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!