Sunday, July 21, 2013

Race Review: Chaska River City Days Sprint Triathlon

This was my first time at this race, and actually I think I hadn't even heard about it till last year. It's a sprint with a cap at 300 people. I had heard it filled up, though I think the results show that not everyone who signed up showed up, or maybe it didn't fill.

Packet Pickup

Packet pickup was available the day before at the Chaska community center. It was pretty low stress, walk in and they hand you (not in a bag or envelop, just loose) your three numbers. They also had some stuff you could elect to take (or not) so I picked up a mug and some lock laces, and signed up for the prize drawing to take place at the end race. Same day pickup was available too, but that's just too much for me to think about on race day.

Race Morning

The race started at 7:30, Chaska is about a 20 minute drive from my house, so I was thinking I'd get there around 6:30, leave at 6, get up at 5:30. That's practically sleeping in for a race :) It was sort of tough getting up, there was a Bret Michaels concert down the street from us that went till midnight, so that cut in on some of my sleep.

I woke up for whatever reason around 5, went back to sleep for about 3 minutes and then just got out of couch and started the morning ritual. I was out of the house by 5:30. I tried to drive slow, as I think transition didn't open till 6, got to the race site at 6:03 (or there abouts.) I was one of the first people there.

I found a place to put my bike, went and picked up my chip, got body marked and just sort of hung out. I wasn't feeling super awesome, I think whatever had been bothering me the weeks before was still hanging on. I saw one of the two Jeff's from work, he said the other didn't get in and wouldn't be coming. Then my wife and kids showed up. It's super fun to see them, the kids are always so much fun.
Wow - I've seen better pictures of me. Not the kids though, this one is a great one of them
Testing out the water. The announced temperature was 88!! It was like bath water

The Swim

Time trial start - lining up to go. I see FOUR wetsuits in this shot. It was like BATH WATER. I have no cap on, not required or provided.
First off, here's a tip. If someone tells you the water is 88 degrees, but you can wear your wetsuit if you want, immediately take off your wetsuit. I don't care if it makes you feel better to have it on, that's HOT and likely not terribly safe to swim in. I know this goes against stuff I have said before where I said I would wear my wetsuit whenever allowed, that's downright HOT. Say it with me "My wetsuit is not a life jacket, it will not keep me from drowning, I know how to swim and I will be fine."

The swim was a counter clockwise swim around a lake. The advertised distance is 1/3 of a mile, which is a little less than 600 yards. The lake is so small that the swim basically takes up the entire lake. Swim from one end to the other and back.

Action shot of me in the water. Here you see man in wetsuit from previous shot. I'm betting he's already overheating.

Overall the swim felt fine, not too much traffic. At this race they seemed to take little breaks every once and a while between swimmer starts, and we were definitely more than three seconds apart. So there wasn't much congestion. Though I did at least one time have to change course to get around two breast strokers and a side stroker. That's the second race in a row I've seen a side stroker, having had to learn side stroke for some reason in high school, I don't quite know why people choose it, as I think it's a pretty hard stroke to do.

Out of the water on my way to the bike
For the ladies!
I just realized that that picture is of me standing up in transition. It wasn't long ago I used to sit down in transition. Also this is a great shot of my tri suit, Made by blue seventy, if you're in the market, I do recommend them. Quite comfortable, you don't feel naked, but you also don't notice the suit.

During transition I was feeling a little light headed, so I took it kind of easy.

The Bike

Heading out, my head had cleared by now and I was ready for the bike

This bike course starts with 3 miles that are basically all up hill. It's not some super impossible climb or anything, but it is all up hill. I'll admit it, this part just seemed to drag out. It was, obviously, harder than the last time I rode it since I'm racing. The other thing I noticed was there seemed to be a little bit of head wind. So I keep head down and look for the turn toward home. This loop is sort of like a large rectangle. Up to Victoria, and then back to Chaska.

Great day for a race - car or pedestrian

How can you pass up adorable pictures of my kids! You can't I put them right in the meat of the good stuff!

Kids are great, spend two hours at the park and between cheering for dad and begging drink his water and eat his food they make friends.

During the bike my legs felt like lead, and I was feeling quite tired. My stomach was feeling a little odd, as a result I couldn't really take much water without feeling ookie. On the other hand the race seemed to be going along just fine, so I just tried to just put that out of my head.

Besides normal rough road (which was driving me nuts, and possibly limiting my ability to have more children) the race went fine. There was some very light rain, but nothing significant. I had a great time on the way back down the hill and was feeling pretty good coming into transition.

Staying areo as long as possible

The lady there passed me around 7 miles into the bike and I passed here a mile or so later. She went on to place in her age group. In this shot I am still winning our little race. And while it may look like I'm walking, I'm not, I am running, very fast, cheetah cheetah, on a full tummy of milk

The Run

First things first, Jeff had told me the hill wasn't bad. That's not true, it sucked, and seemed to go on forever. I did NOT let it get me down. I just went through it. I tried to keep my brain on keeping a good pace. Occasionally I would need to just pick up the pace. There were some light rain showers, and that felt great.

The middle mile is nothing special. And the last mile is downhill which is much more pleasant than up hill.

The one thing I will say about the run is that it's pretty well protected. The first and last mile cover almost the same route, and to make space they close a lane of traffic. So uphill you run on the road and downhill you run on trail next to the road. It was nice to not worry about traffic - either car or human.

The Finish

"Where is that guy, I got sand to dump in my hair"

Look at that emotion, that's how people want me to look. My wife really got a good shot of this guy, he really looks like he's gutting it out. Another open chested shot of me. I watched a video of an Ironman race and I noticed that racers are zipping up there suits heading into the finish. Point taken.

Like the first mile is up hill, the last mile is down hill, so that's a good feeling. I had tried to keep my feet in the fire, and I came across the line pretty much ready to lay down. After that, got my results which were ready immediately (nice touch) and got some food. The kids played at the play ground, then we packed up my stuff in my wife's car. The kids crawled in and it started to rain and they left.

I hung around to watch the awards ceremony. One thing that struck me is that there are people 20 years older than me putting up faster times, so that made me feel good about my age.

Also, I won some sort of id bracelet from the prize drawing, that was kind of neat.

The Results


Overall I'm happy with this, I felt a little off during the race, so much so that during the bike I was down right grumpy. But the run cheered me up, and in the end I had a good race. We see +50 from the swim, +5 from the bike and -30 for the run. The rest of the time came from transition times.

The Swim
If my goal was accurate on estimated pace (which may not be true) then I missed by a bunch. I glanced through the times, I put up a top 10 overall time, so I'm wondering if the swim wasn't a little long. That's the way it rolls.

The Bike
Actually I am quite surprised I hit this. With about 5 miles to go I was pretty sure I would miss the goal time. Unlike during the last race - where there was one time I found myself just pedaling - I didn't find myself doing that this time. The effort felt decent, and is inline with expectations.

The Run
First - I'm proud of myself. I did not give up on the hill, near the end I really wanted to. But when we crested the hill I took a moment to gather my thoughts (but not walk) and then just tried to remember to keep pushing. I'm happy with the results. This run I believe is the season best for me, so I'm going to take it.

7th in my age group, 10 minutes out of first, and 5 minutes off the podium. Though only seven seconds from 6th. While I was listening to the awards I did take note of something. 1:24 is a pretty good time. Here's what that gets you in other age groups

  • 2nd 16-19
  • 3rd 20-24
  • 2nd 25-29
  • 3rd 30-34
Here's what threw me off
  • 7th 35-39
  • 6th 40-44
  • 7th 45-49
And then back to being podium worthy
  • 3rd 50-54
  • 1st 55+
I noticed this last year at Maple Grove too, I'm right in the thick of the fast group, and honestly I'm doing ok, and I feel like I've got room to grow.

Closing Thoughts

The race is pretty low key, and people seem to like it. The transition area is not blocked off, they don't have rules about non-racers in transition when the race is not in progress, and stuff like that. Still though, the course is well marked with people at every corner. It has a good group of volunteers and the course isn't a walk in the park. Though, you will have the unusual feeling of being able to negative split both the run and the bike, which will make you feel great, next week when you're looking at your splits :)

It was a fun race, and I'd definitely recommend it.

Next week my daughter is doing her second triathlon, my son is doing his first and I'm just there to cheer. Then two more races and I'm done at the end of August. Summer has FLOWN by, but it's been a ton of fun.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Race Preview: Chaska River City Days Sprint Triathlon

I signed up for this race for a couple of reasons. First, it's close to home, and so that's attractive. Second, I wanted to get in another race, I missed a few planned races at the start of the season. And finally, because it fit into my schedule. As an added bonus, the Jeff's will also be there, and I like racing with friends.

Race Info

The race is in Chaska, near the little downtown area there. I believe the race is capped at 300 people, so it's not terribly large. It's billed as a sprint, though it's on the longer side of a sprint, and because this section of Chaska is in a section of land carved out by one of the local rivers the transition area is actually right at the bottom of a hill.

The swim is billed as a 1/3 mile out and back on a very small lake. My guess is the water is quite warm. They say there are no wet-suit restrictions, if the water is quite warm though I probably will not wear mine just to avoid overheating. The start is a time-trial start, unless you identified yourself as elite (which just means you thought you could finish in under 1:25. I did not do that, I did not stop and try to figure out my hopeful finish time till I wrote this.

The bike is a roughly 16 mile course. Much to my surprise I've biked some segments of this course already. So for instance, the first three miles are up hill. That's not even an exaggeration, it's a three mile climb. Since I've done this before I know it's not a super taxing climb, so I know I can not worry about that. After those three miles it's basically rolling hills, and then the last three miles are essentially downhill.

The run is a lollipop that loops at the top of a hill. So it's 1 mile up, l mile loop, 1 mile downhill. I have heard the hill isn't killer, it's just long. Though if my math is right it's a 3.5% grade. So who knows. Besides getting up the hill, I'm actually wondering how coming down will feel. I, for whatever reason, don't like running down hills. It feels quite jarring on my knees.


My overall goal is to have fun. If you go back and look at the my last four weeks of activities this will be my fifth race-pace effort. It's a lot of fun, so I'm going to keep the good times rolling!

Swim7:301:25 per 100 yards
Bike48:0020.5 miles/hour
Run26:008:30 mins/mile

First, that's the criteria for registering Elite. The difference would be that I would start in wave format instead of time-trial and I get to pick an end-of-rack space for my transition area. After that, based on last year's results that would land me in the top 20% overall and top 15 in my age group.

Side note - I'm always a little surprised how much faster small races seem than large races. If I had to guess I'd say that larger races usually have longer distances and the faster racers move to longer distances to give them more time to focus on their specialty. For example, since I'm a strong swimmer, if I can pick up 15 seconds over a .25 mile swim, I'd probably be able to pick up several minutes over a half iron swim. For swimmers that's bad logic to follow though because then the strong runner who can make up 45 seconds per mile on me then gets 10 more chances to build gap on the same race. So I get maybe two minutes, he gets 8.

1:25 should be ok, though honestly the last two times I tried to swim I topped out at 2k yards, I think I'm battling an inner ear thing that makes all the motion of swimming start to wear on me.

20.5 should be doable, the three miles up-hill I think will be a little slow, but I've done this before and it's not terribly taxing, and then when coming back down that will be fast. Headwind down hill might dig into it a little.

8:30 - The plan here is to try not to worry about the hill; trust people who say it "isn't that that bad." Also, I'm going to try to use my watch to push myself. I looked at my splits from lifetime, and what I saw was that during the middle mile I slowed down a lot and then sped up again for the last mile. I wondered if I was just day-dreaming. Which seems silly, but it's possible.

I put down four minutes for transition. Hard to say.

Closing Comments

We got through our four day heat wave, I was out today and it's pretty comfortable. Tomorrow should be a great day for a race. I'm looking forward to a fun time!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Minneapolis Tri : Getting Caught

Last year when I won my AG at Maple Grove, I looked back at the times and noticed that basically I came out of the water just far enough ahead to hold off the hoard. For this race when I looked at the results I wondered, when did these people catch me?

So here's my look at it - I just tracked the top 10 finishers. Also, for the sake of clarity, I am wording this as if we had a mass start. The reality is that we did not start at the same time, so there are people who finished ahead of me in the results, but actually crossed the finish line after me.


I exit out in front by 14 seconds. I know I am ahead because I didn't see any black caps in front of me.


I have the 7th fastest T1
I exit T1 10 seconds behind someone, and 23 seconds ahead of the next guy.


I have the 3rd fasted bike split.
I'm 1:52 behind the guy in first. and 1:16 ahead of the guy in 3rd


9th fastest.
I'm 1:58 behind the guy in first and 37ahead of the guy in 3rd


I have the slowest run leg by 2:11. That means that every single person put at least 42 seconds PER MILE into me.

Here are the standings heading into the run

BibTime back

So here's the interesting part to me. When did these guys "pass" me. Some of them literally passed me, a few did not. Take a look at that list, I end up in the 8th position. That means that people who are 4+ minutes behind me make up all of that over the course of a 5k. Here's a rough estimation of when all this went down. For the sake of ease, I'll just assume a relatively flat pace, which probably isn't accurate - but this does reflect actual results. I end up in 8th with about 1/10th of a mile to go, and the two guys not listed end up less than 1/10 of a mile behind me.

0.4 miles 3844 runs past - I'm in third
1.6 miles 3817 runs past - fourth
2.3 miles 3840 runs past - fifth
2.7 miles 3830 runs past - sixth
2.8 miles 3835 runs past - seventh
2.9 miles 3809 runs past - eighth


Transition time is interesting, if I could have dropped 35 seconds over two transitions I would have been 5th, like last year. Dropping 35 seconds gives me an average time in transition.

If I could have mustered 8:40's instead of 9's I would have finished fourth. 8:40 still has me with the slowest run split by a full minute.

If I could do both I would have been third.

Actually after writing this, it was helpful to look at the entire race. Do I need to work on the run? Probably, but I could also use to work on transition too. One of the things that struck me when I was watching the pro men race is that they came out of the water in a clump, and Cam Dye (the eventual winner) ran past 3 people in transition.

Race review : Minneapolis Tri

I did this race for the first time last year, and I liked it. It's a fairly fast race and was my first sort of high placing finish, so I was happy to go back.

Packet Pickup

Last year the expo was in the Minneapolis convention center. It had a feeling of "big" to it, overall it was fine. This year, the expo was at the race site. I decided to head over Friday afternoon over my lunch break at work.

It was a standard big race setup, show your ID, get a packet, walk somewhere else get your chip, walk somewhere else get some more stuff, walk somewhere else get the shirt. Leave. I did meander around the expo a little (because packets were at one and and shirts were at the other.) Overall, pretty decent, it reminded me of Rev 3. I'll go ahead and say I like this approach better than last year's.

This is a fantastic shot of people descending on the packet pickup site. Actually it's terrible.
Manually cropped shot, this doesn't really do it justice, but basically I looked around and looked like people of the corn all headed to the same spot.

The people who make the Stider bikes were there

They had a little course you could ride and get a ribbon at the end. I'm sure this would have been fun for our kids, or at least one of them. More on that later.
I headed back to work and finished up the day there, went home did some family swimming time and then started to get ready for the race. At this point I am starting to wonder if I'm going to make it to the race. I had been feeling pretty junky for a day or so, and in the morning I didn't have enough energy to get through an hour swim workout. Basically I was tired and having tum-tum troubles (that's the official diagnosis from Jeremy Solt n.r.M.D.) I figured I'd make final call in the morning based on the night of sleep and how I'm feeling. Due to this decision, I also elect not to put on my helmet sticker or bike sticker.

Race Morning

4:05: Woken up because the house was shaking due to thunder - eh, back to sleep.
4:15: Elect to snooze - it's now raining cats and dogs and lots of lightening, I'm thinking the race won't start on time. Hedging my bets.
4:30: I check the weather, according to the weather app on my phone it will be over by 5:30, so I get started. I assess how I'm feeling. Not bad, but not 100%, I start to wonder if this is just nerves.

The drive over was nuts, I bet I didn't break 40. I couldn't see, there were puddles and flowing water on the highways. 5:30 came and went, still downpour and lightening. I send this tweet when I find a spot to park

I'm not getting out of my car just yet. Time to check the twitter sphere I see this

Then this

Then this

At this point its still raining, but I figure I'll head over. Hey; remember when I said I didn't put any stickers on in the comfort and low-humidity-atmosphere of my home? Well put this picture in your head. It's 70-ish degrees and raining and I'm standing in the rain trying to get sticker backs off of stickers without getting them wet and then stick them on things. This process takes ... roughly forever. After I get all that figured out I ride my bike over to the race site.

Like last year, rack space is assigned, so I find my spot, rack my bike and then ... stand there in the pouring rain wondering what to do next. I decided to head over and look for a place to do body marking, thankfully, that's inside a large tent. On the way over I walk through about 1/4 mile of what used to be grass but is now marshland. I noticed the little race-course for the striders from the day before. Under water. I get marked, notice the rain has let up some, and head back to my bike.

At this point they turn the PA system on and make some announcements. First, transition will not be closing at 6:45; apparently some people thought that maybe they'd only open transition for 30 minutes. Secondly, parts of both the Olympic and sprint bike courses are under water. Oh and there was some more lightening, so nobody is on the water yet. So they say hold tight and safety is ... yadda yadda yadda, we'll let you know later.

So I kinda mingle around, the rain is getting much lighter, and I chat it up with some people. Final set of announcements. The Olympic distance race is going to be a sprint, and transition closes in about an hour and a half. The rain lets up, I head back to the my bike and open my bag to find out that - much to my surprise - everything inside is dry! The rain lets up, and I set my stuff up. Over the next two and half hours or so I chat with various people, everyone seems in good spirits.

The Swim

Race Support Team

In line to start the swim

The water temp was announced at 79 degrees, for the uninitiated that is too warm to win awards if you choose to wear a wetsuit, and it probably a little warmer than most pools I swim in. I'm actually relieved, as I think it's hard enough to get in my wetsuit when I'm dry. Due to the late start, they kind of hurry through the time trial start, doing two people at a time instead of one. I see my wife and kids (who each badger me for a kiss, which is super cute) and off I go.

My wave started after the friends and family wave, which is a wave for people who want a slightly less stressful race. I think they originally planned on giving them 10 minutes before the next wave after them went, I'm not sure that happened. The swim was fairly uneventful, I ran into a small waterblock of people at the only turn, and actually (much to my surprise) ran into a lifeguard who was crossing the lane of swimmers for a reason I didn't quite understand, she was chatting with some other lifeguard, and didn't look to be in lifesaving mode, so who knows.

Overall the swim felt pretty good, not perfect, but decent. I passed what I believed to the be the last person in my wave with about a hundred yards to go, popped out of the water, gave my kids some high-fives and off to find my bike.

I found my bike, confirmed that it looked like I was the first person back to my rack space, went to put some some socks... uh... this sock doesn't fit me. These must be my wife's... New plan, no socks. I make the ridiculously long run to the bike exit. Round the corner, and make a surprisingly long run to the mount line.

Some slide action during the swim

A little swinging too

Getting in on the swinging action

Hanging out on the big bridge over the swim exit path. Just a few hours earlier that wood was wet and watching people navigate it was almost humorous

The Bike

Similar to last time, because the friends and family group was in front of me at the start, there was a lot of navigating rookie riders. That's all fine, I don't mind it, and it didn't last too long. About a half mile in I navigated a rough section, and then ... bobble ... off went my water bottle. While it was happening I actually thought I might be able to catch it, and I almost did. I watched it bounce into the grass and thought "well, I'm not supposed to leave it there, but then again if I stopped now all those rookie riders will likely crash right into me" so I didn't even slow down.

Due to the rain storm, the bike course had been altered, since I didn't actually know the bike course that didn't have much impact on me since I probably wouldn't notice. What I did notice is that my watch beeped at 15 miles (advertised race distance) and I thought 'This is not the end...' It did seem to go on a while afterwards, I didn't pay attention to how much further it was, but it wasn't just a half mile.

The bike went quite well, only one person passed me the entire time, though I did notice that he was in my age group. They even had a water stop, which was great, because I was not looking forward to trying to do this entire race using only water on the run course.

I came rolling into transition, and came into what was the second part of the adjustment due bike course change. The bike in and bike out was the same place. So I run the entire way through the huge transition with my bike AGAIN. It seriously felt like forever. I also noticed that some people have finished the race and are sort of lingering in the transition area. Not in the way, but it caught me off guard. I get back to my spot fairly easily, put my shoes and running gear on and head out. The run exit had also been moved to the same place the swim entrance was. This was in an effort of equalize the transition area so people close to the bike entrance/exit were not also right by the run exit. What they didn't say was that the timing mat was still all the way to other end of transition. One more time, all together, I ran the full length of the transition area three times during this race :)

The Run

After what felt like the longest transition run ever, I got started. I felt fine pretty much right away, grabbed some Gatorade on the first water spot. Some guys came by me pretty quick, they weren't moving that fast so I figured I could stay with them; though I wasn't able to muster very much oomph. They weren't pulling away that fast though, so I figured at least they weren't running away with it.

At this point in the race I figure I'm in second place in my age group. About a mile in the guy who was right next to me in transition passes me, he is moving pretty fast and while I do try to stay with him, he's running faster than I believe I can run. So now I'm third. At the half way point there is a turn around and I get a chance to see who's behind me, there are a few guys back there. I'm not feeling like death, but I'm also not feeling like I have much left in the tank, I try to turn up the gas a little bit. For the rest of the race I surge a few times to try to stay on plan, and about three more guys pass me. So I figure I'm in 6th as I head into the end.

The Finish

Remember those guys who passed me in the beginning, they didn't get away. A guy who had ran past me a little bit ago was feeling pretty junky and fading fast. I tapped him on the shoulder with about 200 yards to go and said "let's pass those guys", they were about 50 feet ahead of us he got super stoked, we blew past them. As I was heading over to give my kids high fives on the way he said "I'm going to wait for you!" I waved him on and came in just behind him. Afterwards I congratulated him on a good finish and he snapped a picture of us.

The guy in black was my finish line buddy. The two guys in white and red are the ones who ran past me at the start of the run. Also here you can see me sporting some nice chest action. I call that look "Collar bones and Sternum." Super hot, I know.

I got my medal, some water and an iced towel (felt awesome!) and found my family.

Post finish shot

The four of us heading to get my results print out.

The Results


Overall I'm satisfied with this race. The time doesn't really reflect it, but except for the run time I think this is represents a pretty solid effort.

Swim: 23 seconds, isn't bad. I did get caught in traffic a few times. But that time is 3rd overall, and first in my AG.

Bike: This time is deceptive, because the course wasn't 15 miles like it was last year, my watch had it closer to 16 3/4, based on some comments on Facebook that's what other people thought to. Had I known that I would have estimated closer to 49 minutes. So This time is pretty decent.

Run: WAY OFF! I did not walk this time so that's a win, this pace is roughly 9 minutes per mile, which isn't much to sneeze at. But let's put it this way - in my age group here's the breakdown.
Swim: 1st
Bike: 3rd
Run: 38th
So the run doesn't really match up well with the rest of the effort.

Transitions - usually I don't mention this but last year I only need 3 minutes total, this year it was almost 5 minutes. I checked the results, I wasn't the only one with these long transitions. The real difference was running the entire distance of the large transition area with your bike twice just takes a while.

Overall: 8th in my AG, though it was fairly close. I was only one minute off the podium. Had I run my goal I would have come in four minutes earlier which would have landed me second. I know I can run that, I've just got to deliver.

Closing Thoughts

I think the race organizers adapted well to some pretty cruddy weather. There are some who are complaining that the communication was poor, but I actually think it was pretty good. Of the people I talked to at the race site, everyone was in good spirits and had a good time.

I like this race, there is a great energy there. I DO NOT like the bike course, I don't know how people even drive on those roads. Yikes!

When I was picking up my results print out with the kids, the lady handing out the results suggested that having them there made me faster, and that's actually kind of true. In all the pictures you see me smiling, and that's because it's awesome to see them cheering me on. On the same trip my oldest confided in me "You know, mom doesn't like this race. Actually she hates it, she never wants to come again." That's pretty much the same thing my wife said last year, the larger race is harder to navigate with the kids. But I appreciate it; so a special thanks to my wife and kids for coming out and supporting me. They are troopers!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Race Preview: Minneapolis Tri

I signed up for this race again this year because I still like the idea of big races. I feel like all the people give me a lot of energy. Also I had a pretty good race last year.

Race Info

The race is in south Minneapolis which is a fairly short drive from home. It's part of a national series and draws some well known names in the world of triathlon. They all race the longer race, but it's still neat to see some of these people milling around before the race and running around during.

The swim is a triangle in a lake - at Waconia the water temp was 75 so I seriously doubt the water will be below 78, I'll take my wetsuit just in-case, but I'm not planning on wearing it. This race has a time-trial start like Waconia. Based on start times I'm starting  after a 10 minute gap after the friends and family wave, so there's some chance I might actually find some clear water.

The bike is a 15 mile loop (that's practically an out and back with a river in the middle.) Last year I had a great split on this, the course is pretty fast. The only other thing I remember is that the course had some serious potholes on it, so I'm hoping those have been addressed, and it makes me a little cautious. But I'm having some great stuff on the bike lately, so I'm expecting a faster split this year.

The run is a loop around the lake we swam in, 3 miles. I remember the course being flat, and while it was hot, and will likely be hot again, I'm hoping to be able to put in a solid run.


Overall I'm hoping to just have a good race.

Swim6:001:22 per 100 yards
Bike42:0020.5 miles/hour
Run24:008:00 mins/mile

Last year 1:15:45 got me 21st overall, and 5th in my age group. Honestly, I was a full minute behind the next guy in my AG and two minutes behind the guy in front of him. If I can drop around a minute I might move up in the AG, or I might just move up in overall standings.

1:22 is kinda aggressive. With no wetsuit it will be a push for sure. I mean in a pool I can do this pretty much no problem. We'll see.

20.5 should be doable, I am almost to the point of being able to do this during a workout; this may be a little soft, we'll see.

8:00 - I think this is ok, my head isn't into the game on the run. My goal for the run will be to remember to push, not just settle in. I think I am letting myself get out of the race on the run.

I put down three minutes for transition. That's about what I needed last year.

Closing Comments

Last year I placed well in this race, so I might have some unrealistic expectations in that arena, but overall I'm going to try to stay focused on a race PR and have a good time.

There's chance of thunderstorms and heat in the forecast, so I'm hoping that holds off. Though not finishing till 10:30 might mean the heat will be out in full force. To that end I'm trying to hydrate a little more today. I *think* that might be the best way to ward off the heat, we'll see.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

June Training Notes

This month my totals looked like

Swim23,600 yards7:10 hours
Bike292 miles16:20 hours
Run50 miles7:30 hours

Last Month

Swim24,000 yards6:50 hours
Bike207 miles12:11 hours
Run59.86 miles8:46 hours

June 2012

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

This month saw the first triathlon of the year, and I was super excited about that. Also I figured out an easy way to bike to work, so that was a fun way to get some more time on the bike. Overall I feel like this month was a good month for training and feeling relatively fresh and excited about racing.

I'm down to swimming about twice a week. Though I think that's fine, my swim fitness seems pretty decent. Also there are now Saturday workouts available for the group I swim with, and that makes getting in that second day a little easier.

A lot of these miles are to work and back, but I have been making good strides on the bike this year.

Up until this past week I had been feeling down on the run, but I got in some decent runs and now I think I was just in a sort of funk. Overall though running has been going fine.

Coming up
July has two triathlons and then the first weekend in August, I'm looking forward to more racing. I *think* I'm about done signing up for triathlons this year, which is a little bitter sweet, the summer seems so short :)

Monday, July 1, 2013

Race Review : Lake Waconia Triathlon

I did this race last year, missed my goal and did it this year. I also got a chance to hang out with some friends from work, I'd do it again if only for that reason.

The Training

Seems like all I've been doing is training, I was ready for a race.

Packet Pickup

There were a couple of options for packet pickup, Friday before, Saturday before, or even race morning if you were so inclined. Last year I opted for the race site on Saturday, this year I had a massage scheduled for that time, so I went up to Gear West on Friday, it worked out fine. I even ran into a friend from work and we shot the breeze for a bit. I tried to convince him to get a one-piece tri suit... no dice. There was nothing special about the packet, a decent shirt and a water bottle. I'll take it, free is free, and honestly, I pay to race.

Race Morning

The race started at 8:30, transition opened at 6:00, I figured I wanted to get there about 6:30 which means leaving my house around 5:50, so get up and out of bed by 5:15. Per normal (now) ritual, I slept on the couch to avoid waking any of the littles too early.

My alarm went off at 5:15 and I was instantly panicked, I was sure I had overslept and it was 7. You'd think by now I'd be used to the idea that the sun is up already, it probably took me a good thirty seconds to settle down.

I had some breakfast, drove up, found a spot in transition and kinda hung out. I like not being in a hurry at the start of a race, having nothing to do for an hour or so makes me happy.

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 75.

I remembered the lake being larger last year

There it is, look at those little ripples, this is going to be a cake walk
Me and my friend Jeff and my other friend Jeff

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 255, so that means I was going to wait for 254 (roughly) people to go before me. Last year the water was cooler, but the sun was much hotter, I was also 40 people down the list. This year I just stood near the start of the line and hopped in when my spot came up. It actually seemed to go pretty quickly.

Full Speed Ahead!
Much to my surprise basically the first thing I noticed was how choppy the water was. I did some break out strokes to get me up to speed and I was all over the place. I'd pop way out of the water and come crashing down, it was pretty surprising. This is now the second time I've done a race in a little bit of choppy water and not been able to identify it. In any case, it was a little disorienting at times, but I wouldn't say it was bad.

The littlest little and her aunt testing the water
Like last year, it seemed like people were constantly in front of me. I never hit clear water. It wasn't chaotic really, in terms of people, but still I kinda like breaking out in front for a while. Less to think about.

It's a little sea-monster-ish, but I do like this shot
I got out of the water feeling pretty good, I heard my family cheering for me and headed to transition. I was proud of myself to be running past people up to my bike. Overall I'd say transition went pretty well, though I did pull my bike off the rack before I put my helmet on... oops.

The Bike

Heading out, looking good, feeling good
Last year I remember thinking the start of the bike course was pretty fast, this year I didn't have that. It took me a while to catch my breath and let my heart settle down a bit, but after that it just seemed like steady effort.

Also last year I remember there being a lot of drafting, I also didn't notice that this year. Then again I don't remember seeing any course marshals either.

Splashing around in the water. It looks downright cozy. In the background, more swimmers making their way through the course... in wetsuits

There we go, that makes sense.
There was a slight wind that seemed to be shifting direction on me, I kinda knew it would feel like riding into the wind the whole time based on where we observed the wind was coming from while waiting for the race to start, so I was just biding my time until we got to the last little let which would put the wind at our backs.

The bike felt good, I was thinking as I came into the transition that I was setting myself up for a good run.

I look quite majestic if I do say so myself

The Run

Last year I focused on getting out on the run, setting up a faster than normal pace and then pull back a little. The idea is that you can pull back easier than you can pick up the pace, and so setting your legs in motion at the start is key.

Feeling great! I'm leaning over to give my oldest a high five.
That's what I did. I ran out of transition, kinda got my bearings with the people around me and then set to work. I glanced down at my watch 6:30 pace.
Let's review. On a good day I do maybe 7:30 pace on a 5k + today I am running 6:30 pace out of transition = ???
I should have dialed back, that's the smart thing to do. Establish pace early, but keep it maintainable. What I really did was forget all that, I felt fine. About a half mile later I am sucking wind. I literally cannot catch my breath. At the time it all felt very odd, so I stopped to walk, take some deep breaths and then back at it.

And then ... my brain took over. I just could not shut it off. So I pushed my way through, took some walk breaks through water stops. Just after the turn around, I saw someone I knew, someone I think is sort of the same speed as me, and he was catching me. Based on his number I figured if he caught me he could have 30 seconds on me and I'd still be able to finish "clock time" ahead of him. He did finally catch me in the last half mile or so, I decided to not just let him run away with it, so I hung with him the rest of the race.

Waiting for dad to finish

It can get boring waiting for the old man

The Finish

That about sums it up ... just keep moving. Also good dinosaur impression

Last year as I was coming in I was thinking about my friends who I had seen or not seen during the run. This time I had seen everyone I knew, and I was looking forward to seeing my family. I did not sprint to the end to edge out the guy who had chased me down on the run. I thought, he ran me down, and had more spirit on the run than I did, so I backed off smiled and ran to my kids and wife.
The older kids ran off as soon as I finished. This one loves me!

She's Daddy!

The Results

Goal Actual
Swim 12:00 12:23
Bike 58:30 58:36
Run 31:00 36:17
Total 1:45:00 1:50:10

The swim – 23 seconds isn't significant, given the chop I'm actually pretty happy about this.

The bike - 36 seconds isn't much at all, I felt like I did well. According to my watch I was a little faster than this, but only by about as much I missed my goal, so we'll call it even :)

The run – Well, I was hoping to hit this run a little harder. I'm wondering if I psyched myself out a little. On the other hand, it was faster than last year, and I *think* last year I didn't walk. So I'll take what I can get.

While I chatted with friends and stuff, the others caught some beach time

Closing Comments

At first I was feeling a little down, I missed my goal, again. But, it's faster than last year. A minute on the bike, a minute on the run. I like doing the same race over again, I look forward to a sort of apples to apples comparison. So I'll probably do it again next year.

Two more races this month, it's racing season and I'm looking having fun!