Sunday, March 28, 2010

Season Kick Off!!

What a weekend! First & foremost, a huge congrats to my RAHA team mates Tawnee & Sara for their fantastic races at Oceanside! Also a major shout out to Colleen, Beth, Kristin, Julie, & Rhae who all came in top 5 in their AG's!

I made it out there in time to see all the athletes out on the run course and it gave me a great new perspective toward the sport. I had never spectated a half- just some local sprints when my brother would race. It was eye openning to be on the other side witnessing the focus, determination, effort, satisfaction, ahhh just so much emotion out there!

I've been lucky enough to train with all of these girls and their results are proof that there are no short cuts- it's pure hard work and passion that leads to success!

After witnessing all that I felt kind of guilty/lazy at not pulling through with my run off my 3hr ride earlier in the day but now, after a solid 12hrs of sleep and a decent 90min run where I felt back to normal again, I see it was a smart decision.

Friday morning I woke up with sniffles, congestion, and an overall crappy feeling- aka a slight head cold. I only had a swim that day so I didn't allow the sickness to get worse, but Saturday's 6:15am ride start where I underdressed for the mid 40s temps had me frozen and breathing with 1/4 of a lung. Add to that the headache/congestion and I had no desire to do anything but take a hot shower after getting off the bike.

Anyway, good news is I managed to go out there and enjoy the race environment and today Mauricio helped me start out my run which turned out pretty good :)

Off to swim a little later and enjoy some time laying out in the gorgeous San Diego summer weather!

Two more weeks until Super Frog Half & this weekend it's Black Eyed Peas Concert w/ the team :D

2010 racing is underway........

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Oceanside 70.3

Really really regretting not signing up!! The Ironman storm is brewing- social media all over the race, the 101 lined with TT bikes, aero helmets, & compression socks, lean/frantic humans buzzing around town, etc etc.

I thought about racing but didn't register on time and instead went for Super Frog Half April 11th. Entry was cheaper as it's not WTC, and there's a prize purse- not that I'm counting on collecting it but it sure would be a great way to pay for the remainder of my races and/or the potential $400smtn ticket for my red light violation that's been haunting me for mths.

For sure I'll be out there to cheer friends on as they finish but refuse to (like other tri-friends that aren't racing either) change my sat ride/run to Fri in order to watch the whole race. Why? For one, I had a solid longish ride today with Mauricio and could definitely use my swim-only-Friday as coach scheduled. But more importantly, watching the race unfold step by step is like being designated driver at a party- pretending you're having fun, or at least trying to, while completely not on the same page as everyone else. I'd rather, like the des. driver who just picks people up as they call, come at the end when everyone has completed, or is on the verge of completing, their craziness for the day & I can giggle at their lifeless appearance as they cross the line with nothing left....while at the same time enjoying the feeling of heavy/tired legs from my own self destruction earlier in the day :D

So that's that. Tomorrow will be mega chill day for me with a fun Expo visit. Good luck to everyone racing- get 'er done!!!

Monday, March 22, 2010

PowerBar Team Elite

I'm sooo stoked to be part of PowerBar's Team Elite for 2010!! Their gels are second to none for training & racing- no other company matches them in taste or sodium content.
I consistently drop my salt tablets at the start of every marathon in Ironman and if it weren't for the sodium in those gels, the outcomes wouldn't have been pretty.
But it's not just the gels- the awesome variety of bars never leaves my taste buds bored. When I'm in a rush, or simply out of town for a race where I can't really get a pre race breakfast like I would make at home, I just down 1 or 2 Performance Bars and know I'm ready to race!
I look forward to a great season & wish all the other memebers of the Team the same!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I'll be adding whatever Xterra trail run I can every year- freakin' awesome! I'd been told Black Mtn was a flat course. Clearly, whoever thought that is mad. This 15km ended up nearing 2,000ft in elevation gain with 2-3 significantly LONG hills. It was a blast and always good to see familiar faces. With fellow tri nerds there- Tawnee, Lauren, Kristin, Caroline, & Linsey, I was able to get in a good 2hr run with w/up & c/down. Adding to that my surprisingly strong treadmill session in the afternoon- I banked 3hrs running Sunday :D

Monday I woke up early to swim & walking as if I'd done Ironman. Not too mention, quite FRIED. I guess I'm a softy for trail races- hence the need to add lots more to the schedule. The bummer is this year two were already canceled due to rainy weather.

I soaked up the rest coach gave me and had a great time with my mom. She left this afternoon and I'm now counting down the days until her & my bro are here in the summer.

Back to work tomorrow starting with Swami's Wed ride!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Bahati Foundation Launch Event

4:30am and I was at Starbucks getting my fix before swim. After a decent practice (the day before I couldn't stay afloat- not to self the day after a 90min massage I'm useless), I headed out on a 4hr ride which went by sooo fast as I had 2 fun sets- one 3x20min mod-hard efforts w/ 10mins recovery, then 6x3min hard hill repeats. Plus, it was insanely gorgeous out :) I was supposed to follow that up with a short trun, but given the time frame to get eat, get ready, and drive up to L.A....and how beat my legs (& self) were from the day and days prior, I pulled the plug on it.
I digress, but scratching off a scheduled workout is something that would have killed me mentally in the past. If it was written I would do it in spite of even food poisoning or the flu. However, part of my growing process in the sport is to learn when to listen to the body and when to not sweat the small stuff. So now, to call off a short run when I'm pretty dead and rushed, is all good.

Anyway, we didn't hit that much traffic, though I should've taken the 405 not the 5. The event was a blast. Our whole Raha Women's Tri Team was there and it feels great to be a part of Bahati's contribution efforts for the less fortunate.

The musical peformance was done by the band/choir from the High School Bahati attended as a kid. Then they showed promo videos of the Pro Cycling team- amazing talent and diverse backgrounds- impressive group of guys!

The night ended early for my mom and I, 9:30ish, as we had to drive back. It felt like 3am though after being up since 4! Somehow I managed to stay awake and drove the whole way home- yep I'm a trooper :D!

Here are some pics from the night....

My RAHA homies

Bahati Pro Cycling Team

mom & I

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Quick little update...

Last night Tawnee drove down to stay the night for what was supposed to be an epic 100miler with 2500 of our closest friends- starting & finishing in downtown SD. As forecasted, the rain began to pour down as soon as we had picked up our packets (6:30am ish). So we collected our $100 Gu Chomps, Snickers, & jersey and drove back up to Kristin's for a 3hr trainer sesh. Deep down I wondered if I really just suck at HTFU, but after hearing that pretty much everyone bailed at some point due to the weather, I was more than pleased with our quick thinking - :) - and the fact that by 10:30 we were done with a log-able bike workout.

Tomorrow...unless coach disapproves...I'm planning on heading out with Julie & Caroline for our own 100miler in the SUN(!).

Thursday my mom arrives, Friday we'll head to LA for the awesome launch of the Bahati Foundation at the Nokia Center, & Sunday she'll get to "watch" me race Xterra Black Mtn Run....unless of course mother nature decides to throw another tantrum. I'm really looking forward to this week & weekend, as I haven't seen my mom since Xmas :)

That's about it. The year's going by pretty fast and my fitness is coming along at the right pace- definitely being cautious on not being too hard on myself (mentally & physically) until post Honu. On that track, I'll be eager to adopt my monk-ish ways & get down to Kona business in the summer!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Might as well...

Before I get caught up with this weekend's activities (Gran Fondo Century- yay!!), I'll go ahead and give some insight into The Next 100 Years by George Friedman...

No one can really predict how the 21st century will unfold, right? Well, that's true, but only to a certain extent. Friedman makes it clear that he's not out to tell a story that'll make us feel like we're diving into a science fiction book or visiting the Jetsons. He does, however, confidently state that while the nitty gritty details of his forecast may play out differently, the grand picture (countries involved, technological advances, statistical figures of population density, etc) will look a heck of a lot like he says it will.

How does he know this? Does he have some sort of crysal ball? No. But what he does have is precedent, history. In retrospect, he's able to analyze economical & political patterns & cycles within countries, and between them, that are evident from hundreds of years back in time.

Friedman's analogy is that of a chess game. To the utter beginner there are an infinite number of moves. Yet, to a Grand Master player the moves are quite limited and strategic. A game between two great players is almost predictable- when A moves one way, B can be guaranteed to react in a certain manner.

That, argues Friedman, is world politics- a chess game. Despite what party a presidential candidate is elected from, what his background, values, beliefs are, what he promises to change...he/she cannot break out of the cycle in time we're in. Friedman says these cycles are broken into periods of roughly 20 years with too may factors (economy, social dogmas, popoluation/immigration make ups, etc etc etc) for one individual or a "party" to completely shift us into a new paradigm. Changes are slow and not sudden from one man's decision to the next. We evolve as a collective- a sum of the parts, not by the particular parts themselves.

Anyway, that's the short version of why Friedman should be given the benefit of the doubt. I cannot lay out every event described in this book (& that would defeat the purpose of you reading it for yourself). So instead, I'll bullet point the key changes (which fyi, I actually agree completley with & had contemplated along those lines before reading this)that are worth taking into account:

** only the first bullet point will be discussed somewhat in detail **

1. End of Population Boom (2020's through the major impact in 2050s)- Initially this shocked me, but then a few sentences into his reasoning my thought was "Duh, that makes absolute sense". The world population went from 1 bilion to 3 billion between 1750 & 1950, & had doubled that by 2000. Compared to the 728 million people in Europe today, the UN forecasts that number to drop to a range of 557-663 by 2050. Further, as a whole, the UN predicts only a 50% growth between 2000 and 2050. At that rate by 2100 our population will have decreased substantially.

The factors contributing to this change are financial & societal. Financially people are realizing that kids are expensive! Yes, that's an obvious statement nowadays but only a couple of decades ago, and especially a century ago, children that survived childbirth, let alone made it to adulthood, meant increased family weatlh. More children meant more hands to tend to a family farm, or more money adding into the household from kid's jobs. Now with the simple cost of higher education (as competition in the workforce increases dramatically) having multiple children is no longer justified by it being "traditional". Additionally, Women are having less and less children because of the dramatic societal changes. More women constitute today's workforce, & many of them in high ranked, overtime positions. The mentality of women has obviously changed as a result of their career & social (outside the home) opportunities so many aren't even contemplating starting a family until their mid or even late 30s.

On that note, Friedman never discusses the issue of global warming, for given the end of the population explosion, & space based energy (next bullet point), the major threats to nature & Earth's resrouces will be heavily diluted.

2. Space based Energy- I'm sooooo not an engineerish/sciency person so this will be brief: basically we'll have many "panels" in space that will be generating energy to Earth from the sun. This spaced based energy will play a big role in the war (bullet points further down).

3. The collapse of Russia (waaay too much going on to compress)

4. China will NOT be a threat- the foundation for Friedman's theory on this lies in China's geo & demographic layout. There's a wealthy, more industrial concentration along China's eastern border, where it meets the Pacific that simply cannot expand (at least in this century) to meet the rural and sparingly populated inner to western region- it's simply too challenging to break down/traverse. As well, Friedman argues that China is "held together by money, not ideology" and with the outstanding growth it has seen recently, which will innevitably come to a halt, China will not be in a position to bolster what's needed to challenge the United States as a global super power in the 21st century: a strong navy.
*Control of the sea has been a key asset for maintaining US as the global super power since WWII

5. Poland will rise, and Germany will play Switzerland in the upcoming war.

6. Turkey & Japan will be the two countries of dominance and concern in this century. By mid century, they will form a coalition in hopes of being the Eurasian super power (Pacific to Mediterranean). Japan has the ability to develop a strong navy and space technology/presence. Turkey is religiously/ideologically able to permeate the middle East and Eastern Europe.

7. The US & Japan will be dominant in space where they will have military bases(orbiting & more stable ones on the moon- manned & unmanned).

8. Japan will target the U.S. when & where it least expects it- hitting their Battle Stars (phrase Friedman has coined for the spacial military bases). It will do so on Thanksgiving 2050.

9. Not going to give the outcome of the war away- READ THE BOOK!

10. Last, but not least....with the decline in population, by 2030, the US will not have a high rate of unemployment. On the contrary, it will be desparate for workers, and will actually be creating incentives for immigrants to COME INTO the US. (Given my immigration issue I loooooooooved reading this :D ). Talk about IRONIC! By this point, Texas, Arizona, California...all the already heavily hispanic areas will be overflowing with Mexicans. By the END of the century, tension within these states will be boiling over and Mexico could be in a position to formally (as by mere population and political inlfuence it already will have) take back what it lost in the Mexican American War.

That's it form my end! Disclaimer: I don't do the book justice. In fact, the way I summarize it may lead to you thinking "haha, yea right" about one or more of the situations posted, or leave you feeling shorthanded. As long as it intrigues you, I'm pleased. Take that curiosity and read what Friedman has to say so you can make muuuch greater sense of all this and truly form your own opinion of the future.

Whatever you take out of my blog or his entire book is up to you. If I have challenged what you think is possible then I have achieved something great because, as Friedman repeatedly warns us, what popular opinion holds as likely rarely develops.

This book has increased my excitement when I pick up the morning paper and will certainly help me navigate my career & life path as I grow old in the 21st century.

Yes, I'm Alive

Whoa this post is heavily overdue. I just haven't really had the desire to write much. Rather, I've been doing some quality reading. After college I picked up 1 or two books here and there but didn't really have that burning desire to flip pages and learn, learn, learn!

Well it's been over a year since graduation, and I am feeling reenergized to dive into literature of my choice (!) and get my brain going. Each time I went into Borders I walked out with a book I hadn’t heard of that simply caught my eye, and that in glancing at the first few pages I was sold.

The first was David Livingstone’s The Most Dangerous Animal- Human Nature & The Origins of War. Now, I know you might be wary given the title. However, it doesn’t advocate or discourage war, nor is it gory or a detailed (boring!) account of specific battles throughout history. Rather, Livingstone takes a profound look into the human psyche, our evolutionary & ancestral influences that drive us to war, & the many sociological factors that support war.

Referencing, among others, the great works of Freud (conscious v. unconscious thought, regression, the sexual dilemma) Nietzsche (particularly from Beyond Good & Evil), Descartes (mind/body dualism), Hobbes (from Leviathian, regarding social contract theory and man’s state of nature), as well as the philosophical writings of Socrates and Plato, Livingstone pieces together a fascinating understanding of why we have been, and will continue to be, involved in war for thousands of years. Note I didn't say since the beginning of our existence, for according to the author, caveman behavior paralleling war of recent centuries began alongside the discovery of lethal tools (spears) & the clash between more static groups & those that tended to roam & invade the territory (and resrouces- animals, land, etc) of the former.

A few focus points throughout the book realy stuck with me...

I found it particularly interesting that high ranked Veterans of Vietnam & WWII attested to the fact that the majority of men buckle at the time of battle- many failing to pull the trigger at all and many aiming high on purpose. It is a testament to the deeply rooted guilt and shame that we (rational, “sane” people) have toward taking the life of another human being. On that note, Veterans also concurred that truly psychotic people (aka cold blooded murderers) make the best soldiers…great so we could just let prisons loose for the next deployment!

Based on the premise that as individuals and a collective we are against killing, the paradox of war is ever so evident with media/propaganda portraying it as an act of “honor”, or “patriotism”, and our inclination toward such Hollywood films. For one, Livingstone differentiates murder with killing for war- the former to which society is against, and the latter which it promotes. He also spends a good deal on the semantics of war. Labels such as the “target” or “neutralizing the enemy”, he explains, allow us to distance ourselves from the reality of killing. As well, and this ties in to the recent horrific murder of teenager Chelsea King in San Diego (RIP), we tend to call the culprits of such atrocities "animals" or "beast" when in reality, few species kill amongst their kind, and the few that do don't elicit such actions in formation (i.e. groups) & with premeditation.

That leads to the two other factors that Livingstone touched heavily upon: the chimpanzee connection, and evolutionary & reproductive influences for war. Chimpanzees are actually the only other animal observed forming opposing groups and brutally killing each other- even those that had previously befriended each other. It was an astonishing discovery (I cannot recall the location/year…already handed my book over to a friend) as it so closely paralleled human behavior in group v group conflict (war from tribes thousands of years ago to countries nowadays). Most other species challenge each other to duels where eventually they either both tire, or one backs off.

Lastly, as I don't want to write an essay on the book (go read it!!), there was the concept of war as a necessity to human evolution & reproduction; in other words, our survival. Livingstone gave counteless examples of how participation in war has always been attributed to masculinity and given men greater appeal among women and society- thus making them of higher worth/honor and in turn, sexually attractive. Despite woman's supposed peaceful, mostly anti-war, stereotype, the book argues that females only lacked participation in war because of societal limitations, but nonetheless played pivotal roles as nurses, caretakers, and huge moral supporters.

Well there's some clif notes for ya on the book. I highly recommend it not just for an understanding of why we "can't all just get along" but for its insight into the human mind and behavior across a broad range of circumstances/issues.

The other book I recently finished and cannot wait (!!!!) to share info about is George Friedman's The Next 100 Years- A Forecast for the 21st Century. It is absolutely fascinating, and a MUST READ for my generation and the ones after as these decades will make up the bulk/prime of our lives, we'll consistute the majority of the workforce, and be on the greatest platform of influence.