Trail Time

I’ve been really relaxed about my training the last  couple of weeks. Maybe because I don’t have any huge events coming up, or maybe because I’m just losing focus on the goals. I’m not really sure, but I’m trying to turn that around this week. This week I start masters swimming!!!

I was very hesitant to join a masters swimming group just because I’m a slow swimmer and I would feel like I’m starting behind. I know that’s not really an excuse. It’s like when college students say, “I’m not going to class because I’ve already missed one class and I’ll be behind the rest of the class.” (Trust me, I’ve heard that excuse before). But, everywhere I turn, people are saying (or articles are saying) that masters swimming is the best way to improve the swim leg of a triathlon. So, I figured, what the heck.. I’ll try it out and see how I like it. There are quite a few masters swimming programs around Orange County, but I chose Coast Masters Swimming because of the location (OCC pool) and the practice times (every morning at 5:30AM and Tue/Thu after work). I figured I could go to practice in the morning on my way to work (OCC isn’t that far off from my normal work path) and still get into work at a decent time. I went to my first practice this morning, and it felt good. I’m hoping I can stick with this. It means that I get a little less sleep or a little less time in the evenings, but it should be really good for my overall fitness and swimming ability.

I’m also working on getting my training schedule sorted out for the rest of the year (at least through summer). I’m pretty much set on doing the Silverman Half Distance Triathlon in November, but need to make sure that I get the right training in (specifically, hills on the bike). Also, there are a bunch of events coming up through the summer that are on schedule: San Diego Rock’n’Roll Marathon, Over the Hump Race Series, Peters Canyon Summer Trail Run Series and Training, Rim Nordic, and a few shorter distance triathlons (maybe). So I need to make sure that my training/racing schedule doesn’t burn me out.

Anyway.. on to recaps of fun times. I haven’t done too much since the last recap, but there were a few events and good rides in there.  First off, round 3 of the OC Chili Winter Trail Run Series. This was the last in three trail races this season. I wasn’t planning on doing much better on it than in the last two races, just because I didn’t put tons of effort into preparing for it. Unfortunately, I can’t even gauge whether or not I improved because the course was completely different.

Where are we going?

We started from a different group shelter area and ran most of the trail in reverse, which was not what I was prepared for. It was more consistent climbing at the beginning than the previous races. Also, it allowed for everyone to spread out rather than bottleneck at the start of the first singletrack climb (from the previous races). It was a shorter course, but I think that it was a more difficult run becuase of the longer more consistent climb at the beginning. Here’s a comparison of the elevation profile:

I finished in 49:29, which is pretty good. The course was a little shorter, so I still averaged the same pace. And of course, we had chili and snacks after the race.

Sprint to the FINISH!!

After the race in the morning, Minh and I did a “quick” mountain bike ride on parts of the Tijeras Creek Trail. I had to change out of one set of workout clothes to another, and we made a little mess of the car. But, it’s times like these that I’m happy we have the CRV (as compared to the truck alone).

making a mess...

I love riding the Tijeras Creek Trail!! It’s one of my favorite rides around OC. Mostly because of the woodsy feel and the stream crossings, but also because it’s mostly flat and super fast. I know I should find trails with climbs to work on my weaknesses, but sometimes it’s nice to work on your strengths too.

Minh walked all the stream crossings.. wanted to keep his feet dry..

up and over!

We only did the first half of the trail, then veered off to get a snack (Taco Bell!!!) because we were running low on water and did not anticipate the longer ride (and, therefore, only had a few gels), and by the time we veered off to get snacks, we realized that both of our bikes were making funny noises, so we took the road back to the start (rather than the trail).

Nutrition break at TACO BELL!!

Overall, it was an awesome ride, and a confirmation that Specialized > Trek!!! Let me explain that one. After we made the decision to hit the road for the second part of the trail, we were chugging along at a steady pace. Then, a lone roadie on her Trek passed us on a not too hard climb, and Minh turns to me and says “Let’s catch up to her”. She didn’t get too far ahead of us, so we sped up a bit to see if we could pass her. Unfortunately we got stuck at a light after her.. but we caught up to her at the next light. This is not without some effort, but she turned and gave us a “WTF?!?! Where did they come from?” kind of look. Then we turned off the road to head to the car. It was a satisfying moment for us knowing that we beet a roadie on our mountain bikes.

This past Saturday was another awesome mountain bike ride for me, but sans Minh this time. I met up with some lovely ladies for a monthly Rock’n’Road Divas ride. This month, it was an intermediate mountain bike ride at Crystal Cove. It was a good sized group (only 6 of us) and we had an awesome ride through the different trails there, even tried some trails that none of us had done before. There were a few spots that I had to walk (down Rattlesnake and down the Elevator), but I think I did pretty well for the most part. I was really happy that I was able to get a mountain ride in and that I was able to keep up pretty well. My legs were burning on some of the climbs, but I stuck through it.

The Garmin and the trail map don't exactly synch up.

We started at the top of Crystal Cove State Park (at the end of Ridge Park Rd. in Newport Beach). We took Bommer Ridge Road (fire road) to the border of the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. Then entered the park on some nice single track along Missing Link and Fence Line. Went down Redtail Ridge to Rattlesnake (which I walked) and down to Mach One. Then we took the long and steady climb up I Think I Can to Moro Ridge. We took Moro Ridge back up to Missing Link, then came down the Elevator (I had to walk the really steep section, but road most of it). We then climbed back up Slow’n’Easy to Fence Line, and then headed back to the Parking Lot.

Here’s a shot of the top section of Rattlesnake that I walked:

Rattlesnake: More treacherous than it looks...

Doesn’t look so bad looking back on to it, but from the top it looks pretty sketch. Especially so the first time seeing it. The bottom section is more of the same, but for a longer distance.

Sunday, I headed out to Fashion Island for the March of Dimes March for Babies 5-mile walk with TEAM RUBBER DUCKIES!!!

TEAM RUBBER DUCKIES!!!

It was a great time and the 5 miles passed by really quickly because we were just talking the whole time. There were times when the group set up these little 100-yard dash races across intersections, but for the most part we walked.

Ready... Set.. GO!!!

After the walk, we were all starving. Apparently breakfast and free coffee is not enough nutrition for a 1.5-hour walk. Luckily for us, Weinerschnitzel was out there giving away free hotdogs, chilidogs, and corndogs to all walkers. There were also a bunch of other free stuff that we stocked up on before the walk.

mmm... Weinerschnitzel never tasted so good...

When I got home, I was so tired (stayed up late the night before watching Avatar, woke up early to get to the walk). I was supposed to run 14 miles yesterday as part of my marathon training, but that didn’t happen. Instead, I napped and watched Modern Marvels and Modern Family on Hulu and napped. I did put in about an hour of “exercise” and “active recovery” with the elctrostimulator that Minh and I got (not a Compex, but good enough), and my calves are still a little bit sore from it.

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One thought on “Trail Time

  1. Pingback: Birthday Festivities « Think Tran

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