Sunday, June 29, 2008

Five Weeks o' Hell

Those were my first thoughts Monday morning when I looked forward to the upcoming training plan. Five final weeks of build before the taper leading up to Pigman. Oy.

Turns out when you don't really follow your training plan the first of those five weeks isn't that hard at all. So with four weeks left, priorities are 1) swim, 2) long run, 3) long bike, 4) everything else.

1) Swim - clearly my weakest link, so open water is job one for the next month. Shooting for three, maybe four times a week. Trick is finding clean water and an open beach. This week Lake Monona closed all its beaches again, not that I ever swim there, but it seemed to have trickled down to Lake Kegonsa State Park beach. My attempt to swim there this morning thwarted by a closed beach.

Determined, I searched out another puddle of mud, weeds, and who knows what else. First thought was Devils Lake, which apparently is open again, then G mentioned Lake Ripley. So we packed up the family and took a road trip to Cambridge, and it was nice, until it started raining. Attempt #2 thwarted after 20-minutes of swimming. But I'll likely be back, big swim area marked out by enough buoys to give you something to swim towards.

2) Long run - Another overlooked part of my training recently. I did get it in this week, but it also took me out for the next two days. Back issues, not so good.

3) Long bike - Probably my favorite of all the weekly workouts. This week it was the IM bike course, G joined me, and it was fun. Top speed of 54.2 mph, not sure where, not sure I want to know. Average speed not nearly as impressive, almost identical to my first time through the course.

Coming back through Verona we passed a brat stand. I rarely pass an opportunity to support our local youth (i.e. I love brats), so after riding back to the truck, running a rough mile, and loading everything up we headed back to the brat stand. Couple of brats and a soda later and all benefits of prior ride were shot, but damn they were good.

4) Everything else - Shorter runs and rides, should be easy to get in, but always seem to get lost in the mix.

So that's the plan heading into Pigman. Goal for the race is to have fun and finish more or less intact. We'll see.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Girl Power

This is the only picture from Bigfoot really worth posting. Melanie, Patrick, and our niece Erin.

Pictures from Brightroom are also up, but I'm too cheap to actually buy them. If you feel the need, go here and search for 42 (me) or 43 (g). The one of me coming out of the water pretty much speaks for itself. I actually like the one of me on the bike with the storm clouds in the background.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bigfoot Race Report

Bigfoot Olympic Triathlon, let' just get to it, no fluff today, least not yet.

Sigh. That pretty much sums up my feelings on the effort. Experience was closer to my first Aquathon swim than my last. Started in the fourth wave, didn't really have a chance to warm up. Third wave goes off, we shuffle into the water like a herd of cattle and wait for the start. Water was nice.

Course was an out and back just off shore. The out wasn't terrible, very, very, little contact. But it was a long, long way out. Managed to freestyle the whole thing. I felt like just the out was harder than my last Aquathon. There was a decent chop on the water, but other than that, no reason it should have been that hard.

Coming back I just couldn't swim anymore. I'd get through 8-12 breaths and I'd need to take a break. Fortunate thing is the water was shallow and I could stand/walk when I needed a rest. As I'm walking out to the finish G pops up right behind me. At least she didn't beat me out of the water (she started 10-minutes behind me).

Swim 36:23 - 2:13/100 - 371/420 overall

Pissed off. Those were my emotions coming out of the water. I actually intended to try and pace myself a bit on the bike, but pace and pissed off don't exactly walk hand in hand. So I went out hard and never really let off. Somewhere midbike I forgot about the swim and started having fun again.

Drank my gatorade but found solid food was too much of an inconvenience. Around mile 17 I decided to put it in the big ring and push it the rest of the way in. With the exception of a couple of hills I managed to do just that. There's something to be said for cruising at 23+ miles an hour, even if I need some elevation relief and a tailwind to do it.

Bike 1:18:35 - 19.0 mph - 202/420 overall

Coming into T2 I could barely walk much less run, hamstrings were in bad shape and I thought I was in for a long, long, 10.5k trail run.

Turns out it wasn't so bad. I walked through the water stations and, except for the first major one, the hills as well. About midway through the bike I started to feel the need to pee. So when I came upon a state park outhouse near the end of the first loop I decided to duck in for some relief.

Most disgusting outhouse I've ever been in. Just glad I wasn't having any more serious issues.

Second loop was much like the first. Took shirt off for a good part of it to help with the heat, otherwise just kept moving. Run went as well as I could expect. Came into finish and Patrick joined me for the run across the line.

Run 1:04:22 - 9:54/mile - 336/420

Overall time 3:03:33
58/65 age group
318/420 overall

It was great having family there to cheer us on. Really looked forward to seeing (and hearing) them throughout the race. Thanks much for coming out and sharing the morning with us. I'll post pictures when mom sends them over. Big thanks also to Kelly and Matt for letting us crash at there place and hauling us to the race at an ungodly hour of the morning.

I have a bunch of other thoughts on the race, but I'll save those for another post. If you need me in the next couple months, I'll be up at the lake swimming.

And for those of you who must know. The 10-minutes G put on me in the water were just too much to overcome. She had a great race, coming in at 2:56:49.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Not even close... DFL. There were at least 10 people behind me tonight.

Aquathon #2 is in the books. This race went about as well as I could have hoped, race report will be about as boring as you can imagine, I've got nothing to work with.

Showed up at the site early, really early, roughly 2-hours before start time. Used my bag as a pillow and relaxed in the grass, snoozing on and off for almost an hour. Eventually went to sign in and get ready. Got in the water with 45-minutes to spare for a warm-up swim. Water was nice, not mind numbingly cold, and no raw sewage noted.

Did a loop around the 1/2 way buoys, took a little break and then swam out and back to one of the 1/2 way buoys. Felt pretty good. Tried to focus on relaxing and not pushing at all.

Once again let the crazies run in and took my place in the back and started swimming. Focused on going easy and trying not to push. Took a heel to the chin once, but otherwise no major (i.e. painful) contact. Had a hard time staying at a comfortable pace. Every time I'd feel someone on my feet I'd feel the need to push to keep from getting swam over.

Things really thinned out after turning the first buoy, but I still found myself pushing to much. Turned the last buoy and it started to get really hard. I had the most trouble siting on this leg and I was cooked. Arms felt good, legs felt fine ( I don't really kick much, if at all), but my heart and lungs were hurting. I walked in the last 30-yards or so.

Total swim time 19:13, I was actually surprised when I got home and saw the time. Based on my finish time I expected it to be less. I'm still thrilled to have gotten through it with no real issues.

Getting started was tough, hell, the whole thing was tough. I was pretty wiped out from the swim. Random runner girl named Lisa was my saving grace. Shortly after the turn around she came up next to me and we ran/talked most of the way back. No way I would have ran the entire route without the help.

Total run time 29:15, fastest run of any distance I've posted since the last Aquathon.

Total time with transition, 49:46. Almost nine minutes faster than debacle #1. Couldn't be happier, but right now I'm tired and I'm going to bed.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Race Week

It's shaping up to be a big week, with two races on the calendar in the next seven days. The first is the second race in the Fleet Feet Aquathon Series on Thursday night. All of the beaches in Madison are closed right now as a result of all the recent rains, so it's in question as to whether or not it will go off. Some nonsense about untreated sewage getting dumped in the lake.

I'm really hoping the Aquathon does happen, raw sewage or not, as open water swimming is still my biggest concern. Getting through an Aquathon with a semi reasonable swim effort will go a long way in the confidence department prior to our Bigfoot olympic triathlon on Sunday, the race I signed G and I up for without telling her back in December.

Since I'm 0 for 2 in time predictions on my previous triathlons, I'm going to hedge this one a bit. Goal for the race is 3:15. I really think 3:15 is achievable, so I'll probably finish in 3:30 or so.

The race plan is going to be remarkably similar to last week, easy, go like hell, hold on. The wild card is going to be nutrition. This week I'm going to actually try to ingest some calories/salt on the bike in the hope of feeling better on the run. My nutrition to date has consisted of water, and probably not even enough of that.

So despite the "nothing new on race day" mantra, new it is. I just haven't quite figured out what.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

One for the Boys

Prior to all the severe weather we've been experiencing this afternoon, G and I managed to get the Capital View Sprint Triathlon under our belts this morning. This one went to the boys, as I somehow managed to hold off G despite a miserable run.

Arrived at site shortly after 6:00am. Set-up transition. Got arm and both legs marked after considerable thought as to my actual age. I guess it's true, mind is the first thing to go. Visited porta potties twice, prerace nerves. About 7:00ish, got into the wetsuit and tested the waters. Temperatures not bad, I think they were claiming mid or upper 60's.

Plan: Go easy, survive.

Turns out it was kind of a joke. Course was set out in a triangle, in mostly very shallow water. We went off in the third wave after the elites and the 20 somethings. The majority of the 20 somethings walked/ran all the way to the first buoy and then swam from there.

Four minutes later we were off and running towards the first buoy. Turned the corner and started swimming to the second. I stopped once to stand and get a breath, lots of contact and kicking. Turned the corner and swam about 1/2 way in before realizing people were walking again. I joined them (it was waist deep) and walked it in. One guy on the rocks held a sign that said "swim dammit", I just laughed.

I don't really have any thoughts on my time considering all the walking. Still intimidated as hell to do the olympic swim in 2 weeks.

Swim time: 7:46 (1:56/100, 72/278 overall)

Had the wetsuit to the waist and goggles/cap off before getting to the beach. Ran to the bike rack and low and behold G is still there. We talked as we changed and I beat her out of T1. At least I wouldn't have to chase her down, now it was just a matter of holding her off.

T1 time: 2:02 (49/277 overall)

Plan: Go like hell.

My intention was to pretty much leave it all out there, and for the most part I did. At the turn around I looked at my bike computer because I wanted to know just how far ahead of G I was. Roughly 0.3 miles later we pass. Some rough calcs, and I figure I'm maybe two minutes ahead of her. Shit, still in striking distance, need to push.

Only real highlight of the ride was me locking up the rear tire on a corner shortly after the turn around. That moment earned me a "nice save" comment from one of the course marshals. It was a sharpish turn after a short steeper decent. It happened and was over too quick to even think about it.

Honestly I felt great on the bike, was racing without a watch again, so I had no idea of time or pace. Bike computer later told me 12.46 miles. I used 12.4 to calculate pace, which ended up almost 1 mph faster than our last sprint triathlon and is my fastest ride to date.

Bike time: 41:17 (18.0 mph, 55/275 overall)

Took the shoes off coming in and coasted to the dismount line standing on the left pedal. Dismounted at a nice jog and cruised into T2, was a thing of beauty.

As I'm putting the running shoes on I realize my timing chip is sitting on the ground. It was held on with one of those water park type bracelets, don't know how it managed to come off, or how I got lucky enough for it to happen in T2, but it did. Struggled to get it back on and off I go.

T2 time: 1:16 (113/275 overall)

Plan: Whatever I had left.

As it turned out, it wasn't much. I felt great coming out of transition. But I very quickly realized the day had become very warm, very humid, and there wasn't a cloud in the sky. I hadn't noticed the weather on the bike at all, was very comfortable the whole way. Not so much on the run.

The first 1/2 or 2/3's of the course is on the trails through the woods. In other words no wind but still plenty of sun. To sum it up, my run was pathetic. There was a long gradual uphill in the first 1/2 mile that kicked my ass and let me know just what I had done to myself on the ride. I ended up walking up most, if not all of the hills, never managing to run more than maybe 1/2 mile at a time. Sad.

Surprisingly, G never managed to catch up, turns out she wasn't enjoying the run either, although she did manage to make up 1:33.

Run time: 33:07 (10:41/mile, 150/270 overall)

Overall time: 1:25:25, 86/278 overall, 15/29 in age group (4 of the top 7, including the overall winner came out of my age group).

Big kudos once again to G, who finished 4/18 in her age group and 105/278 overall.

Post Race
Waited for G, but somehow missed her finishing. Drank and ate some, waited for some other friends to finish. Food spread was good, ice cream, bagels, fruit, beer, water, and some asian food. Would have been nice to stick around but we had to get home for little league practice and pictures.

I feel good, not sore at all, pretty happy about the race. Need to swim more in open water in the next two weeks, and obviously need to start running regularly, but considering how I've trained lately, this is exactly how this race should have gone down. Not surprised at all.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Whitecaps and Windsurfers

No, I guess they weren't windsurfers, kite boarders?  I don't know.  They were standing on surfboard type things and holding onto big ass kites.

Where, at the lake where I'm supposed to be swimming tomorrow.  Weather channel says s-sw winds at 20mph gusting to 40mph.  It's windy.  And the buoys that were out marking part of the course, blown way, way out of position.  I had to look for quite a bit to find the second one, wouldn't be surprised if it isn't 1/2 way up the Yahara River by now.

If you haven't surmised, I'm in a bad mood.  It started with having to drive to the west side for packet pickup, which turned out to be it's own little cluster^*@$.  Stop at 5 different tables to get everything, if of course you get by the first guy, where you sign waivers, pay USAT dues, or try to prove your a USAT member because you don't like carrying every slip of paper or membership card you ever owned in your wallet.

We did get a nice technical wicking type shirt, which in and of itself would be fine, if it wasn't black.  I thought the whole purpose of these materials were to keep you dry and cool, so why @!$%(*# black!

So being on the west side and wanting to swim today, I headed to the race site only to find said waves powered by said wind.  Not going to swim today.  On the way back to the office I saw a girl on the bike path off John Nolen basically get blown off her bike by the wind.

This should be fun.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Capital View Tri Preview

G and I are doing the Capital View Sprint Triathlon Saturday Morning up at Governor Nelson State Park. After my swimming debacle last Saturday I knew I needed to at least get into open water again before race day.

And as long as I'm going up there, I might as well see the whole course. First the run.

Oy. The humidity was still through the roof. Add in running on trails, much of it hilly, with absolutely no breeze, and it was a tough run. No real long hills, just a lot of up and down and back up again. I saw most of it, got somewhat lost and ended up missing some.

On to the bike. After about a 15-minute transition I headed out on the bike. Another tough course. Short steeper hills on the way out, longer much more gradual ones on the way back.

Next the lake. I ended up sitting on a picnic table for a good 1/2 hour watching other triathletes come and go. Finally sucked it up, put my shark bait costume on and headed out. Water still cold. I waded in very slowly and took my sweet time getting acclimated. Once in it wasn't bad. I didn't do much actual swimming. Went out and back to the first buoy twice. Didn't have much problem swimming straight, but not real comfortable swimming any distance at all. Definitely need to keep working on it.

Saturday should be interesting. I think I should be able to pull off 85-minutes without much issue. I did a 43-minute bike split today (12-miles) on pretty tired legs. Add in a 30 minute run and that leaves me 12-minutes for swim and transitions.

That said, goal for the day is 80-minutes. The planets will need to align just right, but so be it. I think it's attainable, but it's going to take some work and maybe a bit of luck to get it done.


I sometimes commute to work.  On my rides in I try to go real easy so as to not work up a sweat.  It hasn't been too hard to do, as it's usually in the 40's, maybe low 50's when I'm riding.  We have a shower I can use here, but it's not in my building, and it's not the nicest community shower by any means.

Which brings us to this morning and the realization that no matter how easy I ride, when you dress for 57 degrees and later find out the humidity is 95%, you're going to sweat like a madman regardless of how easy you go.

Time to close the office door, look busy, and hope no one decides to bother me until at least noon, when I may just sneak out for a swim/shower.