Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Timberman 70.3: When You Get Passed by a Power Walker

timberrun I did the Timberman 70.3 last Sunday.  I did it last year and vowed to never do it again.  I should stick to my vows. 

As I got up at 3:35am to get ready for the race, I didn't see it coming.  One would expect to see a wall of mediocrity and crap before it hits them, but I think it was too dark out.

I did just about everything right - went for a little course walk before the race, did a warm up swim, ate right, etc... I think the only thing I didn't do well was asking for a refund. 

The swim start was delayed by a car accident which took a handful of state and local troopers away from their course marshalling duties - so we had to wait about 20 mins or so, which seemed fine to me - it gave me a good 30 mins to pee in my wetsuit, that was until Chrissie Wellington on behalf of the Blais family sprinked some of Jon "The Blazeman" Blais' ashes into the water.  Chrissie did that before the race, gave a small speech and somehow remained composed and then kicked the crap out of everyone. 

I don't know why women even show to races when she's going to be there.  It's got to be intimidating - she even looks fast in person. 

The swim start was good, until it actually started.  I started at the front, like in bike racing - if you go to the front before a climb you can slowly drop through the field - instead I slowly get clobbered but don't give up 50 hard earned yards just to start at the back.  The water was shallow - about half the pro's ran until it was nice and deep - so I did the same.  Then RIGHT as a dove in, I got a mouthful of water.  I was like 'who actually has ever drowned while running in water?' - I was close to the first ever. 

I swam about as well as I've ever swam and found a pair of feet to sit on through the melee.  They were friendlier feet than the ones that kicked me in the eye.  I swear one time I'm going to bite someone's foot during the swim.  I tried passing the feet a few times but each time I determined we were going about the same speed, so I would hop back on and enjoy the 30% less effort.  I sort of hit his feet a lot, hopefully he was more like the racehorse type that would go faster instead of kicking like a baby.  He was the former, so that was good. I swam the whole 1.2 miles on the same feet - which was nice because I then apologized to him for hitting his feet.  That was the last I'd see of Mr Feet. 

cheatNote: The water was super clear and tasty - so clear that I could see the bottom of the lake about half way back (maybe a .3 mile out?) - which was not good when some light waves kicked in which made the bottom move around.  It was the same feeling you might have after a night of hard drinking as you lay in bed with the spins.  I closed my eyes a little to avoid feeling bad.  When I did hit the ground it was covered in sharp rocks - so the 37:XX I saw when I stood up, turned to a 38 something by the time I gingerly got out of the drink.

I got onto the bike with no issues and started climbing right away - the course goes up for about the first 12 miles or so and then flattens out.  I rode within myself and hauled a lot of people in.  The pavement was spectacular on the course as well.  I didn't have a HR monitor on, nor any kind of computer that would tell me my speed, so I'd occasionally ask people where we were on the course.  I hit the 1/2 way mark at 1:15 which was fine.  I slowed down a few times just to save something for the run and kept that in mind - go easy and save it for the run.  I did miss a water bottle at one of the feed zones when the girl holding the water out turned around to talk to someone right when I went to grab it.  ARGH!

About 30 miles into the bike I caught up to 2 guys riding about 1mph slower than me but the 2nd guy was sitting about 2 ft from the wheel in front.  If we had been on a hill, no sweat - it happens, but it was dead flat and he didn't even try to pass.  I watched him for about a minute as I made my way to them.  Drafter!  I asked him 'why don't you just pass him' and he said 'because I don't want to'.  I provided my feedback in a quick and that is how I met athlete #741 Leonard Digiulian.

Note: I did learn that when you do provide feedback, make sure your number isn't 740 or exactly 1 away from the person you're providing feedback to - as there is a good chance you'll see them at the bike rack later.  Especially when they're 6 inches tall.  Luckily he can't bike or run for poo. 

More in a bit.....

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My Summer Vacation in NH

IMG_1332I'm taking a week vacation in NH where I grew up, specifically Greenland, NH.  The week ends after my Timberman 70.3 race - which should be fun since they're forecasting showers or thunderstorms but right now it has been perfect weather. 

It's been sunny, hot (85-92) and humid.  It is only AFTER Greta left today that my parents said 'oh, did you want an air conditioner for your room?". 

The week started with me arriving at 6am on Saturday after NOT sleeping a wink on the red eye from Seattle - and then ended around 1am after I went to my grade school reunion - which was MUCH better than a high school reunion because in this town, I went to school with basically the same 30 kids from kindergarten until we were seniors in high school. 

Facebook makes a reunion a bit less of an unknown because you know who has been divorced, tattooed, smoking, working for the grocery store since 1987, who loves extra helpings and who is happy.  Most folks fell into the last part.  I did learn a few things over the past few days:

  • 95% of everyone was recognizable although I apparently look slightly different and I'm guessing, quite stunning
  • at least 5 people asked about my calves, one person asked me what I thought of theirs.  I should have said 'hairy'.  But still pretty impressive. 
  • one kid who tried to pick multiple fights with me while I had a broken neck and was wearing a HALO type device (yes, he wanted to beat up a former quadriplegic) - ended up getting in a car accident, became paralyzed and died some time later.  That my friends is bad karma.  Also don't give me crap. Also don't try and pick fights with people who were released from the hospital only weeks ago. 
  • hot girls usually stay pretty much hot.
  • my wife actually was carded and then denied entrance into a bar, we're not sure if that's worse than getting kicked out (there's a story to this that she'll gladly tell).
  • there isn't a person in my family who can swim without some form of floatation. my next point is to lobby USAT and the WTC for a genetic swim handicap for all future races I do.
  • there isn't record released after 1994 that has made it into any of the radio stations here.  There isn't a since hour where you can't hear: Rush, The Who, Def Leppard, The Police, Guns N Roses, Journey, and Van Halen.  WBLM actually does a good job and is somehow one of the best stations I've ever heard. Like good books, the great music can be played over and over again. 
  • At dinner I actually heard Lionel Ritchie and Journey on Erik Rappolt's stereo.
  • There is no helmet law in NH, so around 95% of the people I've seen riding motor cycles are not wearing helmets.  This also goes for the handful of cyclists I've seen in 5 days.  No helmet.  Live Free or Die is taken to a new level. New Englanders, in more ways than one, are quite hard headed. 
  • My daughter wants to take karate to cut people's heads off, but only pirates who have swords, but really she said, nice people dressed up as pirates who had plastic swords.  I'm not sure where that got us. 
  • There is physically no end to when a kid 4-6 will get tired of being thrown into a pool.  Luckily suppertime pretty much works. 

Then I had to train a little and have had some good runs and rides on my old routes.  It's pretty flat here and despite trying to find all of the climbs, it's hard to go slow on the nice roads - most of my rides have been close to a 22mph avg.  Then runs have been at a decent 6:30-7:30 pace even with temps in the low 90's. I'm getting slightly used to it now.  I had a great open water swim along the coastline - I picked a point that seemed pretty ridiculously far away and then swam there and then most of the way back.  It was truly one of the best swim's I've ever had.  I also think I've seen the fewest number of athletes out - except for New Orleans/Paris/Amsterdam (all tied for =<1 person seen running). 

Below are some shots;

Piper in the pool with her ever present aqua jogging belt. She can run-swim faster than most kids can swim.  Pre would appreciate the miles she has put in so far.  Piper giving her opinion on the carousel at Storyland.  Sada and Piper in their pool attire.  I've never seen more 'pool condiments' on kids quite like what I've got here - aqua jogging belts, swimmies, goggles, snorkels, masks, swim noodles, etc...  The next one is sort of a trick: it's a new england hot dog bun.  The dinner we had at some good friends since I've know from the age of 6 and then lastly, the picture of our kids.  Not a bad lot, but I'm guessing mine are the fastest.

  IMG_1155 IMG_1264  IMG_1319

IMG_1342 IMG_1340 IMG_1347

That's it for now.  Going to sleep with some awesomely cool AC cranked all night. 

Friday, August 14, 2009

Jeff Gordon and the Under Armour Spectre II


California Fun Barbie: 'Hey Jeff isn't that the NEW UNDER ARMOUR SPECTRE II"

Jeff Gordon: 'it sure is pretty ladies, 'cept it's a neutral runner and it's faster than y'all are used to, I don't think you or the 48 car could keep up with me'

California Fun Barbie: 'that is amazing, how's the fit?'

Jeff Gordon: 'well, the Footsleeve is WAY better than the first version, did I mention I think the heal cup is even higher - giving me a solid feel when I'm running flat out, foot on the gas going into turn 3 and even uphill on those twisty turny road courses?'

California Fun Barbie: 'well, I can't stop looking at how hot that shoe is, it's almost as beautiful as the Lorpeedo's calves'

Jeff Gordon: 'ha ha, true ladies, true - but did you know that even off road, these shoes get tremendous grip, I threw away my old trail slicks- these babies HUG THE GROUND like a new pair of Goodyears'.

California Fun Barbie: 'that is awesome Jeff, where do you think a pair of pretty girls could get a shoe like that - I love to run fast, like a cheetah and those over-marketed Nike piece of decroded crap pizza cutters they sold me at the department store just seem to promote low road feel and a pair of troubled knees'.

Jeff Gordon: 'get yerself on over to and click 'footwear' and then 'running', they always have specials on their running gear'.


Monday, August 10, 2009

Lake Samish Triathlon

If you get a chance - do a race at a Lutheran Bible Camp.  There are more rest rooms than athletes and lots of hand sanitizer.  Yea-hoo Camp Lutherwood.   

Racing in the NW definitely has changed since I last raced here.  For a pretty small sprint race there were 230 people packed into a small transition - I think the last tri I was at in this area has <100.  I wasn't sure how many fast folks would show - but a few were there, assuming people with Cervelo's with disc wheels were fast.  Usually this is true, sometimes they're punks but most of the time this far away from a major city - they're there for business. 

I have been pretty tired lately - moving and getting settled into a new office and home hasn't done much for my sleeping - it's been pretty poor sleep and combined with a good training block - I've been pretty knackered.  I skipped doing the local crit on Thursday night in hopes that a easier 2 hour ride would do more for my legs and a 1 hour crit.  It sort of helped but not completely. 

image I got to the camp early enough to get the #1 bike spot in transition and got the basics set up. I'm still shocked by the number of things people have in transition - of course I used to bring EVERYTHING just in case and had a suitcase next to my bike - but not now.  Small towel, shoes, number and visor (even the visor is sort of unnecessary).  I saw people with 2 pair of shoes, beach towel, sun screen, water bottles, gels, bars, etc...

Normally I would have run 5k before the race -nice and easy but I had left a few things in the car (helmet, bike shoes) that ate up the extra time - I should have just kept running and cut it close but I didn't. 

I got into the water with about 10 extra minutes - where I waited instead of swam a decent warm up. Needless, the 'good' swim I had in me was frittered away and I came out of the water almost 6 minutes down on the leaders who swam 11-12 mins.  Sad because it was ONLY A HALF MILE SWIM.  Despite my prayers for a respectable swim, there was no extra help for the non-Lutherans in the water.  I should have back stroked and sang some of the unforgettable tunes from vacation bible school (why they call it school is beyond me - "hey kids, I know you're on summer vacation and all - but how about going to BIBLE SCHOOL?"  No.  Don't call it school. I never got the no out. I went and now know the songs).  Maybe that would have helped but I was too busy drowning horizontally.  I think I had the 75th best swim.  Can I even say that?

I had 14.75 miles (I think .5 miles were gravel road you had to run on barefoot, just as the Lord would have done!) to ride as much into everyone in front as possible.  I was on the bike and probably fidgeted with my shoes for 1 mile because of the rocks in my feet which were now in my shoes.  Then there was a little headwind, then I saw a guy who was at least 60 or more who was ahead of me (All men started together).   I had the 5th best T1. 

image I rode about as hard as I could but I left my race legs at Vineman.  No caffeine nor prayer nor taurine would be helping me today.  So I went from pushing as much as I could to recovering for a few seconds and then back at it.  I was a bit better towards the 2nd lap on the course and just flew - passing a pack of 4 guys riding team time trial style.  I made sure to pass them about as fast I could manage to show them that training beats cheating any day (unless that cheating involves a subway ride, in which case, cheating is faster).  I think I was going 30mph then and they were about 22mph.  Jerks.  I had the #2 bike, 2nd to the guy who won.

Then T2, which I'm good at - but the mount/dismount line that is normally there wasn't there when I left on the bike but suddenly is was there when I came back -so I went screaming across it and then got off the bike.  I probably had my fastest T2 in a long time - but not as fast as when I tied Macca at UVAS (the highlight of my triathlon career I think).  I had the #2 T2 time. 

The run started at the camp and went right up the steepest and longest hill I've ever seen on a run course ever.  Then the other side was even steeper (which meant I'd have the please of running up it on the way back) - so you couldn't really let it fly and coast out the downhill for fear of beefing it on the lose gravel and dirt.  I just ran a tempo I felt comfortable in - not the pace I do on the track, but ok for a half marathon pace - unfortunately, I was racing a 5k.  I saw the leader who still held his 6 minutes on me and a few other guys.  I was in 7th and saw one guy who was close enough to reel me in.  I picked up the tempo a little but the long and steep hill back would be the end of my 7th place and Mr. Skinny runner caught me with about a .4k to go.  (I realized these were K markers on the course when I went by the (1) at 4 mins and the (2) at 8 mins). 

I should note - that I raced (again) in my favorite shoes - they're tied for my favorite shoes of all time (a pair of pink/grey Nike Air Span II from 1989 - I also had them in grey/yellow) - my Under Armour Spectres.  I've got the 2nd version of these too - but really enjoy V1 still.  I ran about 2 miles in the before the race and another 2 after the race.  As far as running shoes go - Under Armour makes the best sole I've ever had for running on any surface.  They run best on pavement but I would use these in a trail race they get such great grip on the loose stuff.  I've tried Nike, Brooks, and KSwiss, off-road but UA are all superior - regardless of the model -they've nailed a killer tread and material.  I put Yankz in them - but nothing else.  With the footsleeve and the Yankz, they're comfy barefoot and super fast to transition into - I've had multiple top 5 T2's using these!

I finished in 8th - but got chicked due to the 1st woman finishing about 2 mins behind me on the course, she started 3 mins behind.  So besides being chicked, having the 19th fastest run and drowning while in the hands of the Lord - it wasn't great.  I had hoped to do better than a top 10 (top 5 would have been nice) and have a little swim confidence going into Timberman 70.3 in <2 weeks. 

I did get some free chicken after and I beat the average time by half an hour.  My mom never let me be average.  So there. 

Here's the pasty-legged drafting cheater.  Jesus forgives you but I don't.  He doesn't forgive your dumb race kit either.  Cheater.


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I Ran In Compressions Socks Today

I vowed I never would, then my coach said to.  Then at 6am today I did about 3 months later.  With shorts. 

As I went out the door Greta said in a very sleepy voice, 'you're wearing those?'.  As in those the meant my tall-white-kneecap-length socks.  I said, it's early no one will see.

About 50ft from our driveway, I run into Jilani riding his bike up the hill.  Someone saw.  It's ok, he was training with carbon wheels, which I deem as actually worse than compression socks in public.  But he said they were loaners so I approved it.  He said I ran like a girl, which is fine because I've been passed by a few so hopefully he was referring to Paula Radcliffe or someone fast like that. 

So aside of actually knowing the person who saw me, the run was one of the hardest I've ever done.  Some 4 hours later I'm still sort of hurting and was just able to eat.  Greta said I didn't look so good.  I felt worse.

I ran a warm up of 20 mins, then due to terrain - I ran tempo and after 45 mins I went into my intervals, so that I could run them on the flats instead of rollers (which I would be sure to have my hard efforts ALL down hill - which doesn't seem to be fair and the uphills be my recovery points - still unfair).  Then I did 5,5,4,4,3,3 mins alternating 10k race pace with half marathon race pace (or 6:30 mile to 6:50/7 min mile).  Then tempo.  Not blistering but not slow for being 180lbs.

It hurt but surprisingly, my calves and feet were 100% awesome.  The socks really made my legs feel better and as I had heard, they work incredibly well at protecting the feet from blisters and rubbing and other bad things.  I generally don't have issues unless I'm going harder than a 7:15 pace.  But even still, my feet felt perfect.

In short, they work.  Awesomely.  Because Under Armour doesn't make them - I had to get 2XU.  I think they were $35 or so.  Never pay retail either.