Monday, March 31, 2008

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Put a fork in me!

Yesterday was brick day. The plan was to ride with the group and then for me to ride the 15 miles home to round out my 3 hours. The group ride was actually really easy (in comparison). It was a max 22 mph on the way out and 23 on the way back in. Compared to the 24mph that kicked my arse earlier in the week it was a total cakewalk. Snug in the middle of the paceline I was able to get away with zone 2 most of the ride. But it was still a mad sprint to get back up to speed around all the corners and after all the stops. We ended up riding a little long after Lanny and Craig gave me a tour of the mansions in Port Royal and we returned to the parking lot at 50 miles. I was just totally spent. I knew that I still had 25 more minutes to make 3 hours but I just was DONE. So I decided to just drive home with Lanny instead of ride and then do the brick run when I got back. Still a solid day, but not quite what I had planned for the workout. After the I had a chance to chill a bit. Drank half a pot of coffee and was ready for our afternoon adventure- Kayaking!

Then we did what all reasonable people do after kayaking... 2 for 1 margaritas!


Friday, March 28, 2008

Welcome to Florida!

I arrived in Florida late on Tuesday night. It was really sad to leave Paulo and the crew, but I was looking forward to a little R&R (Riding and Relaxation) with Lanny and Kathy. When I got in it was already 11pm and I quickly threw my bike together and went to bed because I had a 5:30am wake up call for a group ride.

I knew that the ride wasn't going to be easy. I hadn't ridden with a group of roadies since last fall and triathlon training doesn't exactly prepare you for sprinting out of corners. But HOLY CRAP was that ride hard! It is supposed to be a 24mph max group, which apparently means the average speed will be 24-25 mph steady for 1:15 after a quick 10 minute warm up. By the end I didn't think my legs were going to turn the pedals for one more minute. My HR was >170 for a large portion of that ride. One of the highlights, though, was halfway through when this guy came up from behind me to sprint to the front. Holy cow, I'm riding with Joe Bonness! He is just the most amazing athlete and I've heard nothing but excellent things about him. I just shake my head when I hear about ANOTHER Ironman that he has done- each one seemingly faster than the last. And at 52 years old he WON the Great Floridian Iron distance race last year. OVERALL. What a machine. Anywho, I couldn't speak I was so out of breath from the ride so I had no time to introduce myself.

Here is a pic of Craig, Lanny and me after the ride

Then once I had some food I decided to get a run in. We had a free afternoon so I did my long run since it's pretty short this week. I got in about 8.3 miles in the 30 minute warm up- 30 minute tempo- 10 minute cooldown workout. Not too bad. I felt like a million bucks coming down from altitude.

Here's Lanny and I before my second workout:

Then we walked over to the pool which is approximately a 2 minute walk from Lanny and Kathy's door. It's practically their private outdoor 25m pool since no one else is ever there! I did a very slow 1.6k workout and was totally spent for the day. Had a great meal and a TON of fine wine and fell into a coma by 10pm

The next day we started with a really nice 3.1k swim. It was the first swim that I did where I felt really fast and full of energy since before camp. Did:
500 warm up
400-300-200-100 descending
200-175-150-125-100-75-50-25-50-75-100-125-150 (descending down)
75 cooldown

Then we went on an airboat trip of the Everglades. SOOOOO much fun!

Here is Kathy and I with our tour guide:

And a new friend I met on the ride:

He inspired my run later yesterday afternoon!

Then last night another one of our roadie friends, Mark, from Cleveland came into town. He plays with the Cleveland Orchestra and they just happen to be playing in Miami this week. So he drove over to spend the night and then to ride with us this morning. We got together for another lovely meal and wine in Naples.

Here's me with the boys (Craig, me, Lanny, Mark)

And after dinner with the ladies (Donna, Kathy, and me hiding behind the Lion)

Then this morning was another big ride. This one was 2 big loops and 3 small loops. The big loops were a challenge because there were lots of turns and the group absolutely SPRINTS back up to 24mph after all the turns. Talk about lactic acid! The small loop was also really fun because at the end of each loop is a sprint. It's just every person for themselves for a few hundred yards. I got passed by everyone almost immediately (and I was going 30mph!) on every loop. But thankfully they all regroup after the sprint before continuing on at 24mph again. It ended up being a much easier ride than Wednesday overall.

And then afterwards we all had coffee and I had a chance to sit and talk to Joe (who was there again today)! Here is the proof:

What a great guy! I am really hoping to be able to meet his wife (who is Slowtwitcher Support Crew) before I leave, but I should have a chance to meet up with both of them again at the DeSoto Triple T. Joe is doing the Triple T as a solo competitor less than 1 week after competing in the Florida 70.3. I think next time I get the chance I need to talk to him about post-race recovery. This guy has it down to a science!

And that's IT for today. No running or swimming. I need a break! We are cooking a nice meal tonight and I'm sure having more wine (my friends are way, WAY too good to me). Tomorrow I need to do my long brick. So I'll ride with the group in Naples and then ride back to Lanny's (they drive) in a 1 hour zone 3 effort before my transition run. Don't make me go back to work!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Another one.... really????

Yup, flat number 4 in the past week. This time on the rear tire in the same place as the last one (first 2 were front tire). When I got home I took the tire completely off, inverted it and inspected it thoroughly to see if there was anything still stuck in it. Nope. Just good luck I guess! Although I have to say I'm seriously considering laying down the money for a new set of tires before my first race.

But other than the flat it was a really wonderful day for a ride. It was about 50 degrees when I started so I was all bundled up. Went out with no HRM, no bike computer, no Garmin, no training buddy. Just wanted to ride. Got in about 50-55 miles with one extended (5 mile) hill climb. It was really nice to just ride without purpose for once.

Also, last night I started reading the book:

Body Mind Mastery: Creating Success in Sport and Life by Dan Millman

Today I really tried to use some of the suggestions for getting "in the zone", relaxing, and analyzing thoughts and moods while training. It has actually really helped me already in understanding and overcoming some of my frustrations that I've started having with my progress and expectations. I highly recommend it.

Tomorrow I'm headed off to Florida for the third leg of the trip. I'm really excited to see Lanny and Kathy again and to ride with them and my Shaker cycling buddies Craig (and Donna) and Mark later in the week. Weather should be awesome and we have an absolutely jam packed week scheduled. I hear there will be an air boat trip of the Everglades, a boat trip in the Gulf, an afternoon of kayaking and a lots of biking, running and swimming. Oh, and did I mention WINE????

But I will really miss my roommates for the past 2 weeks. Constant comic relief, those guys! I wish I could fly out to Phoenix next month to watch them race at IMAZ. It will be an awesome day for team HTFU.

Please, please don't make me go back to Cleveland! I hear it's COLD there

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Camp is officially over and the boys had a very tough training day today (about 8 hours total). They needed a reward, so we headed over to meet Danny and Misha at COLDSTONE!

(Jonathan, Sergio, me, and Paulo)

We also hit McDonald's on the way back to the apartment for a salt fix of fries for Jonny and Paulo. Did you ever wonder what the pros eat?


I'm still here for a couple more days, so I'll be hitting the roads tomorrow for another 3 hour ride with intervals. But I'm definitely sleeping in and taking the day off of swimming!!!!! I swear I'm about to grow gills...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

The mental game

Training and racing is equally, if not more, mental than physical. If you think you can, you're right. If you think you can't, you're right. If you don't go into a race thinking you are 100% prepared you will be plagued by self doubt.

It has been a tough week or so for me, having trouble staying positive with the training load and sickness. The wind has been my enemy. The pros and top age groupers swimming and running circles around me has been beating down my confidence. Stuff that doesn't normally bother me at all has been getting me down. I just haven't been myself at all. Today I woke up finally feeling like a normal person again. My nose wasn't running, my coughing was better, and I felt good. On the schedule was a long workout by myself. 4 hours on the bike with 2 x 30 minutes zone 3 intervals and a 40 minute transition run with pickup to race pace. We all left together this morning, but everyone else had a 3 hour ride with 3 x (40 min Z2 + 20 min Z3). I am the only one left at camp that has not begun to taper for an event (large contingent of Oceanside and IMAZ racers here).

About 10 minutes into the workout I realized I was going to lose the group sooner than I had planned. I had to pee SO BAD. The 2 cups of coffee I had before I left wanted out in double time. There aren't exactly an abundance of McDonald's around in middle of nowhere New Mexico, so I was on the lookout for an impromptu little girl's room. Complicating things was the fact that I wore my one piece trisuit under my jersey (zipped up the back). It was seriously ALL I COULD THINK ABOUT for the first 35 minutes of the ride when I finally found a group of pine trees next to someone's house and did the discreet trisuit removal dance. I have this little fear that there are now pictures of my big white ass circulating around the net, but that pit stop made me feel SO much better. The only downside was that now I was riding the next 3.5 hours on my lonesome. Not a biggie. The forecast was for light winds (<5mph) and I knew the route. When I turned onto the main highway for the ride was hit with an unexpected gust of wind. Damn. I should have known better. There is no such think as light wind in New Mexico. Oh well, just go at your own pace and cruise. I was actually enjoying myself in my little chain ring just spinning it out when all of a sudden- thump, thump, thump

Damn it

Flat #3 of camp.

When I pulled over I saw the familiar site of 2 very sharp thorns stuck directly into my rear tire. Well, at least I found the source. I sat down and very carefully fixed the flat. I usually wouldn't take so much time to do this simple task, but I only had enough CO2 for 1 tube and no hand pump, so I couldn't afford to screw anything up. Plus, I wasn't in a huge hurry. I thought of asking the family who was politely staring at me as I was fixing the flat if they happened to have a pump, but they were spanish speaking and my spanish blows. So I patched things up and headed out. 3 hours left. I underpumped my rear tire in hope to save enough CO2 for another fix. Nothing like a little extra resistance training. You can call me totally lame, but for the rest of the workout I had this song in my head:

20 minutes later I ran into Sergio, Danny and Jonathan and asked if any of them had a hand pump I could borrow. Sergio nicely pumped my tire up an extra bit and gave me the pump. With that in hand I could breathe a sigh of relief and start my intervals. The first one was really tough. The wind was at least 15mph at direct headwind and my zone 3 interval was so slow. But the awesome thing about this ride is that headwind on the way out is a blessing. You know you will have a fun return trip. I took it out an extra 10 minutes and turned around at 2:10 with an average speed of 16.6 mph.


But then the turnaround


Ah, I love a tailwind

By the time I was done with my second interval my average speed had gone from 16.6 to 18.5. I was really enjoying myself. There is no better feeling than riding fast tucked in the aerobars in the desert. Awesomness.

I rolled into town at around 78 miles with an average speed of 19mph feeling really good. Just had to throw on the shoes and head out for my transition run.

That's when the wheels fell off.

I headed out into the trails in my normal loop. I wasn't really thinking anything of the fact that the normal loop starts with a first mile with a ton of very steep climbing. I can barely climb the hills when I'm fresh. After a 4 hour ride I just couldn't push the hills. At 3 times in the first mile I was reduced to walking. I considered just turning around and bagging the run, but then I began to think to myself...

After the bike at the Kinetic half are you going to just call it a day and walk to the car?

At the DeSoto Triple T when you roll into T2 for the 4th time in 3 days are you just going to say- that's good enough. Sounds like my day is done.

Did you put in hundreds of hours on the trainer to DNF? What about all those treadmill runs?

And then I hit my stride. 11 minute miles turned into 8 minute miles and I hit race pace for the rest of the run. After I got home it took about 10 minute for me to breathe normally again.

That's what it's all about

Well, and also a nice swim and a meal of QUIZNOS!

And now for some chill out music:

Friday, March 21, 2008

Damn, this stuff is exhausting!

Finally an easy day scheduled today. And man, do I need it! I arrived at camp 4 days before the next athlete and it is definitely showing. I have been so grumpy lately. Just totally exhausted. I'm sure part of that is due to putting in 3-7 hour days while sick, but the cold has pretty much run its course by now. Just some coughing left.

A couple days ago I went to the ART guy in Las Cruces (thanks for the hookup Danny!) and he worked on my shins extensively. The diagnosis was posterior shin splints caused by high intensity treadmill running. He gave me the go ahead for trail running and I've put in some solid runs. Yesterday was the killer run- 30 minute warm up, 40 minutes in zone 3, with 10 minutes of cooldown. We did this same workout at the end of camp last year (so same level of fatigue). Here is how things breakdown from 2007- 2008

2007- 9.00 miles....1:27:51......Ave pace 9:45

2008- 9.10 miles....1:20:00......Ave pace 8:47

So although I felt like death warmed over, looking back on last year's performance is really encouraging. Last year I ran 1:54 off the bike at Oceanside 10 days after camp. This year I have my first half on April 19th and hope to run a little better than last year. Baby steps!

Ok, now for some silly pictures:

Khai and The Sergio!

Jacqui Gordon, Paulo, Me, and Kevin

Misha, Me and Mariana

Jonathan, Misha, and Danny

Sergio and Paulo

The triathlete tan lines (and this was day 3!)

Sergio Marques

Lindsey, Danny, and Mariana before the long run


Dude, this is so aero!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I totally spent all my Karma...

Yesterday we had another really tough day on tap with a 4100 yard swim, 3 hour ride with zone 3 and a 50 minute run. I kind of picked the ride because I am a huge fan of the soledad canyon route that I did last week. To make up the time it was decided that we would do a 26 mile warm up out and back on the frontage road, then climb the entirety of Soledad Canyon road twice. The only bad part of the climb is that the surface on the climb (and descent) is really, really course chip seal. You cannot descend fast, and it shakes the living daylights out of you. To top that off, every time I do that descent I have horrible flashes of wiping out and having all the skin shredded off my body from that road surface. But other than that the climb is wonderful. You get 4 miles of false flats, then the climb is 5 miles with the last 2 being very steep.

I was feeling pretty decent yesterday so I took the warm up reasonably hard. We finished the 26 miles at 20 mph and then hit the ascent. Paulo had the car and was driving to various points on the climb to cheer us on. Jonathan also did the first climb with us and it was nice to sit and chat with him a bit as I ground along on the false flat.

The first climb was uneventful. It is always harder than the second for some reason. By the time I got to the top I was huffing and puffing so hard that I had to stop for 30 seconds or so before I could turn around and descend. The last stretch is so hard you're afraid you will pass out. The second time is better and you become more confident with the descent as well. I take the first 2 miles in the hoods then got comfy in the aerobars and cruised down to the bottom of the hill fast enough to catch the girls that had killed me on the ascent. At the bottom, however, I got the distinct feeling of a pinch in my tube. That very regular bump,bump,bump. However, that tube had been in my tire for at least 500 miles of riding, so I just shrugged it off as something that must have been shaken a bit loose during the descent and I'd check it out when I got back.

The last 5 miles of the ride is just pure bliss. You get to come back down 4 miles of false flats on a nice and smooth road. I love to really hammer this section because at zone 3 you can easily push 25-30mph and you feel like you grew wings. It always puts a big smile on my face. All the climbing was totally worth it.

Schematic of the ride:

When I got back I was starving. I threw my bike in the back and started to make food. All of a sudden....



What the hell???

So I went to the back and saw this:

My front tube had blown in grand style. Surely a pinch flat and blew the tire right off the rim. I shudder to think what would have happened if that had blown at any point in the preceding 3 hours. But it also begs the questions:

1. How in the HELL do you get a pinch flat 5-700 miles after mounting the tire? I didn't even let out all the air to travel. Even had I drained the tube, this still happened after 300+ miles on the road.

2. Why on earth wouldn't it have blown when the tire was heating up in mid-descent?

So I think I just basically blew all my Karma (or luck) in one fell swoop.

Which actually may expain the puncture flat I got this morning....

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Pro Triathlete Laundry Lesson

It is a well known fact at PStriathlon that pro triathlete Jonathan Caron does not do laundry. It has been unknown to all whether or not he actually knows HOW to do laundry. So after our ride today when I saw this, I knew I had to act fast:

I ran to the building where the washers are kept to see Jonny doing this to his laundry:

I knew a lesson was in order. The first thing you have to do is measure out the detergent:

Then you add the soap to the washer

Money now has to be added to get the water to start (a huge hangup for Jonny)

Now particular attention must be paid to select the correct setting:

And Voila! Clean cycling shorts.... at least for a few days...

And now Jonathan can pick up all the womens with his sparking clean scent

Monday, March 17, 2008


Wow, it's hard to describe how tired I am tonight! This was my 7th day in Las Cruces and so far I have 24,000 yards in the pool, >260 miles on the road and just 15 miles of running (trying to heal some mild shin discomfort I have been having before it evolves into something more serious). To top it off I have finally succumbed to my first virus of the year. I don't feel too bad actually but I did have 3 days of intense sore throat and I hacked up my left lung at the pool today. I blame it on the airplane!

8am swim
4100 meters, long course
800 warm up
3 x 200 (50 kick/50 left arm/50 right arm/50 kick)
5 x 100 (25 left arm 25 right arm 50 swim
12 x 50 swim- odds easy, evens hard
3 x 400 descending
400 cool down

11am bike
3 hours with 2 x 30 minutes zone 3 interval
This was so painful because I did an out and back route and the back was into the wind and uphill. I have to learn to turn off the speed sensor of my Garmin on windy days. It is so depressing! But I ended up with about 60 miles at 18mph average (damn wind!). Here is the proof of my intervals:

4pm Run
Nice and easy trail run for 50 minutes to test out the leg. It didn't hurt, so we'll see how it feels in the morning. Going to ART on Wednesday. I think it's very mild medial tibial stress syndrome. Better to catch it early- I have a lot of racing to do this year!

And now it's time to relax and go to bed. Tomorrow is a pretty easy day. I might do a short run when the rest of the camp is doing their long runs. Then I'll have time to take some pics of everyone in action!

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Welcome to camp

Camp officially began today. After a day of ferocious winds yesterday (sustained 30mph with gusts to 40mph) and getting blown all over the road, I was relieved to see relatively calm winds today. It was the first long ride of camp and I had planned to go on my own since everyone else at camp today was WAY out of my league. But as we were cruising along, I thought, what the hell. I'll give it a go. It ended up being a great ride and the group was nice enough to wait for me a couple of times- Once at the bottom of the mountain that was smack dab in the middle of the 80 mile route. Needless to say, riding with people way faster than me, including a pro had my HR in places it had no right to be for a long ride. But it was totally worth it. The view from the top of the mountain was phenomenal. The 4.5 mile transition run hurt like hell, but I totally deserved that. We ended the day with a 3.2k swim that actually wasn't too bad. And now I am totally and completely spent.

Day totals:
78 mile ride with 4200 feet of ascent
18.7 mph average

4.5 mile transition run with 550 feet of ascent
6.7 mph average

3.2k swim
700 warm up
200 kick
500 drill
3 x 100 fast
2 x 100 fast
1 x 100 fast


Thursday, March 13, 2008

Hill Climb

Campers still haven't arrived here in Las Cruces so I'm still riding solo. Today I decided to challenge myself a bit with a hill climbing workout. Last year Khai (otherwise known as the undisputed King, and Mayor for Life of Dumbassville) and I tacked this mountain climb to the end of a 35 mile spin and ended up scaring an old lady shitless when we had to "borrow" water out of her outdoor faucet...we tried to knock!

Anyway, the ride is extremely deceiving because it is uphill for 9 miles, but 7 of those are false flats. So it is easy to get frustrated with your slow pace if you aren't aware that you are actually climbing. To make things a bit more challenging, Paulo told me to do the steepest 2 miles twice.

So here are some pics of my early morning ride:

Approaching the mountain:


Views from the top:

Can't go any farther!

Las Cruces from above:

And here is the ride as recorded from my Garmin (red is my heart rate, grey is elevation)

Then Smartass and I headed over to the pool for some rest and relaxing before my 3k swim workout. As I was trying to complain about how hard the climb was, he gave me a quick message:

After the swim we vegged for a couple hours before our 5.25 mile trail run through the desert sand. And then it was time for Paulo, Jonathan, and I to meet up with Danny and Jacqui for Quiznos! The meal of choice for world class coaches:

That's it for today. Tonight Khai hopefully arrives after missing his flight this morning and being stuck on standby all day. Then tomorrow night we head out to El Paso to pick up a bunch of athletes, including Sergio Marques, otherwise known as the fastest runner in Ironman. Should start getting crazy now. I hear there is an 80 mile ride in my near future up a different mountain. Good times.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle

Every single day!

I got out today for a short ride on my bike and it was awesome! I did a nice moderately hard 30 mile ride in 1:29 then cooled down with ride through the NMSU campus for 4 more miles. Words can't describe how great it felt to be on the road! I mean, I love sitting inside on the trainer for hours and hours throughout the cold winter months, but there is nothing on earth like riding down the road on a sunny day tucked down in the aero position. And I must say, this guy knows his stuff. To be able to hold >20mph on my own for my first outdoor ride of the year was such a pleasant surprise! I guess the grueling 2 hour workouts with 4 x 20 minutes in the 53/11 paid off afterall...

Now it's time to throw on the bikini and get some sun while Jonathan finishes up his 80 mile ride. Then off to the pool for a short swim. Life is good


I arrived yesterday in the warm dry desert air of Las Cruces. Did a quick, very painfully slow run then hit the pool for a short easy swim. I forgot about the effect of altitude here. It's not that high, but since I'm coming from sea level, the difference is 4000 feet. I was running a zone 2 pace at zone 3/4 effort. I am hoping that I acclimate soon or this is going to be a LOOOOOONG 2 weeks.

I actually got out of the water early and just laid on a beach chair and air dried in the sun for a half hour. It was pure bliss.

Started the Jonnyo diet today. Went shopping and bought NO peanut butter or cereal. Actually after the last 8 weeks where my diet consisted only of peanut butter sandwiches, Kashi Go Lean cereal, saltine crackers and cliff bars I wasn't resistant to the change. Since I'm racing in 6 weeks it's time to get down to something resembling a respectable race weight. Although with the water temps at the Kinetic Half I might be regretting that move. There's a reason that whales have so much blubber.

And speaking of whales, I weighed in today. I'm curious to see what happens at camp this year. Last year I gained weight. Let's try to prevent that this time around! Today I was 127. There, I said it. Now I'm accountable. Ideal race weight is <120 for me.

Haven't taken any pics yet, but maybe I'll take some tomorrow if I don't get blown off the bike by the forecasted 40 mph wind gusts. Sounds like fun...

Saturday, March 08, 2008

Vacation day 1.. i.e. adventures in travel

I had to take a monster exam yesterday before leaving town. It's this completely baffling way of testing us med students by having us take a comprehensive exam every 4 months and then taking the best score from the 4 exams for our final grade. This of course means that at the beginning we are being tested on subjects that we haven't had yet. Don't try to make sense of it- it's medical education at it's finest, I'm sure...

So Thursday night I was packing and talking to Paulo about camp. When I told him I had an exam the next day he said- WHAT! You should be studying! Well, I don't do anything half assed. It's full bore, or full ass. This was going to be a full ass exam. I was too burned out and excited about the trip. And the exam went pretty much as planned. I think I did well on the OB/GYN portion of it, but by the time I got into my third hour I hit full-on exam fatigue. My bladder was also about to burst and I didn't want to deal with the hassle of leaving during a proctored exam. I was also grumpy because I was having a bad hair day and they made me take off my hat. If I had actually taken the time necessary to cheat by writing info on my hat brim I would have done much better on that exam. Well, another reason I had to get the hell out of Dodge was because the blizzard of the year was starting and I had to get on the road! So instead of having 3 hours to pack and get ready, I had to get OUT! So 45 minutes after my exam was done I was on the road. The very snowy road.

I left without getting gas because I was so intent on beating the worst part of the storm. Thankfully once I got to Sandusky OH the snow was gone and I filled up on gas. Well the rest of the ride was a game- could I make it all the way to Milwaukee after filling up the tank before Toledo? As I crossed the Wisconsin border with 1/8 of a tank I felt like Kramer in the Dealership episode of Seinfeld. Would I make it???? I stared at the gauge as it dropped. Lower. Lower. Finally with 15 miles to go I gave up when I pushed the accelerator and felt a little clunk. Game over. I pulled over to get gas while on the home stretch. In retrospect it was a pretty good idea. I put 16.2 gallons into my 15.9 gallon tank. But Maddie was pissed. She showed her complete disapproval of the situation by barfing in my cup holder.

But now I am home! And Cleveland is on par to get 20 inches of snow between yesterday and today. Can't say I'm missing that!

T-3 days to Las Cruces, NM!