Saturday, August 29, 2015

2015 Maple Grove Triathlon Race Report

This was my 6th straight year at Maple Grove, I have done all 6 years of this race.  This was my 3rd weekend in a row doing an Olympic distance triathlon.  Not sure how my body would handle 3 weekends in a row.  Going in I did not feel too bad.

Maple Grove posted some free pictures, which I will intermix through the blog.  Of course, my usual pictures are in here also.

Up early for this race, due to early start time, transition closes by 6:45AM, so I was up about 3:30AM, to get there by 5ish.  Usual morning, breakfast at home, with donut, coffee, and water along the way. Parking is kind of far away, so it is a bit of walk.  Rack spots are assigned, by AG, so you get an idea of who is there with you.  Setup was easy, went pretty.  Nice to have an early start, so you can get done with the race and get out.  Also, if it is going to be a hot day, you can get done before it gets too hot.  This morning was unseasonably cool, second year in a row.  A little humidity, not too bad.  Windy, very windy.  At race start it was clear skies.  Pretty morning.

Me, before the start.

Swim start is by AG, but time trial start, with 2 at a time.  Line up on hill and to stage and then head down to start.  As windy as it was, the lake is kind of down in a valley with tress and has some protection, so it wasn't wavy.  The swim was uneventful and it was my fastest swim of this year. I felt pretty good coming off the swim. 

A series of pictures of me coming out of the swim

It is not a short run up to transition, and the Olympic distance people are racked closer to the back.  When I got to the rack it looked like there were still a number of bikes on it.  I left towards the front at the TT start of the swim, so it is hard to gauge where I was at in the AG.

Heading out on the bike.

The wind was pretty severe out on the bike.  There was a headwind for the first 3-5 miles.  I think it was 3-5 miles.  My legs and me did not feel that great and I thought I was going to have a terrible bike, but as I got going I felt better.  The tailwind, which occurred a few times, felt pretty good.  The headwind, felt horrible.  Depending where you were on the bike course, there was an occasional crosswind, that also made for difficult riding.  I actually thought I came in at an hour and was going to be closer to 23MPH, which would have been amazingly surprising.  When I saw my time, I was a little disappointed, until I realized last year at 22MPH was my fastest, and this year was 21.9MPH, so I am not so disappointed.

Coming in from the bike.

I got off the bike and felt ok.  Initially, the run out of transition is uphill.  Kind of steep.  I think this run is one of the harder run courses around.  Two loops and lots of up and downs, some pretty challenging hill.  The weather the last two years has been extremely cooperative.  When I crested the first hill out of transition and started a short downhill I was a little worried.  I wasn't feeling great, but I got in a rhythm that felt pretty good.  The last two miles I started feeling a little nausea, which is odd.  I usually don't feel that way.  It wasn't so bad it slowed me down.  It didn't feel so great either.  I think I pushed it as hard as I could, and I ended up only 30 seconds slower than last, which was my fastest time on this course.  So, it turned out to be a pretty good run.

Going out on the run, on the run, and finishing

Adjusting for the shorter bike, my time was only 19 seconds slower than last year.  Last year was my fastest time on this course, which was my seconds fastest Olympic distance race.  That makes this year's Maple Grove my third fastest Olympic distance race. 

I am pretty happy with how this race went.  Overall, it was my best Olympic distance race of the year.  It might have been my last race of the year, I have not decided if I am going to do St. Croix Valley Olympic.  If it is my last race, it was a good note to end on.

Distance\Time correction for each year, to match 2014 time. 2013 swim and bike corrected, all other years corrected for bike only.

2015 = 2:27:14
2014 = 2:26:55
2013 = 2:38:00
2012 = 2:33:45
2011 = 2:31:25
2010 = 2:33:29

Time corrected, 2014 was my fastest time by over four and a half minutes and eleven minutes faster than 2013, and 2015 was 19 seconds slower than 2014.  Not too bad.  Pretty happy with that.
2015 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 25:37 (1:34/100 yards, just a hair off last year)
T1 = 2:59
Bike (23mi) = 1:03:00 (21.9 MPH, just a hair off last year)
T2 = 1:08
Run (6.2mi) = 49:35 (8:00/mi, just a bit off last year)
Total = 2:22:18 (Correct for short bike = 2:27:14, puts me 19 second slower than my fastest)
Overall = 75/373
AG = 11/46
Overall Pace = 4:44

2014 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards) = 25:28 (1:33/100 yards, fastest swim)
T1 = 3:22
Bike (24.8mi) = 1:07:34 (22 MPH, fastest bike split at this race)
T2 = 1:27
Run (6.2mi) = 49:05 (7:55/mi, fastest run split at this race)
Total = 2:26:55
Overall = 74/392
AG = 19/58
Overall Pace = 4:36/mi

2013 Maple Grove Triathlon Results
Swim (1640yards?) = 32:27 (2:03/100 yards)  - This was NOT 1.5Km (~0.9mi)!
Corrected to 1968 yards = 1:40/100 yards
T1 = 3:39
Bike (26mi) = 1:16:01 (20.6MPH, slowest bike split at this race)
T2 = 1:10
Run (6.2mi) = 54:05 (8:43/mi, slowest run split at this race)
Total = 2:47:47
Overall = 120/438
AG = 23/62
Overall Pace = 4:45/mi

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 = 2:37:09
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 = 2:34:49
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 = 2:36:54
Overall = 31/167
AG = 3/22
Overall Pace = 4:44/mi

Friday, August 21, 2015

2015 Lake Marion Race Report

The last two years I have done the sprint, this year I decided to do the Olympic. Hey, why not?

I felt pretty tired Sunday morning.  Not so much sleepy tired, but arms, legs, body tired.  The evening before I spent lounging in a pool.  That might have helped me relax, but maybe not enough.

As usual, got up early, ate breakfast, stopped for coffee, donuts, water, and Gatorade, and headed to the race.  This was my third year at this race, and I got there early enough that I got the exact same rack spot as the last two years.  Right at the end of the rack, right by the bike in and out.  Nice!  Packet pick-up is in the morning and it is fast and easy.  Transition setup was no hassle.

I didn't really check the weather before I left, but as I understood it, there appeared to be rain\storms on the way earlier in the morning.  People were watching the weather on their phones and the weather appeared to fade as it moved into our area.  It did not rain during the race.   It was cloudy, cooler than normal, still a little humid, and windy.  The heat did pick up as the race went on.  More about the wind later.

I did a short swim warm up before the start.  The water was cool, pretty nice.   I was in the first wave, men and Elite.  At the start I took off a little wide to avoid traffic.  It was a pretty quiet swim. I felt like I was swimming alone for most of it.  My time was about average for this year, which has been slower than past years.  Kind of disappointing.  Again, I was hoping to be about 25 minutes.  Still, I came in 8th overall in the swim, in a field of 60. 

Out of transition pretty quick and off on the bike.  I didn't feel too bad heading out on the bike.  It turned out to be a tough bike for two reasons.  First, the wind, second the hills.  After the sprint and Olympic courses split, there are some pretty decent hills on the Olympic course.  There was some newly paved sections on the Olympic course that were really nice. Also, due to construction, we had to get off our bikes and run through gravel\dirt for about 50 yards.  That kind of sucked.  The wind really sucked.  I didn't realize how windy it was, until out on the bike.  There seemed to be a constant head wind, or nearly a headwind the whole bike.  It was my slowest bike split of the year.  It might have been the toughest ride of the year.

I got off the bike and had a really fast transition.  I went out knowing this was going to be a tough run, because of the long hill, and then a short steep uphill, and then another less steep uphill.  On the sprint, you do this run once, on the Olympic you do it twice.  I knew I had to pace myself, so I went off the bike not too hard and tried to maintain a constant pace.  I think I did that.  The run hurt, as it should, and my pace was not to far off my 5k pace from the previous two years.

So, I won my age group! First time I have ever done that in a triathlon.  Also, I have podium finished at this race all three years.  Apparently, this race has competition that is right about my level.  The Olympic field was small, a total of 60 people for the Olympic, which I think is smaller than previous years.  I think the sprint was down this year, there might have been less than 200 people.  I think there were 7 triathlons in the area this weekend, which probably contributed to the lower numbers.  I would like to have gone faster, especially on the bike.  That being said, I will always take a podium finish when I can get it.  As I have said before, it doesn't happen often, so got to enjoy it when it does.

So far, I have done 5 Olympic distance triathlons, five 10ks, and 3 of them are right about 50 minutes, the other two are slower.  The slower ones are St. Anthony's, first of the year, and Clearwater with the long bike and tough run.  My run has been consistent, not fast, but consistent.  I will take consistent.

A coworker and fellow triathlete, who is recovering from health issues, was there to watch a friend of his do his first Olympic distance triathlon.  He took a few pictures of me, see below.  Also, my usual pictures.

Next up is Maple Grove Olympic.  Then after that, maybe St. Croix Valley Olympic.

2015 Lake Marion Olympic Triathlon Results
Swim (1640 yds) = 27:41 (1:42/100 yards)
T1 = 3:00
Bike (25.8mi) = 1:13:35 (20.3 MPH)
T2 = 0:41
Run (6.2mi) = 50:46 (8:12/mi)
Total = 2:35:41 (Adjusted for longer bike I go 2:32:47)
Overall = 14/60
AG = 1/8
Overall Pace = 4:44

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




Saturday, August 15, 2015

2015 Tuesday Night Time Trial Summary and Look Back at Previous Years (Started in 2006)

This was my 10th year of TT.  My second year in a row that I have done all 8 races. 

I have done a total 55 Tuesday Night Time Trials. 

Not my fastest year, not my slowest.  2008 was still my fastest year of TT.  I believe that last year, 2014, was my fastest year if you average everything, TT, tri, and du.
Below is a quick summary of the number of races I did each year, average distance, average time, and average speed.  Below are all the results.

2006 (Lemond Sarthe Road Bike, only 2 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T= 34:13, Ave S = 19.3MPH
2007 (First Year with Triathlon Bike, 5 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 30:45, Ave S = 21.46MPH
2008 (7 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 28:44, Ave S = 23.03MPH (!) - Fastest Year
2009 (recovering from stress fracture, 2 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 30:44, Ave S = 21.49MPH
2010 (6 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 29:59, Ave S = 22.08MPH
2011 (5 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 29:47, Ave S = 22.17MPH
2012 (5 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 29:39, Ave S = 22.26MPH
2013 (7 races) - Ave D = 11mi, Ave T = 30:03, Ave S = 21.97MPH
2014 (8 races) - Ave D = 13mi, Ave T = 35:32, Ave S = 21.95MPH
2015 (8 races, one long, rest short) - Ave D = 10.47, Ave T = 29:04, Ave S = 21.98MPH

This year, the first race was on the long loop, similar to the one we did in 2014.  After the first one, construction forced the course to change to the original course, 2013 and earlier, but slightly shorter.  I was a hair faster this year than last year, but on a shorter course than last year.  Aside from 2008, my time has been pretty flat on the out and back course. Consistency! 
Again, I consider this a hard training ride.  I am not competitive, as you can see by where I finish.
Of course it is a great physical challenge, but also mental.  A TT requires a lot of mental work, in my opinion.  Focus on pedal stroke, otherwise my gets lazy.   It appears that what I practice in the TT, rolls over to my tri and du biking. 

It is interesting to note, the last three races are the fastest, quite a bit,  also the weekend after a triathlon. Last year, the last two races were faster than previous.  I must hit my stride near the end of the season.

This might be the last year I do TNT.  With a baby on the way, and the wife working late on Tuesdays, it might be difficult for me to get out there on Tuesday nights.  If it is the last year, it has been a good 10 year run

2006 TNT Results (Lemond Sarthe)
Last place and almost last place, gotta start somewhere

2007 TNT Results (First Year on Tri Bike)

2008 TNT Results (Fastest Year)

2009 TNT Results (Reversed Course Year, Recovering from Stress Fracture)

2010 TNT Results

2011 TNT Results

2012 TNT Results (Reversed Course Year, I think)

2013 TNT Results

2014 TNT Results (New Course)
2015 TNT Results (New Course\Route Change due to Construction)

Thursday, August 13, 2015

2015 USAT AG Nationals Race Report

So, I made it back again.  I was a little nervous, again, but not as much as last year.
Going into this race, my feelings were different than last year.  My times this year have been slower than last year, mostly my swim, and run, my bike has been ok.  I just wanted to go under 2.5 hours, I did not expect that I would go faster than last year.  I just didn't feel like I would.

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.  Same as last year.), and put the bike in transition.
As was the case last year, transition is amazing.  Probably the largest group of the nicest bikes I have ever seen.
The first set of pictures, below, is from Friday afternoon when we dropped of my bike.

We stayed a little further away this year.  Stayed just outside Racine, a little closer to Kenosha than Milwaukee, since we were going to meet up with my family on Saturday night.

Got up and ate breakfast and got ready to go.  Had coffee and a donut(s) on way to race, picked up an extra yogurt breakfast bar to eat while waiting for my wave to start.  There is over an hour between the start of the race and my wave, and eating something, light, while waiting was a good idea.

No issues getting to the site.  Used the same parking garage as last year, which is close by and easy to get at. 

Got there and I went into transition and setup.  Like last year, transition is tight, but they didn't allow bags, so that helped reduce the amount of clutter.  Setup went easy.  Was able to take my time and relax.

The weather was strange.  Started off sunny, mild, but a little humid.  As the morning\day went on, it got cloudy and stayed humid, luckily it wasn't sunny.  If the sun had come out, it would have been really nasty out.  It was a little windy.

I hung out with Jackie, and waited, somewhat nervously, for my start time.  Being that Jackie is pregnant, she had a chair to sit on this year.  Thankfully.  I am really glad that Jackie was there, not only to wait with me, but to have someone there to watch\cheer.  My cousin Kevin, his wife, and my brother Mike, said they were going to come watch.  They did get there, just after I started the swim, and I was grateful for them coming to the race.  Not only to cheer for me, but to keep Jackie company.
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 65.  It felt  much colder than that..   There was 180 people in my AG, last year there was 219.  This year seemed like more than last year.  We have the longest wait between when our wave starts and the wave before went off, about 20 minutes.  We had plenty of time to warm up in the cold water.  The temperature must have been less than 65.
Like last year, the swim is crazy.  Narrow area to swim in, you are almost in contact with someone the whole swim.   The ramp out of the water was steep, that had 5-6 people on each side helping people out of the water.  I looked at my watch and saw that I was about 27 minutes, 27:11 to be exact.  Last year I was in the 25s.  I wasn't happy to see that, but I still had the rest of the race to go. The run to transition is a bit of a hike.  As I was running to transition, I did see, and hear, Jackie, along with my cousin, his wife, and Mike.  I was glad I did see them.  \
This year I remembered where I was in transition and didn't get lost, and I was 38 second faster out of T1.

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.  This year, Jackie, my brother, and cousin and his wife were waiting as I passed the by start\finish\transition area and headed south.  I heard them cheer as I passed, which was nice.  To the 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 kind of windy, and I thought I would get a bit of a tailwind at the second turnaround.  At the second turnaround, like last year, it seemed like I was behind where I would like to have been, and it felt like I still had a headwind.  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 ok on time.  Going north over the bridge is a much longer, less steep, climb.  I got back into transition, checked my watch, and thought that it might have been slightly faster than last year.  Found out I was 9 seconds faster than last year, which means it was my fastest bike split on an Olympic distance course.  Something to cheer about. Based on how I felt, I would not have thought I would go the same speed as last year, much less slightly faster.

I wanted to go under 2.5 hours at this race.  Coming out of T2, based on how my legs felt, it was going to be tough.  To go about the same time as last year, I needed to run almost the same, to go under 2.5, I was going to have to go about 50 minutes, or faster.  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.  It was cloudy, but still warm and humid.  I felt sluggish on the run.  At the two mile mark, it looked like I was about 16 minutes, about 8 min/miles.  Not fantastic.  I was thinking too much about my time during the run, I was also thinking that I was hurting.  Last year, I covered the first two miles under well under 16 minutes, so I had a pretty clear shot at going under 2.5 hours.  This year, I had to really push myself to go under 2.5 hours. 

In the end, I went under 2.5, 2:29:47, making it my third fastest Olympic distance triathlon.  Nothing to be ashamed of.  I was over 3 minutes slower than last year, mostly due to the run.  It is little disappointing, but I also have to realize I cannot always PR, and that I am happy that I can compete at AG Nationals, and have my wife and family there to watch me. 

It was great to have Jackie there at the finish, along with some family.  I didn't get as emotional as last year, when I almost started crying.  It was nice to talk to Jackie and my family and share that time with them.

As I mentioned last year, 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.  Also, like last year, my AG was insanely fast.  I was 132 out of 180, there are races in MN where I would have finished in the top 5, 10, 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.

This might be my last time at AG Nationals, at least for some time.  The race is moving to Omaha next year, and we are going to have a baby at the end of September\beginning of October.  So, priorities change and I might not race at St. Anthony's next year, the USAT Regional Championship race where I have qualified for the last two years.  If I do race, I cannot guarantee I will be in the same shape as I have been in the previous two years.  I am very thankful that I have been able to race at AG Nationals the last two years.  It has been a great experience at a great race site.

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

2015 USAT AG Nationals Results
Swim (1640 yards) = 27:11 (1:39/100 yards)
T1 = 3:36
Bike (24.85mi) = 1:07:07 (22.2 MPH)
T2 = 1:28
Run (6.2mi) = 50:24 (8:06/mi)
Total = 2:29:47
Overall = 1227/2613
AG = 132/180
Pace = 4:42/mi


Wednesday, August 5, 2015

July 2015 Racing and Training Summary

This July had more training hours than the last few Julys.  I probably need the extra hours, and effort, going into August where it looks like I will be doing 3, maybe 4, Olympic distance triathlons to finish the season.  The biggest one being the first, USAT AG Nationals, on August 8th.  Last year, AG Nationals was my fastest Olympic distance race, ever.  Hopefully, I have trained, and raced, hard enough that my taper takes and I can again get a PR performance.  If not, I have to remember to enjoy the day and the race.

It looks like my bike is coming around just in time.  Like last year, my bike got faster in mid to late July, for some reason.  The two triathlons I did this month, I averaged almost 22 MPH on a nearly 29 mile course, and almost 23MPH on a 22.5 mile course.
The two TTs this month were about 0.5-0.6 MPH faster than previous fastest TTs this year.  Both of those were after weekend races. 
7/14/15 - 10 miles = 26:47 = 22.85MPH
7/28/15 - 10 miles = 26:57 = 22.71MPH

My run is still hot and cold.  Some training runs feel really good, some ick.  My two races this month were ok.  Nothing special.
My swim at Chisago was terrible.  Still bugs me.  My own fault.  Should not have gone out so fast.
Otherwise, my swim has been average this year.  I have put in more swim time this year than last year, but, as I have shown in my past comparisons to training time and race performance, it doesn't mean much. 

Below are the usual tables.  This July is the most time I have put in since July of 2011.  I had above average time for swim, bike, and run.  I did a 3 hour bike ride up to Chisago this month, which really helped boost my time for the bike.  I did the 3 hour bike on my Felt 75X, cycle cross bike, and was surprised at how comfortable the ride was.  It has been a long time since I have been on a bike for more than 2 hours, and I had no real discomfort in my seat or groin area, and very little in shoulder or wrist.  A far cry from spending over an hour on my tri-bike.

Year-to-Year July Comparison

Since 2007 Totals and Averages

YTD Totals and Totals Since 2007