Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Evergreen Triathlon – Sprint - 1:39:31.1

Overall Place 7/150
AG Place 2/11
Normally I do the Olympic distance event at Evergreen, but not this year. 
This race report starts about a month prior to the race.  I spent the week in San Jose on business, away from my bike.  The combination of bad eating, abnormally high run mileage (compensating for the bad eating), and hilly topography resulted in a hamstring strain of some type.  I’ve had a weak hamstring on my right side for a long time, and that became a big problem after that week. 
At first I did what every runner with pain would do, I ignored it.  Then I started bombing some runs, and seeing my run pace drop.  I couldn’t ignore it anymore, I was hurt.  So, I took some time off.  Then I stretched, strengthened, and rehabbed the best I could.  But as the Evergreen Olympic got closer, I realized I was in no shape to run a hard 10k.
Luckily the race director let me move my entry down to the sprint.  The evergreen sprint is an interesting event in that it keeps the 40k bike.  I hadn’t done a 40k all year, but in general I’m pretty strong on the bike, so I wasn’t incredibly worried, and who knows, because of the smaller race size I might even be competitive in my AG, which I’m certainly not in the evergreen Oly. 
On race morning I got to the event, got setup, and started my warm up.  I went into the race somewhat recovered, but mostly not tapered, haven’t really only taken about 3 days easy.   As I got on the bike that morning, my hamstring immediately started complaining.  I thought it was doing better, but maybe not. 
Swim - 10:29 / 600m / 1:55/100
The swim was a little long, based on my GPS.  I also swam it very conservatively, having over done it just a bit at the Trishark sprint tri a month before.    Overall I think it went well, however I left a ton on the table.  In a 600m swim though, that’s just a few seconds, so no big.
T1 - 1:21.1
My T1 went pretty well.  I’m not fast at transitions, but I’m much improved this year. 
Bike – 1:01:20.4 / 24.8 / 24.31
My bike went pretty well.  I struggled a bit with the flying mount this time around, having maybe gotten just a little cocky about how well it went last year.  I struggled just a little keeping my head in the game on the bike as there wasn’t really anyone to race on the course.  The sprint started after all the Olympic groups, so I was able to use a lot of folks to slingshot down the course.  I felt just a little guilty using the pass zone of slower folks to accelerate me, but it’s all part of the game on the bike.  I even got a “thumbs up” from a draft marshal while I was doing it.  
I got passed by local athletes Kevin McCarthy and Mick Hannah, each on a turn, later in the race, and had to work to pass them both back.   Both made it very clear that my bike is all speed and no finesse.  That’s something I’m going to seriously work on.  I’m still skiddish in corners after a crash in 2010, and a general lack of experience, but enough is enough.  I’m probably losing a minute on my 40k cornering like an old woman in a Cadillac. 
The hamstring started whining with about 5 miles left, and I backed off just a bit.
According to the split I was around 24.3, but there’s no way.  I think the course was a bit short this time.  The winds were good though, so who knows. 
T2 – 1:29.3
My T2 didn’t go so well.  My transition spot was pretty much on the other side of transition from bike in, and I unclipped wearing my bike shoes to run my bike through T2.  That cost me a ridiculous amount of time, it was a really long run in cleats. 
If I were going to focus on this short course stuff, I’d learn how to take my shoes off on the bike and run barefoot…   But I’m not a short course athlete, so I’m not going to stress about it. 
Run - 24:59.8 / 3.1 / 8:02/mi
My run went pretty well, considering the hamstring thing.  It didn’t really start bugging me until I started racing someone else in my AG.  In the last mile it really started threating to cramp up, when I was descending a small hill, so I shortened my stride and cruised home.  In the end it held me a back a little but I still had a pretty decent run.
Post-race I found out I did well enough for 2nd place in my AG, which I’ll happily take on a good day.  Being that it happened on a short course race while injured, that’s a bonus. 
Lana got 5th in her AG in the Oly as well, with much more fierce competition!

Monday, July 16, 2012


One of my favorite parts of summer is attending the local time trial on Tuesday nights, referred to locally as TNTT or ‘Tuesday Night Time Trial,’ run by local cycling folk hero (and beer aficionado) Mick Hannah.   It’s a 20K loop on country roads, complete with a few rollers, Illinois wind, and lots of rough chip/seal.  It’s usually a somewhat low key event, and my schedule keeps me from getting out there as much as I’d like, but I always have a good time when I do. 
Ever since last year, I’ve had a big goal at TNTT…to break an average speed of 24 mph.  I’ve come really close, so many times!  I’ve hit 23.7, 23.9, but I just couldn’t seem to flip it over to 24.
Last winter, I was tempted to sleep in a lot, but breaking 24 at TNTT got me out of bed.  I’d get up early, early in the morning every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday and jump on the trainer with that goal in mind.  I suffered through over 1,500 minutes riding at threshold intensity over the winter, trying to push myself to hit that magic number.
A few Tuesdays ago, I finally got to make an attempt at it.  The wind was finally dying down from the spring, and was blowing at about 8mph in a direction that would help more than hurt.   My bike FTP was at new heights.  Due to a recent running injury I was taper and very fresh.  This was ‘the’ Tuesday of the summer.
I really wanted 24.  It was great to have a goal, because my season this year has lacked so much direction.  For the most part I’ve felt like I was floating… What do you do, after you do an Ironman?  I don’t know.  When it was time to hurt, I haven’t really had a good answer, and I’ve raced somewhat poorly because of it. 
But, I was determined to hit that number, and as I slowly rode the course warming up, I put together my race plan.  I practiced the lines I’d corner with.  I thought about winds.  Most importantly, I prepared myself mentally for the push to come. 
I rolled up to the line, second from the back to start.   Breathing deeply, I waited anxiously for the ‘Go!’ and had my mind on 24 mph the entire time.  The first part of the course rolls a bit, there is a stop sign, and there were some winds.  Turning on to ‘2250’ the long straight away, about 3 miles in, it was just starting to hurt.
As with my half marathon earlier this year, I looked for the line, the place where I had to choose to perform, or be mediocre.  I was already there.  I did what I could to relax into the effort, control my breathing, and focus my mind on happier things.  My average speed read 23.7 Mph.  My watts were on goal. 
Lana encouraged me to keep a mental catalog of happy thoughts, to pull out when things got hard.  I was quickly digging through that catalog.  As it turned out, this was a powerful strategy to keep pushing in this type of very hard effort, and one that I’ll certainly use again.
About 7 miles in, I really starting struggling to hold my goal watts, however my speed was now approaching 25 Mph.  I knew though, that if I didn’t stay on the gas, it wouldn’t work out as I had just turned into the wind.  My mind went to that catalog of positive thoughts, and I kept pushing, using those good memories as my very own ‘Patronus Charm’ and bleeding off just a few watts as my legs worked towards failure.  
When I hit 12.2 I went all in, and I crossed the line at 12.4 totally done.  My average speed was 24.4 mph by the timers, and I had accomplished the one thing that got me out of bed on those cold winter mornings.
And there it was…24.  Mission accomplished. 
So what’s next?  Sub 30… That’s my next goal.  I’m going to ride a 20K is less than 30 minutes.  24.86 Mph. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Race Report: Trishark Classic 2012 1:12:11.3 (1:15:55.7)

Tri-Shark Classic Triathlon 1:12:11.3

Note:  Since this is my fourth year doing Tri-Shark, I've put last years results in parenthesis for comparison.

Age Group Place: 10/53 (8/31)
Overall: (76)

Trishark #4, the open to the 2012 tri season for me.


Distance: 600y
Time: 10:46.4 (13:18.3)
100y: 1:48 (2:13)

I had a great swim this year.  I made the sprint with the fishes in my AG and hung on.  Maybe I went a little to hard, I was still feeling the swim on the bike, which I've never experienced before.


I spent alot of time trying to improve my T1, and I think it worked for the most part.  Basic flow was:
-Wetsuit off half way on the run, all the way at the rack
-Glasses (under helmet straps
-Bike shoes clipped in and banded on

Note, I was a 9ish seconds faster last year, but I didn't swim with a wetsuit last year.

Time: 01:41.8 (1:32.9)


My bike split was exactly the same as last year.  I really underachieved here.  I think I payed a little for how hard I went on the swim, but also I was missing some of the push I needed to actually race.  I knew I was a long way from the podium and my bike ride was more of a pity party than a TT.  I ended up pulling off a power number closer to a 40K TT than a 20K.

Time: 33:28.6 (33:28)
Distance: 13 Miles
MPH: 23.3 (22.3)


My T2 is much improved this year.  I'm still 20 or so seconds off from "good" but I'm 30 second from where I was...  Short course transitions have never been my thing, but I'm working at it in hopes to take a few more minutes off the long course.

Time: 01:20.6 (1:54:.0)


I definately underachieved on the run.  Same excuses as the bike.  Not a fitness thing, it's my head, not my body.  I had 23's in me, I just didn't have a reason.

Time: 24:53.9 (25:42.5)
Pace: 8:02 (8:17)