June 30, 2010

Ultra endurance trail running

I've always enjoyed training & racing for short course triathlons. I've found that the longer the race I'm competing in, the slower I am compared to everyone else. Since 2003 I wanted more than anything in the world to be an Ironman, but truth be told, I hated training for Ironman triathlons. I still have nightmares of having to do bricks consisting of 100 mile bike rides followed by a tune up run. Then the next day doing 2-3 hour runs. Uhg! That was no fun for me at all! Yet I trained for Iron distance races for 5 straight years before I finally accomplished my Iron dream.

Now that it's over I'm training exclusively for sprint distance triathlons & am having the time of my life!!! So with that in mind, why in the world have I started dreaming of something that is even harder than racing an Ironman? I've awakened a desire I very well may regret! After my 9 mile trail run in the Sangre De Cristo mountains I decided I'd like to attempt an ultra endurance trail run. No time soon mind you, 1st & foremost I have to accomplish my current goal of finishing in the top %3 of a USAT sanctioned sprint triathlon, but I would like to give it a shot. My cousin Greg is planning to do a 50 miler soon. Yup, that's right, I said 50 MILER! That's the mid distance. The big dream of endurance runners is the 100 miler. No, don't worry, I have no desire what-so-ever to do a 100 miler. But a 50K or 50 miler does sound appealing- unfortunately.

For those who are new to such things as ultra endurance trail running, if a person finishes a race of that distance they get a finishers belt buckle. I proudly have my Ironman Arizona finishers medal hung on my bedroom wall for all who visit my house to see. But a finishers belt buckle I could have with me anytime I'm in public & am dressed, which is all the time- thus the appeal of the belt buckle. Why the appeal of a 50K or 50 miler, I have no idea. But I know me, & once I have some crazy dream or goal in mind I always follow it through. I'm thinking the one I'd like to try eventually is the Palo Duro trail run. I'll let you know when I decide to shoot for my new dream, until then I'll be having a blast training & racing the sprints.

Thanks for tuning in!

June 28, 2010

The importance of sports specific training

I've mostly been running on a dirt trail near my house for the last 6 years. Last Friday I was scheduled for a run & was a bit bored with my normal trail route, so I drove to the top of the Santa Fe ski area located on top of the Sangre De Cristo mountains to do my run.

In the 1st 7/10th of a mile I ran from an elevation of 10,298 feet to 10,855 & was seeing bright flashes of light in my vision & was a little dizzy, which was caused by running at such a high altitude at a semi fast pace. At the 2.5 mile mark I descended to 10,421 feet & the spots went away, not to return again the rest of the run. By the 4.4 mile mark of the run I ran to an altitude of 11,013 feet. By this point I was already becoming fatigued. I was surprised at how quickly I became tired, I never get tired at the 4.5 mile mark of a run, even when running at a time trial pace! By the time I finished the 9 mile run I was unable to run longer than 10 minutes without walking a while to recover. I was truly exhausted!

Today, 2.5 days later I'm still sore. Really sore. The altitude & terrain may have been a small portion of the reason I became so taxed, but the majority of the reason was my body isn't used to doing that kind of training. It's called sports specific training. I'm not used to it, so my body isn't very good at it. Which got me to thinking about my triathlon racing, I've made great gains on my bike, & even pretty good gains on my swim while virtually not swimming all year, yet almost no gains on my running.

In December I started running intervals, & that increased my average pace by almost 15 seconds per mile, but considering I've lost 40 pounds since the fall, 15 seconds per mile on the run is pretty pathetic. It wasn't until I did the trail run on Friday that I realized why my running hasn't improved much. The answer is I'm not doing sports specific training! I train on a dirt trail, & then try & race on concrete or asphalt! That would be as dumb as training all the time on a mountain bike then racing on a triathlon bike, or training on nothing but hills then racing on a flat course! Duh! I've been training for triathlons hard core for almost 7 years & have all sorts of knowledge about triathlon, how could I have not realized something as elementary as training predominantly on the surface I race on?

Today I was scheduled for a 7 mile run, & rather than run it on my normal dirt trail I ran along highway 14. Since I was running on asphalt I ran the 7 miles much faster than I normally would running of on dirt, which was sweet! Makes sense to me, run faster to be able to run in a race faster! I also became tired sooner than I normally would of, & I was much more fatigued at the end than I normally would be on a dirt run. I believe this revelation & change in training tactics will result in a big speed & endurance increase during my racing.

I'll let you know how the road running goes & if it effects my performance as much as I think it will. Thanks for tuning in!

June 26, 2010

An open call for a group mountain bike ride

My wife bought me a book called "Mountain biking Northern New Mexico". The book says the best mountain bike ride in New Mexico is South Boundary Trial. After reading about the ride I became really excited about doing it & am wanting to get as many of my buddies to do it with me as I can. So this is an open invite for a group mountain bike ride on Sunday August 1st.

The ride starts at the trailhead on forest road near Angel Fire NM & ends at the El Nogal camp grounds. Anyone who is interested contact me & we'll work out the details!

On another note I had a buddy of mine who lives in another state ask me about the Enchanted circle century. Any of you who has not done the Enchanted Circle Century, I highly suggest you do it. It's the prettiest ride I've ever done. It's a beautiful & strenuous ride through Northern New Mexico's mountains. There's a lot of climbing. The last climb is up Bobcat pass, a nonstop, no rest climb of 3000 feet ending at 9,800 elevation, then descending into Red River. If my buddy ends up coming up & doing it, I'll do it with him. The Enchanted Circle Century is on September 11th this year, which comes at a rough time because I've already paid for the Patriot Triathlon which is September 12th. So it looks as if I may end up doing a hilly & very challenging century on a Saturday & a triathlon the next morning!

June 24, 2010

Closer than I ever dreamed

I spent 5 years training an average of 15-19 hours a week for Ironman distance triathlons. During that 5 year stretch I never placed in an A race higher than in the 50 percentage of competitors. 2010 is the 1st season I've trained exclusively for sprint distance triathlons. I found out very quickly my body is better suited for sprint distance training & racing!

This year out of 10 races I've competed in I've taken top 10 overall in 3 & top 5 in 3. Today I realized I'm getting very close to qualifying for the National sprint distance triathlon championships. If my memory is correct I need to finish in the top 3% of a USAT sprint distance triathlon to qualify. In my last 3 USAT certified sprint triathlons I've missed being in the top 3% by 90 seconds on the flat courses & 4 minutes on the hilly courses. Considering I've been training for sprint distance triathlons for only half a season, I think my chances are very good for building enough speed & fitness to make the top 3% within the next year or 2.

So now I start the process of figuring out how I'm going to knock of 1 1/2 to 3 minutes on a sprint distance triathlon.
-Hiring a coach would make a big difference! Later this year I'll put in for that promotion at work I've been procrastinating putting in for the last decade. Once I get that promotion I could afford to hire a coach again. I already have the coach I'd like to hire picked out. Julia Rossi from Mile High Multisport.
-I don't swim consistently at all! If I was to start swimming at least twice a week every week I could knock off at least 20 seconds on a sprint distance race.
-I haven't done any strength training for my legs since I started self coaching back in September of 2009. Having more power in my legs would increase my speed on the bike, knocking off perhaps another 30 seconds.
-More speed work/track intervals could knock off 15 seconds on the run.
-The single biggest thing I need to do to become faster is drop some body weight. My dream weight is 179. I'm currently 193 (I gained a couple pounds from the family vacation we went on this weekend). That would be a 14 pound weight loss. 14 pounds in endurance athletics is HUGE! Just dropping that weight alone would make me fast enough to qualify for the National Sprint triathlon Championships easily. Up until a couple weeks ago I was trying to lose an average of 2 pounds a week. I kept getting down to 188, then falling off the diet wagon & shooting back up to 192. A couple weeks ago I'd decided to stop trying to lose weight & maintain until November. Rather than take that all or nothing weight loss stance, I think I simply need to try & lose weight more gradually. I'm going to shoot for hitting my goal weight of 179 by Dec 1st. That will make for an average of .58 of a pound a week of weight loss to hit 179 by December. Attempting to lose weight much more gradually would give me more calories a day to eat, which would make me less hungry & less likely to end up falling off the diet wagon & binge eating again & again & again. Losing the weight more gradually would also make my body much less likely to trigger some of the self defense mechanisms that our body has to having lost as much weight as I have so far, & hope to lose by December.

Whish me luck!

June 20, 2010

Chick-fil-a sprint triathlon race report

I competed in the Chick-fil-a sprint triathlon June 19th 2010. It was a 400 meter swim, a 12.6 mile bike, & a 3.2 mile run. This a an AWESOME race! I've never seen so many volunteers for a sprint! The run was a great course winding through a HUGE sports parks that went in-between soccer & baseball fields that had kids games going on. People were stopping the games to hoot & yell for us triathletes.

It was the flattest fastest bike course I've EVER competed on. I used my HED3/ disk wheel set. They had finishers medal for every finisher, & the best awards I've ever seen at a sprint for the top 3 in each division. The top male & female overall got free Chick-fil-a for a year. They had free Chick-fil-a meals for all the competitors post race. They had a DJ playing music, & a guy dressed as the Chick-fil-a cow playing with all the kids. They had a kids triathlon after the adults race. All the kids got finishers medals. The RD's name is Mark G., & I called him 4 times the 2 weeks before the race asking questions that would annoy most RD's. He seemed happy to answer any questions I had. I loved this race & am planning on making it an every year race for my triathlon schedule.

I could go on forever about the great things pertaining to this race. The only bad thing that happened was my fault. I had my wife register me. During the registration process they asked my wife what my swim time was, she put 2hrs down as my 400 meter swim time. It was a seeded swim start, meaning they start a swimmer in the pool every 15 seconds starting with the fastest swimmer 1st, the slowest swimmer last. I was the last person to start my swim. This was bad for my race for a multiple reasons.

1) The race was scheduled to start at 8am. I didn't start my swim until 9:15 am. I ate at 5am to make sure my food was fully digested & my fuel tanks were completely topped off for the 8am race start. By the time I started my swim I was very hungry & incredibly thirsty.

2) By 9:15 it was getting really hot. My biggest deficiency as an endurance athlete is my inability to tolerate the heat. The heat hits me hard & slows me down much more than most athletes. By the time I hit the last half of my run it was sweltering hot!

3) All the people I was swimming with were averaging a 12-20 minute swims, mine is normal approximately a 7:20, so while I was swimming it was like I was trying to traverse an obstacle field. I must of passed 15 people. I guarantee I lost 15-20 seconds on the swim, I didn't want to swim around those people as aggressively as I normally do because I knew these were new swimmers & triathletes. I didn't want them to leave having received any elbows or having been swam over or dunked- yes that is normally what I do.

All is all I still finished with a decent time. 1 hr 5 min 39 seconds, taking 2nd place in my division out of 25, & taking 10th place overall out 200. I now have 75.75 points in the South West Challenge Series & am in 1st place in the 35-39 AG.

I finished 23 seconds behind Wade, who I have looked up to as an endurance athlete for many years. Hopefully some day I can finish in front of him at a race. I can guarantee you, knowing him as long as I have, once I beat him he won't be a poor sport about it. He's an honorable sportsman who would be excited & congratulate me. I strive to be as wonderful of representative of the sport of triathlon as he has been.

After the race I took my family camping at Palo Duro canyon outside Amarillo TX. We were very excited about our camping expedition. It did turn out well. It was unseasonably hot. It got to 101 that day. The night was miserably hot too. We're going to try camping again the last week of July, but this time in the mountains where it will be nice & cool.

My next race is the Santa Fe triathlon July 2010.

June 17, 2010

I quit, I'm raising the white flag!!

Looks like I may be giving up on a couple things. Just call me the local French representative!

The 1st thing I'm quitting on, I'm done trying to lose weight. I'm burned out. I think my body needs to try & maintain at 188 pounds for awhile to get used to this new lighter weight I'm at. It's stressful on the body to drop weight while still training hard. I've been losing or gaining weight non stop since last July. I've decided I'm going to attempt to stay at the weight I'm at until November 1st. At that time I'll try & drop this last 8 or 9 pounds. My dream weight is 179-180. If everything works out the way I'd like I'll be at my goal weight by the 1st race of the 2011 race season.

I did a lot of praying both last year & this year to get faster at multisport, & I became faster than I ever dreamed I could be. Now I'm going to continue to pray for speed at triathlon, and to maintain my weight until November. For those of you who are new to my blog, my weight has always been an issue for me. It wasn't until late last year that I was able to drop a significant amount of the weight I'd been hanging onto the last 5 years. The most important thing pertaining to multisport I'll be praying for is for me to be able to use triathlon & duathlon to spread God's word.

The other thing I may end up having to bail out of is the Halfmax National championships this September. I qualified for the Halfmax National Championships last September & was hoping to race & attempt to qualify again for the 3rd straight year. It's not that I don't want to compete in that race, because I desperately do, it's that I can't afford the entry fee & travel.

I've been working on getting sponsored by AFSCME. If I can get them as a sponsor before the registration deadline I'll jump at the opportunity to race at the Halfmax National Championships, but if not then it just wasn't meant to be. I'm ok with that, I am a Christian & family man 1st, multi-sport athlete 2nd.

This Saturday I'll be competing in the Chick-fil-a sprint triathlon in Amarillo TX. I called the the RD, Mark G. & asked him exactly what the bike course is like. He said "flat!" I asked, "rolling hills flat, or really flat". He replied, "flat as a pancake flat!" I'm was already excited about competing in The Chick-Fil-a triathlon. But now I'm even more excited! As many of you know I am much more powerful & competitive on a flat course than a hilly one. I struggle badly with climbing. Any race I do with hills I will get beat by people I normally finish ahead of. Case in point, I beat a fellow by the name of Garrot Rennonat the Dog House Sprint triathlon in Lubbock TX in May by a minute 19 seconds. A month later I competed against him in the Gallup triathlon, which is a VERY hilly course! He beat me by 2 min 13 sec.

It's rare that I get the opportunity to race on a very flat & fast course. I love flat & fast courses!!! I always have my best performances at flat races. Oh me! oh my! I am excited!

A great thing happened at work last night. I witnessed to one of my fellow co-workers. He's now wanting to come to church with my family & I. I'm going to do my best to plant the seed of God's great word & hope God makes it grow. Anytime I try bringing others to Christ I always feel like I am such an unworthy person to be bringing such a great thing as God's grace into someone's life. He's such an awesome God, & I'm such an average man-on a good day. Most days, I'm a wretched, sinful man who would have no chance of entering heaven on my own accord. For someone like me to try & spread God's word, I feel a bit overwhelmed. But then I think of some of the stories I've read in the bible. The story of Moses is the one that comes 1st to my mind. Moses felt like he wasn't a good enough of a man to do all that God asked of Him. But through God, anything is possible. If any of you prayer warriors out there are willing, I'd sure love a few prayers for me to be able to show him the way, & let God take it over from there.

June 15, 2010

The Gallup triathlon race report

I completed the June 12th 2010 Gallup triathlon, no flats this time! This was my 63rd multisport race, which doesn't include centuries, marathons, etc. I'm 37 races away from hitting one of my multisport goals of completing 100 races. The race results didn't get posted until Monday or so. But overall I was very impressed with this race. BTW, it's the hardest sprint distance triathlon I've ever competed in. VERY Hard course!

It was a seated 400 yard swim, 12.6 mile bike, & a 3.2 mile run.

My splits were:
400 yard swim in 6 min 29 sec.
T-1 45 seconds
12.6 mile bike in 37 min 56 seconds, a 19.93 mph Ave
T-2 in 34 seconds!
3.2 mile run in 23 min 19 seconds, a 7:31 min per mile pace.
A total time of 1 hr 9 min 3 seconds, crushing my previous PR at this race!
I finished 4th place overall out of 82, & 1st place in my division.

I drove up there with a co-worker & friend named Pete Jackson. His times were
Swim 10 min 43 sec
T-1 1 min 59 sec
Bike 47 min 5 sec 16.6 mph Ave
T-2 1 min 5 sec
Run 31 min 38 sec. 10:12 min per mile pace
Total 1 hr 32 min 30 sec
He was 1st place 45-49!
Considering this was only his 3rd race, he's doing amazing!

With this 1st place finish I'm securely in 1st place in the South West Challenge Series 35-39 age group with a total of 74.5 points. I have 4 first place finishes, 2 second place finishes, & 2 third place finishes.

My closest competitors is Greg Gouveia who has 38 points in 5 races, & Cory Adair who has 36 points in 5 races.

I'm now in a position that in 6+ years of hard core training & racing I've never been in before. I have accomplished my major goal of the season, so now I can train & race as I please. If I don't train as hard as I usually do, that's ok. I'll enjoy the down time so I can come back the later part of this season refreshed & ready to train hard core again. Or if I decide to train as hard as I want, I can do that too! Whatever I want to do at this point I can do without any feelings of guilt or impending dread, of shoulda, coulda, woulda! My next race that I need to take seriously isn't until my first 2 races of the new season, The Polar Bear triathlon & The Jingle Bell triathlon this Dec. How refreshing this is! I believe God has granted me this gift of achieving my seasons goal so early in the year because I have started using triathlon to glorify Him & spread His word

My next race is going to be the Chick-fil-a triathlon in Amarillo TX June 19th 2010. It's going to be flat, so I think I'm going to race on my HED3, disk wheel set. The Chick-fil-a triathlon weekends race was my fathers day present & it will be the 1st race my family has attended since the Buffman and Squeaky triathlon in 2008. I'm excited to be able to finish a race in front of my kids. Hopefully they will think it's exciting & think it was fun to watch Daddy race.

Wish me luck, & I'll see you at the races!

June 04, 2010

Gallup triathlon & goal weight

Last year at the Gallup triathlon I got a flat at the half way point of the bike. Rather than quit I ran with my bike 6.1 miles, then finished the 3.2 mile run. I finished dead last that day. This was the 2nd time I'd raced that triathlon & the 2nd time I'd flatted on the bike.

I currently have 71.25 points in the South West Challenge Series. I'm almost 30 points above the nearest competitor. I have decided to cancel half of the races I was planning for the last half of the year. The Gallup triathlon was one of the races I was going to cancel. But after thinking about it I decided I needed to do that race again. I need to redeem myself at that race.

June 19th, the Gallup triathlon will be my next race.

My dream weight is 180 pounds. That would put me under 5% body fat. I know this because of the body dunk test I got at the University of New Mexico physiology lab. I'd be a screaming fast triathlete at that weight.

Since April I've been fluctuating from 187- 194. Although I'm very happy to be that low I'd be lying if I didn't say I am obsessing about getting down to my dream weight of 180. Seems every tine I get down to 187 or 188 I self destruct & pop back up to 192.

I'm going to try & get down to 180 one more time. My goal is to be at that weight a little before the Santa Fe Triathlon mid July. If I self destruct again I'm going to try & maintain 188 for a few months to allow my body to get used to being at a low body weight, to heal up, & hopefully be ready to drop that last 8 pounds by the beginning of 2011.