Friday, August 31, 2012

August 2012 Training and Racing Summary

August consisted of two triathlons (Brewhouse and Maple Grove) and the last TT of the year.
This was my last month at OHP, after almost two years of working there part time.  Done.
Training this month was a bit on the low side.  My second lowest August on record.  I did do more swimming this August than last August.  Also, I did more triathlons in previous Augusts, so that will decrease my total time this year compared to years past.  No Turtleman this year.  I did pick up my run intesity this month compared to last month and June.
I have one Olympic Distance race left, St. Croix Valley Triathlon, and this will be last chance this year to go under 2.5 hours at this distance. It will interesting to see if I have it in me this year to get under that mark.  Last year I missed it because, for some reason, I choked on the swim.  I don't think that will happen this year.  I think this year it will come down to the run.

August Year-to-Year Comparison

Since 2007 and Monthly Averages

YTD Total and Totals Since 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

2012 Maple Grove Triathlon

Picture of me getting out the water was taken by Kerry Yndestad at Yndecam

This last Saturday was the 3rd running of the Maple Grove Triathlon.  It was also my third time at this race.  All three times I did the Olympic distance.  It was by far the best weather of the three years.  Cloudy and cooler than usual, still a bit humid, but you probably could not ask for better conditions in MN in August.  The past two years had been sunny and very hot. 

I had a pretty good race.  I would say typical for this year.  My swim and bike were very close to last year's results.  Again, my run was slower than last year, and slower than I would like.  As I have mentioned previously, I think I have mentioned it previously, I need to work on my run for next year.

The course has not changed, but the ability of the AG competitors has changed a lot.  The first year, 2010, I finished 3rd in my AG out of 22 (Overall Olympic I was 31 of 167).  Last year I was 2+ minutes faster than 2010 and I was 9 out of 33 in my AG (Overall Olympic I was 44 of 216).  This year I was about two minutes slower than last year, but still faster than 2010, and I was 18 out of 47 in my AG (Overall  Olympic I was 103 out of 367).  So, as you can see, not only are the number of participants in the Olympic distance, and Sprint distance, increasing every year, but the athlete ability is getting better each year, and I am not keeping up very well.

The swim was pretty uneventful.  No issues with crowding, or getting hit by anyone.  About halfway through I felt my left shoulder get tight and it started to hurt.  Occasionally this happens when swimming with my wetsuit.  I know my left side is my weak side and somehow the wetsuit makes it worse.  Not sure if the tightness of the suit does something to my stroke, and that is what causes the pain.  I felt a little slow/tired on the swim, but I came in right around where I expected, though I would have liked to have been faster.  Of course.

I got through transition no problem, but once out on the bike I felt a little, ugh.  It was odd.  I would say the first quarter to third of the bike I felt a little nausea and my legs felt "light", like they were not going to listen to me.  After I was on the bike for a bit my nausea went away and my legs felt better.  The bike was windy at times, but the course changes direction enough so that you are not always into the wind, or have a tailwind.  The road surface is not too bad, there is one section that is annoyingly rough, otherwise it is pretty good.  As you can see from my results, I have pretty much maintained the same pace each year.

Off the bike I felt ok.  Like almost every race this year, my legs on the run have not been up to the task.  Or at least up to the task of running as fast as I would like to run. Right out of transition you have a short steep uphill that tapers up to a low grade incline.  You run through a mostly flat neighborhood, and then through a neighborhood that has some ups and downs.  For the second loop, you run around the park/transition area, and you run along the northside (I think) of the lake.  This is a long false flat/low grade incline that is deceiving, also there is no shade, but water stop.  This section on the second loop seems to take some energy out of you, once you pass this portion, you are back on the same section of course as the first loop.  Another thing about the run is that it is two loops that are nearly, but not identical.  The second loop is longer because it goes around the park/transition area.  You finish the first loop and think, "That was bad, but I made it, and I ONLY have to do it one more time."  Then you realize the second loop is longer and, "Oh shit, this sucks worse"   Again, this is a challenging run.

This race is well run and I like doing it.  The course is challenging.  The bike has a mix of some climbs, false flats, and flats.  The run is very challening, with some decent uphills and false flats.  There are two uphills before the second lap/finish that burn.  The last two years I have done the packet pickup in the morning.  I have gotten there right around the time that transition opens, about 5AM, and there have been no issues.  I have watched people get there later and have issues with time, but that is thier fault.  The race is well run and well organized.  I think it is the only Olympic distance race that not only has one bottle exchange on the bike, but two bottle exchanges. I have never used them, but it is a nice touch.  The water stops on the run have cold water and the volunteers are great.  The volunteers are great not only on the water stop, but for the whole race.  The beverages are cold at the end and the food is good.  Some fruit, chips, sandwiches from Smoking Bonez BBQ (I think that is the name of the place) and salads from Noodles and Company.  Every year, including this year, I see people I know, and like, from the tri community and I get chance to talk to them, which is also an enjoyable aspect to this race.
This is a race I would like to continue to do.

2012 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 28:26 (1:48/100 yards)
T1 = 1:57
Bike (26mi) = 1:13:14 (21.2MPH)
T2 = 0:54
Run (6.2mi) = 52:12 (8:25/mi)
Total = 1:37:09
Overall = 103/367
AG = 18/47
Overall Pace = 4:45/mi

2011 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 27:29 (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 = 1:34:49
Overall = 44/216
AG = 9/33
Overall Pace = 4:41/mi

2010 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 27:23 (1:43/100 yards)
T1 = 2:27
Bike (26mi) = 1:13:12 (21.3MPH)
T2 = 1:03
Run (6.2mi) = 52:49 (8:32/mi)
Total = 1:36:54
Overall = 103/367
AG = 18/47
Overall Pace = 4:44/mi

Friday, August 17, 2012

2012 Tuesday Night Time Trial Review - Review of Previous Years

The 2012 Tuesday Night Time Trial season is over and I am pretty happy with my overall results.  It is my second fastest season.  Nothing can compare to my 2008 season, maybe someday I will get back that speed. 

The TT is considered the toughest type of race in cycling, because it is the rider against the clock.  You go as fast as you can, there is no drafting.  It is a true test of fitness and cycling strength and ability.

I would contend the TNT course is one of the most challenging 11 miles you will ride, especially if you are going to do a TT on it.  The course is not flat, the hill on the turnaround is a killer.  The hill is long and the grade increases as you go.  There are shorter steeper hills on the course and there a low grade long runups.  There is really no flat section on the course. 

The people who ride this are fast, very fast.  I will never be competitive on this course, so it is a great training ride for me.  It is also a good measure of where I am in terms of my cycling ability.  I think TTs are excellent for working on form.  They teach, and help you work on form while riding as fast as you can.  I also use this race as an opportunity to get in a run after a really hard ride.

The race has been put on for the last 3 years, I think it has been 3 years, by the Twin Cities Spoke of the International Christian Cycling Club.  They have done a very, very good job.  I will definitely continue to do this race.

Onto results, comparisons, and some thoughts.  I started doing the TNT in 2006.  I did two that year on my new Lemond Sarthe road bike with clip-on aerobars.  I also did a four Black Dog TTs that year.  In 2007, I had my tri bike and I did five TNT and two Black Dog.  After 2007 I only did TNTs.  In 2009 I did only two TNT races due to my stress fracture.

Out of curiousity, let's look at the time I spent cycle training each year from Jan-July, last race is typically in August.  In parenthesis is the total time swim, bike, and run training for the same period, and in bold is my average speed for the year and standard deviation.  2006 has two races and 2009 has two races.

Jan-July 2006 Total Cycle Time = I did not log in 2006 - Ave Speed = 19.3MPH and Std Dev = 0.4455MPH)

Jan-July 2007 Total Cycle Time = 26.65 (80.35 hours) - (Ave Speed = 21.46MPH and Std Dev = 0.3474MPH)

Jan-July 2008 Total Cycle Time = 65 hours (194.5 hours) - (Ave Speed = 23.03MPH and Std Dev = 0.3239MPH)

Jan-July 2009 Total Cycle Time (injured season) = 55.8 hours (153.2 hours) - (Ave Speed = 21.49MPH and Std Dev = 0.6239MPH)

Jan-July 2010 Total Cycle Time = 79.5 hours (175 hours) - (Ave Speed = 22.08MPH and Std Dev = 0.2475MPH)

Jan-July 2011 Total Cycle Time = 82.3 hours (179.6 hours) - (Ave Speed = 22.17MPH and Std Dev = 0.7249MPH)

Jan-July 2012 Total Cycle Time = 55.5 hours (152.7 hours) - (Ave Speed = 22.26MPH and Std Dev = 0.362MPH)

The years where I had my two fastest average speeds are 2012 and 2008, which have some of the least amount of time spent on the bike during the main part of the year.  If you look at the standard deviation from 2010 -2012 and look at my average speed, there is actually no real difference in my average speed during that three year period.  So there appears to be no correlation between the amount of time I spend on the bike training and my average speed.
There is a large difference between 2008 and other years, about 1MPH.  That was the year I was coached and I raced a lot.
I would think that for an 11 mile TT, intensity is more important than time on the bike.  This year I have tried to concentrate more on intensity and form.  It is very interesting to look at these things and think about any type of correlation they may have.  There are so many variables to look at with racing and training.  I think that for me to make a large gain in speed I would have to concentrate on improving my form, intensity, and time on the bike.  This is kind of a "duh" statement, but it is probably the truth.  I think it would help to add more strength work and work with a coach.  Not sure any of these things will happen in the future.
At some point I will put my average run times per year against my training time at the run and see how they compare.
Below are the summary tables for each year

2006 TNT Results

2007 TNT Results

2008 TNT Results

2009 TNT Results

2010 TNT Results
2011 TNT Results

2012 TNT Results

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

2012 Brewhouse Triathlon

In this race I had my fastest run split of the last 4 races, I also had my slowest bike split in a non Half-IM race since St. Anthony's Tri in 2010.  This as my 3th attempt at Brewhouse and it was my slowest, due to the bike split.  That being said, I am happy with my results.

Jackie and I drove up to Duluth on Saturday and went straight to packet pick-up.  In 2010 packet pick-up was horrible, they had the pick-up in a small building at the park and the line was long and it took forever.  This year it was in a tent and it was fast. Thankfully.  After the horrible hotel experience we had in 2010, a stinky and dirty AmericInn, we decided to stay in a nice hotel in Duluth.  We stayed at the Sheraton in Duluth and ate at a decent Irish Pub across the street from the hotel.  We had pasties with mashed potatoes and gravy that were pretty good.  After that we walked down to Canal Park and met some of Jackie's friends who were in town for a family reunion.  It was a nice evening.

The next morning was a bit of surprise.  The air temperature was about 55 and it was windy, it seemed very windy.  It was nice and sunny.  We got to the race site, Jackie slept in the car until about race start time, and I set everything up.  Set up went pretty smoothly.  There were no issues getting body marked or chips.  I took a short ride to make sure the bike worked ok and to warm up a little.  It was chilly outside.  There were people wrapped in blankets, people with stocking hats, jackets, etc.  I was relieved once I was setup and could go down to the water and wear my wetsuit.

There is a long wait time for the start of the "long" course.  The short course started and once all the waves were off, we had to wait about 15 minutes for the long course waves to start.  The water was choppy and definitely warmer than the air.  Jerry later, after the race, announced that the water temperature was about 63 degrees.  The swim course was reversed this year, because the exit is a boat launch and apparently it was covered with Zebra mussels and they are sharp.  So to avoid cut feet they reversed so we could enter and exit on the beach.  Anyway, the swim was choppy and most of the back half was right into the sun.  I was all over the course.  The first half because of the choppiness, the second half because of the sun and the chop.  On the second half I stopped and bobbed for a second or two to find the bouys, it has been awhile since I have been that disoriented on the swim course.  I don't think I was the only one, since when I looked around people were swimming all over the place.  My time compared to previous years was not that different, so either the course was shorter or I swam pretty fast.

I did not feel too bad coming out of the water.  The course is not too crowded since there is a large buffer between the sprint short and long.  The long course bike is two 10.3 mile loops.  When you come out of transition you go up a mile long hill, not terribly steep, just long.  Once you right turn at the top, you get a nasty head wind.  The wind this day was by far the worst of any race this year, and it showed in my time.  It was a tough bike, besides the headwind, there was the road conditions.  I did this race in 2008 and 2010, after 2010 I said I would not do this race again because the road is so bad, in general, and then has a ton of bad potholes and cracks.  Well, this year I needed a 5th race to qualify for the Midwest Multi-Sport Series, and the website has thess statements:
"Is the bike course smooth?
The bike course is 75% good, smooth tar. This course is fast and has some rolling hills, but nothing too challenging!"
"The race pace is sure to be fast and furious with a newly redesigned bike course for 2012!"
If memory serves me correctly, this was the same bike course from previous years and about 50% was new.  The rest was frightenly horrible, still some of the worst road conditions I have been on during a triathlon.  Ick.  Anyway, between the wind and riding cautiously, I had a slow bike, which might have helped me have a faster run.
It was sunny, windy, and cool which made the run a lot easier.  It was warm, but the cool temp and the wind helped.  The first mile is all uphill, then it flattens briefly, and goes uphill again, and the rolls a bit.  The good thing is that coming back is mostly downhill.  I did not think a ran under 41 minutes, but I did.
So, even while meandering all of the swim, I had a good swim.  I had a bad bike, partly my fault for not being more aggressive on the rough parts of the course, and then the wind.  If you look at my previous bike splits, on the same course, the times are fastest.  A lot faster.  So, I guess I am being a baby about the road conditions and it was the wind that kicked my ass.  I am pretty happy with my run.  Especially since it was my fastest run since Lake Minnetonka, in mid-June.
The packet pickup was good, the food and refreshments at the end were good, the course is good overall, I just really dislike the bike course surface.  It is so terrible.  Not sure I would do this race again. I say that now, but I probably will end up doing it again to see if I can better my time.
I have two Oly distance races left.  My goal is to go under 2.5 hours in one, or both, of them.  I think that goal will hinge on my run.
After the race on Sunday, Jackie and I drove up to Bluefin Bay Resort for a couple of nights vacation.  It was a great way to spend a few days with her and spend some time out-of-town.
2012 Brewhouse Results
Swim (1408 yards) = 24:37 (1:40/100yards)
T1 = 2:28
Bike (20.6 miles) = 1:02:14 (19.9MPH, this is disappointing)
T2 = 1:38
Run (5 miles) = 40:42 (8:09/mi)
Total = 2:11:37
Overall = 74/184
AG = 11/20 (1st place in AG was fourth overall, he probably should have gone elite.)
Pace =  4:59/mi
2010 Brewhouse Results
Swim (1408 yards) = 24:17 (1:39/100yards)
T1 = 2:26
Bike (20.6 miles) = 58:29 (21.1MPH)
T2 = 2:18
Run (5 miles) = 40:39 (8:08/mi)
Total = 2:08:06
Overall = 61/154
AG = 9/12
Pace = 4:51/mi
2008 Brewhouse Results
Swim (1408 yards) = 25:39 (1:44/100yards)
T1 = 2:55
Bike (20.6 miles) = 57:27 (21.5MPH)
T2 = 2:39
Run (5 miles) = 38:53 (7:47/mi, wow that is fast for me)
Total = 2:07:29
Overall = 86/188
AG = 14/23
Pace = 4:50/mi

Thursday, August 2, 2012

July 2012 Triathlon Training and Racing Summary

This July I had two triathlons and a TT.  Both triathlons were longish sprint triathlons.  I am happy with the swim and bike for both races, the run I am a little disappointed with.  I have mentioned this in past posts.  I think that I am going to have to live with the fact that this is going to be a slow run year, for reasons I have mentioned previously.  I just did not put in enough time early in the year, and I have not done enough speed work.  I think a good thing to start with this fall and winter will be to do some strength training.  I think, I know, I need to build strength in my core and back, along with legs.  I need to start running longer in the winter into spring, with speed work starting in the spring.  I think thought I could start later this year and be ok.  Turns out, I was wrong.

OptumHealth Performance, OHP, is closing at the end of August.  I have worked there part time since the day they opened.  I have swam in the pool before it was OHP, worked out in the studio since it started, and I have competed in the races they have sponsored.  I am a little sad that they are closing the facility.  It was a good place to workout.  They are trying to work out something to keep Masters swim going.  I hope they do, it is close to work and at a pretty good time of day.  If they don't keep it going, I will have to find a new place to swim, and a new place to workout.

The workouts this July are about average, a little low on the bike, ok run, and ok swim.  Not sure what else to say about July.  It was hot.  I had some ok races, some ok workouts.  I can't think of much to say today.

One TNT this month, on the July 31.  11 miles = 29:30 = 22.38MPH, this is slightly faster than my average for this year.  Still not 23MPH.  One more TNT left in the middle of August.

I am reading an article on sports drinks, Gatorade, Powerade, etc in a British medical journal.  Once I finish it, I might link to it with some thoughts.  See what I can get done. 

July-to-July Comparison

Totals and Averages Since 2007

YTD and Totals Since 2007