This is pure comedy now – what you see is a result from this morning’s VERY foggy swim + rough waters, that it was so tough to sight!
This is pure comedy now – what you see is a result from this morning’s VERY foggy swim + rough waters, that it was so tough to sight!
Look at that food porn – My favorite burger joint, IN N OUT. My combo of deliciousness usually consists of a Protien (lettuce bun) Animal Style Double Double Burger with chopped chili, with a side of Animal Style Fries. In case you’re wondering, I don’t really have a diet plan with all this triathlon training. I guess my only rule is moderation. I somewhat know how many calories I eat every day (I track it all with an iPhone app, My Fitness Pal), plus I don’t eat terribly bad every single day. I love to indulge in some Animal Style though, I can’t get enough of it!
This year we have a lot of options during the week to train with coaches and as a group. Usually, I make it out to the Westside OSV (Ocean and San Vicente) morning runs at 7am, but depending on social outing circumstances or work schedule, I don’t go to all the time. I don’t know why, but what makes the most sense for me are the South Bay runs Thursday nights because it’s so close to work, and there’s no real time pressure, unlike the mornings where I have to rush to get ready for work right after.
Tonight was my first time there and I kinda like it! I like varying up the terrain and course time to time too. We did mainly Chip Trail and Boardwalk with some hills snuck in. I might of went too hard in the beginning because the second half of the 80 minute run, my legs felt heavy – muscles tightened, felt like shin splints. Running in good company with teammates helped distract the pain away, plus the post-run eats & beer is always a treat!
Gah… Second weekend in a row, faced with rain and cold. Fortunately, It wasn’t the downpour as last week, just some drizzle, but it was just as cold. This morning was the team’s longest run, going into Build 1 of our training cycle. It was also my longest since the Austin Marathon just a little over a month ago.
We met at the usual Ocean/San Vicente spot in Santa Monica. Pretty big turnout for a rainy run, but so awesome to see such participation. One of my teammates, Jessica, even had a plastic bag covering her body with the words, “Rain? IronTeam Don’t Give a Sh*t!”, in the nature of the bad ass Honeybadger videos. We started off with a warmup up San Vicente, then south on Ocean, and did a few out and backs up Amalfi and Troll bridge. If you don’t know what that means, it means a very flat first half, followed by a very hilly second half. I seem to perform better whenever there’s hills though because I like to take advantage of the downhill and let gravity take me down. This was the route.
I even thought to take this run very easy because we had a pretty tough bike ride yesterday, but I guess running with people faster than me helped push me. Sad to say that those fast ones were on their LA Marathon “recovery” pace, but nevertheless I was happy to take that opportunity. I mean, a teammate, Adam, completed the LA Marathon in under 3 hours, and here I was running the second half of 13.1 with him. We even had good conversation, catching up on things, then when we realized I could PR this distance (previous PR was 2:01 at the Huntington Beach Half), we pushed it even further! 1:59 – DONE.
This past weekend was a 7 mile run simulation of the Wildflower Long Course’s “Pits” at the Palisades area of Santa Monica. It’s called “The Pits” because of the out and back nature, highest point at the middle, then the lowest points of elevation at the ends. Unfortunately, due to the weather, our original training plan of a bike ride was nixed because of some harsh rain. It was optional for us to do a trainer ride at the meeting spot, Rustic Canyon Park. My trainer wouldn’t fit in my little car, so I just did the run.
Running in the rain was probably an understatement for what we experienced that morning. Monsoon, maybe? COLD, windy, sideways rain, water up to our ankles. I’d say it was one of the harshest weather I’ve experienced on the run. I was glad though that mud wasn’t involved. Since we were just running in the neighborhood, it was relatively clean compared to last year’s muddy & raining Wildflower training weekend. At first, we were trying to skip over puddles, but once we accepted the fact that in the end we’ll be soaking wet, that’s when the fun was happening. Jumping in puddles, no wait, pools of rain, running against/with the wind. Even better, it was with the most amazing people I know. If I was training alone, if there was no one to start & end with, I’d be miserable. I mean, who does this, on purpose? Most of us would probably opt for a nice indoor treadmill, or nothing at all.
Last weekend was my first appearance of a Build #2 workout with the team. I’ve always somehow managed to be out of town since the first of it this season – Monterey for a company party, and also Texas for the Austin Marathon. A quick rundown of what happened – Friday, met up with teammates Jeff and Val at the Equinox down the street from work, 3,800 yards. Whew! Saturday a minimum 4 hour bike ride & 30 minute run. Sunday, run another 11 hilly miles, then more swimming.
We met up at our usual spot in Santa Monica spot, Ocean/San Vicente, and our route was simple – head north on PCH for 2 hours, then head back. Since it’s a build week, this was my opportunity to push it and see where I compare to last year. Alumni was supposed to spin up and add 2mph for 15 minutes, then back to normal pace, but after a few hours I lost track. Out of the gate, we did a fairly high cadence but high speed warmup for 30 minutes. Took a while to get into rhythm, but eventually averaged out to a 25mph range. Attacked the flats, and was smart going uphill. At one point, my teammate Donovan, Jasmine, and I hit about 43mph on a downhill! A new PR! (42 was last year). I made it out to Las Posas, pretty much where the regular roadway of PCH ends and becomes a full on highway, so I took the exit and headed east. I even saw At the 2 hour mark, I was near the Camarillo area. On the way back though, there were some MAJOR headwinds, and my speed was about 14-16mph. Legs were burning by the time I hit “Big Rock”, a part on PCH where you bike in between two large cliff-like rocks. The headwinds were so strong that the second half ran 20 minutes more. I was looking at my GPS watch near the end and really wanted to get to 80, but 79.82 at 4:22 was the final tally. A teammate who did the exact same route as me said he did 80.1, so I’ll take take that! Oh, but the workout wasn’t over. Out to a hilly Amalfi to do 15 minutes out and back.
Not to get into details, but I was invited out Saturday night to go have a beer. Oh, sure, I’ll come hang out for ONE beer, then head home early to sleep. Ummm… that always never happens, and didn’t end up getting home until 2am! Woke up at around 7:30 for an 9am run. Leisurely got out of bed, wanting to make a big breakfast, looked at my phone… NOOOOOOO it was 8:30am!! Did I just time travel?!? We had to Spring Forward an hour and I totally forgot about it!! Good thing I live pretty close to practice, but I didn’t have breakfast. A big no-no! Got some Gu and headed out the door.
The route was our infamous Amalfi Loop, which takes us around the Palasades and Santa Monica. 3/4 uphill, but after one loop reverse it. It actually became my new favorite run route because it’s a great variety of hills, flats, and terrain. Score! I hope we get to do this again! I was so spent by the time I got home, became super lazy on the couch, but I really needed to get a swim in. I was on a time crunch because I had to make it to a Drag Queen Bingo Fundraiser in WeHo’s Hamburger Mary. I swam for an hour, so I ended up doing 2,200 out of the scheduled 3,800. Better than nothing, but my shoulder was feeling a little sore, so I needed to lay low on that a little.
Overall, probably one of the toughest IronTEAM weekend workouts to date, and it brings back memories of last year’s hard workouts. Very challenging, but feels very rewarding. It made my recovery week so much sweeter though… love those!
Registered earlier today for the Marine Corps Marathon 30 minutes before they sold out!
From the event’s Facebook Page:
The record is yours runners – 2 hours and 41 minutes. The fastest registration sell out in marathon history – not just MCM, but the entire United States! THANK YOU RUNNERS!
Wow! That sold out faster than Ironman Canada! I’ve always wanted to do this, so I secured my spot (plus my work reimburses $50 of any endurance race entry fees, so it’s a win-win). I’m still 50/50 wether or not I’m actually going to do this race because it’s dependent on my acceptance to the NYC Marathon via lottery. I’ll know in April, but til then, I’m excited as it will be state #10!
photo by Holly Meyer
I have to admit, coming into the weekend, I wasn’t 100%. Less than a handfull of people knew about my situation, but the Thursday before Desert Tri, I was visiting my uncle (dad’s brother) in the hospital. It was an intense emotional roller coaster of a day. I’m going to spare the details, but unfortunately he passed away that afternoon. The family was there to say our goodbyes, and we’re glad we did, but still, no one should go through this, or witness it. Took the day off on Friday to reset and collect my thoughts (and have Scoops Ice Cream), but if I was a little weird or distracted last weekend, now you know why. I tried to stay strong all weekend. I came at peace of the whole situation on our drive to the desert, because my overall outlook on someone passing is more of celebration of their life and how they influenced family & friends, how great of an impact they had, rather than sit in infinite sadness and dwell on it. I like to see the positive in things. We all know he’s in a better place, and all I could do coming into the weekend was to dedicate my race to my uncle. It was more than a race. It was more than “my revenge” to finally complete a race I was disqualified the year before. It was about overcoming life’s challenges, and how we deal with it. So the amazing sunrise photo above was a reminder that it was a new day, a new day to create new experiences. Time is precious, and we better make the most of it.
So they morning started with a 4:00am alarm… snooze… 4:15, 4:30… ok ok… 4:45. Got ready in a quickness and our room was out the door by 5:00am. I wasn’t nervous about the race, but more excited about how most of my teammates will be newly crowned triathletes. If anything, I was looking forward to the finish line experience with everyone. We arrived at Lake Cahuilla in La Quinta around 5:45am and was able to park the Triathlon War Machine nearby. We set up our transition areas, and I was glad to have shared the space side by side with my close friends Rommel Calderon, Mike Ngim, and Donovan Batiste. 7:00am, the team gathered to do a 5 minute warm-up jog nearby, then we were off to suit up for a warm-up swim!
The event: 0.75 mile swim, 24 mile bike, 6 mile run.
This race was supposed to be “just another day at the office,” and I treated it as so. It was another practice for our team, so we shouldn’t let it get to us. Since we did pretty much the same distance the previous day before, I wasn’t sure how I’d hold up on Sunday. I was just to go out there and have fun with it. 7:33am was my wave start time, and just like all the other triathlons, I stayed in the back of the pack and calmly went from buoy to buoy (in a zig zag fashion, I bet). Didn’t get hit or kicked in the face, which is always a good thing. Took longer than usual at T1, but I made sure I applied the right amount of sunscreen and wiped away all the excess dirt from the lake.
Throughout the bike, I felt fresh. I learned from Ironman Champion Chris McCormack’s book “I’m Here to Win” the concept of pacing, not drafting. It’s where you find someone to match your target speed, and try to keep up. Whenever someone would pass me on my left, I would take the opportunity to follow (within a safe distance, of course). I wouldn’t pace the same person all the time, as it was a trial and error from time to time to see who was right my liking. This allowed me to move ahead, catching up to my age group offsetting my slower swim time. It’s actually a strategy I used at Vineman 140.6 last year. From time to time, I would think about my late uncle, and think about the happy memories we had. He definitely gave me the strength to push my limits here. Towards the end, I pulled back my effort, to recover and save my legs for the run.
It was a quick T2, but by the time the run started, I could definitely feel the heat. By the first water stop, not even a mile into it, I splashed two cups of water over my head. “Oh, that’s why visors are better for triathlons!” It was the same run as the day before, so it was no surprise here. Flat, boring, and hot. I splashed water at every aid station as much as I could, and tried to keep a decent pace throughout. As long as I was faster than Saturday’s stomach disaster, I was happy. I’m not sure what the difference is between an Olympic and International distance is, but compared to my 3:37 Carpinteria Olympic, and getting DQ’ed last year at Desert, this was definitely a PR at 2:50:29!
By the end, always the best part of any of the races we do as a team, was cheering on everyone coming in through the finish line. We stay til the end, leaving no man behind. Hugs all around, high-fives, cheers everywhere. IronTEAM “Tunnel of Love”. It’s tough to explain, but it’s a tear jerking moment. That’s why I seriously love this IronFamily. The support we have for each other, the bond that we have is stronger than anything I’ve ever experienced. We endure through many challenges, we witness the transformations, we witness greatness. Much props to our coaches for guiding us through this journey. This is only the beginning too. There’s many more months to come and many more “tune-up” races to do this all over again. I’m already having my IronTEAM withdrawals. When am I going to see everyone again? Oh yeah, swim is tonight… so it will be soon enough. Go TEAM!
Saturday, the team did a 2 hour bike ride, 1 hour run, and a quick swim in the lake (in that order). It was pretty much the same (actually more) than the Desert Tri on Sunday. Initially it was difficult to get to the meeting spot because the Sprint Distance of the Desert Tri was still in session. Rommel’s Triathlon War Machine (pictured above), had to navigate through poorly coned areas, being yelled at military wearing camouflage that blended in with the road (they should’ve at least wore neon vests!). We pretty much rode through the same race course, with bonus routes. What was funny was that from time to time, we would get chased down by dogs, sometimes even small brave tiny ones like below:
The course was super flat, so our group rode in aero most of the time, pushing our limits since it is a build week, after all. We finished the route early, and when we got back to homebase, coach Brad said “What are you guys doing? A 2 hour ride, is a 2 hour ride. Get back out there!” Oops! We had about 15 minutes to go, so we did an out and back. Stats for the ride: 36.51 miles, 17.8 mph average.
Immediately after the ride, it was a run (no surprise here). We did the same run course that was scheduled for the race – super flat, but super hot at the same time. No shade, and by this time of the day, it was high noon, so we were getting the worst of it. Super HOT! I felt fine for the first loop (3 miles), but once I completed that, I had major stomach issues. Was it the heat? Was it exhaustion? Was it harder for me to digest? Was it the hotel breakfast? I seriously didn’t feel right. There were times I thought of turning back to camp, but I ended up walking it off. For the next 2 miles, actually, I walked most of it. Glad my teammates Holly kept me company for a mile, then Kevin joined us the next mile. We did learn a bit of trivia from Kevin though that the bumpy surfaces in the gravel area was made by the oscillations of the shock absorbers from the cars driving through it over time. *Insert NBC’s “The More You Know” PSA commercial outtro here* The final mile we ran it home. Whew! What a day! Stats for the run: 5:80 miles, 11:07/min pace.
Oh, but training wasn’t over then! After lunch at our area, we rested up a bit, got our race packets at the nearby expo area. We suited up in our wetsuits, started with a warm up swim to a buoy, and when we returned our coaches made us line up to do a mass start simulating how the race start would be. We did that twice (2 loops!). I was actually surprised I was pretty calm from the start to finish. I guess repetition does make things better! After, the team took this kick-ass group photo:
The rest of the day consisted of a team dinner at a a Mexican Restaurant called Las Casuelas Nuevas. Fun games & raffles ensued, with some beer & margaritas (and also cups of NUUN-filled waters), our recipe for possible PRs. Before our coaches tucked us into bed, they went over all the details of the course, calmed us all down a bit, then it was off to our rooms to make final preparations for the race!
Part 2 coming soon…
Last year, the team went to Long Beach for our first Open Water Swim. I had many thoughts:
“How deep is that water? How buoyant will I be? How come there’s no lifeguards? Will I be even slower than I already am? If I stop, how hard will it be to tread water? That water looks dirty. I think the water is too cold. How fast is everyone else? I need some floaties. I hope water doesn’t get in my goggles. I heard it’s good to pee inside your wetsuit if you pee. What if a shark gets into this bay?”
This morning, all those thoughts were gone! One year of open water experience, like the coaches have said, from repetition, you get more and more comfortable and better over time. I was actually looking forward to it! The team met at the Venice Pier parking lot to suit up into our wetsuits, then jogged a mile south along the beach to calmer waters. After some briefing (we were plit into first-timers & experienced), we took on the Pacific Ocean.
The waves were minimal, but the water was COLD. We had to do laps along the shore – swim out to 50yds, turn right for a few minutes, back to shore, run back south. I ended up doing that five times. First loop had the initial shock of cold and weirdness of having to do this again. Last time I wore my wetsuit was for the Carpinteria Triathlon back in September, so I was a little rusty. Laps 2-4 I got back in the groove and felt great the whole time. Most of the time though I was looking for other first timers in the ocean just incase they needed some help. Final lap, I caught up to my teammates Elsa and Yvonne, who were guiding another teammate Bernie to shore. I completed the triangle formation around her and helped her through. It was an amazing experience helping out others who probably had the same thoughts I did last year. That’s exactly what this team is about, helping others. That’s exactly why I come back to TNT year after year. I seriously love this!
After the swim, we ran a mile back to our cars, and suited up for our run. The hour run was a loop around an alley/street named Speedway, with some marked areas of “pick-ups” for some speedwork. At first I was a little concerned because I just ran the Austin Marathon last week! What recovery? I didn’t run this week though, only swam and biked. Surprisingly, I felt fine and was able to run 6.65-ish miles for an hour, which translated to a 9:05 average pace! Sweet! No initial shin splints or muscle aches either! Win win!
Oh, wanna see something funny? Here’s my first real open water swim experience in Hawaii back in 2007, snorkeling Hanauma Bay… with am embarrassingly bright yellow life vest! Look at that body position!