Monday, July 26, 2010


After doing my scheduled 2:30 training ride with the local race group my wife and I drove to Oxnard for the Strawberry Fields Triathlon. My fifth triathlon and third at the Olympic Distance. I stayed with my weeks training schedule going in to this race since this is a "B" race to help me feel more comfortable in race situations. It would be nice to taper a couple of days and do a "PR" but that's not the goal. I certainly wont be doing a 2 hour 30 minute training ride the day before IMAZ. The goal is to learn and boost confidence knowing my Ironman training is paying off. This is a well organized race at a nice venue. The volunteers were helpful and you get free strawberries! I would recommend this race to anyone...unless you are a very poor swimmer. As it turned out, this race was a mixed bag for me.

In talking with my competitors who have done this race in the past, they have had a few years where the swim is cancelled due to surf conditions. This year when we arrived at the beach the conditions looked perfect. Athletes walk 1/4 mile south of transition swim out and then parallel the shore swimming north against the current then a right turn swim in to the beach. The transition is aprox. 200 yards from the beach. As I waited for my wave, watching the surf it seemed to get bigger. (I was in the last wave) The guy next to me in my wave said "I think a swell just came in". He was right... but it was still nothing to be fearful of but I realized my goal time of 30 minutes was out the window for sure. The gun went off and I ran to the water. I know I'm a slow swimmer and I'm learning to accept that. I don't try to keep up with anyone I just try to swim my speed. The swell seemed to be breaking far from shore and seemed to take forever for me to get to the first buoy as I fought the waves. As I started to swim north I already felt tired including my right calf muscle that was on the verge of cramping. In addition to that my bilateral breathing was helping me to take an occasional saltwater gargle when I would breath on the ocean swell side. I was swimming thinking, "that was stupid to ride so hard yesterday" I actually had the thought that I couldn't finish this swim. I was so dejected. I must have looked pretty bad because as I was swimming to shore, waves crashing around me, a lifeguard on a board came over to ask me if I was OK. At this point I was OK because even without swimming, the waves would have washed me ashore. I'm glad no one asked in the first 20 minutes of my swim...I probably would have quit. This picture says it all.GOAL TIME :30:00

No issues here. I thought the distance from the beach running in sand to the transition would slow me down but transitions across the board for this race were fast. One advantage of being a slow swimmer is that its easy to find your bike out of 400 bikes when there are only 25 bikes left in transition when you exit the water.GOAL TIME 5:00

The bike course has you riding on roads that border strawberry fields hence the name. The roads are in good shape with a couple of overpass type of rises on them so it's basically a flat fast course with mostly light crosswinds. A good course for a fast time. It's nice to have my favorite discipline after my worst. I feel like an athlete again instead of a floundering fool. It's often what motivates me during the swim. "If I can just get to the bike..." As I started my two laps on the bike course my calf cramp during the swim was long forgotten, but my legs felt heavy from my training ride the day before. As usual I get to pass other people on the bike who are either faster swimmers than me or they are first timers doing the sprint distance. Either way its nice motivation to know I'm faster than someone at something!
GOAL TIME 1:10:00
ACTUAL TIME 1:05:36 AVG. 21.1MPH

I did stop to borrow another competitors sunscreen and made a trip to the Potty other than that, a good transition I thought. I'm still using regular shoe laces no trick laces for me.

I left transition with a guy who did the swim without a wetsuit and swam faster than me! I caught him at the end of the bike and we ended up leaving transition together to start the run which was great because it always motivates me to have someone to pace with. Unfortunately he started out faster than my legs wanted to go and I had no idea what the run course was like although it was advertised as flat and fast. It seems to take me a half mile to a mile before I really start feeling good transitioning from bike legs to running legs. The course was flat as advertised and I was beginning to feel better and finding my groove. I felt like a was doing a great run but it was hard to tell. I dont use my GPS in tri's and my heart rate was staying at 158 (80%) which seemed low for the effort I was putting out. After I completed my first of two loops on the course I looked at my split and saw I was running a great time. On the second lap I caught my friend I left transition with and picked up the pace as I passed him. He yelled behind me "Great run!" I was a little worried that maybe I would blow up towards the end but I managed to keep the pace steady and kick it in for the last 200 meters.

GOAL TIME :53:45


Overall I'm happy with my race. I had a solid bike and a great run and if I would have done my goal swim of :30 minutes I would have finished 8th in my age group.

What lessons can I take away from this race? My swimming leaves much to be desired. This race was a good reality check for me that I need to work harder on my swimming and I should do some open water training swims. Something I have ignored completely. I also have not taken a single swim lesson. I'm determined not to do so. Part of it is pride but I also want to prove that anyone using free resources such as Youtube and some hard work you can finish an Ironman swim. After all, I'm not trying to compete, I'm trying to finish.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Race Weekend!

It's been almost four months since I've done a triathlon. I'm looking forward with much anticipation to see how well I perform as I take a break from my training to compete. This will be only my fifth triathlon and I know I need to work on my skills in a real race situation. Especially my transitions which are horrible...kinda like my swimming. Speaking of swimming this will be my first opportunity to start the swim off of a beach with surf. I feel like I've made improvements in my swimming however swimming with tide and current should make it tougher which is good!
I cant imagine training months for an Ironman and not doing some racing during that training period. You need to go out and have fun once in awhile. It's a great opportunity to gauge yourself and gain experience. I still get nervous about doing a triathlon and that's a good thing!
Here are my time goals for this weekend.
Swim 30:00
T1 5:00
Bike 1:10:00
T2 4:00
Run 53:45
TOTAL 2:42:45

Monday, July 12, 2010


My Achilles seems to be responding to my ice and elevation routine. I'm sure prayer hasn't hurt either. This week was a hard week but surprisingly my Friday thru Sunday workouts were really strong despite doing a very difficult race on Thursday. I can feel my body adapting to the increased workload. Most important was the Monday off. This past Monday (July 5th) I took a true rest day just like a Pro athlete would. No work. No walking, riding, running or even going to the store. Just sleeping, eating, icing and elevating my legs while watching the Tour De France with my wife. What did I learn form this? It was so rejuvenating mentally and physically to do this before I started the Ironman work once again. It's so hard for us working mortals to train for an Ironman and to try and recover like a Pro. Don't feel compelled to complete all of your "To Do" list on your off day. Relax and recover. Your next weeks workout will be so much easier on your body, mind and soul.
TUESDAY- Brick. Bike 1:21 (24 miles) Run 4.3 miles.
WEDNESDAY - Swim 1,300 yds.
THURSDAY - Peters Canyon Trail Run Race 42:59
FRIDAY - Swim 1,350 yds.
SATURDAY - Brick. Ride 2:58 (57 miles) Run 4.4 miles.
SUNDAY - Run 12.5 miles followed by a :30 minute bike.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

RACE REPORT - Peters Canyon Trail Run #2

I have to admit that morale for this race was not what it should be. After doing research on Achilles pain and reading horror stories of snapped Achilles tendons and surgery I was thinking about sitting out this tough 5 mile course with 1,000 feet of total elevation gain. The problem was I had already paid for the race. It didn't help my morale either that I left the office late and had to hurry home to change and hopefully get to the race before the gun went off. Now my morale was low and I was frustrated. A big thanks to my supportive wife for helping me get my running gear together and making my recovery drink. We did get to the race on time and I started without much of a warm up. The course was being run clockwise this time which I think is the easier way. Running this direction you don't face steep climbs until 2.5 miles in, however you do run the first two miles gradually uphill. My goal was to race within myself concentrate on my running form and see how my Achilles responded. As I get more comfortable with running I'm trying to work on a posture that doesn't waste energy. Miraculously my Achilles did not bother me during the race and I finished in 42:59, 17 seconds slower than last months result but maybe the course is slower this direction!?
So what does this have to do with Ironman? Entering a race is a great form of training and a great motivational tool. This race replaces my weekly track workout at the local high school where my competition is my watch. It's much more fun to be drafting behind two runners the final mile of a race thru a beatutiful wilderness park while each of you pushes the pace just a little harder hoping to beat the others, versus avoiding walkers taking the inside lane at the local track while you carefully calculate did you meet your goals for that mile without knocking any walkers in to the infield. Training for an Ironman can be menotenous and boring. Do a race, any race once in awhile to have fun, push yourself and gauge your fitness. What started out as a low morale training day ended up being a fun race as a pushed myself against two other runners to see who would finish in 105th place! BTW - My amazing wife ran a 37:51 finishing 5th in her division!

Monday, July 5, 2010


This week was a pretty intense week although there will be more difficult ones to come. I'm learning to appreciate my Thursdays and Fridays when I only train at one discipline. My biggest concern right now is my right Achilles tendon which is beginning to bother me. If your reading this and have any advice please pass it on. Research I've done tells me to reduce mileage, running hills and ice. I can gladly cut out the hills and ice is not a problem but reducing my training miles...

TUESDAY- Brick. Bike 1:01 Run 4 miles.

WEDNESDAY - Swim 1,300 yds. Track workout "pyramids" total 7 miles.
THURSDAY - Bike 1:01 with hills.

FRIDAY - Swim 1,300 yds.
SATURDAY - Brick. Ride 2:44 (52 miles) Run 4.3 miles.

SUNDAY - Run 11 miles followed by a 17.2 mile bike.