Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Richmond RR

I am finally back home to San Diego after what seemed like a long time in the east! I had a lot of fun on the trip but it is always nice to be back home.

After Bama I was pretty bummed out. My flat and lack of fitness just got to me mentally and I really thought hard about calling it quits and flying home early. I am glad I stayed for a lot of reasons...I ended up having a decent race and I had a GREAT time with my family and friends. I tried to focus on enjoying the whole experience and can honestly say I had a blast on raceday.

The swim with pretty interesting as I pretty much swam solo from the start. The leaders had an instant gap and I came out well down on them. I got onto the bike pretty quickly and found my legs a lot faster then in previous races, which I am happy about. I wasn't able to stay with Will when he went by but Cody caught me and we rode most of the course together until I screwed up a technical section and he flowed through it. The trail network is a ton of fun in Richmond and I always love racing there...the new course is even faster and going fast on single-track is just plain fun!

I set off on the run kind of unsure of how it would go since I haven't been running much and it was hot out. In the last 2 months the only hard running I have done has been in the last 3 xterra races and I only started back with consistent running the week of Bama. So, I knew it would be a hard 10k but I wasn't sure if I would blow up. I felt pretty good the first 2 miles but I was a little scared I would run out of gas. I ended up catching Cody before the finish (he was having some stomach cramps) and I could see Will and Brandon right in front of me. Craig was right in front of them and took 5th. So, 5th-9th place were all pretty close. The shorter race distance made the race really exciting and, like I said, I really had fun. I finished 8th and jumped up to 6th in the national series.
Now it is time for me to get back to base building and strength work. I am excited to log some bigger, consistent hours and focus on staying healthy. My leg seems to be good and we are increasing my running gradually. The focus now will be on worlds in Maui. I plan to go to Nationals too but the focus will be worlds b/c it gives me more time to build up and hopefully stay injury free.

I have a lot of travel on tap over the next month...lots of Skinfit events to go to. So, I will be busy, busy but it is all good b/c it is all stuff I love.
Have a good week out there and stay tuned!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Richmond livin....

Got into Richmond Monday night. The weather this week has been nice...not too hot. Of course, tomorrow it is supposed to be upper 90's (a 10 degree jump for raceday...seriously???!). They upped the start time to 8:00 to beat the heat so this should help. Plus, the race is short this year so we will be done before 10. More on the short course in a minute.
Tuesday Cody and I ran the run course, which has now changed. Wednesday we met up with Will Kelsay to get our bikes...Will drove them from Bama, which proved to be a huge help. Thanks Will! Wednesday and Thursday we rode the course (also did some swimming and running) but then on Friday I found out the course is completely different this year. We ride much of the first part in reverse from previous years and several sections have been cut out. The course is super fast and less technical. Not sure how I feel about it. On one hand, the shorter the better for me at the moment but the original course is so cool I hate to see it changed up. Oh well, it is what it is and Sunday will no doubt be fast and furious.
The river current is pretty strong this year and the water level is higher. So, the rocks aren't as bad and we will definitely have to swim "higher" in the river to manage the current. A fast swim for sure that will certainly be interesting like it is every year.
In typical Richmond fashion I have had a ton of mechanical issues with my bike. Every year I seem to have issues here. First, my wheels were completely out of true from wacking the rocks on the course. Then, it was my shifting b/c of a bent derailleur hanger. 3 sports has been very helpful in getting my bike back to normal...such a cool shop!! So, I think I am ready to roll. The test will come in about an hour when I give it a little test ride.
On another note, I have a TON of family in town, which is awesome! Somewhat of a family reunion I would say. Great that we could set up some bday celebrations in conjunction with the race. I have been hanging out with everyone the past couple days and we are having a big BBQ on Sunday. Can't wait!

--Last nights sushi feast!

So, it has been a good week out here on the east coast. It is always tough traveling for so long but having so much family in town is comforting. I am off to do some light training in prep for tomorrow and then I am back to the house to park my butt on the couch!
Have a good weekend everyone!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Flats suck!

So, the race in Alabama has come and gone and I leave yet another Xterra race quite disappointed. I learned a lot actually in this race and I take those lessons learned with me to Richmond and then back home to San Diego where I will get back to training basics.
First off it was 98 and humid hot. Yuck! I had a decent first lap in the swim staying on the feet on Josiah and Melanie and then I just sucked on the second lap. First lesson, I had good fitness in the water for shorter distances but I need to work on longer intervals to make sure I can hold pace on a 1500. This has been a weakness of mine for a while and deep down I know I need to work on it but swimming long intervals is soooooo boring =)

On the bike I tried my best to ride hard and seemed to find my legs on the climb but the reality of the situation is I lack fitness to compete at this level. This isn't to say I am not honestly trying to go hard but in looking back at things it can't be denied that I had to take 8 months off from training (seriously nothing and getting fat) b/c of my knee injury and when I finally returned mid-january I started training but had to get in some intensity pretty quickly b/c races weren't far off. This smaller window left me without time to build my base fitness back up to the level it needs to be. I honestly though, "so what, I have been training for a long time now and I have a base." I think I underestimated this and I have even noticed that doing hard intervals really wipes me out and I struggle to even get through the workouts. This is because I don't have a strong foundation to build off of and my body just can't handle the loads yet. In Xterra it is all about surge, recover (but still at a high effort), surge again, repeat for the entire bike. I can handle some of the surges early but then I really struggle to recover and get back out of the red. Again, my lack of base aerobic fitness coming into play. We thought maybe I could race into shape but it is quite evident that this doesn't work for me =)
--At this point I am telling Trey (with Xterra) "seriously dude, I need a tube!" He just kept taking pictures =) Ha, ha...thanks for capturing this one Trey!

So, found my legs a bit at the top of the climb and then flatted after blood rock. I used one co2 but my sidewall was cut. Then a guy gave me some pitstop, which I couldn't get to work. I didn't have a tube with me so I marched back up to blood rock and a very nice guy gave me a tube. Got it on and was able to get a little air into the tire so I could get down to the road where I found more air. Then, honestly, I started to ride back to transition on the road...I was way over it at this point since I was there for like 20 min. About halfway back to transition I turned around and decided I HAD to finish the bike so I rode back up to the trailhead and cruised the remaining four miles. Mind you, I was really pissed but I tried to just enjoy the single-track and get some exercise. I got into transition and decide I would go jog the course (the top 3 were already done with the race at this point) since I haven't ever seen the run course. It gave me a chance to just jog, think about things, and clear my head. I ended up crossing the line and checked off another Xterra race.

I did a lot of thinking the rest of the day and talked with a lot of people about what was going on. My first reaction was "forget this, I am going home. No Richmond." I would be lying if I didn't still feel this way a bit but I am going to give it my best shot on Sunday and enjoy time with my family while I am here.

Jim and I learned a lot from this experience and when I get back home we are going to get back to basics and start building up my base fitness. I am not even going to think about racing until maybe Maui and, truthfully, if I am not prepared to race there I won't and I will just focus on being healthy and strong for next year. Lesley also helped a lot and made me realize that I am probably being too hard on myself...I just want to race and do well but I forget how long I was out and how much I lost in those 8 months. I thought I could bounce back quickly with some intense workouts but I have been proven wrong.

We are already in Richmond and Cody and I ran most of the run course today. It really is a cool venue for a race! This week I will get in some lighter training, give it a go on Sunday, and then I am head back home on Monday.

Have fun out there!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Solid week...

I got my head on straight this past week and logged some very solid training.  I am happy with the way the week went and I think it will give me a good bump in fitness heading into the next two races.
I got in some solid swim sessions with the highlight being a VERY tough openwater workout wednesday night.  Such hard intervals made harder by having to swim with tennis balls.  Jim is the devil in my mind! :)  Seriously though, swimming hard intervals while holding tennis balls is really hard and I was beat after trying to hold feet during some longer intervals all night.  It was awesome training for sure!
I also managed some high quality bike workouts including a tough mountain bike race in Elfin Forest.  The course was super hilly (Steep!) and pretty technical.  It was a great test physically and mentally, which I think I needed heading into Alabama. Jim has had me doing some very specific workouts in prep for Richmond and I think they will pay dividends on raceday.
I also ran quite a bit this week and I am happy to report my leg feels good.  Nothing hard but some really good technique work (strides and drills) that I think will really push my running along. Got in an hour painfree run today, which is a big step. I also got my breathing situation under control with an inhaler (thanks Doc!).  It is really helping me, which makes me very happy.
So, overall a very solid week and I am happy with it. Feels like I am getting my head above water and headed in the right direction, which feels great!  This week I will be doing some key workouts early in the week and then resting up for Alabama.  I head south on Thursday and the race is Sunday in HOT Alabama.

Yesterday. post race, we had some bday celebrations at Stone Brewery...I LOVE this place!  Great times relaxing with great friends...not a bad way to close out the weekend. Have fun out there...I am off to BBQ some grub!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The mental battle....

Since getting back from Texas I would say I have struggled a bit to find motivation and happiness with my training.  I still have a strong desire to race but I feel like I have been constantly held back by injury (one thing after another) so I have let my frustrations get the better of me.  The good news is the leg is better and I have started back with some light running.  The goal now is to build up slowly and stay on top of it so it doesn't get reinjured.  Of course, this means I won't really have any fitness gains heading into Bama and Richmond but I need to be happy that I am actually able to run consistently at this point.  The main goal moving forward is to do well at Worlds in October so I have time to build up gradually.

I have a really good support network with Jess, family, Jim, Lesley, etc. and they helped me to see that I just need to take a step back and look at the big picture.  When I do this I realize that I am REALLY lucky and I just need to get back to having fun with it.  My frustrations came about b/c I felt like I had to force everything b/c races are fast approaching and everyday counts.  When you are injured you just can't force anything but in my mind I felt I had to b/c time is limited.  Well, it is limited for the next two races but in looking at the big picture these races are just stepping stones.  The thing is I just need to stay consistent, stay healthy and, if I can do this, I think my best performances are still to come.

Texas was very odd for me...I had breathing issues and they really affected me.  When I got back from Texas they continued and it has affected my workouts.  This of course led to more frustration...I was getting so pissed b/c I couldn't even train properly and, like I said, in my mind time is limited. I was getting worked up about it and it led to stress.  I started working with Dr. Martinez to get a handle on my breathing issues.  My allergies are really bad this year and I have noticed it especially when I am out on the trails...I usually breakout in a rash all over my body, which is unusual. We are trying high dose fish oil and we have doubled my allergy medicine.  He said that studies have indicated that high dose fish oil (3 grams per day) eliminated asthma symptoms in 50% of athletes.  I will also be getting an inhaler to get the "quick fix" so that I can train and race without issues.

So, I think we have turned the corner regarding the major issues.  Now I just need to get my head on straight and focus on training/racing hard through Richmond.  After Richmond I will take a little break and then get back to base/strength building mode.  It is truly amazing how much attitude plays a role in everything.  In the past week I have been constantly reminded of this....particularly from Jim.  At Vegas I was just happy to be there racing but I lost some of that happiness b/c I became so shortsighted and forgot where I came from and where I am going.  I am very lucky and I don't want to lose sight of this.

With all my frustrations, I decided to take a "step" back this weekend and just hungout with Jess, family and friends. I did very little training and it felt good. I came out of the weekend focused and happy, which was the goal.
--FYI--the new pizza port in OB rocks!

A little rest goes a long way with me so I naturally had a solid day of training yesterday.  I am fit in the water and my bike fitness is coming along.  Last week I did have a couple good sessions despite being a bit "off." I swam a set with Lesley and Mitch (7x75 +100).  Swam the 75's in :43 sec and swam the 100 in :58 sec off the wall.  Seriously, I have never swam this fast and I just need to carry it over to openwater on raceday. Tonight is a solid openwater swim workout so this will be good prep.  This Saturday I am doing a local mountain bike race and this will no doubt give me some good fitness for Bama and Richmond.

Well, that is it from here.  Thanks to everyone for their support.  It is easy to get off track and forget about how great life is....good thing friend and family are always there to put things into perspective.