Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Hard Ass run workout

Inspired by my HS pal Derek Dean, who wrote me that he has run a 5:03 mile, I put in a fast AND long run workout today: 6.4 miles, doing the four 1.6 mile loops as follows:
Loop 1: 15 minutes
Loop 2: 10 minutes
Loop 3: 15 minutes
Loop 4: 10 minutes...and 3 seconds.

HARD. AS. HELL. Average HR was 141, max 169, but in those fast loops I was in the upper 150s. Good news? I made it, and I feel okay now. Is a 40 minute 10K in the cards for me? Eventually?? Perhaps, though maybe not this year, and probably not after a 1.5 KM swim and a 25 mile bike! Anyway--a good workout. Realized that I could push myself pretty darn hard and still hold up okay. It's a question of shattering perceived limits.

Did 27 minutes of recovery bike after that--only did around 6 miles in that time! That's cool, though--felt nice to just go easy.

Don't know what I'll do tomorrow--long swim plus recovery run on the treadmill, I suspect. Then maybe I'll do my long ride on FRIDAY and go to TriLab orientation on Saturday AM. I'll see--that leaves a recovery swim and a fast OR long run for Sunday. Do-able.


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Fast Swim and Bike

Short workout report: Biked to the gym, did 1500 meter swim, pushing for time the whole way. 100m wu, 4X50 on the 1:00; 4X100 on the 2:00; 100m catchup; 200m; 100m high elbows; 300m easy; 100m sprint. Fastest 100m time was 1:20, a personal best by 2 seconds--generally I was clocking the 100's at around 1:25-1:30; 50's at sub-45. Checked out some winning times at Ventura in past years: 1500 meters in 19 minutes. Inhuman.

Biked back from the gym, did an intense 20 minutes or so of Fastpedal drill, 2 min on, 1 min off for a total of 10 minutes fastpedaling, then cooled down. Did about 13 miles on the bike total (with trip to and from gym, easy riding).

Focus on speed and strength important! If I'm really going to improve and not just stay at the same level.

Don't know what I'll do this week. Don't know if I'll get up and do the ocean swim again. It's a little early for that, and Arrowhead doesn't have an ocean swim. But 2 intense workouts out of the way already on day one of the workout week. Well done. Felt good generally. Swimming speed getting a little better. And I think fastpedal will pay dividends...I tend to mash; this will keep me aerobic.

Tomorrow I run, but I don't know where or how. Possibly bike too. Maybe a
Griffith Brick? Hills on the bike + hills on foot?


Monday, June 27, 2005

A touch of restraint

Took a really tough run yesterday--up Runyon Canyon ALL THE WAY, over and down, then back UP the huge cliff-like path, then up and up to the farthest, highest paths until there was nowhere else to go. Finally jogged down the hill back to the car, continuing to go at a good clip down the hills. A tough, tough run. AHR was 140 and heart rate maxed at 163 after the cliff climb. A hard push--took me 1:06 or so.

So, right, where's the restraint? I had planned to do an easy, recovery swim of a few hundred meters, but when I got to the gym all 3 lanes were taken with 2 swimmers each. So I stretched and made a sit in the jacuzzi my recovery swim. Felt lovely.

So I didn't get a third swim in last week. Too sodding bad.

Today, Monday, I'm off on a break. Feels perfect, not too jumpy like I sometimes get. Don't really want to worry about planning this week's workouts; don't know if I'll go back to the ocean swim again. Maybe this weekend I can go to Arrowhead and check out that course? That would be a run/bike brick...

Not thinking about it. Easy day. Even declined to take an easy hike this afternoon with a friend.


Saturday, June 25, 2005

Long, Hilly Ride

24.89 miles on the bike, the Nichols Canyon/Griffith Park route. Was hoping it was longer, 30 miles or more, but still, a good, challenging route. AHR 124, MRH 150. Relatively easy effort--67% max hr average...just about what it should be for a long push. Finished in 1:51--the hills slowed me down--average speed was just over 14.

On those hills it's tempting to just granny it and spin, which I'm pretty good at--but must learn to push up the hills if I expect to do well in Arrowhead, esp. at altitude. Now that I'm familiar with that route maybe next time I can go for time and push into higher effort zones.

Clients on vacation! No one to train but me...

Tomorrow, Long Run and Easy Swim. Soon I'll be out of town again, cross-training with long hikes in the Appelachians...luckily the parents are amenable to my working out. And they have bikes!


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Swim Bike, feeling heavy...

Took an easy ride to the gym and put in 2000 meters--the SCAQ workout. Took my time getting it done as I was feeling kind of sluggish. May be because yesterday was two speed workouts together: the intense ocean swim and the sprint running. But got it done, focusing on good technique--long strokes, straight extension, nice, long gliding strokes. Didn't worry too much about time, though my fast 100 meter time was around 1:25--about 3 seconds off my top time a few weeks ago. So not a great workout but going back to basics on form is always good. Rode the bike back, making about a 6 mile bike ride all told, done at an easy, recovery pace.

So--long ride Saturday, long run and recovery swim sunday. Good week...

Kind of wondering if the current training sked might be a mite too intense given that Arrowhead is so far off. If I'm feeling spry, I might head out to Arrowhead on Saturday and crank through the bike course--maybe twice--to see what I'm looking at here, and how to train. Feel like I'm spending an awful lot of time training these days, though I feel pretty strong for the most part...


Wednesday, June 22, 2005

LA Tri Club Bonanza

Managed to haul my lazy butt out of bed this morning at 5:40 or so (actually
wasn't that hard--I was brooding on a recent audition disappointment) and head
out to Santa Monica for some ocean swimming. Same workout that I've done
twice before now: start at cone #1, run in, brave the breakers, swim 45 degrees
out to a buoy 200 meters out, right shoulder 90 degrees around the buoy, swim
in to cone #2, run about 300 meters back to the first cone. Repeat till all
major organs thoroughly vomited out onto the sand. Doesn't get any bloody
easier! I did four repeats, which most other people did (there were probably 20
people there today), though some freaks did 5. Every time I got out of the
water I was sucking wind big time. What's the deal? I wonder if transitioning
from swim to run is just hard metabolically...all the O2 is going to the upper
body for the swim and then you go into a run, asking for blood in the legs all
of a sudden. Told myself that it was good prep for transitioning, and that
the Redondo beach exit wouldn't have been as manageable without that practice.

I think the most noticable way in which my fitness has improved is that I
don't need as much recovery time after an anaerobic effort. I noticed this
further during my speed run: I did about 4 miles in 27:10, broken down as follows:
5 min easy warmup, 2 min fast run/1 min. easy jog, repeated 5X, then 2 min
easy, 1 minute sprint, 1 min easy, 2-3 minute fast run in. I was planning on
taking 2 minute breaks between the hard efforts but felt good enough--even
after my hard swim--to do 1 minute easy pushes. And all told I held my pace to
under 7 min/mile, even though overall pace was less of a concern to me than
getting good efforts on the sprints.

So it's good to know that my recovery is getting better, and that I can catch
my breath fairly efficiently after a hard push...just have to go into
recovery pace--biking, swimming OR running, and it kicks in.

All told it was about 75 minutes worth of pushing...completed the swim in
about 42 minutes and the run in 27, then did 5 minutes of stretching to round
things out. Wow...

Incidentally, I read about the Arrowhead Tri: 10 mile bike ride with 900
feet of climbing! A tough, tough ride. Moreover, the course is at 5200 feet!
Anyone who trains at real altitude will have a serious advantage. I suppose
this means a couple of things: that I need to keep working those hills, on the
bike, and that I need to get myself out there at least one weekend to work the
course and feel what it's like, preferably a few weeks out so I know how to
prep for it. But's going to be a toughie.


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Random Afternoon Thoughts

I've been corresponding with an old pal, Kendra Nordin, who does triathlons and who reflected to me that in spite of her passion for the sport she finds it superficial. I strangely agree...there's a part of me that feels like I don't really fit the profile. I wasn't an athlete to speak of in high school (I lettered in TENNIS, and I went something like 2-5 for the season. Not much to crow about). I didn't really get into athletics until I found something I could do on my own. I always felt like a non-athlete in school--not into the standard sports at all, not into competing for goals that seemed unimportant (put this ball in that basket? WHY???). But now I'm totally hooked and insane. I'm the guy that people laugh at playing a friendly game of volleyball because I get a little TOO into it. Maybe it's because I'm making up for lost time. I think post-wimps like me probably make the fiercest athletes because we're compensating for our former poor performance on the field. Ex-jocks go to seed, thinking they've still got it, and pull hamstrings when they play basketball on weekends. Anyway, it's a mighty weird thing to get into, though in Southern California it makes a kind of sense...should we move I might have to find an indoor sport to play.

Most trainers have an evangelical streak...I think I've got one but I keep it in check, letting people ask me about it instead of boring people stiff with how important it is to do Seated Cable Rows with good form.

Sport makes a good metaphor for me...the lessons of discipline, dedication, delay of gratification, tenacity, etc. are all imbedded in sport. I feel like a cliche saying all this but of course the hope is that you can transfer some of these qualities to the rest of your life. To be honest I also find myself drawn to triathlon because one of my other major pursuits--acting--has not been going so well...the relationship between time invested and progress made (in the business, not so much as an artist) was out of whack. It seemed like the more effort I put in the less progress I made in the business. Triathlon and working out reward effort put in in a shamelessly one-to-one ratio. Put in the time and you will improve. It's perfect for a believer in the Protestant Work Ethic.

But it's also funny, and I sort of look at myself spending all this time and effort doing this activity and think it's faintly ridiculous. But I suppose I feel that way about life in general too...engrossing, fascinating, and faintly ridiculous.

Tough Brick...

Did a quick, hourlong brick today, consisting of 45 minutes of hard riding (13.06 miles, AHR 133, MHR 152). I did a total of 12 minutes of FASTPEDALING (a drill I took from Lance Armstrong's book, The Lance Armstrong Performance Program, which I'll plug here as if the guy needs any more help.) Basically you gear down and up your cadence to 108 strokes / minute or's hard, but it does imprint the idea that fast feet are more efficient than mashing big gears all the time. I took minute long rests between efforts, finally doing a 2:30 fastpedal for a serious leg burn. It's this type of drill--very specific--that will help my speed at this point, now that I've developed basic, sports-specific speed and strength. Just gotta keep breaking it down more and more.

I suppose there's a similar drill where you use an extra high gear in order to build the leg power, so that your legs develop speed and strength at the same time.

I followed the fastpedaling with a recovery run--one lap of 1.6 miles. Was tempted to do another lap to make it a 5K but reminded myself hey, it's a recovery, not a full-bore effort. Legs a little sluggish after the drilling, no surprise but took it easy. Being specific about intensity, as determined by HR, will be a key in my improvement from here on out.

Tomorrow, I hope to go back to the La Tri Club ocean swim, followed by some real speed work on foot. IF I can get up early enough--probably at 5:40 or so. Thurs I'll swim long and recover on the bike, then do a long bike Saturday--finally, the Tri Club cycle, again, assuming I can haul my butt up at that hour!--followed by a long run and a recovery swim on Sunday--that's a weird workout, but that's what I'll have left after the week...hmmm, unless I invert it and do a long run tomorrow and speed work on Sunday.... Isn't this fascinating to read?

I must apologize to my web designer and pal Madley Katarungan for failing to mention her by name in the email about the triathlon, at which she was present and took photos. Without her all two of you wouldn't be reading this!


Monday, June 20, 2005

Back in the swing...

Well, though my blogging has been remiss my training has NOT. Last week, while in Santa Fe visiting my mother-in-law I eased back into training with a 40 minute easy run (though at Santa Fean altitudes an "easy" run isn't). On Wednesday I cross trained with a cantankerous but very knowledgeable chap, Carl Miller, who runs a Santa Fe gym called "Carl and Sandra's." For a few years he was the coach of the Olympic Weightlifting Team--and that's just the beginning of his accolades. Carl Miller For 90 minutes or so he regaled me with his hard-earned 35 years of weightlifting/training tips. He's a great guy and runs a great gym...understandably, he bases his clients' programs around Olympic-style weightlifting drills--and then supersets in ab work and more isolation-type drills (he would consider a bench press or a pulldown an isolation exercise! Hardcore...). He checked my form on squats, deadlifts, clean and jerk, and snatch, and gave me some useful pointers. Hadn't lifted for 7 months or so, but still felt strong. Missed it a bit, I have to say. The hardcoreness of it all.

Nevertheless, upon returning home I jumped back into tri training, though my next event is at least 8 weeks away: a hard swim workout on Friday the 17th; (2300 meters--actually got a pump out of it!--based on drills of 150 meters. Tried always to keep my time under 2:30, and succeeded all the way through. Can't remember my fastest time--2:10 or so?). On Saturday I got out the Specialized and put in a fairly easy 25 miles, though I included 4 one-minute uphill sprints at Griffith. Finally capped things off yesterday with my 6.4 mile neighborhood run, which I did in a personal record time of 49:30. I wanted to break 50 minutes and I just baaaarely made it.

This week I suppose I'll get back to a few bricky workouts: back to the ocean swim + run with the LA club on Wednesday--I'll make it a speed version of both events, leaving me to do a Fast Bike / Recovery Run tomorrow (Tuesday) and a Recovery Swim and Bike on Thursday.

I don't know if I'll continue the 9 workouts/week system all the way up through Arrowhead...I DO like the ONE DISCIPLINE/DAY for three days a week so I can focus it on three days of the week, where I can really put in the mileage or meters, but that leaves me with too much to do on the other two days of the week, assuming I keep the 5 days/week sked up. I COULD do SPEED day of ALL disciplines and then RECOVERY day of ALL disciplines?? Might be a little insane, eh? But with plenty of time to go for my next race maybe I'll do that, then do another ramp-up for September.

I'm thinking of tacking on a final race in NOVEMBER: the Catalina Island Tri: .5 miles S/12 M B/3 M R. Doable, and a nice excuse to go to Catalina Island, which we've never done.

That would make 5 races this season...a lot for my first season, but they're fun! Then I'd probably ease off for November and December and possibly January...maybe focus more on 1-2 disciplines for those months, do some lifting and yoga before resuming real training in February or March.

Of course, I have to ask myself, to what end? The Ironman distance events beckon, and though I swore I wouldn't try them, Eric Skelley, bless his heart, is seriously gunning for them, and it makes me wonder. Of course, he has no family--I think I'd really have to think hard about it before I plunged in--that's a part time job to prep for that race: something in the order of 20 hours/week of training. Wow...that would even test my freakyness. Right now I'm doing nine at most.

When it comes down to it, I'm not going to make MONEY doing this--I'm just going to have fun and get an ego boost or kick when I place high or low in the races. So I have to find the right place for this stuff in my life. Right now it's bordering on obsession.

Another alternative to pushing for longer distances is to push to WIN at the sprint level! Keep working on my shorter distance running, biking and swimming and see if I can get a top-five overall finish! Or maybe WIN one. Tough proposition.

I sure prefer this type of competing over boxing/martial arts which I did for so long, where there's a clear WINNER and a clear LOSER. And the loser is usually bruised at the least, bodily and psychically. That's why I always had cold feet about competing in those events. In triathlon, it doesn't matter! You can place 19th and still feel great.

Anyway--enough blogging for now. More later...


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Race Breakdown -- TRI #2 (Redondo Beach)

By breakdown, I mean a point-by-point description of how the race went, NOT that I broke down, at any point...

Quite the contrary, actually, though I DID have to adjust to the fact that there were hundreds of people in attendance (not the paltry 150 or so at San Dimas) and it seemed like 90 percent of them were badass swimmers. The good part, and the fun part, was that there were about 10 people from Triathlon Camp there--some competing, some watching: Eric, Joe, Diane and Kirk Anglin, Jim, Jason and a couple others competed; Peter, Joanna, Kirsten and a few others were there to cheer us on. It felt like a huge event, not the brief sprint that it actually was: lots of information tents, a real podium, race volunteers for days...


Once we got around to starting (there were some snafus around the buoy placement), it was, again, quite the land-grab for swimming space, but everyone was sportsmanlike: a few gentle whacks given and taken here and there, but none intentional. The swim was made much easier by the presence of lots of people around me: not only did I have wakes to swim in for drafting purposes, but I had the benefit of seeing people all around me heading in the same direction. I felt like one of an enormous school of migrating fish. The swim was long but manageable: easy to navigate and not too tiring: the wetsuit helped, I think, with buoyancy and hydrodynamics. Three buoys to swim around...




Getting back onshore was, as usual, a challenge: my legs didn't want to work right, and the run up to the transition area required a sprint up a set of stairs (bolstered by fans' cheering, god bless them, including Heidi and Kate and a few other friends), then a jog over the parking lot and to my bike. Robert Keating from TriLab told me I was 24 back, which seemed a looong way back (I was still hoping to match my 8th place San Dimas finish, but in a field of 600 fish, I was dreaming. Still, he seemed elated to be telling me, so he must have been reasonably happy about it). T1 was smooth, though looking at my time it could have been faster; I trotted out and started the bike course, knowing it was a short 6 miles, all out.

Passed a couple of guys on the 2 lap course--caught probably a dozen or so on my second lap who were just starting their first. I passed Eric, who had started with me, on the second loop--he didn't look happy, and didn't respond when I said words of encouragement to him. At one point one of those born-in-the saddle types zipped by me too, but I don't remember too many others getting past me. Overall, bike felt pretty smooth, though I lost a little time wondering where my turnoff was for the end of the course.

Transitioning into the run was quick and easy--choked down some water and bolted out, encouraged again by Heidi and Kate on the way in and out. At one point I also saw Melanie Haro, which was a surprise: I didn't expect to see them, or any other pals there so early! But I settled into a good running pace, passed a couple of folks early on, and then was passed by an Asian speed demon who I initially thought I could catch (hah!). As happened in San Dimas, I lost focus for a little while in the middle: the run is lonely and isolated, and you wonder, as tired as you suddenly are, why you're doing this, what's the point, etc. But I fought through it, knowing that EVERYONE would be feeling that way and THIS was where the wheat got separated from the chaff, the finishers from the real competitors. I soldiered on, with no clue as to my pace (I opted not to wear a watch), pushing for a speed that was just this side of agonizing.


Remembering the race director's instructions that "when you see a hill that you don't want to go up, you're almost there," I burst with speed upon seeing that monstrous hill, and passed a couple of last guys who were keeping their pace even. Managed a sprint out at the finishline. Somehow the race felt more effortful than San Dimas--requiring more mental toughness, even though the time spent racing (50:51) was SHORTER than in San Dimas.


Final results had me in 19th place among the men, 21st place overall (yes, okay, two Amazon women beat me. Amazing athletes, my hats off to 'em.) I was 4th among the 30-34 year olds. Not sodding bad, given the huge field. Looking at my final stat breakdowns, my swim was 16:41, on the slow side overall (around 25th fastest); my bike was average 17:27 (around 19th overall), and my run was on the FAST side: 13:31, meaning I was running 6:45 miles. Pretty good--better than San Dimas, where I ran over 7 minute miles for the 3 mile race.


Andrew, Heidi and Kate

Anyway--I'm proud of the results. Again, my second triathlon and scored in the top few percentiles. I would like to move up--who wouldn't--and I'd like to do longer races and see what that's like. A whole new challenge.

May do one called the Arrowhead tri in August. For now I'm resting. Will pick up workouts on Friday (tomorrow).



Saturday, June 11, 2005

Last day

Well it's the morning before the triathlon. Must be getting tiresome to read
"well I'm about to do the race..." I must go back and read my last prerace
stuff...was I this nervous? I think not; I think it was just plain fun. By
this time tomorrow--in fact, almost AT this time, I'll be finishing the

My goal is to have fun and do my best. That's it. Forget beating anyone.
Just enjoy as I did the last one.


Friday, June 10, 2005

Prerace oddity

Did a dry run of the swim this morning with Robert K. of TriLab, who met several of us at 6 AM. A pretty good strong swim, though lots of waves and breakers and seaweed made it tough. Best discovery: siting in the H20 suit--got in the rhythm of it and managed to get it down well. I swam probably about 100 feet further out than the others, but caught the leaders by the turnaround. Good to practice ocean swimming again...this one will favor left hander like me as I'll be able to see the shore on the way out.

So--one more easy bike ride tomorrow--if I can resist pouring it on at all--before race Sunday AM. Good god, taper week is awful. I wish I'd made it a normal, hard week!

Heard that Eric's running 6:30 miles. Wow--that's fast. Fortunately, he's out of my age bracket.

Going to STAR WARS tonight. A good break...

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Tapering Stress

New blogging style--apologies for the one-word blog.

Taper week is supposed to be the week of relaxation. Not having tapered much to speak of for the last race (I treated it just like a regular workout week, though I counted my "speedwork" workouts on all 3 disciplines as my race day workout). This time around I'm actually tapering: going easier, working out less time. Rather than feeling relaxed and good, I'm practically climbing the walls. Lots of pent-up energy, but when I go to put in my short, relaxed workouts, I feel sluggish and slow. Great way to build the confidence, eh? Maybe it's just my race-week jitters. The week before the last race when I was working hard up to the last minute, I was stressed then thinking I'd have nothing left for the race itself. Now I fear I won't be appropriately geared up for it!

For the record, and so I know next time to either repeat or avoid at all costs this particular system, I've done the following this week:

TUESDAY: Bike/Run Brick: started out easy but couldn't help myself and banged out 8.89 miles on the bike and 3.2 miles on foot, all in 55:36, just about race pace from last time, if you add the little extra time for transitions and water drinking, stowing of gear, and the 1/2 extra mile on the bike + .2 extra miles on foot. Encouraging that I was able to keep with the same pace sans the pressure and adrenaline of racing.

WEDNESDAY: Skipped the LA TriClub workout and hit the pool--did technique drills for 50 meter repeats, then regular stroke to ingrain the movements. Did 550 yards easy at one point, stretching out the stroke. A guy in the building, Wayne (did I blog this already?) is a Master's swimmer world-record holder!, and offered to help with my stroke. I'm still very befuddled about how to do it right--I know I've got way too much tension right now, but I'm trying like hell to stretch it out!...anyway, that workout was my first struggle workout. The Tuesday push took a lot out of me, it turns out.

THURSDAY (today): easy 2-3 mile run, almost walking dead pace. Oddly, going easy was HARDER because I don't want to exhert ANY effort and then anything feels too hard. So then I start to think, geez, am I not even fit enough to do 2 miles? When really it's boredom.

Plan for Friday and Saturday: Friday, drive to Redondo by 6 AM (AAAAoooorrrrgh), do an open water workshop with Robert Keating at the race site (maybe this will be a tradition! The Friday open-water scouting mission!), then Saturday, an easy handful of miles on the bike. Nothing pushed, just easy 6-8 miles.

Then lots of rest on Saturday, and up early on Sunday again for the race. Wow.

I'm feeling nervous about this one: when I was waiting in line to register in San Dimas, I remember hearing a guy say, "this is my second tri and NOW I'm nervous because there's expectation." I know what he means...especially after a good performance last time, now I've got to prove it wasn't a fluke, or luck, or an easy racing pool. There are certainly some tough competitors out there--Eric Skelly and Todd, both all-around fast guys who smoked me numerous times in races at trilab. Peter won't be competing, though he's tough as nails too, a fast runner and sprinter on the bike, and a focused competitor. And who knows if there will be ringers coming out of the woodwork, like those insanely fit guys who competed in San Dimas, like Jorge who won my age category. All told, it's impossible to know how I'll stack up. I know my approximate times--probably in the vicinity of 14-18 minutes or so for the swim, about 21-23 minutes for the bike, and about 13-15 minutes for the run. So my finishing time should be anywhere from 48 to 56 minutes. A pretty big spread there, but I don't know the course, and of course, I don't know what the water will be like and if I'll stay on course.

All told though, I feel okay...ready. Next week I'm going to do something completely different--no biking, maybe some swimming, for sure some easy long running, and some WEIGHT TRAINING...I've got a session set up with a former Olympic trainer in Santa Fe and I'm going to go and get some tips. Haven't touched the weights in going on 6 months. So I'm out for the week. Then I'll be back in the saddle--maybe starting easier and including some weights again, shooting for perhaps the Lake Arrowhead tri in August and eventually the Long course race, either the LA tri or the Pacific Grove Tri on the weekend of Sept 10th and 11th. Those are the biggies. July is going to be a weird training month with family reunions and weddings and the like. But I'm going to power through and shoot for those Olympic distance races and possibly Arrowhead, which sounds lovely.

That's it.

Monday, June 06, 2005

Gearing Up for Tri 2

Well, haven't done such a great job keeping up lately--but I've continued the 3x/week/discipline pattern since that last tri effort, and it's been going well. My long workouts are getting longer and harder both--now on long runs I'll do a series of two minute sprints and maybe some stairs; on bikes I'll do 30 miles with some hills and some time trials in the 6 mile range (my next tri will be a 6 mile bike effort). I've been less diligent about keeping track of heart rates, or at least recording we'll see on Sunday if geeking out is a genuine help or if freewheeling works just as well.

So the race--inaugural Redondo Beach Tri is on 6/12, next Sunday, a 1/2 mile Ocean Swim followed by the 6 mile bike and 2 mile run. If my usual times are any indication, it should take less time than the last race. The swim, of course, is the big question mark: how big will the water be? Big water, as I've discovered in weekly ocean swims with the LA Tri Club--which are really tough, incidentally, makes all the difference. I've learned pretty well how to navigate, and in the H20 wetsuit, which I've been using the last couple of weeks, it's easier to power-stroke up and see where the hell I'm going. Still, if big water blocks the buoy, you just don't know if you're straight, and I know I've swum longer and harder than I've had to in big water. Entry, of course, is that much harder--takes more time and requires more the swim could add a lot of time. Of course, it will add time to EVERYONE else too, but particularly inexperienced ocean swimmers, among whom I sadly still count myself. And finally, the flailing arms and legs will again be a factor, though hopefully the wave starts and the wide start area on the beach will alleviate too much herky-jerky. Seems like the most dangerous spot is among the gung-ho folks. I'm sticking with my strategy of taking the first turn wide and staying out of the fray. Too much effort at the top is wasteful anyway--the fittest swimmers eventually prevail nonetheless.

As with San Dimas, the short course is essentially a license to floor it from the get go, which I'm pretty decent at by now. The bike and run don't concern me that much...I've got the wind and the speed by now. Just have to remember to let it hang out on both events. Oddly, I haven't really worked with such a SHORT course, so the key will be in not pacing too much!

I hope I'm not getting too caught up in placing and time with this race--placing high in my first race was a bit of a mind-f**k, because now I have EXPECTATIONS, whereas in May I had no such thing. With no idea who will be there, I could win or get utterly smoked. My goal is to have fun again, not to worry about placing too much, and get a good, strong workout in with the added bonus of some friendly competition. Pollyannaish enough for everyone? GOOD.

This week: LSD of each discipline on TWR, with minor speedwork thrown in, then recovery on each on Saturday, followed by race day Sunday. Some concern about racing so soon after last time, but I know some people who are practically racing every weekend!

Will blog before then...feeling good, though.