Monday, July 22, 2013

2013 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon Race Report

This is my 250th blog post!

I missed beating my fastest time on this course, 2008, by 11 seconds.  I was 4 minutes faster than last year.  So, I had a very good day today.
I didn't necessarily feel like it would be such a good day.  I felt pretty regular when I got up and got going this morning.  As usual, I was up early, showered, shaved, ate my usual breakfast, and headed out for the race.  On the way there, I stopped for my coffee, donut, water, gatorade, and a banana.  We were out of bananas at home.
Along the way it rained a little bit.  Mostly intervals of big drops, not a drizzle, not a committed rain.  No more than a few minutes at a time.  The sky to south and west looked threatening.
There is a street on each side of the park, where the race starts and finish.  The street on one side is the transition area for the "short" course and the street on the other side is the transition for the "long" course.  The racks are by wave.  There is plenty of room.
Packet pickup is at the race site, in a building at the park.  Very fast and easy.  They are well organized.  Get your packet, get body marked, get your timing chip and get out.  Nice.
It was pretty cool and cloudy.  I think it was about 60.  Reported water temp was near 80.  Since it was not a USAT race, they allowed wetsuits.  I had to think about using the wetsuit.
I did a short bike warmup and talked to some people I know.  Continued to think about the wetsuit.  In the end I decide to go with it.
The sky continued to look pretty dark to the south and west.
It is a wave start.  I was in the fifth wave.  I think it was men and women, ages 30-39. All the "long" course athletes went first and then "short" course.  I started to the far side of the buoys at the front.  I took off and went to wide to start and swim a bit to get close to the buoys.  I was in good spot to stay out of traffic, but it was a longer swim.  I really need to be more aggressive in my starting position.  I am a better swimmer and should start in a better spot.  I tend to box myself out and have to work back in.  Part of it is nerves, it is easier to start outside and work my way in to the first turn.  It can also be the longest route.  Overall, the swim went well and did not feel too bad.  I was hoping my time was a little faster.  It felt faster.
I got out and had a decent transition.  The run up is a little long, and so is the run out.
It was a little chilly at first on the bike.  Probably still in the 60s.  The bike went well, I thought I was slower.  I just wanted to be over 21MPH, I was so happy to see I was over 22MPH.  The weather was good out on the ride.  When you turned into the headwind, it was pretty tough.  I didn't realize it was so windy until I got out on the bike.  The bike has a nice mix of hills and flats.  It must be the best bike course for me, it is still my fastest average speed for a triathlon, in 2008, and I always average 22MPH. It never rained during the bike and the it alternated cloudy to sunny.
I got off the bike and felt pretty decent.  This run course is tough for a couple of reasons, it is not flat and there is almost no shade.  The hills are a mix of some short and steeper, and some long slow.  The last two times out on this course the heat was killer.  This time it was just about perfect.  It was overcast, sun came out occasionally, and the temperature was reasonable.  It still hurt.  I took some water, both in my mouth and poured on myself, at each stop.  Some of the stops had sponges, which I love, and I took those at each chance.  I felt ok coming in.  It was not an easy run by any means.
My time was much, much better than last year.  Almost as fast as 2008.  This was also the first race this year I ran under and 8 min/mi pace, and it was over a 3 mile run.  I am really happy with this,
I joked on Facebook that I attribute my good results to the fact that I had pizza and beer for dinner on both Friday and Saturday night, not to the weather or training.  I am sure the weather had something to do with my performance.  Maybe having two weeks off since my last race and getting a good mix of training and rest in helped.
Not being drained on the bike and run by intense heat helps a lot.  At the finish there are showers, houses hung on a wooden frame, and typically people are using them.  Not this year.  It was not hot enough.
I got done had some water and watermelon, chatted with some people, and packed up.
It was a really good day.
Next two races are Chisago Lakes Sprint, which has another run that kills me, and Graniteman Big Lake which will be my first time doing that race.

2013 Heart of the Lakes Triathlon Results
Swim (880yards) - 15:23 (1:44/100yds)
T1 - 3:09
Bike (21miles) - 55:58 (22.5MPH)
T2 - 1:28
Run (5.3miles) - 41:03 (7:45/mi, see my run from '12, this was MUCH better.  Close to '08!)
Total - 1:57:01
Overall - 75/260
AG - 5/12
Pace - 4:22/mi

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

Saturday, July 6, 2013

June 2013 Racing and Training Summary

June is done.  There was supposed to be three triathlon, but here was a surprise duathlon.  That would be Manitou Sprint Triathlon converted to a duathlon due to weather.
I did two Tuesday night Time Trials, one was my fastest and the other my slowest of the year.  The slowest was on my slowest in a few years.  The weather was pretty bad, rain right before, some drizzle, windy, and I think the temperature was in the 50s.  Two weeks later, the weather was perfect and I had my fastest time so far this year.  You can see the difference in the number of people competing between the two weeks in the Open class.

6/4 - 11mi = 30:49 = 21.42MPH, 24/28 overall
6/18 - 11mi = 29:40 = 22.25MPH, 54/65 overall

The time spent working out this year is about average when compared to previous years.  Bike was down from previous years, run was up, and swim was about the same.  Nothing compares to the time I spent racing and training in June of 2008.  I think besides training, I raced every weekend in 2008 and that lead to the crazy amount of total time.
I would say things in June went pretty good.  After the first 6 months of the year, my swim distance and time are less than last year, but I would say my intensity has been higher than previous years.  My run time is up from last year at this time.  My bike is down a little from last year at this time.  The amount my bike time is down is close to the amount my run time is up.  A traded a little of one for the other.
Hopefully, I can get a little more time in training in July.  In the past, I have had 3-4 races in July.  This year I only have two races near the end, so I would like to get some training in before a very busy August.

Year-to-Year Comparison of June

Totals and Averages Since 2007

YTD Total and Totals since 2007

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

2013 Lake Waconia Triathlon Race Report

Finally some good weather.  No rain, did not even look like it was going to rain.  Some wind
This is my 5th time at this race.  In the past, this day is usually pretty hot, and can be windy.  This day it  was kind of cool at the start, not humid, and probably wasn't 80 by the time I finished.  The weather has definitely been worse for this race.  There was some wind, so there was some chop out on the lake, and it made the ride a little more difficult than it could be.  The course is challenging, from the swim that is usually choppy, to a bike course with hills, to a run with hills, I would say it is one of the more difficult courses in the area.  
My morning was normal, had the usual breakfast, then usual donut and coffee.  Felt pretty good.
One nice thing about this race is that you see a lot of people you know, which I did, so you get a chance to do a little socializing. 
The Elites go in a group start.  The rest of us in a TT start.  Lined up in number order, which is grouped by age and sex.  Like I said before, the swim had some chop.  Not too bad, I went a little off course on the way out.  I think I let myself get pushed to the left on the way out, so the first right turn took a little longer and more work than it should have.  Otherwise, my time was about normal.
I got through transition ok.  I put my socks on, again, before the bike.  I am not going to do this anymore.  If I wear socks, I am going to wear them after the bike.  Too much of a pain to put them on before.
The ride out of town has a decent climb, so I took it kind of easy.  In the past, I tried to hammer out.  This year, I just spun up the hill, and waited to get out of town before I really started going.  Even with the wind, and taking it a little light up front, I was still pretty close to my "usual"times for this race.  2010 and 2011 were my fastest times and since then I have not gotten close to those times.
There are a couple of flat spots on this course where you could really feel the wind.  It seemed like there was not much tailwind.  It felt like the wind kept shifting.  Maybe that was a mental thing.
The run.  Oh, the run.  When I saw my time, I was surprised, I thought it was much slower and I was faster than last year.  I got off the bike and basically ran with a friend, Helen, and I think that helped.  This run has very little shade and is hilly.  Just tough.  Only once did I go under 8 min/mi, maybe one day I will do it again.
Interesting, and strange note, this year and last year I placed 111th overall.  My time this year was 39 seconds slower than last year.
When I was done I had a couple of the Gear West supplied, via Kevin O'Connor, hot dogs and talked to a few people.
Overall, it was great day to race, and I was pretty happy with my results.  As always, I would have liked to have gone faster.  Even though I did not go faster, I am still happy with my results on this particularly difficult course.

2013 Lake Waconia Results
Swim (880 yards) - 16:04 (1:49/100 yards)
T1 = 2:16
Bike (20 miles) - 58:02 (20.7MPH)
T2 = 1:12
Run (4 miles) - 33:13 (8:18/mile)
Total = 1:50:45
Overall = 111/263, same place as 2012.  Strange.....
AG = 12/26
Pace = 4:31/mile

2012 Lake Waconia Results
Swim (880 yards) - 15:07 (1:43/100 yards)
T1 = 1:49
Bike (20 miles) - 57:40 (20.8MPH)
T2 = 1:25
Run (4 miles) - 34:07 (8:32/mile)
Total = 1:50:06
Overall = 111/317
AG = 11/29, 6 minutes slower than 2011, same place in AG
Pace = 4:30/mile

2011 Lake Waconia Results
Swim (880 yards) - 15:11 (1:44/100 yards)
T1 = 2:15
Bike (20 miles) - 54:02 (22.2MPH, fastest bike split at Waconia)
T2 = 1:07
Run (4 miles) - 31:35 (7:54/mile, fastest run split at Waconia)
Total = 1:44:09
Overall = 90/315
AG = 11/26
Pace = 4:15/mile

2010 Lake Waconia Results
Swim (880 yards) - 15:04 (1:43/100 yards)
T1 = 1:43
Bike (20 miles) - 54:20 (22.1MPH)
T2 = 1:46
Run (4 miles) - 34:21 (8:36/mi)
Total = 1:47:10
Overall = 129/361
AG = 12/30
Pace = 4:22/mile

In 2009, Jackie and I volunteered on the bike course with my leg in a cast due to my stress fracture.

2008 Lake Waconia Results
Swim (880 yards, windy and choppy, miserable swim, ick) - 24:33 (2:48/100 yards)
T1 = 2:34
Bike (24 miles, bike lengthened due to construction) - 1:07:57 (21.2MPH)
T2 = 1:35
Run (4 miles) - 32:09 (8:03/mile)
Total = 2:08:45
Overall = 188/431
AG = 22/38
Pace = 4:31/mile

Monday, July 1, 2013

2013 Graniteman St. Cloud Triathlon Race Report

This is my first time doing this race.
I had been watching the weather, since it had been so bad over the weekend, and they were predicting more bad weather.  I got up in the morning before 4AM, since the drive was an hour+ and I had not been there before.  I checked the weather and the rain was going to go through St. Cloud and be gone by 7AM, according to website.  I ate my usually banana, yogurt with frozen fruit and granola, and then headed out.  The drive was good until about 30 miles from St. Cloud, and then the sky exploded.  The rain was coming down in sheets and it was extremely hard to see.  I pulled off to get my usual coffee and donut, pre-race, water and gatorade, pre-race, bottle fill, and post-race.  When I got back in the car the rain had calmed down a bit.  By the time I got to the race site, after getting slightly lost, it was totally done raining.
I got there a little later than I wanted, but the race was delayed half an hour.  So, instead of starting at 8AM it started at 8:30AM.  I learned this when I pulled over to check directions, and I also checked my email where they sent out an email to announce this, and that we should check FB for updates.
Transition was in the grass.  Grass was wet, and sloppy in places. I found a spot not too bad at the end of the rack.  Packet pickup was at the race site, it was quick and easy.  Setup in transition was quick and easy.
So far, so good.
There was no rain prior to the race.
The swim was around a small lake in downtown in St. Cloud.  Nice little lake.  My warm-up was a swim in the lake prior to the start.  I had my wetsuit on, and it still felt cold.  The rain prior to start must have cooled it down a tad.  I was in the 6th wave, both sexes age 35-39, so I had about 15 minutes to wait.
The swim did not feel too bad, not great, but not bad.  There was some banging around with competitors at first, more than usual.  Very straightforward swim.  After the fact, I learned I was third in my AG out of the water.  I was a little slow out of transition.  I wanted to get socks on before the bike, and I soaked one of them as I was getting it on.  Also, a little helmet trouble.  This time I brought my wife's Oakley's with clear lens.  It was nice having these on cloudy day with the possibility of rain, and wet roads.
I had a number of problems on the bike.  First, the course.  Course is pretty nice.  Not a lot of turns, out and back course.  Mostly flat, no steep climbs.  One problem, about a mile into the bike, I felt like I was digging myself out of hole, in terms of my energy level.  I felt depleted from the start.  Other issue, I hit a bump, pothole, that jarred me.  When that happened the part that holds the shell of the helmet to the cage part, that sits on your head, came lose.  The part is at the front of the helmet, so my helmet slipped down towards the bridge of nose.  I made the decision to not stop, and just adjusted it one and off during the bike, really annoying.  Then there was the wind.  There was a pretty decent headwind on the way out.  About halfway to the turn around, I passed 3 people from different waves, not long after that, they passed me, and I started catching them again.  I decided that I did not want to do this back and forth, or be stuck trying to adjust my spacing behind them.  So, I gunned it and got out in front of them.  I stayed out in front of them for the rest of the race.  I was taking the fact that I passed them, and then they passed me, that I was going too slow, so I picked it up.  I am not sure hammering it into the head wind was such a great idea, based on how my legs felt on the run.
At the turn around, it was nice to have the wind at my back.  It still felt tough.
Got off the bike, ran with the new Saucony Kinvera 3 for the first time.  They were just fine, no problem.  The run was a slog.  I knew it was going to be based on the bike.  The run is flat, maybe some false flats, but nothing I would call a hill.  I think I got passed by 4-5 guys in my AG.  My run time was actually not as bad as I thought it was going to be.
By the time I got to the finish the sun was out and it was heating up.
The advertised distance was 1/3mi swim, 15mi bike, and 3.1 mile run.  The bike was actually longer and the run shorter.  They did not correct it anywhere, but they did correct it in the speed and pace.  The speed and pace recorded did not match what they should be for the distance, so I backed the distance out, and it is below.  I figured the bike was longer, based on the fact I passed the 15mi marker and still had about 5-6 blocks to transition and the run seemed slightly short.
I liked the course, and the race was well organized.  I did not have a great feeling race, my results were not terrible, but that is not the fault of the race, or the course.  I would definitely do this race again.  I think on a good day, a day were I felt good, I could have a fast race.

2013 Graniteman St. Cloud Results
Swim (587 yards) - 9:49 (1:51/100yards)
T1- 2:07
Bike (15.7 mi) - 45:17 (20.8MPH)
T2 - 1:10
Run (2.9 mi) - 23:57 (8:16/mi)
Total - 1:22:19
Overall - 50/211
AG - 10/21
Overall Pace - 4:21/mi