Thursday, July 29, 2010

Chisago Lakes Half Ironman Race Report

This past weekend I raced up in Chisago Lakes Minnesota.  I was able to see Poppen and Kathryn whom I haven't seen in way too long so it was a great weekend all around.  I drove up to Minneapolis on Friday, and it was a pretty nice drive, I haven't been that way past Madison in a few years and I forgot how nice the scenery really was.

Poppen and I went for a quick 25 minute run when I got to his house, and it was a great way to shake out the legs after a long drive, it was freakin hot though!  The weather was supposed to cool off by Sunday and I was hoping that it would.  Saturday morning I got up early and took out my new Giant Trinity Advanced SL2 for a quick spin to make sure everything was in working order, followed by a quick 30 minute run with Poppen.  Things were all firing away and I was feeling good.  The rest of the day was pretty chill, Poppen and I checked out a soccer game for one of the teams he's in charge of, and we went to the horse tracks.  Good times!!

Race Day

Race day started at 3:45 a.m. since Poppen said it was going to take an hour and a half to get to the race site.  So after my typical oatmeal with agave nectar and a banana we were on the road.  There was almost no traffic on the roads and of course as we got closer the only people there were the people headed to the race.  We were able to find a close parking spot and getting everything set up in transition seemed great...seemed is the key word there!!  More on that later.

Swim: The swim was a straight out and back...yep along the same buoys, so do you know what that means?  Yep the way out (well most of it) was fine.  I need to become pissed off in the water like I am when I ride and run.  I was swimming with a group for about 500 meters and then let them go, and that seemed to be a constant theme...letting people go.  I hit the turn around in a much longer time than I had wanted to, but was hoping for a current (?? who knows ??) on the way back, but what I hit on the was back was traffic...not cars, but later waves coming right at me, and they were not looking where they were swimming so I was essentially playing frogger in the water the whole way back.  Trust me I'm not blaming that on my crappy swim...there is no one to blame but myself!  I came out of the water in 36 and change, by far my worst swim of the year, so at least that means I have room to improve!

T1: Wetsuit strippers are nice to have, but that was the only nice thing about T1.  You see I had stayed with my bike until the transition area closed and everything was good.  Needless to say I was a bit surprised/madd/panicked when I got to where my bike should have been and it wasn't there!  My brand new freakin bike wasn't there, so after getting a volunteer to ask where my bike was she was nice enough to go and look, and happened to find it.  So with one of the longest transitions in my wave I lost a little over a minute due to the fact that my bike was missing.

Bike:  You would think that I would have just started hammering away, but I was trying to be smart and trying to conserve some energy for later in the race.  So I stayed conservative for the first 5 miles and then I said screw it I'm in!  I started to ride my race, and I think it worked out pretty well.  There was always someone up the road, and I was able to bring back everyone I saw.  I would say that coming out of the water I had to be way down...70 people or so ahead of me would be my estimate.  I was able to ride up into the top 10 overall.  The bike course was not completely flat, but it wasn't super hilly either.  I was able to ride a 2:17 and change bike split averaging 24.4 miles per hour.  The nice thing is that I never truly dropped the hammer on the bike.

T2: Uneventful, especially after my debacle in T1.

Run: I wasn't sure where I was on the run but I counted what I thought were 10 bikes in transition when I got back.  And one guy headed out directly in front of me, so I had him in my sights.  I had an idea of what I wanted to run, but wasn't sure if I'd be able to do it since I haven't been running much as of late.  So with this one  guy in my vision I went out.  I was going to race smart, not bring this guy back right away, but slowly and I was going to run my race.  Well running my race was bringing him back, and by mile 2 I was side by side.  I decided to put a quick surge in just picking it up a bit to see if he would go with, and I dropped him immediately.  I was alone for about a mile or so before taking a left hand turn and seeing someone further up the road.  So that was my new target.  He was way up the road, and I knew it would be a while before I caught him.  I would pick places on the road and figure out my time gap.  Each mile I was gaining about 10 seconds.  At mile 6 I figured I would have him by mile 9, well as things turned out I brought back even more time faster and had him by 8.  So now I had 5 miles to go and no one was in sight.  That is until mile 10 when some dude came flying past me, he was sub 6 minute pace and I knew I couldn't keep up so I let him go.  I'm not sure where he came from but he was flying.  I was able to finish the race with a 1:25 and change run split.

Overall I finished up in 8th place with a time of 4:22.57 and I won my age group.  I am happy with the result, especially considering the fact that I haven't been running much lately.  It's time to start picking up the training with Ironman Arizona on the horizon.

All in all a good day.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

The New Rule

In order to run more I'm placing a new rule upon myself.  The new rule is that starting today, I have to run at least 3 times the distance that I swim.  A year ago I would have had no problem doing this, and it isn't going to be problematice, it's just that I'm swimming more in close to 3 miles every Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  So that means running around 9 miles each of those days.  I didn't say I was going to run fast, although I'm sure some days that will happen, I just said I was going to run 3 times the distance that I swim.

So today I swam 4800 meters which converts to 2.9825817216 miles...I suppose we can round up to 3 miles which means I do have to run 9 miles.  Given the fact that it's hot once again I think I'll head to Waterfall Glen to run since it provides shade for most of the loop.

My shoulders are feeling a bit smashed from two hard days swimming in a row and some mountain biking thrown in there.  I definitely need some work on my technical bike handling skills...until then I'll be meeting the dirt by means of falling, hopefully there aren't rocks to break my fall.

Just a little over 4 months until Ironman Arizona, time to start picking up the volume of training, and I'm looking forward to it!  I read something someplace the other day which really hit home and helped to motivate me.  I need to print it off so that I can put it around the house to remind me why I'm getting up at 4:30 a.m. in the summer time.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

My New Ride

It's been a long time coming but I finally have a new ride.  Well actually two new rides but here is my new tri bike.

I'm not sure that I should  be riding a bike as nice as the Giant Trinity Advanced SL2 but it's freaking sweet! I had it out for a few hours yesterday and it's by far the stiffest bike I have ever ridden!  I still need to get the position dialed in a little more and need to lose a spacer in the front, but what an amazing ride!

Besides the new ride things have been rolling along as normal, swimming, biking and running.  I think my swimming is coming along slowly, and I still need to be riding and running more.  The heat we have had recently put a slight damper on running, but I had a nice run on Sunday morning at Waterfall Glen with Chad before he, Dan and I went downtown to swim.

My other new ride is a Felt Comp 29er mountain bike.  It's awesome, and I was able to get it out on the trails today with Drew, Eric, Matt, and Carrie.  You forget how much fun mountain biking is until you're out there splashing through mudd.  I broke the bike in right with a few falls, one of which Drew and I both went into a turn a bit too hot and the wheels skidded out from under us.  I'm loving the 29er and will definitely be doing more mountain a matter of fact we're going again tomorrow.

I'm racing in a week and a half so I suppose I should start to amp it up for that, off to work on a little project and for a run or two.  I should really lean towards that two and maybe get a couple of 4 mile runs in.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Blah on the Title

So I couldn't come up with a title of any importance, not that any of them are really important, so I have nothing.  Things have been pretty solid lately.  Sunday morning I went out and rode 75 miles with Chad out in Naperville/Plainfield/Yorkville/Platteville...and who the heck else knows where.  I felt strong throughout the ride and had some pretty low average wattage considering the average speed that I was riding.  I feel as if my fitness is better than where it was last year at this time, and the good thing is that I have 2 extra months to train, the bad thing is that I have 2 extra months to train.  I am going to need to do something to mix it up a bit, and I have a few ideas of some big training days which should be fun and challenging.

Yesterday I hit a new all time high for a swim workout.  I ended up getting 5400 meters in which is about 5900 yards.  Not a bad way to start the week, and of course after doing that I am completely smashed, thank goodness for summer break because I can come home and eat a huge meal...and that I did.  I may race this weekend, haven't decided yet, but I'm leaning towards it.  Obviously I would train right through the race and may even get a long ride home from the race.  Maybe my new bike will come in?  I did get a new mountain bike though, which is what I'm going to do now...head out for a ride on the new rig!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sometimes you forget... much running in a 5k can hurt!  Chad had done this race last year and said that it was a nice small, local 5k.  I like the atmosphere at these races, and seeing as I have organized a couple of my own 5k's I know how difficult it can be to get people to participate.  So I decided that it would be a good thing to do, and honestly I don't remember the last time (if ever) I have run a stand alone 5k fast.

The race was well organized, great volunteers, plenty of parking and it seemed as if there were a lot of participants, I'm guessing well over 500.  I really didn't have much of a plan for the race as I had no idea what to expect.  I haven't run "hard" like that since the Lake Mills Triathlon, and so this would definitely be a test for me.  I thought that I would treat this like I treated the 10k I did in Naperville earlier in the year.  So I went out with the lead group, there were 5 of us through mile one...and when we went through mile 1 I heard the split time and used my better judgement to back it down and to let them go.  They were all high school cross country kids, and as hard as it was for me to let them go it's what I had to do!  So I was running about 10 yards behind when one of them started to drop, I caught him, ran with him for a minute or two before he dropped well off of me.  I could see the other three ahead of me, two about 30 yards up and the leader about 45 yards ahead.  At this point we were running on a road which was all brick sucks running on those.  That and the fact that this was about mile 2 and I was doing everything I could to keep my breakfast down, yea I was definitely ready to puke!  I knew I had about 20 seconds on the guys that were behind me, but they were charging hard and I would HATE to get caught within the last mile, so I did what I could do to stay away from them.  I kept it together and ended up running a 17:39 (on my watch, there were no chip times so who knows what they will come up with) which is a 5:39 pace I I'm happy with that, wasn't sure what to expect but that's a nice result.  4th overall with those high school kids finishing ahead of me...those kids can run, and I'm sure there are others who would completely dust me!

Chad ran a great race, especially coming off of a half ironman less than a week ago!  I know the goal he has set for himself, and he's going to break that time before Ironman Arizona for sure.  I know a 5k time can't really compare to, or shouldn't factor into ironman training, but everyone has goals.  Keating ran a great race as well, and for some reason bailed on running more with me and instead chose to go to the pool.

Time for some yard work, bike riding, and more running!