Thursday, December 2, 2010

Enjoying the offseason

I hope everyone has been having an enjoyable offseason so far. I know I have been able to get caught up on some stuff for CITC, and get in a lot of hours on my new job (same company, different position).

The offseason is the time to let your body recover from a long racing season, but just as important I think is that you also get a mental break from structured training. I think it is the mental burnout that can really break your stride more than the physical exhaustion of a long season.

My last race was in mid September, the Harvest Moon Half Ironman. It was my first shot at this distance, so I really wasn't too sure what to expect. I had fun and raced pretty well. Since it was awhile ago I won't go into details. Race results are at

I finished with a 4:51:18, which was 60th overall. The cool thing is that it qualified me for the 2010 and 2011 USA halfmax championships. So, I've got something to think about for next year.

It is hard to believe that it is December already. It is already time to start thinking about setting next year's race calendar up, and building a plan for next season. If there is an early season race on the schedule, training may even be starting soon.

I always struggle with the best type of training to do in the offseason and going into the "prep" phase of the season. You can read endless websites, books, magazines, etc to find out what you should be doing, but I'm not sure it helps too much. Some will tell you to not do anything structured,to make sure that you get a complete mental break. Others will say to go long and slow and build the aerobic base so that you are well prepared for more intense training when the real season starts. Others will tell you to minimize the amount of time you train and make sure that your training sessions are quite hard (Threshold, VO2, Anaerobic intervals). Almost all of the things you read though will tell you to get into the weight room and build functional strength.

So, with that, I will tell you what I have been doing. I don't claim that this is the right thing to do, only that this is what feels right to me. I am trying to keep some decent frequency of swims, bikes, runs as well as keep some good intensity. If you look back at some previous posts, I felt like my weakness was in the high end (VO2 and anaerobic) efforts during races. So, with hard workouts, I can keep the overall time in training down (helps with the mental burnout). I also am making sure I am doing plenty of strength training and stretching. Last, I am going to make sure I do plenty of skiing this year, as that is one of my favorite things to do.

I like to keep my activity level up for a couple of reasons. First, I get bored if I don't, and second, I would gain a lot more weight than I already have if I didn't. Since the last race of the year, I've got from 152 to 160 pounds. It is healthy to gain some weight back as this makes sure that your body is getting plenty of nutrients to fully recover from the race season. In my case, I know that some of the weight I've gained has been muscle, which is good. I've seen my strength increase almost every session, so I'm not too concerned about the gain. That being said, the goal is to lower my bodyfat by the beginning of the race season. So, now that we are through with Thanksgiving, I'll be working on whittling that back down to 152 at a rate of about .75 to 1 lb per week, while trying to increase my strength.

So, that is the plan, we'll see how well I execute it in the next couple of months.

On a personal note, it was terrific this week that Jaime got good news from her angiogram. She won't be a triathlete anymore, as she can't swim, but she can get back to doing anything else. It will be great to have a training buddy back, but mostly, to have a clean bill of health for my wonderful wife!

Happy holidays


Thursday, September 16, 2010

Xterra Lory Race Report

My last Xterra of the 2010 season was Xterra Lory. I had to make a decision to either go to my buddy Brian's wedding, or go to nationals. I figured that (hopefully) I'll be able to go to nationals every year, but he will only get married once (again, hopefully). So, no nationals this year. I'm a little disappointed to be sure, because I really think I had/have a chance of getting on the podium in the 25-29 age group.

With this being my last Xterra, I took a bit of a taper into it to make sure I was fresh. I did this race last year when it was the Fat Tire Tri. Without Limits Productions puts on great races, so this year with the loss of the Buffalo Creek Xterra, this race was added to the Xterra America Tour. This is a shorter race with about 1/2 mile swim, 11 mile mountain bike and 5 mile trails run. This means you can really open up the throttle the entire race, which means you really get to burn right from the gun.

The swim was in waves that were really spread out to alleviate congestion on the bike course. I had a really good swim, and since I was in the first wave, I was somewhere in the top 15. My split was 13:14 with was 49th overall and 4th in my AG.

I breezed through T1 in 50 seconds which was the 6th fastest time of the day, and immediately started hammering the bike. They changed the bike course from last year, so instead of 2 laps of smooth, rolling singletrack, we started off on some singletrack for maybe 1/4 mile, then hit some dirt roads for about 1/2 mile, then up the singletrack climb on the mountain that we eventually climb up and down for the run. After the climb and descent, then we do one lap on the rolling singletrack. The climb up the mountain, and descent back down are fairly technical with some tricky switchbacks and lots of rocks. I'd say that this roughly 4 mile section is the most technical of all of the Xterras I've done this year. This type of course is welcomed by us offroad junkies as we can put some time on the really fit roadies that cross over. Generally speaking, their technical riding isn't quite as good as their fitness. I finished the bike in 5th place overall, with a split of 49:15, which was 10th fastest overall and 2nd fastest in my AG.

Again I flew through T2 in 34 seconds (fastest time of the day for the 2nd race in a row) and got out onto the run. I quickly found out that my legs were a little cooked from the bike and so I had to just try to hang on. I really love this run. It is totally Xterra both in the fact that you run up and down a 1,000 ft mountain, and that the terrain is really rocky. You really are flying down on the descent and hoping that you don't trip on a rock because you will definitely go for quite a tumble if you do. I gave up some spots on the run, but managed to finish the race stil in 10th place overall. The finish was great with a 40 foot slip'n'slide to cool off on. Without Limits does it right!. My run split was 38:40, which was only 21st overall and a full 1:50 slower than last year.

My total time was 1:42:32, which was 10th overall and 1st place in the AG - Woot! Woot! I snagged a sweet gold belt buckle in the awards for the effort, so it was a good day!

With the points from the 1st place I accumulated enough points on the season to qualify 1st in the mountain region 25-29 age group. To be fair, there are guys behind me in those standings that whipped me in some races, so the rankings aren't truly representative of who is the fastest. It is a function of how many times you raced, and who you raced against, and some luck that really determines how it all sorts itself out. Either way though, you get some cool props and swag at the pre race dinner before nationals. So, again, I'm bummed that I can't be there, but I am looking forward to the wedding and seeing some friends I haven't seen for awhile.

So, without nationals, I needed another big race to end the year with. I decided to sign up for the Harvest Moon Long Course Triathlon - half ironman and qualifier for the Halfmax USAT National Championships in 2010 and 2011. A few of my friends did 1/2 ironmans this year, so I was inspired to try one out. Don't worry, I'm definitely not going to become a big roadie. The Harvest Moon race report will be coming out soon.

Train smart,


Thursday, August 26, 2010

Xterra Indian Peaks Race Report

Xterra Indian Peaks was on August 8 at Eldora Ski Resort in the beautiful Indian Peaks Wilderness just outside of Nederland, CO. My dad came into town to visit from the Thursday before to the Tuesday after. It was great having him in town and for him to be able to come to a race.

I was going into Indian Peaks hoping for some redemption from the BC race. My training leading up tot he race had been solid and I felt like the changes I had made were starting to result in better Xterra specific fitness. I was definitely hoping to land on the podium in the 25-29 AG.

The swim is in the snow making reservoir just down the access road from the base area of the resort. Because it is just for snowmaking, there isn't a lot of real estate for the swim. This mean a shorter swim, about 1,000 meters, which I wasn't going to complain about. The race course base elevation is at 9200 feet, which is definitely the highest swim I've done. The swim was a time trial start, so it really reduced the congestion a ton. I was slotted 53rd based on projected swim time and mountain biking ability. The idea is to minimize traffic on the mountain bike course. More on that later. I started off the swim really well...a little too well. I went into the red zone early and had to really back off for a bit. I just forgot about the elevation I guess. Eventually I settled in and got back to a reasonable pace. Once we made the turn at the first buoy, there was some nice waves cracking from left to right because of the stiff wind. Luckily the distance to the 2nd buoy and the final turn back to shore was short. So, I made the return and we swam back into the wind and waves. For the 1,000 meter swim I had a time of 17:03 which was 2nd fastest in my AG, but only 66th fastest overall. The swim still needs work, but then again, I think it always will.

This race is unique in T1 as you have to run for almost 1/2 mile to transition. So, you can choose to run w/your wetsuit at your waist, or carry it. You put your shoes down by the lake, take your wetsuit off, put the shoes on and head up to T1. I managed to move up through some people on the run to T1 and was quickly out on the bike.

After a short climb up the ski slopes, the course is 2 loops on the nordic trails. This bike course is a lot of fun, with a near perfect mix of fun, rocky singletrack and wide doubletrack for passing. The course was more technical than BC, but by no means would I consider it technically challenging. There were a few greasy spots out there due to the large amount of rain in the 2 weeks leading up to the race, but otherwise, just some rocky parts to deal with.

I felt pretty good on the bike and steadily moved up through the field. The shift to a more mountain bike focused training plan really paid off I think. I felt like I had the power to really attack the climbs and power through some of the more technical sections. I ended up with a 1:14:11 bike split which was 3rd in my AG and 33 overall. There is still work to be done on the bike as far as building a bigger engine, but I felt I was much improved from the last race.

I hit transition and absolutely blew through it in 24 seconds! This was the fastest time, including the pros. I really have T2 down to a science now.

Out onto the run and back onto similar terrain as the bike. The course is a lot of short punchy climbs that will take you above lactate threshold for a bit, and recovery on the downhill side if you can keep turning your legs over. This is a really fun run with all of the ups and downs. The run also went through a little marsh section that had me knee deep at one point. Totally Xterra! The end of the run is in a wooded section that is very twisty/turny, with plenty of roots to trip you up. Oh, and the climbs are in there too.

I felt that my run was much improved from BC. I had a lot of snap on the climbs and kept moving up on the run. The hill intervals are really paying off, so i will continue to make those a key run workout in my plan. I finished the 7K (4.35 mi) run in 32:23, which was 3rd in the AG and 21st overall. That left me with an overall time of 2:09:21 which was good for 27th overall and 3rd place in my AG, so mission accomplished. This was a much better race for me, other than the swim. Overall I'm feeling good about the changes that I've made to training and I'm looking forward to the next test; Xterra Lory this Sunday August 29th.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Lessons from Early Races - Applied to Future Training

Coming out of the Beaver Creek race I was pretty disappointed in how I raced. I really thought that my fitness was, or should have been greatly improved. I had really put in a lot of quality intervals on both the run and the bike. The good side of a bad race, if you have the right approach, is a renewed vigor to just kill it in training. That was my mindset as I formulated the plan to bring me to nationals. First, let me explain what I think I learned from the BC race.

1. I need to warm up better, longer, more race specific.
2. I need to take my cycling training to the mountain, on the mountain bike.
3. See number 2 above and apply to running.

To be more specific with #2 and #3, I need to work on more explosive strength in both cycling and running. On the bike, I put in a lot of quality threshold, VO2 and anaerobic capacity work through focused intervals on the trainer. The problem is, those intervals were done with a resistance/cadence in the mid 80's to low 90's. Many times due to the terrain on a mountain bike you have to generate the same watts at a lower cadence. This was a big hole in my fitness as I found at Xterra 4 corners and at the BC race.

On the run I had done a lot of hill training, but not a lot of intervals on the hills, so I was lacking the ability to be strong for 1-5 minute hills and on hills that are long and steep like BC. I experienced the lack of snap on short, punchy climbs in Xterra 4 corners, and the lack of strength on the long, steep hills at BC. I attributed my lack of snap in the 4 corners race to having just raced the Bolder Boulder, but I think my results at BC proved that it was the hole in my fitness more than fatigue.

So, with that, more mountain biking with plenty of climbing will be on the training schedule. One day of focused higher intensity hill repeats of varying lengths, and another day of long mountain bike rides in the mountains around 2.5 to 3 hours will be 2 key workouts, with the rest of the cycling training being done either on my road bike, trainer, or mountain bike, with less structure, and more of a time/aerobic endurance work. When I do have to do my training on the trainer, whether due to weather or time constraints, I will focus more on lower cadences. One of the key workouts that I will do on the trainer no matter what is a ride with 2x20 mins at threshold wattage, with 30 second bursts into the anaerobic power zones every 2 minutes. This will closely simulate the extended climbing for Ogden.

On the run I am incorporating on long trail run that is around 1.5 hours and a trail hill interval workout into the schedule as the 2 key running workouts each week, with probably 2 other mid-distance, aerobic intensity runs worked in.

Jaime has been great in helping to redesign my approach to swimming as well, with more sprint work, and changing pace more often. She's great at coming up with tough workouts that keep things fresh in the pool. That's important, because when the weather is nice like it has been, and it gets later in the season, my motivation to swim drops quite a bit.

So, this was my plan coming out of the BC race. I felt confident in the plan and was ready to attack it. I came out blazing and had a good 1st run in the first training session after the race. Then the wheels came off and I couldn't get the energy to do anything later that day. I took the evening off, and then ended up basically taking the whole week off from structured training. I quickly realized that I needed a mental and physical break after building for the BC race for 20 weeks. The decision turned out to be the right one. The break allowed me to really recover physically, and I found that coming out of that week I had gained quite a bit of fitness. In hindsight I went in the Beaver Creek race a little bit overcooked. A really good lesson to learn for future planning!

So, the newly developed approach just got a one week delay. The next post will be about the Xterra Indian Peaks race and an assessment of how the changes in my training has worked.

Keep it in the big ring.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Beaver Creek Race Report

The Mountain Regional Championship/Xterra Beaver Creek was my first "A" race of the 2010 season. I had designed my training so that I would peak for this race. Qualification for the Xterra World Championships in Maui and the ITU offroad world championships in Spain were on the line. The race course starts at around 7000 ft and only goes up from there. The bike course has about 3600 feet of climbing, while the run has about 1500 feet of climbing.

My training leading into this race was pretty intense and very race specific, i.e. brick workouts on Mt. Falcon with lot of climbing on the bike and run.

We stayed at a friend's house in Frisco on Friday night, so the wake up call luckily wasn't as early as it could have been. Good food and good company. So far, the weekend was starting off well.

Race morning rolled around and we went to set up transition areas. This was a split transition race, so we had to drive up to the resort to set up T2, then drive back down to the lake for warm up and T1 set up.

The Swim: The swim was a two lap swim in Nottingham Lake in Avon, CO. To fit in 1500 meters in this little lake, we used just about every bit of the space. The swim was a deepwater start. I was in the 2nd wave, so I had a minute to get settled after getting in the water and then the gun went off. The swim was a pretty bad one by my standards. Because of the size of the lake and the number of people, it was full traffic for the entire swim. The worst part was that I got kicked on my wrist, which knocked my Garmin 310XT off. It must have broke where the pins on the strap meet the face of the watch. So, it is now somewhere at the bottom of that lake. So, needless to say, the race didn't start off very well.

Out onto the bike and my bad day continued. I just couldn't find my legs. I lacked snap again on the bike, similar to 4 corners. I just kept getting passed on the first stretch of singletrack climbing until we got to the part of the course that gets onto an access road at Beaver Creek. My legs finally started to come around and I started to pass some people back. The entire time I was having a hard time pacing, since I didn't have my heart rate monitor to use as a guide.

The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful, other than I kept slowly picking off some more people and bridged back up to a group that had passed me in the first half of the race.

So, at this point I have my first 3 takeaways from the race.
1. Wear the Garmin under my wetsuit.
2. I need a longer, more focused warm up on the bike and run before the race.
3. More strength and mountain bike specific training is needed, with less emphasis on super focused trainer sessions.

I came into T2 and flew through it. It was one of the best T2 times of the day. Out on the run I felt decent to start, but faded quickly on the steeper climbs. The ascents were even steeper than what I had trained on. In addition, the heat was starting to get pretty intense. I passed a few people and then got passed by a few. In net, I moved up a little bit on the run, but my time was a long way away from what I expected.

In the end I posted a time of 2:52:15 with swim, T1, bike, T2, run splits of: 25:14, 1:40, 1:35:29, :53, 48:57. That was good for 8th in my age group. Unfortunately that means no Maui or Spain. I learned more on the run though. I need more hill work. Again, I need to take the good fitness I have and make it more Xterra specific. In my next post I"ll talk about the changes I'm making, what the real key workouts will be, and the general plan for Ogden (US National Championships).

Happy Training

Monday, July 26, 2010

Xterra 4 Corners Race Report

Xterra 4 Corners was held on June 5, which was 6 days after the Bolder Boulder. So, this week was a pretty solid week of training. This was the first week of a build period, so the training was pretty high in volume and intensity. Essentially I was planning to train through this race.

I did this race last year and really enjoyed it. The race actually goes swim, run, bike, which adds a little twist to things. The run course is pretty tough with a bunch of shorter, punchy climbs, and sandy the whole way. The bike course is similar; no serious climbs, but a bunch of shorter climbs in the 1-2 minute variety. This is a fun race to drive to also, even though it is a solid 8-9 hours away. The drive is just beautiful, as you go over 3 serious passes.

So, on to the race. The swim was one of my best swims in a race yet. The swim is 1500 meters, 2 laps. The water was perfect for a wetsuit swim. I managed to be out of the water and T1 in 27:51 which was the best swim time in my age group. The time seems long because after you get out of the water you have to scramble about 50 yards up a hill before you get into transition, so T1 is actually pretty long if they timed it.

Onto the run, I started out well, but quickly faded in the small hills. I just didn't have the running strength to attack the hills hard. I really think that I was feeling the effects of the Bolder Boulder, and a long 10 mile hilly trail run earlier in the week. My run time was 2nd best in the age group, but the minute lead I had coming out of T1 turned into a 2:30 deficit to the leader in our age group by the time we left T2.

On the bike my legs continued to fade. It was a similar story to the run. I didn't have the snap and power to be strong on the short climbs. Essentially, I think my training just hasn't been Xterra specific enough. I have been focused on increasing my threshold power, and ignoring my VO2 max and anaerobic power. I lost another 11 minutes on the bike to the eventual winner of our age group, but managed to hang on for 2nd.

I had fun at this one, but realized my focus had to change to focus on these gaps in my fitness. Solid motivation to keep on plugging away.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Bolder Boulder Race Report

The Bolder Boulder is touted as America's best 10K. No doubt that it lives up to its reputation. The race is a lot of fun, very well run, and the course is lined with crazy spectators, bands, frat houses, slip and slides, grilled bacon...the list goes on and on. I didn't get to race this one last year due to a knee injury. So, I was excited to be out there and compete. The race was on Monday, and I had just finished a recovery week after a solid block of training. A recipe for success...usually.

I got up on race day, had the usual breakfast of eggs, toast, peanut butter, a banana and coffee and headed out to the race. I was meeting up with people from work, as we are a major sponsor of the race and have many teams in the team competition. I was racing with our "A-team", so I needed to have a solid race. I realized about 3/4 of the way there that I had forgot my race number and timing chip. Bad news. I flew back home, got my stuff and headed back. By the time I parked I had about 10 minutes to make it 1.5 miles to the start in time for my wave. Well that wasn't going to happen, so I decided I'd just jump into a later wave. So, I stopped for the portapotties, did my warm up jog to the starting line and got to start in the back of the "b" waves. So, this meant lots of traffice to try to get through, since the waves are seeded based on expected finish time.

My legs felt good and I was cruising for the first 3 miles. Then my stomach started to tell me that there was some unfinished business from the pre-race portapottie stop. Unfortunately this meant I had to reign in my pace, which was disappointing becuase my legs were there. In the end I ran 42:54, which was a P.R. (for some reason, I haven't run a 10K in quite some time, so I haven't challenged my time in awhile). Our team also placed first thanks to some very fast guys in the 37-38 minute range. I'm looking forward to another flat out 10K to see what I am really capable of. I'd love to break 40, so that might be the focus after nationals this year.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Race Report - Littlefoot Tri

I just realized that it has been 3 months since my last post, so rather than try to summarize the last 3 months, I'll post some race reports. First up is the Littlefoot Triathlon. This was my first road triathlon of any kind, and my first sprint distance race. The race was in the middle of May. The weather the weekend before the race was snow here in Denver, so needless to say, things were not warm for this race.

The swim: What can you say, the swim was 53 degrees. It was painfully cold. 750 meter swim which is standard for a sprint. I really did not try to push it on the swim, basically because I've never been in water that cold, and wasn't sure how my body would handle it. It was so cold that my face was frozen, so I couldn't really control how my mouth worked for breathing. To avoid drinking half of the lake, I did a lot of sighting stroke which lifts your head out of the water more. Not my best swim, but I got out of the water in 12:28 (1:37/100M). Glad to be done with that.

I had a tough time getting out of the wetsuit due to completely useless blocks for hands, but eventually got out on the bike. Like most races, the bike was my second weakest discipline in this one (on a normal day it would have been the weakest, I just had a really bad swim). That's about all I can say about it, other than it was pretty cold with that air on my already temperature challenged body.

Getting into T2, I just could not find my spot. I picked out a spot that was super easy to find and should have had no problem. Unfortunately the reason I couldn't find my spot was because some noob knocked over an entire bike rack with 4 bikes, and they happened to be laying on my stuff. Eventually I got out of T2 in about the amount of time it would have taken to have a sandwich and beer.

The run was the bright spot of the race, despite the fact that it felt like I was running on blocks becuase my feet were so frozen. I ran 21:08 (6:50/mi.), which I was really happy about.

In all, considering I trained through this race, and wasn't too excited about it due to the conditions, I'll settle for my 51st place overall and 7th in my AG. Total time of 1:14:13. At least I set the bar pretty low to set a PR the next time I decide to race on the road. We'll see if I decide to do that race again next year. I definitely think having a tri bike would help a lot, as you really do feel the drag when you are racing.

Next report; the Bolder Boulder, coming soon.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

MMMM Granola

Granola is probably one of my favorite foods (other than peanut butter...btw, what is your favorite peanut butter?). I have been trying to make my own on and off for a few months. Some batches come out good, some....edible, but not something you'd crave. My favorite store bought is Nature's Path Organic Pumpkin Flax Granola. It is just so good. So, I'm trying to duplicate it, but not having the luck yet. If I get something that is good, I'll be sure to post the recipe.

Along with trying to make granola, Jaime and I are starting a garden. I think we are going to have lots and lots of home grown organic produce this summer. We just have to get the plants to survive the transplant. We've got lots of beans, peas, tomatoes, peppers, strawberries, cucumbers, and onions in planters, and quite a few of them have already started coming up really well. Our peas are about 3 inches tall already! Now we just have to get them in the ground!

So, along those lines, things have been pretty busy. We are really close to closing on a house! Hopefully we'll be there by the 23rd. Needless to say, in all of our spare time we have been packing stuff up. I kind of like it because it means we can also throw stuff out or give it to goodwill, so it works like a good spring cleaning too.

Last week was back to hard training after a good recovery week. I had a really solid week last week and the weather cooperated nicely. In all, I put in about 14 hours total, split into 3 hours swimming, 3 hours running, 1.5 hours strength, and 6.5 hours biking, which translates into 8400 yards swimming, 107 miles biking (Close to 6000 feet of climbing included) and 22 miles of running.

This week is almost finished with just a strength training session tomorrow, followed by a 3 hour bike/4 mile run brick session. The idea was to get the brick in today as 1.5 hours on the mtn. bike, and 4 miles trail running, since that would more closely simulate Xterra racing, but the weather turned pretty foul at the end of the mtn bike. Normally I would have still done the run, but it was 50 and raining, which sounds like a recipe for a head/chest cold, so I scratched the run after. Live to train another day.

More packing, and a bigger week coming up next week. I'll post details about what that week looks like soon. If you are looking for a little extra motivation to work out/train, check out When you sign up you choose a sponsor/charitable cause combination, and as you log your workouts, the sponsor will donate money to the charity. Win/win situation if you ask me. It is really fun to log all of your activities for a week and look at how much money you raised for your cause, just by working out and spending a few minutes entering the data.


Sunday, April 4, 2010

1st MTN Bike of the year

The last workout of the week was by far the most fun. Jaime and I went up to Marshall Mesa this afternoon. I mountain biked for an hour and while I was out Jaime hiked around for an hour. It was great to get out and enjoy the beautiful day. A lot of other people had the same idea, so it was a bit crowded, but in all a great first ride. Here are some pics.

Next week I'm back to hard training again. 3 weeks of increasing volume plus the 4th week as recovery, with some higher intensities than the previous 4 week block are on tap. This is Joe Friel's Base 3 if you follow his periodization plan. This week will be 13.5 hours with 3 swims, 4 bike rides, 4 runs, and 2 strength training sessions. This is where the training starts to get fun to me. I'll be getting hill work in to develop my strength biking and running. I'll also start to put in some more work at threshold intensities on the bike and run, and extend the durations of the threshold work in swimming. Swimming will have more strength work as well, with paddles and drag sets added. This part is hard, but fun. I find it fun because some of the workouts each week will challenge my ability to hold some hard paces, which hopefully will lead to better speed. That is what it is all about isn't it?

I'll try to keep up with the posts a little better than in the previous block. Hopefully more of the training will happen outdoors and some pics will be loaded as well.

*The first few steps are always the hardest ones*

Recovery, Good news

This week is a recovery week. Total training came down significantly from last week. I did about 15 miles of running, 6,000 yards of swimming and probably about 60-70 miles on the bike. I have one ride left this afternoon, which is going to be at Marshall Mesa on the mountain bike - FINALLY! In the recovery week I also do one time trial in each sport to test my fitness for progression and re-establish my training zones. My swim test went will, I think. The reason I'm not sure is that I may have lost count on my laps, but I'm pretty sure I didn't. The time just dropped so much from my last 1,000 yard test that it seems unlikely. Anyway, I'm going with the better of the two times that it could have been, which means I dropped about 45 seconds off of my 1,000 time. Needless to say, I was pumped about that.

On the bike test, I'm not sure if I'm better or not. The bike test is a 20 minute, all out time trial. I have talked about the "poor mans powertap" in this blog before, and by that method I had a 5% improvement when measuring my speed. I'm not sure how much better, if at all, that I really was though, since this is my first true test with a powertap. In any case, I have good zones established for the next block of training.

I had similar results with my run test. I did a 5K simulation for this test. This was a pretty tough test because it was an absolute gale outside. I probably should have postponed it until today, but I kind of wanted to just get it done and over with. I stayed pretty much the same as my last 5K, which I guess isn't too bad since I had just done the bike test about 15 hours before, and the wind was definitely and issue.

We got some great news this week as well. Jaime's artery is healing up very well. Now instead of about a 5 inch dissection, she only has about an inch left that needs to get healed up. Still 6 more months of low activity and blood thinners, but at least it is much less likely that she'll need to have surgery for a stent. GOOD STUFF!!

Train hard and stay safe

Big Training Week, a visit from friends

In my last post I talked about how I had just finished up my first week of base 2 training. Since then I've had two more weeks of increasing volume with last week being the biggest week I've done since probably mid-summer last year. The totals from last week were 3.5 hours of swimming for 10,200 yards, 8 hours of biking for 136miles, and 3.25 hours of running for 24 miles, plus 2 strength training sessions. All in all around 17 hours of training.

I was pretty spent by the end both physically and mentally. 5 and a half hours of the biking was inside on the trainer, which is just no fun. It is useful though because the quality tends to be high; no stoplights, no downhills, etc. Luckily Sunday's long ride brick was outside, or honestly, I probably would have skipped it. To add to the mental exhaustion, we have been searching for a house to buy. So, there was quite a bit of shuffling workouts around to make everything happen for that.

We had some good friends in town last week as well. We spent a night up in Dillon with a bunch of friends, so that was a nice relaxing time to get away from things for a night.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

2010 Race Schedule

It isn't a good idea to train without knowing why, right? Well, I've settled (loosely) on a race schedule for 2010. My plan is to structure my training so that I have my first peak for the Mountain Championships in July. I'll relax a week after that, and then re-establish my base and peak again for the US Championships in September. It is a little bit of a longer season than I've done in the past, but so far I'm feeling really motivated, and my fitness is coming around earlier than it did last year.

I just finished up my first week of the 2nd block of base training (base 2 in Joe Friel's training bible). This week was scheduled to be 8,000 yards of swimming, 6 hours of biking and 2 hours of running. I hit all of the bike workouts, and all of the run workouts. I didn't manage to get one of the swims in this week though, leaving my volume a little short there. I also had 2 strength training sessions. On the bike there were 2 days of tempo work. Running had 1 day. Swimming had a little bit higher intensity with 7x200 yard repeats at race pace one day, and another day of lots of pulling, both of which left me pretty shelled afterwards. All of the run sessions felt good, especially my long run this weekend. I think the half marathon training has set me up really well with both good endurance and more speed than I've had in the past. Even today's 2 mile run after the 2 hour ride in the pain cave felt pretty good.

Next week is 15 hours of total training. Bike volume goes up to a little over 7 hours, running is around 3 hours or 21-22 miles depending on the terrain, and swimming is around 9000 yards. 3 strength sessions are also scheduled. It will be a challenge to make it all happen, as my schedule with work will be a bit tougher due to some quarterly meetings that will make their way into the evenings and earlier into the mornings. After missing my swim last week, I need to nail everything this week.

That is all for now - Jaime and I are about to make some shepherd's pie for dinner, since today's weather calls for some warm comfort food.

Train hard, train safe


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Life gets crazy sometimes

So, after more than a month, I'm back to getting a post on here. It has been a little bit of a tumultuous time lately. We did go down to Sedona to race, so there will be a follow up race report on that this weekend hopefully.

So, why no post in the past few weeks? Well, we had the race all weekend, and the training volume is certainly kicking up. In addition, we had quite a scare with Jaime last week.

1 week ago this past Saturday, Jaime actually had a small stroke. She tore an artery going into her head while she was swimming and as the artery reacted to it, it sent a small clot up to her head. Luckily it was a small stroke, and there is no permanent damage. So, we didn't actually find this out until Monday when we went to the ER after she talked to some doctors she works with. Jaime was in the hospital all week last week, and got out on Friday. She is doing well. I'd say she's a little bit pissed at the whole situation; and who can blame her? She'll be on blood thinners for awhile until the artery heals. Hopefully it will heal on its own in a few months. Until then, she has to keep her activity to a minimum to let the artery heal. Unfortunately that means her first Xterra season is on hold most likely until next year. Really, that a pretty unimportant consequence in the great scheme of things. I'm really just glad that she is alive and well considering the possibilities of it all.

I'll get an update out on a race schedule, where training is at and where it is going, and hopefully there will be some pictures of actual outdoor training in the beautiful Colorado outdoors (I can't do too many more trainer workouts). I wanted to get a quick post out to apologize for my negligence about keeping this thing updated. I hope anyone reading this is doing well.

Live More (Xterra Motto)


Sunday, January 31, 2010

Moonlight hikes are amazing

Last night Jaime and I experienced a very cool and new way to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Colorado. We went to our friends house in Boulder for some dinner and a moonlight hike. In case you didn't know, Friday night was supposed to be brightest full moon of the whole year. We went for a nice short hike Saturday night into some open space at the foot of the flatirons in Boulder. The moon was brilliant and looked so cool coming through the trees. It was really cool to see the city lights stretched out below, with the flatirons behind us. We came back to an excellent dinner of dungeness crab, asparagus, Waldorf salad and chardonnay. All in all a great night! Enjoy the pics!

We had planned to go skiing today, but decided there were too many other things to be done for the clinic. Not to mention that we didn't make it home until midnight last night, so a little extra sleep was in order. I did lay out Jaime's and my training plans for the year. The first Xterra right now is looking like Xterra 4 Corners the first weekend in June. I'd like to do on earlier, such as the West Cup in Vegas, so we'll have to see if it can be done.

Next weekend is the Sedona half. I'm feeling good about it, as I've put in the training, now it is just time to suffer for 95 minutes and make my body do what it should do. I'll have a race report shortly after that.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

2 weeks and counting

It is 2 weeks from today that a bunch of us will be gathered in Sedona, AZ for the 1/2 marathon. I'm really looking forward to a fun road trip, hanging out with friends, checking out a new part of the country, and hopefully throwing (trowing if you are from St. Bonaventure) down a new PR in the half. The road trip part of the whole weekend is a part that a lot of people probably hate, but I never cease to be amazed when I travel out here at the expanse of emptiness that you can find. We'll be going through one of those parts in western New Mexico/north eastern AZ.

The weather here was just starting to be warm enough to have all of the snow melted, and now it is looking like the possibility of some snow next week. We were so close to having the mountain bike trails clear. We would still have to ride early while they are frozen, so that we don't tear them up, but having some clear trails to ride would have been nice. Oh well, more time in the pain cave I guess. The weather is good for some hearty winter soups though, which is just what Jaime and I made this week. Actually she made it while I did the riding in the spare room. What a great wife huh? Here is the recipe if anyone wants to try it. It is easy and tasty. I would suggest adding more stock than it calls for though. This will make about 9 bowls of soup as it is listed, but obviously more if you add more stock.

This week's training went pretty well and looked like this:
2 swims so far, plus one more tomorrow - all 2,000 yards.
#1 had 6x200 at race pace intervals w/:30 recoveries as the main set
#2 had 400,300,200,3x100, all pull at endurance pace as main set.
#3 (tomorrow) has 5x100 sprint w/1:00 recovery, 400 easy, 6x50 sprint w/:30 recovery

4 bike sessions on the trainer.
#1 45 mins with 2x6:00 threshold intervals
#2 1:15 at endurance pace (thank god for criminal minds marathons on TV)
#3 60 mins with 6x:30 VO2 intervals with cadence over 110, rest at endurance pace
#4 60 mins at endurance pace

4 runs
#1 easy 2 miles
#2 easy 2 miles
#3 10 miles with 5x1 mile at 5K pace / 1/2 mile recovery jog
#4 11 miles at endurance pace.

2 strength training sessions.
#1 heavy weights (this is relative, as the weights I'm moving these days are certainly not heavy) 5 sets of 5 reps, full body.
#2 (tomorrow after swim) 300 workout. Check it out at I totally have to reduce the weight in the bench press and have to substitute for the floor sweepers and kettle ball stuff because we don't have the equipment/room at the gym for it. If you want to get completely worked over in a lifting session, try this one out. It doesn't sound all that hard until you do it, and start trying to bring your total time to complete the workout down each time. I promise, when you are done, your whole body will be shaking but you will feel awesome.

If you haven't fallen asleep reading by now, you are at least well on your way to becoming a "mentally strong" endurance athlete. Seriously, though, thanks for reading.

Happy training,


Friday, January 15, 2010

New computer & tips for beginners

Sorry, it has been awhile. I was fully intending to update the blog shortly after my last post, but last week our computer completely died. So, we had to go through the whole hard drive recovery with geek squad and set up the new computer. It is nice to be on a laptop now though. Our old computer was legitimately a POS. It was about 5 years old and had maybe 50MB of space left on it. I guess it was time.

So in my last post I said that I would put out some tips for beginners, or for people who are jumping up to a longer distance in triathlon. Either way, I'm pumped up for you and wish you the best of luck. So, without further adieu, here are some of my tips and lessons learned.

1. Get your bike fitted by a pro. You should probably be spending around 50% of your training time on your bike (depends on the distance...more on that later also). A professional bike fit goes something like this; either through video imaging and analysis of your pedal stroke or by taking manual measurements of the majority of your body and watching you ride your bike on a trainer, the fitter will adjust your pedal placement on your cleat, your seat height & fore/aft adjustment, your handlebars and possibly stem and headset. This is a back and forth process and may require different parts being swapped our. It could easily take 1-2 hours. This will go a long way toward preventing injury.

2. If you are new to the sport or have not trained consistently for awhile, do NOT increase your volume by more than 10% per week. Volume is best measured in time for the bike and run and by yards/meters for the swim. The reason that time is used instead of distance is that depending on the profile of where you bike/run and how it may change from day to day or week to week, your mileage could conceivably be very different even if you trained the same amount of time.

3. Get the Triathletes training bible by Joe Friel. This is somewhat involved reading as you do get into physiology a bit, but it helps you understand the theory behind periodized training. Then, if you don't want to design your own training plan, you can pick up a book of plans already designed. You will have the background to know what the books are saying when they say "bike 1.5 hours with 3x10 mins in zone 4 with 5 min recoveries".

4. If you get new shoes, ease into them. Don't just change shoes and go out and put in 20 or 30 miles in your new shoes. Shoes are slightly different from pair to pair, so it is best to easy your way into new shoes over a few weeks. I believe part of the reason I had an IT band injury last year may have been that I got new shoes right in my high volume weeks of the base period and started track work at the same time.

5. Get a watch with a heart rate monitor. Heart rate isn't the best measurement to train by, but it certainly beats nothing at all. Ideally you would train with power on the bike through a power meter (around $900), a garmin on the run (real time pace - anywhere from $150-$500), and pace in the swim.

6. Practice transitions. This is free time saved. It doesn't take hard workouts that make you want to puke. It takes perhaps looking a little foolish as you run out of your shower in your wetsuit and out into the yard to practice T1, but trust me, it is worth it. On a similar note, figure out if you can go sock less or not. Personally I go sock less on the bike and the run and I haven't had any problems. It helps to use tri-slide inside your shoes very liberally. On that note....

7. Use tri slide from your elbows down to your wrists, on your shoulders and neck, and from just below your knee down to your ankles, and even on your feet. This really helps the wetsuit go on and come off much easier and prevent chafing during the swim.

8. Practice open water swimming in your wetsuit before the race. Even if you are an experienced triathlete it always helps to get open water swims in throughout the season. Practice sighting on a tree in the distance and swimming in a straight line. If you have friends as crazy as you, get them in the water with you and swim in a pack to get the feeling of being kicked, elbowed, splashed, pulled, etc because that is how the swim will be until around the first buoy.

9. Make sure you can change a flat quickly. Burden yourself with a few extra ounces by carrying more than one tube and more than one CO2. You never think that a brand new tube will have a small leak, but it can happen. In fact, I would suggest that you keep a race flat kit separate from your everyday kit that goes in your saddle bag. If you keep a tube folded up it weakens it. Not to mention when it is in your saddle bag it is constantly rubbing against your tire irons, CO2's, emergency $20, multitool and chainbreaker, powerlink, cell phone, and whatever else may be in there (this was 2 tips in one, since you now know what you should have in your saddle bag at a minimum).

10. Have fun and don't forget to enjoy the view from wherever you are training. The great part about triathlon is that most of your training will take place outside. Soak it all in and you'll almost forget you are "training".

I hope you find this post useful. If you have any questions at all, just reply to the post and I'll try to address them in future posts. I'm by no means an expert, but I've got a couple of fairly successful seasons under my belt, so I may be able to shed some light on things for you.

Take care and train hard,