SOMA Race, Las Vegas and Life Lately

Been awhile since I’ve posted, IMAZ training and life in general has been keeping me overly occupied.  Training with the friends has been going well, we’ve gotten 3 100 mile + rides in and almost always run for a bit afterwards.  I has been great having two of my very good friends to train with, I feel the most prepared I ever have for a race!

At the end of September, Amy had a conference in Las Vegas so I met her there for a few days after it was over.  We stayed at the Luxor for the first time, ended up being pretty nice.  The past few times we’ve stayed at Mandalay Bay and the Palazzo, so the room wasn’t quite as nice but much more affordable!

The highlight of the trip was going to Exotics Racing!

Out by the Las Vegas Speedway this place has an awesome collection of cars that you can rip around their track.  After a 2 laps familiarization ride in a Porsche Cayenne, they put you in the car of your choice with a professional driver in the right seat to help you get the  most out of the cars!  I got to drive an Audi R8 V10, it was pretty sweet. Amy got to ride with a professional driver in a Lamborghini Gallardo, this guy could really tear it up out there!

Other than thank we spent some time hanging out at the pool and took an nice stroll down the strip people watching and stopping for a drink or two as we wandered!

Soma 1/2 Iron Race   5:30:03

Woke up about 4:15, ate a bagel and chilled for a bit to awake up. After that I grabbed the gear and headed down to Tempe Town Lake.  Got my transition area all set up, a little air in the tires,  body marked and went to find my friends.

After wishing Bill, Len and Jody good luck, I wrestled myself into my wetsuit and lined up to get in the water. It was  a decent swim, and I felt pretty good the whole way.  Did a good job sighting and swam straight at the buoys.  I could have dug in and swam a little quicker, but I was happy with the way I felt coming out of the water.  38:16
Up the stairs and to the strippers!  The volunteers were great and got me out of my wetsuit quickly, hemelt on, grabbed my bike and it was time to pedal!  Overall I rode pretty well, if I repeat this effort for IMAZ I’ll be pretty happy.  I felt like I was setting a good solid pace, while still keeping my heart rate in check.  I got a flat 2 miles into the bike, fortunately all it took was a quick hit with the C02 to fix, just  a minute or so!  As I passed Mill Ave on my 3rd lap I hit the bump in the road pretty hard and snapped off my right areobar armpad.  I tried to kind of hop over the bump, apparently I didn’t do a very good job. Not being able to get into aero messed with me a bit, but didn’t really slow me down too much. 2:44:35

Cruised into T2, had a pretty good dismount and headed for the racks.  It took me a second to find my rack spot, but no big deal. Got the shoes on and headed out…

I was hoping to get in under 2 hours.  I was setting an OK pace but just couldn’t get it going faster.  I was worried about staying cool so I think I drank too much water from the aid stations.  By the end of the run I was feeling pretty sloshy! I at least felt that I mentally kept fighting and easily ran the whole time. 2:01:57

Most importantly this race was a tuned up for IMAZ, I didn’t really rest up, just taking Saturday off before the race, so I’ve still been feeling a little tired from the past few weeks.  I was happy overall with this effort, if I can recreate this next month it gives me an hour to play with to get in under my 12 hour goal.

After the race we enjoyed a few post race beers at the Tavern on Mill and headed home to relax!

High Altitude Training Days

While I had planned to go on RAGBRAI for vacation this year, I just couldn’t make it happen.  Since I had already scheduled my vacation time and wanted to get some good miles on the bike, my friend Len and I headed up to Flagstaff.   It’s a great place to go for some riding in nice weather and the altitude.

We headed out Wednesday morning, the drive wasn’t too bad just a little rain on the way up.  We made the turn out Lake Mary Road and settled on the Dairy Springs Campground.  It’s a few miles in on the Mormon Lake Rd.  After choosing a campsite towards the back we got the trucks unloaded and started to move in!

Here’s a pic of the campsite all set-up:

Knowing that we would get rained on during our stay, we set ourselves up pretty well.  We had a tarp over the picnic table and an easy-up to give us a dry area for the bikes.  The first few days the campground was completely empty, it was great to have the whole area!  One great bonus, as I was looking around for a suitable fire poking stick I found the Arizona Trail not but 100 ft from our campsite.  Trail  running all taken care of!

Around 2:30 we were all moved in and it was time to ride!  We just rode a quick loop around Mormon Lake and a little more, about 18 miles.  I really felt the altitude on the hills climbs, it was nice to do a short ride to help with the acclimatization.  After that we got in a nice 4 miles on the Arizona Trail, some really nice single track running.  While there were a few places that were kind of rocky, most of it was nice soft dirt in a beautiful ponderosa pine forest!

That night we built a nice fire cooked up some food and had a few beers.  When car camping I’m a fan of living well, after we entertained ourselves with the fire for a bit we busted out Len’s laptop and watched a movie.  Better Off Dead was the night’s movie, a classic with the best skiing advice ever: “Go that way really fast, if something gets in your way – TURN!”

The next morning we woke up to clear skies, but they wouldn’t last all day.  We started the day with another 4 miles on the Arizona Trail, cooked breakfast and chilled for a bit.  After some nice campsite relaxing we headed out for a ride down Lake Mary Rd.

Lake Mary Rd is a great ride rolling hills and an excellent bike lane.  Especially headed back towards camp there are some quality climbs!  That night we went to the Mormon Lake Saloon for a couple of drinks then back to the campsite.

Friday we woke up to a pretty good thunderstorm and just hunkered down in the tents until it passed.  After that is was back out on Lake Mary road for another 50 or so miles, got rained on pretty good but it didn’t bother me at all!  Later that afternoon we headed in to Flag, met up with some friends of Len’s for a drink.  It was nice to cruise around the town, I really like Flagstaff!

Saturday was our last day, after cooking some breakfast we tore down camp and loaded up the trucks.  The last ride of the trip was a fun one, the climb up to Arizona Snowbowl Ski Area!
We drove into town, parked the trucks at Len’s friends house and hopped on the bikes.  It was 5 miles of rolling hills out to the ski area road and then 7 miles and over 2400 ft of climbing to the ski area.  The road isn’t that steep, it just doesn’t let up the whole way!  I was feeling the past few days of riding and my heart rate was pretty high but I just kept on pedaling until I finally saw the Snowbowl sign.  Unfortunately, Len popped a spoke on his back wheel half way up, so he chilled by the side of the road while i finished the climb.  After I got to the top and caught my breath, it was back down the hill to the truck and back out to pick Len up.  It ended up being a great trip, I had hoped to get a few more miles in but all in all it worked out well and I had fun!

Had to take a bike pic up there:

And a nice pic of the road we got to ride:

After grabbing a bite to eat in Flag, it was back down the hill to spend my last few vacation days with Amy!

A Real Nice Week

The first week of July was pretty good!  The restaurant was closed all week for new coat of paint and some much needed new booths.  While I  had to work a little, it’s been work at a relaxed rate!  Amy  worked from home all week also,  so we got in some great hanging out together time.

On Sunday I had a great ride with my friends, Ironman course to Shea and back.  The whole way back we had cloud cover, really took the bite out of the heat!  After that  I had to do my end of the month inventory and put all the liquor and wine from behind the bar into the liquor closet.  I went in for a few hours on Monday,  knock out a few things and lock up after the booth guys were finished for the day.

On Tuesday we went to the Dbacks game.  While they got their butts kicked by the Padres we had a fun night! We drove up to the Draw 10 to grab some pregame food, then rode the Light Rail down to the game.  I had gotten the tickets from one of my wine purveyors, I new they were good seats but not exactly where they were.

This ended up being our view:

As I said they go worked over pretty good, the highlight of the game was the Dbacks grand slam!  Other than that and a great double play, they played pretty poorly.  We headed out during the top of the 8th, hopped a pretty crowed light rail train back towards the truck.

Got in a great ride on the 4th.  It was cloudy all morning and even rained a bit on us, a nice change from the oppressive heat!  We got in 36 nice miles around the house, the route is  a good mix of hills and flats.  Nice to  have  a quality riding area so close.

The next weekend we had to get the restaurant cleaned up, back together and ready for service.   We had the whole staff in for about 3 hours and got it ready to go, the booths turned out great and the place looks really nice!  After that it was back to normal work, but only for 2 weeks.  My vacation starts on Saturday, High Altitude Tri Training up in Flagstaff!  Four days of camping out, riding, running and swimming up in the mountains.  Maybe we’ll even bag a peak!

Lately in our life…

We’re getting into the heat of the summer here in Phoenix.  While we all know it’s coming, the first few weeks of it being hot all the time are hard to get used to.   Fortunately, I’ve been doing a pretty good job of keeping up with the training.  The serious Ironman training is still about a month away, right now I’m concentrating on building a solid base and regaining cycling speed.  While it has been some work, lately I’ve been feeling much stronger on the bike and seen my average speeds creep back up to an acceptable level.

A few weekends ago we took an nice trip to a mineral water spa in Desert Hot Springs, Ca.  This trip also coincided nicely with Amy’s birthday! We stayed at the Aqua Soleil Spa, it was a nice, small, relaxed place!  We drove over Friday  morning and pretty much just chilled in the pool for a few days.  After almost a month of 6 days a week training the rest did me right.  Amy got  a nice, deep tissue massage and we enjoyed just being out of town together!

The part of Desert Hot Springs where we stayed seemed to be a little ghetto.  I had wanted to go out to a nice dinner, but except for Capri Italian Steakhouse everything was cheap Mexican food.  So, Capri it was.  Overall it wasn’t bad, just not what I was hoping for.  Anytime I see a $17 8 oz filet that comes with a salad and side, I’m skeptical.  As proximity was very important to us, we did eat there both nights.  My steak was correctly cooked both times, but they seem to marinate the steaks in what I’m guessing is a Worcestershire Sauce based marinate.  I’d rather just taste the beef with a dash of salt and pepper.  As is our norm, we enjoyed our dinners at the bar and the bartender took good care of us.  One downside, no Port!  I love to finish off dinner with a nice glass of tawny, but so many places we’ve been to lately don’t have one.  I don’t understand why a place will not have at least one bottle, even once opened it is good for years and I can’t be the only one asking for it!

View from our hotel balcony:

I can’t wait for July to get here, work wise it’s going to be a relatively easy month for me!  The restaurant will be closed July 1st-8th to install new booths and get a fresh coat of paint and I’m taking my vacation the 22nd-29th.  While I had hoped to go to RAGBRAI for vacation this year, it just wasn’t in the cards.  Instead, I’m going head up to Flagstaff for four days of high altitude swimming, biking, and running.  Camping out and training in the cool mountain air will be a nice change from the oppressive heat we deal with here during the summer, should be fun!

That’s what’s been going on with us, now I’m ready for another hot weekend on the bike!


I’ve been back in the pool lately!  Until mid-April I hadn’t been in the pool at all this year,  somehow I forget how much I enjoy it.  It’s the main thing I use my Lifetime Fitness membership for.  I have always been in the water, as a young kid I was on our country club swim team, from 9th grade to my freshman year in college I was a diver, I love the water.  I’m not a fast swimmer, the swim team days were 30 years ago, but I enjoy it so much.  It is both relaxing and invigorating at the same time, having my head buried in the water is great for spacing out and getting some thinking done.   Many Thursdays and Fridays our GM lets me leave for a bit between lunch and dinner, great time to hit the pool.  Those two days are my long ones, 11 or 12 hours, so to be able to escape for a swim is awesome.  Something about a good swim gives me such the endorphin rush, I come back to work feeling so good!

My main goal lately has been to work on my overall fitness/technique in all 3 disciplines, achieving the 2012 goal of a sub 12 hour IMAZ.   I mainly use swimming as an overall fitness tool, while I always try to pull hard while swimming and get the most out of every workout, I’m relatively happy with my swim pace.  I feel I can improve my IM time the most on the run.  If I knock 4 or 5 minutes off my past two 1:16:XX  IM swims I’ll be more than happy.  I usually use triathlon swims as a nice warm-up, getting ready for the work ahead.  Getting out of the water feeling even better than when you jumped in is a nice way to start the day.  It has been great to be back at it!

One Month In!

So it’s been about a month now that I’ve been back at the committed triathlon training.  So far everything has been going pretty well, there have been a few bumps in the road, but that always seems to happen!  I feel like I have made training a habit again,  missing my workouts if I don’t get them in.  I have been getting in 6 training days a week, resting on Tuesday.  My job in the restaurant industry will always make the early mornings a challenge, so far I’ve been doing pretty good, getting up and getting the runs in!  This will be more challenging the hotter it gets and the earlier I have to get up.  Beside making the training possible, it also allows me to spend a little time with Amy in the morning before she goes to work.  We usually don’t get to spend a lot of time together during the week, so anything helps!

Basically the training schedule has been:

Monday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: Bike

Thursday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Friday: Morning Run, Afternoon Swim

Saturday: Long Bike or Long Run

Sunday: Long Bike or Long Run

I thought about racing this weekend at Tempe International, but decided to just keep at the training.  Race days are really cool but I need to just concentrate on the main goal this year, IMAZ!  My biggest concern is to be fit enough to have a solid sub 6 hour bike ride and get off the bike for a no hobbling, calf cramping free marathon.  My past two IM races have been severely effected by calf cramping issues on the run. In 2008, after a wind tortured bike ride I couldn’t even point my toes to run the cramping was so bad.  In 2009 I battled slightly better cramps and was able to get rid of them after 2 laps of eating just about every banana I could find!   The third lap was just about the most enjoyable running I  have had in a triathlon.  That feeling is what I want to replicate for the entire run.  This means being in even better shape than last time, and being smart about taking in enough of the right nutrition during the race.  And running, a lot.

If I can keep this up all summer I can have a great race come November 18th!

Here’s a pic from 2009, just starting my 3rd running loop.

The goal is to feel like this the whole run!

Doin’ Good Getting Back to Training

We’re at the 6 months out mark from IMAZ so it was time to jump back into the training with both feet.  My friends, Len and Bill, and I had been getting in some good, base building rides over the past few months.  Now it is time to really start the committed training, and I feel like I’m off the a good start the past few weeks.

I use a website,, to track all my training.  It helps me see my progress and keep myself accountable for missed training days.  The calendar and total time graph give a good visual representation of your month.

This April

The pink days are tri sport training days, the yellow days are when I wrote on the training blog, and the white days are nothing. The Time Graph is in minutes.  Obviously, since the 12th I have been getting in some good days in a row.  I had been able to string a number of days together in a while, always letting life get in the way of training.  I think one of the most important things during ironman training is still living a life and being with your loved ones, but still getting in the training.  I think I’m over the hump and have made training a habit again!

Last Sunday we had an awesome ride. From McDowell Rd and the Beeline to Bush Highway to Saguaro lake Marina.  Bill’s brother picked us up in his boat, we cruised around the lake for a bit,  got to jump in a few times to cool off!

Here’s that ride:

Other than that, it has been training around the house, really makes me love where we live.  I can be running on single track in .25 miles from the house and have a great area for riding right around me!  Hopefully this keeps me motivated for another 6 months!

IMAZ and the past week

After a great trip to Vegas, things are settling back down for us!  Everything went very smoothly for our wedding and honeymoon trip but it’s nice things are finally getting back to normal.  We don’t have an event to plan or worry about contacting vendors, such a relief!

This past weekend was Ironman Arizona, always a fun weekend.  Myself and my friends Len and Bill volunteered at a run aid station to guarantee a spot for next year. We got a great shift, 10am-1pm.  Mainly we set up the aid station: unloaded the truck, set up tables, hauled ice and things like that. Then we hung out for about 2 hours before the first of the pros came through on the run. We handed out water to about 20 of the front runners and then we were done, pretty easy compared to the 1000’s of people coming through for the later shifts!

The pic to the left is our Aid Station almost ready to go! After our shift we biked over to the Draw 10 for a couple beers, then headed out for a little Ironman spectating.  Had a great spot to see the winner come in at a amazing 7:59! The guy ran a Boston Qualifying Marathon after a 112 mile bike ride, always impressive. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see any of my friends finish, but was glad to hear that everyone I knew that was racing crossed the finish line.

The next morning I woke up and headed down to register for IMAZ 2012.  While I expected to stand in line for a while the over 3 hours I spent waiting to register was crazy!  But, after a long wait and kicking down $682 I had my spot for next year. I’m excited for the year for fitness I have ahead of myself. I’m also stoked that I have 2 good friends to train with for this race, it helps so much!

A few relatively easy days at  work and it was Thanksgiving time! We went over to our freinds, Brandy and Panos’s house and had a great time.  After some fine apps and a few mimosas it was time to fire up the turkey deep fryer.  A few rousing games of bags (or cornhole as it is called sometimes) later, we sat down to a great meal with good friends! After dinner we had a few more games of bags, and Amy had a little nap on the couch! All in all it was a great Thanksgiving, now looking forward to a nice weekend with a little bike riding and hanging out at home!