Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Lorpeedo Update

IMG_0344 So this post isn't about anything but racing and training! 

I don't have any races for 2 weeks - but will be at the UVAS race in Morgan Hill, CA - home of Specialized bikes!  It's a short race - .5 mile swim/17mile bike or so and then a 4 or 5 mile run.  I think the last time I did it - I took 7 mins off my time - I might do that again. 

In the meantime I've been doing a lot of work on my intensity - swim, bike and run. 

The bike work has been at Endurance Performance Training Center where my coach Tim Flemming beats the snot out of me w/16x30 second efforts at 450+ watts w/1min recoveries. There's a bit of a break between the first and second half - but it mostly just prolongs the whole thing.  By the end I'm about as tired as I am at the end of a long race and then I get to do a mock T2 and go for a 30 min run w/ 10 mins of warm up (7:30 mile or so) and the 10 mins of tempo 6:30+ speed and then 10 of cool down (7:30 again). 

On Saturdays I'm doing a 3.5 hour ride each week where every 45 minutes I do a Z3 tempo for 15 mins followed by 2 mins in Z4 (currently 260-280w, then 300w).  By the time I'm done - I'm pretty beat.  Then the next day I get to do the same sort of thing but running for 90 mins - which is about 11-12 miles w/a 7:30 pace or faster (generally faster). 

I'm also doing some fartlek runs w/ 3-2-1 mins at increasing intensity Z3, Z4 and Z5.  By the time I get to the 1 minute I can't run any faster than my legs will go - so I must images of Ben doing these workouts and know that I can always squeeze a little bit more effort out.  I figure if it hurts really bad then it's going good.  I just hope that the guys I race against aren't pushing that last little bit.  I do this about 2x a week over the course of an hour run. 

Then there's swimming, where I think I'm getting faster but by the time we get to the 2nd half of the workout - I'm slowing down.  So I keep pressing.  But I did (along with everyone else in the 3 lanes I swim with) got spanked by a woman who was about 4 months pregnant.  I keep at it.  I did swim with a triathlon specific group when I was in Seattle last week which was nice - we got to do drafting and sighting instead of breast and backstroke.  I'll probably focus more on swimming freestyle - some of our workouts with masters might only be 50% freestyle and I'm barely adequate at that stroke. 

I'm also 2 weeks into a 6 week run focus - so I'm doing 32-35 miles which for someone with 2 kids, 2 other sports a full time job and a new company - it's plenty.  I do like getting in about 4 hours of running - it starts to feel like I'm making some progress and getting faster - so I'm anxious to keep at it. 

The last piece is our new company:  MaccaX.  We're finally getting that launched soon - at least the landing page is up!  It's a partnership with Chris McCormack, his agent Scott Fairchild (owner of Fairchild Management Group) and my friend Ian Charles.  The first part of this is getting Macca's personal site rebuilt - something Greta and I are doing in the wee hours of the morning or at night.  It's going to be the best site you've ever seen for a cyclist or triathlete.  We should have that done in a week or less.  Once that's up, we'll get MaccaX launched. 

MaccaX_logo_final (2)

If you want to learn more about MaccaX, here are some words from Macca on it:

"For those of you interested make sure you pop past the MaccaX site and register your interest. You will be very happy that you did as we are set to launch in a few weeks and those who register first will go into the draw to win some great prizes. It only takes a a few seconds and the new site is going to be a huge asset to many people out there who are interested in the things we do and some of the key workouts we use. I am really excited about our site and after years of getting feedback from thousands of athletes and what they are looking for, I am stoked to have a team around me that has the know how to build a site that will meet this huge demand without the extensive costs of some of the other information or coaching platforms."

For those who end up signing on with us, there will be tons of other great ongoing schwag from amazing companies like Zipp, Under Armour clothing and shoes, Orca wetsuits, Profile Design, Clif Bar, Specialized, Sram, etc.

We hope to have some athletes in Kona this year - hopefully Rhae Shaw and Erich Wegscheider will be there and do very well.  Erich is a very fast kid I met at the airport while we both waited for our Specialzed Transitions to be delivered off of the plane from New Orleans.  Not only is he a triathlete - but he's an Oregon Duck!  Check out his impressive results in only 2 years of racing triathlons and his blog.

Photo: this is a picture I took while going about 80mph while driving home from Disneyland a few weeks ago.  We were somewhere near Livermore, CA.

 

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

So I'm Not Handy Nor Am I Suicidal

There was a bit of blood.  But duct tape works on anything. 

I'm not really very handy.  I can come up with clever ways to fix things but not always great on executing them.  Like when BMW told me that they needed to replace my windshield washer pump for $300 because it was leaking - I believed them.  Then the car came home and it leaked.  A small bit of silicone and an adjustment of the clamp on the hose fixed it perfectly.

They also said I'd need to spend about $2,500 to fix the leak in the coolant system.  A $4.99 bottle of Stop-Leak seemed to work fine too.  Sonnen BMW is pretty much the worst BMW dealer in the world and they're staffed with morons.  But I'm digressing....

So when the plug on our Dyson vacuum cleaner broke I figured I could fix that. 

Instead of just cutting the old plug off and putting the new one on - I just HAD to tear it apart into small pieces using a brand new razor blade. 

Which was fine until it got stuck and I pulled and pushed it to get it out of the plug and zip it went.  Right across my sweat pants.

Which I stopped to look at for a second and saw how awesomely thick they were. 

And then my leg hurt.

And because I've cut arteries in my head, broke my neck, broke both of my legs many times, hands, cut the end of my finger off, and hit myself with a sharp axe in the shin before, I sort of knew when I'd 'done it'. 

This time I made a fillet out of my thigh. 

Luckily they're beefy and good looking. 

But the cut is about as long as a half-stick of butter (I've been doing some cooking lately) and it's about... well... a razor blade deep.  I could probably keep a CD in it if I needed to or I could use it to hold a very small half-stick of butter wide cookbook open while making muffins. 

But I didn't want to go to the hospital because they might put stitches in it and tell me not to swim or run or bike.  And because they (stitches) hurt. And because it would take like 6 hours to get it done and then have them removed at some point in the future.  OR, as I know from experience, they use this really sticky tape to seal wounds.  I had some pretty sticky tape.

So I used duct tape because I couldn't find my first aid tape (mostly because I ran out) and electrical tape doesn't stick well to skin.

At least the duct tape was clear. 

So It worked and I was able to run intervals this morning with the massive cut on my leg duct taped shut and I really didn't mean to do it and it isn't a cry for help. 

I'm fine and happy.

UPDATE: it's getting better but the tape didn't hold through master's swim - so I bailed at 50 mins.  I didn't want to do another 5x100 set anyhow. 

Saturday, April 25, 2009

2 Triathlons, 2 hours

image Last Sunday I decided to do 2 triathlons in 1 day and basically 15 minutes apart because I was there and neither were half ironman distances, so it wasn't a bad idea.

Last year I did the Ice Breaker Triathlon - a .5 mile swim, 13 mile bike and a 4 mile Xterra-style trail run.  Since I generally try to do a race 2-3 times - I was headed back for try #2.  They hosted a super sprint race before the Ice Breaker called the Baby Ice Breaker 200 yard swim (yes, 200), a 6.5 mile bike and a 2 mile run.  Race 1 was at 8am and race 2 was at 9am.  I looked at the results from last year and the winner finished the first one in 43 minutes, I could do that I figured and still have 17 minutes to get reset for race 2. 

I thought the race was 1.5 hours away but as I kept driving - I found out around 7am that it was still a good 20 minutes away.  Small panic but I was still ok. 

I got there but there was a line to pay for parking - actually 2 lines.  I went to the shorter of the two but didn't realize the guy at the gate was unable to do math very well.  It was $8 to park, I handed over a $20 and it took him close to 45 seconds to figure out that he owed me $12.  A new low for humanity or at least 1st grade math.

I got to the parking lot at 7:30 and got my stuff - now 'less stuff' than before (lesson learned at New Orleans 70.3) and raced over to the transition area.  They had a special area for people doing the first race- so I had my own rack! 

I still had to register, it was 7:40am - the pre-race meeting was called.  Medium-sized panic and run to registration. 

I got through quickly and had 10 minutes to go number my bike, get my transition set up and get to the water.  I finished in 5 minutes and still had a few minutes to get wet, warm up with a few strokes and get to the start line. 

I think there were 75 people or so and one very pregnant lady.  She said 'please don't kick me'.  Not the smartest woman I thought. 

Since it was small, there was one mass start - fun for only 200 yard swim. 

It started and I probably swam 225 yards including my 747-esque buoy turn.  The swim was so shallow, I think I swam 150 of it and ran the rest.  The run up to the transition area was about a quarter mile - so I went as fast as I could and passed just about everyone.  Getting to T1, I used the Ben Collins 2-step ITU style wetsuit strip and managed to get out on the bike 3rd - catching 1 and 2 in less than 1/4 mile down the road. 

The course was REALLY windy and hard turn after turn - most were blind and if there wasn't a turn, it was a short hill - just steep enough to have to change gears.  At one point I was flying around a sharp turn and some guy decided to ride the course backwards and we almost collided at about 30mph.  I gave him my customer feedback special which I'm sure went well with the soiling of his bike chamois.

I kept pushing and rode it into T1 - literally.  This is the only race I've done where you can ride in transition - which is sort of fun.  I got out onto the run only to see a wall of people standing on the road watching the bikers come in - blocking the entire lane. 

I forgot to mention that in my hectic morning - I dropped my number belt - so this meant I was going to just carry my race number.  So there I was, running out on the course holding my race number.  Sort of retarded.

I ran hard and after about a 1/2 mile looked back and so no one at all but kept pressing.  I got to the 1 mile and still didn't see anyone but kept up the same pace - maybe 6:40 or so.  I looked back a minute or two later after seeing the final 1/3 mile ahead and slowed down - seeing no one behind me.  I ran in and they almost missed me entirely - I had taken 5 minutes off the course record.  38 mins - another 2-3 mins wouldn't be hard to strip from this time. 

image I immediately shot under the rope and back to transition to change the numbers on my bike and reset transition.  The guy in 3rd place came in and asked me if I had completed the course because I had gone so much faster than the previous winner (not to mention him) - I assumed so, since I had done the race and told him so.  He said he never saw me pass him and I wondered if he had contemplated that he wasn't ever ahead of me.  He was also the only other guy doing both races.  I passed nearly everyone who beat me in the swim in T1.  Thanks to Ben for showing me how to get a wetsuit off without in record time.

The 2nd race started in a few waves, so I actually had a good 30 minutes to recharge and sit in the 60 degree water cooling off. 

My wave was #3 for the race - which started from the beach.  I got into a decent rhythm and swim about as straight as I ever have - but really not too fast.  I tried to go faster and faster but without a black line or wall to hit, I could only assume my effort was 'moderately hard' in intensity. 

I got out of the water and began the great chase to catch as many as I could on the 2 loop bike course.  I hopped on and got out pretty quickly.  I rode pretty hard but never felt like I got going very well - barely creeping into the 170's.  I was never passed by anyone and thanks to the loud rumble of my disc wheel- people got out of the way pretty quickly.  I finished up ok and moved out onto the run. 

Once one the run I passed runner after runner - only getting passed by 3 people on the whole run (pretty good for me these days).  I had intended to run in my Under Armour trail shoes but my regular UA Spectres worked really well on the off-road run course.  At one point there was a guy in front - maybe 40 yards ahead and out of no where- he goes up in the air and falls into a ditch on the side of the road.  He tripped on a flat, smooth surface.  I ran by - he didn't look hurt and began immediately adjusting his shoes. 

The run course was very sandy - both deep and sort of a lose covering on a trail.  I kept at it - but never feeling like I was going very fast - but was still catching other people.  I definitely felt better than last year - but wasn't digging deep, likely a function of having only done base efforts and having limited quality training of 3-4 weeks this year. 

I finished the race - with some good publicity for having already won the first race.  I ended up 5th in my AG - won by pro Jeff Pilland.  I won a really nice swim bag and 2 trophies - getting more kudos for doing both races and placing pretty well in both.

The guy who doubted my course-following ability was crushed by the way.

After the race - one of my readers Rik came up to me and introduced himself!  We chatted briefly before he got called to his awards - since he finished 5th in his AG.  Bravo Rik!  Always fun to put a face with a name.

I got home and gave the trophies to Sada -who immediately asked if I did a mountain climbing race?  I asked why and she pointed to the mountain (iceberg) on the trophy.  I explained it was an iceberg, not a mountain, and that I only swam, biked and ran. 

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Flight 300 to San Francisco: Turds on a Plane

The big joke when you fly and are from or have been to Seattle is 'how can you tell the flight going to Seattle' - the punch line is something along the lines of 'it's got the big pile of people who likely haven't groomed since they left Seattle a week ago'. 

It's mostly true. 

I think that many Seattleites look to the painting of the Last Supper for their grooming and fashion guidance.  Lots of fleece, wool, sandal/sock combo combined with a smattering of piercings (that generally look as if they said 'just pierce my face somewhere') and beards - this includes both men and women. 

Awesome.

I was in Seattle for 3 days and am now headed home.  I for a moment felt like the joke was now applying to my flight - sandals, scruffy looks and some long hair - but there's a guy in row 24, Seat B who takes the cake for the 'look' to envy.  It's a Ecko something warm up jacket, matching basketball shorts, short white running/tennis socks and black suede penny loafers.  He's white and maybe 30.  The shoes took it to a new level.  Black suede penny loafers and white socks.

I'm now learning a lesson - why no one sits in the last row by personal choice.

I'm in Seat 27 D - the 2nd smelliest and least pleasant place to be on a plane - only losing out by alphabetical sort order to Seat 27 C.  D as in dump, C as in crappy.

That's right - the toilets are right behind me.  Like less than a foot.

The flight took off nicely - until we pass maybe 3,000 feet and a lady comes flying down the aisle and stands at the bathroom door.  The flight attendants aren't even out of their jump seats.  The bathroom door is locked and the lady demands in.  It's explained to her that it's a bad idea but she can go in but only at her own peril.  I think the plane it tipping up around 15% - I consider doing hill repeats right now up the steep slope to first class and back.

Well, this lady out of her seat opens the proverbial floodgates for what the tolerance is for allowing the other eager beavers on board their turn on the 400mph commode.

Now stands an older, like 300 BC old, Chinese lady in full Chinese costume.  She's maybe 5' tall and had her feet bound in silk - cute as could be and apparently fan of the bean buns in her neighborhood.  It's ok, she'll probably outlive me. 

So she has to go but doesn't apparently understand a lick of the English warning she's getting about the fasten seatbelt being on and that she can't use the lavatory. 

Note: if you have to go, just pretend you don't understand English and they'll give up pretty quickly. 

Now comes her companion, a near mirror image of the first. Just different footwear.  She's the start of the lav line.

We still haven't crossed 10,000 feet at this point. 

A few minutes later....

We pass through 10,000 - the first lady, the one with the just-past-take-off emergency loo run - peeks her head out and tells the 2nd Chinese lady who doesn't seem to be understanding English and says 'you might not want to go in here'.  This alarms the flight attendant. 

She's over-pooped the system and the toilet won't flush and they have the door open and decide to throw water on it.  Meanwhile, I'm expecting the oxygen masks to fly down at any second. 

There's a beehive of activity trying to get 'it down'.  This I assume to be a massive poo.  I'm a dad and with a kid just out of diapers I'm familiar with the effervescence that is now killing me rather rapidly.

It won't and it's not.  The super plane toilet cannot digest the mythical creature. 

They give up and decide to declare the lavatory broken for the rest of the flight.

The lady sprints back to her seat, no joke, she ran.  I will try and shove her as we deplane later.  Assuming I'm physically able to walk.

I wonder why on a flight that is 1.5 hours long, why can't people just address these things prior to the flight? 

Now right before this work party concludes and with the 2nd panda-sized Chinese lady sort of wedged into the aisle, another lady comes roaring down the aisle with a giant glass jar - like a washed out jelly jar.  She keeps saying 'excuse me, excuse me' - it's got to be important because she's jamming her boob on my ear trying to get around panda #2.  Apparently she needs the giant glass jar filled up right now with warm or hot water.

Note: 10,000 feet is when you can turn on your iPOD, not get warm or hot water in a jar. Taking a Jurassic poo has to be somewhere around 33,000 feet or never. 

The fasten seatbelt sign is still on, I'm losing years off my life breathing Beijing quality air and the aisle has about 5 people in it, one with her mid-west sized bottom on my shoulder.  It's real soft.  I consider using it as a pillow. 

I'm in peril but hey, I've got an empty seat next to me. 

A few minutes later after all of this activity has cleared and gone, a guy who has been waiting for a lav door to open lets the flight attendant that he things that someone is in trouble in the lavatory because no one has come out for 10 minutes.  "No" she assures him, "it's out of order" but if it's job was to cut short the life of passengers in row 27, it's working just fine. 

It still stinks as we approach 33,000 feet and I'll never pick this row again even if it does have the only open seat next to it on the whole plane.  I'd rather sit next to Abel than die this secondhand smoke-like death. 

Another thing.  Just because you're waiting in line to get into the lavatory it's not ok to float one.  Don't.  No farts until you're behind the locked door please.  Even though our seat numbers are in the 20's does not mean we're not going to totally smell the air biscuit that just fired off 4 inches from our heads. 

I hope that if I don't make it, someone finds this post and hits publish. 

PS: In case you were wondering what any of this has to do with triathlons, well - I ran today.  Z2.  But it doesn't matter because I think I'm going into the light....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Rollin' Dirty: My date with a gangster and the law

So now that I'm committed to fighting the ticket I got while trying to get help from a cop - I have to go to court.  The court system is really streamlined in Marin.

Get a notice - appear in court at 8am.  I did. It only took 1 hour!

Wait in line to get a time to appear before a judge.  I did. But I had to wait another hour, a speedy trial right?  No. 

The clerk asked why I was there and what I was pleading.  I told her.  She told me that cyclists are really annoying and they run stop signs all the time and they ride in the road and sometimes you can't get by them in a car.  She said I probably deserved having the guy threaten me from his car.  I asked if it was ok to say he wanted to kill me, if running a stop sign made it ok to do that.  She said, well no. 

Racing Vineman 70.3 this clerk was not.  Eating at Claim Jumper at 5pm she was. 

I'm a jerk.

But with 2 hours of waiting in the courthouse what can you do - I tried to work but I somehow found myself next to a gang banger named Abel probably because his parents got the story mixed up - not because they hoped that he'd be, ...well...... 'able'. 

Note: the chances of sitting next to a gang banger who got in trouble with the law in Marin.... are lets say.... 'strong'.  Like 5 out of every 4 seats strong.

Abel wanted to know 'what I was in for' - I wanted to say for shooing a cop, but I said for running a stop sign on a bicycle.  He acted like he understood.  Don't forget that Abel is dressed as he would every other day - for comfort and to scare the hell out of white women and to intimidate other gangs.  I was wearing some alligator loafers, French jeans and a lovely white oxford and cashmere 1/4/ zip sweater.  We were ready to nail it.

Since I knew I wasn't going to escape a conversation - I tried to keep it relevant.  I told him I carried a gun when I rode my bike in Seattle because I was threatened so much on back-roads.  He wanted to know what I had.  It's an Intrec 9, sort of a knock off of a Glock 9mm except it doesn't have the muzzle flare of a Glock. 

He said he wanted the gun Samuel Jackson had 'in that movie' I didn't see the movie, but knew the gun.

Yeah, that gun is cool for scaring people but it wouldn't fit in my bike jersey I said. Plus it was heavy and I probably couldn't shoot it straight.

He wanted to know if I shot anyone ever.  No. Not that I remembered.

He said he girlfriend shot 2 people once, firing randomly into a crowd.  I said that was cool.  Sometimes crowds make you want to do that. 

He wanted to know where I lived.  Tiburon.

Oh yeah he said, I worked in Sausalito once (it's 2 towns over).  That's like asking if you've been to Europe and then saying you once watched Mary Poppins, I mean - it's pretty close.  But not really.

He wanted to know what phone I had.  I work for Microsoft I told him, so I have a Windows Mobile phone.  He said he wanted an iPhone. 

He then said he wanted a Playstation 3, I said, I have an Xbox360.  He wanted to know if I played a lot of shooting games, cause his roommate did.  I said no, with 2 kids I mostly just use the feature on Xbox that allows you to stream your Netflix videos.  I had to explain Netflix.  He thought it was a cool idea that you didn't have to go to the video store.  I also said I usually watch a lot of Disney princess related movies.  He had no idea what I meant. 

He then wanted to know if I had seen Afro Samurai.  It was full of killing and blood and guts.  Awesome I said. 

He said it was an animae film and for once in my life I said I loved animae. 

I don't. 

I hate it but I didn't want Abel to kill or jack me or do something that would have messed with my French jeans.  I live a sheltered live and watch MSNBC after 9pm sometimes to see all of those 'inside ______ prison'.  I'd last 2-3 seconds in a prison - or maybe I'd start a track team.  I just assume that if his girlfriend will fire into a crowd that the guy with the Windows Mobile phone is pretty much the easiest lunch money he'd ever steal. 

I pointed to the wall and said I could hit that phone jack with my gun.  He went back to telling me about that gun that Samuel Jackson had.  Man it would be cool to have that.  I said he could probably make a lot of people crap their pants but that he probably would have a hard time concealing it. 

I then made the mistake of telling him that I could carry my gun legally.

Loaded? Yes. Loaded.

How?

Concealed pistol license.  What?

Good lord.  I had done it. 

I explained.  I went into how states sometimes had reciprocal gun laws and that I could carry a concealed gun in a whole lot of states.  But that big silver gun - not easy to conceal.  Plus it was heavy.  I should have said how I voluntary went into a police station and got fingerprinted and registered with the feds and stuff.  But I didn't want to get into it.

This kept going for another half hour.  I know where he works, that he naps a work, that they sell all sorts of products for homes - like pipes and lumber.  If I needed any for my house, I should go there.  I explained I had a rental and was moving anyhow.  

Fast forward to 10am.  My time in court. 

Wrong.

30 other people had 10am.  They called 5 at a time. People with kids or who needed a translator went first.

It turned out most folks didn't have a driver's license, registration, insurance and they all seemed to be going well over 80mph in a 65 zone.  These people all had $1,300+ fines. 

The judge would only hear 'guilty' pleas.  'Non Guilty' meant you went in a different line AFTER seeing the judge and then you got a date to present evidence. 

I got into the 3rd group.  Still with 25 or so folks behind me.  I was the only person with a fine less than $800 - mine was $164 and I was the only one who had an infraction while on a bicycle.  I plead not guilty and I was done.  Except I had to go wait in another line. 

For 30 more minutes. 

Turns out Abel was supposed to do community service.  He had 2 years to do it but didn't.  He owed about $1,600.  The judge asked him what he was going to do.  He asked for community service.  The judge, like Judge Judy, railed on him for 10 minutes (I was waiting in line and had nothing else to do but witness this judicial wrath).  He ended up having 2 weeks to come up with the money or jail but they say it all nice like 'remanded'.  I still think that means jail. 

Note: you can pay off fines at $10 an hour with community service or spend a day in jail at the value of $100 a day.  I could have chosen jail for 1.64 days. 

Now on 5/18 at 2pm I have my day in court.  4.5 hours later.  I saw Abel leave.  I did feel bad, but he did have 2 years to come up with the money or do the service. 

I won't even go into the guy who was 35 who was wearing the FBI sweatshirt who rode his BMX bike to court because he couldn't get the court to reinstate his license - he owed $900 for 2 years.  I would have spent less money on hair product and more on paying the fine.  Then again, he did look like his hair hadn't even been touched by the wind. 

I also learned that fighting a ticket by saying 'I didn't think I was going that fast' does not work one bit.  But I saw 3 people try it.  I thought for sure the judge would have been worn down by that one.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Lessons From New Orleans 70.3

You'd think that I would have learned a few lessons and retained a few things by now - but no.  I'm thick or forgetful.

IMG_0098 IMG_0049IMG_0064 IMG_0092
  1. Don't mess with my sleep.  VIP party - fun, but it messed with my sleep.  I also forgot my Tylenol PM and slept less than 6 hours total in the 2 days before the race.  Dumb.
  2. Look at the race map and check for where the support will be.  I was looking for water on the run course at about mile 1 and found out these were placed every 1.5 miles or so and there was no coke or sponges.  When you sort of expect these things - not having them gets in your head. 
  3. My wife took a Tylenol PM and slept right through the morning and never wished me good luck.  I was worried about her - because it wasn't something I'd imagine would happen, so I actually worried about whether or not they were safe instead of focusing on my race.  Never underestimate how much 'good luck' means to someone racing.
  4. Less stuff.  When we picked Macca up, he had a small plastic bag with food, a wetsuit, goggles and sneakers.  I had 300lbs of stuff.  He finished 2nd, I barely finished.  Wasting time on all of the 'stuff' is energy I could have focused on getting everything else 100% right.
  5. Arrive early.  It was hot and humid.  I could have stood to get there 1 day sooner and spend more time outside in the heat and humidity. 
  6. Fix what is broken quickly.  I spent over a month hoping to get over a bad cough.  It took another month getting antibiotics to work.  I could have just got it fixed right away and not wasted another 6 weeks hoping to heal up.  When on antibiotics, heal up then train - 3-4 days off are better off doing nothing instead of 21 days doing a little. 
  7. Know where to go.  I figured there was one Marriott in New Orleans.  I also figured it was called the Sheraton.  I went to a lot of Marriotts and a Sheraton.  Had I just printed out where to go, I would have saved energy and time getting to the right place. 
  8. Stay in the race hotel.  I thought it was pricey so I stayed in a decent place that was cheaper - I should have just stayed at the host hotel with a roommate.  A lot of time and energy were spent driving back and forth.
  9. A flat race means a lot more pedaling and less rest.  I under-estimated the course and paid for it. 
  10. Since I always struggle to get my season going with consistent training until Jan/Feb - don't sign up for a race in late March or early April.  Do some sprints or Olympic distances first - get the cobwebs out and do something in May - Honu or Florida 70.3 sound pretty good.
  11. Stay in the moment - stay in control of the car.  Advice from Macca on race morning for when I hit a bad patch. 
  12. There are 3 legs and one of them might not be perfect.  Move on.  I thought I had a bad swim but for me, it wasn't.  The course was a tick long and the extra 2 mins or so it took threw me off and made me think I had a bad swim. 
  13. Drive the course at the same time as the race.  People swam in the lake at 4pm and said it was brutal.  Well, the winds blow hard then.  They don't in the AM - but driving the bike course I stayed in the car.  I should have got out and at least checked to see what it felt like outside.  Maybe I should have just taken a nap.
  14. My coach wanted me to keep my HR low, but it was windy and hot - so I didn't feel like I was racing and lost some mental momentum letting folks go instead of marking them.  I was more worried about racing to a number rather than racing.  I'll likely go by more 'feel' next time and push myself to race.  I'd rather blow late in the run physically rather than blow mentally on the bike.  My HR at New Orleans was 10 beats lower than Vineman.  It was 20 beats more boring. 

Some other things:

  • Pros eat crap after a race too.  Macca got a #9.
  • Continental Airlines was awesome to fly.  They over-charged me on the way out by $25 and the lady refunded me the money.  They were 100% on time for all 4 flights - I even got some 'food' sitting in coach. 
  • Say hi to everyone in the airport carrying a bike, you never know who you'll meet.  I met http://bengreenfieldtri.blogspot.com/ and http://erichwegscheider.blogspot.com/ and then http://brianfleischmann.com/.  All really nice guys - I'll likely end up working with all of them (I have with Brian already) at some point during the year.
  • Scott, Ian, Macca and I launched http://maccax.com  - more on this in the next few weeks.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

New Orleans 70.3 The Novel – Part II

It was race day – finally.  I didn’t get to sleep until midnight and slept maybe 2-3 hours best.  I mulled over taking a tylenol PM the night before but probably should have done that both Thurs and Friday instead…

We were scheduled to give Macca a lift to the race at 5am – so we got our stuff together and headed over to the hotel to get him.  What I was surprised to see is how little junk he brought to transition.  I saw a pair of flats, some food, water and a wet suit – no bottles of sunscreen, tubes of anti chafing cream, or any of the other junk we age groupers bring. 

Lesson 1: less is more = less to carry and less to worry about

Got to transition, got marked and began off-loading my junk.  At about midnight before the race Marc sits up and yells – then he asked me – hey did you get a timing chip?  No.  I figured we’d deal with it in the morning –turns out, we got our timing chips about 2 mins before hopping into the water.

I didn’t warm up – because I had just walked 1.2 miles.  Why?  Well, they were running shuttles from T1/T2 to the swim start – but with 3,000 athletes trying to get to the same place at once – there wasn’t enough buses.  So they said, walk it.  So I did.

Oh yeah, they had 15 toilets in T1/T2.  The other 30 were at the swim start. 3,000 athletes, 15 toilets.  Sweet.

Got into the water which felt perfect – went to the front on the far left and went.  The swim was along the waterfront – which sort of meandered, snake like.  I tried to swim as straight as possible and around as many folks as I could.  I never once stopped and never got boxed behind anyone.  I passed a lot of folks and didn’t feel like I was passed by too many others.  My best swim ever – except the last 10 mins or so my left arm HURT.  Below is a chart of my HR in the swim.  You can see where T1 was. 

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On the run up into T1 there was this blue carpet over the sand (not sure why we couldn’t run on sand) – I hit a bit of a hole and tripped, smashing my toenail and bending my toe.  It hurt and there was instantly blood spurting.  Cool.  I wasn’t last in my division – but around 33rd percentile.  About 7 mins off my estimated time.  Crap.

I got to the bike, put on the loaner helmet and got out onto the bike.  The race plan from my coach was to go EZ.  I usually go hard and die on the run – so I was supposed to keep it in Z2 and rarely could I go over 158.  I settled in and felt ok, but not great.  There was a light tailwind – but nothing helpful.  I cruised around 23mph and passed through 40k in 1:06.  It was hot and by about 50k I had finished 2 bottles of water/food.  Then we hit the turn around and went smack into a headwind.  This headwind lasted for the next 40k.  In the chart below you can see where we had some short climbs over bridges (around 15 mins) and then when I hit a headwind section around 32 mins.  You can then see where I turned into the wind at 1:27 and where the suffering began. From 1:27 until the end I went from 23mph avg to 21.4.  It was so windy that sitting 6 inches behind someone’s wheel wouldn’t do any good. 

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Lesson 2: a flat course means a lot of pedaling and a good chance of wind.  Be sure to do some long efforts on the bars.

Below you can see my HR for the bike:

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By about mile 50 I was pretty cooked – in both spirit and in body. 

I finally got into T2 –never happier to start the run, that was until I started running.  I felt ok and immediately began passing guys even at the sloth-like pace I thought I was going. 

We ran along the water – sort of in the middle of nowhere – fully exposed in the hot hot sun and wind.  Around the 3.5 mile mark I felt pretty bad.  The heat and sun were getting the better of me and my mind left the race.  I grabbed some water and Gatorade – took a quick restroom break and figured I could settle down and collect myself and get back into the race. 

It didn’t help. 

I ended up walking and running the next 7 miles.  My foot hurt from smashing my toe and I was compensating for it and ran a bit awkward which put my left hamstring into fits. 

It turns out I wasn’t the only one.  Out of 300+ men, I was 95th – with mostly WALKING.  Out of 3,000 competitors, I was 509th.  It wasn’t easy.  Ben Greenflield also had a similar run – so I wasn’t the only one beat down by the sun and heat and wind. 

Some thoughts about the run:

  • They had aid stations every 1.5 miles.  They should be every mile in a warm place like that. 
  • There were no sponges and I didn’t get any ice until about the mid-point – maybe it was there in earlier stops but I didn’t see it.
  • No coke.  I’ve never done a race that didn’t have flat coke.  Shame on PEM. 
  • The race course was point to point – making it hard to have spectators along the way.  There were times where it was pretty desolate and I hated that. 

I finished up by running the final 5k of the race.  Mentally I didn’t want to finish by walking.  I wish I had that resolve sooner in the race.  Below is my HR from the run.  You can see I started off and just fell apart about 30 mins into the run. 

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The finish line was historic and the last 800 meters were packed with people – but nothing like I’ve seen at Timberman or Oceanside.  After the finish Scott and Macca were waiting for me.  I also caught up with Marc who suffered a similar fate as Ben and experience death at miles 8-13.

Below is the bike course – which runs along the very boring coastline of the lake that flooded New Orleans.  I noted the area that was destroyed by the flood – but based on our trip – most of New Orleans was impacted.  It reminded me a lot of seeing Yellowstone after the big forest fire – a lot of dead trees there and no life. 

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Lesson 3: run more.  run in a tough environment  - like on a treadmill where it’s as tough mentally to do the work as it is physically.

Lesson 4: read about the on-course nutrition support and plan for it.  I should have known where the 3.5 mile mark and known there weren’t sponges and Coke. 

I’ll conclude my race report soon.

New Orleans 70.3 Race Report - The Novel, Part 1.

Part 1.  Is there anyone here?

I went to New Orleans on Friday - flying Continental for the first time ever.  There were 100% on time and nice and although they didn't smile and they did over-charge me by $25 on the baggage - it was pretty durn pleasant.

I got there and caught up with Marc Mallott aka and now known as 'Yung Mahk' - now made famous by Macca.  It sounds better with an Aussie accent. 

We hauled about 300 lbs of stuff through the airport to the Dollar Rent a Car bus waiting area.  I now know why it's called Dollar, because that is how much they spend on their airport shuttles. 

We waited like 20 mins.  Next to Vern and Millie Drucker from Omaha. 

Then it showed and then people started asking what was in the cases - bikes. Then the lesson I now know well and have taken to heart - people LOVE to talk about every single nugget in their life as it relates to triathlon.  Turns out Vern's son had signed up to do the race but crashed his bike (a ride on some new clipless pedals was the culprit) and broke about 6 ribs.  I could have only been so lucky.  They were in town to watch the race anyhow - they had their tickets and hotel and car, so they were going to watch - along with 32 other people in New Orleans, not including the 5,203 police officers. 

In order to get our car first, I jumped out of the shuttle and asked Young Marc if he'd kindly get my stuff off too.  I think I got off before he could say no thank you.

By the time we got our sweet ride (a black Jeep Commander), we were going to miss out on Macca's talk.  Little did we know that we'd end up spending more time with the World Champ than we could have imagined. 

We headed into the city to the Marriott to meet up with Scott Fairchild (Macca's agent and I are cousins sort of through like 2 marriages - I think this makes us pretty much not related but we've had Thanksgiving together) and Macca for a quick hello. 

I thought the Sheraton was the race hotel, found it and then went inside only to find some sort of art convention.  Then Scott said it was the Marriott which was luckily across the street except after we got there we found out there were about 32 other Marriotts in New Orleans.

About 30 mins later we found the right one and found the boys.  Said quick hellos and checked into our hotel a few blocks away.

For Friday night we split up and I went to an event with Chris Tremonte, Ben Greenfield and as it turns out the ever-present Aaron Scheidies.  You'll see in the picture that Aaron doesn't look at the camera because he's mostly blind but you'd never know it.  After the event Ben who had just met and chatted with Aaron had no idea he was blind he just thought he didn't like looking directly at people.  The night ended pretty early - about 9 or so (7pm for me based on the time change) and I went to bed, except I must have laid around for 4-5 hours before falling asleep.

Me and Aaron at the party on Friday night. Beer: free.  Water: $1.

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Aaron's bike. I think this is the bike Ben and Aaron rode on their World Record for a sub 2 hour Olympic race.
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On Saturday we hit registration and got our stuff - then went out for a short run and bike.  The 3 things I noticed were that it was hot, humid and really windy.  Like really windy. 

Here's my baby that had to get checked into transition on Saturday.
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So fast, at least so fast looking.
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Since we had a little time to kill, Marc and I drove some of the bike course out into the swamps of New Orleans.  We found that it was pretty desolate and empty.  Katrina really cleaned the place out and in some parts for miles it felt like driving through a ghost town.

The Relax Inn.  It was really open - no joke but you would have thought it was scheduled to be torn down.  Not a single person there.
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This was a part of a massive apartment complex that was abandoned.  Empty.  Nothing there.  No gangs, no nothing around.

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You might be able to see this lot where some guy is fishing in the swamp.  A lot of people actually fish in the swamps. 

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Part of the bike course.  So flat and so windy. 


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Hey look, more flat, more windy and more swamps.  They did warn us of gators in case you stopped for a flat.  Always makes for a quick wheel change!
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I was going over 50mph when I took this - but some guy built 'part' of a  castle for his home.  The King of this castle drove a Chevy Truck.
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The new building code now calls for houses to be on 16 ft. stilts.  No joke. 
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This scene is pretty typical of what we saw.  Some pretty areas and then something abandoned.
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We met up for dinner - which also happened to be Macca's birthday in a great little Italian place.  About 2/3 of the way through dinner a kid about 10 or so walks up to Macca about as nervous as a kid could ever get, he introduced himself and asked if he could have his photo taken.  It turns out the restaurant was full of triathletes who all wanted a shot with him as he left the place -so we waited outside. 

Here's Macca, me, Scott, and some folks from Under Armour. 

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Young Marc with Macca.  You'd never guess which one lives in Baltimore.
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The hotel and the streetcar that rumbled by every few minutes on St. Charles Street. 
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Me and Scott Fairchild.

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Macca showing off his new Zipp sweater.
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Scott, holding the new company we started in his hand!
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The second part of our evening was then spent getting some pre-race drinks (Red Bull) and then back to the hotel to start our new company.  As Macca paid for his drinks and water at a small package store he said something to the cashier who was Indian who then busted out with 'heeeeeeeey Crocodile Dundee!  That was sort of funny. 

We then went to the room where we signed our LLC agreement which officially starts MaccaX, LLC. 

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More about this in a few weeks. 

The other not so funny part was that in his attempt to catch a connecting flight Macca left his helmet on the plane.  Lucky for him, I had the same helmet except that was my race helmet and it quickly became his race helmet - it isn't something you can find on the shelf at your local store and the shop that was supporting the race didn't carry Specialized stuff.  I figured it was about as fast as my helmet would ever go in a race, so I handed it over and they hooked me up with a loaner Louis Garneau 300lb aero behemoth.  I also have both Scott and Macca to thank for just about everything I have related to triathlon - from bikes, to wheels, to wetsuits, to race kits and so on - so this was sort of the least I could do. 

More later.... 

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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Triathlon and Running Shoe Seminar for Kindergarten

Today as part of my daughter's 'Student of the Week' program - I was her 'special' talent or hobby.  Really, her special talent is running or playing Barbie or drawing stick figures or leaving her clothes all over the house - but we figured for this talk, it would be a talk about triathlon and running.

I took public speaking courses and even won prizes - usually falling 2nd behind Mitt Romney's son and my friend Matt.  If you finish second to the son of a Presidential candidate and former Governor of Mass, then you're still pretty solid.  So I figured I'd be ok with a room full of 5 year olds.  Wrong.

My idea: introduce triathlon - and then focus on running because every kid knows what running is. Show off the fancy bike, a wetsuit, some medals, my shoe collection - figuring they'd like to see all the different KINDS of shoes I have, and the following up with some nice freebies from Profile Design and Under Armour - water bottles, stickers and tattoos.  Lastly, I'd share how Sada also runs much better than she bikes, that she can run a mile and how she finished the Timberman 70.3 race with me - the highlight of my entire triathlon career.  She really is awesome at running. 

I introduced the sport of triathlon - asked a few questions and got fewer answers. 

One kid saw the water bottles.

Question: what are those for?

Answer: for you afterwards - I also have tattoos and stickers for you.

Small eruption of 5 year olds excited about something free! 

Back on track....

Here's my bike, it's fancy, blah, blah, blah.... anyone have any questions about the bike:

Question: why does it have 4 handlebars?

Answer: I demo braking and shifting on a TT bike.

Question: how many stickers do we get?

Answer: one of each (I really left a big pile for them)

Question: why does it look funny? (the bike)

Answer: (Not mentioning the kids 2 missing front teeth nor their striped pants and polka-dot top) Well, it's for racing fast, I've gone over 40mph!

Lots of wow and then comments like "my dad goes fast in the car".

Question: Do we get to keep the water bottles?

Answer: yes.

Now I pull out the running shoes.

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I show trail shoes, cross country racing flats, motion control shoes, 3.9oz racing flats, 7oz racing flats, neutral shoes, shoes made for barefoot wear, etc...

A spider happens to crawl out from a shoe (I don't wear them all) and I sort of scream like a little girl and squish it - immediately getting a response...

Question: what was that?

Answer: a spider

Question: can I see it?

Answer: no, it's a bit flat now.

Question: can I see it?

Answer: no, it's all smashed and flat now

Question: can I see the smashed spider

Answer: no, now here's a shoe that has a really rugged bottom...etc...  phew, escaped that one.

Question: Do you have any other colors of shoes?

Answer: yes, but I only brought 7 different shoes, most colors are probably represented here. 

Then I got into Kindergartener mode:

Did you know that Sada's name was on these shoes (Nike ID)?  WOW - let me see.. (show class) and that her mom hates these shoes because they're the ugliest thing she's ever seen?  More wows and giggles. (see orange shoes in above photo).

What happens if you don't wear socks with sneakers I ask: Blisters (excellent answer)..... what else? I ask.... "smelly feet!"  YES!  I went on to tell them the shoes I was wearing smell like Doritos inside.  They do. 

Then, the highlight of the whole thing: my medals.

These were mostly just finishing medals, you know the ones people wear for sometimes hours after an event.  They didn't care a lick what they were for - but they were gold, silver and bronze medals.  They loved these things.  Sada got a finishing medal after the Timberman race and she is almost a year later - still reminding me that she beat me running and the it's her medal.  If only I had brought in my 30 lb track champion trophy from car racing I won a few years ago.  I'd be close to Easter bunny hero status.  But that stays in the garage and it is like 30lbs and I wasn't about to carry it anywhere.

Here's Sada finishing the Timberman 70.3 with me.  The new policy for these and Ironman races will no longer allow people to finish with their kids.  I'm glad we were able to do this. 

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So at the end of the whole thing - kids got a few mins each to come over and look at stuff more closely - they all wanted to try on the medals and of course - get their water bottles, stickers and tattoos.

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Wednesday, April 1, 2009

New Orleans 70.3 Preview

AN EVENT LIKE NO OTHER IN A PLACE LIKE NO OTHER: Join us from Jackson Square for what promises to be one of the world's best Ironman 70.3 finishes in this prestigious international series.  This inaugural running of the Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans will take athletes from the shores of Lake Pontchartrain past historic City Park through  the streets of the French Quarter for a beautiful finish in world-renowned Jackson Square. Join us in New Orleans for a very special weekend. Ochsner Ironman 70.3 New Orleans — let the fun begin!It's not really a race preview - but more of a Lorpreview, a preview of my race.

I've been listening to Motley Crue, Def Leppard, Ratt and curiously enough The Cure in order to get ramped up.  Please hold your judgment - for those of you who teach spin classes, George Michael should never be in a music rotation.  My coach uses The Grateful Dead, so I know what it's like to suffer with bad music in a spin class.

The New Orleans course is dead flat, I'm guessing the swim might be the most difficult terrain of the day.  I'm actually REALLY excited for the swim this year - I figure with the weeks and months of master's swim AND a wetsuit to keep my rear end up - I should save myself 5 mins or more over previous races.  This means I can relax a little on the bike and save some for the run. 

On the bike at Oceanside last year I went from 244th in the swim to 101st at the end of the bike.  Overall I went from 1,271st to 440th - hopefully I won't have to make up this sort of deficit and will come out closer to the front of the group and can then really have a solid 13.1 mile run.  If there's a Dairy Queen at the end of the run, I might be even more motivated. 

My coach has asked me to scale way back on my effort - riding in Z2 instead of Z3 and then slowly ramping up in the run.  This means I should have about a 2:30 ride (22.5mph or so) and can then shoot for a sub 1:35 half marathon (somewhere around a 7:05-10 pace or so).  It's all doable - race day always throws in some surprises.

This year I'll also be taking in most of my calories through my drink instead of the gut churning gels. 

Here's what I'd like to do:

  1. Qualify for World Championships 70.3
  2. Execute  a perfect race, not race perfect but no mistakes
  3. Swim 35 mins or faster
  4. Bike 2:30 or faster
  5. Run 1:35 or faster
  6. Smoke the transitions (I lollygag a bit in the longer races)

That's it.  I suppose I should have fun.  I will, I've got a VIP dinner with some friends, I'll be getting our LLC documents signed with 2 business partners and will get to meet some longtime acquaintances and some new friends.