Monday, June 28, 2010

Lake Waconia Triathlon (Good Race Day) and Minneman Preview Thoughts

It was very much different from previous years. Last year, Jackie and I volunteered, we were on the bike course, and the wind was so bad they cut the swim for the age groupers in half. I heard a lot of people quit before they started or quit during the swim.
The year before, 2008, the wind was bad and the water was rough. I had a terrible swim, one of my worst ever.
This year the air was still and the water was almost glass. Nearly perfect swim conditions. Nearly perfect triathlon conditions. The only complaint one could make was that the air was humid and too still for the humidity.
I had a slower than expected swim (fatigue?), but nothing I can really complain about.
I went through T1 without much issue.
I went out on the bike easier, partly planned, partly because getting out of T1 is all uphill and the rollers for awhile until you are out of town. It felt like a pretty good bike. My average speed was basically identical to two years ago. Two years ago the bike was 4 miles longer due to construction. I don't remember much specific from the bike, except passing a lot of traffic and feeling pretty good. It was not a flat course, nor was it incredibly hilly. There were some pretty good climbs. It was a good mix, I would prefer more flat, but it is what it is.
I got off the bike feeling some fatigue. I left transition slower than usual, basically because I had, what amounted to, a 1 mile uphill run out of transition. Then run was pretty hellish, it was humid, luckily cloudy, and the run is all hills, very little flat. I thought I would go faster, but after thinking about it, I am pretty happy with my time. There were points in the run I wanted to stop and walk, and I did not. I got through a mental hurdle during the race and I am really happy with that.
Of note, my former manager, now coworker, made this his very first triathlon. In the weeks leading up he asked me various questions (do you know where I can get a good used road bike?what should I wear? should I get slicks for my mountain bike? etc). He setup next to me and looked good, but nervous. He had a tough swim, due to lack of sufficient swim training beforehand, but made it through the bike and the run. Made it through well enough that he is going to be doing another tri in July in Chaska. Good to see, and assist, another person take a liking to triathlon.
I feel pretty good about this race. Swim was slower than I would have liked, but still good (10th in AG), bike was a pleasant surprise (9th in AG), run was good. Overall, happy.
In my last post I put my 2008 times. The bike in 2008 was 24 miles instead of 20 miles, and the swim was all heavy chop.
Swim (880 yards) - 15:04 (1:43/100yards)
T1 - 1:43
Bike (20 miles) - 54:20 (22.1 MPH)
T2 - 1:46
Run (4 miles) - 34:21 (8:36 min/mi)
Total Time - 1:47:10
Overall - 129/361
AG - 12/30 (Hooray, not 13th)

This weekend is MinneMan. In 2008 it was, and is, my only podium finish. I barely got 3rd. I already put some thought into the possibility of another podium finish. I need to put that thought I out of my mind and just think about racing my own race at this point. I need to go out there and leave it all, all, out there. It is a short, fast course, and if I race my best, it is possible. Again, more importantly, I need to think about the race, not the finish.
My times from 2008
Swim (587 yards) - 10:19 (1:58 /100 yards)
T1 - 2:27
Bike (13 miles) - 35:01 (22.3 MPH)
T2 - 1:16
Run (3 miles) - 22:32 (7:31 min/mi)
Total Time - 1:11:46
Overall - 35/350
AG - 3/30

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Product Review 23 - Lazer Tardis Aero Helmet


Easy to put on, good fit and comfort, easy to fit with the dial on the top of the helmet, and fits well with sunglasses. The obvious, and well advertised, pro to wearing an aero helmet is the aerodynamic advantage of the helmet.


None at the moment.

I tested the Giro Advantage 2 last year for a triathlon and a couple of time trials. It was the first aero helmet I had ever worn and I really liked it. That being said, I think I like the Lazer helmet more than Giro. The Lazer feels like it fits better and it has more venting. The Lazer has a nice and easy to use adjustment wheel on the top of the helmet that allowed me to get the correct size for my head almost instantly. There is a hole at the top that is used to poor water into, to help with cooling. I have not used the hole yet and it appears kind of gimmicky. I have a shaved head and my concern is that if I pour water in the hole, and my head is covered with sweat, all it will do is run it down my face and into my eyes, while I am biking. The prospect of that is not appealing.

There has been plenty written about the advantages of aero helmets and I am going to assume that since this is an aero helmet, I am getting an advantage from it. I purchased this helmet and I am very happy with the purchase.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon - Another Great Day and Waconia Thoughts

I had another race that I am very happy with my performance. It was my first time doing this race and I really enjoyed it.
The morning was windy and cold, for June, and looked like it was going to rain. Fortunately, it did not rain and turned out to be a great day for a race. As usual, I got there early, got setup and had some time to chat with people before the race start. Jackie was, again, good enough to get up and cheer me on. It is great to have someone coming with me to the race, keep me company, and cheer me on.
I did a short bike ride and hung out until we all had to gather outside the transition area. They want to keep track of everyone, so we all had to walk through transition and then out across the bike out mat. Then we all walked to the beach for the start. After going to the bathroom, I got a short swim in and it was start time. It was nice to start in the 3rd wave and only have to wait 15 minutes.
This time I got up in the front, on the inside, and took off harder than last week. There was a little position battling going on at first, but by the time I got to the first buoy the water was pretty clear. The wind was blowing mostly west to east, and maybe a little south to north, as best I could judge. Going out the chop was on my left and coming around the point it was at my back and right. This created some issues for the right side breather that I am. I had to rotate more to get my head out to breath, I still took some water in. It did not affect my swim too much, because I came out 7th in my age group. I knew that if I got in the front and took off stronger I should be in the top ten in my age group.
I got out good, got the wetsuit off with very little issues, and then proceeded to run the wrong way out of transition. Jackie yelled at me and I changed course before I got out of transition and went out the correct way.
Not a lot to say about the bike. I started in the 3rd wave, so I didn't pass many people and I don't recall getting passed. It was kind of windy and a little more hilly than I expected. The bike felt strong and it seemed faster than it was. I would have guessed my average MPH was over 21 and closer to 22. So much for my perception. The bike was not as fast as I would have liked, but I am still pretty happy with it.
I got off the bike with no issue and fumbled with my socks, as usual. I took off strong again. The first part of the run has an uphill, and then mostly flat. As expected, the first mile was painful, cardio wise, and then it felt easier. Also as expected, this is where I got passed. Which is fine. I am really happy with my run time, it was faster than last weekend. I felt like I gave it my all and didn't have anything in the tank when I finished. That is what I am looking for.

Swim (880 yards) - 13:27 (1:32/100 yards)
T1 - 1:51
Bike (14.5 miles) - 41:58 (20.7 MPH)
T2 - 1:28
Run (3 miles) - 23:20 (7:47 min/mi)
Total Time = 1:22:01
Overall = 85/452
AG = 13/42

I did Waconia in 2008 and had a horrible swim. It was windy and the water was choppy. The rough water was no excuse. It was the only race that year that I had trouble with them swim. It won't happen this year. It is half mile swim again, but this time with a TT start. I think the TT start should give me a little faster time than Minnetonka. I am going to look at some thing like 13 minutes flat. The bike is 20 miles, I would like to average over 21MPH, so I come in under an hour with room to spare. The run is 4 miles, if I can average 8 min/mi or faster I would be thrilled. Taking this all into account I would like to finish about 1:45. If I did less than 1:50 I would be happy, if I was less than 1:45 I would be thrilled.
Below are my results from 2008 Lake Waconia Triathlon. They had a longer bike that year due to construction.

Swim (880 yards) - 24:33 (2:48/100 yards)
T1 - 2:34
Bike (24 miles) - 1:07:57 (21.2 MPH)
T2 - 1:35
Run (4 miles) - 32:09 (8:03 min/mi)
Total - 2:08:45
Overall - 188/431
AG - 22/38

Sunday, June 13, 2010

OptumHealth Manitou Sprint Triathlon Results, Last week TNT, and Lake Minnetonka Triathlon

It is taking me awhile this week to get anything posted on the blog. Busy work week.
Earlier last week, Tuesday, I did the Tuesday Night Time Trial and I had an ok night (29:05 at 22.06MPH, which is a little bit slower than 2 weeks before).
I was feeling a little fatigued last week. Probably a combination of training, stress at work, and averaging less than 6 hours of sleep a night.
On Saturday, the day before Manitou, I did my last open water scuba dive and received my certification. I have been told that scuba diving, by one of the instructors over and over again, in Lake Jane, about 11 miles west of Stillwater on 36, is nothing like scuba diving in the ocean (duh). Having never dove in the ocean, but having seen plenty of images, I already knew I was not diving in such a beautiful place. Lake Jane is weed filled and mucky. It was still fun diving, just for the experience.
Onto Manitou. As usual, I was up and out the door early. I stopped for my usual donut and coffee on the way to the race. I eat breakfast at home on race day and the morning ritual on the way to the race is pickup coffee and one or two donuts. Usually by the time I get to the race site I am ready to do my business and don't need to wait in line. I did forget to do one thing, take in electrolytes before the race. I realized it afterwards. Luckily the day was not too hot or humid. I think I got in plenty of water.
I got setup in pretty short order, did a short bike ride, reset my transition area, and spent time chatting with people and waiting. I had over an hour and half to wait for start time after transition closed. There were a lot of waves and a lot of wait time, mainly due to the draft legal junior elite waves. One issue during this long wait time was the weather, it was cloudy and fairly cool, probably low 60s. So getting chilled was an issue. About 20-30 minutes before start I got in the water and did a little swim. It was cold, warmer than the air, but it still felt cold.
I got out shortly before the start and grouped up with everyone else in my AG before the start. I made an error, I got behind everyone in the start. I was in the second row. I should be putting myself up front. I should be top ten in my AG for the swim. What resulted was me fighting my way from the back. I had to go around the outside and then come back in along the buoys. I expended more effort than I needed. By the end of the first lap of the swim I had cleared a lot of traffic and was along the buoys with no problem. For this two lap swim you have to get out of the water and do a short run around a flag then get back in and swim the next lap. Luckily, there is drop off not to far from shore, so you can swim close and you don't have to run far. Even though that was the case, I still was breathing really hard for the first half of the second lap. I basically fell into the water and started swimming on the second lap. Getting out and doing the short run really set my heart rate going and threw off my rhythm. The rest of the swim was uneventful. I got out and made the long run up the beach. I saw Jackie, and her friend Sarah, as I made my way to transition. Jackie did not come with me in the morning and I was unsure about parking, it was good to see them there then.
Transition went pretty well. I got out of my wetsuit pretty fast, no socks on the bike, ran with bike shoes and got on.
I would say the first 5 miles or so of the bike was a warm-up. I felt chilled and I did not feel like I was turning like I should be. The course was rolling and it felt like there was something of wind out. I didn't feel like I was really moving until after the turnaround. I passed a couple guys in my AG and I think I was passed by a couple. So, I might have broke about even on the bike.
I did see something interesting on the way back. I was coming up on two guys pretty fast, one guy was passing another. I laid back far enough until the pass was complete, and then I was going to pass both of them. As I was sitting back, the USAT official on a motorcycle came beside me and passed me, as he/she was coming up on the two guys in front of me, the guy doing the passing basically performed the pass in the middle of the right lane. He was passing slowly and blocking the motorcycle. It didn't make a lot of sense and probably took longer than the required passing time of 15 seconds, I think it is 15 seconds. Anyway, I think the official was writing something down while this way happening. I don't remember the guy's number so I don't know if he got a penalty or not. I would assume he did. When that was all done I passed them both with no problems.
The bike finished out pretty good. I had a little trouble in T2 getting my socks on, but once I did I sprinted out. I figured I would go out hard and see how I felt. I was worried about my stress fracture, but I also wanted to see if I could haul some ass. At least haul some ass relative to what I had been doing. The run out is basically uphill out and downhill back, which nice. The whole run was killer, but the first mile was really painful. Not in my leg, just cardio, which is good. I know I can survive the breathing. I pushed the run hard. My goal was to go under 27 minutes. I know that is not fast, but I am still working on my run, both in of mechanics, speed, and volume. If I went under 27 minutes, it would be my fastest run of the year. Actually, it would have been the fastest I have run in over something like 14 months. Not only did I go under 27 minutes, I went under 24 minutes. I went 23:44. Hooray! There were a number of people out on the course cheering for me, both other runners and spectators, which was nice and helped keep me going. There was no pain from the area of my stress fracture, which was a huge relief.
I am really happy with the overall result of this race, especially the run. The bike I am pretty happy with, I still need to attack harder. The swim I a little disappointed with, but it is my own fault for starting in such a bad position. I still need transition practice, but I think that will be something I need to practice as long as I am racing.
Here is how the race broke down for me:
Swim (880 yards) - 15:22 (1:45/100 yards)
T1 - 2:18
Bike (13.5 miles) - 37:49 (21.4MPH)
T2 - 1:34
Run (3.1 miles) - 23:40 (7:54 min/mi)
Total - 1:20:41
Overall - 100/345
AG - 13/38

This weekend is the Lake Minnetonka Tri. I have not done this triathlon before so I really cannot say much about it. I am going to start at the front of the swim pack so I don't have to expend as much energy as this last weekend and hopefully I can get a better split. Aside from that I am going to bike and run as hard as I can, because that is all I can do.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Pigman Sprint Triathlon Results - DNF

So, it finally happened. I flatted out of a race. The big DNF.
I will start at the beginning. Everything was going really well. The night before Jackie and I had dinner at a local Italian place with Kevin O'Connor, owner of Gear West Bike and Tri, Jared Vorhees, Kris Swarthout (my tri-coach at OptumHealth Performance), and a bunch of the MJETs (MN Junior Elite Triathletes). It was a nice dinner and fun.
Got pretty good sleep. We got there plenty early and I got my transition area setup nice and neat. I talked to a number of people and went for a short warm-up bike. The weather was great, high 50s rising to low 70s by about 10AM. Elite start time was 7:30AM.
They had a time trial start for the AG athletes, which seemed really time consuming, and there was a lot of standing around and waiting. but in the end was kind of nice. The time trial start results in people being really spread out in the swim and made for less traffic, at least it seemed that way.
I had a great swim. It felt really good. It "clicked".
There is a decent run, mostly uphill, to transition. I ran out at a good pace and had a very good transition. I was really feeling pretty good.
I got out of the park at a pretty good pace, not in the aerobar. There was too much traffic. Once out of the park I headed down the big hill and got moving good. At the bottom, when it flattened out, I shifted into a comfortably hard gear. I was probably about 5 miles out, maybe less, when I hit a pothole, and there was large "clunk" and I felt the rear end get a little wobbly. I didn't want a flat tire, I also didn't want a broken Sub-9 disc. I continued to ride another couple miles and continued to get passed by a lot of people. I decided to give it up. Got off the bike and yes, the tire was definitely flat. I got in the sag wagon, or as the driver called it "shag wagon", and made the slow trek back to the start/finish/transition. It was slow because we had to get through all the bike traffic on the way back. It was an interesting ride, I got a change to see how others were handling the bike, especially up the hill.
I was dropped off pretty close to transition, I had about a 5-10 minute walk back to the start/finish area. On the way back I got a lot of "So sorry" and "That sucks", it was nice to get a little sympathy.
Once I got back, I quickly found Jackie, and got changed and more or less got ready to go. Before leaving we ran into Jared and stripped the tire off the wheel. Thankfully, the wheel was not damaged. It appears that the tire was damaged around the valve stem. I must have hit the pothole just right.
Lucky for me I race, and can race, every weekend. Something like this is a learning lesson and I can take it into next week. I had a great swim and I can push it harder and still get on the bike feeling pretty good. Even though the bike was short, I got a good feel and I know how it will feel coming up this next week. I was really happy with my swim and I look forward to it next weekend. I also look forward to racing, and finishing, this coming weekend at Manitou Sprint.
Here are more shortened results
Swim (547 yards) - 8:30 (1:34 min/100 yards), 2008 was 9:44 (1:44 min/100 yards)
T1 - 2:52, 2008 was 3:44, I believe. I really concentrated on moving fast and getting the wetsuit off in a methodical manner. It paid off.

The winner of the race was Devon Palmer and second was Kevin O'Connor, owner of Gear West Bike and Triathlon. This race features an "Equalizer". The Equalizer is a head start for the women, in this case about eight and half minutes, and the winner gets a bonus check. In this case no male caught the lead female and she, a triathlete from Bloomington IL, walked away with a little extra spending cash.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Pigman Sprint (Palo, IA) on Sunday

Heading to Palo, IA (Cedar Rapids, IA) on Saturday to do the Pigman on Sunday morning
I did this race in 2008 and memories of it are a little vague.
The swim is about a third of mile, probably the shortest swim you will do in a tri.
If memory serves me correctly, you ride out of the park and down a fairly length hill. The course is then flat and runs out and through Palo. You then come back up the hill, over the hill and past the entrance to the park, down the hill and out on flat stretch again. Out to a turnaround. At the turnaround you head back the way you came go up the hill and enter the park back to transition. I think, again it was two years ago, aside from the one hill you ride down three times and up twice, it is fairly flat and there is almost no shade.
The run is in the park, part way around the lake and back. I know you have to run a long the damn out and back, downhill out and uphill back. I think you get some shade once you cross the damn. If the sun is out and it is over 70, it will seem hotter than it is with the lack of shade.
Below are my results from 2008. I am shooting for a swim under 9:00 min, a bike 42min or less, and any kind of run I can get. I would like to get out of the first transition under 3:00. I don't know what happened that got me a 3:44. Stuck in my wetsuit? It would be nice to go under 1:20
Swim (547 yards) - 9:27 (1:44/100yards)
T1 - 3:44
Bike (15.5mi) - 44:13 (21.1 MPH)
T2 - 1:44
Run (3.1mi) - 24:42 (7:57 min/mi)
Total - 1:23:47
Overall - 145/606
AG - 21/53

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Totals for May 2010 and YTD

In the month of May there was two TTs and two duathlons added into the training totals.
Below are the totals for this May compared to previous Mays. In all Mays, except 2009, there were TTs and duathlons, I think in May of 2008 there were two TTs and three duathlons. You can see that I stopped running and basically stopped biking in May of 2009. You will notice this trend with comparisons to 2009. I stopped running and basically stopped bike in May 2009, and I started wearing a walking cast for about 3 months at this point.
Below are the YTD totals and the totals since 2007. I am wonder if I can hit a million yards by the end of this year. Probably not. Probably not until early 2011.

Below are the totals since 2007 and the average per month since then. These totals include all races. I think 21+hours of training a month for over 3 years is a pretty good average.
This Sunday I am doing Pigman Sprint in Palo, IA. Last time, and only time, I did the race was 2008. I will have a little preview before Sunday.