Friday, May 20, 2011

It's that magic time again...FRIDAY!

Well, I have still been hampered by this annoying hip problem for two weeks. It feels like it is getting better, but still not sold that it is. It feels like it needs to crack, like a knuckle, but won't. Of course I have been running thru it (with reduced miles though), but biking isn't affected, so we shall see.

Also, I think I figured out how to run a bit faster, lose some more weight. And no, not my arms, so I am going to concentrate EXTRA hard on getting rid of at least 5 pounds, if not 10-15. I am sure that with the reduced weight, my 21 min 5Ks will be closer to 19:00 or so, so that is a worthwhile goal.

On the swimming front, I am taking this week off, and then starting over (kind of) and using no more "Training aids" to build my endurance back up. The swim is my severely weak point, because over the 750 meter swim two weeks ago, I lost 4 mins on my goal and 7 ish to the leaders, so this is going to be my concentration. Wish me luck. I can't wait for the 50m pool to open here, that will be a good pool to swim.

Well my schedule is looking better (more or less), I have about 30 days til the next race (3 Little Pigs Sprint) then 8 more days to the Kure Beach Double and another week to the Gull Lake, MI Sprint. Yup, I'm doing a triathlon on vacation, and on my wife's birthday to boot! But the back story on this is that the Gull Lake Triathlon was my first ever triathlon (it was an Olympic back then) and that was is 1993! Wow! I guess a year later they stopped holding it, and this is the first year back, so very sentimental for me. Plus it saves me having to go up to Grand Haven to race (even though I would love to!). But my wife is super supportive of my little addiction, so I guess if this is my "mid-life crisis", then it is a good one compared to other folks I know.

But I am going to keep on a steady diet of sprints until White Lake International in Sep (and maybe Pinehurst too) and end the racing year with a bang with the American Triple T at White Lake. 4 races in 3 days; Friday is a Super Sprint, Saturday TWO Olys and on Sunday, a Half Iron to finish you off. I can't wait! I think this will be less of a race than more of a "survival mode" for me.

But guess this is it for this update, more to follow...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

White Lake Sprint I Race Report

Well, I guess you could say that my glass was 2/3 of the way full for this race. The weather forecast was calling for a 40% chance of rain, and I'm glad that didn't come so, I had that going in my favor. And I did complete most of my goals for the race, so overall, it was a good, not a great race, and it left me with a "to do" list of things to work on (which I'll cover towards the end).

Got up early again for the second weekend in a row, not a good habit to get into, but hey, it is good to know what my limits are! But after a quick shower and getting my bag into the car, Jen and I were ready to roll out to White Lake, about 1 hour or so away. I chowed on two bananas while I drove and Jen tried to get back to sleep and sipped my diet rootbeer (getting to be a pre-race ritual) and listened to some tunes on the way there. We arrived a little after 0630, so we drove past the main gate, and turned around and headed back to the roadside parking that was free (and a half mile away), so I got my gear, aired up the tires on Elenor, and we headed down to the race area.

This was the first transition area that was grass this year for me, so I couldn't mark my chalk scribbles, but that was ok, since they were the numbered spots that I really like, so I had my own little area to my self. I set up my transition and headed over to check in, got my numbers (#323) and got my chip, body marked (HUGE numbers this time!) and headed back to transition to finalized my set up and visualize how T1 and T2 were going to happen. After that little mental warm up, I got my wetsuit bottoms on and headed out to the lake to warm up in the "cold" lake. I got the top on at the edge of the lake and walked in, and realized that this was the first time I was in water with my wetsuit, so much for practice! I swam about 200 or so to get use to it and everything seemed good, loved how I floated in the wetsuit, so I came back to shore and ate my GU (more on that later), and headed down to the start line to get ready to swim (I was in the 2nd wave, right after the elites).

Well the count down to start was on and I was getting really amped up, and the horn went off and away we went! I started wide left to avoid the thrashing that I knew would happen, but about 100 meters in, my heart rate went thru the roof and I guzzled lake water, which broke my rhythm and I was in hurt city for the rest of the swim. I knew I had the strength to swim the 750meters, but I couldn't get my breathing and HR back to a manageable level, so face in the water wasn't going to happen, so I kept my head up and swam, which helped my sighting very well. But sighting was the only thing that worked well for the swim. I feel that the GU (with caffeine) had pumped me up too much to relax in the water, and thus I fought the water the entire way, instead of gliding thru it. So my goal time of 15:00 was out the window, and I eventually pulled my butt up the ladder and ran to the mat in 18:49 (YIKES!), which was "good" for 156th "Best" men's time and 23rd of 35 in my AG. Oh boy, guess I'd better make up some time!

And time is what I made up on the bike! Wow, this ride made me completely forget all about the swim, and the "meh" T1, which took me 2:22 to complete, with a stuck wetsuit and all, but at least I didn't stop to have tea or anything! But the bike started out great, a great flying mount and clicked in and rolling like a boss! The course was a nice flat (it had a few "rises") and relativly smooth and a very minor headwind, but nothing to write home to mom about. But I do have a minor gripe (WARNING!!! RANT TO FOLLOW!!! WARNING!!!) and that is about drafting in a USAT race.

How do I put this nicely? Ok, I can't! I passed no less than 7 different pacelines of folks on the two lap, 14.2 mile course. I mean, really? It is only 14 freakin' miles! But there they were, sometimes packs of 2 and even up to 6 folks, and before you say, "well, they were probably rookies to the sport and didn't know any better", I say this, how many rookies have aero helmets, solid rear wheels and TT bikes? Yeah, there were folks gaming the system, but it gave me a big boost to pass them all solo, unaided, NOT CHEATING, and it felt great! Even passed an paceline of 4 and the #2 rider didn't see what the lead man avoided and hit it, flatting his front tire! Man, karma is a biotch! At least they did have moto-officials out there, but with almost half the racers cheating, that was mission impossible. When I was passed (temporarily, of course!), I even came out of aero to drop back out of the draft zone, because I refuse to cheat myself. Ok, I think that is about it on that topic (END OF RANT!).

But the bike was great, I cat and moused with one guy that was about my build, and I would pass him and then he'd pass me back after a mile, I almost lost him when we caught a large group, but I downshifted and put my head down and blasted on by them. Later in the run he high-fived me, telling me he cramped up, I never did get his name, but he seemed like a cool guy! But I came roaring in to T2 with an elapsed time of 37:37, good for a 22.6 MPH average! Nice! Ended the bike with the 35th best bike and 4th in my AG. That's the way to answer back to a poor swim!

After a quick 1:07 in a very large T2 area, I was back on the road again! I really haven't had any stellar runs off the bike, but still my runs are nothing to sneeze at. Right out of the T2 I was passed by a young kid with a "16" on his calf, and I knew the chase was on! So what if I am twice his age, I got the wheels to hunt him down. I just ran my pace for the first half mile, and then started to bear down once we hit the lake side subdivision. Nice roads helped me catch him and another guy, so I rolled with the momentum and took off. I wound my way thru the subdivision and hit the turn around in 11:00, so I knew I need to negative split the 2nd half to hit my goal of sub-21:00. I worked hard those last mile and a half, but got passed for the first time in forever on the run in the last 200-300 meters, luckily he was not in my AG, or I would have lit it up and chased him down, even if I puked at the end. But my mental game was over, and I cruised in for a ok 21:46, good for 48th fast run and 6th best in my AG, so not too shabby, but not where I want to be. The guy that beat me at the line wrote in his race report that he had to pass "a guy with legs like tree trunks." I guess I will take that compliment!

Overall, a good race, beat a bunch of my goals, and learned that my swim still sucks. I think it was a combination of never swimming in a wetsuit (10%), not swimming enough without training aids (40%) and the effects from the caffinated GU (50%). So a lot of lessons learned that I will carry forward to my next race, the Three Little Pigs in Smithfield in about 40 days. That will give me more training time to build on. Let's recap the goals

Sub 1:20 - Failed
Sub 1:25 - Got it!
Around 15:00 Swim - Failed
Sub 40:00 Bike - Oh yeah!
Average over 21mph - Like a boss!
Sub 21:00 run - Almost there
Had fun - Of course!

So, there you have it, now I just have to get my photos posted, for all to see. Take care and remember, the legs feed the wolf!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally Friday!

(Caption: Just remember; T1 is NOT your bedroom, plan to change accordingly)

Well it is finally Friday here, and I have another race this weekend (note to self: no more back-to-back weekend races, I'm tired and old!) so I am just finally feeling good today, must have been the hellatious swim last night (700 yd pull, 1000 kick with fins and 400 pull without paddles). But I feel motivated and ready for this Sunday's White Lake Sprint! Going to be my first wetsuit swim, so that will be a first for me! Just have to remember to not wear a thong under my wetsuit!

Well, yesterday I finished my 20th jump from a plane, with a parachute, and walked away! Not to sure about my mother, who watched her first (and probably last) airborne operations, but to say she was nervious would be an understatement. But another soft landing and another one in the books, now just have to study for Jumpmaster School!

Well I am also over due as to my monthly milage, so I guess I will post it now too:

Swim: 7628 yards - 3h10m
Bike: 279.47 miles - 16h56m
Run: 46.88 miles - 6h10m

Swim: 27128 yards - 12h55m
Bike: 524.83 miles - 30h37m
Run: 272.31 miles - 36h07m

So as you can see, I slacked on the run this month, just concentrated on the bike a bit more, but this month I should be back to balanced a bit more (at least time wise).

Well, I guess I'd better get to work, have a great Friday all!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Riverwood Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Wow, glad to be racing tris again, the road races are fun, but I would love to see some of those burners run that fast off the bike! That might take a little wind from their sails, if they don’t drown during the swim!

Well the wife and I headed about 1 ½ hours north to a little town called Clayton for the Riverwood Golf and Athletic Club Triathalon (or just Riverwood, for short) for a neat little sprint race (300 yard pool, 14 mile bike and 3.1 mile run). Well despite getting up at 0430 (4:30am for the civvies out there!) and the weather being clear and 54, this day had a lot of possibilities.

We pulled into the race site at about 0630, which would have been earlier, but I hydrated so much, my tiny child’s bladder was overflowing, so a few rest stops were in order. But got in to the packet pick up, and grabbed some freebies on the way out, and looked at the transition area, and lo and behold, it was a) empty, b)just opened up and the best part c) no assigned rack area, just “this rack for #55-70”, so I hustled back to the car to get my bike and placed it right at the end, facing the “bike out” gate! EPIC WIN! So after heading to get my chip and body marked, which was too fun. The poor kid who just got there as a volunteer watched a Clydesdale get marked, so he proceeds to mark a big “C” on my calf, which I caught after the fact, so I erased it and asked him to just put my USAT age, 38, and I told him that the “C” was for Clydesdales, folks over 200 pounds, and he apologized up and down and I told him to not worry about it, he was so flustered. But that made me think “hmm, maybe I could lose a few more pounds now!”

I finished setting up my area, I headed to the pool to check it out, and it felt a bit chilly, but hey, it was only 300 yards! Watched a few folks start before me and wow, what carnage, it looked like Tolson Pool with a bunch of SF swim team wannabes thrashing about! Oh well, only saw a few folks get swam over. I talked to the nice females that surrounded my swim start time (I still swim like a brick, but now I am a little better, maybe like a paver stone now), and asked them not to swim over the top of me, but we all agreed to touch the toes and move over, so things went well on that aspect.

As my start time got closer, I was really ready to get the swim over with, and started out flying out of the blocks, perhaps a bit too fast. I passed the nice lady that was in front of me and had a lot of open water ahead, so I just powered on. Somewhere in the 2nd 100 yards, I decided to try a little known technique called “in-pool hydration”. What that entails is mistiming your exhale / inhale, and sucking up about 3 liters of pool water, which, is NOT fun. It took me a stroke to recover, cough the water out (yummy, not chlorinated!) and get back into rhythm, which made for a LONG 2nd half of the swim. But I survived, despite my best attempts to drown myself and took the 75-100 run to the transition area. (Swim time - 5:19, T1 time – 1:30)

I hit my rack area and got my breathing under control, put on my helmet and glasses, shoes, race belt and stood there for a second debating should I take my HR monitor, world peace and a few other things while trying to stick a GU in my tri top (no luck there), threw them both on my bag, grabbed the bike and sprinted out of T1. I got up to speed fairly well, despite the twisting and turning exit to T1, I got up to speed, got aero and started to move out. I yelled at a female with a hat stuck in her quick release, but she wasn’t paying attention, but pointed it out to her buddy right next to her, and I guess they caught it before it was sucked into her real wheel, which would have been a BAD THING. So turned onto the main road and was greeted with a nice light head wind, but did see the first of many folks on the bike, I gave a quick “on your left” and powered on by. To say the least that I was “Stupid fast….MOUNTAINTOP!” (sorry, I love that commercial) would be an understatement as I was looking ahead and picking folks off left and right (no I didn’t pass anyone on the right!) The bike course was as advertised, rolling, and I was constantly shifting gears to keep my cadence high and before the hills on the 2nd half of the course. A few times on the downhills I hit about 33mph and climbed on a few at 18mph, which was a little disappointing considered I wanted to break 40 minutes on the bike and average over 21 mph, which I both missed. But as far as the climbing strong and attacking, I was spot on and kept pace with the leaders I found out later. But there was only one time when I passed someone that I almost had to cross the double yellow, and that was when either a skinny kid or woman was weaving all over the road (drinking and biking?), but had to check up for a second to get by them, but other than that, my closing and passing was great! Loved it. Well before I knew it, the bike was about over, I came roaring in to the transition area, a pulled my classic flying dismount (I tend to hit my front brake after I jump off, making the bike endo a bit), and ran into T2 ready to run! (Bike Time – 41:44 / 20.2 mph, T2 – 1:01)

The T2 was a bit better, I took my helmet off, and my glasses went with them, striped off the shoes, slid into my running shoes grabbed my watchband and 305, and started to run for the “run out” gate. It took me a little bit of time to clear the bike, switch to run and hit start on the watch, all while running. Well saw the wife snap some photos, so I tried to suck it in, but at that point didn’t care, I had people to catch! The first little part of the run was down hill (YEA!) and flattened out a bit as it twisted around a lake and houses. But the good news/bad news (GN/BN) was that what goes down, must come up, and those hills hurt a bit on the way back. Ow! But kept going hard, even with a nasty rubbing on my left Achilles, which I found out was from the chip strap, which rubbed it raw, double ouch! But I got up the last hill and applied enough speed to ensure I wasn’t going to get caught from behind, and crossed the finish and had to take a few deep breaths to keep me from puking. I didn’t yak, because that would have been…awkward! But finished up the run in 21:11, not too shabby for as hilly as the course was. My wife and I headed over and got some refreshments and checked the prelims, and could find my name for the longest, until I saw it on the first page, 12th overall and 2nd of 7 in my age group! I knew that it might not hold up, since I had at least 25 in my age group, so many more folks to come. So I had to wait and sweat the results, so I headed over and got some pizza that I had heard a bunch about, and it was as advertised, yummy. Good stuff! In the end, I ended up with my first podium finish in a tri, 2nd out of 25 in my age group, and held on to 14th overall, with a finishing time of 1:10:26, about 5 minutes below my goal time!

Good times at the race, even if we had to wait around for the awards (took 2nd in AG), but I’ll take it! The best part was going up to get my award, and seeing the look of surprise on a bunch of folks faces since I am not the typical triathlete size of 6’2”, 150 pounds, so that was fun in itself. The other cool part was meeting up with Ken Matthews, a “” buddy, and got him a few pictures of him finishing and got to cheer him on during the run (which he beat me in!), but again, great job Ken, now we have to get your swimming working and then you’ll be flying! Great job.

Well no rest for the wary, since I have the White Lake Sprint I this weekend, so gotta keep the train rolling! I’ll post some photos when I get them re-uploaded, had sending errors this morning, but they will get posted