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Sunday, April 27, 2008

Langley Pond International Triathlon

My 2008 season began this weekend at Langley Pond. So how did I measure up to my aggressive expectations? It wasn't 100% of what I hoped for, but it was a really close.

Getting the bike off the truck and having my Performance Enhancing Drug (coffee)

First of all, it was a really strange race. Thunderstorms delayed the start for over an hour and were responsible the shortening of the bike course by 4.4 miles. There was some talk of making it a duathlon, but thankfully they kept the tri format. Actually, I think the delay may have worked in my favor in that I was really quite nervous and the break gave me a chance to calm down some.

Standing around being nervous

By the time the swim was about to begin I had to pee really bad. I tried to get in the water when they let us down to the beach but as soon as I stepped in the water they ordered everyone out. I knew the horn would blow any second so I had to just let it flow in the wetsuit on dry land. No sooner than I had finished the horn went off and we're we're running into the water. The swim wasn't that great for me. I did a lot of zigging and zagging but in the end reached my goal of a sub 27 minute swim. According to my math, it should be around 26:02 which would be a PR at this distance for me. Coming out of the water I was feeling very disoriented and wobbly. This made for an inefficient T1, I'm guessing 1:30.

Feeling pretty woosy

Once on the bike, I quickly was able to get my mind back in the game. Right out of the gate I passed a bunch of guys that I never saw again. After a about a mile of relative flat, the climb began. Here I began to battle with some guys that I would dual with over the course of the two laps. Once on top of the ridge it gets flat again and then comes the downhill section which is 53x11 hammer dropping fun. It was on this section that I caught up a friend that I met at a 10k earlier this year and yelled, "Come on, man" and he did. When he caught back up with me I mentioned that he must have had a great swim, thinking back to before the race when he mentioned that he hadn't swam in a month. That dude must be scary fast in the water. We went back and forth passing each other until we reached the beginning of the downhill for the second time. From there I hammered away and didn't see him again until the turn-around on the run.

Climbing the hill

This was a very good bike for me. I reached my goal of being #1 in the AG, 16th overall with an average speed over 22 mph with about 1000 ft of climbing.

Here's how you want T2 to look when you get there. My tan sucks!

Another rough transition came next. I did not feel good off this bike. I'd been having BAD reflux all through the race from some spicy sauage I had for breakfast and it really hit hard when I started running . A work to the wise ... sausage before a race ... don't do it! Along with that came side stitches. I ran fairly slowly and concentrated on exhaling deeply and they went away within a half mile and I started feeling better. The run wasn't everything I hoped for and again was my weakest segment. I missed bettering my outright 10k PR by 13 seconds, but in the end I had the fastest 10k in an Olympic distance tri that I've ever posted by over 3 minutes. 42:04. I'll be continuing to work on the run and won't be happy until a sub 40 is expected every time I step on the line to race.

Getting ready to high-five a team mate. Looks like I'm a heel striker after all.

All in all a good race. 2:03:59 / 19th overall / 4th AG and a PR for each segment. I feel like the 2:12 (or at least bettering my 2:14:38 PR) I predicted would've been possible with the extra 4.4 miles of bike, so I'm happy. I regret not getting hardware, but that'll come again soon enough. I can't control the depth of competition (Uhem, Rafael Fiallo ITU pro from Venezuela racing as an age grouper in my AG), only my performance ... and I'm satisfied with this one for the most part.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

It's always a risky thing

to publicly state your goals for a race. Especially the first race of the season since you have nothing but training paces and gut feel to go on. But since it's on my mind and I need to post something to the blog, here goes.

Let me start with a little history from last year. I have kind of a shaky history at the Olympic distance. Last year I raced 3 Olympic distance events. The first one was my first ever at the distance so my main goal was to finish in the middle to front of the age group, which I did, placing 6 of 23 in the M 30-34 division. The race was going fine until the run where I totally fell apart because of severe stomach cramps due to much gel without enough water. The second one was the exact same scenario on the run, too much gel and not enough water to dilute it. Apparently I didn't learn my lesson the first time. I'd gained some fitness on the bike and swim by that time and managed to hold on the 2nd place in the age group after one of the most painful runs of my life. By the third Olympic triathlon I'd learned that I had plenty of glycogen stored in my muscles to get me through this distance and had no need to fuel myself with gels. Finally I was able to race this distance without falling apart on the run, which placed me 1st in the age group. I was most happy that I felt like I finally understood how to race this distance.

That brings us to Olympic distance Saturday's race. Let me preface my goal splits by saying that my overriding goal is that my fitness would be at a level that allows me to race at or very near threshold for the entire race, which I felt like I did at the last Olympic tri I raced in October.

My goal for the swim is for a 1500 meter open water PR. That being said, I hoping for sub 24 minutes but would be satisfied with anything less than 27 minutes.

My goal for the bike is the same as always, #1 ranking in the age group. Never easy but I've pulled it off before and hope to do it again. Top 10 ranking overall would make me happy as well and as far as time goes, maybe in the neighborhood of 1:05.

Okay, time for the run goal. This was my weakest segment last year and so I'm hoping for the most improvement in this area. Here's the goal (it's aggressive), an outright 10k PR. That's right, coming off the bike I'm hoping to go sub 41:52 which is my current race (official) PR. That PR was established back in February in an outright 10k on a very hilly course and I think it may be possible to topple it this weekend. It's going to take a brave effort and a lot of pain and suffering, but I think I can do it.

Here's the breakdown:


So, best case time I hoping for is around 2:12 which would would give my a new Olympic distance PR, breaking my current PR of 2:14:38 set at Hickory Knob last October.

So there's mine, now let's see yours (yes I'm talking to you David and Bill)

Monday, April 21, 2008

Sick and tired of being sick and tired

Okay, so it’s only the 3rd day, but still, I’m over it! Saturday was a solid brick with my training partner Bill with a 21 mile ride in some hills and rain, then a long-overdue track workout. I felt like I had a really good workout and even put up one of my fastest bike splits on that route but there was something in the back of my mind that was saying, “something ain’t right”. My allergies were in full expression and I was a little wiped out from doing yard work and pressure washing the house Saturday morning and so I attributed the feeling to that.

Saturday night was date-night with my wife. By then I was super congested, coughing and starting to realize that I was coming down with something that had some teeth. Also, I noticed that my father-in-law was feeling rotten when they came over to watch the kids. Well, I figured one of those 32 oz beers from the Mexican restaurant would take care of it. And it did have me feeling better for a little while, but as we headed out to Ross, the dollar store and Books-A-Million, I started heading downhill again.

Sunday was church and then Hannah’s 2nd birthday bash. We had a lot of good food and good times with family, friends, neighbors, dogs and kids playing in the sunshine on the cul-de-sac. By Sunday night I knew it was time to break out the big guns and get on an antibiotic, which I hadn’t done in well over two years. So today I’m all hopped up on my buck shot formula of antibiotic, antihistamine, vitamin C, vitamin D, huge dose of vitamin B, Magnesium, multi vitamin, ibuprofen, and glucosamine.

At least today is not Thursday or Friday with the race on Saturday. This is actually the best time to get sick for me. It’ll force me to taper but should be cleared up by race day.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The Single T Double B

Not as hardcore as the Triple T but a good build-phase weekend workout.

Friday was the T (tri) day which started with a 2500 meter swim with a 2000 meter straight time trial. The tt went well and I posted my fastest 2000 meter split since the SC Half IM last year where I was 19th overall / 2nd in my AG out of the water with a 31:xx swim. That was a wetsuit legal swim which really speeds me up, so I'm feeling pretty good about this 31 minute 2000 meter swim in the pool.

After the swim I went by Harrell's for a quick fitting, grab some HEED to try out, and got some really great news. The great news also was a huge mental fuel for the weekend workout! I left there and made one of the biggest mistakes of the day when I stopped for a value meal a BK just a few miles and minutes from the ride. I hastily scarffed it down on my way to the ride.

Once out on the bike I realized that the food just wasn't digesting at the pace I was pushing. I had to back off a bit and see if I could get some blood flowing to my stomach. Regardless, when I got the end of Wash Lever Road which is mile 10 I was averaging over 20 mph which was pretty good and feeling a bit better. The next four and a half miles are mainly descending and a lot of fun to ride, especially as it culminates with a swervey downhill into the small town of Peak and ends with a sharp, almost 90 degree turn near the Pharmacy and Fire Station (which is basically the whole town). Once through Peak I was averaging 21.38. This is about the time I realized that I hadn't been drinking much of anything except the half of a Diet Coke I had with the value meal before the ride. The next 10 miles have a number of small chain ring - large cog, out of the saddle, sustained climbs that knock your averages back down some but provide great hill work. The last part of the loop is fast and rolling on fresh blacktop and a lot of fun to ride. From there I had 32 miles at a pace over 20mph and I stopped at the truck to grab a fresh bottle of water and went for a shorted 20 mile loop at an easier pace which finished it up for 52 miles at a 19.5 pace. I'd estimate that it was no less than 2000 ft of climbing if not more. Not stellar, but solid for this stage of the year.

After the ride I headed down to Riverfront Park and ran 5 miles, which is about all I had in me. I ran it at a slow 8:00 min pace, which again is all I had in me. This run really was a struggle. I was cramping a dehydrated from not drinking enough on the bike.

The next day was the first B (brick) with an hour on the trainer in the garage while the kids played Play-Dough then a 5.4 mile run at a 6:46 pace while my father-in-law watched the kids. This was my longest run in the new Zoots and I ended up with a raw spot just below left ankle. I hope that turns into a callus soon.

Sunday was the second B. After church I went for a ride in my neck of the woods. It was supposed to be a recovery ride but the wind was howling something crazy and the hills where taking their toll. Eventually I gave in and decided to fight back a little. In the end I had a solid ride at a 19.5 mph pace with 95% of the time spent on the drops because it was just too windy to be up on the aerobars. I followed that up with a short 2.7 mile intense run near a 6 minute mile pace.

All in all it was a good build-phase weekend but I realize that I have a long way to go if I want to post a time at the IM later that would give me hope for a KQ in 09.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Mid / Forefoot or Heel?

Which are you? I was actually told by an employee at Strictly Running that I should be running with a heel strike. I politely disagreed but decided that there's no use arguing the point with an "expert". I don't know about y'all, but I'd never want to the have the form of the dude in black.