Saturday, June 28, 2014

Back-to-Back Race Weekend Report - Lake Minnetonka Sprint and Manitou Sprint Triathlons (100th Individual Multi-Sport Race Completed)

I did my first back-to-back weekend.  On Saturday I did the Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon and on Sunday I did the Manitou Sprint Triathlon.  My first time doing two triathlons in one weekend.  The weather was nearly perfect on both days, and, for the most part, I don't think it could have gone much better.

I was amazed at how well I raced back to back.  It went very well.

The completion of Manitou on Sunday was the completion of my 100th individual multi-sport race since 2006.  29 duathlons and 71 triathlons.  Next stop, 100 triathlons.

Concentration.  Again, both days, I concentrated on what I was doing during the swim, bike, and run.  I did not let my mind drift.  On the swim, concentrated on my stroke.  On the bike, concentrated on my position and my pedaling.  Made sure that I was not getting sloppy in the saddle and that my legs were not going wide.  On the run, concentrated on my stride, and my body positioning.  On both days, I had my PRs and some of my fastest races in general.  Concentrate and have fun!

Pictures, results, and my comments for each race are below.

Devon Palmer (pro-triathlete, owner of cute dog, general lay-about) got off his butt and biked to Lake Minnetonka to cheer us all on.  Here are a couple flattering pictures he took of me.  I am not puking in the top picture.

Lake Minnetonka Sprint Triathlon (Sat 6/21)

I did the usual breakfast (yogurt, fruit, granola, and banana), and then the usual coffee and donut on the way.  The weather all day was perfect.  In the morning, at the race site, got to watch the sunrise.  It was a little humid, but not hot.  Again, you probably could not have asked for better conditions.
There was a lot of people I know doing this race, so it was chance to chat with people before and after.  That makes it even more enjoyable.
I have taken to not warming up before the race, no run or bike, but swim a bit before the race start.  I don't think it is hurting me at all.  Though I should do an equipment check before the race (I should know better), see Manitou comments.
Water was perfect and the swim went without issue.  The swim is interesting, because you swim around a point, so, if a spectator wanted, they could follow you from start to finish by walking along the shore.  Not a typical swim venue.  The water is high this year, we had swim right up to the finish before getting out of the water. This was my fastest time on this course by about 20 seconds.
I got a little stuck in my wetsuit, hence the slower time.
This course is out and back, with some hills of varying difficulty.  The worst hill you go down, the turnaround is at the bottom, so you slow way down, and then you have to go back up the steep hill again.
Two things happened out on the bike course.  One was a guy, who I think, was drafting.  I passed him, and then he was hanging on my back, then he passed me going up the steep turnaround hill.  I then watched him ride really close on a guy for a long time.  He was also chatting, could not understand him, each time we passed each other.  Anyway, he pushed me to go faster, and I eventually passed him, even though he was drafting, with about 2 miles left to go.  The other thing was a pick-up truck that was on the road.  He wasn't allowing much on the right side, I got behind him, then caught up to him.  I had trouble getting around, and eventually had to lock my brakes at a stop sign.  A biker passed him on the left, which I did not want to do. Still, ended up with my fastest bike split on this course.  Hooray!
I got lost in transition coming in from the bike.  Went down the wrong row, had to turn around and go around another rack.  Kind of killed my transition.
The run is out and back and nearly totally flat.  Only up and down is the first part in and out of transition, uphill out, and downhill in.  I heard people cheering for me going out on the run and coming into the finish, that is always nice.  The run went very well, fastest time on this course.  I actually passed people on the run.  It felt pretty good.  The whole race felt pretty good.
This was the perfect day for triathlon and I had a mostly perfect race, at least good enough to PR by over a minute.
Pictures, this year's results, and previous results below.

2014 Lake Minnetonka Triathlon Results Swim (880 yards) - 12:44 (1:27/100 yards)
T1 - 2:27
Bike (14.5mi) - 39:36 (22MPH) - Fastest bike split on this course
T2 - 1:34
Run (3mi) - 22:32 (7:31/mile) - Fastest run split on this course
Total - 1:18:51
Overall - 62/476
AG - 13/45
Pace - 4:23 min/mi
2012 Lake Minnetonka Triathlon Results Swim (880 yards) - 13:04 (1:29/100 yards)
T1 - 2:02
Bike (14.5mi) - 41:13 (21.1MPH)
T2 - 0:59 (Two weeks, to T2s under a minute, almost 30 seconds faster than 2010 T2)
Run (3mi) - 22:49 (7:37/mile)
Total - 1:20:06
Overall - 72/466
AG - 7/44
Pace - 4:27 min/mi

2010 Lake Minnetonka Triathlon Results
Swim (880 yards) - 13:27 (1:32/100 yards)
T1 - 1:51
Bike (14.5mi) - 41:58 (20.7MPH)
T2 - 1:28
Run (3mi) - 23:20 (7:47/mile)
Total - 1:22:01
Overall - 85/452
AG - 13/42
Pace - 4:27 min/mi

Manitou Sprint Triathlon (Sun 6/21)

Last year the weather was horrible. As you can see from the results below they turned it into a duathlon last year.  This year was a different story.  Rain was predicted for the day, but did not come in the morning.  It was cooler and windier than Saturday, but not bad.  I felt pretty good, better than I thought I would, waking up and heading out there.  I was a little tired, and my legs, upper hamstrings, were a little tight.
Getting up and heading to the race was a repeat of Saturday morning.
Transition area is small, tight quarters.  Part of the reason for my faster transition, that and I was right by the run out.
I got to chat with some people before the race start, didn't know was many as at Lake Minnetonka, but still a few, and that was nice.
The water level in White Bear Lake is still low, so you start far away from transition, in water about thigh high.   You have a long run up in muck, not too bad.  Hard to compare the swim from previous years because they have changed it so much.  It was my fastest time, but hard to say if it is equivalent.  Definitely not equivalent to 2010, when it was a two loop swim and you had to get out and run a short distance.
My transition went much faster and smoother this day.  The problem started when I got out on the bike.  I could not get my left cleat in the pedal.  Not good.  I tried to balance it on the pedal as best as I could.  About a third of the way into the bike I decided, wrongly, I was going to try and jam my foot in.  When I tried, my foot skipped off my pedal, and into the front wheel.  Luckily, I did not get my foot stuck in the wheel and fork, unluckily I busted a spoke and set the wheel out of true.  So, for the rest of the race I had a broke spoke and a wobbly wheel.   Fortunately, they repaved much of the road, especially the worst part, and there are no steep climbs.  With a broke spoke and a wobbly wheel, I had a great bike.  I can only imagine how good it could have been....
Anyway, second transition went fast.  This run is mostly uphill, kind of steep at times, out, and then mostly downhill on the way back.  I had a fast run.  Again, I actually passed people on the run.  Amazing. 
Another great day, another great race.

2014 Manitou Sprint Triathlon (Duathlon) ResultsSwim (880yards) = 12:49 (1;28/100yards)
T1 = 1:38
Bike (14mi) = 38:34 (21.8MPH)
T2 = 0:34
Run (3mi) = 22:23 (7:28/mi)
Total = 1:15;57
Overall = 31/167
AG = 6/14

Pace = 4:19/mi
2013 Manitou Sprint Triathlon (Duathlon) Results
Run 1 (2mi) = 15:03 (7:31/mi)
T1 = 1:01
Bike (14mi) = 41:02 (20.9MPH)
T2 = 0:50
Run (3mi) = 23:36 (7:52/mi)
Total = 1:21:30
Overall = 18/76
AG = 5/9

Pace = 4:24/mi

2012 Manitou Sprint Triathlon Results
Swim (880 yards) = 15:26 (1:46/100yds)
T1 = 3:14
Bike (13.5mi) = 38:34 (21MPH)
T2 = 0:54
Run (3.1mi) = 23:37 (7:38/mi)
Total = 1:21:43
Overall = 76/308
AG = 5/27
Pace = 4:47/mi

2010 Manitou Sprint Triathlon Results
Swim (880 yards) = 15:22 (1:45/100yds)
T1 = 2:18
Bike (13.5mi) = 37:49 (21.4MPH)
T2 = 1:34
Run (3.1mi) = 23:40 (7:38/mi)
Total = 1:20:41
Overall = 100/345
AG = 13/38
Pace = 4:43/mi

Thursday, June 12, 2014

2014 Buffalo Triathlon Race Report

It looked like it might be a washout, or at least a delay.  It turned out to be much better than I expected.  It was raining up to about a half hour before, anything from a drizzle to downpour, and then it stopped.  During the swim the sun actually came out for awhile.  I think the temperature stayed in the mid to low 60s, it was humid, windy, and the cloudy for most of the race.  The last mile or so it did start raining again.  The last mile was a pelting rain.  So, there is the weather report for the race.  

I did not scope out the course before the race.  I did do the sprint in 2007, that year it rained the whole time and it was in the 50s.  I think the water temperature was in the 50s.  All I remember from that year was that the water was cold,  I a little panic attack on the swim (most races that first year I had a panic attack on the swim, I finished them all, I just had to slow down and breathe.) it was my first triathlon since high school (1991), and the run was mostly uphill on the way out and downhill on the way back.
The Olympic course is a difficult course.  This course makes that course at St. Anthony's look like a walk in the park.  I would venture to say it is more difficult, at least the bike course, than Maple Grove.  Not only does the bike course have pretty decent climbs, it also was a windy day, so that did not make it any easier.  I was a little slower than St. Anthony's, but considering the conditions I expected myself to be slower than I was.
Back to the swim for a second, it was uneventful, and if the distance is correct I was about 2 minutes faster than St. Anthony's.  That is entirely possible since the water was much calmer here than there.  Almost no waves.  I did something wonky during the swim, it must have been during the swim, my right shoulder was bothering me after the race for about 4 days.  I took some ibu and it seems to be better.
What surprised me the most was the run.  Not only how hard the course is, but how well I ran.  The run out is almost 3 miles uphill.  At points it is STEEP, and long.  I wanted to go under 2:35 for total time and partway into the run I was certain I would not go under 2:40.  I knew that at some point I would turn around and run downhill, but even then you cannot run too fast downhill, for fear of injury and\or falling, so I didn't think that I would make up the time.  I ended up running the 10K under 50 minutes.  It has been a couple years since I ran a 10K under 50 minutes, at St. Croix Valley 2012, and I did not expect it on this course.  I was somehow about to pull it out, and for a minute I thought I would go under 2:30 for the first time.  Even though this course the bike is a little under 24.6 and not 24.8, it would still be a pretty big accomplishment on this course.  In my opinion.  I could not push it that last mile to get under 2:30, I ended up 2:30:59. 
If my first two triathlons of the year, both Olympic distance, are predictive of things to come, I should be able to go under 2:30 this year in one the other two Olympic distance races I have left (AG Nationals and Maple Grove).  As long as I keep up training and getting some good recovery and rest. 
One thing I have learned this year is that rest and recovery are important.  I have taken it a little easier than normal the week before the two races, and I have had good races.  More rest and recovery required, is that just part of getting older? 
I put my results from this year and my results from the 2007 sprint below.  Again, the race in 2007 was my first triathlon since the one I did in high school, which I think was 1991. My transition times were terrible back then, it was my first time doing a triathlon and removing a wetsuit in transition.  At least I have gotten better at that.  I am using the same bike, in 2007 I rode on a 404 front and 808 rear, now it is a 404 front and disc rear.  Run was faster, but the bike and swim were shorter and 3 mile is much less difficult than the 6.2.

2014 Buffalo Olympic Distance Triathlon
Swim (1640 yards) = 27:37 (1:41/100 yards)
T1 = 2:47
Bike (24.6 miles) = 1:09:28 (21.2 MPH)
T2 = 1:36
Run (6.2 miles) = 49:33 (7:59/mi)!
Total = 2:30:59
Overall = 77/253
AG = 11/31
Overall Pace = 4:46/mi

2007 Buffalo Sprint Triathlon
Swim (440 yards) = 10:02 (2:15/100 yards)
T1 = 4:38
Bike (13 miles) = 39:13 (19.9MPH)
T2 = 2:08
Run (3 miles) = 23:14 (7:45/mi)
Total = 1:19:13
Overall = 214/731
AG = 73/178
Overall Pace = 4:53/mi


Saturday, June 7, 2014

May 2014 Racing and Training Report

Two Tuesday Night Time Trials on new, and painful, course.  Not out and back anymore, now a loop, with more hills and longer.  Tough course.  First night was cold and windy.  Second TT was warmer and less windy.  Dropped about a minute and a half.  As always, I do the race and then get off the bike for a run, about 12-14 minute run around Baker Park.

TNT 5/6 - 13 mi = 36:37 (21.31MPH), rainy, windy, and cold
TNT 5/20 - 13 mi = 35:03 (22.26MPH), nearly the opposite of first race.  Over a minute and a half faster.  Weather makes a big difference.

Also, did Gear West Duathlon, as always.  I wrote a blog post on that race.  It went better than last year, but not my best.  I was pretty happy with my time and performance.

As I have been doing previous months, I have been summarizing my accumulated bike time and total time, and comparing to previous years.  I am doing this to see if my performance, bike and otherwise is improving, and comparing with how I feel.  I am trying to keep my bike time to over 10 hours a month, which I missed in May, but my average is still over 10 hours a month for the year.
Total Training Time Through May (5 months) of the year:

2007 - Total Time = 41.4 Hours     Bike Time = 12 Hours
2008 - Total Time = 128 Hours      Bike Time = 43 Hours
2009 - Total Time = 127 Hours      Bike Time = 47 Hours   (2009 was year of stress fracture)
2010 - Total Time = 131 Hours      Bike Time = 53 Hours   (2010 I did two half-IMs, plus 15 other races)
2011 - Total Time = 131 Hours      Bike Time = 58 Hours
2012 - Total Time = 110 Hours      Bike Time = 40 Hours
2013 - Total Time = 111 Hours      Bike Time = 40 Hours
2014 - Total Time = 121.5 Hours   Bike Time = 52 Hours

You can see that in 2014 I have picked it up from the previous two years.  I would have liked my bike total to be a little higher at this point, but I cannot do much about it now.  June is a big month, 2 TTs, and 4 triathlons.  One weekend will be a double.  With that many races I have to balance my training and my rest and recovery.  I have already had Buffalo, Olympic Distance, Triathlon, blog post coming soon, and the week after I have felt a little tired and have taken it a little easy.  The coming week I am going to train hard, so that the week before the double I can taper off a little bit.  Anyway, so far this year I put in the third highest time on the bike and my total time is ramping up pretty good.  I just have to keep up the bike time, and intensity, along with the other stuff.

I feel pretty good.  As I mentioned above, my legs have felt pretty fatigued this week.  I think Buffalo on Sunday and then a TT on Tuesday has tired them out a bit.  I felt sluggish in the pool, biking to work, and on the short runs I did this week.  Hopefully, a little weekend rest and I will be ready to go this coming week.

My average weight for the last two years has been about 194 pounds, up and down throughout the year.  This year my average is about 186.5 pounds, with a low about 181.  Switching up the diet has made a pretty big difference.  We get a lot of good recipe from and Weight Watchers.  I think dropping 5+ pounds should, and is, helping my performance.  Just need to keep it up, which should not be too hard.  It has been pretty easy up to this point.

Below are my usual tables, comparing May from year-to-year (this year was my highest of the last two and fourth overall), my year-to-date totals, my averages, and my totals since 2007.  As always, click on to enlarge.  Enjoy!

Comparison of May Totals from Year-to-Year

Totals and Averages Since 2007

YTD Totals and Total Since 2007