Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Race Week

My last opportunity to earn enough points to qualify for the XTERRA USA Championships is this weekend in Snow Valley, California.  I'm excited to race, but disappointed that I lost so much ground during the move from Tennessee to Arizona early this summer.  My plan for the week is to continue training, dial in my equipment, ease back on the lifting, and get some good rest.  My throat is feeling scratchy and I'm feeling tired so I may need to really keep an eye on my health and training intensity this week to stay healthy.

Training Update:
Monday - Rest
Tuesday - AM Swim (2,000m) / PM ride (10 miles along the canal)

I Got Slimed

My weekend in Prescott, AZ didn't go as planned, but was still an excellent weekend of training, relaxing, and spending some time with family.  I had planned to swim Saturday AM, followed by a ride, lunch at home, and then a second afternoon ride.  The plan for Sunday was a long run.  Well, there was a swim meet Saturday morning that put an end to my swim plans, I got my morning ride in, but then storms came in and I had to call off my afternoon ride and replace it with a 4 mile run and a quick dip in the hot tub.  My plan for Sunday was to ride first thing in the morning before heading back south to the land of oppressive heat.

Sunday I arrived at the trail head and unloaded the bike only to find totally flat rear tire.  I'm starting to believe I should follow everyone's advice and go tubeless.  I replaced the tube with a brand new slimed tube and started inflating.  At only 25 psi the tube explodes covering me, the bike, and the pump in lovely green slime.  I had two spare tubes with me that morning, one is now busted, and the other is a 26", because they pack better and work in a pinch, but I'm not about to ride through the desert with no spare tubes and a 26" tube on the rear.  Suck.  I would have just left the bike in the car and hit the trail for a run, but after the bike theft in Phoenix I think twice about such things.  I wiped off the slime, repacked the car, and headed home.  Thanks to some words of encouragement from my wife, I went for a long run on trails close to the house at an angry pace because I wasn't riding on a beautiful morning.

Totals for the weekend:
Saturday - 15 MTB miles, 4 miles running road
Sunday - 6 miles running trail

Not what I had hoped for, but still some good mileage and work at altitude.  I'm trying to balance continuing to improve my fitness and being rested for Snow Valley this weekend.  Stay tuned.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Prescott Valley, AZ

I arrived in Prescott Valley last night amidst strong thunderstorms and the chance for more bad weather this morning. For the most part that never materialized. I left the house at 7:15 to hit the local pool for early lap swim hours. It was a cool 65 degrees and sunny. Perfect! Unfortunately, there was a swim meet at the pool so no dice on the swim.
I headed out West of Prescott in search of some trail to ride/run at altitude and found only an ATV 4-wheeler park. Bummer. I backtracked to Bikesmith Cycles, a bike shop I'd seen on the way out and the owner hooked me up with a great map of the area and some trail recommendations. From there things hit high gear and I'll let the sweet pictures tell the story.

breakfast on the house patio
at the trailhead
from this

to this

rock garden makes me want the HIFI 29er

hell, everything makes me want the hifi

blue sky
time for the hot tub

what do west coasters call this? chillaxing?

Friday, July 25, 2008

FREE XTERRA Ogden Giveaway!

If anyone is interested in FREE entry to the XTERRA Championships in Ogden, Utah on August 16th just leave me a note in the comments.  I won free entry at my last XTERRA race and won't be able to make it because I will hopefully be closing on a house that weekend! Enjoy your weekend!

Plans for the weekend

I leave tonight for Prescott Valley, Arizona.  The plan while I'm up there is for an early AM Saturday swim followed by a day of brick work on the trail ride/run/ride/run.  The cooler temperatures and elevation (5,200 ft) will be just what I need one week out from Snow Valley next weekend.  This is my last chance to get in some big training before my last race of the year.  I'll have the camera and take plenty of pictures.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Thursday Morning Swim

Thanks to new Tuesday/Thursday pool hours, I woke up early and threw on my, now very faded, board shorts. Any day that I can start by wearing board shorts is always a pretty decent day. Anyway, I grabbed some breakfast (granola and a banana) and headed off to work. I was at the pool before it opened and the only one swimming before work. Swimming first thing in the morning is the greatest feeling ever and having a pool to yourself, outside, in the early morning sunshine is just short of divine.
I had a particularly strong 1000m at race pace during the workout which was only only icing on the cake. I was feeling so good I added some hard all out 50's at the end for good measure, and then called it a morning. The only downside to the new pool at work is that the "locker room" is just a big cement box with no ventilation or AC. It was nearing 100 degrees outside when I got into the sweat box to change into work clothes, which was not a pleasant experience. I've learned to put on only the bare essentials and dress the rest of the way on the pool deck. Again, the benefits of being the only one for an early morning swim.

I may try for a light run later tonight or just rest up for the weekend. I've got a full weekend of training planned, all of it at over 5,200 feet, which will hopefully help me prepare for next weekend's Snow Valley race at 7,000 feet +.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This week I received an inspiring email from a longtime friend who has been following my blog and racing season. He shared that I was an inspiration to him to lead an active lifestyle. I was initially shocked to hear this, and I think it was because I have lost touch with some advice my parents gave me some time ago.

My parents were firm believers, and vocal, about the fact that there will always be someone who is richer, smarter, faster, taller, and just about anything else more than you – and that is why using those items as benchmarks for your own self worth is such a losing battle. Now, this never stopped me from being ultra-competitive or even having a big ego, but it is still sound advice. I find myself falling into the comparison trap when I read other XTERRA athletes’ blogs and compare my level of training to theirs, my accomplishments to theirs, and come away feeling like I don’t measure up.

It is easy to become discouraged, and training takes far too much mental as well as physical energy to be weighed down by self doubt or unfair comparisons. This is my first year in an entirely new sport, the same year I’m taking a new job, moving across the country, and buying my first house while still trying to balance life with friends and spend time with my incredible wife. You think I could cut myself some slack.

It is a fine line between being motivated by others and jealous of others. Happiness comes from finding the balance between the two and the battle is never over.

I’m flattered by the comments of my good friend. I’m inspired and motivated by his enthusiasm, and I feel grounded as a result of his comments that put everything perspective. He helped to remind me that I’ve worked hard over the course of seven months, accomplished many things I never thought I could, and have put myself in a position to be successful my first XTERRA season. I may not have reached the podium (yet), but I’ve learned a great deal about myself – not to mention swimming, biking, running, and sport in general. So I enter the last two weeks before my final XTERRA race of the season with newfound confidence and passion. I couldn’t ask for anything more, so thank YOU.

Big Update

The alarm went off early, but after two 4:00AM mornings in a row and having a solo workout planned, I just couldn’t get out of bed. My first day back in the office after a week in Reno, and my third week on the job, made for a hectic day at the office. This was followed by a meeting with the real estate agent to go over more house details – some good / some bad. The plan was to go for a long run and lift when I got home, but after talking with my wife and getting some food down it was getting late enough to jeopardize my Tuesday AM workout. I sucked it up and did some core, flexibility, and strength training before calling it a day.

I don’t know if it was my comments about the warm pool temperatures after work that led to the campus AD adding some AM lap hours to the pool schedule, but it rocks. I much prefer to swim in the mornings, and my swim training has been way off since moving out to Arizona, but with some early morning options I can hopefully get back in the swing of things. A package arrived from Swimoutlet.com last night with my new pull buoy and paddles as well as a stationary swim trainer. I put it to use this morning during 1,600 M of pulling and 1,850 M total. I would’ve liked to go longer but the student life guard was late opening the pool.

Got home and went for a hard 4 mile run along the canals in Phoenix. It hurt, but I’m feeling my endurance and strength returning after several weeks off.

I slept in, because I couldn’t get out of bed for an early morning run. After work I hit the south side of Camelback Mtn. for ½ mile hill climb repeats on the bike and then running. I’m beat.

***Stay tuned for a post dedicated to gear reviews. I’ve unfortunately had to purchase quite a bit of new gear as a result of theft when I first arrived in phoenix. I’m planning on posting reviews of my new helmet, gloves, multi-tool, paddles, pull buoy, goggles, and the piece I am most excited about – my new swim trainer.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Day 2

After yesterday's ride at Hawes Rd. I was psyched for more riding this morning. The alarm went off at 4:00 AM, and after a quick phone call to John about the weather, I was out the door Red Bull in hand. Today we rode the McDowell Mtn. race loops. These are serious good time.

As we were getting ready to hit the trail John was having some brake issues. After lots of fiddling we figured out that the wreck yesterday was a little more serious that we first thought. I didn't take a picture, but John braced his bike against the ground one foot on one fork arm and grabbed the other with both hands to pull the bike back in alignment. He makes TN proud. It freed the brakes and got the front wheel straight. I guess that's why the call it a "Proflex" and no, that's not his usual ride.

sunrise at the trailhead
John grinding the uphill
Taking a breakTrail

I've got a lot to learn from the master because John can drop me on a technical route even riding this!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

It's all about the mornings

One of my riding buddies from Nashville, who is from Phoenix, is out here in Phoenix for a few days visiting family so he's introducing me to a few of his favorite trails. Not only is riding with a friend from back home sweet, but I learn something every time I ride with John and become a better rider for it. Today's lessons were many, but the big one - don't put your bike down in cactus. Just when I thought my technical skills were improving John had to show up and show me how it's done.
Sunrise in the desert

trail history

Saguarotons of mine shafts

taking a break

John took a NASTY crash and his bike landed 30ft away. I don't think he could have thrown it that far. He came out pretty well considering.

Explaining how it happened

retrieving the bike
Great times in the desert and we're doing it again tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

training update

Tuesday - weight training, 30 miles on a ghetto bike in the ghettos of Reno, 3.5 miles running through Reno with all my bike gear.
Wednesday - 30 minutes of gym cardio, weight training, core work

Reno - not my favorite place

I'm here in Reno for the annual conference of my professional organization, and this year I am presenting a half-day presentation. My talk on Tuesday went extremely well and during one of our breaks I called and made reservations to rent a bike from a local outdoor provider. I was stoked!

After lunch I hit the gym for a great workout and then changed into my riding gear to head out for the bike rental. I debated running (3.5 miles) or taking a cab. I opted for a cab on the way there - big mistake. Cabs in this town are almost .50 a mile!! After arriving at the hotel where the "bike company" was I started to realize this could be a bad sign. There was no one at desk so I called their number and they were running an hour late. So I waited.They finally showed up from leading a rafting trip and the guy who was helping me was your typical raft guide - portly, laid back, and high.

While I was trying to check out the bike a lady of the night showed up to sell a bike to the company for their fleet. They bought it. That gives you an idea of the bikes I had to choose from. The final words from the guide before he sent me on my way.

"Dude, this map is like an abstract interpretation of Reno....no, no, no, it's like a cubist representation of Reno. Dude, do you like cookies? Where can I find some cookies?"

Downtown Reno

the nicest ride I could find (one size too small and check out the brakes)

not a good sign

the closest I got the mountains

worst directions ever

I returned the bike, starting running back to my hotel, got lost, got frustrated, stopped to buy some TN style hydration, and finally made it back to my hotel. Reno is not a pretty place, even with the mountains.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quick update before hitting the road

I leave in a couple of hours for Reno. Hopefully I'll get a chance to ride the Tahoe XTERRA course while I'm there for a conference. Anyone have advice for renting a ride up there?

Training Update
Tuesday: Trevor Glavin's Swim workout - that sucked.
Wednesday: Hill repeats after work, 1 mile climb x 3 with 6# weight vest
Thursday: Swim workout 2,000 yds - so nice to not feel like I was drowning (see Tuesday)
Friday: Resistance training / rest
Saturday: Great ride along the canals in Phoenix, excellent long ride!
Sunday: Up early for 5 mile ride to Camelback, 3 miles of mountain hiking/running, 5 mile bike back home feeling good despite the heat

I'm definitely getting more accustomed to the heat - it has also cooled off here lately. We have an offer in on a house here in the Valley, and I'm really excited to wrap that up and have our own place, it has been away too long. I have only a couple weeks until Snow Valley so this week in Reno and the following week are key to catching up on my training. The altitude will hopefully help in my training.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Missing "Home"

This weekend was the Lock 4 Blast XTERRA in Nashville, TN. This is the first XTERRA I ever did, and I had been planning on making this THE race for my 2008 season. It was my home turf, only a couple miles from the office, and I ran and rode out there several days a week. The best part was that as I became a better all around XTERRA athlete I could see the difference in my times on the course during training. Of course, then came the new job in AZ, the big move, and plenty of other excitement in the meantime. The race went down this weekend and all I could do was read some results online. It made missing friends and family back in Nashville a little harder to know I was also missing the race that I had been looking forward to all those mornings when is sucked to get out of bed.

The good news from the weekend is that the SE points standings didn't change after Lock 4, which is excellent for me looking at a wildcard spot for Nationals in Tahoe. The bad news is that despite one early morning brick workout there was little in the way of training this weekend. It was just too hard to get them in early, and with the heat there just isn't too much else in the way of options.
Lots of new job activity and probably close to 40 hours of house hunting/ agent meetings/ loan meetings over the past 5 days is absolutely brutal. The good news here is that there is a house out here I'm excited about, so that would be huge. Of course, that process just eats away at more training time. Next week I'll be in Tahoe all week, so I'm hoping for a huge training week at altitude and getting some time on the much talked about flume trail and even a dip in the lake.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


We all have goals - or should have goals - that’s my personal take. Nothing I’ve done in the last 6 months would have been possible if I didn’t continue to set higher and higher goals for myself. July 4th weekend last year I competed in my first XTERRA triathlon – the Lock 4 blast. I finished 5th, with minimal training and only some idea as to what I was doing, having done a whole two road triathlons before that. Who knew that one XTERRA race would pull me away from 15 years of competitive Ultimate Frisbee and teams that I had helped to build and develop.

The real change happened when I started reading other XTERRA athlete blogs in December. I was trying to rehab my knee and hip after another brutal club season of Ultimate and decided that a year of triathlon and no Ultimate (except coaching) would be the perfect compliment to my injury rehab. I started a blog, built up a bike, and started swimming again. I set my sights on racing all the XTERRA races that I could, and hopefully earning a spot to compete at nationals…this after having done one race.

Here I am 6 months after I started this crazy adventure. I’m in a new city, at day two of a new job, and wondering how 90 degrees can possibly be the low at night. At the same time, I had a great run yesterday after work and today I’m checking out the pool at work. That’s right, pool at the office. Sweet! Anyway, I have one more race on my “revised” (cancel everything because I’m moving) schedule for the season and it will be at altitude on a course I will have never seen before in my life. I have a couple weeks to keep adjusting to my new locale and keep up the training. What makes it all easier is that I have goals. Just one of my current life goals is racing in Tahoe with the big boys, but with a solid race in CA in only a few weeks it might just happen.

Solar powered

I found some water, but it was HOT. Today it hit 113. I know for people who live here this isn't big news, but it still blows my mind. The low last night was 90 degrees. I swam in the outdoor pool at work today and at first I thought it was going to be amazing. To be able to swim outside, where my tinted goggles actually allow me to see better, and feel the sun. It all sounds so refreshing until you get in the water and realize that trying to train in bath water with the sun baking down and the air you breath is dry and on fire. Hmmm, I need to find a better summer swimming option. I was able to crank out 1,200 before I thought I was going to die from heat stroke.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Quick one

Just a quick update. Today was my first day of work here in Phoenix and it was fantastic. I love the new gig and am excited about a new life here in the valley. More pictures and updates soon. I've got to find some water to get my swim on before I go crazy.

Training Update
Monday - hike/run up Camelback Mountain / weights
Tuesday - WORK ( the J O B kind) 3 miles in 107 degrees and major core work