12/24 - 12/30/2012

After the holidays and having been sick last week it was time to get some fitness in. With facilities on holiday schedule swimming has been tough but I tried to get some decent sessions this week.

Swim 13,750 yds
Bike 6.5 hrs
Run 38.5 mi

12/17 - 12/23/2012

I was off to a good start this week but definitely went at it a little too fast and the mixture of cold and rain landed me with a cold so not much to report this week. Next week is christmas and I am looking forward to spending some time with my family but a little worried about not being in shape at all. I registered for escape from alcatraz this week and that race is 10 weeks from tomorrow. I have a long way to go just to get back to where I was and I have a feeling it is going to be a cold and we winter so I am getting a little anxious but nothing worth having ever came easy right?

Swim 6,600 yds
Bike   3.5 hrs
Run   11 mi

12/10 - 12/16/2012 At it Again

This week I began the task of rebuilding my fitness for the 2013 season. I had a solid block of easy time off up until now and even though I was really anxious about loosing my strength, it really did me some good to have time off. I feel fresh and rested, my body is responding well to increased training...feeling rejuvenated and energised with each day. My mind is in a better place as well and I am actually looking forward to the challenge of preparing for some tough races and fast fields in 2013.

One big development in the past couple of weeks is that Specialized has gotten on board as one of my new sponsors for 2013. This marks a huge milestone for me because Specialized has always been on my list of dream sponsors and I have coveted and enjoyed their products for years. I have to give special thanks to the guys at Spokesman and Famly Cycling Center as well as many friends working their connections to make this happen.

From a personal standpoint, things have been really tough lately and I have become more appreciatie than ever for the my community, friends and loved ones. I am so lucky to be able to do the things and have the adventures that I do. Here is some stuff I have been up to.

Swim 14,750 yds
Bike   11 hrs
Run    30 mi

The Latest

Some of you know that my trip to Texas to race Austin 70.3 fell through and that was to be the last race of the year for me so my 2012 season has come to an end. I was frustrated that it did not end on my terms but a lot of the time there are things out of our control that we have to come to terms with. I have not been doing a lot since then...I started a new job and have been working a lot so there has not been much to report on. I have been thinking a lot about my season, taking stock and looking forward so I figured I would do a little update on that since there has not been any training to blog about.

Mostly because I began with very lofty goals but also because I have a hard time giving myself credit, I do not feel like I have accomplished all that much with racing. When I started out I dreamed about going all the way to the top and having hug success and over the past couple of years it has become clear that progress comes more slowly as time goes on and to find a notch high on the totem-pole it would take years. I definitely plan on racing pro for a few more seasons but I don't have an interest in racing into my late thirties and then trying to start fresh in a new career in my forties.

I have a few fun events planned this winter, and with the season starting early next year because of Americas Cup bumping up the ESCAPE from Alcatraz triathlon to early March winter will go by quickly. When I gear up with regular training again I will blog more regularly but in the meantime I will probably only pop in for event updates.

Thanks for checking in!

Santa Cruz (Sentinel) Triathlon 2012 Race Report

I have lost track of how many times that I have raced the Sentinel Triathlon but I am certain that I will race it many more in the years to come. It was the first triathlon I ever did and every inch of the course is meaningful to me. The Sentinel falls at a tough time of year for me because of a long string of racing and recovering that leads up to it. By the time race day came I had been feeling tired for about a month but I was still performing well in workouts so for myself I needed to tough it out.

Leading into the race I was just trying to make sure everything was loose and opened up to perform at top end. I felt ok the day before and I with my parents coming to town and so many people I know racing I was excited to enjoy a race right in my back yard.

My morning routine ran right on schedule and with a quick trip down to transition I was soon catching up with old friends and teammates in transition. It is so fun to know all of the racers and volunteers and to be surrounded and engaged with them in mutual adventure! I was able to chat with people for a while and was feeling pretty good so I went for a quick jog to warm up. I noticed that the fog was a little heavy down by the wharf but did not think much of it at the time.

After some stretching and mobility exercises I scooted back to transition to get my wetsuit and get to the beach. Transition was packed and I was glad to see that so many people had come out for the race. The long train of athletes headed to the beach is always fun because you inevitably bump into people you know and have not seen in a while and there is always this moment of mutual understanding that you both can not believe that you are voluntarily up so early to go swim in the ocean :)

When we got to the beach, the fog was fluctuating in and out and compromising visibility fairly bad so we were in a holding pattern. I dove in for a swim a handful of times to keep warm and awake and after forty minutes found my parents and girlfriend to steal a snack and water from them. My breakfast and coffee had gone through me and I needed some more calories in my stomach. I am so lucky for the support of everyone around me because I wouldn't get through a single one of these without the support, be it through cheers, food, money, companionship or Facebook 'likes'.

We were delayed by an hour and fifteen minutes but the water was warm and smooth and once we got started it was a beautiful race day. I felt good from the start of the swim and soon found myself alone to swim my tempo. I may have stretched my wetsuit too much or maybe I didn't fasten the neck strap all the way because water was seeping into the upper arms. It did not effect me really and I had a good swim, coming out to the cheers of my friends and parents.

I pushed hard to transition because I knew Jack Calhoun would be flying and with his strength I would have to go deep if I was going to make up time on him. I pushed hard from the outset of the bike and by the time I saw Jack coming the other way he was already almost half way back to town. I didn't have a way to objectively measure the gap but I knew he was on a good ride so I tried to keep my head down, rail all the corners and extract speed wherever and whenever I could. There was an unusual head wind on the way back and it was really draining me but I took the pain for what it was and held on.

When I got to t2 people were giving gaps that indicated Jack was a up on me by a minute or so and I was simultaneously really impressed and a little intimidated with the task ahead. I knew that he could run time into me so at that point it was just a matter of going hard and hoping for the best.

Although I felt like I was running well I knew that I was not at my best and I knew that it would not be enough to get back the time I had lost. When we passed on the run l told him it was all him and that he was doing great. I held in for a decent run and ended up second overall.

When I finished I could not believe that it was second again and for some reason the irony of it just hung so heavy on me I couldn't do anything but sit on the ground and shake my head. I couldn't be happier that it was Jack who took the victory because he is an awesome guy and a tenacious athlete.

I suppose the elusive win at the Sentinel will have to wait at least one more year. Thanks again to everyone for all the cheers, nutrition, support, understanding and tolerance of my alternative lifestyle choice.

Pacific Grove 2012 Race Report

Pacific Grove Triathlon is one of the great, long-standing triathlons in California. It is put on by TriCalifornia events and they do an awesome job, taking great care of their athletes and providing a great race experience. This was my third time racing PG and my second racing it in the draft legal format. Things were a little different this year because the field was fairly small and with windy conditions the field was bound to get spread out a lot.

At the start of the swim we all barreled into the water and I was with the lead group until we started hitting the kelp and a group of four got a gap almost immediately. I knew that it was probably Tommy, John and Dustin because of how strong they all are in the water. There was no one else to do the chasing so I gritted my teeth and pushed as hard as I could. I could see from time to time that there was some separation amongst their group so I figured that we might be able to get it back together on the bike. The swim was really tough with lots of kelp and with the women's race starting just as we were getting started on the second lap. I had forgotten how tough it was to swim through the kelp!

Exiting the water there was one other guy just behind me and I couldn't see anyone else that was close so I thought we weren't in that bad of position. We were quick through transition and I got started setting tempo right away in hopes that at least one of the guys up the road was close enough to bring back and work with. At the first turn-around Dustin and Tommy were working hard together up front with John chasing less than a minute back and the other guy I didn't know half a minute behind him. We were another minute behind so after the turn around I really started to push the pace. After a lap and a half my companion found the pace to hard and said he was going to drop back. I put my head down and drilled the middle two laps but Tommy and Dustin were working really well together and John had gotten together with the guy chasing him and they were pushing too. At this point I was just trying to minimize my losses. I also noticed that Nick Thompson was inside of two minutes behind me and he is a really strong runner so I was trying to consolidate my lead on him as well.

I had a really quick second transition, the first mile of the run is flat and down wind so I was able to open up a really quick pace which felt great! The guys up front were already spreading out and I knew that a couple of minutes was doable if someone really cracked up so I kept my foot on the gas. Nick was making up time on me and I was making up time on the guys up front but not enough to catch by the end. I had a strong run but nick eventually caught me, which I expected, so I ended up sixth overall.

I was happy to be able to race hard and feel comfortable pushing the pace. I had told myself that if I felt good and raced well that I would take on one or two more events in the hopes of getting one good result before the year is out so there may be more to come still!

9/3 - 9/9/2012

This week I was trying to keep things loose and tuned to race Pacific Grove on Saturday. I had been struggling with some sort of stomach bug at the end of last week so I was not feeling all that well. It was a bit of a struggle to get the things done that I needed this week but I skipped all the busy work and  just made sure that I got the key workout done. By race day I finally felt rested and was able to race hard in some tough conditions.

The fall weather has begun to peek it's head out lately and it has been beautiful out.

The second in a series of adds for Magellan GPS that I modeled for also came out this week so that was cool as well.

Swim 11,000 yds
Bike   7 hrs
Run    21 mi

8/20 - 8/26/2012

This week I was back at the task of developing some speed. I feel like my fitness has been good this year but my speed and power work has been lacking so I have been cutting down the volume a bit and focusing on quality in every workout. I also planned to have one full day off this week as something to look forward to and as a way to make sure I am not carrying too much breakdown from week to week. I got some good workouts in and I am looking forward to getting the chance to cut my speed loose and see what I can do. Pacific Grove is in two weeks and with the draft legal format and the strength of the field I am focusing on the run and swim in hopes that I can stay with those guys and try to hold on durring the run.

Swim 13,400 yds
Bike   7.5 hrs
Run    32.5 mi

8/6 - 8/12/2012 Santa Cruz Sprint & International

This week started off rough as I had to work a lot and it was BUSY!!!! Mélisande and I were also fighting off something most of the week so I was feeling run down and tired for most of the week but I stuck to the plan and got some good recovery in thursday and friday.

Saturday was the Sprint Triathlon and I felt good waking up early and enjoying my coffee while catching up on the olympics. Transition is less than a mile away so I wasn't in any hurry. I cruised down to the race through the sleepy downtown streets and as soon as I got there I started seeing familiar faces. This is the reason why local races are the best! I knew so many people racing and working the race that it makes it so much fun. I jogged around a little to check out some of the course changes and the fog line. I decided against swimming before the start because the buoys were not set and I wasn't sure about the start time. The race start was really mellow because of the small field and so we all got off clean and quick to the water. In the first straight of the swim Dylan McNeice moved up on my left and Tommy Zeffares  on my right as we approached the first turn. Being with those guys at the first turn was great because they usually put so much time into me in the swim. The two of them started stretching out a gap to the far turn buoy and just after I made that turn Barrett Brandon passed me and I just tried to sit on him.

I exited the swim and began the long run back to transition with Barrett in sight and with the other two around a minute ahead. I was feeling a little disoriented as I have not done a hard transition in a while and when I dropped my goggles I just turned around and went back to pick them up. While doing so the two women leading the race passed me and at that moment I remembered that I was supposed to be racing...oops! I overtook the women in transition and with Barrett still in sight put my head down to begin the chase.

Near the turn-around I figured Tommy was a little over a minute up and Dylan was only forty five seconds up. Barrett was leading me by about two hundred meters and as I was setting up for the left on Swanton I realized that he was going to miss the turn so I started yelling "TURN" and so id the volunteers but he didn't hear and continued on. At this point I was in third and he was going to loose a minute at least so I figured I would chase on the bike and then reassess the gap. At the second turnaround the gap was about the same and I knew that was not coking back on the run so I settled back into tempo to save my lungs.

Out on the run with the gaps in front of me and behind me too big to worry about I just tried to keep my leg-speed up and after the turn around shut the pace down to conserve energy for Sunday. I really like the opportunity to do the sprint first and make sure the kinks are all worked out before the olympic distance on sunday. Several of my friends had awesome races and one of them actually beat me on time and it was so fun to be out there pushing it with all of them and encouraging each other.

I went home, got some good food in my belly and did some stretching and massage work to keep my muscles loose for sunday morning.

Sunday morning there was a bit of a change because John Dahlz was in the field and he is super strong!  Everything went smoothly geting set up for the race and I felt good once my coffee kicked in :) The swim lead out the same with Tommy, Dylan and John slowly pulling away in the swim and Barrett and I working together to keep the gap from stretching out too much. I felt good in the water and I am glad that I got in to swim beforehand. There was some jockeying because it was a two lap swim and a quick beach run in between but that was nice because it was easier to keep track of the gaps.

My best estimate was that we were just over a minute down exiting the water and I knew we had some hard work to do. We smoked through T1 and Barrett set a screaming pace for the the first lap of the bike when he eased up I came through and put my head down to set the pace. My legs felt good and I was pushing a big gear. At the second turn around I realized that we were bringing them back and that feeling spurred me on through the bike. I gritted my teeth, got low and grabbed a deeper gear whenever I felt like I could. Barrett fell off the pace but by the last section of the bike I could see the guys up the road.

I caught Tommy and Dylan in the last mile of the bike and because of a course snafu John came in right behind us. We all exited T2 within 15 seconds of each other and I kept calm knowing that they would go out hard but my best chance would be to run my own race and hope that one of them cracked. I put myself on the limit for the first three miles and the gap to Dylan then John then Tommy slowly expanded and with barrett a good ways back I eased up for the second half of the run to conserve my place. Expecting one of those guys to crack is a little unrealistic but it was fun to finally be in the race. I am still making good improvements and I am feeling good about focusing on some specifics to dial in for the rest of the season.

Swim 13,000 yds
Bike   6.5 hrs
Run    22 mi

7/30 - 8/5/2012

This week I was trying to get a good number of workouts in but keeping them short and quality focused. I did a lot of speed-work which is a big departure from what I have been doing most of the year so it was a little challenging. I may have been fighting something off too because thursday I was completely wiped out ofter not going all that hard on wednesday. Nothing major to report but there are some fun local events coming up so I am excited for that :)

Swim 12,200 yds
Bike   6.25 hrs
Run    24 mi

7/23 - 7/29/2012

This was a fun week. I finished up some recovery work and then did some short workouts near the end of the week focusing on speed only and not worrying about volume or beating up my system too much. I did another fun local event this weekend, participating in a triathlon relay for the first time and getting to do just the fun part :) THE BIKE! Totally awesome way to participate in a triathlon! I did some fun riding around town with my girl to pick some flowers and an easy trail run with friends on sunday t cap it off. All in all a great week :)

Swim 10,650 yds
Bike   8.5 hrs
Run    22 mi

Wharf to Wharf & 7/16 - 7/22/2012

This week I was taking it very easy and making sure that everything was loose and warm. I didn't feel too wrecked from Vineman physically but the disappointment of knowing that I left a lot of time out on the course has been siting badly with me. In some ways it is dejecting but in some ways it motivates me to get out there and try again. I felt pretty good by late week and a friend had a bib they were not using for Wharf to Wharf so I figured I would jump in and jog it.

Wharf to Wharf is an incredible event, drawing well over 10,000 participants and thousands more cheering supporters. I showed up only a short while before the event and thanks to people's need for personal space wedged my way up close to the front. There was music and dancing going on near the start and everyone was smiling and chatting. It was awesome to be in the midst of such a huge crowd of   active people all excited for the event.

When the gun went off everyone started sprinting, as overly excited people will do, so even though I was planning on jogging the whole thing I kind of got sucked along at a quick pace in the frenzy. Less than a half mile in I saw my buddy Julian trotting along and I made my way through the crowd to his side. We exchanged greetings and he said that he was setting some pace for a few other athletes and so I fell into stride with him. My legs and lungs felt great and being in a position of having no stress was so enjoyable.

There were tons of bands along the route and they were all jamming! It was totally fun to be along for the ride with all the people pushing themselves, supporters cheering and everyone out for a great time. We did our best to keep a steady pace but I felt like the course undulations and with all the stuff going on around us it was hard to do; it was really fun to do though and I am glad that I didn't just end up jogging it alone.

I have never had so much fun participating in an event and I am really glad that I did it. The pace was just hard enough to give me an idea of what muscles are still fatigued from last weekend and might need some work.

Swim 6,900 yds
Bike   7.25 hrs
Run    14.5 mi

p.s. These started popping up in Competitor Group affiliated publications this week...it is cool but a little strange!

Vineman 70.3 2012 Race Report

This will be a short recap because there isn't much to report in the way of great results or anything. I am pretty frustrated with how the race went and I really feel like it was a missed opportunity because I was feeling so good going into it. I hit every prep workout almost exactly how I wanted to leading into race day and I can't entirely explain why the race itself did not go well but maybe that just is what it is.

The night before I absolutely could not sleep and was having stomach cramps, headaches and got a bloody nose...I honestly don't know why any of that was happening. I got maybe 3.5 hours of sleep the night before which is not good but morning of all my pre-race stuff went really smoothly and according to plan.

At the swim start the field was anxious and all of them floated five feet past the start line before the gun but I knew I would be following them because of all the strong swimmers any way so I hung back and watched the chaos ensue a the start. I slipped in behind a couple of guys swimming at a good pace for me but a third of the way into the swim I felt like I was being weighed down by bricks and my body was overheating. I really think I should have worn a skinsuit because of how warm the water was so lesson learned.

I came out of the water feeling super sluggish and heavy but had a good, smooth transition and headed out with a couple of guys just up the road to chase. I settled into a comfortable rhythm and began my chase. After a couple of miles the head referee pulled up and asked me where my number was and I immediately realized I had left it in the car. He just told me to check in at the penalty tent at 28 miles and check in. I wasn't racing for money anyway so it didn't bother me that much.

I had told myself I wouldn't hold back so much on the bike like I had at Oceanside 70.3 and I felt like I was holding a strong pace and after a while started to pick up a couple of guys ahead of me. I figured that I needed to make up some time as I would be making a stop on the fastest part of the course so I was glad to feel like I was moving along well. I checked in at the penalty tent in Healdsberg and signed the sheet watching two guys that I had caught pass me while I was there. But I got right back to it and was back up with them in a short while. A couple of stronger guys caught us at this point and went by but I definitely felt like I put in a strong ride. My fluid mixture was a little too sugary and I definitely need to go with a lighter solution in the future.

Just as I made the last turn on the course I felt my rear wheel get a little washy and I realized that the air in it was almost gone. Since it was a straight shot to the finish I rode the flat the rest of the way and just avoided any cracks or potholes. I jumped off the bike a little early so that I would not have to make the last few turns into transition on a rear flat. I figured I would be lucky if I had not ruined the wheel. When I got into transition someone had left their bike on top of my shoes so I had to do some rearranging before placing my bike and getting my shoes.

Out on the run I kept my eye on the watch for the first couple of miles to make sure that I was not going out too hard and the first two miles felt great and were right on pace. As soon as I hit the first small hill my legs felt like I was doing max effort leg press and every little hill I crested stayed with me. My pace slowed to survival mode and I could see my goals for the day going out the window. It was hard to keep going because I knew the result would be lackluster but I figured it would be over quicker if I kept going.

A couple of guys caught me on the run but for the most part I was alone. In the last couple of miles the leaders in the women's race caught me and there was an exciting race on so that was actually kinda cool. At mile 11 Melissa Hauschildt blew by me running like she was being chased like a bear and I realized later that she was making a last ditch effort to gap Meredith Kessler. Meredith caught me about half a mile later running crazy fast and since we were on the long straightaway to the finish I was able to watch them battle it out. Just inside a mile to go I could see Melissa really start to struggle and Meredith was staying so strong that the gap quickly evaporated. Before the turn into the finishing area Meredith was in the lead and not looking back. Melissa made it in for second place but I know she spent some time in the med tent afterwards. To some that kind of suffering might seem crazy but i say kudos to Melissa for battling her crumbling body to hang tough in such a tight race.

My resulting time represented a best time on the course by .5% or .005 so needless to say I am not al that pleased. I know that on a good day I can go far better so a the very lease I have that to keep me motivated.

It was nice to see my parents and our family friends with which we stay for this race each year and as always I was stunned by the beauty of the area especially on race morning...my dad and I watched the moon rise in the Russian River valley at 4:30 am between venus and mercury and it was absolutely breathtaking.

Swim 12,500 yds
Bike   8.75 hrs
Run    24.5 mi

7/2 - 7/8/2012

This week I finished my last few tough workouts and began my rest break before Vineman 70.3 a week from today. I ended on a high note with training, feeling great and hitting my targets durring tough workouts but as per usual my body does not respond well to rest and I have not felt al that great since I started taking it easy mid week. I know that I will come out the other end of the rest feeling better but I always feel so run down and awful when I am resting that it is hard to maintain even a mediocre mental state.

I did do some fun stuff this week though. There was a three mile open water swim on the 4th of july which was awesome, and with the pressure off we had some time to get out for a few adventures.

Swim 13,000 yds
Bike   8 hrs
Run   26.5 mi

6/25 - 7/1/2012

This was a strange week. I had some major ups and downs mentally and physically. I don't know what is going on exactly but I can say that I had two swim sessions this week that were so good I was putting up times that I have not done since college and it was effortless. I also had sessions that were so frustrating, where I was struggling so much that I wanted to give up and quit all together. I don't know why I am having such a hard time figuring out what it is that makes me waver so much. I only have a couple of hard sessions left before I start resting for Vineman 70.3 so I am toughing it out till then.

Swim 19,550 yds
Bike   11 hrs
Run    38 mi

6/18 - 6/24/2012

I was back at some heavy training this week in preparation for Vineman 70.3 which is in only a couple of weeks. The pool was long course this week and because of the summer schedule I was swimming at much different times than usual. I forgot how much I really love morning practice and I really felt like I could keep the intensity up better with a greater amount of time in between workouts too. I don't know if it was lack of sleep or maybe getting overly excited but I woke up with nothing on friday and had to take a day off but I had some really good sessions this week and the weather was so beautiful that it was hard to have too many worries :)

Oh yeah...there is this too!!!!

Swim  16,450 yds
Bike   12 hrs
Run    44 mi

6/11 - 6/17/2012

This week I was just doing what I needed to get the hard racing from last weekend settled into my legs and get my system prepared to make the big push before Vineman 70.3. I have a couple of weeks before this event which is the big focus of my season each year. It is nice to have some leeway on a week like this so I can do some fun stuff and spend time with my lovely girlfriend. On thursday we rented mountain bikes and rode from the coast up into the mountains and then hiked in to Berry Creek Falls. This is one of my favorite one-day adventures in the Santa Cruz mountains and it was so beautiful. It makes me really want to pack up a bag and go for a stroll in the wilderness for a couple of days and that is currently at the top of my list of things to do when I get some time off.

Thats my girl who is an incredibly naturally talented mountain biker :)


This is a video of the falls in the early spring from the last time I was up there.

Swim 7,750 yds
Bike   8.75 hrs
Run    26 mi

Escape from Alcatraz - 2012

 So we are going to Tarantino this one by starting with the result and then going back to the beginning and telling the story of how I got there. ESCAPE from Alcatraz went well and I was able to race strong with metrical improvement and much better strength in several areas. I was sixteenth overall and I am really happy with the result considering that there were so many things that went wrong and could have derailed the whole thing. This was a good result and getting it despite all the impediments makes it a great result.

The morning before the race I was going through my usual race prep schedule and while I was in the pool someone walked into my office and stole my cycling shoes. I won't go into details about how angry this made me and how strongly I feel that this is a really messed up thing to do. I had to make an emergency trip to Spokesman and drop some money to try to reproduce my shoe/insole/cleat combination that took me a long time to work out. I was really rushed getting the rest of my stuff together, I forgot my visor and didn't have time to go over my bike setup. I was lucky enough to catch a ride to San Francisco from Bevan Docherty and was able to chat with him about a lot of stuff that has been on my mind lately surrounding this whole crazy thing. One of my teammates Jeremy Devich lives right across the street from where the race was held and was kind enough to let me crash on his couch which was totally awesome.

I didn't sleep all that well the night before but that is pretty standard so I was a little tired race morning. I didn't drink coffee because of the long period of downtime prior to the race start as I didn't want to jitter off all my energy before the start. I got T1 set up just in time to catch the last shuttle to the pier where the ferry launches from and as soon as we pulled away I realized that I had left my timing chip in transition with my bag. I tried to jump off but they said there would be no way to get to the ferry and that I could get a new chip at the dock. I went back and sat next to my teammate John Dahlz shut my eyes and listened to him chat with the guy behind us who I didn't realize until afterwards was Eric Byrnes who used to play baseball for the Oakland Athletics!!

We got down to the dock and I found the guy giving out new chips solving that problem and then got in line to get on the boat. Once aboard I wandered around for a while trying to find where the start area was...I think the lack of coffee had left me a little foggy. I found the elite area and picked out a large area of floor to sprawl out on. It is a long trip out to the start area and I closed my eyes actually nodding off for a little while. When the start was close they let us out on the boat's edge. There was a lot of back and forth about where to start on the boat so I just picked a spot in the middle and waited. They gave us a ten second countdown and then you just let go of the rail and of you go.

Being in the middle I had a pretty good view of the forming packs as they tore off towards shore. I knew that John was in the group to my left and that he was strong in the water so I kept with them and tried to stay in the draft. I am finding that my ability to swim in a group is not all that great so after getting kicked and punched in the face a few times I found myself alone. I tried to pick the best sighting points I could remember from the pre-race meeting and just tried to settle into a rhythm. The currents and periodic waves made orienteering a little tough for me and i definitely felt like I ziggzagged for a while until I got sight of the yacht club. I hit the beach near the east end which is a good indication that my line was alright and was glad to have my feet on solid ground. 

I opted to dump my wetsuit and grab shoes for the run back to transition because I figured all things being equal I would rather my feet be comfortable :)  I felt great on the run back, I saw some old friends  that had showed up and my parents which is always a boost, I even passed a few people including our team leader Ritch Viola, who had a stellar day! I got a look at where the lead guys were here as well and it looked like only a couple of minutes so I was glad that I had not totally hocked it on the swim. T1.5 was a quick in and out and I jumped on the accelerator as quick as possible because I knew there were a lot of people up the road. I think I need to ease into the bike leg more in the future though because I felt like my aerobic system was doing all the work and I couldn't keep my breathing under control. I caught and passed a handful of people in the first five miles of the bike ride including the women's leaders. The bike course is hilly and technical and I spent most of the middle just trying to keep the speed up despite all the obstacles. Around the midway point I reached back and realized that my water was gone AGAIN...some day I am going to figure that out. 

This is a shot from competitor magazine. This is the exact moment that my bike started making a strange noise which I though was a break rubbing but quickly realized that in my rush to get my stuff together the day before I had not done my bike overlook and my rear skewer was loose. My rear wheel had shifted and was rubbing against the frame. I can't afford to replace that wheel but I was inside of four miles and I just stayed vigilant, hoping that it wasn't going bring me to a grinding halt destroying my wheel or frame or worse. I pushed the pace back to transition despite the fact that by the last mile it sounded like I was dragging a string of cans along with me. 

I made it to transition safely and got a peak at the ring of rub marks on my wheel and tire just before I looked down and realized that I forgot my visor as well. I scooted out of transition and got to work on developing a good pace. There was a guy about two hundred meters up the road so I tried to gauge my speed off him because when I feel like I am reeling someone I tend to be stronger. He was pulling away though and around mile two Ken Rakestraw blew by me, that guy is absolutely flying this year! He hit the first set of stairs just ahead of me and I kept him in sight for the climb and felt good pushing myself. At the top of the bluffs was the best part of the entire day, our teammate Ollie Ralph who is in a wheelchair from injuries sustained the weekend before was posted up handing out high-fives and encouragement. It was so awesome to have him out there. I felt good over the bluffs and felt like I was flying on the downhill but when I hit the beach that all changed. The soft-sand run to the turnaround was brutal to me and I felt like I was reduced to a walk. Several guys caught me on the beach and then left me behind when we hit the sand ladder. I walked the whole thing heaving the whole way and was kind of disappointed about that.

Once at the top of the hill though I got another high-five from Ollie and leg my legs loosen up for the descent and the few flat miles back to the finish. I felt good and was able to keep up a great turnover and pace on the way back.

The biggest takeaway for me is that even though a ton of stuff went wrong I still had a really good result. I felt very strong and there are some good indications of improvement in the numbers so I am really happy with how the race went.

My team had an awesome day too with some incredible results and good exposure. I can't even say how much the support of team has helped this year so I send a big thanks to them. If you made it this far you are too kind! Thanks for reading :)

6/4 - 6/10/2012

This week I was just focusing on recovering from the event last weekend and getting ready for Escape from Alcatraz this sunday. I felt stellar monday then like a big pile of tar for three days and then normal friday and good again saturday. I turned over fairly well and raced strong this weekend. Again I will do a race report later in the week when I can get it all down and that race report will be titled Escape from Alcatraz - when a ton of things go wrong and you still get a good result that gets counted as a great result.

Swim 16,950 yds
Bike   6.75 hrs
Run    24.5 mi

Reservoir Triathlon 2012

The Reservoir Triathlon takes place at Uvas Reservoir which is in the foothills just west of Morgan Hill and it is a great venue. Uvas was where I did my first triathlon when I decided to start racing again back in 2009. The water is clean and warm, the area is beautiful and as with most local events a lot of people I know race there which makes it even better. This event was put on by Threshold Racing which does a lot of awesome local events and knows how to put them on properly. They have been really supportive of our new team as well!

I was treating this race as somewhat of a training day because I have a much bigger event next weekend and couldn't afford to rest through. I ran a couple of miles and did some stretching to warm up and then got into my wetsuit early to do a good amount of swimming before the race start. The water was pretty warm and if I had a sleeveless wetsuit I would have probably gone with that. There were only three guys (including me) that started in the elite wave and the next wave behind us started only one minute back so it was an interesting stagger.

At the gun Ted Simpkins went straight to the front and I knew he had made it through the Ironman St. George juggernaut so I fell in behind him. I felt pretty good until the turn buoy and when we turned to head back it was like someone dropped a piano on my back. I felt like I was so heavy in the water and I am still not sure why but I might have just been too warm. Ted put about 30 seconds on me in the second half of the swim (which felt like a lifetime) and was on his way out of transition when I arrived. I had some trouble getting my wetsuit off, as always, but everything else went smoothly through T1 and I mounted my bike and watched Ted tuck around a corner in the distance.

I got my feet in my shoes and grabbed my sunglasses by mile one and got into my tuck to begin the chase when I heard the all too familiar splash of my water bottle hitting the ground behind me. I don't know why this keeps happening and I have tried a lot of stuff now to prevent it but I am thinking I might have dislodged it when I was mounting my bike and all it needed was a little encouragement. I kew I had hydrated well the day before though so it would be fine if I went without. I selected a slightly bigger gear to keep my heart and respiration rates low and minimize the dehydration and went about the business of chasing back the time I had lost. I caught Ted around mile five or six of the bike but it was right before a technical descending section so I eased up a bit so as not to be passing dangerously. He was flying on the downhill and I was doing my usual overly cautious thing so at the bottom I was actually a ways back again. We did this same thing a couple of times where I would catch up before a technical section and then he would gain some time and I would have to chase back again. In the last five miles I finally caught up and passed him and lead into transition by a handfull of seconds.

While in T1 I heard the announcer saying that a few other guys were coming in off the bike and I realized that the cat and mouse we had been playing on the bike had allowed a few of the strong guys that started just behind us to catch up. I was the first one out on the run and as I had promised myself I allowed a little time to get into a rhythm rather than punching the gas right from the start.  Less than a half mile in I heard someone moving up behind me and felt a little pat on the back. It was one of my teammates Yoni Doron-Peters who I knew was strong and had started a minute back from me. This meant that on overall time he was already a minute ahead. About that time my breathing seemed to relax and my legs loosened up and I thought 'time to go to work.'

Putting a minute into a guy like Yoni over 10k is no small ask and given my confidence level lately it wasn't something I thought I could do but I felt good and that doesn't happen too often so I wanted to go for it. I turned up the speed to the maximum I could take and set about holding it there as best I could. Around the 1.5 mile mark I picked up the water bottle that I had lost off my bike and the race director was nice enough to take it with him when he came by on his mountain bike. At the run turn around I estimated that I might have put around 25 seconds into Yoni and I knew that I would have to keep up at least the same level to make up the other 35 before the finish. I kept my head down and my cadence up while trying my best to shut the pain out. Across the finish line I thought my chances were good of having made up the time and I kept an eye on the clock to make sure.

I was remarking the other week that I feel a little embarrassed having never won a triathlon of any kind and even though this was a smaller local even it is nice to have one under my belt that counts as a 1st overall finish. My time was also a five minute improvement over last year too which is the biggest positive that I am taking from it.

My team did really well too and though we had a few hiccups it was a great showing and things are looking good for the ESCAPE from ALCATRAZ triathlon next weekend.

5/28 - 6/3/2012

I got some good training in this week and just stuck with what I knew I could do. I skipped some of the volume to make sure I got in all the quality work I wanted to do. My mood is still touch and go this week but it helps a lot that I felt good in the pool and out on the road. On sunday was the Reservoir Triahlon put on by Threshold Racing and for me it was really just a big training day in preparation for next weekends ESCAPE from Alcatraz. The ESCAPE is one of the big races in northern California and the field is super strong so I had to train through this weekend. Race repor to come but in the mean time enjoy some of my favorite treats :)

Swim 16,100 yds
Bike   9 hrs
Run    41 mi

5/21 - 5/27/2012

So I didn't go into much detail about last week but I thought it might help me figure some things out if I did. I have recurring bouts of uncertainty about my dedication to training and calling triathlon my profession. There is a part of me that feels guilty about committing most of my energy to such a self indulgent endeavor, so it is hard enough to be confident and resolute about my training. There is another part of me that rears its ugly head from time to time, and for me this part is harder to clarify. I have struggled for a long time with some very self destructive tendencies and beliefs that has left me depressed at times, lost and in a state of abject instability. I am sure there is some biological contribution to this problem as well but it is something I have been working on for a long time and it has gotten better but is something I still struggle with.

Last week I lost all motivation to work out and then started questioning my dedication and things just started tumbling downhill from there. Once I get going, I can't think anything positive about my goals or myself and it is really debilitating. I suppose the biggest thing that troubles me is that even with years of improvement the best I can hope to be is mediocre amongst the professional field. I worry that this means I will never have a result that I can be proud of or even if I do it might take years to get even one and I just don't know if that is worth putting everything else I could accomplished with my life on hold for so long. The only real tool that I have is that I know that it wil pass and I just have to try to minimize the damage in the meantime. Trying not to make any big decisions, eat to much junk food or burn anyone around me down is a struggle but those are areas where I just try to lay low and wait it out. The part that I hate the most about this kind of low is the lingering negativity. Often when I am experiencing a bad patch I can't help but start thinking that I am never going to accomplish anything and those thoughts are hard to un-think.

I am feeling better this week and it helps to think about all the things that I love about what I am doing, the people that have been so supportive and the things that keep me inspired. One of the people that was a big part of sparking my interest in triathlon in the first place and has been a lasting inspiration for me is Ian Carney. We swam together in college and I think the thing that I admired most about him was that he approached training the way I do. He would never turn down a challenge to train harder and more often, never backing down from a race and sought adventure wherever he could find it. He was one of the most enthusiastic, positive and joyful people I have ever met and I am honored to have known him.

Over winter break of 2004 Ian died in a hiking accident and the lives of everyone that knew him have not been the same since. I am one of many that carry inspiration found from having known Ian and we are all better for having had him in our lives. To us his memory is a reminder to live life to the fullest that we are capable of, not because it can be cut short but because we know the joy that poured from  our friend who lived that way. Ian would have been 28 this week. To those of you who knew him I am certain that you share the strength I draw from him and to those of you who didn't I hope that you have someone in your life who inspires you like Ian inspires me.

This week I took it slow getting things going again and chose workouts I was confident I could do and knew I could recover from. I actually had some really solid workouts and felt better physically and mentally as the week went on. I talked to a couple of friends of mine and consulted with some long time athletes and coaches that I respect to get some perspective and advice. Support from the people in my life has gotten me through a lot and I am so grateful for that and for them. For now I am back on track and if you made it this far thanks for reading.

Swim 18,500 yds
Bike   11 hrs
Run    42.5 mi

5/14 - 5/20/2012

This was kind of a difficult week for me. I had burnt ou by wednesday and there were some things bogging me down mentally. Thursday and friday I was not motivated at all and was really frustrated that I could not get myself to work out. I go through periods like this from time to time where I question what I am doing and whether or not anything will ever come of it and it is tough but it always passes. There is always next week.

Swim 10,500 yds
Bike   7.25 hrs
Run   24 mi

5/7 - 5/13/2012

So I have been off the radar for a couple of weeks. Last week I was in Washington D. C. for my sisters wedding and the week before I was preparing for that trip. I had an awesome time with my family and I am so happy for my sister! I didn't do much activity while I was gone but my team had a stellar weekend at wildflower so check them out.

This week I was trying to get things rolling again and it has been slow going. I feel pretty sluggish and low on energy but I was just trying to get the volume going again this week and will focus on quality next week.

On Saturday I did one of my favorite events of the year which is the Tour of California Appreciation Sufferfest. This is organized by Jeff Traugott who races with the Rock Lobster cyclocross team and is one of my dear friends. Huge long rides are my absolute favorite type of athletic endeavor so I had been looking forward to this one for a while.

I am starting to hone my training plans for the mid season events in a number of weeks and I am getting excited to start moving fast.

Swim 18,500 yds
Bike   15 hrs
Run    42 mi