Monday, December 26, 2016

Back to IM racing and lessons learned

I trained like crazy in 2011 to try to get back to Kona only to have my worst race in Arizona. I decided to move away from Ironman racing. A good friend signed up for IM AZ 2016. I was going to be race support, but decided it might be fun to try and see if could still get through an Ironman. Unfortunately he was injured and unable to train or race. A small part of me wanted to see if I could get back to Kona.

The 2016 season was off to a great start. My power numbers were 10% higher than the previous summer. I had decent results in several local races. I signed up to race Santa Cruz 70.3. Everything was pointing to a solid race.

The week before I was scheduled to leave for Santa Cruz, I noticed a pimple on my kneecap. I didn’t think anything of it, so I popped it.  It progressively worsened over the next few days. My knee started to swell. After a few trips to the doctor’s office, my knee was not getting better. The night before my flight to California, I had a fever and still not getting better. I went to the ER and was admitted to the hospital for a few days. I didn’t train for almost 2 weeks because of a swollen knee and super antibiotics. I slowly started working out again. I lost about 20% of my power, so I changed my goal to use the race to gain fitness for the Boston Marathon. 

I noticed another crack near the welds on my bike. This got me thinking about a new bike.  I have always been opposed to getting one of the mainstream bikes because they are everywhere. I found a great deal but wasn’t sure until about 4 weeks from the race. I assumed that would be plenty of time, but what I didn’t factor in was the time to get the bike, parts, etc. I did not get the bike in hand until 11 days out from the race. I ended up with a swollen knee, so no riding or running for a couple more days and to make matters worse, a stomach bug swept through the house. I was ready to ride the bike on Saturday, but could barely reach the pedals. My seat was an inch too high. I had to wait a day before I could cut the seat post. I finally rode the bike 1 week out. It felt pretty good, but I noticed my neck and elbows were not used to the new position.

Wednesday-Arrived PHX and get to the house at 8PM.
Thursday-Spent most of the morning putting the bike back together. Ran an easy 4 miles trying out BASE salts. Drive to Tempe to ride a loop and realize I forgot bike shoes half way into drive. I turned a 45 minute drive into  90 minute drive. I biked a loop of IM AZ. I felt pretty good. There was a tailwind out to turn around and a headwind back, which is the exact opposite that I have experienced on race day.
Friday-I forgot my cassette tool to put on my disc cover. I took the bike to Regroup Bicycles. The mechanic was awesome and squared me away quickly. Grabbed lunch at my favorite restaurant in Tempe RA Sushi and then picked up race packet.

I felt pretty good on the swim. This was my first experience with a staggered start. I think there was a lot less contact then I have experience in the past. The turn buoy came faster than I expected. The dark goggles I used made it difficult to sight.

I skipped the wetsuit stripper and equaled my previous best time.

I felt great on the first loop. My quads were on fire during the second loop. I couldn’t figure out why. I knew if I wanted to finish I had to back off on the throttle and just get back to transition. I also started drinking every 5 minutes. I stopped at special needs to grab new bottles and used the port a potty. The winds picked up on the third loop, but I felt like my legs were back.  I decided to empty my last bottle around mile 85 thinking I would have enough. I ran out 4 miles from transition.

I felt great through the first several miles. I was using BASE salts for the first time. I think they are easy to use as long as you know how much you need. I was taking in salt every ½ to ¾ mile. After 14 miles, I began cramping in my groin area. I only stopped three times to refuel bottles and walked through 3 aid stations. This was one of my best marathons off the bike with minimal walking. I spit up twice, not sure why.

This was my second fastest time in Arizona. I am surprised I was able to put together a solid race after all things considered.

-Popping pimples on the knee is not a good idea
-Switching bike/fit with minimal time for adjustment is not wise
-Dark goggles make it difficult to see when the sun doesn’t pop out
-Drink more often on the bike
-Do not throw away a half bottle of nutrition assuming you
-Taking in more salt when cramping may not be the right answer
-Keep moving forward and the end comes sooner


Some down time and then focusing on Boston Marathon

Saturday, July 2, 2016

2 Marathons in 2 weeks

After finishing the Sacramento Marathon Relay in December, I convinced several friends to run the BMO half or full marathon in Vancouver on May 1.

I also signed up to do the local Resolution Run Series in Steilacoom. You choose either kilometers or miles and distance increases every 4 weeks, so you start with 5k or 5mi then 10/15/20). I knew it would be a great way to get in some longer races while building up for the Marathon.

After the 5 miler on New Year's Day, I realized I had my work cut out for me. My training consisted of hill repeats or a track workout, a tempo run, a long run, and 3 short easy runs. Three weeks later I went into the 10 miler with a cough that would not go away. I ran several minutes slower than my PR. The race felt hard from beginning to end.

Four weeks later I ran the 15 miler. The roads were full of cars because of a high speed chase shutting down the highway and everyone rerouting. This was my first longer race that I was able to negative split. My 10 mile split was a couple minutes faster than the 10 miler race. I finally started to see my body was absorbing the training.

The last race of the series took place in late March. My training was going well, so the plan was to negative split the race. I was competing for the series title as well. I knew I had to win the race to tie for the series. The gun sounded and we rounded the track and for some reason I was leading the race. I laughed and waited for a few guys to pass me before we headed out onto the street. I watched the guys slowly put a few seconds on me. I stayed patient and slowly reeled a couple of the guys back. There were 2 guys in front of me at the halfway mark. I decided to make my move and passed the guy leading the series in my age group. I didn't want him to come with me, so I picked up the pace by 20 seconds per mile. I pulled away with no problem, but felt the effort in the last few miles as I struggled to get to the finish. I didn't negative split, but set a PR my several minutes. I also realized that I was capable of running a 2:53-2:58 marathon.

I recovered from the effort after 10 days. I also hit peak weekly mileage during this last block of training before the marathon. My training indicated that I was on pace to have a great marathon. The weather forecast was low 80s. I didn't think this would be a problem until I realized the race would start at 8:30AM.

The Vancouver Marathon route changed since I ran it in 2009. I did not feel great in the first few miles, but knew to stay patient. As the race progressed, I started feeling worse. I felt the effort was high for a slow pace, so I slowed to a walk. I hoped that if I did this a couple of times, I could get back into the race. Unfortunately, I jogged/walk the last 10 miles. This reminded me of my heat exhaustion experience in Las Vegas.

I was surprised that I wasn't sore after the race. I knew I had the fitness to run faster, so I signed up for Capital City Marathon. I also decided not to have a week of all easy training. I went back to what worked for me at the 15 & 20 milers. I did a few 800s and a tempo workout the week of the race.

I felt so much better at the start of Capital City and started a little fast. After a couple miles there were 11 runners in front of me. I passed the first guy at 4 miles. I could see the runners up ahead slowly pull away. I focused on my race and stayed patient. At mile 18 it was great to see Steve and Duke. After 20 miles, the race started to get harder. I wanted to run faster, but legs would start cramping. I plodded along the last few miles. I passed on of the faster guys who was laying down on the ground being stretched out.  At mile 25, I saw the lead female. I closed the gap to mere seconds, but it was not enough. I thought I finished 10th, but one of the guys leading the race for 18 miles pulled out. I ended up 9th and set a PR by a little over 3.5 minutes. Still a few minutes short of what I know I can run.

Beginning of Capital City Marathon

Friday, May 20, 2016

2015 Racing recap

My priorities shifted this year with the arrival of a healthy baby girl. I found it hard to justify working out instead of spending time with my 2 little ones.

I started the summer with Black Hills Triathlon. My swim felt okay, the bike felt hard, and the run felt harder. The race made me realize that I probably needed to train more than a couple hours a week.

After a couple more weeks of training, I raced Lakewood Summerfest. I knew that it would be tough to try and defend my title from last year. Especially with Nick at the race. He had an awesome race at Ironman Coeur D'Alene in 100+ degree temperatures. Nick cruised to the win. I felt a little stronger during the race. My power numbers were a little better at this race, but still a ways off from last year.

My fitness peaked at the Bonney Lake Sprint. I put together a solid race to cruise in for the win.

I finished out the year as part of a marathon relay. I ended up running the entire marathon. I ran the first half solo, then linked up with Karen for the second half and finished off the last section with Guy. We managed to hold off Megan by only a couple minutes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Bonney Lake Sprint 2014 (0.35mile, 12.3mile, 5k)

I raced Bonney Lake the previous two years so knew I had to come back. BUDU racing does a good job with their races. Plus I had to try and defend my title. I knew their was rain in the forecast. As I warmed up on the bike, I saw the clouds in the distance. I crossed my fingers they would stay away for another hour. No such luck. Once I started my run warm-up the rain drops fell. The only good thing was I raced earlier in the season under similar conditions.

I dried up and sat under a tree trying to stay dry before donning the wetsuit. I walked over to the swim area and saw Richard right before entering the water. It was nice to catch up since we hadn't seen each other in awhile. I warmed-up and waiting to start. There was a delay because of the Olympic race taking place. Richard and I chatted up a little more then it was GO!!!


Course: Out and back, water temp 70+ degrees.
Race action: I felt good at the start. I saw 1 guy get out in front. I tried to close the gap with no luck. I ended up coming out of the water 10 seconds behind the fastest swimmer. I quickly ripped through transition and ended up leaving in first.
Next time: Start faster and stay on the feet.
Result: (7:39 for approximately 0.35 mile)

Course: 1 loop with a couple of small hills.
GearLYNSKEY TI BIKE, ROTOR 3D CRANK WITH AERO Q-RINGS, Rudy Project aero helmet, Shimano custom shoes, Zipp Firecrest 808s with Continental Attack/4000s tires, XLAB 400 torpedo.
Nutrition: Gu Brew (50 calories)
Race action: It was pouring rain. The rain was just as bad if not worse than Five Mile Lake. I almost laid the bike down twice, too much speed for the turns. I ended up in the opposite shoulder on a right turn, thank goodness there wasn't a car. My aero bottle between the arms somehow loosened up and kept moving forward. It was annoying but manageable. A guy, who ended up winning the Olympic, passed me within a few miles of transition. I tried to keep him in sight, but his pace was too fast. I dismounted my bike and started running into transition. I overshot the lane, so had to pick up my bike and run back through the gate. Ugh!
Next time: Make sure gear is in tact.
Result: (31:12 23.7mph)

Course: 1 loop on road/sidewalk with a few hills within the first 2 miles.
GearNEWTON DISTANCE SHOES with Xtenex Laces.
Race action: I saw 2 guys ahead of me as I left transition. I took a time check. They were 20 and 30 seconds ahead of me. I tried to close the gap. The guy closest to me seemed to be running the same pace. The guy in front of him ran out of sight. I am not sure why, but my insoles shift inside my shoes during rainy conditions. I finished the race with half of my insole sticking out of my shoe. The only reason I didn't stop was because I did not know my placing in the race. I neared the last turn closing in on the finish line to realize I was in first. The race director had to run out and place the last cone for me to round before crossing the line.
Result: (19:19, 6:14 per mile)
Finish: 59:28 (1st overall).
Upcoming: Maintaining fitness for the rest of the year

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Lakewood Summerfest Triathlon (0.5mile,14+++miles,5k)

It was hard to pass up on this race as it was only a 15 minute drive to the race start.

Saturday morning we arrived into transition to discover no bike racks or swim buoys. I wasn't sure if we were going to lay our bikes on the ground. At 6:30AM, one of the race officials explained the truck towing the racks and buoys wouldn't start. They found another truck and arrived around 6:45AM. After setting up our bikes we drove over to T-2 to set up out run gear and park the vehicle.

Course: 1 loop clockwise with 2 right turns, okay visibility, water temp 70+ degrees.
Race action: GO! As always, a few guys sprint all out at the start. I pass them after 200 meters and see at least 1 person ahead of me. I tried to keep him in sight. We came out on the boat ramp.
Next time:
Result: (11:19 for approximately 0.5 mile)

Course: 1 loop fairly flat with a couple of small hills.
GearLYNSKEY TI BIKE, ROTOR 3D CRANK WITH AERO Q-RINGS, Rudy Project aero helmet, Shimano custom shoes, Zipp Firecrest 808s with Continental Attack/4000s tires, XLAB 400 torpedo.
Nutrition: Gu Brew (150 calories)
Race action: I did not feel great from the start of the bike. I was sweating a lot and the effort felt higher than the last race (power was 12% lower for this race for the same effort). In the first mile a squirrel in on the line. I move left to give him room. He moves right then crosses right in from of me. Once I got onto North Gate Road I could see the lead cyclist escorted by a Lakewood motorcycle cop. I put my focus into closing the gap. During the race briefing we were told not to turn unless you see a sign and that there would be a person at the 2 main intersections on JBLM.
    The latter part of the statement was incorrect. I assumed the cop knew the route. I closed the gap to the lead cyclist to less than 100meters. The cop led us to a dead end and then proceeded to go in the wrong direction. I knew where I was, so I rerouted to get back on the course. I was now on part of the JBLM tri-course. The other turn was 100 meters before going under I-5. I didn't see anyone at the intersection, but took the turn anyway and hoped the gate was open.
     My instinct paid off. The turn put us on Dupont-Steilacoom Road. I couldn't see anyone in the distance, so just kept pushing forward to T-2. I ended up riding an extra 1.3 miles.
Next time: Stick with my instincts.
Result: (39:30 23.3mph)

Course: 1 loop on 99% trail.
Race action: I entered transition and saw no bikes racked. I quickly racked my bike, switched gear, and headed out. In the first 200 meters it was flat, then went up. As I was going up I could hear the crowd getting loud to signal the next racer. This meant I had a cushion of a few minutes. I was cramping a little. After cresting the hill, it was downhill then flat with lots of turns. With less than 1/2 mile left I saw another racer. I kept the pace up as I neared the finish line. I stopped to give LA a kiss and then crossed the line.
Result: (19:49, 6:30 per mile)
Finish: 1:11.58 (1st overall).
Upcoming: ?

Friday, July 11, 2014

Five Mile Lake Sprint Triathlon (0.25 mile, 14 mile, 3 mile)

I was still debating on going to Nationals. There were 2 local races taking place the last weekend of June, so I thought it would be a nice test to see if I could handle racing Saturday and Sunday. I went out to ride the Black Hills course early Thursday morning prior to the race. I tried to sign-up for the race and it was sold out. Bummer for me. I quickly went to the BUDU Racing website and signed up for Five Mile Lake. I did not want to be shut out of both races.

Saturday morning I checked in and got all my gear set-up. The weather was not very good as it was raining on and off. I rode a loop to make sure I knew the course. This race used to be known as Federal Way Escape. They extended the bike course a little over a mile.

Course: 1 loop clockwise with 2 right turns, okay visibility, water temp 70 degrees.
Race action: GO! It was chaos. I felt like I was in a washing machine. I couldn't believe how many guys going all out. Someone pulled my strap off the velcro. Luckily they didn't hold on or my wetsuit would've filled with water. After the first buoy, I started moving through the crowd. I turned for shore and there was guy to my right. I came out just ahead of him for 3rd.
Next time: Sprint the first 100 meters???
Result: (5:35 for approximately 475 yards)

Course: 2 loops with a few turns and one small hill.
GearLYNSKEY TI BIKE, ROTOR 3D CRANK WITH AERO Q-RINGS, Rudy Project aero helmet, Shimano custom shoes, Zipp Firecrest 808s with Continental Attack/4000s tires, XLAB 400 torpedo.
Nutrition: Gu Brew
Race action: I jumped on my bike right behind MD. A couple hundred meters up the road I saw the lead racer. I tried to keep him in sight, but could not manage the pace. I took a turn and felt my back wheel skid. I decided to back off the gas on all corners and turns. I really did not want to have quality time with the pavement. I felt good throughout the entire bike ride.
Next time: Little less air in tires because of wet roads.
Result: (32:28 24.4mph)

Course: 1 loops on 99% road with the last 200 meters on trail.
GearNEWTON DISTANCE SHOES with Xtenex Laces.
Race action: I came out of transition right behind DM. I kept the gap close as I ran right off his left shoulder. In the first 1/4 mile, he stopped suddenly. I quickly side stepped and looked back to see if he was ok. DM kept running, so I focused on getting to the finish line. Around the 1 mile mark, I was passed quickly by the guy who ended up in second overall and the fastest run. A little after the 2 mile mark, I was passed by another racer. I was now sitting in fourth. I took the turn into the park. I heard some yelling behind me. It was a spectator encouraging the 5th place guy to pass me. I kicked into overdrive and held him off.
Result: (18:04, 6:01 per mile)
Finish: 59:28 (1st in age group and 4th overall).
Upcoming: Lakewood Summerfest Tri

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Boulder 70.3

LG and I talked about doing this race last November. The race opened in December and was sure to sell out. I talked it over with my better half and we decided to make it a short family vacation.

I stopped riding the bike in early September and got back on in late March, so a little over 6 months with no cycling :-/  During that period, I maintained some fitness with 2-3 swims and 3-4 runs a week. I threw in a few run races (Turkey trot with stroller and 2 dogs, Santa 5k with stroller, Arizona Rock n Roll half, St Paddy 10k with stroller, and YMCA 10k with stroller).

It is tough to train for early summer races in the Northwest. You choose to go outside and get soaked or sit on the trainer. We were fortunate with several sunny days in April and May. My power numbers slowly started to come back in mid May. Everything was coming together until late May when I got a horrible cough and a stomach bug that lasted 2 weeks. I didn't swim for a week. I also cut back on the bike and running with short and easy workouts. I started to finally feel better the week before the race. 

During my final week, I did a few key workouts and it showed I might be able to still put together a decent race. Thursday morning while getting in one last bike ride my right aerobar extension seemed very loose. I thought no big deal. I got home that night to find 1 of 2 screws connecting the aerobar extension to the base broke in half. Another screw broke as I was trying to loosen up the aerobars. I was in complete panic mode. I call DC to help me out. He contacted JOYRIDE and they looked at it Friday morning. It was good news bad news. They were able to get the screws out, but the extension was so corroded that a screw would not work. Thankfully my wife uses the same aerobar set-up and Joyride had enough time to swap out pieces.

We flew out Friday evening. Flight was scheduled to depart at 7:25pm. Southwest delayed the flight 3 more times. We departed Sea-Tac at a little after 9. At Denver airport, the baggage claim carousel was malfunctioning, so we lost another 30 minutes. We walked into the hotel room a little after 2am. LA slept thru entire flight, carousel hold up, and drive to the hotel. He woke up as we were getting ready to unpack in the room.

Saturday morning we headed over to LG's house. I put my bike back together only to discover my seat clamps are cracked. There was nothing I could do, but cross my fingers. LG and I headed out to the race site to check-in and turn in our bikes.

Sunday morning we were up at 4am and out the door within 30 minutes. We picked up 2 more racers and headed to Boulder. We pulled into Boulder a little after 5:30. This gave us plenty of time to set-up a canopy for the families to hang out during/after the race and then our race area. I ended up forgetting my watch. I sprayed on sunscreen before putting on my sleeveless XTERRA VENDETTA.

Course: 1 loop clockwise with 2 right turns, okay visibility, water temp 67 degrees.
Plus: It was great to have a designated area to swim that did not interfere with the race, so I warmed-up 10-15 minutes.
Race action: I was in the 5th wave. They sent us off and I notice a few guys getting out quickly. I felt good during the swim and had mostly clear water through the first turn with a little traffic for the remainder. I exit just behind the guy who started in front of me.
Next time: Push the first 200-400 meters to stay with the faster guys.
Result: (28:52, 1:29 per 100m)

Course: 1 loop on decent roads. The first few miles are a gradual incline then its fast for the next 20-30 miles. The second half of the ride is slightly rolling.
Gear: LYNSKEY TI BIKE, OAKLEYS, Rudy Project aero helmet, Shimano custom shoes, and XLAB 400 torpedo.
Race action: I felt good throughout the entire bike ride. I made sure to drink frequently. Near the 50 mile mark, several guys in front of me turned right, so I followed. We ended up adding 0.6-0.7 miles to the ride. Luckily we got back on track with only a few miles left.
Next time: Get the bike checked out sooner. Know the course!!!
Result: (2:25.41 23.06mph)

Course: 2 loops on 90%trails with a shorter hill and a longer hill within the first 2 miles then mostly flat.
Gear: NEWTON DISTANCE SHOES & VISOR and bottle of GU Brew Blueberry Pomegranate.
Race action: I had to control the effort at the beginning because quads were cramping and breathing was labored. Normally, I take a drink every mile but changed it up to approximately every half to try eliminate the cramping. I felt stronger after the 5k, so started grabbing coke at the aid stations. I saw my 2 favorite people just before going out on the second loop. I caught up to a 30 year old, who passed me around mile 5,  and encouraged him to keep running as we only had a 5k left. He ran with me for a little over a mile and then faded as I was trying to get er done. As I neared the finish, I saw my 2 favorite people again, so I stopped and gave them each a kiss before crossing the finish line.
Next time: More time to acclimatize to altitude.
Result: (1:36.38, 7:22 per mile)
Finish: 4:34.00 (9th in age group and 63rd out of 1544).
Overall: It was the first race in a few years that I really enjoyed.
Upcoming: Take the week to recover and decide if I want to try and do Nationals. Should I do the Olympic race Saturday and Sprint race Sunday?