Thursday, May 29, 2008

last little tune ups and all downhill from here...

Well, just got back from track. It wasn't that hot, probably 90 or so, but a little windy. Actually there was a smaller group than I thought there'd be. I guess some people are racing this weekend. We did 4X200, 4X400, and 4X800 on 80% (of 5km race pace) w/ 1 min in between. I was happy to nail each one perfect as opposed to pretty much every other track workout where Ahmed yells at me for starting out too fast, and/or keeping the same pace or slowing down throughout the sets. This morning I had another little speed session- 1hr on the bike w/ 9X5mins as 1min 2nd half of race pace (based on power) 4mins training pace, w/ warm up and c/down. Then again was off to swim outside at SMU a 4km w/ another 2km pull at the start. I just loooove that 50m pool, and you can usually get your own lane :)Dan (another of Ahmed's clients) and I always seem go swim at the same time, either outside or indoors at Dedman Center, ha.
Tommorrow will be dedicated moslty to r&r, I just have one swim so I'll sleep in as much as possible, though I can't bring myself to wake up later than 630ish- weird.
After the last intensity day, Saturday, I'll get some chiro and massage then relax as much as possible before the race!!
My mom gets here next week, around Tuesday to come help me pack and get ready to go. She'll be bringing my bro along as he'll be staying with me all of June before he goes back to San Antonio for the USAT youth/junior camp and some training with his new team- Icon1multisport- as they prepare for youth/junior nationals in Colorado in August. I think it's soo cool that he's getting involved in triathlon this young and that he has a great group of other kids his age that share the same passion for sport.
Alright sleep time!

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

out of bed, this wk is gonna fly by

Yesterday was nice, I spent much of the day just laying around. I agreed to help Bill, the guy I intern for, a couple of hours in the morning, but that was it. A good day off, though with a training pace run at the race it wasn't really necessary. So this morning I jumped out of bed and went on my run first thing and actually found a route that has several decent climbs, yes climbs!, in the TX flatlands. Of course I did have to drive about 20min away, but it was early and there was no rush.
After I grabbed some breakfast on the way home and am gonna chill for a while until noon swim which I'm really looking forward to, as there will be a good group to push me through the long 2,000 (broken) pull set :)
Then it's just an ez 1hr ride around White Rock and off to work until the evening.
I'm kind of bummed Ahmed didn't give me either of the Tues/Thurs morning rides with the guys, I love hammering around the lake, but it was expected with the race coming up. Back to the track on Thursday and hopefully a bigger group than the last two sessions when all the IMAZ and St. Croix people were absent. I like it better when I'm chasing Roberto and Ron rather than me being the prey ;)
Saturday we're all heading to White Rock for an hour ride of hill repeats follow by an hour run with a 2mi TT in the middle. Last time Ahmed decided to do this, I didn't have it on my schedule as I was out of town for a race, but everyone that went said it was the hardest workout they'd ever done haha...I think everyone but Dan and Aaron puked. Whatever, I'm sure there was plenty of exaggeration, but I like a good beating.
That's about it, the rest, including Sunday is all training pace efforts, some longer stuff, and next week should be super mellow.

Monday, May 26, 2008

putting my triathlon puzzle together

I thought this to be an appropriate metaphor. My long-term triathlon goal is the completed part of numerous intriciate details that can only be fitted once at a time. Some parts are tougher to piece together than others, namely my swim. Others come more naturally like the bike and run. But regardless of which are strengths and which are weaknesses, the optimal combination of all three for my peak performance can only be derived by hours of quality training over a long period of time (not days, or even weeks as my impatient self desires).
As opposed to last season when my long-term goal was months in the distance, my coach and I are now focused 4 years down the road to the 2012 London Olympics. To see the perdiodization of my training in a 4 year block (macro scale) is hard to do at times as, like most athletes out there, a part of me wants to be in peak condition at every race. You should have seen my face when Ahmed showed me a graph sketch of 2008-2012 and said, "see you're only going to start sucking more every year, that's not to say your performance in races within the year, but your closest to peak won't arrive until here: trials time". Nice, my stomach sank at seeing the vertical drop until then, haha. This year has been tough going through off-season weight gain, accepting the concept of training races, new stroke technique, different race strategies, and more importantly, learning an entirely different way of racing that is short course ITU (which btw, as of last weekend, I love!!). It all has me feeling like I landed on a strange planet where nothing makes sense.

My first two years in the sport went by so smooth. Everything was handed to me on a silver platter. My first year, 2006, I won my age group at pretty much every local race, so I decided, heck why not try and go to Kona (not like that's the natural sequence of things when you win your age group in a couple local races, but I thought so at least).

So, on to train for Honu 70.3, 2007, it was. I did one or two races before that, saw the sudden dramatic improvement in getting a coach, and went into Honu confident and full of beginner excitement, ignorance, and with nothing to lose. Result: I get my Kona slot. It also did help out a lot that I was able to train in San Diego for a week before that race with some of the best in the sport. On to Kona- the story is old news, I had a fairy tale prep, spending the summer out in SD again. The race went incredible for me, I had no nutrition issues, no flats, etc. I was rested, ready, (again) excited, ignorant, and with nothing to lose.

Before this gets boring, the point is, things seemed very easy...winning, or placing among the top seemed do-able in pretty quick training periods. So after Kona, my distorted brain thinks "hmm, what's after Kona? the Olympics!!" Note: this was first offered by Ahmed as I never thought I could get my swim to that level EVER in a lifetime, but I was quick to say, ok if you think I can, then I do too, and I will. Either way, my plan was to back off long course for a good 2-3 years so as not to trash my legs. I've had the dream of going pro ever since I started winning a couple of races (and yet again, not the normal sequence) but racing Ironman professionally was not looming in my head until my late 20s.

So now, I'm here mid-2008 on the road to London. The difference from this time last year to now is dramatic, not only in terms of the goals, but my overall situation. I'm approaching graduation in December, so I have to a) find a job that fits my training and/or b) piece a s**tload of puzzle pieces together and get my pro card by then and start winning some $ OR c) win the lottery and lose some of my impatience. Last year I had an incredible financial sponsor otherwise all of the above mentioned would not have been possible. I've been wanting to start my nutritional consulting company but since it helps to be certified, haha, I have to wait because it's pay for equipment for my races, racing fees, travel fees, etc etc etc, (oh, and eat) or pay the certification. So, yea it's complicated, but everyone that wants to get to the top bad enough takes hard times as challenges and not obstacles and gets through them, thus I'm keeping it day by day just giving the best I can.

At the moment, I have Vancouver Age Group Worlds in two weeks. That's by big "A" race of the year. How am I feeling going in? Well, I don't really have a clear answer :) My training has been practically flawless...bieng a true perfectionist I refuse to change workouts that my coach gives me and won't miss a beat unless I'm sick, which thankfully was only 2 slight 3 day colds in early January and March. I've learned so much about the meaining of "racing" as opposed to my old approach (especially in short course) of just going all out in my own little world for the entire race...using other athletes that are dying to pass you on the bike and let you sit there comfortably behind them the entire time is phenomenal. The endless "kill yourself" swims at the camp in Hawaii in January and a couple recently at the lakes here in TX gave me an entirely new view of open water swimming and proper drafting. But this coupled with my new stroke is going to take time to piece together. When you throw that much information at someone like me who is already analytical and control-freak enough and who, since word association and the thinking process got going in my brain during childhood, has over a trillion thoughts going through her head every second, it's hard to just put my head down and swim like I used to and have it work, since these new methods are far from instinct as of yet. My bike has improved. I started working with a powermeter and have been reaping the benefits of doing the 3-4 weekly rides with the group of local cyclists and playing paceline until I can't feel my legs :) My run has expected, not a dramatic increase from last year, but I'm feeling confident, and luckily it wasn't very hard to lose the weight gained during winter.

Tonight we got back from Captex Olympic down in Austin, so I can take a look back at all the previous races leading up to Vancouver and try and absorb all of the lessons fully. I had an ok swim today, finally coming out in the middle of the elite wave, a great bike, and stomach issues on the run. Up until this race I've never had stomach aches (not talking cramps) but the type where I had to walk and stand and kneel over for a few minutes, so i guess it had to happen sooner or later and better now than in two weeks. Lesson: don't swallow lake water from Town Lake.

So my plan the next few days is to relax, quite over-thinking things, and just flow with it. I've done the work I know what I have to do at each leg of the race, and with proper focus, it should go how I want. Either way, it's one piece of that large puzzle that will have to fit somewhere and it can either be part of the mistakes/lessons, or the achievements/also lessons.

happy memorial wknd

Friday, May 23, 2008


It'll probably be easier if I just resort to living out of a suitcase. Although this time I'll just fill a backpack as the Austin trip will only be 1 night/2days, it wouldn't be a bad idea to pack for Vancouver now and get both out of the way, ha.
Luckily, road trips don't require a bike box :)
I love visiting new places but airports annoy me for two reasons: 1) slow people at check-in counters, security lines, or taking up walking space 2) angry-at-life airport employees
However, I feel very lucky to be able to experience triathlon all over the world. The next trip is never guaranteed as life can throw anything our way, so I try and appreciate the opportunities that racing has provided for me, and more importantly, that my parents have struggled to help me enjoy.
I'm off to do an hour ride around White Rock and then follow that with a swim at SMU 50m pool. This morning I was up at 5 to get my hour run done first thing so as not to drain myself running in 95deg before the race Sunday. Thankfully it felt great...I was a little worried it might be one of those runs that feel like eternity because yesterday my body was exhausted. I went to see Donald for a massage Wednesday and he went deeper than ever before! I came home, slept for 10hrs, then yesterday took a 2hr nap and still was in bed by 830pm. But, today I'm pretty close to 100% recovered from it and should be good as new race day.
Alright, gg!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Next Up...

Captex in Austin this weekend. I love this race, I've done it only once, in 2006, it was my first Olympic distance and my second race ever! Wow, that's hard to believe, it feels like a long time ago.

After a streak of dreadful swims starting with the Lonestar races in Glaveston back in April (or was it March?) I'm hoping to finally have the swim I know I'm capable of. That's not to say I'm looking to pull an 18-20min 1500, but a 20-22 is very feasible I just have to get my sh*t together mentally. I'm thinking waaay too much and screwing myself up by having negative thoughts about my swimming abilities.

Yesterday and today I kept going back to Saturday's race regretting not going harder. On purpose I waited for the girl behind and swam the rest at a mellow effort thinking it's useless to blow up trying to catch back up with the pack and/or swim hard on my own and be toast for bike and run.

This weekend, I'm gonna completely block the fact that it's a triathlon, convince myself I'm a swimmer, ha, and just go for it. If I blow up but come out of the water where I want, then that will be the greatest achievement for the rest of my season to unfold.

On a more important brother is fired up about his race, as he's doing the Olympic as his first "A" race. It'll be funny if he kicks my butt on his first Olympic, and trust me it's not all that unlikely. I might let him use my road bike (if it fits in the car) because his is way too small for him.

Then after that, it'll be back home and getting ready for Vancouver!!!!

Saturday, May 17, 2008


So, the race is over and now I can take the time to blog about the trip and of course the race itself.

Thursday afternoon we got into Ixtapa, I stayed the first night with Paty Cebrian, one of the race directors and head of the Mexico City triathlon federation. She was kind enough to let me stay as her husband didn't arrive until Friday :)
I got great sleep, the traveling can really knock one out for sure.

Friday morning I was up at 6, did an easy 30min jog, the grabbed some fruit and coffee and headed for a 1hr ride along the course. After some lunch I got into the ocean for a 30min swim, and thankfully I brought and extra pair of goggles because going in and out of the waves after my swim eventually landed me in the mercy of mother nature and I spun and spun caught in the middle of the wave, goggles gone, bathing suite half pulled down, haha...priceless.

After that I put my stuff together to move hotels...this ended up being a bit of a logistical nightmare. I was supposed to stay at a nearby hotel with the other girls from the Mexican team, but after seeing the cramped conditions (4 girls to a room), the slighlty less comfortable accomodations, and little air conditioning in the new hotel,my pickiness and realization of how relaxed I like to be pre-race led me to beg my mom for help. So she pulled a rabbit of the hat, and one of her friends that works at an awesome line of hotels, got me a 2 night stay at the Hotel Las Brisas, about 2-3min up the road. OMG I was about to cry I was so happy. This hotel is AMAZING!!!! I slept like a baby for 9.5 full hours, especially after the 3 moves with all the luggage, and the 6 taxi trips haha. We had the pro meeting at 5pm and then picked up our packet after so yea I was dead when I finally layed down to sleep.

The race- Well, I found out at the pro meeting that there was going to be $8,000 on the line for first place...rolling down to $480 for 5th. HOLY SHIT! SWEET!!! But, ok, no expectations at all and even coming in top 10 would be amazing, after all this is not only my first ITU, but the swim, so vital to draft-legal racing, is my biggest challenge. Nonetheless, no negative thoughts, I was going to give it everything and mentally race for the win.

The elites had a later start, we racked our bikes at 9:30, and then walked over to the swim start. I did a short swim warm up and then we were off at 10:30....

Swim- great start, I was right there with all the girls (15 of us racing). The first boey was at 250m and right before maybe at 200m, I went from the front/middle of the pack, to suddenly not in the pack. I can't explain it. WTF???? So I looked behind and one girl was right there with me. I slowed and let her get ahead to use her. After all, I didn't want to be responsible for the navigation, nor did I want to pull her the rest of the way. It was 2 loops of 750m each. Our navigation without the pack was more than terrible. Twice we stopped to look around, and the boeys were near impossible to spot, the boats being with the lead pack had no consideration in telling us where to go, haha, understandable. So needless to say, we came out of the water in just under 30min!!!!!!! OMG!!! crap. I pulled ahead of her the last 300m, so exited just ahead. There was a 1-1.5km run from the beach to T1, along the shore, through the hotel pool, lobby, parking lot, and finally across the street to T1.

Transition went by super smooth. I got on the bike and immediately rode as easy as I could waiting for the girl behind, she was from USA. As soon as she came I told her we needed to work toegether and try to put as much time into the girls in front. We did our best but the front pack was working just as hard and kept a steady pace.

Into T2, the heat was on. I loved this weather, this is perfect!!! It made Hawaii and Texas seem as dry as the desert, and as frigid as Canada :)

Run- not going to pretend, I was HURTING. It was 4 laps and half way through the first my body was screaming at me to just lay down on the side of the road. To finish the race completed my day. I pushed metnally more than ever before and that's all I can ask for.

Aftermath....I have no clue what my time was or where I placed. I think 1 or 2 girls DNF'd. But I came out of this race with an incredible appreciation for ITU racing. This is true athleticism. I love it and I'm so glad I decided to take on short course racing and that Ahmed belived in me enough to gear me in that direction. My swim will come along, it will take meters and meters of practice to gain the speed, strenght and endurance, patience and hard work period. No excuses, there have been a number of girls without swimming backgrounds that have succeeded in triathlon at the elite level.

Now it's time to chill by the pool and get some good rest. I ate one of the best meals after!! I came back to the hotel and went to the restaurant down by the pool and had a whole snapper on the grill with rice, guacamole, salsa, and a ceviche of shrimp and octopus YUMMMMMMMMMM :)

Well, back to Dallas tomorrow afternoon.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

98% packed and ready to go!

Ahh crazy day!!! 3 short run/bike/swim workouts dispersed, errands, and interning in the morning. Oh, and a flat tire and a tow to National Tire Battery (cuz my spare tire's rim is messed up and I haven't gotten around to fixing that) in the middle of the day- nice, I could have used those two hours...maybe then I would be 100% packed and asleep right now.
I'm heading to bed pretty soon...the bike's in the box, clothes are in luggage, with everything for the race too (I hope). Bike pump and helmet- I'll get those from my trunk in the morning and squeeze them into the lugagge.
The plan is to wake up around 6-7, eat a solid breakfast, grab some coffee, and make it to Whole Foods right as they open at 8am (I really wish they'd open earlier) to get my spelt bread, almond butter, brown rice crackers, coconut water, and other essentials that I can't live without especially before a race.
My flight leaves at 10:30ish so if I can get there around 8:30-9 I should be ok. It would be great if they divided the security line at the airport into: "people that know what the *#&^ they're doing-line A" AND "people that have never or not recently traveled, and idiots who just don't get the meaning of efficiency- line B". Then maybe I could relax a little in the morning and get there about 45min before my flight as opposed to 1.5-2hrs, but it is what it is.
Hope everyone going to the Lubbock Camp has a great time. Train hard!!

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Going on's

Not too much going on right now. Yesterday we went out for the open water clinic to Joe Pool and then a 1hr training pace ride on the dam (2 out and backs). I did my 30min run first thing then ate breakfast and headed out. The swim went great. I can definitely feel the difference in my new stroke technique. We did tons of race simulations. I used to feel that wetsuits didn't help me any and instead made me swim "funny". But yesterday after I took off the wetsuit on the 3rd or 4th, it was like sinking in the water and I couldn't pull myself together mentally to swim strong at all haha. A renewed appreciation for wetsuits ;)Today we had run drills and then I had an easy bike and swim after.
I've spent pretty much all weekend outside of training reading A New Earth and watching Oprah's online webcasts with Tolle (previously recorded). The degree to which this book has made me appreciate the present moment and made me aware of surroundings which I would otherwise deem as ordinary, is incredible.
Tomorrow I'll likely go to the bookstore for two more books to take to Mexico as I'll be in the airport quite a while.
I'm excited to catch up with two friends for dinner, on separate occasions, that I haven't seen recently. Then Thursday I'm off to Ixtapa!! Ixtapa holds a very special place in my heart. Every winter from the time I was like 2 until about age 10, we headed there for Christmas and New Years. I'm sure the childhood memories will come flooding back :) as I haven't been back since we sold our condominium. Also, I'll get to see my first-cousin whom I am extremely close to. She'll be paying me a visit at the airport in Mexico City on Sunday where I make my connection back to Dallas.
Alright, time for bed...YAWN.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Quote of the Day

"His need to win drains him of power"- Anonymous Zen Master

Thursday, May 8, 2008

A New Earth

by Ekhart Tolle...I should have read this book sooner!! glad I finally got it. I urge everyone to buy it. It's extremely awakening and life changing.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Mexico City Tri Federation Bulletin

Posted May 5th (



¿Qué pasa con nuestros jóvenes triatletas cuando cumplen 20 años y dejan la categoría junior 16-19? Entre otras cosas, se ganan el derecho a participar en la Olimpiada Nacional Elite que este año se llevará a cabo dentro del Triatlón de Ixtapa. En el caso del D.F. nos representará Tatiana Vértiz, una prometedora joven capitalina que estudia en los Estados Unidos y que con esta competencia comenzará su búsqueda de un boleto olímpico para Londres 2012.



Sunday, May 4, 2008


Done- 42 solid hours of training these past 2 wks. Every workout nailed to the "t". I am feeling the wear/tear of it all but I was stoked to finish it off with one of my best swims. I felt awesome the whole workout and today was tough...I thought swimming would be hard to get through, but every fast set of 50s I kept building speed :)
This morning again was the RBM ride, it left at 830, but I got there a little earlier to warm up with a loop of the lake and a set of Loving Hills. So in all, 3hrs worth. The group today was big and the pace much more mellow than yesterday's ride (the super fast guys left at 730 again today), so I was able to stay in the front-middle the whole time, except near the last few climbs where my legs basically let me know they were out of power.
I came home and ate a quick lunch to get my run and swim in with some even time in between each as netiher were supposed to be bricks. Running was awesome too. Well, the first 5-10 minutes I felt drained, though my legs weren't heavy/stiff, but after that everything felt great.
So now the plan is to stay in bed all through tomorrow watching TV/movies. Tomorrow's a much appreciated day off and then the week is lighter- 15hrs, swims mostly drills, except the 2hr open water with Ahmed and crew Saturday, bikes are easy spins, except Thursday group ride, and runs all 30-1hr training pace, and one track on Thrusday.
Congrats to everyone who raced St. Croix today!

Saturday, May 3, 2008


Got up pretty early this morning, around 5am, ate some breakfast and headed to a coffee shop down the street that opens early enough even on weekends. I heard the wind howling as I walked to the kitchen and hoped it would fade by 730, when it'd be time to go on the South Ride with the RBM group. Well, no it didn't, actually it got stronger. The whole ride except maybe 5-10mi was headwind. 20-30mph gusts. Nice. On top of that, it was freezing. My toes and hands, even with gloves, were numb. But other than that, it was sunny and the ride went smooth :) haha.
All I could think about was "must get back to my car asap". I got dropped around mile 18 and rode training pace solo the rest of the way home. Got in 45ish miles and by 10:30 was happily warm and chowing down some food.
All that's left for today is a 1hr run...the wind will still be killer but that doesn't really bother me running and it should be low 70s in a little while- I hope.

Friday, May 2, 2008

swimming and tennis...equally a pain in the a** to master

I was thrilled when starting triathlon that none of its sports where intrinsically biomechanical and that all it would take for me to get to the top of the sport would be smart training and my best effort. WRONG! This was true when as coach said "I simply pulled wins out of a hat vs no randomly"(with no strategy) and just logging in miles and hours without paying close attention to the minute details of form, technique, and skill that separate an age grouper from a pro.
Now that the focus for me has turned into making a career out of triathlon, and plunging in to the ITU arena, where you better know how to hold your own in the water, I've realized that I have to learn at age 20 details of swimming that, as in tennis, are typically taught at a very young age.
By no means is this a defeat for me, though it is an obstacle, and I love the challenge ahead. Every week I'll be getting in the pool to have Chris beat proper swim form into my head, and teach my body via patience and repetition to embrace the new habits and rid itself of the old.
Suddenly, my back, shoulders, biceps, tricpes, and even hands, are sore from using muscles that I really was never using while "swimming". I was more or less just flaling myself through the water...but now, it's time to propell :)