22 Times Around the Sun

…that’s how much I have ran in my day.

Haha, just kidding of course. Today is my 22nd birthday. So far I have celebrated with a 10 mile run on a old, familiar route and a 3000 yard swim that included 22x100y (not a coincidence). I will continue to celebrate tonight at Ruth’s Chris Steak House. I can’t wait.

I picked up some new goodies for the triathlon/birthday gifts yesterday. I finally got some road shoes (I have been biking with mountain bike shoes/SPDs on my road bike) and some awesome Speed Play pedals. I also picked up a pair of DeSoto Tri shorts and a Zoot Sports visor. Since my hair is getting longer and I will soon need to run with a headband, I thought I might as well add a little extra sun protection.

The new gear
The new gear

Training has been awesome this week. Let me give a little recap.

Monday – Ran a hilly 10 miler in the morning (6:54 pace), swam 2200y, and then ran a few more miles in the afternoon. I commuted about 5.5 miles between home, swimming, and running.

Tuesday – 32.38 mile ride in the morning just over 95 minutes. In the afternoon I did a fun, short little workout with my old high school’s team. 4x400s on 3 minutes @ 64. 63.5, 64.7, 63.8, 63.9. A little jog, then 6×250 with 150 jog @ 37.7, 38.9, 38.4, 37.7, 37.3, 36.0. Then they did 10×150, so I opted for another 4×400. 63.5, 62.0, 64.2, 60.5. Tried so hard to break 60 on that last one but started to tie up the last 80m or so. Worked out to be a little shy of 8 miles of running.

Wednesday – Another hilly 10 miler, this one a little easier pace (7:22). 2300y swim. Then an easy 5 miler with the high school boys. Again, commuted on the bike about 5.5 miles.

Thursday – Met with a masters swim group that I am going to check out more extensively next week (1800y). Biked a little over 20 miles, picked up the gear I mentioned earlier, and then drove to the high school for another workout. 15 minute tempo @ 5:20 pace. Nice work Travis ;). 8 miles of running total.

Big Sky Championships

My teammates are in Missoula Montana for the Big Sky Championships this weekend. I want to wish them all good luck. NAU has the oppurtunity of being the first team to have male and female triple crowns in the same year (both teams have already won cross country and indoor track & field titles).

I’m on the CrackBerry

Yesterday I replaced my old phone with a BlackBerry Storm. It is a really cool phone and I am having fun learning to use it. I will be able to post from it when I don’t have time to get to a computer.

Today was another nice day in Simi Valley. Probably a high of 75. I went for a 32 mile ride in the morning which is my longest ride in a long while. A couple hours later I was on the track at my old high school running with the boys. 4×400 6×250 and 4 more 400s. My last 400 I was hoping to go sub 60 but I really locked up the last 50m or so. Not bad considering I haven’t done anything fast since my race at Sun Devil Invitational.

Tomorrow I will hope to get in some run mileage and get into the pool.

And… I am seeing Weezer on Saturday at the Weenie roast! I am really excited about that.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Summer

Summer is finally here! I made it through finals and I am back home in Simi Valley breathing the the thick air and enjoying the good life.

Wednesday I had a break from finals and did a “triathlon day.” My roommate Kam Holbrook and I went for a 28 mile bike ride down to the Sedona overlook off of highway 89A. Awesome views. After the bike ride and a peanut butter and jelly sandwhich, I headed to the pool to get in 1800m. I swam a ladder of 50, 100, 150, 200, 150, 100, 5o. Pretty tough. Ate some more food then went for my last run with the team until next season, an easy 7 miler. I was beat.

89A going into Sedona
89A going into Sedona
View from Sedona overlook
View from Sedona overlook
Me and Kam
Me and Kam

Thursday I went for an easy 5 mile run in the morning wtih teammate Joe Withers (he had his last race of the season on Saturday so he was tapering) and then 1300m in the pool before my final. I made it to my final with about 5 minutes to spare. I think I still got an A?

Friday, my girlfriend Tina and I headed out to summit My Humphrey’s (12,633 ft). There was still a lot of snow on the trail and we got lost several times on the way up. Tina unfortunately got light headed and seemed to suffer some altitude sickness at around 11,600 feet. She told me I should go on, so I made it to about 12,100 feet before realizing that I had just left my girlfriend all alone on a poorly marked trail over 11,500 feet above sea level. I still got a great view. Next time we will make it all the way up together.

Tina and I before the hike
Tina and I before the hike
Butterfly
Butterfly
So close to the summit
So close to the summit
Agassiz peak
Agassiz peak
Looking West
Looking West

Saturday I finally made my way back home to Simi Valley. It is always nice to be back home. My parents and I enjoyed some great food at Limon’s Latin Grill (Flagstaff, Az isn’t known for its sea food) then we watched some old home videos.

Yesterday my sister and I made my mom breakfast before she had to leave at 9AM to catch a plane for business. Then I biked up to Challenger Park and ran through Bus Canyon. Everytime I am come back to Simi, it seems like this is my first run. The runs here are just as hilly as I remembered. I biked back home after the run, dropped off my running stuff, and biked for another 13 miles or so (probably ~22 for the day).?? Yesterday was the first day I tried using the aerobars… I actually felt pretty comfortable in them, although I think I still need to make a few adjustments to make me more aero. It can be a little sketchy when cars are zooming by a couple feet away and I’m trying to tuck into a good aero position. I’ll have to practice more.

I finished off the weekend with a Mother’s Day barbeque with family. I ate a lot of food and enjoyed some good beer. Life is good right now.

Getting My Head Wet

The semester cannot end soon enough. Somehow, four out of the five classes I am taking have a final project. This wouldn’t be so bad if the projects replaced final exams, but that is the case for only one of my classes. I just need to make a push these next few days and it will all be over. It can’t be as tough as training, right?

Since I am running less right now, I have found some time to get into the pool a few times and in the weight room. Each session in the pool is better than the previous, which is encouraging. I can only hope this trend continues and my progression doesn’t stagnate. I did a measly weight session with teammates Will Porter, Kam Holbrook, and Myles Kloer. Kam and Will have been encouraging me to “get my swell on” with them. Three exercises later and we were off to dinner. Sadly, I have been quite sore from benching 115 lbs and curling 25 lbs. Ouch.

In 5 days I will be done with finals/projects and preparing to hike Mt. Humphreys with my girlfriend. More on that to come…

A Mediocore End

Saturday was a windy, relatively-cold day here in Flagstaff. As I traveled down the mountain to Tempe, I was relieved to see the temperatures come up and the wind calm down a bit. Temperature was probably low 70s for my race with about 15mph winds. I was pumped for the race and felt well prepared.

As I thought, the race in front turned out to be an effort between me and teammate Marten Bostrom. First lap was 71 seconds. Perfect. I followed close behind Marten much of the race, hitting splits (the ones that I remember) of 2:23 at 800m, 4:49 1600m for the first half. The pace felt good and the headwind on the back stretch wasn’t too bad. I thought for sure I was in for a great time.

About 600m to go, Marten took off (or, maybe I slowed down?). I distinctly remember hearing Coach Heins yell to Marten that he needed a sub-70s last lap to go under the NCAA Regional mark of 9:07.00. Lucky for him, he was able to cross the line in 9:06.95. Unfortunately, I had a dismal last lap and finished in 9:14.94.

The time was over 5 seconds off my PR, but there are a few things to be happy about.

  • Most of my hurdling went really well, with the exception of the opening laps. I tend to be a little overzealous and jump to high. I think I am wasting some energy on the first few hurdles and would benefit from more practice (obviously). This summer, I would like to work with my high school’s hurdling coach to become more proficient. If I can continue to practice hurdling throughout the year,?? I think I will see large improvements next Spring.
  • Water jumps went great. This is really encouraging because more practice on water jumps is a little daunting. All that pounding seems to be rough on my back.
  • 9:14.94 is my second-best time in the steeplechase. I guess that isn’t too bad for a red shirt season.

What’s up next

Since the race, I have taken three days off. This is the longest break I’ve had since after cross country nationals at the end of November. The time off couldn’t have come at a better time. School is very busy right now: rough draft for ME499 Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos project due Monday, final report due for ME 386 Machine Design due today, as well as homework assignments in other classes. Red shirting this season was a great choice.

I will probably start running again tomorrow and I plan to start swimming and biking a lot more in preparation for the Breath of Life triathlon at the end of June. The goal is to break 2 hours and 10 minutes for the Olympic distance (1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run).

I got some work to do!

Sun Devil Invitations Results

Sun Devil Invitational Tomorrow

Tomorrow’s Sun Devil Invitational at Arizona State will start at 7pm. The mens steeplechase is after the mens and womens hurdles and the womens steeplechase, so it looks like I will probably run at 7:45ish. Tomorrow’s high in Tempe is expected to be 85F, but it should cool down to below 80 by the time my race starts.

At the Sun Angel Invitational a couple of weeks ago, I noted that I probably didn’t eat enough before the race. I won’t make the mistake this time. I will have a good breakfast and some fruit and a sandwich for lunch around 2pm. A snack a few hours before the race should make sure that I’m not worried about nutrition on the starting line.

Race Plan

The heat sheet shows that there are a number of athletes entered around the 9:30 mark. Teammate Marten Bostrom looks to be my top competition, as he ran 9:06.89 back in 2006. Marten won the 5k here in Flagstaff this winter at the Big Sky Indoor Championships.

Considering the field entered, the plan will be to get out and run my own, comfortable race. I would really like to PR (9:09.04 currently) and would like to get close to the 9 minute mark. I want to make sure I don’t go out faster than 70 and blow up. 72s will get me to 9 flat, so that will be the goal pace.

Considering the workouts I have had lately, I think 9 minutes is a reasonable goal. I would really like to head into the summer and cross country training with a big PR.

Last Workout

Today was my last workout before what I like to call the “Olympics.” This is a term some of us like to use at NAU when we are talking about our biggest races of the season which is generally our last as well. Saturday will be my Olympics in the steeplechase.

After a great workout on Monday (3x4min, 4x3min, 3x2min with 2min jog recovery), today we had 6×800 with evens over hurdles and water jump. Paces were sea-level 5k goal pace on the flat 800s and steeplechase goal pace on the others.

The workout went well. There was maybe a 15mph head wind on the backstretch, but I ran most of the workout behind teammate John Killian (9:01 3k steeple this season) so it wasn’t too bad. Splits were 2:20.4, 2:21.5, 2;20.7, 2:23.0, 2:21.3, 2:23.2. I felt pretty tired coming into the workout and thought 6 would be too many before Saturday’s race. The workout was tough, but I felt like I was holding back a bit on the last 800. In the end, I think it ended up being a good workout giving me pace work as well as some confidence heading into this weekend.

Now before I get back to studying for tomorrow’s Thermodynamics II test, I want to wish my Farfar (Grandpa in Danish) Happy Birthday!

…and Happy Earth Day to the rest of you!

The Greatest Bonk of My Life

Word got out to my teammates that I started this blog, now everyone wants a piece of it. I have had many suggestions of what I should put on here in the last couple days, but Marten Bostrom gave the only good one. Maybe wisdom does come with years. After all, he is the oldest runner in the NCAA.

As the RunPD tag line says, I really have been “running as fast as I can since ’93.” As many runners know, sometimes you can push yourself too hard and it makes you pay in the end. This was the case at my Marmonte League Finals in 2006, my senior year. I was running the 3200m and friend and teammate Michael Cybulski (8:53 two-miler later that year) agreed to pace me to try to run a 9:20 (a 5-second PR). All was going well until the last 200m; I knew it was going to be a very rough finish.

The video below shows the last 80m of the race.

I ended up with a 9:26, just one second off my PR, and 2nd place in that race. This race comes to mind whenever I see another athlete experience bonking. Unfortunately, I have had other experiences similar to this one, especially in the steeplechase. I can only hope there won’t be more to come.