Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in Asheville

beautiful Blue Ridge mountain sunset


nephew Jack showing me his hockey fighting stance

Jack sporting his new football helmet

Graham enjoying his boogie board on snow/ice


Jack floating threw the air





Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Random Pics

beautiful December afternoon for a mountain bike ride
running in the desert





Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Officially a Desert Rat

Growing up I swam on a summer swim team affectionately called the Surf Club Water Rats. My hair was green and life was good...fast forward 30 plus years and I am proud to say I have become an official Desert Rat!

Thanks to my friend & neighbor Tom for encouraging me to venture west for the 24th running of the High Desert 50k. Race Director Terry Mitchell and her crew put on a peach of an event...challenging course over scenic terrain of the Mojave Desert, casual atmosphere and great people. While I had no big expectations for my first go at an ultra I was definitely looking forward to it as race day approached. Using some of the lingering fitness from my triathlon season I put in about a three week block of training in preparation. Nothing too crazy though with two long runs of 2:00 and 3:00 respectively.

I went to the desert with several unknows - pacing, terrain, knowledge of other athletes, etc. My plan was basically to sit in behind the leaders and see how things would unfold. The field would have several accomplished athletes including current course record holder Robert Leonardo (3:17) and 2008 Badwater Ultra Champion Jorge Placheco. As we made our way into the desert the early leaders were a couple of young stallions who run at a local college outside of LA. I sat in behind these guys for the first few miles and by the first aid station at mile 5.5 we formed a small group of three. The pace was comfortable & conversational, but faster than what I expected for the start of an ultra. Well turns out these two characters had just completed their 8k race season and like me were newbies to the ultra scene. We ran together for a while and at one point these guys had to take a whiz. Not really sure what ultra protocol would call for in this situation I simply waited for them and took down some Hammer Gel. Upon hitting some rolling terrain around mile 13 I decided to have a little fun and picked up the pace a bit to see how these speedsters would respond. I noticed I was building a small gap and continued to run solo off the front for the reamainder of the race.

The course was terrific with stunning views of the Sierras and forgiving terrain of sand/dirt. After mile 5.5 we had aid stations every three miles so fueling was not a big concern and I had plenty of opportunity to top off my water bottle. The middle miles of this course were tough with some decent climbs and over the final 10 miles my hammies were hurtin'! I crossed the line with great joy to have just completed my first ultra and coming breaking the 3:30 mark in 3:27.

What made this race tough in addition to the distance and terrain was the wind - it was howling on race day with gusts up to 40mph. The legs are feeling pretty decent with some light activity this week and perhaps I'll tackle another one of these off-road ultras in the future.

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Saturday, December 05, 2009

Running In the Desert

View along Anetelop Hwy from LA into the Mojave
Terrain for Sunday's race...there is a marked trail there somewhere...I think

As I drove into the remote valleys outside of LA the scenery was spectacular. Made into the small desert town of Ridgecrest with no problemas and headed out for a little shake out run along the desert "trails". Unlike the rocky and tree-lined single tracks around Boulder the Mojave serves up a series of paths criss-crossing one another amidst the cacti and desert brush.
Funny thing about this area is the presence of a large US Naval base operting out of "China Lake". I'm quite certain there has not been any water in these parts for a good number of years and find it a bit strange to have a Navy base in the desert. I guess they are practicing their dry-land drills.
Plan to chill today and take in some of the college football action like the Florida-Alabama game.
Keep it smooth...
Brad


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Prepping for Ultra Numero Uno

After a cozy break post IM and upon reading Born to Run I found myself with an inkling to run my first ultra. To spice up the off-season and see what the "dark side" is all about I will be throwing myself into the mix at the High Desert 50k next weekend. Okay, so it's a mini-ultra, only 5 miles beyond the marathon distance. I trusted source and friend encouraged me to check it out as it is very runner-friendly for one's first ultra being held on the forgiving terrain of the Mojave Desert. I am officially a desert rat as my friend told me upon delivering his high desert bandana as he won't be making the trek out to California this year. So I was expecting just one of those regular blue, black or red gansta-style bandanas. This one is race-specific with the course map on it just in case I get lost! It promises to be a fun experience topped with a speaking engagement for the local youth...what a blessing!

While I haven't been churning out any big miles, the race prep has included long runs of 1:30, 2:00 and just yesterday a cushy 3:05 mostly on trails. That was on the backside of burning my lungs at the Turley's Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving. I haven't touched my tt bike since IM aside from moving it so I could get to my mountain bike. It's been a hoot tooling around on the dirt roads and trails on the mountain bike and dusting off the road bike for the weekly Saturday Breakfast Ride out of Adrenaline.

Best wishes to mi amigos racing IMCozumel tomorrow!

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Slippin' n Slidin'

splendid afternoon for a snowy/muddy ride on the trails near home
Keep it smooth...
Brad


Sunday, November 08, 2009

Fall Freedom

Since the early dumping of snow two weeks ago the weather has been nothing but stellar! I relish this time of year as it allows my mind & body to recover while enjoying the trails around Boulder. I am a big fan of having a period of unstructured or very loosely strucutred training as a pre-cursor to early season base training. After taking about 2.5 weeks completely off from activity after IM Coach Z has encouraged me to stay active while enjoying some freedom from the power meter, tt bike, swim clock, Garmin, etc. It's been a blast to get out on my mountain bike and hit up the trails for some fun rides & runs with friends. I am a really BAD mountain biker so the time on the trails is great for my handling & pedaling skills. So far I've managed to keep it upright...damn maybe I shouldn't have written that...During this phase I like to take a break from the masters scene...not that I don't like those people or the entertainment Dave Scott can provide, but it's good to slow things the hell down and work on my aquatically-challenged swim form. Did I mention how sweet the weather has been!?! I'll throw in some hikes before the serious snow arrives and then spice up the training with skate skiing & snowshoeing.

Hope you are making the time to enjoy life with family & friends. Get your bum outdoors and explore some roads and trails you typically pay no attention to while hammering through a set of intervals...c'mon you know you want to!

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween



Keep the alcohol away from your pumpkins!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Green Sex - Part II

A few days ago I wrote about the effects wide-spread use of hormonal contraceptives and other steroids are having on our water systems. Before having a freaker, I ask for your patience as I provide a viable alternative which is truly green for the environment as well as our bodies, hearts and souls.

Within marriage the Catholic Church encourages couples to practice Natural Family Planning (NFP) as a healthy way to plan for or prevent having children. Many people confuse it with the "rhythm" method. It is much broader and involved both phsycially & emotionally. NFP is taught to couples preparing for marriage as it gets both the husband and wife actively involved in the process of family planning. Quite often this responsibility is placed on the woman via the pill, patch, etc. Contraception in all forms (jam, jelly, plug, drug, pill, patch, shot, condom...) does not allow a couple to completely give of themselves because there is a physical barrier. Instead of the sexual intimacy being one of a self-giving, selfless act it becomes "selfish". When a husband or wife whitholds himself/herself (their fertility) from each other they leave the other without the only thing they can bring - life. This also extends to the emotional & spiritual component of a marital relationship - too many of us are withholding ourselves from giving praise and encouragement. Where is the true freedom for a couple to completely give the full gift of themselves if contraception is being used? The contraceptive culture has been part of an increasingly growing lure to immediate gratification-what's-in-it-for-me attitude. Love is more deeper than sex and orgasm.

Marital love is one in which two individuals completely forget about their own immediate needs, wants and desires. It truly is a giving love versus a taking love. Contraception prevents a couple from completely giving of themselves physically, emotionally & spiritually. Instead of sex being one of a union it becomes an act of self-pleasure. Over time it is based on self-gratification instead of self-giving. Issues with trust, respect and communication may soon become emotional wedges within the relationship.

For non-married couples I offer abstinence as the healthiest way to protect you & your partner physically, emotionally & spiritually. For two people to hook up on a physical level is easy. When the physical aspect is removed from a relationship it lends more opportunity for a couple to sharpen the other, and often more challening, components of a relationship - trust, respect, communication, etc.

Keep it smooth...
Brad

And It Kept Snowing & Snowing & Snowing...

Wednesday morning...
Thursday morning...


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Green Sex - Part I

If you are reading this in hopes of learning about the latest & greatest eco-friendly sex "toy" - psych :) In my efforts promoting abstinence for today's youth I am constantly trying to keep myself updated on current trends, stats, etc. The birth of contraception (no pun intended :) offerred the notion of unlimited "sexual freedom". Experiencing an increase in unplanned pregnancies, an emipdemic of sexually transmitted infections/diseases and thousands of young people strugling with emotional turmoil I wonder just how "free" we are? Our decisions certainly have an impact on our lives and those around us.

With millions of American women taking the common oral contraceptive, aka "the pill", have you ever wondered where those chemicals end up or how they impact a women's long-term health? Understand I am not in the business of judging people, telling them what to do or how to live their lives. However, it appears these high dosage hormones are now finding their way to our water system, rivers, streams & lakes. In doing so researchers are finding an imablance in aquatic life, namely fish, where male fish are becoming feminized.

Boulder, CO - When EPA-funded scientists at the University of Colorado studied fish in a pristine mountain stream known as Boulder Creek two years ago, they were shocked. Randomly netting 123 trout and other fish downstream from the city’s sewer plant, they found that 101 were female, 12 were male and 10 were strange “intersex” fish with male and female features.

It’s “the first thing that I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me,” said then 59-year-old University of Colorado biologist John Woodling, speaking to the Denver Post in 2005.

They studied the fish and decided the main culprits were estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth-control pills and patches, excreted in urine into the city’s sewage system and then into the creek.

Woodling, University of Colorado physiology professor David Norris, and their EPA-study team were among the first scientists in the country to learn that a slurry of hormones, antibiotics, caffeine and steroids is coursing down the nation’s waterways, threatening fish and contaminating drinking water.

Since their findings, stories have been emerging everywhere. Scientists in western Washington found that synthetic estrogen – a common ingredient in oral contraceptives – drastically reduces the fertility of male rainbow trout.

Doug Myers, wetlands and habitat specialist for Washington State’s Puget Sound Action Team, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer that in frogs, river otters and fish, scientists are “finding the presence of female hormones making the male species less male.”

This summer, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the American Pharmacists Association will begin a major public-awareness campaign regarding contamination that’s resulting from soaps and pharmaceuticals, including birth control.

What the Boulder scientists discovered, however, is that few people care. Or, if they’re worried, they’re in denial.

“Nobody is getting passionately concerned about it,” Norris said. “It makes no sense to me at all that people aren’t more concerned.”

When the story of his finding hit Denver and Boulder newspapers, Norris anticipated an immediate response from environmentalists, who define the politics of Boulder and are known to picket in the streets demanding ends to questionable farming practices, global warming and pesticide treatments.

To the professor’s surprise, however, the hormone story was mostly ignored.
- National Catholic Register

Hmm, I wonder if soaking my legs in the creek is going to make my voice go higher?

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Stewardship

What comes to mind when you hear the word "stewardship"?? Someone on a boat?? For most of us it prompts the idea of being fiscally responsible or giving of our time, talent & treasure to an organization/cause close to heart. Being a good steward of something is simply taking good care of it. I was recently reminded stewardship really encompasses more than finances. As I see it, we have all been granted many gifts (physical, material, emotional, etc.) from God. Yes, we work hard for these things, but I believe ultimately they are a gift from God.

I think I am in pretty damn good health and try to be a good steward of this gift by living a healthy lifestyle. Okay, maybe racing Ironman and training my arse off is a little extreme for the average joe, but it's all relative. Prior to taking up triathlons I lived a not-so-healthy lifestyle which involved heavy consumption of alcohol and junk food. I used to think my body was a temple for Red Stripe, Jagermeister, Kellogg's Pop-Tarts and late night sliders w/chilli fries. Today I believe I am a much wiser steward of my health.

How about the environment? Don't you do
green in some capacity? Yeah you can admit to liking the feel of those organic cotton tees or the simple pleasure you experience from co-mingled recyling. Doing your part in being eco-friendly is being a good steward of the environment.

The notion of being a good steward can be applied to just about all life has to offer and certainly does not exclude the emotional or spiritual. Hmm, what in the heck is emotional stewardship?? I guess it's a simply a matter of doing good by others and yourself.

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Beauty of Boulder


Taking advantage of an 80 degree day I snapped this quick pic of the snow capped Rockies off in the distance...yeah the pic isn't that great but c'mon it was taken with my phone.
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Monday, October 12, 2009

Kona Recap

Navy Seals making a splash before the start


Looking beat down far too early in the run

heading towards the finish
so glad to be done with this one...
If you were tracking things online during the race you know how freaking hot & humid it was on race day. Throughout race week the mercury seemed to be inching up a bit. This is to be expected on the big island, but man was it toasty. I am grateful for the opportunity to race in my fourth Ironman World Championship and was looking for a better day, but simply could not deliver. Prior to the race I had the privilege of speaking at the IronPrayer service. During my message I shared an ancronym which has been with me in my prep for this race and would carry me through the day - FAITH - Fueling, Awareness, Intent, Trust, Humility. My race encompassed each of these with some serious humble pie :)
Swim (58:56) - My best swim here to date. The start line was filled with the typical jostling and I found myself right next to my buddy Michael Lovato. We both got a good chuckle out of the surf pulling the entire field forward while the surfboarders tried to maintain a firm line. Bang - the cannon sounded and I think I heard Michael say, "oh crap" before he shot away from me. I had a pretty clean start and swam most of the the 2.4 miles with a small group of six to eight athletes.
Bike (5:16) - Shortly out of transition I hit a large bump going through an intersection which launched two bottles off my rear cages. I was not about to embark on this ride without these bottles so eased off to the side, waited for athletes to clear, turn around and get my dang bottles. Michael's wife, Amanda, was standing at this intersection and gave me some encouraging words as I got myself back in the game. I was able to bridge up and pass a few of the athletes with whom I exited the water and rode the first 20-25 miles with Petr Vabrousek (Chech Republic) and a couple of other guys. We had a marshall keeping a good eye on us so it was a clean affair. Petr eventually rode away from me, very much like the last three Ironman events we've been racing together. My focus was on fueling and keeping cool along the exposure of the Queen K and leading up to Hawi. I felt the best I have riding this course and reached the turn-around in Hawi faster than in previous years. I was feeling good and on track for a decent ride. Back on the Queen K and around 95 miles into the ride both legs began to cramp in my vmo muscles. Oh God, not now I thought. It became more difficult to maintain a steady pace as the winds picked up and athletes whom I passed earlier were now returning the favor. I really tried to stay positive, but was very concerned how my legs would respond on the run.
Run (3:00) - I typically have felt very smooth, fluid and fast over the first 10 miles along Alii Drive. Not so much on this day. I found myself in a very uncomfortable place. I think the devil was trying to make some deals with me as my mind had thoughts of, "Now would be a good place to take a break." I struggled to keep moving forward and eventually started to feel a bit better as the run unfolded. Once again though, someone dropped a piano on my back as my pace slowed to what seemed like a crawl. I was in survival mode taking in as many fluids and cooling myself with ice & water through each aid station. Around the 12 mile mark I caught up with my buddy Michael who was walking and obviously having tough go on this day. He gave me some encouraging words to keep running. At this point I guess it's all relative...running, Ironman shuffling, walking, whatever to keep moving forward! Shortly after this I caught Stephen Bayliss and we also exchanged some words of encouragement. He recaught me approaching the turn-around in the Energy Lab. We ran together for a bit and he eventually gapped me as we exited the the lab. Back on the Queen K I was greeted with more words of encouragement from Amanda, Kelly Liljeblad and a few others. Thanks guys as you gave me a good chuckle and inspiration to keep moving forward! My teammate, Jessica Jacobs, was heading towards the Natural Energy Lab and looked very strong. She was able to give me some positive energy and I soon ran up on my teammate Ben Hoffman who was making his Kona debut on a damn tough day. We too exchanged words of encouragement. Hmm, seems like I was having lots of little conversations out there on the course. Over the final five miles I actually started feeling pretty decent all things considered. I was gaining ground on Stephen in hopes of running him down. Approaching the final small incline to Palani Road I could tell I would not catch Stephen, but Petr Vabrousek was now in range. This guy is one of the most consistent Ironman athletes with numerous top five finishes. He has beat me up pretty well in my last three Ironman races and I was determined to catch him. As Stephen passed him I could tell he was looking behind to see if anyone else was present. Shortly after making the turn on Palani I made my move and passed Petr doing so with a pat on his shoulder as a sign of my respect for him. The crowds along Alii were fantastic as they greeted me with a thunderous welcome to the finish!
9:21 & 70th overall
A huge congrats to Chrissie & Craig for their performances.
Mahalo to the thousands of volunteers...they are world class! At one point on the run I missed some cola and a volunteer ran after me to hand me a cup :)
Much thanks to my sponsors for their continued support and of course my family & friends. Your emails, prayers and words of encouragement carried me to the line on an extremely tough day. A special thanks to my homestay, Joanne, during my first week on the big island - you rock!
Keep it smooth...
Brad





Sunday, October 04, 2009

View from Above


Opted to ride on the upper highway, also known as the "coffee road", for an easy spin today. Great views at 2,000 feet looking down the lava fields spilling out into the Pacific!
Things are ramping up around town as more athletes converge on Kailua-Kona. It's been great staying with my friend Joanne...quiet, relaxing, comfortable...hard to beat homemade papaya ice cream with papayas from the tree just outside the door :)
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Tri for Life

Since I began racing IM several years ago I saw it as a great opportunity to race for a purpose, aside from the stylish finisher's t & medal :) Over the years I have been fortunate to have the support of friends & family in raising funds for a stellar non-profit called Mother & Unborn Baby Care (MAUBC).

On October 10th I will be racing the Ford Ironman World Championship to support the work of MAUBC which provides much needed assistance to familes facing an uplanned pregnancy. One of the cool things about MAUBC and why I choose to partner with them lies in the fact they are not in the business of telling people what to do, how to live their lives or making money off them. MAUBC simply wants to be a source of compassion & help. All services are free and include: pregnancy testing, ultrasounds, medical referrals, housing, material goods (baby supplies, clothing, maternity clothing, car seats, strollers, cribs, etc.), peer counseling, adoption information & post-abortion counseling for those who are sufferring from PASS (post-abortion stress syndrome). As a young high school English teacher one year removed from college, I had a student disclose to me she was pregnant and did not know what to do...scared & confused. At the time, I don't think I really knew what she should do! This is where MAUBC comes in to help ease any confusion, offer support & encouragement and answer questions about various options.

If you would like to partner with me in my efforts on the big island you may make a secure, tax deductible, on-line donation by visiting my fundraising website at www.bradseng.com. Your spiritual & financial support is greatly appreciated!

Mahalo,

Brad

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Kona Sunset





Last night's sunset...

Looks like another stellar day of island weather here in Kona. Heading out for a run shortly then some down time and relaxing :)

Keep it smooth...

Brad

Monday, September 28, 2009

Aloha



A couple of quick pics from the end of my ride today along the Queen K. Top pic is looking up towards the peak of Hualalai Volcano with an elevation of 8,271 feet. Bottom pic out into the lava field towards the Pacific. Hot & humid today with moderate winds...typical postcard day from Kona!
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Saturday, September 12, 2009

IM Training + Moving = Tired



Kona training was spiced up a bit this past week with the final push to get in my new condo. I am oh so grateful for the generosity of my parents to drive with a minivan full of my stuff which has been in storage for 5 years and help me get settled! To add a bit more excitement into the week I raced the Harvest Moon Half IM today with a solid performance & 2nd overall...42 seconds out of first!
More to come on the race once I get some shut eye.
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Eating for Recovery



Just a sampling of my daily food intake during the rigors of IM training...note the very large chocoate chip cookie stuck behind the package of almonds :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Launching the New Sport Bean

The past few days I have been in Anaheim at the
IDEA Fitness Show to help Jelly Belly with the launch of their reformulated Sport Bean. It was an entertaining three days meeting fitness enthusiasts from around the globe & some damn good people watching. The attendees were mostly personal trainer, aerobic, spin & yoga instructor types...lots of spandex in this fitness subculture!












The new Sport Bean is now flavored with with evaporated cane juice & tapioca syrup for its sugar content instead of corn syrup. The artificial food coloring has been removed and it has some
nifty new packaging with a resealable ziplock at
the top of the pouch. Throughout the conference I was affectionally being called Mr. Sport Beans, the Magic Bean Guy & Mr. Ironman...I've been called worse.



There were several very dynamic and circus-like activities being featured at the show such as this Jukari session and the TRX fitness system.
It was a fun expo & I met some great people.
Glad to be back in Boulder though as I now move into my
big build for Kona.
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Pics from North Carolina

View from lakehouse on Lake Lure

Austin riding a big wave


Jack working his tube

Graham taking a break from the action...Younger brother Brian with family...

























Friday, July 31, 2009

IMUSA


With my family vacation winding down I figured it was about time for me to share a few thoughts from last weekend's IMUSA.

This is perhaps the most scenic North American race I have experienced. The Adriondack Mountains are absolutely beautiful and the town of Lake Placid has a great history of playing host to large sporting events. The support from locals combined with the enthusiastic crowds make this one of my top five events.
Swim (55:42) - With limited swimming two weeks prior to the race due to a strained serratus muscle I was a bit uncertain how this portion of my day would go. I had a good start and found myself in a small group which included Jason Shortis, Christian Brader, Peter Vabrousek, Dave Harju and Sam MacGlone. The swim in Lake Placid is pretty straight forward with it's rectangle shape and two loops. As our group began to run into traffic on the second loop I was determined to stay on the feet of Jason as he navigated through the masses. Our pace was comfortable and I felt relaxed and smooth.
Bike (5:20) - Exiting T1 and into the early miles of the bike leaving town I was in good company with several of the race favorites. Within the first two miles I lost one of my bottles and had to make some adjustments to my fueling plan which would cause me some stomach issues on the second loop of the bike. Unlike last year's downpour, we had good weather and I was able to maximize the long descent into Keene before making the sharp left-hand turn on the flatest part of the course. Making the turn I reminded myself to be patient despite the nice tailwind. My legs felt great and I was maintaining a good mental focus. Through the first loop I rode mostly on my own and was spot on my target time as I made my way past the famed hockey arena to start the second loop. Once again I lost some of my nutrition as a gel flask slipped out of my race kit after going over some rough road on a steep downhill just outside the transition. Around the 85 mile mark I started to have stomach issues and felt downright awful. Burping, belching & wanting to puke was not something I had experienced during a race. As three of my buddies from Boulder (Curt, Billy & Dennis) passed and rode away from me within a 10 mile stretch I knew it was going to be a long, tough climb back to town. I tried to keep my mind in a good place, but admitedly had thoughts of simply calling it a day.
Run (2:54) - My legs felt pretty good on the early stages of the run. Coming off the bike in 17th I knew I had a huge task if I wanted to make the top 10 after giving up so much time on the bike. Running out of town I felt comfortable & relaxed with my focus on fueling & hydrating through the aid stations. I ran down a couple of guys through the first two miles and caught my buddy Dennis on the out & back section of the course. He was struggling a bit as we exchanged words of encouragement. Making my way back to town the crowds were great with their encouragement and I was beginning to make some ground on the fellas in front of me. From miles 16-20 I was in a really bad place and found myself in IM survival mode as my paced slowed to what seemed like a crawl. At this point I was in 8th place and giving all I could to hold on to the final money spot. My friend Carrie gave me a big lift as she told me she was praying I had strong finish when I passed her on scenic River Road.
Crossing the line in 9:15 and 8th overall I was grateful, humble and glad to be done with my day. I was able to hold things together fairly well despite the stomach crud. A big congrats to my friends Billy & Curt for their strong finishes in 7th & 9th overall.
I thank God for the gift of good health and the support from family, friends & sponsors.
Keep it smooth...
Brad


Monday, July 20, 2009

Race Week

My body & mind are in a good spot heading into this weekend's IMUSA in Lake Placid, NY. I am looking forward to my weekend visit in the Adriondack Mountains. How can you not like racing in the same location as where the historic Miracle on Ice occurred back in '80!?! For those of you reading this who weren't even born, you missed out on one of sports greatest moments and I hope you have at least heard about it.

Bags are packed for my afternoon flight to Detroit where I'll spend a couple of nights before making the scenic drive over to Lake Placid on Wednesday. Unlike last year, I will have some friends from Boulder also racing IMUSA (Laura, Billy, Dennis & Curt).

You can follow the action on Sunday at www.ironman.com

Thanks for checking in!

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Thursday, July 02, 2009

BSLT 70.3 Race Report

Another fun road trip down to Lubbock for the BSLT 70.3 last weekend. The drive down to west Texas with my buddy Michael was fairly uneventful with the usual conversation...life after 40 (for him...I'm still MANY weeks away), training, women (or lack of in my current situation), where to stop for a "safe" meal, coaching...

This will be a relatively brief re-cap.

Swim (30:33) - What the hell?!? Well, at least the ridiculous running which took place the last two years at the start of the swim was non-existant(apparently two ladies were the only ones to violate the "no running" rule - shame on you ;) Not sure if the course was a bit long this year or if the course was short the last few years. I had a clean start and quickly found the feet of American Patrick Bless. We swam together and on the back stretch were joined by Argentinian Mario DeElias who seemed to be swimming solo noticeably wide. I felt very comfortable in my blueseventy point zero skin suit and was quite surprised to see my swim split close to four minutes on the south end of the last couple of year's.

Bike (2:27) - Legs felt very good throughout the ride as I rode within my target power range. Riding into and up the first canyon I was caught by my buddy Pat who reminded me this was the same spot he caught me last year. True, only last year I did a better job of maintaining closer contact with him. On this day he rode away from me with little response from said blogger. Mistake, big mistake, mental mistake, tactical mistake...you get the picture. I rode the remainder of the hilly & windy and at times rainy bike with Bless. Fueling was spot on and legs felt ready to roll as I approached T2.

Run (1:17) - Slipping on my comfy Spira Stingers I made my way onto the challenging run course. Within the first mile I put a move on Bless and was able to get away from him. Legs felt the best they have on this course and I focused the effort on hydrating and maintaining a swift rhythm in an effort to close the Grand Canyon-like gap between me and the guys up the road. I ran well through the long out & back section of the course (aka Energy Lab II as it is an exposed 1.5 out & back with a powerplant towering alongside). Shortly after entering the park I caught Kiwi Jamie Whyte and was working hard to catch the young Argentinian DeElias. Approaching the final stretch he took a couple of looks over his shoulder as I was digging deep and held me off with a six second spread.

Crossing in 4:18 I was grateful for another day of racing. It was great seeing so many friends from Boulder on the course and meeting new friends from the FCA-E team. I was honored to be invited to speak at the IronPrayer service Saturday before the race and look forward to being part of the service in Lake Placid for IMUSA.

Congrats to Paul Matthews & Amy Marsh for their wins as well as my teammate Ben Hoffman (6th overall).

Thanks to my support team of sponsors, friends & family.

May God bless you with a healthy, safe & fun holiday weekend!

Keep it smooth...

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Nails Still Intact


On the tail end of a 70 mile run week I notice my feet are looking a bit worn...my friend Kelly told me I need a peticure...yeah right...a soak in the creek, yes, peticure, hell no!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

RFR Half IM, High School Graduation, Bachelor Party, Stanley Cup Playoffs & More...

standing proud with my niece Arial after her commencement ceremony
post race with one of my stellar athletes, killer Kenny

my support crew - Dad, Mom, Pat & Don (my Godparents & good family friends)


Sport Beans...loud & proud baby!
Okay, so I've been quite lazy with any updates...truth is life has been crazy busy, but in a very good way of course :) Last weekend I made a quick visit back to the Motor City/Hockeytown for one my niece's graduation and to race a half Ironman event called Racing for Recovery. It supported a fantastic cause with the healthy message of sobriety! It also gave me the opportunity to get together with one of my athletes for the pre-race training and give an informal Q&A on triathlon with his training group in Clarkston, Michigan. Quick race recap:
Swim (30 & change) - You might be thinking this was a non-wetsuit swim in seeing the time. Nope, just your typical open water swim in Lake Erie's (one of the Great Lakes) surf. Standing on the beach it looked more like the ocean. I swam off the front for the majority of the 1.2 mile swim until another guy caught be within the final 50 meters.
Bike (2:21) - Flat course with three loops, head, tail & cross winds and lots of water in the road from the storms that rolled through delaying the start of the race. Passing the athlete who led out of the water within the first mile, I pressed the pace and focused on fueling knowing the young guns behind me would be giving chase. Shortly after the first loop I was passed by another athlete and worked to maintain contact. Legs came around and I was feeling good as the ride unfolded. Towards the end of the 3rd loop I made a move to pass the leader. I suspected he would not be content with me leading the way which was confirmed as he made a surge to once again take the lead. I worked to cover his move and we entered T2 together.
Run (1:13) - Exiting T2 I was running in second place about 25 meters back from the leader. I had been feeling really good with my run in recent weeks so I decided to get to business. Around the first mile marker I made my move and ran past the leader. I was able to hold a good rhthym throughout the run as we twisted our way around a few small lagoons and varied running surfaces of paved road, bike paths and trails.
I secured my first overall win crossing the line in 4:08.
After the race I had a chance to make a quick visit to Toledo, Ohio and catch up with my aunt and cousin who is rehabing from a nasty bike accident. Tuesday morning following the Sunday race I had an 8am radio interview with Michgan Catholic radio to discuss my racing, speaking & faith. It was a hoot! Later on Tuesday was my niece's graduation. This was no small affair with close to 600 graduating seniors! I was very proud and grateful to watch Arial walk across the stage.
Arriving back in Boulder on Wednesday afternoon I was able to get in an easy recovery swim just as some nasty thunder boomers rolled down from the mountains. The weather in these parts has been quite strange with lots of storms & rain. Later that evening I was off to Denver's ESPN Zone with a crew of 12 others to celebrate the upcoming nuptials of our buddy Lara & Billy.
My recovery from last weekend's race has gone well and I am looking forward to the final push for IMUSA.
Tomorrow night you can be assured I will be kicking back and taking in the lively game 7 action of the Stanley Cup finals as the Red Wings look to hoist Lord Stanley once again!
Thanks for reading & keep it smooth...
Brad






Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Columbine Elementary Marathon Mile

Last Friday I had the priviledge of participating in a kids' fun run at a local elementary school. It is an annual event held at Columbine Elementary School here in Boulder with all K-5 grades completing the run as a healthy year-end activity. All the kids wore race bibs and custom t-shrits for the run. It was an incredibly cool scene and I was humbled to be in the presence of so many outstanding athletes from various sports. Only in Boulder would you be able to assemble the cast of atheltes pictured above for a 9am kids' fun run which included many current and past Olympians, world champions, world record holders and hall of famers (Fernando Cabada - '08 US Marathon Champion, Jorge & Edwardo Torres - Olympians, Uda Pippig - marathon champion, Mark Plaatjes - 1993 marathon World Champion, Benji Durden - marathon champion & Colorado Running Hall of Fame, Cameron Widoff - professional Ironman triathlete, Barry Siff - competitive triathlete Team Timex & owner of 5430 Sports, Adam Chase - ultra endurance runner & Marcelo Balboa - former US World Cup soccer team along with many others!) Most notably though was the charitable spirit & encouragement each athlete brought to share with the kidos.
I lined myself up with an eager group of first graders. It was a hoot to see them explode from the start line and continue their sprint/walk/sprint mode over the one mile course as it looped through the neighborhood streets surrounding their school. The kids were all smiles as they made their way towards the finish line and received their medals.
Here is a link to a video posted on YouTube from the event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2_ZehzAjhPw
On a personal note it was truly a pleasure to be a small part of this celebration. I was stoked to meet Marcelo Balboa as I saw him score one of the most incredible bicycle kick goals during a 1994 World Cup match being played in Detroit in which the US downed Switzerland.
Keep it smooth...
Brad

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Rest & Recovery

As a competitive athlete it is often difficult to listen to one's body and back off things as training volume & intensity begin to accumulate. Over the years Coach Zane has done an exceptional job of analyzing my training data, giving me the proper balance of volume/intensity & knowing when I need a break from training. It has been over three weeks since my last complete day off from training and my body & mind were ready for a break. Having a meeting & speaking engagement early in the day triathlon was off my radar as I enjoyed a late afternoon matinee showing of The Soloist. It is an excellent film depicting the true story of a one-time Julliard school of music student turned homeless on the streets of L.A.

Training has been going extremely well with a good dosing of consistent quality and increased volume. I find taking a complete day off from the sport is very refreshing on many levels. This is not to say I never train when fatigued...heck don't we always feel tired!?! All too often athletes push themselves beyond the fine line of fatigue & overtraining. Listen to your body and be sure proper rest & recovery are part of your training plan.

Keep it smooth...
Brad

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Littlefoot Triathlon

Sprint triathlons hurt...sprint triathlons at altitude hurt even more...With some recent changes to my race schedule I opted to stay at home this weekend to train and race a sprint called the Littlefoot Triathlon (750 meter swim, 15 mile bike, 4 mile run). After a solid week of training and putting together a very good swim & long run on Saturday I was looking forward to testing my body and racing through the fatigue.

Sean Wendt and his crew put on a great event...very low key and a grass-roots atmosphere. Bear Lake State Park was a beautiful venue with the chilly 55 degree swim, rolling bike course with plenty of twists & turns and flat run along the lake. I think the run was shy of 4 miles in looking at the splits...

Swim (11:01) - The pro wave was set to go 20'' after the last age group wave which gave me plenty of time to get in and warm-up. Just as the starter was about to count us down a boat moved in to adjust the first turn buoy which had blown off course from the stiff winds. After a couple of minutes and some laughs it was time to go! I found myself on the feet of Matt Balzer and the leaders for about 50 meters before my heart told me to back the bump off. For the remainder of the swim I tried to calm my breathing which was way out of control and swim with a small group of three. With a short run to the bike rack I began to fumble with my wetsuit and lost some precious time in T1 with a transition just over 1:00 - yikes!

Bike (39:41) - One of my goals was to simply hurt through this bike and boy did it hurt! The lactic acid quickly pooled in my quads as my heart continued its pounding. The two loop bike course was a hoot with lots of technical sections and couple of hills. During the first loop I came into one of the turns a little too hot and overshot it going right through a section of cones (had there been a barrier or bales of hay I would have been up & over :) Getting back on course I continued to work and try and bridge up to the guys ahead of me. I rode through the first loop in around 20'' and I wanted to get the bike under 40''. Not missing any turns on the second loop I caught a guy near the end of the bike coming in just under the forty minute mark.

Run (19:22) - Onto the run and my focus was all about finding some leg speed! Joe Gambles and the guys from the Riptide Multisport Team were pushing things well up front. As the run progressed I was gaining a little ground on the guys up the road, but in a sprint you have to be with the group from the get-go.

9th place overall in 1:11:54. It was an entertaining way to spend my Sunday morning and I think my breath is finally coming back to me :)

Congrats to Joe for his solid win and all the athletes for a competitive, fair & fun race!

Keep it smooth...

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wildflower Triathlon

This was my second go at the challenging course served up by the good people at TriCalifornia and it certainly lived up to expectations! I rank this course as one of my top three and look forward to returning to scenic Lake San Antonio State Park next year. Huge thanks to Terri Davis & his crew for putting on another stellar event. In particular I'd like to thank Dixie who organized the housing & logistics for the professionals as well as the voices of Wildflower - Sean, Nick & Julie for their energy & enthusiasm throughout the weekend. It was a great race weekend traveling with several friends from Boulder including Billy, Kirk, Shane (one of my athletes) and Christiana (one of Kirk's athletes). We shared a beautiful house with four other athletes on an adjacent lake and it was loads of fun! I met several great people throughout the weekend and enjoyed seeing so many of my friends from FCA-E and spending some time at their booth post the race. At our race briefing TriCal had some swag for give-aways and I earned some goodies for being the oldest male pro. In reality I wasn't as Scott Young (43) was racing but did not attend the meeting. It made for some good laughs back at the house. We were blessed with very good weather on race day and I felt ready to roll.

Swim (27:22) - With close to 60 pro men entered it made for a rather cramped swim start on the edge of the lake. I lined myself up to the left next to Kirk as we had our tradtional lunch on the line for fastest swim. Getting caught up in the masses I failed to have a solid start and soon found myself being gapped by the main chase pack along with Kirk, Rutger Beke, Trevor Wurtle and a couple of other athletes. The pace was very comfortable and at times I thought about making a move to swim around the leaders of our small group. Not seeing anyone in sight to whom I could bridge up to I made the decision to conserve some energy and sit in. Kirk & I swam side-by-side for the majority of the swim and as we neared the exit I picked it up just bit in hoped of at least earning a free lunch. I nipped Kirk out of the water and as we ran up the steep boat ramp to T1 he looked at me and said, "Nice swim Bradley." He ran a bit faster than I up the ramp as he remembered the timing mat for the swim was at the top not at the bottom where I was thinking it was placed. We both eneded up with the exact same swim split so I guess lunch is a wash on this one.

Bike (2:37) - My goal for the bike was to be patient over the first portion while maintaining a stead effort to avoid blowing out my legs. I felt very comfortable spinning up the steep one mile
Beech Hill climb and over the rollers leading out of the park. I dropped my chain on one of the first rollers inside the park and had to stop & dismount to get it working. I figure it cost me about :30-:45 and stayed calm with things. I had a good chuckle making the left turn onto Jolon Road with the two Cal Poly volunteers completely sleeping in their chairs holding signs with an arrow indicating our turn. Nice party the night before boys?! Focusing on my target power range I rode up on a small group of guys including Victor Plata. We rode together legally within the stagger rules for a good portion of the ride attracting the attention of a race official who stayed with us. Around the 35 mile mark one of the guys was told to stand down for an apparent penalty. I then took the lead and readied myself mentally for the upcoming hills. At the base of Nasty Grade Victor and I were together and exchanged a few words. He encouraged me to continue my effort and I felt really good climbing both Nasty Grade & Heart Rate Hill. I was able to ride away from Victor on the climbs and maintained a good work rate over the final five miles. Entering the park I caught Rutger Beke and near transition rode past Chris Stehula and Hector Llanos. My mind began to shift to the run as I entered transition.

Run (1:18) - Heading out on the run was fun with the spectators, energy and mountain bike athletes completing their run portion. I had to weave in, around & past a lot of these athletes as I worked to find my running legs. The first five miles were tough as my legs really began to cramp. I was soon in pure manage-the-damn-cramping-mode and had to let up on the gas to avoid a complete shuffle. I caught several athletes within the first few miles and even though I could not see any athletes up the trail I kept reminding myself to continue working the effort. Through the aid stations I was all about hydrating and taking in my Endurolytes. As mile six rolled around I finally started feeling good and was able to press the pace a bit. The Cal Poly volunteers and spectators along the course were great. I love this run with the isolation of the trails and boisterous crowds within the campgrounds. Entering the "pit" (1 mile out & back section of the run) I was able to take stock of my position and focused on catching whoever was within range. The final two miles were tough with the uphill out of the pit and the final steep downhill on Lynch Beach Road. Crossing the finish line I was grateful for another day of racing!

My finishing time of 4:25 placed me in the middle of the deep pro field at 23 out of 56. In talking with several guys who raced last year it appears it was a slower day on both the swim & bike for many. I felt much better with my effort than I did in Oceanside and look forward to my build for IMUSA.

Congrats to all those who made it to the line including my FCA-E teammates, the two brothers from the Biggest Loser and the TriCal training camp team of Reed & Eileen Swanson. Big props to my teammates Alexis Smith (8th overall), Ben Hoffman (8th overall) and Jeff Piland for their efforts and of course a big thanks to my sponsors (Team Sport Beans/NTTC, Champion Systems, Rudy Project, blueseventy, Mix1, Spira, Flexpower Sports Cream).

Thanks for reading!

Keep it smooth...
Brad