About Me

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San Francisco, California and, Carrboro, North Carolina, United States

Monday, August 29, 2011

Great Week of Training

I was still recovering from my flare up and the travel back to North Carolina, so Monday and Tuesday were good training days but not excellent.  I still felt a little weak.  I did do one thing super well and that is sleep.  When my body is not 100% because of my Crohn's, I make an effort to sleep at least 8 hours and if I can push it, 10 hours.  During the previous week and this week, I considered sleep and a lot of it, as important or even more important than a workout.  I slept a good 10 hours on Monday and another 9 and half Tuesday.      

By Wednesday I was feeling better and ready to tackle the tough workouts.  On Wednesday, Alex M. and I went out for an awesome ride and we really pushed the pace.  The workout called for an hour around threshold so Alex and I went to hills of the P-Ride beat up the hills pretty well.  It was perfect.  We both worked hard and my climbing legs are finally coming back to form. 

Thursday called for a key swim and a key run and I hit both workouts out of the park.  The key swim included a broken 1650 and with the subtraction of rest, I swam it in 18:18 (1:06 pace per 100 yards).  The run was tough, 10 X 600 meters @ 4:50 mile pace, followed by a minute easy.  I broke after number 8 but determined to finish, I ran 9 and 10, albeit a little slower, but nevertheless I finished the workout.  This was a great day that was top off by a Carrburito burrito. 

Friday, I was back in the pool with Justin P and Alex M, and Justin threw out a tough set.  The session was 5000 yards, with a main set of 600, 500, 400, 300, 200, 100, all on the 1:25 basis.  The 1:25 basis challenged our arithmetic skills, but after a bit of a struggle, we figured out the times and the three of us took of to swim.  We all swam great.  Justin swam well and Alex is swimming better than he ever has.  I too had a good swim, hitting, 6:42, 5:20, 4:26, 3:15, 2:10 and 1:02 for the swims.  I'm feeling strong in the water. 

Hurricane Irene arrived on the North Carolina coast on Saturday but Justin, Alex and I went forward with our plan to ride 4 hours together.  The weather was not too bad in Chapel Hill.  Chapel Hill is about a 4-5 hour drive from the Outerbanks of North Carolina so we anticipated some rain and strong wind gusts.  Our expectations came to light but in all the ride was very enjoyable.  I did get a kick out of riding 13mph into a headwind and working almost as hard as I could.  I followed up the ride with a 4.5 mile T-Run, with the first 4 miles run at 5:40 pace.   


On Sunday the weather was perfect.  Justin and I had an excellent long run on the Tobacco Trail.  The GPS map is a bit boring, it's an out an back, but the run was great, really enjoyed it.  To finish up the week, Elizabeth took time away from her mountain biking to join me for a nice easy swim.  It was a great week of training.


I am racing again soon!  I'm looking forward to racing with Team Challenge and competing in the San Diego TriRock Olympic Distance Triathlon on September 11.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

LAKE STEVENS 70.3 (6th Place Finish)

Swim -- 24:45

The swim at Lake Stevens is generally a fast one.  The water is clear and with many buoys the sighting is excellent.  On Thursday I had an excellent workout in the pool and I was excited to race this weekend and come out in the first swim group.  After the a short warm up of about 500-600 meters I quickly realized that today I was feeling a bit sluggish.  I was lacking the power I usually have in my stroke.  Knowing this I prepared to swim a smart race and conserve my energy.  I wanted to find a good set of feet to swim with and just sit behind them and not work too hard.  The gun went off and it was a fast start.  I tucked behind the wake of another swimmer and this is where I would stay for the first 1400 meters of the swim.  My choice of swimmers was not excellent, we were sitting in about 6th and 7th place and at the turn buoy 2nd through 5th were only about 20 meters ahead of us.  However, over the course of the next 400-500 meters the front group extended its lead to about 50 meters.  Feeling the pace was a little slow, I swam to the front and pulled the final 400 or so meters.  I exited in 6th place, about 30 seconds down from the first group. 

Bike -- 2:23:04
Jeff Symonds had a bit quicker transition than I, and he exited T1 with about a 5-10 second advantage.  Jeff is a superb cyclist, so I wanted to ride up to him and then have him set the pace over the next 56 miles.  I rode hard for the first mile or so, caught Jeff, and then dropped my chain.  I dropped the chain right on a downhill and it cost me about 10 seconds.  At over 35 mph, Jeff was gone.  I would ride solo for the next 10 miles until I was joined by Stephen Kilshaw.  I was happy to see another rider, because I was still feeling weak.  About mile 20, Stephen and I would catch super fast swimmer Gavin Anderson.  The three of us would ride the rest of the course together, alternating taking leads.  With two miles to go we had a short climb and then a left turn.  I made a bonehead mistake and rode up next to Gavin but did not go ahead of him as we turned left.  I instead drop back 10 meters.  A referee was right there and under the USAT rules this was a legal position, but under WTC rules, it was not, and the infraction would cost me a 4 minutes.  I rode towards T2 with Stephen and Gavin and as they rode into T2, I made a detour to the penalty box and started to serve my penalty.  Without the 4:00 penalty I would have ridden a 2:19, not too bad on day when I did not feel excellent.     
Run -- 1:20:04

After serving the penalty I decided to make a go of it and try to run down at least one athlete and move up into 6th place.  I also had the goal of not having any athletes run me down.  Again I felt a bit weak on the hills, but on the flats I felt great.  I ran well and put together a string of sub 6 minute miles.  At the turn around I saw I had taken some time back on Gavin, but Stephen was running great and putting time in on me.  I kept focus, stayed positive and said I was going to run my way into 6th.  With about 2 miles to go, Gavin's gap on me had been brought down from 4:00 to 35 seconds.  With a mile to go a spectator told me I was 22 seconds down.  I decided to give it all I had and I ran as hard as I could.  With about 400 meters to go I caught Gavin.  I felt great but I then thought, how I am going to run the next 400!   I kept my focus and kept running well.  I turned right towards the finishing chute, peaked over my shoulder and saw I had a good lead, and ran to the finish with a smile on my face.  6th place, another top 10 finish, I was very happy with it.  On a day when I did not feel excellent, I put together a good performance and was proud of myself for overcoming my sluggishness and my penalty.  

After taking a few easy days of training, and still feeling weak, I realized that my Crohn's had flared up again, but this time in different location and with different symptoms.  I think the travel between New York, North  Carolina and Seattle was too much.  Coupled with too many nights of only 6 hours of sleep I was in a hole.  My sluggishness is a result of my blood volume dropping some, and it's impacting my strength and power.  However, with some good rest and careful eye on my diet and sleep, I should be back to full strength soon.       


Thursday, August 11, 2011


On Saturday morning I traveled to New York to compete in the New York City 51.50 Triathlon.  We started by jumping into the Hudson River and swimming 1500 meters downstream (with the current = fast!). Once out of the water we had a 40 kilometer bike ride from Manhattan to the Bronx and back, followed by a 10 kilometer loop through Central Park.  I've been racing all 70.3 distances this summer, so heading into the race I was very excited to test my speed in the shorter Olympic distance triathlon and see how I could do against some of the sport's best.
Swim: 14:02 (1500 meters with the current) 
Exiting the water sans cap
and goggles.
I was a little worried about swimming in the Hudson River.  A recent NY Times article detailed serious pollution problems in the river, so swimming through it did not sound appealing. In fact, it was a real possibility that the swim would be cancelled until the final water quality report the day before the race declared the river safe. Hopefully the report was accurate because I swallowed an awful lot of the Hudson in the short 14 minutes it took me to finish the swim (gross.).

The weather Sunday morning was not great: rain, rain and some more rain.  After a 45 minute delay to the start of the race, the race director called the male pros out to the dock and we were set to go.  The swim started off with a dive from the pier and I made a tactical error by starting in the second row of athletes.  The gun fired and we were off.  Being in the second row, I quickly caught a couple slower swimmers and was rewarded with a quick kick to the face.  The kick was perfectly placed right under my left eye, taking off my goggles and swim cap and leaving me in a daze that lasted about 500 meters.  I was also a bit disgusted that I was now swimming through the Hudson goggle-less exposing my eyes to the disgusting water. During my dazed and confused state, I dropped off of the lead pack, but regained my composure and made up some of the gap over the final 750 meters. I left the water about 30 seconds down from the first swimmer, but was happy to be in a pack of guys 4th through 13th.  

Bike: 1:01:02
With the horrible weather my goal was simple: ride well and don't crash.  The road was full of puddles and because of the "stagger" rule, I had no choice but to ride straight through several puddles.  I don't mind getting wet, but the puddles were actually hiding potholes and upon approaching a small pool of water, I had no idea if I was in for a little splash or for a jarring encounter with a hole. In the first 5K I nailed a pothole at full force.  The impact sent my areo bars down, but fortunately I stayed upright.  Overall, the 40K was challenging with some nice short climbs.  Particularly hard was the ride home; the final 20K was into a tough head wind. Combined with the rain and road quality, times were not too stellar, but I was happy to have stuck with a good group (riding at the front this time to avoid any penalties) and came into T2 in 5th or 6th place. 
Run 34:52 -- I had a smooth T2 and was excited to start the run in the top 10.  Including myself there were seven athletes in our group, Tim Reed, (3rd place), Kevin Collington (5th place), Dylan McNiece, Joshua Amberger (7th place), Kevin Everett (8th place) and Jared Woodford (10th place).  The run led us up a slight incline away from the river and towards Central Park.  Tim Reed started the run at an extremely fast pace and took a few of the other runners with him.  The first mile I struggled badly experiencing some cramping in my upper back.  I was quickly gapped by the group and went into damage control.  I needed to relax and find a good pace.  About a mile and half into the run I found my stride and started to reel a few of the guys head of me in .  I first caught Jared Woodford and then set my sights on a few others.  Jared and I ran together for a while, we passed Andrew Yoder who had gotten off the bike ahead of us and we were gaining ground on the athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th.  With less than a mile to go I made a surge and created a gap of about 30 meters between Jared and me.  I kept running my pace to secure my 9th place finish.  After rounding a turn, I headed into the finish chute with a good lead over 10th. 

Next up is Ironman Lake Steven's 70.3 on Sunday August 14.  Shooting for another Top 10 finish.