Monday, September 30, 2013

First Thing Monday Morning (FTMM) Sep 30, 2013

So two in a row makes it a streak, right?  Well, this last week was interesting, with cold / flu running rampant in the office (awesome!), but I lysoled / hand sanitizered everything and ate meds like candy (is Tylenol Cold and Flu a performance enhancer?  Eh, it makes be feel better!), and kept running!

I've also started my core workouts again, which I feel work pretty good for me.  I seem to run faster when my core is strong, plus other things (golfing, riding bike, waking up not sore) seem easier.  Right now, it just consists of 100 sit ups in a row each morning.  I think I'll work my way up to hula-hooping a tractor tire later.  Much later.

23-29 SEP 2013
SWIM: 0 yards!
BIKE: 24.0 Miles (Getting really cold here in the mornings now)
RUN: 22.5 Miles (Was a little under the weather last week)

My week ahead
30 Sep - 6 Oct 2013
SWIM: 0 yards
BIKE: 60 Miles
RUN: 33 Miles

As the weather keeps going crazy here in Kansas (this week in the mid-80s, then the weekends, highs of 67!), working out and clothing will continue to be a "what is the temp like right now" game.  But still too early for me to think about indoor workouts, except maybe my off season weigh workouts, which also seem to help out, just have to remember to stay within my limits!

I "stole" these pictures from another funny blog, "Steve in a Speedo! Gross!" Right now, he is bummed as he can't run right now, so send him some love and get well soon wishes! 

Well, everyone, back to work now!

Monday, September 23, 2013

First Thing Monday Morning (FTMM)

Well, since I'm now 40 years old, as of this weekend, guess I'd better stick to something, and that something is my weekly training review, First Thing Monday Morning (FTMM).  I hope to get it out each Monday, hence the name (clever, I know!) and roll with that.  Since I have already started to plan next year's racin' (hello New Orleans!) so this ought to be fun!

16-22 SEP 2013
SWIM: 0 yards! (That is easy to track!)
BIKE: 27.4 Miles (Just re-started riding, felt good!)
RUN: 29.8 Miles (Not too bad with weather changes)

My week ahead
23-29 SEP 2013
SWIM: 0 yards
BIKE: 62 Miles
RUN: 40 Miles

As I mentioned, I think I already have the wife talked into going to New Orleans for the IM NOLA 70.3 in mid-April next year, so hope that we hit that, as I think I have to sell races as "destination" races now.

But my legs seem to be feeling better after the big jump in milage, so I hope that I don't fry them too soon and can hold 30-40 miles a week in the "off season".  Only time will tell, just need to make the most of my time, speaking of which, time to go!

Later everyone!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Things I learned...2013 Triathlon Season Review

Well, I have run out of triathlons for the year, so I guess it is time to recap, reflect, and figure out what more to do next year.  Perhaps some folks can learn from my mistakes / errors or what I did right (at least in my mind!)

As far as results go, this year was a great year for that.  I moved up to the Men's 40-44 age group, which is a tough group overall, and my overall races were good.  But my times aren't totally "front of pack" yet, but getting there!  Let's break this down by events:


6/15/13  Topeka Tinman - 400 meters / 0:08:32 (2:08/100m) 8th in AG / 90th overall
6/29/13  Gull Lake Tri - 500 meters / 0:09:13 (1:50/100m) 3rd in AG / 21st overall
8/18/13  Manhattan Tri - 500 meters / 0:09:39 (1:55/100m) 2nd in AG / 12th overall
8/25/13  Salina Sprint - 300 meters / 0:05:12 (1:44/100m) 1st in AG / 8th overall
9/07/13  Splash n Dash - 550 meters / 0:09:23est (1:42/100m) Unknown splits

As far as swimming, I didn't do enough this year.  Period.  Most of the distances were short (no more than 550 meters), but as far as being more comfortable in the water, I was much better (no stoke changes / rolling onto my back and swimming), but need to get into more yardage swimming.  I hope that when I move, there is a master's program there.  That will help me.  My yardage for the year (so far) is only 26,350 yards, and that is from April to early June only.  Ugggh.  Need to work on that.

SWIM Overall grade: 4 of 10 (lots of room to improve)


5/04/13  Ft. Leavenworth DU - 0:00:53 / 3rd in AG / 10th overall
6/15/13  Topeka Tinman - 0:01:32 / 2nd in AG / 13th overall
6/29/13  Gull Lake Tri - 0:00:37 / 1st in AG / 1st overall
8/18/13  Manhattan Tri - 0:00:36 / 1st in AG / 11th overall
8/25/13  Salina Sprint - 0:00:30 / 1st in AG / 4th overall
9/07/13  Splash n Dash - 0:00:30est

This was by far the most improved part of my racing season, by far.  Which is a little sad I guess, but T1 is where you can pass folks and get some free time.  With most of the races, the T1 times start at the entrance to T1, but a few also tack the time of the run from water to T1 to the swim (giving you a "longer" swim time.  At Topeka, they stopped your swim time at the edge of the lake (which is a good thing), but your T1 time includes the long uphill run to the T1 (until you leave T1).  I actually like that better, giving me a better idea about my swim fitness vs. my efficiency/running speed to T1 in my timing.  So if I had my pick, I'd rather have a longer T1 time if it meant that I had a more accurate swim time, but that is just me.

As far as my layout for T1, it was K.I.S.S.  I had a small towel to wipe feet of loose rocks, no socks for the bike, sunglasses in helmet and helmet on the aerobars.  My actions in T1 were run to bike, wipe feet while putting on glasses, shoes on, helmet on and buckled, bike off the rack and beat feet to the exit.  Yes I run in my shoes, and it takes a little practice (and replacing my cleats yearly, but you should anyhow!), but I think it is a bit quicker from mounting the bike to getting up to speed and down the road faster.  The more distance you put on chasers out of T1, the better.  And of course, the flying mount!  Remember, run past the mount line and aim to land on your thigh, not your, ummm, junk.  Your junk will thank you later!
And just visualizing the T1 in your head helps get you out on the road much quicker.
T1 overall grade: 9 of 10 (Just need to sustain!)
5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 8.25 miles - 0:24:26 (20.3mph) / 2nd in AG / 5th overall (draft legal)
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 13 miles - 0:36:35 (21.3mph) / 3rd in AG / 16th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 10 miles - 0:28:04 (21.4mph) / 2nd in AG / 7th overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 12.4 miles - 0:34:06 (21.8mph) 2nd in AG / 6th overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 22.5 miles - 1:02:34 (21.6mph) 1st in AG / 7th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 14.6 miles - 0:41:11 (21.3mph) Unknown splits

This year's bike was not too bad at all, considering I only did mileage and not any kind of workouts (other than the few Strava segments!), but I see this as an area to improve both fitness wise and equipment wise.  If I can get an aero helmet and some aero wheels, I think I can boost my average mph to 23-ish mph, and with better fitness, I can compete up with the "big boys" for fastest overall bike split.  That and getting into some bike races early in the year to get my fitness and mental toughness up there can't hurt either.  But other than finding time to get out and bike, and since I'll be moving south soonish, this will help a ton with my overall speed.  Even with the long bike at Salina, that was my 2nd fastest average all season and it was a brutal, windy ride with some nice rolling hills, which tells me, my fitness got better as the year went along.

I guess just need to get out a lot more and get tons of mileage on the bike next time around as of now, my mileage for the year is only 1,616 miles, and could be north of 2,000 this time next year.  But as of now, still not too bad.

BIKE overall grade: 7 of 10 (More mileage, better equipment)


5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 0:00:57 / 9th in AG / 35th overall
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 0:00:59 / 5th in AG / 75th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 0:01:13 / 9th in AG / 30th overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 0:00:45 / 4th in AG / 62nd overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 0:01:00 / 3rd in AG / 28th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 0:01:00est

Well this is the tale of two transitions, or could be called "Lost in Transition", but for all the goodness that my T1 was, my T2 sucked!  I am not sure if it is my centering myself off the bike, being dizzy, or what, but only know that I had racking issues twice, but this one should be easy.  Rack bike, helmet off, shoes off, socks on, shoes on, grab belt and Garmin and run!  But I think I stop for tea a few times during those T2s!  I know that I need to learn to run without my socks, but haven't gotten to that point yet.  I think that it'll save me some time, but I think also the Garmin is a culprit too.  Might have to have the wife video tape my T2s to figure it out and shave some more "free time" off.  That an need to practice these a bit more too, considering that I don't practice them at all.  As I move up in distances, T1 and T2 become less important time-wise, but in sprints, every second counts!

T2 overall grade: 2 of 10 (Run sockless, practice these more than once)


5/04/13 Ft. Leavenworth DU - 2.25 miles - 0:15:59 (7:06/mile) / 3rd in AG / 9th overall
6/15/13 Topeka Tinman - 3.25 miles - 0:22:09 (6:48/mile) / 2nd in AG / 13th overall
6/29/13 Gull Lake Tri - 3.1 miles - 0:20:03 (6:28/mile) / 1st in AG / 1st overall
8/18/13 Manhattan Tri - 3.1 miles - 0:20:09 (6:30/mile) / 1st in AG / 9th overall
8/25/13 Salina Sprint - 4.5 miles - 0:31:06 (6:54/mile) 1st in AG / 4th overall
9/07/13 Splash n Dash - 4.4 miles - 0:30:33 (6:56/mile) Unknown splits

I am still a good runner off the bike (could it be the big break I take in T2? Hmmmm) but overall, I still want to get those pace per mile into the 19's or dare I say, 18's?  But I need to work on my speed, as this entire year I just ran distances and ran them in a moderately fast pace.  But I didn't incorporate speed work, tempo runs, or any long slow runs into my training, and I think that held me back.  During this entire season, I was passed once, and that was the last race and after I think I might have over-cooked my legs riding, but I don't want to make any excuses.  I by far passed many more people during the run, and coming from a runner background helps this.  I just need to keep my mileage high, and get some speed sessions in there.  That, or get a coach and have a plan laid out for me instead of my just "winging it".

RUN overall grade: 7 of 10 (More speedwork, coaching?)

Here are a few miscellaneous things that I can't really categorize in the above categories:

Shaving your legs:  Before you go "ewww", I tried it, and I think that it works.  During the bike and the swim I "felt" faster.  I know the wife doesn't like it, hence keeping it for only the season.  Shaving three to four times a week sucks, but I think the benefits outweigh the disadvantages (lots of hair to cut, nicks, cost of razors, etc).  I endorse this.

Wetsuit:  This is the first year I did not use a wetsuit for any swims (all swims are short / pool swims) and I think in the shorter swims, the time gained from the use of a wetsuit / swimskin, you lose in taking it off.  For longer / colder races, I'll suit up, but for a sprint, no dice.  That leads me to the next item...

Trisuit:  I decided to try a trisuit this year, and in a word, love it.  I seem to glide thru the water, and doesn't bother me too much.  I had early year issues with a little saddle sore issues, but it seemed to work itself out.  I tried my old tri kit, and umm, it was too big for me (at least the top.  Anyone need to buy a medium DeSoto top? Call me!)  But I will look at getting a new trisuit for next year, but I love my $30 2XU trisuit (thanks ebay!).  I am thinking of looking at getting a nice Sugoi kit next year!

Garmin 305:  I love my Garmin, but it is getting old and doesn't sync with the computer the first time around, and usually requires about 10 minutes of attempting to get it to sync.  So I hope that I get a new one here soon.

USAT Nationals / Hyvee Championships:  I just looked up my ranking from USAT rankings for the year and I am 770th out of 2200 in my age group.  The next time I qualify for nationals, I am going to go.  Enough of the "I wonders" and would like to see how I stack up.  But I need to be ready for that too.

Goals for next year:  I am going to move up to doing Olympic distances next year and want to qualify for the Nationals, give an Xterra race or two a whirl, maybe get a coach (for cheap!), do at least a half ironman, and apply for both the All Army triathlon team and the US Military Elite Triathlon team.  And look to get some sponsorships / partnerships to help bring the cost of racing down a bit.  But those are my hopes and dreams for next year, so better get cracking now if I want to bring them to life!

Thanks for reading and hope this helps someone out with their training / racing!


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Splash n Dash Race Report

 Well ,like all good things, they must come to an end.  And this was the end of the triathlon season for me, so where else to end it at but the "home" course.  Again, this was going to be my 3rd tri in about a month, and my 3rd "odd" distance race as well, but that is ok, since next year going to concentrate on the Olympic length races.  The Fort Riley Splash and Dash was a nice low cost, low frills race here on Fort Riley and I was hoping that none of the "studs" from Manhattan would show up, but I know that just won't come to be!

Since this was so close to my house, my wife and I rode our bikes over to the race site and luckily we did, as I went to pick up my packet, I overheard one of the volunteers ask if someone didn't have a helmet, if they could race, and since my wife wore her helmet, I let the nice lady borrow it so she could race.  So I hope I got good karma points for that.

I got my bike inspected, body marked and heading into transition to rack my bike and set up my area.  That being done, I headed out for my warm up ride and ended up giving directions for a few folks.

With the warmup complete, I headed to the pool and I was in luck, the pool was 10 lanes, which meant one way lanes.  I hate going down and back in the same lane, too much possibility for head on collisions! 
Me in my swimcap about to push off!

SWIM: 09:32 (estimated) (1:44/100m) 550 meters

We all got into numeric order based off of our estimated swim times and I guessed about right for me, but as I looked around me, there looked like a lot of fast swimmers, so I let them know just to tap my feet if they wanted by.  I hopped into the cool water, and after my 20 second countdown, I was off, and feeling fine!  I felt strong the entire swim and passed one person during the swim.  I know with more practice and pool time, I'll get faster, but I felt good the entire swim.
Gotta suck that gut in!  I think it was the light effect!
T1: 0:30 (estimated)

Again, this was estimated and this was a weird transition setup.  You exited the pool but had to run to the far end of transition and enter through the middle.  I understand why, to make it fair for folks who racked in the back, but still just odd.

Flying mount: NAILED IT!!!
BIKE: 41:11 (21.3 mph) 14.6 miles
I did have my Garmin for this, since the race did not have but one split, so at least I know my own data.  The bike felt great and since I have ridden the course more than once, I knew where to push and where to relax, but it seemed like I cooked myself a little bit too much on the bike, but I did pick off 7 riders ahead of me, mainly on the climbs.  I could tell many were not ready for the hills on the bike course as a few of them were "paperboying" (weaving side to side up the hill) as I maintained a nice steady uphill roll.  It was nice to go all out on the bike on this course, but again, I think I might have pushed it a little bit too much, but oh well, it was the last race of the year!

Heading in to T2 with a guy on my tail.
T2: 01:00 (estimated)
Again, with the fairness for the race, you had to hit the dismount line, run to the far end (for me, that is in shoes still) and back up the middle.  Ugggh, I think I might have underestimated my T1 and T2 times, but oh well.  It seemed like it took me forever to get out of T2, but I got my shoes and socks on, grabbed my Garmin and rocketed out of T2 like I was chasing someone down (which I was).

Heading out of T2 in chase mode.
RUN: 30:33 (6:59 ave) 4.3 miles
Another longer run, almost like Salina's run, but with WAY more hills.  Like a ton more.  But I chased down the guy who I beat into T2 only a few meters out of the chute and poured on the speed (6:28 first mile!! Yikes!!) maybe a bit much.  But I made sure I hit each water point to at least dump some water on my head, which helped.  The 2nd mile brought the hills and just prior to hitting the 3 mile mark, I was caught from behind.  This was the first race all year that someone passed me on the run that I hadn't passed.  Bummer, but come to find out, not only was he not in my AG, but was almost half as young as me!  But still, I had getting passed.  I maintained a visual on him until we hit the twisty 3rd mile area, and lost contact, but I knew with the TT swim start, I still might get him at the line, even though he was ahead of me.  So I maintained a hard pace and kept cruising and got my butt across the line as fast as I could and I was spent!
Uggh!  I feel exactly like I look!
OVERALL 1:22:37 (4th overall, 2nd in 30-40 age group[odd breakout for ages])
I ended up missing the guy who passed me by about 5 seconds for third, and both Ric Rosenthal and Marek Dvorak (the two aforementioned studs from Manhattan) took 1 and 2, just like at the Apple Tri.  Overall, I think I let up on my training towards the end of this month, but I gave it my all and after a short break, I am going to get back on it with more run focused training.  I enjoyed this season, had a few missed opportunities (Nationals, Kansas 70.3, Branson), but I am going to step up my game next year for the longer distances, get a bit better equipment, and keep working towards racing well.
In the next few days, I will post my post-season observations for all to read and hope that the reflections will help me and you readers with your next races!  See you soon and thanks for reading!