Monday, April 25, 2011


Is up and Running!!

Please check it out if you are so inclined.  I am pretty fired up on it.

Pedro Gomes does some great work!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Breaking Point

By no means is my dad an endurance athlete. Nor was he ever. Last time we ever participated in an "endurance event" he tripped me in a Turkey Trot 5k (pretty sure it was to ensure his victory).  So even he might be a little surprised to read he has served as a big part of my triathlon career.

You see, he was a US Marine pilot during the Vietnam era and thus went through some pretty intense bootcamp/survival training.  While his enduring of the trials those schools put him through was no doubt admirable, it is not those feats themselves that inspire me.  Rather, it is a statement he has made to me at various times throughout my triathlon career. Something he learned through those experiences. That is, "When you think you're done, you can really go much further."  Or said another way, when you think you hit your breaking point, you can push much further, dig deeper.

A while back I had a chance to meet a teammate Mike Montoya. Since then I have been fortunate enough to spend some time with Mike and realize his admirable qualities that go far beyond his considerable talents as a triathlete.  Mike is a middle school teacher in Las Cruces, New Mexico and has taken on the difficult, yet to hear him say it, immensely rewarding task of teaching those with mental disabilities.  He also volunteers his time as the track coach.  The other day I rode with Mike and he told me the week before he had coached the team in a meet wherein he let them choose their own events, and form their own relay teams.  Being a middle school team, everyone wants to run the 100 or the 4x100.  However, one athlete, Joseph, one of Mike's students with mental disabilities, wanted to run the mile.  Mike let him, he ran hard, not realizing he could come into lane 1 after the 1st lap he ran lane 8 the whole way, struggling a bit in the 2nd half due to a lack of training.  This last week was the championships, and after letting them choose their own, Mike took the reigns this time and assigned the athletes' events to give them the best shot.  Joesph, would run the 800.

Before the race Mike told Joseph he could cut into the 1st lane after the turn and Joseph nodded he understood.  At the gun Joseph ran hard in lane 8, after the turn, he stayed in lane 8.  He was holding on running even with 3rd place, all by himself out in lane 8.  Heading into the last half of the second lap Mike literally chased Joseph pushing him into the 1st lane.  Joseph ran as hard as he could, sweat pouring, foaming at the mouth, but the outside lane had done him in and he crossed as the final runner.  Immediately after, Mike congratulated Joseph and gave him some water.  Joseph promptly collapsed into a heap and began convulsing.  He had pushed himself THAT hard.  A precautionary trip to the ER and Joseph was given a clean bill of health.  I have no doubt that Joseph had at some point during that 800, thought he had nothing left. That he was done. That he had reached his breaking point.  But he didn't give in. He pushed on, pushed his breaking point all the way past the finishing tape.  Yesterday at a school assembly, Joseph was honored with the first "Heart Award" he so richly deserved.

Earlier this week I had really rough day.  A swim that felt like the bottom was literally sucking me down, and a run where my legs just could not go any faster.  I thought I needed a rest day. That I had reached my breaking point.  The next day's long ride with a long hard interval in it, had me intimidated. I couldn't fathom being able to perform that task.  Then I thought of what my dad has always said, "When you think you're done, there's always more."  I thought of Joseph and how he pushed his breaking point. I put aside my self pity and decided I needed to harden up.  The next day, I completed the ride as prescribed with my dad's statement as my mantra and thoughts of Joseph running repeatedly through my head during the interval.

I am not saying we don't have our breaking points, or that more and harder is always possible or advisable.  All I am saying is that I think we all need to realize at times that our mind can be our biggest limiter and that our actual breaking point, more likely than not, lies well beyond where our brains may want us to believe.

Keep pushing. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Week 1 and No NO

For any of those who read this blog and may have been misled, and/or confused as to my DNS at New Orleans 70.3 er.. 69.1 today, I apologize.

After a few weeks in Scottsdale seeing Nate Koch at Endurance Rehab nearly every day, it is true that I am back up and running. That "running" term however, is used loosely.  My achilies problem began shortly before I went to the A2 Wind Tunnel with Reynolds. I got in a few days of running thereafter, but essentially, until my second week seeing Nate, I hadn't run since roughly February 12th or so.  Roughly six weeks of no running has taken its toll.  While I felt I could go to NO and "race" it without complications, I knew I was in no way, shape or form, ready to really "race" the half marathon. It would be more survival.  To me, this was no mindset with which to head into a race.  In nearly every race I have ever done, and certainly every race last year, I went into it with the mindset that "today will be the day I run my best half ever."  Not having that element, left me without the fire that is usually there.  After talking it over with Paulo, we decided that spending a complete four weeks in Las Cruces, without any time out for taper, travel and recovery, was a better idea.  This way I can focus on simply getting my running legs back under me and moving forward.  After one week, I think it was the smart decision given the work we got in.  Add to it that the powers that be saw fit to cancel the swim at NO today, and it seems that much wiser.

Back to the work:
The first week of camp came and went in expedient fashion.  We are fortunate enough to have the outdoor pool here set up for long course meters so there is much less flip turning and gliding and more work.  We got in some solid swims with me chasing the girls to the best of my ability (read: not getting close!).

Given the various whereabouts of several of the Squad members right now, a fair bit of my riding has been done with the only company coming in the form of my buddy Garmin/Quarq.  All is well though as I tend not to mind this too much. Just put me head down and get the work done.  One highlight of riding in New Mexico, a stone's throw from the Southern US border, is that gas stations stock these beauties.

Mexican Coke. Made with REAL Sugar. Delish!!
 Out at TriFest a couple weeks ago I got the opportunity to meet and chat with my teammate Mike Montoya.  A seriously accomplished triathlete with a great deal of experience, and an all around great guy.  Mike lives here in Las Cruces and of course is good buds with another of Las Cruces' best, Dannois Montoya.  I had a longer ride on Thursday, and luckily, Mike could join and tow me around town.  It was no joke of a ride as Mike is in the final prep stages for the Tour of the Gila and we faced some serious wind.  Without his company and pushing of the pace, I am sure I would have been in a bad mood all day, but in the end we got in a good hard ride and I nearly wet myself laughing at Mike's fuel choice.
Snap Into a Slim Jim
Being back in the groove at camp has me feeling pretty darn good.  After essentially "missing" the Tucson camp due to my inability to run, coming back and completeing every workout Paulo puts out there has been invigorating. Tiring, but invigorating.  I will not go so far as to say it has been all smiles, skipping and sing-songing, but it is good to be back running. Everytime it gets tough on the run, I just remind myself how terrible it felt not to have the ability.  On that note, after this week I am pretty happy with my decision to pull out of NO 70.3. I got in a solid week of training, without any issues and no breakdowns. In fact I logged a relatively high mileage week and feel stronger for it.  Another great thing about being back running is the excitement of actually getting to USE some of the insane new kicks Zoot has out.
Top to bottom: Energy, Ovwa, TT 4.0

I even got to spend my final run of the week in these super stealth bad boys to be unvieled at a later date. 
Cheers and thanks for reading, 


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Round 2

Since the last Triathlon Squad camp ended in Tucson (March 13th), I was fortunate enough to spend all but the days I was at the Specialized camp, in Fountain Hills, AZ due to the incredible generosity of some great people and friends, the Dunns.  It was truly a blessing that they took me in as it gave me the opportunity to get the treatment my achilies needed.  In fact I was at Endurance Rehab nearly five days a week for much of that time.  Nate Koch at Endurance Rehab plain and simple knows his stuff and he got me back up and running much sooner than I expected. In fact I was a little shocked the first time he finished treatment and said "Go run."  Don't get me wrong though, it was not all smiles and Tulips.  ASTYM works, but not without a hefty price. That price is PAIN!  It is not a pleasant procedure, but pain is temporary, and pales in comparison to the reward of being back on your feet.

Now, as to the "Round 2" mentioned above, I am now back in Las Cruces for the third camp, the second time in Las Cruces, with the Triathlon Squad.  I am by no means fit, but running is coming along and if I can stay healthy, I'm optimistic that I can get back to where I was before the injury by the end of this camp on May 8th.

A few things have changed with the Squad for this go round.  We are a smaller crew for the first little bit, with certain members off training and racing in different locales for much of the camp.  And the pool is set up long course meters.  These two facts combined leave me gasping, quite literally, while trying to hang onto the "ITU Girls" every morning.  I know I will come out the better for it, but the swims are no joke right now.

Today was actually the second day of camp here, and it was a good one.  A tough swim with a "hard and harder" theme, a nice but windy and dry ride and an evening run to top it off.  Two things are certain, Las Cruces is MUCH warmer this time of year, and I simply CANNOT drink enough out here. This place is DRY.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Specialized Team Camp

Last week I spent 4 busy and fun filled days in Morgan Hill, CA meeting all my new teammates on the Specialized US Tri Team.  When I first signed with Specialized, I was happy and honored to say the least, however, this camp presented an opportunity to meet the people and see the "behind the scenes" work that has taken Specialized to the pinnacle of the cycling and triathlon worlds.  It also gave me the opportunity to meet the athletes making up our team.  It wasn't until I was there, in the presence of these people, that the reality of the situation finally set in. It was a humbling experience in every sense. 

Specialized has built a top notch "Global Triathlon Team" under the guidance of Bobby Behan which includes the likes of Chris McCormack, Rasmus Henning, Javier Gomez, Simon Whitfield, etc...  A "top shelf" team no doubt.  However, in a move that exhibits the company's commitment to triathlon, they have seen fit to develop a "US Tri Team" with some more "up and coming" athletes.  This is not to say that this team doesn't pack its fair share of firepower. What with the likes of Ben Hoffman, Melanie McQuaid, and Desiree Ficker.  The week was even kicked off with the aforementioned Ben and Mel taking out the top podium spots at X-Terra Granite Bay. 

There wasn't a day at Specialized that I didn't have to fight the urge to simply walk around ogling all the cool stuff. Evidence this piece of machinery.  It is just one example of about twenty such "one off" bikes around the complex.  

Pretty much each day kicked off with a early morning swim and the opportunity to ride was ever present.  Below is the pre "lunch ride" lineup.  In case images of a fun little spin in the sun pop into your head, rest assured, with the likes of Ned Overend in the bunch, it was anything but.  I almost lost my breakfast. 

 In between swims, rides and runs, our days were filled in meeting rooms learning about all things Specialized. Everything was covered; bikes, shoes, tires, helmets, apparel, etc... we got some serious learning done.
Product Manager and WHIZ Mark Cote talks about the development of the Shiv
What served as quite possibly the highlight of the week came about in the form of Global team members Jordan Rapp and Peter Reid joining us for two days.  Representing no less than twelve Ironman titles between them, not including Peter's three, Ironman World Championship titles and three runner up finishes, it was an incredible opportunity to pick the brains and learn from two of the most knowledgeable men in the sport.  To see for yourself, and learn a thing or two, click on the photo below of Jordan and Peter graciously sharing their knowledge and experience with the team.
As you can see it was a fantastic week of training, learning and team building.  And from the size of the dinner tables, you can probably tell it was a great deal of fun as well.

To say I am excited to be a part of the Specialized US Tri Team would be a drastic understatement. Its going to be a great year.