Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 in Review

Happy New Year!!

As always, best viewed with the sound on - even better with the sound up loud:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Greatest Spectating Experience of my Life

I've seen the Raiders beat the Broncos, I've seen the San Jose Sharks beat the Red Wings in the final seconds of the game, I've seen Barry Bonds hit the game winning home run, and I've seen Michael Jordan hit a game winning shot; but none of that compares to what I watched this past Sunday in Tempe, AZ when Jen became an IronMan. I was so proud and amazed that I really can't put it into words but I'm sure that my fellow spectators (Maritza, Deana, Dana, Inga, Josh, my Dad and Step-Mom, my Aunt Carol, and Arizona blogger Kelsa Lynn) all know what I am talking about. Watching the swim start was un-freaking-believable; seeing Jen come out of T2 to run a marathon after biking 112 miles was un-freaking-believable; and watching her run down the finish chute as Mike Riley announced that she was an IronMan brought tears to my eyes (Maritza was full-on crying and not for the first time that day). All of the details of the day will be revealed by IronJen in the days to come but let's just say that I was inspired by what she accomplished and I'm sure you will be as well.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This, That, and the Other

Today was the last day of summer and on my way home I really noticed shade where there used to be none, leaves showing the first hint of fall color, and it really made me realize that the short days of winter will be here before we know it. In fact, on November 1st, sunset is at 4:57pm in Portland. Now that my triathlon season is over for 2009 it's time to start looking to the future and deciding what's up next.

After Hood to Coast I suddenly found myself free from having to train for anything specific which at first was tough. 2009 was a good year for me - new 10k PR, new Half Marathon PR, the Hood to Coast Relay, and my first Half Ironman which was a great experience. Coming off of all of that really left me feeling aimless and like I wasn't doing enough every day. A few days after Hood to Coast I went on a run with Jen and about 6 miles in my knees really started bothering me, especially the outside of my right knee. That night in bed it was really hurting and whenever I would move it would cause me pain. The soreness hung around for a few days and right when I thought it was going away we had a fire drill at work and I had to walk down a LOT of stairs. Later that day I tried running again and within a half mile the pain was back and I ended up turning around at about one mile. After some research I determined the pain was likely due to my IT band and the only way to get better was to not run for a while. At first I took the woe is me approach but after a couple of days I realized that although it sucks I'm glad that I didn't have to deal with this during my training for the Lake Stevens 70.3. So I've been riding the bike, swimming, and going to the gym to lift - I've put together a "schedule" to follow but I'm pretty much just enjoying the end of summer, taking days to kick back when I want, doing some more cooking, and just enjoying not having to do a specific workout on a specific day.

This weekend we're heading up to Hood River for a wedding which promises to have good food, good drinks, good people, and great times. I'm sure Jen will have a great recap of her weekend training and the wedding and I'll try to take as many pictures as I can. I hoped to have a new camera for the event but I'm still hemming and hawing over where to order it from and what lens to get so I'll be shooting with our old camera - but I think that's good cause it's easier to get a lot of pictures without being "that guy with the camera".

One last item to note -I'm really proud my little cutie and her last two race performances - although anyone reading this has likely already read it over on Jen's blog - but if you haven't heard she placed 2nd in her AG at the Aluminum Man tri and 1st in her AG at the Timberline Half Marathon.
I hope everyone had a great last day of summer - get out there and enjoy these last days - unless you live in San Diego where summer never ends - bastards.

Also, it's almost hockey season - GO SHARKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

That Old Familiar Feeling

While most of you are probably in the midst of training for some upcoming event - Jen, Kim, Aron, and Sarah just to name a few - I find myself in the no mans land of the off season. I am signed up to do a trail half marathon next weekend but I've been thinking of that as something fun to do and not really a "race" so I find myself drifting in the land of "I don't really have to do any specific workout". Fortunately I am Jen's training partner/coach/assistant for her IMAZ training so I will be doing some long bike rides in the next few weeks which are always a lot of fun.

Since my HIM and the Hood to Coast relay I have been sort of floating along not really doing much and getting all stressed out about it. After talking it over with Jen I decided that I would keep up on my swimming and biking with her but would shift my running focus to setting a new 5k PR with my goal race being the Father Joe's Thanksgiving Day 5k in San Diego. I'm going to run the Run Like Hell 5k in October to see what the ole legs have in them then figure out what a realistic goal is for San Diego. My previous PR of 20:30 was set in 2007 and I think that I have a good chance of going sub 20 if I put some effort into it.

At first I was stressed out about not really doing anything but once I came to terms with the fact that a little down time never really hurt anyone I realized that I should take advantage of not having to do any specific workouts this week. The timing has actually been pretty good since I've been really busy at work and instead of trying to get out the door right at 4:00 I don't mind sticking around a bit late to finish up what I am working on. Starting next week I'm also going to start going to the gym more often to lift weights and do some core work (and sit in the steam room).

Since I really don't have much to report I'll finish up with some pictures from the last couple of weeks:

Two legs down at Hood to Coast one to go:

The pile of wood I chopped for my parents - notice how you can see the fence in this picture; you will see it slowly disappear:
Making progress:
Almost done:
Two cords chopped and stacked - the folks will be warm this winter:
This shot gives you an idea of how tall the stacks were - and it was two rows deep!
I hope everyone is enjoying the last days of summer - before you know it the sun will be rising after you are at work and setting before you get off.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

2009 Nike Hood to Coast Relay Race Report

If I was to sum up the Nike Hood to Coast Relay in one word it would be Awesome. The experience, the running, the scenery, the volunteers, my teammates, pretty much everything about the weekend can be summed up with that one word. Let me elaborate.

I was first asked to be an alternate on the team after it was put together but within two weeks I was an official runner. Since it was with a group of my co-workers I was a bit hesitant at first – I mean I was going to be spending over 24 hours in a van with people that up to this point where just faces in the office (some of them I had never even met or seen before). It turns out that they are all very cool people and deciding to join the team was an excellent choice.
Since this was such a long event I will try to get in as much detail as I can but I may miss a thing or two which is bound to happen when you are up for nearly 24 hours, sleep for an hour and a half, then get right back into the swing of things.

I suppose the best place to start is at the beginning of the day.
The weather forecast for Friday was perfect – sunny and mild in the morning with increasing clouds in the afternoon. Since our starting time was approximated at 1:00 (the first van started at Mt. Hood at 8:15am) we had a bit of sun when we started but by the time my leg rolled around the clouds had really started moving in and the sun was becoming less and less of an issue.

I started my first leg thinking I would go out conservatively and then pick up the pace in my second and third legs. By the time I hit mile two I decided the hell with it; I was going to push myself on each leg and if I collapsed in the middle of the coast range so be it. This leg was along the Springwater corridor out in Gresham which is a trail I have run on a few times so I knew what to expect; a flatish path that was dirt for the first 2.5 miles. I cruised along and before I knew it I was halfway done, then three quarters, then next thing I knew I was coming around a corner to the exchange point where I would pass off the slap bracelet to the next runner on my team.

Leg 1 – 6.89 miles, 7.06 AP, 15 kills (passes)

After everyone in our van ran their first leg we stopped by the house of one of our teammates to take a quick shower and have some dinner (which was a great decision; there is no way we would have survived on snack food). After cleaning up, eating, and relaxing for couple hours we piled back in the van and headed out to the next exchange where we would meet up with van 1 who would be completing their second section of the day.

The next leg I was going to run was at 1:00am (give or take a couple minutes depending on where the runners before me came in) and I was really excited for it. Never before had I run at that hour and doing it in the middle of the coast range in the middle of the night while it was raining made it that much more exciting. When the slap bracelet was passed off to me I took off into the night and never looked back. The sky was misting and I felt as though I was running through space at warp speed. From time to time I would look up at the trees and the rain and think about how lucky I was to be experiencing what I was experiencing at this moment. Of course a few seconds after that I would remember that I was running down a dirt road in the middle of the night and I would look back down to make sure I could see the road and all the bumps and holes that were coming my way. A little after the first mile I could hear someone coming up behind me and right before mile two he caught me. We ran together for the next couple of miles and talked on and off – needless to say I was surprised when these miles beeped in around 6:26. By mile four I was starting to wonder if I could hold the pace when my new friend said “I’ve got to drop back, good talking with you”. Even though that was exactly how I was feeling I decided to push on and finish strong. Eventually I saw some lights up ahead and next thing I knew a volunteer was asking me what my number was so they could shout it down the road.

Leg 2 – 5 miles, 6:32 AP, 22 kills

After everyone had finished up their second leg we pushed on to the spot where we would be meeting van 1 at the end of their final section so we could kick back and try to get a couple hours of sleep. We finally pulled up into the sleeping field, parked the van, and were all asleep within 15 minutes. An hour and a half later I woke up feeling, not like a million bucks, but maybe a few hundred grand. I got out of the van, hit up the Honey Bucket, then walked over to the food area that was set up and got myself a Dutch Brothers Mocha and a hot ham and cheese croissant (which was SOOOO good).

My final leg of the day was coming out of the coast range and it was extremely beautiful. Although I ended up with a side cramp and had to slow down a bit it really didn’t matter to me because I was enjoying the scenery and the experience.

Leg 3 – 7.75 miles, 7:22 AP, 17 kills

At around 1:15pm on Saturday we reached the coast and crossed the finish line as a team.

This was one of the funnest (or most fun for you grammar nuts) running events I have ever done. For a van full of first timers we did a great job navigating, getting along, cheering for each other, and making sure that everyone was having fun the whole time. You make jokes that get stupider and funnier as the night goes on, you eat a random assortment of food, you make new friends, and you surprise yourself many times.

I have to give credit to the volunteers that sacrifice their time to help out their friends and family. Each local team is required to have three volunteers who are assigned random tasks at random locations at random times of day all the way from Mt. Hood to Seaside. Every volunteer I encountered was helpful, patient, and friendly even though they were getting all of the shit and none of the glory. One thing that I would tell any participant in the race is that a little bit of patience goes a long way out there. I saw quite a few people that showed up at the exchange only to find that their teammate wasn’t there to meet them due to traffic or some other circumstance – once that person showed up they were sent on their way with some bitching and complaining – all I could think was, what a way to start your leg!

One additional observation – the Honey Buckets were the cleanest and best stocked of any I have ever seen at an event this large (17,000 participants including 3,000 volunteers).

If you want a visual of what it was like or just something to make you consider putting together a team for next year check out the video in my previous post.

Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 Hood to Coast Relay

Full report coming soon, but for now, enjoy the show:

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3 Race Report

Lake Stevens was my first HIM and overall it was a great experience. The race was great - nice lake, beautiful bike course, and a spectator filled run course that passed through downtown four times.


Saturday morning we slept in till around 7:30, got up and had some coffee, then loaded up the car and headed out. We made a stop for bagels at Kettleman's before hitting the road to get some additional carbs in (and because bagels are freakin delicious). We wound up hitting some traffic once we got near Tacoma and hit some major backup outside Seattle. Since we've moved from CA and don't really drive much anymore I forgot what a "joy" it is to sit in traffic and deal with the idiots that have somehow been issued a drivers license. Once we were past the I5/I90 junction the traffic thinned out and we made our way up to Everett where we were staying the night. We met our friends at their place (that's where we were staying) and dropped off our stuff before heading out to grab some lunch. Afterwards we headed out to the expo and bike drop off.

At the expo we sat through the mandatory pre-race briefing then went and picked up our numbers, bought a parking pass for downtown Lake Stevens, and made our purchases at the expo. Although the expo was pretty bare bones it did have the three things I wanted (coffee cup, bike jersey, and a hat) so for me it was just fine. It is nice to browse around a large expo looking for deals but really the only deal I ever found was at the Boston expo (I was not a runner but merely a spectator) on a pair of shoes. Other than that it's really just the same things you can find in a store or online. After that we drove to Lake Stevens to drop off our bikes in transition (dropping them off the day before the race is great), checked out the ins and outs of transition, then drove the bike course to see what was in store for us on Sunday. I knew it was a hilly course going in so it was no surprise to see some climbs and some downhill sections that would be pretty fun and potentially dangerous. After that we stopped by the grocery store to pick up some dinner supplies, headed back to our friends place, made dinner, organized our stuff, and were in bed at 10 with our alarms set for 3:40.

Race morning:

Nothing too exciting here - we arrived at transition at around 5:30 and milled around setting up our areas, hitting up the blue boxes, and talking with the other athletes. The start was delayed due to heavy fog on the water so each wave was bumped back 10 minutes which wasn't a big deal at all. Jen and I put our wetsuits on then walked over to the swim start to pick up our chips and get ready to go. After watching the pros start and wishing each other good luck (and sneaking in a final good luck kiss) I walked over to get with my group and get going.

The Swim:

The swim started in AG waves and mine was going to be the fourth group into the water. We walked down the pier and out onto a floating dock before jumping into the water – one thing I did that I shouldn’t have was I just jumped off the dock into the water and kept my legs straight. My feet hit the muddy bottom and although I didn’t get hurt I realized that I could have landed on a rock, stick, log, etc. that would have really hurt my foot and possibly ended my day before it began. So from now on I am going to sit on the edge of the dock and lower myself in if I can’t see what’s on the bottom.

Once in the water everyone fanned out into a line and I had positioned myself on the far end away from the buoy line. I figured that I didn’t want to fight it out with the main group and I would slowly make my way over once the melee was over. Although this meant I would likely end up swimming an extra 50 or so yards it was worth it to me.

Once I had been swimming for a couple minutes I could see that there were plenty of pockets of open water to my left so I started swimming towards the buoy line and the main group. Eventually I saw the white line holding the buoys and I swam along keeping it in the corner of my left eye. After a couple more minutes I decided to swim a few more feet to the left and get right above the line – I can’t say enough good things about having this to “sight” on. The only time I had to lift my head out of the water was to see who was in front of me and to look for the large buoys marking the middle of each out and back and the turns.

By the time we started catching swimmers from the wave before ours (M 25-29) I was in a line of swimmers and we were moving along at a pace that felt strong and comfortable. At this point we were about a quarter of the way through the swim and this is where the battle to maintain a buoy line spot began. The guys from the wave behind us (M 35-39) started catching up and I was also passing quite a few guys from my wave and the wave before mine. At this point I started looking up to see who was in front of me then I would look for an open spot and surge forward to move into it – this strategy worked great.

At the turn I got onto some faster feet and kept pace with a guy from the wave behind me – we swam side by side (the furthest we were apart, other than to go around another swimmer, was two feet) for the entire second half of the swim.

Finally I could see the docks and blue banners ahead of me and I knew we were getting close so I put on a final surge and swam in as far as I could – I stood up and ran into transition.

Swim: 35:40 – 25/69 M30-34


Transition was pretty uneventful. I ran over to my bike, peeled off my wetsuit, cap, and goggles, and put on my socks, shoes, gloves, helmet, and sunglasses.

T1: 2:55

The Bike:

Since we had driven the course the day before I had a good idea what I was in for and that was a fair amount of climbing with a few steep descents thrown in the mix. I spent the first few miles spinning at a high cadence and mentally preparing myself for the next three hours (my goal was to finish in 3 hours sans any mechanical issues).

The first lap was fairly uneventful – I passed a couple guys on the bike but was getting passed at a fairly steady rate. This didn’t come as too much of a surprise – although I am a pretty solid biker I am by no means fast and I know that this is one area where I could see quite a bit of improvement with a few hundred more miles under my belt. The highlight/lowlight/shake-me-up-light of the first lap came at about mile 17 when I was nearing the top of a climb and getting ready for the big downhill on the other side. I heard a loud screech/squeal from up ahead and thought “wtf was that?” Once I crested the hill and started down (it was a large sweeping downhill turn to the right and the road was lined with trees) I saw a volunteer up ahead standing in the road with a flag waving us to the left. I slowed down and when I came around the corner I saw a cop with a mangled bike tire in his hand, several pieces of a bike frame and water bottles in the road, and a dazed biker sitting on the side of the road with what was left of his bike still clipped onto one of his feet. There were so many pieces of bike in the road that I thought there must have been two cyclists involved. I later on found out that a dog ran out in front of him when he was approaching 60 mph and he had no time to react. He ended up with a ton of road rash but other than that he was fine – the dog was ok – the bike was a complete loss.

Towards the end of the first loop I had my first experience with the “death wobble” and it scared the shit out of me. I was coming downhill at probably close to 40 mph when the guy ahead of me decided that even though he was going slowly he was still going to weave all around the whole lane so no one could pass. I made a quick movement to get out of my drops and up onto my hoods when all of a sudden my front wheel started violently wobbling. I applied firm pressure to my breaks and after slowing down to about 20 mph my bike settled down. This was my second note to self of the day (after the dock jumping) – when you’re hauling ass downhill, stay in your drops.

On the second loop an earlier suspicion I had was confirmed; I was going to have to pee. Now for those of you that can pee while riding, more power to you. I don’t see how it is possible and with the sheer volume of urine I tend to release I don’t really think I want that all over my legs, shoes, and water bottles. I finally saw a port-o at a water stop/penalty tent and I stopped and ran over to it. Since I was curious how long this would take I was watching my watch – I kid you not, I was peeing full stream for 40 seconds – not exactly the sort of piss you want to take all over yourself, at least in my opinion. Once I was back on my bike two minutes had gone by but I felt 5000% better. I felt like that port-o was a cocoon and I was emerging from it as a new person ready to push hard through the end of the ride (which I did).

Note to self number three occurred on the second loop of the bike: Always have back-up nutrition plans. I knew that I would only need three bottles of liquid for the ride but I carried an extra bottle of water with me (I didn’t want to deal with the bottle hand off) – one bottle of Perpetuem to drink first, a bottle of water to drink second, and a bottle of Mandarin Heed to finish out the ride. I had decided to carry a Hammer Gel to take during the second hour with my water and decided to throw an extra one in my pocket just in case I needed it. Well, when I went to grab my bottle of Heed at around mile 40 I bobbled it in my left hand and dropped it while climbing the biggest hill on the course. The drop really didn’t register until I was about 15 feet past the bottle and by the time I thought about stopping to get it I was a good 30 feet beyond it and I knew there was no way I was going to ride back down the hill, stop, then ride back up. The main reason for this decision was the extra gel I had with me. One bottle of Heed = 100 calories; One Hammer Gel = 90 calories; aka – it was all good.

The next thing I knew we were turning off to head back to transition and about 15 minutes later I was riding through downtown and starting to think about the run. The final stretch into transition was lined with people and I felt pretty cool swooping around the corners on my bike.

Bike: 3:05:34 – 43/69 M30-34


Basically the same as the first one – bike gear off, run gear on, quick hammy stretch, off we go.

T2: 2:29

The Run:

Going into this race I knew that the run was going to be a challenge but I also knew that this was my strong point and I could do well if I paced myself. A special thanks to Jen here because throughout training she consistently reminded me to go out easy and run at a pace that seems slow for the first couple of miles.

When I was leaving transition I felt like I had to pee again but it wasn’t that bad and I figured I could stop on the course if necessary – since there were aid stations every mile I knew this wouldn’t be too much of an issue. My pace for the first mile was 7:50 and I was feeling good. I saw someone run over to the port-o so I kept going and figured I would stop at the next one if it was empty. For some reason stopping to pee really wasn’t an issue for me; I knew that there was no possible chance I would place in my AG and since I had no PR to beat I just didn’t care about the few seconds it took to stop. So when I saw an empty blue box at the mile two aid station I ran right over to it – total stop time: 45 seconds – not nearly as much fluid in me as there was on the bike.

By the time I was at mile four I had made up the stop time and was back on a 7:50 AP – mile five was the last time I would be able to check my pace as the distance on loop two was off from the loop one markers and they hadn’t marked anything over mile five.

One thing that was really amazing to me was the number of fit looking people that were walking, cramping, and looking miserable in general. I was very happy that I wasn’t having any issues when suddenly it hit – the dreaded side cramp. I ran for a few hundred feet then decided to just stop and stretch it out. I started running again at a slower pace and although my side still hurt it never got to the excruciating point that it has in the past. It started at approx mile 7.5 and hung in there but suddenly at around mile 10 it just went away. I picked up the pace a bit but was still cautious because I didn’t want it to come back full force. At around mile 11 I saw Jen coming towards me waving and we high fived as we ran by each other – I was so happy to see her because I knew it meant she was more or less on pace and she looked great too! At this point I really picked up the pace and knew that if I pushed hard I could cross the line in under 5:30:00 – the last half mile I really kicked hard and even got a couple “nice stride” shout-outs from the crowd. I looked at my watch and saw 5:28:XX as I was nearing the turn to the finish and I knew I was going to make it. I heard my name announced as I came down the chute, threw a fist into the air, and crossed the finish line.

Run: 1:42:31 – 13/69 M30-34

Total Time: 5:29:07 – 24/69 AG – 260/882 OA – 213/591 Males

An Interesting Observation from the Numbers:

Of the 23 people in my AG with a better overall time:
1. 12 of them beat me in the swim.

2. All 23 beat me in the bike (I was 7:55 behind the slowest of those – he beat me by 5:04 overall). To reiterate: Everyone that was faster overall was faster on the bike, every single one of them.

3. 12 of them beat me on the run (everyone that ran faster than me had a faster OA time).

After I was handed my water bottle, Gatorade, and medal I walked over to the food and had a slice of pizza and some grapes. My stomach was a bit tight so I stretched out in the shade then walked over to the store to get a chocolate milk. I was able to see Jen come through on her way out for the final out and back then I saw her come flying around the last corner charging towards the finish. She was running down her PR and she looked really strong – I cheered her on then ran (aka hobbled) into the finishers area and gave her a big hug. She had a great day and is well on her way to an awesome race at Ironman Arizona.

Friday, August 14, 2009

It's Go Time

Looking forward to a great time. Goals = Have a lot of fun and enjoy the experience.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Hagg Lake Olympic Race Report

This weekend was my second tri of the season and my first Olympic ever. This was going to be a test of my fitness going into the final weeks of my Lake Stevens training and I was happy with the results.


We were up at 4:30 race morning to have our breakfast and get ready. Of course everything was packed and ready to go so after eating and getting dressed we put our bikes on the car and headed out to Hagg Lake.

One of the things I really love about getting to the race site early is getting a good parking space (or a parking space at all; they were turning people away eventually and having them park about a third of a mile away in another lot), getting a good spot on the rack, having time to set up in transition, hit up the rest-room, visit with other folks, and not having to rush.

At about 7:50 Jen and I walked down to the water so I could get in the water before my wave started.

The Swim:

I walked out into the water with the 63 other guys starting in the 39 and under category and after about thirty seconds of waiting we heard the countdown from five and we were off. After having my goggles knocked off in the last race I was again expecting fists and feet of fury so this time I swam the first 50 yards or so with my head above the surface. I would occasionally put my face under for a stroke or two but then it was back above the surface again for a few more strokes. By the time we were at the first buoy people were starting to thin out but there was the occasional physical contact as I would swim up into someone’s legs or someone would swim up onto mine.

After the first turn I would get onto a set of feet for a few strokes but then they would veer off (or I would), slow down, speed up, etc. etc. After about 500 yards I settled into a groove and focused on swimming strong but not hard.

Total Swim 1,500m (1,640y): 27:19 – 1:40/100y – 71/232 OA

I pulled down the top half of my wetsuit as soon as I was out of the water and began the long run up to transition. I’m always amazed that my feet keep moving forward and I am able to produce some sort of rational thought during this part of the race. Coming out of the water is strange – for me it’s sort of like having to answer a complicated question right when you wake up from an afternoon nap.

Once I made it to my transition area I followed my usual routine, goggles and cap on the ground, wetsuit off and on the rack next to my bike, helmet on, glasses on, shoes and socks on, and get going!

T1: 2:46

My plan for the bike was to ride strong on the first loop but not to push it too hard and burn myself out for the second loop. Having ridden Hagg in training I had a good idea of where the hard climbs and long downhill stretches would be which helped a lot. On the first loop I passed a few people and was passed by the 40+ guys that started in the wave after me – man, those guys can hammer. Almost every time I was passed it was on a climb and these guys just came cruising by me making me wonder if we were climbing the same hill. I played the passing game with these two nineteen year old guys that had on lifeguard shirts; eventually they pulled ahead of me but I just thought “see you on the run” and rode my own race.

The second loop was pretty much the same as the first only by this point my freakin ass, hamstrings, and other parts were on fire. Let’s just say I am in desperate need of some new tri shorts or my reproductive capabilities might be in serious jeopardy. The highlight of the second loop was seeing a weasel. He ran up to the side of the road saw me coming at him and decided it would be best to race back into the cover of the trees. I finished the ride wondering exactly how I was going to run a descent 10k with my hamstrings burning the way they were.

Total Bike (40 km): 1:19:29 – 18.76 mph – 103/227 OA (looks like we lost some folks on the swim)

I ran my bike to my rack and allowed muscle memory to take over again – shoes off, shoes on, helmet off, hat on, pick up race belt, start to run, race belt on, here we go!

T2: 1:25

I knew, er hoped, that if I ran smart in the first half of the run I could run a negative split on the second half. I started out at a comfortable strong pace and let myself settle into a groove; I backed off a bit on the uphill and picked up the pace but didn’t go all out on the downhill sections. I had just checked my mile split when my eyes settled on two red shirts about a hundred feet ahead of me; it was the lifeguard shirt guys from the bike. I passed by them and knew that unlike on the bike leg I would not be seeing them again anytime soon. A few minutes later I saw Emily ride by and about 70 seconds later Jen came zooming by sporting her beautiful smile. We shouted some encouragement to each other and I kept on running. I hit the 5k mark and turn around at 22:30 (7:14 AP).

After turning around we had about a half mile of uphill but I was ready to roll and I picked up the pace and started pushing myself. I passed a few more people in this section (I was only passed once by a 41 y.o. guy in the last mile) and at the four mile mark I saw Emily again. We high fived and about 30 seconds later I saw Jen sporting an even bigger smile than the last time I saw her! She gave me five and I told her she was doing great and that I would see her soon. When I felt like I was within a half mile of the finish I picked up the pace to almost puke level and pushed hard to the end. I crossed the line with a 10k time of 44:30 giving me a second 5k split of 22:00 (7:04 AP).

Total Run: 44:30 – 7:10 AP – 48/225 (looks like two more fell out on the bike).

When I was done I snagged a bottle of water and walked over to my transition area to grab the camera so I could get some pics of Jen and Emily coming in. After standing around in my wet tri top for a few minutes I ran back over and put on a dry shirt because I was getting cold.

Jen came in a few minutes later followed by Emily a couple minutes later. We hung out for a bit and talked before packing up our stuff and heading back into Portland for a great breakfast at Mother’s.

Total Time: 2:35:30 – 6th place in AG

Hagg Lake Olympic

Race Report coming soon!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Blue Lake Sprint Race Report

This weekend was my first race of the season and it went well. I was happy with my performance in all areas but it also made me realize that I have some work to do in the bike and the swim.

We arrived at Blue Lake around 6:45 and after a quick stop for body marking we made our way into transition to set up. After putting everything in its place I made a quick bathroom stop then put on my wetsuit and headed down to the water to get in a warm up swim before my wave started.

There were 95 guys starting in my wave and since it was a water start I found a spot to float towards the front and a bit off to the side. I adjusted my goggles, got ready to start my watch, then 10,9,8,7,6,5,4,3,2,1 and we were off! The first few seconds were madness as they usually are and for the first time in a race I had my goggles knocked off my face. I calmly lifted my head out of the water, put my goggles back over my eyes, and started swimming again; I don't think I even had time to think about what had happened until later on in the swim. After rounding the first buoy I settled into a groove and was able to get on some feet for a while; also another first for me in a race. By the time we came around the last buoy I was towards the middle-front of the pack (maybe 25th or 26th) and I pushed hard for shore.

Swim time: 14:17 (I have a feeling it was a bit long, but what can you do?)
Overall swim: 95th of 628

I ran up into transition, peeled my suit off, threw on my bike necessities, ran to the mount line and headed out on the road.

T1: 2:30

Since I was in the first wave there wasn't too much passing taking place on the bike. I did pass a couple guys and was passed three or four times (a couple of those were by guys in their 40's that came blowing past me). There was a bit of a headwind on the way out but nothing too bad and from the glances I took at my computer I seemed to be averaging around 20 mph for most of the ride. Looking back on this portion of the race I really realized that I need to focus more on the bike this year and keep up on the riding throughout the off season to get stronger. I pretty much stopped riding last August and didn't start again until this April and although I rode faster than I have in any other races I still felt like I could be riding even faster. All in all I rode as hard as I thought I could and I was happy with the result.

Bike: 35:49 (20.1 mph)
Overall bike: 144th of 628

When I was running back into T2 I was feeling it a bit in my legs but what really hurt was my ass - I forgot how stingy the padding in tri shorts is compared to bike shorts. Anyway, bike gear off, run gear on, hit the road.

T2: 1:38

My plan for the run was to start out strong but not push too hard for the first mile then start picking up steam in mile two and go for it in the last mile. I have to say I am happy with my run time which turned out to be my second fastest 5k (only my stand alone time is faster). My legs felt great the whole time and aside from my right shoe feeling a bit loose (first time in quick laces in a while) I didn't have any problems. I passed four people on the run and was passed once but I got back ahead of him in the last 100 feet of the race.

Run: 21:16 (6:51 AP)
Overall run: 28th of 628

Total Time: 1:15:30
8th of 32 in males 30-34
45th of 628 overall

Next up, Hagg Lake Olympic in July - a nice hilly course that will prepare me for the hilly Lake Stevens course in July.

(Happy with our great day! Jen was 9th in her AG and she had an awesome race)

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Another Year in Books

Yes, I'm still here I just haven't had much time to post lately. I've thought about it a few times but never really get around to it.

The training is going well and my first tri on the 13th is almost here. Last weekend Jen and I went out to Hagg Lake for our first OWS of the year and it went great. We both swam the 800 and I finished in 12:57; if I swim that same time or a bit faster at Blue Lake I will be very pleased.

We've been consistently making it out to masters lately and we've been getting in some miles on the bike but the bulk of the riding has been on the weekends. In the next few weeks as I gear up for the Hagg Olympic and Lake Stevens 70.3 I will definitely be riding longer during the week.

In May I finished another year of books and although I didn't read nearly as many as last year but still quite a few. Following is the list of the books, the author, and the date I finished them:

At Play in the Fields of the Lord - Peter Matthiessen - 06.15.08
The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho - 06.22.08
World War Z (An Oral History of the Zombie War) - Max Brooks - 06.28.08
The Monkey Wrench Gang - Edward Abbey - 08.21.08
The Last Oracle - James Rollins - 09.20.08
Frankenstein - Mary Shelley - 10.05.08
The Family - Mario Puzzo - 10.14.08
The Jungle - Upton Sinclair - 10.26.08
Lord of the Flies - William Golding - 10.28.08
The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams - 11.03.08
The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
Tale of two Cities - Charles Dickens - 11.28.08
Animal Farm - George Orwell - 11.30.08
The Black Hand (The Bloody Rise & Redemption of "Boxer Enriquez" A Mexican Mob Killer) - Chris Blatchford
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest - Ken Kesey - 12.18.08
Nineteen Eight Four - George Orwell - 12.24.08
Brisinger - Christoper Paolini - 01.25.09
A Game of Thrones - George R.R. Martin - 02.22.09
A Clash of Kings - George R.R. Martin - 03.13.09
A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin - 03.22.09
A Feast for Crows - George R.R. Martin - 04.02.09
Watership Down - Richard Adams - 04.24.09
Skin Tight - Carl Hiaasen - 05.04.09
Basket Case - Carl Hiassen - 05.15.09

So not nearly as many as last year but I suppose that's what happens when you aren't riding the train for 90 minutes every day. Once I stopped working in San Francisco I lost that time and once we moved to Portland I was busy checking out our new surroundings (which I am still trying to do although tri training is taking up a lot of my time these days).

Of those that I read this year I enjoyed The Family, The Jungle, and Watership Down; all the rest were good in their own way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Sunny San Diego

Last week I was down in San Diego for work so I wasn't able to make it out for any weekday riding but I did get in some good running and even made it to the pool a couple times. I found a pool that was a little over a mile from my hotel and to make it even better, it was located outside. I haven't swam in an outdoor pool for about eight months and I forgot how nice it is. For some reason I have always enjoyed swimming in an outdoor pool even though there are many times (really cold or really hot days) when an indoor pool has its advantages.

The first day I walked over and paid only to find that I had left my goggles back in my hotel room. I didn't have time to walk back to the hotel and then back to the pool so I decided to do some kicking - it really sucked with no goggles. I checked with the desk to see if there was a pair in the lost and found but no such luck. After 50 more yards of no-goggle, no-fun swimming I decided to call it a day. As I climbed out of the pool I noticed a bin on the deck and some part of me thought there was a small chance that there might be a pair of lost or discarded goggles lying in wait. Sure enough, it was the latter, a pair of goggles with a broken strap. I quickly pulled a MacGyver (POW!!) and tied the strap in a knot thus over riding the faulty strap that had hindered the previous owner and I claimed them as my own. They lasted 1,250 yards before springing a substantial leak. I tried messing around with them for another 250 before calling it quits. At this point I was doing quite well for a guy that was just recently trying to eek out a kicking swim workout with no goggles, so the day was a success in my book.

My next swim was much better; I had my goggles.

Total yards swimming: 4,000 (1,500 and 2,500)

I managed to remember my shoes when I went running which worked out great so there isn't much to report there. It was nice that the marine layer didn't go away until around one it was never too sunny but it sure was warm and humid. I got out three times for a total of 17.5 miles while I was in town:

5 miles @ 7:21
7.5 miles @ 8:00
5 miles @ 7:57

Saturday Jen and I went out for a great ride; you can read all about it here. She is really rocking the bike this year, it's like night and day compared to last year - on our last ride she rode strong on the inclines and attacked the downhill sections. I think her max mph was 31.something - awesome.

Sunday I took off from our place for an 8.75 mile run (I was going for eight or nine depending on how I felt). My legs were a bit tired but I managed to keep an 8:00 min/mile avg. on the Springwater which is nice and flat.

Overall a great week.

Anyway, here are some pics from the trip:

Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Eugene Half Marathon

Saturday afternoon Jen and I headed down to Eugene to pick up our race packets for the half marathon. We arrived at the expo and headed in to pick up our numbers and chips. Somehow Jen's number was not in the box and they were unable to find it; so after a quick stop at the registration desk she got a new chip and number and we were on our way to the hotel. The place we were staying at was a couple blocks away from campus so we walked over to check out the start line and grab a bit to eat. We grabbed some pizza then headed back to our room to relax and watch some TV.

Sunday morning I woke up around 5:20 and looked outside to see sheets of rain falling on the parking lot. By about 6:00 the rain had started letting up and after some breakfast and a cup of coffee we headed out the door and ran over to the start. Since we were so close to the hotel we were able to hang out in our hotel room until 6:40 so we stayed out of the rain for as long as possible (and had our own bathroom). Once we arrived at the start I ran around a bit more, stretched out, found a spot to climb the fence and got in line with Jen. She stood with me for a couple minutes then headed back in the crowd a bit to find a good place to start. After a couple U of O folks sang the national anthem we were off.

Going into the race I knew I wanted to start off easy and pick up the pace as I went along. I lined up with the 3:10 marathon pace group and stayed with them for the first mile. A couple minutes into mile two I decided to pull away from the pace group and run on my own. I passed quite a few people in the next couple miles as the crowds started to thin and people started getting into their groove. I was going a bit fast on my second mile so I dialed it back a bit and tried to find a nice comfortable pace. Around mile 4.5 we hit the first hill and I slowed down a bit but at this point I wasn't too worried; I wanted to bank energy to use later, not time.

Mile 1: 7:48
Mile 2: 6:56
Mile 3: 7:10
Mile 4: 7:19
Mile 5: 7:28

After mile five the course turned to the right and we headed down one steep street before making another right and heading down a slight decline for the next mile or so at which point the road flattened out. The toughest climb came at mile 8.5; I could see it from about a tenth of a mile away and it was maybe eight blocks long. Being able to see the top of the hill was one of the toughest things about it because you could see just how much further there was to go during the entire climb. I made the decision to dial it back a bit on the climb and conserve my energy. At the top I made another decision that paid off; I was going to let myself slowly pick up the pace but I wasn't really going to get going again until my breathing was back to normal. By the time I hit the bottom of the hill my heart and lungs had calmed down and I fell back into a nice groove.

Mile 6: 7:00
Mile 7: 7:06
Mile 8: 7:06
Mile 9: 7:21
Mile 10: 7:09

At this point I knew I was on track to set a new PR but I kept telling myself that anything can happen in the last couple miles and not to get ahead of myself. I could feel myself getting tired and I felt like I was slowing down just a bit. At mile 11 I picked up the pace a bit but tried not to go too hard since there was still two miles to go. I felt pretty strong so I focused on picking up the couple people in front of me to kill time to mile 12. At 12.5 I started pushing myself and I was fairly confident in a PR at this point. I turned the corner and finished with a strong kick.

Mile 11: 7:19
Mile 12: 7:08
Mile 13: 6:54
Last .08: :30

Chip time: 1:34:12 -- 7:12 AP -- a new PR by 1:59!!

We headed back to the hotel to take a quick shower and change clothes before grabbing a quick bagel and heading over to the finish area to watch Aron finish the marathon. We saw her come in then met up with Alisa and Amy who had made the drive down from Portland to cheer us on. They made some great signs and screamed loud for us and all the other runners out on the course.

After that we made the drive back to Portland and spent the afternoon relaxing and enjoying a couple cocktails. Tomorrow is an off day then it's back to tri training and getting ready for our first race which will be here in a few short weeks.

Jen had a fun time and although she didn't PR she ran a solid race and enjoyed her training more than I have seen her enjoy it in a long time.

No race pics posted yet but Jen posted a few good shots from the last couple days over on her blog.

Overall it was a great race and although I'm ready for tri training and tri season I am looking forward to my next chance to better my time.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


Running the half on Sunday - after all the recent Portland races it will be nice to be running a race with different scenery.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hooked on a Feeling

You ever get that feeling that you are totally slacking even though really you are basically keeping up on your workouts and sticking to your schedule? For some reason I’ve had that feeling since my birthday week. Am I possibly just suffering from the effects of old age? Am I just feeling like I am not reaching my full potential now that I’m out of my 20’s? Would I feel better about myself if I bought a new, um, well not a new car since I don’t really ever drive, but, let’s say a new, uh, ah hell, I dunno; how about a new – set – of –tires? For my bike? LAME-O. Or maybe if I just started getting back out to the pool then I wouldn’t feel like I’ve been slacking – huh, go figure.

Anyway – so yeah, I haven’t been out to the pool since before my birthday and I’ve missed a couple of short runs (which admittedly isn’t that big of a deal and it was probably better for me to miss them and do something fun). I’m planning on getting out to the pool after work today and Thursday which will put me back on the right track mentally.

Coming up this weekend is the Eugene Half Marathon which both Jen and I are running. Right now there is a 40% chance of rain for race day but I’ve learned that in the Spring in Oregon the standard operating procedure is to start the week with a forecast of doom and gloom then lighten it up as the days go by. So for all I know it is actually going to be sunny and in the mid 70’s on race day even though now it looks like mid 50’s and raining.

This last weekend Jen and I rode 26ish miles in Forest Park (20 miles in the park, 6 to and from) on Sunday and on Saturday we went out to Hagg Lake for a run. We started out on the trail which lasted for all of a mile when we decided that running on the road would be a much better option since neither of us was in the market for a twisted ankle, a broken wrist, or any other fall related injuries. So after my first mile at 11:47 we hit the road and I was able to get in 10 hilly miles with an AP of 7:46 for those 10 miles. I finished off the run with a 6:44 mile; it was a solid run overall and it will be nice to get back out there for more training runs and rides in the coming months. The single track would also be fun to ride sometime as well.

Speaking of riding single track – I am leaning more and more towards buying a pair of mtb shoes and pedals. When I’ve been up riding in Forest Park my feet are constantly sliding around whenever I hit a bumpy section which totally throws off my balance which leads to me keeping a death grip on my handlebars. I need to get the bike in for a quick tune-up sometime soon so maybe I’ll have them throw some pedals on there as well – although it’s more likely that I’ll balk at paying for them and just end up bitching about it for a few more months.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Getting Caught Up

Well it’s been a while since I updated but that’s not due to a lack of things going on; more just because I haven’t really had time to sit down and type anything out.

Last Thursday I turned 30 and celebrated with some friends at one of our neighborhood spots. It was a lot of fun thanks to the organizational capabilities of my beautiful wife.

Speaking of the cutie; she started her new job today and from the short report I received a while ago it sounds like she had a great day. I’m looking forward to hearing all about it this evening.

Sunday morning Jen and I walked across the river to line up for the Bridge to Brews 10k which started at the wonderful time of 9:00 which allowed us to sleep in a bit. It was a beautiful day and I was fairly confident in my chances of breaking my old PR which I set in 2005 (55:24). My fastest mile was 6:41, the slowest 7:28 which included a 25-30 second hold up to let a train go by. Yeah, that’s right, a train. We were running along and I could hear it coming up behind us but I was still a good quarter mile from the crossing. As the train got closer people started dashing across the tracks and running along the crushed gravel on the far side of the tracks. There were actually people running in front of the train with only 15 or 20 feet to spare. I saw one guy turn back only when it was obvious the train was going to run him down. All I could think was, Really? I mean, none of us were in contention for first place and there was no prize money anyway, and let’s be honest; another day of living is worth much more than any race purse. Anyway, after waiting for the train to pass (it was only a passenger train) I finished the last mile and a half or so and came in at 43:13 for a 6:57 AP.

Race Stats: AG: 15/120 Males: 67/543 OA: 74/1243

Eugene is coming up fairly quickly (May 3rd) and I think I’m prepared both mentally and physically – I guess we’ll see where the cards fall come race day. This will be a tough PR to beat for sure.

The weather in Portland has been so awesome lately. We’ve had some days in the high 70’s, the leaves and flowers are coming out left and right, and the days are getting longer. I think sunset is at like 8:05 these days and will soon be closer to 9:00.

In misc. racing news I am now on a Hood to Coast team which I am pretty excited about. I don’t know what legs I will be running but I’m hoping that I get one of the really random times like 2am or something just for the experience (I’ll be running at least three legs so chances are I will have some random time for sure).

Thursday, April 9, 2009

People on the Track go Round and Round

After the race on Sunday I took Monday completely off and slept in then kicked back after work and enjoyed the nice weather. I've had a pretty good week so far and have been able to get in all my workouts even though a couple were changed around.

Tuesday morning I was up and on the trainer for an hour before work; I got in the big ring for a while but still tried to keep it pretty easy as I'm just starting to build a good bike base. That evening I was out at the pool for pm masters where I had a solid swim getting in 2,600 yards in the hour I was there.

Wednesday I decided to switch the schedule around and instead of running in the morning and swimming at night I decided to go to the track workout with Jen and Emily. Since it was my first track workout since, I dunno, 1995, I decided that I would just do a shortened version of Emily's workout. After a warm up mile and some drills to get our legs warmed up we headed out:

Warm up mile: 8:20
1200m: 4:30 (6:00 pace)
3:00 rest
400m: 1:08 (4:32 pace)
3:00 rest
1200m: 4:31 (6:00 pace)
3:00 rest
400m: 1:12 (4:48 pace)
3:00 rest
Two miles cool down: 16:27

Since I was supposed to swim Wednesday night I pushed that back to tonight which worked out great. I had a good break through at practice and really felt like my stroke was coming together. Granted it was only in little spurts but I could really feel when it felt right so now I know what to shoot for whenever I'm in the pool. This morning I was up for a trainer ride. I was supposed to ride for 1:45:00 but I ended up doing 1:20:00 - oh well, I wasn't too broken up over it.

Looks like rain in Portland this weekend which is a total surprise. I mean rain in Portland in April; whoda thunk it. Certainly not me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sunshine on my Shoulders

Last week was great – I hit all my workouts, including swimming, and capped the week off by running the Race for the Roses half marathon with Jen on a beautiful Portland day.

Saturday was a weather preview for Sunday and we took full advantage of it. Jen and I got up and had a quick cup of coffee before heading over to the race expo to pick up our packets. There weren’t too many people there when we arrived so we grabbed our stuff then headed back to the west side to grab a bagel at Kettleman’s. After breakfast we strolled down to the river and met Emily who was walking back downtown from the expo. We walked along the waterfront and ended up grabbing some lunch at this little cafĂ© in the south waterfront called Bean & Tree. There were a lot of people and dogs out enjoying the day so we watched everyone walk by for a while then headed back up towards our neighborhood. After a quick stop at Whole Foods we got home and kicked back and relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning I set my alarm for 5:05 so I would have time to get up and have some breakfast and coffee before heading out. I opted for a long sleeve shirt and shorts since I knew that even though it was going to be a nice day it would start out crisp and would likely only be in the 50’s by the time we finished the race. We walked across the river to the start and got there with about 20 minutes to spare. After a quick port-o-stop we checked our bag and I went for a quick warm up jog. Since I was running this race as a training run I planned on running the entire thing with Jen. It was a solid run for me with an AP of 8:01 (I spent quite a bit of time thinking about how “fun” it is going to be running approx :45 faster per mile in Eugene).

After the race we met up with Emily and our friends Deana and Dana and we waited around to see if Emily placed in her AG in the 5k. After the awards (Emily came in fourth) Deana, Dana, Jen, and I walked over to Starbucks and sat out in the sun enjoying a nice cup of coffee. It was such a nice day that we opted for walking home instead of hoping on MAX or taking the bus. We got home, changed clothes, and headed out to meet up with the Portland crew for brunch and cocktails at Mother’s Bistro. After brunch Emily, Jen, and I walked down to the waterfront and did some people-watching for a while before we headed home for a nap. Later that evening we were back outside heading over to a local Mexican joint for some dinner. By the time we got home (8:30ish) I was ready for bed.

Overall it was a great weekend – for a full recap and pics of the race and post-race activities check out Jen’s blog.

Here’s a recap of last week’s activities – I totally slacked on the push ups but two days of swimming in a row threw a Monkey Wrench in my plans:

Monday: 4.5 miles in pm with Jen and Emily – 8:38 AP; Push Ups: 160
Tuesday: Rode 60 minutes on the trainer before work
Wednesday: Ran five miles before work – 7:21 AP; Swam 2,200y at pm masters
Thursday: Rode 60 minutes on the trainer before work; Swam 2,000y at pm masters
Friday: NADA
Saturday: NADA (aka pre-race rest)
Sunday: Race for the Roses Half Marathon – 1:45:12 – 8:01 AP

Two weeks till the Bridge to Brews 10k, Four weeks till the Eugene HM.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Friendly Factor

And a Good Morning to You

This weekend I had a friend coming down from Seattle for the day so I was up at 5:45 on Saturday morning to have some coffee and breakfast before heading out around 6:50 for my long run. I had 12 miles on the schedule and wanted to run them at a GA pace that felt comfortable. When I stepped outside it was chilly and just starting to rain, but the time I was done the temperature had fallen a few degrees and the rain was steadily coming down.

Typically when I’m out running I try to nod or wave at the other runners and cyclists I see out on the trail and I usually get a 50% return on my investment. On Saturday I received an almost 100% salutation return in the first hour of my run which surprised the hell out of me. I guess people that get up early to run on a cold rainy day are happy to see someone else out there getting their miles in. Towards the end of the run I started encountering larger groups and weekend warriors who were not as quick to provide a return greeting or salutation.

After my first mile I stopped for a quick stretch then settled into a pace in the high 7’s with a couple miles creeping down into the 7:30’s and a couple right above 8:00. The run felt good and before I knew it I was on the home stretch.

Total = 12 miles in 1:34:12 – 7:51AP

Tired Mid-Week Legs

Wednesday morning of last week I was up for my first pre-work run in a long time. I had changed my schedule around a bit and ran eight miles on Monday evening so I would only have to do four on Wednesday morning. Once I headed out I was glad I had switched the miles around this way. My legs were feeling very heavy and I never felt like I was able to loosen up; I trudged through the run and ended up with an AP of around 8:35.

Wheels on the Bike Keep on Turning

Last week I got out on my road bike for the first time since August; Jen rode with me after work on Thursday and we did 20 miles at an easy pace. It was fun to be outside riding and I was glad that Jen decided to join me.

Every Pirate Loves a Wine Party

Saturday night we went to a wine party at Emily’s place where we enjoyed some great food, friends, and wine. Since I’m not a big wine drinker I filled my glass with Captain Morgan and managed to have as good of a time as everyone else. The bottle that Jen picked out ended up winning which meant that we were going to take home six bottles of wine as the prize. Of course we decided that sharing was the better course to take and by the end of the night everyone managed to finish off all the bottles of wine. So yeah, 12 bottles of wine, 10 people drinking wine, four of which were driving and/or racing the next day, so basically six people drinking 10 bottles of wine…………let’s just say that everyone got their antioxidants and then some.

What’s on Tap

This week I’m scaling back the running to do a sort of mini-taper for the Race for the Roses Half on Sunday. I’m planning on running it as a training run with Jen but I still think taking it easy this week is a good plan; even though I’m not running it at full bore it will still be fast enough to regret trying to run it on tired legs. Tomorrow morning I will be on the trainer again but I hope to get out for a road or mtb ride on Thursday after work. Of course swimming is in the cards a few times this week as well. I’ve really been slacking on my swimming lately and the May 31st ows will be here before I know it.

Quick Recap
Run: 30 miles
Ride: 60 minutes trainer, 20 miles road
Swim: 1,100 yards
Push ups: 509

Have a great week and remember to question everything you hear on Wednesday!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Let the Games Begin

Today is the start of my training plan for the Lake Stevens 70.3 in August and since Monday is going to be my OFF day I was able to sleep in this morning. I’ll be running after work today and every Monday for the next few weeks so I won’t actually have an official rest day until after the Eugene Half Marathon in early May.

Last week I took it pretty easy (aka I was lazy) and didn’t get in any yardage at the pool. I only got in a couple short rides on the trainer as well. However, I didn’t slack on my running and had some great weekday runs capped off with a really good run on Saturday. Before I get into the weekend run, here are the stats for the mid-week miles:

Tuesday – Seven miles, 53:19, 7:37 AP
Wednesday – Seven miles, 55:50, 7:58 AP
Friday – Four miles, 33:47, 8:27 AP

On Saturday I had 12 miles on the schedule and I wanted to run two warm up, four at 7:30 AP, four in the 7-teens, then two as a cool down. I really wanted to run the second four mile leg in the low 7’s but I was a little freaked out by that goal so I settled for something in the 7:15 range. The weather was great – high 40’s and partly cloudy, by the time I was done it was in the mid-50’s and sunny. I kept it easy for the first two miles and about halfway through the second mile I started picking up the pace so that the transition to my first faster mile wasn’t so abrupt.

Miles one and two: 8:19 and 7:47

I settled into a nice relaxed pace which felt easy but fast. As the miles went by I was really happy to see how consistent I was running. My paces used to be all over the place on most of my solo runs but lately I have been able to keep them all within a few seconds of each other; Saturday was no exception:

Miles three to six: 7:31, 7:32, 7:29, and 7:36

I ate my Vanilla Bean Gu right before the turn around so that I didn’t have to mess around with it when I started picking up the pace. The next four miles were tough but once again I was able to keep a consistent pace and get them all done; and they were all in the low 7’s!

Miles seven to ten: 7:04, 7:02, 7:06, 6:59

I slowed down to run out the last two miles nice and easy and when I was done I took my time stretching out. After that I blended up a recovery drink which was a little over a cup of chocolate milk, about 12 ice cubes, a tablespoon of peanut butter, and a heaping tablespoon of vanilla protein powder from Whole Foods. I forgot how good recovery shakes can be.

Miles 11 and 12: 7:50 and 8:00

Total Run: 12 miles, 1:30:19, 7:31 AP

While drinking my recovery shake I knocked out my push ups and am happy to say that I’m finally confident enough to move onto week five of the plan. Week four was pretty tough for me but after repeating it four times I was able to complete all the sets.

This week I ran a total of 30 miles, rode the bike for an hour on the trainer, and did 423 push ups.

Sunday we drove out to the coast and spent a fun day hanging out, checking out the beach and the ship wreck at Fort Stevens, and enjoying the drive along the Columbia and the ocean. I’m sure Jen will post some pictures of the trip on her blog.

Two weeks till the Race for the Roses Half Marathon where I hope to pace Jen to a PR. She has been having some great workouts lately and I am confident that if we follow the plan of taking it easy in the first part of the race to bank some energy she will be able to push hard through the second half and set a new PR.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Red Rain (Shamrock Run 15k Race Report)

Today was the Shamrock Run 15k which turned out to be a bit tougher than I thought. A large part of that was due to the first 4.5 miles of hills; a painful side cramp at mile eight played another part. I sometimes get very painful side stitches on my right side and today was one of those days. I knew it was bound to happen in a race eventually but since today wasn't an A race day I wasn't too bent out of shape when it happened.

The day started out rainy and windy and fairly cold. We walked over to the start line around 8:00 and had time for a warm up run before giving our sweatshirts and rain jackets to my parents. We lined up toward the front and ten minutes later we were on our way.

Mile one: Getting in a groove

I new I didn't want to start out too fast because of the hills; and because that's just a stupid thing to do even if there aren't hills. I settled into a groove and was passing quite a few people. AP: 6:58

Mile two: Let's start climbing

Mile two slowly climbed uphill along Broadway which runs right through downtown from north to south. I kept reminding myself not to push too hard and I did a pretty good job at that. I was still passing people at this point but not as many as during the first mile because the crowd was starting to thin out. AP: 7:23

Mile three: Welcome to the Jungle

Mile three started climbing up Terwilliger (sp?) and I knew that this mile and the next would be pretty tough; and they were. I slowed down a bit and tried to keep a solid stride as I climbed. By this point I wasn't passing many people at all but no one was really passing me either. AP: 7:40

Mile four: More of the same

Mile four was just as tough as mile three but knowing that the hills were nearly over really kept me going. AP: 7:39

Mile five: Hmmmmmm, still hilly

At this point the constant climbing stopped but now the hills were rolling. The elevation at the start was approx 22 feet and at the highest point, which is right around mile 4.5 was approx 550 feet so at this point any downhill stretches were nice. I tried to relax on the downhill stretches and keep a solid pace on the uphill sections. AP: 7:15

Mile six: Time to pick up the pace

Mile six started with a nice downhill stretch then it flattened out and started a very slight downhill. I wasn't too tired but could feel a bit of a side cramp starting on my left side which isn't the source of the mega-pain cramps so I didn't worry too much about it. AP: 6:53

Mile seven: Ah shit, here comes the pain

Towards the end of mile seven I felt a cramp starting on my right side and I started to worry. I had been cruising along pretty well and was on track to get a pretty good time but I knew that if the cramp in my right side got any worse I was going to have to stop. AP: 6:58

Mile eight: Walk it out

I decided right away that I was going to walk and stretch my side a bit to try to get the cramp to go away. In training I have tried to gut it out and push through the pain which inevitably leads to the cramp getting so bad that I have to walk for a few minutes and then it bothers me for a few days. Today I decided to just deal with it and walk when I needed to. In mile eight I walked three times and when I was running I kept a very easy pace. AP: 8:51 (boooooooooo)

Mile nine: Turns out walking was a good decision

Well, I wasn't able to pick the pace back up to pre-cramp levels but the cramp never got any worse and I was able to push out a descent mile nine. AP: 7:36

Last little bit: Well, it wasn't what I wanted but..............

The last leg of the race was fairly flat and I was keeping a pretty good pace to the finish line. I was glad that my cramp didn't get to Defcon 5 (which means that SOB sticks with me for days). AP: 6:58

My final time was 1:10:43 and the distance on my Garmin was 9.51 for an AP of 7:26 - my AP on the posted results will be a bit slower but whatever, it's a PR since it's my first; and this will give me a chance to beat that time next time around.

Pre-race raingear:

Coming down the final stretch - me in white:

Me again:

Finisher's Donut:

Jen had a great day and I think it gave her a nice confidence boost for the Race for the Roses HM which is coming up on April 5th. Check out her blog for the full report.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

This weekend is my first race of 2009 and my penultimate race in my 20’s. Since it’s a new distance (15k) I’ll have a PR for sure which is always cool. I would like to run an average in the low 7’s to give me a confidence boost for the half in Eugene. The first four miles are a climb but it really isn’t too bad till miles three and four. After that it should roll a little bit then decline for the last three or so miles. The last mile is basically flat so at that point I’ll just try to hold on to my pace and not die.

This week I didn’t make it to the pool but I wasn’t too torn up over it – Tuesday we went out for dinner and drinks with friends and yesterday my parents arrived for the weekend so I opted to hang out with them instead of hitting up the pool.

Quite a few Portland bloggers are running Shamrock this weekend – the majority of them are running the 15k except for Emily who is running the 5k and should smash her old PR. After the race it’s breakfast with the folks then a nice relaxing day of whatever we feel like.

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Another Brick in the Wall

A couple weeks ago I read something that I’ve really been trying to keep in mind during my workouts. Basically it said “To be a good runner you can’t think in terms of days and weeks, it takes months and years to reach your full potential”. Of course it was written much better than that but you get the gist. I’ve been reminding myself of this every time my goals start to get a little out of control. For example, my goal for the Eugene half is a sub 1:35:00 but when I’m feeling fast and running strong in training I start to think that going sub 1:30:00 is totally reasonable. This of course is a total recipe for disaster. It reminds me of a dream I had recently where I had talked myself up as an awesome tennis player and next thing I knew I was facing off against Pete Sampras. I remember thinking “what in the hell did I get myself into”. Luckily I woke up a bit later and was relieved that it was just a dream; pushing too hard in the first miles of a race to hit an unreasonable goal can be a nightmare that unfortunately, you can’t wake up from. But I digress – back to training talk.

Last weekend Jen and I ran up at Lacamas Lake in Camas and had a great run. She had some goal pace miles lined up in the middle (14 miles total with 7 at race pace) and she totally nailed them. I was responsible for keeping tabs on our pace so we ended up with a difference of about 35 seconds between our fastest and slowest miles; yeah, I’m not the best at keeping a steady pace – that’s Jen’s expertise. The trail had some little rollers in it and in the last couple miles I could really feel it in my hip flexors when we would run up them.

Sunday we headed out to Multnomah Falls and hiked to the viewing platform at the top. The trail is a mile long and climbs 700 feet; a perfect trail to try to run up sometime in my opinion. Since it was the day after a long run, and I had jeans on, and I really don’t think I could do it right now, I decided that this was something to keep in mind for the future. Here I am on the bridge that crosses the lower falls:

Before I get into this week, here are my totals from last week:

Swim: 0 -- Bike: 75 min on trainer -- Run: 31.5 mi -- Push Ups: 366

And my Feb totals:

Swim: 10,100 yards -- Bike: 5:30:00 trainer -- Run: 107.5 mi -- Push Ups: 1,370

This week I started with six easy miles Monday evening after work followed by a repeat of day one, week four of the pushups challenge. I’ve really hit a tough spot with this week and I have a feeling I’ll be repeating it a couple more times before I move on.

Six miles – 49:04 - 8:11 AP

Tuesday morning I was up before work for an hour on the trainer – nothing exciting to report here. I watched the end of Alien vs. Predator II – Requiem. It was pretty good, but then again I’ve been hooked since Arnold, aka “Dutch”, battled the original Predator in the jungles of Guatemala. After work I headed out to the pool for masters.

Trainer – 60 minutes
Swim – 2,250 yards

Wednesday after work was another Tempo run of six miles. I felt good through the miles and never felt that I was working so hard that I would not be able to complete the distance.

Last week I ran five tempo miles at 6:28, 6:57, 6:48, 6:48, and 6:56.

This week’s miles came in at 6:42, 6:55, 6:44, 6:46, 6:35, 6:41 – miles one and eight were 8:30 and 7:44.

I was really wore out after the run so I only did two sets of 25 push ups before making a quick sandwich and heading over to the Rose Garden to meet some co-workers for the Blazers game.

Eight miles w/ six at Tempo: 56:36 - 7:04 AP

I hope everyone has a great Friday and a fun weekend – if you are racing, good luck!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Against the Wind

I’ve been runnin – against the wind – I’ve been runnin against the wind.

Last night I set out for seven miles with four at tempo pace and was “delighted” aka devastated to find myself running into a very strong headwind during my warm up mile. I stopped to stretch and turn on DJ Tiesto before picking up the pace and starting the first tempo mile. Of course as I picked up the pace the wind picked up in intensity so I pushed hard thinking that the wind would be slowing me down into the mid 7’s. Since the plan was to run the five miles of tempo without a break I was a bit worried that the wind combined with the extra effort required to maintain a tempo pace would wipe me out. Well, turns out I pushed a bit harder than I thought in the first mile and it came in faster than expected.

Mile 1: 6:28

Once I saw the time I let off the gas a bit since my goal tempo pace is in the 6:45 to 7:00 range. Even though I let up a bit I was still running into a headwind and I was breathing hard from the first mile. I knew I wanted to slow a bit but didn’t want to slow too much this early on in the miles:

Mile 2: 6:57

Ok, that wasn’t so bad and at this point I knew that I only had three left. I told myself that if the fourth mile was total hell I would call it a day there and jog out the last two miles as a cool down. The wind was only a factor on the first half mile since I turned around halfway through the third tempo mile. Once I turned around I noticed an immediate difference and settled into a nice comfortable groove for the rest of mile three and mile four.

Mile 3 & 4: 6:48

Once I had four miles done I knew I could make it through one more but it was pretty tough; the slight incline for the last quarter mile didn’t make any easier either. I hit the mile mark and slowed down to run out the last mile for a cool down.

Mile 5: 6:56

Cool down mile: 7:57

Overall it was a great run and I was pleased with my pace but I learned a good lesson about pushing hard just to spite a headwind. Next time I have to run into the wind I’ll try to remember to scale it back a bit and not burn up too much energy too early in the run. Of course that is much easier said than done.

Monday after work I did 6 easy miles – my average pace came in at 8:07. It was a nice run and I chatted with Jen while she rode her bike along with me. It’s great having someone along with you no matter if they are running or riding and the run went by fairly quickly.

The push ups challenge is going fairly well – I’ve moved onto week four now and the first day was challenging with the following set (21, 25, 21, 21, and a max of 29 of the suggested 32). Last night I moved onto day two of week four which was quite a bit harder. I was able to get the main set done (25, 29, 25, 25) but was only able to do 19 of the suggested 36 for the max. I’ll be doing this week again for sure then it’s time for another test to see how many I can do in a row. My initial test was 25, two weeks later I did 35, so I’m hoping that this time I can do 45. I guess we’ll see what we see.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Time Keeps on Slippin Slippin

Another week has come and gone and I'm now one week closer to my running goal race, the Eugene Half Marathon. I feel like the miles I have been putting in and the faster paces I have been running are starting to pay off; my easy pace is faster than it used to be and I feel like I can hold a faster pace for longer distances which I suppose is the whole point of training.

Last week I had some good runs and got my two trainer rides in during the week but only made it to the pool on Tuesday. Thursday I was planning on heading out after work but Jen was sick so I decided that good husbandry was more important than hitting up the pool. I stayed home and made dinner, did the dishes, and took care of the cutie so she could get better and get back out on the road with me.

Saturday I was out on the East Bank Esplanade for a 12 miler in the sun. The weather has been really nice here lately and it was great to be out enjoying the day with all the other runners, riders, and yes, even the walkers. When you head out for your run at 11:30 on a Saturday on a popular trail you've just got to expect that there will be a ton of other folks out enjoying the day and you've got to take it all in stride. I had to slow down a couple times to pass a couple groups but it wasn't that big of a deal and it wasn't like I was shooting for some type of training PR.

The push ups challenge is going pretty well - last week I decided to do week three over again and I think it was a good decision. Tonight (Monday) I started week four and felt better about the sets I had to do. At the end of this week I take a test to see how many I can do in a row - if it's over 40 I stay in the same level I'm in now, if not then I move down a level and keep on keepin on.

Weekly totals: Swim 1,950 yards -- Bike: 90 min on trainer -- Run: 28 miles -- Push Ups: 322