Friday, December 18, 2009

Just keep Swimming

Well we have hit the off season again, and like I do every "off season" I sit and think about how training has not really changed that much. Yes I will admit that the volume is not quite as much as during the season, and intensity does not really exist (on my runs that is). My runs are now horribly slow as I am forced to practice high knees to keep my feet from dragging through the snow. Even as the snow flies and temperatures drop, I really have no desire to stop training at the moment. The way I see it I got all my off seasons (truly doing nothing) taken care of when I quit running in high school 2004-2008. We will call that a solid four years of rest. my giant taper :)

What has been the focus this off season? After the 2009 season I felt frustrated by my swim. I wasn't swimming as fast as I wanted too, and as the season went on, progression in my swimming was not occurring. The Height of this swim induced frustration occurred at the Spokane Tri where my swim was well lets just say it, Slow. I put in the hard work, and time in right? What went wrong?

This Brings me to the off season and what I have been up to. Since the Spokane tri I have been working hard to improve where I was weak in 2009. That weakness, yup you guessed it my swim. I had to have a little reality check with myself early this fall, and I quickly realized that what I thought was hard work was really not going to get me where I wanted to be. It was time to step it up. The improvement of my swimming has been my goal for this off season. For now I need to keep chasing that black line, and hopefully come spring some changes will be seen in my swimming ability from the previous season.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Time to start your base

It is no secret in distance running that if you want to be a successful and injury free runner you need a solid base. Running under multiple coaches and for different programs, I quickly learned that this is the one aspect of running that holds true no matter who you run for.

This fall is the perfect time to start building a solid base for your 2010 season. To me a base really is just a period of solid consistent running. If you want to have a solid and consistent run in your 2010 triathlon season there are no shortcuts.

Why is a base so important you might ask? The idea to run more and hurt less is an odd one, and to most it probably doesn't make sense. For most people, when run training mileage and volume are increased injuries quickly follow. This is the whole reason why a base training needs to start in the fall. Start with a distance your body can easily handle, and make a commitment to run 5-6 days a week spreading that volume out over those days. If you can only handle 15 miles a week that is ok! Spread it out and run 3 miles each day, 5 days a week. After running this distance for 2-3 weeks(granted you started at a manageable volume) your body will start to slowly adapt, and it is time to add 2-3 more miles to your weekly plan. The gain doesn't seem like much but that is the whole point. You need to gradually introduce your body to running so that it can adapt to the changes. Repeat this pattern through the winter, and into the early spring. The key is to only add mileage after the body is ready. If you skip days and are not consistent you will not see adaptation occurring, and mileage increases will only result in injury.

Why is it that run volume must be spread out over the whole week? The idea in spreading out your running volume to 5 or 6 days is to create a consistent stress on the body. We think of our skeletal system as a somewhat dead structural system, that only acts in bodily support. In reality bone tissue is a living, and active tissue. If you introduce repeated stress to a portion of a bone, the bone will adapt and change. Osteoclasts reabsorb bone calcium from places where it is not needed and the osteoblasts take this calcium and place a mineral matrix where stress is introduced reinforcing the area. If you are skipping days running every 2nd or 3rd day the body does not know if running is going to be a regular occurrence and does not adapt. Along with general bone strengthening, tendons, ligaments, and muscle insertion points are also strengthened.

Along with a body that is ready to handle volume you will be pleasantly surprised with your new ability to run. Speed work is icing on the cake, or the roof of a house. You don't make huge gains in your performance based off of speed alone. Your base is where the majority of your fitness lies. Think of it as 85% of the structure and speed work being that last 15% that pushes you to the top. If you have no base, your improvement from speed is very minimal.

At what pace should off season running be at? This is the beauty of the off season. Just get out the door and train. Pace is not important. If you want more of a technical answer, I run my off season running at a high end easy- low end moderate pace. You don't want to be burning up the lungs. Again the idea being consistency and volume not intensity.

I have seen this played out time and time again with elite level high school runners in Spokane. The ones that excel and are injury free are the ones that spend their summers and winters consistently running steady mileage. In 2008 I came back to running. I quickly jumped into a season without putting down the foundation. Doing lots of speed to try and quickly gain fitness I was getting myself nowhere, and for those of you that don't remember I had one injury after the next. Plantarfacia, IT band syndrome, tendinitis, and many other injuries kept me from competing. In the fall of 08 I decided to get myself healthy and start the 09 season right. I have never enjoyed running more :).

At this point you have realized that it is only November, and the race season is still 7 months away. So I hope you just figured out that gives you 5-6 months of solid base training. When spring rolls around we can start talking a little speed, but for now get out the door and be consistent. Races are not won on race day, they are won in the early mornings of December and January, on the snowy roads, and rainy trails. They are won through the commitment you make to yourself to get out that door and train on a regular basis.

On a side note this has to be one of my favorite commercials by Nike.

Happy training :)

Monday, September 28, 2009

Spice Up your Running

There are times in any sport no matter how much you love it, training can become stale. Running is no exception to this. We find ourselves running the same loops day in and day out. I know I can run the river loop by my house during the day, at night, with one eye, or probably even with both eyes closed. I personally have found the best way to bring excitement to my running is to add an element of adventure! Run some place new. The beauty of running is the fact that you can cover tons of ground and see things that would take someone walking hours to see. You can also travel places that cars and motor vehicles are not allowed. These are five of my favorite places to run in Spokane that offer a small element of adventure.

Riverside state park

There is much more to Riverside State Park then the Bowl and pitcher campground. Most people venture across the bridge but don’t branch out and cover many of the other amazing trails that wind throughout this massive park. A good starting point for your next run is the little dirt parking lot by the 7-mile horse stables. From here you can run the classic trail in the park “Little Vietnam” (honestly it’s quite Jungle like at times). This trail is a flat single track trail that winds along following the Spokane River. On hot summer days the dense vegetation on this route shades you from the hot rays of the sun.Even less traveled than little Vietnam is the single track trail system just south of deep creek. From the dirt parking lot at the 7 mile Bridge head west out seven mile road. After traveling about 50 meters past the centennial trail heading to 9mile, you will notice a post(trail 25) marking the trail on the right hand side of the road. Trail 25 is a very shaded run and is also a great run on hot summer days. All the trails in this area connect back up with each other, so feel free to pick small side trails. It does not matter what time of year you run these trails they are always a joy to run.

Indian painted rocks

Most residents in Spokane have visited Indian painted rocks at some point in their lives, But most people have missed out on the most beautiful and scenic part (the top). Located right next to the bathrooms you will notice a small single track trail, this is known as the “valley trail”. Pace your self at the start of this run because the trail does not stay in the valley for long. Eventually you will come upon two locations where this trail splits, stay left both times(if you are looking for a real monster of a climb take the first right, you will find yourself on top of rattle snake ridge in a little over an hour). Though challenging this run is very rewarding. Remember what goes up must come down. After running on top of this small mountain, and taking in its scenic views, you will hit a paved road and can either follow that down the hill, or follow the trail that crosses the road. Once at the bottom you take the traditional Indian painted rocks trail following the little Spokane River back to the car.

Dishman hills

Out in the Spokane valley is a large park (450 acres) named Dishman Hills. Located in this park is skull rock, which can be found in the enchanted Ravine. To get there you must first travel through camp Caro. Starting to sound like a treasure hunt? Ok sadly there is no buried treasure at Dishman Hills (I am still looking), but there are miles of well maintained and well marked trails. This Forest is scattered with granite rock outcroppings, and small ponds. If you explore around a little you will find small bridges, and many worth while viewpoints of the Spokane Valley.

Rim Rock

If you look west from SFCC you will notice a large ridgeline, which stands tall above the city. At the top of this ridge runs a road named Rim Rock. Just recently this road was gated off to cars, and incorporated into Palisades Park. If you want a simple run that has amazing views of Spokane and the surrounding area, park at the gate and run out and back on the road. The road is very flat, is dirt and soft on your joints, and is also smooth lacking rocks and roots that you may trip over running on trails. From this road you can also run many trails that take you deeper into Palisades Park, a natural wetlands (I promise you won’t get your feet wet). This park is also connected to Indian canyon, which boasts a small canyon with a scenic waterfall at the end of the canyon. Spring and early summer are the best times to visit this waterfall. Most years the falls dries up by late summer, so don’t procrastinate your visit.

Liberty lake County Park

Its parks like this that make me love the Spokane area. You really are not that far from town, and yet you feel as if you could get lost way out in the wilderness. Liberty lake County Park located on the south end of Liberty Lake offers miles of scenic running. Near the top of this trail system is a small waterfall, and there are plenty of places to stop and just enjoy the view. If you have never been to this park it is time to make a visit.

So next time you are dreading going out for a run, hop in your car and drive somewhere new. You may be surprised how much running in a new location can spice up your training that has become slightly dull.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Spokane Triathlon

As I stopped my car in a field of weeds that was blanketed by a dark night sky on Sunday morning, there was only one feeling running through my mind. Excitement! I love to race, and to have a race less than 10 minutes from my house was a cool thing. This was the inaugural year for the Spokane Triathlon and I have to say for a first time race the directors and volunteers did a great job.

With the darkness came some colder temperatures, and from the moment I got out of my car I knew it might be a cold race. Setting up my transition area in the dark it was cool to see so many familiar faces. When you train with a group then race with a group, the level of tension before a race is minimized. Having friends around is a great thing :). Somehow I found myself frantically rushing to put my wetsuit on with only 10 min until the race start. I knew the water was cold but the reality is everyone has to deal with it, so I tried to have to best attitude I could about the conditions.

Honestly I think the fact that the air temperature was so cold, it made the low 50 degree water feel warm. That good feeling lasted until the water got passed my ankles. Yes I know I am a wimp. As I entered the water and tried to get a warm up in ( I think I might call it a cool down instead, or a deep freeze) I readied myself for the swim and the start of the race. The key to doing well for me at this race rested in my ability to stay focused on my swim. In the pool I feel like my swim has been improving, but that does not matter until you can bring it to the open water.

As the race started I gave it 110%, I needed to get out fast! I gave it my all but still found myself being swallowed up by the pack swimming behind me. I centered my focus on swimming with good form and finding a rhythm, but neither came. In mountain biking trails with rocks can be considered "technical trails" well I am proud to say for the first time in my life I swam a "technical swim". I had this great plan to swim a straight line right out to the last buoy, but this quickly became a problem as I was dragging bottom and hitting rocks. It became apparent very quickly that the water may be a little shallow in places. After the race one competitor talked about how he hit a lawn chair that was resting submerged under the surface of the cool water. Honestly lawn chair collisions are something I have never seen before in the swim of a triathlon :).

The swim out to the turn around felt tough but I honestly expected that because we were technically swimming in a river upstream the first half. The idea of swimming upstream quickly became apparent as the turn around buoys were encountered. Approaching these buoys I noticed swimmers struggling to get around them, and many swimmers missing them all together. As I swam perpendicular to the currents I realized indeed the struggle to reach these buoys. Never the less I made the buoys and was on my way back. Looking around at this point I knew I had fallen way behind. I pushed hard on the way back and gave it a good solid effort. The rocks were still there on the way back but I used a couple to my advantage as I grabbed them to propel myself along. Still feeling cold, I just wanted to be done.

I pushed hard to the dock and the boat launch that elevated the swimmers out of the lake. It was so cool to see such a large crowd waiting on the dock and on the shore cheering swimmers in. Crowds always get you pumped up. I hit shallow sand and started running(I can run fast so I gotta add it in wherever I can). After a few steps I found the concrete of the boat launch, and Wham!! Yeah, Definitely took a nice spill in front of the crowd. Apparently many swimmers ahead of me took some nasty spills, so the crowd was probably ready with anticipation for the next fall. I sprung back up shaking my head and took the long run to transition.

Swim: around 5-6 min slower than the leaders I think.....just thought about that Kalen swam like a fish lets make that 10min down then (results aren't posted yet)

Entering T1 I was really unsure about what I was going to do about the whole situation that was rapidly unfolding. I quickly got to the bike and started taking off my wetsuit. The problem was my hands were so cold I could not peel the suit from my skin. In frustration I stopped shrug my shoulders and shook my head. At this point I was a little flustered. But knew I could not give up. Eventually I got the suit off and started running out of T1 with my bike. I ran past the mount line, and performed a flying mount. Flying off through some cones and into the grass that is. After a slight course adjustment I was back on course.

Starting the bike I was a little flustered. The water had me a bit disoriented, but now that was past and it was time for the bike. I rode hard giving it all I had. I was about to tap into my huge advantage. I live within minutes of this bike course and have ridden it weekly for months. I know every bump, turn, and incline that Charles road has to offer. Sadly my secret advantage did me no good, as I struggled to catch riders ahead of me. I know the gears and speeds I like to ride on this road, and I was not hitting those gears. Only being about 7 miles into the bike I was cold and ready to just be done. I had another encounter with bad steering and swerved off into the gravel. My cylinders were just not firing. After the turn around I started to warm up. my body temperature was rising and I was on my way back. Luckily the way back of this route is much easier than the way out. A couple miles out from transition, I knew I had no excuses not to pull out a fast run. A fast run was the only way I could pull this race back together and make something out of it. coming off the bike I found myself somewhere around 8th to 10th place

Bike: 1:03:xx (again not sure as results are not posted yet)

T2 was there I executed it and got through it.

Starting the run I had no excuses, I lost tons of time in the swim and bike because I did not stay mentally focused and tough. In a nutshell I pushed hard on the run. It is what I do and am used to doing, so it really did not feel that bad. This was a very cool running course. A couple turns :), but I enjoyed the course very much. It was spread out and roomy but you could still see your competition. I was able to reel in some competitors on the run, and better my position.

Run: Mid 34's (again results not posted yet)

Overall time- 2:04:06 (thanks to Steve I have a picture to prove it)

I was reminded of something very important at this race. Something I was first introduced to at XC club nationals back in December. There is a huge difference between racing and competing. Racing is what you expect from the day, it is everything you plan for, and we train hard to emulate the coming situation and race. I expected to show up at this tri and race a certain race. Competing is rising to challenge no matter what is thrown on your plate. No matter what the conditions are like, a good competitor always shows up and competes. This is a huge aspect of what separates the good athletes from the great athletes. A great athlete goes with the surprise curves of the situation, takes unexpected punches and not giving up still gives it their all. In both XC Nats and the Spokane Triathlon, great athletes stepped up and performed on a high level despite cold conditions. They did not whine about the weather (both of these races were a little cold), they simple stepped up to the line and dealt with it.

Both Roger Thompson and Brian Hadley threw together great races on this day. I don't have results yet, but I am pretty sure Roger beat me by at least 6min (if not more) and Brian Hadley also had a very large gap on me. Even on a perfect day these gaps would not be closed by me.

To everyone else that was out competing on this day, nice job! It was so cool to see so many familiar faces out on the course. A huge thanks to everyone that was out on the course cheering us on. I know for me the cheers helped push me along. I really do appreciate that.

What is left for me in 09? The next two weekends there are two final triathlon races in the Washington season, but as of right now I am competing in neither. 09 has been a good season for me, It is my first full year competing in tri's and I have learned a ton, and grown as an athlete. I am pleased with the years results. I am super anxious to keep racing this year, but the fact that I am so hungry to race will have me fueled throughout the fall winter and spring. I know the weaknesses I have as an athlete and know what I need to do to improve on them. This fall winter and spring will be focused largely on improving these weaknesses. I will still be competing in 09 but I won't be in tri's. Most competitions this fall will be running, on a mountain Bike, and in the pool(maybe a masters swim meet).

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Hooked on being Single

Hooked on being on a single speed bike that is. Recently my neighbor who is an Uber Mt. biker let me borrow his single speed Mt. bike because he does not ride it much anymore. When we are kids all we want are bikes that have big shocks and lots of gears. I know I did. So I found it ironic how much I enjoyed the simplicity of this bike. No suspension and one gear. Your first ride takes a little getting used to but after a while I found it amazing how 1 gear could work in most situations, granted on the road it is a little slow, but on technical trails I can keep a pretty quick speed. What I like about this bike is the fact that it simplifies your rides. Your focus is drawn to one thing, pedaling hard! Yes hills can be a bugger(have found myself pushing the bike up a couple), but after a while you enjoy the challenge. Recently I find myself hurrying to finish my workout on my tri bike so I can go play on the single track trails by my house. If you want to try something new and different, hop on a single speed and give it a whirl.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Something is missing

This may be somewhat of a rant on my part, but one concept I absolutely hate is the Idea of "buying speed"! What ever happened to working hard, and not letting equipment be a factor in the the outcome of a race. Has triathlon taken things too far, by opening the doors for an Industry driven sport? In my opinion yes.

Don't get me wrong I love triathlon, and will be competing at it for many years to come. But at some point I think the governing bodies of triathlon have to start putting limits on equipment.

Recently De soto released pictures of a new wetsuit they are releasing in February of 2010

The suit looks pretty normal just like last years models, but one major thing is different. This suit in many places has a thickness of 10mm. This is almost double that of a regular say blue seventy suit. What does this do? Well for one it makes swimmers sit much higher in the water, causing less of a reliance on form. Instead of spending time in a pool working on your posture in the water you could just spend time on a mechanical swim machine and use the suit come race day.

cycling is also on the same train. If you have not noticed the prices of a bike continually goes up. Bikes such as the trek equinox 9.9ssl cost around $7,000, throw on a set of zipp wheels and you are easily looking at 10 grand. Yes that is a top of the line bike, but even if a new athlete buys a $2,000 bike, they are still looking at at least $4,000 for a bike and a set of race wheels. It does not matter what bike company you look at, the prices are all going up. If rider A rides a $2,000 bike with no race wheels and rider B rides a $12,000 bike and both come out with the same bike splits, who is the better athlete? and was that shown in the results? that one is up to you to

Who does this hurt? I think the athletes that are at the very top of the sport are unaffected by this, and with the introduction of Ironman many athletes are concerned on time. Finishing is the goal. It is cool to see athletes achieve their goals, but these athletes for the most part compete in only 1 major event a year. Its the developing athlete who has aspirations of rising to the top, or new developing pro that gets hit the most. To compete in 4 big events a year will now cost a fortune.

I have not been participating in triathlon very long, but I am quickly realizing that something is missing. Most other sports have this but triathlon does not. It is the presence of a younger generation. I have many athletes around my age that are interested in the sport of triathlon but as soon as they hear the prices of things they quickly back away. They would make phenomenal athletes and would quickly rise to a pro level of competition. Sheer cost is driving them away. Right now if you notice most triathlons are dominated by athletes in their mid to late 30's. But when you look at sports such as running, swimming, and even cycling. Athletes in their mid to late 20's rule the boards. Is triathlon missing out on great athletes?

The current situation seems to work for triathlon. But in the future it may damage the sport. when all these athletes in their 30's reach their athletic peaks and start to decline, who will step up to take their places? Yes younger athletes will come along and fill their shoes, but the number of elites coming through the system will be much less. There will still be a high level of competition but the athletes competing at that level will be far fewer. Will this cause the sport to become stale? I guess we will see.

Although it was not industry driven I think we have seen the same thing occur in running. in the late 70's and 80's I am amazed when I look at age group times for running races. I talk to my dad about times he ran that would win races today by a landslide, but back then he was barely in the top ten. There was a buzz in the US for not just running, but running fast. Fueled by athletes like Pre running gained greater attention from the eyes of the average person. But slowly competition thinned out, and the desire for strong competition was lost.

Yes I don't think triathlon would be the same if it was not for companies developing triathlon specific items. But at what cost to the sport? When we really look at it, has the average time for finishing an ironman gotten faster? Yes the top pros have gone faster, but overall is everybody going faster? It is probably a safe bet to say that in may ways the average athlete is getting slower, and the high cost of entering the sport is driving future elite athletes away. We may have gotten to the point where the pendulum has swung too far, and for the health of the sport we need to find balance.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Lake Stevens 70.3

I woke up at 3am on race morning and the first thing I thought to myself is, "what am I doing?" Why would anyone want to get up super early, drive in the dark, and jump in a lake just as the sun is coming up? But after a little while I got my mind and body going, and I was ready to race. Yes I was a little bit nervous for this race, but it wasn't a bad thing.

This year I have been struggling with my wetsuit. Is it too small, am I putting it on right, or am I just a wimp who needs to suck it up? I think my questions were finally answered at the race on Sunday. I made sure to spend extra time putting on my wetsuit, and doing a very good job of putting it on. I made sure to pull my wetsuit up as high as possible. The idea was to bring as much material to my upper body to loosen my shoulders. This worked well. For the first time ever I started my swim pain free, and my shoulders felt great! User error, go figure :).

As I headed out on the dock to start the swim, I was excited. They delayed the start for 10min due to fog on the lake. Even with the delay the fog lingered and they decided to started the race. I decided to position myself right next to the line that was placed under the water and follow it from the start. The start of this race can be summed up in three words, Wham, Bam, and Slam. It was a rough start!

I pushed hard to get out of the chaos, but I think every swimmer wanted to be on top of the line. I constantly had people merging into me the whole swim. At one point I found myself smacking some dude in a speedo right on the butt, and I decided that was enough I am out of here! I looked up and saw that a lead pack was forming into a single file, and pulling away. I pushed to try and catch this pack, but I was always about 10 meters behind. At the turn around the lead pack was gone, and I could not see anyone ahead of me. It was actually kind of nice to have clear water ahead and no one merging into you. Coming in from the turn around the conditions were beautiful! It was cool to see the warm sun slowly rising, and patches of fog scattered on the lake. It was a moment where I just thought to myself this is cool.

Lines running under the water are a good thing, especially on foggy days. I think I would have swam straight across the lake, and missed the first turn buoy if it wasn't for this under water line. As I got to the boat ramp I was happy to be done. This was not my fastest swim of the year, but I would consider it one of my best. Most of my other races I found myself constantly getting passed by other swimmers, but on this day I was the one that was constantly passing. It finally felt good to be in control of my swim, and be pain free.

Swim- 32:24

It always feels great to be out of the water. My transition went well, and I found myself heading out for two loops of the bike. The night before I planned the points where I would ride easy, and the points that I would attack. I waited about 4 miles until I started racing. The Temps were still a little cold, but bearable. At around mile 6 I found myself riding up on the back of the Female pro's. All I can say is Female Pro's are tough. I don't know how many times I traded the lead back and forth with one athlete. At one point I told her sorry as I passed her for probably the 10th time. She smiled and told me I was fine. I was passed by 4-5 athletes from my wave fairly early on on the bike. I wanted to go with them but decided to stay on the pace I wanted to ride.

The first loop was a little shaky. It might have been the cold temps but my legs were hurting pretty bad. My gels turned to logs as I tried to squeeze them into my mouth, and I had a hard time tearing them off of the top tube, due to the fact that my hands were freezing. At this point I wasn't sure what to expect.

Shortly after finishing the the first lap, things started getting better. Riders that I let go on the first lap were coming back and my legs suddenly felt great!! If your legs feel good it means its time to go hard. The second loop was fast, and the best part was I was smiling the whole time. I was having a blast.

After you complete your two laps on the bike course at Lake Stevens, you then turn off and head about 4 miles back to transition. I decided at this point to just pace off of a rider that was about 400 yards ahead of me and just keep a steady consistent rhythm. Heading into transition I had a moment of where is my spot? For some reason I knew I was on the second rack from the end, but I could not find my tag on the racks. Its a weird feeling to be one of the only people in transition with tons of people staring at you, and you are just staring at the racks looking for your spot. after about 5 seconds of staring it clicked and I found my spot. My transition area was a mess!! Honestly half the stuff in it was not mine. Luckily my shoes were still in the vicinity of the area, and I quickly put them on.


Heading out on the run I was excited. My energy levels were high, and I was just enjoying the day. I knew my plan I wanted to execute for the run, and I started at a conservative pace. It didn't take long before I heard footsteps quickly coming up behind me. The second I got passed I knew exactly who it was. Matt Sheeks a Stellar athlete that ran for Portland, and beat me at Boise 70.3. His pace was blistering and for about 600 yards a tagged on to the back of him. As I ran at this pace I knew in my mind that I had to let him go. At Boise he ran a 1:16:00 off of the bike, and knowing this I decided to let him go. At this point I needed to run my race, and maybe there is a chance he will come back.

As we entered the next aid station I slowly dropped off the back. The plan was, the race does not start until I finish the first little loop section and enter back into town. I was feeling awesome at this point, and really wanted to hammer, but still decided to wait. Once I hit this point I decided to let loose a little. I picked up the pace and still felt super relaxed. I was having a blast, and enjoying my race.

The next out and back section was where I made up some ground I pushed the up hills, and went even faster on the downs. As I hit the second lap I knew it was time to go. I picked up the pace even more and continued the pursuit of athletes ahead of me. As I entered town again I saw a familiar sight, Matt Sheeks was just up the road and I was slowly gaining on him.

I kept my pace steady, and knew I had plenty of time to make up ground. With about Two miles left in the race I decided it was time to make my move. Sheeks was only about 5 feet in front of me, and I knew I had to make a statement. I waited until the next hill and made a decisive move. I was now gaining ground on my competition. It was at about a mile to go I finally started to feel the race catch up to me. I was laboring hard to keep my pace, and was worried that sheeks was on his way.

At half a mile to go reality caught up, he was back. Sheeks returned my favor and I had nothing left to go with him. At that point I just worked on holding it together and finishing the last half mile.


The finish line was awesome, I looked down at my watch and saw 4:24:00 and was more than happy. This was a great time for me and I had one of my most enjoyable races to date. This race was a huge learning experience for me, because I am starting to learn to race my race. Don't go after every rabbit that flies by. If you are patient hopefully your competition will come back. Not only was I excited about my overall finishing time, but I was super excited about my run. I Finally ran where I wanted too, and It felt great. A huge thanks to everyone that was there and everyone that cheered for me. It was so cool to see faces I knew out on the course. Nate, Matt, Greg, Natalie, Jessi, Merissa, Craig, Erica, Michael, my sister, Borther in law, and my Parents. You guys are awesome, The cheers and support you all gave me out on the race course definitely got me through the day. A huge thanks also to the Crew at fitness Fanatics, without a doubt I have gotten more than I payed for every time I visit that store. They are always willing to help in any way possible and answer any questions I may have, and I appreciate that a ton.

Total time-4:24:28 (5th amateur, 18th overall)

Monday, August 10, 2009


We Love goals when we achieve them, and hate them when we don't. They are our biggest competition. At times we find ourselves alone out on the race course with no one in sight, your mind is wandering and your pace is dropping. Its at this point your goals are putting in a surge and leaving you behind.

I love goals because they give you something to strive for when no one is around. You can set goals on a daily basis to push and prod you to a faster workout. You will always remember the goals you set in your head, and will always know when you are cutting yourself short to achieving these goals.

In December of 08 I sat down and wrote out many long term goals and goals for the 09 season. At the time they seemed a tad unrealistic, but with hard work achievable. I did not tell many people these goals because I felt that others might find them to be a tad unrealistic. I think its ok to be ambitious with your goals. We all have crazy goals that we keep way in the back of our minds, aspirations that others would laugh at us if we told them, so we set those aside and set smaller goals because we are afraid. It is the person who isn't afraid to set crazy goals that will see the biggest results. You can't be afraid of failure.

Of my goals that I set for my 09 season I have achieved almost all of them. Meeting these goals feels amazing, better than any result others see on paper. The cool thing is only you know if you have achieved your goals. That ambition that others thought you might be a little crazy for going after, doesn't seem so crazy any more. In fact I only have 2 goals left that I want to achieve this year, and of the two I think one will follow the other. Its funny, that the goal that I thought would be the easiest to achieve this year, has become one of the hardest.

What is this goal? Its the goal I set for running this year. Specifically the time I want to run in a half Iron triathlon. At Boise I had what one would call, way too much confidence towards my goal. I started the run and thought pssch no problem. This race was a good learner for me because I definitely got K.O.'d by my goal. My next shot at this Goal was the Chelan man half Iron, but after the last encounter with my goal I was running a little bit scared. So this Sunday at Lake Stevens I have my next shot to beat my goal. I am excited to go after it, and I will be racing this goal more so than I will be racing the competition. Goals are always ready to race, and this Sunday I hope I am too.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Chelan man 2009

I had Two goals for this race
  1. Swim a halfway Decent swim.
  2. Execute a successful nutrition plan
The swim
My plan at this race was to get an actual warm up in, and I for once I did. It was not a long warm up, but it was better than nothing(which is what I did at my last race). We waited for what seemed like an eternity for the race to start and eventually they got us rolling.

I did not get bumped around at all at the beginning of this race, which was a nice change. From the start I saw a pack forming on my left, and knew the majority of the fast swimmers were in that pack. But as I started swimming I noticed a line running under the water, that was set for us to follow. I quickly decided not to join the pack on my left and shot over to the line. This was when I realized the first great thing about the Chelan man. The water! You can actually see, its clear and clean. If you accidentally take a big gulp of it, you really don't feel so bad because it tastes like bottled water.

As a swam along the line that was hooked to each buoy and ran under the water, I didn't really bother to look up. I think I hit every buoy head on, but that didn't matter and It did not slow me down at all. I knew I was staying in a straight line with every buoy beacuse I hit every one head on, without glancing up once.

I did not feel as relaxed at this swim as I have at other races, but sometimes that just means you are pushing harder, If you are not pushing hard it is kind of a given you will have a relaxed swim. One thing that made me think I might be pushing the pace harder was, right after the turn buoy I suddenly threw up. There goes the clean water! Luckily all that came up was the Gell I took 15 min before the start, and if I am being honest Gu tri-berry gels taste great when you eat them, and really don't taste that bad when you throw them up.

I kept on pushing not knowing what my time would be, and followed my nice white line. I reached the finish and as I stood up and looked at my watch I saw 30+ minutes. Sweet! I thought to myself. that is definently and improvement for me.

Swim time: 30:22

I got through transition pretty much un harmed and headed out on the bike. For this race I sat down about 3 days before the race a wrote out my whole plan from start to finish. My plan was to stay controlled on the bike untill mile 7.5. I feel Like I did a better job of this than at Iron man Boise. I slowly worked my way up in a "controlled" manner.

At about mile 7 I caught up to the lead of the race, and was sitting in second. But shortly after I gained my second place position I was over taken. I droped back and imeadiatly passed back as we started a climb. After the climb I was passed again, and again I passed on the next hill. Eventually the two of us caught up to the leader of the race, and I passed him. I led the race for about 3 or 4 miles at this point. I was started to realize my strenght was on the hills. I would quickly gain ground every hill we hit, but loose it on the downhills and flats.

Eventually I was passed again and droped back to second. I knew I needed to stop attacking, and just stay relaxed or I would quickly ruin my race. So I sat back in second and just tried to keep pace with the leader ahead of me.

Chelan has two very big climbs, on the second half of the bike, and I was slowly gaining on the leader all the way to the top of the first climb. Once we got to the top, the leader quickly vanished on a long decent, and third was very slowly chipping away at the lead I had on him. Going down the long decent I think my legs were spinning well over 100 rpm. My head was inches from my bars, and I was trying hard not to loose ground! I made it to the bottom of the decent still in second, and started the second climb.

On the second big climb of the day I was gaining on the leader again, but noticed that third was gaining on me. At one point we were all together again and as we topped of on the hill, I found myself in third. This is where we hit a slight surprise!

after a short quick decent we came upon a sign that said road construcion, and right as I came around the turn I saw a gravel road for about the legnth of two football fields! Great! I was given a heads up that this might be here, and I told myself that I would walk it and not risk getting a flat. but as I looked ahead the two leaders were riding to the right of it on some smaller gravel, and not wanted to loose them I rode right through it. Luckily I did not get a flat, and I really hope no one else that was racing out there that day got one either.

After the cyclocross section of the course we had nothing left but a long downhill. The leaders put some more time on me but I was ok with that. At this point I was already thinkging about the run.


I rolled into T2 about 3 min down from the leader, and 30 seconds on second place. I knew the win was dooable if I just stayed relaxed and did not take off too hard like I did at Boise. From the start of the run I kept telling myself to SLOW DOWN! The race will come back. I felt like I was jogging, but with the temperatues getting very hot I did not want to blow up in the heat. after about a mile I could see the lead and second place up the road. Normally I would pick it up and quickly try and catch them, but I knew sooner or later I would catch up.

I kept my relaxed comfortable pace going, and at about mile 3.5 I ran into the lead. I kept telling myself the race does not start untill the turn around, and was not in a hurry to drop second place. He was running strong, and was not fading.

From that point I was slowly gaining time, I was grabbing aything and everything from the aid stations, and still telling myself to SLOW DOWN!! Ok, yes I was a little bit afraid of blowing up again like I did at Boise. So I was running very conservative. as I hit the turn around my lead had grown. I told myself that at mile 8 I would put in a surge, but mile 8 came and went and with no one behind me, I kept running comfortable. mile 9 was suppose to be the next surge, but still with no one in sight I did not execute. I was afraid of blowing up. It was heating up quite nicely at this point, and there is no shade what soever on the half marathon course.

The last mile was a long one, but it was a good one! I could not see second place behind me, and I was still running strong. My nutrition plan got me through the race, and I was almost done. I rounded the last turn and finished strong.


Total time: 4:30:35

This was my first win at any triathlon ever and I was stoked that I executed my plan and got the win. I met my two goals, and did not blow up. I don't know what it is about racing, but the more I do it, the more fired up I get to train harder. As the season progesses I find more motivation to train harder and longer. I am excited to hit the training hard again, and get ready for lake Stevens :)!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Friday Night lights.....on Wednesday.

So its Wednesday, and just like every Wednesday I am suppose to go for a long run. I was going to just get the run over with and complete my run right after the swim in the morning. But that didn't happen and I found myself putting it off. I was finally out the door at 5pm, and decided to run to SFCC and back.

My run was going ok but I really was not into running 15 miles today. At around mile 8 I arrived at SFCC, and noticed they were having an all comers meet going on. I stopped for a couple minutes and watched. It was cool. These meets have everything from 3 year olds, college kids, and up to senior citizens. It was at this point I decided to sign up for the steeple chase. I had never done one but hey why not, its always good to try something new. It was a race under the lights so I thought that might be cool.

The gun went off and the first lap was great. Mainly because we got to skip the water barrier. But as I got to the first barrier on the track I realized, I am not sure how to jump this! I gave it a good jump and hurdled the first barrier. It was at this point I started calculating. 7 laps with 5 barriers a lap, that is 35 barriers I have to Jump!!! Frick!

Here is a look at my first attempt at the water barrier.
(this was my attempt to fly over the water)

(Kinda ended in a face plant)

The rest of the water Jumps went pretty Similar to these pictures, every jump had a slight variation thought.

Next was the 4 barriers per lap that were dry.

After a couple laps I found myself asking the people in the meet how many more laps to go. I think I asked this every lap until the end of the race.

The race was 3,000 meters, and I was third. I was happy I ran 10:35 and averaged a pace of 5:27per mile. This was a good workout since it included 5 barriers per lap.

So slight change to my long run on this Wednesday with a steeplechase added on, but its good to change things up right?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Support a local Spokane Athlete.

Live in Spokane and need some handmade Adirondack chairs to complete your deck or patio?
I am selling hand made Adirondack chairs. They are built to last, and built for comfort.


  • Custom hand built wood chair, out of hand selected pine.
  • Ergonomically designed to support your back and create a relaxing experience.
  • Wide arms to accommodate drinks and other objects you may place on them.
  • Unstained to allow you to customize your chair (paint, Stain, or leave natural) to match your deck or patio.
  • Optional Leg rest available for added comfort.


  • Single chair-$89.99
  • added leg rest-$34.99

  • If you are interested, or know someone that may be give me a call at (509)328-5149 or shoot me and e-mail at
  • If you want to come see a chair in person just send me an email or give me a call.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Ironman 70.3 Boise.

For about 6 months now I have been waiting for this race. I have been excited to finally try my hand at a Half Ironman for some time, and my chance was finally here. To my surprise I really was not too nervous leading into this race. Unlike my last race where I was putting my wetsuit on backwards, dropping everything in sight, and forgetting all the race gear I needed. This race I was pretty relaxed and calm. After driving down to Boise on Thursday I had a couple days to just relax and enjoy Boise. The one thing that stuck in my mind about Boise is the fact that everyone in that city rides bikes! Downtown is cluttered with bikes, and I think it is so cool that so many people commute on their bikes. Anyways back to racing.

Race morning....oh wait...... this race didn't start till 2pm, and my wave didn't start until around 3pm. So I had a little bit of time to kill. This was the point where I was a little nervous. Watching every single wave head out, added just a little bit to my nerves. It was at the point when they had us penned up like cattle at the edge of the water that my nerves were finally there, but nerves are a good thing for me. they keep me going. Just minutes before they let us into the water I ran into Adam Blalock, who lives in Moscow Idaho, and is an up and coming triathlete. Adams dad and my dad used to hammer each other into the ground in running races back in the days, so It was cool to see the younger generation competing in sports against each other. After a few friendly words with Adam we were off into the water.

Before the start we had to tread water for about 5 min. I placed myself in the front row of the swim start, and for some reason being in the water just relaxed me. I knew it would be a long day, but I really felt that I was ready for it. There was a countdown, and then came the horn. I was off in my first half Ironman. For starting in the front and not being that strong of a swimmer, I really did not get pounded at all. There was some small bumping but nothing too serious. The waves were kicking up pretty high, and the sky had turned black from clouds, but I felt really relaxed. The first turn came before I knew it. I felt that I carried a high cadence on this swim, and I felt very relaxed, scratch that super relaxed. Maybe I was a little too relaxed, and my swim time of 35+ min may show that, but I was happy with it. As I was swimming to the swim exit I felt like I could have kept going for another lap, but the swim was over and it was time to get on the bike.

Swim time-35:19

So if you know me at all you probably know that I struggle a bit with transitions at times. And the thing that slows me down the most is getting my stupid wetsuit off. Its not stupid its just tight!(maybe time to upgrade from the XS). But I was overjoyed that this race had Strippers, But only the kind that helps you strip off your wetsuit. T1 went well :).

As I left T1 and did my first flying mount well leaving the shoes on my bike (yes!), I looked off of lucky peak down at the course I was about to ride, and saw quite the mass of people ahead of me on the bike. I guess that is what You get for being the last wave. I got a little caught up in passing this large clump of people that was right ahead of me. I took off down lucky peak very quickly! My bike could be summed up by the word, left! I screamed this about 200 times, as moved through the pack. I think I will learn the word left in 3 more languages so next time I will have my bases covered no matter who I come up on. The first 30 miles of the bike were very rapid. The rain was pouring/monsooning, and the stinging from the rain kind of made me forget about the pain in my legs. As the rain was still pouring down I came up on my first hard right hand turn. Yeah Remember, In rain your brakes don't work so swell. So as I headed straight towards the races only hand cyclist about to partake in a head on collision, I thought about this fact. Luckily I narrowly missed him and just made my turn. Next was the "climb" to the Birds of prey sanctuary, which wasn't really that much of a climb at all. It was still pouring rain, but I decided that I was going to take the decent and turns off of this climb fairly quick and take a risk. But It was a risk I was willing to take. As I started bombing down the hill, I was confronted with a sign that said "No Passing Zone", well didn't see that as I flew by 5 or 6 fellow age groupers going 10mph and clutching their brakes for dear life as they went down the hill. Shortly after the hill was when I ran into Adam again. I gave him a friendly yell and he yelled back, as I pushed up the hill. The rest of the bike I just tried to keep a steady rhythm and tried to stay in aero. I Kept drinking my water, and got plenty of hydration from the rain. I took my 3 gels of nutrition for the day on the bike, and was cruising along just fine. At about mile 40 Adam came back, we quickly chatted about our swims(which he killed me at :)), and he was off. I tried to stick with him, but just didn't have it at that point. I decide I was going to stay in a relaxed steady pace until the finish. My ride into downtown Boise was Sweet! It was just cool to come bombing down a long hill and into the city. I took my shoes off a little early, but hey who cares. I just finished the bike of my first half Iron, and it felt great!


T2 was well just another T2, It was not as fast as Tim Swanson's who is the nations leading T2 athlete :), but it was good for me. I was very nervous dropping off my T2 bag earlier that day because it was so empty compared to everyone else's. But as I opened my bag and had only socks and a pair of shoes to deal with, I realized it was a good thing. The person next to me had 3 wardrobes of clothes, and a buffet of food in their bag that they somehow had to put on in a quick manner and carry for 13 miles.

Running has always been a strength of mine and I was very happy to be on the run. I took off pretty quick. With the rain still pouring I felt that I never really left the swim on this day. The beginning of my run was fast and comfortable......but maybe a little too fast and not quite as comfortable as I should of taken it. My first loop I stormed into the lead of my age group, by mile 5.5. I was probably running between 5:18 and 5:28. I made my way to the end of the first loop and there was nothing but smiles on my face. I love this sport! I only had 6.4 miles to go and thought they would go by like a breeze. At mile 7 I felt something strange start to happen, but it was nothing too bad. I was a little queezy but it didn't really affect my pace.

This is where my nutrition plan from the bike came back to haunt me a bit. If you remember I only took in 3 gels on the bike and 1 bottle that had one scoop of perpetuem. I think next time I will take a little more than that with me, but we will get back to that later. Ok so we are at mile 7.5 of a 13.1 mile run and my wheels weren't coming off, they are on the ground. I found myself at mile 8 running 10min a mile, and doing everything I could to keep forward progress.

This is the point that made this race a life changer for me. I don't think I have ever worked so hard or been so determined to finish a race without walking. Things around me started getting very dark, I felt a bit hot(even with the rain pouring down), and people were yelling so loud! Its only five miles, you run that all the time! I kept telling myself. But each mile felt like a marathon. I was afraid to grab anything but water for fear of throwing up. Somehow I made the next two miles without walking and found myself at mile 10, with a 5k to go. Those last two miles both just felt like marathons, and I have a 5k to go. Hmm this could be a long day. At this point I found myself getting passed by everyone around me, two people in my age group had stormed back by me, and I was doing everything I could to stick on people as they ran past. I promised myself no matter what I would not walk. No matter what that just isn't an option. at this point I was at mile 12 and as I glanced over my shoulder, Adam was back! he was closing on me fast. We had traded the lead 3 times this day, and just like our dads used to we were battling for position. I had nothing left but fumes and I thoroughly burned them all the last mile. I barely held Adam off. I was done with my First half Iron!!


As I crossed the finishing line the volunteers had the look that death just rolled in. I wasn't feeling very good, but the fact that I finished my first half Iron had me pumped. They put a super sweet space blanket on me and the volunteers asked me where I was going. All I said was that way, without pointing in a direction or really knowing where I was going. I found my way to a chair where I sat, and was pretty much stuck in the chair for a bit of time. It took about 20 min for me to come around. But I was good. Ben recommended that I go get an IV, but 1. I hate needles, and 2. I was pretty much stuck in that chair and don't think I could have gotten up and gotten to the medical room.

As I sat in the car riding back to the hotel, Some thoughts rolled through my head. I had just gotten chewed up and spit out by my first half Ironman, but all I could think of was I can't wait for a chance to do that again! Overall my time was 4:29:22 and I was overjoyed with this. My goal for my first half Iron was to break 4:30:00 and I did it!! I was not going to let it beat me. And although my half marathon in this race was not my best performance, I am probably more proud of that than any other race I have ever done. I did not give up, and I persevered throughout one of the toughest physical and mental challenges I have ever completed.

I know the exact changes I need to make before my next race, and am very fired up for my next half Iron. Its not the competition I want to beat, its the race! We will see if my next half Ironman will bring me to a walk but so far the count is

Half Ironman-0 Josh-1

June 13th was a good day :)!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

The Ball Begins to Roll

Its Friday night one day before my first big race of the season, I am staring at all my stuff that I should be packing but instead I am blogging for some reason. All I can say is that I am super excited, a little Nervous, and also a little scared for my first race. The onion man will be the 3rd triathlon I have ever done, and my second Olympic. Most races leading up to now were to break up my training and test my fitness. But now my main season is about to begin.

This year is my second year in the sport of triathlon. due to injuries I did not compete much or train as much as I would have liked last year. This year I have been training injury free, and trying to focus on becoming a more rounded triathlete, not just a runner who tries to compete in triathlons, but a triathlete. I think this is so important, if I ever want to compete at a higher level. As a triathlete I feel more rounded this year, but as a person I also feel that Triathlon has changed my life in less than two years.

During the Long winter months there are many things I have realized and learned. I have seen myself change from the person I was only a couple years ago, to something much different. I have met amazing new people, and learned important life lessons. In the span of one year triathlon has completely turned my life upside down.

I guess for right now I would like to say thanks to all the people who have brought me this far. The season has not started yet but I already owe a lot to many different people, who have always been there to answer my dumb questions, offer encouragement, train with me, and give me words of advice. I would not be half the athlete I am today if it was not for the help of others. It is refreshing to be around people who are driven in their lives. I have huge respect for many of the athletes I train with. At times I find myself whining because I am too tired to train, or don't think I have time. All it takes is a step back and I realize that I have all the time in the world to train. So many of the people I train with Work full time jobs, have kids, and train. Yes they are Amazing athletes, but they are also amazing people who live their lives not wasting a second.

As I sit in the water on Sunday morning waiting for my first race of my first full season to start I will be probably quite nervous. Who knows what will happen, or even what this season will bring. For the first time in my life I barely have any money in my bank account, my social life consists of training, and I find myself sleeping through college. But for the first time in my life, I am waking up excited, because I have found something that I am very passionate about. I don't know what is around the next bend, but I am more determined than ever to take the next challenge that is handed to me. Lets get this 09 season rolling.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

First Multisport event of the year

All I can say is that I love the spring thaw Duathlon. This race has some of the best prizes around, it is only $25 to enter, and is a very well run race. For me this race was a test to see where I stand on the bike. Last year at this race, I lost over 10 spots on the bike, so this year I was hoping to not loose as much time.

I was very happy with my race. The hard work I have been putting in on the bike is starting to pay off, I did not get a bike split last year, but I am positive I improved on it. I am not sure what is more boring the video of the race, or a big long post. I will try the video. 90% of the video is me running around the same field. So if you are short of time just watch the start and you will get the idea that we ran a lot of loops around the grass field.

This coming weekend is the Onion man Olympic triathlon. This is my last test Before Boise 70.3. The test you are asking? How well can I swim. Swimming has been my weakness. I guess we will find out on race day :).

In other good news, that annoying video that always plays when you visit my blog, is now gone into the blog archive.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

It’s all about the things you hate.

For many people this post will be a "Duh" moment. But for me this change has been the one thing that has had a huge impact on my training and the way I perform. What is this "thing"? Doing the things you hate the most, consistently in your training. Pretty simple idea Right? I think We all have heard this and deep down we know it is true. I have always heard this since running in middle school, but it wasn't until I truly was honest with myself and committed to doing these things, that I saw massive improvements in my fitness.

Personally in my own training one huge example of this is the Long Run. I have always HATED longs runs, they take forever, you chug along at a slow pace, and lets just face it no one likes to run long. In high school I remember my coaches sending me out on long runs, and usually one other teammate and myself would instead run for about 30 min then go play with some random object we found in the woods that day. At this point in my life I was not that hot on the whole running thing, and could care less on how I performed.

As I got older and out of high school I suddenly had this desire to push myself , and see what kind of fitness I could achieve. I started to train very hard, but I still was not honest with myself. I still avoided the long run! Excuses like, it does not fit into my schedule this week, I am feeling tired or sick, or purposefully procrastinating so I would not have time to complete a run of longer distance, were all things I was guilty of. At this time I was running well, but was still far from the goals I had set for myself. Finally I made a promise with myself. I wrote out my training schedule at the beginning of every week, and decided that every Wednesday over the winter was going to be a long day, NO MATTER WHAT. From that point on I have run long almost every Wednesday over the last 5 months. That first 15 miles I can honestly say, WERE HELL! But every Wednesday after that got a little easier each time.

From that point on a strange thing has happened, I now LOVE my long runs on Wednesdays. I find myself sitting in class anxious to leave so I can get home and run long. The feeling of tackling something I avoided, hated, and was honestly a little afraid of also made me realize I could take on other mountains that stood in the way of my goals.

Another thing I always feared was the water.Even as a little kid I never completed swimming lessons because I was afraid of swimming laps. When I first started swimming again, I was about as bad as they come. Again it came to a point where I had to be honest with myself. I knew swimming with others would make me better. Sometimes you don't want people to see you being horrible at a certain sport, and I got caught up in my pride. It was the day I gave in and swam with other people that I truly started to see improvement! We build up thoughts in our head that people will laugh at us when we are bad at something, so we train alone in secret, thinking eventually we will get good enough to train with others. It was all in my head. All my fellow Tri-fusion teammates were all very sportive, and pushed me to be better at swimming. I have seen huge improvements in my swimming and I owe it all to the people I swim with week in and week out. I am in no means a fast swimmer, and still have lots of room for improvement. But the fact that I went after something I feared and conquered it, was probably one of the best feelings I have ever felt.

Why did I post this long boring Blog? These were two examples of things I avoided in my training, but once I made a commitment to get better at them, I saw huge improvements. For some people they hate hills, others just hate one sport of triathlon in particular. It does not matter what you hate or are afraid of, what matters is that you are honest with yourself in these areas and make a firm commitment to improve on them. Everyone has aspects of training that they HATE. But I promise if you commit to getting better at these, you will become a better athlete. So I challenge you today to be honest with yourself, and commit to tackling those things you hate in your training. I promise it will pay off in the larger picture of you as an athlete!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Training on Through

I have this very bad habit of tapering for every little race that comes my way. It does not matter if it is the smallest most insignificant race in the world, I have this bad habit of taking the two days before the race easy. This causes my solid training to be interrupted by small insignificant races. This year I set a goal to train through races that are not A races. Even if this means doing speed or hill repeats the day before a race so be it. Solid training is more important than setting a PR at some random 5k.

With the Spokane river run coming up I Really wanted to beat my time from last year, This is one of my favorite races because it is right by my house on the trails that I run every day. I finally got some injuries off my back, and was training solid again. Against my strong desire to do a very mini taper for this race, I trained hard the week leading up to it.

The day before the race I decided to not give myself any form of a taper. Saturdays are a brick day for me, so as planned it was time for a Brick. My Saturday brick consisted of 60 miles at 21mph, followed by a 10 mile tempo run at 6:12 pace. Felling good i pushed hard on the run knowing I was racing in the morning. The plan was to fry my legs, Then come race time mentally work on toughing out a race. You can physically be the toughest person in the world, but if you have no mental toughness, your strength will not carry you far. I did not care what place I was in the race, as long as mentally I gave my best.

Race morning went pretty normal, hung out with some fellow Tri-Fusionites, and then warmed up for 30 min. Warming up my legs felt heavy and I knew it would be a long 10k. The Race unfolded with positive splits. I started fast then gradually slowed down. The one thing that had me nervous the whole race was weather to run through the giant puddle at the end or around it? I had been contemplating this all night. But when i arrived at the puddle I ran straight through it, splashing the race photographer. After the puddle it was a short run to the finish. My final time was 32:38(10k). I was actually quite pleased with this, because it is a new 10k Pr for me.

All I can say is that the Spokane River run is a great race. If you have not competed in it, you are missing out. It was so cool to see so many people I knew out there race morning, racing the trails. Untill the next race(which will probably be my next post) happy training :)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Snake River half marathon

Many people are surprised when I tell them I have never done a half marathon before, but I really have not spent much time racing up to this point in my life. My last major time spent racing was my sophomore year of high school(2003). It wasn't until 2008 that I decided to get back into the whole racing scene. I decided that this winter I would focus on training every day. The expectation was that this would be a chore, but in reality I have grown to love it.

I woke up Saturday March 7th excited. I wasn't nervous or anxious, I was mainly excited. I had no expectations leading into this race, because I had no idea where my fitness was, and what a reasonable finishing time would be. So I set a General goal of being under 1:20, I felt that this would be an attainable goal for my first half marathon. The secret plan for this race was to pace off of Tom Pileggi a strong runner from Spokane.

Upon arrival at the race site I noticed that Tom was nowhere to be seen, my super strategy was suddenly gone. I pondered what to do on my warm up. With the gun in the air and only seconds before race start, the new plan was to not have a plan. Just run and have fun, its just another 13 mile training run right?

The gun went off and the race started at a steady pace, I decided to let Mike Bresson a super fast runner from Spokane go from the start. He has beaten me at many races by large margins. I knew his running ability was great, and did not want to blow up chasing him for the first 6 miles. This plan worked for about 100 yards. That is when I realized i was leading a pack of about 15 people into a headwind. If I am going to push a headwind the whole race, I might as well take my chances drafting off Mike. With this I pushed off the pack and caught up to the leader. The first 6.6 miles of the race were very steady, Mike kept a consistent solid pace knocking down consistent mile splits. I didn't bother checking my splits because I knew they would all be fast, why check them if you already know.

With the halfway point in sight (6.6) miles I felt very relaxed, my legs felt good, and my body felt great. We rounded the cone, and the race started to pick up. I knew at this point I was running a little bit over my head, but the only thought that kept ringing in my mind was to attack, take the lead and see how hard you can push it. Attack or be attacked. With no idea what I was doing I surged past mike, increasing our pace by about 35seconds per mile. I led for about 30 yards and Mike passed me right back, returning my favor. I immediately pulled up again on his shoulder, and tried to push the pace, hoping sooner or later he would give up. This exchanged happened a couple more times, and eventually the greater athlete came through. With one final massive surge Mike took off, laying down the hurt and dropping me hard. With his last surge he was putting tons of distance on me at a very fast rate. This occurred at about mile 9.

The next half mile was probably the hardest, I let Mike get away from me, and I knew he was in no way slowing down. Just before mile 10 I started to feel refreshed again, my pace picked up, and I felt fairly strong again. with only 3 miles to go, I pictured a short loop that i often run at home, and imagined this short easy run as the only thing I have left to do, to finish the race. The last half mile drug on, but in a short while I was done. I had finished my first half marathon.

I was fairly happy with my race, It is always great to race a distance you have never done before, because you always PR. I learned allot, and already have ideas of things I would do differently. My Final time was 1:10:21.

This race taught me allot. Mainly the fact that Hard work pays off. After club XC nationals I was a little bit bummed with my running performance, and decided I needed to be more consistent with my training. At the time following club nationals I hated running in snow and freezing weather, It was cold wet, and long. But I did not want to be the same athlete that ran Club Nationals. This race made my time in the snow well worth it. Seeing how hard work pays off, has inspired me to work harder, and chase some of the loftier goals I set many months ago.

It was great to see so many people out racing early in the spring. Everyone I knew that was at the race had a good day. Mike, Matt, Tim, Steve, Eric, Haley, Evan and Kirk all rocked the course. Setting fast times, on an early season race. I would also like to thank everyone who cheered me on as they passed the other way. This helped allot. I am also glad that Matt decided to ride down with me. The Radio in my car is broken and if he wasn't there I would of had to sing to myself all the way to Pullman :).