Saturday, January 30, 2010

Bike Mileage PR and IT Issues

Quick blog today.  I've been dealing with some IT band issues ever since my big build two weeks ago.  It's definitely getting better, but is definitely holding back my training a bit.  A few random items of note:

• My mom turned 60 today.  Yay Mom!
• My orchestra piece for the SB Symphony is complete.  Phew.
• Only 147 Days Until IM France, but who's counting?

Other than that, I took a great ride up PCH with my great friend Eric.  We made it all the way to Big Rock (about 40 miles North of Santa Monica) for a huge mileage PR - logging 83 miles in about 5 hours of riding.  My big complaint about Eric (I can him Ewik) is he's way too serious:

And we managed to get dropped (no surprise there) by the BMC Pro Team!  Eric and I both had the same idea of sprinting to try and keep up with them for a minute at what must be their recovery pace.  We both redlined and descended back into reality very quickly.  See how far away they are by the time I got the camera phone out?!  (That's their van following.)

Then we saw this:

A great day with another ride (climb) tomorrow since I'm sidelined from any running for another day or so.  But on the upside the swim is really coming along.  I did a 50 meter sprint in sub :40 the other day.  I'm told that's not too horrible.  At least I have a trace of natural ability in one of the three disciplines!  :)

Till next time!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


3 years ago today my hero and best friend, Dr. Eric Westheimer succumbed to his valiant fight with brain cancer.  It was a battle, one which had started nearly a year prior with a sudden and severe stroke.  That year I learned both more about my dad and more about myself than I ever thought possible.  Even though the rolls seemed reversed at the time (as I was caring for him) - his determination, humor and joy for life through it all will forever inspire and guide me.

As I look back to the last 3 years since I lost him, I see a pattern at first glance, then I quickly realize how spontaneous and non-linear bereavement is.  I was lucky enough to come upon running in 2007 - what I hope was the toughest year of my life.  My father's determination inspired me to dig deep within myself, take something completely foreign to me (training) and (pun intended) run with it.  Enough with the cheese.  I'm grateful for this, as running and triathlon continue to expand my soul and remind me constantly to love and embrace life.  In a way training has served to be a "surrogate father" of sorts.  There's nothing like a solitary run to look within and remember dad.

This may sound strange to some, but hawks and other raptors have come to have a very special place for me.  Shortly after my dad died my mom and I began seeing them (or noticing them!) all over.  My dad always liked them (and pointed them out as obnoxiously as I do now!) but there's something incredibly spiritual about the graceful way they fly.

I've gotta admit the last few weeks have been a little hard emotionally.  I made it through the holidays without much grief but then was quickly reminded a few days after the New Year of the looming anniversary.  Today.  And this is the first year I haven't been distracted by running in Houston!  So on a recovery run last week I was so tired.  It was hot.  I had to climb Latigo Canyon on the bike the next day.  I was so ready to quit 30 minutes in.  It wouldn't have effected my finishing the Ironman.  So I resorted to a special playlist entitled "Marathon Help."  What comes on?  "I'm on a Boat."  My dad would have loved that song!  (Our humors were essentially identical.)  I was smiling, and that was the burst of emotion I need to run through the next hour.  It turned out to be a great run and I really channeled my dad for the remainder.

The journey did not end two years ago when I ran my first ever marathon.  It began.  Knee deep into Ironman training I can tell you it's been tough!  And I'm (obviously) dedicating that to the man who continues to inspire me from above.  (My dad.)

Sunday, January 10, 2010

LA 13.1 marks the end of my hardest training week.

Wow.  Ironman training is no joke.  I'm in a build month, so hard work almost every day.

This week included run intervals, a short tempo run, two swims and two bike trainer workouts (intervals.)  Not to mention a 90 minute "easy" run, two strength/core workouts and the biggy of the week - a 4.5 hour bike ride that included climbing Latigo Canyon.  Damn I'm exhausted typing this out!  And my "real" work has gone well on top of it - so I'm happy to say that the training is actually making me MORE productive (My concert piece for the SB Symphony is nearly complete!)  I need to be busy this time of year as January is hard for me.  (More on that later this week, it relates to the loss of my dad.)

Anyway, I woke up early to head out to the inaugural LA 13.1 race.  The plan was to do about 20 minutes of warming up, run miles 1-3 in upper zone 2 (easyish) miles 4-11 zone 3 (medium) and miles 11-13.1 in zone  (hard.)  I stuck to the plan and while it was tough on tired legs I have to say it was -slightly- easier than I thought it would be.

I saw a lot of my friends as it was an out and back (most were ahead of me!)  My friend Roxanne from the LA Tri Club caught me at mile 9 or so and we ran together for a bit.  She wanted to walk the water station so we said goodbye, and I slogged on.  She again caught me at about mile 11, when I was supposed to turn it up!  Man I was dreading it.  But it was just 2 miles, and I've gotta say I was pretty proud of myself for finding the rhythm.

We came through the finish line at around 1:59 - an effort I'm proud of.  I made my dad's "gorilla face" at the line - can't wait to see the photos.  About 13 months ago I ran the City of Angels Half and it took my absolute maximum to finish in 2:03.  And that was with rest.  Very happy with my progress.

After the race I ran into some more friends and then decided to go soak in the ocean for a bit.  The water was pretty cold, but after about 5 minutes up to my knees I realized "oh sh*t."  It was a tradition for my dad and I each winter to run into the ocean.  And here I was.  I didn't really have a choice, so I went for it.  I played in the waves while yelling "Ba-fute-sai" (it's a silly game we invented.)

All in all a good day - I'm looking forward to tomorrow (Day Off - of training that is!)


About Me

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Film composer moonlighting as a runner, cyclist and triathlete