Saturday, October 23, 2010


I'm a big believer in active recovery the day after a race. You would think that after swimming 1.2 miles, riding 56 miles and running 13.1 miles the last thing you would want to do is get on your bike the next day and go for ride, but I've found that a nice easy ride the day after an event helps to flush the legs out and keeps you from being stiff the next few days. My wife Liz and I both had Monday off after my Half Ironman and we decided to ride a course that has been on our to do list for some time. The ride is mostly flat around the streets of Irvine, CA where we then get on to a bike path that winds thru the city and conveniently passes a Del Taco right next to the path. Our route would take us 18.6 miles with a lunch stop at Del Taco.
With my metabolism still on overdrive from the day before, I placed the following order including a Coke. ( I rarely drink soda)
Double Del Cheeseburger 560 Calories
Deluxe Combo Burrito 570 Calories
Small Fries 270
Small Coke 250
TOTAL 1,650 Calories
I'm an Ironman Rookie who is learning things as I go and I'm sure this meal is not a wise choice for recovery and continued training, however I've been in the "zone" and focused for five months now. Once in awhile I need to step outside of the discipline of becoming an Ironman, eating wheat pasta, brown rice, fish, chicken and vegetables. I need to celebrate that even if I don't become an Ironman, at this moment in my life I can eat nearly 2,000 calories of fast food for lunch without any guilt what so ever.
Yo Quiero Del Taco!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I just made it thru my most difficult week of training and the last of the huge weekend workouts. And what did that weekend look like? On Saturday it was a 97 mile bike ride followed by a 6 mile run. Sunday was my last "Bike Sandwich", 16 miles of running and 18 miles on the bike.  From this point until Ironman Arizona my training weeks will be easier. Just getting to this point in my training seems like a huge accomplishment. The hardest work is done. My armor is up. Now its just a matter of honing that armor for three weeks and then two weeks of taper. The week of work was tough coming off of a Half Ironman race and in to a tough week of training. I have to admit I feel a little over trained right now but this week is a recovery week with a lighter workload.

I want to thank all of you who have been so supportive of me giving me constant encouragement that helps me to push through the harder times. 

Here are last weeks numbers...I'm glad that's over!
MONDAY - Easy recovery bike after Half Ironman 18.8 miles.
TUESDAY - Brick. 37.2 mile bike then 6.2 mile run.
WEDNESDAY - 1.2 mile swim. 5 mile tempo run.
THURSDAY - Bike 18.4 miles.
FRIDAY - 1.5 mile swim.
SATURDAY - Brick. 97 mile bike then 6 mile run.
SUNDAY - Bike Sandwich. 11 mile run, 18 mile bike, 5 mile run.

Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. 
Eph. 6:11

Tuesday, October 12, 2010


Sitting at the computer two days later I'm still not recovered from the effort I left out on the roads of Castaic. My wife after it was all over asked me what was the best part of this race for me? My response, seeing my close friend and former training partner John Lau, his wife and family for the first time in six years!
Although this is only my 6th triathlon, this might have been the hardest one day event I've ever done. The bike course was epic with not a single flat section on the entire course and 80% of the Long Course participants riding straight up road bikes with one guy opting for a mountain bike with narrow road tires. Seeing riders get off their bikes to walk was not uncommon. Throw in the 94 degree weather and you have a real test of what you can endure and that's before running 13.1 miles. This picture of me may have been my last smile for the day as I prepped my transition area before the race.

THE SWIM - Lake Castaic was calm and compared to my other open water swims warm with a 68 degree temperature. I had none of the nervousness I usually have before the swim and felt confident with my training. The gun sounded I went in the water behind most of the other racers since I'm slow and there is no reason to make others go around me. Two hundred meters in I noticed I was with the main group and that's when it hit me, I cant breath, my wetsuit is too tight, panic, I went out to fast? Something felt wrong and I thought I might have to abandon. I have no idea why this happened other than the excitement got the best of me and I tried to swim beyond myself. As I always do in this situation I ask God to bail me out and calm me down. I got to the first buoy and finally settled in to my stroke. The panic was gone and I was making my usual smooth but slow progress. At the end of the swim I noticed I was taking a longer line to the beach than everyone else. Confused I asked one of the lifeguards if I'm supposed to go to the right our left of the last buoy? He told me right, everyone else went left. Oh well, a longer swim is better training right?
GOAL TIME  :45:00

THE BIKE - I knew going in to the race that this bike was tough. It was made tougher with the course change weeks before the race. The upside to the change was a single transition area. The downside was the course went from 5,600 feet of elevation gain to over 6,800 feet of elevation gain for 56 miles. I was smart enough to put my bike in the 39x21 gear at transition so I wouldn't look foolish falling over in a 53x21leaving transition to start a 7 mile climb with an average 5% grade. It felt great being on the bike even during a 7 mile climb as I was alternating standing and sitting and passing the faster swimmers. I always have to be careful and hold myself back when I first get on the bike because my instinct says "get a turtle on the bike and he can catch dolphins." One of my problems for this course is that this turtle has an ego that says I can ride any course in a 39x23. The reality is I would have been better served with a 39x25 set up or even a compact so I could be more efficient, saving my legs for the half marathon. How tough was this course? I spent I would say 65 to 70 percent of the bike in my 39x23 at times going 5 to 7 MPH. I averaged 13.7 MPH for the entire course! Brutal! In contrast at Ironman California 70.3 in March I averaged 18 MPH and triathletes were saying that course was tough! Despite the tough course my training was paying off as I passed and encouraged countless riders including a guy who got off his bike to go sit under a tree. Oh, and did I mention the heat? On the final climb of say 12% I approached five guys who all got off of their bikes to walk, one cramping and grabbing his leg. The final 7 miles was the screaming decent in to the transition area where my worried wife and friend stood fearing the worst for me since my goal time was 3:25 to 3:45 range.
GOAL TIME 3:25:00

ACTUAL TIME :6:22 (Gotta run in my compression socks whatever the time penalty)

THE RUN - I took a little longer in transition visiting with my wife and friend and sharing my bike experience. I felt tired but my hydration and nutrition were right on as I suffered no cramping or heat exhaustion at this point like others. I ran out of transition chasing a guy just in front of me to see if I could pace off of him. Always good for motivation. I looked down and my first mile was an 8:53 and the second a 9:11. It was going to be a good run. I passed the guy I was pacing off of at mile 3 as he was slowing to a jog and at mile 4 was thinking I'm going to PR for sure. I was running a 9:10 pace and my goal pace is 9:30...huge after that crazy bike course. I hit the one short but steep hill on the run course and it heart is racing at over 200 BPM. I'm losing power and energy, it's hot and I have no choice now but to slow down. Any chance of a PR is done. I see my wife LIz and I ask her to pray for me as I now struggle to run 10 minute miles. While this racing heart phenomenon I occasionally get is not life threatening, but it drains most of my energy leaving me fatigued.
Info on this condition can be found here:
With the high heat and heart rate all I could muster was a steady jog for the rest of the course running mile 12 at a 11:20 pace followed by a 9:44 for my final mile. Not exactly the way I envisioned finishing this race.

GOAL TIME 2:05:00


RACE RECAP - So...lets look for the positives of my event...uhhh... I beat my predicted transition times! I finished 5th in my age group! What I did accomplish and learn is that my all liquid nutrition is working well even in 94 degree weather. Putting on my compression socks in T2  was easier. I used my GPS on the run for the first time in a race and have decided to use it for IMAZ on the run only. (Battery life is an issue). I've experienced a small taste of how tough a full Ironman will be and how things beyond your control (heart rate, weather) can impact your race goals. My biggest disappointment was my swim. To see my swim fears coming back in a race that was to be a final tuneup for Ironman is really disheartening. I swim this distance twice a week and see no improvement? The Ironman swim cut off for 2.4 miles is 2:20:00. Theoretically based on even this slow race swim I should be able to beat it, but it still plants a seed of doubt in my mind. Physically I don't get tired during the swim, I'm just not comfortable in the water and swim very slow. The bike was just a great workout and the run I'm not completely unhappy with considering the circumstances. I'm proud to have raced and finished this difficult Half Ironman and it was great preparation for my ultimate goal, Ironman Arizona.

I want to thank my Heavenly Father who strengthens me and because of His grace and mercy I'm able to do these things in hope that somehow I can encourage others and glorify God with my actions.
I also would not be able to do this crazy training and racing without the support and encouragement of my wife Liz who brings me fresh bottles on long training days, prepares food for me and tells me how proud she is of me even when I fail to meet my personal goals.
Also a shout out to John and Ruby Lau. You guys were such a blessing this weekend, caring for us and feeding us ridiculous amounts of food. Thank you so much! John, I miss the long training rides we used to do together. Lets make it happen again!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


This Sunday I will be participating in the 2nd Edition of the Magic Mountain Man Triathlon at Castaic Lake California. My second Half Ironman. This race will give me a final opportunity to test my transition skills, nutrition strategy, and equipment in a race situation before Ironman Arizona (IMAZ). I will be returning to familiar grounds from my mountain bike racing days as this venue is also one of the race locations for the California State Championship Mountain Bike Series. I loved racing here then, and I’m hoping some of that positive thinking will cross over racing here as a triathlete.

The 1.2 mile swim in lake Castaic will be my first mass start triathlon so it will be a good test of getting hit and kicked without panicking. The water is advertised as between 68-70 degrees so being cold is not an issue with a full wetsuit. I’m hoping to improve on my Half Ironman swim time.
The bike course will be very challenging with a total elevation gain of 6,800 feet for the 56 miles but cycling is my strength so my biggest concern is how this tough course will impact my run. To give you an idea of how tough it is, after the swim you jump on your bike and start a seven mile climb with an average grade of 5%! That should warm me up after the cold water!
The 13.1 mile run is mostly flat around the lake on asphalt with some dirt.

Some of my most important testing during this race will be my nutrition. I’ve been using a liquid nutrition formula from a company called Infinit ( I’ve been testing this product in training (at the recommendation of other Ironmen) and it’s been working great without causing any gastro intestinal distress. To give you an example, I did a training ride last Saturday of 97 miles and the only nutrition I had was 5 bottles of Infinit which kept me hydrated and fueled for the entire ride. No gels, cliff bars or Double Doubles. I will also be using a special formulated nutrition mix for my run from Infinit.
Praise God for giving me the, health, strength, determination and perseverance to do this race.

Here are my goals for this weekend.
SWIM - :45:00 (I know, still slow but it would be a PR!)

T1 - :07:00 (I’m not using my compression socks on the bike. I will put them on in T2)

BIKE – 3:25:00 (Not sure about this one…really tough course!)

T2 - :05:00 (Put on compression socks and sunscreen)

RUN – 2:05:00 (This would be a PR…the tough bike and heat could keep this from happening)

TOTAL TIME 6:27:00
I would love to PR this race going under 6:25:57 which was my time at California Half Ironman in March. It would be amazing considering how tough this bike course is. I can’t wait to get on the run course because this is where I feel I’ve made my biggest improvements. What may kill my run in this race is the predicted 87 degree weather after a very tough bike course. Regardless of the outcome the real goal is to use this race as a training tool to finish Ironman Arizona! Please pray that my race will be accident and injury free!