Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Thursday, May 24, 2012

2012 Gear West Duathlon Race Report

My results for 2012 GW Du were better than expected.  I was hoping to go about the same time as last year, at best, I ended up going over a minute faster than last year.  My minute improvement came in the most unexpected place, the second run.
This is a difficult duathlon, not that duathlons are easy in the first place.  Running hard, biking hard, and then running hard again is never easy.  This one has a nice little cross country course for the run, with a mix of some pavement, grass, dirt/mud, wood chips, and a variety of hills.  The bike course is also hilly.  So, overall there is no real relief on this course.
This year the weather was cold and damp.  I think the temperature was in the mid/low 50s and drizzled the whole race.  In 2011, it did not rain during the race, but the run course was extremely muddy.  This year the course was not muddy, just damp. 
In 2012, the first run was shortened from the original 3.1mi to 2.8mi, this is the same as 2011.  In the results portion I did a little extrapolation so I could compare 2011 and 2012 to previous years.
I was up early as usual, ate my usual breakfast of yogurt with frozen fruit and granola, and a banana.  On the way I stopped for coffee and a donut, my normal pick-me-up before a race. 
Since this is typically my first MN race of the year, I have a chance to see some people I have not seen since last season, which is always nice.  Upon arrival I got my race bag, setup my transistion,  and did a short bike warm-up to make sure the bike worked and that I worked. 
I thought it would be warmer, so I did not bring a lot of clothes. This resulted in me getting a little cold waiting to start.  I think my one-piece tri-suit was warm enough to race in.  I felt pretty good just wearing that, until after the race when I started shivering.  I was so cold after the race, I don't remember being that cold after a race, ever.
Immediately before start I did a short warmup run and felt pretty good.  The first few races of the year I always feel a little more anxiety/nervousness, because I am not yet sure how I am going to perform early in the year. 
Once out of the gate I felt pretty good.  I did not try to burn up the run course, I wanted to have some in the tank for a decent bike and a decent second run.  It turned out to work.  My bike split was the same as last year and my second run was my fastest here, ever by a minute. 
The only place I messed up was T1.  I don't know why, but for some reason, I grabbed my right bike shoe and tried to put it on my left foot.
The bike went well, even with the wind.  There were points when I had a head wind and I actually felt strong.  The bike, as always, helps me in duathlons, since I am not the fastest runner.  My first run had me 19th in my AG, and my second run had me 18th, but my bike was 10th fastest in my AG, so that helped me move up a bit.
I would say the most painful part of this race is the short steep climb up a grassy hill at the end of each run and then the lap around the track.  You finish the short steep climb up this grassy hill and see the finish line, you head straight at the finish line and then left turn for a lap around the track before you eventually finish.  It is such an evil way to finish.  That last hill just burns your legs and then you have to do that one lap. 
I am very happy with my results for the 2012 GW Du. How could I not be happy when I drop a minute from my time over such a difficult course.  I first did this race in 2006, it was my first duathlon, I did it in 2:01:08, so since 2006 I have improved my time by about 25 minutes. 
Typically, my next race would be the Apple Duathlon, but not this year.  This year, I am getting married on that Saturday.  Hooray! So, my next race will be the OHP Manitou Sprint Tri.

2012 Results
Run (2.8mi) - 22:18 (7:53min/mi)
T1 - 1:21
Bike (17mi) - 48:53 (20.9MPH)
T2 - 0:51
Run (2.5mi) - 20:16 (8:05min/mi)
Total - 1:33:42
Overall - 99/263
AG - 16/27
Pace - 4:12
Convert first run to 3.1 miles to compare to 2006 - 2008, and 2010 and total time = 1:36:04, which is 1:18 faster than 2011 and 2:20 faster than 2008, previous fastest.

2011 Results
Run (2.8mi) - 22:33 (7:59min/mi)
T1 - 1:12
Bike (17mi) - 48:52 (20.9MPH)
T2 - 1:06
Run (2.5mi) - 21:16 (8:29min/mi)
Total - 1:34:58
Overall - 129/321
AG - 14/31
Pace - 4:16

2010 Results - Taking it slow due to recovery from stress fracture
Run (3.1mi) - 27:57 (9:19min/mi)
T1 - 1:15
Bike (17mi) - 48:41 (21MPH)
T2 - 1:47
Run (2.5mi) - 25:42 (9:42min/mi)
Total - 1:45:19
Overall - 200/380
AG - 38/63
Pace - 4:40

2009 I volunteered, did not race due to stress fracture

2008 Results
Run (3.1mi) - 23:58 (7:44min/mi)
T1 - 1:15
Bike (17mi) - 49:40 (20.5MPH)
T2 - 1:16
Run (2.5mi) - 22:17 (8:54min/mi)
Total - 1:38:24
Overall - 151/410
AG - 26/44
Pace - 4:22

2007 Results
Run (3.1mi) - 24:29 (7:54min/mi)
T1 - 1:42
Bike (17mi) - 53:56 (19MPH)
T2 - 1:29
Run (2.5mi) - 23:15 (9:18min/mi)
Total - 1:44:29
Overall - 201/342
AG - 39/45
Pace - 4:38

2006 Results-First Duathlon Ever
Run (3.1mi) - 27:49 (8:58min/mi)
T1 - 3:18
Bike (17mi) - 1:00:37 (16.8MPH) - Road bike with clip-on aerobars
T2 - 2:25
Run (2.5mi) - 26:59 (10:47min/mi)
Total - 2:01:08
Overall - 315/353
AG - 43/44
Pace - 5:23

Friday, May 4, 2012

April 2012 Training Summary

Below is the comparison of my training data for Aprils since 2007.  This is one of my lightest, in terms of time, Aprils in my training history.  April is typically the month that has the highest hours in terms of training.  In April of 2011 I had a ridiculous amount of bike hours.  This was due to working at OHP on the weekends and getting a lot of time in there.  Now that I don't work there on Saturdays, I lose some of that bike time.  I guess this year I am going to find out if less training, and, hopefully, higher intensity gives good results.  I found this month that when I did high intensity workouts I felt much better.  I was tired, but I felt better overall.
In my previous post, I went over St. Anthony's and my results from this year are comparable to previous years, so I am not behind, in terms of my fitness level, if I use that race as a measuring stick.  My hope is that I can do some focussed speed and hill work, in preparation for the  Gear West Duathlon near the end of May.  The GW Du is one of the hardest duathlons, possibly hardest races, around.  The trail run is very challenging and the bike course is not flat.  Also, in May is when Tuesday Night Time Trials (T'N'T) begins every other Tuesday, it is a tough course and a hellish workout.

Year-Over-Year April Workout Comparison

Since 2007 Totals and Monthly Averages

YTD Totals and Totals Since 2007

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 St. Anthony's Race Report - 200th Blog Post, 70th Race

This is my 200th blog post (milestone) and my first race of 2012 is my 70th triathlon\duathlon that I have finished. I have only had two dnfs, one at St. Anthony's in 2009, and one from a flat.
This is my 5th time at St. Anthony's.  2008, 2010, 2012 were full Olypmic distance, 2009 there was no swim for the AG due to weather and I had a stress fracture, so I did the bike and dropped out.  In 2011, the swim course was shortened and moved to a different location.  2010 I was recovering from the stress fracture.  Typically it is hot, especially the flat, mostly shadeless, run course.  This year was no different.  There is some history.  Now to the present.
I arrived in Orlando and drove to Ocala to my mom and stepdad's on Thursday afternoon.  Just hungout there Thursday night.  My rental "car" was a brand new Dodge Dakota Crew, surprisingly nice. 

Friday morning I got up and assembled the bike, which was nicely packed and shipped by Gear West, some pictures above.  No problem assembling the bike.  Went for a 25 minute bike ride after lunch, so it was early afternoon.  It was hot.  I biked a little easy and a little hard, wanted to make sure the bike was ok, and make sure I was ok.  I then went for a short run, about 11 minutes.  It was hot.  Spent the rest of the day relaxing.
Saturday we got up and drove to St. Petersburg and checked in at the race.  As usual, packet pickup and bike deposit was super easy.  They do a really good job of getting people through.  Probably one of the best races to take care of packet pickup, especially for such a big race. 

When I got to the hotel, I was dripping with sweat, just from walking around to do packet pickup, drop off bike, and walking the expo.  Took a quick shower, laid out all the stuff for the race, and relaxed before dinner.  Had dinner at the usual place, a sports bar near the hotel, that has a good spiral meatloaf (beef, pork, cheese, red peppers, and spinach), green and yellow squash, and mashed potatoes.  Yum.  Also had a couple Sam Adams Summer Ale.  Yum.
Fell asleep by about 9:30, woke up about 4 times during the night, but fell back asleep quickly.  Woke up with my alarm at about 3:20, showered, had coffee, yogurt with crushed nuts, oj, and banana for breakfast.  On the ride over, and the walk from the car to the transistion area, I drank some Gatorade and at about half a Clif Bar, Clif Bar did not taste very good to me.  In hindsight, I probably should have had a little more to eat.  I think I drank enough.  Besides a cup of coffee, 8 oz of oj, I drank about 3/4 of 32 oz Gatorade and a liter of water. 
Brief sidetrack, I drank almost my whole 20 oz water bottle on the bike (about 80% water and 20% Gatorade) and at every water stop on the run I either poured water on myself, got water in my mouth and spit it out, or drank some water.  I also took a gel on the bike.  Taking a gel is odd, I usually don't do that, but I felt I needed it.
Back to the transition, pictures below. With my bike already there it was pretty easy to setup, and I was early, so I did not have to fight for space.  Also, this year they let us put our bags along the massive fence line, this was helpful.  I had some time to burn, as I usually do, since I show up so early.  I saw David Thompson, the pro from St. Paul, and chatted with him briefly, and also said "hi" to Jerry, the announcer who announces races everywhere. 

After putzing and using the bathroom, I said one last "by" to my mom and stepdad and walked to the swim start.  It is point-to-point, so basically it is a one mile walk for 3000 people. 
While waiting for my start, I was briefly interviewed by a guy from the Tampa Bay Times ( he interviewed me for about 5 minutes, and then put me in the clip for about 15 seconds.  It was strange.
It was an open water swim start, as usual, I took it easy off the start and built up.  The 35-39 AG has about 240 people in it, and is split into two waves, so about 120 people in my wave, the swim was a bit of mess for the first half.  The water was pretty calm, but lots of people all over the place.  I got hit, run into, I ran into people, etc.  The swim starts parallel to shore and the turns out and away, when we made the turn the water got very choppy and there was a lot of roll.  It continued this way the rest of the swim, even back into the shore the water was choppy.
Once out, I did a pretty good job of getting to my bike and out of T2.  It was a pretty fast transition for me.  On the way out of transition Jerry saw me and made a comment about my bald head, that it was intentional and something about how it made me look better (sexy?).
The bike is flat and fast and the wind was not too bad this year.  There is not to much to say about it, except that it was crowded at times and not enough people would yell, "On your left!" when passing, which is not cool.  I tend to say it everytime I pass someone, and frequently got a positive response.
As expected, with about 4 miles to go, my back and neck started bugging me.  Typical for early in the year, I am not ready to ride that long in aerobars.  I was pretty sore in the neck and shoulders the next day.
I got off the bike pretty quick and out of transistion feeling ok. I started off slower than usual.  Typically I borderline sprint out of transition and run hard the first half mile to mile and then back-off.  My legs felt a little tired this morning.  The run is flat, and  you begin to realize how hot it is outside.  I think I did the first two miles in about 17 minutes, a nice 8:30 pace, I ended up at a 8:53 pace.  Just after mile 5, I did something I rarely have ever done, especially in a Oly distance, I walked for 30 seconds.  I just felt ick, and needed to take a breath and clear myself.  I was then able to run in.  I later found out, as you will see below, I ran the exact same time as last year.  Exact same time.  That is really, really strange.

Anyway, when it was over I chatted with a few people from MN that I know, and at some food.  One of them is the winner of the Men's Elite, Dan Hedgecock (who has his race report at, and his girlfriend Claire who is also an Elite Triathlete.  David, the pro from MN, whose blog is at  Also, Tim, who is a coworker from MN, and his wife.  Tim did very good also, and can also be seen in the Tampa Bay Times video.
After the race we stopped at Sonny's a BBQ place in FL, and I think GA, and had all you can chicken.  Got back to my mom's and very uncomfortably and sweatly packed the bike up.
All in all, I am happy with the race.  First race of the year is, in my opinion, a bit of a chance to get see where I am at, especially a race like this where I am not competitive in my AG.  I learned that I need to work on my run, which I knew and is usually the case this time of year, and everything else seems to be in pretty good shape for this time of year. This was my fastest time, by about a minute, on this course, when at the full Oly distance.  The time improvement is swim, T1, and T2.
The triathlon season has officially begun for me! Hooray!
Below are my times from this year and previous years

2012 Results
Swim (1640 yards, new course) - 29:03 (1:47/100 yards, wetsuit)
T1 - 2:18
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:12:54 (20.4MPH)
T2 - 2:42 (sprayed some sunblock on myself, put on socks, and forgot my race belt and had to turn around and get it)
Run (6.2 miles) - 55:04 (8:53/mile)
Total - 2:41:51
Overall - 977/2689
AG - 124/236
Overall Pace - 5:04/mile

2011 Results
Swim (1094 yards, shortened for weather) - 17:56 (1:48/100 yards, no wetsuit)
T1 - 5:49 (shorter swim course, loooonnnggg run to T1)
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:10:44 (21.1 MPH)
T2 -  2:45
Run (6.2 miles) - 55:04 (8:53/mile)
Total - 2:32:18
Overall - 980/3125
AG - 110/239
Overall Pace - 4:49/mile

2010 Results
Swim (1640 yards) - 29:36 (1:49/100 yards, this was wetsuit)
T1 - 3:12
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:15:10 (19.8 MPH)
T2 - 2:27
Run (6.2 miles) - 58:33 (9:22/mile, coming off stress fracture)
Total - 2:48:56
Overall - 1264/3192
AG - 156/287
Overall Pace - 5:18/mile

2009 Results
No swim due to weather, then dropped out after bike due to stress fracture
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:10:43 (21.1MPH)

2008 Results
Swim (1640 yards) - 30:58 (1:53/100 yards, wetsuit)
T1 - 3:38
Bike (24.8 miles) - 1:11:48 (20.8MPH)
T2 - 3:42
Run (6.2 miles) - 52:54 (8:31/mile)
Total - 2:42:57
Overall - 1258/3350
AG - 121/231
Overall Pace - 5:11/mile