"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.”

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Week 12 of Kona Prep, but life comes first....

After reading my past few entries, it's time to get more upbeat!  I think the heat and building up to 5 hour rides with steady state efforts was getting to me..that's all I can come up with as an excuse.  So I am going to enter my workouts in here---maybe a bit here and there about the workout itself, but mostly just going to put in the numbers...

Week 12:  July 18-24   "Build Week One" I'll call it...

Monday:  3800 swim:  lately the swim workouts have had everything in them, including this one, with both sets of 100's with minimal rest, then an 800 thrown in there near the end----fast intervals, then long and steady "find your pace" rep.
Notes from the workout:  swimming the fastest I ever have (sub 1:20 100's)...there were 16 100's in this...all on the 1:30 interval...swim is doing GREAT!

Tuesday: 90 minute run---we are now adding in some Z3 tempo into the run...this one has some 10' reps with shorter Z2 "rest" in the middle.  These runs are great for me; I think my form while running in Z3 is soo much better than in Z2 where I "get lazy" and start landing on my heel a bit and my posture also seems to "get lazy."
Notes:  well, it was 103 degrees when I started---add in the headwind (meaning: blowdryer), and this was harder than normal.  I hung on and "got er done"..thankfully I am acclimatized to the heat!!

Wednesday: 4000 swim
                        90 minute bike:  relaxed spin
Notes: Swim was a bit sluggish, probably from mondays effort to swim as fast as I can.  Settled into a steady pace versus pushing the issue.  For the bike, rode on the trainer in my aerobic zone---piece of cake ride.

Thursday:  90 minute bike: Infamous "Pain Cave" intervals on the trainer (the secret AIMP weapon)
                    45 minute run: right after the intervals

Friday:  4000 swim: more of the same

Saturday:    Brick Workout
                     5 Hour Aerobic Ride
                   45 Minute Run:  Mile Repeats in this
Notes: Rode Mingus Mountain from Prescott Valley, through Jerome, Cottonwood, and part way to Sedona and back...GREAT ride, tough climb on the way back...highly recommend the ride!  Kenny and I went a bit longer than the rest of the group (Carlos, Sue, Henry, George, and Paul)...then added a brick run afterwards---Kenny and I slugged it out running on the side of the freeway pushing the pace below 7 min/mi for the repeats---felt great to finish this one!  We felt sufficiently trashed, then had to drive back home...toughest part!
Sunday:  "Brick" Workout, but ride is to "loosen up the legs" from yesterday
                    2 Hour Spin
                    2 Hour Run:  Dialed up to Z3 pace and hold it for 90+ minutes
Notes:  My mind was not into this one, and my body was challenging it as well--even though it was "cooler" (meaning in the high 90's) in Prescott, I was still "cooked" from the workout.  It's almost like my body doesn't get the chance to cool down, then I go to bed, and I am burning up!  I solved that in the morning with a new "invention:"  The Gatorade Icee!  I don't think I ate enough between yesterday and today, and struggled even on the spin out.  The run was brutal---great on the way out (8 miles) into a head wind that kept me cool, but on the way back that tail wind was cancelled out by my pace, so I ran in the HEAT!  Stale hot air was just miserable, and I felt I was doing nothing good by trying to run home in this...add that Jenny's Grandfather was rushed to the hospital yesterday, and my mind was obviously elsewhere...

Final Notes:  I added this on tuesday 7/26...
It's been a very tough couple of days for everyone here---we lost Jenny's grandfather "Tata" suddenly last night after they tried to repair an aortic tear at the site of a previous bypass....10 hours of surgery, 40 people in the waiting room all day....bad news, good news, then the worst news at 6pm Monday just when we thought he had made it...please pray for Jenny's family...they need everything anyone can send their way...

Tata and Nana in San Diego with us last summer

Monday, July 18, 2011

A trip inside my mind on this IM training thing...

Through the miles/hours plugging away getting ready for IM Kona, you can imagine the things that enter your mind---if you have trained for one, you know...but even then, I imagine my mind is "not normal."  I deliberate things from work, problems with the world, my life in general (but very specific parts of it...Jenny, Sophia, family, where we are "at", where we will be 5,10,20,40, 60 years from now...), why the hell I am out here pounding myself into oblivion in the water or on the road, visualizing the race, and the 1,000 of other things like cloud formation, the history of the land I am traveling over---just some "out there" stuff.  Last year, training for IMAZ was new, fresh, exciting, a "bet" with myself to see how far I could go.  Nowadays, there are times when I struggle with my reason for why I do this.  It is a totally selfish thing to do when you have a loving wife, a beautiful 3 year old daughter, a son on the way---when I'm riding dizzy, pulling over to the side of the road to "lose my stomach"...my reason is seriously challenged.  Last week when Jenny, Sophia, and Elaina had to come pick me up, I remember telling her that Kona for 2012, if I qualify at IMAZ 2011, will probably not happen.  The side note there is I do not know what Kona 2011 will mean, and if I will feel the need to go back and really leave it all out there as this time I am looking to have a solid day, but I need to finish.  Pushing the limit the first time could set me up for a psychological meltdown if the day is not according to what I "plan" to experience...hence the "have a solid day" versus "PR or ER."  I have regained my marbles from that horrid ride last week, feel strong, and still have Kona 2012 on the radar screen---but again it will be one of those selfish journeys if I do so.  I love my family with everything I have and receive unconditional love and support from them through this journey--so much so that my selfishness stares me in the face during some workouts, and it simply takes some of that joy away from the challenge in front of me.  2012 could be a great family experience, so I am not ruling it out---it will be a family decision for sure though ;-)

That was kind of a ramble, but this entry is a bit about my psyche---the battle with training for IM and how it effects me and while it is part of my daily life, it interferes with the "norm."  Going back to the training for IMAZ 2010, it was tough---I was in a deep haze most of the 16 weeks before the race, whether it was from back to back HUGE training days, 24+ hour weeks of build training.  It WAS new, and exciting, and now it is not only NOT new, it's hotter, and the stakes are definitely higher.  Back then I was this local tri guy who no one knew--no race results, no Kona slot.  Nothing has really changed (well, the magazine, and the Kona slot did), but the training ups and downs affect me different.  I remember training rides last year where I was not at the "front of the pack," and that was fine by me....now, I expect more I guess, and when I am not "killing the workout" and am more worried about survival than having any speed at all,  I get a bit stressed (nicest way of saying it).  The doubts creep in, the "can I really do this" becomes front and center.  Bottom line is, I know I can---and luckily, this is only happening on the bike.  My swim is as good as it has ever been, and my run is my "weapon."  I guess when you get to a certain point in this sport you realize that you are what you are, and the bike is not my "weapon" and never will be (if I had to choose, I would choose run at least!).  So if you are one of those who read this and are beating me on a ride---be nice, it's not's my fault I am slower than you---I am working my tail off to keep up with you, but you are better, and I welcome a run with you anytime ;-)  I think I am just exposing my true weaknesses here---the commitment and how it weighs on me, and the bike.  And Kenny, if you are reading this, it's not directed at you at all!!  Riding with you shows me the potential someone can have on the bike---something I can't possess!  I'm okay with that, just to let you all know ;-)

 This entry I think is all about prepping me for the big blocks to come---this is an "off" week---16+ hours of training---the big stuff is coming and I can feel it.  Thankfully the weather has cooled a bit to the 100-105 range, but I still plan on heading to Flagstaff or somewhere else on the Rim for some training.  I think I am going to chronicle the entire prep for Kona on here starting next monday---it may be ridiculously boring for some, so just don't read it then ;-)

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

A Letter from a Friend...

The below entry was written by Morgan Francis---to say I have coached her is really giving me too much credit---I gave here a program to follow that I felt would get her ready for Vineman...she is one tough competitor!

Morgan is the epitome of a Triathlete---works her tail off to personally see what she is made of.  She fits it into her already full daily schedule, never backs down, and is a sponge for more and for any bit of information she can get to become a better athlete....Go Morgan!  This weekend is her first 70.3 (Vineman)...she will do great! 

My Journey…

My desire to compete in triathlons happened by chance. I was at a meeting for a triathlon group called ONE Multisport in August of 2010. I was there to support my husband who expressed interest in becoming a member of ONE. He was late and so I socialized with people I knew. After the meeting, several of the attendees recommended that I sign up for the Special Olympics Sprint Triathlon on September 11, 2010. After some hesitation I gave in and signed up.
I ended up placing 2nd in my age group and 4th overall for women. The following races would turn out to be similar. I would hesitate to sign up, doubt my ability, and then I would place among the top three in my age group. As I competed more, I desired more. But I knew I would need help, I could not take on this sport alone.
So on January 27th, 2011, I reached out via Facebook to this man who I knew little about.  I picked Erik Svans because I saw how bad he wanted victory at IMAZ. He was in a mental zone that was untouchable. I was mesmerized watching him run and then sprint to the finish line.  In truth, we had only shared a couple of words. In fact, we were more like strangers than acquaintances. Here is what I did know: He was a fast runner, he killed in at the IMAZ, and earned a slot for Ironman Kona. I thought, “He is perfect!” When I asked Erik to be my coach I did not know what I was getting myself into. Basically I wanted someone to tell me what how to train. I was solid on the bike, a slow swimmer but not afraid of the water, and had just completed my first half marathon with my mother. So I had skills but no knowledge. Basically, I was going into this relationship blind and little did I realize at the time…Erik was also wearing a blindfold – He never coached before.
He pushed, he critiqued, he asked for feedback, he wanted more, he gave me confidence only to strip it away so he could build me back up, he left me physically beaten, and desired even more. For six months we have communicated little in person, nothing over the phone, and exclusively via text and Facebook. I did not tell anyone that I had a coach. I was protective of what I had.  I also wanted people to wonder how I had gotten faster, stronger, and better. Plus, I cherished and respected his time. He is a busy man training for Kona, practicing dentistry, and happily married with wife and children.  Let’s face it – he was just as busy if not more than me.
Erik wanted me to train on average 12 hours a week. How was I going to do that when I drive 40 min to work every day, work 40+ hours a week at my doctoral internship, counsel college students, drive 60 min home, make dinner, and spend what little time I have left in the day with my husband? After all, this was my predoctoral internship, which meant, I was not supposed to have a life outside of ASU C&C. However, I knew I wanted victory at Vineman 70.3 and in order to become better you have to sacrifice things.  I said good-bye to sleep, to coffee dates with my girlfriends, to late fun nights on the weekends, to Happy Hour on Friday, and to shopping for fashionable shoes and clothes because now my $ was going to bikes, wheels, helmets, running shoes, supplements, and protein powder. In the winter, I would wake up before the sun had risen and jump in a cold pool to swim lap after lap wondering how many black lines on the bottom of the pool I could count for the day. I learned how to get ready for work in 20min, eat my breakfast in the car, drive strategically on the 101 highway, run up the stairs to my office (elevator was too slow) so that I  could start seeing clients by 8am. In the summer, I would wake up before 4am so that I could beat the heat of the desert sun. My mouth would feel like I was putting it to a hairdryer and my skin would feel like I was standing in an oven. I developed the most hideous of tan lines and the worst blisters on the back of my soles. At times I would ask myself, “What am I doing running at 5am when I should be back in bed?!” I would throw my running shoes in frustration or cry to my husband because my heart rate (once again) was way too high. Jason was there through all of my tears, frustration, success and failures, and without his support I would not be emotionally ready for Vineman 70.3.
The days before the race I have heard can be the hardest. This is when you taper your workouts and the anxiety starts to increase. Doubt can enter in your mental game: Did I train hard enough? Could I have done more? What if something goes wrong during the race? What if I don’t eat enough and I bonk on the run? Or what if I push too hard and then I have nothing left? The truth is…I will make mistakes. In fact, I have in every race I have ever competed in. The trick is to keep going, to keep pushing, to sustain the drive to finish. You only get one shot while you are out there and it is best to give it everything you got.
So thank you to my husband, for your unconditional support and love. You are my everything and without you I would never be the person I am today. Thank you to my best friend Julianna. You always found a way to make me laugh no matter how tired I was. You offered me praise even when I did not deserve it. I love you so much. Thank you to my mother, for her loving card. I will wear Kyle’s pin with honor and pride. Thank you to my father, who at one time doubted me. I know that may sound negative but it was the best motivator anyone ever gave me. You tell me I cannot do it all and I will show you that I can! Thank you to my teammates of ONE Multisport. You are a family to me. You make triathlon training fun and bearable. Thank you to my strength training coach for meeting me every Wednesday at 5am to make me stronger and mobile. Most of all, thank you to my coach Erik. I know I asked you too many questions, worried about too many things, and was probably really annoying most of the time. But you hung in there. Week after week you put in the workouts on my log, asked for feedback, and made the adjustments needed to make me stronger. I am so grateful for you. I promise to make you proud out there and I will not let you down.

You will all be with me on Sunday July 17, 2011.

“There is no thrill in easy sailing when the sky is clear and blue. There is no joy in doing things which anyone can do. But there is some satisfaction that is mighty sweet to take, when you reach a destination you never thought you'd make!”
                                                                                    ~Ironman Triathlete 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Vacation, 3GO, and Total Failure...

I'm getting pissed....I am going backwards (at least I feel that way). This is a "get it off your chest entry," so please understand I am fine, I will figure it out, and all will be good, but right now I am caught in failure and yesterday was 13 weeks to race day.
Yesterday marked my third recent long saturday ride where I had issues, and they aren't getting better.  I've been riding with Kenny Steil---and if you don't know him, well, he had the fastest amateur bike split at IM AZ by TEN minutes, and I just learned yesterday that he was the AZ state TT champion 2 years ago.  I am not a boisterous one, but I have been completely humbled "trying" to ride with him.  I am not kidding when I say this, but he can ride faster uphill into a headwind than I can on the flats--it is ridiculous!  Some people are just born with ability, and Kenny makes it look like I'm riding a tricycle.  So I have learned to "ride my ride" as he can put me in the hurt locker in a matter of minutes, and he is learning that I am just plain slow!  So here are my last few long saturday rides in order:
Ride 1: I bonked at mile 70 (and was dry heaving on the side of FLW) and took an hour to ride 13 miles to get back to the car
Ride 2: I actually held it together and got in a good brick run as well
Ride 3: I bonked again, at mile 50ish, requiring a ride home from my brother in law (thanks Kev!) from Mesa.
Ride 4: I held this one together as well, getting 96 miles in on a solo mission, and ran/walked my brick run as it was 108 out.
Ride 5: I was "decent" till about mile 60, but then the wheels fell off, and was full-projectile vomiting on the side of the road on 9 Mile Hill at mile 75ish--this time Jenny had to come pick me up at the site of my crash last year---thanks as always Babe!
And then today: swam 4,600 (didn't get the earliest start as I wanted to make sure i got my rest and somewhat recovered from yesterdays debacle)---all was good in the water and swam very comfortably under 1:30 per 100 through the four 800's in the set.  Out of the pool, it was time to run, but still felt the effects of yesterday, so I threw down a handful of pretzels infused with peanut butter (in a word: awesome snack food!), Honey Stinger Chews, almonds, 24 oz of water, and grabbed 2 Gus for the run along with my fuelbelt with 2 flasks of PERFORM.  Started the run, and was downing the first Gu in the first 7 minutes.  Polished off the 2 flasks, refilled them with water at the fountain at Market Street (finally fixed!  and cold water as well!).  I got to about mile 3.5, and my body starts to shut down again, so I run/walk back to The Village taking a shorter route home that usually takes me 40 minutes (was supposed to be an hour run), and it took me an hour anyways.  UGH!!

So what am I gonna do about it?
Well, every ride we have left as early as possible (5-5:30) to keep out of the heat..check that off the list.
Pre ride nutrition:  I can eat an even bigger dinner and breakfast---gonna try that.  I try to hydrate as much as possible--will work on that as well.
Ride nutrition/hydration:  I think I have set myself up for disaster making that a bigger issue than it really is to the point that now i am over hydrating (yesterday and today).
Ride pace:  I have been using an SRM, and ever since we made this change, I have ben falling apart.  Chris has me doing steady efforts for 3 hours continuously in my 5 hour rides, and my HR is up there----much different than when I trained based on HR last year and earlier this year.  With the higher heart rate, my body is not liking anything i put in it because it is sending all that blood to my muscles which are working harder than they should.  Add the high temps into the equation, and there I go---I can mess it up in an instant.  I think it may be time for me to go back to what worked and train via HR---seems pretty obvious to do so.

So what AM I gonna do about it?
I'm gonna eat A TON, I'm gonna lay out my ride nutrition for the long rides like I do for a race:  300 cals an hour max, while keeping a balance between over and underhydrating, and focusing A LOT on when and how much to drink.
I sweat---no question about it...more than anyone I know, and even the "high sweat rate" guys look at me in disbelief---here's proof
Salt buildup from saturdays ride...

I think some trips to cooler weather are coming---I am yet to run on a treadmill, but that may be coming as well.

I've waited what seems like half my life to get to this place---and it has been eating me for dinner so far.  Yeah, I'll have plenty of miserable days to draw from on October 8th, but I need to start nailing these rides and runs--the swim is there (I can't believe I'm writing this!).  I will get through it, maybe have an epiphany or two, and cross that line!

My next post will be about how happy I am since this one---time to study exercise physiology, but some new things in play (thanks again Kenny!), and make this a personal battle that I won't lose----13 weeks to go!!!!

Also, below is an entry I never entered in here...it is about our trip to Show Low camping, and some other cool stuff...
Sunrise Ride....Beautiful!!

I just spent that past 6 days in Show Low, elevation 6700+, with the family.  I got to train a fair amount, but it was an "active recovery week," which was sorely needed---I feel great now, and having been away from the heat for those 6 days, I feel refreshed, by body almost feels doped from the recovery and the altitude training I got in up there.  After a decent "bonk" last saturday morning that lead to my body not only shutting down, but also missing my good friends' wedding in Seattle, I needed this week dearly.  So, what was my "active recovery week?"  I swam T, TH, F (4500, 3500, 2500), biked Sun, W, F (35 mi big gear low cadence reps, 75 mile Aerobic) and ran M, TH (90 EZ, 90 Steady).  The altitude was a non-issue really, and the cooler, less dry weather really allowed me to recover---not to mention all the R & R around the campsite with family.  Jenny's family has camped at the same spot almost every year since she was a "wee pup,"  and now it was Sophia's turn to get into the family tradition--she had been there before, but now she "get's it."  Watching her grow is amazing---there are no words to explain it, and if you have kids, you know what I mean.  I ended up in a tent for my sleeping arrangements, which I really enjoyed, until maybe night 4, then it got to be a bit of a "mess."  We hiked, swam in the creek, fished (Sophia caught her first fish!), ate, had s'mores---all the good stuff that comes with camping!

I was also recently approached by a newer triathlon magazine 3/GO  for an article about me and the whole IM/Kona thing...I was of course more than happy to oblige, and spent some of my time up there writing a ton for the article---it should be out in the "Kona" edition, which comes out in October (of course)...keep your fingers crossed!

So that's it for now---all kind of thrown together, much like my performance lately in training!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

The New Ride....

So, I had probably my only saturday off of the 2011 today...and I managed to pretty much do everything I possibly could around the house, including dishes, vacuum, laundry, pull out some clothes destined for someone who they fit, got Jenny's car washed, bought my running shoes for the Kona insanity, even washed 7 pairs of shoes.  I got to sit and watch the first stage of the Tour de France (great first stage by the way!)...and I was still unsatisfied, so I mopped the garage floors, and THEN, took the photos below of my new ride!

To say I am not lazy I think is an understatement---I guess this is the "new normal" for me!  Sophia and Jenny get home tomorrow...maybe I'll vacuum the back patio and scrub the tile in the pool with a toothbrush as well... ;-)

So a little bit about the bike--first off, the wheels of course are off the Wilier---new wheelset to come, just haven't decided on what to put on it (Firecrest clinchers, ENVEs, Dura Ace C75...hmmm).  It weighs in just under 18 pounds (meaning: LIGHT!!!!)---just as it is here--I could shave some more weight off it, but why bother at 18 POUNDS!!!  I think this is the first one of these to be built in the US...Storck is a German company who created this masterpiece---from the brakes integrated into the fork and the seatstays (carbon fiber "blades"), to the Di2 only integration (amazing stuff BTW), and the integrated stem/handlebar (unfortunately I had to bring the stem up a bit, otherwise it can sit flush with the top tube)...this bike is amazing in so many ways--and it rides amazing at high speeds (something I didn't feel I had with the Wilier now that I am on the Storck Aero 2.  I AM NOT WORTHY!!!  Well, now I have a reason to work on the bike discipline for Kona and IM AZ....

The guys at Airpark Bikes are simply awesome---Jay built this bike from start to finish (I'm sure he cussed it out a few times---no signs of being kicked though ;-).  He had to employ an electrician for the cable extension to the seat for the battery.  OH yeah, the red pedals totally clash...I gotta work on getting Blue Speedplay Zeros on there as well ;-)  It's so tough being me ;-}

You gotta look pretty hard to find cables!

Seat clamp, rear brake?? oh, and the Di2 battery!

Can you see the rear brake in there?
There it is, and the braking power is unmatched....

A rock solid, aero rear triangle

Fork awesome, front tire tucks in there--soo stable!

Front Brake integrated into the super solid front fork.

The Stem:  with 3 risers (would have loved to ride it with none!  Also, the aero pad risers are there)

73-80+ degrees 

My cockpit

My cockpit again--shifting from the "base bar" or aero shifters....like butter.

may need to see what we can tinker with to reduce that cable clutter.  Decent amount of drop, and my back is flat in the aero position

Where's that brake?

Aero Shifters

Base Bar Shifters

Top Tube and Stem


Down Tube

Brake cable into the frame as well as the Di2 wiring...very slick!

My ISM saddle is a perfect match without even trying...oh and the battery again....super slick!

Front Derailleur and SRM Crank--Blue Pedals to come!

Rear Derailleur

Rear "brake" again---VERY solid braking BTW

Seat "clamp"

Bottom Bracket stability---it is as solid as it looks!

4 Risers under the Aero Pads, and you can also see the width adjustability

Rear View...