Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Last Minute Freak Out

Okay, so I'm all set to fly out to San Francisco in two days. My bike's already there so now all that's left is get me there safe and sound. I've been piling gear and clothes into the living room and double checking it against a list of stuff that I absolutely need for the weekend. I think I have everything, but seriously every so often I come up something to add to the pile. Luckily it's still a pretty small pile, but that's the thing about triathlon, it takes a lot less crap than one would think. Either way, I'm hoping by quadruple checking everything I don't forget any necessities.

In addition to the packing I've been spending quite a bit of time reading race reports from the past few years. All I know is that it's hilly. How hilly depends on which report I read. Either the hills are not that bad or they are totally gonna suck. Being a native flatlander, I'm not real sure what to expect. The bike leg is usually my strong suit, but I have a feeling these hills could humble me and make for a less than stellar run. Funny that I'm more worried about the bike than swimming a mile and a half in the frigid bay.

I thought about setting a time goal for myself, but without really knowing what to expect I figured I better not. I need to just relax, go out and have some fun, and enjoy a truly unique racing experience. Those always seem to be the best races when I go out without putting any pressure on myself. Buuuuuut........if I happen to come in under 2:40 that would be phenomenal ;)

See you on the other side of The Rock!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Bye, Bye Bike

It was a sad day today. I had to say goodbye to my bike for a week as I shipped it out to San Francisco. I spent a lot of time with her on Monday and Tuesday, putting around 70 miles on her in hopes that she wouldn't mind being taken apart and stuffed in a box for a few days.

Now I like tinkering with my bike but disassembling it into an unrideable pile of parts was a little disconcerting. I took my time last night, savoring a well earned beer in the process. The "travel case" I had purchased from Crateworks went together surprisingly easily and every part of the bike fit where it was supposed to. Their instructions could have included a picture or two, but I think I managed to get everything in the right place. As long as it arrives in one piece that's all that matters.

After work today I made a stop by the local UPS store to send her off. I was tempted to slip the clerk a 50 if he would personally ride in the back of the truck with her and keep an eye on her, but in the end my rationality won out. It's gonna be okay. She'll make it where she's supposed to, at least that's what I keep telling myself.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Clear Lake Earth Day 10k

This weekend I decided to run a 10k. It was my first stand alone 10k in a couple of years so I was excited at the prospect of a possible PR. In addition it was going to be a pretty good indication of where my run fitness was at following an off season waylayed by injury.

It was a good day for a race. Upper 40's with a lot of sun, can't get much better than that. It was neat to be running in my hometown. After just recently discovering this whole racing thing it was fun to come back and do an event in the town I grew up in. We lined up at city park for the start and had to listen to my old econ teacher/football and baseball coach give out the pre race instructions in that same droll voice that put me asleep so many times back in high school. It's a good thing I had some pre-race adrenaline flowing otherwise it could have been lights out again.

Soon enough we're off. There seemed to be a pretty large contingent of high school age tracksters here so I let the young-uns go out ahead of me. We loop city park and then head out on south shore drive. It's been a while since I've been on this road. When did they put a bike lane in?

I settle into my pace and start picking off those that started off too fast. There's still a pretty decent size pack ahead of me, but we started out the same time as the 5kers so I didn't want to push too hard to catch up in case they were just running the 5k. About a mile in a guy passes me. I let him go by, but decide to keep him within striking distance. We get to the marina and there's a truck pulling a boat blocking the entire street and sidewalk so I had to resort to a little creative off road action to get around.

At the 5k turn around almost the entirety of the pack turns around. Holy carp! I think I'm in third! We cut through State Park and on the other side I catch the guy who had passed me heading up a hill. I tell him good job and continue on. The first place guy is on his way back already, well ahead of us. No chance of catching him so the goal is to just stay in second.

I hit the turnaround and tell myself that it's time to start running. There's a little wind on the way back, but nothing too bad. I push through it and once I hit the 5k turnaround point I really kick it into gear. Only a mile and half left. Can't hold back now.

The last bit went pretty quick. At one point I could hear the guy behind me and realized he was either catching up or had stayed with me for the last few miles. That was enough motivation to kick it up a notch. I got within a couple of blocks of city park and decided it was time for the final sprint. I cruised through the finish line in second place with a time that surprised the heck out of me. 37:27!!!! A huge PR!

Afterward I walked around a bit and hit up the post race cookies. I chatted with my sister a bit and few people that I had gone to high school with then cheered on some later finishers after that. Overall I thought the race was pretty well organized. We even had bike escorts at the front of the pack!

They might want to remeasure the course though. Not that I'm not happy with the time, but the garmin had it a 1/4 mile short. Almost don't want to count this as an official PR because I will never come close again.

I am still happy with the effort though. Coming back from the hip injury I have been very cautious and didn't have a real good idea where I was speed wise. I haven't done a lick of speedwork all year. I've just been putting in the mileage and making sure the hip is happy. Even so, I think I'm right back to where I was at the end of last season and that's an exciting prospect heading into the next two months.

I have one more hard week of work ahead and then I'll do a short 1 week taper for Alcatraz. I ship my bike out on Wednesday, so I'll try to get in a couple more rides before I send her away

Sunday, April 11, 2010

2010 Donut run

Every year the Iowa State tri club puts on an annual donut run to help fund their trip down to collegiate nationals at the end of April. I had been aware of the race but had never had a chance to run it until this year.

What is a donut run, you ask. It's basically a 5k where you get time subtracted from your finish time for each donut you eat along the way. Now you may be thinking that this seems like a really bad combination of activities and after personally experiencing the donut run I can confirm your suspicions.

It was a great day for a race. 50s and sunny at race start, which is darn near ideal in my book. Prior to the race start I set a few goals for myself. I know I can run a 20 minute 5k, but I also wanted to eat a few donuts along the way. Based on the time bonuses awarded, which incrementally increase for each donut eaten, I decided to shoot for 10 donuts.

We took off from the start and things felt pretty good. I passed by the first two donut stations since I figured there was no point piling them into my stomach early on. First mile split was a 6:08. For a moment I considered shooting for a PR, but then thought why miss out on the fun of eating donuts.

I stopped at the next aid station and had my first 2 donuts of the day. This were not the nice little Krispy Kreme's that I was expecting. This were big honking glazed donuts and my first thought was that I would never get 10 of those down. As I sat there consuming my donuts (they wouldn't let you leave the aid station until they were gone) I learned a couple of things from my fellow donut eaters who had obviously done this before.

1. Donuts are dry and hard to chew and swallow. This is where a nice cup of water comes in handy for "softening" them up. It's no milk, but I'm not so sure that would have been any better.

2. Taking the "fluff" out of the donuts is key. Take two or three at a time and smash them together like a big donut sandwich.

Okay, lessons learned. With my newfound knowledge I proceeded to the next donut station and downed a couple more. I met a guy here who was also shooting for 10. Turns out we were running about the same pace too, so we ran to the next station and had a couple more. This is where I started to slow down and realized my eating skills did not match my running skills. He finished his 2 before I was even halfway done with mine.

Okay 6 down, 4 to go. My stomach was starting to mildly rebel at that point and the thought of putting down anymore donuts did not seem appealing. In hindsight I probably should have just ran it on in, but when I set my mind on a goal it's hard to let go. I came here to eat 10 donuts and that's what I was going to do.

At the last aid station I forced down the last of my donuts and it was quite the struggle to do so. It seemingly took forever. There was a lot of people there trying to put down one last donut so at least it was entertaining to have some company with which to commiserate with. After that I ran the last half mile hard, my stomach protesting all the way.

I was shocked to see that my finish time was 32:00. I had turned the auto pause feature on on my Garmin so every time I stopped at an aid station the timer paused. So it had my actual run time at 18:45, which mean I spent 13:15 eating 10 donuts. Man, I'm a slow eater!

Those 10 donuts that I ate were worth a whopping 10:30 in time bonuses so my official finish time was 21:30. So the moral of the story is that it's not worth eating donuts, unless you're a speed eater. Guess I should have just run!

This is one of those races that I just wanted to experience at least once. It's nice not to worry about setting PRs and just going out and having fun for a change. That said, it was also nice to find out that I don't have what it takes to enter any speed eating contests. I think from here on out I'll just stick to running.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Before I get too far ahead of myself...

Holy cow we are almost a week into April and I haven't even gotten a chance to say goodbye to March yet. Well, here we are. March, you were a good month but I'm glad to say goodbye. It just means we're one month closer to race season, and that is an exciting prospect.

Here's a glimpse at my total training volume for the month:

Bike:24h 25m 31s - 463.72 Mi
Run:13h 12m 21s - 100.48 Mi
Swim:14h 21m 50s - 45700 Yd

It was a pretty solid month all around. Not nearly enough of those bike miles were outdoors, but I'm trying to rectify that this month. I was shocked at the running total. If you had told me at the beginning of January, after running all of 4 miles in December, that I would have a 100 mile month in March I would have laughed in your face and questioned your sanity. Thankfully the hip is holding up (I know I say that every week, but I still think about it every run and I will continue to do so until I get through Sept 12).

This month will be a little different training wise. I'm dropping a swim workout during the week so I'm 4/4/4 for s/b/r sessions. That will allow me, with the help of some crafty scheduling, to take a true rest day if needed. Currently I have been dedicated 2 days a week to just swimming, no running or biking, and not taking a true rest day. Recovery wise I feel that my body is appreciating this approach compared to what I've done in the past so I'm not entirely sure that I want to change anything. If it ain't broke, don't fix it, right?

April should go quickly though. Like I said we're already a week in. I've got a 10k on the schedule and am contemplating another 5k just for the heck of it. I get to eat donuts during the race so it's hard to pass up. Then a short mini taper for Alcatraz and I'm off to San Francisco. It's going to be a short month indeed.