Sunday, September 30, 2007

drill, Drill, DRILL!

Soccer season is in full swing here in Eugene! I get to coach my daughter's 2nd grade team and have coached the same group of girls since kindergarten! Look at that INTENSE face! YEAH! You know 2nd grade soccer is EXTREMELY intense and serious... yeah... like... if they don't win... I usually beat them individually with a stick. Bah ha ha! It's been really fun to watch these girls come along and develop their skill and also watch them start to truly understand the game. They kicked some serious butt yesterday so there were no beatings necessary! Good times... good times.

As for me, I got back from Seattle late evening on Friday and got to hang with the family. I have a real love/hate relationship with business trips. REALLY nice to get a break from the daily routine of my husband/daddy duties... but after about a day I really start to miss them. Homecomings are always fun!

After coaching the game yesterday I was finally able to get over to the pool and try out some of the drills that Coach Gina had prescribed for me! I won't bore you with the details but I essentially did a total of 3,500 yds over half of which were technique drills. Ya know what? I had no idea there was so much to think about when you swim! Other than things like, "Gee, I wonder what's for dinner?" Or "Golly, I sure do like steamed spinach." Like Coach Gina said, I tried to concentrate on one thing at a time. It's kind of like meditation... you focus for a little while and then your mind wanders... and then you bring it back into focus. The funny thing for me was that while I was concentrating one specific thing... the rest of my form would go to hell. LOL... eh... oh well... I'll get it. I have a lot of questions for Gina when we meet later this month.

It's pouring rain here today... so I think I'll hop on the trainer for a while!


Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Swim Coaching and a Full Moon

Got my fanny out of the rack this morning at 3:45 AM!!!! Yeah... you read that right... 3:45 am... that's 15 minutes before 4 am for those of you that have problems with telling time. Why? Well... sometimes I get these ideas in my head that make a lot of sense at the time... then I RUN with it! Basically if the decisions been made it'll take an act of God to stear me away from it. This week I have a meeting in Seattle from Wed thru Friday... there won't be a lot of opportunity for me to get out on a bike. So I got up, went out and opened the garage door, and hoped on the trainer. I had Jetpack in my ears and listened to Drew's account of IM Canada as I did an hour and a half on the trainer while looking out at the full moon. Pretty cool actually... and I'm not a big fan of the trainer. Got off the bike, showered, and made it to the airport just in time to catch my flight. I'm now in Seattle... and as you can tell... I'm completely focused on the information being presented... (as I write my blog entry!) Geesh...
The REALLY cool thing that I wanted to tell you is that I finally got around to scheduling a master's swim lesson. One of my Eugene tri-friends, Scott, called up Gina Dohm and scheduled a private session last Sunday. Just a note on Gina; if you're in Eugene, and you want to get faster, more efficient, more comfortable, or just figure out exactly what you could improve.. Gina is your woman! She's been coaching for 11 years and has a background in Psychology with an emphasis in sports motivation. She's currently the Head Coach for Emerald Aquatics (Master's and Youth), and is the Head Coach for the Willamette High School Swim Team in addition to offerring private lessons/consults! All that AND she's a really freakin COOL chick! You can check out her website HERE!
She worked with me for about an hour and gave me a bunch of drills to help me refine my swim. One of my long-term goals is to complete a full-iron distance swim in 1 hour or under. Currently my 100m pace is about 7 seconds off that. The good news is that Gina thinks that I haven't done too much irreparable damage by teaching myself! She gave me a bunch of quality drills to do as well as a workout outline to play around with until I see her next... in about a month. Luckily she wrote a very detailed summary of our session and the drills to work on and sent it to me via email! I'm REALLY looking forward to improving my swim during the off season and reaping the benefits in the '08 season!
OK! Off to listen to more GREAT information! ("Wah wah WAH wah wah wah wahhhhh)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Narcissism DEFINED!

Yeah... here's ME! Just some pics from my last race! Can you just hear the song, "You're So Vain" playing in the background?
Here's the boat we jumped off... check out the whitecaps! NOT pretty!
Exiting T1! No one ever told me that I look so "special" in that helmet!
The kick! I was thinking about Brett during this and his crazy Hornet Juice induced crack high at the end of one of his races!
Here's the crew! I'm REALLY lucky to have the group of friends that I do! These guys are stellar and I look forward to doing this race in particular with each other until we're old and gray!
Congrats all around! What a great day!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Keeping My Head Level...

Did you guys notice how quickly I went a bit bonkers after my last race? "What am I gonna do? Where'm I gonna go? Core? Race Schedule? ArrrrrrGH!" Bah ha ha! Geesh... I am one unstable pup!

I went for a mellow spin with Drew on Monday of this week in Bend and as usual he was able to bring me back down to earth and chill me out a bit. I swear if I didn't have people like that in my life I would go 1,000 mph 24/7 until I completely crashed! THEN I would be so burned out that I couldn't even say the words, "brick session".

This picture aptly illustrates Drew's mentoring (though he doesn't yell). It's kind of a "Pull it together man!" type thing. Thanks Drew! You can see the pic in it's original context HERE if you'd like.

I also got to have dinner with Coach Matt and discuss some future plans with him as well as the race schedule for next year. There's a big question mark from him on the full Eugene marathon as well as the self-supported Ironman with Drew in August. Believe me... aggressive negotiations will be had on that one. (More about the self-supported Ironman later)


Sunday, September 16, 2007

2008 Race Schedule???

J.D. sent me a new piece! I thought it was pretty apropos considering how much I've been thinking about next year's race schedule and how I'd like to approach it. It's titled: "Thinking (How it Works)". Cool stuff J.D.!

So I posted my tentative race schedule, (take a look to the right of the page), and the season seems to be pretty busy. The only races that I've actually run by Coach Matt are the Eugene Marathon and the Lake Stevens 70.3. I tried to get in one event per month. The "A" race on the list is Lake Stevens. The rest are for fun and experience. I've said over and over that a couple of things that I believe are holding me back are experience and confidence... so I'm trying to build both during the '08 season and leading into '09.

My "official" race season is over... I might do a dualthon in October... but other than that I'm in cruise mode. The problem is... I don't know what that means! Do I not swim, bike, run? Do I do just a little bit? Do I join a master's swim group? Do I do tons of weight training? Core work? Do I spend hours spinning on the trainer? It's kind of a weird time of year isn't it? I mean, what the heck do I focus on? No race to get ready for... no solidified goal for the next few months. I actually feel a bit lost. Ok... that's a bit dramatic... I'll figure it out.


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Escaped... from the Gorge!

Now REALLY get comfortable... this one will definitely take a while!

After Matt's presentation on Saturday I packed my transition bag and my bike and headed up to Portland. Met up with some college friends and watched the Ducks kick the living CRAP out of Michigan! THAT was shocking huh?!

After that, Slimmer (Gary to those that know him post college), Matt, and I headed out to Cascade Locks for packet pick-up. For those of you that don't know, this was my very first triathlon EVER last year! That's where it all started! Basically it has now turned into an annual event that myself and 3 of my college buddies plan to do until we can barely walk b/c we've had so many hip replacements and we've taken out stock in Geritol!

This is an absolutely GORGEOUS venue for a race. In a nut-shell, you jump off a stern-wheeler into the Columbia River, swim 1.5 miles with the current, hop out and take off on a 18 mile bike that includes rolling hills as well as one KILLER hill of about a 9% grade that lasts for 1.5 miles, then take off on an 8 mile run along a paved trail that's extremely hilly, (though the race description says something along the lines of "slightly rolling hills"), it also includes 4 flights of stairs! ("Don't hate the hills! Hate the race director!" Thanks Bo!) I think the idea is that its supposed to mimic Escape from Alcatraz. If you place within the top 2 of your AG you're awarded a slot to race Alcatraz in June of '09. We were all really happy to see that it was warm and sunny... with little to no wind! Hood River is just to the North and is world famous for its killer windsurfing... i.e. high winds. Last year the weather cooperated and the water was like glass... we had no reason to think that it would be any other way!

After that we hooked up with the 4th Musketeer Jim, he did the Pacific Crest 1/2 IM with me earlier this year, and headed out to some hole in the wall Italian restaurant for last minute carbo-loading. Went back to Matt's house and set-up the bikes... one less thing to do in the morning. After all that pasta I didn't have any trouble falling asleep!

Wake-up was a 0400! Got dressed. Threw the bike in the car and took off for the race... about a 40 min drive. I admit... it's probably b/c I still don't really know what I'm doing... but I like to get to the transition area about 1 1/2 hours before the race! Annoying but true. Anyway... when we got out to the site... it was totally freezing and the wind was HOWLING! No kidding. It was still dark as we set up our transitions (brought the headlamp). We couldn't believe it! After we got our transition set-up we actually piled back into the car and turned on the heat... you know me and the cold... we just don't mix. As the sun began to come up... we looked out onto the river and couldn't believe how rough it was... this was going to be a LONG swim! The race director actually announced that the buoys that he had placed the day before had been blown down-river! That means that the wind was strong enough to actually drag the anchors! CRAP! Eh... who cares... it'll make for a good story! Quick jog for a warm-up, wet suit on, and onto the boat for the trip up river!

The Olympic distance racers board the stern-wheeler first and head to the upper decks. Then the sprinters board. The boat takes off and goes about a 1/4 mile up-river. So we're heading up the river and ALL of us are like, "Holy CRAP this is gonna SUCK!". It was that bad. The boat strains to get about a 1/4 mile up stream and steadies itself for the sprint wave to start. BAM... the gun goes off and they're in the water... looking like a bunch of corks in a bathtub with a fat kid splashing around in it! It was crazy! The kayakers refused to go out on the water it was so rough so they had one jet-ski out there for safety support. We were all watching from the upper deck as they began to pull people out of the water. From what I understand... 7 had to be pulled for safety reasons.... all were ok though. Not exactly a good confidence booster. You could really tell who was new to open-water swimming b/c they were breaking out in a cold sweat. All of a sudden Bo (race director) announced over the loudspeaker that he was shortening the swim to a 1/2 mile! Most of us breathed a sigh of relief. Stern-wheeler headed up-river again, steadied itself... and BAM! There goes the gun.

Swim: I shuffle to the door and jump spread-eagle into the water! FUN! Took a quick look up to find a reference point on the shore and took off... sighting off a peak in the distance that was in the general direction of the water exit every tenth stroke. The waves were unbelievable! You could actually body surf a bit if you caught the right wave. I just overemphasized high elbows and had no trouble with my stroke. What was weird was the amount of "salad" I was grabbing! When things are that rough on the water... I guess things on the bottom get churned up as well. I was with one guy with a neoprene swimming cap the entire time... which was kinda fun actually. Forget about drafting and all that... it felt more like a survival swim. "Steady, high elbow, pull, roll, smooth." I feel my hands dig into some gravel and pop up out of the water... up the steep bank... and I'm sprinting to T1!

Total Swim time: 14:49.9 (1/2 mi, 1:38/100yd pace)

T1: The distance from the water to T1 is roughly a 1/4 mile. I left some trainers at the top of the bank, slipped them on and took off! The shoes were key! (Thnx Matt) Got into the transition area: wetsuit off, shoes on, helmet on, glasses on, gel in mouth, GONE!

Total T1 time: 01:12.1

Bike: I got to the mounting point, clipped in and hit it! Exiting the transition and out onto the road is a fairly short and steep uphill so it was pretty slow going. I actually got passed quite a bit on that little section... but I told myself to relax and let them go... for the time-being. Up onto the flats I opened it up a bit but still kept it under control. Then I realized something, "Hey... its only an 18 mile bike! GO!" BLAM! Now I'm hammering and scorching by guys and gals alike. Knowing that the mother of all hills was coming up I had the fleeting thought that maybe I was going a bit hard... but I ignored it. As I made the final turn before the hill... my motivation faded! It was really weird. My back started to give me a little problem and looking up the 1.5 mile 9% grade hill kinda killed me mentally. It was a really odd thing to be going through in the middle of a race. I just wasn't into it. Then I got passed, the guy says, "Rolling hills my A@$!" I looked to my left and realized it was a guy that I knew in college... not a friend... but the kind of guy that you knew b/c he was a cocky AS*%$#*@! "Oh hey Steve. Nice bike" (a sweet full-carbon Cervelo), "Oh hey... what's up Rob? Later!" Ohhhhhhhh.... that really chapped my hide! Ok pal. It's ON! I let him climb to 3 bike lengths then held him. We continued to grind through the gears and at about 100 yds from the crest of the hill... his cadence faltered... and I accelerated. I went by him.... didn't look over.... didn't say anything... just listened to him sucking for air. The next time I saw him was after the turn-around and I was headed in the opposite direction! SO sweet! I guess that's what I needed... a nemesis... as Drew calls them. I felt great. Didn't take in any more gels after T1 and just sipped some HEED from my aero bottle. I felt kind of full actually... which was strange... but overall I felt great. In the last couple of miles my legs started to fatigue... but it was pretty much flat... so I hammered on into T2!

Total Bike time: 51:27.1 (18 miles, 21 mph avg pace)

T2: Fancy legoverthesaddle dismount and into transition. Helmet off, glasses off, cycling shoes off, running shoes on, grab visor, number belt, and GO!

Total T2 time: 00:56.8

Run: Like I said... this mocks Escape from Alcatraz... so there are hills... go figure. Out of transition my legs felt pretty good considering the distinct lack of bricks I did during the months of August and September. I was right with a guy that I recognized from the Blue Lake Olympic in June earlier this year. We went through our first mile at 7:22... Oooooops... time to pick it up. I left him and was all alone for a bit... then the talkers joined me! I'm runnin along and these two guys come up on me and one of them is an "Excited Loud-Talker"... you know the guy, "YEAH! THIS IS AWESOME! TWO GELS AND SOME GATORADE... I COULD GO FOREVER MAN! HEY! WHAT'S UP! WE COMIN FOR YA! YEAHHHHHH!" you know... that guy. Anyway... he and his quiet buddy pass me on a down hill and I let them go thinkin, boy is THAT dude wasting a lot of energy! Anyway... I ran on and kept the loud guy in site... again... his cadence faltered and I passed him on an uphill. Ok... new nemesis needed! Saw a guy in front of me who had a really nice stride and decided to catch him and hang on for as long as I could. As I got on his heals I looked at his right calf... 43 years old! That dude was hardly breathing! We started chatting and turns out that he did the Pacific Crest 1/2 IM too. We hit the stairs at that point. Now this is something that completely destroys some people's will. Basically you have to run up 4 flights of 10-12 stairs each. It feels straight UP! OUCH! After that it was about 3/4 of a mile to the turn-around. We stayed with each other and started heading back. He slowed for a drink and told me to go... I made a weak attempt at a surge and he quickly caught up and said he was moving on. Told him thanks for the pace and the conversation and let him go. He opened up the gap between us to about 30 yds... and I held him there. The last couple of miles are a gradual uphill. I started to chip away at his lead during that time and caught him with less than a 1/4 mile to go. "Nice JOB!" He said, "Thanks." I said. Then the tape was in sight, "You take it." I said. "Nah, go ahead" he said... and I took off. I felt like Brett minus the Hornet Juice and crossed the line feeling more fresh than I should have!

Total Run time: 57:32.2 (8 miles, 7:11/mile pace)

Final Results:
  • Total Time: 02:06:20.5
  • AG: 3 of 16
  • OA: 16 of 88
Pretty happy about the whole thing actually. We always think that we could have gone a bit faster... pushed a bit harder. My only disappointment is in the run. Considering the amount of talking I did with my buddy... plus how fresh I felt at the finish line... I should have been running sub 7 min miles. This seems to have become a common theme for me. I think it mostly has to do with lack of experience, (4th triathlon) and not knowing exactly how hard I can/should go in a race like this. The absolute WORST part of the whole thing is that I missed qualifying for an Escape from Alcatraz slot by 1 place!!!!! CRAP! Oh well... there's always next year right?

Thanks for reading! I'd love some feedback if you have the time! I'll follow up with some actual race pictures as soon as possible!


Catch UP! GEESH!

OK... make yourselves comfortable b/c this might take awhile! I haven't posted anything in so long I need to play some catch-up. Might have to do it in multiple posts to make it easier on everyone... including myself!

Last Saturday... the 8th, I organized an event for one of the local bike shop tri-club/teams! Let me back up a bit and fill in some blanks...

A few months back while I was in Bend I wandered into a bike shop while there and ended up meeting Matt Lieto. Turns out that Matt is a professional triathlete! (you might recognize his last name b/c of his older brother Chris). In addition to being a completely low-key, laid back, dude type... he's also an extremely strong and talented endurance athlete in the early stages of what promises to be a very big career in triathlon! After much poking and prodding and begging, Matt agreed to come to Eugene and do a little "triathlon talk". Despite scheduling him on the opening morning of the Eugene Celebration... attendance was pretty good and I know everyone benefited from his experience and advice.

The OTHER cool thing is that Matt is going to start coaching a limited number of triathletes starting next year... and guess what? I'm one of them! YES! Matt and another talented endurance athlete are in the process of developing their coaching and training programs and should be up and running and ready to accept applications in the beginning of next year. Obviously this is a HUGE opportunity for me and I'm really looking forward to working with Matt to accomplish some of the lofty goals I've set for myself. Matt stayed with me and the family on Friday night... and I got approval from the wife and the kids to move forward with Matt as my coach! For reasons I'm sure you can guess, it was important to me that my family liked Matt... considering the fact that he's the one that's going to be torturing me over the next year and a half or so. Cool huh?!

Next up? Escape from the Gorge Race Report! That'll be a LONG one!


Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Mixed Results....

So this is how I felt after my workout today.

Supposedly this is the week where I "taper" for my upcoming race in the Gorge. The problem is... with the complete lack of consistent training over the last month... that would mean my "taper" would consist of sitting on the couch and eating a big bowl of fat! YES!!!! Today I did a 40 min bike followed immediately by a 20 min run... both in my aerobic zones. I covered 12.7 miles on the bike with a HR of 142 and then 2.5 miles on the run with a HR of 152. My back didn't really bother me in the least... until I was whipping off my cycling shoes and putting on my running shoes! Apparently my back doesn't really take to twisting and bending at the moment! SO... what's my plan for the race? SLOW transitions. Easy. No problem. Piece of cake.

Speaking of that race... I can't BELIEVE how much its grown! Last year was the first year... and my AG topped out at 19 or so. I think that number has tripled! VERY cool! It ought to be a complete BLAST!

On a different note: It's really fun to watch the shoutbox on Triscoop these days! Ironman Wisconsin is coming up this Sunday and the "rivalry" between Jetpack and Texifornia has reached a fever pitch! Its all in good fun but it certainly does add a certain something entertaining! BOY do I wish I could be there to cheer them on! Sitting on the sidelines at whatever level just SUCKS!


Monday, September 3, 2007

Fishing is DANGEROUS!

Every other year my Father-in-Law, Brother-in-Law, and oldest son Jack go and fish the lower Umpqua on a couple of drift boats. This year, like most, was epic and we all caught a TON of fish... (catch and release only). So this year I'm fishing a nymph on my fly rod while standing on the upper deck in the bow of the drift boat. I hooked a HUGE Small Mouth that I'd been fishing for about 15 minutes! The boat lurched and I fell backward landing with my full weight in the middle of my back just to the left of my spine. It knocked the wind out of me and about all I could do was mutter a nice, quiet, "mutherf%#$@&". (Jack was in the back of the boat and didn't hear). I sat there for a minute, (making sure that my fly-line was still in the water and tight), and eventually put my feet under me and stood. The fish was still on and for some reason I just couldn't let it go... I landed it! Whoop Whoop! Sucked it up enough to snap a quick picture and immediately doubled over in a TON of pain. The guide filled a baggy with ice and I spent the rest of the drift icing the middle of my back. Long story very short, I'm still a bit bruised and battered but its slowly getting to the point where I can comfortably tie my shoes. It could have been a LOT worse... so once again... I'm super lucky!

My last race of the season is coming up on the 9th! Escape from the Gorge was my first triathlon EVER last year... so it has great sentimental value... I'm NOT missing it. I'm simply adjusting my expectations! I did a short swim last Friday, (felt like crap), and I did a short run today, (felt pretty otay), I'll hop on bike tomorrow and see how that feels... maybe turn it into a short brick. Regardless... I'm doing the race and I'm gonna have FUN!

I also wanted to offer my public CONGRATULATIONS to my buddy DREW on completing his first Ironman in Canada! Drew executed his race plan pretty much perfectly and as a result... he's walking around Bend, OR with a brand-spankin, shiny new Ironman Canada medal! WAY TO GO DREW! We're all really proud of you!