3/25 - 3/31/2013 Birthday Week!!

This was a great week. My birthday was on tuesday and it was awesome. I have to say...one of the best birthdays I have every had! I got to go do my favorite group ride and get in a great run. After that we just tooled around town and visited friends and my old work. We had a couple of cocktails and a couple of appetizers, went for a walk on West Cliff, and then got to finish it off with take out and a movie in our comfy home. I could not have asked for more. My girlfriend got me a GoPro camera too so maybe some time soon I will be able to add some awesome videos to this blogg adventure.

I got some killer sessions in this week too and I am totally worked. I nailed some of the focus sessions I had planned and I am really happy about that. In the coming weeks I need to spend a little more time on the bike but right now it looks like everything is coming around nicely.

Swim 17,100 yds
Bike   7.75 hrs
Run    34.5

3/18 - 3/24/2013

In my excitement I definitely overdid it last week. I got in a few good sessions at the beginning of this week but by wednesday was so wiped out that I couldn't manage much at all and I had to lay low for a few days. While this is not the end of the world I definitely need to do a better job of regulating my effort and setting myself up to be able to reamin consistent when I have time to train. There is a good possibility I was fighting off a bug that has been going around as well, which would explain some of how wrecked I have felt this week.

It was beautiful out this week so I tried to enjoy the fresh spring air and keep my spirits up while waiting for my body to recover.

Swim 16,500 yds
Bike   6.5 hrs
Run   13 mi

3/11 - 3/17/2012

This was a good solid week with some hard and fast sessions. This weeks schedule was close to the format that I am looking to for this years optimal training and even though I am worked and some of the sessions were super tough my brain still freaks out from time to time that the total weekly volume is not totally maxed out. I think it is a good exercise for me to trust in the plan and have faith in my fitness.

I got to spend a couple of days back in my hometown of Walnut Creek with my family which I always enjoy so much. Where they live is really beautiful and peaceful. This time of year there are birds and wildlife everywhere, and the air is filled with all the smells of spring. I also had the opportunity to go out on some of my favorite training grounds and gulp the dry inland air which my body seems to thrive on. The vast open areas in the east bay are so beautiful this time of year and when I can train hard in such scenic conditions that makes the experience that much more awesome.

I finished the week off with one of the most incredible runs I have ever done in my life...I wish I had a camera with me because I don't poses the descriptive powers to explain how beautiful the foothills are this time of year.


Mt. Diablo Junction - Overlooking the area I grew up

Mt. Diablo Summit - Looking south toward Patterson

Mt Diablo Summit - Looking west where you can see SF and the GOlden Gate in the Distance

Swim 16,250 yds
Bike   9 hrs
Run    37.5 mi

3/4 - 3/10/2013

In keeping with my new approach and attitude, this week was very easy. I wanted to ensure full recovery and integration of last weekends effort so that next week I can move forward with strong training for Wildflower in a little less than two months.

I did lots of stretching and roller work included slow builds and easy aerobic work in my sessions and just tried to keep my mind and body relaxed and enjoy some rich food. The last of my gear is starting to come in and that is always a great motivator.

Not much else to report but I am feeling really good about the work to be done to prepare for the season.

Swim 9,000 yds
Bike   8.25 hrs
Run    17 mi

ESCAPE from Alcatraz 2013

The ESCAPE from Alcatraz is one of my favorite courses to race. It is very challenging from beginning to end and San Francisco is so beautiful that it really is incredible to race there. I think I also like this one so much because the chalenges are constantly changing; with hills and windy roads, an extra transition and awesome views, there is no monotony involved and that is the part of the sport I struggle with the most. When you are suffering alone with no one around and there is nothing but straight, empty road ahead of you that is very tough for me.

My pre-race routine went absolutely flawlessly and I jumped on an early bus and had a great chat about the experience of completing a full Ironman with my bench-mate. I got onto the ferry and found a warm spot to sit and rest and bumped into another guy that I had a good swim battle with at the Sentinel the year before last. We chatted about celebrity and ferry dust, chuckling about the fact that the guy who won the bronze medal in London was sitting right next to us.

When it came time to prep for the start we all got zipped up and out to the landing on the ferry landing to get a look at what we were in for. There was a strong chilly breeze and the chop on the bay looked menacing. We had been told that the water was 50-51 degrees which is uncomfortable to say the least but spirits were high. I caught up with Lauren Brandon who I have raced with several times, she had crashed the day before and had some road rash on her cheek, what a badass! I also got to meet Sara Groff who is one of the best triathletes in the world and was fourth at the London Olympics! I was a little starstruck but I think I played it pretty cool...I hope :) We all shimmied up to the ledge and tried to keep the shivers at bay while we waited for the horn.

SF Chronicle

The Hornblower sounded and we all made a rush for it...I jumped a little to the side to avoid landing on John Dahlz, whom I inadvertently gave a little push to at the sound of the horn, and when I hit the water it was like having a bunch of tiny needles stabbed into my face, hands, and feet. I began swimming frantically just flailing my arms and kicking as hard as I could just to keep my body from going into shock. I got sight of the lead boat and took aim at that. The chop was as bad as I expected and quite often I would turn to breath and suck in the whitewash of a wave or go to pull and nothing would be there at all. I kept sight of the lead boat for about half of the swim and then had a good sight on the Palace of Fine Arts so my course was set. I really should wear a watch for one of these swims though and get an honest look at my swim path because when I am swimming it always feels like I am zig-zagging all over the place. By the time I was three quarters of the way through I had swallowed a lot of water and I barfed a couple of times which actually felt kind of good because it warmed my neck up.

I got in near the tip of the beach which is good and popped up feeling surprisingly steady and clearheaded. I got up into the first transition and got my wetsuit off quickly putting on shoes for the run back to T1. My hands were not as cold as I had thought they would be so the shoes went on fairly smoothly. I turned and took off feeling very quick and not heavy like I usually do which was exciting as I have been working on running well after the swim. Through T1 quickly I was out on my bike and headed out to the bridge.

I took the first mile a little easier than in past years because I had always felt too worked on the first hill and I wanted to build into my pace. I felt good on the bike and the winds were cold and steady but not too strong. I worked a steady tempo on the climbs and tried not to use he breaks too much on the descents. Once I got out into Golden Gate Park I finally caught sight of the lead women who are an insanely talented bunch. Sara McLarty and Sarah Groff had been flying, what badasses! I continued to push a steady, controlled pace back to the highway and up the hill to Battery Park where several guys, who I was glad to find out later were relay team members, passed me up. After the decent I kept a controled spin back to transition and got my mind ready to run hard.

David Condon

In T2 my hands were a little cold so getting my running shoes on was a bit of a struggle. I grabbed my gear and headed out for the run feeling springy. I had to feather my speed a little again, as with the bike, to make sure I didn't slam myself into the ceiling to quickly as I have done in the past. And settled into what felt like a good pace. There was a head wind for the first flat section and when Henry Hagenbuch came by me I jumped in behind him and felt like I was coasting! I followed him to the base of the steps and got a good two step shuffle going. One guy passed us on the way up and when the hill crested and the speed picked up I retook a lead on Henry. I let my legs loosen up on the descent and tried to use as much gravity as possible on the way down to Baker Beach which hurts my toes but feels awesome because you are going so fast. I hit the beach and was headed out to the turn around on the soft sand, there were a couple of guys running on the hard pack down by the water that passed me at this point but the course is marked to run in the soft stuff and I would rather have an honest result than anything else so I did not.

Ken Rakestraw
After the turn around and hard pack run it came to the Sand Ladder which absolutely crushed me last year so I decided to take two steps at a time and stride them to make sure I didn't pop myself. The Sand Ladder is hard one way or another, like the swim you just get through it and accept that you are going to suffer. The good part is that once it is over regular running feels pretty easy so I was ably to whip the pace back up and I felt good through the bluffs, though one or two guys passed me there as well. The steps back down to The Presidio are always tricky, especially with a lot of people coming up the other way who are all hanging their heads, so you just try and keep your feet on the ground and pick your way down safely. Once I hit the flat section that is the last two miles I got that feeling like someone had poured concrete into the bottom of my lungs my hear was exhausted so the last few miles were not great. I had a better run time than the previous year and that was really good for me! Jesse Thomas absolutely slew the run course and if you want to see some impressive statistics check out his run data, what a badass!

With about two miles to go I passed a guy going the other way who only had one arm and I thought to myself 'There is no way I could have finished the swim with only one arm.' It was incredibly humbling and the strength that I see in many people at events like this is one of my favorite parts of participating in triathlon. 

It was so awesome to catch up with my teammates after the race and see how well they all did as I do not get to spend time with them often enough. I saw many friends there and my family came as well so it was an awesome day and to to be able to spend it in a place as beautiful and amazing as San Francisco is the reason why this is one of my absolute favorite events. I had brunch with my parents at an incredible little restaurant in the Marina District called Baker Street Bistro. Probably one of my favorite things to do is sit outside and sip coffee with good company, and when you can enjoy perfectly prepared tomato/basil soup, florentine benedict and croque-madame life couldn't be better.

Mile Postal Swim 2013

The Mile Postal Swim is a cool event where, like the Hour Postal, you swim a 1650 in your own pool and have someone keep track of your splits, then mail in the results and results and rankings are compared nationally. I needed a good hard effort this week to make sure my body was woken up enough to race on the weekend so this was a good opportunity.

Based on my hour swim I figured I could swim something around 19 minutes so my goal was to try to break that time barrier. I was still not feeling all that great because I had only been back into training a few days since being sick but had been feeling good in the pool so I was pretty motivated. 

As with the hour, I started off very easy to make sure the pace was well under control. Somehow my first few splits were still way too fast and I think that was just due to not having good feeling back yet. Being in touch with the effort you are putting out is a sharp awareness that comes and goes with how consistent and fine tuned your training has been recently. 

I checked in at 500yds and my pace was right on so the second 500 I just focused on maintaining my momentum and keeping track of where I was at. The 1000yd split was under the pace I was shooting for as well so I was pleased but the unintentionally fast start had left my arms a little heavier than what one would hope. The third 500 I wavered a little because I lost track of my yardage and started trying to  do too much mental math which distracted from keeping my pace up. 

Coach Joel indicated the 1500 mark and I pushed hard for the last few 50's finishing in 19:04. The splits for the last 200 were really fast and there were a few hundreds in the last third that were definitely off. The pacing was off but it was a good time, and a good test of fitness for this time of year. 

2/25 - 3/3/2013 ESCAPE & Mile Postal

This weeks focus was to get all of the necessary bits of race fitness opened up for ESCAPE on sunday. After being out of commission all last week I was just trying to make sure all my zones were opened up and my body was feeling loose, relaxed and fresh. Lots of little sessions working on mobility and building up to race speed and then shutting it down.

I decided to do the Mile Postal Swim mid week just to make sure I had one chalenge effort done and that my lungs would be ready for an extended effort on the weekend. This is a really cool event, similar to the hour postal, where you swim a 1,650 in the pool and have someone time you and fill out a sheet with all your splits. People all over the country mail in their results and they tally them up nationally by age group.

I was feeling pretty tired early in the week but with each workout I felt more opened up and I feel like I did a good job keeping my rest, nutrition and workouts targeted to be fast for sunday. Race reports to come!

Swim 16,900 yds
Bike   7.25 hrs
Run    27 mi