Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Dreaded 1-hour Swim...Complete!

Hey there!

This morning, I participated in the nation wide one-hour swim competition. A competition for distance, this swim was a great way for me to gauge my improvement over the last year.

I began swimming with the Bruin masters program in September of 2008 and a few months after the fact, I participated in my first 1-hour swim, hitting the wall at 4,000 yards on the nose (equates to 1:30 per 100yd average). Today, one year later, I hit the wall at 4,810 yards which equated to an average of basically 1:15 per 100yd. I was more than elated with my result! I have worked so hard over the last 15 months and it has completely paid off.

Going into today's swim, my goal was 1:15s or 4,800 yards, however I thought that that might have been a bit of an ambitious goal. This is especially due to the fact that I had missed some crucial longer set workouts during the first three weeks of January while I was racing in South America. With that being said, my result is a testament to my swimming fitness and I couldn't be more pleased!

The swim itself went relatively smoothly up until the 35th minute, where it then got pretty interesting...

At that point, my goggles completely filled up with water (I'm talking 100%) and I could no longer see the two pool-side clocks that I was using to pace myself. It was so bad that I didn't know where the walls were until I was within two strokes from them! While it seemed like having to endure this annoyance for 25 more minutes was a total disaster, it actually wound up being a blessing in disguise. Instead of dwelling too much on my pacing, it forced me to lower my head and continue ticking off the yardage.

I was able to see the "10 minutes left" sign and figured if I swam my 1:15s, I could get 800 in during that time. Sure enough, I was able to get 860 yards in and finished on a good note!

While I was very excited about having met my goal, the best part about that hour was being able to rip my goggles off after 25 minutes of torture!

I wanted to thank my fellow Bruin masters members for kicking my butt all over the UCLA pools for the last 15 months, for if not for them I'd still be swimming doggy paddle!!

That's all for now. Check back later for more training updates!

Thanks again. Talk soon!


Monday, January 18, 2010

A Successful Trip to South America


I wanted to give you all a quick update on my race in La Paz, Argentina.

Going into my first draft-legal triathlon, I anticipated that I wouldn't have to do too much work on the bike and therefore conserve my energy for a killer run. I was COMPLETELY wrong!

I came out of the water really far back and right from the start I began working my way up through the field. Blowing past stragglers and small chase packs, I found myself hooking up with the second chase pack and remaining there for the duration of the bike leg. In this pack of 12 or so riders, no one opted to share any of the work with me, except for a few Argentineans. I must have yelled "Vamos" 50 times over the course of the bike leg to try and get these guys to work a bit!

Coming into T2 I was in 26th and more than ready to start picking off my competitors on the run. One small problem - my legs were shot! For the first 2 laps of the 4 lap run course, my legs would not move! On a cardio basis, I was completely fine however physically, my legs were a wreck! I had never felt so unable to use my legs in my entire life. You may think I'm exaggerating but I would honestly say I haven't run that slowly in a competition since the 6th grade! At the same time, I’m a fighter so while my legs were completely dead, I made sure not one person passed me, and I was successful!

By the third lap I began to find my legs although it was still a struggle (and the 100 degree heat didn’t help). I wound up finishing 19th as the third American behind Chris Foster (2nd), Manny Huerta (4th), and just ahead of Nicholas Vandam (21st) and Richard Swor (22nd).

Apart from finishing my first ITU triathlon, the highlight of the competition was the thousands upon thousands of Argentineans that lined the streets chanting and cheering! Over the course of my run, despite hurting terribly, I must have high-fived 100 hands. To them, it didn’t matter whether you were 1st place or 40th place; they embraced you all the same. Frankly, they made my first ITU experience that much more enjoyable and I am forever grateful.

We are currently heading back to LA and in my eyes this trip was a complete success. Even though I was “lapped out” in the first race, I still feel I gained invaluable experience in ITU racing that will help me tremendously throughout my career. For the next two months I will be living underwater at the UCLA pools and prepping for my next competition in Mazatlan, Mexico on March 20th. Check back later for training updates and the like.

Thanks again for checking in!

Talk soon!


Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Coming to you live from La Paz, Argentina...


After almost 10 hours on two different buses, we finally arrived in La Paz this morning at 4:45. When we eventually found a hotel with availability, it was bittersweet. Bitter because it was 7 am and we had just jumped off an 8 hour bus ride; sweet because it was great to have a spot to lay low for a few before we ventured out.

La Paz is a much different vibe from Vina del Mar. It's quite tranquil and quaint in it's size. The streets aren't crowded with people and/or meandering stray dogs. Since it had just rained, it almost seems like the town got a bit of a wash as well. The river in La Paz is very impressive, being easily the biggest river I have seen in person (nearly a mile across)!
Apparently the triathlon course has changed and it is supposed to be primarily within the town of La Paz which should be very interesting considering its not very big or well paved...

My race is Sunday and I'll be sure to give you all a full report afterward.

Thanks for checking in! Talk soon.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Race Report

Hey everyone,

I thought I'd take a minute to give you all a race report before we head off to another day of travel towards La Paz, Argentina.

In a few short words, I got "lapped out". For those of you unfamiliar, "lapped out" refers to when a competitor gets lapped on the bike course by the leaders and is therefore pulled from the race. This tends to occur if an athlete had a bad swim, a flat, a crash, or is simply not as strong as the other competitors.

There were a couple of reasons why I was lapped out. First, instead of being 8 laps of 5km on the bike, it wound up being 9 laps of 4km, which meant that the leaders had less distance to travel before they started lapping the slower competitors. With an extra 1km per lap, it would have given me a chance to bridge up to a chase pack and continue through the field, of which I was about 1/4 mile short from obtaining. The second reason is due to my swimming. Seeing as how I've been swimming for a little over a year, my ability did not come even close to those that have been swimming all their life.

Each bike lap took about 6:00 and if I'm coming out of the T1 5 - 6 minutes behind the group of 4 or 5 leaders, that clearly does not give me enough time to avoid being lapped out. After analyzing the way the triathlon went, my coach Ian and I realized that there was a group of roughly 5 competitors that got away from me in the swim and were able to make it into T1 20-30 seconds in front of me. That was the last group that did not get lapped out.

So, if I'm looking at the positive side of things, I'm roughly 20-30 seconds down from being in the thick of the competition. After having watched the remainder of the race, I know that my bike and run ability will easily match these other competitors. At the same time, this is not a duathlon, it is a triathlon so I still have a lot of work to do in the water.

Next weekend's race in La Paz is supposed to be quite hilly and a lot of fun (according to the Brazilians who will also be there). Not to mention, because it's a small town, virtually the entire place comes out to watch the triathlon and at some parts it's apparently like the Tour de France! Let's hope the bike course isn't short, but if it is, game time.

Thanks for checking in!

Talk soon.


Friday, January 8, 2010

A Day of Daze in Chile...

I finally arrived in Vina del Mar, Chile this morning after almost twenty hours of total travel time! Apart from trying to kick some terrible sinus congestion by being hopped up on Sudafed and Earl Grey tea throughout the flights, our travels went pretty well.

In all honesty, when I first arrived in Vina del Mar I was a bit culture shocked, although I’d like to blame some of that feeling on sleep deprivation, jet lag, a little homesickness, etc. Once I settled in my room and activated my world traveler call plan (not nearly as prestigious as it sounds), Vina del Mar turned into a pleasant place with an interesting architectural combination of older historic-looking buildings and numerous high-rise apartment complexes.

We eventually linked up with Chris Foster and went on a “shake-out” 70 minute ride north along the Chilean coast which was spectacular. Again, due to the sleep deprivation, jet lag, etc., the state of delirium in which we found ourselves made the ride that much more interesting… My coach Ian described the ride as “the 7th scariest ride of his life”. It also probably didn’t help that we started our ride at noon on a Friday…

What’s great is that we have a solid crew of U.S. athletes down here to represent good ole red, white and blue amid all the South American competition!
Tomorrow morning we have a swim group going to test out the 60 degree ocean waters! I predict the water will be wet...

Till then!


Wednesday, January 6, 2010

On My Way to the Deep, Deep South...


Tomorrow, as far as I am concerned marks the start of my 2010 triathlon season. I am shipping out south to Chile and Argentina for two weeks where I will compete in my first ITU-format triathlons! This entails a draft-legal format for which I have been anxiously waiting since I began competing in triathlons.

I love the competitive spirit that presents itself amongst a tight pack of energized riders (I know this from cycling groups), because everyone involved tends to feed off of one another, thereby propelling the peloton down the road at a quicker pace! In a triathlon, presumably, this allows the competitors to partake in real head to head battles once off the bike. I can't tell you how much I've been licking my chops for this opportunity!

It will also be great to have a few Americans down there as well like Chris Foster and Steve Sexton. Those guys are both very solid triathletes and I'm sure are just as hungry as I am to start their 2010 season off on the right foot!

The hotels down there claim to have wifi so I'm going to do my best to keep you all informed with the latest and greatest from the streets of Vine Del Mar and La Paz...!

Talk to you in a few. Thanks for checking in!