Saturday, July 28, 2012

2012 Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon

The picture of at the top is taken by Nick Morales at and the picture above is taken by Kerry Yndestad.  Both do a great job taking pics at triathlons.  The top picture makes me look faster than I actually I am going.  I think I am passing one guy and being passed by another, either that, or both are passing me.  In the bottom picture I look like a might explode.

First of all, both the Sprint and Half-IM had amazing fields.  They would have been a great races to watch.  Second, Jackie, her cousins, and her aunt and uncle were there to cheer me and others.  Which also made it a great day.  I had a good swim, my fastest bike of the year, and another run that was disappointing.

Jackie's aunt and uncle recently purchased a lake home in Chisago, about a 5 minute bike ride from the start line of the Chisago Lakes Triathlon.  So, we stayed at thier place the night before the race.  We went there early on Sat afternoon to enjoy some time on the lake and to hangout with Jackie's family.  We had a nice big pasta dinner the night before. Staying with us was Jackie's cousin's boyfriend and his buddies, who did the Half-IM distance as a relay.  More about thier race later.  I had a disorienting night of sleep, being in a strange place, in a strange bed, and I am not sure I slept that well, but I did get to sleep in, so that helped.  I was the first one up and out of the house on Sunday morning.  You can get to the race a little later, since your transition spot is by number, so I did not worry about getting a good spo

I setup up my stuff and chatted with some people.  The transition area is large, but there are a lot of people so still crowded.  The race was wetsuit legal, barely.  The temperature was right at 78, according to the measurement.  I waffled on wearing a wetsuit, much like last week, but like last week, if you have the option to wear a wetstuit and don't wear one you lose a possible advantage.  I went with the wetsuit for the very short swim.  I got a short warmup and then waited about 40 minutes for my wave to start.  I did not get too warm waiting.  I would occasionally go down to the water and fill my wetsuit.

The starting area is narrow, even more so when they cram 100 people in it per wave.  As usual, I started wide and worked my way in to the first turn bouy.  It worked well and I stayed out of the crowd.  The only issue came at the finish when the spring and half finishes merge and a lot of people are getting out of the water at once.  Midwest Sports Event races, which this is a part of, do mixed/random waves. They mix thier waves with AG and sexes, so it is kind of strange. 

Once out the water there is hill to run up and then into transition.  Jackie and her family were on the hill to cheer, which was great.  I got through transition without issue and then out on the bike.  The bike was very crowded until about the last 5 miles out or so.  A lot of dangerous riding out on the course. People riding 2-3 abreast, people riding down the middle of the lane for no reason, etc.  So, a lot of the bike is yelling, "On your left!" and trying to stay safe.  I did not feel too bad overall on the bike.  I tried to concentrate on my form and I think it payed off, I ended up with my highest average speed this year.  Two weeks in a row I have a had very good bikes.

It was nice to come into transition and get cheered by Jackie and her family and get cheered on the way out on the run course.  It is nice to have people you know cheering for you.

There is a short up and down out of the park and then a longish uphill, course goes flat for awhile, and the has a steady low slope uphill.  It is out and back, so the run back is mostly downhill.  Luckily, it was overcast most of the run, but still uncomfortably humid.  Like past races this year, my leg turnover is slow.  I just can't get them to turn fast enough.  They feel heavy.  So, I just try to concentrate on form and to keep moving.  It must be conditioning.  This was my slowest 5k in awhile.  It did not feel terrible, I just could not turnover.  Anyway, I finished and then we hungout for awhile and cheered.

My overall pace, which I calculate for each race by dividing my total time by total distance.  By pace, this was the fastest of all my previous attempts, due to the fast swim and bike, and the longer bike, which helps offset the slower run.

A little bit about Jackie's cousin's boyfriend half-IM relay team.  They won the relay.  After the bike they were down almost 15 minutes! And they came back to win.  The came back because thier runner, Jackie's cousin's boyfriend, ran them back into to it by running ~5:56 miles for a half-marathon, I think the next fastest runner was about 7+min/mi.  Just amazing.

For a race that is this large, about 1500 for the sprint, half, and relays, in a town that small, they do a very good job of putting on a race.  Course is well marked, they have enough volunteers, they had plenty of cold water, they had fruit and some small wraps, chicken and turkey that were good, at the end, and the cost of the race is reasonable.  I think that the cost is part of the reason that that so many people come out and do the half.  I will probably be back to do this race again, I would really like to redeem myself on the run.

Overall it was a very good day.  It was great to have Jackie and her family out there.
Only 4 races left this year, Brewhouse, Maple Grove, St. Croix Valley, and Dousman Du.  A long sprint, two Oly, and a Du.

2012 Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon
Swim (440 yards) - 8:30 (1:56/100yards)
T1 - 1:59
Bike (22 miles) - 57:55 (22.8MPH, fastest average speed of the year)
T2 - 1:17
Run (3.1 miles) - 26:17 (8:29/miles, slow....)
Total - 1:35:59
Overall - 89/647
AG - 15/45
Pace - 3:47/mile (fastest per mile pace at this race)

2010 Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon
Swim (440 yards) - 8:44 (1:59/100yards)
T1 - 1:59
Bike (21 miles) - 56:23 (22.3MPH)
T2 - 1:40
Run (3.1 miles) - 25:03 (8:04/mile)
Total - 1:33:49
Overall - 59/808
AG - 5/57
Pace - 3:51/mile

2008 Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon
Swim (440 yards) - 9:18 (2:19/mile)
T1 - 1:54
Bike (17 miles) - 45:39 (22.3MPH)
T2 - 1:09
Run (3.1 miles) - 24:25 (7:52/mile, fastest run at Chisago also shortest bike before)
Total - 1:22:25
Overall - 68/779
AG - 7/51
Pace - 4:03/mile

2007 Chisago Lakes Sprint Triathlon
Swim (440 yards) - 11:47 (2:41/mile)
T1 - 2:56
Bike (20.1 miles) - 57:16 (21.1MPH)
T2 - 1:27
Run (3.1 miles) - 25:37 (8:16/mile)
Total - 1:39:02
Overall - 142/801
AG - 17/55
Pace - 4:09/mile

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

2012 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon

I am not sure what is going on with my legs this year.  Is it the heat, the humidity, did I not put enough time in earlier in the year?  I am not sure, but I don't feel strong coming off the bike this year.  Basically, the only race I felt strong coming off the bike was Lake Minnetonka, which has probably been my best race of the year, up to this point.
I am not a fast runner, I would never claim to be, but I know how I feel when I run faster, over when I run slower.  This year my legs just feel tired coming off the bike.  I think I am well conditioned for a 10-15 mile race pace bike and then a fast, for me, 5K run.  Anything longer and my legs feel cooked off the bike.  I have never been a fast distance runner, but this year I feel more sluggish than years passed.  I would chalk it up to the fact that I spent less time in Feb - April, on both the run and the bike.  Not much I can do about it now.  Just something I had been thinking about this year.

I waffeled on two things before the race started on Sunday.  The first thing was my disc wheel and the second thing was wearing a wetsuit.  I got a flat on my disc at some point after the Lake Minnetonka Triathlon.  I noticed the flat while walking my bike back to my car.  It has taken me a few weeks to buy a tire and get around to changing it.  I finished changing the tire on Saturday night and I was a little unsure about the mounting job I did.  I was a little leary about riding on the wheel.  About an hour before HOLT started, I walked my bike back to the car and swapped the 808 for the Sub-9 Disc.  Everything worked out ok, so it was not a bad decision to make the change.
The other decision, the wetsuit, I made about 20 minutes before start time.  HOLT is not a USAT event so there are no rules about wetsuits.  An informal temperature measurement gave the temp to be 82!  I was concerned about overheating, but if I don't wear the wetsuit, when others can, I am losing a possible advantage.  I went with the wetsuit.  It was warm, but not as bad as I thought it would be.  I think I was hotter running the long run from the swim exit to my bike with the wetsuit halfway on.

I think the wave I was in, Wave 5, consisted of both male and female age group 30-34 and 35-39.  It was probably about 100 people.  I got on the outside as usual and avoided most of the traffic.  I had an uneventful swim, which is good thing, and was 5th fastest in my AG, out of 17.  More on my AG later.

The bike had more hills than I remembered.  There are some decent climbs on it.  The temperature during the ride did not seem too bad until the last half or so.  I felt pretty decent for most of the ride.  I pushed it hard and it was my fastest ride of the year.  I do believe that some people in my AG took advantage of the fact that it was a non-USAT team race.  It appeared that there was some drafting on the course.  I don't care if it is a USAT or non-USAT race, I don't like drafting.  I think it is cheating.  Unless it is an ITU race and it is in the rules and ok, it is cheating.

Now to the run, I got off the bike and I was already hot and my legs felt heavy.  The run course is around Lake Pleasant with very little shade.  It is not flat, it has longer climbs that are low grade, so they are draining.  It was a tougher run than I remember.  Luckily, and thankfully, they have a number of water stops and they have COLD water.  Some cups even had ice in them.  A couple of stops also had sponges with cold water.  Having cold water, and sponges, made the run possible.

I felt like I barely finished the run.  I was cooked.  Luckily, this race has a great supply of cold beverages and food at the end.  They also have "showers" setup.  Basically, a wood structure with some water spraying out, but it provides some relief.

As you can see below, I was a little slower than 2008, mostly due to the run.  23.2MPH remains, to this date, my fastest average bike speed in a triathlon or duathlon.  The 22.7MPH average this year is my fastest average this year. 

As I finish this post, I have already finished Chisago Lakes Sprint Tri.  I am running a little behind.

2012 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon Results
Swim (880yards) - 14:42 (1:40/100yds)
T1 - 3:00
Bike (21miles) - 55:37 (22.7MPH)
T2 - 1:40
Run (5.3miles) - 46:07 (8:42/mi, see my run from '08.  This run was slow.)
Total - 2:01:03
Overall - 102/292
AG - 7/17
Pace - 4:31/mi

2008 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon Results
Swim (880yards) - 16:42 (1:54/100yds)
T1 - 2:57
Bike (21miles) - 54:13 (23.2MPH, fastest average in a triathlon)
T2 - 2:02
Run (5.3miles) - 40:58 (7:44/mi)
Total - 1:56:50
Overall - 151/460
AG - 14/39
Pace - 4:22/mi

Friday, July 6, 2012

June 2012 Triathlon Training and Racing Summary

June 2012 consisted of four triathlons and one TT.  My weekends were busy.  I would say that I had two good/very good/great races, and two ok/not too bad races.  Lake Minnetonka Tri and MinneMan were the better ones and Manitou and Waconia were good races.  I really cannot complain.

I think I had a pretty good month of training, and racing.  I had to dial it back during the week, especially close to races, so that I had legs to race.  As always, I would like the run to be faster, but for the amount of time I have put in this year I cannot be too disappointed.

This is the halfway point of the year, it is also the halfway point of the season, in terms of the number of races.  I have completed 6 of 12 races, 5 triathlons and 1 duathlon.  At the bottom I will put my average pace/speed up to this point in the season.

July, August, and September each have two races, so I can focus a little more on training with some extra time between races.  I am going to try to focus more on the run so that I can get my 10K time down below 8min/mi for the last two triathlons of the year, which are Olympic distance.  Also, my very last race of the year is the Dousman Duathlon, which has two 2 mile runs, so I also want to work on my speed. 

I did one Tuesday Night Time Trial in June.  It was not my slowest of the three this year, it was also not my fastest.  It was right in between.  Hopefully, in June I can do two of the TTs.
June 5th TNT (11 miles) - 30:09 (21.9MPH)

June-to-June Comparison

Totals and Averages Since 2007

YTD and Totals Since 2007

Here are the averages paces, and average distances, for the 5 triathlons I have done so far this year.  In parenthesis is the average from 2011 for all 10 races.
Swim - Average Distance = 1204.8 yards - Average Pace = 1:38/100 yards (1:39/100 yards)
T1 - 2:28 (2:21)
Bike - Average Distance = 21.4 miles - Average Speed = 21.08MPH (21.37MPH)
T2 - 1:28 (1:12)
Run - Average Distance = 4.81 miles - Average Speed = 8:12/mile (8:01/mile)
Average Pace - 4:40/mile (4:29/mile)

Thursday, July 5, 2012

2012 MinneMan Race Report - Olympic Distance

Picture of me near the finish courtesy of Kerry Yndestad

This race was last Saturday, 6/30.  I am a little late getting this out.
It was a hot day, I think there are going to be a lot more race days like this the rest of the summer.  I think there are going to be a lot more hot days like last Saturday, for the rest of the summers, for the rest of my life.  That is a different topic. 

Anyway, I had a surprisingly great race.  Waconia, the weekend before, was hard on my legs, so the week before MinneMan I took it a little easier.  Especially, since Waconia was on a Sunday and MinneMan was on a Saturday.  I figured I could use a little extra rest.
In the past MinneMan was a Sprint only race, this year they added an Olympic distance event.  They lengthened the Sprint swim, from a third of a mile to a half mile, and then doubled it for the Olympic. They doubled the bike for the Olympic, and doubled the run.  The bike is longer than 40K, 40K is about 24.8 miles, this bike was about 26.7 miles, two 13.3ish mile loops.  The run was two 3 mile loops, a little shorter than typical Olympic distance.  Normally the Olympic distance should be a 10K, 6.2 miles.  I like the two loop format, also I think it is good for spectators.
The field for the Olympic distance was about 144, less than half the number in the Sprint (300+).  The Olympic distance did have some of the biggest names in female and male, Elite and Pro, triathletes in MN, some might say in the nation, participating.  It made for a very cool environment.
As usual, I got there early, got setup.  There was plenty of room.  I did a short bike warmup, no run warmup.  Chatted with a few people, made sure to hydrate, but not too much, I did not want a belly full of fluid sloshing around.

The water was reported right at 78 degress, making it just wetsuit legal.  As Jerry, the announcer, said, "At 78.1, no wetsuits".  The lake is shallow and I was pleasantly surprised it was wetsuit legal. The water felt good.

Getting to the race.  My wave, 35-39 males, was small.  Only 13 guys.  The course goes counter-clockwise, bouys on your left.  The course was basically a rectangle.  Your first left turn and short swim across the top of the rectangle was right into the sun.  After the race it became apparent that some people had issues with the sun and missing the left turn that takes you back to shore.  I didn't have too much trouble.  I just sighted more frequently. so I would not miss the bouy.
At the swim start I started far over on the right, I usually start wide and swim across toward the first bouy, to stay out of traffic.  As usual, when the gun went off I was near the back at the start.  Something surprising happened.  About halfway to the first turn bouy, there was clear water in front of me.  I could see one person swimming out in front of me, and it was the same color cap.  I took a quick look over my right shoulder and saw one guy.  I believe I was in 2nd place in my AG.  I swam this position all the way to the end and into transition.  Later, when checking the results, I was indeed the second fastest swim in my AG.  I thought that was pretty cool.  I had never swam in so much open water.  I passed a number of people from waves that started before, which is typical, but swimming in so much "clean" water was nice, and different.  I was worried that without people around I would swim slower, but I did not.  I think I was worried about swimming slower, so I didn't swim slower.

Once out and through the long transition run, I did see that I was the second one to the bike in my AG.  Excellent.  I got out for the long bike.  Two things I wanted to work on were, hydrating and keeping good form.  I think I did a pretty good job on both.  The bike course is mostly flat, with a few climbs on it, if I remember correcty.  There was more wind than I expected.  The last few miles of the bike loop goes through a residential neighborhood that is flat.  I like this part of the course.  It is a part of the course that allows you to really haul some ass.  Going through the second loop I could start to feel the heat.  Mostly I started to feel it coming at me from the road.  The pavement was heating up and you could feel it on your legs and chest.  The run was going to be hot.

The longest bike of the year, turned out to be my fastest bike split so far this year. Hooray!

Coming into T2 I felt pretty good.  Got off the bike and got out on the nearly pancake flat, nearly shadeless, run course.  I was worried about going out too fast in the heat and blowing up.  My goal for this year is to do an Olympic distance race under 2.5 hours.  I had a chance to do that today.  It would be especially sweet to do it on this course, since the bike is longer than your typical Oly.
The run became just another battle in the heat.  It was mostly mental, as it frequently can be.  My goal was to not walk at all during the run, like the 30 second walk I took near the end of St. Anthony's this year.  I did not walk.  My focus became maintaining my form on the run, trying to ignore the heat and fatigue. 

Through the first loop I was running in front of, next to, and behind a girl, probably high school age, who was cheering for everyone she passed and people coming the other way.  It was really great and I think it helped me get through the run.  She was very upbeat and I think her attitude was an example of how all triathletes should be out on the course.  I saw her after the race and thanked her for her attitude.

Well, I made it through the run, of course, and my time was surprisingly good.  The last mile or so I thought I was going to vomit, but once I got some water in me, and on me, and in the shade I started to feel much better.  Typically, I do St. Anthony's in late April/early May and I don't do another Olympic distance race until late July or August, so having an earlier race at this distance earlier in the summer gave me a better idea of where I am at. I am happy with where I am at.

This was another OHP race.  Very well run, as far as I could tell, everything went off without a hitch.  My only criticisms are that the water on the course and after the race is warm/hot and the only thing to drink is water, something besides warm water would be great.  Otherwise, the races they put on are extremely well executed.  Full disclosure again, I am a part-time staff member at OHP.

I think the most important thing I can do when fatigued, is concentrate on form, whether it is the swim, bike, or run.  Typically, not a problem on the swim.  This is kind of a "duh" statement.  Everyone knows how important form is to going fast.  Some people can "muscle" there way through different legs of the race.  I am not fast enough or enough of a natural athlete at any part of triathlon to do that.  So, if I can remember, when fatigued or not fatigued, to concentrate on form, I can have really good race results.

Since this is the first year for the Minneman Olympic distance race, I put a few of my last Oly distance race results for comparison, along with my 2011 MinneMan Sprint results

2012 MinneMan Olympic Distance Triathlon Results
Swim (1760yards) - 25:53 (1:29/100 yards), 2nd fastest in AG
T1 - 2:59
Bike (26.6mi) - 1:12:41 (22.1MPH)
T2 - 1:21
Run (6mi) - 49:56 (8:20/mi), I would like this/need this to get under or around 8:00/mi
Total - 2:32:47, oh so close
Overall - 66/144
AG - 5/13, the first two guys in my AG were under or around 2:15
Pace - 4:32/mi

2011 MinneMan Sprint Distance Triathlon Results
Swim (587yards) - 8:20 (1:35/100 yards)
T1 - 2:51
Bike (13mi) - 36:15 (21.5MPH)
T2 - 1:10
Run (3mi) - 24:30 (8:30/mile)
Total - 1:13:03
Overall - 68/342
AG - 5/28
Pace - 4:29/mi

2012 (April) St. Anthony's Olympic Distance Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) - 29:03 (1:47/100yards)
T1 - 2:18
Bike (24.85mi) - 1:12:54 (20.4MPH)
T2 - 2:42
Run (6.2mi) - 55:04 (8:53/mi)
Total - 1:41:51
Overall - 977/2689
AG - 124/236
Pace - 5:04/mi

2011 (Sept) St. Croix Valley Olympic Distance Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) - 29:00 (1:46/100 yards)
T1 - 2:22
Bike (24.85mi) - 1:10:31 (21.1MPH)
T2 - 0:51
Run (6.2mi) - 49:36 (7:59/mi)
Total - 2:32:17
Overall - 40/103
AG - 12/19
Pace - 4:46/mi

2011 (August) Maple Grove Olympic Distance Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) - 27:26 (1:44/100 yards)
T1 - 2:26
Bike (26mi) - 1:13:32 (21.2MPH)
T2 - 1:12
Run (6.2mi) - 50:15 (8:06/mi)
Total - 2:34:49
Overall - 44/216
AG - 9/33
Pace - 4:41/mi