Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sprint for the Ages

Last weekend was the Battle at Buckhorn sprint triathlon. This was an awesome little race; I absolutely loved it. There was a snafu....

It was a cool morning but not cold. It was early. This race is in Sims, NC, about 50 minutes outside of Raleigh. I had to get off to a really early start, and nobody was available to keep the kids so Kelley stayed home and I got no pictures. At all. Sorry about that, there was some really cool friends of mine at this race.

It had an open water start, so I got into Buckhorn Lake to tread water for a while. Buckhorn Lake is the water reservoir for the town of Wilson NC. So if you live in Wilson, take comfort knowing that I pissed in your drinking water. I was glad for the relief before starting the race. All of the men started at the same time, and all women were in the second wave starting 5 minutes later. Water temp was 70 degrees, I brought the wetsuit but did not use it.

Swim 1000 yds: Goal time 10-15 minutes, Actual 15:36 Success!

It was a triangle course with all right hand turns, so we started and finished at the same location. Starting out in a washing machine, I used the "polo stroke" for a while, where you basically freestyle swim with your head completely out of the water. Once the swimmers got enough space between them, I put my head under and let it fly. The coolest thing about this swim course was that I never had to break stroke. I was finally able to sight the bouys, make the turns, follow the other swimmers, hold my pace and stay on course through the entire thing. I finished the swim in 38th place out of 101 men with an average pace of 1:33 per hundred. Before joining the RAM team my typical pace was around 1:45, so that's a huge difference!

T1 2:08, 57/101

Transition times should be under 90 seconds for a sprint unless you have to take off your own wetsuit. I did not use the wetsuit, but I did sit down to put on socks and the bike shoes. If I could train up to bike and run without socks I might be able to shave that into submission.

Bike 17 miles. Goal under 1 hour, Actual 51:41 Success!

This was a fantastic bike course. Wilson is between Raleigh and the coast, but it's not a coastal town. So the entire course was rolling hills and rural roads with plenty of flat spots to really push the speed. But the wind was not blowing. There were no tornado's that came rolling through Raleigh later that day. Temperatures were in the mid-70's. I wasn't pouring in sweat but wasn't freezing either. It was the perfect course.

There were two really long steep climbs that would humble cyclists who were not very strong. I ended up leaving the bike in the big chainring the entire time. Turns out people slower than me didn't do that. hmmmmmm.......... It felt really good to flex a lot of muscle on the bike. I passed a lot of people. I only got passed by two people on the bike, and I ended up leapfrogging them later.

For so long I have been stuck in the 17mph bike speed. This course turned in 19.74 mph!! Wow that was fantastic to calculate. I finished 31st fastest bike split out of 101 men. Again, I like it.

T2: 1:02, 63/101
Well, it's under 90 seconds. I'll take it. Off with the bike shoes and helmet, throw on the running shoes, hat, race belt with my number and it's off to the run course

Run 5k: Goal under 25 minutes, actual 4 miles in 28:30

What the what?? The course was a two loop out and back. So half a mile in we hit the first aide station, then another aide station at the turnaround. Heading back towards the finish line we passed the first aide station again. This is a common setup in triathlon run courses. Two aide stations that you hit 5 times. I bypassed the third aide stop to wait until I hit the turnaround point, and get water coming back.

Turns out, the aide station *was* the turnaround point. There was a small sign right next to it. But visually I was only looking at the people at the aide station and there was a missing volunteer who was supposed to be saying "turn around now if this is your first lap".

So I went on to the finish line, and as the race director was encouraging my 6th place finish in 1:24:xx, I asked to make sure the run course was a 2 looper. He said that it was and I must have missed the turnaround. So without crossing the timing mat, I turned around and headed back out there.

Half a mile later, I hit where I should have turned around. So half a mile extra to the finish line and half a mile back turned my 5k into a 4 mile run course. I tried very hard not to let my mental mistake push my head completely out of the race. I got caught up, and found myself in the middle of the pack. Slower runners that I kept passing, all of the same people I passed once already on the bike. I got a lot of strange looks.

Still, finishing 4 miles in 28:30 is pretty dang fast. That's a 7:07 per mile pace. If I had hit the turnaround and held that pace it would have been a 21:50 5k time. So I still nailed it. I just nailed it a little longer than I should have. Instead I ended up with the 72nd fastest run split out of 101 men.

Total time: 1:38:54, 42/101 men, 9/15 age group (M 35-39)

If I had that 7:20 back from the run course I would have finished in 24th place overall. Got to pay closer attention next time. Still, this was an amazing course, very well organized race, and I can't wait to run it again next year. By far my new favorite race.

And as if racing three weekends in a row (mud run, 5k, and now sprint tri) I end up being pissed off at the 21 minute 5k that wasn't. So what do I do about that? I signed up for a Foxhunt. At 7 pm outside of a local brewery the "fox" will leave to run a 5k. Three minutes later the rest of the field will chase him. I might have to use the garmin as the only way to get an official time, but there's only about 110 people signed up for this one. I like my odds of a high placement. We get a couple of free beers afterwards too. And the male and female winners get new Garmin watches. I know these roads really well, so I'm going to be gunning for a low time.

Be back soon after the foxhunt with yet another fun race report.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Lucky 13?

First things first.... I forgot to mention something from the Muck Run Race Report. Before the race I was properly hydrated, so I had to pee by the time we got there. The por-a-let's were literally outhouses. Wooden structures with a door over a hole in the ground. not a typical blue plastic thing that can properly dispose of waste. It's been a long time since I've had to pee in a hole in the ground. Some would say.... too long.

Saturday morning was the Run Walk & Roll 5k in Cary. I ran it in 23:26 and finished in 13th place overall out of 130 runners! This is a nice PR, and certainly my highest placement. There was no age group breakdown, but at 13th overall, I think it's very unlikely that I wasn't top 3 in my age group. Kelley ran this one too, she finished in 30:32 and was quite satisfied with her 54th place overall. There wasn't even a M/F breakdown, so 13th and 54th place overall is pretty dang good.

The course was in a local city park at an Amphitheater. It was next to a beautiful lake. The start line was at the top of a hill, so we started out by running slightly downhill. I was kind of near the front, but still had a handful of people to pass on the way down. When the dust settled I counted 7 people in front of me. I looked down and saw something never before seen on the Garmin: I was keeping a 5:38 pace. I cleared the first half mile in 2:42. This is insane.

Then a long steep uphill kicked in. My target for the race was to never look down and see a pace slower than a 7 minute mile. Keep it in the 6's. I did one in practice and put up a 20:50 time. but with this big-ass hill I saw an 8:xx pace on there. goal blown. But if I had tried to hold 6:xx up that hill there's no way I would have had anything left in the end. So I could live with it.

The course started with a spur, so the road came through an out and back up the big hill and then back down the big hill. I high-fived Kelley on my way down. That hill was a bitch both ways. Then it turned onto a greenway paved trail and went around the lake. There was a water station at the 1 mile marker and again at the 2 mile marker, both on the greenway.

And, of course, by the time we started corning the lake I was totally out of gas. Got into that last mile still pushing hard. It was a nice flat trail around the lake. But towards the end my abs were shot and I was dying for that finish line. Then they kept moving it. Ran past the ampitheater. No finish line there. Turned around to the other side of it. Hit a really short really steep uphill off of the greenway (thought it was there). Turned back onto the road for a bit - no finish line there either. Then a volunteer pointed off the road and said there was only one more hill! there was not another hill, but I cruised around a turn slowly expecting to charge up something. instead there was actually the finish line. dumbass. Still I was glad to see the line, and 23:26 is still over a 1 minute PR. I'll take it.

We ended up taking some pictures in the parking lot after the race. For some reason, it turned me into a goofy show-off. The humidity and the heat are out in full force here now, so Kelley swears that was her last race until the fall (I've still got a few coming up over the summer). I ran in a shirt, but that was a mistake. By the time I was done it was dripping. You could ring enough sweat out of that shirt to bathe a small child.

Then we picked up the kids and went for a picnic in the Rose Garden. Bigun wanted to try riding her bike again. She's almost got it, able to stay up for about 10 seconds now on her own. It's really cool. The kids love to play on the amphitheater stage in the Rose Garden. We all had some fun....

Overall it was an absolutely fantastic weekend! This week is a solid week of training, and I've got a local sprint triathlon this saturday. Fun times ahead.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The clean story of a mud run

Kids in the garden make a beautiful thing. They actually eat peas!

Mothers day weekend had a fantastic trip back to SC to visit the family. Lots of good pictures, and a race in Georgia. We were working a lot of overtime in the first quarter this year, so I got a day off in May to make up for it. Took the opportunity to head down to SC for the long mother's day weekend.

Friday we all enjoyed a nice day around Greenville. I got to visit with my old friend Matt, took the bike out and climbed Paris Mountain, and took Kelley out for some BBQ at lunch. The amazing thing was the climb on Paris. I absolutely nailed it! I don't know if it was having less weight or just being stronger (or both), but I felt like a billy goat climbing up that mountain. It was really cool.

Saturday we had the Muck Run in Georgia. This was quite an interesting ordeal. It was on some farm in the middle of nowhere called Homer. It was off of the interstate about an hour and a half from Greenville, and then about a mile down a 1 lane dirt road to some random farm that had a makeshift start line.

This place was nuts. There was a dj, lots and lots of rednecks, people in costume, it was a small crowd but a fun one. The race went off in two waves, so we got in the first one in the hopes that the course would stay dry. Well, it was. After a shotgun start we took off running through a path mowed into a horse field, then ran down the dirt road some.

The obstacles were not that difficult. Belly crawling on the grass, run through some balloons hanging from the trees, it was more like a trail run with a few creek crossings. There was a single mud pit that got kind of deep, but not over my waist. The hardest thing was a creek walk; about a quarter mile in knee deep water. When we got out the shoes were full of creek sand, and they were quite heavy. made the last half mile to the finish pretty uncomfortable. And check out this finish line:

The slip n slide was pretty fun, even if it was just 2 guys hosing down some black plastic. Here wa are after the race is over:

Lots of fun all the way around.

Saturday night, we had a lot of family over for dinner. It was Morgan's birthday last week, my dad's birthday next week, and a mothers day thing with my mom and both grandmothers. Crazy times, I know. I ate myself stupid and fell asleep on the couch.

Sunday morning the kids wanted to get in the pool. Crazy people, I know. It was hot in the sun but it's still early may and that water was cold. I wanted no part of it. The kids on the other hand.....

The kids and I made Kelley french toast and gave her lots of presents sunday morning for Mothers day, including a color Nook. She loves it. I may be the best husband ever. Eventually we all made our way back to Raleigh. It was quite a fantastic trip overall.

Then Bigun got a race medal for finishing the Marathon Maniacs club at her school! We are very proud.

This week is bringing a full week of solid training. Nice running, plenty of time on the bike. couple of swims. Next weekend is a small local 5k that I'm looking forward to. Kelley is going to run it too, it should be a great time!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A reeeeeeeeaaaaaallllllyyyyyy long fitness test

First, April's totals:

Swim: 8 swims, 22,620 meters, average swim 2,827.5 meters

Bike: 13 rides, 313.5 miles, 24.1 miles average

Run: 17 runs, 100.55 miles !!! My first 100 mile month!

Yoga: Once, 30 minutes

Strength: nothing

This was one helluva month for Ironman training. 17 runs? I am proud to finally put up a 100 mile month. It's been several years in the making. In April I really felt like I found my groove and settled into the rhythm of Ironman training. The workout patterns are starting to emerge. It's really cool.

New Car

I got a new (to me) car this week too! It's a 2003 Mitsubishi Eclipse Spyder. Very slick little convertible. Here's a pic I stole from the interwebs:

It's been quite some time since I've had a convertible. Before we had kids I drove a miata and loved it! Got 32 miles per gallon when everybody else was driving huge SUV's. I told those assholes they would choke on the gas prices soon enough. In 2004 I could fill up the Miata for $11 and drive for a week and a half. It was awesome. This car doesn't get as good MPG as the Miata, but it will fit the kids in the back seats, and Evil Genius is completely hooked. She asks to go for rides every day with the top down.

Before & After

I recently found a picture of the whole family at my cousin Ben's wedding. I thought it made a good before picture, since it was about 5 weeks after Bigun was born.

Ben's sister is Emily, who just got married April 2nd. Here's the whole family again at Emily's wedding.

I was around 235 lbs at Ben's wedding, and only 175 lbs at Emily's. And we had two kids instead of one. Kelley lost quite a bit of weight too. So it's a bit of a family before and after that I thought I would share between sibling's weddings.

Half Iron Fitness Test

According to my original race calendar, April 30th was supposed to be the TryCharleston Half Ironman. I was really looking forward to this race. Bring on Charleston, I could stay and visit with my brother for the weekend, paint the town red with Kelley, it was going to be epic.

Well, turns out I never bothered to register for the race. And Michael is out on this epic tour anyway, so we decided to stay in Raleigh. I still wanted to cover the distances for the half iron just to check my fitness. So away we go!

Had a masters swim practice this morning. I got to just pick an open lane and hit laps rather than follow the prescribed workout. I think I ate too much for breakfast and the night before to calorie load for the mock 70.3. I felt really sluggish in the water, and kind of fat. Finished 80 laps in the pool in about 45 minutes. That's slower than I expected, but I may have lost my lap count and done more than I expected.

Since a fitness test isn't really supposed to completely emulate race conditions, I figured that would be ok. So after the swim, I drove 20 minutes home, had a cup of coffee and doughnut, and played with the girls a bit before packing a gym bag and heading out for the rest.

Call that the longest T1 ever.

At the gym, I hit the stationary bike. Same routine as always, I used the "Random Hill" program at level 11. So it's a pretty tough routine.

20 miles, 54:36, 542 calories burned

20 miles, 54:09, 545 calories

16 miles, 43:42, 451 calories

Total: 56 miles, 2:32:27, 1538 calories

This program seems to be quite a bit faster distance-wise than the open road. I think it might be time to start raising the difficulty level. Still, this gives me the confidence to try breaking three hours in the bike split at my next half.

I took a few gels between sets, and ate a protein bar after the bike too. I was quite hungry at that point anyway. Then headed out to the treadmill to run a half marathon.

5 miles, 43:14, 704 calories

5 miles, 42:40, 708 calories

3.1 miles, 24:40, 450 calories

Total 13.1 miles, 1:50:34, 1866 calories burned

I did the first 2 splits at a 7.0 speed, and the 5k at a 7.5 speed. I feel good about that. It felt nice to spend some time in the pain cave. I did get that familiar uncomfortable feeling in my legs when you know you're really pushing it hard. Breaking 2 hours in the half marathon after a bike ride like that gives me real confidence.

So the other half iron distance I am doing this year is the OBX Half in the outer banks in September. I'm really looking forward to that one now. Main goal is to break 3 hours on the bike and break 6 hours overall.