Friday, August 29, 2014

2014 Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon Race Report

I am a few weeks behind.....

It was basically the same weather is Granitman Clearwater this year.  Cloudy, very warm, very humid.  Ick.  Similar result.  Good, to very good, swim, great bike, not-that-great a run.
Overall, better than last year.

As always, I got there early and got setup in great spot, same spot as last year.  I situated myself right by the bike in and out.  You can see my transition time from year-to-year are pretty consistent.
Just hung out until start.  Got on my bike briefly to make sure that everything was ok.

I will just get to the race.  Short swim, got out fast and had a faster swim, by about 45 seconds.  Pretty smooth and not a lot of traffic, except for the start.

Off to the bike.  Bike had some decent wind.  No sun.  Humid.  Bike has some up and down, not terribly hilly.  There was some "conflict" on the bike.  There was a guy on the course who thought it was ok to draft.  He was on a guy in front of me, in my AG, for awhile.  I could watch him draft.  He then dropped off and was then on my tail for awhile.  I then broke away, caught up to the guy in front of me.  The guy in front asked if I was drafting, I told him no.  Very clearly no.  Told him it was the guy behind us.  After the race I talked to the guy, not the guy drafting, the other guy who was getting drafted off of.  We just talked about how we didn't like it, even though it is not explicitly in the rules not to draft, this was not a USAT race, it is still not cool.  Back to the race.  He then passed me again, with the guy who was drafting behind him.  I came into transition and felt pretty good.  My bike was almost a minute and a half faster than last year.  Nice!

Got off on the run course at a decent pace.  The run is flat for about the first 3/4 of a mile, then it is almost entirely uphill for what seems like close to a mile, then mostly flat for the rest.  Not sure what it is, but this run is tough on me.  It felt like a struggle and just could not get moving.  I was a little faster than last year, 14 seconds.  So, better, but not great.  This race and the Graniteman race, with the cloudy and the humid, were my too slowest 5k runs.  They were also pretty hilly.  Not sure why I struggled so much on those two.

I ended up about two and a half minutes faster last year, ended up 4 out of 19, but due to 1st place in AG getting 2nd place overall, I got 3rd.  So I got my first, and probably only, podium of the year.  Last year I got 2nd my AG.  40-44, tough competition. 
I would like to keep doing this race.  It is a nice sprint course.  Not too many people.  Maybe some year I will do they Olympic distance.  The Olympic distance run is two loops, not sure I want to run that hill twice.

Next race up is the Maple Grove Olympic distance race.  One of my big challenges.

Below are some images, of me, posted from the Lake Marion Triathlon Facebook page, below that are results, and below that are my usual pictures.  The picture of Peace Coffee is there because pro triathlete Devon Palmer is sponsored by them.  He gave me three bags to hand out.  I gave them to Jerry, famous MN tri announcer, to hand out.  He gave one to each of the Olympic winners, and one to the race director.  I like Peace Coffee :)

2014 Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon Results
Swim (440 yds) = 6:22 (1:27/100yds)
T1 = 2:44
Bike (17.3mi) = 46:09 (22.5 MPH)
T2 = 0:48
Run (3.1mi) = 24:52 (8:02/mi)
Total = 1:20:52
Overall = 15/218
AG = 3/18 (Actually 4 of 19, but rolled down to 3rd due to 1st place in my AG was 2nd place overall.  First podium of the year)
Overall Pace = 3:55/mi

2013 Lake Marion Sprint Triathlon Results
Swim (440 yds) = 7:15 (1:39/100yds)
T1 = 2:50
Bike (17.3mi) = 47:34 (21.8 MPH)
T2 = 0:49
Run (3.1mi, heard a rumor it was actually 3.2) = 25:06 (8:06/mi)
Total = 1:23:22
Overall = 23/282
AG = 2/27 (First podium of the year, last time I had one was 2011)
Overall Pace = 4:03/mi

Friday, August 22, 2014

2014 USAT AG Nationals Race Report

This race was big, in more ways than one.
I was nervous, even though I didn't need to be.
We got to Milwaukee on Friday, went through packet pick-up (fairly fast and well organized, they could have had some signage to make finding packet pick-up easier, but it was fine), and put the bike in transition.
Transition was amazing.  Probably the largest group of the nicest bikes I have ever seen.  About 3100 bikes. 
The first set of pictures, below, is from Friday afternoon when we dropped of my bike.

The rest of Friday was stopping at a Target to pick-up supplies, go out for dinner, and back to hotel.
I actually fell asleep, and slept pretty well.

We got up and ate breakfast.  On the way out of Minneapolis we stopped at Glam Doll Donuts and picked up some of their gourmet donuts.  So, that morning I had a huge bourbon bacon apple fritter.  It had a lot of bacon on it.  It was good.  It was huge, sorry no picture.  Also had yogurt, Naked Juice (no small bottles of oj at Target), and a banana

We went down and easily found a parking garage nearby.  I went in and setup.  Transition was tight, but they didn't allow bags, so that helped reduce the amount of clutter.  I set everything up, and realized I left my goggles in the car, so I walked back and got those.   I had plenty time.  I didn't start until 8:48, and I think I was setup by 7. 

The weather was nearly perfect.  Sunny, low humidity, and some wind.  The wind was the only thing that made it less than perfect, but I really cannot complain.
I hung out with Jackie, and waited, somewhat nervously, for my start time.  I am really glad that Jackie was there, not only to wait with me, but to have someone there to watch\cheer.
The area around the start and transition was crowded, lots of racers, and lots of spectators.  I was in the 9th wave, so we could watch some of the waves take off and some people get out of T1.

The swim is in sheltered area off the shore, there is a breakwater sheltering the swimmers from the open lake.  The swim goes along the Summerfest grounds.
You stage at the top of a ramp, then they walk you down a dock next to the Discovery Museum that is next to the water.  You jump in the water from a dock, and get set in the water.  It is an in water start.  The reported water temp was 71, it was colder than that, but comfortable.   There was 219 people in my AG, it seemed like there was plenty of room as we treaded water and waited to start, but that changed once the race started.  I don't think I ever got banged around so much in my life.  I was getting hit, kicked, climbed over, from all directions, it lasted more than halfway through the swim.  Luckily, I did not get my goggles knocked off.  The swim was much tighter than it looked.  At past the halfway point, it thinned out, and it was a little easier to get in a groove.  I really think I need to seat myself more towards the front of the pack.  In a shore start, where we run in, I am slower.  I don't run in as fast, but I think with a treading water start I am faster.  I think if I had started out front, it would have been smoother.  I cannot complain too much, it was my fastest Olympic distance swim ever.  Hooray!

The ramp out of the water was steep, that had 4-5 people on each side helping people out of the water.  The run to transition is a bit of a hike.  I made a mental note of what aisle I was in, they were marked alphabetically, but I still went down the wrong one.  It was my slowest transition of the year, partly because I ran halfway down the wrong aisle, and had to go back around.  Otherwise, I got through ok.  Off to the bike.

The bike is mostly north-south, right along the shore.  You go north, turnaround and head back the way you came, then go further south, jogging slightly west, and then back the way you came.  Between our wave and the previous wave there was a 20 minute buffer, to let the racers thin out, it seemed to help.  The first part of the bike, going north, was the shorter part, about 3-4 miles to turnaround.  Right before the turnaround is a short, steep hill, and then back down.  Once you get back where you passed transition, you go up onto the highway (794) and over a large bridge.  Steep climb.  Then down the other side.  The course after the bridge is flat, false flats, and a couple of short climbs, nothing too bad.  It was windy, and at times it felt battering.  At the second turnaround, it seemed like I was behind where I would like to have been.  I was trying to concentrate on maintaining my form and position on the bike and not get sloppy, and not think about my time.  I got back to the base of the bridge, transition was immediately on the other side, and I realized I was ahead of time.  Going north over the bridge is a much longer, less steep, climb.  I got back into transition, checked my watch, and saw that it was my fastest Olympic bike split by nearly 2 minutes.  Hooray again!  I would argue it was not the easiest bike course, and there was a decent amount of wind, mostly cross wind.  So, I was pretty impressed with myself getting in so quick. 

I had written in a previous post that I wanted to go under 2.5 hours at this race.  Coming out of T2 I think I was about 3 minutes ahead (!) of schedule.  I tried not to think about it, but I think it also helped push me on the run.  The run was mostly flat.  You run out along the lake heading north, go out to a point, turnaround and go south, then go a little west to the road along the lake, then head north again to another turnaround, and head back south to the finish.  There are no hills on the run, there are false flats, long low incline portions.  I checked my time 2 miles in, the very flat part of course, and I was setting a pace well under 8 min/miles.  Basically, if I went under 9 min/miles I was going go under 2.5 hours.  I was feeling pretty good.  It was sunny, low humidity, temperature was not too bad, probably in the 70s.  I finished the run in my fastest time for an Olympic distance run! 

My time was 4 minutes faster than my previous fastest Olympic distance and I was under 2.5 hours.  I guess my training, and resting, had worked out very well.  I accomplished my only goal for the race, and two of my goal for the year, go under 2.5 hours in an Olympic distance race and do a 10k off the bike in under 48 minutes. 

It was great to have Jackie there at the finish with me.  I was so happy she could be there with me.  I think it really helped.  I was pretty emotional when I got done.  When I got my timing receipt and saw my official time, started to get choked up.  I was on the verge of crying, I actually did cry a little.  It was surprising.  I think that racing hard, and completing big goals, in a big race, was just overwhelming.

The competition was insanely good.  As Jackie observed, at most triathlon you see people of the different shapes and sizes. At this triathlon, everyone looked very fit.  My AG was insanely fast.  I was 157 out of 219, there are races in MN where I would have finished in the top 3 with my time.

Below are my results for this race and then comparison to my previous best four Olympic distance triathlons for comparison, click on table to enlarge.  Below all those results are some more pictures.

Hopefully, I can qualify for AG Nationals again.  If not, I feel very fortunate that I did get to experience this race, and have the best performance of my career.

2014 USAT AG Nationals Results
Swim (1640 yards) = 25:38 (1:33/100 yards)
T1 = 4:14
Bike (24.85mi) = 1:07:16 (22.2 MPH)
T2 = 1:31
Run (6.2mi) = 47:56 (7:42/mi)
Total = 2:26:36
Overall = 1368/3061
AG = 157/219
Pace = 4:36/mi

Friday, August 8, 2014

Comments\Thoughts Before USAT Age Group Nationals

On Saturday I will "compete" in the USAT Age Group Nationals, the Olympic distance event that you have to qualify for by finishing in the top third of your age group in a USAT sanctioned qualifying event.  I qualified at St. Anthony's earlier this year, it was a huge surprise.

For some people, qualifying might not be a big deal.  They basically qualify every race they do.  I swam for three years, ran cross country for three years, and ran track for one year in high school and never qualified for anything.  This is the first time, in an athletic setting, that I performed well enough at one level, to qualify for something bigger.  So, for me, it is kind of big deal.

I have been doing triathlons since 2007 and duathlons since 2006, and have finished over a hundred events since 2006, and I would call this the biggest race, in some respects, that I have done.  I don't expect to finish in the top 25 in my AG and make Team USA, the competition is too good.  The competition is amazing.  I would like to accomplish one of my goals for the year, complete an Olympic distance triathlon in less than two and a half hours.  I think that is a possibility, I have been racing really strong this year, and the Olympic distance races I have done this year indicate I could possibly, finally, realize this goal.  A goal I have been trying to accomplish for a number of years now.  At 40, I might actually do it.

One of my other goals for the year was to be faster at 40, then I was in my 30s.  So far, this year, I have accomplished that goal, and I have a few more race to make it really stick.  I would like this race to be one of the races that really drives home me being faster at 40.

In the end, if I don't go under two and a half hours, or have the best race, it will still be good because I am out there and doing the best I can.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

July 2014 Racing and Training Update

July went well, two triathlons and three time trials.  I had a PR at Heart of the Lakes and my last TT of July was my fastest of the year.  I had a really good swim and bike, and a less than great run, at Graniteman Clearwater. 
Below are my times for the three TTs from July. 

Tuesday Night Time Trial Results for July (13 miles)
7/1 - 35:52 (21.7MPH) - 28 of 36
7/15 - 35:57 (21.7MPH) - 35 of 46
7/29 - 34:20 (22.74MPH) - 34 of 47

I had a pretty good training month.  Wanted to get in a little more bike and run, but I think my intensity was good.  As I have mentioned in the past, I would like to go about 10 hours a month on the bike, currently I have fallen a little under that on average.  This month I did pick up the bike from last month.  June was about 8 hours on the bike, July was just over 9 hours.  Bike was about average for previous Julys, run was a less.  It looks like I will go over 100 hours on the bike for October 2013 - October 2014, this time span I use when comparing training time to my results, in my yearly summary.  I might also go over 100 hours on the bike in 2014.  I wanted to go over a hundred hours for the calendar year and/or the October time frame.  I am making good progress with regards to that "goal".

I weighed myself four times in July.  My weight on 7/16 was 178.5lbs, which is my lowest weight since I started keeping track in November of 2007.  I am guessing it is my lowest weight since college at some point.  I think I was in the mid 170s as a senior in high school.  I had more muscle then.  I still have some flab around the mid section.  I am not sure that will really ever go away.  My average for the year is now about 185, which is about 8 lbs less than my average for last year.

As far as overall workout time, it was one of my lower months, especially, for swimming. 
Swimming has been going pretty well, even though the amount of time I have been spending has been less than previous years.  I think I am making up for it with intensity and quality.

August is a big month, USAT AG Nationals and two other triathlons.  Hopefully, all the work I have done so far pays off.  I think Maple Grove will be the last triathlon of the year, and possibly the last multi-sport race of the year.  In Sept and Oct I will do some trail racing.

Comparison of July from Year-to-Year

Totals and Averages Since 2007

YTD Totals and Totals Since 2007