The New Year Brings New Goals!


Resolutions 5k Run kicks off 2012

As we begin flying through the new 2012 calendar and say “whew” after running my first event of the new year, it is time to outline my goals for the year.  Instead of doing a half dozen events, I feel like 2012 should be the year of simple and calculated performance.  Let’s focus on one or two larger goals and let the rest fall in as they come.

Choose Your Distance!

Recognizing the diversity of the triathlon sport, 2012 will be the year to step up.  First, I will complete my first “long” course triathlon.  This means swimming a mile in the ocean (really?), biking fives time longer than a sprint, and running more than 3x’s the distance.  But, that’s how we roll and continually improve our performance.

The event of choice for my first long course triathlon is none other than my home town event, the Santa Barbara Triathlon on August 25th.  Why travel when you can roll out of bed 45 minutes before start and still wait for horn?    To read more about the daunting 1-mile swim, 34-mile bike, and 10-mile run ahead, check out the course description.

After surviving my first long course, I thought it would be an excellent recovery opportunity to finish the Carpinteria Triathlon Sprint in the fastest time possible on September 30th.  After going long, the shorter distances are going to be a breeze (I say that now!).   The Carp Tri is my favorite and I can’t think of any better way to end the season with a solid showing on a course that I love so much.

Host Your Own Event When You Can’t Find It

But, my biggest goal yet, which is not necessarily directly related to training, but is fitness oriented, is going to be awesomer.  I am directing the Goleta Duathlon, held on May 20, 2012 in the “Good Land” of Goleta, California. The best part about a duathlon (run-bike-run) is the lack of swimming with the sharks! I am still in the process of obtaining permits, I can’t wait to share a bit of California’s Central Coast with other athletes and allow them to share in this memorable event.  From now to May 21st, life is going to be interesting.

Cooking Paleo, Cover to Cover

Of course, an individual needs their “fun” goals as well.  Life can’t be all training and race directing.  This year I decided to get back in the kitchen and cook!  The goal is to make every recipe (minus recipes with allergies) in a paleo cookbook from cover to cover.

The book for 2012 is Paleo Comfort Food by the Mayfields. I’ve owned this book for a while, but haven’t had a chance to really dive into the scrumptious recipes inside.  By the end of this year, though, I will be a paleo comfort food master!

Wish me luck!  I set the bar extremely high, but I know I can achieve!

What are your goals for 2012?

2011 Santa Barbara Triathlon: Awesomely Done!


2011 Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint Finished!

1:07:29 –  22 of 24 <results available here>

Given my crazy training year and the lack of ocean swimming practice I’ll take it! It was just fun to get out there on a beautiful Santa Barbara morning and race, support friends, and enjoy the wonderful sport of triathlon.

I wasn't last. Thank goodness! (unofficial results)

The swim was longer than last year (again!), the bike was more competitive, but the run felt consistently slow.  I feel like I am progressing, but at a slow rate.  Can’t wait to see what happens when I can put in a full 6 to 8 weeks of training before.

Line represents my split times

More coming later and a full race report!

Please Support My Race!


Every year, competitors of the Santa Barbara Triathlon are asked to collect donations for the designated event charity.  This year’s charity is Partners in Education, an awesome charity that bridges the gap between education and the business world, an issue that is close to my heart.

So, please use the link below and donate any amount that you can.  I’d like to show how awesome the community can be with a strong number of donations.   If I win a prize, I will not keep it for myself, rather raffle it off to anyone who donates to the charity in my name (assuming it is a prize that is transferable).

<Click here to donate at ActiveGiving.com in the Aric Monts-Homkey>

Thank you in advance for your support!

-Aric

A Brilliant August It Will Be


Goleta Beach Triathlon2011 is sprinting by faster than any other year of my life.  Perhaps I am having way too much fun, or my life is full of activities, hobbies, and other responsibilities.  Regardless, when I look at the calendar and realize that 2011 is far more than half way through, I have to look back and realize that I have not competed once so far this year.

Since I am now feeling the benefit of focusing on stress relief in my life, I am now able to look competition as say, “bring it on!”  It just so happens that August has some awesome events for me to compete in!  (It is amazing how these things happen!)

Camarillo Duathlon – August 14

First up, the Camarillo Duathlon on August 14th.  The Camarillo Duathlon and I go way back to the beginning of my journey for the CamDua as I call it because it was going to be one of my first events. Unfortunately, the event kept getting rescheduled to dates that conflicted with other events and I never got to do it.  Well, on August 14th, rain or shine, nothing will stop me from completing the sprint.

McConnell’s 5k/10k – August 21

Second, a good old fashion 5k.  And a local favorite event at that, the McConnell’s 5k on August 21st.  With a simple out and back sprint along the bike path between Goleta Beach Park and Patterson Avenue, this is going to be a fast, but fun event that will test my ability to control pace.

Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint – August 28

Third, ending August with an event close to home, the Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint on August 28th.  The year was 2008 and this was going to be my first triathlon sprint ever, but I never made it that morning.  It wasn’t until a full year later that I kicked my trainer’s butt on the sprint (he had some issues with the swim) and finished this course.  With 2011 being my third year for this event, I am looking to just have fun and maybe better my time from last year.

If you are in Camarillo or Santa Barbara on the respective dates, please come on out and cheer me and the other athletes on.  While athletes are great to compete against, it is the cheering spectators that take the event to a new level.

I am seriously looking forward to these events and can’t wait to redeem myself and have one brilliant August.  Sadly, it will likely go by fast, but I know I will enjoy every minute of it!

2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon Results Plotted!


As an Analyst, I love data and I love understanding patterns.  So, after finishing my 7th triathlon, the Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint, recently, I decided to do some analysis.  Check out the scatter plot below: (results here)

If you participated in this event, can you find yourself in the chart?

Seems like that group placing at the end really set themselves apart from the rest of the finishers.  Regardless of their finishing place, I am sure they had fun and I congratulate them on finishing the triathlon.

Another interesting thing is how tight the top 50 finishers are. From swim to T1, through Bike, T2 and run, the difference between places is just a matter of seconds.

Also, look at the distribution of T1 vs T2 times.  T2 seems much more consistent across the participants than T1.  Perhaps changing shoes is a much more consistent event than, say, removing a wetsuit and getting dressed.   Fascinating…

One of things that I keep hearing about this year’s event was that it was slower.  I personally took four minutes longer to finish the “same” course as last year (however, I had the flu).  So, the Analyst in me wants to prove or disprove this feeling.  Was the 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint slower than 2009?  You’ll just have to check back and see.

Expect the Unexpected: 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint


Let me start this post by saying that I awoke in the wee hours of Saturday, August 28th with a severe case of food poisoning.  I was so sick, I wasn’t able to join friends at East Beach for the Santa Barbara Triathlon Long Course that day.  In fact, I didn’t even think I would compete in Sunday’s Sprint.

Luckily, I recovered enough that I felt comfortable competing.   Late Saturday night, I put the final checklist and plans into place and set my alarm clock for 4:30am the next morning.

Waking suddenly to the bitter sound of “beep, beep, beep,” I immediately hit the snooze.  “OMG! It’s already time to get up…  I need at least another hour,” I said to myself.   But, triathletes don’t need another hour, so I got up, got dressed, packed the rest of my stuff into my GYST transition bag, loaded the car and headed toward East Beach.

Parking was easy and I met some other triathletes, which helped brighten my mood. As we walked along the waterfront above the transition area, I can hear the waves off in distance. We talked about how cold the ocean water was projected to be and agreed that today’s swim was not going to be a walk in the park despite the calm conditions.  This was real!

Being at the transition area so early, I was able to choose the best transition spot, the outside end of the 1140-1180 bib range.  Five rows down from swim in and very convenient.

Of course, setting up transition was super simple with my GYST transition bag. Set it down, unfold it, and you are set to go!  The wetsuit is ready, the change of clothes, the shoes, snacks and water bottles are there and ready to go.

For some reason time really seemed to fly.  I had plenty of time to stretch, make multiple trips to the bathroom, chat with other triathletes, and focus on the task ahead.

But then I found myself in the porta-potty when they announced the first wave was leaving in fifteen minutes!  OMG! I still had to put on my wetsuit and do a practice swim.  However, fifteen minutes is plenty of time to wipe your butt, put on an over-sized wetsuit, and walk down to the beach.

The practice swim confirmed what we all have been hearing for the past few days, the water was really, really cold!  I also realized that entry into the water might be an issue as I watched a group of swimmer get taken out by a wave.  Once past the breaking waves, the feet didn’t seem to mind the cold much, but the hands and face protested.  I started out with side stroke and got into a rhythm and then transitioned to crawl. But the ice cream headache during crawl was a bit much for my food poisoned, recovering body so I stopped to tread water for a bit before heading back to shore.

Uh-Oh, WAVE!

Lining up at the start was a little scary.  It was the first time that I realized just how far apart each of the buoys were.  Was this really a 500m swim?  Looks to be a lot longer! Time to concentrate.

The first wave left and the 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon sprint had begun! I could see that very few people were swimming with their heads in the water.  They also seemed to take a while to get around the first buoy and make progress toward the second. Not very reassuring as the second wave, my wave, lined up at the start.

Then they announced 30 seconds, time to focus.  I pulled my goggles down, checked my swim cap and took a deep breathe.  Then the countdown began.

The horn blew and the wall of men in front of me disappeared.  I remember seeing feet, splashing, and then looking up and seeing a wave. A giant and thinking to myself that this was going to suck.  Why didn’t I look up before I entered the water and waited two seconds?  The wave hit me and a few others, flooding my face with salt water and knocking the wind out of me.  Time stood still.

Unlike the others, I was still standing where I was hit.  I immediately dove into a side stroke, but quickly noticed that something was wrong.  I was out of breathe and every movement of the arms and legs felt like I lacked power.  Was it the cold.

While getting to the first buoy and turning to parallel shore didn’t take long, looking the length of the buoys and barely being able to see the far buoy was psychologically distressing.   This was going to be a long, painful swim.

Despite my body trying to tell me to stop, I pushed on, doing any stroke I could muster that would keep me moving toward the end.  From side stroke, back stroke, dogie paddle, to crawl, I kept myself going, absolutely determined to see this through to the end.  While I realized that my goal of 55min was probably not going to happen at this point, I knew that I still had to give this event my all.

Rounding the last buoy, I realized how wide I went.  I went so wide that I was in a world of my own, seeing blue and white caps splashing about 20 meters to my right.  I must have swam crooked for a little too long… oops.   I swam straight toward the chute on the beach.  While others were starting to stand up, I gave myself a few extra strokes and then exited the water.

My heart was racing, I was out of breathe, cold, and wondered if doing this was really such a great idea.  Of course it was, the hard part was now over and the fun was just about to begin!

The Little Piggy Goes “Wwweeeeee”

T1 was pretty fast. All I had to do was strip off the wetsuit, toss on the shorts, GPS, helmet and shoes and go.  While I had some issues getting my Polar watch off and replacing it with the Garmin GPS, not putting on the gloves, socks and switching shirts like I did last year really saved some time.  I grabbed the bike and mounted.

Those first few pedal strokes after the swim are some of the most amazing to me.  You are covered in salt water, the wind is drying you off and your legs are still a little confused about what you want them to do.  Yet, you can feel the power being transferred to the road and it is exhilarating.

It wasn’t long before I caught up to a few cyclists and went whizzing by them.   I was moving at a speed just under 20mph and it felt great to pass someone else for a change.  I had ridden this course almost a hundred times over the past few years, so this really was like a Sunday ride to me.

Going up the first hill, I came upon two young-ins making their way up the hill on mountain bikes.  As I approached them at high speed, I yelled some words of encouragement.  As I passed them, I could hear the frustration of my passing them in their heavy breathing.   One remarked to the other to get moving, to which he replied with a gasp.

Going down the hill toward the Biltmore, I was reminded of the Geico commercial where the little piggy goes “weee” all the way home.  This was fun, I was hauling ass, so what the heck.  At 33mph down the hill, I let out a big loud “wwwweeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”  I don’t think the volunteers were amused.

The turn around came quickly and I thought I was slightly ahead of last year’s pace. Knowing that a run was about 12 minutes away, I backed off on my return ride to East Beach.  Even still, I kept passing people.

I even passed people climbing up “hell hill,” the hill that I came screaming down just a few minutes before.   There were three cyclists making their way up the hill and that was the motivation I needed to get to the top.  “I’ll pass you and you and you, and you,” as I started my climb.  Before I knew it, I got to the top and looked back just before the turn…  to my astonishment, it looked like the other rides were just starting their climb.

Settling in and cruising back to East Beach was fun. I knew the bike was coming to and end rather quickly and I wanted to enjoy it.  Turning on to Cabrillo Blvd, leaving the volunteers and officer in my dust, I turned my attention toward T2 and the run.

Dismounting and running back to my transition was a blur.  I didn’t notice the crowd or much else.  I was in my zone, mentally ready to finish this event.

Body Says Stop

T2 was quite fast.  Rack the bike, slip off the helmet, change shoes, grab the waist pack and go.   It went as easily as it sounds.

Unfortunately, about a quarter mile into the run, my entire right leg from hip to heel decided it had had enough and started cramping up.  I pushed on, focusing on my form, lift the heals, push forward from the hip and stare at the horizon.

I then noticed my GPS was showing some odd readings.  For instance it said I had covered 2,600 miles and was going 86mph! If only!  Without the GPS, I had no idea what my pace was and my strategy relied upon knowing the pace and keeping my run consistent. But that was before my right side decided it had had enough.

The run was one of the most painful of all, and I found myself limping along.  I was crushed, this wasn’t how I expected to end this event.  Still, I pushed on, and brought the event home, crossing the finish line in 1:08:44, a full four minutes longer than last year. <results posted here>

Crushed, but Motivated & Content

Yes, my time was worst than last year.  I suffered through a freezing cold swim, had the time of my life on the bike, and pushed through one of the worst cramps I have ever had on a run.  I even did it while still recovering from food poisoning the day before.

Even factoring in all of the above points, comparing times to last year leaves me crushed.  The Santa Barbara Triathlon was an event that I was sure I could pull off a decent personal record in.  Unfortunately, things happened that prevented this from happening.

Did I give this event 150% effort? Yes.  Could it have gone a lot worse? Yes.  Am I so crushed that I’ve lost motivation to go on?  No.

Triathletes have good and bad events.  The 2010 Santa Barbara Triathlon is perhaps one of my bad events.  There will be others in the future too, but I must learn from this and move on.

With that said, I have three weeks to get ready for the 2010 Carpinteria Triathlon.  See you there.

Triathlon #7: Santa Barbara Triathlon


Just under one week away on August 29th, I will embark on my seventh triathlon journey.  This journey is going to be short, fast, and sweet.

I completed the 2009 Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint in just over an hour and four minutes.  With a full year of training, three additional triathlons and a lot more experience and new gear, I expect to better that time.  In fact, I am aiming for a sub 50 minute result.  Yep, I want to shave fourteen minutes off my time from last year.

With a team reorganization this year, a new triathlon coach, and the realization that my life obligations can and did make training difficult, completing in the Santa Barbara Triathlon is going to be pretty sweet.

The Santa Barbara Triathlon Sprint presents many unique challenges that will separate the men from the boys (or women from the girls):

  1. The distances are short. This eliminates the middle guy. Unless you are a beginner triathlete looking to get your feet wet with something simple or a die hard sprint triathlete, you probably won’t find the extremely short distances appealing for the money.
  2. Every second in transition counts! Being such a short event, an extra few seconds in transition could actually cost you a few places in the rankings.
  3. The run is flat. The two mile run is along the bike path.  While flat is usually great, it means that it is going to be fast compared to a more hilly route like the UCSB Triathlon.
  4. The bike is only 5.62 miles. Being just shy of six miles, the bike is truly a sprint.  Out and back on the same route, there are hills, inclines, sharp turns, and scenic views to keep the rider on his/her toes.

The race is compelling. The journey will be even more compelling. Crossing that finish line is going to be so sweet.

Hope to see you all there.