Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Year In Review

2012 was a great year for training and had several firsts:

First Half Iron Distance
First Marathon Relay
First Donut Ride
First Race in a Sandmine (Sandmine Challenge)
First Mile Race
First Trail Race
First Rev3 Race

2013 will more than likely produce higher numbers but here is 2012 by the numbers:

Swim: 81 miles
Bike: 2,854 miles
Run 512 miles

18 - Races
8 - Triathlons
3 - 5ks
2 - Trail Races
8 - Non-Race Open Water Swims
1 - Flat
0 - Crashes
3 - Pieces of Chocolate ate during the Run for the Chocolate 5k
2 - Half Iron distance races
1 - AG Medal
1 - T-shirt for the wrong distance
1 - Fall caused by the Pup
5 - Bottles of Hammer Gel (surprisingly low)
3 - Cycling Jerseys from Races
1 - Kick in the Face

If you can't tell, not much effort was put into this post...Have a Happy New Year

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Frostbite Series Race Numero Uno -12k

Given my lack of motivation this off season, it seemed wise to sign up for some races. Despite the half-marathon in the race series, the St. Louis Track Clubs Frostbite Series sounded like a great idea. So, I signed up for it.

The series has a short course and a long course with the distances broken down below.

Yesterday was the first race in the series. Even though the race was at 9, I still woke up at 6:30 thanks to the pup. I got there at around 7:50 and picked up my number. Then I stood around and talked in the cold until about 8:40. After that, I changed and warmed up. Temperature wise, at around 50, it was warm for a December morning however, the wind made it feel cold.

It's pretty clear at big races when the start happens. There is a huge PA system or a cannon and everyone generally shuts up. The funny thing about small race starts is, unless you're at the front, you never know when the race is starting until you see people in front of you start to move. Which is exactly what happened. Then we were off.

The course is two loops and is mostly rolling hills. My goal was to keep my heart rate in the low 150s once it got up there and try to keep it from getting over 160 for too long on the uphills. I wanted to negative split the race but when I noticed my pace after the first loop I wondered if this was going to be possible. I felt decent until the start of the hill on the second loop, then the wind picked up. My pace dropped and my heart rate soared trying to fight the wind up the hill. At the top of the hill I thought I was done for with about 2 miles left. Then right before the downhill I decided to try and pick up the pace a bit. To my surprise I was able to knock about 30 sec/mile off my pace for the last 1.5 miles.

I finished in 1:08:51...not too bad. I was happy it was under 1:10 and I set a PR for a 12k. The PR was easy since I've never ran a 12k before.

Ever since one of the coaches in the tri club put on a running clinic several months ago, I took his advice and tried to change my running form. It looks like the results finally showed up in this race. My previous 10k PR was on a very flat course with similar weather conditions as Saturday. When I hit the 10k point in this race I was about a minute ahead of my 10k PR with 2k left. Even though I was faster than 10k PR pace, I still managed to pick up the pace by around 30 sec/mile with 1.5 miles to go.

I imagine I would have smashed my 10k PR if I were on the same course even though I haven't been doing any track work or interval runs since September.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Techno Tuesday

A little late in the day but it's still Tuesday and Triathletes drink coffee...

Barista : Excuse me sir? How would you like your coffee?

Customer: I don't care, as long as it's made in a RACING HELMET!

Yes, the visor opens

For all you non-coffee drinkers there is no need to worry. There is also a version for serving any beverage. 

Make sure you pick one of these up the next time you have people over to watch NASCAR. That'll be never for me. No clue where to get one but you can try the assignee: 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Running with the Pup and Tooting my own Horn

My training in the off season, along with my posting, has been minimal at best. I suppose I'm going for quality over quantity. I haven't swam in a month and I've biked 4 times since Branson at the end of September. Hopefully this will all change soon...Actually, it has to otherwise Triple-T is not going to happen. The one thing that has been decent is running, mostly with the pup. 

Our first big run was at the Chubb Trail which is arguably the toughest trail in the St. Louis area. I figured Loki needed some running boots for the trails. So, why not buy him the most expensive boots I can find...Ruff Wear's Bark'n Boots with a Vibram Sole for $70.

The night before our run, I struggled to put them on him then tried not to laugh at the "dog boot dance." He looked something like the video. Then we went for a walk. Apparently the boots turn him into a a psycho pup as he was constantly running back and forth, as far as his leash would let him, to the grass on either side of the sidewalks. That walk was a PITA. However, the picture below (posted on Facebook by Gear Junkie) made it all worth it. He had a blast running the trails and made me feel like a turtle. I managed to avoid being pulled over and smashing my head on a rock. 

Since he is still a puppy, and a Weimaraner, it's hard to keep him from sniffing EVERYTHING or from chasing after squirrels and rabbits. Hopefully, if the end of the world as we know it ever happens, I can count on Loki for rabbit stew. Anyway, all this makes it hard for good running form and I decided I need a hands free leash. After weeks of looking, I went with this one from Stunt Puppy. 

Clearly I bought it because of the awesome brand name but mainly because it's the shortest one I could find. Olly Dog has a great running leash but it can extend from 8 to 11 feet depending on which size you get. There are other leashes that also look good but extend way too far. I'm not sure why you would allow your dog to get that far away from you while running. 11 feet is enough for your dog to run in front of a car while you're on the sidewalk or wrap the leash around a tree on the trail. In Loki's case, enough to get a huge running start to chase a squirrel and pull me flat on my face. (Interesting side note: according to the St. Louis City ordinance, a leash longer than 6 feet on public sidewalks is against the law. Technically the Olly dog leash would be against the law. I wonder how many people with retractable leashes who let their dogs wander farther than 6 feet are aware of this...or how many city police are aware of this law. I haven't been clothes-lined yet so no complaints here. I imagine I'm one of the few people that has bothered to read it.) 

This leash works great, he generally stays by my side but in moments of excitement he can't get too far away. So far we're up to 3 miles without him stopping to lay in the grass. Hopefully someday I won't have to loop back to my house to drop him off so I can keep running. 

Now the tooting my own horn part:

Lately I've seen a lot of dog poop laying around and it bothers me but, I'm such a responsible pet owner. I only brought one bag on the run yesterday but Loki had to go twice, the second time being about 1.5 miles away at the park and the park dispensers were out of "mutt mitts." What did I do? I grabbed another bag when I dropped Loki off and ran the same loop to pick it up. Good job Brian!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Cubs Win World Series in 2015

Due to the lack of triathlon action, I'm resorting to this post...

A few days ago I was watching Back to the Future II. When Marty goes to 2015 he sees a video about the Cubs winning the World Series against Miami. Well, in 1985 or 1989 there wasn't a MLB team in Miami. Now there is.

As a Cardinals fan this is tough to say but part of me is hoping the Marlins will be moved to the American League and the Cubs will beat them in the World Series in 2015.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Last weekend was my second trail race, this one was a bit bigger than the first. It's called the Skippo and it takes place at Castlewood State Park right outside of St. Louis. Like most races, there is more than one distance. This one has a 10k, 20k and 30k, basically 1, 2 or 3 loops. It's a popular race that sells out within a day. I guess most trail races have a small cap because there isn't a lot of room on the trail .

I was fairly excited about the race but had no clue what to expect since the first trail race was very small and not crowded. I did a practice run the weekend before to see what I was up against. I've run at Castlewood before but only part of it.

The tone for this race is: annoyed. The race start was organized with pace groups, although people were flying by in the first 2 miles. They let about 50 or so people go at a time to lessen the crowds. Even with the waves it was still a bit crowded. The first 2.5 miles are relatively flat and I suspect that people went out too fast. I have the problem of wondering what other people are thinking during a race. I was hold the correct pace for my placement at the start but people were still passing me. I kept thinking if you started behind me, you're running twice the distance and you pass me at 2 miles, you're running too fast. Whatever though, I shouldn't worry about what other people are doing.

Anyway, the first 2.5 miles were uneventful. Then came the stairs. There are about 200 steps, instead of a hill, to climb. People were moving slow...very slow. There is barely enough room to pass but some people from the tri club started passing me so I hopped on. A lot of people didn't want to let anyone by. This set the tone for the rest of the race, people getting pissed about being passed.

After the steps there is a little more uphill which I promptly attempted to fall up. For some reason I guess I forgot I was on a trail and watched the person in front of me instead of the ground. Luckily I just had a couple scrapes and I squeezed a lot of water out of my bottle. Once I got to the top I knew going down was going to suck. I can go downhill fairly quick but, there were a lot of people without trail shoes and I don't think many people racing run trails on a regular basis. Granted, I'm fairly new but I've been running trails in the dark with a headlamp.

It's almost more difficult to go slow downhill because you don't realize when people are going to slow down. Half the race I was afraid of running someone over. The downhills are easy switchbacks so it wasn't very technical at all. After the first downhill there was a creek to cross. I thought it was funny how they had the creek roped off so you HAD to get your feet wet.

Then it was back uphill...straight turns...the one thing that I don't like about Castlewood. I passed some people while walking up the hill. There was no point in running since my HR was pretty high even while walking and the race was only half over. This was where it got a bit more annoying.

I would pass people on the short downhills but, they felt the need to repass me on the flats or the uphills. After the second time you'd think they would give me the courtesy of staying behind me...nope. I certainly would if this happened more than once. 

Then it finally thinned out for the rest of the race. I attempted to pass more people on a downhill at very wide part of the trail. I looked up to make sure I wasn't going to run into them and sure enough, I tripped on something. I didn't fall but I probably doubled my speed trying to regain my footing. I also manage to narrowly miss taking out a girl in front of me. She didn't seem to notice, she just said "nice catch." I said thanks and apologized for almost taking her out like an unprotected wide receiver coming over the middle.

Then it was off to the finish...where they had M&Ms and BBQ.

My advice to anyone thinking about a trail race...get some trail shoes and practice trail running before the race.

Not much of an elevation change

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Techno Thursday - Bike Security Apparatus

I know Techno Tuesday has a better ring to it but, I didn't get around to writing this.

This week I came across an application (US 2012/0234777) for a bike stand/lock.

This bike lock works like a parking meter with a password. You put your coins into the slot and the lock pops open. The user would use a card and set a password then use a fingerprint reader to set the lock and then lock the bike. When the user comes back the password is entered or fingerprint is scanned and the device unlocks. 

For a more complicated description see below...keep in mind the inventor is from an Asian country and the translation may have some "broken English" in it: 

The bicycle security apparatus in accordance with the present invention comprises a housing standing on a supporting plane. The housing includes a panel formed on a front side thereof and two side plates respectively connected to the panel. At least one of the two side plates has an opening defined therein and a hook secured thereon. An opening is defined in the side plate where the hook is secured. The hook has a distal end extending toward the opening. At least one drive device is disposed in the housing and corresponds to the at least one opening. At least one latch is connected to the at least one drive device and the at least one latch is reciprocally driven by the at least one drive device, wherein the latch is received in the housing when the bicycle security apparatus is in an unlocked condition and the latch facing the distal end of the hook when the bicycle security apparatus is in a locked condition.

A control unit is mounted onto the panel. The control unit includes a central process unit mounted onto the interior of the panel. A slot device, a card reader and a fingerprint recognize device are respectively mounted onto the panel and electrically connected to the central process unit, wherein the slot device is provided for user to insert coin(s) before take bake his/her bicycle and the card reader is provided to read the personal data from a card, and the card reader and the fingerprint recognize device are provided to recognize the person who wants to take back his/her bicycle. An input device is disposed on the panel for user to input the pass word(s) of his/her card for ensuring the identity of the card owner.

*All information in this post is available to the public through the website or through Google Patents.

Monday, November 5, 2012

IMFL Travelers

Today while driving to physical therapy I saw a car with tri bikes on the roof. Normally I wouldn't think anything of it but I noticed a race sticker on the bike. It was an Ironman Florida sticker. The couple was driving back to Iowa. If you happen to be said couple, great job!

Over 1100 miles and 19 Hours of driving...each way. The arrow is where I saw them, roughly.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Creve Coeur Trails

I started running trails this year and even bought a pair of trail running shoes. Since St. Louis isn't a very hilly place, meaning it doesn't have long sustained climbs of more than a couple hundred feet if even that much, trail running is a good way to keep your heart rate up even when you're going down hill...or at least I can keep my HR high while going down hill.  One problem is the lack of elevation information and trails routed on something other than an orienteering map on the trails around here. So, I thought I would post my Garmin files and maybe some people will come across them.

This is from the trails at Creve Coeur Park that I've been running some Monday nights...with a headlamp in the dark. It's fun but the deer make it a bit scary at some points.

Note: the trail is not as long as the pictures say. This run involved doubling back because someone went the wrong way and did a second loop at the 1 mile mark so we went back to make sure she was alright.

Friday, November 2, 2012

NYC Marathon

As I'm sure everyone knows the decision to continue with plans for the NYC Marathon after the city has been severely damaged by Hurricane Sandy is highly controversial. I can understand both sides of the argument but, it's an iconic race. When 45,000 people have been training for 4-6 months and the New York Road Runners have probably spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not millions, on the race, it's difficult to just scrap the race plans if a race is possible. Everyone should also keep in mind that some people depend on the race as a source of income since the prize money is so large. Who knows, it might help restore some normalcy and hope to the city in the midst of the chaos.

The reason I'm writing this is because of a post, which I thought was very thoughtful, on Pacers Running Store's Facebook page:

Important information for those who may be traveling to NYC this weekend for the marathon:

A number of Pacers people traveled via airplane yesterday with little to no delays or incidents. Once on the ground though, there are significant delays in cabbing/driving to any location within the city (upwards of an extra two hours of time). Most of lower Manhattan is still without power, so double check with your hotel. If your hotel is without power or other basic necessities, is offering rooms for as low as $10 a night to help mitigate the aftermath of Sandy. Most importantly, if you plan to drive into Manhattan (or any borough) there is NO GAS at all in the city. Yesterday, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, I witnessed lines to a gas station stretch for over two miles and last for over five hours, only for most in line to be denied gas once it ran out. Most gas stations simply don't have gas and are not getting gas any time soon - bring extra in gas cans! 

Most importantly, if you are staying in Queens or Brooklyn and need to get to the marathon expo either today or tomorrow it appears the East River Northbound Ferry is the best option. Those staying in Brooklyn can get on the Northbound Ferry at N 6th St & the waterfront in Williamsburg with free transfers from the Southbound ferry at this location (ride is $4 cash only). Those staying in Queens can get on the Northbound Ferry at Hunters Point South/Long Island City. Get off at E. 34th St/Midtown and travel by free shuttle down 34th St til the end of the shuttle, then walk a few more blocks to the Jarvis Center. Lines have been long during rush hour, but significantly shorter than bus/shuttles that leave directly from Brooklyn or Queens, which have had lines of over 1,000 people lasting many hours. 

Hopefully this information helps. If anyone else is traveling and has any good tips, knowledge of huge delays or traffic jams, please help others traveling from the DC/NoVa area to NYC and post that information here!

...I've been lazy about posting but, I'm trying to get a post up about Pedal the Cause from about a month ago.

***Updated at 6PM EST on the posting date***

I guess I was a couple hours early with this post since the race has been cancelled. Like I said before, as a runner (triathlete as I've been told during a running for triathletes clinic) I can understand the decision to hold the race. As a human being I can also understand the decision to cancel the race.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Techno Tuesday -Wearing Your Watch on Your Shoe

I came across the Bicycle Ice Cream Maker by chance and that got this whole thing started. Since I work in intellectual property and I'm into triathlons, I decided to dedicate some posts to inventions submitted for a patent which are related to swimming, biking and running. 

Here is a device for wearing your watch on your shoe. 

This isn't really triathlon related but it reminded me of the 310XT quick release when I came across it. Its fairly simple although this could be accomplished by wrapping the wrist band around your laces like a D-Tag.

So, if you want to wear your watch on your shoe rather than your wrist while you're running this device is for you. One might think, "why the hell would I want to put it on my shoe? I won't be able to see the screen." The only reasonable explanation I have would be, if you want to do a run by feel instead of heart rate or pace but still want to record your run data...if you don't have a pocket...or the sense to cover your watch or wear it under your wrist.

These posts will get more interesting, don't worry.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Techno Thursday

I work in the intellectual property world and have excellent research skills so, after my last post I started thinking I should have a regular post about inventions, related to triathlon, which people and companies are trying to patent. I figure this post will either be on Tuesday or Thursday since technology starts with a "T" and so do those two days of the week. Pretty clever, wouldn't you say?

First I'd like to make everyone aware of something they've been doing since they were little that they could be sued for...

...swinging on a swing. Yes, someone has a patent for a "method of swinging on a swing." I have no clue how this happened but, it was slightly embarrassing for the Patent Office when it was picked up in the news. If you were actually sued, there is no way the patent would hold up in court so don't worry. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Innovative Bike Nutrition Idea

Race Directors take note...

Can't seem to get your nutrition right? Tired of the same old boring gels and bars on your long bike rides? We have the perfect solution for you!

The Bicycle Ice Cream Maker!!! (Cheering)

I don't see this catching on during races but, you never know. You can make your own ice cream while you ride and then stop for a snack. Since it only takes 30 minutes of riding maybe someone could start a race requiring you ride with one of these and have a mandatory ice cream break in T2...or just switch the bike and run. 

Google Patents (US Pub. No. 2009/0212052)

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of My Cries of Agony From The Pain in My Quads From All The Hills...aka...Branson 70.3 Race Report

I wasn't really crying in agony but, when you haven't been able to bike for about a month and then go ride a hilly race, you're in for a bit of pain...

If you've read previous posts you would know that I was trying to decide between Branson and Redman. Club Nationals were at Redman this year and a lot of people were heading down there. I ended up picking Branson since I told my parents they could come that week and then spend the weekend in Branson. I feel bad since they probably didn't get to see much in Branson while they were there. I still can't decide if I made the right choice on races...hilly and 50-60 or mostly flat and 91 degrees (as I was told).

We got to the condo on Friday night and were treated to this lovely sight.

Then we headed out to Branson Landing for dinner to checkout the welcome concert and the finish area. I think there were more people not doing the race watching the concert. After that we just went back home and went to sleep.

Saturday morning I headed over to a packed packet pickup at 10:15. Judging by the size of the line, I thought I would be waiting over an hour. A couple minutes later a woman asked if I have a current USAT card...yes I do...OK, you can go into that much shorter line. After standing in that line for a few minutes, I could finally see the little signs with 1-400, 401-800 and 800 and up near the tables. I also noticed people looking at papers on a table. I figured I should probably go see what my number is. 744...great, I can stand in a much shorter line! (I wish I had pictures of the line.) I ended up forgetting my chip. It's a good thing I remembered when I went back there for the info meeting. I also found out that no one was at registration/packet pick up at 1pm. I don't know if there is any advantage with going early unless they run out of stuff. It's amazing how many people aren't USAT members.

After getting my number and shirt, I headed over to see what things that let me brag about my race souvenirs I can spend my money on. That would turn out to be a cowbell, a water bottle, a pint glass and a cycling jersey.  It was pretty low-key after that until I woke up the next morning.

Posting race nutrition seems to be the trend so here is my prerace meal.

Overnight Oats (Oats, Banilla yogurt, half a banana and milk)
2 Stinger Waffles (In T1)
1 Serving Skratch Labs Lemons and Limes
Calories: 750
Sodium: 443 mg
Potassium: 935 mg

Since the race is a point to point race, the suggested plan of action was to drive to T2 in the morning and then take a bus to T1. So, I woke up, drove to T2, dropped off my running gear, found some tri club peoples, waited in line for about 20 minutes for a bus, watched the line grow to several hundred people (I was about 30th), got on the bus for what seemed to be the longest shuttle ride I've ever taken, got off said bus and walked to T1. Supposedly there were at least 5 buses running from 4:30-8. Due to our 20 minute wait, I wonder how many of those buses existed/were full. My parents and the nurse confirmed that the buses existed.

One thing I was unaware about IM events is that they are transition nazis. Why do I need to start leaving transition 30 minutes before the race, especially when the athlete guide says 15 minutes? It's already a long day, why make people wake up 15 minutes earlier just to stand around in 45 degree weather. Through the use of my cell phone, which I was reluctant to bring in case I didn't find my entourage, I found my entourage. I exited transition to say hi and to put on suntan lotion. The nurse suggested I reapply after the swim so, I went back in to transition and was not let out of T1 the same way as before. I tried to reason with a volunteer that it didn't matter which way I exited as long as I exited as all exits lead to the beach. He didn't agree. Another volunteer asked what was wrong and I pointed to the nurse and asked if he would tell them I need to meet them on the beach. So, we met on the beach and waited around for about 45 minutes until my wave started.

I got into the corral with one of my friends from the tri club and started the swim near him. I stayed on the inside of the buoys and there wasn't much chaos. There also weren't many people to draft off. When I did manage to draft off people it was short-lived since they all slowed down. I don't think I've ever been able to draft off anyone long enough to realize the benefits. I swam along until the turn buoy and then cut back to the outside. It was fairly uneventful until some guy cuts across me out of nowhere and kicks my goggle. It popped right back into place and I swam to get around him. Then, he cuts back across me again. This process was repeated once more, minus the kicking of my goggles. I swam hard for about 10 seconds to get away from the guy. I really hope he didn't do this the whole swim. After that it was mostly smooth sailing. I started passing people from previous waves which is always a good confidence/morale booster. I breathe on my left and I had some guy on that side, breathing on his right, get so close we almost kissed. Another guy kept pushing me to the right, until I swam back into him a little and then he realized he needed to redirect himself. Sighting was a bit difficult since the course was so far out and some of the buoys were small. I figured it out and kept swimming until I hit the gravel after swimming around 30-40 feet in about 2 feet of water with rocks you would not want to stand up on. It was weird how the water level stayed the same for so long. (The beach isn't really a beach. It's half sand and half gravel that sucks to walk on without shoes.)

Exiting the water and trying to walk on the gravel

The walk up the beach was slow. I didn't bother to run since I still had the whole day in front of me and knew I'd have to take it easy on the bike. It is a race but, I didn't understand why people were flying by me. You're probably not going to PR in Branson but, whatever floats your boat. T1 was slow. I dried off since it was cold and stuffed everything into the green bag hoping it would show up in T2. The only plus to my bag not showing up was the excuse to buy a new wetsuit...It showed up. For the first time ever in a tri, I threw on a long sleeve bike jersey since it was still around 50 degrees. Best decision of the day, thanks to the nurse.

I put my shoes on and headed for the hills. 

I should note that I changed from a 12-25 to 12-27 cassette so I could spin up the hills a little easier. The course went uphill for 6 miles to the "high road." I chatted with one of my friends for a little bit on the ride which took my mind off the hills for a bit. Then, I picked up a bottle at the first aid station, threw it in my back pocket in case I needed it and said "you first" to my friend before the first descent. I've heard people say they hit 45-50 mph in Branson and I'm not surprised given how long the descents are. I'm not afraid of going fast but, I'm afraid of crashing as a result of going fast. I did a bit of reasoning right before I got to the first would be tough to slow to less than 30 mph and if I'm going to crash the chances can't be much higher if I'm going 40. Plus, crashing at 30 mph will more than likely hurt just as much as at 40 mph. Therefore, I will not touch the brakes unless absolutely necessary.

For the next 4 hours, this is what I did...

Lots of climbing and descending if you can't tell. I maxed out at 39.8 mph and did most of the climbs under 10 mph. The climbing didn't seem too bad at first but on the last loop around I was tired of and from climbing. I seriously wondered if I was going to make it. Around mile 40 or so I could tell my legs had the potential to cramp up. Not good. So, I popped two salt tabs and finished almost all my water since there was an aid station coming up. At that point I didn't care what my time was, I just wanted to make it up the last hill before I cramped. If I didn't I might run the risk of not finishing the race. Even though there is an 8 1/2 hour cut off, people still posted times over 9:30 when the last group started 40 minutes after the first. Theoretically the cut off should have been 9:10 for the first group. Anyway, if I had to walk up that hill I knew I was probably done. Thankfully, I only had a lot of pain in my right quad on the last hill. Mostly due to the fact that it was up an exit ramp to the highest point I had been, then you turn the corner and climb a little more. If you look at the climb data you'll notice the last climb is at least 75 feet higher than the rest. 

I was extremely relieved when I made it to the top and crushed when I saw how long the bike had taken and I still had 4 miles to go. It was ALMOST all downhill after that. There was one extreme drop that I did brake on because I thought I had to turn at the bottom but alas, there was another 500 feet to a U-turn. The last bit was mostly flat but as soon as you think you're done you turn the corner and have to go up what looks like a 50-75 foot wall. I thought I was done with hills so the following went through my mind...$o^ofai3i@ch! M@t%erfing are you Fing KIDDING ME! Then I got off my bike and walked up the hill in fear of my quads cramping up if I stood up to climb the wall. 

Things of note on the bike: I didn't see Andy Potts. I saw a very nice camelbak podium water bottle that I was tempted to stop and pick up. I ate two stinger waffles without them breaking apart. **My mom (who doesn't know a lot about triathlons) called out one of the relay teams in T2 for not even being close to racking their bike before they handed off the chip to start the run.** 

Bike Nutrition: 

GU Roctane Ultra Endruance: 3 bottles
2 Honey Stinger Waffles
5 Saltstick Caps
2 GU electrolyte tabs

Calories: 1000
Sodium: 2785 mg
Potassium: 575 mg

1000 Calories is not enough. I was planning on taking in almost 1200 but, I didn't eat the last waffle. I should have planned on eating closer to 1800 calories (4 cal/kg/hour = about 440 cals/hr) since I was out there for 4 hours. At least I did a better job with the sodium. 

Then I got to T2.

I was not a happy camper. I thought I was done at that point but there was no way in hell I'm stopping after all that with a flat run ahead of me. I saw my dad and I think I waved. My mom took the photo above and was screaming at me along with some other woman who I'm guessing she told who I was. I just kept walking and racked my bike. All I wanted to do was get the run over with. Interestingly enough, I perked up a bit on the run. 

The run, much like the bike course, is pancake flat. It's three loops that tease you in typical Ironman fashion as you pass the finish twice before crossing it. You also run through Branson Landing which made things a bit exciting. 

My parents, the nurse and Loki were all at the run start to cheer me on. Again, I was not in a great mood so I slogged on. Due to the pancake nature of the run, I managed to "run" the first 4 miles only walking at aid stations. 

The run wasn't that bad as the three loops made it easy to set little goals like, I'm going to run the loop around the park or I'm going to run to the turn around, since I mostly knew what was coming up after the first loop. The only bad part was they ran out of Coke and my stomach wouldn't settle down. I figured this would happen so the plan was to take in more calories on the bike but, it's not easy to eat stinger waffles when you're constantly going up and down hills.

The pup finally noticed me on one loop.

The last loop was a lot of speed walking. I think I did one mile at 16 min/mile while walking. If you know how much I hate walking fast you would be shocked. I tried to run the last loop around the park but that wasn't happening. When I tried to run my heart rate was shooting up to the 130s fairly quickly and I was feeling out of breath at such a low HR. Needless to say, I was pretty happy when I was finally able to go left to the finish. 

I guess raising my arms caused my race belt to rise up my body

Run Nutrition:

Apple Cinnamon Hammer Gel
Saltstick Caps

Calories: maybe 300
Sodium: no clue
Potassium: no clue

This was difficult since water was making my stomach rumble and I didn't want to take on electrolytes if I wasn't drinking water. Same thing goes for the Gel. After awhile my stomach did settle so I had about 3 servings of gel and at least 2 saltstick caps. 

Overall I'm happy with the way things went. Even though I hadn't biked for a month I was optimistic about my bike time but, I wasn't surprised when I needed a lot of time to recover after each hill on the second part of the bike. It's difficult to say if I would do this one again. 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tough Mudder Tougher Than Triathlon or Marathon

I'm going to say no for the reason in bold below.

Recently Courtney Baird wrote this article  touting obstacle races. I have never done one but I can imagine climbing 12 foot walls, climbing a quarter-pipe, doing the monkey bars and jumping into freezing water would be difficult. However, you need to read the FAQ on Tough Mudder's website: "it's fine by us if you want to skip an obstacle..." So, you could easily skip every obstacle, walk 10-12 miles, get a headband and say you finished. Not very tough. It's the same argument as finishing an IM in 10 hours vs. 16:59.

You're also allowed to help each other, don't have to deal with a mass swim start, deal with running after biking and don't seem to have a time limit.

It might be hard if you complete every obstacle but since you're not required to complete them all, it's not actually that hard.

How many people passed out at a 3 mile Warrior Dash last year?

Now, the Worlds Toughest Mudder...that is probably more difficult...assuming you do at least 2 laps.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Recent Happenings and IM Wisconsin aka IMOO Registration

There has been a lot going on recently, mainly due to issues with my knee again. It's funny how it popped up the same time of year as last year. This time it was very severe at one point while biking one night. I decided I should have this looked to make sure I haven't/won't done(do) any permanent damage. So, I made an appointment with an Orthopedist. I managed to figure out that running didn't bother my knee so, I've been doing a lot of that instead of biking.

Due to where the pain was occurring I made a self diagnosis of patella femoral syndrome. This was confirmed by the orthopedist after x-rays and bending my leg in weird ways. He basically said, my flexibility sucks (I know since I can barely touch my toes without bending my knees) and I'm going to need to see a physical therapist to work on it. I should mention that I hate, HATE, static stretching. I would rather go run 10 miles than stretch for 15 minutes. I imagine this is due to the fact that I'm not flexible...kind of a vicious cycle.

Before seeing the Ortho, I got a bike fit on a Guru Dynamic Bike Fit Unit since I was certain I was in the wrong position on my bike. It's a very good idea to get one of these and I should have had this type of bike fit before I bought a bike. The machine moves you around while you're pedaling and you can instantly feel how the changes effect your power. They figure out three ideal positions and switch between those. It's amazing how much of a difference you can feel just by moving your position 1 or 2 centimeters.

After the bike fit and the Ortho, I saw someone for PT. It turns out the guy I saw did PT for the US Olympic team and has seen all kinds of runners, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes. Needless to say I felt pretty good when I heard all this. The reason I mention this is because if you end up seeing a string of doctors etc...that aren't used to seeing runners, triathletes...and aren't a runner or triathlete themselves they may end up telling you to stop doing what you're doing forever rather than finding a solution. So, if you do see a doctor about an injury, make sure it's one that sees a lot of athletes or make it clear that stopping isn't an option or see if they'll recommend a different doctor that will work with you.

Immediately following PT, my legs felt like jello. I've never had them stretched that far, in those ways and had that much pain caused voluntarily. I'm sure anyone watching me be stretched would get a good laugh at my lack of flexibility. Both the PT and the Ortho seemed confident I would still be able to do Branson 70.3 which is less than 2 weeks...both of them also said I couldn't have picked a worse race for this type of injury because of the hills. The PT even said he would gear the workouts/stretching for the Half-Ironman. This was great news because I probably would have attempted the race either way. I'd rather have a DNF than a DNS.

The biggest news is my registration for IM Wisconsin. I registered right when it opened at noon on 9/10. I was going to volunteer but, I decided I would take my chances online rather than spend $1000 on gas, hotels and food. It turns out I didn't need to worry. Registration was only at 80% at 8pm the night it opened. So, not going to Madison was a great idea...especially since I wouldn't have been able to bike the course.

P.S. If you're considering volunteering for an IM to get a spot, you should consider registering for an IM Foundation slot instead. It's twice the price but, if its a race that sells out in minutes you can save yourself the hassle of traveling and spend the money you would have spent on travel for the IM Foundation spot. That's assuming you would spend at least $600-$700 to travel and volunteer.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Paul Ryan Run Calculator

If you've been living under a rock, Paul Ryan said he ran a sub-3 marathon. For details see here:
Paul Ryan Has Not Run Sub-3:00 Marathon

If you've been living under a smaller rock and still heard about the Paul Ryan marathon lie but not the Run Calculator, you should check this out. You may have set a world record and not even known it.

Paul Ryan Time Calculator

Full disclosure: I'm still voting for Romney but, I heard an excellent point about this lie...She can't really relate to all the thing politicians lie about but can relate to lying about your race times. Some runners may never talk to you again if you lied about running a Boston Qualifying time when you were really over an hour slower. I could understand saying 4 hours but nothing sub 4. There is never any reason to lie about your times. The important thing is that you were out there running and you finished...or gave it your best shot.

In other political news...did you hear the White House finally released it's beer recipe!? Now I just need to get that brewing equipment I've been saying I'm going to get for about 5 years.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Giro della Montagna

Every Labor Day weekend there is a 4 day bike race in St. Louis called the Gateway Cup. The tri club set up their tent for the Giro della Montagna on Sunday in "The Hill". If you're not from around here The Hill is an old Italian neighborhood in St. Louis. (Oddly enough I live a little bit higher than The Hill) There are a bunch of bakeries, Italian restaurants and shops. Yogi Berra grew up there. This year marks the 27th year the race has taken place.

Not a lot to say just some pictures...

Cat 5, 4, 3 and Women's 4/5

The Pup checking out the action

The guy in yellow won the Masters race by about 30 seconds. 

Pro Men Start

Pros Flying By right before turn 2

Pro Men's Finish

Quote of the day: 

Person: She rides just about everyday.
Me: A bike?

If this isn't funny put your mind in the gutter.