Winter Training- Mind Confusion

We have had just a little bit of snow this year :)
When the snow is piled high and the temperatures drop, training in the Pacific Northwest can become difficult. Throw in the fact that it is the off-season and it becomes a perfect storm for sitting on the couch watching TV and enjoying a few adult beverages to pass the time away.

Well I have found a way to trick the mind into thinking things are much cooler than they actually appear. Most of you have probably heard of muscle confusion where you try many different techniques to get many of the same results, basically keeping the body guessing...

Watch out Arnold...
 My new method is mind confusion. So when it is dark outside and the temperatures are freezing, who wants to go to the gym and lift weights...definitely not I, but when it becomes "Ninja Training" now this seems awesome and who wouldn't want to become a better Ninja.

For the last month or so, Eric and I have been hitting the gym twice a week to do circuit training...aka Ninja Training to build some extra strength and get those muscles stronger for next year. It is a great change of pace from all the swimming, biking and running and well in the end we might actually have a beach muscle or two :)

Just keep swimming...
 Our next trick to mind confusion is "S.E.A.L. Training". Now since I am still a triathlete and... well swimming is all about muscle memory and technique, I still need to get to the pool, even if it is the very last thing I want to do. So instead of going to the pool knowing that I will be staring at the black line over and over again...the new plan is to treat it as S.E.A.L. Training.

And because the Navy Seals are pretty damn badass in my book. I fools me just enough to put on the spandex and stay focused for just long enough to get in an almost quality workout.

Finally cleaned of the inch or so of dust and got all set up.
Since the roads are either covered with Ice or Snow or Slush or well all of the above...the only really way to ride your bike is on the trainer. Now I have pretty much failed at this over the last couple of months but with the new year coming quickly, it is time to get my butt in gear.

So yes, we have come up with a way to confuse the mind on this one too. It is called "Lancing". Since the most badasstic cyclist of all-time is Lance Armstrong...you wouldn't want to be able to ride like Lance...or even 10% as well as him... or maybe even as good as his left foot.

As for running...I still haven't figured out a way to confuse myself enough. With a goal of becoming a better runner this year, it is talking absolutely all the mental strength I can muster to run. Lately, I have even been jumping on the treadmill (I know...I might be going a little insane) after Ninja Training, in hopes that I might still be in Ninja mode and will be able to suffer through it for a little bit.

So at this point I am sending out an all call for people who want to run. I am a sucker for running partners, since I know I won't have to suffer alone. Honestly, any pace and all paces are welcome. Right now I just need to get out there and RUN!!!

What are you tricks of the trade so to speak? Are you awesome enough to be able to get out and do all these workouts or do you have to try your own sort of mind confusion?


Sink or Swim Meet 2010- Meet Report

A few weeks ago I swam at our local masters swim meet called, Sink or Swim put on by the Spokane Waves. The event was held at Whitworth University and was sponsored by my triathlon club, Tri-Fusion. These are always a blast and a great change of pace from triathlon since all the races I do only last a minute.

With the severe lack of training on my part made this meet all that much more interesting. I hadn't see the line in the bottom of a pool for over 3 weeks and really had no idea what events I was actually going to do until the morning of. When all was said and done I participated in 8 events: 50Y Freestyle, 100Y Freestyle, 200Y Freestyle and to mix it up a bit the 50Y Breaststroke and 100Y Backstroke.

A special thanks to James Richman for taking all the photos. There are some pretty cool sequences.
Honestly my main goal was to just survive. I wasn't sure how the races were going to go and even though I wanted to beat the times I had done in this same race 2 years ago, I really didn't know what to expect.

First up was the 50 Freestyle.  These races are SHORT and PAINFUL! I goal was to go as fast as possible. Last time I swam a 26.08...so I set an outside goal of sub 26. So after a brief warm up and a few starts of the block for practice. It was go time. I was up on the blocks and ready for my first race in 2 years. The tried my best to channel my inner Michael Phelps but I don't smoke so I focused on the swimming. The gun went off and before I knew it the lactic acid was taking over my legs and then I was done. Ending up swimming a 25.91 and had a new PR.

50Y Freestyle...Just a bunch of splashing!
Next us the 100 Freestyle. Now I knew I could struggle through the 50 race but after how bad my legs were burning and the fact that it was twice the distance. Last time out I swam a 1:01.25. Turns out I raced a little smarter than the 50 and even without being in the pool so long still was able to bust out a 58.88. Definitely excited about that.

The last three races I had never actually done before in a meet but why not try something new...especially with the backstroke and breaststroke. Since we needed the extra points and since we dubbed this "The Year of the Breast...stroke", I had to enter at least one breaststroke race. Since I basically live with the best breaststroke in the area, I was hoping I could channel my inner Rory and just do what he does. In all reality, I was getting advice on how to legally make the turn about 1 minute before the race started. Fortunately it went well and I was able to finish without getting disqualified.

200 Freestyle: 2:24.99
50 Breaststroke: 38.17
100 Backstroke: 1:23.64

Sink or Swim Meet 2010- Champions
All in all, it was another great experience. I was able to participate in a few relays and even though at one point I had to do back to back to back to back races, the Spokane Waves Masters Team took home the title. Congrats to all the swimmers and already looking forward to the next one.


Mountain Bikes ROCK...and JUMP...and SPLASH!!!

Here in the northwest...when triathlon season is over it is time to hit the trails for some mountain biking. Last weekend a group of us met up near the 7-Mile Bridge and Riverside State Park. This would be the first time I have actually rode these trails even though I grew up just a few miles away.

Even though the night temperatures are hovering just above freezing, the early morning rides are still managable. All you need to do is layer up just a bit. Plus with mountain biking, you are usually riding pretty slow so it is easy to keep your body temperature up.

Here are a few of the highlights from my ride with: Greg, Natatlie, Nate, Matt and Jessie

Riding over a pile of logs...because we can :)


Matt crusing down the trail.

The next set of shots are us launching off a rock that was next to the trail we were riding on. It made a perfect jump. I am pretty sure this is the LAST thing I should be doing on my bike as it could break at any second.





We did have a couple of crashes but only got one on film. After riding off the trail and into the shrubs on the side of the trail, over the handlebars he went.

Greg watching Nate crash.

Mountain Biking Carnage
 Here is another one of the sweet jumps we found.

Honestly, I feel like I was about 5 feet higher!
We also took a few videos. Check them out.

Getting a WAY to long run up to the jump.

Here is Nate having a little fun in a puddle.

Honestly, we are always looking for people to come out and ride. There are tons of great trails all over this area...and if you feel up to it, ROCKS, JUMPS and puddles to SPLASH through.


Update from Kona 2010

OK...so I have pretty much been MIA in the blog world besides a few race reports here and there. It's time to get this thing rollin' again and what better place to start then an update from the mecca of triathlon...Kona, Hawaii and the Ironman World Championships!

This is where is all begins on Saturday Morning!
Tomorrow, over 1,900 athletes will jump into the Kailua-Kona Bay and begin the 140.6 mile journey towards Ironman royalty. I have had the pleasure to know many athletes who have competed here and a few that will be attempting it for the first time. Whether it is your first or your 10th, lining up Saturday morning to begin the race has to be an amazing feeling.

Set up along Ali'i Drive.
Nothing like some GU along the road during some serious hot workouts!

Today I was fortunate to help out at the GU Energy booth and was able to speak with many athletes who are about to embark on this crazy race. It was very interesting to talk with them about where they were from, what race they qualified at and how they were feeling about the race.

I am not going to lie, there were many faces that showed fear...how could you not. This race is no joke, the winds on the way to Hawi, the heat of the Energy Lab...for many of these athletes there is no way for them to mimic these conditions, so I can easily see how it can be very overwhelming. But at the same time, talking with each athlete you could tell they felt ready. They had put in all the long hours, the hard days, the many sacrifices it takes to get here and honestly each and every one of them were going to go out there with dreams of hearing Mike Reilly tell them "You are and IRONMAN". They just wanted to race to start.

There is no doubt that someday it would be great to have the opportunity to race here and be that athlete with eye so wide and nerves so built. But this year I am going to be cheering these amazing athletes and watching their dreams come true.

Aloha from Kona!!!


Grand Columbian 2010- Race Report

Some may call it under-trained, some may call it lazy but I call it WELL rested. Training the last few weeks has been non-existent. I hadn't swam in almost 3 weeks, running occured maybe 2 twice a week and my butt doesn't even know what a saddle is anymore...and to add a cherry on top of my trainingless sundae, I have been fighting LONGEST congestion cold I have EVER had!

All 4 bikes loaded up! Thank You Thompsons for letting us use the bike rack!
 I had absolutely no expectations going into the race. Last year, my tri club Tri-Fusion, narrowly won the North American Club Endurance Challenge by 1 point. Though this year we had a large turnover in athletes from our club, we still had plenty of people representing and we wanted to bring back another victory...which by the way we did with Josh Hadway winning 1st place overall in the Olympic and Ben Greenfield winning 1st place in the Half-Ironman. We also had plenty more athletes taking age-group awards! All in all we DOMINATED once again! Great job Tri-Fusion.

So onto my race. Have you ever had those thoughts that this just might be 'YOUR' day. Everything is going to go right and you might just surprise yourself with an extraordinary effort and an amazing PR? OK...maybe I am the only one living in that fantasy land ;) Since my training was anything but, physically I felt good. No aches or pains but I knew that this was a tough race and it was going to hurt no matter how easy or hard I went. I just wanted to make sure I finished it and kind of see where I compared to my results from last year.

Adam, Jenn, Cam and I loaded up and headed down to the Grand Coulee dam and Banks Lake where the race was held. With the 10 AM start for the Olympic, we were able to leave the morning of and still make it down in plenty of time to get everything set up and stand around for an hour or so and cheer the half ironman competitors out of the water.

I wanted to make sure that I got a good, yet short, warm up in since I haven't had the wetsuit on much this year but at the same time needed to save EVERY.LAST.BIT of strength for the race. After a quick dip and a few yards of swimming, we were lined up and ready to go.

Getting ready for my first open water swim since CDA Triathlon!

Even though I knew it wasn't going to last, I went out strong for the first couple hundred yards. I wanted to avoid any congestion and see if there was any way I could find some feet and hang on for dear life. Since the race had a buoy line to follow from start to finish, I was able to keep my head down and just focus on trying not to die.

The swim was pretty uneventful. About halfway through I was ready to be done and was just pure survival mode. I was unable to keep up with the main pack of swimmers as they pulled away shortly after my strong start and much of the rest of the race was spent swimming alone, leading the second pack out of the water.

I think the swim was short this year since my time was 1:08 faster and I felt at least 108% worse.

Swim Time:
2010- 23:21.5
2009- 24:39

Heading out of T1...notice the bike in the left hand. WTF?
 As I have mentioned in previous race reports, transition are one VERY important key to a good race. I really try my best to have great transitions as it is basically free time. T1 was no exception. I could have definitely gone faster but due to the fact I was exhausted from the swim, I just tried to keep my feet under me and do my best to think through the entire transition process. I was almost 18 seconds faster than last year and 13 seconds ahead of 2nd place.

So 1st place...for T1!!! It's the small things in life...right?

Transition 1:
2010- 1:24.5
2009- 1:42

Here is one of the videos Dave put together for the Swim and Transition 1

Now transitions are one thing...getting on your bike out of transition is something complete different. I usually do a running or flying mount from the right side of my bike. For the first time ever, I ran out of transition with my bike in my left hand. I really have no idea why I did this, but it resulted in me feeling in complete no mans land. It was like trying to throw a baseball with your left hand or kicking a ball with your left foot. It wasn't pretty and the best part was Dave Erickson got it all on camera...thanks Dave! Dave and Melissa made a special trip down to video the race and take pics...which you will see throughout the report.

Now this bike course is a B.I.&.%.H!!! And yes all caps are required. The bike starts out with a brutal climb shortly out of transition and then a series of tough rollers that seem to go on FO.EV.ER! There is really no chance to get into any sort of rhythm...and just when you seem to get in control you hit a LONG downhill. By long I mean averaging 40+ mph for over 10 minutes and at one point hitting 48MPH for a few minutes and you don't even have to peddle.

With no real judge of my fitness, I could have road hard and completely blowup on the bike and would have probably suffered even more on the run. I just tried to keep a constant pace the entire bike and do my best to chase each athlete down one by one. Overall I think I passed 5 or 6 racers and rolled into T2 feeling pretty good.

Bike Split:

2010- 1:15:52
2009- 1:11:20

It was at this point Dave informed me that I was in 4th overall...and it was at that exact same moment I almost crapped myself. There was no way I was in 4th. He must have missed some people come in. I knew if he was correct and the fact that my running has been getting slower and slower throughout the year that it was going to be difficult to hold on for the next 10K.

Transition 2- Much better dismount and off on the run. Thanks Dave!!!

Trying to save every last second before I was run over by the freight train of athletes behind me, I did my best to get through Transition as fast as I could. I wish I could report I had the 2 fastest transitions of the day but my buddy Cam beat me by .6 seconds...

Transition #2:
2010- 1:03.6
2009- 1:04.3

Every time I get off the bike in a triathlon, I know this is where I lose any time of athletic advantage I might have gained in the swim and bike. As I left transition, there was no one in front of me. I couldn't see 3rd place, even of the half mile long bridge. I really tried to focus on being consistent and in all reality, just keep putting one foot in front of the other. I was passed by one guy before the turn-around and knew holding onto 5th place was going to be tough...but I had no idea.

The great thing about out and back run courses is you get an idea of who is behind you and how big you lead is. About 30 seconds after I made the turn, I saw 6th, then 7th, then 8th...they were stacked up and barreling down on me like a train. I made a conscious effort to pick up the pace and did my best to hold on.

The Run and Finish...and my first interview EVER!!!

I have said this in the past, but I have a real problem going to the really dark place in a race when you are pushing yourself to the limits. I know it's not because I can't physically do it because I have done it many times in training but in a race I just lack that extra kick. I think it is fear of blowing up with the result of walking but there might be something else. This is one thing I really want to work on. Not sure how to do it but I will figure it out.
This Is I!!!

Overall the run was solid. Nothing crazy but all in all it was a good effort. I was passed by one more guy about a mile from the finish and held off the top female finisher by 12 seconds...didn't want to get chicked ;)

Run Split:
2010- 46:04
2009- 45:23
Still Smiling!

This race is always going to be tough. It is late in the season when everything is winding down. The course is tough but once you are finished it was a great end to another success season of triathlon. I am already looking forward to next year and can't wait to see what is in store.

2010- 2:27:45.9 6th OA, 1st AG
2009- 2:24:09.8 5th OA, 1st AG
Tri-Fusion Age-Group Hardware!!! Nice Work!

I want to send a special thanks to Dave, Melissa, Jay and Michelle for coming down and cheering at the race. I also want to say thank you for all the good lucks and well wishes for this race and all my races of the year. There is nothing I like more in the sport of triathlon then the athletes I get to share this great sport with.

Thanks again for reading...Until next time!


Tri-Fusion Hot Summer Nights- 5K Series

There is something special about these races. It might be that I know EXACTLY how much work goes into these races, the volunteers who makes this race happen or the fact that we give out more prizes than the Price is Right!!!

The final race had almost 200 participants!!!
This year Roger, Natalie and myself were in charge of getting this thing off the ground. Though the majority of the work was done last year as it was our first attempt, this year had to be better...no excuses! Ohh yeah...and keep the race ONLY $5!!!

Quite the turn out!
Since a 5K course is just that, a run that is 3.1 miles, there really wasn't much to change there. The big change this year was going to be the introduction of chip timing...just like the big boys. We brought in Milliseconds to time our event and if you ask me...and EVERY participant in the races...these guys are the best. We had results only minutes after you crossed the finish line and they were up on the website before we were done packing up the supplies. They were quick....REAL quick!

Running my 3rd fastest 5K: 19:45

Out on the Run!

Here I am giving sweet revenge to my swim coach Rory. Read about a 5K from
a swimmers point of view. Very impressed on how hard he pushed himself!

This year I was actually able to participate in the races. This gave me a unique perspective on how the event went. I can't say enough how cool it was to see all the volunteers out there. Each and everyone of them was cheering all the athletes on. I can't tell you how important they were to the success of this race.

Virginia- One of the MANY volunteers how make this race run...pun intended!
As for the give-a-ways, I dare you to try and find a race that can compare. Tri-Fusion and our gracious sponsors went ALL OUT!!! We had 8 pairs of shoes from Brooks, K-Swiss and Runners Sole. We had free 1 hour massages, Timex hats and shirts, tons of GU Energy products, Twigs gift cards, Papa Murphy's pizza cards, Chee Chee's baskets, Rockstar handing out drinks, I believe $170 in prize money and probably 50 things I forgot. If you ask me, that ain't so bad for a little ole 5K in Spokane, WA.

Just a few of the give-a-ways!!!
Ribbons for 1st-3rd in each age-group!
So mark it on your calendars for next August. You DO NOT want to miss out on this event!!!

Thank you again to all the volunteers how made this race go off without a hitch! You guys ROCK!!!


Crazy Carl and Squirrel (*Explicit Material*)

Crazy Carl...he is this furry little animal who is just a bit too comfortable for my liking.

As I am sitting on the back deck, Crazy Carl lands on the railing and walking towards me. It was a slow, stealthy walk but he was definitely more interested in me than I was in him. Eventually he moved to within about 3 feet and without fear just stared me in the eyes. I am telling you...this was crazy. I have seen hundreds if not thousands of squirrels in my life and never once has one made me feel like it was going to attack me.
I am guessing it was because this thing is starving but I really didn't care...it had this crazy look in its eye and with absolutely no fear of humans. I didn't feel the need to stick around and let this thing start eating me alive. It was at this point Carla thinks he is cute and we should feed him...though I am pretty sure she never once came outside to face this crazy creature.

Here is Crazy Carl following me up the stairs.
It became pretty comedic as Rory soon realized I wasn't the crazy one and this thing was insane.

Rory thinking he isn't afraid of Crazy Carl...don't let his physque fool you...he ran too.

As for Squirrel:

When you rent a place, it is always a surprise when you meet the neighbors. In our case, we have one neighbor who we will now call Squirrel. Squirrel doesn't get a long with ANYONE in the neighborhood. There is word around that more than a few families have moved out of because of this guy. Kinda scary...but nothing to cry wolf about.
Look closely!!!
So the story goes, Squirrel believes he is the rightful owner of the land that is behind about three houses, our rental included and from the city website (he actually does) but I don't think my other neighbors care. Since one day when we came home we had this nice little surprise waiting for us...or I mean it is actually for Squirrel. It amazes me how grown adults handle some situations...good thing I will be a kid forever :)
And just in case you couldn't read it!!!
But what else would you expect...just another day in the neighborhood.