Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Wrap-Up

This past year was a roller coaster for sure. Holly and I dealt with some pretty major life changes and, somehow, managed to come out of it without driving each other insane.

In January, I got fired from the UCSD bike shop because I graduated and only students work at the shop. Bitter-sweet, but the sudden lack of a paycheck hurt; more so when I learned I don't qualify for unemployment thanks to my coaching business. Huge props to my athletes, friends and family for keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. Needless to say, we struggled for sure.

February-March I trained like a beast, dug way too big a hole and wound up burned out later in the season. DUMB. Lesson learned. I went back to lifeguarding, but needed more stability and some semblance of a set schedule.
 Tasty snacks from the sister and brother-in-law along with a beer sampler from Guinness. Not bad.

Thankfully, the folks at B&L bikes took a chance on hiring me. Life got better FAST: a set schedule and indoor employment made for some happy days. State Parks was unhappy with my choice, but Seasonal Lifeguard pay doesn't cut it for a guy in my situation. Sometimes the unpopular choice is the right one.
 The soft, chewy ornaments lasted all of 24 hours before we found them all over the house. They were still in one piece, but we put them away to remove the temptation. Don't let the cute face fool you, he's an Evil Genius.

So I went back to life before UCSD: working full time, going to school part to full time and squeezing in as much training as my mental state could handle. Then I get notice the State Parks is hiring the bottom of the barrel for Peace Officer Ranger and Lifeguards. I jump through the hoops all over again and you probably know the rest. I happy to be focused on just two things right now instead of 20; it seems simple in comparison.
 Blue skies and mid 60's in December. Gotta love San Diego, though I think a pump malfunction started the swimmer's ear I'm battling. It dumped rain last Wednesday and the pool was full over the gutters. I didn't think anything of it until my ear canals got painful and swollen. A visit to the Urgent Care and probably 90 bucks later...

 With money as tight as it was, I only raced 4 times all year. Xterra West in Vegas: food poisoning, 100 deg temps and a flat tire. Lots learned here.
 Xterra Snow Valley rocked for me. Despite a VERY slow swim, I think this was the race of my life to date. The key is leaving the watch and HRM in the bag. "There is no spoon..."
 With nothing to lose I jumped in to my first Ultra Marathon. Record levels of pain and suffering here. Had a blast!

I also race in my first State Championship race for Mountain Biking. I got my ass handed to me, but the improvement over other races at the same venue was clear. Despite the crummy result, it reinforced that my training theories and practices are headed in the right direction. I'm always tweaking stuff, and it's nice when stuff "works" cool.

The same can be said for my athletes: some SOLID improvements with people meeting or exceeding their season expectations. Awesome!

So to end 2010 on a high note, Christmas Morning I went ahead and asked Holly to marry me. I was confident she'd accept, but how excited she got really blew me away. Stoked to have such an incredible woman agree to be my wife.  

Back to Monterey and training for State Parks on Monday; we're not done until JUNE! Ick.

Look for 2011 plans and schemes after the first of the year. Best wishes to friends and family everywhere.



Saturday, October 30, 2010


Although I spend Monday through Friday playing "Recruit Palmer" Saturday and Sunday are all about getting out and clearing the mind so I don't go stir crazy...or get FAT! LOL!

Did I mention the deer around here are kind of used to people? My room mate is a hunter and I clowned him: "Look! I'm shooting deer!".
He gave me a dirty look: "Don't tease me..."
 Of course the scenery is awesome. All the buildings were designed by the same architect that designed Hearst Castle: Julia Morgan. This isn't my building, but they all look very similar. Rad.
 Driving out to the trail. A rare sunny day on the Monterrey Peninsula; I took FULL advantage.
 The ocean is just out of the picture on the left.
Partly cloudy and quite breezy, but I'm pretty much used to the cold by now. Today was "nice" comparatively speaking.

 Some cool views out here.
 I saw FIVE people during a three-hour ride. Stoked? Oh yeah!
 Single track! Mmmmm...

 Yeah; that's a marked trail. Love it. I'll let the pictures do the talking.

With the rain the night before, the dirt was super tacky given the high sand content in the soil. SWEET.

As nice as it is having so many miles of trails practically to myself, I really miss the techy steeps of So Cal. *sigh*

Heading out for a long run tomorrow along the coast and probably heading back to the pool next week since I get my first paycheck Monday. CSUMB has lap swim from 6:30-7:30. Perfect. 


Saturday, October 23, 2010


I know, I'm long overdue for a 'blog update. I'm into the third week of a police academy so I deserve some slack for, um, slacking.

Briefly, Monterey is pretty, but it's hard to tell since it's always socked in with fog. I'm gettin gout for the occasional 30 minute run during the week and longer sessions on the weekend, but the academy schedule keeps me pretty busy. I need the running so I don;t go insane and don't put on too much weight. The deserts at the dining hall are tasty and there's plenty to ga around. I think I've put on 3 pounds already...oof.

Where academics is concerned, the materila is easy to grasp there's just lots to learn in a very short time frame. As far as academy PT is concerned, we did a 20 minute run the other day at the local track and I lapped the whole class running 6:30's in lane three. And I'm out of shape! LOL!

Backing up to late September, Holly and I ran the Nobkle Canyon 50K. My apologies for the pics' the disposable film camera we bought failed miserably int he photo quality department. I wasn't going to risk my nice digital camera to my legendary sweating capabilities. Moving on.

Race start; 0630, If I recall. Early (more so since we drove out the morning of) and cold.
They turned out to be a humorous and super-supportive bunch. A great crowd of crazies for suffering with.
Some beautiful views early on in the race as the sun comes up. The sunrise behind, moon in front and lanscape below seemed like a cool juxtaposition. I guess you had to be there...
Soemwhere on the way to Penny Pines. I just started snapepd photos at random intervals just to see what I'd get. I'm surprised anything came out!
Just crossed over Sunrise Highway and headed out onto the PCT. The views get better from here. Mile 12 or so.
I'm lost for captions. Enjoy the pics.

Notice the salty shirt. Mile 15? I felt AWESOME and decided to crack the throttle just a bit and started reeling people in that had passed me early on. I knew I was rolling the dice by doing so, but the last 11 miles is all downhill, right?

The brown specs on the horizon are cows. Another "had to be there" photo. Still feeling pretty good at this point, but I could tell it was getting warm. Mile 19?

There are no photos to record my complete meltdown. I rolled into the mile 22 aid station ON FIRE. Seriously, I rolled in with 3:30 elapsed thinking I had sub-6 hours in the bag. I refilled and headed down the trail. Somewhere around mile 27, the serious descending starts...and everything started cramping. I'm reduced to wakling and occasionally shuffling. The rest all blurs together: walking, cramping, shuffling, overheating and then I'm out of water. Crap. My feet hurt so bad that at one point I sat down on the side of the trail just to get off them for a second. Wheels came off? Big time.

I made it to the last aid station (mile 30?) and sat down in the shade; drinking and having my first serious "Should I pull the plug on this thing?" moment. With plenty of time to walk and still make the cut-off, I start back down the trail. I was seriously nauseated for the past 2 hours and just trying to force stuff down. With about 2 miles left to go, I passed a down runner being attended to; he either slipped and hit his head or passd out and hit his head. Either way, he didn't look good. About 200 yards further down and I'm so hurlish that I sat down...and puked HUGE. Race personnel passing me heading for the more seriously injured racer and worrying about me...a friendly mountain biker giving me salt capsules...a finisher coming back up the trail to walk me in just in case. I had that small post-vomit window where you feel great to make it to the finish line. GOOO!!!

I managed a shuffle step for a bit and then back to walking as the cramps came back. I crossed the finish line in an underwheliming 8:20 but still with quite the large lump in my throat. Transcending personal boundaries? Hell yeah.

I nursed some Gatorade and water, managed to get some food down and headed over to see Holly come in.

Gotta kiss the rat; race rules! MUAH!
Body language says it all. Total time: 10:30. That extra 3 miles was a killer for everyone.
Dirty girl feet!
Dirty boy. Those socks were white once.
Am I a salty sweater? Um, yes.
Do all these salt stains make my ass look big?
Post-race, we hit the showers and headed home for some ice baths. The hunger monster was the most intense I've ever experieced. I literally woke up at midnight and made a Del Taco run we were both so hungry.

Holly: "Where are you going?"
Me: "Del Taco; I'm STARVING".
Holly: "Right now?"
Me: "Yeah. I'm so hungry I can't sleep."
Holly: ...can you get me a burrito?"

Training's mostly taking a back seat to academy stuff, but I'm going to see what I can fit in once I've finished my end-of-season break. I should have the money to do the races I want to, but It'll be tough to top last year's fitness.

If you're in Monterey, drop me en a-mail. I'm slowly learning where all the cool trails are in Fort Ord and would love to see some familiar faces.


Monday, September 13, 2010


1. strong or violent change or disturbance, as in a society: the upheaval of war.
Like when your entire life is about to change...
I got a package from FedEx last week containing a 2" thick 3-ring binder containing my training materials for the State Park Ranger/Lifeguard academy as well as a list of uniform items I needed to buy and a report date and time. Unless something completely unexpected happens, I'm taking the State job. After talking it over with Holly and doing all the math regarding malpractice insurance, student loans, yadda, yadda; I decided that I'd take the Parks job if it was offered to me, but wouldn't re-apply since the retirement is about to change for the new hiring list. Decision made; time to get on with life.
Labor Day weekend Holly and I headed out to the Laguna mountains to pre-run the middle section of the Noble Canyon 50K course. Since 5 miles of it is the Pacific Crest Trail and closed to bicycles, I wanted to see it before race day. Did I leave out the part about how I'm racing this year? My bad.
Way less people than I expected and always friggin' gorgeous out there. Looking East towards the desert below.
The course gets STEEP in parts. Glad we took the time to pre-run.

Big Laguna Trail turn off. The descending technically starts here (mile 15 or so), but BLT rolls quite a lot and it's impossible to get into any kind of rhythm. That section is going to be the most physically and mentally challenging, I think .

On BLT headed back to Penny Pines. Lots of cows.

This past weekend, Holly and I headed up to Bonelli Regional Park for the last stop on the US Cup Series for 2010 and the CA State Championships. Athlete Kerry Waldman came back from a back strain 6 weeks ago to take the State Title, the Hard Charger Award and the US Cup Series win. Way to go Kerry! His team, Rodder Racing, had a stellar weekend with Scott and Matt taking 3rd in their respective classed (Scott wound up 12th overall!) at the Racers and Chasers 50 miler. Team mate James finished his first 50-miler in 6 hours. Way to go team!

We got there way too early and wound up sitting around for hours. It was nice seeing Kerry win and visiting with friends, but the extra sleep would have been nice. With a 1:45 Pro/Cat 1 start, it got HOT out in San Dimas: 87deg, by race start and 20 deg, warmer than the past week at home. Oof.

Looking at the sign, figuring out my leg marking: lucky number 7. 

Justin at the start. All of 8 weeks back on the bike after a crash that left him with a fractured neck and patella. Really happy to see him on two wheels again and proud to have him "gimp" me in the race. Solid work, man. 

Allison on the start line fresh off her first race at world Championships and a night of Sake shots. That explains the yawn. Ha!

Justin coming through on lap one, I think. He and I were in a group of 4-5 about 60 secs off the leaders, but I lost them when I dropped my chain. He'd go on to finish 4th. STUD.

Me coming through early in the race. Still "in it" from the looks of the picture, but I had no idea on placing the entire race. Hammer down and "doin' work" the whole time. It hurt. 

These photos are out of order. Allison started in front of us and I never caught her. I managed to catch Joy and Heather, but Allison beat my overall time by almost 15 minutes. Girl is on fire and picked up the Pro State Championship. Wow!

Somewhere around lap 3or 4 judging by how spread out the field is and by how beat tired I look. Not even the Donut socks could help me.

Steph catching Pro Joy Duerksen (sorry Joy!) late in the race. Pros did 5 laps, Steph's cat did 4. Steph picked up a State Champ jersey as did her husband, Dan. I'm beginning to think it was the Sake shots the night before. Hmmm...

Late in the race and just trying to keep the pedals turning. I was starting to cramp and alternating using my quads and hamstrings so neither muscle group would cramp. I sucked my chain into my rear wheel on the final short, steep climb about 1/2 mile from the finish. I thought about running, but the wheel wouldn't roll with the chain jammed the way it was. No choice but to pry it out. Don't think I lost any places in my class since the guy in front was 8 mins up on me.

Finishing up. Totally shelled. Actual time was 1:53.24 since I started 4 mins after the pros and the clock start. I feel more fit than last year's Incycle XC Challenge. but I'm not sure a comparison is valid since the courses were run in opposite directions. All I know is that I hung in with the front group for about 50 minutes this year compared to 5 minutes last year. I'm calling it an improvement.

Time to put the finishing touches on my run fitness: 12 days left before my first Ultra Marathon. YIKES!