Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Less than 2 weeks

It is now less than 2 weeks until the Prairie Man 1/2 Ironman race. I had a personal best run of 12 miles on Sunday. My knee is holding up okay. Ran again on Tuesday night and felt smooth and pain-free. I am looking forward to beginning to slow down and taper a little bit. The race will be here so soon and I feel like I am ready but I'm worried that I'm not ready. The nutrition and hydration portion of the race is what worries me the most. I have one more long ride this weekend in order to work out the kinks. I will be glad when this race is over so I can spend a little more time with my girls. They have had to share me with the bike,pool and road lately. Final Month totals for August: Swim 20,000 yds, Bike 450 miles, Run 80 miles.

Monday, August 15, 2005

What a weekend!

I had one of the best training weekends of the season. I met up with my usual training group (Jason, Ed, Kyson) at the lake and we started out with a 30 minute open water swim. Watch out for the hydrilla! For anyone not familiar with this stuff, imagine rough seaweed that lurks about 12 inches under the water. If you drift too close to the shore it tangles around your legs and arms and can be a bit of a shock.

After the swim we headed out for a 70 mile ride. Little did we know it was the 13th of August and Ed has had bad experiences on this day in the past. So of course he blew a tire 2.5 miles into the ride. Then the winds kicked up and were in our face for the first 10-12 miles. We drafted each other but still only maintained about 18-19 mph. The turnaround was much needed and the 26-27 mph on the next 10 miles was a welcome break. Kyson and Jason sped off at 30+ mph while Ed and I hung back and conserved a little energy for the rest of the day.

We did our standard hills including "The Wall." That climb has got to be every bit of 35-40 degrees of incline. It is short but brutal. If you are not careful you can lose traction on your rear wheels. There is no sitting down for this one. We have yet to see a car drive up "The Wall."

The curse of the 13th struck as Kyson had his rear derailleur break at about mile 55. We made the decision to cut the ride a little short and head back to the truck in order to pick him up. Total distance rode 62 miles. Afterward, enjoyed a great bacon cheeseburger with crispy fries (Ed and Kyson will only eat very crispy fries).

Overall, I felt good on the ride. I did not push it too hard and rather chose to concentrate on my nutrition and hydration strategy. I was able to consume 250-280 calories per hour. That should be enough to get me through the bike portion of the 1/2 Ironman an onto the run.

Speaking of running, Kyson and I ran 10 miles on Sunday morning. It was by no means fast but we did maintain a steady pace. The heat and humidity were unbearable. My shoes have still not dried out from all the sweat. The best news is that my knee did not flare like it has on other long runs. This is the first time I have run 10 consecutive miles. My plan is to repeat a 10-11 mile run two more times before the 1/2 Ironman race.

Distance for the week:
Swim 7500 yards
Bike 110 miles
Run 23 miles

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

River Cities Triathlon

This past weekend I traveled to Shreveport, LA to compete in the 25th annual River Cities Sprint Triathlon. It is known as one of the best races in the South because of the great race packet they give out. This year was no different. For my $80 entry fee I received a backpack, Camelbak style water pack, running shirt, sunglasses, flip-flops, hat, and some other small items. Not too shabby. The race had 1200 competitors and the online registration filled up in about 4 hours if that gives an idea of its popularity.

The race itself went quite well and I am pleased with my performance. We were a little late arriving at the race site due to traffic (and getting lost). Once I made it I got my bike racked in a great location on the end and near the entry/exit for both the run and bike. It was assigned racks so getting there late had nothing to do with my location. Then I went around and found my friends and training partners from Dallas. I even ran into a guy from high school whom I hadn't seen in 14 years! It's amazing how many people I have run into from my past at these races.

The Swim: 750 meters in a brown-water lake. My race top (usually white) is now a nice shade of tan. I coulnd't find a good rhythm on the swim. My total time was 13:39 which is good but I should have been about 1 minute faster. I had Swimmer's Ear the week before the race and only got in the water one time in the preceeding 10 days. The best part of the swim was the inflatable shark fins they had placed out on the course. Good and humorous.

T1: You had to run up the beach to the transition area. The guy in front of me kicked sand in my face and eyes as he sprinted up the hill. Thanks alot you bully. I got my socks and shoes on relatively fast. I wish I didn't have to wear socks but my feet blister so easily. If I could avoid socks and put my shoes on while I rode I could save about 25 seconds in transition.

Bike: 18 miles on rolling hills. Total time: 48 min 51 sec. My overal bike speed was 22.3 MPH. I still can't quite make it 23 MPH. Maybe next year. Maybe with a new set of wheels! I felt good on the bike and was able to drink an entire bottle of gatorade and eat a Hammer gel. I think this helped on the later parts of the bike and the run. I passed some guys on amazingly expensive bikes ($4-5000). It always feels good to pass those guys on my "off the rack" bike. Hard work on the bike this summer has paid off. I was chasing one my training partners (Jason) but could not quite catch up to him. He averaged over 23 MPH for the course. Some guy behind me crashed on one of the final turns. What a horrible sound he made as he skidded across the pavement. I saw him afterwards and he looked horrible. Mostly just road rash but his arm was in a cast.

T2: I had a good transition from the bike to the run. My shoes went on quickly and was out in just under two minutes. My legs felt great...at first.

Run: 3.1 miles. Total time: 25min 5 sec. Well, the run has gotten me again. I felt strong for the first mile and then my legs felt heavy and my stride slowed considerably. I really don't run well at all. You would think with these Big Bird legs I could just cruise, but no such luck. I finished strong the final 1/2 mile but my overall pace was just over 8 minutes per mile. I would really like to have a Sprint race in which I average 7:25 per mile. Maybe next season.

Overall, I am pleased with my race. I placed 29th out of 130 in my age group and about 160 out of 1200 overall. I have made good strides since last year. More importantly I am having a great time. The next race I do will be the PrairieMan 1/2 Iron distance race. Can't wait!