Races for 2011

One thing I’ve noticed is there are no shortages of running and triathlon races (at least not in Utah).  Every weekend, after the Spring weather arrives, there are multiple events to choose from . I’m always so tempted to sign-up for more than I should. The race directors do such a great job promoting the events!

This year my goal is to do a few less races and focus on better performance at each one. Here is my tentative race schedule for this year:

19 Mar - Moab Half Marathon (race report)
30 Apr - Spring Sprint Triathlon -Sprint (race report)
25 Jun - 5150 Tri – Provo – Olympic (cancelled)
25 Jun – Bountiful Tsunami Triathlon – Sprint (race report)
20 Aug - Hobble Creek Half Marathon (race report)
27 Aug - Utah Half Ironman – Half-Ironman (race report)
17 Sep - Nautica Malibu Triathlon – Olympic
02 Oct – 5150 Tri, Henderson, NV – Olympic (undecided)
22 Oct – Lake Powell Triathlon – Olympic (undecided)

Moab Half-Marathon, March 19, 2011

First race of the year and I’m a little stressed-out about it. Shouldn’t be, I’m probably in the best running shape I’ve been in for many years. It’s just that I NEVER feel ready for these shorts of things! Always lots of jitters and stress. I guess the key is to take that nervous energy with you and make it work for you when you’re an hour into the run and starting to feel tired! Updates after the race will follow….

Post-race Update:
We made a quick trip down Friday afternoon, had a great carb-rich meal at Pasta-J’s in Moab and then headed out on Pot Ash Rd. to Wall Street to watch the climbers.

The weather Saturday was overcast and breezy in town. We headed over to the park for the bus pick-up and spirits were high among those in our group. Great time getting worked-up for the race and riding the bus up the canyon.

I’d heard reports of how freezing cold it usually is up the canyon so I was well prepared. However, it turned out to not be too bad; just a little chilly. We were all nervous though as the winds were pretty strong coming UP the canyon… yes, that meant there was going to be a nice head-wind! I knew I wasn’t going to be getting a PR given the howling wind.

I guess it’s pretty common for all pride to go out the window at big running events like this but I haven’t been in too many so it was a little shocking… men AND women too impatient for the porta-potty lines, just dropping down at the side of the road and letting it fly!

After the gun sounded we took off. Two of our group headed out FAST but I was determined to stick to my plans and try not to get caught-up in the fervor.

The race went pretty good and I really felt great for about 9 or 10 miles, after that I could feel my energy dropping at at mile 11 it really dropped off. I’m pretty sure I didn’t get my gels & calories timed correctly. Should have probably taken more about mile 9-ish. Either way, I plugged it out to the finish line.

Final time: 1:49

Why Are You Walking Like That?

Photo courtesy Photos8.comThis was the question my wife asked today… “why are you walking like that?!”  She was watching me walk up the stairs and I guess I looked like some stiff, hobbled-over old man.  I just grunted and stammered that I was sorta sore :)

I have been trying to do strength training on the legs during this winter off-season in hopes that my biking and running will benefit.  Thursday is typically when I do my “leg day” — I go hard at it on many different weight machines in the gym as well as lunges, squats, and a few other exercises for hamstrings and hip-flexors.  Normally I have a few days to recover from the soreness… and I’m always sore after doing legs.  However, I decided today (Friday) needed to be my long run day rather than on Saturday — too much to do and I just know I wont get to it.  So… I did 9.5 miles this morning.  I thought I felt ok… but then I sat in my office chair and worked for a few hours without getting up and moving around.  Then… when I finally did try to go up the stairs I really did feel like an old man.

I guess I’m not really sure if I should work my legs in that order… weights, then running.  Maybe I should do my long run day and then do leg strength training a day or two after that.  If anybody has some thoughts… please let me know.  In the mean time I’ll try not to walk like an old man too much :)

Smile When it Hurts

Have you ever been long-into a ride, run, or swim and you just reach that mental exhaustion point?  I don’t mean your legs are tired or your heart and lungs are bursting… you’re chugging along and sorta just reach a point where mentally you just don’t have the desire to move that leg or arm one more time.  For me this happens on a regular basis; not frequently but definitely regularly.  It’s an odd feeling.  If it happens on a run it’s like I just don’t want to run any more and suddenly I have to really focus and just keep the legs moving and telling them to move.

I’m no psychologist and don’t really feel like I’ve got any real mental insights but I do have some anecdotal results that lead me to believe something… if you try to smile during those times it seems easier to keep going.  I know, sounds really cheezy and crazy but I’m telling you: try it sometime.  Now, the key is not to just force an awkward, non-real smile but to think of something that genuinely makes you smile.  You have to really focus on it, try to remember all the details surrounding the thought and then let yourself enjoy the moment.

I sometimes think about funny things my kids have done or said.  Or, I think about things I really enjoy doing like going boating at Lake Powell, or skiing on a bright sunny day in fresh powder, or eating really good food at my favorite restaurant.  Sometimes I think about funny things that haven’t actually happened but that might happen… like, “what if I lost my balance on this treadmill and just wiped-out all over the place, right in front of all these other people pounding away in their own little iPod-trance-worlds?”  Today, at mile 7 of my run, I saw that Volkswagon commercial with the little kid dressed as Darth Vader… what a great commercial and it made me really smile.  You get the idea… just something to focus on other than the monotony, the pounding, the breathing, etc.  And, somehow when that smile breaks out you feel a little lighter, a little less tired, and a little more elevated.

I saw this funny video today and thought I’d share it… next time your needing a little lift just think about this dude getting pummeled by the guys in the boats.

Camp Keena in St. George

Yesterday, the MLK holiday, I returned home from a 4-day training camp held in St. George by Coach Keena.  It was a great preview of the Ironman St. George course and we had several days of unbelievable weather, great training, and some good coaching and insights into how to be better triathletes.

Friday consisted of of travel to St. George and a 9 mi. run along one of the toughest hill sections of the marathon course.  We started in downtown St. George, headed North and West until reaching Bluff St.  North along Bluff until Red Cliffs Drive.  This is where the good climb started.  South up Red Cliffs and along that road until we each did about 45 minutes.  The idea was to do a good 90 minute run along the course.  Coming back down we really picked up the pace and ran hard the entire way back.  It was a tough run but it felt so great to be outside and have weather warm enough to wear shorts and a light sweatshirt.

After heading back to the condo Friday night I inspected my bike — hadn’t ridden it since my crash in early December!  Days earlier everything looked ok when I did a visual inspection.  However, when I actually ran through the gears I found the rear derailleur was bent and interfered with the rear wheel spokes.  I panicked, what was I going to do for the big ride the next day?  Luckily I found some simple tools and with pliers, a hammer, and some pounding I was able to straighten the bent piece.  However, now the shift alignment was the same as it had been and the gears were ghost shifting, etc.  Quick use of the trusty iPhone and YouTube and I was messing around with high/low limiters and trying to get the shifting dialed-in.  I’m no expert, never adjusted shifters before, but I have to say I’m pleased… the bike is shifting better than it EVER has after having it “tuned up” at the local bike shop!  Sorta makes me wonder what I’ve been paying for!!

Saturday consisted of a good swim workout at the local pool which started at 6:30 a.m.  I didn’t sleep well Friday night (probably got a total of 3 hrs. sleep) and finally just got up at 5 a.m., made some breakfast and headed to the pool early.  I was the first car in the parking lot so I relaxed in the warm car for about 15 minutes until the remainder of the group arrived.  Great workout with lots of pointers and tips from Coach Keena.

Ready to head out on the 46-mi Veyo loop

Saturday we had a group dinner at the Pizza Factory — we refueled with pasta, salad, chicken, and vegetables. It was a tasty meal followed by some nutrition training specifically for race-day and planning the right amount of calories during the right times. It doesn’t matter how hard you train if you run out of calories. Can you say “BONK“? Poor nutrition planning and you’ll be out of the race.

After swimming we had about an hour to change and get ready for the bike ride.  We did a 46 mile loop from St. George out to Gunlock Reservoir, up several “wall” hill climbs to Veyo and then back to the starting point.  Strong headwinds near Gunlock made it a slow, painful grind to the top of the loop. A few of the climbs were about 18% grade; yes, that’s pretty steep!  Boy, was I glad when that ride was over.  Roads weren’t very smooth so LOTS of vibrations; that made for some saddle soreness — youch!  Probably one of the toughest rides I’ve been on.  Still need to download my Garmin and look at the elevation details, etc.

Top of Snow Canyon

Top of Snow Canyon, finally a descent!

Sunday – day off and definitely needed.  Took a LONG nap.  Had some great sushi, salmon, and noodles at Samurai 21 that evening for dinner.

After 22 mi ride from Sand Hollow, now ready to RUN!

Monday – met at 8:15 a.m. to caravan to Sand Hollow reservoir for our bike ride.  It was a great 22 mile ride although it was pretty painful to get back in the saddle!  The ride has lots of up-n-down hills but none of them are real killers (those are saved for the Veyo loop!) and ended at Chuckwalla trail head where we transitioned to a 6 mi run.  We decided to trail run as traffic on the IMSG course was heavy and the soft trail would be a nice relieve on joints, etc.  The run was just incredible — sunny skies and about 60 degrees plus lots of beautiful red rock scenery!  It was a great end to the amazing training camp… now I sort-of wish I was committed to doing Ironman St. George!!

Overlook from Gila trail at about mile 3

Moving on

Finally, the holidays are behind us!  Don’t get me wrong, I love the Christmas season and all that it represents but this year seemed a little off.  Not really sure why but somehow it feels good to have the weight and stress of the season over with and looking forward to the new year.

This past week has been terrible from an eating perspective.  Holiday treats are about my very most favorite thing — I think it started with my mom many years ago when she would make the most gourmet sweets… hand dipped caramels, the smooothest fudge, home-made peanut butter cups, tediously fashioned ‘thin mints’, turtles, the crispest and lightest peanut brittle (may have been a little Davis family secret recipe goin’ on there), and even some divinity on occasion.  The kitchen would be lined with candy tins full of all the holiday cheer.  Now, the torch has passed to my wife and she does an equally amazing job.  Seems that one of her goals is to make more candy than can possibly be consumed by the seven individuals in our home.  The holidays would be a great time for some natural disaster to occur — we’d have so much candy on hand we could just hunker down at home and not even venture out for weeks!

I’ve done my share and tried to consume that candy so it doesn’t go to waste.  Unfortunately, after all the sugar and fat intake I’ve felt old, tired, and sluggish for too long.  Today I finally got back to the “routine” and after some good core and upper-body strength training I actually looked forward to 90 minutes of cardio.  60 on the bike followed by 30 on the treadmill.  It left me feeling comfortably spent.  40 lbs-ago I used to just feel absolutely exhausted after just 30 minutes of cardio (running, circuit training or whatever).  Now, 90 minutes leaves me feeling invigorated, even energized for the remainder of the day.  When I don’t get that heart-rate going for a while in the morning I just feel like a sack of goo all day; plus, the low-back doesn’t ever loosen up either.

I don’t have to make New Year’s resolutions just yet… but this past week has given me a few ideas :)

A Little Inspiration, Please!

Felt great today — good little workout with some weights and then 20 mi on the bike and a quick 30-min run afterward.  Energy was good but….

The winter training hasn’t bothered me yet, until today.  There was a distant, nagging feeling in the back of my mind.  Started to have that anxiety feeling, the one that’s way back there like somebody following you in the midst of a crowd.  There doesn’t seem to be an immediate threat but you know its there and you can feel it.  You sorta hope it will go away but you’re really just kidding yourself because you know it will catch-up to you sooner or later.  I hate that part of the winter… the dread of getting on an exercise bike or on that treadmill one more time when it’s cold and gray outside.  Bleh.

After getting home from the gym and taking care of some business items I started doing some research on shoes, specifically trail running shoes.  Type, <enter>, click, click, click, and I found myself watching a video of something that gave me some inspiration:  Navy SEAL David Goggins.  This guy is just amazing.   He started extreme endurance events to “test his soul”.  He runs 450 miles per week!  My favorite line from the video is where he says,

“I don’t just train for an hour or so, I train until something is uncomfortable, and that’s when you know who you are.”

Enjoy these videos and let me know what you think.


Getting back to base-ics

Winter is a tough time for people to train. I love getting out side on the bike and for a good run or even going to the lake for a weekly open-water swim. Now, I’m basically relegated to the indoor pool, exercise bike (or trainer or spin bike), and mostly the treadmill.

Everything I read says that Winter should be your “base” building months.  So, I guess that’s what I’m going to do.  Still no concrete race plan for 2011 so I don’t have any targets yet.  Can I go wrong if I just work on my base?  Really, the thing I’m most worried about is my run; it’s the weakest of the three legs for me and I’ve always told myself that, “I hate running.”  Finally after last year’s efforts I think I’ve gotten over the hump with my running and find that I can actually enjoy it now.  Just need to sit down and figure out what the strategy is now… how much and how often should I be running.  Seems like 10k, 3 times a week would be a good start.  Ah, the challenges of trying to self-coach!  Someday, when I’ve got lots of extra play money I’d love to have a coach do all the “thinking” for my training.  Seems like it would be so nice just to show-up and do the training and workouts — that’s the easy part :)

Two Days Post Wipeout

Couldn’t swim today because the scrapes and cuts are still too fresh.  Plus, it will probably gross-out anybody else in the pool!  Mon & Wed are my usual swim days; I still got up at 4:40 a.m. and head to the gym.  Got there a smidge after 5 and wanted to get a good cardio effort in today.  Just for fun I checked the pool for my swim buddy, Doug.  Nope, he must have been pinned to his bed by the blanket monster.  Slacker! :)

No strength training today – not enough time.  Rode the bike for 1:15 doing 3×1 intervals; good HR at 145 x 160 for the sprints.  Enjoyed my Stinger Waffle and lots of water; then I had time to get in a few miles on the treadmill before heading home.  1 mile at 7.2, incline 1 then 1 mile at 8.0 incline 2.  It was a good hard push for the finish.  Home by 7 to read and get the kids off to school.

Road rash didn’t bother me too much while working out – still pretty stingy when I get in the shower though.  Ouch.  I’m hoping that in 5 to 7 days I can get back in the pool and be back to a full regiment.  Just have to wait and see…. patients, young Grasshopper.

The Day After

After yesterdays bike crash I was pretty mad – just mad that I let it happen.  Mad that my favorite jersey and my favorite (not to mention expensive) jacket is now garbage.  Don’t feel like I can just go out and blow a bunch of money to replace everything.  So, that may mean no outdoor winter riding this winter.  Hello spin bike, trainer, gym bikes… hello boredom!

That anger fueled me into working out today.  I knew the road rash would be uncomfortable and knew I’d get a few looks for others at the gym but I didn’t care — got some strength training in and then ran 5 mi. on the treadmill.  Actually, the road rash didn’t really bother me until sweat started running onto it; that stings.

After a good session I always feel better.  A little better adjusted and de-stressed and a little better perspective on things.  Clothes can always be replaced.  Just really glad I didn’t sustain any serious injuries – crashing at 26 mph could have been oh-so-much-worse.