Friday, April 17, 2009

Training and Racing

Racing is hard, but man is it fun. Point Positive athletes have been out there getting after it. Matt Gallo kicked it off with his first tri of the year down in Oceanside at Ironman 70.3, taking 30min off his best there. With a long term goal of racing his first Ironman in Coeur d'Alene in 2010, Matt is learning how to get the most out of his body and mind now as he moves through a series of 70.3s this year to include Oceanside, Napa Valley Vintage in early May, Honu at the end of May and Vineman 70.3 in July. As I profess, racing is the best training. We are stressing recovery and fitness maintenance between his efforts. Balance is key.
Next comes 2009 Full Vineman entrant, Doug Wilson. Doug's drive and creativity with making workouts happen is a big and impressive virtue. He just raced the knarly Empire Runner's Loop de Loop and actually fell for a loop out there (see manly bloody photo in posted album) on the hilly and technical trails of Annadel (I was stumbling around there all day yesterday!). Loop de Loop is tough. This effort, along with his fine Napa Valley Marathon performance in March, will serve him well coming into the Napa Valley Vintage Tri. Running mentally demanding courses will only help him tackle the 3-loop Full Vineman marathon in August. Pain is temporary...pride is forever.
Next, we have Jennifer Hampson, who never ceases to impress me with her performances. Leg brace off, Jen was out there at the second annual Vineman Showdown at Sundown last weekend at China Camp (amazing venue!). Again a spectator, I was able to see Ted Simpkins win it again this year with some competition only 30sec back the whole way. I was also able to move around quite a bit and offer encouragement to Jen. We all have our demons to contend with out there, regardless of the event and distance. Mine, with regard to triathlon, was always the swim. My heart goes out to Jennifer since she battles the same demon. I love to see growth in my athletes and all of them do grow, in more ways than one. For Jen, Showdown was a cool prelude to something a bit longer ;) -- The Wildflower Tri in early May. Having gone through the motions of a triathlon is critical to dial in your race-day strategy. With her typical resolve, Jennifer will tackle one of the most demanding races the sport has to offer. Like me, she'll be ecstatic to emerge from the water and set to the task of riding smart and and running tough. Go Jen!!!
Finally, yours truly is coming off his second ultra-distance run at American River 50mi two weeks ago. Whoa, that one hurt. Good fitness coming out of it though. Half the race run on the American River bike path before hitting the trails up to Auburn. Michael Cook (race headquarters in Auburn) was in hot pursuit as he continues to build monster fitness for Race (his bicycle) Across America in June. I struggled a lot in the middle of this race dealing with hip pain and generally just paying my necessary dues getting back into racing form. It never gets any easier! I was clearly reminded how critical it is to properly prepare. In spite of my whining, I was able to enjoy an epic venue replete with roaring streams, flower-laden meadows, and one hellacious 3mi climb to the summit/finish. Now... Bob's attempting to walk the Point Positive walk (literally) as I prepare for my first 100mi run at Tahoe Rim Trail 100mi in July. Went out yesterday to learn what it's going to take--physically & mentally--to reach that glorious finish line. My girlfriend just got me a Garmin GPS/HRM as an early b-day present. GREAT g-friend! Check out a segment of my effort yesterday @ All the best to you. Point Positive!