Hey everyone, welcome to my blog. Here I will give race reports and updates on training. I will try to keep it as up to date as possible. You can also follow me on twitter @bauer_andrew for more frequent updates. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bay Area Track Club XC Challenge

Last Sunday I made the quick trip over the Bay Bridge into Golden Gate Park for the first annual Bay Area XC Challenge.  The Bay Area Track Club, founded by Olympic marathoner Magdalena Lewy-Boulet and my boss and Bay Area track coach Tony Kauke, is group of professional athletes who promote healthy living and strive towards their dreams of running in the Olympics.  This cross country race on Sunday was a chance for runners of all abilities to toe the line with these professional runners, including 3 Olympians.  I haven't run a cross country race since my senior year at Michigan, so I decided to give it a shot.

The field was a whose who in the running world.  I had a good time warming up and catching up with some former runner friends from college like Eastern Michigan National Champion Boaz Cheboiywo and Stanford standout Jon Pierce.  I didn't really have a goal for the race.  I wanted to get in a good workout and have fun.  It went out hot, which was to be expected with a bunch of professionals going for prize money.  I saw 3:05 for the first 1000 and was about 4:55 at the mile mark.  Then.....I died.

I remember when 4:55s used to feel easy in the beginning of a cross country race.  Those days were a long time ago.  The front pack stayed at 4:55s and even sped up throughout the race.  I, on the other hand, faded.  I was stuck in no mans land for most of the race after the first mile with no one around me.  I tried to keep it a consistent tempo of about 5:30s for the rest of the 8k.

Overall, the race hurt pretty bad, but it was fun.  I did just about as well as I thought.  It was cool going out in 4:55 just to see what it felt like at my current fitness.  Running 5:30s the rest of the way gave me a great workout for the day.  I ended up 21st out of about 55 people and ran 27:00 (5:24s).

I ran a little cool down, jumped in the car and headed home to watch football.  It was a good Sunday!

Thanks to the Bay Area Track Club (BATC) for putting on a great race.  Maybe I'll try again next year and run the first 2 miles in 4:55 before completely dying.  It's all about improvements!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I'm back: Ready for 2011

Holy Cow it was a long December.  Sports Basement had it's best month in its existence leading up to the New Year.  That meant my presence was needed on the sales floor and in the receiving department making sure all the stuff I ordered was tagged and put out on the floor.  Sometimes, when I was working on the sales floor I took a minute to step back to actually witness what was happening.  It looked like organized chaos.  Well, I use organized loosely.  It reminded me of little ants scurrying around on the sidewalk....craziness.  It was good craziness  Unfortunately this craziness at work took away from my training.

For the most part, it was all about fitting in an hour here and there whenever I found some time.  I did, however, start swimming under the direction of training partner and swim expert Kyle Leto and his roommate and former Davis teammate Trent Richardson.  Their task....and mine, is to completely revamp my stroke in order to break my bad habits from 2+ years of swimming the wrong way and slowly but surely turn me into a strong, efficient swimmer.  They've been a huge help and once I get this whole form thing down, I can start adding some speed.  Being able to see and feel improvement is great.  It motivates me to keep working on it, because all I can think about in the water besides high elbow, finger tips down, rotate the hips, don't kick so big and pull straight through....is how much more I'll have left in the tank after the swim in a race versus being totally burnt out and exhausted when I hop on the bike.

So with the busy busy December at work, I officially started my season on January 1st, 2011.  I've already had some epic runs and freezing cold bike rides.  My old Michigan teammate Tommy Greenless is starting up his training again in hopes of qualifying for his second Olympic Marathon Trials next year.  When it comes to running, I turn to him to help me out.  One day in Walnut Creek, we ventured out into the open space after a rain.  It was nasty, but it was a blast.  This is what 13 miles in the mud in Walnut Creek looks like.  Note to self: buy a pair of trail running shoes for the mud.  Road runners just don't cut it.

Like I've said in previous blog posts, Mt. Diablo and I have been hanging out a lot.  For those of you who think California is all sunny and 70s, you're dead wrong.  January around here is NOT warm.  Going up Diablo is OK when its 45 degrees outside because you're working hard.  When it's time to come back down...not as OK.  Imagine driving in a car at 30 mph in 45-degree weather without a windshield.  That's what it's like coming down Diablo on a bicycle.  In each of my Diablo descents, I've had to stop halfway down to get feeling back in my fingers in order to effectively use the brakes.  Oh the things I do for this sport.  It's a lot of fun, I swear.

Overall, it just feels great to be training again.  Work is still busy, but a different kind of busy.  It feels great to be back outside, although a bit chilly sometimes, riding the roads with Kyle and Kenny, and running the trails with Tommy.