Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Dousman Duathlon, Cannon-Wells Duathlon, and the end of the "season"

It has taken me awhile to write and get this out, I am so slow.
In mid-October Jackie and I went down to Kenosha, where some of my family lives. We went there to visit my family, go to the family gathering for my older half-brother's birthday, and to do the Dousman Duathlon. This was the 4th year of the Dousman Duathlon and I would be doing it for my 4th time, in a different context than usual. Jackie did it with me as a relay, this was her first time doing something like this. The big thing was her finishing the 2mile run, wait for me to finish the bike, and then do the second 2 mile run, which she did fantastically.
I did ok. I did the 20miles at 20.3MPH (59:08). It felt ok. I am still not in fantastic shape.
It was the first time Jackie did something like this and she did exceptional. It was great to see her out there doing it. She was super nervous. That was another reason it was so great to see her finish. She seemed very happy, and relieved, to be finished.

The next week, my very good friend Matt and I did the Cannon-Wells Duathlon as a relay team. This was the first time Matt has done something like this. He has not run a race since April, and has spent the last month training for the Twin Cities 10 mile. I was not sure how he was going to do. He was fast. Swimming over the last year and focused run training over the month had really paid off. Paid off so much that we finished 3rd out of 15 teams. So we got some hardware, which was nice. I had an ok bike. The course was hillier than I expected. Also, it started cold and warmed up quick. I probably over dressed. Coming into transition I was thinking about getting out my shoes on the bike and doing a moving dismount, but decided against because of the still healing leg and the fact that I have not practiced it this year. So I came to a stop and broke the cleats out of the pedal. Except my right leg did not. The screw I put into fix the last screw that broke, broke. Leaving me hanging in the cleat. So Matt ran over while I struggled to drag my bike forward. He took the chip off my leg and ran off, while I pulled my foot out of my dangling shoe. I need new cleats in my shoes.
I will probably be doing this race again next year. It was a pretty nice little race.
It was a 14 mile bike that I did in 40:28, about 20.8MPH. I still have work to do, hopefully this off season will see my back speed and endurance head back up.

So, these two duathlon were basically the end of my injury shortened season. It was a very good way to end this somewhat depressing "season". I was able to do relays with two of my favorite people, and I don't know if things can get much better than that.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon and the Long Walk

This last Saturday I completed my first triathlon of the year. Long in coming. It was the St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon. The race is out of Hudson, WI and is a third of a mile swim (~590 yards), 10 mile bike, and 4 mile run. The field was about 502 people, with 65 in my age group (35-39).

Jackie came with and took some pictures and cheered me on. It is always nice to have someone out there cheering you on.

Got up a little early so I could shower, shave, and do my PT exercises.  For breakfast I had the "usual", banana, oatmeal, and oj. Then stopped for coffee and a donut, and some bottled water to sip before starting.

Getting body marked and the transition setup was easy. Went for a short ride to warm-up, since I can't run.   Jackie was freezing, so she went back to the car until a bit before the race started.

I wore my Fast Skin and no wetsuit. A third of a mile is to short for a wetsuit, it takes me too long to take it off and whatever advantage I had in the water is gone. It took me long enough in transition anyway.

To the swim, I started in the second wave and near the middle of the pack, maybe a little to the left and in the front. There was traffic in the beginning but I got out front pretty good. Swimming was pretty smooth most of the way. Only issue was turning back east into the sun and catching some of the people from the first wave. The sun made sighting in difficult, but not impossible and I made the swim finish line with no issue.  There were a lot of beginners out there, I passed a number of people doing breaststroke and Jackie said she saw a lot of people swimming with their head out of the water.  I felt I could have swam faster, but I have not raced a lot this year and I was concerned about blowing up.  I now know at this distance I can go a lot harder.

I got to my bike no issue, had trouble with the shoes, went no socks. Encountered algae on the swim and brought some back with me on my timing chip strap.  
Went out on the bike pretty slow.  I spun and I took in some fluid.  After about a mile plus I picked it up.  Until I got to the hill from hell.  The hill at about mile 4 was one of the longest and hardest I have ever had to climb.  As I was pulling up the hill I passed a guy who came to stop and just stepped off his bike.  As I turned around and came down I saw some people walking up the hill.  Going down the hill was frightening.  It was the first time I have ever smelled my brake pads.  Not only was it a steep descent, but it had multiple curves.  I have done 99% of my biking on a trainer this year and my bike handling skills are poor.  To put it bluntly, this hill scared the shit out of me.
I was passed by a number of people on the bike, and I passed a few people, but I am still not in good biking shape.  I have work to do still, that is for sure.
When I got in to transition I took my time.  I was going to walk the run so there was no hurry. Got the shoes off, got the socks and running shoes on.  Took a sip of water.  Grabbed the race belt and put it on as I walked out.  The long walk began.
The long walk was very interesting.  I got to people watch.  I got to watch people suffer and thrive, sometimes separately and some times at the same time.  I had people cheer me on.  Tell me not to give up and that I could make.  I knew I could make it and I was not going to give up. I thought it was great that people were cheering me on and that people also asked if I was ok. People cheering and concern just shows how great the tri community is.  I tried jogging some it, maybe a mile at most.  I enjoyed the walk.  If I were to run the course it would be pretty fast.  It is pretty flat, there is one up and down portion, otherwise very flat.
I came in at a slow jog.  Met up with Jackie, talked to some people I had not seen in awhile, got my delicious pork sandwich and rice at the Luau, and then headed out.  
Went over to Jackie's after the race and laid down in bed, we both slept for about 3 hours in the middle of a Saturday afternoon.  I have not done that, ever.  Usually, after a race, I just fall asleep in front of the TV for an hour or so.  
Below are my results
Total Time - 1:42:10 (418/512 overall, 63/67 AG)
Swim (~590 yards) - 9:13 (1:35/100 yards) - 24/512 overall, 6/67 AG
T1 - 1:56
Bike (10 miles) - 31:06 (19.3 MPH) - 70/512 overall, 18/67 AG
T2 - 2:05
Run (4 miles) - 57:52 (14:28 min/mi) - 508/512 overall, 67/67 AG

Friday, September 4, 2009

8th, 9th, 10th - Some Clif Nutritional Products

Clif Builder – Have not been a big fan of many of the bars out there and I have trouble stomaching chocolate at times. That being said, these bars, with their outer chocolate coating, are pretty good. These bars are not too sweet or too heavy. I have eaten them before doing a TT and they sat just fine, no GI issues with them. I don’t think I would buy them, mainly because I am not a fan of chocolate.

Clif Shot Bloks (Lemon-Lime) – I like Clif Shot Bloks. That being said, I would not eat them as a snack, but I do use them in races and training for nutrition. They stomach well with me and are easy to consume when biking and/or running. I need to drink a bit of water before and after to get them down, and they tend to stick in my teeth, but once they are down, they stay down. I have tried different flavors; in this case I was given Lemon-Lime, which I like. The red flavors are pretty good, Strawberry, Cherry, Fruit Punch. I didn’t care for Margareta. The new package is much better than the old one. The new package lines them all up, which makes them easier to squeeze out and eat. The old package was just a bag and it was difficult to get them out at times.

Clif Shot Electrolyte (Lemonade) – This I like and I have purchased a large can of the powder for myself. I have used it in training and during a race and so far I like it. I am trying to get away from sports drinks with high fructose corn syrup because they are too sweet and hard to take down during a race or workout, even though I have been doing it for years. The Lemonade flavor tastes good and goes down pretty easy. The taste is not too sweet and the consistency is not too thick.

7th Product Review - QR Hydrofull

The Quintana Roo Hydrofull wetsuit is the first wetsuit, and for a time, only wetsuit with full sleeves I had swam in. I purchased the wetsuit in the fall of 2007 and the MSRP is ~$400. I have done 14 triathlons in this wetsuit and many open water and pool swims. The wetsuit fits well everywhere except around the neck and armpits, which I thought was normal having never worn a full wetsuit before. I found out it was not normal when I recently tried on a 2XU Velocity wetsuit and it fit perfectly, but was much more difficult to get on and off. I am a little disappointed in the fit of the QR, but it is acceptable. Before owning the Hydrofull I had a sleeveless QR wetsuit, the sleeveless made me appreciate a sleeved wetsuit much more. The sleeved wetsuit provides much better buoyancy and feels better in the water.
The QR is easy to get on and take off, and the break away zipper is fantastic. It is by far the best feature of the wetsuit. It works perfect and makes getting it off much faster. The break away zipper allows you to reach back with one hand, give the zipper a good solid yank upwards, and the zipper opens all the way down the back instantly. The QR wetsuit also has a feature known as a Virtual Pull Buoy (VPB). The VPB increases the buoyancy in the hips and thigh area, thereby reducing drag and fatigue.
The other issue I have had with this wetsuit is that after the third time wearing it the groin area ripped. It did not rip all the way through, just across the surface. Then recently it ripped again, near the previous rip. Again, not all the way through the suit, just across the surface. I tried to patch the original rip, but the location is bad and the patch does not hold.
When I buy another wetsuit I will definitely give QR a try, but I will also look at other wetsuits for comparison.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Team Ortho Time Trial - Less Than Stellar Perfomance

I did the Team Ortho TT on Sunday morning.  17.5 miles down and back on West River Road (West River Road has some very crappy portions to it, almost frightening.  I was pretty nervous at times).  I got up that morning and did not feel too bad.   Had a breakfast of Granola Bar, Banana, and OJ. Had water and a donut on the way there.  No coffee, maybe should have had the coffee.  Got there plenty earlier.  They had a transition area for the TT riders.  So I set me stuff up, sipped the Lemon-Lime Clif Shot Electrolyte I have started using.  Did a short ride on the bike. Chatted with a few people about this and that, while waiting for the race to start.
As an aside, the day before, Saturday, Jackie and I went to Eau Claire to spend time at a weekend long party that friends of mine were having.  We went to an arts and crafts fair in Carson Park in EC.  We spent time at the my friend's house just hanging out and playing Rock Band.  I am very bad a Rock Band, so I spent time watching.  Needless to say, my nutrition that day was not good and I did not eat enough or that well.  It may have affected my performance on Sunday.  Also my lack of bike, and overall conditioning, may have affected my performance. 
That being said, I did not have a very good race.  
I went out fast, probably too fast.  I felt pretty cooked before I reached the turnaround.  The ride back was hard and I was slow.   After the turnaround I saw Kevin O'Connor and Dan Cohen, first and second place respectively, coming into the turnaround and my thought turned to when they were going to catch me.  I think they caught me with about 2 miles or so left.  I was spent before I got done.  Probably all par for the course when recovering from this injury.  I have to get used to not being where I want to be, or where I was at.  It is going to take time to get back. 
I went to the doctor on Monday, there is still a small, faint fracture in my leg.  Ugh, no running yet.  I have to wait 4 more weeks for another x-ray to see if it is totally gone.
I am doing the St. Croix Valley Sprint Triathlon on Saturday.  I will swim, bike, and walk the 4 miles or DNF.  I will probably end up deciding that day.  See what happens.
Anyway, here are my results from Sunday.
Team Ortho TT - 17.5 Miles
Time - 52:38 (19.96 MPH)
Overall - 22/48, Age Group (30-39) - 6/7