardest, Windiest, Best Grind/Ride EVER

Saturday Long Ride: Pine Valley Via Great Western Loop

Start Time: 10am
Conditions: Winds up to 40mph coming out the east (enough to push Damian and Dave Huff of their bikes, even Damian at low speed [10 mph]))
Temps: 80-95
Elevation Gain: 7000ft
Time: 4 hours and 15 minutes
Distance: 63 miles
Warriors: Me, Pat Drain, Damian Esparza, Erin Rist

The Good: 5400 ft in elevation gain (!!!), coupled with never-felt-before headwinds, took us a whopping 2 hours and 45 minutes to travel the first 30 miles. Yes, thats an avg speed of 10.9mph. Total Grind. The 33 miles from pine valley back to jamul: 90 minutes. DAMN!!!

We finished the ride, and I easily could have ridden another 10, maybe 15 miles, and still go for a T-Run. I felt great, and was bouncing around (Pat likened me to a little girl). But since Damian's bike literally shit the bed, I went back and picked him up from the side of the road (see below)

The Bad:

Damian's front derailleur shifter after being knocked over from the wind (5 miles into the ride), but its not like we ever got out of the small chain ring in the front anyways

Damians Rear Derailleur after it shit the bed for no reason (at mile 50), and yes, that is his derailleur folded over, and detached from the hanger

What happened to Damian's big chain ring when his Rear D shit the bed


The Ugly:

Damian's Knee post crash


Damian using a "Public restroom"


My cadence (big number) and speed (little number) on a flat. Windy Brah.


Other Pics

You know you are way out east when the signs on the 8 are for San Diego or El Centro


East County Beauty


Damian and Pat amused by my boy, Blackjack, the mule, in Jamul

Rollers in east county


Video of what the wind was like

video

Man, there is just something about long grueling workouts that just puts me a GREAT mood!

Ah... the life of a triathlete!

Post ride grub:

Organic Pork chop, sauteed in my #1 favorite spice (You are missing out on life if you have never had this), sliced and diced red and green peppers, with pasta, doused with some EV double O, and a Guinness to wash it all down.


Great day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

SuperSealStuff

Some stuff from superseal...

Times...

Swim: 29:07 (Need help here!)
T1: 3:33 (eh)
Bike: 1:08:41 (I'll take it at 21.6 mph)
T2: 1:09 (eh)
Run: 47:51 (7:43 pace - brutal!)

Tri-Geek Analysis-

ME (ranking)
Swim T1 Bike T2 Run Total
AG 15 14 9 11 13 10
Overall 128 72 60 80 64 62
AG% 52% 48% 31% 38% 45% 34%
Overall% 44% 24% 20% 27% 22% 21%

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Not-So-Superseal Race Report

"The key to success is to double your failure rate" - Thomas J. Watson (IBM Founder)

The innaugural superseal triathlon was a lesson in poor execution, mainly on my part, with a little assistance from Koz enterprises.

This race report will be more of a "notes" style race report-

**
Pre-Pre-Race: The 2 days leading up to the race weren't optimal in the rest, sleep, diet, hydration and general "at ease" senses for a number of different reasons.

Pre-Race: The morning of, I felt a little tired, but the mere dawn of any race morning usually excites me enough where any fatigue magically subsides :)

Swim: General confusion at swim start with buoy routes, swim wave started without me (I was asking surf volunteers which way to go), I felt my wave started a little earlier than expected, was behind the lead pack, but ahead of the mid/back pack, so in no man's land the entire swim, small waves from wind and jet skis made me ingest more salt water than I normally do, didn't get comfortable until about 2/3 the way through the swim unfortunately, but I was happy with how it went considering the low volume of swimming I have done.

T1: Ran too hard on beach, needed to cut it back in and jogged to T1, T1 was fine

Bike: Gnarly headwind going south, Great tailwind coming back north, very narrow turn arounds, salt water ingested during swim made me thirsty, drank a little too much on the bike (but I am not too sure what to say about this pic tho!)


T2: I ran in the bike out - no one directed me until after I got into transition, bike in was on other side of the tent; this killed my mental state, but I shouldn't have let it.

Run: Ingested too much liquid, calories or both, made for a debilitating side stitch causing me to stop running and either walk or completely stop about 5 times. This is what really killed me - poor nutrition execution made for a miserable run, which I really wanted to do well on. When I was at pace, I felt like I could maintain this pace for the entire 10k, but my gut wasn't letting me. Very discouraging.

Final Time (unofficial, without splits): 2:30:21

Post-Race: To summarize my day afterwards: wine, beer, peanut butter and ice cream - lots of all, and a DIESEL nap :)

Monday: Lats/Tris sore, legs a little sore, will be ready to get back on the horse on Wednesday. Yoga scheduled for Tuesday at noon in hot room - should get out all the kinks.

**
I will admit, I was really fired up about my poor execution, and koz's "growing pains" for this race since I expected a little (actually, a lot) more. Now that the dust has settled, this race really did what it was supposed to, and I can look back and really focus on the positives from the negatives. When I registered, I wanted this race to:

* Get me back in race mode (mentally, physically)
* Work out any kinks (NUTRITION)
* Are aero helmets comfy? (Yes)

And it did just that. I made a lot of mistakes, which I definitely learned from, and my focus is now shifting to execution at wildflower. WF is not a "race" per se for me, but more of a see where I'm at, pace correctly, and stick with the plan to ensure the race is fun, and not miserable (relatively speaking of course).

Great race for James, Paul Jesse, Paul Todd, Mike Plumb, Marty Taylor and Dave Wilcox . A big thanks to Jess, Veva, Victoria and Jay to come out and cheer!

Jay is also the man because he took some sweet pics, and a funny video of me coming out of the swim - Check out his site at: http://www.tribuddy.com/?p=324

Another bike shot-

Post race grub (chili)-


Swim exit (yes, that's me - "d-balls")


video

Friday, April 04, 2008

Unplanned Taper

I took the past 2 days off from training. I took wednesday off b/c of "Fecal Matter in the pool", which didn't leave me heart broken since I felt pretty beat.

My original plan for Thursday was to take off from work early to get in my long ride for the week, and still give me enough time to recover before the 'seal on sunday (which btw, you know you are a triathlete when you do something like this).

But when I got home, I started having second thoughts. I ended up taking Thursday off due to this massive knot on the front side of my left calf that started rearing it's ugly head. This is the 3rd installment of "3 times a charm" for my left leg:

1. 2 Saturdays ago, my left ankle was bothering me on the bike
2. Last Saturday, my left knee was bothering me on the bike
3. Calf Knot

This is the first time I have ever had a knot in this area, and I am doing all I can to get rid of it (If you have a suggestion - I am all ears!!!!). Foam roller, self-administered "massage" (which, generates a huge conflict of interest because it ain't comfortable by any means), even ibuprofen. But again, I have felt pretty tired (not just from training), so I wasn't heart broken again. Although I wasn't planning on tapering for this race, I feel like I am in a taper since I am starting to get a little antsy and easily aggravated :)

I am gonna go for an easy run tonight after work and see if that helps things. I am hoping for the best.

Big ups for Jameson for posting some great links on his last post - the thing that I really liked was Cody's post on listening to your body. There was thing in the back of my mind yesterday that said "You could ride today, which may do more harm than good to your injury/issue. Plus, you might not finish the ride, and you could delay your recovery even longer, which could affect more important WF or IMLP training, or you could just give yourself a much deserved 2nd day off."

The rational/conservative side won. I know there are times when you need to push through the aches/pains/tiredness/mental blocks, but today was not one of them. I can almost always get through the mental blocks, but err on the side of conservative when it comes to potential physical injuries.

I am racing on sunday. My swim time will not be up to snuff, my bike times may lag from the past since I [gasp!] just sold my 404's, but my real goal is to blow my 10k PR out of the water. I did a pseudo-superseal race prep workout on Tuesday: 18 mile hard, flat, windy ride [which I forgot to hit start on my 305], followed by a 5k run [again, forgot to hit start again]. I was amazed at how good I felt running, which helped fuel the 10k PR goal. I am hoping for cool temps, and getting rid of this damn knot!

Good luck to all those racing this weekend!

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Focus

booyeah!

One of my focuses (foci?) for this year has been ... focus.

Running

Recently, I started running easier. How? I started focusing on how I felt when I was running. I have never read chi running, pose method or wear newtons or anything like that, but I started paying to attention to how I felt when I ran. I felt strained, not relaxed - almost coiled up. Why? Who knows.

So, I started relaxing a little bit. Running came a little easier. I noticed my form got better (moving to more of a mid foot strike) with my center of gravity coming over my landing, and all the sudden my cadence increased. Some of you avid runners out there know that this is an "ideal" position to be in. What happened after that? My track times this year are about the same as they were last year - which I find amazing since I have only done 2 track workouts since last June.

Swimming

It's still my weakness - by far. The last 2 years, I was literally just throwing my arm out in front, and "pulling" (or straining and forcing) back. Although I could still use some stroke analysis or some coaching, I have talked to a few reputable sources to get some pointers on my stroke (Nikee - I'm all ears!).

Now when I swim, I am not focusing on how many [freakin'] laps it will take to get through the set (I hate swimming in a pool), but rather I am focusing on every stroke in the set. Whether its a long, slow, or hard set - I maintain focus. I notice when my form goes to shit. I know when I feel good. I know where my weaknesses are (that is, weaknesses within the entire weakness that is swimming :), and what I need to work on to get "better".

Thoughts

In a sport filled with obsessive people, training zones and gps/hrm geeks (I might be a little of the latter) - I offer to those to take your mind off of those aspects, and just pay attention to what you're doing - it just may be worth more than what your quantitative data may be telling you, and [gasp!], you might just have a little more fun (that is why you do this sport, right?)


ps- now that I realize it, this might be this season's version of this post last year.

pps- I do have a tendency to drop a philosophical/out there post from time to time - thanks for reading :)