Thursday, October 30, 2008

In Seoul

I made it to Seoul safe and sound. The flight over was quite eventful, and surprisingly short (at least it felt like that to me). I have settled into the race hotel and things are ticking along. Although, it is 5:30 in the morning and I have been up for at least 1.5 hours. Still haven't kicked the jet-lag yet. The last 4 times I have came over to Asia my body settles into a routine: Desperately try to stay up until 9:00PM, wake up at 4:00AM, Nap around 1:00PM after lunch, and repeat. Everyday I get closer and closer to adjusting to normal and then BAM!, I fly back to the US and mess up the 'ole clock again.

The hotel here is top-notch per the Asian norm, and I have to say the food is the best I have had in Asia so far. It is unreal how "easier" these Asia trips become when the food and hotel is not disgusting. The last couple trips I have taken to Asian provided a few moments of "what the heck am I doing here" as I stand in some awful hotel with no-one else around with whom I can commiserate, and last nights food (or whatever that was) doing somersaults in my belly. This one has been quite pleasurable so far.......except it it FREEZING!

This place is ridiculously cold. The high yesterday was in the 50's. That is the high folks, not what temp it was at 9:30 when we are supposed to race. This morning it is in the low 50's and pouring rain. The ocean is a mild 62 degrees, so I guess it could be worse, right? Well, hopefully it will be relatively warm on race day. We will see.

That is it for now. I might check in again before race day. Wouldnt wanna be too adventurous and blog 3x/week........


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

the last push

It is DEFINITELY that time of the season again. Every morning my body hurts a little more, and it is harder to get up. The weather is changing and my daily motivation seems to be hanging in the balance. It is the end of the season. I still love triathlon, it just seems that the actual act of training is getting tougher. Today was the last day of my three week block of training. Suprisingly, I was very consistent throughout in terms of volume and intensity. But now, I am completely wiped. The thing is I only have maitenance workouts for the next two weeks! Almost there.....

The main problem for me is that I get excited for my upcoming break and next season, and often lose concentration about the last few races I have to do. This year seems to be similar. When I first decided to race in Seoul on Nov. 2nd, I was hesitant about adding this race due to the travel and losing a week of training for San Francisco. Now, however, I am super excited to leave and cant wait! The reason? My "training" ends 7 days earlier than before. After my long run today (which went well) I dont think I can put in much more hard work. The end is in sight. If I was racing only San Francisco, then it would be another 1.5 weeks of hard training until I left for the race. I dont know if I could of held the intensity high for that long. I have included some pics of my last trip to Korea for your perusal. This trip was back in April of this year to the Tongyeong, World Cup. Next time I post it should be from the Orient. Shweet.

random rocks

a vista
testing local cuisine with 2x Hawaii Champ Chrissy Wellington (giving her a shout out for her performance)

until next time,


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

chez moi

I am finally back in Texas! (Fort Worth to be specific). I arrived about a week ago and have been settling into things. My parents moved to Austin while I was in France, so I have come home to a large empty (at least empty of people) house. My parents moved to a much smaller place in Austin, so I am tasked with getting this puppy ready to rent out. If you have ever been the the Brandon's you know this is no small task. Which is why I have a timeline of around 3 months to do it.

On the training and racing front, I am getting ready for my last two races of the season. I know I said I only had one left, but somehow I managed to add another race to my schedule. This race just happens to be in Seoul, South Korea. Well, nothing like keeping to the theme of "insane travel" for this year. It is Nov. 2, so it is the week before Treasure Island in San Fran. I view it as a hit ou" for T.I.--this hit-out just seems to be a little out of the way. Until then I am training hard. With this alteration in the race schedule, there are 4 weeks between my last race (Scott Tinley's) and the Seoul race. That is the longest break from racing I have had all season (since last year to be exact). Well, we will give it a go!!


Monday, October 06, 2008


Scott Tinley's is one of the cooler races that I do each year (this year both literally and figuratively). Is it such a relaxed and low-key race with a great vibe. It really feels like a grss-roots old-school triathlon. After my month globe-trotting I was looking forward to this kind of race....

Not to say that the race was going to be easy or the competition lacking, but this was certainly a no pressure race for me. Since I was racing in France, Portland, China, and then Scott Tinley's (California) on consecutive weekends, I didnt bring my TT bike (straight-up ITU old school road bike). I think this hurt me a bit on the bike, but probably not as much as the like of bike hours due to travel in the last month......and my inability to time-trial!

My body has taken a beating with my schedule this year, and wasnt sure how race #24 would go. It went ok. I had an easy-breezy swim where I came out 4th right in the bunch (Flash was off the front). I had a good first 20k of the 40k bike, and then EXPLODED! The last half was not so much fun. Onto the run, I recovered a bit and ran strong. not fast, but at least it felt considerably better than the chinese 10k running debacle a week earlier. I finished 12th, right behind K-fed who was also having a less then stellar race.

The good news is that my feet and body are starting to feel better and I am ready to put in a huge push towards Treasure Island in 5 weeks. This is my last and only race left this season and I want to finish the season on a high note! I head back to Fort Worth tomorrow to put in a 5-week training block. It is time for hermit mode: sleeping and training with the occasional meal. In the words of Tim Don, "train hard, win easy"


Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Asia, revisited

China, like Portland did not quite go according to plan. I was really hoping for a top finish. I have had a good track record in Asia and was looking to keep the streak alive with this race--it just didnt happen. I think it was about one race too many this trip. Whereas Portland was just a case of being tired and missing 6 days of swimming beofrehand, China was probably too much travel with a combo of no run training.

When I booked this 4 week round the world tour, I wasnt injured and it still seemed like a tough schedule. Through a little heel issue into the mix and it was going to be not so much fun. I swam as much as possible between Portland and China (as much as you can in 7 days with 2 days travel across the Pacific), but it didnt seem to help much. I had a good swim, but not like the rest this year. I exited the water in 3rd place right behind the two leaders, but it was probably the hardest I have ever swum in a triathlon and the pace was not that fast. I dont know if it was residual fatigue form travel or just themeager swim training of the past several weeks (or both).

Into transition I was fine, but mucked up putting my feet in my cycling shoes and promptly had a 10m gap to the four leaders up the road. I road as hard as possible, but I couldnt bring them back. I finally had to sit up and wait for the next group. The group ended up being about 1:15 back out of the water so we had some work to do. Me and another Ukranian (we call him Nintendo) dragged the pack of Chinese around, but we eventually caught the front group. At this point my calves were cramping and I was seeing stars I was so tired, but thought after a few k's of recovery on the bike I would be ok. Not so much. I hopped of the bike and just couldnt go. From the first step of the run, I struggled. I was not going to pull the plug and slugged out it for a dismal 18th place. I think I scored about 3 ITU points and got a smack-kick in the pants from the Chinese.

As Manny, put it, "I saw your run split, bro. What did you do, stop for chinese food on the run?" Well, Manny I didnt, but it was slow. Race reports of bad races are always hard to write. They always take longer to put up than the good ones. Right now, I am back in the USA in California getting ready for my next race. In this case, "getting ready" means sleeping, eating, and not much training. I am racing a low-key race in San Luis Obispo this Saturday then heading back to Fort Worth. I have about 5 weeks between then and my next race which also happens to be my last race. Plenty of time to recover from this round of trips and smash myself into some good form for the last race.

forget about Irina?
In other news, I watched Haille G run an amazing sub 2:03:59 in the marathon this weekend, but it was Irina Mikitenko who caught my eye. She is a German marathoner who just became the 4th fastest woman ever in 2:19:19 (this time would qualify her for US men's Olympic trials). More importantly to me, she has a very short shuffly-type stride--very similar to mine! I have always tried to lenghten and change my lengthen my super-short stride, but people like her make me think it might be possible to run fast with my natural stride. And to boot, before she was a marathoner, she was world-class in the 1500, so she can run fast with her short stride. She is my new Hero!!