Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pre-Race Goals

Bad Squirrel!

Well I often neglect writing my goals down prior to a race, so since I have a free second or two, I will put them on paper (...err, internet) so I can look back and see if I was close or not. Let's start with the swim, and no, that isn't my squirrel or bike.

Swim: The swim leg will be a 500 meter OWS in Gull Lake with a temp of 73*F (per the RD and as of last week), so my plan is to have the wetsuit handy, but more than likely going to go without it, given my prior wetsuit swim fail at White Lake. I am going to set my goal at 12:30, mainly since I haven't swam since my last tri (see previous posts) and I dread OWS (but I'm willing to work on them!) So anything less will be a victory, anything over will mean more work in the pool / lakes.

T1: My T1s have been a mess, so I am going to tweak the freak out of my system, and try the flying mount with the shoes rubber-banded to the bike, and no socks. This should cut my time by about 33% to around 1:00, since I am giving too much time away in T1. But this is all dependant on how big the transition is, and if there is rough ground between me and the mount line, so we shall see.

Bike: I am going to hammer the hell out of the bike this time, since it is only 10 miles and slightly rolling. I am looking for a sub 30:00 on this and a top 20 bike split, especially if I am riding the QR. I still haven't talked to the wife about taking both bikes home, but we shall see. I know I am capable of pulling a 23 mph average, but will be happy anywhere above 22 mph.

T2: Again, I am going to cut this down some, going with no socks (hope this works!) and get in and get out in less than 1:00 (again size dependant).

Run: I know I am not going to set the world on fire, so I am gunning for a sub 23:00, and really hoping for a 21, but beggars can't be choosers on the run. But I really want a good showing back at Gull Lake, where it all started for me.

Overall: I'd like to podium, but I know that might be out of reach with all my issues, so a top 10 in my AG will be awesome and top 40 overall. It is just a bummer, but the 6 months of hard work came undone by injury, it just hurts (no pun intended) to not be on my A game each race. But I am old, and I recognize that.

Well, I guess only time will tell if I reach my goals this weekend, but I have a funny feeling that I might just do pretty well, since I am home and there are things to say about that. So we shall see! Wish me luck folks!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Well there's good news and there's bad news...

Well I FINALLY went to the doctor's to get my hip (and stiff neck) checked out after, oh say, a month and a half (I know, I know, older I get the slower I heal, I'm not Wolverine afterall!) and after a bunch of poking and prodding, and 10 or so X Rays (I guess I got the bulk discount), I am on a running profile until this Thursday when I get a reevaluation. Awesome (note the sarcasim). Well at least I talked her into letting me ride and swim (with pull buoy) and I got a nice scrip for Naproxen (love it!)

I never missed not running until I was told I CAN'T run, now I am stir-crazy to go running. Case in point: this weekend was the monthly Ft Bragg Family 5k run/walk and I HAD to walk it. It was a fun walk, but I would much rather ran it, but I was a good patient and followed doctor's orders. So relaxed a bit on Saturday, and planned an epic bike ride for when I get back from vacation around the ranges and drop zones of Bragg (60 miles of open roads!). I capped it with a nice 13 mile ride on Sunday morning, and now just getting ready for the work week.

Oh almost forgot, got to do a water jump (for the non-airborne speakers among us, I purposely jumped from an aircraft while in flight with a parachute into a lake) on Thursday. I'll get a few pictures posted, since it was a fun time, and also zero impact on the joints, so all in all, a perfect jump!

But next week is going to be busy with packing, getting new tires for the wife's truck, anniversary (!!), wife's birthday and race on Saturday, not to mention a long drive back to Michigan! And that is just one week! But I am stoked about racing at Gull Lake on Saturday, and I hope the lack of run / swim won't kill my buzz for this (and might have to adjust my goals for this race too!) so, just got a lot on my plate.

I promise some more pictures of the jump, so stand by!

Monday, June 20, 2011

3 Little Pigs Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Well from everything that I heard, this was a race not to miss, I mean, c'mon the name SCREAMS cool! So a few months ago, I signed up for it and boy I am glad that I did.

I was not sure what to expect of this race, given my hip / groin area has made running a real test of will and my swimming workouts laughable (I have spent more time in the bathtub soaking than in a pool this month) so I expected it to be a "well it was fun" kind of day, but it turned out much better than expected.

The wife and I got out the door at 0530 to get to the Smithfield area in about an hour, so we rolled in at 0630 and got a good parking spot, unloaded the bike and gear and headed to packet pick up, which was long, but manageable, and ran in to a guy who was with the 75th Rangers a while ago and chatted with him as we waited. I got all my stuff, tshirt, numbers and chip and got body marked, I was #82 this week (I really am superstitious about double numbers, which means I like 55, 99, 202, etc), but 82 was just fine, it was my roster number at Air Assault School many years ago, so I was happy with it. Funny thing about superstitious and lucky numbers, I know they don't matter, but sometimes puts you "in the perfect" frame of mind. I don't know, I digress...

I set up my transition area, which I am glad I am small and don't need that much room, because my rack mates seemed to have a TON of room, just spreading out and making the late comers suffer with 2 feet of space while they put in the post race jacuzzi in their area. Just a minor pet peeve of mine. But got the numbers on the bike, helmet and race belt, got everything laid out just right, and rehearsed in my mind how the T1 / T2 should go down (more on that later), and headed out to say howdy to folks I know. Ran into my buddy Ken, a fellow blogger, and the LIGHTEST Master Clydesdale you will ever see (the body marker marked him as over 200lbs, when he probably weighs closer to 150 than anything). Chatted him up for a bit, met with the bored wife (yeah, she thinks this is getting old quick) and stretched out, hit the port-o-let and headed in for the swim portion of the fun!

I listened to the briefing as we all gathered around the pool and translated to the ladies in front of me who couldn't hear the guy on the bullhorn clearly (and I'm surprised I did) and started to head to the swim start, as I was the 82nd person to go off. Ran into Sam, a guy from Bragg also, and chatted with him and a few guys from the Fayetteville Area Tri-Warriors and I think I am going to become a member, so that I can have some training partners to work with. I got in the pool, which was chilly to me, got in line and talked to the folks around me and got ready for my "favorite" event.

I purposely went out slower than normal to ensure I didn't burnout too early, and my pacing turned out to be spot on. I loved the fact that the pool was new and the lanes were wide, AND we were only going up one lane and down a different one, so no worries about "head-to-head" encounters. I felt relatively strong and passed three people and didn't get passed myself. Swim Time - 4:07 for 250 meters, good for 50th overall and 7th (!) in my AG.

Out the door to T1, which was very close to the pool, and my rack which was only 5 in to the transition, meant that I should have a quick T1 time; WRONG! Oh dear lord where to begin. I got in and tossed my goggles down, and started on my socks and that was a little hard given my wet feet, then the race number spin-around I did to put it on ate up some more time, then the shoes, helmet and glasses. Yikes! Lucky when I grab my bike, I can haul ass running with bike shoes on, because the transition area is VERY long. SO after a 1/4 mile it seemed, I hit the mountline with my usual flying mount, stuck the landing and off I went! One day I am going to land wrong and DNF (if you get my drift), but not today! But still, T1 took me 1:17, which is well behind the leaders, so bottom line is, going to try running without the socks (which are a soggy mess anyways) and practice my transitions alot more. That 77 seconds in transition had me at 74th fastest overall and 8th in my AG, but in NASCAR terms, I would have been lapped twice in the pits!

The bike is about my favorite event because I pass the most people on the bike and to quote Ricky Bobby, "I like to go fast!" Well my buddy Ken told me the route was a flat one, which I guess means rolling to me! Just kidding Ken! But the course was a rolling one that was an out and back lollipop with one wicked sharp left turn (which I almost blew thru in aero!) But I changed a few things, mainly taking a GU early in the ride and just taking on water instead of the gatorade / water mix. Seemed to be just fine that way. Only thing I regret is that I soft pedaled for a mile at around mile 8, so could have hammered it in, but I was using the Garmin's "multisport" method and didn't have my usual display with MPH, so it kind of messed with me a bit. Maybe next time. But I just kept my head down and legs moving hard and blew by about 15-20 folks on the bike. I ended up with a 37:55 split, which translates to 22.1 mph over the course, good enough for 34th fastest, 5th in my AG (man my AG was stacked!)

Back into the transition area, I had the long run to the rack, which was very foreboding. I hit my area and promptly racked my bike on to my hand, OUCH! Got my hand between the saddle front and the bar, not a good move at all. Just enough to draw a little blood (which ended up on my running shoes) as I tossed my helmet and glasses to the ground in disgust (and pain) and slid into my shoes grabbed my Garmin from the mount and chased two folks out of T2, who they promptly took a wrong turn as I kept going the right way and the volunteers yelled at them. I would have said something, but I was huffing and puffing to bad to make a sound. I need to wear my HRM for a race just to see where my heart rate spikes, I am betting right around entering and exiting the transition area! Well my less than stellar T2 had me giving away 1:20 to the tri gods, which was 141st overall and 19th in my AG. EGADS!

At least I could run away from T2, and I seemed to keep it at a nice even pace the entire run. The run course was an out and back affair on a linear trail, which was luckily shaded, because the sun was now out in full force. The trail seemed pretty flat, but it ended up hillier than the bike, according to Garmin. But the run I kept picking off people while repeating my mantra, "the legs feed the wolf", and I had to make sure I was still hungry. As I passed folks I gave them encouragement, telling them this is the cool down from the bike, and other funny things like that to keep them motivated and smiling. I passed Sam and he gave me a thumbs up and to keep going hard, and after the turn around, I gave him a high five and told him it was time for him to get the lead out! I guess he did pick it up the 2nd half, so good on him! But by about the time we entered the park area, I wasn't sure how much longer it was (the bike mile marks were a bit off from mile to mile), so didn't get to try the final .5 burst that I had been planning on, and by the time I rounded the corner of the woods, the finish line was only 75 yards ahead, so I just eased it on in, and crossed with a run split of 22:11, not too bad given the lack of miles the last month or so. That gave me the 26th fastest run overall and 5th again in my AG.

My overall time was 1:06:49, good for 28th overall and 6th in my AG, so my feelings were mixed. I accomplished my goal of faster than 1:10:00, but the places were a little off for me. Maybe I expected too much, but overall I am happy with the results. That aside, I absolutely love racing, not just for the competition, but for the atmosphere, running into guys like Ken and Sam, and meeting others, that is what it's all about. Sure the racing feeds that little bit of ego I have left, but I LOVE making new friends who are like minded. It is guys like Ken and Sam who make the early morning trips all over North Carolina that much more fun!

Well, I am going to have to get my wife's camera and get the photos on here (because everything is better with pictures), so if you read this and I haven't gotten the pictures up yet, stop back later, you'll love at least one that I'll post!

I race again in two weeks up in Michigan at the Gull Lake Triathlon on 2 July. Should be a fun one, hope I get the transitions worked out by then! Take care everyone!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


Well it has been a while since I hit the pool, and no, not because of the picture above. It has been a combination of pool schedules changed this month (and not open until 10pm, boo!) and I have been lazy. Yeah I know, not me! But I have been battling this hip thing for a while, and it is on again / off again, so I hope the pool helps, AND I have a race this weekend, the 3 Little Pigs Sprint in Smithfield, NC. So, I need to get my booty motivated and in the pool, since biking the entire time ain't gonna cut it!

So after looking at my workout log, I am almost ahead of May, and it's the middle of June! I guess I made up some training this month so far, but mainly that is from my long bike rides that I have been doing and the lack of running (hip) and swimming (lazy), so I guess it is time to HTFU and get in the pool and get ready for the middle of this tri season.

But what I am really looking forward to is my vacation! I am making my every-other year trip back to Michigan, and am going to race up there too! Plus going to run my nephews around the block a couple times and ride the Kal-Haven trail and just enjoy someplace without 1000% humidity. So that is about it for this update, I know I gotta get some new material! Maybe I'll get funny later, I haven't decided yet!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Ride like the wind!

Well this past weekend I really rode the bike alot, so I got in my saddle time, big time! I rode 20 on Friday afternoon, 42 on Saturday, 18 on Sunday, and another 20 on Monday, and out of this I learned a few things:

1) Too many fast days on the bike hurt. A lot.
2) Start your long 42 mile rides well before 6pm or you get to race the sun!
3) Always take two bottles of water / gatorade in the summer
and 4) Make sure your spokes are tightened!

Just prior to my Monday ride I noticed that three spokes on my rear tire were loose so I snugged them down and rode it. I ended up getting a spoke wrench, but I noticed that my rear wheel is out of true, so tonight I get to try truing a wheel! Fun! How did I know my wheel was out of true, you ask? Spin your tire and see it wobble (with regards to the brakes). Well mine went around and stopped on the brake. Yikes, that sucks. So I guess it is time to learn about my bike maintenance, which is a good thing.

I have always wanted to learn how to maintain my bike instead of taking it into a bike shop for every little thing, so this will be my second step in that goal. So that will be a good time tonight, and hopefully will be easy.

But on other fronts, my hip is still a bit sore, but I gotta run on it and get ready for a couple of races, 3 Little Pigs and the Gull Lake Triathlon (up in my native Michigan!). I think I am going to skip the Kure Beach Double Sprint, mainly because of the distance to get there, but also, just I want to stay healthy enough to kick butt back home!

Other good news, they finally have a Master's Swim program here at Bragg, so when I get back from vaca I am joining up and getting it on! Awesome! Where else can you get a swim coach for 20 bucks a month to help my weakest part of triathalon.

So lots of good things to look forward to, oh I almost forgot, now I am using a nutrition tracker to help me drops some pounds (mainly after the "epic weekend" from last week), so hope that it works for me, so far I have lost 6 pounds from the beginning of the month, so not too bad!

Talk at you later all!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Epic Weekend (A Non-Tri Post)

Wow, what a weekend! I decided to rest my hip for the weekend and the wife and I headed to Charlotte for the races this weekend and it was a blast! My wife and I took about 500 pictures or so over the weekend, but I'll post a few of the good ones in a bit on here.

Well Friday we took our time and headed the 2 1/2 hours west to the Queen City, and we stopped by the track to get our tickets and buy our Pit Passes (so worth it) and headed to the hotel to check in. After we got the dog settled, we headed downtown to Speed Street, a NASCAR themed carnival and went to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Once inside, we looked at the various exhibits, drove in the simulator (very cool), tried out the Pit Stop Challenge, where you have to jack up the car, change a tire and fuel it, and do it fast. I wasn't fast. It took me 30.3 seconds, or about the time enough to lose a lap waiting for my slow-butt to get the car off the jack, so yeah, didn't get any calls to work in a pit crew for either races! The simulator was cool, you sit in a mock-up of a race car and drive around the track to qualify. Out of all visitors that day, I was 16th, so not bad (in comparison, I would not have qualified for the Sprint Cup race, but would have lined up 40th for the Nationwide Race). As we were getting ready to leave, it started to POUR outside so we decided to eat there in the Buffalo Wild Wings that was attached, and by the time we ate, watched a little TV and paid, it had let up and we headed back to the hotel to get ready for the race.

Saturday was a longish day, as we headed to the track around 10am so we could look at the trailers and gather as much free stuff as we could carry. As we made our rounds, we went to the US Army area, as they had a really nice spread there, so we rode a helicopter simulator (uggh, upside down!) then I heard that they were running a push up competition, so I asked what the record was for the day, and it was only 60, so I said I'll do it, and managed to knockout 70 before I got up, since it was 93* and I was sweating like crazy, so I told the NCO that I was in the Army, so it was kinda cheating, but I set the record for the rest of the day and got a free t-shirt to boot, nice. We left that area and headed to our seats, which were just down from the start/finish line and only about 35 rows from the track, awesome! After a few, we then headed down to the pits, since I wanted to get some use for the price we paid, so headed down, but couldn't get into the pits because the pits were "hot" (yeah there is a joke in there somewhere), so we waited by the gate and I almost ran into (and over) Jack Roush, the Cat in the Hat, who owns something like 5 teams, and a few other folks, so that was a blast. We headed back to our seats and watched a fun and boring (no crashes), but hey, almost got to watch either of our favorites win the race.

After the race, we headed back to the hotel to check on the dog, who was in heaven with good AC and two beds to sleep on, so we relaxed for a bit, headed for dinner and then went to Ikea (my wife’s favorite!) We ended up making it an early night because of the heat on Saturday, so we went to sleep with us and the dog on a full sized bed, not too much room for us!
Sunday was a nice day, staying cool for a bit, and we headed to the track later, since the race started at 6:30pm, so we were in no rush. We finally parked and walked back to the track for the big one, the Coca-Cola 600! We found our seats (we ended up with 3 pairs of tickets cuz no one wanted to come and use them, so we choose our original seats in Section 237 on Turn 2. After that we walked down to the pits again, and walked along side the Clydesdale horses from Budweiser, which was cool (felt bad for the poo picker guy) but we saw a few racers in golf carts, including I think Greg Biffle “punking” Jamie McMurray, by yelling out his name so the fans mobbed him, kind of funny! We got into the pits and got Rutledge Wood’s (from Speed and History Channels) got to see Victory Lane, with cars from the movie Cars 2, including Tow Mater and Larry the Cable Guy. We then walked pit road (VERY COOL) and took many pictures in front of pit stalls of our favorite drivers.

While walking thru the pits, you have to keep your head on a swivel because there are so many people, most of them famous, so as I got money from the ATM, I almost ran into the Papa John’s guy, then we went over near the gate to the driver’s meeting area and got pictures of all the drivers on their way in. Most were cool and waved to the camera, but a few, like Juan Pablo Montoya, was a complete d-bag and grumpy as hell. Oh well, he is that way on the track too! But after they all came past, we headed to the garages and got to see all the cars up close and personal. Even the NASCAR officials stopped and chatted with us, which was way cool, nice to see everyone so open and friendly. I even got 5 lug nuts for my nephews from the #39 Army car. That will make their days! The highlight was as we were getting ready to head to our seats for the start of the race, we ran into Captain Jonathan Hilstrand of the Time Bandit (from the Deadliest Catch) and got his autograph and a photo with him and he talked with us for like 10 minutes, which was awesome since his boat is my wife’s favorite on the show. It made her weekend right there.

We got back in our seats, and watched the driver introduction, which were military folks from all services and the best part was that my neighbor on Ft Bragg introduced my favorite driver, so double bonus on that. So we settled in for a long night of racing after that. 600 miles is a LONG way, but it was a good time. We left at 500 miles, so that we could beat the traffic and watched the end of the race in the hotel. All in all, it was a great weekend.

On the exercise front, I didn’t run, bike or swim, but I did walk and do push ups, but still, it was a nice relaxing weekend.

The next post will be about exercising, I promise! Take care everyone!