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...

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...

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...