Monday, September 28, 2009

Friends a wedding and a race

This last weekend was pretty Jam Packed. Maggs arrived on Friday at 4:30am and once home threw herself full force into a series of naps. After some pool time, run time, and dinner time, it was bed time and Saturday was set to be a hectic one. Maggs was mainlanded to race in the Best of the US race, which this year was the OC International Tri, that Charisa, Tawnee, the Brothers Pearson, and myself were all set to race as well, just in the normal (not the "Best") race.

Saturday I was also heading to spectate another significant event, the wedding of my friend and fellow triathlete Brandon to his beautiful (now) wife, Sarah. Timing however was an issue. Maggs had to be at a race meeting at the race start at 3pm. I had to go to race check in, a nearby hotel, and get to T2 to drop off my run stuff and then get to Coronado Island by 4. It was not looking good. So being the gentleman that I am, I swung by the lake and booted Maggs out of the car and into the heat at the lake a full HOUR before her meeting was to start, jetted to T2, dropped my run gear, and parking-lot-changed into a suit for the speed race to Coronado. The wedding was at 4. My arrival time, 4:22. I was dreading being "that guy". I got my pre-race sprint work in from the car to the venue and made it just before the procession began. A beautiful ocean front wedding ensued followed by some good grub, and then I was out. Back on the road and up to the Wernick Casa de Rock. Charisa and Steven (who should be entirely fed up with my repeat impositions) were kind enough to pick Maggs up from the lake, and let us crash at their house on Saturday night.

Sunday was race day and it went like this.

Swim: I had the good fortune of starting in the 5th of 6 waves, so I knew there was going to be some weaving and bulldozing on the way, but I was actually pleasantly surprised with it. I caught a great draft for half the swim (PLEASE GOD let that happen in KONA!!) and exited with what I think was a good time. My Zoot SpeedZoot was awesome!! It was my first race swimming in it and I was frankly really surprised how nice it felt. I think I swam about a minute faster this year and last year I was in a wetsuit!

T1: I made the rookie mistake of running up the wrong aisle and spent some time frantically dancing around looking for my bike... idiot

Bike: After about 15mins I settled into a really good rhythm and was able to start picking riders off. I didn't see many (any?) in my age group so i just tried to get as many guys as I could. I battled with a few 30 & 40 yr olds for a while but by the turn around, I was able to put them behind me for good. Everything felt great on the bike until about 45mins in, when my heart rate started coming down rapidly and I realized that the one Powergel I had at the beginning of the bike might not be enough to get me through the entire race. Oopps! But I kept pushing just following Charisa's instructions to make the entire race HURT!! Climbing the last hill I saw fellow T3er and spectathlete extraordinaire, Bill, who informed me that only one 25-29er was ahead of me. I came into T2 right about an hour (I think?) and was happy with that for how hilly this course is.
Run: My goal for the run was to try and concentrate on my breathing, a fast turnover, and keeping my arms low. This is a challenging run with some pretty big hills (I remember them now M!). I caught the 25-29er, Chris Berg, just past the first mile marker. I have raced with Chris many times and know he is fast. I watched him race Malibu the week before and I knew his 10K was primed to go, so I was a little worried my Ironman legs wouldn't hold the pass.
So again, I just concentrated on the turnover and breathing. Sure enough, on the BIG hill, he caught and passed me while my quads screamed for mercy. I did not want to get in a sprint to the finish with Chris, and wanted to put as big of a gap as I could (if any) on him before the last half mile. I didn't know if that was possible, but once that last big climb was crested, I decided to find out. I went for it and when we hit the road again, I just tried to hold pace the rest of the way.
Once we hit the final turn around, about 3/4 of a mile out, I saw that I had put in a little gap, and I knew I had the legs to take it in from there.
Post finish Maggs, Charisa and I enjoyed some of the best finish line fare I have ever had, OTTER POPPS!!
When all was said and done, I missed breaking the "elusive" 2 hour Olympic distance mark by 30 seconds, but on that course I was content with a new PR for the distance. I ended up winning the 25-29 group and (factoring out all the real fast guys... read BOUS racers) I was the first overall male. Charisa had the same results on the female 30-34 side and overall, which meant I had the honor of sharing the top podium spot with an amazing athlete and even better friend. Icing on the cake in my book.
The crew we assembled did pretty well, with Tawnee taking 2nd in her AG, her mom winning the 50-54, and the elder Pearson taking 3rd in 30-34. After a little jogging, a little riding, and a TON of RD speeching. It was off for some BOMB mexican food with Maggs and the Wernicks. All in all, an awesome weekend with some great people, and good racing.

A great way to head into the big dance... 11 DAYS!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009


No, I am not suffering any major withdrawals right now (although some of the sandwiches I saw on Man vs. Food last night made me REALLY miss a burger). Rather, in a fit of rational thinking, I finally caved and adopted Coach's thinking as to my racing Ironman Arizona. Thus, I found this waiting in my inbox this morning when I hit the office chair: "Hi Ian, Thank you for your interest in Ironman! You are now withdrawn from the 2009 Ford Ironman Arizona. Please allow 5-10 business days for your partial refund to appear on your credit card statement."

I am a little less than thrilled to be pulling out. This is going to be the first IM for the Brothers Pearson and we had all signed up together last year. I was really looking forward to racing it with them as we have done many races together before. However, I am still going to head out there for the race and this way, I can be a better supporter during the race and hopefully help them along. Maggs will be racing too, and my buddy Matt, I think?? So my athlete card will be pretty full, but I am up for the challenge. I figure it will be a long training day either way, or at least I will tell myself that so I can feel the post race dinner is well deserved.

In somewhat more uplifting news, on Tuesday I ran what will essentially be my last "real" track workout. I don't know about you, but I find running track by yourself to be somewhat of a mental challenge. Last week my buddy John was nice enough to provide company and pacing. This week however, he was on his way to a dinner party and seemingly all other options were busy. I say seemingly because there was one other option. I have written before about the incredible support I have received from many people in my triathlon pursuits. Yet one person stands head and shoulders above all, MOMS! That's right, faced with heading out to track all by me lonesome, 64 years young Moms stepped up to the plate and met me there. I don't think I recall seeing my mom run since the last Turkey Trot we did as a family when I was like 8. But by the end of the night, I had her running "Straights and Curves" (Coach Ed would be proud). It was awesome to see and I was stoked she was enjoying it! Look out ladies in the 65-69 AG, you could just have a new player in the mix!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting Real

So race numbers for Kona appeared yesterday and come October 10th I will be tattooed with the numerals 1686.

I like the number, it has a good ring to it. The realization that Kona is now 17 short days away was made that much more real by the appearance of the race number list. I am feeling good about it. I am anxious, nervous, and a little on edge, but I am happy, and not scared or freaking out (knock on wood).

I had been feeling like I just wanted to hit the "Fast Forward" button on life for the last couple days, but then my friend Matt imparted this bit of wisdom upon me: "Enjoy this time, there are many people who would give anything to be in your position right now!" Not to brag or toot my own horn, but I do realize that I am extremely lucky to be one of the few who will be getting the chance to race on Triathlon's most hallowed ground this October 10th. For that I feel beyond fortunate, and grateful to all those who have supported me along the way, even down to those that just left a simple encouraging comment on this blog. It has all helped. So I am savoring it now. I don't want the Fast Forward button. In fact, once I get to Kona I'd be willing to bet my bottom dollar that I will be looking for the "Slow Motion" button!!

So here it is, its REAL, its awesome and I am going to enjoy it!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Speed Kills...

Or at least it HURTS ALOT!!

My training program has hit that section where I start knocking off some of the BIG volume, and start upping the intensities. Early in the week the bike efforts were ok, and the runs were actually pretty good. I ran some repeats on Tuesday and each one got progressively faster and faster. That, I thought, was a good sign. Thursday night brought a tempo run that I was NOT looking forward to after a rough morning on the bike. A friend of mine, John Megeff, who is fresh off competing in the Wild West Relay and the GoreTex Trans Rockies Run ( 2 person team runs the whole 120mi in 6 days across the Rockies and each person runs every bit of it!!) decided he wanted to join in the pain. Fortunately it went much better than expected, in large part due to John's help pacing. With that, the attempt at garnering some speed seemed to be moving along. Then Saturday came.

With fellow T3er, Bill, we met up with Jason May (another wicked fast local guy fresh off an Overall win at Malibu Oly) for some hard bricks. To say these were tough efforts is a drastic understatement. As usual, Bill brought the hammer down on the bike and sooner that I would like to admit, I was off the back. Jason stuck with me, but I think that was only out of pity. The run was nothing spectacular but I was able to stay on pace. Round #2 brought even further degradation. My heart rate was like a high schooler refusing to get out of bed in the morning. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't get it out of bed. Saved by the bell, we all headed out on the run together and I honestly thought about sitting down on the grass and calling it a day. But my ego got the better of me and I pushed through and actually felt halfway decent on the last mile. The rest of the day consisted of some painful legs, a mediocre ocean swim, and a fun BBQ for my buddy Craig's birthday.

Sunday was my last big brick. To be honest, on Saturday night and even Sunday morning, I thought there was NO WAY I was going to be able to do it. I even went back to bed after eating breakfast. But after 9.5hrs of sleep, I awoke feeling surprisingly improved, got my ass in gear and headed out on the bike. 5.5hrs, 95mi and a bunch of climbing, and I was off on my run. About 20mins in I felt a bonk coming on hard and fast, but I scaled back the pace, focused on my breathing, and kept the heart rate in the "fat burning" (GOD I hope so!!) zone. I thought I could actually feel my body switch over at the lower pace. I was glad to have it done. I was glad I did it in the heat of the day and didn't have any mental or physical issues like the day before.

Today is mellow but the rest of the week continues the speed switch with the OC International Tri this Sunday. I am looking forward to dialing in all my Kona gear and getting that one last race effort. Hopefully it will be a confidence booster and send me off to Kona content, confident, healthy and smiling.


Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Tonight at 9pm on Universal Sports. Coverage will be aired... Might just be my .5secs of fame!!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Made it... with new records

The MEGA weekend got kicked off early last Thursday when I jumped ship to SD in the afternoon due to the fires and smoke up here in LA. By 5pm I had changed and was headed out the door from the luxurious confines of the coach's pad in Cardiff. 3hrs and a little over 24mi later, I was back, and neck deep into a couple huge plates of some INSANE chicken and pumpkin enchiladas. Coach's wife's cooking may be some of the best I have ever had!!

Friday morning brought with it the longest swim of my life. Thankfully Coach took me to an awesome new pool and it was me and a 25m lane for the next 2hrs. 340 laps in the bank, and I didn't think I was going to be able to steer the car home! Later that night I uprooted again and headed to Kona Camp '09 Mega Weekend Headquarters (formerly referred to as the Wernick Manor Resort and Spa).

Saturday began with yet another trek up Mt. Palomar followed by a picnic/refuel in the park before our afternoon runs.

Sunday brought us a little reprieve from the climbing, but was still a long day in the saddle. I ended up tying my personal record of 137mi. The record however, was soon to fall. Much like me.
Monday was labor day and LABOR we DID!! At the outset of the day I was questioning just exactly HOW in the HELL I was going to be able to pull it off. My legs were NOT ready to be back pedaling a bike, and the hours ahead were NOT going to be easy. Somehow though, an hour or so in, they came alive. Its was almost like they just gave up fighting and went along with it realizing they had no choice. The good thing was I didn't once find myself asking "WHY?" I was doing it. That answer is solid as these rocks.
Sunday was supposed to begin with a small group, but in a fitting twist, Jon had to go save lives at the Oceanside Pier swim and IM recovery and Family duties claimed Kevin and coach. Thus Charisa and I were on our own. Like I said, fitting. It was our MEGA weekend and somehow it only seemed appropriate that the 2 of us would face the hardest and longest day alone. I have to say, a better partner in crime couldn't really be asked for. Over 3 days of intense and long hours of training, not a complaint was uttered, and smiles and laughs continued all the way to the end. And that end, came after over 9hrs of riding covering 160mi and over 8,500ft of climbing. A new record for both of us.
Mega Weekend totals =
Swim: 5.2mi
Run: ~ 35mi
Bike: 364mi

For me, those are all records. And I am, if I do say so myself, impressed. Don't fret though, my head is firmly kept in check by the fact that my friend Ken can say: "My daughter did that too. Only she ran a bit further!"

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Let the MEGA weekend begin!!

Well the Coach has saved the day again. I am off this afternoon heading south to SD and away from the fires, smoke, and the deathmill, to fulfill the training plan. I will be enjoying the evening in the lap of luxury when not out punishing myself on my long run, and then head to training headquarters (a.k.a.- the Wernick Casa) for the remainder of the MEGA weekend.

A little fiesta for the IMC'ers and Kevin who nabbed his Kona slot and a Ironman PR will take place one evening. The rest I am sure will involve a bunch of the following: FOOD, DRINK, foam rolling, compression garments, complaining, soreness, bonking, and internal questioning.

If I make it through it, I think I will be very happy with myself.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My Nemesis

I harbor a serious, deep, and seething dislike for treadmills. I began my running days stuck in the basement of my Law School library running on treadmills and since I sprang free from that institution, I have stayed as far away from these evil creations as possible. I like running. I find it fun, relaxing and a good way to "unwind" but the treadmill, without fail, overwhelms the restorative capabilities of running, and leaves me feeling more "wound up" than when I started. I ran 13mi on a treadmill once and was on the verge of punching someone.

Due to the firestorm that has beset upon the LA area, the ocean breeze has been similarly overwhelmed and the air is thick with lung irritating and nauseating smoke. So last night I found myself aboard a deathmill for my interval run and spent 1:20 of my life that I will never get back in complete mental agony. This morning I was back in the same spot for another 40mins, and it wasn't much easier. Thursday night of Coach's MEGA schedule, calls for a 3hr run. I can't decide which is the better option: 1) Run outside and risk almost certain respiratory irritation/damage, or 2) head for the deathmill and risk my sanity and possibly freedom as the potential is high that I will serve some time for the assault I will almost certainly commit following such a stint.

decisions, decisions....