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.