UCLA IronBruin Sprint Triathlon – 26 February 2017

Triathlon season is underway so I figured I’d dust off the gear and sign up at the last minute for a random sprint triathlon.  I like racing sprints first in the season so I can iron out any issues before jumping right into any Olympics.

Pre-Race – I didn’t get to bed until about midnight-ish the night before, then got up around 4am, so this was a light-sleep race.  I had a banana then grabbed gear and rolled out.  It was in the 40s/50s, dark, and raining the entire time to the race, and once I got there, I just followed the crowds and shivered in the packet-pick up line while getting soaked.

This was a point-to-point race, which means that T1 and T2 are separate.  We left our bags by the sign-up (T2) then walked over with our bikes to T1 which was right next to the swimming pool.  I was in the 3rd heat so didn’t start until 0740L, so I had time to get some good band work in and use the warmup pool on the side to get ready.

Swim – This was a 400m swim in a 50m pool, so we would swim down one lane, go under the lane lines, then swim down another lane for a total of 8 times.  I got lapped by a bunch of folks within the first 50-100, so I just focused on hugging the right lane while everyone passed on the left.  I pushed as hard as I could but my swim still needs work.  I lost a bit of time trying to sneak under the lines and push off, and my legs were just dangling the entire way…still a lot of work to do here.

Final Swim – 07:50 – link here

T1 – I felt pretty good coming out since I didn’t use my legs.  We had to leave a plastic bag with our stuff next to the bikes so I took a bit to try and tie it up since it was raining but no luck.  Threw on shoes, helmet, glasses, and ran out.  I actually had to stop and wipe off my glasses since the rain was coming down and they were fogging up.

Final T1 – 2:00

Bike – This was probably one of the gnarliest bikes I’ve done in recent memory.  I haven’t actually rode outside since December, so coupled with the crowds, rain, and riding rust, this was going to be fun.  As soon as I started, the rain was coming down thick and it was pretty cold.  All I had on were a pair of shorts so everything was numb.  Luckily, I have plenty of winter “insulation” left so I fared better than some other folks.

The bike course was altered on race morning so we were now doing 5 loops and turning into transition on the beginning of the 6th.  After the second loop, I could not longer shift any gears as I found out the hard way my battery died.  I had charged it up last night but evidently the flashing light from my charger meant that the charge wasn’t good, and it’s looking like the wall outlet is bad.  I ended up having to soft-pedal a lot of the latter part of the bike then surge hard up the hills as I was stuck in just one gear.  I was pretty pissed as I was putting out acceptable wattage and keeping up with the young kids.  I opted to keep most of the ride conservative with turns, etc due to the rain, slick roads, and other new riders all over the place.

Final Bike – 44:09 – link here

Considering the surges, rain, roads, other folks, soft-pedaling, and lack of shifting, I’m alright with this bike.  Not my best but it’s more power than I’ve been able to due for awhile and I thank the fit, Zwift, and Coach Mike for getting this more squared away.

T2 – This was kind of a boondoggle.  The dismount wasn’t properly marked so it was kind of slow down and ask people where to go.  This was so sudden I still had my shoes on like a newb and ran into transition.  I dropped the bike off, and like most newbs, didn’t put speed laces into my new shoes, so I had pre-laced them up before and slipped in with socks, then took off.

Final T2 – 1:13

Run – I felt pretty good on the run.  We hit some decent hills not far into the run so this wasn’t an even pacing effort – it was more push the hills and then just get into a rhythm as best as you could.  I started putting the hammer down and dropping the young college kids, but otherwise just focused on doing my own thing and working on form and technique.  I felt like I could have pushed harder if the run was longer but this is what I was able to pull off today.

Final Run – 19:35 – link here

Overall Time – 1:14:46 – link here

They haven’t posted the results online but they posted the sheets before I left.  It looked like I had gotten 2nd in my AG…but out of only 2 open males that registered for 30-34, so 2/2 – haha!  I’ll update this when I found out the official results but here’s the race link.

**Update as of 1 March 2017**

38th overall, 2/2 in M30-34 open division…meh


Overall, this wasn’t the best or worst race I’ve had.  I feel my fitness is alright after all the training but I hit my objectives in doing this race – clearing off race rust, seeing if there are any technical or medical issues that flare up while racing, and trying out a new venue.  Here are some key lessons learned for the next few races:

1. Double check battery charge on the bike.  After the race, I actually hooked my bike up to my laptop to do a diagnostic and make sure everything was working, but all it looks like was the bike was in sore need of a charge, which I did via the USB Cord.

2. Get triathlon shoes for the bike.  I’ve been using my normal training shoes for awhile, but I need to invest in a dedicated pair of shoes just for racing.  They are easier to get on/off (rubber band them and hop on) and I won’t have a soggy pair of bike shoes for any easy rides I need to do post-race.

3. Weight – I’m still about 10 pounds too heavy from goal race weight and I could feel it today.  I think I’m in the best physical shape I’ve been in, but need to keep moving forward.




Redondo Beach 5K & 10K – 5 February 2017

I can’t remember the last time I did a double 5k and 10k on the same day (this may be the first) so I figured it was worthy of a race report for posterity.


I had a picky bar before hand then got in a mile warmup, preceded by band work and followed by drills and strides.  I managed to work my way up to the front of the corral and had a few minutes to spare before the start.

Once we started, it was decently aggressive from the get-go.  I let a lot of folks go ahead as I figured most of them would burn out.  I started to turn up the volume and get to work after the first mile. The second mile had some rollers and my pace dropped a bit – glutes felt like they shut down and quads took over, so my stride length and pace dropped a bit.  Once we hit a downhill and another uphill, the glutes came back to life and the pace returned.  We hit the final downhill but I was running out of steam.  I had paced with another girl and we went back and forth the whole time, but she managed to outkick me the last half mile and I couldn’t get her.  I crossed the finish line and I was pretty toast.

Official Time – 18:39 – 1st in AG, 8th overall

Official finish here

Training Peaks here

Strava here


I had roughly 42 minutes from the end of the 5k until the beginning of the 10k.  I just hydrated and made sure I stayed loose, but spent most of the time talking with friends.  I went with my friend Jim to the corrals and we were a bit back from the front.

When the gun went off, it took a bit to get through the crowds and seed myself in a decent group.  The front started thinning out and I was able to get to work.  I had swapped shoes from my Newton racing flats to the new Altras and my glute activation felt much better here.  I just focused on keeping good form and technique.  Our game plan going in was to rest and relax on the first 3 miles, then start throwing down on the last 3 miles.  I think I executed pretty well here and I felt stronger towards the finish.  My running form felt great and I had a decent kick at the end.

Official Time – 41:52 – 9th in AG, 62nd Overall

Official finish here

Training Peaks here

Strava here


I’m pleased with my performance – I managed to hit my pacing marks about where I thought they’d be and was able to get in some decent running form when the glutes came alive.  Here are my takeaways:

  1. I did a strength session Friday night where I focused on my glutes (one legged squats with TRX, single leg press, one legged hinges, etc).  Yesterday, I did a 90 minute trainer session with some decent intervals and my glutes also got a good workout.  When I got up this morning, my glutes were already sore but I knew this was good, because when my glutes are sore, they are firing the right way.  I felt this on the run, so I need to habituate this feeling to make sure my runs are all this good.
  2. My 10K pace is probably comparable to what I can run off the bike in an Olympic distance, so I’m somewhat pleased with this, especially the negative splits.  We’ll see if I can go sub-40 in March at Superseal.

Training Update – December 2016 and January 2017 – 1 February 2017

I’m starting to post monthly training updates for posterity so I can check back over time and reflect on my training blocks.  These posts will be pretty dry but I’m leaning towards keeping these very objective so emotion doesn’t cloud my narrative.  That being said, here’s a look at December and January.

December 2016

I resumed training and started my 2017 season on Monday, 5 December 2016.  This date gives me 117 days until Oceanside 70.3, so I figured that would be adequate.  December started off with a heavy swim campaign as that’s been a continual weakness of mine.  I started swimming with an Equinox Master’s Group on Wednesday/Friday/Sunday mornings and it’s helped.  Dana is a great instructor and the swim videos help tremendously.  I also swam with Bryan Mineo’s Monday Mechanic Group and continued to refine my technique.  Bryan is awesome and my stroke has improved quite nicely.  I took a 12 day trip back home to San Antonio and got fat and nasty, so training took somewhat of a dive, but the mental break was nice.

By the numbers:

Swim – 33,745 yards // 10:10:37 // 12 swims
Bike – 80.3 miles // 9:13:06 // 11 bikes
Run – 24.4 miles // 3:36:48 // 7 runs

January 2017

I came back from San Antonio and was pretty disgusting – I hadn’t trained in about a week and I had put on about 5 pounds in 12 days…not my greatest athletic accomplishment.  I hit training with a fury and January went well.  We pushed a decent bit but nothing too crazy.  Both the SMOG Squads and the Equinox Master’s Group started back up so I’ve been hitting both regularly and my swim technique is finally starting to improve.  The TSS per week was decent and I’ve enjoyed getting back into the mix.  We haven’t piled on any crazy volume and everything is just right.

By the numbers:

Swim – 35,498 yards // 10:41 // 13 swims
Bike – 190.3 miles // 11:28 // 11 bikes
Run – 97.2 miles // 13:43 // 19 runs

Here’s a better summary of the real meat:

Pain Cave

I finally got around to setting up the pain cave.  I ordered a Wahoo Desk (thanks Ed!), set up my KICKR, and ordered a beastly floor fan.  I’ve been using Zwift habitually since early January and everything is smooth.  The quality (TSS, intervals, etc) of the bike rides are superb using Zwift and importing custom built workouts or creating your own sessions.  Indoor training on a smart trainer is the way to go, and I wish I had made this investment 2 years ago instead of waiting.  I would post photos but my pad needs a little more work…

New Bike Fit

I went back to Jim Manton at ERO Sports on Saturday, January 7th to update my fit.  We had talked in September about dropping the front end lower, but we wanted to wait until after IMAZ.  We dropped 5cm off the front right away and the entire front end went as low as this bike can handle.  I rode around for about 20-25 minutes and I could handle the position.  I’ll need to put in some outdoor work in February and March to make sure I can sustain the position and run well off the bike, but it just feels better overall.

Transcendental Meditation Course

Meditation has been on my agenda for several years but I always blew it off.  However, based on last year’s training, I’ve found that my limiter is more mental than physical, so I decided to take care of this once and for all.  I was reading a new book called “Tools of Titans” by Tim Ferriss (thanks Vinge!) and there were a few mentions of TM.  I went to the website and had remembered researching this years ago when I was a young Lt.  I contacted the local instructor and met her then decided to start the course.  I spent 4 days meeting the instructor and some other students to learn the technique, and now I meditate twice a day for roughly 25 minutes, so this comes out to close to an hour a day.  It’s an investment, but I feel better when I meditate, so I’m sticking with this for the long haul.

New Job

I started a new position today at work.  This was unexpected and a complete surprise for me and my boss, so we’ve had to rapidly adjust.  I’ll give a more thorough update after I’ve spent a decent amount of time at this position, but suffice to say, this will be an interesting next few months…