Monday, July 30, 2012

Girlfriends and Dudes Sprint Triathlon Race Report

Girlfriends and Dudes Sprint Triathlon
Frenchman's Bar, Vancouver, WA
July 29, 2012

Time:  1:13:39 (PR)

This was the first triathlon race since completing Ironman Coeur d'Alene just 5 weeks prior.  In that time, I have done very little the way of training, but had certainly done lots of lounging, carbo-loading and other things.  This event was purely just for fun and since the organizers are such great people, this event always delivers a good time.

SWIM  0.5 mile (down current)  Time:  11:30 (1:26/100 yd--12th of 261 OA)

The swim is in the Columbia River and thankfully down stream.  I was lined up in the 5th and last start wave with the 40+ males and relay teams.  Air horn sounded and I took off like a shot.  I wanted to go all out for the entire swim.  I knew it should take me roughly 11 minutes.  At the start I was clearly in 1st or 2nd for my wave.  This was so cool!  There were about 60 people in this wave.  After about 150 yards I started getting really winded.  I figured this would happen, but then wanted to settle into a rhythm through the finish.  This plan was working fine until I started getting really dizzy.  Maybe it was the lack of oxygen or my heart rate at redline already or maybe not doing any high intensity swimming like this in several months???  I had to start breathing every 2nd stroke and force myself to concentrate on good technique and long, gliding strokes.

About 5 people got ahead of me on the swim before the finish and I felt that was still pretty good for me.

BIKE 12.5 miles Time 33:47 (22.2 mph avg--8th of 261 OA)

Ran up the beach to the transition.  My head was pretty dizzy, but I figured if I would run the dizziness out of my system this time.  Got to my bike and bent over to start taking off my wetsuit.  Immediately became very dizzy and almost fell over.  Finally got the suit off and bent down to put on my socks and shoes and again, almost fell over.  Woooo.  This doesn't feel too good.  Got my act together, helmet on, race belt, etc. grabbed my bike and headed out.  I was really, really dizzy.  Crazy.  Got to the mount line and took off pedaling.  Finally feeling a bit better.

I was not wearing my Garmin GPS this race.  I had on just a heart rate monitor.  I wanted to do this race more by feel than pace.  Glancing at my HR monitor and it was reading 155 which is about 10 beats per minute faster than any previous LTHR test!  I didn't care though, I was just going to go out and give it my all.  If I blew up, then I blew up.

Starting in the last wave can make a person fell like a rockstar.  As soon as I got on the bike, I started passing folks.  A lot of folks!!!  Catching the slower athletes in the previous waves, I passed them at Mach 2.  Sometimes passing groups of 3, 4 or 5 riders all packed together.  A biker would veer out as to pass a slower rider and I would come by on the double yellow line passing both riders while going a good 5 mph faster.  Whoooosh!!!!

The bike course happens to be along the same route where I did all of my bike tests during the race season.  So I knew the course very well.  I knew what to expect, and I knew how to 'go to my happy place' when I got tired or the pace got really hard.  I kept the power on the entire way and really didn't have any hiccups.  If this were a bike test, my training zones would have changed by more than 8 points!

Only one rider passed me during the bike and he just so happened to be in my age group.  I tried to keep up with him, but he really poured it on the last mile.  He was about 100 yards ahead of me coming into T2.

RUN 3.1 miles Time 25:50 (8:18/mile pace--73rd of 261 OA)

My transition time was pretty quick and I came out of transition right with the cyclist that passed me.  He was a much better runner though and took off like a jet.  See-ya!  I can run for a long distance at a slow and comfortable pace, but I have literally no speed.  I was never a runner and a fast pace for me is about 7:45 for short distances and most of my training runs are around 9:20's.

Running without my Garmin, I wanted to run as fast as I could the entire 5K.  Too often I am glancing at my pace and that usually throws me off and I find I can slow down too much.  Making bargains with my body and head thinking that I can kick it in the end or whatever.  But running on feel, I was going to just keep pushing and pushing.  When it got hard, I wanted to focus on form and mental toughness.

In my mind I did pretty well.  All of my recent training for Ironman has been mostly long and slow running.  Proper race-execution runs EN-style.  Nothing at threshold.  This was different.  Although I was getting tired, I felt I was able to keep the pace pretty well.  I would feel myself slow down and then I would concentrate on good form and fluid movements, and I could feel myself speed up and feel better.  My HR was way off the charts and I knew I couldn't keep this level for the entire distance, but what the heck.  It is just a sprint race.  It will be over soon enough.

With about a mile left, I was really getting tired and had to take about a 2 minute slower paced rest.  Then was able to kick it pretty good the last bit.  I cruised on into the finish feeling really good about my performance.

Based on my calculations, I figured I might have a chance at being in the top 3 in my AG (40-44).  But when they announced the top 3 male finishers overall, all of which were in my AG, I got that sinking feeling.  Ugh.  As it turned out, I got 6th out of 28 in my AG and 15th out of 261 overall!  That is the best finish I have ever had.  I also knocked 2 minutes off last year's time at this same event!  Woooo hooo!!!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Harvest Days 8K Fun Run Report

**Ironman Coeur d'Alene Race Report is still in development!!!  Stay tuned!!**

July 22, 2012
Harvest Days 8K Fun Run
Battle Ground, WA

Time:  42:58 (8:38/mile)

This is the first event since completing Ironman CDA June 24th.  Earlier this week I did a short jog of about 2.7 miles which felt weird at first, but eventually I relaxed and enjoyed the run.  The legs felt a bit wobbly.  Then the next day I rode my bicycle to work.  Felt good to be back in the saddle.  Legs were really tired after all that.

I had toyed with the idea of doing the half-marathon today, but decided to stick to the 8K (4.97 miles) to avoid injury. 

Started out nice and easy trying to just remain steady and focus on proper form while running.  First 2 miles were really easy with times of about 9:20 and 9:15.  Then I decided to step it up and make a good showing through the finish. 

From this point (about mile 2) I wasn't going to let anyone pass me.  I started picking off runners.  I would find a runner several yards ahead and then try to catch them.  Then after blowing by, I would pick another runner.  It was really awesome blasting by people.

Then at about mile 3.2 an old man goes blowing by me, just before we got back into the town of Battle Ground.  He looked like he had the same strategy as me.  He looked fast and in command of his race.  Ok--game on!

I tried to keep up with the old man but he was too fast at first.  As we cleared a hill, I noticed he wasn't going very fast down the other side.  I lengthened my stride and stretched it out, catching up to him.  I tried to stay close to his rear bumber and save some energy for the finish.

As we continued into town and with about 3/4s of a mile left, he started increasing his speed.  This is way early for me to kick it.  I might have about 4/10s of a mile kick if I am well trained but anything over that and it is pretty hard.  But I thought, "what the heck.  Let's do this!"  So I kept pace with the old man.  Just as I started gaining on him, he would kick it up a tick.  I would then answer with my own uptick.  We kept doing this over and over.  Both he and I were blowing by other runners.  As we rounded a corner with a lot of spectators, they could see that I was giving chase.  They cheered wildly.  This boosted my drive.

With just 200 yards to go we were both in a dead sprint.  I tried to focus on good form, arm pump, foot strike... everything I could think of to gain more speed.  But he matched my every move.  We cruised into the finish with him beating me by less than a second.  I congratulated him for an excellent race.

Whew!!!  OMG!  Finish time of 42:58 (unofficial) which crushed my previous 8K PR by 8 minutes.  What an amazing race!