Friday, April 25, 2014

The Fort Hood Bunny Hop 5K

Since I don't have any photos from the race last Saturday, I figured Rambo giving me two thumbs up would work just as well!

Well the Bunny Hop 5K is a monthly run put on by Fort Hood MWR (Morale, Welfare, and Recreation), and this was my first one here at Fort Hood.  I've done a few while at Fort Bragg, but I'll tell you, Hood has got them beat hands down.  Both are cheap (read:free!) but Hood offered awards 3 deep in each AG, which I don't care as much as the thought of kids getting awards (they had multiple age groups for the kids, and they turned out in droves!), so I was happy to see so many younguns getting out and running 3.1 miles (I never did that at that age!).  During the awards ceremony, they announced that they had over 500 people running (some walked, some had strollers, but besides the point), that's a lot of people!  Good to see!

Since I hadn't done too much speed work, I figured this would be a good workout for me to push just hard enough, but not too hard, and I was right on the money. I finished up with a 20:32, so not too bad.

The course is the same course they use for most of the 5Ks throughout the year, and it isn't an easy, flat one!  My garmin says only 33 feet of gain, but they are punchy little climbs.  You start in the parking lot, and head out to Old Ironsides, head down the hill, back up a slight hill and hit the first turn just short of 62nd street, over to Hell on Wheels, back up a slight rise and down the hill to 78th Street, back up Old Ironsides (up the gradual hill) to 74th and a nice flat .1 of a mile run to the finish chute.  My garmin recorded the run at 3.15, but that's close enough for government work!

Overall, I finished in 8th, and 1st in my AG, so had a good workout, and it was neat to see all the kids getting their awards, and the ones who didn't, I overheard that they wanted to run more to get faster to win a trophy next month.  That was refreshing to hear! (Soapbox time: I had the "everyone gets an award" mentality, but military kids seem to have the right mentality that if they want something, they need to work hard, or harder for it.  Bravo parents, you're doing the right thing!)

So this one's for the kids!
See you next time!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tri Aggieland Race Report

Well, I'm back again for this year of racing, and finally getting around to writing again.  So, a little recap before I talk about the race this last weekend; moved to Texas, got settled, got active again with biking and more running, saw my swim fitness take a nose dive since there are ZERO indoor pools to use around here it seems, contended with the craziness of a second Fort Hood shooting (I was off post when it happened) and getting adjusted to the area.

But as it seems, getting back into racing shape pretty well with my solo runs and group rides with the various cycling groups here in the area, which is a nice change, plus the weather is a nice change of pace, with warmer weather earlier in the year, so I am ahead of last years mileage, just need to keep putting in the miles!

Well at the beginning of the year, I wasn't looking at doing this as my first race of the year, just happened this way!  I found this race and since it was only about two hours away, the wife and I decided to make it a short weekend trip, to include a trip the George Bush Presidential Library there on campus at Texas A&M.  Other than the weather (dreary and wet), it was a nice trip.

SWIM:  07:38 (5th AG / 57th OA)

The race was on the campus of Texas A&M at the natorium (fancy speak for pool building) with the swim in their nice 50 meter pool.  Nice!  The swim was a 400 meter, serpentine swim, meaning that traffic was only one way, so no head to head collisions!  Since I hadn't swam since January, I seeded myself a little aggressively, to help motivate me to get the lead out at a 07:45 for 400 meters.  This is under my 400m PR for the swim by about 25 seconds, but would get me towards the front of the pack.  Still with my seeding, I was #115, meaning that I was MOP, seeding wise.  It didn't bode well that a swimmer that was seeded in the 60s needed to be rescued by the lifeguards.  Awesome!  But hats off to #69, who stopped and made sure that the person in need was ok and got her hanging on the lane line, so that was seriously selfless!

After that, the folks near me in line were critiquing the wave starts, since it looked like you HAD to start on the deck, but just no diving.  As we got closer to our 10sec separation for the start, we discovered that you could do a water start.  So getting the extra push from the wall is ALWAYS a good thing.

Well it was finally my time to get in and it was a little chilly, but not bad.  I got my countdown, and was off.  Since I was used to swimming in a 50 meter pool back in Kansas, this didn't phase me as much, I just got into a rhythm and ticked off the meters and concentrated on catching and passing folks.  I ended up passing about 8-10 folks, and was feeling good.

T1: 01:24 (3rd AG / 28th OA)

I climbed out of the pool and got the leg wobble and made my way outside, were it was a crisp, 52* and overcast, but from the swim and the jog to the transition area kept me warm.  I did make a nice rookie mistake, I left my Oakleys in my bag, so I stopped over there to unzip it, grabbed them and headed over to the bike to continue my T1.  Helmet on, shoes on and run to the exit and mount line, so overall, I can be faster, just need to remember everything next time.

BIKE: 33:12 (21.7 mph - 3rd AG / 16th OA)

With the road a bit rain-slickened and a funky gusty wind blowing, I wasn't as aggressive as I normally am on the bike, as this bike was a two loop, roughly square course.  I was aero in the straightaways, but eased up in the corners and turns and avoided the paint/tape that was on the road like a plague!  I settled in and hammered on passing a few of the faster swimmers / slow bikers in the first mile or so until I hit the headwind/cross wind (it was swirling and very annoying, so you ended up with two legs of headwind it seemed.  As I was heading up a slight rise, I was passed by another guy not in my AG, but as he passed me, I decided to push a little harder to catch up with him.  It took me about 3 miles to get within striking distance to pass him, but for some reason he rode just about on the yellow line, so after catching up to him, I yelled "ON YOUR RIGHT!" and passed him safely.

I know that I shouldn't have passed him on the right, however, when he's blocking, I'm not going to cross the centerline (even though the traffic was blocked off on the entire course), just bugs me a bit.  I finished up the first lap and started to hammer on the 2nd lap, which was more of the same, passing people, wind from funny directions, and one guy who passed me (which I passed him back later).

I finished up my 2nd lap and took the lane to the transition, hit the dismount line and did my standard running dismount (which folks were talking about after the race, very cool!) and rolled hot into T2.

T2: 01:01 (8th AG / 94th OA)

Well, despite a cool looking dismount and all, it still took me a little time, luckily the times were all right around my time (but a top ten time was :30 and under), but I just seem to lose "free time" in T1/T2.  I got the socks and shoes on, grabbed my Garmin and race belt and started my dash to the exit

RUN: 20:21 (6:33 pace - 2nd AG / 19th OA)

Luckily the course was twisty at the beginning, which gave me time to reset the Garmin (next time, need to set up multisport) and get my race belt on then start the real running.  After a short twisty section, you drop down into the tunnel (which the slopes on both sides constituted the only hills on the course) and you run under the railroad tracks and a street and surface on the other side near the football stadium.  The course takes you through campus and all the scenic spots, like the Alumni center, Kyle field (under construction), the indoor track center, golf course, etc, etc etc.  I just kept the foot on the gas and looked ahead to pass as many folks as I could.  The run was not too bad, just need to work on my foot speed a bit more and transitions more.

Overall, it was a wet, cold mess of a race, but I enjoyed myself.  Not a great start to the season, but not too bad.  I did like the display screens where you can check your race stats by punching in your number on the key pad.  Very nice touch.  I did sneak into the locker rooms and took a long hot shower, which felt good since I didn't bring any long pants for after, but it felt goooooood!

I ended up 14th overall, and 2nd in my AG, so not too bad, just need to get to work some more.  I'll update this with pictures when I get them, since part of the 90 buck price tag was free pictures, two shirts, and a hub cap of a finisher medal (I like it, it looks like a giant stop watch, but it's huge!).  So not too bad for the bucks.  Now I just have to find my next race this year as I am just planning this as I go now!

Check back later for race photos!