Welcome to my training and racing blog, where you can find out more about my journey with Ironman racing and the motivation that keeps me going. If this is your first visit - Start Here - and thank you for visiting. Please feel free to share your thoughts and comments.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

A long overdue return

So it's been over a year since my last post, and I finally decided to sit down a write up a long overdue update on what I've been up to. In the last year I have had my best ever finish in an Ironman 70.3 event (10th in AG at Vineman 70.3), ran a new marathon PR (3:07 in Long Beach), qualified for and raced in the Boston Marathon (3:14), had my best overall result in a triathlon (AG victory at Desert International Tri), gotten a job teaching high school Biology and Physics, and gotten engaged to the most wonderful woman in the world. I won't bore you with all the details of the last year, but here are some of the highlights in pictures:
This is the start of the run in Vineman. I came off the bike a couple minutes ahead of a friend that everyone calls "Fast Brian". He got that name because of his insane running ability, and I got a first hand view of that as he ran by me at around mile 1.5 and disappeared into the distance. I still managed 10th in my age group, but I immediately knew that any hopes of finishing higher up in my age group would require some increased running speed. I had also signed up for Ironman Coeur d'alene 2011 and really wanted to do well there. Thus began the late summer/fall training regimen for the Long Beach marathon. I gave up biking and swimming for a while to focus on my running and ended up posting a 3:07 in Long Beach, good enough to qualify for Boston. Kindra and some friends of ours also qualified for Boston, so I signed up and made the commitment to run in another open marathon - but more on that later. Fast forward to March 6, 2011 and the Desert International Triathlon. I had done ok at this race last year, finishing 5th in my age group despite a nasty cold/flu/swine flu so I knew I had a shot at doing well. My fitness over the winter had gone way up, so I knew anything less than a podium would be a disappointment. I got out of the water 3rd in my group, off the bike in 2nd, and actually RAN my way to an age group win....yes, RAN!! I didn't have the fastest split, but it was fast enough to take my first ever podium - on the top step.
looking like a runner

35-39 Age group winner

Next up after the Desert Tri was Boston. Now I forgot to mention earlier that not only was I planning on doing Boston, but I had also signed up for the Wildflower triathlon, which was only 12 days after the marathon.....yes, 12 days. You may be saying to yourself, "that does not sound like a good idea", and many would agree with you, maybe even me, but what the heck, I was going to go for it. After all, what doesn't kill you........usually only results in a short hospital stay, right? Anyhow, long story short, my plan for Boston was to run easy and controlled - don't empty the tank before Wildflower. I planned on training right through Boston with the goal of the year being Coeur d'alene. I ended up with a 3:14 and change, which I was really happy with. Especially considering that the weekend before I rode my bike 100 miles and ran 20 - not the ideal taper for a marathon. Boston is an amazing race and the people/course are out of this world. For any runner, if you haven't raced Boston, you NEED to run that race, it will change your life.
Julie, Kindra and I pre-race in Boston
With Boston in the books, it was time for Wildflower. This was the first race I did in 2008 after recovering from my broken back, and I had ALMOST forgotten just how tough of a race it was. I knew I wasn't going to be as fresh as I'd like, but I had two goals for this race - sub 5 hours and top 15 in my age group. From the moment I got out of the water and onto the bike, I knew both goals were in jeopardy of not being met. I had no energy and there was a killer headwind. As I watched a parade of my friends pass me at 8, 22, and 42 miles, I just put my head down and kept going. When I finally reached the end of the bike, I knew a very tough half marathon lay ahead of me. But as my good friend Steve says, I just zipped up my mansuit and set about running. To my surprise, the first three miles went surprisingly well, all sub-7 minutes. But at mile 4, this all changed, with horrific leg cramps that brought me to a literal standstill. I couldn't move, not even walk, without both legs seizing up. After a minute or two of panic, I ate a few salt pills, stretched things out, and limped to the next aid station. I drank my fill of water and gatorade and started back out. Again to my surprise, my legs came back and actually stayed with me to the end, even posting a respectable 1:36:00 on a very hilly course. As I rounded the final turn on the course, I saw the clock - 4:59 and counting. I rallied the last bit of strength in my legs and legged it out to come in under 5 hours. When I checked the results, I was 14th in my age group....both goals accomplished!!
The final few steps
Well, Wildflower is over now and I only have one race in my sights now, IM Coeur d'alene on June 26. I've hit all my goals for the year so far, but now the biggest and toughest stands in front of me, a qualifying spot for the Ironman World Championships in Kona on the big island of Hawaii. It's going to take the race of my life to get it, but I know deep down that its there, I just need to make it happen. It's been a lot of hard work, training while being a first year teacher(which has been one of the hardest things I've done yet), but I have the best support a person could ask for.

I've saved the best and most important news for last. This year I asked the most wonderful woman in the world to be my wife and she said yes! Kindra has been the best thing to come into my life ever, and she has been my biggest supporter. When things at school get tough, I know she is there to listen and offer advice. When I am tired and don't want to train, she's there to give me a gentle nudge out the door and tell me to just do my best. When I'm racing and feel like I can't go on, she somehow comes out of nowhere to shout encouragement and tell me she's proud of me. She is my best friend and none of this could have been possible without her. Thank you Kindra for being the best part of my life and supporting me through all of the craziness, I hope you know just how much I love you.
Me and the girl I love
Well, that's it for now. There's a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few months and I'll do my best to keep the posts coming. Thanks to all my great friends for making this last year so awesome. I know we have many more ahead of us!!! Now get away from the computer and go do something fun!!!!

Monday, May 3, 2010

IM St. George Race Report

Well folks, its been a long time since I've updated the blog, but considering the events of the last weekend, I figured it's time to let everyone know what I've been up to. This last Saturday I had the "pleasure" of competing in Ironman St. George, Utah. When I signed up for this race, I knew it would be difficult....I had no idea that it would turn out to be one of, if not the most difficult course on the IM circuit. This diabolical course featured over 5000 feet of climbing on the bike ride and about 1800 feet of climbing on the run....good times!

Swim - 59:13 - New PR
I knew going into this race that, even though this was only my second Ironman and I've improved a great deal since my first, chances were slim to none that I would be setting a new PR, as this course is much more difficult than Arizona. The one chance I had to set a new personal best was in the swim.
The swim, just like the rest of the course in St. George, takes place in a beautiful spot, Sand Hollow State Park. While the scenery was breathtaking, so, unfortunately, was the water. On the morning of the race, the temperature measured a balmy 57 degrees, brrrrrrrrr. Thankfully, adrenaline kept me from feeling too much of the cold, and aside from an initial chill as I entered the water, I was never bothered too much by the temperature. I knew that the day ahead of me was a long one, so I tried to keep my pace moderate and not push too hard. The only hiccup in my swim occurred about 3/4 of the way through when I lifted my head to find the next buoy and saw a father and daughter in their kayak headed straight towards me!! I had to stop completely and push the nose of the kayak away to keep from being completely run over. After a few choice words to the duo reminding them that a race was going on, I put my head down and finished my swim. With my moderate pace and kayak run-in, I was shocked when I got to shore and saw my time was still under an hour. I sprinted to the timing mat and recorded a new personal best time for 2.4 miles - two big races so far this year, and two swim pr's....thank you TYR for making such a sweet wetsuit!!

Bike - 6:14:06 - Ugh!
The bike was....in a word.... BRUTAL. The ride stars with about 20 miles of rolling hills and a couple big ups and downs before going into two 44 mile loops that really put any rider to the test.
These photos show the "Beauty and the Beast" character of the bike course, although the second does no justice to the "Veyo Wall" that you get to climb at about 3/4 of the way through each lap. From the start of the first lap, the wind was a major factor. I was immediately struggling with the head-on and crosswinds, and before too long, my back was cramping up in a major way. By the time I got to the top of the Veyo Wall on lap 1, I had serious doubts about whether I would even be able to finish the bike portion of the race, let alone the marathon. The voices in my head began telling me to just hang it up at the end of the first lap and spare myself the suffering that I knew would come with the second lap. As I rode the long descent back into St. George, however, I made a deal with myself. I was not going to quit just because I didn't WANT to go on. If something happened that made me physically unable to go on, that would be one thing, but I was NOT going to quit.... I had put too much into this race to give up because the going got rough. That is what Ironman racing is all about, reaching that point where you don't think you can continue, and pushing through to see what you're made of. I did carry on, and even though I had to stop a few times to stretch out the cramps in my back, I made it through the bike ride. I did it slowly....but I did it, and I even managed a smile at the end.
Run - 4:12:54 - Double Ugh!
Coming in from the bike ride, I was thrilled to have made it through, but I knew I was not out of the woods yet. St. George features probably the most difficult run course of any Ironman race out there. I don't think there was one flat section of road the entire way. It was all up and down, yet somehow there seemed to be much more up than down.
Here I am going out on the course....happy to be off my bike, but that smile would not be there the whole time.This shot reflects how a lot of us felt out there at many points of the run....or walk, as it was here. But thankfully for me, I had the best cheerleader a guy could ask for giving me constant support and positive feedback. A HUGE thank you to Kindra for supporting me so well. No matter how tired I was, no matter how bad I felt or how much pain I was feeling, she was always there to tell me how great I was doing and encourage me to just keep moving forward, one step at a time. THANK YOU KK!!! I don't know if I could have made it through without you!! I'm happy to say that I did make it through the run, and crossed the finish line with a total time of 11:32:50. While this race did not turn out the way I had imagined it would, it was still a huge victory for me in another sense. I have never had to dig so deep just to make it to the end of a race. I reached lows that I had never experienced before and still pushed through to the end. I'm glad I did not give in to the negative thoughts and doubts in my mind. I consider it a victory to just have made it to the finish line, and I will take that with me in all future races that I compete in.Mom and Dad once again made the trip to see me race, and as always, I was thrilled to have them there to share the experience with me. They continue to be two of my biggest fans and best supporters.Me and my KK at the finish...Thanks again Kindra, YOU'RE THE BEST!!
Well folks, thats about all I have to say about IM St. George. It was a long and brutal day, but I'm a stronger person for it. Thanks for taking the time to read about my race.... Now go out and find your next challenge!

Monday, March 29, 2010

CA 70.3 Race Report

The road to this years IM 70.3 California for me was .....well, let's just say it was bumpy. After an illness that lingered for the better part of a month and a sub-par race to start the season in Palm Desert, I finally felt like I was on my way to a strong day in Oceanside. As it turned out, I was sidetracked yet again by a car accident less than a week before the race. I spent Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday on the table with Brad at b-project, trying to get my back to stop hurting so I could get out on the road and race. By Friday I felt reasonably good enough, and though I had spent far too much time "resting" during the last month, I figured I might as well give it a go.

Swim - 28:15
The swim was definitely the highpoint of my race. The Oceanside Harbor provides nice calm conditions for swimming and with my TYR Hurricane CAT 5 wetsuit helped me to my personal best swim time for the 70.3 distance. This is even better considering that after the turn around, while swimming directly into the rising sun, I nearly swam headlong into one of the fuel docks in the harbor! Thankfully one of the lifeguards caught my attention and got me back on course! The bike portion of the race was.......well, it was. I started off feeling pretty good, I wasn't too spent from the swim and I could tell the weather was getting warmer by the minute. The first half of the bike course in this race is pretty flat and very fast, and those initial 28 miles went by in no time. The second half of the course, however, is rather hilly and on raceday was extremely windy. I made through the first big climb and into the rolling hills still feeling ok, but once the wind really set in, it all came apart. I had to lean my bike into the wind and was still being blown all over the road. This is where the events of the last month really took a toll on me. My back was aching by mile 35 and my energy levels were dropping rapidly from my lack of solid training time. By the time I made it to where the wind was at my back, it was too late.... the damage had been done. During the last 10 miles of the ride, I was passed by more people than I care to mention and there was nothing I could do about it, just hang on till the run. Total time on the bike - 2:38:01.
Rolling in to T2 I knew that the run was going to really hurt, but hey, Ironman racing is supposed to hurt, right? I pulled on my shoes and was on my way.Kindra got this shot of me just heading out on the run course....don't let the smile fool you, I was NOT feeling very good. Thankfully, I had her and some other friends spread along the course cheering me on the whole way. I don't think I ever went more than a mile without seeing a friendly face.Here I am showing my appreciation for the support of my friends...even in the midst of a race, there's always time to spread a little love!! With the support of my cheerleaders, I trudged through the remainder of the run and got to the line in 1:41:52, well off of my personal best and about 10 minutes slower than I had hoped to run at this race. Total time with transitions - 4:53:28, which included taking a few seconds in the home stretch to give a little extra thanks to Kindra, my favorite cheerleader ;)
All things considered, I'm really happy with how the race went. While I know that if I had completed my training as planned with no setbacks I would have gone much quicker, that is one of the things that makes Ironman racing so special. There are so many things that can trip you up along the way and so many chances for things to go wrong that you always have to be thankful for even being able to start a race, let alone finish one. I am thankful for the opportunity to compete in this race and I remain even more aware of how lucky I am to be able to do the things that I love to do. Having great friends who love and support me make it even better, and it is because of all these things that I look forward to the next challenge that awaits me around the corner. As always, thanks for reading, now go out and do the impossible!!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


Way back when I was a little kid (insert old guy and short jokes here) we had these cool little toys called Weebles. Weebles are little people shaped like eggs that you can throw, knock over, push, pull and attempt in any way to knock down, but they would just stand right up. No matter how hard you try, those little guys just refuse to let anything get them down. Lately I feel a little bit like a Weeble. First, the long-term substitute teaching job I was supposed to get was given to someone else. Then I spent weeks being sick with some sort of swine/avian/west nile/ebola flu. Just when I felt a little better, I raced in the frigid, rainy icebox that is Palm Desert, sending me into a new level of sickness. Not to be deterred, I took a few days off, saw the doctor and knocked that illness out with the help of some serious antibiotics. After recovering I actually got in a good week of training, and was feeling back on track - just like my old self. Everything seemed like it was once again going in my favor. I even had a great start to last weekend when Kindra surprised me with tickets to Cirque du Soleil, which was an amazing show and we had a great time. On Sunday, however, came the next attempt to knock me down. First, my dog Sugar, who I've had for 12 great years now, once again became very sick and I'm really worried about her. To add injury to insult, Sunday evening, Kindra and I were in a car accident (someone else's fault) which has left me with some new pain in my already mangled back, less than a week away from the Oceanside Ironman 70.3 (thankfully Kindra is ok). I am sore; I am angry; I am sad; I am worried, but as before, I am not deterred. I spent yesterday with Sugar at the vet and today I took myself to the doctor. Sugar is already looking to be on the mend, and the doctor says there is nothing majorly wrong with me - well, physically anyway - just some soft tissue injuries. I do have to take a couple extra days off of training, and Saturday's race is still in question, but its a long season and my eye is still firmly on the prize, IM St. George. So there you have it....the world has once again made its attempts at knocking me down, and thanks to some wonderful friends and encouragement from those who love me, I may wobble, but I intend to come out of this standing tall and smiling big, just like those little egg-shaped Weebles, and I also will not fall down.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Healthy, Happy and Ready to Race!!

It's been a few days since my last update, and I lay the blame squarely on the shoulders of the bronchial/sinus infection that has plagued me for the better part of the last month. After suffering through the Desert International race in less-than-pleasant conditions, I went home feeling sicker than I have in years. I finally broke down, went to the doctor, and was prescribed some pretty potent antibiotics that finally got me feeling healthy again. By Wednesday of last week, I was feeling well enough to get back on the training horse and see what damage was done by my uninvited illness. I was pretty happy when I was able to get out on the road and ride/run without too much difficulty and with a decent amount of energy. When Friday rolled around I felt good enough to jump back in with both feet and go for my long ride/run brick that I had been fearing I would miss due to the sickness. Luckily for me, Friday turned out to be a beautiful Southern California day and I felt great...here's a few pictures from my ride.This stretch is southbound on the coast highway going through Encinitas and Cardiff by the Sea.Self-portrait while riding through Cardiff.This was the "high-point" of my ride, figuratively and literally. This is the view from the top of Torrey Pines State Reserve. This park is right next to one of the beaches I've worked at over the years as a lifeguard and home to one of the local cycling community's favorite locations for hill climb repeats...you can see why. It's beautiful, even when your heart is pounding out of your chest. The rest of my ride went much like the first half, although after Torrey Pines I was more focused on staying strong and making sure I kept myself nourished than taking pictures :-P All told, I rode 90 miles - many of them very hilly - and capped it off with a 7 mile run where I was able to maintain a 7:37/mile pace, which is far better than I had hoped when I first rolled out the door. By the time I was done.....I was done, and it felt great to be able to put in a solid 6-hour workout without coughing up a lung in the process.
Saturday consisted of a different kind of workout for me, as I was head cheerleader for my girlfriend Kindra and her BSK Racing Team as they took part in the San Marcos Fitness Roundup. For those who don't know, BSK is a local running team that has many of the fastest runners in San Diego as its members. They pretty much swept all of the podium positions in both the 5k and 11k events....Kindra was 4th female overall and 1st in her age group, I'm super proud of her and was stoked to be there to cheer her on.Here she is running strong to the finish - 19:13 for 5k.....let's just say I'm glad I wasn't in the race :) Me and my gal :)
Sunday was a great end to a great training weekend. In the morning I had my annual lifeguard requalification swim, which would provide some much-needed open water (cold open water) swimming practice. The ocean temperature was about 58 degrees and there was actually some pretty decent surf on tap for us to swim in. Once again, my new TYR Hurricane wetsuit worked flawlessly and I made it through my swim with plenty of time to spare - another year in the books and a great way to start the day. The final workout of the weekend was a 15 mile run with the last 3 miles to be run at tempo pace. Admittedly, I did NOT want to do this workout. I was tired and cranky and didn't want to strap on my shoes at all. True to form, though, Kindra came to the rescue and offered to run the first 10 miles with me. How lucky am I? Not many of my friends have a girlfriend who is willing OR ABLE to run 10 miles on a moments notice, but thankfully I do!! She convinced me that I would feel better once I got on the road, and....wait for it....SHE WAS RIGHT! She ended up running with me for 11 miles and really kept my mind off how tired I was. At mile 11 she turned off and went home, taking any extra supplies that I didn't want to carry the final 4 miles. I backed off the pace a bit for a mile before finishing my run with three miles at 7:07, 7:03, and 6:57 pace - a VERY good indication for my next race, the Oceanside 70.3. Speaking of my next race, I went for an easy ride today and this is what I saw:The road signs are up, the weather is turning warm, and the trucks are starting to pull into the Oceanside Harbor parking lot....that can only mean one thing - Race day is right around the corner!! Only 11 days until I jump in the frigid waters and get my IM racing season underway. I'm glad to be healthy again and I hope my health and the weather both hold up for race day. This is not my highest priority race for the season - IM St. George holds that title right now - but nonetheless I want to have a great race. I feel like I've done everything I can to get myself there, now I just need to hold on till raceday. Until my next post - thanks for reading - now go outside and play!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Desert International Triathlon - Bad Weather and Good Friends

Well folks, the first race of the season is in the books, and lets just say I'm glad its over. I've been battling the nasty cold that has been going around for the better part of the last month, and it has taken its toll on me. That being said, I'm pretty happy with my results and I had a great time with some really fun people, despite feeling horrible pretty much the entire race.
As race day approached I had been watching the weather reports and it became pretty clear by Thursday or Friday that it would probably be raining on raceday. I had already missed the San Dieguito Half Marathon 3 weeks prior due to being sick, so I figured I would just suck it up and go for it. After all, I had gotten through some pretty good workouts the last week and felt like I could give it a go. The first bright spot of the weekend came when my friend Ian extended an offer to have dinner and stay with him and some friends who were hosting him for the weekend. I had planned on camping out in my van, but the thought of sleeping at a cold, wet campground was not all that appealing so I jumped at the chance to stay in a nice, dry house. What I didn't know was what a fun group I would meet and what a great time I would have.
That's Tricia, the hostess with the mostess, and her husband Sean in the background....and yes, that's me and my bald spot behind her filling my plate. Tricia and Ryan hosted a dinner party for a group of friends that make up T3 Performance Multisports, a great group of talented and FAST triathletes. They welcomed me into a beautiful home with open arms - literally, I had never met Tricia or Ryan and she said hello with a big ol' hug - and immediately made me feel right at home. They served up a fantastic dinner of Pasta, complete with chicken-apple sausage, salad and fresh fruit for dessert...I couldn't think of a better pre-race meal!! After dinner, when everyone went their separate ways, they gave me a comfy warm couch to sleep on and I got a great night's rest. The great treatment didn't stop there, Tricia and Sean own a company called Kona Essence Coffee and they treated me to some of the absolute best coffee I have ever had. Do yourself a favor and get some!!
Anyhow, on to the matter at hand....the race. As I said before, I have been battling a nasty head/chest cold but I woke up in the morning actually not feeling too bad, so I was initially optimistic about the race ahead. I got to the race site, set up my gear and decided to go for a warmup jog to see how I felt. I ran around the lake where the swim would take place and it didn't take long before my lungs started to spasm, sending me into my first coughing fit of the day - not good. I made my way back to transition and put on my wetsuit so I could jump in the water for another attempted warmup with pretty similar results - a coughing fit that had other athletes looking at me with a wary eye - is this guy gonna drown himself out here or what??? I felt like hell, but I was all dressed up so there was nothing left to do but give it a go - I told myself if it got too bad I would just stop and call it a day, but if you know me at all....it would have to get pretty bad.
The swim went much as expected, I was able to keep the coughing under control, but I came out of the water in just over 18 minutes - not good at all for me - and was feeling WAY more tired than I should have. My new TYR Hurricane wetsuit fit like a glove and felt absolutely great in the water, but my body just did not want to show up to the party, it wanted to be back in bed with a big bowl of soup. I shuffled my feet up to the transition area, stripped off the wetsuit and took off with my bike. I got about 1 mile into the 40k bike course when the first raindrops fell...."great" I thought, "just what I need". It then proceeded to rain more and more for the entire duration of the bike ride. I managed to keep the bike on two wheels the whole time, but was freezing cold and coughing like a chain smoker the entire way. I had brought plenty of fluids and gels along to fuel myself, but only managed to drink about 1/3 of a bottle and didn't eat a thing during my ride. I knew I had blown it when I was about 5 miles from the end of the bike portion and my legs just gave up on me. All I could do was shift down, spin my legs and hold on till I arrived in transition as a shivering, wet, numb mess of a human being. I averaged just over 23mph on a very flat course, which was decent, but not as fast as I'm capable of going. I had wanted to stop since mile 3 of the bike ride, but I made it this far...how bad could a 10k run hurt? As it turns out....a lot!! Running out of T2 my quads immediately voiced their protest and started to quiver as the cramps started to creep in. I grabbed a couple cups of electrolyte drink from the first aid station and just focused on turning over my legs until they loosened up a bit. I managed to get a couple gels down on the run and that kept my legs from seizing up on me completely, although I never really got to feeling good. When all was said and done, I had finished 5th place in my age group and 27th overall, far better than I had thought when I crossed the line. My run split showed that I ran a little over 38 minutes, or about 6:13/mile, amazing considering how horrible I felt. All things considered, I am really happy with how things went. I was just over 4 minutes away from the winner of my age group, and had I been healthy I'm sure I could have been up in the top 3 for sure. I'm also glad that I just finished....Here's a group shot of the gang after the race....notice the sweet trashbag raincoats we all are sporting :) This was a rare non-coughing moment for me after the race, I think you can tell just about how good I felt. I've got some big, tough races coming up and it was some good mental toughness training to push myself to the end of this race. Even though my result was not what I had hoped for, I am extremely encouraged by my performance and I'm very optimistic about having a good race in Oceanside in 3 weeks. I'm going to the doctor today to get myself healthy, and come March 27th I hope to be tearing up the streets at 100% of my ability. Until then, thanks to all my friends, new and old, who made this weekend fun despite the pain. Special congrats to Ian and Charisa, who won the male and female elite titles. I look forward to seeing them both in their pro debuts in Oceanside!! Thanks again to all my new T3 friends, it was great hanging out with you all!

Monday, March 1, 2010


So it's been almost four months since my last race in Clearwater and I am once again ready to put the gloves on get racing. It's been a great offseason - well if you can call it an offseason. I spent about three weeks recovering from last year's racing schedule before climbing back on the training horse in December. I decided last year that, with the way things were going, I was ready to jump in with both feet and really go after this season. In keeping with that decision, I made a commitment to myself to do three things: be more consistent with my swim workouts, start running track workouts to improve my speed, and return to the strength training that got me through my first ironman. I'm happy to say that I have done my best to fulfill these commitments and am seeing amazing results! This last week has been probably the best week of training I have ever had. The week started with me snatching the slideboard record (more on this in my next post) at b project from Sergio...an amazing runner who I have the utmost respect for, and ended with an epic training weekend that included a 2 hour, negative split run in the rain in which I was able to run sub-7 minute pace at the end and a 5hour ride/1hour run brick workout in which I put down 7 miles at sub-730 pace on absolutely THRASHED legs!!! That's not to say, however, that it has all been sunshine and roses. The pool is still freezing cold at 530 in the morning, track workouts still make my lungs beg for mercy and my legs cry out in pain, and strength training with Brad and Kristina at b project often leaves me lying on my back at the end of a workout, gasping for breath and clutching my burning muscles. Despite all that - I still come back for more.... as they say, the pain just lets you know you're alive, and for that reason, I welcome the pain - I am more alive now than ever! I have learned so much the last few months - about being a better, faster runner - about listening to your body when it tells you it's had enough - and about the benefits of having great friends and training partners who constantly challenge me to be the best that I can. Those of you who train with me and share the smiles....and pain, you know who you are, and I will always be grateful for the times we've shared on the road, in the pool and at the gym - and I promise, I will not let you down!!! So here I am, six days away from the first race of the year for me, the Desert International Triathlon. It's an olympic distance race (1500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run) and will serve as a launching point for March 27's Ironman California 70.3 and this year's first "A" race, Ironman St. George, Utah on May 1 - my first real attempt at seeing where I stack up against the competition in my efforts to get to Kona. After Oceanside, I will re-evaluate and look to sign up for some late season races as well....Rest assured, however, that I intend to race a World Championship race again this year, whether it be a return to Clearwater, or an inaugural trip to Kona. Sorry I don't have any training photos to share, but it's only because every workout that I brought my camera along, I was too tired to remember I had it :P That being said, I am now off to my next session in the pain cave that is b project, and I plan to show you all some of what Brad has come up with to make me stronger, physically AND mentally! Until next time, thanks again for reading - now go out and do the impossible!!!