Sunday, October 6, 2013

Checkup from the Neck Up


When I finished my first triathlon four years ago I was 40 from the bottom. Four years ago I couldn't run for a mile straight without feeling like my heart was going to beat out of my chest. When we moved to FL I remember being upset that I was unable to finish in the top half of finishers. Three years ago I thought a 10 mile bike ride was long.


When I think about last season in general I think two things. I could have done better, and I should have done better. When I think about next year I am shooting for performance gains, not a second flat season. 

I just re-read my last few race reports, and my season notes. What I wrote and what I remembered was surprisingly different. I remembered having a lackluster season, and I remembered saying that in my race reports and season notes. The difference is pretty surprising. I was thinking that my memory and my blog lined up, and I was hunting for negative quotes, where I lamented performances.

Reality Check

Recently I got notice that I again qualified for USAT Olympic nationals. One of the ways you do that is to finish in the top 10% of finishers in your age group at a USAT sanctioned race. When I got that note, I realized something. I realized that my "lackluster" performance was still pretty freaking good.

On that day something happened. I realized that I had gotten to a place that I find annoying. I was feeling crummy about a 3rd place finish, or an 8th place finish. I was feeling crummy about doing things that 3 years ago I would have been super stoked for.

The Trap

People talk about this all the time, but it's easy to fall into this trap. When I got into this sport, and started going to events and meeting people who are also in the sport I started to see what's out there. It seemed like no matter what there was someone who was way better, or even just slightly better than me.

In the world of endurance sports I talk to people I meet out and about and find out they are training for an Ironman or an ultra marathon or a 10 mile swim, it's hard not to compare myself to them.


The second invite to USAT nationals was a sort of wake up call. I am doing well, I am making progress, and just a few short years ago I was at the other end of the spectrum. I will probably continue to compare myself to the people around me, if only for motivation, for proof that I can still be faster. 

But I will also try to be honest about what's around me. I know of some people who are doing some amazing things. This guy a set a year goal to "just be fit" after his first child was born and went on to win a running series while pushing the same kid in a stroller. My sister trained for and executed her first Ironman and has already signed up for another one. This guy decided this season to become a pro triathlete. This guy is my age and has been pro a long time and still rocks the race course. These people are all doing amazing things, and they are everywhere, but they represent an elite few.

And I'll be honest about what I'm doing. Finishing near the top at all the races I go to is pretty freaking cool. Living a healthy lifestyle and using that to have a positive impact on my friends and family, to be able to talk in real terms that non-elite athletes can related to is pretty amazing too.

In the words of Stuart Smalley: I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Year in Smiles

Sometimes when my wife and I are wishing we had a little more time to do whatever we want she says something like "but you're always doing workouts" and I think to myself "that's not fun, that's hard work." In my head I push myself and hold a less than fun schedule so that I can swim faster, run faster, ride my bike faster. I don't think of it as fun, I think of it as a challenge.

I may not surprise some of you, but I think she may be on to something. I present a small year-in-review photo-replay. These have all been on this blog before :)

Cool morning after Randy's Run enjoying ice cream with the kids

Finishing up Randy's Run

Not standing in the rain at Randy's Run

Super serious on my trek toward a new 5k PR

Me and the Jeffs representing our workplace at Waconia

Heading out on the bike at Waconia

Giving the kids high-5s on the way to a slow run at Waconia

Hanging with the littlest after Waconia

Standing in line at Minneapolis Tri

Finishing the run at Minneapolis

15 seconds of medal wearing at the end of Minneapolis

Exiting bath water swim at Chaska

Post Chaska with my little guy

Post Chaska with the littlest

Finishing up Prior Lake

Hanging out after Prior Lake

Even in my imagination I'm happy to be racing

Before Maple Grove

Getting out of the water at Maple Grove

Post Maple Grove

So - obviously I like to race. But they are way more fun when my family is there. I can't thank my wife enough for coming to all the races and taking all the pictures. All of that effort on her part to wake up the kids, get to the races, cheer like crazy and snap pictures literally makes my life better.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Meningitis

Recently I had a brief battle with what turned out to be viral meningitis. Here is the story.

Pre Sickness

My youngest and second youngest took turns getting sick. We never put our fingers on it, but they were sick for a little bit of time each. A variety of things let me believe that these two illnesses weren't remarkable at all. For the youngest, I think we decided that maybe she was getting some molars or just having a tough time sleeping. For the other, he had just gotten his tonsils out and perhaps having some bounce back recovery time. The short of the story though is that they did have some sort of illness, it's possible it was the same. Nobody else in the family had really gotten sick though.

I was having some tummy troubles leading up to the Maple Grove triathlon, but nothing specific, and nothing severe. I did not tie these things together, and realistically they may not be tied together.

Zero Day

I was at work, feeling fine. It was roughly mid-day, and I was getting a pop and getting ready to eat the largest pear I have ever seen. I ate my pear, and I kid you not "WHAM!" I was sick. I was feeling nauseated, and a little disoriented. I sent this message

I think the pear I ate did me in, I’m feeling ill and am heading home to hopefully sleep it off. 
See you in the morning. 

I drove home, not feeling well. Made an unceremonious entrance and went straight to bed. Estimated time of arrival to bed: 12:30 p.m. Tuesday. During the "night" (it was dark at least, I have no idea what time it was) I did wake up once in a pool of sweat, I'd imagine that was some sort of fever breaking.

+1 Day

I woke up around 8:30 the next morning. I wasn't feeling awesome, but not nearly as bad. I basically was fuzzy, with a headache, I felt pretty stiff all over and possibly a weak stomach. Given my previous weak stomach problems and the idea that I had just slept for 20 hours with nothing to show for it really, I decided to head to work. I took some Advil to kill the headache.

The day was pretty uneventful, the headache and body aches stayed. Advil was pretty effective at getting rid of of the headache, though I was taking 2x dose and it wore off about 30 minutes before the recommended re-dose time.

The common thought around the office and in my head about the illness was some sort of food poisoning from the pear and perhaps some level of dehydration causing the headache. These seemed plausible, though now that I'm thinking back, not actually that plausible. First, everyone else in my house was eating the same pears that could have gotten me sick. Also, I was drinking and peeing like a champ.

+2 Days

Basically the same, I think the Advil was starting to take its toll on my stomach because I was getting an uneasy stomach when I would take it. Other than that no real changes.

+3 Days

At about 3:30 in the morning I woke up with a headache, the same headache I had since the first day. I could not bring myself to take four Advil, so I just took two (recommended dose.)

At about 8:30 I really felt like crap. This was the first time I felt like I might throw up, I did not. I was cold sometimes, hot sometimes, it hurt to open my eyes, and I never really felt comfortable. I was unstable on my feet. I asked my wife to make a doctor appointment. I could be seen around noon.

Around doctor appointment time we discuss very briefly me going by myself, I suggest that's not going to be possible. To say I felt terrible was putting it lightly. I stagger down to the car, I cannot bring myself to sit up straight or wear my seat belt. The short (less than one mile) trip feels like forever. I stagger into the clinic, and get seen quickly.

The doctor comes in quickly, my wife does a lot of talking, I do some talking, he quickly comes to a few options.
  • Meningitis
  • West Nile
He's pretty confident that it's viral meningitis, but the only way to test for it is to do a spinal tap. He'd be happy to do it, he's done a lot, he has the equipment, he's done one recently as his office, but "they" didn't like that, so he's not going to do it today. He orders a battery of tests, along with two bags of fluids and some decent pain medication. He'll do the test for west nile, though the results probably will take long enough to get that by the time we know I'll be over it.

Over the course of the next few hours my wife drops the kids off at a neighbor's house and comes back. I get an IV and some fluids. They turn the lights off in my room and bring in some heavy duty medication. I start feeling pretty decent.

The doctor returns. Because I am functional when properly medicated, and a bunch of the labs have come back normal, he's staying with the idea that it's probably viral, and it might be meningitis, but because it's viral there's not a lot of do about it but manage the pain and wait it out. He prescribes some narcotics and sends me home with orders. 'Do not hesitate to go to the hospital if you cannot manage the pain or things get worse' He specifically tells my wife to watch out for confusion. This, obviously, scares my wife.

We head home, I am a little sick from the medicine, but when I'm laying down everything is fine. I get on the schedule for the pain medicine prescribed and things are looking up.

+4 Days

I wake up around 5:30, it's been three hours since I took some Advil, I have a headache, but I'm allowed to take beefier narcotics, so I do and go back to sleep. I wake up again at 8:30, the headache is back. I am not supposed to take any more medicine for another hour. Also it occurs to me that probably the narcotics should be more effective than three hours, and possibly the Advil isn't working much at all. We elect to call the nurse line to see if they think this means we should come back in, after an hour on hold they say yes, breakthrough pain shouldn't be an issue given the medicine I'm taking.

I take some Advil as we're heading out the door to hopefully help a little.

We get to the urgent care / ER triage. Pontential meningitis is not handled by urgent care, off to ER I go. The headache is pretty bad, eyes hurt again I spend most of my time with my eyes closed (for the second day.) The doctor comes in, he says he agrees with the initial assessment from the day before. Likely we'll end up with better medicine, but we'll run some extra tests just to make sure.

They hook me up to fluids with some sort of medicine to help the pain. I head over for a CT scan and we wait for results. The CT scan is fine. The pain is still present. The doctor comes in, suggests we go ahead with the spinal tap to confirm meningitis or not. That sounds like a good idea. He says we'll get some more medicine and that I won't really be super alert for the procedure.

A few moments later nurses are there setting up for the puncture, the doctor rolls in and has me assume the position. At this point I ask about the "additional medicine" as I had not receieved anything, and wasn't feeling super awesome. They gave me some, and asked if I felt anything. No change, so they gave me some more and then didn't ask again. The puncture is painless and goes quickly. My wife said it's very similar to watching it on TV. The procedure is over as quickly as it started and I'm back on my back keeping my eyes closed.

Some time later the doctor comes back in, confirmed meningitis, and a slightly elevated white blood cell count. So we'll do a quick round of antibiotics to get rid of any infection and an anti-inflammatory medicine to help with the meningitis pain. At this point I mention that whatever medicine they have been giving me is not effective and to please take note. They give me something a little stronger, and a much stronger prescription than the day before. The instructions are "take these new pills and not the old ones, lay off the Advil as it's probably messing up your tummy, you should be fine in a couple of days based on what the estimated timeline of your illness is"

We head home, another day down. I take one pill (of the suggested dose of two.) These pills make me quite sleepy.


The next two days I am self regulating on half doses of the new prescription. Pain management is fine, though I do feel pretty run down. I kind of tool around the house not doing much. Thanks to the extended holiday weekend I am feeling pretty decent when it comes time to head back to work. Because of work I stop taking the opiates, as that is unsafe for driving, and I'm sure against company policy. I take a couple of Advil the first day, and then just take it easy for the rest of the week. A light headache stuck around for a few more days, and food wasn't that appealing for a couple of days, but this week has been good, and I'm about 100% now. A full week later and maybe two weeks after all this started.


Thanks to everyone who dropped me a note with their thoughts and prayers. I appreciate everyone's concern. Also thanks to our neighbors who watched our kids when we were at the doctor and hospital, my sister-in-law who came over two days in a row to watch our kids at night. Of course to my wife who took care of me when I was feeling the worst, and kept the kids away when I would sleep for basically days on end.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tri Season Notes

This year I did five races. Here's how they lined up.
Lake Waconia (Sprint)
Minneapolis (Sprint)
Chaska (Sprint)
Lakefront Days (Sprint)
Maple Grove (Sprint)

Last Year for Comparison
Chain Of Lakes (Sprint)
Liberty (70.3)
Lake Waconia (Sprint)
Minneapolis (Sprint)
Chisago (70.3)
Lakefront Days (Sprint)
Maple Grove (Sprint)
Rev3 Florida (70.3)


What I see 


Chaska is slow and maple grove is fast. Chaska was the only non-wetsuit swim, but I'm going to go ahead and say that I think that swim was long, and possibly than maple grove is short.


There's lot of consistency here, I was hoping to gain some speed this year, but I think I just misfired on the execution of that plan. Still, the consistency is actually kind of neat to look at.


I did not maintain the speed I would have liked. I only did one run block, and I was not happy about it (plan, and execution, but mostly I didn't like the plan.) That obviously came back to bite me.


What I see here is what I think happens when you "just put in the time" I did workouts, and stayed in general good fitness, but I did not do what it takes to make some progressive gains.

Next Year
I'm basing next year's performance goals on this year's life realities. Next season our family of five will be a family of six with an average (USAT official) age of 15.

  • Have fun
  • Stay at it
I will be trying some "new to me" ideas about how to build power and speed. But primary goals are listed, getting faster is a secondary goal for now.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Season Training Notes

Year three of trying to get faster at triathlons in the books. I like to look back on the years and months and even weeks to see what I can see. To try to see what worked, to try to see what I didn't notice at the time, etc.

Last year my numbers looked like this

Swim yards79:30 hours
Bike2,100 miles124:50 hours
Run533 miles82 hours

This year looks like this
Swim yards60:30 hours
Bike1,334 miles79:30 hours
Run288 miles44:30 hours

That's substantial. But there are are some significant differences. Mostly, last year I trained for a 3.5 months longer. If I trim out those months the totals are a little more lined up

2012 (same number of days)
Swim yards65 hours
Bike1,908 miles110 hours
Run404 miles61 hours

But there's still a pretty significant difference.

Another thing that's not immediately apparently when staring at this year's numbers is that actually my effort over the entire year this year decreased over time. It's not a terribly interesting graph, but basically what it looks like is that I started out strong, and then over the course of the spring and summer slowly decreased load.

That reduced workload mainly came in the form of just fewer workouts and when I did do them they were fairly short. For instance, I only did nine runs all season over 6 miles, every single other run was less than 5. I'm sure there's some way to make that work, but it's not your typical recipe for success when you need to run that distance at full speed at the end of a race. There was a similar pattern on the bike.

Looking back I'm not sure what if I would change much. I basically just decided that getting enough sleep and putting family stuff ahead of racing would be the plan. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to dominate, but sometimes for me it works better to stay up and hang out with my wife than go to sleep and make sure I can be up and out of the house every morning before anyone else wakes up.

Heading into next year, I don't anticipate any more time. So I'm trying to formulate a plan that allows me to have a pretty reduced load but produce some decent results. Time will tell :)

Monday, August 26, 2013

Race Review : Maple Grove Sprint Triathlon

Three years ago I did the Olympic distance at this race, didn't like it too much. Last year I did the sprint and won my age group, this year I went back to defend my title. Overall I had a great time, though again my wife did not. She wrote her thoughts down and did a quick post DURING the race. While I like this race, I will give careful consideration to her feelings before choosing this race again.

Packet Pickup

I went up to Maple Grove the day before the race. The expo was similar to other years, little booths around that I glanced at briefly. I'm just not an expo guy. I walked in, gave them my number and much to my surprise the lady asked me what color swim cap I wanted. That's a first. I choose orange over silver. Head over and get my t-shirt and then headed out. Quick and painless. One plus, this year they didn't give me a bib that said Olympic in big letters on it. Though I did notice that at least one guy thought he was entered in the wrong distance race.

Race Morning

The race started at 7:30, I was planning on getting there by 6. So I got up at 4. I got up, had some breakfast, a bottle of water, another bottle for the road, and a bottle for the bike. The weather forecast had a chance of thunderstorms and a lot of wind with highs approaching 90. I woke up to no thunder or even rain. The temperature seemed good. But I loaded my bike in the trunk just in case - dry bike is a good bike :)

On the drive up I saw a lot of people passing me with bikes on the backs of their cars and in their back seats. I thought to myself, I'm the slowest triathlete driving down the interstate!

I found a parking spot in a rapidly filling up parking lot and pulled my bike out of the trunk. Temp was great, the sun was rising, and the skies looked clear and I couldn't really feel any wind. As I was getting my stuff all put together I noticed the lady who parked in front of me was having a small panic attack relating to her bike. I walked over on my way out and asked her if she needed anything. Apparently her bike tire was flat and wouldn't hold air. She suggested she had changed her tire the night before and may have gotten it wrong. She said she had a spare but didn't feel like she had time to fix it. I told her not worry, there would more than likely be a bike mechanic or five at the race site. I told her to grab her stuff and her spare, and walk her bike over to the race site, they would be more than happy to change her tire for her. I wished her a good race and went on my way. I was happy to see when I got to the race site there were plenty of bike mechanics from the local bike shop. I saw the her some time later before the race start, she was in her wet suit and looked ready to race.

I got marked up, found my assigned place on the racks and got set up. Over the next 40 minutes or so I chatted with the guys around me about whatever. A sort of neat thing about this race is that the series seems to have attracted a lot of repeat racers and I ran into a couple of the same guys who were racked near me at the Minneapolis tri. It was kinda neat to see some familiar faces. There were also a bunch of people who had signed up for the entire series and had the little series transition mats.

Race meeting time came, before the meeting a guy from work came up. That's always fun, we chatted a bit. Then made our way over to the gathering place for the swim start. I made myself comfortable for the next hour or so until they got to my start time. All in all, there were 1,600 racers and i was just about in the middle of the group.

A view of the swim start gathering area

Closer shot
My wife found me in the holding area. Actually, she ran into the guy from work first, who she didn't already know. That's a funny coincidence.

Me and the kids. I thought it was almost time to swim

The Swim

When I lined up for the swim I ran into another guy from the Minneapolis tri. He ended up passing me about a mile into the run in that race and probably ended up second in our group. He seems like a good guy, he bills himself as a slower swimmer. I made a joke that it will be nice to see him again on the run when he passes me again :)

This year the start was a time-trial start, two at a time, four seconds apart. I lined up near the front of our group and took it out pretty solid. Because of the time trial start and because the caps were mixed I had no way of knowing where I was in relation to anyone else in my group. I passed a bunch of people and only ran into bad traffic once or twice.

The kids waiting for me to get out of the water
Overall the swim felt good, a good effort that I was happy with. I exited and started a long run to my bike.

Running by - having a good race so far

The Bike

The run to the my bike seemed to take forever. When I got to my spot things seemed to go fine. I was surprised that there were people near me getting on their bikes. It was a little confusing though because I was pretty sure they weren't all in my age group due to pre-swim analysis of numbers.

I headed out, and got going. The plan was to try to do what it took to meet my goals. This is contrary to the way I usually race which is to do what feels maintainable and good. The forecast had called for a pretty good chance for 15-20mph winds coming from the south-east. This bike course run straight south for a couple miles, then west for a mile then north for 6 and then back. Overall it's like a figure eight. So I was surprised that the wind didn't seem terrible during the first leg. Some of that may have been adrenaline because when I look at my splits I can see the noticeable impact the wind had on my splits. Having the wind at my back for six miles felt pretty good.

The ride was going pretty well, I was passing people, unfortunately there were also plenty of people passing me. I counted at least four from my age group blow past me. Admittedly it was a little confusing because there were also a fair number of people starting out on the Olympic course. I didn't realize that until we got to the split and almost everyone in front of me went out on the other course. That actually made me feel kind of good, because it might have meant that the people who were passing me were not doing my race. I didn't hold my breath though.

After the six mile downwind leg we made the turn ... and there was the wind. With only four or five miles to go my legs were start to feel the effort. There was no question in my head that I had worked the bike pretty well. Coming into transition I was pretty confident that I had basically met the bike goal.

Transition went pretty well, and another long run through the transition area. Thankfully this time with shoes.

Note to race directors: If someone has just chip-sealed the transition area, no amount of sweeping or vacuuming is going to help. Running through that mess with no shoes was PAINFUL. Fair notice, I've been given the nickname "tenderfoot" ... so I might not be a representative of all racers. But still, some cheap carpet or something would have been heavenly.

Coming out of transition

Smiling, I just saw my wife with a huge smile on her face

This is what I look like when you're coming up behind me on the run :) A likely scenario

The Run

I was dreading the first little hill, last year I got a big ol' cramp and had to stop for a second. Thankfully that didn't happen this year. I went up the hill, through the little cliff-shot zone which took a new turn that wasn't there last year. It wasn't much of a change, I'm guessing it just worked out better for doing the feed zone.

After I got past the hill I glanced down and noticed I was WAY off pace. It felt good, hard but maintainable, I felt like I was moving well, but it wasn't translating to goal pace. Mile one ticks by, low 9. Uh oh.

I push a little harder. And there he goes .. the guy from the swim line, the same guy from the Minneapolis race. When he passed me there I was in second, at this point I figured I was in ... at best 9th. And he didn't pass me with the same speed he had before. I was running slower and so was he, it took him much longer to pull out of view this time. I tried to keep up for a while, but just could not get my legs to turn over. Mile two ticks by, low 9 again. I am watching my goal slip away.

Keep pushing. Honestly, if I didn't have my watch on I would have sworn I was holding a great pace. I felt like I had good turn over and keeping a decent form, it just wasn't fast. Over the next mile I keep trying to figure out ways to get moving. Move my legs faster, move my arms faster, small surges, etc. Nothing.

The Finish

The Olympic course had a run change this year, they come back into the park along the finish line and the second lap is exactly the same as the first one. So everyone starts down the finish line. I was feeling good, spent, but good. I really felt like I had a good race. I knew I had missed my goal, but I felt like I gave it what I had.

Waiting for me to finish

Here I come

Zoooooom! Faster than the shutter on the camera!
The Results


Well, I missed again. I mean I saw it slipping away on the run. I just could not find that gear.

The Swim
That's good for 4th overall and second in my age group.

The Bike
20 seconds isn't much. The wind was brisk, I pushed pretty hard and I'm happy with this.

The Run
Uhh, I guess I'm going to have to be honest and say that this year I just didn't put in enough time running. I stopped running further than four miles about half way through the summer. So I suppose I shouldn't be surprised that I just didn't have the legs to get my body to get going.

17/79 in my age group. 81/785 overall. Now, obviously this is a major change from the rest of the results this year where I think I had a top 10 or close to top 10 finish. Two thoughts on that. First, I didn't come close to my top speed. I missed by five minutes.

Quite note on that - if you're doing the math you'll see that I was only off by just under 4 minutes in "main leg" times. The rest came in transitions. And can you guess what? That first transition was THREE FULL MINUTES! At first I was shocked! And then I looked closer, it actually wasn't terribly slow compared to others. Don't get me wrong, I didn't win the transition race, but it's not like everyone else was doing sub minute. The run was basically up and down the full length and width of transition barefoot.

The second thought - faster people showed up. Even if I had met my goal, that was only good enough for 6th place in the age group. I ran into the guy who got second at Minneapolis, he was just as surprised as I was at the speed difference. If I guessed his name right, he ended up 9th.

I had to wrangle the finisher's medal off my daughter for this shot

Closing Comments

I had a great time. I felt like I turned in what I had and while I didn't end up making my goals I am pretty satisfied with my effort. My wife and kids were there the entire time, I got a chance to chat with a guy from work, and even got to see some familiar faces from other races.

I'd say that lifetime did a good job with the series, I mean if the same set of people show up at all the races they must have done something to attract them and it was fun to be part of that.

Having said all that, I agree with my wife that I don't really think the venue can support this race. I thought that the first year, and it was re-enforced this year. It seems almost silly that this site has no (not an exaggeration) on-site parking. Everything else is great, good volunteers, good energy, well organized, etc. But, I really want a race to be a good spectator experience for my cheering team. So we'll see, I said I wouldn't go back last year and I did. Maybe I'll do it again, but it's on the naughty list.

A big thanks to my family who came out and yelled and cheered for me. My wife who took pictures and stayed pretty positive even though she was really a sort of downer morning.

Aunty Bethany, a triathloner her in her right came out and hooted and hollered at me
That's it for triathlons this year. I have one more goal on the year, attempt at a new 10k PR. At the start of the season I was feeling good about that, less now. But I'm going to give it a go, I'm hoping that overall fitness means that I can build some speed sort of quickly since I won't also be trying to keep bike fitness.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Race Preview - Maple Grove Sprint Triathlon

I did this race last year, and I won my age group so I wanted to go back and try again.

Race Info
The swim is triangle with right turns. A new feature this year is a time-trial start by twos. That makes it official, I will not do any races this year that aren't time trial start. They are billing the race distance as .3 miles, though last year I remember thinking it was short.

The bike is a little over 14 miles, it's mainly flat.I took a quick look at the weather forecast for Saturday. It's calling for 12-18 mph winds. We'll see though, usually early in the morning the wind isn't bad. If it is though, the forecast says it will be at my back for the longest stretch, that will be nice.

The run is through neighborhoods around the lake. I've been pretty flip-floppy on how hilly the course is. There's a hill at the start and a couple of hills at the end. Going into the race last year I thought it wasn't hilly. Coming out I thought it was hillier than I remembered. Considering my run performance has been dreadful this year, I'm hoping it's closer to flat than hilly :)

My goal for this race will be to set a goal that I think is fast, and actually obtain it. I *think* I have missed every goal this year.

My goals for december looked like this
Swim7:001:20 per 100 yards
Bike39:4521.5 miles/hour
Run24:008:00 mins/mile

Last year that was good enough to win my age group, two years ago it was good enough for top 3.

Closing Comments
I'm looking forward to this race, it's the last race of the year. I'm feeling pretty good, all I need to do now is execute.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Epic Battle : Mind vs. Legs

A week or so ago I sent out this tweet

That was Sunday, I showed them! Mind over wimpy neglected legs! The following day I took it easy, a couple of hours of not-super-intense riding. The following day I dished out another helping of "make yourself better" at a time-trial where I had a decent showing.

Two days off, I like these guys, they like to party.

Friday (Bring the Party!)

I do a new set for me
  20 seconds 100% effort
  10 seconds coast.
Me: How do you like me now!
Legs: ...looking into unionizing...

20 minutes later
Same set.

I'll admit, this was a taxing ride. It wasn't just my legs who didn't want to be a part of that workout anymore. This was really the first time they had put up any sort of fuss beyond getting tired. They were sore.


Head out for a swim workout.
Coach: Hey you should do the hard workout today
Me: Uhh, looks ok on paper

I also hear the coach convince another guy to level up for the day, he gives a much more enthusiastic response.

20 minutes later

Coach: Don't pay attention to the other guy, he went to do the easier set
Me: Wha? Huff -- puff
Legs: How are you enjoying the cramping in you calves...and quads
Me: I can deal, SUCK IT!

25 minutes later
Coach: Last set of sprints. OFF THE BLOCKS!!
Me: Where's the ladder? My legs don't work

First Sprint
Me: Goooooo!


Worst cramps ever
As soon as I hit the water on the very first sprint both calves cramped up like I had never experienced. I waited till the people were past and then lumbered out of the water like a sick walrus. Here's where I also mention there is an audience of about 50 high school aged girls watching on, waiting for their own swim practice to start. Lots of stares, and not the kind all the high school boys are hoping for. The coach came over and applied enough pressure to the bottom of my feet get my calves to stop flexing, and I missed the second two sprints. Unbelievable pain.

Next day

Legs: How do you like me now??

The next day was pretty painful to walk around. It was my daughters' combined birthday party though, so I made an effort to get into the bounce house. Much to my surprise it wasn't that bad. Walking was a chore, and my muscles were sore to touch.

So here I am two days later. We're back on talking terms. I've done a mid-level run, some mid-level swimming and some biking. Much to my surprise my legs only really bother me when I'm sitting or walking. They feel fine when I'm swim/bike/running. I'm hoping to be feeling good on Saturday for the last race of the year for me.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

TNT Year in Review

This year I wanted to do some time trials, it's in the goal list. I did it every time it was offered but once, and I chickened out that time due to the weather. Here's the year-end recap. All of these races are through a local spoke of the IC3 group. Overall I think it was fun, check them out:

May 7 (First Time Trial)

34:14.62 (19.27 mph)
Age Group21/22
Aero Bikes51/52

May 21

Cold and rainy, and I didn't know that ahead of time, so I was one of like three people who didn't have appropriate clothing

31:27.51 (20.98 mph)
Age Group16/17
Aero Bikes32/35
This picture looks downright pleasant - that's not the best description for it

Jun 18

30:06.57 (21.92 mph)
Age Group20/20
Aero Bikes49/52

July 2

This is the first time I had a handicap, they handicap racers to give them more of a good feeling compared the speed demons that come and place near the top consistently.

29:28.82 (22.39 mph)
Age Group16/194
Aero Bikes43/504

July 16

30:16.48 (21.8 mph)
Age Group15/209
Aero Bikes38/4617

Sitting at the start line

July 30

29:42.25 (22.22 mph)
Age Group19/229
Aero Bikes46/5016
Another start line shot - hopefully I've already started, cause otherwise I look way too intense

Aug 13

29:31.27 (22.36 mph)
Age Group18/214
Aero Bikes51/576
You can tell it's late into the season. The sun is very low on the horizon


I'm glad I did it. I causes me to have a few thoughts
  • Cyclists are fast. I mean I know triathletes are fast on the bike, and many of these people are triathletes, but many are cyclists and are quite fast. I am, often, at the bottom of this group. I am not at the bottom of a local triathlon on the bike (run - different story.)
  • 30 minutes is a short race. I'm only six minutes back from the front, and end up in the last 25% of the group. When I go to a tri where I race for just over an hour, 6 minutes back can still be top 10 overall.
  • There's tons of room to grow here, six minutes back in an 11 mile race is 5 miles per hour. If I could get a two mile per hour gain I'd only be mid-pack here, but a much bigger contender at triathlons.

Doing the same course over gives me two thoughts
  • First, you can do a sort of apples to apples comparison. I know on the first day I went a certain speed, and then on the last day I did the exact same race and finished 5 minutes faster. That's a fun thing to see.
  • Second, it's possible that some of that is just knowing the course better.
At least I got faster