Triathlons, Kayakers, Runners, and 2010

2009 was such an awesome year for my fitness goals. 

I finished three triathlons, half dozen running events, and found inspiration where I never thought I would. 

With my recent completion of the UCSB Triathlon, I am looking toward 2010 with more motivation than ever.  That sense of competition, meeting people and hearing their fitness stories, sharing tips, pushing myself to the next big milestone, and enjoying the wonderful outdoors all make my 2010 fitness goals that much more alluring. 

With one down, what’s next?  Morro Bay triathlon, a very unique race, including a 3 mile kayak of the Morro Bay Harbor.   I have never kayaked before, which makes this that much more challenging.   Time to start kayak lessons! The bike and run will be great as well, but the kayak is the icing on the cake. 

After Morro Bay, let’s PR (personal record) at the Ventura Triathlon Sprint, my first triathlon of my fitness career.  This year they are taking the venue to the harbor, with a challenging swim, an awesome bike, and run around the harbor.  Last year I did well, finishing it in 1:38:00, but this year will be even better!

Of course, the biggest goal this year is the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course.   This will be the longest triathlon I have ever done to date.  While I may not do it fast, finishing is going to be sweeter than finishing the recent UCSB Triathlon course.

In addition, I plan to carry forward with many running events in 2010, I already have done two, the Boney Mtn Trail Run, the Resolutions 5k.  Coming up in April is my first 10-mile run, the Chardonnay 5k/10 fun run.    I will also be putting my FiveFingers to use and using them in more events, on and off the road. Barefoot running is the wave of the future.

Looking at this brief list, I am amazed at the challenges ahead.  As dauting as they appear, meeting each one head on and putting them into the history books is going to rock!


Are We Really Born to Run?

Are we really born to run?  I don’t know.  Wish I knew the answer, but after reading Born to Run by Christopher McDougall, I think I will be a lot closer to the answer.  You see, McDougall’s book is about the quest to find the answer to the question.  He ironically states: 

“These were very good questions.  But as I was about to discover, the only ones who knew the answers – the only ones who lived the answers – weren’t talking.  Especially not to someone like me”.  – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, p 13

Clearly I am only thirteen pages into this book and I am captivated.  Whether it was chapter one’s tail of find “El Caballo Blanco” or the strange commonality to my own quest for the same answers, I really can’t wait to see how this book unfolds. 

Before I go, let me leave you all, my loyal readers, with one last quote from the book.  I found this to be very motivating and might blow it up really big and hang it in my cubicle for inspiration:

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up.  It knows that it must outrun the fastest lion or it will be killed.  Every morning in Africa, a lion wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the slowest gazelle, or it will starve.  It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle – when the sun comes up, you better be running.” – Christopher McDougall, Born to Run, p 13

With that said, more to come as I explore the world of Born to Run

Vote: Which Route Should Aric Run? « Aric In Training

With my impending 8-mile endurance run coming up tomorrow up tomorrow, I thought I would allow the world to vote on which route I should run.  All routes are roughly 8 miles in length and all have flat and hilly areas to them.  If you are familiar with the greater Santa Barbara/Goleta area, you will have better insight into these routes.  If not, just vote randomly.

This poll will remain open up until 5 minutes prior to Aric’s departure for the workout, which will be sometime Dec 27th morning (PST).

The Hollister/Cathedral Oaks Route linky.

The Airport/UCSB Route linky.

The Mission/Upper State linky (with gnarly hill!)

The Waterfront/Mesa Route linky.

Looks like the Airport/UCSB route is winning…

View This Poll

Thank you very much! I will post the run workout results shortly after I recover!

Please head over to Aric In Training and vote for the route of his run on Sunday. He wants the world to choose his route!

How Training by Ego Is Disaster

As a triathlete with some pretty lofty goals, I have to pay particular attention to training smart.  This means I need to:

1) Carefully plan out a quarter (3 months) of workouts using periodization.
2) Take plenty of time for rest to let my body recover from the stresses of building
3) Listen to my body and skip a workout when my body tells me to rest. 
4) Listen carefully to my trainer, peers, and fellow triathletes to make sure I am not overdoing it.
5) Record and measure each workout's intensity and duration, reviewing my training dashboard frequently.

The Ego Run
However, sometimes the most calculated, well planned workout goes awry.  Take my recent 8-mile run as an example.   Waking up that morning I felt sick, stressed and lacked energy.  Since I had committed to my trainer to do it, I felt compelled to do it, after all, I trust his judgement. 

Arriving at the gym, I still felt a little odd and even considered calling it quits, but my ego to push through kept me on track.  Then I met my trainer and he didn't look so good.  I asked if we should reschedule, but we agreed it would be good to push through it. 

Then we stared running and at 0.86 miles it was clear that my trainer was not doing so well and neither was I.  I suggested we cut it short, but we agreed to push through it.  At just over 4 miles we both agreed that in the future, if either one of us felt the way did that morning, we would reschedule.  

It was almost like that crazy episode of Modern Family called Run For Your Wife where the husband's ego thinks it can out do the wife's running capability.  In the end, the husband almost kills himself but the wife let's him win. Why?

In the end, we were both not doing so well.  I about threw up and had sore ankles and legs.  He looked like death and had a sore hip and ankle. 

The Lesson
In retrospect, I learned that when two guys get together, egos tend to inflate and smart decisions go out the door.  We were both lucky that we didn't come away with more serious injury. 

The lesson here is to listen to your body and don't let the ego, commitment, training plan or anything else override what your body is telling you.  LISTEN.  THINK.  REACT.  The future of your entire athletic ability is at stake. 


Triathlon Training, Security Guards and Football « Aric In Training

You might be wondering what triathlon training, security guards and football are doing in the same headline of this post.  They certainly don’t have much in common do they? Just keep reading.

When I left the house this morning for work, I planned on having my first speed workout for running this evening.  Last night, I programmed the Garmin 305 with the distances and paces so that I could accurately measure the 3×800’s at 10:00 pace.

So, after work, I hit the gym like I usually do.  This gives me a moment to wind down and start focusing on my run.  It also gives me an opportunity to change, foam roll and stretch.

Challenge Number One

After I stretched out, filled my water bottle and started packing up my gym bag, I suddenly realized that my Garmin 305 was no where to be found!

“Oh no! Where is it?”

Well, since it wasn’t on in its usual home on the strap of my gym bag, there was only one place it could have been.  You see I was really tired last night and didn’t prepare my gym bag the night before like I usually do.  Since I had programmed the workout into it, my tiredness apparently prevented me from at least staging it with the rest of the running stuff.  AND, in my haste to get out the door this morning for work I left it on my desk.

“oh, pooh! A lot of good it does me there!”

Anyway, perseverance is a triathlete’s middle name.  We don’t let these stupid little things interrupt our training addictions.

I had my Polar heart rate monitor with me, so I could, at the least, record heart rate, kcals, and time.  From that I could extrapolate pace.  Also, I know my heart rate zones so I know how hard to run, when to rest etc.

Challenge Number Two

After  I arrived at my usual running spot, I had this crazy idea to head over to a nearby high school and run on their track.  This would help eliminate the problem of trying to guess how far I ran. At the track, I could  calculate my pace better as the goal was for each 800 to be in 5:13.

Well, the giant school bus out front of the school and all the traffic around the school should have been an indication to just keep driving. But no, I found a secret parking spot on a side street and heading toward the track.

But then I noticed the gate to the track was locked and a big truck parked on it.  Hmmm…. something is fishy and it isn’t tuna!  Then I noticed the stadium lights were on.  I thought that was pretty nice of them to turn the lights on for me.  But, I kept walking and noticed that the next gate was locked too.

You have to remember that I am wearing dark sunglasses, a white hat, black track pants and a dark blue shirt.  I am certain I would be suspicious of me too.  The security guard definitely was!

Just after I noticed a number of camera men stationed around the track and the high school football team on the field, did I hear the security guard screaming at me.  Something about trespassing…  but I couldn’t tell because all I saw in slow motion was the long, billy club come out of her holster and it started swinging in my direction. (I think she thought she was Clint Eastwood; kill first, then ask questions).

I asked her why the gate was open and what the event was.  Apparently, everyone in Goleta knew there was a game tonight but me.  I live in Santa Barbara so, go figure.    Swinging the club, she asked me to leave or else she will call the police.  This is ironic because during this entire 30 seconds, about a dozen other people came through the same gate and hopped the fence right in front of her which made the camera guy yell about disrupting his shot.  Sure, pick on the dude from Santa Barbara.

In retrospect, this problem gave me an idea… create a calendar of availability for all of the tracks in the greater Goleta and Santa Barbara area.  I certainly would like to know when I should avoid going to a track due to an event; could have saved me the pleasure of meeting Bertha and her billy club.

Finally, The Run

At this time, I felt like this run was doomed from the moment I realized I left the gps on my desk.  However, I was there, the car was in a safe place and I had a lower middle class neighborhood in Goleta to explore.  So, I started out running a route that I had run before.

The idea was to get my heart rate up for about a half mile, then recover and repeat.  Since I had no indication of distance or speed, this structure went out the door rather quickly.  I did continue to run until the heart rate reached 180, jogged until it came back down to 160, and then ran to 180 again.

In the end, I only did this three times, covering 2.36 miles in 26:08 (11:04 pace, 165/181 hr).  While I didn’t go as far as I wanted, at least I didn’t let the circumstances prevent me from getting in a workout.

Now you now why triathletes have such perseverance.  You also now know what triathlon training, security guards and football have in common.

If you are interested in more about my experience with running, please check out From Office Potato to Runner, Part 1

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Commentary concerning tonight’s attempt at a speed workout. It was doomed when I left the house for work. I persevered though.

Triathlon Results and Their Story « Aric In Training


As you all know, I love numbers, patterns, and reading data. I recently reviewed my most recent triathlon division results on a chart and found some interesting patterns. Check it out at my triathlon training blog, Aric In Training.

How Many Fingers Are On My Feet? « Aric In Training

How Many Fingers Are On My Feet?

October 10, 2009 · Leave a Comment

Ah…  primal running has come to Aric In Training!

Vibram FiveFingers and barefoot running have become the latest fad.  A fad it might be for the time being, but I firmly believe this primal footwear will be as popular as those strange Uggs.

After reading all of the information published about the benefits of barefoot running, I decided that I must have a pair.  Unfortunately, my first experience with FiveFingers was somewhat limited due to availability.   However confident I was, the tight fit and my fat, deformed toes presented a problem that I worried about, but felt that the size 41 was the best solution.

BUT, today was the moment of truth.  I received a call from a saleswoman at Santa Barbara Outfitters informing me that my size 41, FiveFingers KSO had arrived!  Woohoo!  This city slicker just got a lot closer to primal, barefoot running.

I hurried downtown after work and there they were; perfectly pretty black KSO’s.  Didn’t even bother to put them on, I just grabbed the box, paid and high tailed it home. At home, though, I spent about ten minutes getting the left one on (the left is the funkiest of the two feet), but only about one minute getting the right one on.

Ah...  primal shoes for the outlier!

Ah… primal shoes for the outlier!

My feet are in a paradise that they have never felt before!  Oh my…. the breath-ability, the room, the flexibility, and even the power!   My feet, for so long, have been trapped inside shoes that were designed for normal people.  As you all should know by now, I am not normal… I am a very happy outlier living amongst normals.

The openness of the design, the toe sockets, and the heel cup are just perfect.  My arch can do what it wants and my toes can flex as they please.

The next big test, besides getting them off, is going for a run!  Tomorrow…  tomorrow I will be like a kid in a candy store.

More to come!

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Categories: Commentary · Fitness · FiveFingers · Running · Tools
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Check out this post from triathlon training blog… AricInTraining. The FiveFingers are really cool!

From Office Potato to Runner, Part 1

“Welcome to post one of a multi-part series in which I share my experience with running as part of my journey from couch to triathlete. Running is the hardest triathlon sport in terms of effort (at least for me) and I certainly shed some sweat, pain, and even tears getting to where I am today.”

You can read the rest of my story over at Aric In Training, the blog of my triathlete journey! 


My First Experience with FiveFingers

I have been hearing a lot about the next generation in running gear, Vibram FiveFingers.  FiveFingers are simplified shoes that are designed to allow a runner to run “barefoot” but with protection and traction of a shoe.  Having a high arc, I need shoes that are highly flexible to allow my foot’s complexities to work properly.  My goal was to try them out for few months to help develop stronger feet… and maybe a faster 5k time!

Read more over at AricInTraining (my fitness training blog)

Morning Exercise and Names

Heading out for a morning run/walk.  Just not feeling motivated this AM.  It might have something to do with the lack of dinner and the late night brownie sundae snack I had.  Anyway, exercise is a good counter for sweet intake.

Still looking for a name of my personal training business.  I have a list of about 15 words, but can’t find the right combination with a domain that is available.  This might be harder than training for a triathlon!