Friday, September 29, 2006

taper tantrums

yeah i'm having taper tantrums. i am struggling with this taper period already and I have one whole week left. a taper is a reduction in training volume before a race. the idea is to let you body recover and heal from all the hard training in preparation for the race. i hate to taper. it makes me feel slow, bloated, and not ready to race.

i don't like to use the car. so i do everything possible on the bike or on foot. yesterday i had many errands to do so i ended up training for 5hrs.. i rode, ran, lifted weights and hit yoga throughout the day getting all these little things done. i never pushed the pace and rode/ran very slowly. but it was still too much time to be not resting.

making it worse this time around is the fact that my diet has been a complete joke lately. i can't even pretend. i am eating waaaaay too much. i'm 5 lbs heavier than when i won the norba regionals and i can feel it. i was 143 then, i'm now 148 if i'm lucky. think about putting an extra 5 lbs on your bike and climbing that same hill you ride every day.. yes you will feel it. i've just had this insatiable appetite... so i empty the contents of my fridge into my belly. am I listening to my body? or just overdoing it? i think it’s the latter, but i can justify it with the former. however any attempt to drop a few pounds now would only hurt my performance. my body needs proper nutrients to recover, not fewer calories at this point.

it's only 8 days away! i leave on sunday for atlanta, georgia. I’m staying with fellow adventure racer lorna mcgee. she raced primal quest this year with team stinkyfeet/kilt racers. she has been my little angel from georgia. my buddy and mechanic matthew noell comes out thursday oct 6th. i've already shipped my turner nitrous. i'm taking the turner flux with me on the plane. the u.s. postal service sucks, a bike box is apparently too big for them to ship.?.. but fedex was great. at 32.1 lbs it was around $43 to ship ground. after i put the $5,000 insurance on it, it came to about $65 - still cheaper than the airlines who charge $100 each way! the airlines suck if you are a cyclist.

I just had my last massage before the race. until ellen started to dig in i thought my legs were feeling great. they were actually a mess from all the training and no massage therapy.

ps: check out the 246km spartathlon ultramarathon - jurek just won it!

that's it for today - i gotta pack!
80 out

Monday, September 25, 2006

Sunday, September 24, 2006

don't go drinkin with this guy

i'm just glad my addition is to ultra distance sports, cause alcohol addiction is much rougher. if the alcohol doesn't kill you the company you keep might. although i've felt at times that my training partners were trying to kill me, it was nothing like this. i have somehow figured out how to live a very exciting life without the booze. my cousin eric has not. i just spent some time with his mother, when she was traveling through seattle last week. she said he was doing well and was sober. although exciting, sort lived. since then he has fallen off the wagon - and this time the company he kept made sure it hurt - seacoast online article... if you don't feel like reading it, this guy pictured and my cousin got let out of jail together, then decided to hit the local gas station for some booze. they were drinking in the woods when this guy here decided to try and kill my cousin. he chocked him until he thought he was dead then he bashed his skull to make sure (two skull fractures).

i'm going for a bike ride.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

unexpected century... plus 6

i've been on this "listen to your body" kick lately (read on the brink). yesterday my body told me to ride around doing my errands on my bike and go to yoga. with my palms in rough shape holding the handlebars hurts (so does yoga actually). i have two weeks until worlds. i waffled between riding one last long day or giving into the taper and hurt hands and just do some shorter more intense training. but i really wanted to get one more long day in, i just wasn't so sure my palms could handle it.

so i woke up at 6am this morning and packed the car to do the "tour de whidbey" 100 mile ride (not a race) around whidbey island. by the time i was done packing the car my right hand wounds were bleeding. i went back to bed.

hours later, after a fancy bandaging job i was entertaining the idea of riding again. i called cory and matthew hoping to have some company. no go. so i headed out on this beautiful day with no plan other than to ride until i felt like stopping (listening to my body again). 106 miles later i stopped. it was just one of those days. it appears taking time off is a good thing. i rode the first 100 miles in 5:44 even with the traffic on the burke gilman trail slowing the pace. the whole 106 miles took 6:05, as the last few miles of bg trail through the u was frustrating and very very slow - still managed around an 18mph pace for 106 miles, which is good for me.

last big mileage day done! next challenge: tapering for two weeks! i hate to taper.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Primal Quest 2006 Flash Back - Day 1

After all my efforts to be in peak shape for the 2006 Primal Quest Expedition Adventure Race I am thwarted by a horse. I'm standing in a field, having just ridden a bus for hours in my lycra race gear in the middle of the night. I am surrounded by horses, which I am deathly allergic to. As an asthma sufferer I have just 80% the lung capacity of the average male. I am surrounded by not so average males in this dry desolate field in Utah on June 25. As my teammates start to suit up the horse, I start to wheeze, and I start to worry about it. My girlfriend at the time Krissy, had her wonderful mother get me some surgical masks from the hospital. I am wearing one. Not only am I allergic to horses but also dust, and with 90 four person coed teams and 90 horses about to start running in a dry valley.. yeah.. it's about to get dusty.

The scene is surreal. As I duck under a camera boom I think to myself "this is the show". It's a far cry from the grass roots races that attracted me to ultra distance sports in the first place. As the sun comes up teams scramble to hear the official horse rules as we start the race. I am racing with RVG, Seegs and Cyril, we are team DART-nuun. Fellow DART-nuun'ers JVG and Fleming are here as well, racing with team Gerber Legendary Blades. Fleming sees me with my mask on and says "why are you wearing that?". Me "I'm allergic to dust and horses". He then says while laughing AT me "then why in the world are you racing in this race?". I smile my sarcastic "'thanks for nothing" grin and think "I'll show you what I'm doing here when I drop a top 10 at PQ on your ass!"

Fittingly a few cowboys shoot their guns in the air and we all start running. Well RVG, Seegs and I are running. Cyril is riding the horse. I fall quickly behind. This is not normal for me. I am fast. Cyril keeps looking back for me as I get lost in dust right off the bat. I can't breath, this sucks. Well at least it will be over in... oh, about seven days from now. That sucks too. Doubt floods my brain as I struggle to keep up to even the slowest pace. After a few miles we make it to the horse check, and we actually aren't too far back. We appear to also be in good company too with Team Sole and Silly Rabbits right there with us. However the top teams are long gone having gotten there first and not waiting in a line as we did... because of me.

Once through the horse check bottleneck the race now feels like it has finally started. The next 27 miles we switch between putting 3 packs on the horse and leading him, to riding him with limited success. At one point at about mile 18 I'd say he just stopped wanting to move forward. So Cyril asks RVG to smack the horses ass to get him going. The next thing I hear is an "OH!!" as RVG gets kicked in the quad by the horse. Did that just happen? Had it hit his knee cap it would have shattered. He's a big strong dude, he doubles over. We are all very lucky the kick exploded a flask that was in his pocket and not his quad muscle. Scary. He also got stopped by the horse on the achilles at one point. Ouch. I stayed clear of ol Jake the horse because I know my ability to breath is more important than my helpfulness with the horse. We finish the 29 mile section in good position, I think somewhere in the top 15.

We then head out on a 22.7 mile desert trek. This trek through the desert canyons is HOT. It was simply impossible to carry enough water. We are all suffering. We pass through the last CP (check point) on the way to the TA (transition area) and we pass team Crested Butte taking a break. Around the corner we pass a team who offer us money for our water. Only problem was, we didn't have any left. So we continue the death march. No water and hours to go to get to the TA. The desert provides us no shade and it's hot. Did I mention it was hot? RVG's nose had started to bleed at some point and still hasn't stopped. Along the way I look at him in horror, but keeping it to myself. He has salt all over his face from dried sweat, his nose is bleeding non stop and dribbling down his face and into his teeth. He is a wreck. These simple matters of comfort don't much bother RVG though, he just pressed on, this is part of the game - suffering. As we trek/trot he sometimes grabs my shoulder to steady himself. I feel good that I canhelp him, but I am also concerned with his health.

As we get closer to the TA our need for water is getting desperate as we are all dehydrated. I need water so bad that I figur, in my delirium, that if I take some gel I will get some water from that. Instead it just makes me dry heave. So I freak out and start running towards the TA down the trail - we are so close! RVG and the team are now completely stopped, trying to get his nose to clot. I thought they would follow. They thought I was being a jerk and not a very good team player.

We do finally make it to the TA alive, although f'd up. After some foot care and some wasted time and we are off on our 65 mile mountain bike section. This section is uneventful, but we struggle to keep our speed up and it sucks the life out of me. I thought we were a mtn biking team! Right outta the TA Rebecca Rusch's team Buff/Coolmax blast by us.. simply flying. Certainly that will get us moving right? Nope. We continue to crawl. Damn! About 20 miles in team Crested Butte adds insult to injury as they ride by like we are standing still. Ugh. My frustration grows as we ride, slowly, through the night.

Up next... day 2 and some white water riverboarding.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

without fail

*** updated - in much cooler news: My sock sponsor Teko announced that it will purchase credits from the Chicago Climate Exchange to cover all transportation greenhouse gas emissions produced by it's supply chain.

yep without fail i manage to hurt myself in some way before big mtn bike races. last year I fell on my road bike rounding a corner under the i-90 bridge (going a bit too fast). sliding, or rather bouncing on my hip i smashed into the fence, which caught my bike while i was raked off the bike hitting quad, thigh, shin on my way over the handlebars. lots of lost skin and bruised muscles.

this is becoming a nasty trend of mine. today i left the house on my run to the gym. i was hustling to get to yoga on time. as i took my first left hand turn i happened to step on a utility cover thing and it was slick as ice from the rain... bam! down i went in a milisecond. i can't even reenact it, it happened so fast i don't remember. just know my hands and hip hurt, bad. first thing i thought was "it's going to be hard to do downward dog with these pebbles lodged in my palms." this picture doesn't do it justice, i took it with my chin and the right hand is much worse.. plus i had cleaned the blood off already.

i just hope this is the last incident i have before Worlds.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

today... not so good

Some days just suck more than others... but here are some good reads!

"If you love something let it go. If it comes back to you, it's yours. If not, it never was.”

I'm off to teach spin class.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Cle Elum Ridge Run 50k - Pilchuck Tree Farm Kinda Weekend

Saturday was Krissy's Cle Elum Ridge Run 50k. I volunteered, and it was a blast! Great grass roots ultra marathon and a great group of people involved. Krissy's mom Peggy was there as usual to help out. This was Krissy's last year race directing this race, at the awards ceremony she passed it on to the Fagans (couple ultra runners from North Bend pictured). I think I'll run this one next year! Check out the great photos by Glenn Tachiyama.

Congrats to our awesome DART-nuun manager Erik Nachtrieb who finished his first ultra - and in pretty good time too!

9.17.06_PilchuckDART 012

Sunday a pack of 10 of us hit Pilchuck Tree Farm for a couple hours of great mtn biking. What a blast! I've never riden there before. I HIGHLY recomend it! Smooth, fast, beautiful singletrack... wow. One section called "StarWars" is so nice that when we all popped out on the road from the trail Rinn asked "was I just in heaven?". We all simply nodded our heads in agreement grinning ear to ear. That is what it's all about baby.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

random stuff

  • Nike/Powerblast won the Raid World Championship Adv Race - they are amazing!
  • Thespian, adventure racer, triathlete and my coaching client Jill Purcell and I hit Cyclocross 201 last night.. check her blog for the detes
  • I am thinking about running the 90 miles of AT that goes South/North through Mass when I'm home for Thanksgiving
  • Lance Armstrong quote "Every time I suffer I become a happier man."
  • Homer Simpson quote "Kids, you tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is, never try. "
  • RVG IS BACK!!! RVG/Cyril/Jen Ratay won the Explore the West race in Big Bear - Congrats to them! Read about it on RVG's blog
  • I just recieved a shipment of Hammer Product for the 24 Hour Solo Mtn Biking World Championship. My nutrition sponsor Hammer Nutrition/E-Caps are awesome and they make the best products on the planet.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

resting heart rate

Lately I've been monitoring my resting heart rate. If you keep track of it daily it's a great indication of fitness. An average male has a resting heart rate in the 70's, elite athletes in the 40's. The more fit you are the more efficient you become at using the oxygen you have, and the less your heart needs to pump. I have a tendency to overtrain, so more important to me is how it can indicate if you are overtraining. If you resting heart rate is say 10 beats higher than normal you may be overdoing it. Here is some background if you need it - Resting Heart Rate: The Closer to Zero, The Better. You take your resting heart rate when you first wake up, before you get up or move around ideally. This morning my resting heart rate was 40. This article states "athletes such as Lance Armstrong have resting heart rates in the 40's even in the high 30s." Lance's website says it's more like 32-34 (this is in his peak). Whoa..

What is yours? Here's how to take it manually you don't have a heart rate monitor.

*** updated ***
I was just reading a diary from Chris Carmichael written about Lance on July 11, 1999 during the tour de france. Interesting read here is a bit about lances resting heart rate "I keep close track of his waking heart rates. If there is a 3-5 bpm increase or decrease in his waking heart rate this could be an indication of dehydration, poor glycogen restoration or muscle fatigue. So far he has shown none of these fatigue indicators. Overall his resting heart rate is averaging 6-8 beat lower this year than it was in 1998. I believe this indicates a higher level of aerobic fitness and conditioning. Lance's heart rate has yet to exceed 38bpm upon waking and is averaging 36 bpm...We see this as phenomenal!"

ah.. yeah we do too Chris, we do too.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

One word describes my motivation right now...

I'm trying to train smart and gain some final improvements as the 24 Hour Solo Mtn Bike World Championship approaches. It's just under 4 weeks away now, in Conyers, Georgia! I'm racing in the Professional category this year (last year I got 3rd in age group) and I don't want to be completely embarrassed ya know?

Fear of embarrassment is a great motivator.

After taking Wed the 6th off to make sure I completely recovered from the 74 mile run last weekend - I've started out this last phase of training pretty well:

: 40 road miles at heart rate level II
Fri: 87 road miles at hr level II
Sat: 20 road miles; morning intervals, afternoon hills, pre-dinner hills
Sun: 64 road miles at hr level II (great ride w/my buddy Cory Fraser -pictured)
Mon: 17 road miles easy

Why all the focus on hr level II? Well that is where my heart rate should be for the 24 hours I race in Georgia. This seems insanely low I know but this is endurance racing!

What is exciting is I've been feeling great during my training sessions (and hungry all the time). After each workout I am recovering extremely well too, with no muscle soreness or stiffness the next morning. I just get up and I'm ready to go again, feelin' groovey. I bet it's the recoverite from Hammer Nutrition.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

An Epic in the "Live Free or Die" State in Nov?

Yeah that's right.. New Hampshire: where you can ride a motorcycle without a helmet and carry a gun without a permit - "Live Free or Die". I would love to go home for Thanksgiving this year and see my family in the Shire. If I do so I'd like to do some sort of ultra race while back there. After searching it doesn't look like there will be any. So I'm now looking to do an epic training, either biking or running mass miles.

Today I've been obsessed with running the Presidential Range in New Hampshire. It's only 25.5 miles, but there is 9,600 feet of gain and it would be 14 - 40 degrees. So that could be quite a challenge (my toes ache just thinking about it)! The average temperature in Nov at the top of Mt Washington (6,288 ft) is 14 degrees and it's got the "worst weather on earth", and the highest winds ever recorded on earth too - 231 mph.

I've read some great CAUTIONARY notices about this hike with 13 miles of it above tree line, meaning loads of exposure. Here is one from a guide book: "A large portion of this hike is extremely exposed to weather. The entire Mount Washington area is susceptible to lightning strikes and very strong winds. It can snow any month of the year, but any kind of weather above treeline can create the potential for hypothermia." I think I'll bring a bivy and more cloths than normal. =)

Anyone out there ever run this?
Does anyone have any other ideas for epics in New England?

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Hoh Valley - Bogachiel Traverse 74 Mile Run

Here are the photos from the run. This photo from the start of our epic adventure - 2am Sunday morning. Our journey would take us from the Hoh Valley Visitors Center in the Hoh rainforest out to Glacier Meadows and the overlook of Blue Glacier and Mt Olympus, then up the Bogachiel traverse out to 7 lakes, and finally down Snider Jackson Trail. We estmated the 74 miles with over 16,000+ feet of gain would take us around 16-19 hours.. well it didn't. If I had been able to find the final trail (just 10 miles from the car) in the dark we would have taken about 19 hours. But we had to hunker in the moss and share a single space blanket and wait for the daylight! With some light on the situation we found it and ran the remaining 10 miles the following day. You could say we were a bit frustrated. =(

Krissy taking in the view of Mt Tod from the High Divide Trail.

Mt Tod behind us as we look from the moraine out over the Blue Glacier of Mount Olympus.

Krissy on her way down from the moraine viewpoint.

A view from the trail down to Hoh Lake. There were Huckleberries all over this trail and we stopped to fill our bellies with them.


K. Moehl running (she's good at it).

really good at it...

after two 4,000 + foot climbs it was nice to head down hill.

B-E-A-U-tiful trail!

Big fallen tree root. To show you how massive it was we took this photo of it next to my biceps. =)

This is where we slept for 8 hours until the sun came up. When it did we found the trail... long story. Basically we finished in 3 hours the next day because I could not find this damn trail. The guide book just said "find the Snider Jackson Trail after fording the river". Well it wasn't as easy as it sounded.