Saturday, June 30, 2012


The sprint is done!  Woot!

So, Friday morning, I felt like shit.  Absolutely horrible.  I think it has to do with living it up at a baseball game the night before, but it wasn't a good outlook 24 hours before the big race.  It was forecast to be a hot day.. With the race at 9:30, I was a bit worried.

Fast forward 24 hours.. Temperature was warm, not terrible.  I felt absolutely fine, as well.  Winning!

It's funny, you sign up for these races months in advance, and all of a sudden, you're heading out the door for them.

In case any men are interested and stumble across this post as a "What do you wear to a sprint triathlon? search", I wore these tri shorts, and just a C9 tank top.

I got registered, body marked, and found a spot to set up my gear.  Problem.  My big fat tires didn't fit into the 2x4 bike racks they made.  Sigh.  Once again, I look around, and I see the mountain bike is not a bike of choice (there were 2 others though).  I did manage to stuff the tire in and turn the handlebars enough to make it semi stable.

OK, so I go and look at the swim course.. It's a triangular course.. Go to buoy, swim left, go to next buoy, swim left, swim to shore.  Damn.  Those buoys are damn far out.  This whole "skipping the swim" thing probably wasn't a great idea in training.

So, coming into the race, I wanted to have fun.  I had no idea what to guess for time.  I wanted to finish in 2 hours.  I was hoping for a half hour swim, an hour bike, and another half hour for the run.  (Yes, that doesn't leave time for transitions, but whatever).

Before I know it, it's go time!  And.. we're off.  Swim swim swim.  Are we at the turn yet? Oh, no. Not even close.  That's pretty much what I felt like the whole way.  The women and relay participants were let loose in the second wave, so not only did I get to feel the men crawl all over me as they left me in the dust, I got the womenfolk doing the same.

In my younger years, I swam an open water mile a couple of times.  That was 20 years ago, sadly.

I finally made it to shore.  I had debated waiting to take my Gu midway through the race, but I opted to take it now.  (I had actually decided that about 2% of the way into that hellacious swim).  I futzed around a little while just to get my bearings back. As a result, my T1 time wasn't stellar.  I was one of the last people into transition, so it was easy to find my bike. (I wasn't last, though!)  I guess that is a positive way of looking at it..

So, to the bike!

Course elevation looked like (I missed a half mile due to me forgetting to turn on my Garmin):

Yeah, it was hilly.  At about the 2 mile mark, I started feeling a little better.. I think the Gu kicked in. Wise choice taking it early.

In my bike training, I mainly have been doing hill repeats.  A bit sadistic, but I think it helped me today.   I did get passed by a couple of people, but I did pass others as well.  

I passed a guy that was 68.  I hope I'm still doing this sort of thing at that age.

I really started to push it, and I'm happy with the results:

A couple of times I wound up above 30 mph.  That's pretty cool.

The course was an open road, but the county sheriff's office did a good job slowing down traffic for us.

Around mile 9, I was riding along and somehow hit a sawzall blade lying on the side of the road.  Really?  What the hell is it doing here?  I noticed no ill effects on the tire, thankfully, and finished my ride without further issue.

Yeah, I know it's not an uber stellar ride, but for me it was above what I expected.  That was an average speed of about 12.7 mph on a fairly tough course.

I had started my Garmin about 4 minutes late, but I knew I had a decent shot at getting in under an hour, so I kept pushing. 

OK.. T2 time.  Easy for me.. no cycling shoes, I just have to park my bike and go.  Park my bike, start to head away and.... that damn narrow tire slot bites me.  My bike fell over.  Sigh.  I wound up dragging it to the middle of my spot and just leaving it on its side.  Whatever.

Off for the run.  So, at this point, I actually have no idea how I'm doing timewise.  I knew the bike was close to an hour, and probably under.  Other than that, no idea.   I felt pretty good, so I decided to go for it.

Originally, I was going to try to break 25 minutes here at this race, rather than doing the 5K I did earlier in the year. I wised up to that plan and did the 5K instead, just in case I was gassed at this point.
This course was relatively flat, except for the scramble part going up the side of a damn, and later back down:

It was an out and back, with a water station placed at the top of the damn, so you could get water twice.

I hit about 8:24 for the first mile, which included that powerwalkish thing I did up the damn.  OK, let's go for it.  At this point, my core muscles were definitely feeling it.  I had thought about this Friday saying "I should have done more core work.. I haven't been doing that too much lately".  Unfortunately, thinking that the night before doesn't do too much good.

Mile 2 was just a mental game trying to hang on.  I finished that one with a 7:52 pace.  I heard my watch beep indicating that mile was done.  All that was left was to get some more water, scramble down the hill, and run to the finish.

What they say about your ability to calculate times, splits, etc in your head at the end of a long race is true.  My brain was turning to mush.  At one point I thought I could go for a 10 minute mile and make it.  This was just another bear down and pick off people along the way sort of mile.  I squeezed out a 7:37 mile here.

Coming into the finish there were two guys ahead of me.. I beat one, but the other heard me coming and turned it up.  Eh, good for him.  
At the finish, the DJ was saying people's names that crossed, which was a very nice touch.   I got to see the clock, too.  Holy shitballs, it's reading 1:50 something!!

I crossed at 1:50:51.

Splits were:
Swim: 24:48  (beat 30 minutes!)
T1: 3:37
Bike: 56:49 (beat 1 hour!)
T2: 1:11
Run: 24:27 (beat 25 minutes!)

Wow.  Absolutely incredible.  All goals met.

It was a fun race, and I had a great time.  What did I learn?
My swim form isn't that great.  More time in the water needed.
My bike form isn't that terrible, really.  I felt good the whole way.  I was certainly of the slowest bikers, but I think more practice will get me better.
I need more core work.
Running wise, I was of the better runners there.  Go me.
T1 would have been better if the swim hadn't wiped me.  T2 would have been better if my bike didn't fall over. I'll have to look into buying a kickstand or something.

I had a blast.  I think it's probably the last triathlon for me this year, though. I was debating an Oly tri, but the logistics aren't going to work out for me.  I do need more bike time in general first, too. (And swimming. Of course).  I do plan to do more of them in the future, though.  No doubt.

Keep on rockin!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012


Well, I got my official paperwork in the mail for the sprint tri on Saturday.. It includes the necessary forms to become a one day member of USA Triathlon and all of that.

It's here, upon me.

Holy shit.

1/2 mile swim, 12 miles on the bike, 5K run.

Not ready, not one bit.  I took a look at the course maps, rolled over to the web, and checked the elevations.  That bike ride is going to:
A) Suck
B) Suck the big one
C) Totally suck
D) All of the above.

The run looks "OK".  There's a steep uphill and downhill on and off of a dam (referred to as the "damn dam"), but flat otherwise.

The swim.  Oy.  Number of practices since the micro tri: 0
The thing about open water is, at some point, self preservation will take over, and I'll just plain have to swim.

Note to self: In the future, respect the disciplines more.

It'll be an experience.  It'll be fun (I hope).  I don't have any serious goals, even though this was a race I set off to do at the beginning of the year.  I figure I'll walk away knowing that:
1) I need more time on the bike
2) I need more swim pacing practice
3) I need more swim practice

Ah well.  I am looking forward to it, in all seriousness.

Other than that, not much going on.  My long run last week was 14 miles. My knee wasn't feeling great going into it, so I ran to the local school (a mile away) and ground it out there at the track.  All 12 miles.  It honestly wasn't terrible, but I was so ready for the run to be over after 10 miles on that track.

I've been mixing in biking (in prep for Saturday), and that has helped my running.  I do wish I felt more comfortable on the bike.  I can't ride and drink out of a water bottle.  I can't even really ride and do hand signals.  I'm just one uncoordinated guy.

Keep on rockin!

Monday, June 11, 2012

I tri-ed

Welp, I am now a world-famous triathlete.

The day was forecast to be hot, humid, and all of that fun stuff.  I actually woke up to clouds and a slight sprinkle.  Score!

I made it to the race site about an hour before the race.  Wow.  Hardly anyone there.   This was the "first annual" of this triathlon, so perhaps the word didn't get out.  Apparently, since our city was marked as one of the cities with the highest obesity rate in the U.S., this group decided to do something positive about it.. they made this triathlon, with distances that anyone could do.

Truthfully, most everyone there looked like they had done a bit of triathlon work before.  I think I had one of the three mountain bikes there. lol

I got marked up, set up my gear in transition, and just milled around for a bit. The time went by really fast, in all seriousness.

So.  225 yard swim.  The swim was done in 7 minute waves in the pool.  OK.   I'm in the second wave.  Cool.  "How many lengths are we doing?". .. Oh.. 9. Got it.

The first group got out, and we were told "you'll be going in 2 1/2 minutes".  OK, sweet, I'll hop in.  Holy cow, that time flew by.  The lady I was sharing my lane with apologized in advance if she crashed in to me.  The look of panic on her face when I told her I hadn't swam in 3.5 years.... chuckle

And, like that, it was go time.  Holy shitballs.  This was it.

I went off strong, trying to have reasonable form and all of that.. up, and back.  Wow, I'm tearing it up!  Wow!

Oh, damn.  I've gone a bit too fast.  I'm winded now.   Alright Superman, slow it down.

Well, I made it through the swim.. The first lap was by far my strongest and my best form. I actually got out of my swim wave 3rd in the group, less than a second behind #2.

Off to transition.. That sounds so hard core.

I dried my feet off, threw on my Garmin and clothes and all, and headed out.

Of course, with all of the prep work I did, I made sure to scope out the course.  Not.   The road was to be marked with red arrows for the bike ride, and white arrows for the run.  Plus, some volunteers at "key intersections".  Ooookkaaayy.

Well, the first bit of the bike ride was fine.. Up and down, left and right.  And then we went up a hill.  One big f'in hill. I actually passed one person here.  (And was passed by a whole bunch).   I was playing leapfrog with a guy.. He'd walk his bike, and I'd ride by.. Later, he'd ride by me until he walked.  Repeat.

(When I say "I'd ride by", it makes it sound so fast.  lol)

That's what the elevation chart looked like.

At about 2.5 miles, those red arrows disappeared.  I caught up with a pack that had gone right, when evidently the course went left.  This part was all relatively flat, but still.

We made it back, and if I hadn't seen someone make the final turn, I would have missed that myself too.

Pace wise, here's where I was:

I'm really not comfortable going down the hills.. Probably wise on this one, since it was full of potholes, but still, that's something I need to work on.

All in all, the bike part sucked.  I was 6th in my wave (of 7).  I think I was slightly short of the 5 miles, due to missing part of the course, but I was pretty close.  That was 24:40 on the bike.

OK, back to transition, dump my bike, and off for the run.   White arrows.. Got it.

I was heading out, and one of the volunteers said "watch the hill with your pace".. I looked at my watch, and I was doing about a 6:20 mile at that point... Wow, the brick work I have done actually seemed to help.

The course was hilly, but not terrible:

I managed to pick off a few people here that had zoomed past me on the bike.  One guy (one of the winners) blazed by me at the mile mark.

There's my pace chart (the spike to the left is where I went inside after forgetting to shut off my watch).

The leapfrog guy from the bike was ahead of me, but within striking distance for most of the run.. I slowly worked on getting to him. At about a quarter of a mile left, there was a hill, and that's when I made my move.. I got past him, and the lady in front of him.  I know this wasn't an "A" race for me, but this was going to be my hard workout for the week.  Why not?

We ended with a slight hill down into the driveway.. I coasted in, and the guy I passed snuck in at the last minute.  Damnit.  Run finished with a time of 14:47.

Results were done with a bizarre spreadsheet.  The best I can tell is my times were:
Swim (225 yards): 4:36  (~11/24)
T1: 2:54
Bike (~5 miles):  24:40 (~16/24)
T2: :49
Run (2 miles): 14:47 ~ (2/24)

Overall, 15th of 24.

So, I finished.  I wasn't last.  I am walking today (with tight hamstrings, but healthy at least).  I call it a win.

Swim: Not bad, for not having swam.  Some time in the water working on pacing would benefit me greatly.
T1: Not terrible. I could use to get my feet drier.  I don't know where that 3 minutes went, but I think that went well.
Bike:  I need more bike time.  It's my least favorite of the three, and the one I need to work on the most.  If I'm going to get into this sport, since the bike takes up the most time, I better become comfortable with it.
T2: No complaints here. I rocked that one.
Run: No trouble here either.

All in all, what a blast!  I have a sprint tri at the end of the month, and I'm trying to figure out what other ones are do-able.  There's another micro on the 4th of July which I'm on the fence about.  It's very close to home, but it's very early in the morning, and only a few days after the sprint.

After that, it becomes a logistical nightmare, as the next closest ones are 2-2.5 hours away.

I'll definitely do more of these.. Whether or not they're this year or next, it was a superb workout, and perfect for a guy like me.. Jack of all trades, master of none.

Keep on rockin!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Tri Time, Baby

Welp, my first triathlon is tomorrow.  It's of the "micro" variety.  Tiny tiny tiny.

225 yards in the pool, 5 miles on the bike, 2 mile run.

Preparation wise, how'd we do?
Run - Superb.  Knee is a bit creaky, but other than that, plenty of training in.
Bike - Fair.  I've been riding once or twice a week for 5 weeks.  Not stellar, but every ride has had hills and has been 5 or more miles.  I generally try to run a quarter of a mile after the rides as well.  Mini-bricks.
Swim - I last swam, oh, 3 1/2 years ago.  Fail.

Whatevs.  I'm doing this one for fun. I have no goals in mind.. I just want to use this to try out the sport and get ready for the sprint tri at the end of the month.  If I didn't wind up last, that'd be good, but as long as I stay healthy through it, that's all that matters.

I don't know what kind of timing they'll have.  The outfit which normally does race timing around here isn't signed up for this race, so it should be interesting.  I'm stoked the race is at 9, which means I can get up at my normal time before heading over.

I've been making a checklist of crap to bring.  Holy cow.  So much more than a typical running road race. lol.

I'll keep you posted with how it goes.. Keep on rockin!

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Early run, long run

Well, I tried something midweek that I haven't done for a long time.  I woke up early to get up and run.  I figured it was a good way to keep peace in the house.. I get my run in, but don't shirk my child rearing duties.  I must admit, apart from it being early, it was a pretty good time.  There's so little traffic at that hour, and the temperature was wonderful.

The most interesting thing I saw on my run was a new in box Volvo big truck air filter.  I saw the box, and it had that description, but I thought "what are the odds?".  Well, in this case, the odds were pretty good.  I wasn't expecting a new one though.. maybe a used on in the new box?  Don't ask me, it was sitting in the middle of a rarely used parking lot.  It was gone by the next day.

Saturday I did my long run of the week.  I did an out and back 12 miler.  Turns out the local head shop is 6 miles away.  Kind of fun, right?  I do question my sanity of signing up for a marathon, but oh well.

Nothing much to report about the long run.. probably the most interesting thing I saw was a set of guard rail bolts.  I think they were just an extra set, as the guard rail looked properly secured (as in "no bolts missing").

The next day, I feel fine.  That's pretty cool, I must admit.

That's all for now. Keep on rockin!