Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Getting my Cycling Legs Back

 

With my recent move to St Louis I needed to find a new gym and the YMCA is perfect since it’s about a mile away and they have a decent size pool.

I haven’t been cycling much during due to marathon training and the lack of cycling may have contributed to my knee issues. If I had to guess it was either my shoes or my legs relying on the different leg strength I had developed and then losing most of it when I needed it. To get my biking strength back I decided spin classes would be the best way to do it and avoid the cold at the same time. Granted I hate some of the things they try to get you to do such as hit 130 rpm or stand straight up and pedal. I’m not sure if this will help triathlons as 130 rpms doesn’t seem to effect my heart rate much.

 

The cool thing about cycling class is they have Schwinn bikes which are ANT+ enabled so I can track my heart rate and cadence. They’re not fancy enough to calculate power but, I guess it’s better than nothing. It’s good for being able to see my heart rate while “climbing.”

 

One other thing I don’t understand about people at the YMCA is why they feel the need to use the locker directly next to mine when my lock is the only lock on the row? Yesterday, I came back to my locker at the same time some guy was changing. He seemed pretty annoyed but, he made a poor locker choice.

 

On a very happy note, I will soon be the proud owner of this brand new Cannondale Slice.

Slice

Monday, December 12, 2011

A lazy weekend and Cyclocross

 

For some reason this weekend I decided to not do a long run. I could have gone for one yesterday morning but was not in the mood. I had already planned on going to the last race in the Bubba Memorial Cyclocross series at Spanish Lake Park in St. Louis.

 

With that being said, I love living much closer to the g/f but, the only downside to not living in DC anymore is there isn’t anywhere near the number of triathlons here. In DC there seemed to be multiple sprint or oly tris within diving distance. There were also a good number of halfs and fulls as well. Probably due to the number of triathletes. I believe the DC Tri Club has over 1000 member while the STL Tri Club has over 100. The area isn’t as densely populated either.

 

One thing I did find out is there is a Cyclocross race series around here. I’ve been itching to try it but this season was not the time because I would rather buy a new Tri Bike than a cyclocross bike. Maybe next year.

 

I drove about 30 minutes to check out the last race in the series. The races started at Noon but, I didn’t care to watch the Women’s race (no offense ladies) or the Cat 4 and single speed racers. I figured the B race would provide the most variety and the A race would be boring after 2 laps.

photo

 

The course seemed simple enough with a decent amount of technical turns several long straightaways and 2 jumps…that I didn’t see anyone bunny hop. Check out the video.

 

After the race I rode about 10 miles on the trainer and called it a weekend.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Icy Iron

Recently, I moved to St. Louis to be closer to the g/f (she moved back here a little while ago) and since I have the ability to work from home full time it wasn't much of an issue. Unless you count dealing with people on Craigslist who don't show up when they say they'll buy your stuff and having to deal with another slew of emails and calls, towing a 12 ft. trailer through the mountains of WV while dealing with tractor trailers who think going 20 mph over the speed limit is safe (maybe a physics class should be a requirement for your CDL) and having to stop for gas every 180 miles as issues. It was well worth it. In St. Louis I have a 2 bedroom house for about $600/month LESS than a 1 bedroom apartment in DC. Although, that was money well spent on an apartment since I loved living there.

Within 2 weeks of moving here I already joined the St Louis Triathlon Club, giving me dual club membership since I'm still a DC Tri Club member...I wonder how similar this is to having dual-citizenship? If my dad had bothered to get his Irish citizenship before I was born, I'd be able to tell you. Anyway, the first thing I did, before even meeting anyone from the club, was sign up for the Icy Iron. I believe there is a nationwide competition related to this but basically, you have 6 weeks to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a marathon. It doesn't sound very difficult considering one has 6 weeks rather than 17 hours to complete the distance. It's mainly to keep people motivated during the winter...I signed up for the Double Iron so I would be extra motivated.

I've already logged a decent amount of miles considering it's the off season and half-iron training doesn't start for another couple weeks. They use a google spreadsheet to keep track of progress. It started on Monday and I got a little excited after my first swim Monday morning and submitted my distance right away. Then I realized I should probably bundle everything once or twice a week so I'm not making 10-15 submissions. I checked the spreadsheet right after my submission and I would love to know how someone managed to swim 2 miles, bike 20 and run 15 ALL BEFORE 10am on a Monday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

St. Jude Half Marathon

 

   If you haven’t done the St. Jude Marathon or Half Marathon, I suggest you seriously consider it, especially if you love Barbeque as much as I do. It’s for a great cause, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Memphis is a fun city to visit. They have Graceland, Beale Street (kinda like a mini Bourbon Street) and a trolley system.

   The g/f and I both ran the half last year and had a great time. Plus, she went to college in Memphis and can see a lot of her college friends. After about a 4 hour drive from St Louis we headed straight to the expo to pick up our race packets. It sucked getting there towards the end since most of the clothes had already been picked over and I wanted to buy a t-shirt. Luckily there was one left in an XL. Sadly the g/f wanted this really nice jacket but there was only 1 left Sad smile. Maybe they’ll have some extras they didn’t know about and put them online. We walked around the expo for a bit then loaded up on Honey Stinger Waffles (which are delicious) and headed for the hotel.

   It was the usual pre race routine, pizza and then overnight oats in the morning. Except our hotel had a spectacular breakfast buffet so we loaded up on breakfast food for after the race. It’s nice to be able to walk to the race start. We met one of the g/f’s friends and walked to the start. Neither of them had been training much so they were going to walk/run the race. I had no idea what was going to happen with my race due to the knee issues I had been dealing with…speaking of which I haven’t been having many problems with it. I started in the 10 min/mile group.

   I planned on running 10 minute miles as long as I could and seeing what happens. About 15 minutes after the elites went off I’d get to see how I faired. The race is a scenic race, you run through downtown Memphis for a good portion of it, along the river, down Beale Street (where you could probably hear a pin drop, it was pretty pathetic that no one was cheering, Worst Crowd Ever) A few miles later the course goes through St Jude Hospital and the kids at St Jude and their families are all out going nuts…this part of the crowd is not included with the aforementioned pathetic crowd.

   Around this time I started to consider my race plan. I had been keeping 10 minute miles with one 10:20 mile and my heart rate had been steady. My 10K split pace was 10:10. I picked up the pace to under 10s to see what happened. I had been taking about 20 seconds at the water stops (ever mile) but skipped a few. I think mile 5 was mostly downhill. I kept thinking about how the g/f has a half marathon PR 3 minutes faster than mine (with a bathroom break as she would say) and wanted to beat her. At mile 7 I felt great and decided to go somewhat for broke. I turned it up as much as I could.

First 7 miles

10:21  10:03   9:59   10:15   9:45   9:54   9:47

 

Photo Tarp

I also picked up up the pace on downhills. After the mile 8 water stop I said F the water stops and I took as much gel as I could. Mile 8 was 9:37. It started to get pretty crowded around mile 9 and I realized I had caught a pace group. I weaved my way through since they seemed to slow down. I caught the actual pacers at the water stop and grabbed some water that a girl on the other side of the road from the tables had but didn’t stop to drink it. Mile 9 was a little slower than I wanted at 9:46 probably due to the pace group. After that is was smooth sailing, I don’t remember getting passed after mile 6 or 7. I was passing people left and right which rarely happens for me during running races. Mile 10 was a little slow mainly because I had to do the Y-M-C-A! and it was mostly uphill.

   The last miles of the race are a big tease. They’re on a main road with rolling hills and you can see downtown taunting you in the distance, it’s so close yet so far. Mile 11 was 9:27, Mile 12: 9:39. Right after mile 12 I passed the g/f’s sister and not too long after that there was a crowd of runners and everyone was yelling. I couldn’t see what happened but it sounded like someone was hit by a car….it turns out they collapsed and other runners including three nurses stopped to perform CPR…thankfully he lived. Just to give you an idea of how fast the response was…the g/f finished 20 minutes after me and they already had the guy out of there. It probably helps that he was about a half mile from the finish.

    Another thing I love about this race is the slight downhill for the last half mile. It makes for an easy finish which made my 13th mile 9:34.With the last .1 being at a 9:02 pace. The race finishes in the outfield on the warning track of AutoZone park, home of the Memphis Redbirds. (The St. Louis Cardinals AAA ball club)  

   I crossed the finish line at 2:10:09, my half PR by over a minute but not quite good enough to beat the g/f who finished about 20 minutes behind me. Not too bad since she was right around her time from last year. While waiting for her to cross the finish line I got my picture taken with Elvis!

 

Not the best Elvis impersonator but it’s all for a good cause. (P.S. I did NOT skip the port-a-potty…it’s sweat.) Who knows why my eyes aren’t open.

Elvis

   The St. Jude Marathon also has the best post race food out of every race I’ve ever done. There was soda, granola bars, apples, bananas, pizza, cookies, yogurt in a tube, chicken tortilla soup, Krispy Kreme donuts, beer and of course Chocolate Milk!

  We headed back to the hotel for a nap and then it was off to get some Memphis Barbecue Nachos from Central BBQ!

Surprisingly I did pretty well…124 out of 226 for my age group and 1998 out of over 6000 overall.

MCM Weekend!!

 

After many weeks of waiting it’s finally here. The weekend I find out if my knee will hold out. But, it decided to snow first.

Snow

The plan was simple, set up our race exit strategy and avoid waiting in line for the metro (not going to tell everyone how so I can still do it in years to come), wake up at 5…why do races have to start so early? Get in the car by 6 and head to the metro...Scrape the ice of the windows then head to the metro. The metro was packed and only 1 person in our car didn’t seem to be running or spectating since the metro isn’t normally open that early.

It was a cold morning and we got off the metro in Rosslyn and walked down to the Charity Village the DC RoadRunners partnered with Hope for the Warriors for a tent. Getting to the tent sucked. The grass was mud due to the amount of rain and snow the day before. I’m sure all the trucks setting things up didn’t help the situation. It only took a few steps before the shoes were all muddy…great way to start a marathon.

Here are a couple pictures before the race.

PA300110

Two Ospreys flew over the starting line and given their track record, of crashing, I was a bit weary.

PA300111

PA300112

PA300116

After dropping off the bag...skipping all the boring parts…the g/f wished me luck and I stripped and headed into the corrals. Shortly after the howitzer went off and 6 minutes later I crossed the start line. Everything went smoothly for the first several miles, I ate my HammerGel at the water stops while walking. Last year I ran through the first two water stops and figured I’d try something new. When I hit the GW Parkway I needed to relieve myself. I decided to join the many men and a couple women in the woods going number 1…and one guy going number 2. After heading up to the Key Bridge to Georgetown we got our first glimpse of the fast people heading through Gtown while we headed out the canal for a boring 2 miles.

I was a little weary about Gtown since their was a decent downhill and I was worried about my knee. I decided to walk down it but after too many people passed me I couldn’t stand walking anymore and I was excited about running through all the orange peels around the corner. It’s nice having your feet get all sticky during a marathon…from the oranges. After that the g/f was waiting for me and I slowed down to say hi. Around mile 16 the knee started to bother me a bit but, my lower calf was also starting to give me problems. Maybe I was compensating.

I was a bit worried something was going to go horribly wrong and I wouldn’t be able to finish. I walked for a bit to give the legs a break and see how things felt. I saw the g/f again around mile 17 and then again around mile 19 right before I took a bathroom break. By this point I felt like crap and I was starving, not looking forward to the bridge. Maybe someday I’ll actually be able to finish all of my training. I managed to run some of the bridge whereas last year I think I walked the whole thing. I picked out points, mostly road signs, that I would run to before I started walking again. My heart rate was sky rocketing each time I started running again. Even at about an 11min pace it was up around 155 in about a minute. 155 is fairly high for me during a long run. Normally I kept it under 140-145 depending on how long the run was.

Still starving at this point I completely forgot about the Dunkin Donuts Munchkins in Crystal City. Normally I can’t eat any solid food on a long run or for about 45 minutes afterwards. Surprisingly, I was able to eat a couple and at the time nothing had ever tasted so delicious. I kept run/walking through Crystal City and then saw a sign “Chuck Norris Never Ran A Marathon!” Of course I had to ask if they checked and they did. So Chuck, maybe it’s time for you to run a Marathon….

Anyway, I was feeling much better for some reason and oddly enough my legs stopped bothering me. It was still hard to run for more than a couple minutes since my heart rate would shoot up. With about a mile ago I walked for a minute and decided to run again. I figured it would be pointless to stop walking again since I could still beat my time from last year. I made it back to the start line and knew I had about a 1/2 mile to go. With my heart rate at about 160, I said F-it and picked up the pace. The flat was easy and I knew all I had was the hill at Iwo Jima. When I got to the hill it felt like a mountain. Along with a few other people we slowly scaled Mt. Iwo Jima. Then after what kinda seemed like forever I crossed the finishing, tied my cape around me and got a kick ass finisher medal.

MCM medal

Since the picture line in front of Iwo Jima was about 100 feet long and my legs were killing me, I decided to skip the picture and see if the g/f would take some the next day.

 

PB010122

PB010125

Timex Global Trainer

It's been awhile since I've posted. I've recently moved to a new city, St. Louis, and haven't had pictures from the MCM until a week ago. I should have a couple posts in the next few days. Until then....

If you're looking for a great deal on a GPS watch, Gear Buzz (the daily deal from Competitor.com) has the Timex Global Trainer on sale for $120. Personally I'd rather buy a Garmin but this is a great deal if you want a watch that will perform the same functions as the 310XT. It's not as good but if price is an issue, The Global Trainer is worth it.

http://www.heartmonitors.com/gearbuzz-timex-offer.html

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Taper Anxiety

It's less than a week before the Marine Corps Marathon and I can't wait! However, tapering sucks and it sucks even more when you're slightly injured. Marathon wisdom tells us that during one's taper period, nothing one does will make one perform better during the marathon. But, 3 weeks or so is plenty of time to screw things up.

Basically, I'm in the same situation as I was last year. I injured myself on the same weekend on the same trail, go figure. Same situation, different part of the body. Last year I managed to run a half marathon as a "warm-up" and still managed a second 20 mile run. However this year, I didn't feel comfortable running a half marathon and only managed an 18 miler after the injury.

I'm sure everyone goes through taper withdrawals, unless you're just doing a marathon to cross off a bucket list item then I'm sure you're happy to cut back on the running. You're not supposed to run as much but, you probably have to cut back on your food intake so you don't gain weight.

I've been trying to take it easy as I should be and it's killing me. I'm afraid to run more than a couple miles a few times a week aside from running 7 miles last Saturday and 8 miles yesterday. The long run yesterday was simply a test run to see how my knee held up. What's worse is, I haven't seen anyone about my knee and I don't feel comfortable riding my bike on the trainer out of fear of screwing things up. Also, I'm not in the mood to swim that often. I don't really care what my time for the marathon is, just that I finish. It would be extremely frustrating to put in 5 months of training and have a DNS or DNF even though I won't be the first or last person to do so. I have never had a DNS or DNF and would like to keep it that way. As stubborn as I am about racing my knee would probably have to give out before I stopped. Considering I have my sites set on bigger and better things (a half iron in May), in my opinion, I may reconsider my position on a DNF in the event it would screw up my plan for triathlons.

On Sunday I'll be trying out the Garmin GTU which is a tracking device. I'm going carry it with me during the marathon so the g/f can see where I am on her phone and pick a spot to watch me run by. There has been a lot on Garmin's blog lately about this device. How do you GTU?

There will probably be more to come about this device later.

On another note…Has anyone seen the Fisher Price commercial with the tough digital camera for kids? Does anyone else see the stereotypical humor with using an Asian family for a camera commercial?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

PTOS 5K Race Weekend!

 

It finally happened after months of waiting, the First Annual PTOS 5K. I guess all it took was the right group of determined people to pull this off. I’m glad I was one of them. Sadly I decided not to run since I’m tapering and I’m unsure of my knee.

The started early at 6am. The g/f and I got there in the dark and my roommate was there with the timing people. I had 450 bananas and 450 bottles of water in my car. In case you were wondering, that many bananas in your car overnight does not smell great. We got everything unloaded and then loaded the car back up with stuff for the water stop. Then went back out to set up the mile markers. The street was already marked off and the police had already showed up. Not sure why we had to pay them for 4 hours when the roads aren’t that busy and it doesn’t take that long to officially close off the roads. Anyway, I just sat around until the start since lugging all that stuff around was a decent amount of work.

The announcements came and we were ready to start right after the National Anthem…ummmm….right after the National Anthem….ok we’re having technical difficulties (the cord the sound guy had wouldn’t work on my ipod or iphone)…can anyone sing the National Anthem? Perfect! There’s the horn and they’re off.

Do not adjust your computer screen, that is in fact a police escort for the leader of our little 5K.

Police

The start pictures came out horrible since they were directly into the sun and all I had was my iPhone.

Start 1

and one more

Start 2

I think this race had the highest percentage of participants wearing the race shirt. So much bad luck. After this picture I headed off to watch the last turn and was yelled at by the police for standing in the closed road. So much for trying to help.

About 15 minutes later the police escort was on the way back followed by the lead runner.

Return     Leader

It was great seeing everyone run by and we had a great cheering section from the high school volunteers. A few minutes after the g/f ran by I headed back towards the finish to see what was going on there.

Finish

Apparently the music sucked and my iPod was requested. Eye of the Tiger seemed to appease the crowd. If only I came to the finish earlier. Around an hour later the last finishers crossed the line to a big cheer. Then everyone still left moved to the Atrium for the awards ceremony. We had custom medals and prizes for the finishers…I’ll have to get a picture of the medals.

Awards 

The race went off without a hitch, unless you count the National Anthem hiccup. Everyone had a great time and I still have people telling me they had a great time. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Organizing the PTOS & FAPTO 5K

I haven't been too concerned with making this a post since I've been preoccupied with triathlons this season.

This Sunday Oct. 16 will be the 1st annual PTOS & FAPTO Innovation 5K. I work for the US Patent and Trademark Office and I'm on the board of the Patent and Trademark Office Society, with the FAPTO being the Fitness Center at the Patent Office run by Sports and Health. The idea for the race was conceived by a friend and myself although we found out there was already an initiative to start a 5K at the office. Neither of us knows if this happened because of mentioning it during small talk or the ideas were completely independent. At this point it doesn’t matter, the other race fell through and my friend and I are 2 of the 3 people organizing this race. It originally started as a race for employees only although we decided to open it up to the public. Ideally we would like to do something for the community involving science and technology but, this year we’re just concerned with getting the thing off the ground. Donating money raised is difficult since no one can tell us if the same rules for soliciting money federal employees apply to us even though we’re technically not part of the government…all our members are. We’ve decided that raising awareness of all the programs PTOS has in the community is the way to go this year.

It’s been a great experience so far. We formed a planning committee, came up with a name, came up with a budget, got a sponsor, created a t-shirt design, found a timing company, got the police to shut down the roads and bought medals and prizes for the winners.

It’s amazing how little it took to get people on board. The city was more than happy to let us do it. (Probably because one of the running store owners is on the panel you present your event to) The Patent Office is letting us use just about whatever we want and the Fitness Center sponsored us for the full amount of our estimated budget…even with the 20% margin of error I factored in.

Right around 300 people have signed up so far. Packet Pick-up was held today and will continue tomorrow. I’ve never done more than volunteer for a water stop at a race but, it’s been a lot of fun thus far.

Check back for an update on how the race goes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Injury and IM World Championship


I haven't been writing that much for one reason, I'm slightly injured and frustrated. I took a two week "break" after my knee tightened up to the point I couldn't run during a 17 mile long run. Luckily, I made it 14 miles before this happen. There was no warning and within 5 strides my left knee went from feeling fine to wanting to give out. It felt fine as soon as I stopped but I walked the last 2 miles (I took a shortcut). I ran three short runs during my break and my knee felt fine afterwards. The only issue was that I felt a pinch right under my knee cap during a track workout. I stopped and figured I'd wait until the long run to decide what to do.  
On Saturday, after much debate, I set out for a 22 miler. I seriously doubted that I would make the entire distance and picked several bailout points along the trail which would only involve around a 30 minute walk to the metro. I had my cell phone in case it was real bad and I could call a cab or God forbid the WHHHHAAAA-mbulance. I started out about 40 minutes before my running group normally does, wondering how far I would make it.
1 mile, feeling great! 2 miles, feeling good but damn is it dark on this trail...I'll stop and wait for the sun or some other people to run by...two minutes later a large group comes flying down the trail, off I go. 5 miles, good, 8 miles (easiest bailout point), good. 11 miles at the turn around, feeling ok, 13 miles, hmmm...is this my legs just starting to get sore because of running or my knee? 14 miles, maybe I should stop just in case. Good thing I did since I walked about 3/4 of a mile to the metro and had to go down the broken escalator I could feel a pain right under my kneecap. It wasn't too bad but enough to have me worried. I iced and heated my knee when I got home and put KT Tape on it later in the day. We'll see what happens...
Anyway, if you have been paying attention to the triathlon world at all you would know that the Ironman World Championship took place in Kona this weekend. I managed to watch a good bit of it online and saw Craig Alexander win for the 3rd time and BREAK THE COURSE RECORD! Chrissie Wellington also made an amazing comeback to win for the 4th time.
There was also another major announcement by WTC, a new system for rewarding serious (and apparently loyal) triathletes but allowing people who have raced 12 full Ironman (the brand not the distance) enter a system to be guaranteed a spot in Kona. It sounds more like a waiting list but, it sounds like a Win for everyone.
“Starting in 2012 we’re making two pretty substantial changes to that [the lottery].  The first is that for athletes who have are serious triathletes who have done twelve or more full’s in their career and are still racing, we’re going to guarantee them a chance to race Kona.”
The first win being for triathletes and not having to enter a lottery system or traveling to places like China to try and win a slot. Granted you have to do 12 of them but, Kona is the Boston Marathon of triathlons. Not just anyone should be able to get a spot. Even if you do win the lottery system you still have to race an IM 140.6 before Kona...unless you're the third "biggest loser" and your name is Tara Costa...BS and great at the same time if you ask me but that's another story.
The second win is for WTC which will certainly make a lot more money with people trying to race 12 Ironmans for a shot. If that's even possible since the races generally sell out.
I'm also and avid Slowtwitch reader and the consensus is mixed. The only way this turns out to be a bad idea is if too many people are able to complete 12 Ironman branded 140.6 races. I'm not sure what the stats on the average number of Ironmans a triathlete has does are but, it would take some serious time, money, commitment and motivation to complete 12 of them. I seriously doubt the majority of average triathletes will complete 12 Ironmans in their lifetime.
Another point which was brought up was quantity over quality. I don't see how this changes. If you listen to the podcast you'll notice they're taking slots away from the lottery system for this purpose. With the lottery system you never know what type of triathlete you're going to get. Maybe all the lottery winners finished over 16 hours? You don't know. Second, how do you know people who have completed 12 Ironmans can afford to get to Kona? I realize the average income of Ironman competitors is something like $140K but, getting to Hawaii is a bit expensive and then you have to factor in the wife and kids or try to explain why they can't go with you. Either way, it's still the same number of slots as the lottery and with around 400 people finishing in 12 hours or more you're still likely to get the same overall quality of triathletes.
Furthermore, I'm sick of everyone bitching about slower people vs. real racers on Slowtwitch. Who cares? These people are out there trying just as hard as everyone else to finish, probably even harder since they're out there for longer. If you people are so fast, why don't you go pro? Oh right, you're too slow.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

One More Funny Quote

Every Saturday we start our long runs from Iwo Jima in Rosslyn, VA. The majority of our runs are into DC which is around 1 mile away and some of the runs go by where the bus to NYC picks up.

On a 22 miler the following was said while passing by people in line for the bus...

"Hey guys, when you're in New York we'll still be running!"



Thursday, September 22, 2011

What looks out of place in this finishing time?

It's bee awhile since I've made a post, mainly since nothing interesting has happened.

This is a time I found from the DC Oly Tri...


If I had to guess, this person only did one loop on the bike course. Nothing wrong with that but, I wonder.

I can't imagine being in the water for that long on a mile swim.
103/103399/4001:42:106:1413347:081:13:5320.14994:391:20:2512:5913024:28:1

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The F-ing CALM before the storm!

 

image

That is the current satellite image of Hurricane Irene and there is no bottled water in any of the grocery stores around here. I always seem to have two cases. Right now its raining and breezy and I managed to get a long run in this morning.

Now the F-ing is because I’m getting tired of my legs hurting so much after long runs. I’ve built up to the distance and have run 10-13 miles just about every Saturday since last Falls MCM. Two weeks ago I ran 17 miles and my legs didn’t hurt that badly. Today was 16 miles and I could barely stand still without falling over.

The run this week was 16 miles up the Capitol Crescent Trail, through the Palisades to Battery Kemble Park. Due to the impending doom about to occur, the run description on the website said, run to Battery Kemble and do as many loops as possible (Two) before the hurricane.

image

The run started off great even though it was 100% humidity and I could feel moisture accumulating on my key when walking to my car. Everything was going great, I made it to the giant hill at the bottom of the road to the park and ran/walked up it to try and save myself some problems later. Once you get to the top it’s a gravel road which leads to a trail through the woods. A lot of the people around there walk their dogs through the park early in the morning. On the second loop I saw a standard poodle with no leash and a muzzle. Even though the dog bites, it’s a good thing they let it off leash. At least they have the decency to put a muzzle on him/her…a stylish muzzle at that. Next up was the smaller female dog that kept jumping on me from behind, not sure what she was trying to do because every time I turned around she would run away. Maybe she wanted me to chase her.  I was almost out of the woods when she comes running up behind me and barking. I turn around and she immediately runs off….weird.

At mile 10 on the way back, I smelled bacon…”mmmm bacon!” I considered figuring out which house it was and asking them if I could buy some. Although, the houses around here are normal size houses which probably go for well over $1 million. Then around mile 14 it was walk/run the rest of the way since my heart rate wouldn’t stay down, my legs hurt and my head was hot. You would think after almost a year of running at least 10-13 miles a weekend my legs would be used to this….nope.

Oh well, at least I finished the route running. Now it’s time to batten down the hatches and see if all the hysteria is warranted. 

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Running Group Quotes

Said by two girls (between 25 and 30) and another guy at track when a 75-79 year old man from our running club was still running 800s long after we were done...

Girls: "Geez, he's still pumping them out!"

Guy: "He's probably been running longer than before both of you were born put together."


Said today on the long run...

Guy at water stop: "What are you training for?"
3 "older" people around the same time: "Life"


My coach from last year as he flies by me after starting an hour after me...

Dave: "Don't stop, I need help getting over the bridge."
Me: "You started an hour after me! I need more help than you."

Pace groups...

"7-7:30? 7:30-8? 8-8:30?"

Big Guy: "10:30...a sane pace for sane people."

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

70.3 is coming…

Rev3

It's official, I'm signed up for the Half Rev (half ironman) in Knoxville next May. I also got approval from the g/f to do this race.

I've been hearing Rev3 races are much better than Ironmans. I think I can be ready in 9 months...maybe another Oly in April?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Rockett’s Landing Triathlon

 

It’s July and the heat wave is in full swing…Perfect time for endurance racing. So, I headed about 100 miles south of DC to Richmond, VA for the Rockett’s Landing Olympic Tri…The Mid-East Regional Club Championship.

My goal this year, after I figured out how to swim, was to finish an Olympic tri before MCM training got into high mileage weeks. I probably should have picked a better race. I had originally picked this race since my g/f’s friend was going to do it as well so I figured it would be fun for her to hang out with her and watch both of us. She wimped out, I had no plans to. So, the g/f and I headed down to packet pick up on Saturday before the race on Sunday.

Packet pick up was a good 10 miles from the “race hotel” and the race start was about 2.5 miles from the hotel…not convenient. Although, since the tri store was a sponsor I understand why it was there. I also managed to forget/lose my water bottles and had to find a Dick’s since I didn’t like the ones at the tri store where packet pick up was.

After packet pick up we went back to the hotel and then had to scramble to find the g/f a bike to rent (she was watching) since I wasn’t clear on how far the race was from the hotel and she said she didn’t want to rent one in DC and bring it down. We got the bike from Conte’s in Richmond which is surprisingly different from Fresh Bike’s (formerly Conte’s) in Ballston (Arlington). The people in Ballston are pretty arrogant and the cheapest bike is around $1,500 which makes sense considering the clientele. The Conte’s in Richmond is run by a very nice guy who asked me a lot about the race upon renting and returning the bike. They also have a wider selection of brands in Richmond.

Then we at pizza and went back to the hotel and spent the rest of the night relaxing before the race.

In the morning we woke up and rode down to the race, got there a little after 6 and I set up my stuff in transition. It was pretty cool around 6:30 am but that would quickly change. During set up they announce the water temperature…91 degrees! With the P.F. Chang’s swim caps being optional.

swim cap 1swim cap 2

I chatted with the g/f for a bit and then walked down to the start. I was in the first wave and got into the water to tread for a few minutes, it was amazing how many people didn’t want to get into the water since they had to tread. A lot of people held onto the dock. I swam around a bit to try and get my face used to the warm water. It’s by far the warmest water I’ve swam in and it was difficult to breathe for awhile.

The start was uneventful as a stay outside and didn’t run into too much trouble. The course is sort of curved down the river but, if you swim a straight line you can probably shave off some distance. The swim out was longer than the swim back with the swim back being downstream. Strangely, I swam the out part in 16 minutes and the back part in 17 minutes.

Swim time was 33:37

swim

swim finish

There I am all the way down there. The next part was a 300 foot walk then a climb up two stories of steps and maybe another 2-300 feet to transition. My transition times were slow and I was not a happy camper. The g/f said I completely ignored her at the top of the steps. This was probably due to the bath water wearing me out and then having to climb stairs…this wouldn’t be the last star climb of the day.

 

 

The bike started off great, it was mostly rolling hills and seemed to go by fairly quickly. I wasn’t passed by too many people on the bike but, managed to pass a decent number of people. Right around mile 14 or so I was passed by two girls, one in a blue tri suit and another with “pink” tires. Blue liked to block and draft while pink just liked to draft. I stayed behind them most of the race, passed them at one point and then they passed me again on a hill. The last mile or so was a big down hill with railroad tracks at the bottom. I didn’t see them until it was too late and just prayed I didn’t wipe out. I tried to bunny hop but that didn’t work and my chain ended up coming off. I coasted mostly to a stop flipped my bike over and put the chain back on all while taking a nice slice out of my pinky. I have no idea how I managed to do that. I was not in the mood to pick it back up so the rest of the mile was fairly slow.

Bike time was 1:22:26

T2 was around 3 minutes.

It was starting to get hot and I knew I would suffer on the run so I took my time in transition. I didn’t know how much I would suffer. My PR for a 10K is 57:50 in the winter but, I didn’t think I would be that much slower. My first mile was under 10 and then after going under a bridge UP SOME MORE STEPS and directly in the sun, I had to slow down. Right after the second picture below I had a nice fall and took a chunk of of my palm…my first fall while running.

Run 1             Run 2

The remaining 90% of the run was in the sun at about 2.5 miles there were a lot more stairs to go back up to a path across the river. I’d love to go back and run this route on a cooler day since it seems like it’s a very scenic run for a city. At this point I had a coldish cloth underneath my hat and would soon add a sponge inside my top and a towel around my neck. The rest of the “run” was walk/run and I actually stopped at the water stops, mainly to ice the clothes. I managed to smile in all the pictures which are courtesy of the g/f who toughed out the heat to watch. (Note the clothes and sponges below.

Run 3

I finished the run at the snails pace of 1:15:44.

Finish time 3:19:44

Post race was great, there was a water shower tent with chairs and people spraying hoses. I sat there for a couple minutes, packed everything up and went to get my two free beers and P.F. Changs. I only drank half a beer but made up for it in Oreos and two times through the food line. It was a well organized race with fancy towel at the end.

My goal was 3 hours but, I can’t complain because I DO NOT do well in the heat at all. I think my girlfriend’s chants of “No more triathlons in the summer!” sums up how I feel about this triathlon. I think I’ll be taking July and August off from races unless I happen to be down under.

Is there an Ironman Antarctica?

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's So Hot Hot Hot!




Running this week has been a struggle. Marathon training is kind of a gamble...if you run a spring marathon you have to worry about snow during training, where I live, and then worry about an unexpected hot race day that you're not ready for. If you run a fall marathon in most parts of the country you have to deal with the heat and humidity during training but, it could pay off with a cooler race day.

After the tri on Sunday, which I still haven't done a post on, I decided to take Monday and Tuesday off. It seemed to be a good idea since my muscles were a little sore at times. Wednesday night I ran about 6 miles after dark with the temperature around 85 degrees and a lower humidity. I made it through this run without issue and only 20 ounces of water. Last night was a different story...I decided to bike for 30 minutes since I didn't want to wait until after dark to start working out so, I ventured to Hains Point for a few loops. Then I threw on my running shoes and headed towards The Mall. At this point, the sun had gone down but it was still 90 degrees with 70% humidity making it feel like 143 degrees for someone who is walking. (http://fellrnr.com/wiki/Heat_Index_For_Runners_Version_1) I was pretty soaked by the third mile and had filled my water bottle once already and finished it. The plan was to run to the Lincoln Memorial and down The Mall to the front of the Capitol and back. This loop is around 4.25-4.5 miles if you run down Consitition until you get past the Washington Monument. By mile 4 my shoes were squishing wet and I needed a refill. I'm glad I decided to turn back before The Capitol since I finished my water again before the next water fountain.

After all was said and done I ran about 4.5 miles, walked .75 miles and drank maybe 60 ounces of water.

Pre-run weight: 252.8
Post-Run weight: 249.5...wow...I wasn't even running for an hour.

With a 13, maybe 14 mile run tomorrow it'll be interesting to see how much weight I loose.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Hydration

As everyone knows it’s hot outside and you need to stay hydrated, especially while running, biking and even swimming. The body cools itself by sweating and if you don’t know how this works, here you go...The maximum amount of sweat a person can produce is about 1 litre per hour. Sweat glands release water and salt in an attempt to cool the body by removing excess heat through heat vaporization. This heat energy increases the speed of the water molecules so that they can escape into the air. Typically, all of the sweat does not evaporate, but rather runs off your skin. In addition, not all heat energy produced by the body is lost through sweat. A major factor that influences the rate of evaporation is the relative humidity of the air around you. If the air is humid, then it already has water vapor in it, probably near saturation, and cannot take any more. Therefore, sweat does not evaporate and cool your body as efficiently as when the air is dry.

Another factor effecting the body during exercise is your heart rate. The body produces sweat when it starts to heat up from exercise. Blood is sent to the skin which increases your heart rate since your heart must work to pump the blood to the skin, muscles and brain. When it is hot out more blood will be sent to your skin than normal for sweating. Your heart will work harder to do this and will lead to a higher heart rate than normal. This means less blood is going to your muscles and to your brain, which is why you'll feel weak and dizzy or disoriented if you get too hot.

The whole thing gets worse if you don't drink enough water. Your body loses a lot of moisture through sweating, and if you don't have enough water coming in to replace that lost water, you'll get dehydrated. Once dehydrated, your body has less fluid available to produce more sweat, your body will get hotter still, and the whole thing escalates.
When you become deydrated your body will stop sweating and may lead to heat exhaustion. You skin might feel cool to the touch and you could become nauseated, have a headache or feel dizzy. If this happens, stop running, get into the shade and find some water.

It’s difficult to say how much water one needs while running in the heat since everyone is different. It’s a good idea to drink more than normal and try to exercise early in the morning or late at night. Don’t drink too much water or you’ll run into Hyponatremia which is the body being oversaturated and not having enough salt based on a water/salt ratio.

I have a little experience with dehydration while training. I weigh about 250 lbs and was running 18 miles last summer. I started at 6am and during the last 5 miles the heat index must have been over 100 degrees before 9am. I felt relatively fine but noticed my arms were completly dry and sweat had stopped dripping of the brim of my hat. I still had 3 miles to go. As soon as I noticed I stopped running and found a water fountain and filled up my camelbak. (I normally run with a camelbak on any run over over 6 or 8 miles depending on the temperature.) That day I had filled the 50-60oz reservior (still can’t figure out how much it actually holds) 2 times and had almost finished it when I stopped sweating. This was on top of the 25-30oz of gatorade I drank at the club’s water stop. I had been running for a little over 2.5 hours at this point, drank 120 ounces of water/gatorade and still stopped sweating. I managed to make it back to the start without any problems but, I think it took me until later that night to become properly hydrated again.

The best way to judge how much water your body loses is to weigh yourself before and after running. If you can keep track of how much water you drink you’ll be able to figure out how much water you’re losing during running. I don’t think it’s necessary to try drinking enough water during the run so that you weigh the same since you can recover the water in the hours following the run.

So, if you weighed 200 pounds before the run and weigh 197 pounds after your run and drank 32 ounces of water along the run, your body probably lost 5 pounds (80 ounces) of water during the run.

It’s a little more difficult to tell how much you’re actually sweating while biking since you generally have a nice breeze.

Sweating while swimming is probably overlooked by most people since it’s difficult to tell you’re sweating. Yeah, the water is generally cooler than your body temperature but, most pools (the ones I’ve been to) are kept at 82-84 degrees which can feel hot after 30-45 minutes of swimming. One of my friends swam at an outdoor pool for a master’s swim here in DC last week and the water temperature was around 90 degrees. He said people were getting out of the water, between sets, to cool down and even hugging metal poles since the poles were cool.

Drink up

Monday, July 18, 2011

STL and The Big Shark Tri

 

Since my g/f lives in St. Louis and I was going to see her this past weekend, I figured I’d see if there was a triathlon…and there was. It’s sort of in between a sprint and an oly…1k Swim, 20 mi bike, 4 mi run.

I took a flight to STL a few days before and decided to use my Garmin on the plane. It was pretty interesting. On the way there we were around 500 MPH at 29,500 feet and 560 MPH at 36,000 feet on the way back. For some reason it didn’t save the flight there but here are some pictures from the flight back.

 

I didn’t feel like packing up my bike or shipping it there when I could rent a bike from the Trek Store for $40. Seemed like a great deal for a Madone 5.3…a bike worth $2,000 more than mine. After riding it, I definitely regret not shelling out more for a bike. I took the bike out for a spin the night before the race to see how everything was working. It turned out to be a very good decision since the crank arm was not tight and it came loose and I slammed my foot into the ground. This would have been horrible if it happened during the race.

After fixing the bike and keeping myself from throwing the bike through the store’s window in the middle of the night we were off to the race the next morning. It’s an interesting place to have a race, it’s in the middle of a giant neighborhood that’s supposed to be like a little town. Inside the neighborhood there are shops, restaurants, churches, pools and even a town hall and of course the lake/pond we were swimming in.

We got there about an hour before the race and I listened to the annoying announcer while I set up transition. “Why do we have to do this?” “Because we said so. That’s the only answer you need.” Although I was happy they were threatening to give out 2 minute penalties to anyone having someone accompany them into the transition area.

I hung around with the g/f for awhile before the race and then got in line for the numbers in order time trial start. The numbers were by age group, unless you signed up late, then you’d be at the back. The start went very quickly with 3 seconds between each person. I’d hate to be the guy saying “3..2..1..go!” 750 times. That would get old.

The swim was surprisingly easy. I never ran into anyone but I seemed to get passed by a decent number of people. Everyone seemed to be swimming 50 feet or so from the buoys so I just swam right in line unimpeded the whole way.

I’m in the white cap.

P7100034P7100037

The swim took me 22 minutes which was a little longer than I though it would take and T1 was slow as usual.

The bike was the best part of the race for me. I could easily hold 22-25 mph on the flat course until the last 4 or 5 miles when there was a wicked headwind. The course was 20 miles and I finished in about 58 minutes. There isn’t much to say about the course other than I passed a lot of people, a few people passed me…only one woman.

P7100039

Only bike pic.

 

The run was the worst part of the race. When I got off the bike the computer said 89 degrees but it probably felt like 105. I managed to keep a 9:45 pace for the 1st mile but after that it was run walk. I was in heaven when I reached the cold sponges. It’s not like it mattered since they only helped for about 10 seconds. A lot of people had sprinklers spraying in the street, that was a nice treat…It’s too bad the whole neighborhood didn’t do it.

P7100042

The rest of the race involved me grabbing two sponges at each water station and putting one in my hat and one down my back. P7100044\

This was the last turn before the finish…notice the sponge in the back. I’m really glad I kept it. I spent 5 minutes at the finish line dunking the sponge in the water and pressing it on my head. It took forever to cool down.

There was a great buffet at the finish, sandwiches, cookies and pasta salad. I spent about 30 minutes eating and drinking packed up transition and walked back to the car. We were going to stick around for the awards but, after thinking about sitting in the hot sun for another 30 minutes it was an easy decision to turn the AC on in the car and head home.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

No Red and Fireworks

Saturday was the second time I’ve made it to the long runs with the Marathon Training program. It went much better than last week. Even though I still felt fine after I was urinating blood, the smart thing to do was stop…so I did. This weekend was much better, no red after the run. I’m still not sure about the distance, Mr. Garmin says just under 13 miles but mapmyrun and gmap both say 14 miles for the identical route. It was through a lot of trails so it’s possible it lost it’s signal and didn’t adjust the distance. Some of my miles are a little slow but they did involve walking up some steep hills.

For the 4th the G/F and I decided to ride down to the Potomac and watch fireworks! This turned out to be a great idea since the roads were packed. The Mt Vernon Trail from Crystal City to the 14th St or George Mason Bridge…(did you know this is the actual name of the bridge? A little trivia) was PACKED! I don’t remember the last time I’ve said “on your left" that many times. It was about a 3.5 mile ride with the ride back being even worse. We had to walk for a bit since no one was willing to move. The show only lasted 15 minutes, good thing we didn’t drive. It would have taken an hour at the least to get home.

fireworks

I also noticed this in Men’s Health…I was reading the new one and my roommate happened to have a copy from 2009 in one of the bathrooms…

7 days8 Days

First pic is 2009, second is the current issue. I guess they figured out 7 days isn’t enough time to see results.

This weekend is the King Orthopedic Big Shark Triathlon outside of St. Louis, MO. Strangely, I’ll be renting a better bike than I currently own. Hopefully I’ll be able to refrain from buying a new bike when I get home.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A little blood never hurt anyone...


A phrase which has probably been heard by most post-pubescent females and possibly uttered by a good number of males, around a certain time of the month. Maybe that's a little gross...sorry, this whole post might be gross.

Friday consisted of about a 30 mile bike ride followed up by a 10 minute run. I spent the rest of the day drinking Gatorade and water the rest of the day thinking I was hydrated enough for a run the next day. During my Saturday Long Run, which I've now moved back to Saturdays since I've fed the triathlon beast inside me, I had an unexpected surprise...The run started off a little weird considering the low temperature and humidity. I was sweating more than normal after the first mile, normally I wouldn't be sweating at all even though it was mostly uphill. By the 5th mile it felt like I had jot got out of a pool and there was sweat dripping from my hat. Normally it would take around 9 or 10 miles before I reached that point. Before the run I didn't think it would get to that point since it was 12 miles and a very cool morning.

I figured something was wrong at the first water stop when "it" was very dark yellow and seemed to be condensed when it hit the water. I drank about 20 oz of water and ran up a bunch of hills and back to the water stop. (The way our long runs work is, someone volunteers to set up a water/gatorade stop somewhere along the run. In this case everyone hit it twice since it was an out and back run and the water stop wasn't at the turn around) I'm guessing I drank 20 oz more, considering it was a 12 oz cup and it wasn't quite filled all the way...I had two. This is on top of at least half of the Gatorade in my camelbak. Here's the surprise...

While stopping to relieve myself, after the 7th mile right after the water stop on the way back...there was blood in my urine. Actually, I think it was just blood. I was immediately terrified and thought I was going to have make a trip to the ER. I had no idea what to do since I'm on the slower side of my running group and everyone at my pace decided to run 10 instead of 12. It was 8:30 am and the g/f, a nurse and the only person I could think of to call, was at work. I tried to get a hold of her anyway...good thing I decided to bring my phone. She didn't respond so I googled "blood in urine while running." The first hit was a sports doctor blog, which talked about how "Most often the blood comes from the bladder. The jarring of an empty bladder during running causes bruises and bleeding from the bladder wall" and can also be caused by your kidneys. Hmm...kidney failure due to dehydration...enough to make me stop running. I slowly ran to the first path I could take to get to a metro (subway) station and headed home. Oddly, it felt like I was having trouble "holding it in." I managed to drip sweat everywhere on the way home, I still didn't understand why I was bleeding but still sweating.

I bought more fluids and drank them as fast as I could. I decided I would give it a day to see if it stopped before I head to the Doc. Feeling a little more at ease, I made my normal post long run trip to Panera for a jalapeno&cheddar bagel sandwich...it's been awhile. In the bathroom there it was blood, then brown, then dark yellow, seems to be getting better. Within 30 minutes of getting home I had to go badly and it was pretty clear...we'll see if it stays that way.

Later, I think I may have realized what happened. After every long run there is ALWAYS salt on my face, there wasn't any salt that day. I've never done a long bike ride and a long run the next day. My guess is that the bike ride screwed up my sodium and potassium and I didn't take in enough to cover me for the run the next day. This could be the reason my body was dumping sweat so early, it didn't have a way to retain a lot of water. Or maybe I was getting hot while running since sweating is the body’s way of cooling itself, or I was dehydrated from the start of the run. Who knows…I should probably take some sort of biology class that deals with this stuff.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

DC Triathlon Race Report!

I had been waiting for Sunday to come for months. The DC Triathlon was the first triathlon I had ever signed up for. I was so excited when I signed up for it that I couldn't wait that long to actually race in a triathlon. As you've noticed, I signed up for four of them before the big day. It turns out, this was a very good decision.

The triathlon weekend actually started on Thursday. The swim practice scheduled for Saturday was cancelled due to the MLK Jr. Memorial construction. I'm not sure why considering it's across the street on land and NOT IN THE POTOMAC! I wonder if MLK Jr. could swim? On Thursday I decided I would start the Potomac Immunity Process. I might as well get my body use to the supposed "dirty Potomac." If it's so dirty, why do they let us swim in it? While we're on the subject, the guy who organizes the Sunday long rides always has some clever greeting to start off the route description on hos blog such as..."Hello people who will never qualify for Kona" or last week..."Hello people who think the Potomac is clean enough to swim in" Yesterday it was…”Hello people who contracted an STD from swimming in the Potomac.”

 

I made my way out to National Harbor for the Happy Hour Swims put on by WaveOne. It's not a bad course and it's good because it's only a 10 minute drive versus 45 minutes to any of the other lakes. On the downside, it's the Potomac and you have a large group of spectators watching. The course is about 350 meters and I swam like a champ (for me) without a wetsuit. I still don't understand why people care so much about wearing a wetsuit, shouldn't you be prepared for swimming without one? I don't think they should be used as a crutch.

Anyways back to the race...

The g/f was coming into town to watch meaning I wouldn't be working while she was here. We headed over to packet pickup on Friday since it wouldn't be as crowded. Sadly my roommate, who is racing his first tri, had to work and was going on Saturday. For some odd reason I didn'ttake any pictures of packet pick up. Although, when you get your number they snap a shot of you for your little Athlete Profile Page on the DC Tri website. Nicely done.

Bikes had to be racked on Saturday and there were police escorted rides from the convention center to the water front…about 1.5 miles. I thought this would be very cool to do except for that I had to wait for my roommate and our friend to finish packet pickup. We missed the ride at 1:30 and didn’t want to wait for the next one. The g/f was in the car as well and I felt bad that all she was doing was sitting there. So, we drove down to the water front where they had a lane blocked off so you could park and rack your bike…wtf…I guess they didn’t want 4,000 people trying to do this because it wasn’t advertised.

The next morning was pretty easy, woke up at 4am, left at 4:30, manage to find a spot about a mile from transition. Not even 2 minutes out of the car and people were already asking if you could wear a wetsuit. Seriously?  I got everything set up and then heard the water temperature was 77.8 degrees…barely wetsuit legal. I decided not to wear one and turned out to be a great idea. We went down to the riverside and watched the Oly race go off. I’ve never actually watched the swim part since I’ve always been in the race. It was interesting to see people use the backstroke and breast stroke within 100 meters. I also saw several people being pulled out of the water by the jet ski right after 100 meters.

Next it was time to corral up and wait for the race. The swim start was supposed to be a TT start with 8 people jumping in at once…keyword being jumping, no diving. Although these two guys behind me said there were no cannonballs but, nothing was said about backflips. It’s too bad since I spent 15 minutes at the diving at pool, the day before the race, trying to figure out how to position my head to keep water out of my goggles when I hit the water. By the time I got to the dock they were just pointing people where to jump in the water one by one.

The swim went pretty smoothly, I managed to freestyle the whole time and seemed to be gliding along faster than before since I fixed the pulling part of my stroke. It wasn’t very crowded but, I’ll never stop being amazed at how many people tend to swim toward me rather than straight. I spent most of the swim passing people in the wave in front of me and several people from two and three waves in front of me. Check out my pink swim cap and how goofy I look in speedo goggles.

Outta the Water    Outta the Water 2

I’m just getting off the ramp in the second picture and the girl just ahead of me was from 3 waves in front of me.

800 meters and outta the water in 15:54…blows all my other swim times away.

T1 went as well as they usually do, I can’t seem to run very quickly to and out of transition. No problems mounting my bike and getting my feet in. Although the first mile was an average of 15 mph. The next 11 miles were much faster. The bike course was extremely crowded and a lot of people were blocking, including the race marshal on the moped. They cut me off three times and slowed me down when I was trying to pass. The third time I said something and she told me I was blocking…not cool since they’re the reason I was blocking and couldn’t complete a pass. Like there weren’t 100 other people around me not passing at the same time. I thought she wrote down my number but, I didn’t hear it called out. Luckily I didn’t get a penalty.

Bike

I finished the bike in around 37 minutes and averaged 19.7 mph.

The run was a little tough since it started to get hot. What I don’t understand is why they made the sprint course 7.5K with 5 U-turns. Apparently it was so we could run by The Capitol but, that only required one turn around. The route seems dumb to me and all the U-turns seem unnecessary. There isn’t even a picture of me in front of the capitol so what’s the point?

image

I crossed the line at 1:44:34 and in the top 35%…Sadly I was 732 in the run but 197 in the bike. If only I could run faster.

Run time: 44:43…9:37/mile

Then I waited for my g/f to show up at the finish. She missed me on the bike because she was looking at the course map. Strangely, I saw her and yelled her name…she didn’t hear me. It’s too bad she didn’t get to see me finish. I’d imagine it’s hard to look for someone on the bike course with thousands of other people. While I was eating I ate a delicious burrito bowl from Qdoba, probably the best post race food yet. I also didn’t realize how mean it was to watch people run by while eating until someone running by said it was mean. I waited for my friend to finish, he was about 20 minutes behind me but I didn’t see him run by. We had no idea what happened to my roommate. My g/f and my friend’s g/f didn’t see him come out of the water and he hadn’t called anyone. 10 minutes later I saw him run by and 10 more minutes later he crossed the finish line. About an hour after me. It turned out he took 35 minutes on the swim. I’m glad he finished.

Next up, Big Shark Triathlon outside of St. Louis. It’s an odd distance, 1K swim, 20 mile bike and 4 mile run.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Oh The Humidity!

It's about that time of year...it's getting a little warmer, triathlon season is in full swim er....swing, sweat starts dripping off my hat after 4 miles, you can tell I'm coming up behind you from the squishing sound my socks are making and I look like I jumped in a pool after a long run. I'm sure some people thought I may have climbed out of the Potomac on my run last night.

It was my second Saturday Long Run (SLR) for marathon training. Due to a few things I had going on today, it was done Friday night. I'm doing my marathon training with the DC Roadrunners since I did their marathon training program last year and I've been running with them ever since. If you're ever in DC and are looking for a route to run, their website has some great routes that you would probably never find. Hopefully they won't mind me posting this link...DCRR SLR They all start at the Iwo Jima Memorial in Rosslyn but you can easily hop on one of the routes at any point. Some of the routes are through trails and may be difficult to navigate if you're not familiar. Some of them also go through Arlington. Also feel free to join us Saturdays at 7am if you're in the area and looking for a group to run with. Everyone is friendly and you'll have to introduce yourself if you raise your hand when they ask if anyone is new. It's a good mix of age, gender and paces especially during fall marathon training. Keep in mind you don't have to run the whole route.

Last night was Fort Scott Hill, 11 miles out and back with the turn around point being at the top of a hill that is difficult to walk up. I shortened it to 9.5 miles since I'm trying to balance Tri training and marathon training until the end of July. I started in Crystal City and ran to Iwo Jima while passing by the airport which has a nice park near it, off the GW parkway, where you can watch planes take off and land. It was a nice out and back run...more like an out and back in two different directions. It's been awhile since I've ran almost 10 miles, probably the week after the St. Louis Half Marathon. I wasn't expecting any problems running this far but, I forgot what running in this type of heat and humidity is like.

Normally, I run with Glacier Freeze Gatorade Frost in my camelbak. Last night I ran with blue Powerade and noticed it leaves my mouth a little dry. Anyway, I had about 60 ounces and ran out at the top of the big hill with about a mile left to go. It was all downhill so it wasn't a big deal. It's amazing as to how much fluid I require for long runs in the summer. I've noticed I can go farther before my legs start to hurt with Gatorade vs. water. On a similar note, MapMyRun has an ad from Gatorade telling you how many ounces you need as you increase the mileage on your route. It told me I needed 10 ounces...WAY OFF. If you're not that experienced with running I recommend not listening to this ad.

I did the long run last night so I could drive out to Sandy Point State Park in Maryland for an Open Water Swim Clinic put on by Sports and Spinal Physical Therapy in DC. I've never been to a "real" OWS clinic. This one was very good for practice even though I've done a several OWS before. They divided us up into groups based on the level we felt we were at, talked for about 10 minutes and then put us in the water. I decided to join the advanced group since I feel very comfortable in the water. It's always interesting to hear what people have to say and then what pops into my head. For example...when talking about sighting (in the advanced group) someone said "what's sighting?" Valid question but, don't you think you should know what sighting is when the triathlon is next weekend? I suppose it's not THAT necessary in the DC Tri since the buoys are like small houses and there is one every 100 meters. The current was very strong today and you could easily tell that it was just from looking at the water. It was a little scary even standing on the shore.

Most people wanted to work on sighting and turning. I had no idea how to go around a buoy. Apparently, the correct way is to flip into a backstroke for a few strokes while you're going around the buoy. I never noticed this when watching triathlons on TV. It's actually very easy and very efficient. We also practiced running into the water and "dolphin diving," not my cup of tea. After all that they brought all the groups together to simulate a "mass start", 8 at a time in the case of the DC Tri, and then we swam about an 800 meter course...or so we were told. Really it's about 600 meters when measured on Google Earth, assuming the swimming area buoys are in the same places. Either way it'll give the nervous people confidence if they swam the whole thing.

After that I was supposed to head out for a bike ride but, forgot my helmet. Instead I drove home, got my helmet and headed out for an easy 60 minute ride on a trail nearby. Definitely a good idea since my legs probably couldn't handle the planned 17-18mph pace for 24 miles after the run yesterday.

Right now I'm waiting for a 310XT to arrive in the mail. Tomorrow I'm heading out to volunteer at the finish line for Eagleman 70.3...should be fun.

Good Luck to everyone!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Smallwood Sprint Tri - Race Report

My blog has now gone international! Germany, New Zealand and Canada!

This past Sunday was the General Smallwood Sprint Tri in Indian Head, MD. In all honesty, the only reason I signed up for this was because I wanted a sort of "do over" of my first triathlon since I'm more comfortable in open water. The only difference being this is a ~16 mile bike route instead of 20k.

The week leading up to this tri consisted of an open water swim at Sandy Point on Memorial Day, where hundreds of people were grilling at 8:30am. I'm not sure why they started at 8:30 but, why not...kids gotta eat. We were definitely the minority that day. The day before was a 30 mile bike ride, without Garmin. It froze in the car on the way and I wasn't sure how to fix it. I figured out that to reset it, hold down both buttons until it resets, no data lost. I ended up keeping my iphone in my Camelbak and used mapmyride which ate up 83% of my battery in two hours. Wednesday night was track in the heat and what felt like 900% humidity even though that's not possible, it should be. You would think the extra humidity would help you hydrate since there is more moisture in the air...nope.

Back to the race...It was about an hour drive from my place and I got there two hours early for packet pickup and all that jazz. I think I was the 5th or 6th person there. Everyone else on my rack decided to show up early as well....what are the odds? Oh well, I racked my bike set, set everything up and then had no idea what to do for the next hour. I went down and checked out the water. The swim was on a fishing creek and had a lot of seaweed or something of the sort. I was in the third wave so maybe the first two waves would clear a path. I sat around, ate some yogurt and then put my wetsuit on. I have no idea what the water temperature was but this company, SET UP Events, seems to use a 78 degrees rule rather than 76.1 degrees. I'm not complaining but, I guess since it's a sprint it doesn't matter. I also forgot dental floss and a rubber band, good thing I realized my shoe will just rest on the crank arm while I run with the bike.

With my wetsuit on I hopped in the water and warmed up for about 50 meters, the exit from the swim was up a slimy boat ramp. I tried to see who else was in the clydesdale division...I'm determined to get third in this division one race this year. I watched the first two waves (AG Men and then AG Women) go off and headed down the dock for an in water start. I think the waves were 4 minutes apart. This time I decided I would start towards the front but off to the outside of the first turn. It turned out to be a good idea since I didn't get pummeled at the start and got into a good rhythm in the first 25 meters.

I desperately need to work on my sighting, I was off to the right coming to the first buoy and then off to the left heading to the second buoy. It probably cost me a minute or two. I didn't have any problems with the swim except for this girl who kept hitting my feet when approaching the 2nd turn. I kicked hard a few times and did a few breaststrokes with hard kicks to see if she would back off but, she was right back on my feet when I switched back to freestyle. I purposefully treaded water around the buoy as close to it as I could to try and piss her off. I passed a bunch of people from the second wave...big improvement. I was still swimming off to the left down the last stretch, I later realized I wasn't pulling equally with both arms. No other problems except for accidentally grabbing some booty, good thing it was a girl. (Sorry Susie) We both stopped, she looked at me and I apologized. She said "it's OK" but, she seemed shocked. I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this in a triathlon. I sprinted to the inflatable squiggly man and jogged up the ramp. Oh, did I mention the plants/seaweed like stuff I kept catching in my strokes for the last 200 meters. I just hoped it wasn't alive and was going to grab me or get caught in it and drown. So much for the first two waves clearing the way. There was also a metal pole barely under the water in the middle of the creek...I crashed into it.

Swim time: 19:05...seems a little slow, not sure if the course was longer since they changed it from what is shown on the map or if I was just that far off course. I was expecting under 17:30. Nevertheless...55/89 for the men...not too shabby considering I passed 3 or 4 people from the first wave and more from the second wave! Also strange, I had a faster swim than my AG winner.

The run to the transition area was equivalent to the one at Hilton Head except without the beach. It must have been around 1/4 of a mile to T1. Excellent job of putting the timing mat right at the water instead of at the transition area. T1 was slow as usual. I should probably practice so I can get my heart rate down sooner and get a heart rate monitor. T1 was slow, I need to pick it up since this is "free time."

I had the quickest mount of the season and no problems getting my shoes on. The first mile was still slow 13 mph but it was mostly uphill. It was rolling hills with a couple hills of 100 feet in a 1/2 mile...not too steep. I was determined to make this my best bike yet even though it was 16 miles instead of 20K. The bike field was spread out since it was a single loop. I just figured I'd pick off as many of the women as I could. I managed to pick off a few of the men and was only passed by one person...she was doing the relay. Along the way I asked a couple women if they had been passed by any "C" people. I don't think they had any idea what I was talking about. No problems on the bike, I hydrated without running off the road and took in some gel. I've decided I need some type of nutrition on the bike in prep for the run considering my size and being out there for more than an hour. I thought I was lost at one point during a long straightaway. I couldn't see anyone in front of me and I was afraid I missed a turn. Right as a turned around I saw two people coming from around the bend. I booked it so they wouldn't catch up. I sailed into T2 averaging just about 17.5 mph making this my fastest and longest bike yet.

Bike time: 55:04 surprisingly 54/89
Max Speed: 34 mph

T2 went about as well as it always does except we were getting yelled at to dismount AFTER the line...strange, maybe these girls were given the directions for T1 instead. I wonder if anyone took that to mean anywhere after the line and rode right into transition? I put on my socks and heard the announcer say the first person was heading to the finished...I'm just happy I finished my bike before he finished the race. Shoes, gel, hate, number...running.

I felt great the whole run except a slight burn in my quads on the hills. The first mile was the same as the bike, uphill most of the way. I started out trying to keep an 8:45 pace but quickly realized, on the first hill, that was out of the question. The first mile was ~9:38, not bad for someone my size going up hill. The second mile has a little down hill and then a biiig uphill but water was at the top. I walked through the water stop and had a slow second mile of 10:04, still not too bad. The last 1.1 miles was mostly downhill so I picked up the pace as much as I could. I even managed to clearly ask a kid volunteering what he was listening to on his ipod...no clue what he said. I felt great at this point but didn't want to push my luck. The trail went off road down a dirt path which was a nice change. Then it went across a bridge over the creek back to the swim start and up the same path to T1. It was nice not having anyone around me an a long runway to the finish. I got a lot of cheers from Team Z (still jealous of their cookout) and other people. I cruised into the finish, heard my name called again...much better than a run since I've never heard my name called out in a run...and ran the last 1.1 at an 8:47 pace.

Run time: 29:16 70/89 for the men...I guess this race was mostly fast runners. 15 places slower seems crappy compared to the bike and the run.

Total Time: 1:49:14...broke 1:50:00....60/89 for the men and 80/151 overall.

This is definitely my best race so far considering it was 4 miles longer on the bike and my time was only 10 minutes more than the other 2 races with the same swim. AND there was pizza!

I stuck around until the last person crossed the finish line and saw the specialty groups get their awards....5/7 in the clydesdales. I was pissed when the top two people in this division looked to barely weigh 200lbs...doesn't seem very fair. 2nd place in that age group would have won his division, sucks for him. In my mind Clydesdale = heavy and slower...a 22 minute 5K after a swim and a bike does not say heavy or slow in any way. Personally I think the weight should be bumped up to 220lbs or as one guy on a forum post said..."If you can't put a pencil under your stomach and have it stay there, you shouldn't be able to race as a clydesdale." I sort of agree but hope it never gets to that since I don't come close to qualifying. What do they say? 3 seconds per mile per pound lost? Using that logic 220 (30lbs lost) would make me an ~7:45/mile runner for a sprint tri. Complaining Done

Tonight was track night in the 'feels like' 104 degrees temperature and humidity. The dew point was around 60 so, when added together you get around 160. This is not considered safe for most people to exercise outside. The workout was changed to 200s, which is surprising since I don't remember ever doing a workout of 200s since I started running at the track. I think the original workout was 600s. Changing it was an excellent idea. It was a small group, out of the DC roadrunners, tonight. I ended up running 12 x 200 with a 200 rest in between then had enough of the heat. Although I can't really blame people for staying at home in the AC and eating bon bons.