After the Wednesday Kit Peak Climb, I think we were all ready for a more relaxed day. Personally, I was ready for a “real food” fueled day. The OSMO and Honey Stinger products certainly kept me in gear for hard days, but my body needed a small break. On that note, Nicholas Sterghos and I decided we would break in our new bikes, spend a little time away from the cycling group and take a break from hard riding (sort of). The “triathlon” program at the US Military Endurance Sports Team is still developing so time trial bikes weren’t really allowed unless you were on the elite team, plus I needed it for Sundays race. That meant we had to venture out on our own, no big deal. I definitely see a large future within this program, especially since our Triathlon Elite Team director Kathy Rakel has already started plans motion to tailor a camp for triathletes.
My new whip, the Scott Plasma Premium, rode very smooth and despite riding it only once before camp, I was definitely comfortable. Joel at Flying Fish Bikes has taken care of me for about 3 solid years now and the bike fit is always legit! It’s one of the better-looking bikes out there too, so it’s nice to ride an “eye catcher”. It’s like having a supermodel around…everyone is interested in it…and I get to say “yea, that’s mine”. We headed to a nice park with an 8 mile loop, pretty technical with fast corners. It’s definitely a rush to bank a corner at 28 mph, feeling the wheels grip, the wind blasting through the carbon. All of the road cycling has totally boosted my bike handling skills on the Tri-Bike. I TOTALLY recommend you get on a road machine and get comfortable with it. Nicholas Sterghos was also able to break in his new Scott Foil 10. Finally a bike that fits him!
Friday was the big one…a 26+ mile climb up Mt. Lemmon, a 100+ mile journey overall. This was another reason we decided to chill out on Thursday. With all the (earned) breaks, it ended up being an 8 hour day with about 5+ hours of riding. The breaks were spent eating a cookie the size of my face and two pieces of normally “illegal” pizza. The climb to the top was astonishing. It was freaking snowing up there….SOO glad I brought my warm hat, gloves and leg warmers for the descent….which lasted about an hour. So anyway, the climb definitely put a hurting on me, especially since I tried to hang with some of the Pro Cyclists. After about 12 miles, I backed it off a bit. I was later caught by a group of 3 studs so I hung in with them until about 4 miles from the top when I was able to break away. I climbed for a total of 2 hours and 25 minutes. There was an additional area on the mountain that was opened which took us to the absolute top. Totally, regrettable decision since the grade drastically increased and the temperature dropped even more. Either way, the cookie, pizza, awesome descent, stellar company and delicious lunch at LE BUZZ and the bottom totally made the day unforgettable.
Saturday was a travel day, 6+ hours to Coronado, California….a stones throw away from Mexico. The drive there was mainly dessert until we climbed over the last mountain range. Then I finally saw some green trees and the beautiful Pacific Ocean! The weather was back to being humid, breezy and …PERFECT. After the long car ride and lack of activity, I felt pretty flat, so the race “prep” was a nice wake up. I felt like 10 pounds of poo in a 5 pound bag, like a piece of burnt toast, like Frodo felt after walking up Mt Doom. I’d already completed 24.8 hours of swim, bike and run training…most note-ably I’d ridden 465+ miles. I totally expected to feel this way, so no stress. This race was the icing on the cake. If I could get through with decent result and attitude, it would be a victory. The weather was perfect, water temp a solid 64 and a light breeze filled your ears. Again, perfect. Naturally, the top end swim speed was all but gone after the first 4 strokes, so I held on for dear life…getting beat by most of my wave. The last half of the bike left me reaching for my “goal” power numbers and then the run was pretty much a “tempo” effort. A low energy level wasn’t really an issue since I fueled pretty well. Honestly, I couldn’t be happier with how things went. My Team Director WON the Pro Female category so it was remarkable to be part of that event. I ended up 10th so I was glad too. I may have ALMOST been the last pro, but I didn’t get chicked or beat by an age group athlete. This race actually brought out a serious Pro field, no doubt they humbly kicked my butt!
Bonus! It was awesome to connect with the XTERRA CEO since they are our wetsuit sponsors! He informed us they have some seriously awesome wetsuits coming in the near future. Can’t wait to get my hands on it!
What do I do every time I come to California? Eat In and Out! I do have to say, I got a double double, animal style….IN A LETTUCE WRAP…BOOM. No idea why I still try to “church” up the fast food…but oh well, it was seriously tasty! I still held back a little for my next trip, opting out of the chocolate shake.
Quick Recap: This has been a huge block of training and racing, three races thus far and a training camp! It was also amazing to meet up with Samantha Morrison and Brad Williams, my hero's. It’s scary to think I have another race at the end of this month. Oceanside 70.3 is right around the corner and I completely made a rookie mistake. I didn’t really take into account that “beginner” Pro’s should stick to low key Pro races…oops! Taking a look at the start list quickly brings on the pucker factor. I suppose I could re-arrange it but the flight and home-stay are already set up. At the end of the day, it’ll be nice to be in California again and toe the line with some serious talent.
The United States Military Endurance Sports program is a must! If you are a Veteran, Active Duty, Guard or Reserve member, you’re doing yourself a huge disservice by not becoming a member. Seriously, anywhere I travel I have a free place to stay, the deals are amazing and the community is tremendously uplifting and supportive. Please, please…take a look at the website, come out to a camp or see if someone in the program lives near you.
It's been a SUPER few weeks! As you can see, it's been SO super, Captain has been running around in a cape. His #1 fan made it for him (Thanks Jesse). With his cape, he's been creating even more havoc. Eating Lavash bread off the counter, digging out Honey Stinger Waffles from my training bag and generally ruining all things that are good:) At the end of the day, he's still a way faster runner than I'll be so....Touche big guy!
This week has been a mixed bag of emotions, like a trail mix full of salty nuts, delicious dark chocolate covered blueberries and tart dried cherries. First off, I would like to highlight that I LOVE where I live and totally appreciate the amazing atmosphere I am allowed to train in. I just returned from a TDY to Holloman AFB in New Mexico. Needless to say, a total 180 as far as surroundings are concerned. I'll highlight a few things that were really NOT my cup of tea:
- Zero green trees, plants or ANYTHING remotely resembling a "happy vibe"
- No water access (except a pool, which was closed due a toddlers diaper exploding)
- Alamangordo, NM is a fast food/processed food MECA....no Bueno
- Very cold with 45+mph wind, mixed with lots of dust=Poop
- Ate at Chilis since ALL mexican food was rated Sub-par...and totally was.
Ok, so let's flip the page and point out some things I enjoyed:
- Mountain range, elevation @10,000
- Hotel was 1 minute walk from the gym w/ indoor pool (Great facility)
- The Base was very well designed and looked brand new
- Climbed some very tall towers and enjoyed the view...
- Closest I've ever been to Mexico
I would also like to highlight that my flight was delayed 5 hours, which means we got in at 1am. My ride home forgot where he parked in the "long term" lot, which meant walking around aimlessly like an infant sucking his thumb, making subtle disgruntled comments. An hour later I arrived at home and realized my house sitter totally locked me out...so after waiting in the cold for 30 minutes, I finally got into bed . Totally had to push through the rough spots and YES it could have been wor
Wait...it's time to race? Crap, it's a 70.3!! :)
I feel like I signed up for this race a few days ago...time has literally evaporated. I really would like to be 100% for this race in Puerto Rico but a Ragnar Relay induced injury has been holding me back. Luckily, I completed an MRI yesterday....so after a month and a half of light running, I'll finally know if the damage is REALLY bad or just kinda bad. At the end of the day I'm truly happy to race, especially since I get to represent so many great people, who in turn support me:) Without the United States Air Force, I wouldn't be able to live this life. Without a doubt, I'm grateful my leadership and colleagues are cool with me being a "full time" athlete. Be sure to check out my "sponsors" page, as they make my life so much easier and cut a lot of my training/racing cost. 70.3 San Juan will start my season, which means that if the run is too painful, I'll have to proudly step out in order to not jeopardize my entire season. Either way, my swim and bike should be solid. At the end, tequila and good company will make this trip one of the many unforgettable experiences I'm sure to encounter this season. Stay tuned for the report in a week or so!
Delicious, Nutritious, Home Made Stuff
I made some nice little recovery/pre-training treats. Inspired by so many who have already done so...I thought, OF COURSE I can make a delicious RAW treat too.
- Almonds/Brazil Nuts
- Coconut oil/Shredded Coconut
- Maca Power/Almond Flour
- Vermont Maple Syrup
- Ginger/Carob Chips/Cocoa Powder
As always, a homemade pizza fills the belly and ALWAYS makes life better. The best part that I would like to highlight is the FRESH made roasted tomato, red pepper, garlic and basil pizza sauce. Additionally, I went with some home made Gluten Free pizza crust. At the end of the day, you can't hate on pizza. Especially one with the best ingredients. It's pretty cool to make something totally from raw ingredients. Love the good eats!!
Finally, a nice veggie stir fry with some Bison cube steak and cold Farro. This is a great meal with a perfect carb/protein ratio. I'll make it a definite point to have veggies with EVERY meal. I've found that at least 2 servings of lean protein ( the size of my palm) have been adequate, even during heavy weeks. Whatever your nutritional needs and preferences are, there are always a few staples to remember. More colorful veggies and fruit = Good. Lean meats, grass-fed, zero growth hormones=Awesome. Earn your carbs! Limiting them to pre/during/post exercise. Of course you can find that information anywhere and hear it OVER and OVER again...but you MUST follow a plan! At the end of the day....Fail to prepare? Prepare to fail!!!
This picture says it all. I shed a tear every time I think "a small child has seen Hank Campbell in a speedo". However ridiculous we may look, I assure you we took this more serious any anyone in the history of Ragnar Key West. Not only did we WIN the "fun run", we came in over 2 hours ahead of the next 12 man team. That's right, over the course of 197 miles we literally ran past over 6 thousand people (probably) and it ONLY took us 22 hours and some change. This year we incorporated 1 full time driver and 1 full research team from Barry University. We were turned into sweaty, butt fungus, smelly armpit test subjects. This year was much warmer and the humidity was stifling. I think the only thing we really needed to bring more of was dry towels. Around 3 am, we'd all been through 2 or 3 legs of hard running, that's when the reality set in. Someone may literally die (probably Owen, but hopefully Gus). The highs and lows throughout the race will forever be remembered. From being lethargic, to feeling like a king (5 hour energy) we certainly had to rally our "man goods" to finish this race on a high note. I'd like to highlight that this years race lacked severe IBS (squatting in random grassy areas), a van that smelled of dead people (6 runners in a minivan), air humping and near death experiences. Having two vans and "dedicated" drivers, made the trip 100% better. There was however, lots of blood. Our trustee scientist from South Africa took over 30 blood samples from each runner over the course of the trip.
To sum up Ragnar Relay, Key West, I'd like to say that despite us not really "winning" anything spectacular, the memories and true BROner love will always make me want to do it again. I had to remind everyone on the team that "Winning at this race, isn't really that cool". However true that may be, it's important to me that we smashed everyone else and seriously pushed hard to finish at the top. I'm more than proud to have raced with such a great group! I think it also goes without saying that the after party and awards ceremony brought out all the important people from Tampa who support us! My friends are such a great support group and really gave the Broners some great love! Thank you!!
other stuff that's important to read about....
If you've never met me, you should know that I LOVE making homemade pizza and taking pictures before I eat it. Not sure why the pictures are important, but I like to look back at them from time to time and smile at that delicious pie. I' made a great new pizza with an avocado base, roasted veggies and salsa, topped with an egg. Quite a delicious mexican pizza!
SOOOOO it's back to reality. December, brought some seriously amazing memories, lots of beer, delicious meals with great people and about 5 pounds of belly fat (which I already lost). It's time to plan out the next few months, which are sure to be tremendous. My Mom and Dad are visiting, I have a Half Marathon, Half Ironman in Puerto Rico, cycling camp and many many many miles ahead....(hopefully I am able to run again soon)
So over the past week, I've unknowingly been eating a lavash bread pizza every day. I'll have it for either breakfast or dinner...truly amazing. Think of any vegetable, pasta sauce or pest OR hummus for a base, slap it on some bread and get cooking. You can throw some protein on there and perfect 4:1 carb ratio. So there you go...Pizza is the perfect diet for a triathlete.