Friday, May 22, 2009

Training with Terenzo

It's been great to train with people lately! I've been training with my new kiwi friend Terenzo Bozzone who's living here in SB for a little while ('08 Ironman 70.3 World Champ). His place is close, just about a mile from me. I enjoy finding new people to train with; he's a really cool guy and I've really appreciated him letting me along on workouts. His girlfriend Kelly and brother Dino are super nice too. They joined us for the Nuggets game last night at Sharkeez after we ran... and yes the Nuggets won. I love being a Nuggets fan when they're playing the Lakers, everyone here worships the Lakers while I enjoy hating them.
It's interesting to see the type of training the top long course pros do. His volume is incredible, some 8 hour days. I've swam with him in the mornings, go to work while he's out for a 4 hour ride, then run together in the afternoon. Also, I never knew how coke can be a staple training drink for long rides and runs ha! I'm still pondering it all, trying to figure out half and full Ironman training and how it is similar and different Olympic distance training as a current working amateur trying to move to the next level. It does make me want/feel the need to do if I could put in 5-8 hours a day, think of the fitness I'd gain. I'm very impressed with what people like Terenzo does day after day; it's a full time/8 hour a day job..and more than just 5 days a week. I look forward to (well..scared might be a better word) trying to hang on his hard bike and run days coming up... tomorrow at 6:30am is a 5+ hr ride mostly along highway 101..we'll see how long I last hanging onto his wheel.
(4/24/09: I did my first 100 mile ride yesterday. I left my house at 6:15am and met Terenzo at his house, from where we rode the Montecito hills, followed by a 2 hour/50 mile time trial for him while I latched onto his wheel and went along for the ride. He was flyin!!. We then rode up Old San Marcos - a long steep climb up the hills and back down thru Montecito again. During the TT I hit a bump and launched my full water bottle early on and wasn't about to stop and get it, so had to conserve my small bottle for a few hours. Luckily we stopped at a gas station for some Coke and bars, so I got to refuel. I got back 5 1/2 hours later, 98 miles later, and had to do a few laps around my place to hit the 100 mile mark. I wasn't going to stop at 98! I wanted to join Terenzo for his hour run after, but figured I needed to be smart and refrain from it even though I felt pretty good. He advised it and knew that ride was nearly 30 miles more than I'd ever rode. He asked me how my legs were feeling a few times after 4 hours.. I'm just gettin' warmed up!. Really, I felt good.
Yesterday's morning swim was a tough one, with the main set of about 30+x100m on the 1:30 interval (split up 8x100, 100ez, 7x100, 100ez, etc..). He swam faster than I of course, but I was able to stay on the 1:30 interval for most of it, starting out the first set in 1:19s, and a bunch of low 1:20s for a while. I did have to take a short break in the 4th set though, and I got a calf cramp in the 5th I guess my body didn't like my mind trying to will itself faster than the body could handle. I downed some magnesium pills and finished the last few sets and the cramping was gone. Nothing crazy fast but after 30 of those you feel it in the arms. It's crazy how fast 4000m goes by when you're mentally in a zone. Today's pool workout was a longer ladder workout, with some paddles, and i was feelin' yesterday. Terenzo is 10x the athlete I am, but I definitely can see how being pushed like that in the pool a few times a week would really help me. It's been fun getting to know new people from another country; I'm always curious to what life is like elsewhere, and would love to travel to New Zealand some time. It's good to get a little motivation back, and not ride and run alone like most days.I will say though, there's the temptation to compare training and tell myself I've got forever to go to get to where I want to be.. but we're training for different types of races in a sense, have completely different backgrounds, are at different places as athletes (unfortunately, ha) etc. He's been in triathlon for 10 years or so. But I'm getting there..give me a year. I need to learn a few things from it, not get hung up on training stuff, keep sticking to my plan, and enjoy the new friendship.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Snowing Ashes

We had another huge fire here this past week, the Jesusita Fire. It affected this week's training and sleep, and it kinda forced me to take an easy week, which was the plan anyways. But that's not of any importance, I don't want to act like my ripple in training is of any relevance as far as effects of the fire goes. 85+ homes were burned; I feel terrible for everyone who lost everything. Unfortunate. This one was closer to my house than the last. We were under the evac warning until yesterday. The first afternoon we were 3 houses away from the mandatory evacuation, as our street corner was barricaded and the cops were manning the corner 24-7 not letting anyone past; but I could still get home by going the back way to our street. All the neighbors across the street were forced out. The cops told me to get ready and pack up, and said they left messages on all our streets phones saying we're under a 'reverse 911' and to be ready to evac soon. We don't have a house phone, nor a TV, and our internet was down so I didn't really know what was going on the first night. I shouldn't have stayed since I didn't sleep that night. My roommates left, but I had already packed and unpacked my stuff twice. I was ready to go, then thought it was kinda silly to be freaking out since the fire was still a ways away, so I unpacked. My neighbors and I watched some flames on the hill get closer, so I decided to repack the truck again with my bike and a few clothes. I watched it for an hour, then decided to unpack and try to sleep. It must have been over 100 degrees in my room that night. It was around 100 that day here in town, and windy, which didn't help the firefighters, and I couldn't open any windows because the smoke and ash. It was a fun night of lying in my sweat and listening to helicopters shake the house. At about 11pm I heard the megaphones from the street, something about an "evacuation by the City of SB...pack your belongings and leave immediately."
(Here's a picture I took from my street). The next night I stayed in Goleta at my friend Chris' house, she's awesome, she let my buddy Taylor and I crash on her couch. It was night to get away from the ash.
The pool was closed most of the week, and I didn't want to ride or run outside for a few days. I took 2 full days off this week, almost a 3rd but I decided to 24 hour fitness and found a 15m long pool, and lasted about 15 minutes. A flip turn every 4 strokes gave me good turn practice though. I was going to use this past week as a recharge week, mentally and physically, before I ramp up the volume and start the 2nd building phase of the season. Mentally I've been trying to stay motivated lately, don't know why it's been hard lately. I still do the workouts, but need to stay focused more on the hard days. I am going to try to find people to train with more.
Yesterday I drove 40 min north with my bike to get away from the smoke, and found a road from Refugio Beach and started up it. 90 minutes later I had climbed over 4000 ft and to an amazing view, overlooking the green hills above the ocean. At the top I road about 5 miles south, and was above the layer of smoke and fog. It was incredible; didn't have the camera though. Good workout on my TT bike, as my HR was between 155-162 BPM for a lot of it, which is pretty high for me. I was wishing I had my road bike though :) . I decided to run 8 miles at night here in SB, after it seemed like the air quality was better down by the beach than it was that morning. I ran another 13 alone today around UCSB; I think the fires are completely out and the air is clean nice. Tomorrow I start up the swim volume again, and I'll probably do the local monthly 10 mile time trial race tomorrow night. This week I only swam twice! Yikes. Gotta get back in that pool!
In other news, my buddy Derek Yorek graduated yesterday from Adams State (finally..jk Derek). Yea buddy! He's gonna tear it up on the tri scene this year..this guy can (and has) run a 30 min 10k at the end of a tri!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Wildflower... helmet issues to bike issues

Today was a really disappointing day...just one of those days you can't control what happens, and you just gotta go with it and move on. It started off plain bad. Wildflower is a HUGE race - 3200 people in my race, top 3 get their pro card (if they don't already have it). I never knew the magnitude of this race, with 8000+ people camped out everywhere around the lake the night before. Craziness. This race was huge! It started off with no sleep in the tent all night, but that's normal before races, not a big deal. I was about to warmup before the race; I had about 50 minutes til my wave start time, and a guy at my bike racked in transition said they were going to DQ me for my aero helmet, and I should try to track down the USAT race official. What??? I was pretty confused. He pointed me to her; she'd gone through the 3200 racked bike spots, happened to come across mine and tell me my aero helmet was not legal and I couldn't race with it!! Are you kidding me??? Apparently my CSPC sticker was missing, so it was not a certified helmet. Nike joke lady! It's the Giro Advantage 2, probably the 2nd most common aero helmet in triathlon, and of course it's certified & legal. "There's no sticker. It's illegal," she said. I tried to be polite and explain about the helmet. I took off a few peeling stickers a few months ago since they were flaking clue what there were, that they'd ever be needed, or that it would come to this. I told her with her job she must know it's a legal's super popular. She knew the Giro Advantage 2 was legal.. but apparently without the sticker it's not?? It doesn't change the helmet though does it, I explained. Anyways.. she said I'd have to try to argue it with the head USAT judge. We searched for him for about 20 minutes (there were 3000 people in transition..difficult task), but finally found him. I again tried to be polite..but got fired up in a hurry. He said the same thing. Can't race with it. They literally weren't going to let me on the course with it they said. Meanwhile he was busting another kid with a Bell Meteor 2 helmet (which is illegal in USAT races), but his had the sticker! It was removed from another certified helmet and not the original. He couldn't race with it either. I tried to explain to this judge how his logic is flawed here. He knows my helmet is legal but I can't wear it b/c no sticker. He knows other kid's is illegal, no matter the sticker. So, really he's saying the sticker doesn't affect anything nor change the status of the helmet legality. The Bell helmet is an illegal helmet, that's all there is to it. I explained, so the sticker doesn't affect anything... Either the helmet is legal or it's not. So sometimes apparently the sticker is important, other times it's not? Anyone can stick that sticker from one helmet to another. That's when I blew up, told him this was absurd and USAT has no respect for it's athletes to treat them like this. I know they need to have certified helmets, but when he knows it is certified, acts like it might not be b/c a sticker is rubbed off...are you kidding me? Apparently Giro sold a version of this helmet pre-2006 in Europe that wasn't CSPC certified, he said... perfect, I still had a sticker on there saying "Giro Advantage 2 - 2007" ..he still didn' comprehend. Also, that Euro version was the Advantage, not the Advantage 2. I also had the Ad 2 sticker on the outside.. I also found another guy's idential helmet, 100% identical..nope, didn't work. Anyways, I'll stop with that. Can you tell I'm fired up! :) I then had 10 minutes til start time, hadn't done my warm-up run nor my swim. I scrambled to try to find another helmet, got the announcer on the mic (Sean, who works at a local SB bike shop) to announce if anyone had a helmet. I was freakin' out, pretty frantic, just upset about the circumstances.. That's when my MsM team came to the rescue and Reed McGinnis ended up getting a new helmet from a vendor for me to use. He's amazing! He'll do anything for anyone else, the guy is awesome. I threw on my wetsuit and headed to the lake.
The swim was ok, my arms were feeling it and legs starting to cramp a little at the end, but not too bad. I got to T1 and still was cramping a bit getting the suit off, but got the bike out and felt better and off I went up Lynch Hill. The bike starts on about a mile long crazy super STEEP hill. It rises about 800 ft in elevation I think. My bike gears were acting kinda funny, not shifting well and jumping from one to another, but I made it up. Then the stuff hit the fan again when I started to crank on the flats. I'd shift into a larger gear, and my chain kept getting thrown off into my axle and jammed in the cassette, so I'd shift out. Long story short, my gears were screwed. They got jammed 5 times and completely locked the pedals, so I had to coast without being able to pedal until I could slam on the brakes, hop off, yank the chain out and back onto the cassette. This happened about 5 times. The last time the chain got so jammed I couldn't get it unstuck from the crack. My day was done. My pedals were frozen, and I found myself watching people from the side of the road for about 10 more minutes. A motorcycle marshal came, asked him if he had a screwdriver..nope. I finally got some tools from another motorcycle, rigged the chain back on, and got back to transition eventually. I ran the run course for the workout after walking around for about half an hour, but mentally I was beat, frustrated.. it was unfortunate. I completely blame myself. I should have gone through the gears with my race wheels on (I usually do a bike warmup, but not with the helmet issue). I've just never have had any gear issues in the past swapping between these wheelsets since the cassettes are the same size. Ahh..another learning opportunity, gotta keep things positive.

Kyle Leto from UC Davis won the race in 2:02. Studly performance on the crazy tough course. In the UCSB regional college race a few weeks ago he finished about 4 minutes ahead of my time in the open race. I don't know if I could have pulled off a 2:06 or 2:07 today, but 4th and 5th were in the 2:08s so sub 2:10 and top 10 was definitely doable. It was the hardest and hilliest course I've ever seen. Insane, especially the 1/2 iron long course...gotta be the toughest half iron course there is. It's not really rolling hills...just plain hills.

Just one of those days I need to keep a healthy perspective, take some lessons learned from it and apply to to the future. The season is early. I got to spend some quality time with the MsM guys this weekend and meet some new people. We talked to a lot of people about the group, and people everywhere are getting pumped!