Saturday, May 31, 2008


... are finalizing for my trip down to San Francisco and Escape from Alcatraz on the 8th! A college friend of mine offered up his place for me to stay the night before the race. Me: "How far away is your place from T1?". Him: "Three blocks.". Yeah... no kidding! Can you BELIEVE that??? I'm SO pumped! That makes things unbelievably easy in terms of logistics.

Did you know that the Peony is the state flower of Indiana? Well it is. Did you also know that there was quite a bit of controversy surrounding its selection as said state flower? Neato huh?

Training continues. The big debate for me concerning Alcatraz
has been... road bike or TT bike. I know... facinating huh? Coach Liz recommended that I use a road bike considering the brutal climbs and some of the more technical descents. My friend Eric offered up his Cervelo Carbon Soloist and I JUMPED at it! Got fitted last Friday and have taken it out for a couple of rides... it's beautiful! Handles SO well and climbs like a beast... yes... even with me as its engine. Honestly, I feel a HELL of a lot more confident going into that race on that bike rather than my TT. We'll see though... the proof will be in the pudding!
Took it out for an 80 min super-hilly ride today and it felt great. Liz had me throw in some zone 4 and 5 power intervals. I'm still trying to figure out how to maintain consistent wattage regardless of the terrian... you know... up hill and then down. Eh. It'll come. The geometry on this bike is different enough that my legs felt it today. I followed the ride up with a 25 min race-pace run. Hit the first mile at 6:40 and descended after that... felt like my run is back... which is a relief! Overall... good training day and yet another deposit made in the fitness bank.
My 4 year old son Tom slapped a Speed Racer sticker on my arm warmer before I headed out the door. Yeah. Made me fast. That dude's 5th birthday party is tomorrow! I can't believe it! My baby is growing up! Holy CRAP! Big B-Day party for him tomorrow... and it's gonna ROCK! Literally. We asked him what kind of party he wanted... "Rock n Roll" he says. Done. You can count on some pictures from that little soiree!

Hope you're all healthy, happy, tan, and well read. Me Talk Pretty One Day.


Monday, May 26, 2008

Duck Bill Thrill RR...

Sorry it took so long... get comfortable... I tend to be a bit long-winded when writing a race report.

Just a little background on this race. The Duck Bill Thrill is the ONLY local triathlon in the immediate area. This is the second running of the event and is organized and run by the University of Oregon Triathlon Team. It IS a USAT sanctioned event AND a qualifier for nationals. Having said that... it was small. Only 99 individuals ran the Olympic distance event and there were 4 or 5 relay teams. My AG was the largest, with a field of 17 from all over the Northwest. Small, fun race.

The race location at Fall Creek was about an hour's drive from my house... and I was picking up Scott... so I got up at 4 am to eat and complete the three "S's". Transition opened at 6 am and I'm still rookie enough to want to be there WAY early. We actually got there early enough to preview the bike route one more time. This is the first time I've previewed a bike course before a race... and it was REALLY helpful! Got everything set up in transition, did a 10 min warm-up run then dawned the wetsuit 30 min before race start. The water was chilly... low 60s but I got used to it during warm-up in the water.

The Swim:

Two loops of 750m each. TINY buoys marking the course so sighting was an issue from the get-go. I lined up to the front left ready to go. Gun goes off and of course... the chaos of a mass-start! I sprinted the first 300m and then settled into my pace. The plan was to find my rhythm in the first loop then push hard in the second. Tried to find feet but to no avail... I just struck out on my own. Here's the lessons learned for me. My form drastically falters in open water. My breathing is erratic and one-sided every other stroke... unnecessarily so. I didn't feel comfortable until the beginning of the second loop. Here's the thing. I didn't push. I didn't step out of my comfort-zone and go hard. I'd attribute it to lack of experience... but that only gets me so far. Excuses are like assholes right?... except less stinky. I just didn't go hard enough. I'd even say that I went into the swim overconfident and not counting on the field being as strong as it was. It's ok. I learned a lot! Which is the point of the first race of the season. The swim was LONG too! Based on my time I was swimming a 1:52/100m. That's just plain SILLYNESS! Open-water or not... if I'm swimming a 1:17/100yds in the pool without a wetsuit AND crappy open turns... my pace should have been faster. Talking to people after the race, we're all convinced that the course was 300-400 m long. How that happened I dunno. BUT... it is what it is right Sarry?


Pretty quick. My bike fell over. ROOKIE! When it fell... my gel flask went flying and I couldn't find it... oh well... took off without it and decided to rely on what was in the one bottle on my downtube... CarboPro and Nuun. Yeah... mistake.


This was a hilly course... and my plan was to attack... everything... all of it. Tired of making excuses for my twigs... it was time to go. Hit my powertap and was off. The roads were still a bit wet from the previous night's rain, (more on that later), which made me somewhat apprehensive during a pretty technical 2 mile downhill... but it worked out just fine. After that section, the middle 12 miles or so were rolling hills with no wind! It was nice to be able to hammer and hold a steady pace throughout that section. At this point in the course I was battling it out with two young kids... yeah... kids. One from Stanford and the other from Oregon State University. I kept thinking, "How the HELL do these college kids afford bikes like THAT!?" Freakin bastards had PC3s and Zipp wheel-sets. Seriously. The Stanford kid couldn't hold the pace and dropped back. Then a fellow LifeCycle guy, Eric, came SCREAMING by on his new Specialized Transition. He gave me a couple of words of encouragement and took off. I went with him and held for a good... ohhhh... 2.4387421 miles... then he was gone. So was the kid from OSU. I mentally waved goodbye and settled in. I was completely alone and forcing myself to stay focused and not enjoy the absolutely gorJESUS scenery! Also at this point I was really really REALLY wanting some fuel. DAMNIT! I wish I had a gel! The last 8 miles or so consisted of some pretty long and intense climbs. The thing that was new to me? I was PASSING people going UPHILL! I couldn't freakin believe it! That has NEVER happened! Usually I only pass people going downhill... the weight of my bike carries me right past most people! Its great! It was GREAT! I just kept thinkin, "Is this really happening?". Pretty cool. Last couple of miles were downhill and I start spinning getting ready for the run!


This was a disaster! I slipped my feet out of my shoes... only I couldn't feel them. Seriously. Coming out of the water my hands and feet were numb... and getting on the bike in the chilly air didn't improve things. I literally got to transition and couldn't really feel my body. Getting my running shoes on... my right calf seized up, then my left quad, then my abs on my right side! It was comical! I had to stand up straight and put my arms over my head just to get my abs to quit contracting! I finally was able to get my shoes on... and as I did... I looked over at the crowd and asked if my feet were actually in my shoes! With that done, I grabbed my number belt, my visor, and the one gel I had! Off I went! I was hauling out of transition, took a sharp turn to the left... and FELL! ROOOOOOOKIE! Are you kidding me!? HUGE strawberry on the outside left of my calf! Got up and took off! Hilarious!


It was like running on blocks of wood. My feet were THAT numb! Cadence was good. Form was together. Still cramping a bit in my right calf. Threw down the only gel that I had and called it good. Around mile three I came up on a guy in my AG... I could tell he was hurtin... and I cruised by on the first hill. I felt like I was crawling though... it was really odd. After passing that guy... I didn't let up... but I definitely didn't descend the pace. Passed a few more people... but overall... I just felt sluggish. The only thing that I can attribute it to is the lack of nutrition on the bike. I really don't feel like I went TOO hard on the bike... I just didn't have enough calories to sustain a faster run. Lesson learned.  

Came across the finish line happy to be done and overall pretty satisfied for the my first triathlon of the season.  Turns out that the boys from LifeCycle put together a pretty good showing at the race.  Eric took first in his AG, Scott took first in his, and I took second.  Here's the funny thing... the guy that took first in my AG?  Yeah... he beat my ass and called me his bitch!  He took me by 13 minutes!  CRAZY!  Apparently he's from Bend but I'd never heard of him or seen him before.  You can count on the fact that I'll be keeping my eyes out for him and hopefully... make his races a little more difficult in the future!

Here are the victors!  Eric, Scott, and your's truly!

Here's the stats:

Swim: 28:02 (1:52/100m) Bah ha HA!
T1: 00:51
Bike: 01:08:35 (21.7 mph avg)
T2: 01:17
Run: 44:21 (7:09/mi)
Total: 02:23:06
2nd AG
14th OA

Thanks for reading!  Hope you're all healthy and happy!


Friday, May 23, 2008

Oh.... Its ON!

Duck Bill Thrill is tomorrow!  Scott and I will be two of about 9 athletes from the LifeCycle Tri team... hopefully standing up on the podium.

I'm ready.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

THIS is Why...

... I'm so glad to be home!  Yeah.  Precious aren't they?

Saturday I got in my last ride of the week while in AZ.  Another HOT day so I was on the road early to avoid the suppressive heat.  This was a high cadence ride on the flats staying well within Zones 1 and 2.  Rode for 3 + hours and felt... tired.  Yeah.  Tired.  But good.  I felt like I got something accomplished during this last week's training.  The only downside was that within the first 30 minutes of the ride I encountered an adorable little puffy white-tailed baby bunny just to the side of the road.  Not so bad right?  Ok.  Well, upon seeing said bunny, I immediately made up a song... you know... about bunnies?  Yeah.  Something like, "Bunny wabbit bunny bunny wabbit Fluffy wabbit fluffy fluffy wabbit."  Over and over and OVER for the next 2.5 hours.  I thought I was going inSANE!  I will say that the Bunny Wabbit song coincided perfectly with a cadence of 95 to 98 rpms.

After the ride it was back to my buddies place to refuel and pack the bike and the rest of my gear.  By the time I was done with that it was 11 am and HOT!  Decided to get my run done inside.  Fortunately for me, my buddy Jim has a membership at LifeTime Fitness... you know the gym?  The one where you walk in and everyone but you is beautiful... including their outfits?  Yeah, that gym.  I walked in with my stinky, sleeveless t-shirt and got my run in. Nothing too intense.  A 40 minute with some harder efforts thrown in.

When I got done... I actually got a little sad and started second-guessing myself.  Sad b/c I knew that an epic training week had come to an end.  Second-guessing b/c I didn't feel as tired as I thought I should have.  Did I work hard enough?  Did I reach the lows that I wanted to?  I'm not sure... but I do know that I was profoundly sad while at the airport waiting for my flight home. It could have been any number of things... but I know exactly why... and I won't get into it here... wouldn't want to make Bigun cry.

Home Saturday evening... smothered in hugs n kisses!  YES!  Sunday was a rest day... that's when it hit me... I'm TIRED and all I want to do is EAT!  I've tried to limit it to "good for you" stuff... but last night?  I had 5 scoops of ice cream, 3 oatmeal cookies, and a 16 oz glass of milk... all at 9 pm!  Yeah... I slept good!

Ok!  SO... I have my first triathlon of the season this coming Sunday!  Liz has given me a relaxed week so that my body can absorb the epic training of last week... so it's not a true taper... but definitely not a heavy week.  The triathlon is called the Duck Bill Thrill and its an olympic distance race that's hosted in the local area.  I'm REALLY looking forward to getting a competitive open-water swim in before I head down to CA for Escape from Alcatraz June 8th!

hm... Hm.... HM!

Ok... so that's all I got!  Hope you kids are doing good and training smart!


Friday, May 16, 2008

Hi Hurt-ed Myself Today.

You guys guessed it! I'm down in Scottsdale, AZ training! Just a quick 3 day pain-fest and back home to Eugene and my family!

This has been an incredible trip! I got to have dinner with a really good friend on Wednesday night... which was probably the highlight of the entire trip! Seriously... even if the food WAS mediocre!

I also mentioned in my previous post that I was able to train with an elite age grouper while I was down here. Bryan Dunn took time out of his incredibly busy schedule to put together an incredible ride for us on Thursday morning! Bryan is the type of athlete that simply leaves you in awe. More importantly, he's an amazing guy... positive, kind, and a freakin beast on the bike! I want to publicly thank Bryan for being so supportive and encouraging of me and my goals. You dah MAN Bryan!

Today I headed out on my own. I decided to ride a portion of the IMAZ course! Let me tell you something... I have a new found respect for those athletes that take on that bike course. I started my ride a little later than expected... yes... I got lost... I'm a bonehead. Anyway, I started around 8:00 am at the point in the course where it heads into the desert... uphill... into a headwind. Yeah. B-RUTAL! It took me a good 45 minutes to get to the top and the turn-around at Shea... and then only 20 min to get back down! Coach Liz had me do 3 X 20 min hard efforts in the middle of the ride. This mixed it up and bit and made me realize how tired my legs were from yesterday... thanks Liz! The wind was relentless! At that point I headed back into town toward the swim exit and the start of the bike leg. The wind NEVER let up the entire time! Unbelievable! Got to the start and turned around. Headed back and started back up the freakin hill... into the wind... again. Hmmmm. I tell ya, the last hour of this ride was a mental and physical tour de tourture! Seriously, I've never felt that kind of pain in my quads. By the time I got back to my car, it was approximately 90 degrees... and I had a 25 min run to do. Quick transition, doused my head with water, and took off. The run was to be a 5 min Zone 1-2 warm-up and then directly into Zone 4 for 15 minutes and then cool down for 5 min. Because of the heat... my HR immediatly jumped into mid to upper Zone 3... so hitting Zone 4 was no problem. I HATED this run. I'm not exagerating. I was crawling along and suffering and calling myself names the entire time. I actually had to walk 2 of the last 5 minutes. But you know what? I did it. I made it happen and put together another really solid workout! Exhausted and happy!

After that I had some lunch then headed to the pool. Yeah, I know. 2,950 yards total. I felt like poop... but rallied and put in a solid swim!

I can't tell you how happy I am with this week's training so far. I've beaten the crap outta myself... and I've come thru it knowing that I'll exit stronger. NICE! It's been really hard. I've learned some things about myself. I have a much more firm grasp on my limitations and how I react when I come up against them... and that's probably one of the most important things I can take away from this week!

Hope you're all well and training smart! Thanks for reading!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Day One....

... in the bank!

The first day of my super secret training camp has come and gone. I think you guys need to guess where I am... and if I've told you... don't cheat! (Sarry) Hints? Its hot. It's dry. I'm training with an elite age grouper that hammered a 9:40 at the Ironman World Championships last year... can you guess?

Today? Big hilly mutha f'in BIKE! We climbed 5,200 feet over a 4 hour period. Yeah. Can you imagine the twigs doin that? I certainly couldn't... until I was back at the car! I am POOPED! I have never, ever, EVER ridden ANYTHING remotely close to what I did today... and I suffered. There were points throughout the day where I really wondered what the frick I was doing out there! I mean seriously... what's the point right? Then, in the middle of all that negativity, I realized that my mind was trying to convince my body that I'd had enough... my mind was pussin out! It actually made me laugh out loud when that thought occurred to me... so... I kept pedalling... because that's what we do. We don't stop b/c our mind tells us to. That's the beauty of this sport... opening mental doors that haven't been opened to see what's inside. LOVE IT! I also love that I gained a HUGE amount of cycling fitness today!
OH! I crashed too! LOL! We crested a hill and were cruising on a brief flat... I went off into la la land and basically tipped over! Bah ha HA! Yeah... funny stuff! Minor road-rash, no damage to the bike... only a very slightly bruised ego.
Tomorrow? Another long ride with some race-ish pace effort thrown in the middle followed by a tempo-ish run, and then 2,800 meters in dah pool.... WHOO WHOOOOOOO!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


... super secret training camp commences in one day. By Saturday, I expect to be completely destroyed, dejected, and have a fabulous tan! Pictures and stories to follow...


Thursday, May 8, 2008

Back Down...

... to earth.

A little digital art from J.D. Casten to the left!  

Fortunately for me, Coach Liz had built in a lot of recovery this week.  Today was my first "intense" day... and I paid!  MAN!  Liz's workout today slapped my ass and called me it's bitch. Yeah.  No exaggeration. Essentially I did a B-Rutal interval workout that completely sucked the life out of me!  I'm not kidding.  You should have heard me crying like a little baby at the end of the last interval... I'm serious.  I was dizzy, shaking, and in a world of hurt when I got off the bike. The towel under my trainer was soaked... so much so that Aggie, (my St. Bernard), was able to re-hydrate simply by sucking on it for a bit.  This ride?  It broke me.  I was broke.  It done broke-ded me.  Every illusion of grandeur was shattered by a mere 1 hour 15 minute ride on a trainer. Seriously.  But ya know what?  I freaking LOVE THAT SHEIT!  Gimme.  Gimme more Liz!  You know why?  Because I know for a fact that the average 38 year old Joe like myself doesn't enjoy the suffering as much as I do.  I know that you have to tear-down the walls and step out of yourself to rebuild something stronger.  Hm.  Doing workouts like this reveal new things about one's self.  WHO WOULDN'T WANT THAT KIND OF OPPORTUNITY???


p.s. I think cheese is one of the most perfect food items on the planet...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Eugene Half!

The weather report for the day was PERFECT! A little on the chilly side in the morning, partly cloudy, no wind. Seriously, we couldn't have asked for better weather! I got my skinny ass outta the rack at 4:00 am. I showered. I shaved. I greased
myself up with sunscreen. The house was completely quiet and I got to cook myself some breakfast. Oatmeal, 4 eggs (2 yokes), banana, coffee, water. Wrote out my race plan. Did some breathing. Then hopped in the car. This was a first for me. I've never taken the time to fully wake up and eat before a race... in general... it totally helped me to relax. I usually get myself all worked up about racing... regardless of the fact that the results really don't mean diddly-squat. What IS that anyway?

Picked up my buddy Scott in the truck. Since he wasn't racing, he volunteered to be the official driver/photographer for the race! Worked out really well! He dropped me off at another buddies place, Erich, who was also doing the race and lives 2 blocks from the race start. Erich and I mosied down to the start, did a quick 10 min warm-up, peed, and were ready to roll. We lined up toward the front... b/c we're cool.

I started this race telling myself that regardless of what happens... I'm sticking to the plan that I was given by Coach Liz... period. I knew that if I just followed the plan, things would work out exactly like they were supposed to.

Miles 1 to 3:
The plan was for me to head out in Zone 1-2 for the first three miles. My HR was high from the beginning... which was a bit frustrating... probably just the adrenalin. I kept telling myself, "breeeeeeeathe... you're fine.... settle....". Came through the 1st mile a 6:57 and then settled and relaxed for the next two miles at 7:12 and then 7:00. Then it was time to get to work.

Miles 4 to 9:
I kicked it up just a bit which took me right into low to mid Zone 3. Had a nice chat with a guy from Chicago of all places! He was running the full mary and I said to him, "Dude... you hold this pace for an entire marathon? You're a stud!" He said, "Why, how fast are we going?" Me, "We just passed mile 5 at a 6:41 pace." Him, "Oh crap!" Anyway, the pacing was a little variable for me over these 6 miles. Here's how it broke down: 7:13, 6:41, 6:49, 6:54, 6:56, 6:41. Look at my 8 mile split... 6:56. I had progressively gotten slower with each mile starting at mile 5. I knew it was happening. My HR was now at the top-end of Zone 3 and I thought the wheels were coming off. Now Scott had been riding on the course the entire time. He hadn't said a word to me... not one. At mile 8, he was riding next to me. Apparently he saw me tensing up... my shoulders came up, my face tightened. I was starting to fall apart. Scott came up on my left... about 5 feet away... and in almost a whisper... he said, "Relaaaaaaaaaaax." He snapped me out of it with that simple, gentle word. The next mile clocked by at 6:41... effortless. I'm convinced that if Scott hadn't of said that word... things would have continued to go downhill.

Miles 10 to 12:
This is where I began to descend the pace. After seeing my pace from mile 8-9, I knew that if I began descending from a 6:41... that I'd have nothing left to crush the final 1.1... so I backed off a bit. I came across mile 10 at 6:48 and started feeling a little crampy in my right calf and left quad. To this point I'd had 2 gels and just a bit of water... I knew I needed a little sodium... so the next aid station between miles 10 and 11 I took in some gleukos... which is a completely disgusting sports drink... but it gave me the sodium I needed and I didn't have any more issues. I clocked mile 11 at 6:42. I was getting tired. My form was starting to fall apart... but I didn't care... I was close... and I was really starting to suffer. I came up on a hippie... yes... a hippie. He
literally smelled of patchoulli oil and had dreadlocks... yeah... I'm not kidding. He was truckin along and I pulled up next to him. He was totally blissed out! Seriously... he was smiling this sort of stoner smile and he just kind of turned his head to me and said, "What's up?" Yeah. ONLY in the Eugene Marathon! Anyway... mile 11 went by at 6:34.

Final 1.1:
Seriously, I thought I was going to die. All I could think about was, "Liz told you to go HARD the last 1.1! What are you going to say to her if you puss out in this last mile? SHE wouldn't puss out... come ON!" Scott told me after the race that my form had gone to complete hell! I was all over the place and I didn't give a flyin fahootie! I was struggling... and it was freakin cool! Yeah. Cool. We're so lucky that we get to do stuff like this aren't we?! I mean it is freakin COOL! I came across the finish-line holding a 6:22 pace in the last mile... I don't think I could be more happy!

Final Results:
  • Time: 01:29:35
  • Overall: 58 of 2,621
  • AG: 11 of 121
I beat my time from last year by 6 minutes! I owe a LOT of that success to my outstanding coach Elizabeth Fedofsky! She trained me, calmed me down when I was sick, gave me a plan that really worked, and has been an amazing resource throughout the time that she's taken me under her wing. If anything convinced me to trust her and what she's telling me to do... it was this race. I can't WAIT to see what happens thru the rest of my season!

I also want to thank my training partner Scott. Having him out there was a tremendous help mentally. He knew exactly what to say at that one moment... THANKS SCOTT!

So much for being brief! Sorry bout that! Thanks for reading!


Friday, May 2, 2008


Now I know why I've felt like complete dog-shit for the past two plus weeks!  I've been battling Prostitis!  In terms that even Bigun can understand, that's an infection in your Prostate.  Too much info?  Too bad.  Apparently there isn't any particular known cause... however... if you spend a lot of time on a bike... you might be more prone to get it!  I'm pretty freakin relieved to tell you the truth.  I, of course, briefly thought about the worst-case scenario... (whisper... "the cancer").  So while I might feel like crapolio, at least there's a sure-fire treatment! Basically, I'm on a 10 day course of nazi-strength antibiotics, plus I have to take 800 mg of ibuprofen 3X/day.  That's it. Going back for a re-check mid month... but everything should be completely good to go by then!  YAY!

SO!  The Eugene 1/2 is tomorrow and I'm as ready as I could possibly be given the circumstances.  I'm still running a 01:30:00... period... the end.  I'm going to do exactly what my heart rate will allow me to do.  As prescribed by Coach Liz, who's racing St. Criox tomorrow, I'll ease into the race in Zone 1-2 for the first 3 miles, the next 6 I'll bump it up to Zone 3, the next 3 miles I'll hit Zone 4 and begin to negative split, the last 1.1 miles... I'll completely destroy myself.  Notice that I'm not focusing on the actual time-splits?  Yeah.  New to me.  It's going to be very very hard for me to stay disciplined and stay within my zones... particularly within the first half.  Who knows what will happen... my HR might be so jacked b/c of the infection that I might only be able to do an 8 min mile while staying in Zone 3!  Whatever... its time to learn something and also do what I'm told.

Today consists of coaching a soccer game, a quick snappy run to get the legs firing, and then staying off my feet as much as possible.

If you're racing this weekend!  Find out something new about yourself!


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Tunnel Vision....

Another piece from J.D. Casten... 

... I get it before a race.  Sometimes it comes at the expense of family and friends.  I'm less communicative, less sensitive to the needs of others.  Basically I'm a bit tuned out.  I pay less attention.  Little things get under my skin.  I'm less focused on the stuff that matters and more focused on the silly race.  I have delusions of grandeur.  I loose sight of the fact that I'm simply a guy, with a family, a dog, and a mortgage... not a professional athlete... not even an elite athlete.  I'm not sure I like the "Race Rob" all that much.  But you know what?  The "Race Rob" will not be denied.  I figure if I don't let that guy out of the cave every once in a while... things could get ugly.  I like "Race Rob" a LOT more than "Angry Rob".  Yeah.  "Angry Rob" is the guy that spits on you after he's punched you in the neck and laughed as he's watched you crumble to the floor.  That guy is an ASS.  SO... I think that the lesser of two evils is to let "Race Rob" have a bit of fun a few times a year... what do you think?

SO... if I seem a little off?  If I misinterpret and extrapolate and generally appear to be a complete idiot... please be patient.  It'll all be over at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday the 4th.  At least till the next race.

Oh yeah.  Swim test today.  1,000 yds in 12:59.  That's a 1:17/100 yd pace.  I'm getting there.