Trail running

I was out running on Chesbro Canyon and came up on a squirrel eating something in the middle the trail about 1.5 miles in and as I got closer, it stopped chewing and just looked at me. As I ran by, less than, I would say, 8 inches away from his nose, he never moved, just watched me go by. Very strange I thought.

Then a few moments later, a rabbit jumped out from the brush or grass whatever you want to call it, in front of me and looked at me, took 2 gentle hops to the side of the trail, and again just watch me as I ran by without moving or being remotely afraid.

After I turned around and started running back, a lizard comes shooting out of the grass and runs right beside me. Literally 3 inches away from each of my footsteps and paces me for about 20 yards while looking right into my eyes, and then bolts back in the grass.

Lastly, but no less remarkable or bizarre, a coyote was walking slowly across the trail and heard me coming. I said “hey buddy how ya doing today?” and he turned to me as he moved his hind end around a little bit but his front feet stayed pretty much in the same place, just of off-center of the trail. He literally watched me run by less than a foot away from his nose. He didn’t look remotely concerned about me at all.

I was wondering if this was a real run or some sort of dream or if I was dead. Maybe animals can see me, but I wasn’t really there. The whole thing was bazaar. People were saying hi to me, or the people that I said hi to said hi to me. Maybe it was some sort of strange animal energy that I had today, and I seemed very peaceful.

Regardless of the reason, it was really quite nice to have these 4 animals trust that I was no danger to them. I am considering a name change to Snow White. What do you think?

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Article Mention – Big weekend – ;)

High School Buddy Kevin MacKinnon wrote a short article about Lance and mentioned me. Who would have thought Lance would remember me.

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Wildflower 30th Anniversary

The day before the race was a little surreal. I was up at the lake and Terry Davis brought a bunch of us past winners up on stage to honor our place in the history of the race. We each spoke briefly about our first experiences with the race and how it affected our careers after winning.

It was the first time I’d been on stage in front of a group in such a long time, I was nervous. I rarely get nervous anymore, so that was actually fun. I wasn’t sure if my voice would crack or not when I first began to speak. I guess I’m not really sure if it did or not. I should ask someone, if anyone was paying attention.

From the stage we were all escorted to a new set of stairs Terry had built from the lower parking lot (transition area) to the upper lot (finish area.) On the face or riser of each of the steps Terry put a couple of plaques, one for women and one for men, with the year, the name of the winner of the long course race, and their time. It was incredible. Nothing like this has happened before in triathlon, as far as I know, honoring past winners with permanent plaques to be seen year round by anyone going to the lake.

It was a strange yet surprisingly good feeling. I don’t really think about my racing past much and it’s always surprising when someone remembers or even cares who I was. Next time I go there I’ll wear a name tags that reads – I used to be that guy on the steps 3 times.

Thank you Terry for putting on a race that immediately captured my interest and kept it for so long. I made it a priority during my racing career and it continues to allow me to chase my younger self around Lake San Antonio’s roads and trails. I love the feel and energy there, and look forward to going back again and again.



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First time age-grouper

I drove to Palm Desert Friday morning for the desert sprint triathlon, my first race in almost 8 years. I felt fit and it was at a perfect time, nine weeks before wildflower.

For a long time I couldn’t imagine doing something that short. I really didn’t want to have to try as hard as you have to for the short races. But something’s changed in my head, maybe enough time’s past, and it seemed like it would be a lot of fun this time.

Self talk during longer races is very different. When doing longer ones, I’m thinking – am I going too fast? am I going the right pace? am I eating enough? am I drinking enough? did I turn off the stove? these things circle in my head continually throughout the day. In short races like this one, around an hour, all I’m thinking of is – can I go faster?

Note to self – next race leave extra time for parking and getting a decent spot to rack bike! I always wondered why people got to races so early…

None the less I got in a decent warm up on the bike, had time to do a few yanks on the stretch cords to sorta warm up for the swim, and with Nancy’s help, got my wetsuit on to make it to the start with about 20 seconds to spare.

Starting in the fifth wave was an interesting experience. Several times in the 500 m swim I bumped into people, who seemed to be treading water and having a conversation in the middle of what I thought was a race. I had anticipated this, but even so it made me smile and almost laugh at each of the three times it happened in that 500 m.

The transition area was another new experience for me. It was the first time that I wasn’t at one end or the other. I was in some random place in the middle, completely indistinguishable from any other place in the middle. Maybe I’ll bring some pink birthday balloons to float from my bike rack next time. Or maybe I wouldn’t notice those either. Regardless of my transition area dementia, I don’t really think I wasted too much time, relative to anyone else, in there.

The bike and run went fairly well. I was breathing about as hard as I could the whole time. As one very witty woman once described to me as Lamaze breathing.

All in all the experience was a good one and I am glad I did it.

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Running race

My first running race in 19 years. My first race in almost that much time that I actually cared about the outcome going into it.

The night before I was lying in bed thinking about what it was like to race when I was competitive. I was thinking that it would be very different running for time in the middle of a mass of people as opposed to racing for position. As it turned out a guy caught me at about 10 1/2 miles and I got to race almost all the last 3 miles. It really made the race fun and changed the whole experience.

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Absent with nothing to say…

A short and sweet demonstration for getting water out of your ears after swimming.

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The equation is simple, stress + rest = improvement. How much of all three depends on the person. You’ve heard the expression train smart. Did you know you can also recover smart? Did you know that recovery is ongoing? It happens between sets, between workouts, between days, between training blocks. Too little rest and you end up breaking down, too much and it’s called retirement.

What is smart recovery? It’s just like smart anything, making the most of the time you have. How do you maximize your recovery time? First, make sure you eat high quality foods that work well with your body. For instance they shouldn’t give you gas, indigestion, night sweats, diarrhea (the list goes on…) or any other obvious negative reaction. And, eat soon after exercise. Next, get good sleep at night. You won’t always succeed, but do your best. Soak in cold water for just a few minutes after tough workouts. Not so long or cold that your core temp drops and you’re freezing for hours afterwards though. Elevate your legs when you can. I used to go the to restroom on flights and sit there with my legs up on the sink for a few minutes periodically during long flights. It makes a difference. You can rub your legs or better yet get a massage. Compression clothing is great, feels like you’re being hugged, and so are those compression boots they highlighted during the tour last summer with the air pump thingamabob, although they are quite expensive.

I take an inflammation supplement. Did you know there is one that doesn’t add stress to your kidneys or liver? It’s called Wobenzyme PS (link). It’s an enzyme formula that helps athletes with joint and muscle inflammation, while supporting the immune system and a healthy gut. Not a bad combination.

The point is there are a lot of things to do to help you with recovery and you should be doing some of them. The faster you recover, the sooner and more thoroughly you can beat yourself up again!

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When training there are three things you’re teaching your body. I’m sure you know the first one, to deal with the physical stress. You probably know the second, your mind to accept the uncomfortable feeling. Did you know you are also teaching your gut to absorb the calories needed to travel the necessary distance?

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My Room Smells Like Neoprene

It’s been a while since I posted anything. The reason? This high end training stuff kills me. I’ve been dragging. I took an easier week last week and will again this week, so hopefully I’ll be back to my chipper playful self before too long.

Rod (the world’s strongest man) and I went for our first ocean swim in 7 years. Normally we’d meet at the north end of free Zuma and swim south, but yesterday was the first really warm day and the beginning of spring break, so the beach was packed by the time we got there at noon. We drove the length of the free part and ended up paying our $8 at the south end and swimming north. I’m not sure how far we went, seemed like the first 10 minutes we barely moved then the next ten we shot up the coast as much as a half mile. Currents make progress uneven, and my sighting is… well uneven too, let’s say.

The water was shockingly cold when I walked in and my feet got the first wave. Not too long afterwards, as I walked further out, with my shoulders and arms raised like a six year old boy, my face and hands went through a similar shock. We did get used to it though and found that we got in, in an unusually cold spot. There were plenty of warmer sections along the way.

We got pulled over by the Baywatch guys. At first I figured it must be for speeding, but they just wanted to know what we were thinking, and if this was our idea, perhaps someone else should be making the decisions for us. I told them that someone had kidnapped Rod’s snake and this was part of the ransom demand. I guess to make sure we weren’t wearing any bugs. The guards understood and drove off.

We stayed in the water for about 50 minutes, maybe a little more. Normally I’m smart enough to make sure I’m not the slowest swimmer, but I forgot that ocean swimming safety tip. Rod is however, very kind to me and even though I was about to start hating him as he swam away and abandoned me in the middle of the ocean, next thing I know I’m running into his feet again. He must have sensed it and slowed down. We are so connected!

I love open water swimming, even if I’m the slowest, but more if I’m not. I’m already looking forward to swimming in Abiquiu and Heron lakes this summer.

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San Dimas Stage 3

Was I tired today. When I heard at the start that all you had to make was 20 mins of the 40 min crit to count in the results, I was very pleased. I couldn’t sleep, had to change my shirt twice during the night and by morning I was pooped.

I was fine at the back of the group for the first 5 laps and then I got a little ambitious and worked my way up through the field on the slight up hill section. As we turned and I stood up to accelerate my legs seized – oh no! I did my best to recover on the downhill and stayed in, but when we got back to the uphill section I still hadn’t recovered and lost 50 yards. I thought I’d catch up on the downhill when they slowed down for the turn but I didn’t and that was it.

The good news is, I will adapt, from this weekend and from more high end efforts, just how much is the question. Looking back, I need to be just a little stronger or fitter or whatever it is that I’m missing, just a little and I’m not that 50 yards back.

As they say, sometimes you’re the hammer and sometimes you’re the nail – unfortunately I was the thumb between the two this time!

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