May 27, 2010

May 22nd brick

On May 22nd I did a 4 mile run, then rode my bike into Alb. 65 miles total. I love this ride. It has great views and is a challenging course. Here are some of the pictures of this ride. I saw an aryan brotherhood compound. I took a picture (1st picture), someone from the compound saw me take it, they got into thier vehicle & followed me for a few miles before turning around. I was a bit nervous while they were following me to say the least. If you can see it, the symbol above thier gate is a lightning bolt inside of a zia sysmbol, that signifies the NM faction of the AB. Glad I didn't have a liscence plate or any way for them to identify me.

Today May 27th I taught my daughter to ride her bike w/out training wheels. This was her 2nd attempt. By the evenning she could ride around the block. She just needs help getting onto the seat and peddling the 1st few feet.

May 20, 2010

Chicken me

Looks like I won't be doing any Tuesday night crits after all. I'm chickening out. I have more than enough fitness, but I don't believe my group riding skills are ready for a crit yet. Hopefully next year.

This Saturday I'll be doing a brick starting at noon. If anyone wants to do all or part of it with me, feel free. The more the merrier. I'll be starting with a 4 mile run starting at my house, located at the Penitentiary of New Mexico just South of Santa Fe, approximately 1.5 miles south of the 599 rail runner stop. After the run I'll be cycling to Albuquerque via highway 14, a 62 mile bike ride ending at Paseo Del Norte & Wyoming, then another short 10 min run. If interested feel free to email me

May 19, 2010

The Dog House Triathlon 2010 race report

This past weekend, May 16th 2010 was The Dog House sprint triathlon. It was a 500 meter swim, a 17.6 mile bike, & a 3.2 mile run in Lubbock TX.

I was motivated to do well in this race because my cousin Greg, who got me into triathlon way back when was going to be racing with me.

Like I'd posted on my last blog entry, I wasn't expecting much from myself in this race. I'd over trained leading up to my A race 3 weeks prior to the Dog House triathlon & had been struggling to get through any workouts, much less been able to finish any races with any serious speed.

Because of my poor performance the last month I took some time before the race to pray. I asked for a strong race if it was Gods will, or to give me the strength to accept a bad performance if it was what He wanted for me that day. This particular prayer is one I pray frequently: to have the strength to accept His will when his desires conflict with what I want. I have made great progress with accepting His will over mine, which isn't an easy thing for me to do. I'm a man of sinful nature & all to often I see myself acting just like a stubborn & strong willed child would, resenting when things don't go my way, pouting, & feeling sorry for myself-case in point look at my last blog post, jeez, that was ridiculous! I try & remember God is ALWAYS right in everything He does, even when- no especially when it goes against what I want.

The race started with a 500 meter open water swim. It was a mass start in water just a bit over a 60 degree temperature. The last time I raced in Lubbock (2008) I waited in the back of the pack to allow the majority of the athletes to get out onto the swim course before I started swimming. Not this time! I've improved my swimming speed & skills & was confident I could swim in the middle of the the pack where all the pushing & thrashing is. As soon as the gun went off I took off running into water. As the water became deep enough that running became too slow & cumbersome, but it wasn't yet deep enough to start swimming yet I started to dolphin. I was surprised to see I was the only athlete doing that.

I really needed a great swim because I knew the swim was where I had the biggest advantage on my cousin, who struggles in the water. He is an AMAZING cyclist, & knew I had to put a lot of distance on him in the water or he was sure to pass me early enough in the bike that I'd never be able to catch him on the run. I ended up with one of the 2 best swims of my life, getting out of the 500 meter swim in under 8 minutes!

I made a rookie mistake & couldn't find my bike in T-1 losing a good 20 seconds.

The bike course is very hilly & challenging! There are a 3 or 4 BIG hills each way on the out & back course, the 1st of which is the largest & longest and starts 100 feet from the bike start.

I had a strong bike performance finishing the 17.5 mile bike averaging approximately 22 mph. Amazingly enough I had finished the swim in a good enough time that my cousin wasn't able to pass me on the bike.

I started the run with my stop watch telling me I was just under the 1 hour mark total. I knew I was having a great race, pulling off some wonderful splits, but the run had been where I was struggling most recently. I had no idea what to expect, but I was motivated because I kept imagining my cousin was about to pass me by any minute, & I didn't want to get into a situation where he & I were running the entire course stride for stride, pushing each other to the breaking point, because I know how much heart that man has, & he'd end up testing my limits beyond what would be fun for me, squeezing every last bit of energy I had out of me, until I had nothing left & he'd end up dropping me, leaving me to struggle on the rest of the run on wobbly legs, exhausted, barely able to hold myself in an upright position, much less run with any authority.

Since it was an out and back run I was able to count athletes coming by from the turn around point. By my count I was in 5th place overall. I was able to hold onto the 5th place overall until there was 1 mile left on the run. At that point a lady by the name of Gretchen passed me. She was running very well, with perfect form, up on her toes, her steps were light, fast, & rhythmic, I could barely hear them at all. As she passed me her steps sounded like small patters of rain & I never once heard her breath heavily, which was completely the opposite of me, which I imagine sounded to her like she was getting chased by an asthmatic elephant.

I hung with her a well as I could, but this lady was strong! She ended up finishing 15 seconds ahead of me- remember me being unable to find my bike in T-1? That 20 second mistake cost me a top 5 finish. That just shows a person never stops learning, or in my case, never stops having to relearn:)

I finished the 5K run in approximately 23 minutes.

After I finished I went back out onto the course & paced my cousin the remainder of his run. We really kicked up the speed the last half mile! Being able to finish the remainder of his run with him was a great moment, I'll remember that fondly the rest of my life!

I finished the race in a total of 1 hour 22 minutes. Finishing in 6th place overall & 1st place AG 35-39. I now am in 1st place in the South West Challenge Series 35-39 AG with a total of 71.25 points.

May 14, 2010

Self coaching is for the birds

I started self coaching back in December. I built a training plan to peak for the Atomicman duathlon in April. I based the program I built from a triathlon book by Matt Fitzgerald. While on this self made plan I was doing WAY to much hill & speed work & not enough zone 2 & 3. I ended up over trained & got sick the weekend of the Atomicman. I pushed myself so hard that I ruined my 1st A race of the 2010 season, which happens on occasion for all endurance triathletes. A peak & a taper is a balancing act.

My self made training plan not only ruined my Atomicman duathlon, it also ruined my Jay Benson triathlon. I was very excited about competing in the 2010 Jay Benson triathlon. It's the biggest & most popular race in NM- although I suspect the Elephant Man Oly tri & the Cochati Oly tri will soon surpass the Jay Benson's popularity & draw of local elite triathletes. I ended up missing my PR by 2 minutes & missing my goal of 1 hour or below by 5 minutes.

Since the Atomicman I've been struggling mightily with my running & cycling. After talking to a buddy who was a professional cyclist & knows about such things, I found out that I am struggling now because my base deteriorated from a lack of zone 2 training. So now instead of peaking again for the Santa Fe triathlon in July I'm going to have to spend an extra couple months rebuilding my zone 2 fitness. I'll still do the Santa Fe tri, but it'll be a C race & I'm not expecting to race very well. My next A race will now be the Patriot triathlon in Rio Rancho in September.

The poor racing & training I've been experiencing the last month triggered me falling off the diet wagon for awhile. I went from 187 back up to 192 pounds. Thankfully I'm back to eating healthy. I should be back down to 187 by early June, just in time for the Gallup triathlon.

I knew from past experience I didn't like self coaching. With this heart breaking experience I've realized I dislike it & am worse at it than I even remembered. I'm trying to work out some things financially so that I can get myself a coach again. If I had it my way I'd get coach Pete Alfino back. He was AMAZING, but since he's as good as he is, he's about 3X more $ than I could afford. Barring getting the mad scientist coach Pete Alfino back I'd like to hire coach Julia Rossi. I've heard nothing but good things about her. She has a degree in sports something-or-another, her coaching philosophy is very similar to Petes, plus she's a phenomenal triathlete herself.

My wife realizes how important having a coach is to me, so we're trying to put our heads together to see if we can work the $ thing out. It's a serious struggle because my wife is a stay at home Mom who I'm putting through school, & we have 3 kids, all living off my one income.

If we are unable to figure it out then we've agreed I'm going to go for a promotion at work- something I've been avoiding for all I'm worth the last 15 years. We'd use the pay raise to hire Julia Rossi as my coach.

Until my wife & I can make some money magically appear from our finances or I get promoted I'm going to do the best I can figuring out my training plan on my own.

This weekend I'm competing in the Dog House Sprint triathlon in Lubbock TX. I love this race. It's well put on, organized, a VERY FUN course, great awards, etc. I'm not expecting a very good performance, but will enjoy the experience regardless of how I perform. At the end of this race they have a photographer taking pictures of triathletes running across the finish line. The last couple times I've competed in this race I got a picture as I ran across the finish line carrying my daughter. This year my son is old enough that I'll be getting our 1st picture of he & I crossing a finish line together. I'm really excited about that. I'll post the picture as soon as I get it.

Thanks for tuning in.

May 07, 2010

Unbalievable! & unavoidable!

I started working at the state penitentiary in 1995 at 19 years old. My favorite joke at the time was to ask some of the older officers there, "how long have you been here?"
If for example they said, "I started in 1981".
I'd reply, "WOW! You've been here since I was 6 years old!"

Haha! I thought that I was being very funny at the time! Well guess what happened to me last night..... A young guy who just started working at the NM state Penn asked me how long I'd been there- how did I not see this coming?
"Since 1995." I replied.
"Dang! You've been here since I was 6 years old!"
Somehow it seemed a lot funnier when I was not on the receiving end of that punch line.......

I completed my first 2 triathlons in 2005. I immediately became severely addicted to the sport. I've done an average of 16 triathlons a year every year since. Even for a hard core triathlete I race a bunch (a bunch being the most precise word I could come up with). Next weekend I will be competing in my 9th multisport race of the 2010 season. Racing takes a lot more effort than it sounds. The race is the easiest part of racing a triathlon. There's the packing of the bikes, extra race wheels, & gear. The travel to a race, rarely do I get to race in my home town. I pick up my race packet the day before the race. Then to save $ I find a camp ground & set up a tent & a camp out for the night. The next morning I wake at 4-5am, drive to the race site, set up my transition area, check my bike & gear to ensure they are in good working order, race, attend the race ceremony, go back to my camp sit & break down my tent & repack for the drive home, drive home, then spend that night on the couch not spending quality time with my amazing wife & kids because I'm tired!

As unbelievable as this is to those who know me, I'm tired. I don't want to say I'm burned out, because by no means am I burned out. I still LOVE to race! But I'm getting a little tired of racing so frequently! So, I'm still planing to finish the 2 races a month I have scheduled the next few months, but after July I'm going to take a hard look at my placing in the South West Challenge Series. If I'm secure in the top 2 of the 35-39 AG I'm going to skip the 2 races I had planned in August, 2 of the 4 races I had planned in Sept, & Silverman Half Iron I had planned in Nov. Even after missing those 5 races in the later half of the year I'll end up with 19 races for the year, 18 of those would be South West challenge series races.

I know this is a big "IF".... But if at any time I feel I'm secure in the #1 spot in the SW series I'll limit my racing to The Santa Fe tri in July, the Patriot & Redman Half in Sept, & the Jingle Bell & Polar Bear tri in Dec.

May 05, 2010

There's never a bad race

It's always nice getting in peak shape for a big race. Being able to show up for a triathlon I've been training months for, hammering out top speeds for obscene distances. Finding someone just a little faster than me, using him or her to pace off of & push beyond my bodies pain threshold! Seeing someone try to keep pace with me & pushing myself harder and faster, pushing with all I have, pushing myself to the breaking point until my competition's will breaks & I ride or run farther & farther away from him. Oh my, this is the fuel that feeds me to train for 15+ hours a week.

Then there's the rebuilding phase after an A race.... It's always amazed me how fast & far I can go for my A race, & immediately after the race my speeds & endurance just seems to disappear! I know the reasons. I understand it's the process of periodization, the peaks are high & glorious, but the rebuilding phase is rough.

The past 2 weeks I've been struggling to get through distances that a few weeks ago I'd of laughed at. Each day this week I'm building a bit more endurance. Each day I feel my fitness returning, slowly but surely. Thankfully the human body can take massive amounts of long slow training, also known as base work. I know the more I swim, bike, & run at this slow pace now, the faster I'll be able to swim, bike, & run later.

This Sunday May 9th is the Jay Benson triathlon. I love the Jay Benson triathlon! The fastest triathletes in the state show up for this race! The fact is it's just 2 weeks after my A race, so although I'm going to push myself as hard as I can, the unavoidable fact is I'm still feeling sluggish. So I have two choices,
1) rest a bit & hope to squeak out a half way decent race, but still no where near where I normally would.
or 2) realize this soon after an A race I'm going to have a slow race no matter what, so I might as well take advantage of the each & every minute I have to build back my base.

Long term choice #2 makes the most sense. My step Dad, Bob Foster used to tell me don't borrow from the future to pay for my present. So rather than take it easy on Saturday, resting my body for Sundays race I'm going to squeeze in as many base miles as I can. I'll be getting off work at 6 am on Saturday. I'll wake up around 2pm, hop on the bike & ride from my house in Santa Fe to Albuquerque via highway 14, approximately a 70 mile ride full of big mountains & lots of climbing. Then I'll compete in the Jay Benson triathlon the next morning on legs fatigued from training. I like the feeling of being tired & sore, & I love racing. Sounds like a great combination to me!

Let the competition begin, let the glory go to God!