Friday, June 26, 2009

Another Olympic

Well, I loved the first one so much I immediately started searching for another one. I signed up for one in mid August. It's a 2 hour drive away but not that bad. It's a 2 loop swim which should be interesting getting out of the water and back in after 750 meters. The bike is a little hilly which will help me unless it's just power hills.

I've only been biking this week to let my knee rest. I swear it didn't hurt during my race. It's sortof weird as it only hurts when I run slow. Maybe my gait is so different between race pace and training that it upsets my knee. My cycling is really coming around as I have a good set of workouts this week. It's so amazing how slow my training wheels feel after riding the HEDs for the last week. Oh well, it will just make me faster come race day sortof like racing flats on the run and wetsuit for the swim.

I wanted to add a 10K running race in between now and the next Olympic but there aren't really any coming up which is sad. There's just one which I'm probably going to do. On top of that, there is no kid's races at all. This bums me out because Elena ended up being sick for the kids race on the 20th and so she didn't get to go. We could try a 5k but I'm not sure if Elena will like running for 25+ minutes. It might be a bit much. There is a kid's race at the Baltimore running festival this October. Amber and Joe are going to do the half marathon.

I had my bag of Doritos and bag of Lay's this week so I'll go back off chips again. It will save money since chip prices have gone way up since the last time I bought them. I do miss them. The Doritos created a wave of euphoria over me as I ate them. Is that bad? I'm definitely out of practice though as my chip eating arm became sore after the multiple reaches into the bag. Sad, how far the great have fallen. Of course, Elena saw the chip bag when she was over on Wednesday and gave me the stink eye. It was hilarious! She keeps me honest in my junk food eating. I guess this is good as she gets older, she'll keep raggin me on my eating habits and hopefully keep me in line.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I'm an Olympian..

Well not quite but I did complete my first Olympic distance triathlon yesterday and I watched the Beijing 2008 triathlon gold medalist walk down the swim ramp to get ready for the ITU elite competition after ours was over.  Close huh?  Here's the details for those that don't want to wade through the whole blog.  I finished with 2:11:58 so I can say yep, I did a 2:11. :)  I had a 37:35 run split for 15th overall run split.  It was 6:04 pace which wasn't exactly as fast I had hoped for but overall I was pleased.  I did a 27:40 swim in the Potomac.  This was the same pace as my Ironman swim last year.  Not as good as it could've been.  I rode a 1:03:something for a 23.3 average on a pretty flat course.  Exactly my goal.  I ended up 27th overall out of 267 finishers and actually got 3rd in my 35-39 age group.  I had figured at the finish that was time was too slow though so I didn't stay for awards.  Doh!

Now onto the details...

The event was a unique mix of just a normal age group Olympic/sprint distance with the fancy ITU world cup international elites competing on the same day with some of the same course.  This created some interesting aspects to the event.  First, age groupers started at 6am.  Yep super early.  Second, there was a mandatory pre-race briefing and bike racking the day before on Saturday.  The race briefing was a joke as they didn't even talk about the race at all.  There was no discussion of aid stations on the run course, how the swim waves were going to be handled, or much of anything else.

So going in, I knew I'd be getting up super early so I had been slowing preparing all week by going to bed just a little bit early each day and on Saturday sleeping as much as possible.  I prepared all my stuff the night before race day including a bottle of Cytomax that I stuck in the fridge.  I woke up at 3:15 and left at 3:30am with everything except the nutrition bottle in the fridge.  I didn't realize I had forgotten it until I arrived at the transition area.  Doh!  I almost panicked.  Luckily I had already brought 1 gel for the bike course and 1 gel for pre-swim.  I brought a normal sized water bottle for potential foot washing.  It went into my bottle cage and I figured I'd just deal with any gunk on my feet post swim.  My rack neighbor loaned me a old school power bar.  Who knew they still made those things?  I wasn't too picky but figured only half of it was gonna sit well in my stomach an hour prior to the swim.  I starting putting on my wetsuit which was a pain as always.  Somehow during this I scratched the crap out of 2 knuckles and bruised my left wrist.  I don't remember doing this but as I was standing with my wave participants I looked down to see skin missing on my knuckles and nice bump on my wrist.


This was my first water start.  I jumped in the water was a fine 73 degrees not cold at all.  I had no idea where to position myself in this wave.  I probably made a slight mistake by getting a little too close to the front and middle.  The swim course has you swim upstream first, under a bridge and then back with a slight upstream turnaround to the pontoon.  The only problem was there was only 6 buoys for the entire 1.5k course.

The horn sounded and we were off.  I immediately started to get bludgeoned and on top of that was swimming so fast I could only barely catch my breath every stroke.  It was really a horrible first 200 meters or so.  No rhythm and horrible form combined with barely being able to breath.  I finally got settled down and proceeded to the bridge.  The Potomac was very muddy as we've had tons of rain this spring so you couldn't see past your bicep.  I got into a nice rhythm but really didn't have as much mental focus on my stroke, body rotation as I should've.  Sighting was a problem because of the current on no buoys.  We were supposed to be able to have a practice swim on Saturday but thunderstorms canceled it.  I was hoping to get a feel of the current and angle from that.  I got around the first turn buoy and was actually going quite well and then turned downstream.  I was cruising with the pack to my left about 10 meters.  The problem was the current was taking me to the right.  The course was like a triangle so it took a lot of sighting to stay pointed in the right direction.  The other problem was the sun in our eyes directly on the buoy side.  I had the tinted goggles but it wasn't much help.

I came around the last 2 buoys and up onto the ramp.  I clicked my watch and saw 27 something.  I thought hey it's less than 30 so not bad but really it was pretty bad.  Sure all of my other triathlons so far have been lake swims but still my pace was the same as my Ironman pace.  Ouch.  The pack swim just isn't my thing.  It takes too much focus that I don't have to spare due to my horrible swim stroke.  I need all my focus on it with some on sighting.  Next time I starting on the totally opposite side of buoys and not in the middle.  On top of that, I've only been swimming like twice a week and rarely 3 times so I have been slacking.  My arms are sore right now and were sore getting out of the water.

I made my way up the ramp towards T1.  It was like maybe 100 meters total but I got my legs under me and starting running at a good clip while taking out the arms of my wetsuit and off my goggles and cap.  I got to my rack and started the dreaded wetsuit strip.  This was my first ever hand done wetsuit strip.  It actually came off pretty quick although I did almost fall over.  I put my helmet, glasses, socks, cycling shoes and race belt and I was off.  My official T1 time was 2:21.  Not earth shattering but the fastest T1 time for the age group was 1:52 and I did notice some folks going w/o wetsuits for the swim.  So I was pleased.

I got out onto the road and luckily we had a 3 lane rode at the beginning because people were weaving everywhere trying to get into their pre-mounted cycling shoes.  I just use cleat covers and remove them on the fly.  I did this and got moving quite well as the first section we had a nice tailwind.  My new race wheels were awesome.  I was flying quite good.  The course was mostly north and south sections and we had a decent wind out of the north.  Luckily the course goes slightly downhill on it's longest section north.  I was able to keep good speed into the headwind and this section is an out-n-back so the last finish miles into transition are tailwind.  Sweet!  I was just flying the first loop.  Probably a little too fast but hey gotta give it go right.  There was one section that the organizers should've did something about.  It was under a bridge where there was this front tire eating bump.  I know DC roads and they completely suck so this wasn't surprising.  Overall they did a pretty good job of keeping us on quite nice pavement.  I bunny-hopped this massive gauge in the road and made a mental note to remember it on lap 2.  There was some drafting but nothing too blatant on the first lap.  I started the 2nd lap and I could feel my legs.  I was getting some pain from my running injury.  I let off the gas a tad and it went away so I started going for it again.  I ended up in legal paceline with 2 other riders.  Legal in the sense that we both going about the same pace and were staying 7 meters or longer away from each other.  With the head wind, you could feel some draft even at that distance.   As we approached the massive rut, a spectator was there this time warning riders.  I bunny-hopped it again and noticed medic tending to a rider.  Certainly a crash victim of this rut.  I saw the 400m to go dismount sign and started backing off a little too early as it seemed to take forever to get to the real dismount sign.  No big deal.

I'm off the saddle and running at a nice clip to rack my back.  I get the bike racked.  Helmet comes off, my running shoes go on, running hat on and empty my pockets of empty gel packs and cleat covers.  I'm off.  It went so fast I was wondering if I had forgotten anything.  I grabbed a cup of powerade as I excited transition.  This was a slight mistake but I really didn't know if I had enough calories to make it through the run.

I started out what felt slow.  My legs weren't clicking.  I could feel the bike ride a little plus my stomach was starting to tense up.  I thought that if I get a sideache again like at Florida I'm running through the bitch this time.  I started getting a little better and by the supposed first mile mark felt like I was up to speed.  My mile time of 6:20 was bad.  Crap...oh well if I can break 40 it won't be that bad.  I picked up the pace.  We had some tailwind sections and some headwind sections.  I was passing people here and there but just moving at what I thought was a slow pace.  I got to a marker for mile 3.  Halfway! Woohoo!  I clicked the watch and it read 11:30 for the last two miles.  I knew then that the markers were off for sure or at least that's what I thought in my head.  I figured there was know way I running sub 6s.  It felt like 6:30s to me.  I just chugged along and then it happened.  During mile 4, I started to feel my bad hamstring.  I was a little worried and really shortened my stride.  You can run through a sidestitch but you can't run through a pulled muscle that well.  It went away which was a relief and then boom goes the dynamite.  I got passed by a guy.  This particular guy I had caught right before the 1st mile marker and he asked me if I was doing the sprint or Olympic.  I said Olympic and motored by.  I had assumed he was doing the sprint because he just let me go.  WRONG!  He came by at a nice clip and I started to hang with him.  Again, I just don't have enough mental confidence and F-U toughness for a head to head matchup.  He slowly pulled away as we were head for our last turn onto Pennsylvania.  Now here's where knowing the course would've help.  Once onto Pennsylvania it really is only about a half mile to the finish.  I saw this and started picking up the pace but it was too late.  On top of this it starting sprinkling and the wind was in our face big time.  Another guy passed me and I tucked in behind in the massive headwind.  With about 400 meters to go, I came around him and started really pushing the pace as I could I see I was catching the Mayor of DC, Adrian Fenty.  He is an avid cyclist, runner, and triathlete.  He started in the top age group way.  The event had TV cameras because of the fancy pro race so I was trying to catch up to him so I could be close enough at the finish maybe to get a bit of me into one of the highlights.

I clicked my watch at the finish and saw 2:11:59.  Sweet just under to 2:12 so I can say I did it in 2:11 when people ask.  The time was pretty slow as to be really a contender you need to go under 2 hours and I wasn't close so I made my way back to my bike which was a good mile and half walk.  I found out via the results online that I had actually gotten 3rd in my age group.  Amazing... there were only 50 something in the age group so not that big of deal but definitely cool.  I had the 15th overall run split with a 37:35.  My standalone 10k PR from when I was 27 was 34:10 so looking at it wasn't that bad.  Sure sub 36 would be friggin awesome but probably right now I might be able to run a standalone in the 35s but nowhere near my PR.  Overall, that makes me happy with my running training despite having a sore knee on every step of every training run since mid January.

Overall, the olympic was great because I was able to actually jog a little back to my bike.  I wasn't completely wiped out and I didn't have to train like a maniac for the distance.  I think I'm going to do Olympics for awhile.  Just so easy plus I need a few standalone 10ks under my belt to try to get back my mental F-U toughness when it comes to battling during the run.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Last Scheduled Race

It's only 6 days away and then I can eat, drink and slack the rest of the summer away while I read about people ramping up for their Ironman's this year. Excellent! Plus it's just an Olympic so it won't be that bad. I'll actually get to test my wetsuit removal by myself for the first time. I'm not very confident I can get it off my calves and feet fast. We will see. Lots of body glide hopefully will help.

I gave the HED 6 and 9 a test ride today. Definitely interesting, it takes a bit to get them going but once you do boy they feel fast. I found out that my squeak while climbing is the other wheels and to think I thought my headset was wearing out. I also found out that the HEDs have a wider rim 23 mm than my training wheels as I've had to adjust my brakes and they're still not perfect. I'll ride a few more times this week to get it all dialed in for Sunday's race.

After the ride, I gave the hamstring a little easy run to see how it's feeling. It's okay but slightly twingy towards the end. I was just going real easy. I figure some more ice and rest and it will also be ready. I'm not sure if I can go sub 6s for the entire 10k but I'll definitely try hard to go fast.

After Sunday, I will proceed to eat chips, drink beer and caffeinated drinks and basically just get fat. I'll probably take numerous weeks off from running to see if I can get my knee to heal as it still hurts. Actually, it hurts all the time now. I'm worried because the PT person said I might be damaging cartilage because of the constant inflammation. Uh-oh! I miss running without pain.

Oh I need a new name for the blog soon...the statute of limitations is close to running out on my Ironman of 2008 bragging. It seems everyone I knew that did an Ironman last year is doing one again this year. Crazy suckers!! Last summer's training seems like forever ago. It was all a haze. I have go back to my log just see the fun I wasn't having last year.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A little bit of everything..even training.

As my waking up for swimming has diminished to non-existence so has my blogging.  It's pretty easy just to post a thought to Facebook rather than try to put out a daily boring blog with all kinds of thoughts.

The weather has finally turned around somewhat for me.  Of course, I had perfect half marathon weather but the rest of my week in Florida was filled with record rain for the area.  This only allowed for one ride and even then we got soaked.  Luckily, I had a day to let the bike dry out before putting it back in the box for airline ride home.  I had missed some beautiful weather in DC but right when I got back there was two days of cold(60s) rainy weather here.  Perfect.  It's finally turning around but I haven't had a hard time sleeping yet and it's already June.  Last year there were tons of hot as hell days.  I guess this is good but still it just seems like we're getting robbed on the weather.

When I was down in Florida, we were able to do lots of eating.  As mentioned in my previous blog about polishing off 28 slices of pizza at an all you can eat pizza place.  We went to the Golden Corral which is a buffet and I ate a ton there.  But the best part was the 12 egg omelette.  It wasn't as big as I thought it would be.  It was about the size of a medium sized football and about 2 inches thick filled lots of ham and cheese goodness.  Plus we got 4 pieces of toast and a plate of hash browns.
The waitress was in horror when both Orion and I ordered one.  She tried to talk us out of it.  Oh yeah, I forgot the breakfast came with a carafe of OJ.  Sweet!  We had swum 45 minutes prior to coming to breakfast.  It went down without trouble and I wasn't even sick full at all.  We finished the week eating 6 full slabs of baby back ribs between 4 of us.  I had almost 2 full slabs.  Orion cooked them and they were awesome.  After it was all over, I weighed in after a couple of days of being home.  I was still sitting at 145lbs.  Not bad, no weight gain.

I had Elena all of last week so it was a bunch of picking her up at school.  We also did a fair bit of training for her upcoming 5k this fall.  She's also doing the "Kids for the Cure" race this weekend.  It should be easy for her.  We'll see if she can push the pace.  Okay maybe not but she can hold a decent pace.  Every so often she'll have a tough patch and want to walk.  I push her to keep going and that it will get better.  So far so good.  I'm making her mentally tough.  It is a fine line from her ending hating running to liking it.  She still likes to train.  She's still embarrassed running in front of her friends or people she knows.

I bought some new race wheels for triathlons.  I got a HED 6 and HED 9.  I figure it's worth the extra speed come race day.  Especially, since Orion wants to run Florida ever year plus do a full in a couple of years.  If the Olympic goes well, I may sign up for more of those and the wheels will get some good use.  I got a great deal on the wheels from Tri-Zone. I'm not sure my Olympic will go well on the run though. I did a 3 mile tempo run last week trying to hold 5:45s and was struggling the last 2 miles of it at 5:55.  Ouch.  I'm going to do some 400s today to see if I can get my leg speed up.  It's definitely hard going from 6:30ish half marathon training prep to sub 6 10k prep.  Maybe I'm too old to bust out fast 10k times, we'll see.  I still miss those easy 6 minute pace legs.  I'm hoping I can find them in time for the 21st race.

Stay tuned...