Sunday, September 27, 2015
Thursday, December 11, 2014
|DO EPIC SHIT|
Pro race pics (there are some cool ones here)
Monday, December 1, 2014
Around the same time, I started working with a coach. At first I was very reluctant to being coached, but David seemed insistent that I could be a much better runner than what my numbers were showing. Having not being coached for over ten years, it took a bit of convincing before I let anyone control my time. But as it turns out, David is a pretty cool dude who is even more excited about my running than I am! THAT is the type of person I want coaching me! Link to his website: http://someworkallplay.blogspot.com/
So after working together for four weeks, it was time to benchmark our progress. I had a huge confidence-boosting 10 mile run in 59:50, but racing is different than training. We decided a casual turkey trot would be a good place to start, so I decided on the Silicon Valley Turkey Trot in San Jose.
Normally I wouldn't write a blog post about a 5k, but this one is special. After everything that's happened, I was finally EXCITED to race again!
Race morning was pretty relaxed. Sam and I headed to the race around 6:50am. My race didn't start until 8:30, but hers went off at 7:50. We found parking at the SAP Center (where the Sharks play) very easily. From there it was just a few blocks to the start down Market Street. With so many people at this race, I was absolutely amazed at how chill everything was. Bathroom lines were short. Crowds were small. So awesome.
After Sam went off, I had a few minutes to myself. This was very important. David and I talked about a proper warmup, and I executed that. As soon as I took my warm clothes off and changed into my race shoes, I felt like I was floating on air. This brought a huge smile to my face, and I knew it was going to be a good day! I pushed to the front and started the race with my toes on the starting line - a rare occurrence with ~12000 people racing the 5k.
|Striking an epic pose at the starting line.|
The gun went off, and there was a mad dash for position. I got caught up in that for a brief moment, but I remembered that David said to let the high school kids blow out the first mile. I backed off slightly to avoid the same fate. And as expected, as soon as we hit the first mile marker, I immediately passed three to four people.
David cautioned that mile two would be the toughest of the race, but it was only the beginning. Soon after the 1mi mark, we hit the last wave of the 10k: The Walkers. It was like weaving through a mine field. There was a small group of us weaving together, and thankfully I wasn't at the front. I just had to follow along. Occasionally we would split up, but we'd always converge back to the best line or the widest openings in the crowd.
|Doing a good job of hiding the pain.|
For me, mile three was the most brutal. The deep hurt didn't settle in until mile 2.5. I was honestly surprised it took that long, but struggling to breath AND weaving around people pushing baby walkers was hard. Towards the last quarter mile, the 5k'ers and 10k'ers split. We'd make a left towards the finish, and they'd make a right towards the second half of their race. This was a godsend. The weaving ended, but the hurt was still there. Thankfully 5k's are pretty darn short. I didn't have much of a kick, but I was able to hold off two of the dudes I was with for most of the race.
For my official time, I managed a 16:45 (5:24/mi.) 2nd in M25-29 and 12th overall out of ~12k. Those are results I'm happy with. This was such a massive PR. In high school, I never even broke 18min for three miles, so to come this far is huge for me. David deserves quite a bit of credit here. He's the one who molded this lump of clay into something that could run a reasonable 5k.
Sam kicked some major ass too. She PR'd both her 5k (19:46) AND 10k (42:04) times. Mega kudos for that!
|Barely broke a sweat!|
Next up is the North Face Endurance half marathon on Dec 7th.
Sunday, August 31, 2014
Today is the first day post-Epic Camp Canada 2014, so it's time to reflect on the past twelve days. It's hard to believe it's all over. I'm sure you won't find it hard to believe, but it was kind of nice to wake up this morning and not have to swim 3k, run 10k, and bike 200k. I thought I might join a few others for a light jog this morning, but my legs are still in a state of extreme shock. It hurts to squat down, and I don't think that feeling will go away for at least a few more days.
As I fly home, I have a mixture of emotions right now, but most of all, I'm feeling relief. Going into this camp, I had a ton of anxiety. I think that's pretty normal though. I haven't done a lot of international travel. I was going to spend two weeks with people I've never met before. I didn't even know if my body was going to be able to handle the extreme amount of punishment it was going to endure. There was also the added stress to perform in the jersey competitions. For all of these reasons, I don't think I had a single "good" night's sleep the entire trip. I joked near the end of the camp that I'm going to go to sleep tonight (Sunday) and wake up for work on Tuesday (Monday is a holiday,) but given my current sleep debt, I don't know if that's a joke...
I still need to add up the numbers, but I did somewhere close to 80 hours of workouts in 12 days. This included swimming over 3km per day, running over 6.2 miles per day, and biking over 1000 miles through the mountains (ie tons of climbing.) At my peak, that amount of training took me over a month. Squeezing that down to two weeks with the added intensity of races and other competitions meant that my body went through the beating of a lifetime. (To be updated with exact numbers.)
Coming into the camp, John Newsom said I would be one of the slower guys as well as one of the younger campers (Leah was the youngest at 28.) For these reasons, I took things pretty slow at first. I relied quite a bit on the group and on the veteran campers to help guide me in my approach. Initially I was a bit trigger happy on the pulls and on the climbs. I trained and tapered well, so the first few days I felt much better than expected. I also knew my strengths (climbing and running,) so I strategically used those to my advantage.
The first week was great. I was doing the camp minimums, and my perception was that I was handling things as well or better than most. I was pretty lucky to only get one flat on the road, so for the most part, I was always keeping up with the lead pack. The pace never felt unmanageable either. My swimming was a solid 7th, but this was a pretty minor part of the camp.
Around the beginning of the second week, the fatigue started to set in. I think it coincided with my first two hour run. Due to my foot injury coming into camp, my run wasn't where it should have been, so the longer runs definitely had a major impact on performance. There was also the incident with my bike towards the middle of the camp. This killed me both mentally and physically. Wildflower (my bike) and I were like one. That bike was basically an extension of my body, so to lose something like that was difficult. At the time, I was in a mild state of shock because I didn't know if I would be able to complete the camp, and I knew it was a multi-thousand dollar incident. A tough pill to swallow for sure. The new bike is nice though. Dandelion (thanks Sam!) and I got to know each other pretty well, and by the end of the camp, we are on pretty solid terms.
The last half of the second week was very dark for me. Right around day 9 is when things took a turn for the worst. I was still able to move, but getting out of bed in the morning was difficult. Biking became tougher and tougher, and I kept missing the main pack. Occasionally there would be someone I could ride with, but pulling (riding in front) was out of the question. My most sincere apologies to everyone for doing almost no work towards the end. Physically, I just couldn't. I hope you understand and don't hold too much of a grudge.
The KOM competition was something I was looking forward to, but Zach crushed that hard. He went five for five on the KOMs which was untouchable. Before the fatigue set in, I was close, but once I lost my bike and my legs, there was no coming back. Well done Zach. I hope I at least made you work for it.
The yellow jersey competition was something I had in the back of my mind for a while. Realistically I never thought I had a chance especially with my foot and lack of running coming into camp. After the KOM was lost, I noticed I was doing well in GC (yellow jersey) points purely based on performance in the races. With just a little more effort to pick up a few "easy" points, I could be a contender. So that's what I did. By the last two days, I had a severe case of yellow fever. I didn't quite realize what I was up against with Adam B, but I tried hard. It took a bit of ingenuity to grab some points (convincing Scott to let me violate the 12-hour rule, downhill 7x1k, etc.) but for two days, I went for it. The best I did was tie Adam B for one day, but after reading Molina's blog about the integrity of the yellow jersey and considering the shape that my legs were in, I decided to call it quits. Adam B tacked on way more than I did, and he got up at 4:30am on the last day to put in some monster training. Kudos dude. You are a badass and earned the yellow. But all things considered, I'm happy to have been a contender and to have had the opportunity to go for it. I made you work for it, and likewise, you made me do work as well.
To John and the support crew, thanks for an amazing experience. Logistically, everything was incredible. Michelle made the most amazing food and gave a killer massage, Dave went out of his way for me so many times (almond milk smoothies) and had an incredible personality, and Mark saved me so many times with bike stuff. You guys were like wizards with logistics.
Here are a few things that I learned that might make for a better experience next time:
- Bring a laptop. Managing pictures and garmin issues would have been a lot better with a real computer. There was a ton of extra room, so size wouldn't have been an issue.
- Bring warmer clothes. Again, size and space weren't really issues, so there was room for bigger bags with more of the uncommon but greatly appreciated things like cold/wet weather gloves and full cycling booties. Those two things alone would have been a game-changer during that one miserable day from Sunwapta to Lake Louise.
- Better run fitness would have helped a ton. Going into camp, I was lacking some long run training. You're never forced to run long, but that extra durability in my legs would have helped a lot.
- Pick your battles. Halfway through the camp I flipped from going for the KOM to the yellow jersey. In the future, if the yellow jersey is a realistic goal, go for it on day one. Likewise, if you're going for the KOM, take it easy on the rest of the stuff. Zach wasn't going for camp completion, so trying to split my effort in both competitions was difficult.
- Do the fast stuff EARLY, at sea level, and on FLAT ground. Trying to do hard run sets when you're super tired, at 5000 feet, and in the mountains is a nightmare.
- Declare your tack-ons. Being secret about your bonus points is not a good way to make friends. It all gets revealed at the end anyway.
- Be a tourist every once in a while. I missed out on a few opportunities to have some fun like the river adventure and the Lake Louise gondola because I was too busy training. At the end of the day, the experience is a lot more valuable than a little more training.
I had a great time here at Epic Camp Canada. I feel like I accomplished something huge and am a better person for it. I also met some great people along the way and shared many epic moments with them. I will almost certainly be back for the next one!