Friday, September 26, 2008

The final push

My XTERRA triathlon season ends one week from Sunday with the completion of XTERRA nationals.  I'm wrapping up a solid week of training and looking forward to a final push this weekend.  I have a 32 mile MTB ride planned for Sat. AM and then I will begin tapering with lighter and more moderate workouts leading up to the big race weekend.  As the season winds down it is really coming into focus and I can't believe everything I've learned in my first year of racing.  I've learned so much about the sport, but even more about myself.  I'm working on a post - probably after Nationals - where hopefully I'll be able to really expound upon what I've learned.  For now it is about enjoying my last focused workouts of the year all leading up to Nationals which was my biggest goal for this 2008 XTERRA season.

Training Update:
Tuesday: strength training / core / Ultimate league game
Wednesday: bike 20 miles home from work / 2 mile transition run to pickup car*
Thursday: AM swim 1800m
Friday: 4 mile run

*This is such an incredible way to train: 
Day 1 - drive to work with bike, leave bike, drive home.  Day 2 - drive to co-workers, catch ride to work, bike home, run to co-workers to pick up car.  Nothing better.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


Less than two weeks until XTERRA Nationals in Tahoe....

Flight - check
Hotel - check
Bike - check (renting from Village Ski Loft)
Car - not yet (economy with bike rack or minivan?)

Training update:
Friday - 15 mile bike / 1600m swim
Saturday - active rest (climb around in 120 degree attic)
Sunday - 2 hr on McDowell Mtn.
Monday - 1400m swim

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Flip Mode

So Monday I got a little heated thinking about how my training had fallen off course.  I vowed to get back on the horse and start getting after it in the weeks leading up to Tahoe.  There are several interesting trends that have come about as a result of this new training plan.

1)  I eat whatever I want.  If I'm going to push hard I need fuel and part of the motivation for working hard these weeks has come in the form of hot dogs, ice-cream, and beer (which are all amazing, but mainly the hot dogs)
2)  Training as transportation.  I've been carpooling to work with some awesome co-workers lately and that's made my training transportation plan easier.  Hitch a ride to work - bike home.  Go the store with my wife - run home.  It works.
3)  No rules.  This may be counter intuitive, and maybe it was being raised in the south, but there comes a time when you just have to work to the point of exhaustion, then work a little more, eat a hot dog, work some more, and then have a beer to rehydrate.  Sort of a "if you can catch a wrench" training model.  Riding 20+ miles on a $100 Jamis mountain bike with a rubbing front brake and leaking front fork through the city is specifically what I'm talking about.  I was hammering and grandmas on cruisers were keeping up...that may be a slight exaggeration.

So what has training looked like?
Monday - 3.5 mile AM run, 2 mile PM run, core work
Tuesday - 7 mile AM ride, Ultimate league game PM
Wednesday - 20 mile ride home from work, transition to 2 mile run to pick up car at co-workers
Thursday - 1600m race pace AM swim / PM supersets 

Monday, September 15, 2008

Game Time

This is the week.  No more excuses.  No more next week. 

I've been slacking lately and not taking training seriously because I'm only "racing Tahoe for the experience".  Garbage.  I'm a competitive SOB and I know I'll be pissed on October 5th if I continue this lack luster focus on training.  I only have 3 weeks and that's why starting today it's game time.  Time to bring it.  Two weeks of all out training and pushing followed by a small taper and then the race.  Stay tuned for the nasty details....

Too little too late?  Hardly.

Training Update

Quick Update....
Wednesday: 1600m swim
Thursday: recovery
Friday 1600m swim
Saturday: 12 miles road, 1 1/2 hours on the trail
Sunday: Rest
Monday: 3.5 run

Saturday was a rough day on the bike.  On the way to South Mtn. they were clearing an accident (fatal?) where a cyclist had been hit.  Tough stuff.  I spent 1 1/2 hours getting beaten up by the Mormon Trail on South Mountain and never got to hit it back - that's just not fair.  On the way home a girl driving the beer cart for a golf course almost took me out and I had to bail into the grass to avoid being T-boned on a blind curve. 

Still need a place to stay for Tahoe.  Still need to decide whether to bring the bike or rent one there.  Getting closer....

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Workouts and Weddings

First, I apologize for the lack of pictures.  My camera was a casualty of the wedding I attended this past weekend in Wisconsin and I'm hoping it finds its way back to me before too long.

This weekend was about as busy as they come with a late Friday night flight to MSP followed by a two hour solo drive to Arcadia, WI.  I got four maybe five hours of sleep before heading out to the town's only breakfast establishment.  Eggs, bacon, toast, hash browns, and coffee for under 5.00.  Amazing!  After breakfast it was off to the wedding site, Faye's family farm, where I helped setup chairs and tables under the tent.  I was hoping to sneak off for a run out in the country, but we helped out until just before the ceremony.   It was a fabulous wedding, everyone looked great, and an excellent party complete with fireworks, but it was another late night with little sleep.  I returned home Sunday totally whooped, but had big plans for Monday AM.

John was back in town visiting from Nashville and the only time we could ride was Monday AM, so 5:00 AM on Monday I was up and on my way to meet him at South Mtn.  We rode the Mormon Loop, which is a dangerous ride in the early morning darkness on limited sleep.  I managed to stay upright, but not able to keep up with John whose desert skills are just nasty.  It was a beautiful early morning ride and I loved seeing another trail on this incredible mountain.

This morning I couldn't pull the trigger and wake up for an AM swim so today will just be the first Ultimate Frisbee league game tonight.  I'm excited to play Ultimate; it feels like it has been a long time.  I hope to a swim Wednesday and Friday during lunch with big bike plans for the weekend.  Tahoe feels like it's creeping up on me, but despite all the craziness I think I'm preparing more than I give myself credit for.  We'll just have to wait and see....

Friday, September 5, 2008

Training & Life Update

The new house is coming along nicely, which has meant training and nutrition have been easier.  The majority of the painting is complete, and the bedroom and kitchen are totally finished.  I've been on a plumbing streak lately - fixed the dishwasher, disposal, and washer.  I did ruin the bathroom sink.  3 out of 4 ain't bad.  I've been enjoying having a "home" and I just bought a beater bike for commuting to the store and sometimes to work.  We are 1 mile door to door from the local Trader Joe's and bike lanes the whole way makes going car free even easier.

I've always been jealous of the posts that talk about sweet trails "out my backdoor".  Bloggers in California and Colorado are particularly notorious for this.  Well, I'm considering 6 miles "out my back door" and now have an early morning ride that is my perfect zen experience.  Living 6 miles from South Mountain (the largest municipal park in the US) is sweet.  The perfect morning: light breakfast, bike 6 miles with bike lanes to South Mtn., beautiful desert single track, ride back home, jump in the pool, grab some coffee and a breakfast burrito, back in the pool.  I did this twice last week.  Perfection.

I've got my eyes set on Tahoe  in early October, but fall league for Ultimate Frisbee in Phoenix starts next week, so I'll have to work that into my schedule.  I'm also considering the Phoenix Rock'n'Roll 1/2 marathon in January - so much for a relaxing off-season.  Here's the latest training update.

Friday: 3 mile AM run
Saturday: 18 mile bike (6 on the road, 6 on the trail, 6 on the road home)**
Sunday: Painting
Monday: 5 mile road ride (between painting/plumbing work)
Tuesday: AM swim 1,800m
Wednesday: 18 mile bike (6 on the road, 6 on the trail, 6 on the road home)**
Thursday: AM swim 1,600m
Friday: 3 mile AM run (the dog was looking extra cute this morning so she came with)

**Best morning routine ever

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Gear Review 2008

Change is always difficult, but a necessary part of life. I just wish that my changes in gear and equipment this summer had been as a result of choice rather than the result of theft. Regardless, here is my Summer 2008 Gear Review.

Helmet – My criteria for a good helmet is that I don’t notice it at all. A helmet that I notice has good airflow, but that I also notice the chin strap is a wash as far as I’m concerned. My old helmet, which needed to be replaced anyway, was a simple TREK brand helmet, but I never thought about it anytime I wore it. Perfection! The new one is much lighter with excellent airflow, but I don’t like the adjustable web in the back as much as the single support that was on my TREK. I’m still trying to get the helmet dialed in to my liking, but overall I am pleased with the airflow, a big fan of the white color in the desert (my old one was black), and feel more confident that it will keep me safe – which is really the most important feature.
Gloves – I had an old worn pair of REI gloves that were a gift from Amanda several years ago (5 years?). They were mesh topped and short finger gloves that had been all over the country. They had a Velcro strap at the base that secured them compared to my new Fox gloves which have elastic at the bottom. For racing, the Fox gloves are harder to get on and take off while riding. They also have gel pads which have taken some getting used to. I feel like I have to change my hand position because of the gel pads and I lose a certain amount of “touch” or “feel” with the bike. Of course on longer rides I’m sure this translates into less hand or arm fatigue, but I’ve been lucky enough to not have hand or wrist issues before so changing anything makes me nervous. Overall, I’m getting used to the new gloves and the added palm protection has been nice in the two crashes I’ve had so far out here in the desert.
Swim paddles – I opted for larger training paddles as my form is pretty well dialed in after years of competitive swimming. I was interested in trying one of the curved orb like paddles in the most recent Outside Magazine gear of the year issue, but couldn’t pass up the price and familiarity with a classic rectangle. The rubber straps are comfortable and hold their position well, even during long demanding sets. I’m glad to have paddles again for building arm/shoulder strength so important in triathlon where I try to use less leg.

Pull buoy – This is my first experience with a single piece molded buoy vs. the two piece design with adjustable straps. I have to say I prefer the adjustable design better to the molded design of this one. The one piece works OK and is easier to transport, but comfort and adjustability are the two drawbacks of a one piece design and these are important factors.
Suit – I’ve been racing in a pair of Tyr swim jammers. No tri suit, no padding, just jammers. I have to say for only swimming in them 10 times including races they have not held up very well. Now, I know they probably weren’t made with endurance biking/running in mind, but I would have hoped for some greater durability. I do all of my swim training in an old pair of board shorts. The resistance they provide has been fierce, but I love the change to jammers for racing as I feel almost Phelps like…that’s too much of an exaggeration even for me.

TYR Resistance band – This thing sucks. Maybe I don’t know how to use it yet (I haven’t watched the DVD), but tethering yourself to the side of the pool with an awkward waist strap and a 6ft elastic cord does not even sound like it could be a good idea. My problem is that there are only what feel to be two settings. I’m either just starting to swim where I have no resistance and am just trying to pull hard enough to get my body floating on top of the water or I reach the end of the resistance and it yanks me back in a violent way where I have no momentum and am at stage 1 where I sink. I’ve only given it one try, because they opened more hours at the work pool, but I’m not so sure this thing is going to work. As geriatric as it sounds I may try using it for some pool based plyometrics in future this off-season.