Sunday, July 10, 2011

Second Aquathon and July's half!

One of these days I'll actually get around to posting often enough that I only post about one thing. Ironman training keeps you busy for sure, and doesn't allow timed for much else at all. Especially Angry Birds. I need more Angry Birds.

Aquathon #2 is in the books! This might have even been more fun than the first one, because it was a lot cooler than last month's temps, and we had a better running surface. For this race, the course was a 300m swim followed by a 1 mile run. And we did it three times for a total race of 900 m swimming, 3 miles running, and 5 transitions total. The transition area was on a sandy beach (this would prove to be trouble later on).

At least there was a thunderstorm rolling in. The start got delayed by about 10 minutes as we watched thunder clouds come rolling through. Kelley took the kids back to the car so they could watch from safety. We started in ankle deep water and dolphin'd our way through the first swim which was actually about 300 meters.

The first transition brought lots of sand sticking to my wet everything. I took a towel and loosely knocked the sand off of my feet threw on the running shoes with no socks because I'm hardcore like that, and took off running for a mile. I figured since it was only a one mile run I would try to knock this one out is about 6 minutes. Run out for half a mile to an aide station, turn around and run back for half a mile.

Seven and a half minutes later I came limping back into the transition area. Pulled off the shoes to find some bloody toes. Dove back in the water to swim another 500 meters. Yes, the storm winds had blown the bouys around so the swim part got longer now. It also blew the first turn bouy closer to the other shore, so the water was barely elbow deep while I was swimming. Meaning, the water was only as deep as the length from my shoulder to mid-forearm and my hands were scraping the rocky lake bottom with every stroke.

So I finished the second swim, got out of the water and back to transition (T3). Goggles off, shoes on. But this time I took more time to knock the sand off of my feet with a towel. Still no socks, then took off running.

Through the middle of most races is where your energy starts to sag. After that long strange swim this race was no different. The second mile running was by far the slowest. The constant sandpaper grating the tops of my feet did not make me want to run faster.

T4, shoes off, feet still bloody, goggles back on and let's go swim. There's sand in my goggles now, so get back in the water and wash those things off while you run the swim course. By this time I'm sure the bouys are more than 500 meters out of place. The lake is never over waist deep while standing. Strangest. Swim. Ever.

But still I persist. Getting into T5 I realize I can take the water bottle I keep in transition and use it to wash the sand off of my feet before putting them in the shoes. Genius, I know. So the third run was more comfortable than the other two, but there was still a bunch of sand in my shoes already. a bunch!

Still I felt like I was pushing the third run mile pretty hard. I could have pushed harder, feet were bleeding enough to hurt my form I'm sure, so I really think I could have pushed harder if I really wanted to. Here comes that finish line.

I had Kathy in my sights, she is on the Raleigh Area Masters swim team with me. So every lap, She would pass me in the swim and I would pass her again in the run. I should have pushed hard enough to pass her at the end, but she ended up beating me by six seconds. My final stats:

Swim 1/T1: 5:59
Run 1: 7:31
T2/Swim 2/T3: 7:45
Run 2: 8:02
T4/Swim 3/T5: 7:21
Run 3: 7:33
Total finish time: 44:07
17/33 men, 5/6 age group

Overall it seems pretty consistent. I mean I'm right in the middle of the pack, same placements as last time. It seems really strange to me that the 300 m swim 2 took longer than the first 1 mile run. But with both transitions in that time too I guess it can be explained.

I've done races where you have to eat a dozen doughnuts in the middle of the run, and where you have to crawl over rope walls and down slip-n-slides. But this was by far the most unusual race I've ever done! How awesome is that!

July's half marathon

I was all set for a nice long bike ride saturday, bottles ready to go, got the extra seat mount bottle cages secured on Roberta, and she was ready for a great ride around the lake early saturday morning. Then I found the tire puncture. Not just a hole in the tube, I had to get a whole new tire put on. Off to the bike shop, $75 and a few hours later it was well over 95 degrees outside and we were ready to ride.

Well, that's not going to happen. So I figured it would be a good time to head to the gym and hit the treadmill for the week's long run. I figured I would do the 8.0 speed to failure workout that I've been enjoying lately. That's a 7:30 pace. I held it for 11.5 miles before the legs made me slow it down a bit. And of course, after going 11.5 miles on fresh legs at that speed, I was going to wrap it down to 13.1 miles and call it july's half. I could have used some extra nutrition, maybe next month I'll be better prepared and hold the 8.0 speed for the entire 13.1.

As it was, I still finished the milage in 1:39:26 which is incredibly fast. A half marathon under 100 minutes? Breaking 1:40 is HUGE! It's a goal I've had my eyes on for a while now. It takes a rare compound of muscular strength and endurance to stay that fast for that long. I've been trying to get there in preparation for the OBX half ironman coming up in September. Breaking 6 hours in a half iron is the next big goal, and having strength for the bike and endurance for the run is the key to doing that in the half.

So this is really cool. Two things this past week that I feel really good about.

Sunday I went out for the bike ride, but my legs were kind of sore after that fast half. And I forgot the sunscreen, and it was still in the high 90's out there. So I kept it to only 20 miles on the new route. Good roads, it looks like this route is really going to work out well. I drove to the shopping center where the "city" roads turn into the "country" roads and lose all of the traffic. Didn't want to put up with it in the middle of the day. Ended up having a fun ride, even if it was hot and short.


Unknown said...

My feet hurt, just thinking about your sandpaper shoes.

Unknown said...

Holy smokes - a sub 1:40 half? That's amazing! :)

That aquathon sounds brutal in more ways that one...

Unknown said...

A few years ago, I was able to do a few aquathons with a pool swim. But the RD gave up on those because not much turn out. I really wish more of those were available where I love.

You are really getting fast. Good job on both of those races.

Unknown said...

You are so fast!! I am in awe every time I read your FB posts about your workouts. You are doing awesome!