Saturday, March 28, 2009


Well pictures are lacking, as of yet, but Kona has been insane thus far!

Friday:  Swam the Ironman swim course.  Pretty dam tough to keep concentrated on your swim, when you are looking down at coral, awesome bright, tropical fish and sea turtles.  After that, I was off to pick up my rented steed.  Although, my position looks as though I am sitting on a barstool, I cant complain.  After a brief little ride on the Queen K back to the pad, I was ready for a run.  I left the house thinking I would run about 6-7mi.  Once I got onto Ali'i drive however, that 6-7 quickly began stretching out.  Running on that street was awesome.  I think I got chicken skin at least 5 times thinking of what it would be like to be running it for real.  So 12mi later, I was back at the pad, into the pool for a cool off and onto the hammock for a little nap on the lanai.  About 2hrs later, it was burrito recovery time and Bree had an awesome spot.  
Saturday:  Swam about half the IM course.  And after a quick re-fuel on some of the freshest Pina and Papaya I've ever had, we were off on the bikes.  I wasn't sure how far I was going to ride, and thought I might just turn around with Sean when he headed back, but I felt good so I kept at it.  About 20mi in, I was introduced to the legendary Kona winds.  At first it wasn't that bad, a little left to right, slight headwind.  Soon after Wiakola it really got going though.  It shifted to almost a direct headwind, and at one point I found myself laughing at the fact that I was headed down a fairly steep grade, in a big gear, pushing hard, and I was traveling a whopping 7.8mph!  Awesome.  My neck was actually getting sore from pushing against the cross winds, never had that before!  With the time the winds took out of me on the front side, I know I wasn't going to be able to make it too far towards Hawi, and back to the house in time for Sean & Trish to leave for race check in, so I put in a call and said I would meet them at check in.  They obliged and being as awesome as they are, brought me a change of clothes, fresh pineapple, water and SUSHI!!!  Insane.  I made to about 10mi short of Hawi, and I tell you the food they brought hit the spot after 65mi on the Queen K in that wind.  

Tonight I took on the cooking responsibilities and let Sean & T relax.  I made some pretty good pasta, if I do say so myself, with super fresh veggies I bought at the farmers market today, and a killer salad that Joe (S & T's buddy) made with all fresh produce from his garden, and fresh lettuce from a lettuce delivery service.  Yes, you read that right.  His neighbor gets lettuce delivered fresh from a farm to his lanai, a couple times a week.  INTENSE!!  The athletes were well fed. 

Sunday= Race day!  I will be out in force tomorrow supporting Sean & T, and might even see Bree fly by at some point.  Then the plan is to hang out at the beach party after, then hit a beach on the way home with coolers full of, fruit and sando's.  Joe is likely going to meet us and I have the sneaking suspicion his cooler will be stocked with some good Island brews.  It sounds to me like tomorrow is shaping up to be a pretty stellar day.  


Thursday, March 26, 2009


That is when my fine friends at United Airlines will be giving me a lift to the Big Island of Hawaii for my first visit to Triathlon Mecca, KONA! Seriously, I am having problems concentrating on anything else, and I think I have looked at my watch 50 times already this morning and its only 9:30. If it wasn't brand new (thanks I would have sworn it was slow.

Yesterday was not such a good day. My body felt pretty ravaged from the weekend workload that led straight into this weeks training schedule, and the track session that evening was not sounding all too appealing. But, alas, once I got there, and got the legs turning over, I actually was surprised at my ability to run. I still felt "not right", the"heavy legs" syndrome would not go away, but effort and respiratory wise, I didn't feel that bad. I had a little pre-workout talk with Coach Ed about my training and the body's response thereto, and Cal. 70.3 which is only 9 days away!! Master that he is, Ed was able quickly determine that I needed a little "cool down" and told me to do the workout, but just back off on intensity. Up to that point my motivation for the impending track workout had been, on a scale of 1 - 10, solidly entrenched at a 1.5. Ed's talk busted the restraints, and I was then at about a 7. Seriously, I owe him big time for all he has done for my running (and my brain) in the short time I have been privileged to be under his tutelage. So the workout began, with an 800 talking pace, 4 laps of straights & curves (easy, med. build up, hard) then into the main set. Ed made sure to inform us that the evening's workout was about PACING! (we have about 12 Club Ed runners headed to Boston and he wants to reinforce the importance of pacing). So the first set: 1600 @ 10k pace (which per Ed's orders meant no faster than 6min for me); 2nd set: 1600 @ 10k pace (when I went through 400 at 1:20 I got a "EASY IAN" from Ed), 3rd & 4th sets: see sets 1 & 2; 5th set: 800 @ 5k, and cool down. I was a diligent pupil and kept all 16's within the 6 - 6:15 range. A good workout it was.

I had planed on just running 3mi this morning, but I knew I would enjoy running and if i went longer, it would make less "waiting" time till departure, so I ran 6. I was surprised at how good the legs felt.

They say every cloud has a silver lining. Well, I guess the opposite is kinda true with my trip to Kona. See, I am going to miss Superfrog Half Ironman this weekend. This sucks for 2 reasons: 1) My friend Brandon asked me to swim on his relay team, and with his run and a smoking cyclist, we probably would have had a real good shot at a podium and even some $$; and 2) more importantly, this will be Brynn "the Minnow's" first Half. I am super bummed I will not be able to come support and cheer her on, but I take solace in the fact that she will not "need" it. She has made some HUGE gains in the water (or "wooder" as she calls it), and her run has always been strong. She is worried about the bike, but I think her fears are complete nonsense. So long as she is able to kick her "Starbucks" T1 habit from last season, I know she will do very well. So here's a Big Good LUCK to ya Minnow. Keep your head down, and race your race. You will rock it!!

Alright, long post I know, can ya tell I am excited to get the hell out of here? The Island, the warm and clear ocean water, the Queen K, Ali'i Drive, are all calling my name. Plus I get to spend time with some great friends, Sean & Trish, and be their one man "race support crew". Plus, I will hopefully get to meet Bree, Rachel, & Maggs and watch them race as well. This is gonna be awesome. I may not come back ;)

I am now exactly 4hrs from leaving for LAX, and the hours are SLOWLY rolling by.

Tick, Tock,


Sunday, March 22, 2009

Good Ride, Good Brick + Good Food =

A pretty darn Good Weekend!

Due to some weather concerns, the brothers Pearson, Scotty and I decided to ride down to Oceanside on Saturday instead of the, as planned, Sunday. While the brothers have done Cal. 70.3 several times, I will be making my rookie appearance in 2 weeks, so I wanted to go down and check out as much of the course as possible.

Our ride began in Newport Beach and the out and back to Oceanside turned out to be about 95mi. Somehow that number just didn't sit right with me. I couldn't stand looking at my Garmin and seeing 95. I wanted triple digits, so I tacked on a bit at the end to make it an even Hundo. It was a really solid ride and I now feel like I am a little better prepared for the race, at least mentally. The ride was followed up by our usual trip to Catalina Fish Kitchen for some fish taco recovery! Brynn "the minnow" made an appearance and was nice enough to get all dolled up for us.

Last night, was dinner with Grandma, or "Gramcracker" as I call her, and moms cooked up an awesome Spaghetti Bake which I personally consumed almost half of. Dessert, was awesome! And all credit goes to Bree. I found her INSANE Banana Bread recipe in her Oatmeal post last week and as soon as I read it, I knew it was happening this weekend. I used 6 bananas & substituted the nuts with Raisins. I tell you it is F-ING FANTASTIC!! Between moms, pops, Gramcracker and I, we almost dusted the entire thing. But I managed to save some from the others (and myself) and took it over to Sean and Trish today. They loved it as well. I might just have to make it while in Kona with them next week as a pre-race breakfast treat. If you like dense and SUPER moist Banana Bread, that is actually healthy, unlike the adulterated crap u normally find, I highly recommend it. Apparently Bree is a superstar in the IM world and the kitchen. Big Thanks to her. I think I am addicted.

After all that grubbin last night I knew I had to get after it today so it didn't go to waste.. or waist. So @ 8:30 this morning I signed up for a 2 hour session with Coach Troy and the "steel wheel" in my living room, due to the rain and RIDICULOUS wind that rolled in overnight. After the sequel to "Have Mercy" it was on with the runnin kicks my feet hadn't seen since Wednesday, and out into to the wind and cold for the 9mi banana bread payment. Trust me, it was well worth it!!

So that pretty much sums up what was a pretty solid weekend.

Ohh... and btw... I leave for KONA in 4 DAYS!!!!!! So next weekend, watching Lavaman should be even better.

Its going to be tough to concentrate at work.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

2/3rds 'a Cloverleaf

So after my embarrassing outing last Thursday (read below) I decided I needed to try and redeem myself and requested to join Bill and the group again today. (I am a glutton for punishment, and carrot cake, but that's neither here nor there). I was just praying the same group that joined us last time didn't make a repeat appearance. If they did, I had a plan in place to take a spill early in the ride, and call it quits. I figured better to sacrifice my body and maybe a shifter, then to endure the pain and humiliation of last week all over again.

Today was a new route however as one of the group expressed an interest in getting in some "good hill intervals." After some batting around of ideas, they decided to let Bill take the helm and determine the morning's route on his own accord. At this point I began to have serious second thoughts about my prior, "I'm in" assertion.

With the route briefly explained, and still being kinda lost, we took off on what would be a pretty awesome ride. Apparently Bill usually completes this loop 3 times (Nutcase), one forming each "leaf" of the clover, hence the moniker. But given time constraints, 2/3rds was all the group could squeeze in and all I could stomach. When all was said and done, the ride covered 35mi, with a little over 4,100ft of climbing, in just under two hours. On the second loop I got gapped a couple times but was able to catch back up due to some fortunate stop light activity, and the groups guilty conscience at leaving me drooling and hyperventilating all by my lonesome.

That 4,100 number made a repeat appearance a couple hours later when my swim schedule was unveiled. After that ride, those yards weren't "Ohh so quick" to come by. But they all were happily banked.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dropped like a...

Bad habit? Nah, those usually tend to be hard to drop and stick around for a while. Sack of beans? Not quite the dramatic descriptive I am looking for. Pallet of Bricks? Getting there... For the sake of time, pick just about anything heavy (me) getting repeatedly dropped, extremely fast and hard, and you will have a good analogy for my ride this morning.

My friend Bill, the tri rookie who turned a spur of the moment decision to do his first tri about 36 hours before the race into an Age Group podium (see 2 posts ago), invited me to come out on his morning group ride. Foolish as I am, I accepted. Now, as the race results show, Bill can HAMMER the bike. And he has me looking for the best place to puke nearly every Wednesday at track. So I knew this was not going to be an "easy" morning in the saddle. But he told me that "Thursdays were more mellow than Tuesdays" so I was fairly confident if I worked my ass off I would be able to hang on the wheel of these guys on their "mellow ride." Hahaha... This was NOT to be!!

Today the group was joined by a couple of other guys from a local cycling club/team. So the group consisted of about 6 pretty hard core "Roadies", Bill, who I can't emphasize this enough, MASHES, and I. Up the first hill the pace quickly shifted from "this is going to be a good, hard ride" to "OHH S#!T!!!" I was off the back a 1/4mi into the climb and these guys weren't even warm yet. But I was back with one other dude so I felt alright, it usually takes my legs a little bit to "turn on" anyway, especially at O-Dark:30, or so I was saying (praying?) to myself. Once we reached the top of the first climb I was able to put on a little push and caught back up just in time to start the climb up the "5 B's" with the group. You can guess what the "B's" stand for and if these guys referred to them as such, you can also guess what that meant for me. Cut to the top... And you see me sucking all the oxygen within a 10 foot radius with each breath, and the rest of the group laughing and shooting the breeze. Luckily next it was a nice flat stretch and a long descent.

This descent of course could only mean another climb back up the 1,200+ feet we just came down. Well the "lead up" to the next climb, wasn't exactly what you might picture when one hears "lead up". Its got some good rollers and a few sustained gradients, and after falling off the back on the first, I caught back up just in time to hit the second and get a nice mental image of the group. Which was good, since it was the last time I would be seeing them for quite a while. They took off and I felt like I'd fallen overboard and was watching my ship's flashing red lights steadily distance themselves. So it was up the switchbacks by myself, giving it all I had to try and at least keep the gap from becoming laughable. Again... NOT to be!! If ya got 5mins, here is a video shot on the descent of the exact course we ascended (if you can call what I did an ascent).

Have you ever been dropped so hard you hope the others just think you turned off and went home? Hoping you don't make them wait and have to face them again? No? Well that was my world, and it aint pretty. Alas, I summitted the beast and sure enough, the conscientious group had waited. Maybe they didn't want to feel guilty for driving me to cardiac arrest? Or maybe morbid curiosity got the better of them and they just wanted to see what a hyphen close to death looked like in person? Either way, they waited, I was humiliated, and before we even hit the bottom of the descent I was off the back and on my ass again.

I can't tell you haw many times I have done that ride. And I like to think I have ridden with some talented guys before, but these guys make all others pale as albinos in comparison. Never, have I worked that hard, only to be dropped back to last Wednesday by a group of dudes, some of whom are almost twice my age. Humbling is DRASTICALLY understating the experience. I loved every second and oxygen gasp of it. If I can convince these guys to let me chase em once a week, my cycling is sure to make gargantuan gains. But I can't even fathom what their Tuesday "Hard Rides" are like. Anyone got a portable defibrillator I can borrow?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Take 2 of these and call me in the morning.

If only everything were that easy. Instead, Sean "the Doc's" prescription is "No more running." At least for this week. You see, about a week or 10 days before last weekend's race, my legs had been bothering me. Specifically, my calves had been getting really tight and sore. For the most part, nothing "The Stick" and a stiff upper lip couldn't handle. Really, it was the lower portion of my calves, not the big top part, but the lower Soleus muscle area. It is basically a reemergence of the flare up I had pre-marathon, but this time in both legs and more so in the right. Going into last weekends race, I just made sure to stretch alot through the whole weekend and not run Thursday - Sat. Well, as reported in my last post, the legs did not feel so good on the run, and the sand sent them into fits. I even cramped some, and I NEVER cramp!! (knock on wood).

Last night was Monday Night Madness, our weekly tempo run with the club. I took it easy and ran the tempo section right at 6:30's. Notwithstanding a SOLID stretching session prior to the run, my calves were NOT happy afterwards. Ice, more stretching, "The Stick" and some tennis ball rolling was my answer.

My Tuesday mornings usually consist of a 15mi run with about 5mi of hill repeats. Initially after last night's run, I thought, "OK, its not that bad, I will still go 15 manana, just without the hill reps." Once home that deteriorated to, "OK, no run, just do a good 2hr trainer session on the bike." When the alarm sprang to life this mornin at 4:40 blasting that ever so sweet sound of country music and sustained 2 second beeps, I was ready to follow that plan. The calves however, had other ideas. No more than 3 steps from the sack, and they let their repudiation be known. So there I stood, one arm and head through a sweatshirt, contemplating my next move. I decided to stretch em out and see if it improved. That idea lasted for about 20 seconds, and I was back in bed. It was clear the calfes had established a strike line and it was NOT to be crossed. Fortunately, I had my usual 11am swim time with the Doc and knew he would have an answer... I just prayed it was one that would involve little time, effort and pain and bring forth a speedy recovery. In fact I don't even care about the pain, I just want FAST! Unfortunately, it appears that may not be the case. After a brief discussion & diagnosis, the above-noted prescription came forth. So looks like the runnies will be getting a good long rest this week. Only positive I can find is that this was supposed to be a mellow recovery week and I will be in Arizona for a bachelor party this weekend. Maybe I wont feel so guilty about not running out there with this Doc's orders in my back pocket?

So its off to PT now. For what I am sure will be nothing but a calm, soothing, and restorative experience.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Race Report

Well this weekend definitely provided all I anticipated... and a little more. Big thanks go out to Sean & Trish for a great trip with awesome company! We had some good times, rides (falls) and laughs, as usual, and I have them to thank for it. Casa De Ryan proved to be quite the luxurious "home stay" and Jim and Judy were fantastic hosts and supporters. I gotta admit, when Judy reverted to her past Ironman form and paced me down the beach on the run, I could barely keep up!! A huge thank you goes out to them as well.

One of the reasons I chose to go race this last weekend was to knock off any "race rust" that may have built up in the last few months. Maybe I jinxed it, cause I certainly felt rusty!

The swim actually went pretty well. It was my first swim in my new Zoot Zenieth suit and I will attest, that thing is AWESOME. If making you look like Batman wasn't enough, the cut of the Zenith makes it fit like a glove while remaining extremely flexible. But the buoyancy is RIDICULOUS!!! I felt like I was hydroplaning. I actually had (I think) a pretty decent T1 aside from the fact that I lost a gel out of my jersey pocket when taking off my suit while running in.

The bike is when my race slowly started to deteriorate. I got cold. I DO NOT do well in cold. God, or whoever / whatever built me apparently left out, or didn't think I would need, whatever it is that provides good blood flow to my extremities. So, as usual in a cold race, my feet were replaced with concrete bricks by mile 2 of the bike. Literally, NO FEELING the rest of the ride. This however, was not the only problem. As is also par for the course for me when it gets cold, my legs seem to launch their own mutiny on the bike. For some reason they just won't "turn on" for a while. But on the second lap they started to come around and by the end of the bike they felt "OK". Coming into T2 however, I began to worry that my nutrition plan (or lack thereof) was going to come back to haunt me. When I woke up I had a Powerbar at about 5am (really 4am with the time change), and chased it and my vitamins with a glass of FRS. After driving to the venue, waiting in line, walking the 1.5mi to T1, going through (uh-hmm) T-Zero, and helping my tri-rookie friend set up, I forgot to eat or drink anything else before the start. Then losing that gel in T1, left me with only 1 gel & my aero drink of Powerbar mix for the race. I wasn't sure that was going to be enough. T2 went pretty well despite the fact that I ran through on concrete bricks and had to shove them into my shoes without really being able to feel my shoes (a weird sensation!).

Unbeknownst to Ian = Sand, rocks, beach, trails, and a wee bit-o-pavement:
That about says it. The run took off into the sandy & rocky trail with me in 7th. My run is usually my strongest leg, and I can normally pick up some spots pretty quick. So out I went and immediately passed 2 guys who came out of T2 right before me. Unfortunately, the numb feet and sand had my run really out of sync. I just could not find a rhythm, and I could not hold the pass on one of the guys. On I struggled and was able to pick up two more spots, but just could not reel in the one guy who had un-done my previous pass. Long story short, after coming off the marathon I was expecting the run to be fast and EASY. I don't think it was the former and it certainly WAS NOT the latter!

4th Overall; 1st in Age Group. I am happy with my result, I am just not too happy with how I felt. Like I told D this morning, I just would have liked to have felt better and and the had the effort felt easier. I am not making any excuses, I am sure I went as fast as I could have. I take nothing away from my competitors that beat me. They beat me cause they are faster than me... fair and square. Even if I had felt better I doubt I would have had a better result. Its just as I told my sister, I would have been happier with the same result, or even worse, had it felt better and easier. But nothing comes easy in this sport right? A big bonus to the weekend was getting to meet Charisa & her husband Steven, who were awesome. She smashed it herself, and despite some issues of her own, still took 2nd Elite (at least thats what I saw Charisa!). Below is a pic Steven took after the race. He got some great pics of her during the race check em out. All in all. I am very content with the weekend.

And my tri-rookie friend Bill, he took 3rd in his AG at his first ever tri!! Ridiculous!!

Friday, March 6, 2009

I'm off...

to the desert tonight. I am excited to kick off my '09 season and get a race under my belt before Cal. 70.3, but I gotta admit I do regret that I was not able to get out to TriFest this weekend. I was REALLY looking forward to all the weekend had to offer, including without limitation, the Expo, talks from Dave Scott & Chris Carmichael, a swim tutorial from Andy Potts and a run with Sam McGlone. (Jesus!!) Perhaps the thing that had me most excited was to finally get the opportunity to visit the facility and meet the "team" I am lucky enough to be a part of this year and get in some quality training trying to keep up with that talented of a group. Fate however, would have it otherwise, and the trip became pretty much financially prohibitive. With all the traveling I am doing in the coming weeks and months, I just couldn't make it work within my budget. (Which may have been a blessing in disguise as I may have killed myself at some point in time along the 14hr solo drive).

Having said all that, I am really excited to be heading out to the desert for what promises to be a solid weekend filled with good friends, food, racing, and all around good times. As if I didn't already owe him enough for his training advice and treatment, a big thanks in advance goes out to Sean "the doc" for the the invite. We closed out '08 racing together in Clearwater, and now we open '09 racing together again. If Clearwater set the tone, things are looking good for this season brother.

So I head out tonight to the Desert Oasis of Casa de Ryan, to enjoy the hospitality of an awesome family, with a Kona finisher in the midst no less, enjoy the weekend, and hopefully knock off any race rust that may have accrued since November. I know Birthday Girl will be out there smashing the competition I am sure, and hopefully I'll get to wish her a happy B-day in person. The weather appears to be cooperating as well, with race day temps in the 70's. So, notwithstanding my TriFest truancy, I am pumped for what promises to be an awesome weekend.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Nothing quite like...

an "all out" swim session. And today I had one. Not big yardage, and not "fast" according to the clock's standards, but after a 15mi run with some hill repeats, it took all I had. I don't know what it is that makes the swim sessions feel that much different than the track workouts or interval sessions on the bike, but for some reason they just feel that much better. Maybe its because they aren't as "painful"? Maybe its because I have never really gotten over the "little kid in the pool" syndrome and still get a kick out of just being in the water?

Whatever it is, the workout today was a good one, not due to a yardage or time achievement, but just because at the end, I knew I had nothing left in the tank. Maybe its something in the water?

Sunday, March 1, 2009

It aint Kona...

But it aint Bad!!!

This was the view from the top of Palos Verdes today on loop #2. The course below is "The Donald's", Trump National, and aside from my low opinion of the man (albeit formed only from his TV show), he did buy/build a beautiful course.

The brothers Pearson made the trek up from Newport on Saturday and this morning we met up with Sean "the Doc", for what turned out to be an awesome 90mi ride. 2 loops in both directions of Palos Verdes and 2 loops on the "Parkway" around LAX, made for some great climbing sessions sandwiching some good hard tempo efforts. All of which was enjoyed in the Sun and 75-80 degree temps of So. Cal. Like I said, Kona it aint, and I remain JEALOUS of Bree and others enjoying the places she writes about, but the heat and the head /cross winds on the backside of the 2nd PV loop had me thinking it must have felt similar today. I mean, we are staring at the same ocean right?

Today was one of those days where the weather, good friends, bikes, and a good ol' fashion sweat combined to kinda smack me in the face and make me take note of how fortunate I am to live where I do, to have the friends I do, and to have found such an awesome sport/passion/lifestyle. A great day indeed. In case you didn't get the full effect, here we are on the 2nd loop after Chris decided to go full aero (a.k.a - shirtless for the lady folk) for the descent. And in keeping with the "Kona it aint" theme, we did top off the ride with burritos. Since they were from Chipotle though, and not some secret Island burrito haven, I didn't feel they were necessarily, "photo worthy".

Now its nap time, to be followed by what promises to be an awesome dinner with "the doc", his better half, and some vino. The day just keeps getting better. If only tomorrow wasn't Monday. Ohh well, that just means one day closer to the real Kona!