Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Training Notes

This month my totals look like this

Swim29,250 yards8:30 hours
Bike353 miles19:15 hours
Run60 miles9:30 hours
Paddling10 miles4:20 hours

This month seemed to drag on forever, probably because I wasn't eating any candy :). The first two weeks were supposed to be the end of a bike focus period (which appears to have paid off BTW) but we were also doing all sorts of family related stuff, so I felt like training took a back seat. Then last week I basically took off, I was soooo tired, I just couldn't figure it out. These days I'm just doing some maintenance stuff, and trying to figure out what the rest of the season looks like. I did two races, Minneapolis and Chisago and had mixed results (more on that in a different post.)

Swimming yards are up for the second month in a row, but that is 10,000 yards less than I swam in April. My swimming performance seems very good, so I'm not concerned about it.

Biking is going well, I have gone to the last few times with the bike group and I can tell that overall I am much stronger on the hills than I used to be, and perhaps overall speed is up too. Race performance seems to be showing that too.

I honestly feel like I'm not running ever, but the log disagrees. I am hoping to have a strong run in the next race, and I suppose that's when lack of training would make an appearance if it's a problem.

I put paddling in there because my muscles hurt the next day, and four hours of any specific exercise seems like it should count :)

This month's goal was to not eat sweets. I messed up a few times, but stuck with it. I missed my sweets, I passed on smores and desserts a couple of times.

Next month is to read some books. The books I had chosen are looking less appealing to me right now, but I'll probably just buckle down and read through them. Look for a a couple of book reports from me.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Race Preview : Lakefront Days Sprint Triathlon

This triathlon has a special place in my heart. It was my first, and it's literally only three miles from my house. A pretty low key event, but there's still some speed to see there.

Race Info
This swim is an out and back with no "neutral zone" but if I remember correctly there are many buoys down the center line so they have effectively handled the problem they had the first year I did it which was having people cross over the center line into head on traffic. As for wetsuits, I'm pretty sure it wasn't legal last year, and I was just in lake Minnetonka which is enormous compared to this lake and it was pushing 80, so I'm going to say ... no way.

The bike is a 13.5 mile loop, it starts out kinda rolly, then settles down with only one little climb in it with a few miles to go. I am very familiar with this course.

The run is around the lake the swim is on, about 3.3 miles. Its through a park, but there are long sections of no shade due to a lack of big trees. It's sort of rolly, but no really tough hills.

Due to some supreme tiredness after Chisago, I took most of last week off. I was just super tired the entire week, and basically took the week off to deal with it. It's been brought to my attention that might mean a pretty significant calorie deficit in my diet, so that's something I'll have to work on, so I'm not feeling super confident about my energy reserves. But the goal will be the same as I talked about in December.

My goals for december looked like this
Swim6:141:25 per 100 yards
Bike39:0220.75 miles/hour
Run27:308:20 mins/mile

If I execute on that, that is good enough for top 20, and first overall in my AG.

Based on performances so far this year I might adjust these to be

Swim6:141:25 per 100 yards
Bike38:3021 miles/hour
Run26:208:00 mins/mile

If I execute on that, that is good for top 15.

6:15 on the swim is 20 seconds slower than lifetime. It's possible that at the Lifetime tri I was able to get significant draft advantage due to the time trial start which this race doesn't have. Or maybe I'll go sub six again and have the fastest overall swim split again.

21 is a little slower than Lifetime, but this course is a little hillier. I have been on a couple of rides recently though and felt pretty good. I will just try to stay focused on keeping in aero and holding up a good cadence.

26 is a good guess for reality for me for the run, I could throw down the 7:45 goal again, but honestly I'm tired of not making it, and it's only one minute more at this pace. Its roughly what I did at Lifetime and should be doable.

I took 30 seconds off my transitions from last year, but when I look at them they look pretty slow, so I'm thinking I can probably shave 30 seconds off pretty easily.

Closing Comments
It's easy to feel under-prepared for this due to last week, and honestly last month. My performance at Chisago has me feeling underwhelmed at my current physical level, but I think the reality is that I am in pretty good shape and I should be able to execute this. One sort of disappointing thing about this race, if I miss first in my AG and end up in second, no award :(

Friday, July 27, 2012

Race Review : Chisago Lakes 70.3

The second 70.3 of the year. This is part of prep for signing up for IM WI next year.

It's occurred to me that perhaps my logic isn't spelled out that clearly with this. There were two goals here. First, can I tolerate the distance, is it possible to motivate myself to the end of the race? Second can I figure out how to perform at a level I am happy with? Granted a half 70.3 isn't anything like 140.6, but it doesn't fit my style to jump feet first into something when you have not even the faintest idea of what you're diving into. Let's remember that in 2009 I couldn't run three miles straight, and up until this year the longest physical anything I had ever done was just under three hours. So the plan was to double the distance, give that two tries (because I only know of two local events that are that long) and then use that info to judge on the IM WI bid.

The Training
All pre-season training went toward the first half, the next five weeks was bike focused and then there was a week gap before this race. All in all the last five or so weeks seemed pretty light, but when I look back at the log it looks like I executed pretty well. So I'm going to say I was ready for this.

Packet Pickup
There were a bunch of options for packet pickup, Friday, Saturday, and race morning. My daughter did the kids tri on Saturday, so we hung out afterwards and picked up our packets then. It was painless, one odd thing was they posted everyone's name on a board and then you were supposed to look up your own number, remember it while you waited for your turn (in my case 10 seconds) and then tell the lady. I'm not sure I understand the logic of that, but it worked fine.

Race Morning
The race started at 7, we live an hour from the race, so we elected to get there around 6, so that meant leave at 5, I decided we should leave at 4:40, so that meant get up at 3:55. Yikes! Pictures are lacking because I was pretty tired, and was sort of in a funk in the morning.

My wife was sick so she wasn't going to be able to come, or keep the kids. My parents-in-law were coming for the race in the morning, so we convinced them to come the night before. This changed my normal morning routine as I felt like I should do some of the race prep for them that my wife would normally do. I was happy to volunteer for it, because it's a small price to pay for them coming down and then watching our three kids at the race for 8 hours.

So the morning felt kind of rushed. I think we left on time, made the drive up there, found a parking spot and got to the site. It was pretty busy, we got there later than I normally like, so there was a lot of hubbub around, lines had already formed for the porta potties, stuff like that.

First order of business was to go to the bathroom, so we racked our bikes, then went to the bathroom, then got numbered. I think because I did so many races in Florida where they are super diligent about not letting people in transition who are not racers it still throws me off guard that we can go in with no numbering at all, put our bikes down and then wander around for a while.

This was the first race I've been to where the racks are numbered, so each bike has an assigned spot. It seemed like a tight fit, but I got lucky and the racer next to me at the end of the rack didn't show, so I got two spaces. I think I like this though, because there's a little bit of "this is how much space you get, and no I'm not kidding" when the labels are already there for you.

I had heard a few stories about how the race was super large, and possibly too large for the venue, but I thought the transition area was well laid out. I didn't have any problems finding my bike or figuring things out, so that was good.

At some point they announced the race was wetsuit legal, which means to me that they dropped some sort of water cooling device in the water before the official measured the temp, because there's no way that water was less than 79 degrees. No matter, I brought my wetsuit just in case, I did consider not wearing it because I was a little worried about overheating, but decided to go with it for the floating advantage.

The only thing I think was missing from the morning was a clear description of the swim course over the loud speaker. Now, don't get me wrong, I saw a bunch of orange buoys in a triangle formation with the start on the left and the exit on the right and I get it. But there were plenty of people who didn't, and I do not recall any sort of announcement about it.

Bethany and I were in wave 6, I think that means we left 18 minutes after 7.

The Swim

The swim felt hard, I don't know if I took it out hard or just swam hard, or if I got hot and it was affecting me, but after I rounded the first marker I took a few seconds of breast stroke to clear my head a little and then got back into it. I did that again after the second turn, and one more time as we were coming in.

Every swimmer doing the long course race had the same color cap on, so I don't know how many waves I passed. I think I came in with wave 4 or maybe 3, I feel like I passed two distinct groups and was in the midst of another group when I hit the shore.

They had wetsuit strippers here which I took advantage of. They had a large white tarp on the ground (that everyone was running over) and you say you want someone else to take it off, you lay down and "whomp" off it comes. It was good. The only bad part was that now I was covered in sand. My hands had sand on them until almost half way through the run. Though that didn't bother me till the run started.

Since I was feeling a little dazed during the swim and on the run up I sort of took my time in T1. I sat down to get my stuff on and lightly jogged out to the start of the bike.

Hopping on the bike, there were a bunch of people  all getting on at the same time, it was surprisingly busy
The Bike
The bike course started off very fast, we must have been mainly with the wind for the first 10 or 15 miles. Through 15 miles my average was above 20 mph. The we hit a turn and got into a slight headwind. It wasn't that bad, but it slowed me down to more the pace I was expecting.

I was drinking my fluids, making sure to run out of Powerade around 30 miles, I tossed my empty bottle at the 20 mile exchange and picked up a replacement Gatorade. At about 30 miles is when we hit the big roller I talked about in the preview. It's a short fast downhill followed by a meandering climb. It was not super taxing, it was at this point I ate my bar. I was feeling fine physically, it didn't seem that hot and my breathing and heart rate seemed inline with the effort I wanted to be expending.

During the Liberty report I mentioned that after a while I really wanted to be done riding bike. That thought occurred to me way earlier this time. It was sometime before the second bottle exchange. I was just bored, it's a long time to be out there.

The rest of the bike was pretty uneventful. There were a handful of people I was leapfrogging which sort of passed the time, but overall I just kept going to the run. In the end I didn't quite finish all my fluids. I think I drank about 90oz while on the bike, took two gels and ate one Cliff bar. That's basically in-line with my goals.

A note about this bike course, it's basically not patrolled. So there was quite a bit of drafting going on. In one case a guy I had been leap frogging with for a bunch of miles came by in a group of about ten, he actually suggested I hop on. I didn't. In another case a guy drafted off me for probably 10 miles, I kept seeing his shadow. Mentally it got to me, I was frustrated by it, I know you can form a group and move along much faster than you would normally go by yourself, but drafting isn't allowed in these triathlons. I don't really know why, but if it's against the rules it's against the rules.

I got the transition, trotted my bike in and headed out on the run.

I'm looking and feeling pretty great here
The Run
The first mile was a little bit of a struggle, I was just having trouble getting the pace up on my own. Thankfully a lady came trotting by, she was moving a little faster than goal pace, but not by much so I pulled up near her.

Some time later she started to fade, I pulled up and thanked her for helping me through a rough spot, and that gave her some strength for another mile or so. But eventually she slowed and dropped back.

I'd say the first five or six miles came along pretty easily. I was taking in water and gatorade at every station. Some of the stations had ice, and I was happy about that. Right at about four miles in though we really hit a hard part of the course, and it would stay hard until we got back. It was basically down a long rolling highway. It was hoooot with no room for aid stations or shade. Like I said though, I was doing just fine, there was an aid station at about 6 miles that I knew we'd see again in about mile. That mile was when I had to break out the mantra.

Profile for the four miles in the middle.The lowest point on this graph is about 50 feet lower than the tallest peak
So the walking is faster than running thing got me through to about 11 miles, and then I just gave out, hit the wall. Mentally I was toast, and while I didn't feel totally drained I was cramping a little. Probably had my mind/heart been in it more the cramping along wouldn't have been enough to stop me though.

This was a huge low point, I already knew I was off my goal times. I knew the bike was slower, I assumed the swim was slower, and I knew the run was slower. So I sort of run/walked for the rest of the way. It wasn't that bad, I was averaging between 10 and 11 minute miles.

The Finish

Near the end I was able to muster up the strength to run all the way in, my legs were still cramping and the finish is uphill, so I was sort of running lightly than maybe I normally would have.

A picture taken before I saw my cheering section, my legs were hurting pretty bad

There's the smile. Seeing people you know cheering for you always changes the game!

Done! If you look closely there is a woman behind me. I don't know how long she was being me, but I knew she was there. I wonder if she didn't pass me at the end just because nobody wants to be passed at the end of that long race, hopefully not :)

Having some water and taking a break.
 I was sort of out of it, I can remember my parents in law talking to me about various things and I could not muster good conversation skills. Thanks for understanding guys!

Ice bath, the guy in the white visor is telling me this was one of the hardest halves he's done and he's done a lot. It didn't make me feel that much better. The cold water felt great though.

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 33:30 30:51
Bike 2:52 2:53:43
Run 1:58 2:09:43
Total 5:27 5:38:42

The swim – Faster than goal speed, but slower than Liberty by about a minute.

The bike - Three minutes slower than Liberty, although again I think the Liberty bike course is short by a little over a mile, and this course is not. So I think that's actually the same pace. Slower than my goal pace, but not by much.

The run – Way off goal pace, but about five minutes faster than Liberty. I'd say the run was not as challenging as Liberty, so I wish the time difference was more.

Closing Comments
Overall I'm fairly disappointed by the results here. I had two goals. One was to make my overall time goal, or if that was going to fall to the side, I wanted to finish the run without walking. I suppose it may be a little unrealistic to think that no walking is an option. I have since heard that the DTK who came in first walked some of the run, and so did Dan Hedgecock who finished second. Still though, I walked a bunch, and I really wish it would have been less. Maybe it's nutrition, maybe it's pacing, but it's clear to me that I do not have this distance even close to dialed in. I'll say it again, I want to be in a position to run a race at this distance at this speed or faster without all of the mental anguish that comes along on the run. Who knows though, maybe it won't happen... maybe it's normal.

From a racer's perspective this race is good. I had heard bad things about the venue and bad things about the swim course. They switched the swim course, and the venue, I think, is fine. I had a good time at this race, and would do it again.

My mom and dad in law deserve a special call out! They came down early so I could do this race, and they stayed there with a smile on thier faces the entire time. They are both fantastic cheerers, and put up with my basic shut down after the race for about 45 minutes. I really appreciate it!

I missed my wife at this race, but she stayed home and rested and that was the right thing! I'm sure she entertained the idea more than she should have of coming to the race anyway.

Next up, a sprint next weekend.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Race Review : Chisago Kids Tri

The day before the Chisago 70.3 is the Chisago kids triathlon and Ivy wanted to do it. While it's tempting to write this in her voice, I think that I don't actually know what she's thinking most of the time, so instead I'll just narrate.

Packet Pickup
There was one option for packet pickup, show up the morning of. So that's what we did.

Race Morning
The race started at 9, we figured we needed an hour to get there and we figured we didn't want to be standing around long as that might wear on Ivy's patience, so we left at 6:45, enough time to get some gas in the car and get situated once we got there.

I racked the bike thinking we may have six passengers, in the end mom was sick so I could have just put it in the van with us. Apparently my sister's bike doesn't fit on this type of bike rack, so I'll just say that Ivy must already be taller than her.
It was lightly raining as we left the house, then we drove through the orange and red sections. That's not light rain.
Sporting her first triathlon racing bib
Body marking complete
After getting all marked up we went and set up the transition area
Easy spot to find, follow the sidewalk all the way to the end we were first in the rack
By this point the rain was gone and it was turning into a great morning. So we headed off to the swim staging area.

Super excited to get going!

Goggles On! We were in the second to last wave, and the first wave hadn't left yet

Spectators watching the swim start and exit
People with their kids waiting to start. The blue segment we're not in, the swimming entrance chute.
It took about an hour from when they first wave went in until our wave went. The deal was that they were pausing between each age group to wait for the previous group to finish the bike course. I assume it was so they could better control where people were going, but after a while it was pretty annoying.

The Swim

The swim was a mass start by age and gender (that is, if the age group was 4-5, there were four waves, 5 yo boys, 5 yo girls, 4 yo boys, 4 yo girls.)

Trying to nudge in with the 5yo girls
Right age group, ready to go! She was super excited
It's worth mentioning that the swim is set up so that the kids could if they wanted to stand up at any time for help. Most of the older kids swam, but as they got younger, and the race moved closer to shore most of the kids started running. It was only waist deep. I advised her to swim as much as she could, as I know that it's faster to swim than run.

Swimming like a fish. This is the final marker, and she's headed toward the exit
First out of the water! She ran almost the whole way to her bike with her goggles on :) 
The run to the bike was easily the hardest part of the race. It was probably as long as the bike course and up hill. By the time we got to her bike she couldn't even talk.
The Bike
The bike course was an out and back, .5 miles. There was a slight decline for the first half and then, obviously, a slight up hill on the way back. The first half we spent taking it easy down the hill, and then when we rounded the corner she hammered back up the hill.

This is on the way back in, the picture is misleading, I'm pretty sure we were passing kids left and right at this point. The same kids that passed us on the way down the hill.
After some coaxing to get her off the bike we ran back to our spot, she had taken off her helmut on the run we tossed our stuff there and took off.

The Run
The run was 1/8th of a mile, that equates to run out of transition and into the finisher's chute. She really turned on the gas at this point, totally self motivated!

The Finish
The girl looked like a total pro coming down toward the finish line. She crossed, picked up a cup of water and got a medal.

A dip in the ice bath (sans ice) post race really helps recovery

Based on her stellar performance on the swim and really tough running to the bike I thought she had a chance to place, but she didn't. If you take a look back at the swimming exit picture, the girl in pigtails with the screaming mother placed first (don't get me wrong it wasn't some stage mom screaming, but she was definitely pushing her harder than I was pushing Ivy :) Ivy was definitely bummed by not placing.

Closing Comments
Ivy said she had fun, even when asked more than once. I got several thumbs up afterwards. The even itself is a little odd. I wish they could figure out a way to get the waves closer together, as you can imagine four year olds have trouble staying engaged for an entire hour before its time for them to go.

After the race we had some family fun, everyone by mom was there. We missed you mom!
Played in a mud puddle!

Playing at the park

Friday, July 20, 2012

Race Preview : Chisago Lakes 70.3

I signed up for this race because it's a 70.3 and we've been toying around with the idea of doing an Ironman next year and this is my second 70.3. Due to the recent sprint tri I did, and how much fun I had at it, I suppose it's worth pointing out that I much prefer sprints to any other distance, I like the speed. So the 70.3s are confidence boosters that I can tolerate the distance, but also tolerate the time, and I put them on the schedule for that reason.

Race Info
This race is about 70 miles north of us, originally we planned on staying the night because my daughter will be doing her first traithlon on Saturday, but then we decided to just drive up twice. I've labeled the times we'll be getting up as kid-cracka (race starts at nine) and butt-cracka (race starts at seven.)

This swim is an out and back similar to Liberty, except I have heard a few horror stories about last year's race. Apparently, unlike Liberty, they do not have a "neutral zone", so if people drift across the line they will be heading into oncoming traffic. My first traithlon suffered from this problem, it's not awesome. Also according to the last email they sent out, the waves will be groups of 100. That's easily the largest swim wave I've ever been a part of. As for wetsuits, someone told me they look for a way to make it wetsuit legal, but based on the water temp at the Minneapolis tri, and the weather we've been having it doesn't seem likely.

The bike is a single 56 mile loop. According to the website it's mostly flat with just a few rollers.
I'll have to revise my definition of roller :) That one incline is 300 feet. It's also almost 4 miles.
The run is an out and back, or I guess it is most accurately described as a lollipop. Like Waconia it's along roads and not in a park. That basically means no shade.

Due to vacations over the last two weeks my workouts feel like they've been lacking, but I am feeling pretty good, at least on the bike, heading into this. My overall goal is to do better than Liberty, and that can be measured in two ways. One is by a better time, the second is by not walking the run. Either or both of those will be acceptable.

Swim33:301:35 per 100 yards
Bike2:5219.5 miles/hour
Run1:589:00 mins/mile

5:27 puts me a bit on the north side of mid-pack overall and closer, but still north of mid-pack, in my AG

33:30 for the swim is a full 4 minutes slower than Liberty, but no wetsuit makes the swim take longer.

19.5 on the bike should be doable. It's approximately the speed I did at Liberty which was also pretty flat, but didn't have the one 4 mile incline which is bound to take its toll.

Similar run goal as last time, the manta of the run will be 10 is faster than 18. Hopefully I won't need it, but if I want to walk that's what I'll try to use to keep from walking. Because running at 10 minutes per mile is way faster than walking at 18, and I know that 18 minutes per mile is quite an amble, but that's how fast I walk :)

I put 4 minutes for transitions, that should be sufficient.

Closing Comments
I'm feeling prepared, so lets see if that translates into results I am proud of. If I can stay with this plan, or close to it, I will do better than I did at Liberty. So we'll see.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Race Review : Minneapolis Tri

Another sprint triathlon. I was drawn to this race due to it's size and because it's part of a national series and pros from all over the world come to race it. The pros don't do the sprint, but its not like I race on their level anyway.

The Training
I'm wrapping up a five week bike focused session. I think I may have messed it up a little as it seems like it was pretty light training the last two weeks. Although some of that was missed workouts due to various vacation activities.

Packet Pickup
There was one option for packet pickup, go to the expo the day before from noon to eight p.m.. So that's what we did. The expo was decent, there were options to see pro triathletes, get signatures, listen to Q&A sessions, listen to detailed course descriptions. All we really did was wander around and get free stuff for the kids and pick up our packets. We signed up to win some bikes, apparently though you have to be present to win; we didn't wait around for the drawing. The line to pick up packets was pretty long, I'm not too sure why, but it was long and didn't move terribly fast. It's actually sort of confusing, because when I think about it, the process seemed pretty fast once we were up there, so who knows.

Race Morning
The race started at 7, transition opened at 4:30, so we figured getting there around 5:30 was going to be good.

It's almost like I don't know how to sleep in anymore

Breakfast of champions

Rise and shine sleepy head :)
The plan was to pick up my sister at her local residence for the week at 4:40, and as far as I can tell I hit that right on the button. We made our way toward the race site and found a parking spot in a nearby neighborhood. We got our bikes ready, she teased me about my bike pump, and then we rode our bikes to the race site. I got numbered, finish putting the stickers on my bike and then we headed into transition.

The transition area was pretty large, it probably was larger than it seemed which I'd say is a good thing. The racks were set up by number, which I love, because it makes it easy to find a place for you bike. We were there early enough to get pick of the racks basically.

My friend Eric found me, he was doing his second triathlon while he was visiting his family. So that was cool, because we're in the same age group and they numbered people by age group (and wave) we were racked very close to each other. So he and I and my sister hung out the rest of the morning.

The transition area was pretty easy to follow, it was a large rectangle. Swim entrance in the top left, run out in the top right, bike out in the lower right, bike in on the lower left. My rack was in the lower right near the bike out. They didn't have artificial landmarks like at Liberty, but Eric found a sort of incidental one in that his bike was racked in a row that was also the same row as the last bike rack in the next column down. Once he shared that with me I used that to find my bike too.

So the deal is that this race is large, something like 3,000 people between two races. So the transition area closed at 6:45, but we weren't scheduled to enter the water till 9:30. That's a pretty long time, but it wasn't that bad, or at least I had a good time talking to Eric and my sister. Some time later we figured out they were off schedule by about 15 minutes, who knows what happened there. For me it wasn't that big a deal, but I'm sure it was frustrating for my wife who usually times out when and where she needs to be places to see people.

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 3921, so that means I was going to wait for a truckload of people to go before me (basically everyone.) Since the water was 81 degrees I did not have my wetsuit on, which was really great due to the previously mentioned two hour delay between when I could have my stuff and when I would use it.

The swim went pretty well, I had no trouble staying in a straight line this time which is good. One nice feature of this swim was that at no point did I have to stare into the sun. That was pretty sweet. My plan for this swim since it was so short (shortest of the season so far) was to take it pretty fast, sometime near the end I noticed I was working pretty hard, and since we were about to stand up (some people were already standing) I backed off for a few seconds to catch my breath before I stood up. That seemed pretty effective.

I trotted the long trot to my bike, got my socks on no problems, told a guy he was putting his helmut on backwards and then headed out.

The Bike
The bike course was surprisingly fast, I had a small amount of trouble getting my feet in my pedals correctly. My left shoe folded in under my left foot, but a small amount of correction with my finger and all was good. After that I started the watch, saw my family on the side lines and then got to work. I looked down ... 26mph. Nice!

Because there were roughly 2500 people in front of me I spent most of the bike passing people. I think I only got passed three times.

In the preview I wondered why it seemed that my potential placing was so high (percentage wise.) And now I know why. There were a TON of people who were either doing their first one or only one or just didn't ride bike often. They were ALL OVER THE PLACE. I didn't worry too much about the pass on the left rule or drafting. People were cruising on the left, in the middle, on the right, swerving, rapidly changing speed, you name it. So I spent a bunch of time weaving around people, it was fun. I'm not trying to be mean, but it is fun to blow by people on the bike.

According to the splits on the watch I basically slowed down the entire bike course, it's possible I took it out a little fast :) I got to the transition area, had my feet out of my shoes, went to dismount and .... wait for it ... my shoe came flying off my pedal. Thankfully I have arms like an ape so I just leaned over and grabbed the one stray shoe and jogged to the bike rack.

No problems finding my place this time. I'm going to give Eric credit for the great landmark he came up with.

The Run

As I was about to run out of transition I realized I didn't have my watch on ... again *sigh* I can't bring myself to care enough about this continued problem to want to try to address it when not racing.

Almost immediately one of my calves started to cramp, I didn't want to walk unless it was unbearable, so I just tried to adjust my form a little to hopefully just run through it. That worked, a short while later I started to figure out where the 7:30 pace was in my mental stop watch. Over the entire course only a few people passed me, some blew by, others did not. I tried to latch on to people who didn't but just couldn't muster the steam. I had convinced myself I was at least close to 7:30s so I just tried to keep the pace up and not worry about others.

The run was otherwise pretty uneventful, having it be only a 5k I knew I could whip out that distance without too much effort so I didn't stress about water or picking up a gel or anything. I did take in small amounts of water at every water stop, I did notice the water was warm, but it didn't matter much I usually take water only to avoid thirst.

A neat feature on this run course was cold wet towels, they were out of towels by the time I passed the two places, since I was only running the short course I didn't care, but the thought was nice.

About half way through a guy with a 39 passed me, and not very quickly. Now I'm not sure if he was running the same race as me, but I did want to try to keep up with him and hopefully pass him before the end of the race (you know, so I can secure at least one more spot in the rankings :) Unfortunately he had the same race strategy I did, and when I would speed up so would he. I'm pretty sure I did not end up passing him, but I have to admit the last half mile is kind of a blur.

The Finish
Per usual on sprints I started picking up the pace with about a mile to go. My thinking is that if I hit the finish line and am not huffing and puffing I didn't really push it hard enough :) Due to the large number of racers there were also a large number of spectators, so running into the there was a long chute of people cheering. That was a lot of fun, and really makes you want to run fast. I heard someone yell my name but didn't know where they were. The clock read 3:10 or something like that which means basically nothing to me, but I raised my hands in triumph anyway. I had run a pretty good race.

Post race drink, I was pretty thirsty and possibly a little dehydrated. I developed a pretty wicked headache later in the day

Waiting for my sister to cross the line

Post race photo with big sister

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 6:30 5:53
Bike 45:00 42:40
Run 22:30 23:54
Total 1:18:00 1:15:48

The swim – 37 seconds over 400 meters is pretty significant, that swim actually is the fastest overall in the sprint distance by a margin of about six seconds. That felt awesome.

The bike - 2:20 is also pretty significant, like I mentioned above I took the bike out pretty strong, in the first five miles I averaged well over 22 mph, but also like I mentioned above it started to fall off. That puts my average right around 21.1

The run – That is just under 8 minute miles, and honestly I'm pretty happy with that. It's off my goal pace by almost 30 seconds, but I turned in a pretty fast race so I'm happy that I could muster that speed with no external guide. I will still try to push myself faster on the runs, because out of the 5 timed segments of this race the run is my worst ranking.

I gave myself four minutes in the goals for transition. The first one took 1:57 which seemed pretty fast. I actually got to my bike after some guy I saw, got my stuff and had time to tell him to adjust his helmut before I left before him. The second one only took 1:22 which was 4th fastest in my age group, so I'm feeling pretty good about those too.

I felt like I was really firing an all cylinders for this race. I placed 5th of 62 in my age group and 21st of 830 overall.

Closing Comments
It's fun to have ranked so high, I still feel like I have so much work to do, but it's fun to have done so well. At the end of last year I mentioned that I wanted to break into the top five in my age group, and then I refined that goal to an age group win at Prior Lake, if I can execute at that race the same way I did here that goal is a reality. In three short weeks I could get my first award for a podium finish. And if you're wondering, I missed a podium finish here by 2:40

From a racer's perspective this race is great. The setup is clear and organized, there were bathrooms everywhere, there are neat little perks like an expo and an "energy zone", there is the chance to see pro athletes pushing their hardest, a cool finisher's medal, good food, a play area for kids, a kids dj, face paining, a beer tent, and I'm sure there's more. I would definitely do this race again. The only draw back is the road surface pretty much sucks major donkey, I'd suggest the race director try to get in touch with the cities and recommend resurfacing the bike course, there's no way this race doesn't generate tons of revenue for the local economy. Apparently the race isn't as spectator friendly, having a course so clearly marked out for racers that you practically can't get lost means there are barricades up everywhere blocking access for pedestrians who might want to be moving from area to area quickly.

The crew - missing from this shot is my wife. She's great!
Next up, a half iron next weekend.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Race Preview : Minneapolis Tri

I signed up for this race because it's a major local race. I like the idea of a larger races, and I'm not even sure why :) I signed up for the sprint because next week I have a 70.3 and at the time I figured that mattered, now I'm not sure that it does.

Race Info
The race is in south Minneapolis which should be a fairly short drive from home. It's part of a national Toyota cup and draws some well known names in the world of triathlon. They all race the longer race, but it will still be neat.

The swim is a triangle in a lake - we had a hot stretch a couple of weeks ago, I seriously doubt the water will be below 78, I'll probably take my wetsuit just incase, but I'm not planning on wearing it. This race has a time-trial start like the last one, I talked about that in the last review. From what I can tell I'll be starting very close to the end of the pack, so there will be plenty of people ahead of me. The swim is only 400 meters though, so hopefully the swim portion will be pretty painless with only half the distance to cover I should pass far fewer people.

The bike is a 15 mile loop (that's practically an out and back with a river in the middle), I'm thinking it will be pretty flat due to where the race is, but I suppose I could be wrong. I've heard recently that the course is pretty bumpy in spots though, but I suppose those are the breaks with city races.

The run is a loop around the lake we swam in, 3 miles. They mention that they'll have cliff-shots available around a mile which is funny, but I may take advantage of it just to try a new shot flavor, actually I'll probably skip it because the time it would take to open it and eat it and then take a drink of water would probably annoy me. Usually on runs I take gels I take the gel long before the water stop and then just a swig of water to wash it all down.

Like the last race I'm training right up to the race, full intensity. I'm feeling pretty good though, so I'm not really worried about tired legs.

Swim6:301:30 per 100 yards
Bike4520.0 miles/hour
Run22:307:30 mins/mile

1:18 puts me in the top 10% overall, and top 15% in my AG. So, I'm wondering if I'm missing something, because a race this size seems like it should draw some pretty fast people. Perhaps they're all racing the Olympic, but still. I had to do a little math, it looks like last year the swim was .4 miles, which is almost double the distance that this year's is advertised so I added some time to figure my virtual placing from last year.

1:30 seems pretty decent for a 400 meter swim, with rounding buoys and traffic that seems reasonable, I'm assuming no wet suit.

20.0 should be doable. It's all on city roads, and it doesn't appear that hilly. So we'll see.

7:30 - yep I'm putting that again. I did a seven miler yesterday where the middle segment I was supposed to build speed; at peak speed I was sub 7. So I'm thinking I can do it if I can get my head in the game.

I put down four minutes for transition. I looked at the results last year and I didn't see a ton of people under a minute, and since my times are not usually super fast comparatively I decided there must be something about the transition area that slows people down.

Closing Comments
I'm looking forward to this race, I'm hoping to push myself pretty hard, I'm still not convinced my brain isn't getting in the way of a solid performance. Out with the doubt. Also my sister and a friend from California are in town and are doing the race too, that's always fun!