Such a badass...At the Ironman World Championships in Kona a few weeks back, Goggins parachuted into the bay for the swim start, then did the full IM, by far his shortest race of the year, I'm sure.

Click HERE for a great interview with Goggins on slowtwitch.com

Jason Lester -- How Cool Is This Guy!?!?

This is so inspiring.

Jason Lester is an experienced Ironman triathlete who will be participating in this year's Ultraman.  This year alone he has completed the Hilo/Volcano Ultramarathon, Ironman Arizona, the ITU World Championships, the Pacific Crest Endurance Duathlon, Ultraman Canada, AND the Ironman World Chamionships in Kona a few weeks back.  

Unbelievable.  And if that is isn't impressive enough in its own right, Jason has only one functional arm -- the result of a car accident back in 1986.

He is an inspiration to many and I for one am really looking forward to meeting this guy when I get out to Hawaii.

Click HERE for a recent article on Jason in the Honolulu newspaper.

The clip is an excerpt from a documentary on Jason and his journey.  And I believe he is also developing a narrative feature film on his life story.  

Click HERE for the website for the film CHASING ME.

On Tap...

42 days till Ultraman.  That's just 6 weeks left.  3 more "hard" weeks, then taper.

This week has been pretty intense.  Put in 12,000 yards of swimming on Thursday (yeah baby!) and a 5 hour ride today (a walk in the park).  This weekend I have a 10 hour ride on Saturday, then a 4 hour run on Sunday, capping a 26 hour training week.  Feeling strong!

After this weekend, things will begin to shift a bit.  Weekdays will become progressively lighter, but I still have 3 Race Simulation weekends -- doing 80 - 90% of the Ultraman double Ironman distance on each of the next three Fri/Sat/Sun cycles.  Then the taper.

Recovery is good, endurance is huge, confidence is growing and speed is on the horizon.  But the reality of the task at hand is also starting to become very real.  I wouldn't say daunting, but real.  Let's say I have a healthy respect for the intensity of my goal....

I'll check in on Monday....

Another Beast of a Week Under My Belt

I am spent.

Another 25 hour training week under my belt.  And this was the hardest one yet -- a beast, culminating in another 4 day "Race Simulation" and my longest swimming and riding days to date.  Here's how the 4 day simulation went down:

Thursday: 12,000 yards of swimming over 2 workouts.  In the morning I went 8,000, broken at the 2,000 with 20 seconds rest in between.  My goal was just to maintain a consistent pace throughout with no energy dropoff, approximating my pace for the 10K Ultraman swim.  I felt good and got it done in under 2 hours, finishing just as strong as the start, which is a good indication of my fitness over my longest swim workout since college.  I came back in the afternoon with another 4,000 swim workout, a set of descending distances, picking up the pace as the distance decreased.  Felt pretty good.  Aerobically no problems and shoulders seemed to hold up well.

Friday: Shoulders were a bit sore but otherwise felt pretty fresh.  Put in a solid 4 hour ride up PCH to Hueneme and back and felt as good as I have ever felt on the bike.  Fought headwinds on the way up and blasted the back half with tailwinds, feeling like I was in the pro peloton, hitting an average speed above 25 mph, which was really fun, finishing as the sun went down around 7pm.  Gorgeous sunset on the PCH as I cruised by all the sail surfers at dusk.  This was a great ride.  But not much time to recover before the big day....

Saturday: 11 hour / 160 mile ride.  This was a beast.  I woke at 4am and was on the road before 5 am.  It was absolutely pitch black dark and FREEZING.  I knew it might be a cold morning, but I was totally unprepared for just how cold.  Despite 3 layers and arm warmers, I don't think I've ever been this cold.  I rode shivering for the first 3 1/2 hours, my feet and hands completely numb -- up through Calabasas, north across Santa Susana Pass and down into Simi Valley, then West on Los Angeles Avenue, through Moorpark to Somis.  At 8:30 am the sun was finally up, but I wasn't warming up.  I stopped at a gas station and had to soak my feet and hands in boiling water for 20 minutes just to get the feeling back.  But after this I was fine.  I rode through downtown Ventura, then up Route 33 through Ojai, then East on Route 150 to Santa Paula -- gorgeous countryside and great riding.  Was keeping my pace consistent and working on eating enough to keep my energy solid, although I still struggle with solid foods on the bike, resorting mostly to Perpetum, a high caloric liquid.  I tried to keep away from sugary drinks until the last 4 hours for fear of bonking.  From Santa Paula I headed East on Route 126, then South on Route 23 through Grimes Canyon, which looks like the surface of the moon -- very eerie sandy desolate canyon pass.  Then back to Los Angeles Avenue into Simi and back up Santa Susana Pass into Chatsworth, then to Calabasas.  I still had about 45 minutes to go, so I headed up Old Topanga Canyon for one last climb in an effort to approximate the Ultraman Day 2 ride, which is relatively flat for the first 2/3 of the day before alot of climbing at the end.  My energy started to waiver that last 90 minutes, but I held tough and got it done.  One thing I learned -- I need to work on eating more solid foods.  And I need a new saddle.  My butt was killing me and this hurt me tremendously as I couldn't get comfortable the last 4 hours.  But all in all, my longest ride yet.  I was supremely spent when I got home and actually had a hard time getting food down -- my appetite was shot.  But I forced myself to eat as much as I could and hit the sack, worried about how I was going to handle Sunday's long run.

Sunday: 3 hour run.  When I woke up, my legs were so thrashed, I seriously doubted whether I was going to be able to handle this run.  When faced with these thoughts, I just have to turn my brain off and go.  I loaded up my fuel belt and headed out.  My legs were very heavy the first 30 minutes, but they loosened up and I ended up feeling fine.  I built into the run and ended up feeling pretty good, a big surprise and great indication of just how massive my endurance base is right now.  I worked on my climbing and descents, trying to acclimate my legs to the pounding of going downhill, which can bury a runner on a long run when not used to this.  I also had no issues keeping my heart rate squarely in Zone 2 between 130 - 140 bpm, which has become very comfortable -- I could run all day in this zone.  The last 30 minutes were tough no doubt, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how well I did on this run.  But as soon as it was over, my legs were throbbing.  Thank God for Monday's rest day.

Another great confidence boost at 50 days out from Ultraman.  And the 11 hour ride really gave me a sense of just how hard that Day 2 ride is going to be.  A couple more hard weeks before taper.  Just trying to keep my focus....


Just swam 8200 yards.  My longest swim workout in 20 years.  8000 broken every 2000 with 15 seconds rest, then 200 warmdown.  Can't say I was "fast", but felt pretty good to get this under my belt.  Gotta get ready for that 6 mile swim in 7 weeks!

Tonight -- another 4000 yard swim workout.  I should sleep well tonight.

Josef Ajram -- Spanish Ultraman!

I have been chatting on Facebook with Josef Ajram, a Spanish endurance athlete who did Ultraman last year and will be competing this year.  He is a pretty studly athlete and has put together a few cool little promo videos from last year's Ultraman I thought I would share.  I can feel the heat and pain coming through the computer, but these are helping me get psyched up....

All the pain and stiffness from my 40 mile run have evaporated and I'm back to work.  Put in a solid 5200 yd swim workout yesterday followed by a one hour spin ride.  This morning I hit the bike pretty hard, tackling a few of the hard climbs in my beloved Santa Monica Mountain backyard playground -- Piuma, Stunt and Saddle Peak.  Feeling great and ready for the last hard push.  Committing to focusing more on my nutrition as well.  No more late night potato chip feasts!  Tomorrow -- a 2 hr morning swim workout and a 1 hr evening swim workout.  Time to really get ready for that 10K swim.

40 Mile Run Recap

I smoked that 40 mile run like a cheap cigar.

Have to say, the experience of doing my first 40 mile run exceeded my expectations on all levels -- physically, mentally and spiritually.  It was my first time attempting a distance longer than 26.2 miles and although confident in my training to date, I was definitely unsure about how my body, and in particular my legs would handle the volume.  Mentally I was ready.  And spiritually I was enthusiastic.  Only my body could hold me back.  But I am happy to report that not only did I get through it, I rocked it.

First, I chose a route that was relatively flat -- from my office in Venice up the Santa Monica bike path, then onto PCH all the way up to Pt. Dume in Malibu and back.  Also factoring into my route choice was the fact that there are several gas stations along the way, so I would always be able to pop in, go to the bathroom and rehydrate.  I didn't want to be out in the middle of nowhere if something went wrong.  I think it was a good choice.

I used an Amphipod fuel belt with 5 large 16 oz. bottles.  I filled 2 bottles with Perpetum, a high calorie carbohydrate drink from Hammer Nutrition, each with about 350 calories.  The other 3 bottles were filled with Cytomax.  In my pouch I carried about 20 Endurolytes electrolyte tablets (another Hammer product), which proved essential, plus several eGels.  Then of course, my iPhone.

As advised, I began at a very slow jogging pace for the first 10 miles, erring on the side of overly conservative and keeping my HR at 120 and below.  Although my legs were still quite fatigued from all my training, I felt pretty good.  I got lucky with an unusually cool overcast day in the low 60's with cool ocean breezes.  At the one hour mark, I stopped for 3 minutes at a gas station to take a quick bathroom break and grab some water, then back on the road.  Felt good and easy for the next hour, stopping again at the 2 hour mark for 5 minutes to again go to the bathroom.  Even though I didn't feel like I needed it, I quickly grabbed some water, gatorade and a Cliff Bar, making sure I was taking in at least 300 calories an hour and 16 oz of fluid -- the last thing I wanted was to bonk in the final few hours.  As for my listening pleasure, I chose to listen to an audiobook for the first 4 hours to relax -- Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead.  Heady I know, but it allowed me to relax and gave my mind something to focus on other than running.  I knew if I listened to music too early, I was likely to get excited and go out a bit too fast.

I began to ever so slowly pick up the pace for the next hour and hit the 20 mile turnaround point at 3 hours and 17 minutes feeling relatively fresh.  My legs felt totally fine and aerobically I was great.  My heart, lungs and breathing all felt relaxed, almost a non-issue as I maintained a HR around 130-135 bpm.

I began to increase the pace a bit for the next ten miles, raising my HR to around 130 - 135 bpm, switched to my favorite music playlist and built each mile.  I made my final quick pit stop around 4 hours, grabbing water and a big Red Bull for the final 2 hour push.  At this point, my thighs were starting to really burn, especially on the sides.  But my knees, calves and achilles heels all felt fine.  I had been worried about injury, particularly in the knees, but they were holding up well despite all the pavement pounding.  I started taking in the Endurolytes every 20 minutes or so, worried about thigh cramps and was reluctant to make any more stops for fear my legs might seize up.

At the 30 mile mark I was joined by my friend Arno Kroner, a marathoner preparing for the Long Beach Marathon this upcoming weekend.  He was a godsend -- brought me another Red Bull and paced me for the final leg, pushing me to pick up the pace.  My thighs were screaming and I was starting to leave my body -- a very ethereal spiritual experience.  By all accounts I was exhausted and without Arno I likely would have slogged to the finish.  But instead, we accelerated and I was able to begin holding sub-8 minute mile pace over the last 8 miles, finishing with a surge and far stronger than I ever imagined I would be capable of.

Final time: 6 hours 21 minutes for 41 miles (due to crossing the street, etc. the run ended up being a bit longer than the google map version).  The great thing about this was that I negative split the route -- my second half was a full 13 minutes faster than the first half (3:17 / 3:04), which is a great indication of my level of fitness.  The data shows that most great endurance performances and records are achieved in negative split scenarios, so I was very happy about how I paced this run.  I probably could have gone a bit faster from mile 10 to 20 and from mile 20 to 30.

And I never cramped.  Endurolytes were huge in staving off my cramping -- I highly recommend this product from Hammer Fitness.  Afterwards I was extremely sore in my thighs and very tired, but not delerious or overly out of it.  I took an ice bath that night which did wonders and the next day I felt pretty good.  Sore of course, but nothing too serious.

Although I have to say that I'm not sure I could have run another 12 miles, it was still a huge mental confidence boost at 56 days out from Ultraman.  Beyond the additional mileage of the Day 3 double marathon, I will have to contend with tired legs, 85+ degree heat, 90% humidity and strong winds, which will prove quite challenging compared to the chilly drizzly day I had on Saturday.  But I'll be ready.  And knowing I can do 40 miles will prove a huge mental boost.  The double marathon run has been my biggest worry but now I know I will be able to handle it.  It was a quantum leap physically and mentally.

On the spiritual front, this was one of the more spiritual endeavors I have ever experienced.  I had several moments of out of my body, a disassociation of spirit from mind and physical, where the pain was gone and I was floating.  Akin to a deep meditative state of no mind generally only achieved through a deep meditative state.  It was glorious.

Its now Monday morning and my legs are healing and I'm ready for another hard 2 week training cycle.  Getting down to the nitty gritty.

Having now run a distance longer than a marathon, I guess I can now consider myself an official ultra runner.  Feels great.

Bengal Tigers, Navaratri, Durga, "Life" and a 40 Miler....

Well, its been an interesting few days.

First, we rented our house out to NBC to shoot the prime time TV show "Life".  We live in a modern architectural home and it has been an attractive destination for location productions over the last few years.  In fact, its been a great side business.  But over the last year, it has dried up somewhat.  Money has been quite tight and I have had alot of anxiety about how I am going to incur all the expenses of Ultraman.  Its not a cheap endeavor.  I need flights, hotel rooms, bike transport, minivan rental, crew costs, lots of food.  I need to put up and feed my crew.  I need alot of extra bike equipment.  I need race wheels.  A new wetsuit.  New cycling shoes.  Lots of stuff.  Believe me, it all adds up.  I truly didn't know how I was going to swing it all.  But I had faith that getting to UM was consistent with God's plan for me.  And God delivered.  This 3 day shoot will pay alot of bills and cover my trip.  Just in time.  So grateful.  And the irony that the shoot is for a television show called "Life" is not lost on me.

But what is really cool, interesting and more than auspicious is that there were 3 Bengal Tigers at my house for the last couple days.  These supreme cats were part of the shoot.  On Wednesday the cats arrived and they spent the day acclimating to the environment.  My wife took some amazing photos and video of these spectacular creatures walking around our house on leashes, on the pool deck, in our living room (I will post them later).  It was simply amazing.  But what is more incredible (bordering on stupefying) is the fact that the day they arrived happend to coincide with the first day of "Navaratri", which is one of the biggest celebrations in Hinduism, particularly in the BENGAL region of India. It is the celebration of the goddess “Durga” -- a fierce warrior goddess that rides a BENGAL TIGER.  Navaratri is the celebration of the warrior spirit, the manifestation of abundance and creative wisdom. Needless to say, I find this mindblowing "coincidence" to be quite a good and auspicious sign.  An infusion of warrior energy for my training and a solid high five from the Creator that I am meant to go to Hawaii!

Tomorrow I attempt my first 40 mile run.  And I will take the warrior spirit of Navaratri with me.  Should be quite an experience.  Report to follow......

Garmin Forerunner 405

I really really want this.  And I'm gonna get it.