Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sullivan Triathlon 1:29:12.60

AG Place 11/17
Overall Place 83/261

Rank 13
Time 09:25.75
Rate 1.59

Rank 14
Time 01:45.60

Rank 9
Time 44:39.95
Speed 18.0mph

Rank 14
Time 01:07.45

Rank 12
Time 32:13.85
Pace 10:24/M

Overall: 1:29:12.60

First, let me wax philosophical for a moment. Endurance athletes are warriors. It takes a lot of heart to do this to yourself. All warriors have enemies, but there are so many things against the Age Group Triathlete especially. Fitting training into your life is probably the biggest enemy. There are many others as well, including cost, time away from your kids, the physical and mental toll training takes on your body...the list goes on and on. This week the battle was harder than it has ever been for me, emotionally, mentally, and physically. This was a hard race, but the days leading up to it were far harder still... Athletes aren't made on race day. That isn't even the battle, it's just the victory lap. The battle is in day to day life.

The swim went well for me, and seemed longer than I expected for 400M. I took a few elbows, and unfortunately delivered some as well, but for the most part I didn't hit too much congestion.

About 10 steps out of the pool I slipped on the concrete deck and landed hard. I felt the concrete hit my head and heard a collective "ouch" from the spectators. I got up and kept going, but I felt the sting of a skinned knee. It didn't seem too bad at the time though.

I got over the timing mats and into my transition area. Everything went as planned and I was on the bike. It wasn't an especially fast transition, but it wasn't bad for my first one.

The bike portion of the race was my best leg by far. I felt strong. I stayed aero, I drank alot, and I passed alot of people.

My head was feeling a little messed up, from falling...but what was worse was the stinging feeling getting stronger in my right leg. I looked down at about mile 10 and saw blood running down my knee and thought "oh, skinned knee, I can deal."

The wind was awful, at about 35mph. Heading into the wind our speed dropped to almost nothing and forced me into my 34 ring, which sucked but I was going to burn my legs out fighting the environment. When I thought about slowing down, my mind was immediately drawn back to a conversation I had with a close friend just yesterday. Without going into details, I found strenght in the words of that conversation that I didn't even know I had and continued to hammer the crank into the wind.

Most of the course was acrossed the wind, which made navigation very difficult. I know that at one point I was leaning about 20 degrees off vertical into the wind to go in a straight line. In the brief part of the course where the wind was at my back I quickly spun out of my gears, bouncing in the 50/12.

I had a little bit of a problem with the dismount in T2. I nearly went over the handlebars trying to get off the bike before I went over the chip mat, having come in too fast. I recovered though, and made it to transition. As I changed to my running shoes I saw that my right sock was completely red from blood on the heel. I was going to pay for my slip on the run... It was a quick transition and I was running out to the run course.

Immediately on the run I was feeling my skinned foot. Every step hurt pretty bad. What made it worse was that my calves started cramping up about 400 yards into the run. In my bricks I've experienced cramps in my quads before...but never in my calves. Nothing I could do about it though. Overall the run seemed very very long. It seemed to go on forever, for a 5k. I was very happy to see the finish, and to complete my first sprint Tri.

Some pictures of the race...more to come I'm sure.

Getting ready in transition... Go, go sunblock!

Warming up in the pool.

Changing shoes in T2.

Out of the pool, right before the fall.

After the dismount, going into T2

Running out of T2


Bigger ouch!

Before I end this post, I need to thank everyone that helped me get to this place.

Thanks to my family for putting up with the training that got me here.

Thanks to CJ, Ritter, Shannon, and my other great friends for being a never ending source of encouragement and letting me talk endlessly for hours about triathlon.

Thanks to Lana for reminding me to always take care of myself and believing in me even when I don't.

Thanks to Wo for being Wo...and always reminding me to have fun!

Last but not least, thank you to all the Tri-Sharks who have welcomed me in to triathlon, given me advice, and told me "good job" as they pass me. :)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Transition State Diagram

Here's my plan for tomorrow's race...

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Race Ready

It's taper week. This means I haven't done anything seriously athletic in about 4 days now. I swam 700m today and ran 2 easy miles yesterday, but beyond that, I've been off my feet.

I'm feeling a little squirrely about the inactivity, but I really think I need this. In the last few weeks before this one I was hurting all the time, exhausted from the moment I woke up, and not wanting to train. All of which are signs of over reaching. I'm still hurting a bit, but the exhaustion is gone now, and I'm wanting to train again. Those are good signs.

In my spare time this week I've been figuring out my transitions, packing a bit, and being a bike mechanic.

In fact I've made some changes to my bike to change it into "racing mode." Since this race is short on the bike I'm mostly hydrating for the sake of the run so I won't be using my hydrotail for this race. On course repairs are allowed however, so I've filled my lightest bottle with a spare tube, my inflator, tire levers and a multitool. It doesn't make sense for me to DNF a race due to mechanical issues. All my hydration is going to be supplied by the 32oz Profile Design Aero Drink on the front of my bike. Given the length of the race that should be more than enough.

Here's my Cervelo P1 all set up for this weekend:

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Heart House 4M 37:33.7 9:23/mi

This was a really well run, well organized 4M out and back with some good hills.

So, I had previously registered myself as a Clydesdale for this race. Not thinking I would make weight, when I checked in on race morning I told a volunteer I needed to switch to AG. The volunteer told me to step on the scale, just to make sure before she switched me. With my race gear and breakfast in my stomach I was over 200, so I was in the Clydesdale category.

I was going into this race with dead legs. This was the last run before I started tapering for the Sullivan sprint, and I fit 10 workouts in this week, so I was BEAT DOWN! The previous day I had swam .8 miles and rode about 30 miles @ 18ish Mph.

So, knowing I was in no place to compete, I went into this looking at it like it was speed work. Just a training run. In fact I even had my headphones on, which is a physical affirmation of my plan for it to be "training." My plan was to run 1 mile in zone 3 and then 3 miles slightly above my LT. I tried to put the whole Clydesdale thing out of my head, even though I knew it my odds of a medal just went up dramatically.

I ran my plan, and everything went pretty much according to how I wanted. As a side note, the pack was very fast, I'd have to say (without seeing the results) the median speed was about 8:30/mi, where as most 5ks I've seen recently have been closer to 9:00/mi.

After about 3 miles I was definitely feeling the affects of running over LT. In other words, I was hurting pretty bad. That "hey, you're gonna barf" feeling was in full effect, and I was going to back down a bit. But there was this one runner... One of those walk run people. Ack. I'm guessing she was either trying to use the Jeff Galloway method in a very unstructured way, or she was just odd. Anyway, she would stop right in front of me, I'd pass her, then she'd see me pass and sprint ahead of me only to stop again and walk. Anyway, that drives me crazy! Especially because she was able to keep up with doing it! So, all thoughts of backing down went away after about the third time she did that. I saw there was a big hill right at the end. I was going to beat the walk/runner up that hill. I told myself that it wasn't training anymore, and that all I had to do was beat this one person that was walking half the time. I not only passed the walk/runner, but I managed to pass about 6 other people on the way to the finish. **Note: Nothing against the Galloway whatever you want, but if you're going to do it, don't stop in front of other people, move over!

By the time I got to the clock I was dizzy, out of it, and very close to loosing my breakfast. I was pretty proud of myself for a strong finish though.

As a happy coincidence, I managed to get third in Clydesdale (which was coed, so it included Athenas as well).

Afterwards there was a very nice post race party. It was a smaller race, and there was a really cool cook out afterwards with hot dogs, potato salad, and home baked cookies! It was all really delicious, and all exactly the kind of food I shouldn't be eating. I have to admit though, after not having one in probably two years, a hot dog tasted damn good (extra mustard, onions, no ketchup..everyone that's ever lived close to Chicago knows you'd get beat down for putting ketchup on a hotdog).

Rob, CJ, Ritter, Dylan(Little Ritter), and Me, all sporting medals!

Sunday morning I was really feeling the effects of this race, but after putting my swim in I'm now offically tapering!

Monday, April 13, 2009


Ok, It's time for a physics problem.

Q: A 200 (91Kg) pound runner is running at 7 Mph (3.3 m/s) before he collides with a 2 year old child whose moron negligent parent isn't watching them while they wander around the track, where they shouldn't be anyway...

How much force is absorbed by the child when he darts out in front of the runner?

F = m * a
F= 91Kg * 3.3 m/s

Force required to fracture a skull: Variable, but as little as 73N.

So, here's my point... DO NOT let your toddlers play on a track. You might as well let them play in traffic! If they dart out and chase a ball under a runners feet, they could seriously die.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Brick from Hell

"Real Life" is the enemy of a triathlete. The multisport lifestyle means that in your 7 days a week you have to squeeze in 3 swims, 3 runs, 3 bike rides, and 2 days in the weight room. Oh yeah, and then you need a rest day.

This week was especially hard because I had to take Tuesday night off for Illinois Marathon volunteer training, and I have a family thing this Sunday (Easter).

I rearranged my training today to fit in both a bike/run brick and a swim. Today was an endurance event in itself. I swam 1000m this morning, got the the LBS to get some new tights for tomorrow, worked on my bike, and then went out for the Bike/Run brick.

By the time I got to the brick, the weather was terrible! Luckily the rain we had had stopped, but I was left with a wind chill of 31 degrees and 35Mph winds. It was the worst wind I've ever ridden in. There is a large hill in front of my house that I typically descend at 25Mph. Today that descent happened, directly into the wind, at 9Mph. I went back up that same hill at 18Mph. At any rate,after having only gone about 3 Miles in 15 minutes I transitioned to my run and ran a mile. My legs felt like lead for the first 1/4 mile, which was the point of course. The cold made the pain that much worse.

After that mile I made it back to my bike, ate a gu (my afternoon snack...), drank, and rode another 20 minutes. By the time I was transitioning to the run again I was really hurting. The wind was just destroying me on the bike. The entire time I was thinking "I hope I don't have race day winds like this." I was frozen, hurting, my legs were hardly working after the second transition, and I was running again. One and a half miles later I was back at the house, frozen, wind burned, and in a daze. I was supposed to do the bike/run circuit 3 times, but there was no way I could do that today.

I hope I'll be ready for those distances on race day, and I hope the weather is a bit better. Only two more weeks.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

CCHS 5k 4/5/09 28:19.7 PR!

This was the most fun 5k I've run so far! It started out with a kids fun run that I got to do with William. We ran an entire 1/4 mile together, and he was smiling and laughing the entire time. It was the coolest!

As if that weren't cool enough, I got to keep pace with Michelle for around a mile between mile 2 and 3...and the photographers got a picture of it!

Here I am with CJ, Rob, and Michelle at the end of the race. Christine got 3rd in her AG. Michelle got 2nd in her AG.

We were very lucky not to get rained on, as it started pouring about an hour after we got done. The after party was fun, and had pretty decent food. The weather was chilly but the wind was mildish, and the course was flat.

I ran the best 5k I ever have, finishing at 28:19.7, which works out to 9:08Mi. I was 94th place overall, putting at the very very low end of the 3rd quartile, since the median was 93. It was a small race, but being that much in the middle of the pack blows my mind! I was 12th out of 16 overall in my AG, but thats also better than I would have predicted, as I'm typically 4th quartile in my AG. By the way, my guess is that the road runner happens to be a 30-34 M. Wow my age group is fast! Meep Meep!!!

New Weight Loss Goal

Setting milestone goals has been a great way for me to stay motivated with weight loss.

My next "milestone" is a little different. I'm setting it for 190 pounds. I know, that's only 9 more pounds, so it isn't much of a long term goal, but it does mark the point where I will have lost 50% of my body weight.

To make it just a little more complicated, I'm going to try to achieve this number in no less than 5 weeks. Longer is okay, but I need to slow my weight loss down a little bit, as my rapid weight loss has come at the cost of some muscle mass, which is something I don't need during triathlon season.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Mission Accomplished.

Q: What do you get if you take my heaviest body weight, subtract an entire Lance Armstrong, and a large frozen turkey?

A: My body weight today!!!

When I started doing this whole weight loss thing I had so far to go that I decided to break it up into chunks and set intermediate goals for myself.

My first goal was to get to 330 pounds. That was a big deal because that was the max weight most scales could measure.

My next goal was 299. I had two big reasons to hit this number. Reason 1, it was a nice to be in the 200s. Reason 2, I could finally paddle a kayak without swamping it. As it turned out, I still swamped the kayak (very embarrassing!) but I was under 300 when I did it! I rewarded myself with kayaking lessons.

My next big goal was 260. When I hit that number I rewarded myself with my Giant OCR2, which was my first road bike. I was officially a biker, and really proud to count myself as a "roadie," which is cyclist slang for someone that rides skinny wheels.

The entire time I was checking off these goals though, I was always saying in the back of my head "if I ever manage to get to 200...I'm getting myself something REALLY good."

That day finally came this Thursday. I finally hit 200 pounds. That's 180 pounds of total weight loss.

And I rewarded myself with a brand new Cervelo P1!!!

Here it is...with zero miles on it!

For you bike people, here are some of it's vital stats:

Frame/Fork/Seatpost: Cervelo TT
Bar-ends: DuraAce
Derailleurs: Ultegra SL
Drive Train: FSA Compact / Ultegra 12-23 / Ultegra Chain / FSA BB
Cockpit: Visiontech (FSA)
Wheels: Shimano R-500 Aero

It was a little cold and very windy out, but there is no power in the 'verse that is going to stop me from taking that first ride!

Finally here I am taking a warm up lap before hitting route 66 to put some real miles on it. There is no question that this bike was built to race. It's fast! I remember being about 10 miles out, holding on to the aeros being a little scared of how fast I was going. I peeked over at my Garmin 305 and saw I was cruising at 25.6 Mph, with only a little bit of a tail wind. I'm really looking forward to some calm days to find out what I can average in a TT, but i have a feeling I'm going to gain about 2 Mph with this bike. But beyond just feels great. It feels like success...

My next goal? Well, more on that later...