Saturday, April 30, 2011

Weekend Warrior

Run Day

time- 1:07:30
distance- 7.7mi

Bike Day

distance- 40mi

Nearly negative split on my run Saturday! The only word for that is badass. Technically, I think that's two words, but I don't care. That's how pleased I am with that run. I guess taking a few days off to let my body recover wasn't a bad idea after all. My right leg, especially behind the knee, is a little tight now, but nothing painful or awful. Feet feel great. I hit my turn around at 33 minutes, which would mean I was on a 1:06 pace. 1:07 is nearly that and that is the awesome. Its a good run to have going into my two weeks of taper.
The ride, while not as good as the run, was still pretty slamming. Turns out today is the Haleiwa Marathon. My long day bike course too me right by the end of the marathon course. Those are some unhappy looking people at mile 23. Part of me wanted to shout encouragement, but I'm not sure that's what you want to hear after four hours of running. So I let them be and rode my ride. Hope all you marathoners had fun! At least the weather was nice. Pineapple Hill was a struggle today, but it seems like its getting shorter. It still hurts, don't mistake what I say, but it hurts for less time. I think it took me 36 minutes to get all the way up it today, which is a long time to climb. And I know it wasn't as fast a climb as I've laid down in the past. But once at the top I was able to find some more push and keep on keeping on with a positive outlook and tired but not blown out legs.
I need to do some reading as far as how the taper section of my workout should go. I know intensity drops considerably, but that probably happens in a gradual manner. Two week until the big race. Should be fun!
Also, and I'm popping this in to every blog from here on out, please check out the Dirtbag Fitness 50/50 Guess My Time Fundraiser. Much thanks.

First Time Ever Dirtbag Fitness 50/50 Guess My Finishing Time Contest!!!

Dirtbag Friends! I come to you with a special contest offer.
As you know, the Honolulu Triathlon is coming up and your favorite Dirtbag will competing in the Olympic distance event, my first time at this distance! And if I've learned anything from's the Sports Guy its that if something is fun to watch, its way more fun to gamble on. So as a First Time Special Event Fundraiser Extravaganza Dirtbag Fitness proudly presents the 50/50 Guess My Time Challenge!

Here's the scoop:
-For every $5 sent in to Dirtbag Fitness using the PayPal link to the side you can have one guess at my overall finish time of the Honolulu Olympic Distance Triathlon in 15 second increments. The person closest to my actual time will be sent 50% of the total Dirtbag profit, with the other 50% going towards the care, feeding, upkeep, and competing of Dirtbag Fitness. (If this does well I'm using the money towards a bike box so I can travel to far off distant lands and get beaten by those people. If it doesn't I could always use more tire tubes.)

-For $25 you can have six guesses. That's one free guess, allowing you to block off a whole minute and a half for only $25.

-You must put your prediction in the comments below on this blog so everyone else can see and we don't get any doubles. Also, please send your predictions with the paypal payment so I have all your information in one place should you win.

-Rather than spoon feed you what I think my time will be, you've gotta use your noggin. I'll tell you it should be slower than two hours but faster than three. I'll even link you to my last race report and I'll remind you that every race up to this one has been a Sprint distance. This is an Olympic distance. Wasn't that nice of me?

-Remember, you must guess in 15 second increments. Please use a hours:minutes:seconds format for your prediction with along the lines of, "My prediction is a total overall time of 2:03:15. Dirtbag is a rock star of epic proportions!" or "I think Dirtbag will destroy the field with a final time of 1:56:30. I also think his awesomeness will cause any pregnant women he passes to spontaneously give birth."

-To sweeten the pot, if you manage to guess my exact time to the second I'll send you 75% of the profit rather than 50%.

-This Fundraising Contest begins today and ends the night of May 14th, which is the day before the race.

If this goes well and there is lots of participation then next time we'll break down the race into time predictions for each discipline as well as an overall time guess. If it doesn't go well and only two people participate...well then I'll send thank you emails to Dirtbag Parents and Dirtbag Best Friend, give someone their ten bucks, and pretend this never happened.

The relevant information once more is :
$5 = one guess

$25= six guesses
Guess in 15 second intervals

Post guess(es) in the comments below.

Thank you for playing, donating, and reading and good luck to everyone!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I'm Feeling Much Better Now (With Special Bonus Video Link!!!)

Run Day

time- 30 minutes

Not sure how far I ran today and I really don't care. It felt good. It was hot, my stride felt strong and quick, and I negative split the run. I wanted to make it a shorter one anyway, but the training plan actually called for a 30 minute outing. Guess maybe those people know what they're talking about after all.
Today was also supposed to be a swim morning and I even packed my stuff and set my alarm last night. When it went off I thought, "You know, I missed a bike and a run, might as well go three for three," turned it off, and crashed back out. No Duh Thought of the Day: Teaching is way way way easier when not completely exhausted.
Tomorrow is normally a rest day but I plan on making it an active rest day by going for a light, short bike ride after school.
****Special Bonus Video Section!!!****
Today I received an email from the people who put on the Lanikai Tri I just did with really cool information. They have two videos made from the race up on a website free to see. I shall now copy and paste the text of said email:
And finally, VIDEO from the ANA Lanikai Triathlon is now available for you to watch online! Boca Hawaii, in association with our newest affiliate, Triathlon Illustrated, has just posted the first of two videos from last Sunday's Lanikai race. Everyone who participated in the race appears in the first video, called My Cameo.
-To see it, go to
- This will take you to the Triathlon Illustrated home page. Please take the time to read the information on the home page to get full enjoyment from these videos. It only takes a minute or so to read. Then click on the Lanikai Triathlon picture, located in the right-hand column of the Triathlon Illustrated home page, and you'll be taken directly to the video. Enjoy!

I, like everyone else who completed the swim leg of the race, am in the Cameo video. My cameo happens around the eight minute mark. Can you spot the Dirtbag? The other video, while very cool, has no Dirtbag at all. Every time is shows the field I'm already gone. Still watch it, its very cool and gives a good impression of what the race was like. But expect no Dirtbag.*

*I have no idea what the hell is going on with my font now but I can't make it look like it does above. So the font has been changed at great expense at the last minute and those responsible for the sacking of the people who were sacked have been sacked.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Vapor Lock

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 200- 3:00
2 x 250- 4:00
5 x 100- 1:30
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2050yds

Full disclosure: I had a 1 x 500 planned in there too for after the 250s but before the 100s. I couldn't do it. I don't know what my problem has been but its reached the point where now I'm overthinking it and its blowing me out of the water. I was really tired this morning, talked myself in to getting up and getting to the pool. Talked my self up about how hard I was going to push this workout and how hardcore I was going to get on it. Then...fizzle. I can't figure it out. I'm trying to relax and let the speed come the way it does. I'm trying to get jacked and amp it out. Blah all the way. If it wasn't so close to race time I'd take a day off. I need to fight through this shit. I made all five of the 100s and was able to work those pretty good. Its frustrating because this has been the easy part the whole time, the part I'm good at already. I'm sure that mindset is part of it. After I take a week or so off post-race, once I'm getting back in the water, I'll start shopping around for a friend to swim with. I bet that would help. Time off will help too. Tired right now. Meeting after school. Must prevent my soul from being sucked from my body.
I want you to look at the above paragraph. I wrote that this morning after my swim while I was waiting for my students to get to school. Now look back at yesterday's post. I used the word "meh" to describe my workout three times.
Something is wrong.
So I'm deciding to take the advice I offer for myself above. I need a mental health day. I'm worn the fuck out and need to step back. I know the race is three weeks away. But what that really means about today and tomorrow's workouts are that I won't be gaining a ton by doing them or losing a ton by skipping. I might actually gain by skipping and letting my body recover. I think it was a mistake not to take it easy for a few days after my last race, not to dial some of the workouts back last week. That would have helped me recover. It would have been smart. But now I'm here, where I just feel tired, unmotivated, and unexcited about getting my shoes on for a run.
The biggest argument for this, as far as I'm concerned, happened today while I was teaching. We were in the middle of math and I completely vapor locked. As in, "Ok, now we are going to move on to number...uh...what number are, you guys just get back to work and finish the page. I'm going to go sit at my desk for a few minutes." I blanked. The lesson we were doing disappeared off my screen. This almost never happens to me while I'm teaching. But I was feeling it today and it just got the best of me. So I'm taking my own advice, as well as the advice of Sister Dirtbag, Official Trainer of Team Dirtbag, and taking the day off. Possibly tomorrow too, we'll see how I feel. Because there's a difference between fighting through that shit and just throwing a nothing, weak workout on top of an exhausted body and mind.
So I'm going to space out on the couch, probably throw around a few Portals, and go to bed early. And I'm not going to feel guilty about it because sometimes not pushing through is the best thing to do.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kinda Tired But Working

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
1 x 500- Pull
3 x 50- Sideline kick
4 x 200- 100- stroke count 15-16/100- Strong, Sustainable, Smooth
4 x 25- Count decrease by 2
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2300 yds

Cycle Day

time- 1:21
distance- 24.3mi

I'm still displeased with how I'm swimming but I have to fight through that. I have this week left for hard, full-on workouts and next week starts my taper. Today I spent my swim and bike fighting the thought that soon I'll be able to start taking it down a notch. I guess yesterday's ride was harder than I thought it was because I was pretty tired today.
You know what, this isn't making much sense. Swim was meh speed but my stroke feels longer. Bike started and finished good but there was some meh in the middle.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

No Doubt

Run Day (Saturday)

time- 1:10
distance- 7.61mi

Ride Day (Sunday)

time- 2:27
distance- 40mi

I was a lifeguard for the City of Palmdale for about 150 summers from high school all the way through college. One of the guys I worked with was Brother Savage, a big, strong, intense, and excellent lifeguard who punctuated many sentences and actions with a barked, "No doubt!" I love this phrase and, along with the Courson Way, which I follow to this day, have held on to it.
No doubt in the context of life, lifeguarding, and exercise means full committment to whatever is being done at the time. If you're going to take a class, do it without a doubt about why you're there. Going for a run? Never question your ability. Making a save? There is no doubt that save is going down smooth.
I've been dragging this week in terms of my workouts. Monday's ride was great, but other than that I haven't felt as fired up as I'd like. And I hit the bottom of Pineapple Hill this morning needing a push. And Savage (real name, fit perfectly, no joke) popped in to my head.
I use my time as a COP guard all the time. When I'm feeling stressed and need to relax I can close my eyes and go back to lying on the desk, feeling Courson's chipped seal, smelling the chlorine and sun screen, warming in the desert sun. When I need to motivate I think about what Bolt or BCY or Timmy would say if they saw me dragging ass like this. I think about the flag, which meant so much to me it was also my first tattoo.
So I growled, "No doubt," and hit that climb. It wasn't any faster than any other time, the wind kicked me around pretty good (when the crosswind make my spokes hum I know it's blowing good), but I got up the damn thing and got it done. And that only put me at 26 miles, ten short of my goal. On to base! I didn't do Kolekole, but I did get some decent small incline work done. When I finished my 40 I felt like I could have gotten another ten knocked out. But it was wife time. More important.
Yesterday's run followed the same. I felt slowish and tightish. So I had to reach down, find that place where there is no doubt, where there is only the decision to run and get it done, and dig that out. Again, not the fastest outing, but the run got run. My mind goes to the race, I think about how I know there will be times when my stomach cramps a little, times when I'm going to think, just for a moment, I really want to walk for just a minute. And I'm going to come back to these runs and these rides, when the sun is hot, when I might not have as much food energy to burn as I should in my body, when I've been teaching all week and would really rather just sit on the couch and play video games, and all the way back to those workouts with my guards, and I'll get it done.
No doubt.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Skinny Tires

My new tires are skinnier than the cuts on Emo Kid's arms. (Originally, this joke was "...skinnier than Emo Kid's jeans," but this is funnier.)
I bought skinny racing tires for Kratos two or three months ago but decided not to put them on until after the Lanikai Tri. That way the majority of my training would be done on thicker, heavier tires, making me stronger. So when I switch, the new tires would be one more thing pushing me towards faster. So on Tuesday, between my ocean swim and my slow fartlek, I spent some time putting them on.
They are much skinnier than the ones which used to be on the bike, as you can see. That means less ground contact, which means less friction and less weight. During yesterday's ride I'm not sure I could tell if there was a huge difference, but the bike looks faster and it does feel lighter. And the red trim looks Dirtbag Badass. With Kratos 4.0 up and rolling, we are prepared to make the jump to light speed.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

My Own Little Tri

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
200- 3:00
300- 4:30
400- 6:00
500- 7:30
400- 6:00
300- 4:30
200- 3:00
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2550yds

I'm frustrated with my swim time at the Lanikai race and my frustration is carrying over to my workouts. I've done this workout before, weeks ago. And I feel like it went better then than that it did this morning. I missed the 500 and the second 400. I'm three months in to this training and I still can't focus and push a 400 at a 1:30 pace? That makes for a grumpy Tattooed Wake (my swimming alter-ego, remember?). I know the problem is in my head too. I lose focus and I lose speed. I think I need to find someone to swim with next time I train. At least once a week. I can't afford a Masters team, but there's got to be a friend out there who can help push me. I know I've been making great gains in my cycling and running, but I haven't moved in the water. I know I started out much higher there than in the other two, but I've been putting some heavy yardage in. Just don't feel like I've had a solid, positive swim workout in a few weeks. Grumble grumble grumble.

Brick Day

time-31 minutes
distance- 3.5mi

I missed working out Wednesday because of a school thing and I've been meaning to start throwing bricks in to my workouts, so that led to this.
The ride went fairly well. I tried to push, like I always do, and succeeded on some portions and felt slow on others. Pounded up Kolekole hill in 15 minutes or maybe 14. I'm not sure because I forgot my watch at home. I was tired, give me a break.
Quick change and I was off on a half hour run. The distance isn't all that impressive giving the pace that I have been setting during my runs, but I had woken up at 4:35, swum, taught all day, then rode 23 miles beforehand so I can't be all that upset about it.
What's nice is right now the jelly legs of transition aren't hitting me too hard. I didn't feel it during the Lanikai tri very much and didn't really feel it yesterday. Probably means that I'm not riding hard enough.
Today, Friday, is a day off, then it back to training on Saturday with a nice, long, run.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blue and Red

Swim Day

time- 21 minutes

Played hokey from school today. Which meant that instead of my normal 5am swim workout I got to sleep in (Bonus!) and experiment a little. So I decided that instead of heading to the pool for laps I would hit Haleiwa Beach Park and get some open water swimming in. My verdict: Meh.
Open water swimming during training can be a great workout. But only, I think, if you are swimming with others or if you have a little better sense of the distances where you are swimming. I can estimate how far I swam based on time and how it feels, and I'm pretty sure I got about 1500 yards in today. But I don't know how quality they were compared to if I had gone to the pool. It was nice to swim in a straight line for five, ten minutes, with no walls to worry about.
But I think open water workouts might be most valuable for triathletes who aren't comfortable with their swimming and aren't happy in the water. Because following that black line in the pool is one thing. But watching the bottom fall away into blue is something completely different. I like the ocean. I'm a strong swimming. But it still messes with my head when I can't see the bottom anymore. Thoughts like, "You know, the news would love it if the guy covered in shark tattoos got eaten," slip in unbidden and unwanted. However, in a race I don't have time to think about that. I'm not looking at the bottom, I'm looking at the guys around me, looking for stray feet and open water. So open water holds no fear during a race. Too busy doing other things. So it was nice to get out into the water, but I don't need to do it again before Honolulu.

Run Day

time- 45 minutes

Farlek run today for the fail. Just felt tight and slow the whole run, I couldn't get it going. It was a hot, frustrating run. Not awful, but not good. And by the end my new VFF KSOs had rubbed holes in both my feet. The old ones would cause blisters eventually when I would go sockless and it looks like these are no different. I've heard the Bikilas don't do this, but I'd rather have KSOs right now. Biks are next on the list. I'm not sure if the blisters were worse than normal because they shoes are new or because I went with slightly too big of a size. They were bought from REI so if I need to I can return them, REI is awesome with stuff like that. I'll give them a few more runs to see.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Drill and Kill

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim
3 x 200- 100- Stroke count 15/100- fast
3 x 50- Sideline kick
4 x 100- IM
1 x 400- Hard
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2300yds

Ok, I'm not thrilled with yesterday's swim time. A race report is still forthcoming, but sneak preview: my swim pace was 1:40/100yds (I assume it was yds)! When I workout I swim on a 1:30/100 pace. What the hell happened yesterday? I think a big part of it was the mosh pit that is a mass mens start. I had to pop up a few times to find my way around people and there was plenty of bumping, grabbing, and splashing. So I have an excuse for a slow pace, since the first 200yds weren't open swimming. But it still bugs me. Excuses suck.
Today, though, wasn't about making up that speed. I have a plan and I'm sticking to it. Monday's are stroke work. I need to get longer and smoother, hence the sideline kick sets and the stroke counts. When it comes time to race I won't be counting strokes but the more I do the stroke count sets the more that rhythm will get into the natural stroke. Really focusing on getting my shoulder to my chin and keeping my elbow high at the extension and the catch.
The IM sets are feeling better and better as well. With no knee pain during the whip kick and a strong but still too slow turnover in back I remember how much I enjoyed IMs. This summer there are four open water swims and if we're on island for any I think I'll spend the money to register. It will be fun and good for my tris (That was a swimmer joke! Who got it?).

Ride Day

time- 1:25
distance- 30mi

Kicked ass on my ride today. Good pace, solid cadence even on heavy gears. I rode from home all the way in to Honolulu, so much of the ride was downhill in some way, shape, or form. Not big time zooming downhill, but in a slight way. After all, I do live on the highest point on the island. Everything is downhill from here. But I was still riding hard. Aero positioning feels better every time I get down into it. I know I'm still not perfect, my seat is still too low I think and my shoulders aren't as on top of my elbows as they should be, but its closer. It feels faster.
One of the nice parts about this ride was part of it was done along the same road I'll be riding during the Honolulu Tri next month. This road feels fast. It's flat and smooth. I was in heavy gears and my quads were working. Speedo was reading anywhere from 21 to 24mph. Smoking. I realize that if I'm able to generate that kind of speed there the real fast guys are going to be cooking by, but I don't care. I'll be attacking on my own.
Dirtbag positive about his riding today.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lanikai Sprint Tri Photo Blog

Lanikai Sprint Tri 4/17/11

$90 t-shirt

$90 Swim cap (which I'm too excited about)

I'm 203! (Came in 110 out of 354, which isn't bad)

Look at her pretending to be happy to be up at 4am for a race she's not even doing and which she won't be able to see but a fraction of! I have the best wife ever.

Transition area prepared and ready for greasy-fast transitions

The water was perfect. And as far as you know that guy in the front is me.

The first stolen from the official race photographer's website picture. Pretty sure that's me on the right taking my cap off

Nice short run from the water to T1

See? Told you.

Helmet. Shoes. Shades. Blow nose. Go!

We had a long T1 jog to where we could actually mount the bikes. Running in cycling shoes sucks.

Stolen picture #2. Climbing the hill on K-Bay Marine Base.

Stolen picture #3. Watching some dude pass me while climbing the hill.

Speed bumps are not so much fun when racing. Off to the run!

Race was filled. Huge transition area.

In the words of a fictional plumber, "Here we go!"

Stolen Picture #5 I could feel the guy behind me catching up and turned it on

Stolen Picture #6 I love my face in these two shots. Total game face
(Also, note the massive heel strike of the dude behind me. Bad form)

Rock star finish. Excellent action shot by the wife.

Posing out

Posing out like a ninja

Lanikai Sprint Tri Race Report

Lanikai Sprint Tri Race Reoprt

Race pain is temporary, but results on the internet are forever.
(Search bib #203 or my name to find me. But you knew that. Duh.)

Swim- 500yds- 8:18
T1- 1:50
Bike- 12.4mi- 32:14
T2- 1:43
Run- 3.5mi- 20:26
Total time- 1:13:30

Early morning. Too early in fact. Someone (me) misread the race information sheet and thought it said the transition area opened for set up at 4am. Uh, no, 4:45. Which is close...but not quite. So we got up a little earlier than we needed to, but we got rock star parking. There is that. And if this had been any of the other races I've done so far I also could have grabbed a stellar bike spot. This was not to be as the racks were labeled with race numbers. So instead of setting up right by the bike exit I was simply next to 204 and 202 and pretty right in the middle of the transition area. This, I'm sure, is partially to blame for me coming in 11th in my age group. If I'd just had a better bike spot I could have won it all! I coulda been a contenda, Charlie.
Speaking of age groups, apparently USAT (USA Triathlon) goes by the age the athlete will be in December of the year the race is in. Normally this wouldn't matter. But I'm 29 until November 24 (Now all of you know my birthday. I expect gifts). So instead of being in the 25-29 age group as I had been, I'm in the 30-35 age group. USAT thinks I'm thirty! As for placing in races, this doesn't help one way or another. Endurance events favor slightly older athletes. Older bodies absorb the punishment better it seems. So just because I'm aged up doesn't mean I'll be placing any higher. (Ok, I just looked at the 25-29 age group times after I typed that and I would have placed 19th instead of 9th. So I guess it did help. Shhh, I won't tell if you won't.)
On to the race!
It was a perfect morning for a swim. The water was warm and smooth, very little wave action going on. The sky was clear and it was shaping up to be a warm race day. Good for making athletes stronger. We started in two waves, men first and then women three minutes later.
From the Go! it was a mosh pit. Mass starts, I'm learning, always are. At least until the first buoy there is no space for real strokes, just much jostling, pushing, grabbing, being grabbed, and kicking people off your feet. The first 200 yards of a triathlon are hard and I struggled to find some open water to lengthen my stroke out. It came after the turn.
Once we made the turn and were heading parallel with the shore I was able to step it up. I bunched up a few times with some other swimmers, getting around them in the water is harder than on the bike or run. That, the opening 200yd mosh, plus the occasional heads-up stroke to spot the next buoy I'm sure contributed to my less-than-stellar 1:40 pace. After the second turn towards the beach I was locked in right on one guy's feet and right next to another swimmer. Rather than try to sprint past for the transition I went with some race strategy and settled in. Getting out of the water a second or two ahead of them wouldn't be worth the energy burnt to do it.
It was, thankfully, a short run to the transition area. Everything went on quickly and smoothly and I was off again. My overall swim place was 28th, but that includes the women and relays. So my view coming in to the transition area was of one still very full of bikes.
The bike start was a difficult one. Rather than exit transition, get on, and ride we had a short jog along a path to the street. We couldn't mount before the street because the park had barriers separating the path from the outside world. Navigating these would have been, in a word, bad. I'm not thrilled I had to run with my cycling shoes on. They aren't built for it.
Once I was off on the bike I felt very strong. I used high, heavy gears and actually passed someone right away. All right! And then about a hundred people passed me. Oh well. The ride was good, flat, and clear. Mostly. We hit the Marine base, K-Bay, where the middle third of the race would take place. And what is in the middle of K-Bay, you may ask. Or you may not since why would you ask that? It's kind of a strange question. Either way, even if you may not ask I'll tell you. In the middle of K-Bay is a hill. Oh good, a climb in the midst of my race. And not a piddly climb. A decent ascent. Enough to send my speed and the speed of many around me crashing int single digits. Not all of those around me, however. Getting passed while cruising on the flats in one thing. Getting passed by a dude climbing is something else. It sucks more. At the base I actually felt fairly positive about the whole thing. I climb all the time on my rides. I should be strong for this. Not so much as some of the others. Jerks.
The turn around was at the summit and then zoooooooom back down the hill. Gotta admit, this is fun. It was plenty steep because I know I was flying. Tight turn at the bottom which required some heavy braking and it was back on the road. Again, I overtook one or two riders. At one point, though, a whole freaking peloton went by me. Just a ton of guys and gals ripping along in one group. Crazy. I made one last pass before turning back to the bike dismount point. Average speed during the ride: 21mph. I couldn't be more pleased with this. It gives me serious amounts of confidence that I can generate that kind of speed over 12 miles. I know its not all that far, but I've only been riding for a few months. And I think I could have pushed faster. Also, I spent nearly all of the race down on my aerobars and that was excellent. I honestly don't know if I'm any faster there than I would be on the drops but its more comfortable and, as I've said a few times before, it feels faster. Mentally, this is a huge step up. So they were a good purchase.
Again, a jog from bike dismount to T2. I should have taken off my cycling shoes and held them, running barefoot to transition, but I didn't think of that. Instead click click click I went, trying not to think about how bad this was for my clips. In and out of T2 in 1:43, which is slow. My toes got caught up in my TrekSports. I blame that. And my middle of the transition area position, can't forget that! Curses! I totally would have won. For shoes I went with the TrekSport VFFs rather than the KSOs because the last time I had been to Lanikai the road had sucked. It was an ugly mix of chipseal, sharp rocks, and razors. The KSOs would not have been good. Since I was last out the road had been repaved and was now smooth like butter. KSOs would have been fine, probably better than TrekSports. Oh well, too late now.
The run started out with a hill. Because right after you get off a bike the first thing you want to do is run up a hill. There were two more little rollers after that first one, but the first was the biggest. I was fresh out of T2 and leaving the park when I decided my one-piece tri suit wasn't going to be comfortable on this leg and I shrugged out of the top, baring my chest to the world. This served two functions. One, it made me more comfortable and cooler. Two, it totally distracted some of the female racers. Oh yeah.
On the way up the initial hill I ran next to the guy I had just gone by on the bike. Some younger guy, probably in the 15-19 age group. We had a conversation. I said, "Oh good, another hill." He chuckled and gasped, "Yeah. Whats your strongest event." I told him swimming. "Me too," he said. Then he started to slow and I started to speed up, I'm somewhat used to running hills, and I never saw him again.
For me the run is much like the bike. I get passed more than I pass but I feel strong either way most of the time. I must admit, there was a point there when the temperature was starting to rise with the sun when I thought, "This is kind of a stupid thing to do." But that quickly went away and I was back at it. My goal, if you remember, was to push the whole run and really make it hurt. In this I failed. I succumbed to the fear of pain. I couldn't really amp my cadence up any more and settled in to a rhythm. The whole time I was thinking, "I should be running harder," but I couldn't get my legs to do it.
I was prepared for a three mile run, maybe a little more, but the run was actually 3.5. This is more than a little more than three miles mentally. But what was nice about it was the run out was longer than the run back due to small curves and the hills on that end. So once we hit the turn around point we were over halfway. I clung to that.
The run ended with the hill that started it, then short beach section to the finish. I powered up the hill, quick-stepped down, and went oceanward once again. Running on the sand normally is no fun. It's soft and it sucks the strength straight from your legs. Lanikai's beach though, is hard packed near the water's edge. It was like running on grass. It felt great. And I was able to really get my cadence up. Coming to the end, maybe 200 yards from the finish, I caught a shadow in my peripheral and head footsteps. No way, mutherfrakker. No way are you passing my when I can see the finish. We raced to the end. It was great! Racing is fun, that's why I do it, but to have an hour and thirteen minutes come down to a sprint to the finish is, for lack of a better word, awesome. And looking at the list of times, he was in my age group. I finished with a time of 1:13:30 and the guy below me finished with 1:13:31. I beat him by a second! Yes! Of course, as a good sport I gave him a fist bump and a "good race" when we were walking it off.
My run pace over the 3.5mi was 7:53/mile. Kick ass as far as I'm concerned. I still think I could have pushed harder over the whole run and my ability to sprint at the end backs that up. But I'm not going to complain about a 7:53 mile. Things are coming along in my two weak areas very nicely. And the swim...well, the swim will come back.
I'm so glad I was able to do these two races before the Honolulu Triathlon next month. It was great to get some more race experience under my belt, great to be able to see how my training is improving, and racing is still a lot of fun. Even it it doesn't always seem like it at the time. So much thanks to Dirtbag Mom and Skip and Dirtbag Best Friend and Best Friend's Wife Who Needs a Better And Shorter Nickname for funding them both. And of course to Team Dirtbag's Official Sexy Wife/Photographer/Nutritionist, Stiches, who is the best ever and makes awesome pre-race tofu tacos. Also, to the rest of Team Dirtbag for their support and encouragement. And to my director and all the writers and my agent, I couldn't have won this without you. Who am I forgetting? Oh, and of course the Dark Lord of the Underworld, without your voice constantly whispering in my ear where would I be? What, the music is playing already?
Honolulu is coming up soon. I had better get back on the road.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Redemption Running Before a Race

Run Day

time- 52 minutes
distance- approx. 6mi

Felt excellent today. And while I didn't negative split my run, it was pretty damned close. When I finished my right knee was kind of sore, but nothing bad. It was a strong run.
Tomorrow I've got my fourth sprint tri, the Lanikai Sprint. Picked up my race packet today and it came with a very nice t-shirt and a cool swim cap I have to wear. That's right, I'm such a swim dork that I just described a cap as "cool". After today's run I think I'll be able to pump pretty hard tomorrow. Good dinner tonight, tofu tacos. Episode of Doctor Who. Then prepare my gear and get as much sleep as possible. Waking up tomorrow around 3am. Its a good drive to the race.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

A Bear In the Woods

Swim Day

1 x 50- Warm-up
2 x 300- 4:30
1 x 500- 7:30
3 x 50- Sideline kick
2 x 400- 6:00
4 x 25- stroke count -2
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2400yds

Sometimes swimming just feels like loading yardage on to my body. But sometimes that's what I need. As strong as I've felt this week on the bike on and foot is as weak as I've felt in the water. I can't help thinking that I shouldn't be focusing as much on the swim and I shouldn't be expending as much energy during my swim workouts as I am. Instead I should be saving myself for the afternoon rides and runs. And I think that is hurting my swims. Today's workout started out strong, I was feeling good, but after not too long I didn't feel like I could slam through the laps like I should be. My head wasn't in it. I kept thinking, "I should focus on my run after school. I should take this down a little to save energy. I'll be in the top third or quarter out of the water based on experience. But all those people are going to pass me on the road. Better to spend energy there." This isn't false. My biggest race problem is that I'm so much faster than many of the athletes during the swim that I get out and through T1 early. But they are cyclists, and I'm still more like a guy on a bike. So they pass me, which isn't great for my head. Since I know now and I expect it I don't get bothered by it any more. But still...
So swimming is becoming a challenge because my focus is being pulled elsewhere. Still laying down a sub-1:30/100 pace though. Can't complain.

Run Day

time- 31 minutes
distance- approx 4mi

Fair warning: the title is true.
The run started so well. Strong pace, good mindset, decent turn-around time. Then...all of the sudden...The Voice. We all know The Voice, some better than others. Sometimes is is quiet at first, warning and whispering.
Not today.
Today I took a swig of water, it hit my stomach, and The Voice said, "You should find a place to stop NOW!" Lucky for me there was a trail leading off the road not ten yards from where I was and I quickly ducked off. After checking to be sure no one was coming and that I was well and truly hidden from the road I, well, guess. Want a clue? Endurance athletes call it a Code Brown. Clear enough?
I think it might have been something I ate during my meeting today. There was a cake and I had a small piece, realizing too late just how much of the cake was made of lots of milk product. I popped a Lactade pill and felt fine. Or so I thought.
Damn cake.
I walked a little, hoping to feel better, but this was in vain. After my third stop I called for backup and Super Awesome Wife brought the truckulance to the rescue. Guess I'm lucky that there are high bushes and a deep trench in the pineapple fields along the road I run. Not fun. And annoying because I was having such a good run. The goal going forward is to not think about it before my next long run Saturday or my race Sunday. It was a freak thing due to a poor dietary choice and that is that.
Stupid cake.
On a more positive note, my new VFF KSOs came yesterday and I ran in them today. Feel great, fit great. Black this time because they had no green in my size. Pictures to follow.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Feel the Burn

Ride Day

time- 1:52
distance- 28mi

Tried to make it hurt today. I guess what I've been doing the last few days has been good because I woke up this morning sore. Haven't had tight legs in a while.
Fartleked my ride today. Not a whole bunch, but a few times. Got low and as aero as I could, shifted up a few gears, and started pumping my quads hard. Went up Kolekole in 14 minutes. Felt good...until some dude blew by me without even breathing hard. Twice. Well, three times if you count him passing me on his way down the hill while I was still struggling up. The other was when I was on a second lap through base, not including the climb this time.
So today was a strong ride, tore me up pretty good. I need to keep having rides like this, but longer distances, and I'll start feeling better about my Olympic tri that suddenly seems very close.
I passed three young girls jumping rope while riding by the residential area of base. They were singing a common jump rope rhythm and counting song. It got me wondering, how could Cinderella dressed in yellah possibly have mistaken a snake for a fella upstairs? I think this rhyme might not be appropriate for children. And if I'm right then what are all these doctors doing there? "Hey, we heard you're kissin' snakes up here."

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Sprinty Day

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 100- 1:30
1 x 50- easy
8 x 25- no breather all out 0:45
1 x 50- easy
1 x 50- 0:45
1 x 100- 1:30
1 x 150- 2:15
4 x 200
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2100 yds

Tried to break it off today in the water. Managed to burn myself enough to ruin three of the four 200s at the end of the workout. I was swimming hard at the start, holding a good stroke with quick turn-over, and not-stupid breathing. Haven't cranked out a bunch of 100s in a while, so it was good to do. And the 25s, while not as fast as I would have liked, were pretty decent. They were all in a 15-18 second range. Meh.
When I hit the mini-ladder I fell apart. All my energy went our the window and I was fighting for the 100 and 150. The plan was to do a 200 after the 150, then a 50 easy, then three 200s. But I took a minute or so after the 150, tried to get my head together and let my shoulders, arms, and back recover some, and added that two to the three twos already planned instead. They didn't go great. It was a moral victory. I fought through. The last 200 I managed to crank ok. Think I did it in 2:50. But the others, I'm not sure.
Workouts like this, even though it seems unrelated to the kind of endurance I'll be doing during a race, do help. Its a mental thing, and the body needs to open up and go hard and short sometimes too. Which is why I do fartlek runs.

Run Day

time- 47 minutes
distance- approx 5.?mi*

*Battery on Dirtbag Distance Determining Device was Dead. D'oh!

Know what I like about fartlek runs? Well I'll tell you. I like that they force me to stay out of my head and instead stay present in the moment. Too often I slip into a runners daze while out on the road. Make no mistake, sometimes that's great. Its an excellent way for eight miles to pass. But its also good to have a run where I stay checked in and truly aware of what's going on. Fartlek does that because I'm constantly evaluating how I'm feeling and scouting ahead for the next sprint to goal.
Today I feel positive about my running again. I oscillate on this more than anything else. I'm rarely just meh about my runs and my running shape. I either feel strong or I feel like I suck. Very little middle ground there. Today, seeing as it was a good run, I'm up. I need to hold this attitude for Sunday. My plan for race day is to really make the run hurt. I want to put some risk out there, set a faster than comfortable pace, and hold it. Its only three miles. With where my training is at right now, that isn't all that far. I have to be scared I'm not going to make it and push anyway. It'll make me stronger.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cranking It Out

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
3 x 50- Sideline kick
4 x 200- Stroke count (15 or less)
4 x 100- IM
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, Swim

total- 2000yds

Not the hardest swim I've ever laid down, but I do think the drill did their work nicely. The goal of those sideline kick drills is to get me swimming laterally in the water, really stretching the top of my stroke and getting my shoulders around. Going from that in to the 200s with a stroke count went well. I kept a decent pace and I felt like my strokes were long and strong. I was right about 15 stroke per lap for nearly the whole set, rising to 16 or 17 a few times when I started swimming a little harder at the end.
The IM was fun. My fly actually didn't feel like seven pieces of crap, which I expected. I value my butterfly, having been a flyer in high school and in college (a little, where I sucked compared to everyone else). Backstroke is lame and I'm not sure my still sore knees appreciated the torque that comes with the breaststroke's whip kick. Still good. And the 1, 2, 3, Swim drill has me feeling the water and gripping it strongly. Low yardage, but quality yards.

Ride Day

time- 1:49
distance- 27mi

Ok, not the fastest 27 miles ever. In fact, I'm not all that pleased with my time. But I did hit Kolekole Hill in just under 15 minutes, which is good. Especially because it felt slow. I haven't done that climb in what feels like a long time, so it was good to get up it again.
I don't know, I just don't feel as strong as I would like on the bike. Even as strong as I had been feeling. Its probably because I haven't had good, consistent rides recently. But I feel like by this point in my training my quads should be kick ass. They should be Engines of Destruction. And they aren't. They get me where I'm going, sure, but not like I would like. I make myself feel better by being reminded that I just completed the base building section of my training and the next few weeks are speedwork and quality. So now I need to be pounding out fast intervals and hitting it hard. My quads feel pretty cooked right this minute. Make me strong. Also feeling better down on the Aerobars of Chaos. Still not sure if I'm actually more aero, should ask Super Awesome Sexy Wife to take some pictures of me.
I was starving today after my ride. Had a burger and fries, then was hungry again an hour later and had a bagel. Guess that means it was a good workout day.
Saw this sign at the top of Kolekole Pass today during my ride. Here's the thing, I has just ridden up the road that was supposedly closed for the Live Fire Exercise. There was no sign at the bottom, I checked. Only a sign at the top. These are the joys of riding on a military base. I didn't get shot. I did ride down the hill as fast as I could.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Slow, Frustrating Day with a Happy Ending

Ride Day

distance- 27mi

Today started off so well. The fit of the bike was right and felt good. The weather was cooperating. All was right with the world for about twelve miles.
Then the damned derailuer started acting up again. If you've been paying attention you will remember that Kratos will sometimes refuse to shift from the small ring to the big ring. Well he made that choice again today and it really pissed me off. I'd had this problem fixed a few times. They go in, turn a few screws, Allen a few bolts, and viola, fixed. But I don't want to have to keep dragging the bike to the shop once every month. Stopped on the side of the road and tried to fix it. Thought I did. I was wrong.
Then I noticed that I'd missed the Haleiwa Metric Half Century (62 miles) today. I didn't know it was happening until I rode by the staging area. This would have been a cool ride to go on. Aside from the whole my bike won't shift thing. So I stopped, said hi to some people that I knew, and found out their mechanic, who I hoped would fix my problem, had just left. Major bummer. So I pounded back up Pineapple Hill, grumbling to myself the whole way, fighting a massive mental game. The mechanical issue really threw me off today. My head was not in this ride at all, resulting in a crappy ride. All I could think about was how annoying it was that I was going to have to take the stupid bike back in to the stupid shop and stupid grumble grumble. This type of inner conversation is not conducive to a strong workout. In fact, I cut my ride short by ten miles because I didn't want to waste time getting it fixed.
I need to get my head back on straight. A huge part of this sport is being mentally strong and I can't let little things throw me off so badly.
Once I got home I busted out Zinn and the Art of Triathlon Bikes, which Super-Awesome Sexy Wife bought me a few weeks ago. I hoped this would have the answers I was looking for. And lo and behold it did! Showed me exactly which screws to turn in which directions and quick as you can say, "I'm so very glad I didn't throw the bike into the truck and drive to the nearest bike shop and pay for someone to do this," it was fixed. So yay for SASW buying a book which has paid for itself a few times now, and yay for me being savvy enough to actually use the book. Can't recommend the Zinn cycling books enough.
Next week I need to get some quality rides in. Also, one week from today is my final tune-up race, the Lanikai Sprint Tri. Should be a good time.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

I Kneed Work

Run Day

time- 1:08
distance- 7.24mi

Moderately annoyed by today's run. I planned another eight miles like last weekend. But the whole run, the whole week really, my knees have been funny. After my run Thursday my left knee tightened up pretty good and it took a bit for it to relax. Well, tightness set in after about 40 minutes of running and by the time I started walking, with home nearly in sight, the left knee was at a point where it wasn't hurting, but it wasn't doing what I wanted either. I decided to err on the side of caution. What is most disappointing is that the run as a whole wasn't working for me. There were stretches where I liked my cadence, I felt smooth and light and strong, but overall this was more of a drag than the last time. Which happens.
I'm wondering if the knees are sore because I broke one of the rules. I might have grown my run too much too quickly. The furthest I'd gone up until two weeks ago was six miles. I bumped that to eight all at once. Probably should have gone to six and a half or seven first.
Tomorrow is a ride. Feels like I haven't been on the bike in forever, but really its only been since Monday. Hope my knees don't bother me too much. Riding puts a lot of pressure there. Guess if I get pain I'll knock off early. Probably time to ice a little more.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

BRS- Hawaii is Up and Running!

This just in, you're favorite Dirtbag is now one step closer to winning the internets. That's right, I am the Chapter President of the Barefoot Runners Society Hawaii Chapter. I didn't even have to show a birth certificate (little Hawaii birth certificate humor there. Course, I was born in Californi but whatever! At least I wasn't born in Panama or something. Whew!)!
This development not only makes the Hawaii Chapter of the BRS the most important chapter, but also the most awesome chapter. That's right, we are waaay more awesome than even the Minnesota Chapter. All they've got is a paleo, kit-wearing superhero. You can also check us out on Facebook using the link to the side of the blog.
So if you are a barefoot or minimalist runner in Hawaii like us, come on by the BRS forums, and come for a run or two.

Trying To Go

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
4 x 200- 3:00
1 x 50- easy
1 x 400- 6:00
5 x 100- 1, 2, 3, swim drill
3 x 50- Sideline kick drill
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2150yds

I'm trying out some drills I found on a triathlon website. The 1, 2, 3, Swim drill is something that I used to do in high school and had since forgotten about. One means my hands are fists except for one finger extended, two means two fingers, and you get the idea. The drill's point is to improve feel for the water and to teach me to use my forearm as well as my hand. And that last lap always feels excellent with an open hand. Feels strong.
Sideline kick means one arms extended like I was rotated at the top of a stroke, shoulders and hips vertical in the water, flutter kicking. This improves body rotation, which in turn improves stroke length and efficiency. This is important even if I'm not working long distances.
Drills, I think, are going to become more and more important as I get closer to race day. Better to make Dirtbag the Tattooed Wake.

Run Day

time- 53 minutes
distance- 5.97mi

First, I was sure that this run was six miles. I know, I know, that distance practically is six miles. But its isn't actually six miles. Damnit. Run felt ok, pace was off the whole time. I was slower than normal. Not too much slower, but slower. I think part of that was I had an all day meeting today. Which means that there was snacks sitting in front of me all day. Which I may have had my fair share of because sometimes my impulse control sucks. And this, I think, gave me some Dirtbag Gas during my run. Releaving said gas is great once, ok twice, but after that is get annoying and uncomfortable. Needless to say, I'm glad I run alone.

I know yesterday was supposed to be a ride day and I'd planned to make up my swim too. But we got locked out of the house the night previous resulting in a less-than-ideal bedtime. So no swim. And after work I felt like I needed a rest day. It just felt like one of those days. My left knee was still sore, my left ankle felt funny. I wanted to not work out. So Sexy Wife and I went to see Source Code instead. If you've seen it we need to talk. I have issues.
As of right now I'm icing my left knee because it tightened up on me right after my run ended. No pain, just tight. The ice bag then alternates to my left foot, which also feels like it could use some ice. Should just figure out an affordable way to take an ice bath after workouts. That would show these pesky joints.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Sleeping In, Runing With Fartlek, Making Adjustments

Run Day

time- 40:51
distance- 4.74mi

I know, I know, today was supposed to be a swim day too. I had alarm fail. I don't know why. The worst part is when I have alarm fail I wake up on my own with just enough time to get to the pool, change, and swim an unsatisfyingly short workout before I'd have to get out and get ready for work. So I went back to sleep. I plan on getting up tomorrow morning instead.
My training plan has me moving from the base building phase into the speed/quality phase, so I'll be knocking out one fartlek run a week. For those of you with no reading retention, fartlek is Swedish for "speedplay". It also means "word which will make the wife will stop asking you what you did on your run". So after ten minutes of warm-up at a good pace I picked a landmark and sprinted to it. And so on.
Sprinting in the VFFs is a tricky thing. Too much and I'm going to hurt myself. Too little and its not a sprint. So I'm watching my form while I'm also trying to spin up my cadence and use my hips for a slightly longer stride. I'm not unhappy with today's run. I didn't feel that fast, but its my first speedplay run in a while. Didn't finish as strongly as I would have liked either.
Once home I stretched, showered, and set to work adjusting Kratos. First, the handlebars had to be dropped. So I loosened them up and took off the spacers raising it a few cm. Not enough. I took the bar all the way off and flipped the stem, dropping the bars a few more metric units. The hardest part was tightening everything back up so we were level and in line. Think I got it.
Next, I tackled the seat. It needed to be leveled, so I fooled around with those bolts, getting it right. Then I raised it just a smidge, checked it, and raised it just a smidge more. Hopefully, these changes will give me a slight aero and power improvement. I'll be riding with my two magic Allen wrenches for the next few days just in case things aren't quite tight. I think the real reason all adjustments went so smoothly is I didn't say the famous words of that world-renown philosopher Clarksonius before starting, "How hard could this be? Honestly."

Monday, April 4, 2011

I'm Not Aero

Swim Day

1 x 150- Warm-up
5 x 150- Pull
5 x 200- 100-5, 7, 9/100- stroke focus
1 x 400- Strong
1 x 100- Cool down

total- 2400yds

Had some trouble with the 5, 7, 9 this morning. I think it was because I was working the second hundred hard so the heart rate was up, somewhat decreasing oxygen efficiency. Or I'm weak sauce sometimes. One of the two. Still, the swim was good. I'm at the point in my training now where I think my swim distances are going to drop off significantly over the next few weeks as I start putting more energy towards the bike or run workout at the end of the day. My swim isn't going to be the fastest out of everyone, but it will get me out of the water in the front third or better. I need to get strong enough to hold that position now.

Bike Day

distance - 27.51mi
time- ?

At some stop or another I forgot to restart my watch, then at the next stop I started it, and so on, so my time was all screwed up by the time I realized what was going on. It wasn't as fast as it should have been, let's put it that way.
Today was my first ride with aerobars on and, well, I can see how it will make me faster. It feels faster being in that position. But I am in no way aero yet. Like I mentioned in the post where I mounted the bars, my seat-to-bar drop is non-existent. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal. It will be. I can totally tell as soon as I get leaned over. My seat is too far back, causing my shoulder/body angle to be obtuse rather that right, which means my upper arm/lower arm angle is also more open than it should be. Figuring out how to get the bars lower, which will happen tomorrow and which I should be able to do (there are spacers and I can flip the stem if I need to, good call Cycle Dirtbag), and the seat pushed a few mm forward should make a bunch of difference. And if I can't seem to get it dialed in then Friday I'll head to IT&B and say, "Halp! I tried to make my bike faster and now it doesn't fit and I don't know what I'm doing." They'll hook me up. Rather do it myself though.
But because I was thinking about how off the fit seemed and because I was getting used to the aerobars and the incredible way my wrist has to stretch to get flat (which hurts now but should get better), and because I stopped twice to fiddle/tighten/adjust, I don't feel like I had all that great of a workout. It was more of a test ride. I need to start pushing these. Gotta find that Fast.