Monday, August 25, 2008

Sick and Tired?

I've been experiencing some very strange symptoms recently that don't seem to point toward any specific illness.

Nausea, headache, lightheaded, fatigue, extreme hunger and jaw soreness/stiffness.

Sounds like dehydration, but my urine color is normal (TMI?) and what explains the jaw symptoms? I dunno what to do beside drink lots of fluids make sure I'm eating enough of the right kinds of foods and take some extra rest.

Extra rest means my training is almost completely non-existent. I'm down to about half my normal training, meaning my race at Tahoe is likley shot.

Seriously, halfway through my shift on Saturday AND Sunday I almost asked if I coudl go home I felt so bad. Turning my head side-to-side while scanning my water makes me nauseaus; even though it takes me 30-60 seconds to complete one scan.

I'm considering scrapping Tahoe and saving the money instead of going up and tanking the race. Suck.

I'm sure it's work: 40 hours a week in the sun, running up and down the beach and pulling people out of the water is likely taking a toll on my body. I'd love to have my electrolytes and hydration tested just to see how out of whack things are.

Monday and Wednesday are my normal days off and, by the time Wednesday comes around, I feel close to normal. By Saturday, I feel like ass all over again; and the cycle repeats.

Lifeguard/Park Ranger update: Written test passed and I'm going in for an interview Thursday.

I'm looking forward to school starting up next month just so I don't have to work so much. Seriously, they have me working 6 and 7 days in a row; which I won't get overtime for because of how the pay periods are set up. Buzzards are sqeezing every hour of work out of me they can get. Yes I get paid, but I'd rather be training and NOT feeling like crap all day at work.



Monday, August 18, 2008

Bad Day at Work

No pics. Sorry.

Training remains lackluster with all the hours I'm putting in at work. While I realize many people work 40 hours a week and still get in more training than I do, the physical demands of my job take a lot out of me. Saturday was one such day.

When I arrived to work I saw that the surf picked up considerably compared to the day before and hen I climbed onto the tower deck, I immediately noticed rip currents popping up in different locations than usual. With no established "bad spots" to keep people out of, I'd have to be on my toes all day and react quickly to whatever developed. Crap.

When rip currents develop quickly in random locations, we call them "flash rips".

It was a very trying day and I feel fortunate that no one was seriously injured on my beach. One woman had to be taken away in an ambulance after being thrown head first into the sand. Luckily, that happened in front of the Tower next to me. Cover your head with your arms if you get tossed...

I rescued 9 people that day.

Doesn't sound like much over the course of 8 hours, but sprinting down the beach, charging out into the surf and then towing people back in is tough work. Now think about the size of the "average American" and you get the idea. Several rescues were actually multpile victim; without the help of lifeguards Brammer and Puckett, life would have been considerably more challenging.

On two such "multiple victim" rescues, we wound up with 3 lifeguards in the water all rescuing several people at once; the unit (the Jeep the drives up and down the beach) actually stopped and jumped into the water to help me with a 5-person rescue.

Worst one? 10-15 people all in a HUGE rip current. I saw it develop and cursed under my breath (...oh shit...) as I reached for the phone, notifying dispatch where I was going and what I was doing. While running down the beach to the location, the rip increased in size and strength; I accelerated into a sprint, adrenaline rushing into my system. As I reach the location I meet Brammer who'd come over from the unit parked at Tower 1 to help me out. We ran into the water, yelling at people "Get out of the water!" and noticing the 4 people in need of rescue 25 yards out. We sprint out. Matt picks up the 2 people on boogie boards and yells at me to "Get that kid!" farther out. I reach him and he's breathing hard from swimming against the too. I catch my breath and begin towing him in; at which point I notice the guard from tower 1 (Puckett) had also helped out.

Holly came down to the beach to relax for the day and commented it looked like something you'd see on T.V. Surreal to be sure.

Later, I'd rescue a little girl and her grandpa out of the same location; she was too small to get out of the current and he was too weak. He was so tired, in fact, he was unable to get on top of the boogie board she had been using. Towing both of them in took a lot of effort. My arms ached and my lungs burned by the time I pulled them in to shore.

Towards the end of the day, I had a 3-person rescure in a different location. Since two victims were on boogie boards (are we noticing a trend here?) I simply grabbed the front of the boards and kicked with my feet, pulling all 3 in.

Needless to say, I got no training done that day.

Bottom line:
1) Stay the f*ck out of the water on big surf days unless you know what you're doing.
2) DO NOT go out on a Boogie Board without fins. PERIOD
3) Ask the Lifeguard where it's safe to swim or STAY OUT of areas they keep running to and rescuing people out of.
4) Can't swim? Stay out of the freaking ocean!


Monday, August 11, 2008


–noun, plural -thies.
1. absence or suppression of passion, emotion, or excitement.
2. lack of interest in or concern for things that others find moving or exciting.
3. Stoicism. freedom from emotion of any kind.

1. weariness from bodily or mental exertion.
2. a cause of weariness; slow ordeal; exertion: the fatigue of driving for many hours

You get the idea...

Monday, August 4, 2008

Xterra Snow Valley: Race Report

"So close and yet so far..."

A good weekend in that I learned a lot about me and about race tactics. I'm getting closer to where I want to be and each time I toe the line, I can tell I'm more fit than the last. Wrapping my brain around what I'm capable of physically is proving the difficult part. More on that later.

Friday, I packed up my stuff and headed to Mom and Dad's in North Orange County. The idea being that staying closer to the race site would allow me more sleep the night before. My parents also requested I clear out some boxes of old stuff and Mom is a bomb-ass cook.

Packing up: The cat gets to go too, right?
Making sure I've got everything.
Early morning at the race site: Snow Valley ski area. Sunrise in the mountains is always awesome. Big thanks to g/f Holly for taking pics and for driving all the way from San Diego. She gets one million girlfriend points.
The swim took place in the "lake" reserved for snow making located about 1/2 way up the mountain. It's small, such that it took 1.5 laps to make 1000 yards. I took it out conservative so as not to blow myself out due to the elevation. The warm water temps allowed me to use my sleeveless wetsuit and meant less shoulder restriction than my sleeved suit has. The swim felt good: strong, yet relaxed the entire way.

Course Map
Race venue at the base of the resort.
Again, the odd position of the lake meant separate T1 and T2 locations. Like the swim course, the bike course was 1.5 loops. We started near the top of the mountain, climbed to the top and then descended to the base area. We then climbed back up to the top and back down to the base area again. Here I am heading back out for "loop 2".
I saved my energy for the steep sections since I knew they would prove to be key. You can make up way more time on climbs than you can on downhills. This course may have been the exception since the decomposed granite soil was very loose, dry and sketchy. Combine that with some BIG rain ruts and quite a few racers wound up on the ground with scrapes. The worst injury was a separated shoulder. I managed to stay upright and put together a solid bike split. I got passed by one guy who looked around my age. I made sure to keep him in sight to give myself a chance to reel him in on the run. Heading into T2...

I could see the guy in front of me and had a good idea that I was top 10 and probably racing this guy for the last podum slot in my age group. I checked his position coming into T2 and new I could catch him. I made a quick transition and charged after him. This pic of me heading out of T2 might hint at my determination. Here I am chasing him down right out of T2. You can see his feet at the top of the photo. Come here you wabbit! I managed to reel him in at the 1.5 mile mark and thought I had him beat. Once the course turned steeply uphill, I could hear his footsteps and his breathing. I tried to hold him off, but he passed me after which I tried keeping him in sight with the ida of catching him after the turn around. I could tell I was faster on the flats and downhills, but not the uphill parts. Try as I might, I could not reel him back in.

Coming into the finish. "Is my number on straight?" Done. Trying to catch my breath at 7k feet. Not working...Turns out I had 10th overall and 3rd in my age group coming into T2. I fininshed 4th in my AG and 14th OA (12th amateur). Last year, I also finished 4th in my AG, but 20th OA; which means I'm much faster than last year and it's SICK how fast my AG is. It's just not fair...

Results here

Conrad Stoltz (Xterra World Champion) took the overall and homie James was first amateur and 2nd overall.

Bad stuff:

I absolutely talked myself into thinking 4th was "good enough". Not just before the race, but during as well. I was too relaxed going in because I was pretty sure I could get 4th with no problem, but that 3rd would be a tough battle. Instead of fighting for 3rd, I let someone else get it. I need to work on my killer instinct and suck it up in situations like that. Third was only 57 seconds away....57 f'ing seconds. I'm mad at myself for not going for it. Stupid.

Good stuff:

Great race considering I haven't been swimming or running with much intensity. My bike split was top 10 overall (YES!) and I was in a great spot going into T2. Moreover, the guy in 3rd beat me by 6 minutes in April, the gap is now less than a minute and I had a lead on him into T2. Lastly, my 4th place nabs me 5th in the region, up from 9th place last year. Hell yeah!

Now I just need to hang on to good positions like that and get over the intimidation of racing guys I think are faster than me.

Next stop: Xterra USA Championships 10/5. Can't wait.