Saturday, June 30, 2012

June Training Notes

This month my totals look like this

Swim26,200 yards7:35 hours
Bike363 miles20:00 hours
Run66 miles10:45 hours

This month flew by, at the start of the month I was in a taper of sorts for Liberty, and now at the end I'm in a low intensity week during my bike focus month. The two races I did, Liberty and Waconia I was a little disappointed in the run. The swim and bike were fine, or good, but the run hasn't been where I want it.

Swimming yards are down for the second month, during the bike training month swimming has come way down. For instance this week I only same once. I'm still feeling good on the swims though, and all weeks aren't as low as this one, so I think it's ok.

Biking is going well, I have missed most of the group rides this month. But I have gotten out and done some longer weekend rides. I'll be interested to see how this month of bike training will end up, I feel like I'm executing well on it, but the more workouts I do the more I swear its geared for either all indoor trainer rides, or rides where you can find hills for hours on end. I'm not much interested in marathon trainer rides on days I could just go outside, and we don't live in the land of 10,000 hills. No matter though, I'm still going to keep at it, so far my bike results are better than last year, so maybe it's paying off.

Like I said, running has been suffering during races. Training runs seem fine. Part of me wants to say that the problem is the heat, but everyone is running in the same heat. The other part of me wants to say I'm getting tired on the bike, that could be. I looked at the bike splits from Waconia and I definitely was slowing down on the bike, so it's possible I was just really tired when it came to the run. The last part of me wants to say I should just stay focused on it and try to keep it going on the run and not make excuses or let up on the bike (just yet.)

This month's goal was to write a daily journal. It wasn't that rewarding, it wasn't terrible either, but I don't know that I'm geared to get much out of something like that.

Next month is no sweets. We're in the mix of summer, and in MN that means roasting marshmallows and eating ice-cream and various fairs and stuff like that. We'll see, the hardest part is that sweets get eaten by the family :)

Weekly Journal Roundup

This is the last week. I actually find it quite hard to journal. I honestly feel that the daily thoughts I have are basically boring, and if I thought they were more interesting I'd probably write about them in some other form.

Sun 6/24
Did Waconia sprint tri. Came home and hung out for a few hours. My arm hurts when I touch it, that's a little odd. I'm hoping I just slept on it funny. Then the wife and I went out for a date without kids. That was fun. No workouts schedule for tomorrow, my arms and legs are sore, so I'm happy to take the rest.

Mon 6/25
No workouts today, just hung out with the family. This is a break week, so I just have some shorter workouts during the week in prep for next week which will ramp back up. I looked a little closer to the bike leg at Waconia, I basically just slowed down the whole time. Hmm...

Tue 6/26
Got to sleep in again, sort of. The kids started waking up around 5:30, but at least we could just hang out in bed. Did a surprisingly challenging bike workout today, the main goal was to work on a fast cadence. Sets of 5 minute intervals keeping cadence between 95 and 105. Also there was a pretty brisk wind for the first half, and as always that makes it a little more disappointing. Then again on the way back going 26 up a hill makes up for it a little.

Wed 6/27
It was a corker today, hotest day yet. The heat index was apparently over 100. I had an easier 40 minute run. The run felt fine, I did sweat a whole ton though.

Thu 6/28
Day off from training. I am starting to feel pretty rested. I haven't had to get up before 5 in a while now. It's been good. It was sort of hot again today, but that's what AC is for.

Fri 6/29
Went to swimming for the first time in a while. Felt good, most of the workout was just sort of make it pace. There were three hundreds in there, and they were supposed to be fast. I hit those pretty fast, the second one really took the wind out of my sails, for whatever reason I thought it was a 50 for the first 35 yards. So the last one wasn't quite as fast, but still made the interval.

Interval run today, still in the 90's, but the balance of the run is pretty light, just some faster segments to get the legs moving.

Sat 6/30
Last day of notes. I'll be honest, some days I would write more than one day of thoughts at a time (not in the future) it's hard to remember to write stuff down unless I've got something really juicy.

Two hours on the bike today, it's pretty warm out. I was out on a route I didn't know that well, so every once and a while I had to stop and check directions. When I would stop my sunglasses would steam up, also I had to avoid sweating on my phone, it looked like a small rainstorm under my face when looking down ;)

Next month's goal is no sweets. The hardest part about this is just remembering it. I don't often crave sugary snacks, but then again I don't often think to hard about what I'm about to eat so someone will hand me some ice cream and "down the hatch"

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Race Review: Lake Waconia Triathlon

A "sprint" triathlon. Some guys from work were going to do it, so I thought it would be fun to do a race with people I know. I put sprint in quotes because it seems more like a 2/3 Olympic distance (1/2 mile swim, 20 mile bike, 4 mile run)

The Training
I'm currently trying to build speed on the bike using a bike heavy program that is more geared toward a half distance than a sprint. I did not deviate from that program at all leading into this race, in fact I did sprints on Friday, and 50 miles on Saturday.

Packet Pickup
There were a couple of options for packet pickup, Friday before, Saturday before, or even race morning if you were so inclined. Friday was at Gear West Bike, which is about an hour from my house, Saturday was at Waconia which is only 25 miles, but still about 40 minutes. And it's not my personality to wait to Sunday morning, so I didn't. I went up there Saturday, I left at about 4:30, the designated time slot was 5 - 7. I didn't get there till 6:30, it seems like every road into Waconia is closed. The actual process of picking up the packet is pretty simple and painless though.

The lake during packet pickup, no waves
Race Morning
The race started at 8:30, transition opened at 6:00, so we figured getting there around 7 was going to be good.

Rise and Shine sleepy head
I was worried about the drive due to my experience from the previous day, so I left early and then got there early. I think about 6:30. So I picked out a place for transition, fine tuned it a little, went for a short bike and then just took it easy.

The setup for this transition was pretty simple, the swim in was the same as the bike in, and the bike out and run out where also the same. I had chosen a spot I figured would be easy to get to and would result in an equal amount of running with the bike and not.

The swim course - I didn't think it was possible to get smoother than the night before, but there it is
I stuck my feet in the water, cold. Not end of the world cold, but cold enough to lock the wetsuit idea in. That, and the official temperature was 71.

Me and some Jeffs from work before the race
Ready to get in the water
The Swim
The swim was a time-trial start, except for elite, they went off in a wave. The deal was you line up by number and then the guy sends you off every 3 seconds. My number was 297, so that means I was going to wait for 296 (roughly) people to go before me. Since the water was 71 degrees I had my wetsuit on, but the sun was blazing so it was super hot in it. So I was standing in the water trying to stay cool. I was keeping an eye on the numbers of people going in (thankfully not everyone had my setup on, else I would have had no idea what numbers they were.) Suddenly I look over and they're in the 250s, so I head over the line (that I didn't know existed) got in my spot and in a few moments I was off.

There are two major differences between a wave start and a time trial start. First, you're not in a wave, so there's not the feeling of getting ready for the gun, and then the sudden rush of speed from 20 or 30 of your new best friends. Second, people are spaced fairly evenly throughout the course.

For me that second difference means you never hit clear water, there's always someone in front of you, or right next to you. I found it pretty annoying, as I am used to finding clear water pretty fast and then just settling in.

The swim went pretty well, again I had a little trouble staying in a straight line on the return trip, not as bad as Liberty, but still unusall for me. The other feature I remember is that when we made the first turn, you had to sight into the sun. Not impossible, but I did throw me off for a bit.

Again near the end of the swim I found myself swimming past people standing in waist-deep water. No big deal, my one word of advice to someone doing a triathlon, do not stand up until your hands hit the bottom. You cannot run in deep water faster than you can swim. The trip to transition was short, I found my spot pretty quickly, took my wetsuit off without sitting down, tossed my socks on and then headed out.

Looking good coming out of the water

Almost ready, just need to stuff this gel in my suit and off I go. Note to self: The gel can go in before the swim if I'm wearing a wetsuit I think.

On my way out - notice no shoes yet. Also notice I think I'm fiddling with my watch *sigh*
A few things that worked well for transition this go-around that are new or didn't go well last time. First I used body glide to make getting the wetsuit off easier. That worked great. I made sure to figure out the easiest way to get my bike off the rack before the race started. It no longer fits under racks in either direction. That saved me some time. And I got some shoe clips that hold my shoes in place on the pedals while I run out of transition. It also allows me to slip my feet right into the shoes while I start riding down the street. That also went well.

The Bike
The start of the bike course was pretty fast. There was a small hill not far from transition, so I took me a bit to catch my breath and let my heart slow down, but overall the pace was pretty fast. In the first 5 miles my pace was over 20 mph, which I was not expecting at all.

Another side effect of the time-trial start, there are people everywhere on the bike course, and you know what that means, lots of drafting. I mean it's almost hard not to draft. Think about it like this, in a wave format you have a surge of people hit the water every five minutes. If you do 50 people per wave it would take 6 waves to get through 300 people, or about 30 minutes till everyone is in the water. If you do someone every three seconds, it only takes about 15 minutes to get everyone in the water, so the density of people is roughly double. More people means more swim drafting which means lots of people getting on the bike at the same time. Now I only saw one time where someone was clearly purposefully drafting on the bike, but there was plenty of incidental drafting due to a cluster of people forming on turns.

Coming back from the bike, notice no shoes again. Also notice watch band with no watch, it would stay that way for the remainder of the race.
Overall the bike went well. I took one water bottle and that worked out perfect, I was almost done with it when I got back. I also took one chocolate hammer gel. If you are in the market for energy gels, I strongly recommend giving Hammer gels a try. I literally have not tasted even one flavor I do not like. I currently have chocolate, and it's like eating pudding, very tasty. I came into T2 feeling pretty good, I had gotten my feet out of my shoes a little early so did some not super efficient pedaling for a little bit, but then hopped off and ran my bike in, ran right to my spot, racked my bike and ... this is not my spot. Unrack my bike, and stand there for what seemed like minutes. Am I in the right row? There is a huge tree at the end of my row, I'm in the right row. Am I on the right side of the tree? That shouldn't matter. Am I in the right row?

The blue is where my bike was supposed to be, the red is where I was standing. I had just gone a few feet too far. Needless to say this flustered me a little.

Heading out for the run
The Run
About 10 seconds into the run I realize that I didn't bring my watch. It's on the bike recording the longest transition time ever. Oh well, it seems like this is one problem I will continue to have. It seems like it happens at every race. They do not have a water stop immediately out of transition, I miss it. That was a great feature of Liberty.

Remember how the first part of the bike was so fast even though there was that little hill right out of transition. And remember how the bike out and run out were in the same place. The run was just the first two miles of the bike on foot. It was hot, and there were hills, and there was almost no shade. There were three water stops, and they felt like they were about a million miles apart, and it felt like the longest four miles of my life.

I was pretty sure I was off pace, but I didn't know by how much. I felt like I was roasting, and all I could think about was some water. There were some people running by me, but it wasn't a slaughter or anything, I was also running by some people so I didn't feel that bad about it.

Water stop one, probably about a mile in, it was good. Drink some, dump some on my back. Keep running, more hills, sun beating down on the black road we were running on. Another water stop at the turn around, more water, three cups this time. One on my head, one in my mouth, one on my back. I'm starting to feel a little cooler. My stomach has been tight since the beginning of the run, you know that tightness you get right before you vomit, that's what I had. I didn't feel like I was going to vomit, but it didn't feel awesome.

At this point I saw one of the guys from work, he was looking pretty good. Hopefully I was too.

Third and final water stop, I was starting to feel normal again, also at this point the majority of the run was downhill since most of the start of it was uphill. The mantra of the run was "just keep running, do not walk" and that's what I did. I didn't know how fast I was going, but I knew it was faster than walking.

The Finish
As I was coming near the finish it occurred to me that I hadn't seen one of the guys from work on the run. I turned down the finish chute, saw my family, and my daughter popped out and ran the last few yards with me. This was the first time she didn't totally whomp me at the end. I actually caught her and gave her a kiss on the head as we crossed the line.  I grabbed some water, found some shad and sat down with the family.

At this point I'm running so fast the camera can't take my picture fast enough to prevent the blur, sorry.
Sitting down in the shade, shade is good, seeing family is also good.
The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 12:30 12:06
Bike 1:00:00 59:38
Run 30:00 37:08
Total 1:45:00 1:52:26

The swim – Thirty seconds isn't that significant, the swim felt fine. This was a pretty stacked race, that time puts me second in my age group, 22 overall.

The bike - 22 seconds is basically nothing. The bike went well, I lost some steam near the end, otherwise I may have been able to keep the pace up. Still, to hold 20 mph on my own for 20 miles is a pretty good feeling.

The run – The run was basically just me trying to stop myself from walking. At no point did the run feel like it was going according to plan. It didn't feel like it was 1:30 per mile slower than I wanted, but it also didn't feel good. It's hard to tell if I had the watch on if I would have been able to adjust to something closer to my goals. I tried to latch on to someone who passed me once, but I felt like he was accelerating away from me even though he passed me pretty slowly. So I'm not sure what to take away from this except I know it can be done by me, so I just need to execute.

I gave myself three minutes in the goals for transition. The first one took 1:50 which isn't all that fast, and surprisingly the second one only took 1:45, and I am not kidding that I bet I stood there for 30 seconds looking for my spot.

Closing Comments
Overall I'm feeling a little down about this, to miss the goal by so much is a little disheartening. But I probably could have tried hard to rest my legs in the days leading up to the race, but this isn't my "A" race, or even my "B" race. So I'll take the high points. The swim went well, I improved some aspects of my first transition. The bike pace is second best ever, and over about 70% more distance.

The event itself is pretty decent. I'm not sold on the time trial start, it would be interesting to listen to pros and cons about it. The volunteers were great, the event staff was good, the after race snack was hot dogs, fruit, muffins, cookies, juice, water, etc. So that was good. The competition is pretty stiff, the top six male finishers compete on the national level fairly successfully.

Waconia is a nice little area, the roads were not as busy as I remembered the other day, the beach area is very nice, the lake is also very nice, not weedy at all.

Next up, sprint triathlon in three weeks and a half iron the week after that.

Weekly Journal Roundup

Sun 6/17
Fathers day, I woke up to hugs from the older kids. They kids and wife got my some good gifts. Hammer gels to replace the supply that's gone. Clips to keep my shoes level on my bike during swim to bike transition. And a battery for my drill, the current battery only lasts about 12 seconds (not exaggerating)

We went to a local criterian bike race that we went to last father's day. It's got some crazy hill on it, 22% at one point near the top. That was pretty fun, we left early due to rain.

I skipped the run today, I'll do it tomorrow.

Mon 6/18
Did the run from yesterday, it was pretty warm when I left the house so I took of bunch of fluid with me. It went well, the temperature started dropping as the sun was going down so that was good.

Tue 6/19
Bad weather this morning, skipped the bike because it was raining. Actually I was going to setup the trainer in the garage which probably would have been a pretty good workout, instead I fell asleep on the couch.  Amanda is feeling ill, I stayed home to take care of the kids so she could rest. I'll do the ride on Thursday.

It's the end of the day, I forgot my wife is swimming some mornings now. It just got a little harder to wedge a two hour ride in Thursday.

Wed 6/20
Got up and went swimming today, overall the workout didn't seem that hard, but boy am I tired. Storms predicted for today, hopefully they hold off long enough to get a run in.

It didn't rain much, but I botched the hill run. The plan was to run to the hill, then do 15 minutes of repeats. I ran past it for a warmup, then came back and realized this wasn't the hill I wanted. I spent the next seven or eight minutes trying to remember where it was. In the end I only got about half the time I was planning on. The feeling was familiar from the feeling of the run at Liberty, so I think maybe I need to try to incorporate more hills into my normal running routine.

Also, I tried the run without socks
I felt this one near the end of the run
I might try to ease into running without socks, on a sprint it might save me 20 seconds or more to not put socks on in T1. Due to this blister, I probably won't try it this weekend.

Thu 6/21
I popped that blister last night, it filled with fluid and was HUGE. When I was in the water with our youngest at swimming lessons I could feel it moving around in the water (pre-poppage.)

I decided to put off the bike I missed on Tuesday, I have a ride scheduled for Friday, Saturday and Sunday. So I think I don't need to put an additional 2 hours in today.

It's supposed to be warm on Sunday for the race - starting liquid intake.

Fri 6/22
Did a shorter ride with sprints. I had my heart rate monitor on, it's sort of interesting to watch it go. Suprisingly I was having trouble getting it much higher than zone three. Then again it's just 20 seconds on then as much recovery as  I need. Maybe not as surprising as I thought.

Sat 6/23
Got up early for a 50 mile bike ride, it was pretty hilly, but good scenery and the temperature didn't start rising till I was almost done. Then spent a few hours clearing brush from the yard.

Went to Waconia to pick up the packet for tomorrow, I'm glad I did it. There is more than one road closure getting there, so I was able to figure out an easy route for me and the family to take.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Race Preview : Lake Waconia Triathlon

I signed up for this race because it was on the list and a couple of guys from work are doing it. I find myself looking for people to race with more than just doing races these days. I probably say it every review, but a race where you see people you know on the course is more fun than a race without.

Race Info
The race is in Waconia, it's about 25 miles from our house. Apparently it's a qualifier for something "Best of the U.S. MN Qualifier", but I can't figure out what.

The swim is a triangle in a lake - the weather has been quite warm during the days lately with lots of sunshine, I guess it's possible the water could be in the mid to upper 70s. Then again the lake is pretty large, so maybe not. I'll take the wetsuit, and I'll wear it if they allow. A neat aspect of this race I'm looking forward to, except for elite and team waves, it's a time trial start. They still group by age-group which seems a little silly to me, but I'm looking forward to hitting the water on my own anyway.

The bike is a 20 mile loop, pretty rolly, there aren't really any big climbs, but there aren't huge stretches of flat either.

The run is an out and back, surprisingly along the same route as the bike. I guess it doesn't matter, it's probably not likely that someone will be starting the run the same time someone is starting the bike.

I struggled with how to set goals for this race. I want to go hard and fast, but this is in the middle of a training program, and I'm not planning on taking it easy on the training leading up to the race, for example I'm planning on a 3.5 hour ride the day before, and I've been feeling sort of fatigued lately.

Swim12:301:25 per 100 yards
Bike1:0020.0 miles/hour
Run307:30 mins/mile

1:45 puts me in the top 30% overall, but in the middle of my AG. I have to admit, I'd like to be moving up out of that. 2:30 faster and I could break the top 10 in the AG, that's significant though on a sprint. Maybe a mph on the bike and a little on the run. Then again a really fast transition can give me as much as 45 seconds (T2 in Alex was around 45 seconds.)

1:25 is my go to, I'm assuming wet suit. It could really go either way though, with or without I may be able to hold faster than that. We'll see, it's only 800 meters.

20.0 should be doable. I don't really ever hit that during training, but racing seems to be a different story. I have already biked this course once, so I know that 20 miles is a pretty accurate measurement. One sort of odd thing about this course is that a lot of it is on major roads. When we road it last weekend I'd say easily half of it is on a well traveled road. Odd for a Minnesota event that isn't in the city.

7:30 is a pretty aggressive goal, I put that down because I've done it before on a sprint this year. The real test will be if I can figure out how to get there on my own or if I'll need a rabbit.

I put three minutes for transition. If I have a wetsuit that might slow me down a bit, but I'm going to try some controlled speed to get through it fast.

Closing Comments
I'm looking forward to a sprint distance, even though this is on the long side of a sprint. I'm also looking forward to seeing some people I know on the run. I don't know wave times yet, but I suspect I should see both the people I know at least on the way back from the run.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weekly Journal Roundup

Sun 6/10
I slept 12 hours last night. Actually I got up at 6 and moved to the "living room bed", a little later the family came down and I went back to the bedroom bed.

We just hung out as a family, today was a great day.

Mon 6/11
No training today, I feel fine physically, but rest is good. The new bike focused program starts Tuesday.

Tue 6/12
Got up this morning and started the first day of the bike strength program. It was 50 degrees, figures that it would be nice and cool three days after the big race :)

Did an easy run at work as well, still nice and cool. 3 minutes per mile faster than Saturday ...

The race is sticking with me mentally longer than any race previous. I'm pretty sure I'm going to sign up for Chisago, even though I met my goal, I feel like I could have done better.

Wed 6/13
I had a little trouble getting up this morning to go swimming. For some reason after 6 hours of sleep I was still feeling super tired. When I heard my SIL walking around I got up.

The swim was good, I think I'm a little fatigued from the race Saturday or something. I never really felt that strong, but I did the workout without "failure," so that's good.

I went for a run in the afternoon, 6 miles. I was supposed to do 10 minutes starting at zone one, ending in zone two. Then 30 gradually moving from zone three to zone four, then 10 back at zone one.
  • After one minute I was in zone one
  • After seven minutes I was in zone two
  • After 10 minutes I was in zone three
  • After 20 minutes I was in zone four
  • I peeked into zone five a few times (probably hills) but basically stayed zone four
  • Never got back down lower than zone three, I think I was still in zone one after I changed clothes. Which included a walk to the locker room and just standing around. 
  • Average HR through the entire run was high zone three
During the run I stopped paying attention to my HR before warmup was done. I had confused myself and figured I was in zone three long before I really was. Now that I've had a chance to look at it closer, I actually did a pretty decent job at it. I'm not sure how to run in zone one, it seems like zone one running is really run/walking.

Thu 6/14
Day off. This week and next I'm doing swimming with our 8 month old, it's a lot of fun. She likes it more than the other kids did, or at least more than they did when they started. I think the other parents are jealous :)

Fri 6/15
Swim today, did fine, nothing special. My swim schedule over the next few weeks is going to be very reduced. Hopefully that doesn't mean I'll be dropping down a lane, I'm guessing no.

Did a set of sprints on the bike. 1:10 total time, with six 20 second sprints in them. They go like this, accerlate quickly to 80/90% speed by standing up, then sit down and finish the sprint at the same speed. I don't really know what top speed is, but I did these at 30 mph, which seems silly fast. My legs are feeling fatigued, maybe from the race? Maybe from the different style bike workouts.

Sat 6/16
Went for a couple of long bike rides today. The main goal was to bike the Waconia triathlon bike course with my friend Jeff. I also had a three hour ride on the schedule, so the plan was to ride the 25 miles to Waconia, ride the 20 mile course, and then ride home. That's what I did, here's the short story

  • Get up a touch late, look at the weather. 10% chance of rain all day, so eat some breakfast and head out. I'll text later to update my friend that I'm running late :)
  • Legs felt fatigued at the start, it's super muggy, and I got lost. Added about three miles
  • Got about 18 miles out and it started sprinkling, send a text, I'm 10 miles away
  • The last 10 miles are up hill and raining. So much for 10% rain, maybe I mis-read it, 100%. There I am, biking down a county road where I swear the speed limit is 70, water spraying in my face both from passing cars and my front tire. At one point I look down and notice my previously white socks are now a dark grey, covered with grit.
  • Get within a mile of the destination, the rain stops like I've crossed some magical line. It's also no longer up-hill. Waconia is apparently on top of a hill where it doesn't rain.
  • Get to Jeff's house, wash my arms off from the grit. Try to dry my socks. We chat a while then head off
  • Nice clear ride around Waconia, no rain, no real wind, good temperature. Good ride, good company.
  • Get back to Jeff's, talk a while longer, text my wife I'm leaving, then proceed to talk to Jeff for 15 more minutes.
  • Start back home, my legs are super fatigued. Thankfully, just like the last 10 miles coming were up hill, the first 10 miles are downhill.
  • Get to the bottom of the 10 mile hill and realize that, of course, I will now need to ride up a much shorter, but equally tall hill to get home. My legs feel like they're going to just stop.
  • 3 miles from home three more hills that I didn't ride on the way out, at this point my legs are basically numb, oh yeah and it's now muggy and about 85 degrees
The rest of the day the entire family hung out. I washed my bike and lubed my bike chain, that marks the first time - ever - I've washed my bike :) That's also the only day it's ever been wet.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Race Review : Liberty 70.3

My first 70.3. The overall goal was really just do it. I had set some goals, but really this was just a step along a path toward a full 140.6.

The Training
The entire year has been leading up to do this. I spent a week tapering, and the taper had me feeling very confident. I also had a couple of PRs heading into this race. Physically I was confident I could meet my goals.

Packet Pickup
There were a couple of options for packet pickup, Thursday before, Friday before, or even race morning if you were so inclined. They did recommend that you not wait till Saturday morning, but I'm sure some people did. I went Thursday. I went up Thursday after work, the traffic sucked, but that's just traffic. Actually getting the packet was super painless, no line whatsoever. So that was awesome, the whole process took 5 minutes (plus the hour of driving each way :)

Race Morning
The race started at 7:30, transition opened at 5:30, so we figured getting there around 6 was going to be good.

Wake-up time
Breakfast of Champions
When we got to the race area, I had to pee like a man with a very full bladder so I made a bee-line for the portable bathrooms, which was already starting to have a line forming.

The SIL before we head to transition - read to race
We gathered our stuff up, and headed to transition. On the way over there were large signs "Body marking here" (basically) so we got in a small line where there were one or two body markers. Then some guy came over and said "Hey, head over to were those people in orange shirts are, they are also doing body marking." There were at least 10 of them, that was a much better idea. I recommend they move the sign next time, or move the body markers to where the sign is.

We got marked up, got into transition, and found a place for our bikes. There were not assigned spots, but we were there early enough to find spots easily.

There's my setup, seems pretty efficient
One of the best features of this transition area was built in land marks, they had flags on two sides of the transition area, so it was really easy to pick landmarks for where your bike was. We got especially lucky, since we had inadvertently put our bikes right across from one of the flags (not the ones that were marking rows.)

After we got setup, I had to go to the bathroom. Bethany had found a whole ton of swimming friends, so I just left. When I got back we checked out the lake, the swim looked killer long again. It was so far away I'm pretty sure I could not see the end of the swim, it was not a triangle, it was just a long out and back. Water temp was decent, but 74 is still wetsuit legal.

The Swim
There were four waves before me. We lined up, I took a spot in the middle front. I was really confident that I would have a faster swim time than most.

Some sort of USAT official was at the start sort of small talking with people, he was not the guy sending us off. The swim course layout was two lines of parallel buoys, the deal was swim to the end, turn, swim all the way to the other line of buoys and then back. Always keep the buoys on your right. So someone asks him, what's the course? And he says, you'll come out in the middle here. To which I say... no, if you see buoys on your left you're not in the right place. It's not like there was a huge amount of distance difference, maybe 20 feet, but they obviously did that to keep the start and finish separate and keep people from swimming into each other head on. He asked the guy sending us off, he confirmed always keep the buoys on your right. I heard that after that the official left and went somewhere else. That's good :)

So we got started, I took off at a similar pace I always do. Just keep it long and smooth. My wave was wearing white caps, I never saw another white cap, there wasn't even the normal rush of speed I usually see at the start of a race.

I started catching the slower people from the wave ahead of me long before the olympic turn around (which I assume is about 200 meters from the half turn around.) Before the first turn I caught the bulk of that wave. I passed them before the turn, made the turn and started back. Up until this time I was feeling pretty good, I had swum a fairly straight line. On the way back I swear the waves were blowing me off course, I kept drifting into the middle. Then again I was basically the only person doing it, so maybe it wasn't the wind :) I counted four different colored caps that I passed (none were white), I think I passed two big groups of people.

Overall the swim felt really long, not long as in distance, just a long swim. At the end I caught up to a guy who was walking in, he must have been in chest deep water. I just swam past him. My rule, don't stand up until you touch the ground with your hands. At that point the water is less than knee deep and getting out of it is pretty easy.

Getting out of the water, maybe that guy is the guy I swam by. He's undressed at about the point I stood up

All smiles. Amanda and the kids were standing at the end of the swim. And I heard a friend yelling for me before her swim started.
The trip from the swim exit to the transition was up a big hill, there were stairs and grass. I was all prepared to sort of jog to transition. But when I got the stairs there was a whole string of people walking up the stairs, so I followed suit. I made sense to me, 5 and a half hours isn't a sprint. So I took it easy, jogged to my bike when we got to the top of the hill. I took some time to reapply sunscreen on my face and hands and took off.

The Bike
The weather called for temperatures starting in the low seventies climbing to the low 80s during the bike with 15 mph winds from the south-southwest. The bike course is 8 miles straight south, then east for a bit, then south, then west for a bunch, then east back to the middle, south for a few miles, then west and then east back to the middle and north for 8 miles. I'd say basically the report was right, except the wind was mainly from the south. So heading south it was really noticeable, heading east was awesome.

A note about this course - it was controlled wonderfully. There weren't many intersections but where there were they were very well controlled. There were tons of volunteers who were all very friendly. Probably the best run bike course I've been on.

I started the bike with three bottles. One of Powerade, two of water. The plan was to switch out the powerade bottle for Heed at the three bottle exchanges on the course. Per the advertised instructions: "3 bottle exchange stations will be located along the course at approx. mi 18, 30 and 44. Water and HEED replenishment drink will be available at all bike aid stations courtesy of Hammer Nutrition" I also had a gel, a gel flash with about three gels in it mixed with water, and a protein bar. The extra gel was a just in case, if I took much longer than I had expected on the bike or something like that.

I picked a pace I was happy with, it was near my goal pace, maybe slightly faster. Basically I was focusing on not pushing up hills too hard, and keeping steady. Some people were passing me, I was passing some people. I was trying to watch from people in my age group, now I don't know for sure but I think I was 35 minutes into the bike when the first one passed me. That's the best part of the a fast swim.

I got to the first bottle exchange and had successfully depleted 20 ounces of power-ade. That's about 100 calories. They gave me a not quite full bottle of heed in exchange, the bottle was larger than the one they gave me, but not quite as nice. It's actually the junkiest bottle I've ever used. At first I actually had trouble getting drinks from it. Eventually I figured it out.

Onward, some time after that I hit the roughtly half way mark, time to eat the bar. Up until now I was on my nutrition plan. I was running low on heed, I knew I'd run out before the next bottle exchange which was unplanned, but I had plenty of extra water to cover the gap, so I wasn't worried about dehydration. The plan was to drink water with the bar anyway. So I whip it out, tear it open...bobble... on the ground. I did not stop and go back for it. 200 calories dropped. I had actually forgotten about the gel by now, but then I saw it in there. 100 calories found. So I was a little bummed now. I was running low on heed due to a partially filled bottle, and I dropped some calories. Put it out of my mind, keep pedaling.

Near the turn east I was catching a guy who had decided to ride all the way to the left of the shoulder we were riding in. It was one of those nice full sized shoulders, perfect for bike riding and not getting run over. USAT rules, no passing on the right, so I pulled up behind him, yelled on your left, he didn't hear me so I pull out into the lane and yelled it again when I was overlapping his back wheel. It was about this point that a guy driving by decided that I was the rudest person ever and started honking and cursing and swerving wildly like he was going to run me over. We approached a right hand turn, and I swear that guy considered getting out of his truck and give me a talking too, thankfully the intersection was controlled by police and they waved him through to make room for us.

We hit the turn east around, and ... oh the sweet speed. I know for sure I looked down once and was doing over 30 and not coasting down a hill, just with the wind false-flat speed. I started picking people off left and right. That lasted for probably 10 miles, then back south... into the wind.

The next water stop should be coming up... I've been out of heed for about 15 minutes. But there it is, I toss the old empty and pick up a new ... not full bottle. Disappointing, I can tell by weight it won't last me till the next exchange, it felt lighter than the first one. No matter, keep going, steady pace. At this point I was passing people more regularly, I must have caught some slower people from an earlier wave. I was being passed too, but nothing to be worried about.

The next 15 or so miles went fine, I was out of heed, looking forward to the next water stop... which never came. It actually occurred to me when we got back on the part of the course I knew that unless they put one up that wasn't there when I went by the first time there must not be another one. It was at this point that I hit a sort of emotional low. I had missed the bar, and I was a bottle short. That's a 300 calorie deficit, and I'd be taking in less fluids than planned. At least I had taken the gel, so I was really only 200 in the hole, but still. So calorie deficit, and not fully hydrated. It took me a while, but put it out of my mind, keep pedaling. The last 8 miles were with the wind, it was a glorious ride, mostly above 20 mph. At this point I have raised my overall pace to over 19 mph according to the garmin. So I was happy about that. It did cross my mind that if I had pushed it too hard it might come back to haunt me on the run, you know what else crossed my mind. I want to get off the bike, I was bored, and ready to do something else. The group had spread out enough there weren't really people anywhere around me.

I ride into transition, in front of me a guy gets off his bike lifts it over his head and cheers. Someone says "the race isn't over..." I trot by not really interested in that conversation. But it was a funny situation.

In transition I dump the rest of one water bottle on my head, take my helmet off and dump some more water on my head. I was roasting. A swimming friend who did the Olympic race told me the run was hilly, but mostly shaded. She said "respect the hills, walk up the big ones. I saw many good runners resting on the hills, it will be faster to take those short walk breaks." She also mentioned that I was about 5 minutes after another lady, she thought I'd probably catch her (I did not.) I grab my gel and head out.

Heading toward the run-out. Amanda and the kids were there cheering loudly.
The Run
So remember the "out and back" map I shared in the preview? Well, a couple of days before the race they sent out another map, and it had the correct course on it. It was an out and back. So at least eventually they got the map right. I don't really understand why couldn't get the website right, but whatever.

They had a water stop immediately outside transition. I walked through it, took two cups of water and my gel. The original plan was to take the gel later on the course, but like I said I was running at a calorie deficit, so I was trying to make it up. Plus I was planning on taking calories in on the run using the stuff they had at aid stations. Not heed though because I needed some other flavor in my mouth or else I was going to barf. Luckily: "Aid will be available approx. every mile along the run course and will be supplied with Water, Heed replenishment drink, Cola, Hammer Gel, Carbohydrates and Endurolytes"

At this point I'm feeling pretty good. I still have yet to feel that odd feeling that the bike to run transition is supposed to give you. I just started out. The first bit was totally shaded, I was feeling good, I don't know what pace I was holding. I mean I glanced down and just thought that it was acceptable, within plan. Then the first hill, it wasn't monstrous, so I decide to just run up it. My heart rate skyrocketed, it was nuts, I took the advice from transition and started walking. I took my heart rate after a bit and figure  I'm in zone 4, no good. Walking is a good idea.

The hills were non-stop. On the flats I felt fine, downhills fine, but on every hill my heart rate skyrockets and I end up walking. At times it felt like I was easily splitting time between walking and running due to just the hills. We hit two more water stops before two miles. So far just water and heed, the water is chilled, but no ice. At least it's cold, I am also walking through aid stations. At this point the shade is a little more sparse, a lot of running in the sun. It is very hot.

Mile 2, I hit another low point. I have been walking way more than expected, if I can't get my act together the run time is really going to suffer. I am thinking, there is no way I want to ever do this again, let alone twice this. I honestly consider turning around at the 10k turn-around and calling it a day. I glance down at my watch, surprisingly I'm not actually off pace yet. I must be holding a decent pace while running. So I push on.

I go past the 10k turn-around - for the next three miles it's pretty much the same story. Walk up every hill, run the rest of the time. Walk through the aid stations drinking water, I get a gel at mile 4, at this point I guess it's worth pointing out that until then the only thing available was water and heed. Right about mile 6 there is a water stop, and I am about to stop when I overhear someone say "the turn around is right around the corner" so I run by thinking that I do the turn around and then grab some water. That's runner brain working, non-running brain knows that at 6 miles, there's a little more than 1/2 a mile before the turn around. So there's a miss, thanks for nothing "overly supportive runner."

At this point some guy I have been shadowing for about 5 miles finds someone he knows on the side of the course and pulls off to talk to them, I never see him again. Not in front of me, not on the way back. I have no idea what happened to him. It would not be surprising to hear that he just called it quits. I mean I really feel like the run was terrible, soul suckingly hard.

On the way back to the water stop I missed we approach a hill, I slow to a walk and a lady trots up behind me and then walks about 5 steps behind me. We chat for a bit, she says in a 70.3 and a 140.6 you earn every mile. We agree the hills are killer. We get to the water stop, I grab my two cups and start walking. I kid you not, she put both her hands on the table and just stopped. I didn't stop to see if she was ok, we were at a water stop after all. She was fine though, she passed me about a mile later, she never got further than 20 seconds up though. So, I have now seen every aid station. Here's the adjusted list of what's available: Water and heed and one stop with gels. Not awesome. I take some heed at the next stop, about toss my cookies, that stuff is nasty. Don't get me wrong, my stomach feels fine, I just need something other than bland energy drink at this point (hint: that's what the coke is for.)

So the run presses on, all the walking is really cutting into the time. I am WAY over my estimate. If I the pace stays steady though I am only about 15 minutes off on the run. I think I had about 15 minutes early on the bike, and if the swim went well then I'm actually even. When I figure that out my spirits are actually pretty lifted. Even with all this walking I may actually salvage my goal if I don't crash. Some things that are running through my head - I'm not sure the heart racing is normal. I'm also not sweating that much, but it is clearly hot. I mean when I'd run out of the shade it felt like someone just opened an oven door. At one point I thought the hot breeze was actually my breath blowing back in my face. That's not what was happening, but that's what it felt like. On the flip side, even though I am walking up every hill, so is almost everyone else. At one point I look up a rather large hill and see eight or nine people in front of me all walking up the same hill. So that makes me feel a little better. This is around mile 10, three miles to go and I'm starting to think maybe the race isn't that bad. Don't get me wrong, it's hard, but I'm no longer tossing out my ironman goal and trying to dream up something else to do with that $600.

From then on it was just a mental battle. Push myself to run, walk up the hills, try not to get too discouraged if someone trotted by. I was not passing anyone, but I would get passed every once in a while.

Near the end I started re-catching a woman who had passed me in the first two miles. She was in BAD shape. She would run a ways, then stop and put her hands on her knees and stand there for a second, I'm pretty sure she was crying. I didn't catch her, when she was running she ran just as fast as I did. I came close, but she didn't come back into view until under a mile to go so I didn't have much time to catch her.

The Finish
The path into the finish was totally shaded, and a slight downhill. It felt great. The end was in sight, I didn't feel like death.

All smiles! I swear I worked hard!
The kids both ran out, the boy turned back, but the girl attempted to run with me. She didn't have shoes on and at this point we were running on gravel. So I picked her up and carried her across. The finish photographer took a couple of pictures, that one might be worth getting. We'll have to see.

I looked back, the clock said under 6 hours, but I didn't know what that meant because I couldn't remember how far back I had started from zero.

Sitting near the finish, I sat down at the first non-rocky place I found. Amanda asked if I wanted to go to the blanket which was about 20 feet away. No thanks, I'd like to sit here and not move for a while.

Amanda brought me a monster energy drink per my request and a candy bar. The drink tasted great. Finally some flavor! The candy was also good, but my stomach felt a little odd and it didn't feel that good to eat, so I only ate half. Between her and Bethany I also go three cups of heed which I rejected, if I never have to drink that stuff again I will be happy.

I wanted to lay down, so we moved to the blanket. I was BEAT!
There was tons of love from our little group We hung out at on the blanket for a while, Amanda AND Bethany got me food, at the same time. There was water to drink and lemonade. It didn't feel terribly hot. It was nice to be done, and loving being around family.

I found some people I knew and talked for a bit about the race, confirmed that the run was terrible for everyone and that made me feel better. Perhaps I hadn't just crashed, perhaps we all had. Either way at that point I'm willing to blame it on the heat and hills.

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 29:55 29:40
Bike 3:00:00 2:50:18
Run 2:01:00 2:14:20
Total 5:36:00 5:39:17

The swim – That's basically right on pace. The best part about it is that time leaves me feeling just fine. It turns out I finished two minutes ahead of anyone in my age group, and that time is fast enough for top 10 overall.

The bike - 10 minutes on the bike is significant. According to the race site that's a 19.7 average, a full mile per hour faster than I planned. I think it's more like 19.4, because I think the course is just a little under 55 miles (based on the garmin.)

The run – What can I say? The run felt like a train wreck the entire time. But I noticed that everyone else was on the same train wreck. It's plausible that it was just hard. I heard when in transition picking up my stuff that the run had 700 feet of climbing in it. Sure that's not much for someone who runs lives in a hilly area, but we don't. I've been on bike rides that have less climbing than that. And up until this week we've been running in 55 degree weather. When we got in the van, it's thermometer said 91. That pace is 10:16 per mile, a full 1:15 per mile slower than I was shooting for.

Closing Comments
Overall I am feeling ok about this race as a performance (I did better than average by almost 20 minutes). I'm not sure I would change anything. Things happen. I could plan on bringing more nutrition on the bike, just in case. I could plan on brining my own run nutrition. But you know what? I'm not sure that had anything to do with my mental state or have much to do with my performance. Things weren't going my way, but I still came within 3 minutes of my goal. I turned in a very fast swim split, I went faster on the bike than I thought I could have. If 19.7 is right, that's faster than any race last year except a sprint. Even if 19.4 is right, it's still in the same rank. So I'll take it. So it comes down to the run, I lost 15 minutes off my goal pace due to walking. If I had let up on the bike and only met my goal (I knew I was way ahead of pace early, with 25 miles to go I was already over 19 and I was just going faster,) maybe the run would have gone better. But guess what? 19.7 is not that impressive compared to the field I was in. That bike split was only good enough for 24/35 in my age group. To get to half way I needed to shave another six minutes off the bike and then another 12 minutes off the run. So I could have spared the bike, added 10 minutes and (maybe) gotten 15 back from a faster run, but overall that get's me nowhere, I ended up 8 minutes back from the next guy in my age group. To move up one spot in my AG I need both.

Event commentary - I was very let down about there being three bottle exchanges on the bike course and then only having two. I planed my bottles based on having three. I'm not saying three is a requirement, but if you're going to say you'll have it then you should have it.

I was also let down by the run description. Again, I planned my nutrition on the idea that there would be more stuff. Again, I probably would have done more carrying if I had known that there was just water and heed.

The group that put on this race I pretty small I think, and I think it showed on this race. It was a new venue for them, and they didn't really update the website well enough. The course maps were wrong (are still wrong) on the website. The course descriptions were sometimes wrong too.

Having said that, the swim course was very well laid out, the bike course was excellently manned, there were a million very friendly volunteers, the food I had was good, and I think it was free. The race people were very responsive to emails and have an active facebook page.

So there are pros and cons, for me the cons outweigh the pros a little, because nobody plans a race on volunteers and post race food, they probably do plan races based on what's available on course.

I cannot say it enough times. Amanda brought the family out for the entire race, they cheered every time they saw me, we hung out after the race. I love seeing them, and loved spending the afternoon with them. It's also great to have done a race with Bethany, even though we didn't do the same event it is nice to see people you know on the course, and have someone to talk to before and after.

Some pictures of the family, because I think it's great that we were able to do this as a family and it's not just me out doing something for an entire day while they do something else.
Before Bethany's swim. Apparently the family was around before I left on the swim. I didn't see them though till after.

The baby looking super cute

The son - looking a little bothered

The oldest girl, looking very happy

My lovely wife, taking in some sun

Hanging out by transition. Based on the shade I'd guess this is very close to the run out

Sisters playing, it looks like there was a wardrobe change for the youngest though.

Next up, sprint triathlon in two weeks. And right now I'm leaning toward another 70.3 in six weeks.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Weekly Journal Roundup

Sun 6/3
I meant to get up early and run before church today, but when my alarm went off I was tired, so I just turned it off. The smallest ended up sleeping through church, so we got up as a family.

I am trying to get my hands on some heed drink before the race Saturday. It's the course drink, and I was not planning on brining enough sport drink to make to make it through the bike, if that's the plan I better like what they're serving.

I'm also in search of some wet suit glue, I'm sure GearWest has some, but I'd feel better to have the wetsuit wrapped up before Thursday night. Both of these quests failed today.

I put on my heart monitor for the first time in a bunch of months today. I was pretty sure it was broken, it was reading my resting heart rate at 50. I walked around a little bit and sat back down, and down to 50 it went. That's kind of surprising. I might have to re-work my hear-rate zones.

Mon 6/4
Almost forgot again. Today I skipped out early on the swim practice as my plan indicates that I should be doing shorter but similar or greater intensity workouts. I did a short run workout at work that left me feeling pretty confident, 3x 10 minutes slow to faster than race pace. Much to my surprise I actually did it decently.

I got slower each time, but I was able to accelerate over the interval
I ended the day with a bike ride with the group, I was planning on doing a similar 3x10 minute set like the run and then just settle in for a nice ride with the group. I didn't exactly follow that plan, also I got some killer calf cramps about 15 minutes in that lasted about 20 minutes, but they passed. I also picked up some Heed which is the sport drink that will be offered at the race this Saturday. The verdict, not as good as powerade flavor-wise, but the lemon lime is better than the orange which was pretty much nasty.

Tue 6/5
Almost forgot again today, it's suprising how hard it is for me to remember to write something down every day. Another day of short swim set. Did a very challenging run set, 5x 1minute 7of10 pace with 15 second of rest. 15 seconds is nothing. It was hot enough today that while I was running I could feel water dripping off my hair down my neck. Hopefully this time outside will help with the warmth this Saturday.

I did a similar bike set, it felt good (2 minutes 8of10 with 30 seconds of rest) there was a light breeze, I was able to keep over 20 mph for each of the 2 minutes, 20 mph average (including warm-up/down and :30 second easy spins. I still have no idea how people keep that kind of speed up for 50 or 100 miles. That's what the next month of training is for :)

I am super tired today, I think I didn't get enough sleep Sunday or Monday. I hope to make it up tonight.

Wed 6/6
I did not get to sleep early last night, so I opted for sleep instead of swimming today. So no workouts. I'm stepping up the pre-race hydration this week. I learned from my month of enough drinking that I cannot only drink water or else I'll just burn out, so I've been supplementing with powerade to keep my taste buds interested, plus the extra sodium.

Found some wetsuit glue today, I'll go pick it up tomorrow. Along with my race packet.

Thu 6/7
I went pee maybe six times last night. I guess it's a good thing I'm not just drinking water. I don't feel like I'm drinking a ton, maybe 80oz on Wednesday.

I felt surprisingly tired this morning, mainly since I got to sleep in. I'm not going to worry about it. Regular day at work, then I went to pick up the race packet. What can I say, I like to be prepared.

During packet pickup someone mentioned they will not have ice on the course, here's to hoping they mean no ice except in the water. Because if someone hands me water that is 80 degrees at 11:30 in the morning I'm going to be disappointed. This story is especially funny because she mentioned it when someone asked for advice for keeping cool. She said, if we were going to have ice, which we're not, you could put it under a hat while you run. Super.

The packet wasn't much to look at, mostly ads for Hammer Nutrition and a gel. I'll take the gel, so far I've yet to find one I don't like :)

I did a light run and bike today, they felt fine. I feel like I'm doing well keeping fluids up and getting some good carbs and protein going.

Fri 6/8
Spent the day with the family, no workouts. We went to Valley Fair, I tried to stay on the hydration plan, it sort of worked. We got home, put the kids to bed, and got packed for the race.

This is the first time I've made a list of stuff I need to bring for a triathlon. It gave me some piece of mind.

Sat 6/9
Did the race.
Tried to stay up as long as possible, made it till 9.

Friday, June 8, 2012

SILA : 10

Tips for a less stressful race - Mainly targeted at beginners, I think it's interesting to see what tips people have.

Cool Bikes - Actually the best thing about this article in my opinion is they talk about the costs of the bikes, and then talk about how to lower the cost (ditch Di2 and 80mm Zipps for example)

Tips for racing in the heat - There's a brief writeup about what factors go into why you start to overheat, then there's a bit about what if you're not from a warm climate but racing in one, and then just some tips like "you're sweating more than water, use more than water to replace it."

More tips on racing in hot weather - I linked to page two because the little table I think is pretty interesting. In some reading I've done lately there is an obvious focus on "sure you need to eat, but don't over-do it, that's almost as bad as not eating in a long race"

Avoiding the bonk - This is actually geared toward iron-distance, but I think it applies to half-distance as well. My personal opinion is that anything less than that doesn't really need much planning/thought.

Interview with Chrissy Wellington - Sort of interesting, the whole thing about her coach playing mind-games with her piqued my interested, but not enough to buy the book or even borrow it and read it.

Interviews With Chris Macca - Sound quality isn't the best, but it's sort of interesting to hear what he has to say. I'm a little surprised by how un-humble he sounds, but that's a quality he reveres apparently, so I guess it makes sense to hear it from him.

This has been making the rounds but I think it's cool. A video of the Venus Transit that happened this week and won't happen again for something like 120 years. It looks pretty fake to me, but I'm not sure how you'd expect the dark side of a planet to look against the sun.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Race Preview - Liberty 70.3

At the end of last summer I went to Madison Wisconsin to volunteer for the Ironman race there. It was a good time, and it was helping me gear up mentally for doing a full iron distance event. The plan is to do Madison in 2013, and part of that, for me, is ramping up on the distance. This race is the first step in that plan.

It just recently occurred to me how long this race really is. If you run a slow marathon you will finish in 5 1/2 hours, if you win you might finish around 2 hours. If you use up all the time they give you on a 70.3 you get 8 hours, if you win it still takes 4 hours. That's a ton of time, it's not a sprint.

Physically I think I am ready for this, I feel very prepared to hit all of the individual points on the map, so it's just a matter of doing them one after the other.

Race Info
The race is in Rockford MN, it's about an hour from where we live. So I'll just drive up the morning of.

The swim is a triangle in a lake - since I did a race on this same weekend last year I know that a wetsuit is basically a requirement. The distance for swim on a 70.3 isn't that much further than an Olympic distance swim so I am not worried about the swim at all.

The bike is a large loop followed by a smaller loop. I biked it once already at a pretty easy pace, it's not super hilly, but it might actually be the furthest I've biked in one time, ever.

The run course is apparently an out and back with two turn around points, but I don't see how that's possible from the map they have. That is how it's described both on their site, and in the last email they sent out though. I have not run the course, I did hear that it's a little hilly, but nothing to worry about.
This is from The course is run around the loop twice, except just once hit that little jaunt at 2 o'clock

I realized as I was trying to plan for this race that I have no idea what my goals should be. At this distance I'm not sure that I need to be pushing really hard at any point except maybe the last half an hour. That's a big switch, even on an Olympic distance I think you can be pretty aggressive the whole time. But I suspect if I go too hard on the swim or bike it's very possible that I'll hit the wall long before the end. I now know that if I push too hard on the bike and get one mph faster but then end up walking even one mile of 13 I will loose all that time, and if I run out of steam totally I would probably end up walking more than one mile.

Swim29:551:25 per 100 yards
Bike3:0018.5 miles/hour
Run2:019:15 mins/mile

5:36 puts me firmly in the middle of the pack, but on the south side of my age group. Looking at the results before I made my goals is sort of what got me mixed up about how hard this might be. There are many people who will average the same speed on the bike I averaged on my last sprint, and then they'll get off the bike and run a half marathon in way under my half PR. So I'll just do my race and see where I land.

I'm feeling good about the swim, 1:25 is the pace I held at Trinona last year in a wetsuit, I am probably in way better swim shape this year, so it should work out fine.

18.5 should be doable. I mean I regularly go faster than that on shorter rides, but it's well below the speed I would aim for on a sprint or Olympic distance.

9:15 miles may actually be a little aggressive. I mean I know it's more than a full minute per mile slower than  the half I just ran, but for that race I just got up and went to the run. In this case I will be three and a half hours into a race.

I put four minutes in for transitions. Since a minute or so in there isn't going to exactly break the time bank, I'm just going to make my way though transitions and not worry about it.

Closing Comments
I'm not sure I'm going to pay much attention to time during the race. I'm going to try to just feel it. I think it will be somewhat challenging to remember to keep the pace feeling easy, no pushing, not on the swim, not on the bike, not right away on the run. It will be a challenge both mentally and physically. I think I'm ready for it, but then again I have no idea what it is.

Also, when I think about these times
5:36 to move 70.3 miles - 12.8 miles per hour
Fastest sprint distance - 1:07 to move 15.6 miles - 14.05 miles per hour
Fastest Olympic Distance - 2:46 to move 33 miles - 11.91 miles per hour

I'm in pretty decent shape right now, I think I can hit the goal I set, but I am aware that it will mean I can do my second (longer) race of the year holding a faster pace than the last race of last year.

On a slightly funny note, if this race follows the same pattern as the 10k and half I did earlier this year, it's possible that I'll finish in 5 hours even. I'm not going to hold my breath for that.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Weekly Journal Roundup

Friday 6/1
It's 9:22, I almost forgot on the very first day to do this. I was reading an interview from Chrissy Wellington and thought, oh yeah, for SILA, and then I thought, oh yeah, I am supposed to write my stuff daily.

I got an email today about the 70.3 on Saturday, my heart fluttered a little. It strikes me as a little silly, I think for sure I will do fine. I want to do better than I think I can.

Sunday is the last longish workout before the race. After an 80 minute run it will basically be 30 minutes or less until Saturday.

Saturday 6/2
No workout today. I went for my first open water swim in my new wet suit. I tell everyone that the buoyancy is surprising, but I was still surprised. I don't have much of a kick when I'm not sprinting, basically enough to just keep myself level in the water. The wetsuit allows for no kick, my feet just pop right to the surface. I also noticed that I have a fingernail tear in it already *sigh* time to find some glue.

I spent the rest of the day with the family, we went to Valley Fair, which is very local for us. We got season passes, the kids have been twice already this year and they love it.

At this time next week I'll be done with my first 70.3. My sister did hers today, she met her goal basically exactly, it looks like she really rocked the bike leg, so good for her. All of that training is really paying dividends.