Puddles, Poppies and Pie

Seven days straight!!! I seriously don't wake up "late" everyday but that seems to be the current trend.  I even set the alarm today for 7AM so that I could cook some oatmeal, grab some gatorade and take it easy. Thirty minutes later, I jump out of bed, put on my cycling gear, hoodies and shorts then run out the door. 

The Bike ride was awesome which included a really fast downhill with an abrupt dead end followed by a puddle, a snake and some amazing poppies. Just as it was coming to an end, my right calf completely froze up solid. Not good. Got back to the start, drove home, showered, school for a conference, small errands, dance then pie! 

Around 4:30, I also have the Rumpl unveiling! So warm, soft and awesome! Check them out! I'll have a review a little later down the road after we use it for camping at the end of the month.

Bike Lane Nightmares

This is pretty genius in my humble opinion. I know there are bicyclists that obey and disobey the law, but this does prove one very great point; the bike lane isn't always the safest place to ride your bike. Watch the guy film himself versus the various threats and hazards that lie within riding in a bicycle lane. Watch it until the end. http://youtu.be/bzE-IMaegzQ

End of the Week

Getting back into the groove always proves to be difficult but this time, I'm really setting my sights on something big...something REALLY big. I'm talking about the Oceanside Half Ironman at the end of March 2012. Granted, I'm coming up with a workout regiment and can't wait to join up with the San Diego Tri-Club, but my schedule has already taken a turn for October making it difficult to partake in any of the activities. Here are two runs from this week. I'm still sore in my calves as well as my left foot from when I sanded / buffed over it so we'll see in the coming month if and when I can actually work things out. More or less, I think I'll be able to do my biking and running at the overnights while I'm out and the swimming, I'll have to do when I'm in town at the local 24 Hour Fitness or maybe join up with the YMCA. Does anyone know what kind of skill set you need to have in order to join a Masters' swim course? On a scale from one to ten, I give myself a six in swimming competency. I need to work on my form and breathing. (I guess that's an understatement). I also have a picture of me breaking my 60 minute 10-K barrier at the 2011 Cow Harbor Race!

Monday's Run

Today's Run

Staying Motivated

I've definitely fell off the wagon in terms of not only writing, but working out. There was a good period where a Captain and I had a good time working out two of the three nights at an overnight and where I actually felt good, but I'm gaining weight, and falling behind...fast! I'm still at the hefty 185 lbs, with just under 50 days left until my second sprint triathlon but at least August is set to be a record month in days off. With that, looks like I have to put my flights of fancy (read: Vietnam) on hold for a swim class and two-three bricks a week. August is also lined with moving back to suburbia, celebrating my first year wedding anniversary and whatever other distractions so definitely not a prime month, but I will make the best of it.

Either than that, the Pitficks' and Nicolas' have officially become part of a Ragnar Relay Race in 2011 which takes place in the Florida Keys joining up with another team from the East Coast. Should be fun once all the logistics are planned out! I can't wait.

Training since Last Week

If you haven't followed me in the last week or so on foursquare or twitter or on my Garmin Connect Profile, you can see that I've been busy traveling (working) everywhere and working out very lightly, if anything. It's hard to recover from a 55 mile bike ride then hop on the red eye back to work. Last Sunday, I was mostly mush and tried to run a little on Monday (.87 miles back and forth to the Crystal City Mall in Washington DC) but found out I was still sore so that was a no go. My true intentions were to pick up some daily vitamins from the GNC shop since I left everything back at home. <-- #FAIL

Here is Garmin profile of my ~55 mile ride that I did last Saturday with Trek San Diego. I rode with group B2 but then fell back to B3 then fell somewhere between the groups and ended up finishing on my own. It was a little rainy and I like to think that I performed well during some parts, but once again, near the end, I was faltering a bit and ended up resting too many times.

Ride w/ me this Saturday!

I was thinking of making this an awesome type ride where if you beat me, I have to buy you lunch, but I'm thinking that it might get a bit costly. So instead, I'll buy a round of beers if you come out and ride! My plans for this week are to get re-fitted on my bicycle, and get a quick tuneup (it's been about two years for a professional tune). During the Week 6 ride, I didn't feel that good in terms of positioning on my bike and even had to stop and raise my seat a couple of times. Definitely frustrating. The ride this Saturday is Week 08 of the Spring 2011 San Diego Century Training series sponsored by Trek San Diego and will once again start out at Peet's Coffee in Torrey Highlands. This is a 55 mile ride slated to ride past Top Gun/Mission Valley and include the La Jolla Loop. It's going to be a great morning with temperatures in the low 60s with a slight chance of rain but I'll be crossing my fingers. I'm hoping that the forecast improves but that it doesn't get too hot. Last ride, I ran out of water at 10 miles to go and my Garmin Edge 500 said that it got to around 89.5F!

The full details of the ride can be found here. I'd love to see you out there w/ me and a few of my other friends. And hey, while you are at it, check out my Tour de Cure fundraiser page and support me in my ride. Just head over to http://main.diabetes.org/goto/elijah. Any donation would be awesome!

Trek San Diego Century Training Week 6

I started receiving emails about Trek San Diego's weekly rides but it wasn't until today that I was able to finally participate and ride with the gang. This ride was setup as Trek San Diego's Century Training Week 6 // 45 miles. I invited a few people but when it came down to the final start, it was Matt Krawczak and Brian Dudley that showed up. Granted it was an early 7:30AM start but it was all worth it. I went to sleep a late last night clocking in only 5 hours of sleep, which on a scale of 1-10, only ranked about a 6. Maybe it was the anticipation of the ride or maybe the fact that I ate an entire California Burrito at 12:30am which served as my carb loading.

I woke up at 5:30am without an alarm and couldn't get back to sleep so I just gathered my things, drank some juices, ate a Fiber One bar and headed out. I still felt full but excited and when I arrived at the parking lot, it only got more more energized.

Starting out the ride, we kept a casual pace saving the energy for the climbs that were along our route. An easy pace throughout until we got to those hills. If you click on the map below, you'll be able to to go through the entire route along with my speed, elevation, heart rate and cadence charts along with a temperature chart. I'll rate this ride also a 6 out of 10. I haven't ridden in such a long time and I've been only targeting 1-1.5 hrs so this was a challenge. Good company all around made it a great ride followed by some burger goodness at Islands!

There are more rides coming up so check out the schedule and don't forget, this training is all for my goal of riding the Tour de Cure Century this upcoming May 7th. Support me by donating anything from $1.00 to whatever you can to help and find a cure for diabetes. Click here to reach my Tour de Cure page.

It's March!!!

Feels like March came rather quickly this year and with that, it's always a good excuse to update and tell you what's been going on.  This year, I've been motivated more than ever to to finally get into shape.  It has, maybe a little to do with me turning the big three-oh, but I've noticed the fact that my metabolism, eating habits and general lifestyle is slowing down, getting worse and rapidly evolving when it comes to priorities. I have officially signed up for the San Diego Rock 'n Roll Marathon on June 5th and the Tour de Cure San Diego Century Ride which takes place just one month earlier  on May 7, 2011.  I can't say that I've officially setup my fundraising website for the Tour de Cure but I will have it up and running in the next few days.  I promise.

Competitor San Diego just updated, revised and released the official race route for this year's marathon (PDF) and included an elevation map too!  As you can see, there's a good climb / gradient starting at mile seven which, if you think about it, after you've finished the uphill battle, could reinvigorate you signaling that you're awesome done!  I can assure you that's the way I'll be thinking about it.

 

 

Thinking about other races, I'm seriously considering the Carlsbad 5K where I'm aiming for the All Day 25K (Five 5K) Challenge. I'm in it really just for the medal but I guess by Sunday April 3rd, I'll already be within 60 days of the full marathon so running a half should be alright right?  I even get breaks here and there between each 5K!  I'll know how I feel about it after today when I run Miramar Lake for the first time.  If I can do it without bonking out, I should be alright.

I'm also thinking about Bay to Breakers 2011 being the 100th anniversary on May 15th.  It's calmed down considerably with the removal and strict policy of no alcohol, but hey, it's a family deal right?  Should be safer and cleaner and... they also have a medal!  A 12K race isn't that bad right?  Who wants in on this one?!  With that, I better get back to my other job at adellelijah.com.

I still haven't done any official swim lesions so until I feel comfortable swimming 1500 meters, I will be holding off on the decision to race San Diego TriRock Olympic distance.

 

Off to a Bang for 2011

So far, 4 days into 2011, I've already logged two good workouts, bought some new running shoes (Nike Lunarglides+ 2) that I think I'll be training and running my first marathon with and have posted both on adellelijah.com and elijahnicolas.com! It's a constant barrage of staying busy and trying to utilize the time I have whether laying over at an airport or working while commuting using Gogo's Inflight WiFi. It's a bummer that the free WiFi, sponsored by Google's Chrome over the Holiday Season, has expired so I'm back to paying for it but count it as a business expense right? I'm currently working on more write-ups and reviews for the next few days and my wife even has a couple in the pipeline. I couldn't be more excited to finally get things going again. For now, here's my bucket list for 2011.

1) Run a Marathon before I'm 30 (San Diego Rock 'N Roll is in June and my birthday is in July) 2) Work up towards an Olympic Triathlon distance for the San Diego Tri-Rock 3) Ride a century either for the Tour de Cure of San Diego Century 4) Continue to post from 3-5 entries a week for either elijahnicolas.com or adellelijah.com 5) Focus more in the future on my cloud based endeavors 6) Eat healthier and less 7) Get down to my racing weight by June which is actually 20 lbs in 6 months

Check out the new Nike Lunarglide+ 2s!  A little loud as they didn't have the Wolf Grey / Blue combo at Road Runner Sports, San Diego.

Here's a quick pic of New Year's Eve 2011 celebrating it with great friends at Stingaree San Diego. Over priced at $50.00 presale and nothing included. Never doing that again.

TriRock San Diego: My First Triathlon (Sprint)

Preface:I knew that I wanted to participate in a triathlon ever since I started cycling. The idea might have actually been planted in my head when I first found out that my AP Biology teacher, Mr. Rankin, was rumored to be an Ironman contender. Maybe it was after I completed my first 10K (Cow Harbor Race 2006), but that's all history. I will admit, that from couch potato to 10K taught me an important lesson in how sore one can get after a race like that, but it also started a chain of events that led to me to this.

First and foremost, I never really enjoyed running. Dating back to fifth grade, I was always a middle of the pack runner panting and breathing heavily and was the guy that insisted on walking around each of the four backstops that made up our track. I knew that I could swim since I was in the "advanced" swim class in high school phys ed. but it's been a ages (~14 years) and cycling extended distances with my Uncle Romeo and friend Ryan Espiritu forged the thought that hey, I just might be able to finish a sprint triathlon. My roommate for a short 2 months, Michael Mangan, another tremendous athlete, provided a little bit of encouragement to sign up, so I said, "Why not?" I also had another friend Kristen that was considering the goal. For my first triathlon, I set out two goals: To finish under 1:30:00 and not at the end of the pack; second to last would suffice.

I bought a book entitled Your First Triathlon by Joe Friel and began reading. I should have probably finished earlier than 1 week prior to the race and followed the 12 wk plan (being that I had a full 14 weeks before the race when I took delivery) but I guess I do what I do best; procrastinate.

Bought this book a couple of weeks back &amp; just now learni... on Twitpic

Training: I did a couple of bricks (bike workout followed by a jog or a swim followed by a bike) and began the slow and steady journey to getting into shape. That is until the month prior to my wedding when things started really piling up, I fell off the face of the earth. In other words, my training went from semi-existent to non-existent. I never really swam that much (laps in an apartment complex pool) or trained for that particular event and sporadically the occasional light treadmilling. I knew that I was just doomed from the start but I didn't give up on the idea. Essentially, you might as well just say that I did not train.

Day before: I decided that I needed a wetsuit primarily for the water temperature but more importantly, I knew that it would provide extra buoyancy. It's more than awesome that Xterra Wetsuits happen to be not only one of the best triathlon wetsuit companies but the fact that it is headquartered in San Diego fits into my procrastinating habit! I set out, tried one on and decided to rent last minute as the price tag proved to be a little steep. I missed the 40% off sale by one day and it was my first sprint tri so I settled on the Vector Pro. That same Saturday was the TriRock Expo and packet pickup so I went back downtown, grabbed my bike and I decided to head over .5 miles to the Embarcadero Marina Park.

Anxiety is setting in during this swim brief! #trirock #triat... on Twitpic Got swag for a triathlon?! Check out the TriRock San Diego go... on Twitpic
Organized and well put together, I signed up for USAT membership, picked up my packet and swag (schwag), watched a well put together Basics 101 by one of the San Diego VAVI representatives. (I recorded it on my iPhone 4 but unfortunately the sound didn't come out that great at all but at your request, I can make it available)

I felt good after watching the him set up his mock transition area using my bike as his example and then that night, I laid everything out. I don't usually go that far but my nerves got the best of me so setup my own mock transition area. Every piece of clothing and race equipment I would be using, I checked it off using the checklist provided by Joe Friel with my wife calling out each item. I was a definitely nervous and then I found out that a buddy of mine, Renato Villena, was also racing! I had a buddy and that alone makes things a lot better. I put on the race tatoos (I got the age group one upside down, but I rocked it like it was intentional) and then went to sleep.

Ya think I&#039;m ready?! Packing up &amp; going to bed! #tri... on Twitpic Putting on my race numbers was almost too easy...till I #FAIL... on Twitpic

Race Day: I woke up, already packed and just threw on some clothes. I threw on my new 2XU Tri Comp Short and Vest which ended up being a little tight and as Ryan Espiritu would later say, it make him feel like he wanted cupcakes! I was lucky to have my wife drive me to the race where I met up with Ryan and we set out to find our cubbies in the transition area. We got there rather early but it was relaxing. Near the time of the race, we put on the wetsuits and made our way to the start. The swim portion was starting off in the water already along with a band on a catamaran to entertain (as part of the Rock 'N Roll experience) but I would later find out I would be able to pay any attention to them. My nerves were calm, the swim didn't look too bad, I was ready.

Tri gear all laid out. Last minute inventory...check. Ready t... on Twitpic

Swim: I would just sum this portion up by saying, I need to find a coach and go at this with A LOT more training and effort. If it wasn't for the Xterra suit, I would have probably drowned or panicked but there were times where I was just floating there and near the end, since there were others backstroking, I started to backstroke too! I got out of the water and was definitely exhausted. I didn't come out last, but definitely near.

I also recently read that I could train or find a coach at the UCSD Swim pool and am excited to venture out that way and see what kind of training schedule we could come up with.

Transition 1 into Cycling: Lightly jogging to the cycling portion, I saw and excitedly waved at my wife along the sidelines and got to it. I couldn't take off the wetsuit that easily and had to eventually sit down hence my really slow transition time. I got on what I needed and started to jog out with the bike. I got on thinking I was going to hammer, but then started to feel a light muscle twitch on my left calf. Along with that, my Garmin cadence monitor decided that it wasn't going to work either (off by 1mm???)! Oh well, but I did see my mom on the way out and that gave me yet another boost of confidence! Thanks for the support guys!

I could feel my rhythm but it definitely wasn't fast enough. I was getting passed up by some of the ladies in the 25-29 group that was in the wave behind me but the last thing that I wanted to do was cramp up. The course was longer than I thought but I got through it and then made my way to the running portion. There were quite a few bands along the way to keep me entertained at the rather slow pace. I also made a decision that day that I should at least get some clip-on aero bars. I could have really used the more aggressive position or at least the "rest" position.

Transition 2 into "Jogging and Finish:" As I made my way to the cubby, I saw my fans (Ryan and Adelle + mom) grouped together and was able to start running. Handing them my bicycling gloves on the way out, I started to see the light! My legs surprisingly felt good and off I went. I neglected to put the watch strap adapter for my Garmin Edge 500 so I just ran with it in hand. (I've lost it since) Around 1.5 miles is usually when I start to tire a bit, but I was on pace with a couple of individuals that made it a pleasant run. One young lady told me that I was setting a good pace for her but I insisted that it was her that I was following. She eventually finished before me, but I was proud. Apparently, I would end up with a pretty good 5K time. When we reached the turn around point at the USS Midway, I could feel my mind take ease and my body start to relax but I kept on chugging. As I continued on, I kept on the lookout for the tatoos of people in my age group and felt relieved knowing that there were at least a couple of people behind me. Coming to the finish, I pushed it a bit more and saw my supporters cheering me on. I thought that I was done, but I still had yet to go around the bend for what felt like an eternity! I finally crossed the finish line and eagerly grabbed my first Rock 'N Roll medal, some coconut water, hugged it out and took some pictures. It was a great experience and I cannot wait for the next one wherever it may be. You can count on it to make this my yearly event!

Here are some links and pictures to the festivities!

To see my official times, check it out in the gallery! [gallery columns="2"]

Check out Ryan's Blog and another awesome individual, Mary Harris as she goes through training for half marathons! Also, two other sources of inspiration are Ray Maker as of course Joe Friel.

A Beautiful Day for a Ride w/ Uncle

If you haven't already figured out by now, Adelle and I just moved to a Downtown San Diego apartment to start out our first year of marriage.  Why not live it up right?  Well, last night, I was finally able to grab our bicycles and port them to the tiny dwelling just in time for a ride with my Uncle Romy this morning.  It's been a little more than a year since I first started riding and what a great way to celebrate it with a ride to Pt. Loma.  I broke down my ride on my Garmin Edge 500 into two parts: Warmup and Actual Ride.  Off the bat, Downtown is a lot different than the hills of my old neighborhood but I was betting on the hill to Pt. Loma Lighthouse.  Casually navigating my way around Downtown, I quickly noticed the lack of an actual bike lane instead replaced with a bike path that is shared with runners who, if running in pairs, span the width of the route.  Suck really, but I made due.

Downtown from the Harbor Sheraton

Here's the warm-up phase. I kept the cadence up and you can notice my steady heart rate. The stop lights as well as roads kept me from a constant flow, but it worked out.

Meeting up with my Uncle, a quick warmup around the Sheraton strip followed by a ride along the Harbor then a direct shot to Canon Street then Catalina Blvd. up to Pt. Loma.  Down the hill towards Mission Bay, around back towards Old Town then back to the apartment.  All in all, it was a great ride.  

I went through areas of San Diego that I've been wanting to venturing out around and I got to do it with the guy who got me into it. Constant spinning & quick accelerations proved to be a great way to kick up the cycling again!  One more month till the San Diego Tri-Rock (Sprint Triathlon).  I probably might want to start working on the swimming portion eh?

My First Hotel Brick

Now was the time to start an awesome overnight workout regiment. Staying at the Hilton in Downtown Toronto which has an awesome gym and accommodating facilities, I was determined to finish what would become my first hotel brick. The pool was pretty much full around 11:00am with the ensuing Caribana 2010 Festival going on and people checking in, but the indoor cycling machine and treadmill was available for full utilization! Sleep last night was almost a lost cause as I went to bed at 2:00am and woke up at 5:00am. Three hours of sleep wasn't that much, but at I was rested well enough to conduct one flight from Atlanta to Toronto. I knew that I needed some nutrients so I grabbed a quick airport breakfast of Corned Hash, Potatoes, Scrambled Eggs & a Biscuit somewhere on the Atlanta A Concourse then headed to the plane. I ate enroute, we landed smoothly, took the local shuttle downtown to the airport (25 minutes) where I took a light nap, checked-in, got to my room and quickly put on workout clothes.

I did so because I knew that if I laid down for just 1 minute, I would fall asleep. I got on the indoor cycling machine and started hammering. I set the timer at 1 hour knowing that I could at least get my 20K/12.2 miles in and around 30 minutes, I started really hurting. I could feel that my lack of sleep wasn't contributing to the ideal body feeling but I kept on going. I finished w/ approximately 16.73 miles in 65 minutes (5 minute cooldown) but I have to say that the riding position is far from the real thing. Not sure if that's going to affect my actual rides but the workout did do a number on my thigh burn.

I had to refill my water bottle during the transition but in order to do so, I had to swap out the water jugs on the cooler. I took a little bit of a breather and started a light jog at 6.0. My legs were definitely a little mushy but I increased the pace to 6.5 and felt great! At mile 2.0, I hit a wall but I kept on going. I increased to 7.0, then to 8.0 at the last quarter and did a long cool down stretching at the same time. 3.63 miles total!

There was a point in the transition that I was going to skip the run altogether, but I was proud of myself that I kept on going. I even walked another 4-5 miles with the crew around Downtown! I have to head to bed early for a 4:50am van ride back to the airport so, goodnight for now. I might wake up early and do some upper body or maybe some early morning yoga streches in the room. Good times in training.

2nd Brick in the Bag

Getting out to perform another brick was a little bit more of a task than the first. Motivation wasn't necessarily high but I knew that I should do it up so I donned my Saxo Bank Cycling Suit and headed out. I put on earbuds this time w/ my iPhone Quattro set to shuffle my 'Recently Added Music' Playlist as well as drinking a full bottle of liquid. That wasn't the best idea, but for nutrition, I had half a Costco pizza, polish dog and a chicken caesar salad w/ diet coke to boot. Mix in a couple of samples from the Sunday Costco Buffet and that was it. I can't say that it was good energy, but nonetheless, I was ready. I didn't have anything else to work out. I was making good time on the bike ride but near the end of the last climb, a weird muscle that I've never felt on my back start to pain me a little. It slowed me down tremendously, but I kept on rolling. This ride was definitely a lot more "boring" without a pace setter w/ me (ala @juanrcm) but it was a good ride overall. When I got to the house, I changed quickly and for the first time realized how hard it is to actually change from bicycling outfit to running shorts with all the sweat in between. I almost didn't make the change because it was like taking off a wetsuit and putting on another wetsuit. Gross I know, but seriously sucks!

I stepped outside and started jogging forgetting to grab my new Garmin Wrist Strap for my Garmin Edge 500 GPS.  I didn't want to delay further so I set out at a mild pace. At about .2 miles, I noticed how my legs felt as if concrete had dried up in my veins. It was a rough first mile, but I got through it. I'm definitely happy that this time around I was able to ride 12.9 miles and jog ~3.4 miles mimicking the full route for the San Diego Tri-Rock. I felt good overall but I'm still lacking in the swimming portion. I better get on that huh?

Here are my Garmin Connect Maps from yesterday's brick.