"I like you. I'll gladly sit down and have dinner with you after the race. But when the gun goes off, I pretty much hate you, and I want to stomp your guts out. That's racing." -J Rapp

"the best night of my life.....
...in the most beautiful place on earth"

"It's just one, long, tedious conversation with yourself" -Paula Newby Fraser

"Have faith- trust in the plan - the breakthrough will come. I promise. " Woo

"You can keep going and your legs might hurt for a week or you can quit and your mind will hurt for a lifetime.” -Mark Allen

“The only time you can be brave is when you’re afraid.”

Monday, January 31, 2011

Here we come 2011 season!

Training is in full swing...especially after this past weekend.  Last week I trained  14.5 hours (11,300 yds swim, 161 miles bike, 26.6 miles run), up from 11.5 hours the week before (6250 yds swim, 170 miles bike, 11.3 miles run---post Marathon week!).  The weekend was a "wake up call" with all of the 11,300 yards swimming coming in workouts on thursday, friday, sunday---my shoulders, lats and traps were tired!  I also had a nice 4 hour ride on saturday without a single stop for anything over a red light pause.  After finishing the final step of sundays run, I felt a bit punished!  It's a good kind of punishment, if I could say so myself.  My body recovered quickly, and is ready for more after mondays day of rest---but the next 6 days have me on the ropes for 17 hours of training for the week.
Looking at my workouts, I can see that Chris is pushing me to another level already, especially on the swim, but also a bit on the bike and run as well.  There's an extra swim and run workout this week versus the same week in 2010...I am expecting this for the duration of 2011---I am not convinced there are more boundaries for me to break through.  They will be on the brink of impossibility, but that's what this is all about for me...to push my own envelope, not to failure, but to places I don't know exist.
I'm back to focusing on my workouts much like it's a job...I always get a smirk on my face when someone asks me about my workouts; I think it is mostly because I know they will have a hard time comprehending them, and think why the heck I am doing it at all.  The smirk behind it is my mind saying "I know you're going to think this insane but...(enter the weekends workout here...).  I really have no answer to their comment of two words: "you're insane."   Mainly, it is! And sometimes it's a slugfest with myself---a part of me is victorious (usually the mental side), and part of me goes down with the punches (muscles mainly here)....I guess that is what it is all about.  Overcoming that mental challenge time and time again---telling your body it can't quit, it can't give up, and then backing that up by charging up some hill on the bike, finishing that last mile of a long run, or getting every rep in with consistency in the pool---that I think is what toughens you up both for the battle/challenge to follow at a race, or, for that matter, at work, at home, or driving down the road.
I seem to be writing a lot about the mental side of things lately...I think I have figured that once you get to a certain point, your mental toughness is what leads to success or failure.  I believe in Kona that will be the difference between having a great race and "just finishing." I'll just keep logging the miles and challenging my toughness to the point that, come race morning, I've dealt with the struggle over and over again in training, now, I'm tapered, fresh, fast, fueled, and ready to fly....let's see if this becomes reality over the next 9 months!


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

PF Changs Marathon Race Report

First of all, I had a blast!  Yes, marathons are painful with intense misery thrown in, but being able to run with friends is my new prerequisite for future marathons.  I ran with a good friend (Dan Cadriel), and his buddy Craig Morton.  Dan has done PF Changs consecutively for years, all around the 3 hour range...some under, some just over.  Craig is newer to endurance sports, and was looking to improve 45 minutes from his first marathon...the goal time was 3 hours for those guys, and I decided to jump in with them about a month ago.  I based my goal time on two things...first, I had someone to run with, and second, 3:00 is 20 minutes faster than IM AZ marathon (which is the goal "standard" between the two "types" or marathons).   I have been using First Endurance products religiously leading to the race, and Pre Race helped me out at points through this race (I carried a fuel belt flask for the entire race with Pre Race and EFS mixed)---their products are always amazing, and may be why I was able to get to this day feeling fast and fresh and have the day that I had for this race.
My training was pathetic---only 2 runs of 2 hours, and both were failures---GI problems on one, and was just too tired from a long day at work on the other (Brick workout: 9 hours of work straight into 2 hours running...the hardest brick!!).  Neither one was faster than a mid 7 minute pace---and I'm going to try to run 6:52/mile?  This was going to hurt or break me, or both!  So, the 3:00 goal was a pipe dream in my mind going in...last weekend I considered switching to the half, and I had delusions of just quitting half way through because I feel so "out of shape" for trying to run this hard.  I didn't feel like I was doing the right thing by trying to run 3:00 with the big year ahead, but I am not one to back down from the challenge---one of the many things I learned from this race!
So here's the Report:
I met up with a bunch of buddies, including John Dean, who was running the half with his daughter Amanda (how cool that must have been---Sophia and Jenny, we're doing that in 15 years!), Dan, Bryan Dunn and his wife, Craig, and Derek. We warmed up in the "Warm Zone" provided by Red Rock Co, which made the morning very pleasant in a 70 degree tent versus the 44 degree start line.  My GI system was in full working order, as I made a "pit" stop with Craig as we guarded for each other, if you catch my drift ;)  Off to the line, we met up with more buddies...so it was Dan, Craig and myself going for 3:00, James Bruce going for 3:20, and Chris Bergeron going for 3:15, as well as Michael Sullivan with a friend of his whom he was "pacing."
The gun fired, and we were off!  Good news through the first mile:  7:00 on the dot.  It is soo hard to hold back at the beginning of races with all of the energy a race gives you.  In the first 10 miles I was a little ahead of Dan and Craig as I latched on to a group of 4 (all from high elevation country in Colorado).  The miles flew by, I was feeling decent!  Pace was right on target for every mile, averaging 6:52/mile through 10. (10K: 42:38/6:52 per mile)  The "GI" system acted up again as I rounded the corner at 24th St & Camelback in the Biltmore...so it was off to the porto potty at the next aid station.  Let's skip that minute, and then I was back out there, and thankfully Dan and Craig were about 30 yards up the road---perfect!  So this is where the fun began!  I caught up to them with a bit of an "interval," and was feeling light ;)))   We were now heading into the part of the course I hate (and Dan too)...but first, we hung a right onto 44th St---actually a nice downhill, down wind section where the half way point is: (half marathon stats: 1:30:25/6:54per mile)--considering the bathroom stop, I was good, but we were behind!  Worse yet, the left hand turn onto Oak St and then working our way up Indian School is just tough---from mile 14 to 18 you just have to put your head down and dig in.  Thankfully, we saw some local triathletes along the way (Karen Lewis, Brian Henry, Tracy Britton), and when running with Dan, it seems like someone every 1/4 mile was saying "way to go Dan"....he is truly a celebrity!  Two years ago, this is where I started to fall apart after going out in a 1:28 for the first half, so the demons were there (finished 3:28 that year---2:00 second half, ouch!  A big blister was the culprit on the ball of my right foot).
New Shoes!  Nike LunarEclipse---AWESOME
for longer runs I hope!
So Dan, Craig, and I made it through this section with some grit---the end of this section being the right hand turn off of Indian School and down "the chute" of downtown South Scottsdale.  We were starting to pass a bunch of people at this point, which continued all the way in to the finish--great pace!  At the same time, this is where we started to lose site of Craig, and we just couldn't risk waiting for him to catch back on, so we elected to just go.  By this time, the sock in my right shoe was starting to feel like sandpaper---I knew a blister was brewing in the same spot as it did in 2009, but this was not going to slow me down this time.  The miles were taking their toll, and at mile 20, we calculated that we needed a 42 minute last 6.2 miles to go under 3:00...very tough, but in reach.  We saw other friends, the Fullers (conspicuously hanging out at Zorbas Adult Shop...hmmm), which gave us a boost (for about 10 feet), and then it was back to the insanity that this part of the marathon brings.  There is just something about this distance and the miles after 20 that just get to your head---I think the marathon does not begin until mile 20---the pain and muscle fatigue just goes through the roof.  Add the now quarter sized blister on the ball of my right foot (again! exactly like in 2009), and I was at war.  Dan is strong, period.  Without him, I think this is where I would have cracked, and I actually did at mile 23.4.  BUT, this was a very important part of the race---and the part of the race that I will forever take with me when the going gets tough.  We were coming up to an aid station and I mumbled to Dan that things were just getting "mental."  I tend to slow to a jog to get liquids down, and decided that I really needed this aid station---I took in a Gu as we approached, then slowed to take down 2 cups of water along with 2 over the head...I was in deep---well past previous limits I had not crossed in this lifetime.   Dan now was 25 yards ahead of me, looking solid as ever, and I had a decision to make---and I chose to push through even further into my psyche. I rounded the corner leaving McClintock behind and onto University...the home stretch was upon us.  Steve "Fresh n Loose" Rink was there yelling at Dan, and I knew it was time to go---Steve got sight of me and started yelling at me.  I knew he was going to be out there, and at least 3 times through the day I told Dan that we were going to need him, and that was an understatement.  I was in 5th gear, and now I was in overdrive--and with 1.2 miles to go.  I skipped that final aid station and just focused on catching Dan---I just wanted to cross the line with him after all we battled through---a finish line pick of us together drove me to his side as we made the final turn into the finishing 0.2 miles...the clueless spectators who cut in front of Dan didn't help his mojo :((
good news about running in brand new shoes---tread data!
 I was landing right on that blister line!

We made it!  We went to battle with that course, and I came out of it with a lot of things, but most importantly, an unspoken bond with Dan Cadriel....he's just a SOLID guy, in every way.  I'm sure I will use the memories in Kona when it starts getting ridiculous, and I hope I will have Dan there to battle with me (no pressure Dan, but you WILL qualify at IMCDA--your run is already there, and your bike is not far behind---work that swim!).
I went into this race totally unprepared; from a lack of training, to no specific nutrition plan, to GI issues because of it, to running in shoes I hadn't run more than 200 yards in (see below)...but I came away with so much "data" personally that I feel like I broke through some boundaries I thought were unbreakable---and I don't recommend following this game plan!  I've heard it a thousand times: pros are able to deal with the pain better than the amateurs.  With that being
said, one of my goals for endurance racing and in life, is to handle
what life throws at you--and come out a better person...hopefully!
Post Race in my 2XU compression tights...another
part of the ritual.
Chris told me going into this one:  "Don't expect much" ...I didn't, but
I came out of this one a better athlete and a stronger person for sure.

It's now 2 days post race and I'm feeling back to normal, the blister has
given in and I'm looking for to the build for Tri season!

Clock Time3:01:52
Chip Time3:01:39
Overall Place127 / 5062
Gender Place107 / 2874
Division Place21 / 439
Age Grade69.4%
20 Mile2:18:34

Saturday, January 15, 2011

PF Changs....and conversations within.

So it's friday morning and less than 48 hours till PF Changs Marathon.  I have a 3 hour "base" ride today, but then rest is in store until the gun goes off---oh, and throw in a birthday party tomorrow at the house---hardly rest, but we'll make it work!  I'm not expecting miracles, and anything flirting with 3:00 would make me happy with the training I didn't do and the fact that we are in "pre-season" mode.
So what does this race in Kona mean to me?  After starting triathlon in the early 90's, names like Allen, Scott, Newby Fraser, and the likes were my heroes.  There was no internet, just Triathlete Magazine, my training buddies, and that was it.  I was very fortunate to be in Davis (UC DAVIS for college).  I crossed paths with Dave Scott from time to time---we worked out in the same gym...  I am yet to see a human specimen in as good of shape as He was.  I remember him doing seated quad raises, seeing every strand of his quads fire as he worked out...the year was 1991.  So from then on I was hooked into the sport, not because of his quads, but because of the commitment and challenge the sport requires, and that it is truly a "you get out of it what you put into it" sport.  I've seen every Ironman TV special since, have cried numerous times watching it, sometimes because of the special interest stories, and sometimes just because I was imagining what it would be like to tread at the start, hit the turnaround in Hawi, run on Ali'i Drive, hit the Energy Lab, and then the finishing shoot.  I've seen 1000's of photos/videos of competitors as they finish that last mile---it has to be one of the most fantastic moments in a persons life---imagine thinking about that for 15 years, add in the fact that I was away from the sport for 9 years thinking it was something I would never reach, and then imagine it is going to happen this October 8, 2011!  Good news for me is I thought I'd be a mess finishing IM AZ; I did lose it a few times on the run when I realized I was going to qualify, but I held it together and finished without a tear!  So who knows what Kona will bring out of me, "I imagine I will be a blubbering mess" (a quote I've heard on the TV Special over and over again).
With all of that, my family has seen me through this sport over the years..my dad's worry, my mom's support (and Inta's too!).  Yes I am more responsible about pushing the limits nowadays (IV drips hopefully are a thing of the past), but I think the training is the riskiest part...the race is a celebration of that hard work, whether it's a 5K or an Ironman.   Training and racing is a spiritual thing for me...it's not about results but more about what can I do with my body---physically and mentally.  My long runs and long rides are full of thought---sometimes trying to figure out the worlds problems, sometimes self help, and sometimes dreaming of the Queen K Highway---it was a delusion until November 21, 2011.   I am so blessed to have the life I live in, and there have been so many times I come home from a workout fresher than when I walked out the door for those reasons.   In a way this sport does really help me find who I am, what is important to me, and find what in life really matters and is significant---would you call this a religion?
I actually thought that I would not do another IM distance race after IM AZ.  The training was intense, overwhelming, and sometimes pushing me way beyond the limits I had set my own mind.  Breaking those limits has done more for me than I could have imagined.   Riding 300+ miles in a week down the California coast, throwing on my shoes and running for 2.5 hours at a good pace like it was no big deal....it has made some of life's other challenges so bearable and easy to overcome.
So here's to my support crew...you all know this has been a life long journey for me, and Kona is just one destination on it that I get to share with every one of you.  The race is less about a time or a result, but about seeing what I am made of, what I can challenge myself with, and what more can I get out of this life...and, "because it is there"...I have no desire to climb Everest, just to let you know I am still somewhat sane....

Sunday, January 9, 2011

2011...and so it begins...

2011...WOW!  This year is going to be full excitement/craziness for us!   We have Kona in October (just booked our house from Sept 28-Oct 12!!!) which I cannot even imagine how cool of an experience this will be for us (I'm going to get to share this experience with many of my family members--more on that later).  Along the way, my "resolution" is to Focus and Balance my life, whether it's here at home, out training, at work...  Last year, especially with my shoulder surgery, we were pressed to the limits, and I think Jenny, Sophia, and I came out of it better than I could have imagined (not to say the training didn't have its strains on us...).  Life on the home front is great, work is always moving forward, and training, well, is training!   I have plenty of races coming, but we are going to make sure Jenny and I get plenty of date nights, maybe even a camping trip to Pinetop..
Yesterday, in my mind, marked the beginning of the 2011 season.  Kind of ridiculous for this time of year, but it just had to be done this way: a 45 minute morning run at 4:30am, a 3200 yard swim at 5, and a 2 hour trainer session (base ride) from 8:30pm to 10:30pm.  Oddly enough, when my head finally hit the pillow at 11:15pm, I felt energized to be back at it!  Yeah, I didn't stop working out, but between the cold weather here and a calf strain, I have been training for about 10 hours a week since IM AZ...not a lot, but not a little either.  I feel that it was just the right amount to feel like it was "off-season" and not taxing on me mentally or physically....so I feel ready to go again ;)
In 8 days is PF Changs Marathon...I am very curious as to how I will do with the limited training, and with issues on every long run I have done recently (GI, calf strain....), I hope to show up to the starting line healthy, and the race will be what my body gives me.  It's more or less a training run for me in prep for Ragnar Ultra on Feb 24-25.  Today is a swim and a run, then off to Payson to play in the snow with the family, along with 2 runs tomorrow up there...a nice change of scenery!
I'm going to start to blog more frequently from here on out, so feel free to "follow" this in the side bar link (it's always nice to see who reads this...I hear from a lot of people about it, but otherwise I don't know if anyone is reading my "diary!"
Next up:  I've been wanting to write about what going to Kona means for me...that will be next, and is where the reference above about my family going will be mentioned ;)

Anyways, Happy 2011...here we go!  ...and a cool clip to end...more of these to come on future posts!