Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Runs in Albuquerque

Spent the Thanksgiving weekend with family in Albuquerque, NM.  Did a couple of runs around the Albuquerque Academy.  My younger brother set a good pace that had me running faster than I cared to on the uphill, but pride forced me to continue.  I was grateful for a good run.

Returned to Dixie today and did a short 3 mile run along the Virgin River with the accompanying pull-ups, push-ups, and situps.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ride and Run in Dixie

Had to limit my workout to 3 hours today so I did an abbreviated 30 mile bike ride from Bloomington Park with the Color Country Cycling Club.  I rode with them up through Kayenta and then headed back to Bloomington instead of going to Veyo.  Did a quick transition and ran a couple of miles.  It has been a while since I did the bike to run transition and I forgot what prolonged riding does to your running legs.  I need to practice that more- I can't imagine what a 112 mile ride will do to my marathon legs.  Finished it up with a push-up, pull-up and sit-up routine.

Friday, November 6, 2009

October Part 2

Several multi-state trips, cold weather, and irregular schedules have meant that my exercise schedule encountered some serious obstacles to consistency.  3-6 miles jogs a couple of times a week have been the workouts during the past couple of weeks.  Praying for some more schedule stability in the coming weeks!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Mid October


Did 4 runs of 4-6 miles during the week and a 30 mile road ride on Saturday after taking the kids hiking in the Santa Clara River Gorge to look at the Indian petroglyphs.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Fall is here

Did a nice 3-5 mile run nearly every day this week- admittedly a little later than normal as pre-dawn temperatures here dipped into the 40s. I mixed it up with the regular core strength exercises of push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups.  Gotta admit, I've missed Orange County weather this past week.  I'll be back there next week.


On Saturday, spent the morning doing a 60 mile bike ride from Bloomington to Veyo and back with the Southern Utah Triathlon Club. They made me push myself a little harder than normal and also realize I've got to do some intense hill work to get ready for the Ironman in May.


Good news this week: Lynn Kubasek, a fantastic kayaker for my Catalina swim, bagged her own solo swim across the channel on Wednesday. Congrats, Lynn! I received my Abu Dhabi Tri Club jersey. Thanks Chris! I also enjoyed watching the Kona Ironman Championships- inspiring.


Sad news: I hadn't posted it before, but the Abu Dhabi jersey reminded of the great folks I worked out with there in the Middle East. Coach Mark Pringle, a fantastic coach full of spunk and positive energy, finally died of the injuries he sustained in a hit and run accident there in the capital. Unfortunately, Abu Dhabi is a less desirable place to be with him no longer there. LINK

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Workouts This Week

I was up late Sunday night and early Monday studying for an exam. After passing the 4 and 1/2 hour exam...I figured my body would survive a day without a cardio workout.

On Tuesday I did my loop around Bloomington with an extra intensive bout of situps, pullups and pushups that left me with a nice soreness for a couple of days.

This week, I finally got in a workout with Lynne Lund, the local swimming legend and found the legend was deserved. She was great and quickly picked apart my stroke and gave me a number of helpful technique helps. While St. George may not have the huge master swimming programs found in Southern California- its hard to get that kind of personal attention there either. I'm looking to get my 100 meters down in the mid 50 secs in the coming months.

On Saturday, I took off at 7:30 in cold and finished up after noon. Did 58 to 59 miles up to Veyo and down the 18 behind the St. George Marathon to Snow Canyon and back. I had to stop a few times due to police and race officials who wanted to make sure I didn't interfere with the tail end of the race. I believe it is the longest distance ride I've done- need to get the average speed up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Week of Sept. 21st- Travel and Workouts

On Sunday, ran with the family to a family function in Las Vegas and decided to continue down the 1-15 to California to get some of our stuff still stored there and take the kids to Disneyland the following day. After a morning of lifting items around our storage unit and an afternoon with Mickey, we returned to Utah late late Monday night. I was a little wiped out on Tuesday.

On Wednesday, I did a 3 mile jog, on Thursday did 6 miles. On Thursday night I drove to Denver. On Friday morning I did 3 miles at almost 5,600 ft. elevation in Golden, CO and was able to return to Utah late that night.

Saturday morning I rode my bike 20 miles up to Sand Hollow Reservoir from Bloomington to watch the end of the Kokopelli Triathlon being held there. I was bummed I couldn't race it, but I wasn't sure I was going to make it back to Utah in time for the race and missed the registration. I rode back at a quick pace to get in a 40+ mile bike ride.

Next week, it is about finding a good schedule to build distance and practice all 3 disciplines.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Thursday through Saturday

Wednesday night did a fast mile swim followed by 14 mile bike at Sand Hollow.

Thursday did a nice 3 mile jog

Friday morning was another 1 mile swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir followed by 3 mile jog and sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.

 


Saturday morning, after one of the worst night's sleep of my life, I woke early from a campout with my son in the mountains about St. George to do a series of open water swim races at Sand Hollow Reservoir. Did the Kau Wela 1 mile race in a wet suit. In the warm water, the constriction of the suit caused me to have "can't catch my breath" claustrophobia reaction. (Most triathletes know what I'm talking about.) After a fast start, I heated up too fast and couldn't slow my breathing or heart rate. I lost the lead and couldn't recover my stroke/stamina until the last 1/5 of the mile. The winner smoked everyone, but I did catch up to a group of 3 swimmers all vying for the silver medal at the finish and beat out one of them for 4th place. I did the 1/2 mile without a wetsuit knowing that I'd be slower, but I'd feel more comfortable. I finished 3rd. I then did the 400m race without a wetsuit as well and took 2nd.

    Wednesday, September 16, 2009

    Wednesdays Workouts

    Did a 3 mile jog in the morning with push-ups and sit-ups and then another 3 miles walking with my wife. In the evening, I did a mile swim in Sand Hollow Reservoir with the Southern Utah Triathlon Club followed by a 14 mile bike ride. Not a lot of distance, but the intensity of each was more than usual...now I need to keep the intensity while increasing the distances.

    Tuesday, September 15, 2009

    Looking for a morning USMS group

    I haven't had a serious swim workout in weeks, so I hit the Summit Athletic Club's 5am workout...only to find I was the only one there. I did 3K+. I really need to find a good swimming workout group in St. George. I talked with a youth coach at Summit who mentioned he was planning something. I hope it happens, but if you live in St. George and are interested...contact me.

    Ideally I like to be doing 5,000 yard workouts between 5:30 and 7:00 am with 100 yards on 1:20 intervals 3 to 5 times a week. Initially, it could be 3,000 yards on 1:30s.

    Monday, September 14, 2009

    Monday Workout - upcoming local races

    Did 6 mile run and sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.

    Signed up for the inaugural KAU WELA 1 mile open water Swim Competition next Saturday in Sand Hollow Reservoir here in St. George. I hope to do the Kokopelli Triathlon the following Saturday, assuming no clashes with other family plans.

    Saturday, September 12, 2009

    Saturday Ride

    Did the loop from Bloomington up through Gunlock and back down route 19 for a total of 56 miles. I did it between 11:30am and 3pm in 100+ degree heat, but I kept well hydrated and it was a nice ride. I did have a concerned motorist offer me a lift at the bottom of the hill between Gunlock and Veyo. The steepness of the hill and the heat of the day made him comment that it was "dangerous", but I declined. Though I feel that I'm no worse for the wear, I did do the climbs slower than I'd like to- I need to speed them up and then get in a second loop in the coming weeks to mirror the Ironman distance.

    Tuesday, September 8, 2009

    Short Workouts and Zions...again!

    Did a couple of short jogs and laps in the pool at Sand Hollow Aquatic Center the first week of September, but with 2 family birthdays and an aborted trip to California, schedules were too erratic for meaningful distances.

    On Monday (Labor Day), I finally got back out to Sand Hollow Reservoir for a abbreviated triathlon workout of swimming and biking. I had to keep it short because I promised to take the kids to Zion's Narrows and a flat ensured that it would be. I spent the remainder of the day hiking several miles up and down the canyon with my 2 oldest.

    On Tuesday morning, I did 2 laps of the 3 mile Bloomington loop run with push-ups, pull-ups and situps at the end of each 3 mile loop.

    Monday, August 31, 2009

    Zions National Park - Mystery Canyon

    I had an opportunity today to hike Mystery Canyon in Zions and I couldn't pass it up. What fun. 7 hours down slot canyons with friends and a good amount of rope work.




    Going down "Death Gulch" to the canyon bottom.

    Rappelling down a 120 foot wall into a cool pool.

    Rappelling down Mystery Falls into Zion's Narrows and the Virgin River.

    Saturday, August 29, 2009

    Time for some new Shoes

    Workouts yesterday and today just consisted of running. I did a short 3 mile run on Friday and a 12 miler on Saturday. My feet were blistered and bloody after the 12 miler. I was a bit surprised. Time for some better shoes. Unfortunately, the last time I went to a running specialty shop, I was professionally fit, spent over $100, and the result? I couldn't run more than a mile without getting a blister in the shoes that felt big for my feet.

    My knees and and feet are hoping for a recommendation.

    Thursday, August 27, 2009

    Update

    Workouts Update:
    Did a couple of short pool workouts and a few jogs both in St. George and in Aliso Viejo during the past week. Looking to "up" my mileage significantly so that I'm doing more than Ironman distances every week.

    Gate of Tears Swim Update:
    A few weeks ago I did get additional news about the water conditions in the channel. Man-eating white tip sharks are an issue and strong winds can really make things difficult. I found a great product,
    SHARKSHIELD that may be a solution. I talked with a distributor of the product here on the US West Coast and it is very promising.

    Recent contact with the Yemeni tourism board has continued, but we still have not identified a charter boat. I am holding out hope, but concerns about pirates and the affects of a Shiite insurgency in Northern Yemen has cast a shadow over the planning effort. I don't expect to make much progress during Ramadan, but perhaps in September will get some forward movement again.

    Wednesday, August 19, 2009

    Wednesday Workout

    Did 23 miles on the bike at dusk from Bloomington, through Santa Clara and Ivins up to Tuacahn Parkway and back down Bluff St. to the Virgin River trail and back to Bloomington. Though I had a bright flasher on, going 45 mph and being unable to see the cracks and obstacles in the pavement was not safe. Thrilling, but dangerous. Next time I'll have to leave a little sooner.

    Now I'm going to get in a 6-9 mile jog before hitting the sack. I have to be in LA tomorrow afternoon so I need to get a good night's sleep.

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009

    Tuesday Early Morning

    Joined the Summit Athletic Club crew for the 5am work out. Did 2,600m with the group & did another 2,400m to get in a full 5k.

    Monday, August 17, 2009

    Monday Jog

    The Southern Utah Tri Club has been doing 18 and 19 mile runs on some recent Saturday mornings. Though I think it is more for those doing the St. George Marathon on October 3rd, I should be able to do it, but I'm not sure I'm there yet. I'd better get there fast if I have any hope of doing an Ironman a few months from now. So after Family Home Evening and the kids were asleep, I ran around the Bloomington Country Club twice. It felt pretty good and I kept a sub- 9 minute pace for the whole 6 miles. I'll do 9 miles next time and 12 the time after that. I'd like to get that to a sub 8 minute speed and keep that for an entire marathon before the end of January. If my calculations are accurate, a Boston qualifying time for a guy my age is a 7:26 to 7:38 per mile. Any suggestions on a good December/January marathon?

    Saturday, August 15, 2009

    Half of an Ironman

    A sore throat a few days before the Alcatraz Race was held at bay with high vitamin C doses, but a couple of days following the swim, an upper respitory tract infection and a crazy travel schedule kept me from working out for almost 2 weeks. For a guy who never gets sick, this was a real pain.

    I eased back into a couple of 3k swims followed by 3 mile runs, but a crazy travel schedule the past week (I went between Southern Utah and the LA area 3 times in 8 days- mostly late night drives.) once again kept me from anything but small jogs until today.

    In honor of the many Southern Utah Triathlon Club members participating in the Utah Half today, I rode 1/2 of St. George Ironman (1 loop of the 2 loop course). The 55 miles started in Bloomington and went up to Veyo via Santa Clara and Gunlock and down the 18 back to St. George and Bloomington. The mid ninety degree desert weather was nice. For those not familiar with Utah's Red Rock country, you can click on the map to get a sense of where these places are.

    Friday, August 14, 2009

    Tragedy and Triumph Among Friends

    First the tragedy:
    With Coach Pringle at Raha International School - April 2009

    While I was in Abu Dhabi, I worked out as often as I could with Coach Mark Pringle. He was so incredibly optimistic and full of energy, it was contagious. Sadly, complications from an injury he sustained while riding with the Abu Dhabi Tri Club at the end of last month make the possibility of his survival slim. It is a great loss for all of the many people that were touched by his passion for swimming and triathlons and especially his family.

    Here are some recent articles on the situation:

    Now the Triumph:

    Me and Jen before jumping in at Doctor's Cove, September 2008

    Jen Schumacher, who was one of my escort swimmers during my Catalina crossing, bagged her own Catalina crossing yesterday. She finish the swim in an incredible 9 hours. Congratulations Jen!

    Here is her blog with the details:
    http://www.jenschumacher.com/

    Here is a clip on KTLA about the swim:
    http://www.ktla.com/news/landing/ktla-channel-swim,0,7717321.story

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Swim Around the Rock

    Start of the Swim Around the Rock Race.

    At about 11am I finally did it. After about 2 hours of swimming, I completed the swim from the shores of San Francisco, around Alcatraz, and back in nothing but a swimsuit, cap and googles.

    Receiving a medal after completing the swim.

    The flood tide was even stronger than expected and it swept me about 1/4-1/2 of mile east of the island on the way out despite my efforts to aim to the west. It also caused me to be swim several hundred meters to the west as I neared the beach. But all told- it was a fun swim in comfortably cool temperatures (62 degrees warming to high sixties in some pockets near shore).

    My family was there to see me off and my sister and her family were there to see me arrive.

    With the family after cleaning up. Alcatraz can be seen in the background.

    Thanks also to the wonderful support kayakers and other swimmers who helped spur me on through some of the rough waters in the channel.

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Travel to Alcatraz

    Well, after a trip to Utah County, Park City, Salt Lake City, and Reno/Sparks...I finally arrived in San Francisco this evening. I picked up my cap and shirt at the Sports Basement for the Swim Around the Rock (Alcatraz) race tomorrow morning.

    http://www.waterworldswim.com/SAR/information.html

    I got the run down on the swim from a swimmer who swam the "test swim" this morning. The water temps a relatively warm 62 degrees. Currents are a little tricky near Alcatraz, but generally should not be a huge factor. The race starts around 8:30 tomorrow morning at the Aquatic park near the end of Van Ness Street. I'm not worried about wildlife or the distance...my only concern is that it has been a few months since I swam 90-100 minutes in the cold, but I should be fine as I have always performed well in temperatures even into the low 50s.

    Now just need to get some sleep...

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009

    Hiking and Swimming in Color Country - Swim Around Alcatraz

    On Saturday I opted for some time with the kids and tried to make a workout out of it too. I wanted to hike to the top of Signal Peak, the 10,300 foot mountain overlooking St. George. It became more of a workout than I anticipated when my 9 year old decided she was spent after only a quarter of the distance and I had to carry her 80 pounds on my back. We decided to find a nice lookout and turnaround. We'll see if it helps my biking. :)

    On Sunday, I finalized travel arrangments to the Bay Area for the Swim Around the Rock, the annual race around Alcatraz Island. I'm excited to be one of 20 or so participants to brave the 60 degree water in this 3.25 mile race.
    http://www.waterworldswim.com/SAR/information.html

    I did 6K swim at Summit Athletic Club on Tuesday morning.

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Brick Workout at Sand Hollow

    Met up with 8 Southern Utah Tri Club members at Sand Hollow Reservoir at 6am. I had broken out in red bumps after Monday's swim due to the "swimmer's itch" parasite in the lake so I decided to try my wetsuit this time. Unfortunately I discovered that storing your wetsuit in 120+ degree heat for a few months allows the rubber to melt together. It took a good ten minutes to pull it apart and it had a number of rips and holes in the neoprene by the time I unfolded it enough to stretch it on...bummer. I did a 1.25 mile swim and did seem to avoid the itch this time.

    Six of us continued on to do a nearly 40 mile bike ride. We went around the reservoir and through the farm country to Hurricane, through Hurricane to La Verkin and finally into Toquerville. We climbed some good hills out of Toquerville to the I-15 and then came down the frontage road through Leeds and Harrisburg to Quail Creek Reservoir and then back to the 9 and back up to Sand Hollow. I'm in serious need of hill work, but I was nearly able to keep up with leaders, Jamie and Rob. I was grateful for a couple of hydration stops.

    Finally we did a run. I jogged 2 miles back from the reservoir towards the 9, turned around, and jogged up to the western edge of the dam and ran along it back to the parking lot for 5.5 miles.

    Nice 45 mile workout morning. Now I just need to keep upping the distance so I can do the St. George Ironman's 140.6 miles next May.

    Thursday, July 9, 2009

    Early Morning Swim and Ride in St. George

    I woke at 4:30am this morning to join the swim workout at Summit Athletic Club at 5am. The pool was very nice and kept at a comfortable (cool) temperature. The workout was a nice 2500 and I threw in a few extra laps to get to 3K.

    I came back, grabbed a quick bowl of oatmeal and hit the road on the bicycle. I went from Bloomington the whole length of the trail that ran on the north side of the Virgin River through St. George to Washington. I climbed up to the Washington Community Center and then under the I-15 and back into town on Highland Dr., through town and back to Bloomington along the Virgin River trail. It was a fun 22+ miles and relatively easy 400 foot elevation gain.

    Tomorrow is a full brick workout at Sand Hollow with a number of the St. George Tri Club who are training for the Utah Half Ironman next week...1+ mile swim, 40 mile bike, and 8 mile run. That is Olympic plus distance...a good get back in shape tri for me.

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009

    Exploring St. George on Bicycle


    Last night I dropped by the Green Valley Country Club and did about a mile of laps in the pool after visiting some fun historic sites with the family including Brigham Young's Winter home and Jacob Hamblin home. The tour guide was awesome and shared some incredible stories about this Mormon Missionary to the Indians.

    This morning I decided I needed to get another bike in so I did 20 miles around St. George. I started in Bloomington and did a loop around Sun River towards the AZ border. Came back and took the Virgin River trail to River Road. Grabbed a trial membership at Summit Athletic Club and headed back down River Road through Bloomington Hills to the condo. There are some beautiful trials along the river which I highly recommend if you are in Southern Utah.

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Running in Dixie

    I was up at 4:30am so I could do a 5am coached swim that I had heard about, only problem was that I wasn't sure where it was at. I did discover it wasn't at either the Washington Recreation Center or the Sand Hollow Aquatic Center. So I hung out in Washington and did the 6am run with the St. George Tri Club. We did about 6 miles starting from the Washington Recreation Center and running up to the Golf Course and back. Great group of folks to run with and lots of great information about the events and workouts here in Southern Utah.

    Thursday I'll be a little smarter and head to the
    Summit Athletic Club at 5am. It is nice this area has so many great places to workout.

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Swimming in Sand Hollow

    Did a 6am swim with the St. George Tri Club (Rob, James and Jamie) in Sand Hollow Reservoir. The reservoir will be the site of the St. George Ironman swim. Apparently the reservoir currently has "swimmer's itch", a parasite that can causing rashing. Supposedly it was isolated to a shallow part of the lake, while we were swimming in the deeper area near the boat ramp. It was a nice mile-mile and a half swim...I dried off fast and I'm hoping that did the trick to avoid rashing.

    Saturday, July 4, 2009

    July 4th Workout - Bicycle to Veyo

    I had my bike reassembled last night after the long trip from Abu Dhabi and decided to break it in. The family had plans to drive to Cedar City for brunch and I asked them to pick me up in Veyo on the way so I could ride part of the St. George Ironman course. I rode the 32 miles and climbed 2000 ft. from Bloomington to Veyo via St. George, Santa Clara, Ivins, the Shivwits Indian Reservation, and Gunlock. I was pretty bushed. Unfortunately that is just 1/4 of the route of the Ironman. I've got some work to do.

    I came home and did a 3 mile run around the Bloomington Country Club before calling it a day.

    Great BBQ and fireworks with the family in the evening.

    Friday, July 3, 2009

    Southern Utah

    Flew back from the Middle East on Wednesday and went back to St. George where the family is visiting my in-laws. I think we'll rent a place here for the summer until we determine where we'll be long term. The possibility of remaining in Abu Dhabi is looking rather bleak after my original employer decided to shut down their Middle East operations and a couple of alternative job opportunities didn't pan out.

    If you know someone looking for an experienced Management Consultant and project manager, direct them here for my resume and background:
    http://www.christopherroberts.info/

    Training: Did a 5 mile jog along the Virgin River this morning and mapped out the St. George Ironman bike route.
    [Details] I think I'll try it out tomorrow morning before the Gunlock Rodeo where the family is planning to meet for a steak and potato BBQ before the July 4th fireworks.

    The Next Big Swim:
    Also, I have been in contact with the helpful folks at the Yemen Tourism Agency as I plan the Gate of Tears swim. What a beautiful country! Click here to see more about this cool country and area:
    http://www.yementourism.com/. The information about the country has only increased my desire to go there. Apparently Al Quaeda strongholds are mainly in the northern and eastern hill country. Though the coast is a hotbed of Somali pirates, I'll be swimming some of the busiest shipping lanes in the world where there are navy escorts. Though the Djibouti charter teams aren't interested on account of the pelagic Tiger sharks- I am still hoping it can be negotiated safely with the right precautions. After all, the Catalina channel is the location of dozens of great white sightings every year, but 159 people have successfully crossed it.

    Sunday, June 28, 2009

    Back at Raha International School


    Did the 5:30am swim at Raha International school on Sunday morning.I did a nice 3k. Coach Mark Pringle is back in Australia so Bill led the set. Nice to have high 70s water temps instead of 90s!

    Saturday, June 27, 2009

    Travelling

    Today was my first workout in the Persian Gulf in almost 2 months. We did 2.5 miles in the ocean and I followed up with a one loop jog. I'm back in Abu Dhabi for a week on business. I got to see my wonderful Abu Dhabi Tri Club mates and experience what it feels like to swim in 90 degree water and run in 107 degree weather again.

    After leaving Abu Dhabi at the beginning of May, I returned to Orange County. While I was "home", I did a final workout with Novaquatics at the Soka, a couple of open water swims in Laguna Beach.

    Much of my time in recent weeks has been spent doing business development work, volunteering, and spending time with family. The company that I was working for in the UAE closed its doors so we are officially in transition. Luckily I've had a number of leads in both the US and UAE and I'm happy to spent some extra time with the family after a couple of years of extensive travelling. So what did we do as a family? We packed the house, and travelled to Sedona, AZ, Albuquerque, NM, Flagstaff, AZ, The Grand Canyon, and St. George, Utah.
    If all goes well, I'll have a new project in Abu Dhabi and we'll get the whole family over here soon so we can make an impact on both the business world and continue training for a 2010 Ironman and Gates of Tears swim.

    Sunday, May 3, 2009

    Workouts in Abu Dhabi

    During my stay in Abu Dhabi during the last couple of weeks of April, I was able to do the Swimming and Triathlon workouts at Raha International School with Coach Mark Pringle. On Tuesday evening, a couple of us swimmers lost our cookies. Luckily I didn't lose my lunch until a couple of seconds after I finished the last set. Kind of embarassing. I didn't feel it coming and I don't know what it was...probably just 100 degree weather and a warm pool.


    On Thursdays, Mark has us swim 200m and then run 1k for time. Also doing push-ups, sit-up, leg-lifts and dips between 50 sprints. It was a great workout and highlighted the need for additional strength training.

    On Saturday, the Abu Dhabi Tri Club met up at the beach at Mangrove Village for 800m time trials. We did an initial swim for time. Based on our finishing time, we did it again, staggered so we would all finish at almost the same time. It was quite fun and quite a crowd! I think we had 25 people out.

    I followed up with a nice 20k ride around the between the bridges area of Abu Dhabi with a few tri club folks. I popped a tire 3 feet from my car upon returning. Apparently a piece of gravel had become lodged between the rim and tire. I lucked out that it didn't pop any sooner. I have to replace the time when I return to Abu Dhabi. I flew back to Orange County on Saturday morning, May 2nd.

    Wednesday, April 22, 2009

    Back in the Middle East

    I flew out of LAX on Sunday arrived back in the United Arab Emirates Monday night. On Tuesday morning, I did a workout with Coach Mark Pringle at the Raha International School. I did a 300, 200, and 100 Time Trials in the 25 meter pool. Did a short 2K workout.

    It's time to get serious about training again for my next marathon swim. I'm hoping it can be a human "first". I am still trying to work out whether it will be Strait of Hormuz (30 miles Iran to Oman) or Strait of Bab-el-Mandeb, aka the Gate of Tears (17 miles Yemen to Djibouti). Politics and safety, not the swim, are the biggest challenge. Thorny relations between Iran and the US make the Strait of Hormuz tricky while pirates and Al-Quaeda add another dimension to the Gate of Tears swim. Both locations involve swimming through heavy shipping lanes. I like to think that a quest for athletic achievement will be able to transcend politics.

    This morning, I did another 5 mile run from my apartment on the Corniche around the UAE flagpole.

    Friday, April 17, 2009

    UCI Workout

    Did the 9:30am workout with the University of California at Irvine Masters (UCI). My good friend Ahelee has taken a coaching position there and I did a try-out swim.

    It was set up long course (50m) and we did a 3km+ batch of sets. It was the first good pool workout since last November at Al Raha International School with Mark Pringle. I am excited to get back into regular pool workouts, which I hope to do- starting next week when I return to Abu Dhabi.

    Thursday, April 16, 2009

    Swimming at Corona Del Mar


    Well, after 2 weeks of being out of the water, I was back in California and found out that some old pals have been swimming on Thursday nights at Corona Del Mar beach in Newport. They are the record holders for longest distance swam in the US Master Swimming "Go The Distance" challenge in February. Lynn Kubasek swam over 436 miles and Jim Fitpatrick swam a few miles more. Not bad.

    I joined them for a brisk 40 minute/ mile and half swim. The water temperature was 57 degrees (14 for my non-US friends) so the extra 10 pounds of padding I've accumulated in recent weeks was nice to have. It was the first swim in the Pacific Ocean since I swam the Catalina Channel in September.

    It's not a flattering picture...but then looking into the sun after an hour of swimming hard to ward off hypothermia isn't exactly the setup for an "America's Next Top Model" photo shoot. :)

    Saturday, April 11, 2009

    Camel Races

    The past several weeks have been a bit crazy...visits from friends, camel races,

    video

    and a trip back to the US have prevented me from attending the regular Saturday tri-club workouts. However, I have been able to do an occasional 5 mile run from my apartment near the Corniche around the
    world largest freestanding flagpole next to Marina Mall and back. I look forward to some workouts back in So. California this coming week. I thought this clip of some Saturday morning camel races might be interesting to those unfamiliar with this fun regional sport.

    Sunday, March 22, 2009

    Abu Dhabi Striders

    Did my first interval training with the Abu Dhabi Striders. It was a nice 7-8K run. We did 2K+ warm-up then a 400m and 1K. Repeated 3 times. We then jogged back 1-2K.

    I did it with a co-worker, Jeff Patrasso. The competition got us both working out harder than I think we would have otherwise.

    After the workout had some time to get some dinner and found out that I missed both Glenn Close and Tony Blair who were across the street at the Emirates Palace Hotel this past week.

    Saturday, March 21, 2009

    Saturday Workout

    I rode 6km from my apartment to the beach. At the beach I met up with 4 other Abu Dhabi Tri Club members. We did a 2.4k swim, followed by a 24k bike, and a 3k run. The group was a bit smaller than normal as most of the club was in Dubai yesterday for the Mina Mile and decided to just do a long bike ride today. ADTC member Martin Hodge won his age group at the Mina Mile...congrats Martin!

    During the bike and run, I got a chance to learn more about the nice people I work out with. I am convinced that swimmers/triathletes are the nicest people in the world. I can say that with confidence because they are literally from all over the world: England, Germany, Palestine, Scotland, Australia, the USA.... I got to share the run with Moataz, a Palestinian from Gaza told me about his incredible comeback from an injury in 2007. Great stories, great workout, great weather.

    Next week we're going to start the swim a little earlier as the sun is starting to make the latter half of our workout quite warm. It is frequently 90+ degrees now in Abu Dhabi. We'll see how the upcoming Andrea Bocelli and Cold Play concerts affect next week's workout as well. We are essentially doing laps around the Emirates Palace's parking lot for concerts.

    Friday, March 20, 2009

    St. George Ironman


    On Wednesday night I got an email announcing the inaugural St. George Ironman.

    I followed the link and signed up right away. Ironman races sell out fast, sometimes in just hours-especially full Ironmans held in the USA and Canada.

    I'm still excited to see a full Ironman back in one of my favorite cities, a city where I used to live. I have a lot of my relatives there too.

    Look for Christopher Roberts to complete 2.4 miles of swimming, 112 miles of biking, and 26.2 miles of running on May 1, 2010.

    Saturday, March 14, 2009

    Bike Training and Yacht Show in Abu Dhabi

    On March 9th I arrived in Dubai after spending 14 hours on a non-stop Emirates flight from LAX. (BTW, If you have to fly halfway around the world non-stop, Emirates is a nice way to do it.) Among my luggage was a box containing my road bike. On Thursday night I ran to Tamreen Sports Abu Dhabi (aka the CANNONDALE shop across from the cannon on Airport Road (2nd) and Khalifa Street (3rd)). They were great. They assembled and tuned the bike for a reasonable price. They had a few accessories that I needed as well: the quick release axles that weren't packed with my bike (EDGE Mechanics- that's where those extra axles came from sitting there in the assembly area ;), an emergency pump, CO2 cartridges, and reflectors.

    The shop's 2 Emirati owners were really nice. They stayed open for almost an extra hour to help me get set up. During our chat, I found out that they had attended school at UCI and UC Riverside so they knew the Orange County rides. It is a small world. It was a nice, albeit scary ride home in the dark. Cars in Abu Dhabi drive fast and aren't used to sharing the road with bicycles.
    On Saturday, I rode the bike to Ladies Beach, did a 4k swim with the Abu Dhabi Tri Club, followed it up with a 6K jog, and then rode back. My first "brick" workout in months. The distances weren't anything to write home about, but it was nice to be doing all 3 again.

    After getting home and doing some chores, I visited the Abu Dhabi Yacht Show. It was fun to see the miniture cruise ships, but purchasing multi-million dollar boats is still a little out of my price range. The Kuwaiti, Qatari and Abu Dhabi Royal families present probably found it more relevant. The Rolls Royce display on the shore was another nice diversion.

    Wednesday, March 4, 2009

    Back in the States

    Got back to Southern California on Saturday afternoon and I was anxious to get the heart pumping on Monday morning. I did the 5:45am workout at Soka with Novaquatics. Coach Kaitlin called the set of descending 200s, 150s and 100s with a double yardage at the end of each set. The workout was under 3,000 yards, but it was faster than I've gone in a while.

    My old poolmates Bill and Emily made me realize that how much a lack of good interval training since July had affected my speed and endurance in the pool. My shoulders are still a little sore 2 days later.

    On Tuesday morning Shane Fishbein and I did a ride to Santiago Canyon and back. My tire felt flat, but I discovered it was my legs, not the tires. Shane graciously slowed his pace to accommodate my out-of-shape bike legs. My bum is still hurting today.

    Bottom line: it doesn't take long for muscles to atrophy and weight to reappear. Though a year ago I did the California Ironman and in September I swam the Catalina channel, the last 5 months of 1 or 2 light workout sessions a week have left me in less than ideal shape. I'm taking my bike back to Abu Dhabi and getting serious again.

    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Saturday Swim and Exercise in Abu Dhabi

    Did a 4km swim at Mangrove Village Beach, which is a nice beach across from the Moussaffah indudustrial area. I was then invited by Jeremy Hughes', a Brit Abu Dhabi Tri Club (ADTC) member who lives in the neighborhood, over for a nice breakfast of sausages and bacon. He had a great place and nice family. The kids with the dogs made me really miss my own kids. The breakfast was especially nice as pork products are a rare treat here in the Middle East, since they are forbidden by the Muslim religion.

    Martin Hodge, a great Scottish swimmer and ADTC member, gave me a lift home to my flat near the Abu Dhabi Corniche. Above is a view of the beach and Corniche from the roof of the building.


    I then checked out the excercise room in my apartment complex. It was the first time I had actually used it. It has a beautiful view of the Abu Dhabi Corniche and skyline. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Building and the Hilton Towers, 2 iconic buildings of the city, can be seen through the window. It was nice to do some treadmill time and weightlifting.

    Saturday, January 31, 2009

    Saturday Constitutional

    On Saturday, most of the Abu Dhabi Tri Club was recovering from Friday's Dubai Half Ironman, so just three of us went out for the swim. We went to the first breakwater and then did a loop around a massive 3 mast sailboat anchored offshore. The Eos had a British crew and undisclosed passengers. A swim mate discovered it was the largest sailboat in the world, owned by Barry Diller. The total swim was a bit less than 2 miles. After we got back, I did a couple of loops around the roads by the beach and Emirates Palace Hotel for about 3 miles. My once a week workouts have caused my fitness levels to really drop in the last 4 months.

    Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    Workouts in the Middle East

    I haven't posted to this blog in months because I figured I need to do my Catalina write up before anything else. Well, I've written it, but it is pages long and needs a rework- so I'll post it when I can. In the meantime I've missed posting about swims in the Persian Gulf, runs along the Corniche, and workouts with people from all over the world as part of the Abu Dhabi Tri Club.

    I'll leave this post with a note that I have been living in Abu Dhabi, UAE since the end of September 2008. My workouts have been once or twice a week and it's amazing how quickly the fitness level goes without more frequent exercise. I do enjoy Saturday morning swims at "Ladies Beach" here. I have been trying to find someone who can help me get permission to swim the Strait of Hormuz. (Anyone out there have some Iranian swimming friends?)