Monday, September 14, 2009

NEW Website & Blog!

I have a brand new website and blog! You can check it out here:

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Safeway Special

Gear bags are packed, bikes are checked in, last minute shake out swim/bike/runs are done. Now it’s just time to hurry up and wait till morning. I’m fortunate to have some good company, friends and fellow athletes Haley Cooper and Mark van Akkren. To kill the time, we’ve posted up at the local Safeway--on account of the free wi-fi. Ironically, we just heard a shopper tell the cashier that he was just hoping to see some pros out shopping. Apparently he didn’t hear about the 3-for-1 special at the end of aisle twelve.

Or run into the Queen of Canada herself, Lisa Bentley, over by the Ensure section, as I was fortunate to do.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I also feel ready. Ready to “get ‘er done”, as the Canadians say. Prep for this one has gone smoothly—fitness wise, I’ve been feeling great on the bike, ok on the run, and have even seen a few glimmers of hope in the water. I have lots of rock star training partners as of late to thank for this challenging, yet highly entertaining training block—thanks to all of you who have made even the big training miles slide by easily. I'll do my best to put it to work tomorrow.

With a challenging course, a well stacked field, and race day temps expected to top out over 90 degrees, it's going to be a tough day out there no matter how you slice it. Fortunately, IM Canada has the reputation for being one of the most beautiful courses on the circuit. In just a few short hours, I'll be out there with a few thousand friends doing what I love best.

See you on the other side!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

white dude on the dance floor

I have not been good. Not even mediocre about this whole blogging thing lately. Just like endurance sport, blogging for me is all about rhythm & right now, I'm the blogger equivalent of the seriously dorky white dude on the dance floor. BUT, change is a-comin', I promise!. . .Right after Ironman Canada and the associated maddness and uncertain internet access situation.

For now, just a super quick bleet (blog/tweet) from the SD airport. Between training, wedding planning, family visits, thesis writing, etc. life has been busy, but great! I'm healthy and feeling excited about this weekends race. I promise to check in soon (really, I mean it this time!) with more details!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Steelhead 70.3 Race and Post Race Report. Finally.

If you were beginning to wonder when I was going to get around to writing a race report, well. . .I was too. In case, like me, you're already on to the next one, here are the Cliff notes:

Solid race--4:32 and 7th overall in a strong field, qualified for Clearwater. Swam well, ran fairly well, biked. . .meh, ok. If that's enough info for you, skip to the bottom for the pictures from the post race trip to Chicago. Otherwise, keep reading: )

Before I get too deep into the actual race reporting, I would like to comment on a notable change in my preparation for the race. I still did all the usual swim/bike/run training, but I decided to make one very important pre-game change. My hair. (Those of you with short hair can tune out now). I would describe the normal pre race hair ritual as non-existant. I yank it into a ponytail, and don't give it a second thought. Not until after the race, that is, when I usually spend on the order of 45 minutes combing it out of the most incredible tangle imaginable.

Thanks to Katie, my incredible "mom for the weekend", the problem was solved. Double braids are definitely the way to go. Took me back to my gymnastics days as a kid.

On to the race. The lake had some decent wind chop going race morning. Combined with the 6-12 inch visibility, I knew drafting was going to be tough. The pro women's wave included several incredible swimmers, so no opportunities for mistakes if I wanted to be in a swim pack. As soon as we heard the gun, I went HARD, managing to get to the first buoy in the lead (from my vantage point, anyway). That didn't last long. BUT, I did manage to settle in with a group of 3 girls, and exited the water in 30 minutes and change, my fastest ever swim time!

I am quite accustomed to biking my way back into the mix. This time, I was actually much closer to the action than usual coming out of the water, but my legs seemed to have stage fright. The first 15 miles of my bike ride weren't great. I spent the first few miles questioning whether or not I had a mechanical. After searching for a few excuses--brake rubbing? Nope. flat? Nope.--and coming up empty handed, I decided it was time to suck it up and get to work. I seemed to pull things together for the later part of the ride, and moved up 6 or 7 places before running out of real estate.

Nothing too remarkable happened on the run. I found a good rhythm, but more or less held position. Sub 1:30 on a course with some hills. I've run faster, but given the Ironman racing and training bookending this race, I'll take it! Overall, I felt really good about the day --good prep for IM Canada and nice to see that the extra swimming is (fingers crossed) finally paying off.

I finished the weekend off with a trip to Chicago (I love Saturday races. . .more time to play before the end of the weekend!) My friends Paige and Jack were excellent windy city tour guides--wake surfing on the lake, dancing with Lady Gaga, and checking out the downtown sites were a few of the highlights.

No idea what this silver thing is called, but everyone else was taking a lot of pictures, so I figured I'd join the party. This is the view from underneath.

Obviously not the real Lady Gaga. . .the question is, was (s)he a lady at all? We were really not sure.

I managed to get up on my 1st--err, maybe my 5th attempt. It was harder than it looked, but once accomplished, it was time to up the ante. . .

It was a fun weekend of racing & playing before heading back to San Diego for IM Canada prep!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Almost time

All's good here in Michigan. I arrived Wednesday for the Whirlpool Steelhead race, just in time for an 8:30pm swim with the local tri group--it's not dark till nearly 10pm here! Better still, before I even hit the sack, my bike was already assembled by my awesome hosts who are not only race volunteers, but also own the town bike shop. Talk about connections.

Yesterday was a second swim in the lake, followed by a preview ride of the course. The bike course is absolutely spectacular--gently rolling country roads spotted with apple orchards, pick it yourself blueberry farms, and vegetable stands every few miles. I briefly considered dumping my water bottles and having a try at the berry picking, but restrained myself.

This sign, posted outside of a one room schoolhouse sort of confused me. Not as much as the French speedo one, but confusing nonetheless. Are they just trying to prevent general loitering? Does the kid's jewlry they find go a long ways towards the school budget? Thoughts?

Ah, well. I'll have 70.3 miles tomorrow to ponder it. Happy weekend training and racing, everyone!

Monday, July 27, 2009

A weekend at the Races

This weekend was the illustrious Solana Beach Triathlon. Since my legs needed a reminder that it IS possible to move faster than an ironman shuffle, and because it was within 5 miles of my house, I decided to jump in. Nothing better than having a few (1,500 or so) good training partners for a speed workout. All in all, it was a good day, err 53 minutes, that is. . .my cool down run was actually longer, but it was fun nonetheless. Kate Major smoked it, and I held on for 2nd overall female.

There was a little extra excitement for the swim race morning, as the biggest swell of the summer had arrived just in time. Not long ago, the sight of these waves would have terrified me, but a few weeks of ocean swims with the surf livesavers over in Oz last year recentered my classification system for waves. Other than a face full of whitewash after one poorly timed dolphin dive on the way out, the swim seemed to go not half bad. I was pleasantly surprised to hear that I was down just 30 seconds as I ran up the ramp.

I wouldn't say I was exactly fresh and tapered for this, but the bike and the run actually felt great. I managed to hold position on the bike--all 9 miles of it, and hopped off hoping I still had legs to run. It was my first taste of speed in quite awhile, so I really had no idea how it was going to feel. As it turned out, the run felt so great that I decided to treat myself to an extra 400m or so. Oops. Lesson learned. Know the course--or, if you are going to follow that guy in front of you, at least make sure he is in the same race and not the duathlon that started 5' before you!

Ah, well. A good confidence booster workout, nonetheless.

Races are always a lot of fun, but local races are even better. Loved seeing so many of my friends and training partners out there. It was especially exciting to see some friends tackle their first triathlon. Special shout out to my friend Jeff, who had an awesome race and is gonna be a poppa in just a few short weeks.
Way to go, Jefe.

Here's a pic from the other race of the weekend, the horse races at the Del Mar racetrack. As previously mentioned, this type of race is nice because it's far less strenuous. A nice way to relax on a sunny summer afternoon.

A full day of training ahead before leaving for Michigan tomorrow. Have a happy Tuesday!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm Drooling

I spent the better part of the morning drooling. Not over the beautiful day, though it was beautiful. Not over my riding partner's strength on the bike, though Kate Major is one of the best athletes in the sport and a total badass on the bike. (Ok, maybe I was drooling over her, just a liiitle). Not even over the hilly 3.5 hour afternoon ride we had planned, though I was totally stoked to spend a little quality time in the saddle and get reacquainted with my Orbea TT bike.

Kate & I procrastinating at B&L pre-ride

Mostly I spent the morning drooling over myself. No, I haven't morphed into a total egomaniac. I mean literally drooling all over myself. At the dentist's office. I had to have a cap replaced on the front tooth I chipped when I was 11. Ironically, it was the result of my first real bike wreck--a total faceplant performed while racing my brother, Cliff, on the brand new bmx bikes we'd just gotten for Christmas that year.

I can still remember watching him edge a little bit ahead, then digging in for my first taste of speed on two wheels--standing up out of the saddle, absolutely cranking, handlebars rocking back and forth, and then that split second of time standing still before hitting the pavement. Let's just say that he walked away with the glory that day. I walked away looking like one big scab. Who knew that so many years later I would be rushing out of the dentists' office to get back on one of those dangerous contraptions! Since these days he keeps himself busy with the minor task of med school, we haven't gotten around to a re-match. Lucky for me.

In other news, less than a week to go before I leave for Steelhead 70.3 in Michigan. Starting to feel somewhat recovered, so I'm looking forward to it as a good training day for Canada!