My Tweets

Thursday, April 30, 2009

New Stuff

Just received this cool new stuff ...

Xtrerra Velocity 0.02
speedsuit, custom Craft tri top, 2009 Hincapie Road Kit


Some new sponsors of the team include: BioMet, Carolina Honda Powerhouse, and Data Network Solutions with returning sponsors Garmin and Lee Transport Equipment. If you get the chance, show some love to the Harrell's team and support our sponsors ... don't forget to mention the team!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Langley Pond Race Report

This was a special race for me because two years ago this was my first ever triathlon and the event that marked a fundamental shift in the course of my life. It was great to come back and race well! Originally I was signed up for the Olympic distance but decided to transfer to the Sprint because I'm just getting past a calf injury and didn't want to risk re-injuring it ahead of the Lake Murray race this upcoming weekend. In the end I made the podium (2nd), had a blast, apparently broke the previous course record, and didn't re-injure the calf. So I'm very glad I made the switch.

Here's what Setup Events had to say about our race:

"For the Sprint the Top 4 men and Top 2 women broke the previous course record. Anthony Wallace of Savannah, GA led from the gun posting the day's fastest swim split and Top 3 bike and run splits to take the men's title. Nicholas Brunson of Lexington, SC was second on the day and Jeff Brandenburg of Columbia, SC was third."

That is the condensed version ... here is how my race played out from my perspective:

My wife and son and I arrived at the site with plenty of time to pickup the packet, setup transition and get marked. Before I knew it the RD was ordering everyone out of transition and down to the water for the start. I hadn't yet done a warm up swim or even put on my wetsuit. So I quickly put on my suit and went down to the water. As I was getting in the RD was ordering everyone out of the water, but I was able to sneak in maybe 200 meters. The athletes racing the Olympic distance went off first and then it was our turn.

The swim start here is from the beach and so there is a few steps of running and then 2 dives and you're off swimming. The first few hundred meters were nerve racking with trying to balance pacing myself without getting hypoxic with not losing too much time to the lead swimmers. I was sighting on every 12th stroke and was drifting each way quite a bit as I tried correct my line to the first turn buoy. I must have been over-correcting. By 300 meters out I was on the edge, trying to relax, and trying to find some kind of rhythm. The first 90 degree turn is at 350 meters then there is 50 meters until the other 90 degree turn that points you back to shore. It wasn't until rounding this second turn buoy (approx 400 meters) that I found my rhythm, felt powerful, and began enjoying the swim. With on 350 meters left to work with there was only so much I could do in such a short distance. Getting out of the water I had 10:45 as the split. There is a long run to transition included in the swim time which gave me 11:42 (1 min 1 sec behind the leader). I was ranked 7th overall, 3rd Open.

Brooks Keys beat me out of the water by 14 seconds and was out of his wetsuit when I arrived at my bike. I could tell it was taking him a while to get through transition which gave confidence that I could get back some time from him. My transition felt quick and looking at the numbers, I took back 6 seconds from Brooks.

For this race I put my cycling shoes on in T1 but still managed a flying mount on the bike. Brooks was just ahead and I was determined to get him quick and come past him really strong. I was able to get past him before the railroad tracks and turns that take you out onto the main loop. The loop starts fairly flat and then goes uphill for several miles. I just tried to find a good rhythm and churned up and up. Once on top of the ridge line it is kind of rolling before it turns back downhill. On the rolling section I could see the leader up the road but it didn't seem like I was reeling him in any. I just kept the throttle on and tried to put as much time between Brooks and myself as possible. I know that Brooks is a really good runner and if I was going to beat him, it was going to be on the bike. The other thing I was thinking was that it would be nice to have the fastest bike split of the day. Unfortunately JB took fastest bike split, edging me out by 28 seconds. Bike split: 31:56 - ranked 2nd overall, 1st Open.

I came into T2 and I saw the leader's bike on the rack. My wife let me know that I was in second place. This transition felt quick also and I was soon off to the run.

After T2 the leader had me by 49 seconds. The run actually has 3 turn arounds, the first of which is only a few hundred yards into the run. The next turn around is somewhere near 1.5 miles and his lead was down to 47 seconds, so we're pretty much running the same pace. That's a lot of ground to make up in 1.6 miles but it "felt" like I was gaining on him. Here I also got the chance to see how much time I had on Brooks. It was well over a minute. This gave me confidence that 2nd place was in the bag. Then ... oh, wait ... who's that coming? It's JB and he's running strong. Let's see ... he started how many minutes back? Crap ... who knows?? ... this is too complicated. Up the hill and back into the park area and I hear the RD say some things about me to the crowd which was something new. Heading out along the levy the leader is in sight. At the turn around the gap is still about the same. At this point there is only maybe 1/8th of a mile left and I knew there was no chance of catching him and also there was no chance of me being caught by anyone else. Cruised it on in for a time of 18:27. Ranked 3rd overall, 3rd Open

So the final result was 2nd place with a time of 1:05:02. Brooks crossed about a minute and a half later and then we started watching the clock ... waiting to see how soon JB would arrive. When he did arrive, Brooks was not happy to learn that he'd been taken off the podium from behind by JB ... again. We then gave JB crap for not racing Open ... again.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

The questions that are Langley

I'm getting mentally and physically prepared to race this weekend but there are many lingering questions that won't be answered until race day.

Which race will I race?
I asked to be switched to the Sprint and was told it was no problem. My name is still on the start list for the Olympic however. This could be an advantage I suppose :-) So we will see ... I'm not totally opposed to the Olympic but have some real concerns about running a hard 10k on this calf.

How will the calf hold up?
Running has been absolutely minimal this week. Only a 30 minute trail run. At the end of which I felt a very strange sensation in my calf ... a cramp ... high up below the back of the knee on the inside of the leg. I don't usually get cramps, even when racing in the heat. I have felt this before though when doing a hard push off in the pool after not having hydrated well before the workout. Only 3 times that I can remember and I used it as my cue to end the session and gets some electrolytes and calories in me. I was able to invoke the same cramp this morning on the bike by pointing my toe straight down and flexing my calf as I hard as I could. I rubbed it out and tried it a few more times, each time getting less severe until I couldn't get it to cramp anymore. Strange stuff going on down there. So my course of action is ice, rest, vitamin I, water running, stretching, and massaging the area.

The good news is that the tendonitis along the bone has pretty much disappeared on both legs as I knew it would with lower volume for a week or two. If I could just get this crazy cramping to go away I think I can pull off a decent 5k. 10k ... maybe not ... so hopefully I will get out of the Olympic and into the Sprint.

Will I have a good swim in the wetsuit?
Swimming in the suit has been an on-again, off-again problem for me in the past. Sometimes it doesn't bother me at all. Other times I feel like it's trying to suffocate me. The one thing I know is that it makes me fast! So hopefully that speed won't be negated by me stopping to tug on the neck to get more oxygen during a hyperventilation frenzy.

Okay, think positive ... I'm going to hammer the swim. Stay calm and controlled through the first 150 meters, asses where I'm at in relation of the lead, find some feet, pickup the pace, come out of the water within 1 minute of the leader. Quick transition, drop him like a bad habit on the bike, come into t2 with a minute to spare, pray my calf holds up the task, run the 5k in 18 flat.

I keep envisioning how it's going to play out. Everything goes just how I said above and I'm in the lead out of T2, but at the turnaround i see second place and I don't have but a 40 sec gap from my 1 min at the start of the run. By the second turnaround at the end of the levy he is really close. I put in a surge and hold him until we make the right turn into the park area and head for the chute. He comes alongside me. It's a sprint finish. I dig deep and cross the line just a fraction a second before him and collapse in the grass. My wife and kids run over to me and jump on me like a big dog pile, yelling and screaming! It's awesome.

Hey, a guy can dream right? We'll see how it really plays out. I'm hoping for this kind of drama!

My new jersey from Harrell's won't be back from the screen printer until early next week so it's debut race will be Lake Murray next weekend.

Best of luck to all racing this weekend!

Monday, April 20, 2009

April 13 - 19

Total: 16 hrs 10 min
Swim: 12 km
Bike: 9 hrs 30 min
Run: 1 hr 50 min
Strength: 1 hr 45 min

It was another week rehabbing the calf injury and putting in some solid time on the bike. Not a whole lot of running (very little actually) but my run last night was encouraging in that I was able to hold a respectable pace without much discomfort. I have to give major credit to Dr. Renick for diligently working on my calf and helping me get back to running.

With all of 41 miles of running logged for the month so far I decided to ask if I could move my registration from the Olympic distance to the Sprint for the upcoming race this weekend (against coach’s wishes). I feel like I could fake a decent enough 5k, but a fast 10k … not so much! Well, at least not without significant suffering and lasting repercussions. With the Lake Murray race the very next weekend, I don’t want to risk further injuring my calf this weekend. Lake Murray is a big local race with steep competition where I hope to represent my sponsor well. Besides, it looks like the Open division field has grown quite a bit in the Langley Sprint race since the last time I checked the registration. There are some solid athletes racing with some being very talented swimmers. If I’m able to switch to the Sprint my goal will be to not lose too much time in the water (maybe even stay in the lead pack) and then bring it hard on the bike and hang on for dear life in the run (and try not to hurt myself). If I end up racing the Olympic it will be the same strategy. Come to think of it … that’s always my strategy!

This week has very light training. So much so that it will be a challenge to train that little! In fact I’ve already trained over plan by riding this morning. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit. It just doesn’t feel right not to ride my bike in the morning.

Train well.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Monday, April 13, 2009

April 6 – 12, ROP

Total: 16 hours
Swim: 9km
Bike: 11 hrs 21 minutes
Run: 1 hr 35 minutes
Strength: 45 minutes

This was different than my typical week of training in that I was nursing an injury to my lower legs and needed to reduce my running volume. Unfortunately running wasn’t the only thing that was low on volume as I missed one of my swim workouts and only managed 45 minutes in the gym working on core strength. On the flipside, cycling was the focus for the week and I got in some of the best riding ever.

I’m happy to report that my lower legs are healing up nicely with the rest, ice, massage and a little vitamin I. I was tempted to stray from the plan and put in a little run this morning (but didn’t) which would have given me 4 days in a row of running. We’ll ramp it up slowly though the first half of this week and then end strong with some faster running and a 90 minute long run at the end of the week. I’ve been a little apprehensive about my run fitness going into Langley on the 25th since there will be some very fast runners in the field.

I actually managed one swim last week in my wetsuit in the pool. I didn’t look too foolish since the heater and pump have been on-again off-again broken for the last few weeks. Regardless of the heater situation I’ll be wearing it a few times this week and next to get ready for racing in it. There was a noticeable amount of fatigue in my shoulders from the added resistance on recovery and I’m hoping to build a little specific fitness in that area. I must confess that I missed a swim workout last week. We went to visit my folks on Friday at there lake house outside Augusta and I just didn’t have the cajones to get the water to do my distance workout.

I had an awesome ride on Saturday with JB and some of his crew from the North East (part of Columbia). With this being a cycling focused week I jumped on the opportunity to ride a hard century with tons of climbing called the ROP (Ride of Pain). Unfortunately my Garmin’s memory reached capacity at mile 86 since I hadn’t cleared out the history in a while. I have another computer on the bike but didn’t start it until about a mile into the ride when we got out of the neighborhoods. So no complete data from me, but from what I have … Garmin: Distance 86 miles, time 3:59:57, Average Speed: 21.5, Average HR: 140, Climbing: 7097 ft. … Other computer: Distance: 101.46, Time: 4:42, Average Speed: 21.55. Jeff sent out some numbers (that I used for my log) which were: Distance: 103.6, Time: 4:51, Average Speed: 21.36. Jeff also advertised the ride as 5000 ft of climbing which actually seemed a little shy to me. There were rollers, rollers, and more rollers … big rollers, small rollers, long rollers, short rollers, mentally-challenging rollers, scenic rollers. Needless to say we KILLED the Ride of Pain! I’d say we have the right to call ourselves the “Pain Killers”. There was definitely some pain involved but mostly from a silly oversight (haven’t ridden long since November) like failing to use chamois cream, body glide or other type of friction reducer on the nether regions. Those last 14 on the rough pavement weren’t the most comfortable miles of the ride. We finished it off strong and jogged two miles on the cushy trails behind Jeff’s house. Nice!

If you have ability to make it to Spartanburg on Saturday I would encourage you to run the Zebra’s Do Exists 5k to help support a local family in need.

Train well

Monday, April 6, 2009

Where it hurts

Coach wanted some more information on where I was having pain in the lower leg so I thought I would put these up here in case anyone else had some thoughts (sort of like an amateur Web MD type thing). Seems to be isolated to only the right leg which I tend to produce more power as I toe-off.

This first picture is where it is sore if I press into the bone. There is a small knot of inflammation or scar tissue. When I rub it out it feels better. I think this is where the soleus attaches to the bone.

The second picture is where it hurts when I toe-off when walking or running or coming down stairs. It is near the other place but more on the backside of the leg near the Achilles.

So as I mentioned in the last post, this week will be heavy on the cycling and light on the running. I'll have a short, easy run on Wednesday to test out how the rest is helping this issue.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

March 30 - April 5

Total volume: 17 hr 40 min
Swim: 12,200 meters
Bike: 8 hrs 47 min
Run: 2 hrs 56 min
Strength: 2 hrs 45 min

Well, it was another solid week but not all that it should have been. Today I had to bail part way into my 1 hr 40 min run because of the pain in my lower legs. It looks like I'm going to need a few days off running for the first time all year to let the inflammation subside a bit. It's not ideal but there is nothing I can really do about it - well, except use this as an opportunity to boost my cycling and swimming. Under the direction of the coach I'll take tomorrow and Tuesday off running and then pick back up with a short run on Wednesday to see how things are coming along. I'm hoping he sends me 5 swims this week and more like 10-12 hours on the bike. It's spring break week for the kids so not only will I have some extra training time in the morning (not taking my son to school), there will be much less traffic on the road. This should make for a good bike-focused week.

My only concern is how I will run at Langley on the 25th without a solid week of running this week. Hopefully a strong bike will make up for a weakness in my running if that is the case. If I was doing the sprint I wouldn't worry about it because a) the run short b) the depth of the field is quite shallow (only 1 open division male so far!). The olympic will be quite the opposite with a very strong field coming out. For some (like Chris Olson) this will be the season debut so I'm sure it will be quite intense ... no room for weak running!

Train well.