Friday, December 31, 2010

Taurus in 2011

Those who know me well are very aware there is one aspect of my life that I must change in 2011. Could this be the year that I make that happen? I know friends and the Well Kept Wife™ are getting tired of me talking about this singular aspect that keeps me from smiling broadly all day, every day. It was the WKW that found and sent me my 2011 horoscope reading:

Finding the End of the Rainbow

If you're in a rut, Taurus, you can break out of it in 2011. Pluto conjunct the Sun promises you a year of positive transformation - that is, if you take advantage of the energy it provides and make smart choices. If something isn't working the way you want it to, it's time to scrap it. Are there passions that used to fuel your days, and now they are on the back burner? You need to put them back on your list of top priorities. Stagnation could lead to shattered dreams. Don't let that happen!

This should prove interesting. What will await me at the end of the rainbow? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Product Review: Carbo-Pro

The Well Kept Wife™ made some very good Xmas gift selections for me once again this year. I make it easy for her being a tri-geek. She just heads to Gear West and she says it like walking into Cheers...."where everyone knows your name."

This year her personal shopping assistant was owner Kevin O'Connor, national duathlete of the year for 2009. Among many products he recommended to her was a energy source product called Carbo-Pro. This is what Kevin uses, which means it is a pretty solid recommendation. A 2-lb bag was $18.95.

Carbo-Pro contains 100% Complex Carbs (3.0 lbs) and is a non sweet (neutral flavor) glucose polymer, derived through a patented process that consists of D-glucose units linked primarily by alpha-1-4 bonds, having a Dextrose Equivalency of less than 16 (high molecular weight). It is low on the Glycemic Index (20) in comparison to table sugar. Carbo-Pro is a white powder prepared by hydrolysis of grains (corn/barley/rice). It's highly safe for direct human consumption.

This is the best carbohydrate replacement drink I have ever tried. When I first mixed it up I thought, "where did it go", as the powder simply dissolves into a clear liquid so you are looking at a bottle of what appears to be plain water. And with the neutral flavor, you aren't sure there is anything actually in the mix. You start to think of snake oil and other products where your money is simply poured down the drain. But that perception is quickly changed at the end of your first work out.

Packed with pure complex carbs, it can be mixed with any flavor of your choice. I experimented with Montana Huckleberry gel from Hammer. Second, you get pure calories, which is great for endurance athletes. Very easy on the stomach, loads of energy, easy for carboloading. Sustained energy throughout the ride or race. I was pretty blown away. And I am very skeptical about new things.

Truly a good product without all the gimmicks of advertising. This product works. I can sustain an energy level that I could never before for intense long workouts. I get a constant flow of high energy rather than others that spike for only 15 minutes.

Give it a try and let me know what you think.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Race Preview: Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon

Event: Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon
Date: Sunday, January 23, 2011
Location: Bear Creek Park, Houston, TX. Course maps.
Previous Results: 28th overall (252 total); 5th in 25-29 age group on January 29, 1989

This year, I'm going to try and post my race previews 4 weeks in advance of the actual race day. Just in case something peaks your interest and you want to give 'er a whirl. You can also reference my race calendar on the right hand navigation area.

This will be my second Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon. The first one? That was back a mere twenty-two years ago when the race was held in College Station, Texas. My splits for what was a 5K-30K-5K race were:

5K Run - 17:24.30 (5:36 per mile pace)
T1 - 1:55
30K Bike - 53:17.62 (21.0 MPH average)
T2 - 1:42
5K Run - 19:03.53 (6:07 per mile pace)

What I recall about the event was that the temperatures had been in the 70's the day before but dropped drastically overnight and we were greeted with temperatures in the 40's, winds at 25-30 MPH, and rain. Yeah, yucky. I even bought my very first Thinsulate outer wear, which I still own and wear to this day! Here are some clippings from the event.

This time around, the event will be in Houston. The 3 mile run-15 mile bike-2 mile run course is suppose to be flat and fast. This duathlon is co-produced by Outloud! Productions and Bicycle World & Fitness, and sponsored by the SouthMidwest Region of USAT.

As with the duathlon I did in November at the Texas Motor Speedway, I expect a very deep and fast field. And even though I will be racing in a new age group in 2011 (50-54), my competition will remain at a very high national caliber.

Take for instance Dana Lyons. In 2009, Lyons ranked 7th nationally (All American) in the 50-54 AG in du's. Currently has a Du par score of 96.66953 and ranked 6th in the nation in the unofficial 2010 USAT male 50-54 rankings. Lyons, if racing, will win the masters category.

I'd like to go down and get a solid par score in the area of 85. It will all depend on what kind of shape I can be in, given the pitfalls of living and training in the Tundra. So what do I think I could do? Here's pure speculation:

3mi Run - 18:18 (6:06 per mile pace)
T1 - 1:40
15mi Bike - 40:10 (22.4 MPH average)
T2 - 1:30
2mi Run - 12:40 (6:20 per mile pace)
Total Time - 1:14.18

I fly into Houston on Friday where I will meet up with my former Texas training partner, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll. Tim and I were able to race together last season in Arkansas in April. And again at Bronda's Du at the Texas Motor Speedway in November.  I'd shipped my bike direct to Tim ahead of time prior to the November race in Texas and there it has stayed. 

Friday, December 24, 2010

Wetsuits and the 5150 Events: Follow-up

This is follow-up to my earlier post on this subject on the new offering from the WTC called 5150, the highly sought after new Olympic distance race series in 2011. I was holding back on registering for any races until I knew if my wetsuit was race legal or not.

Specifically, I use the De Soto T1 Water Rover wetsuit and I was making darn certain it would be race legal for the 5150 events. Per USAT, these suits are race legal until 2013, but I wanted to make sure of that with the WTC so I sent them a note. My initial reply back from the WTC was:

Hello Brian,

Thank you for your email. We are currently working with USAT to determine which wetsuit rules we will be abiding by. More information will be posted online at before the end of the year. Thank you in advance for your patience.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Thank you,

Athlete Services Coordinator
Ironman World Headquarters
2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Suite 1250
Tampa, FL 33607
So, I waited and I can now share with you other lovers of 10mm neoprene that the wetsuit will be legal. I received this reply on December 21:
Hi Brian-

We are following USAT rules for all 5150 events. We are working on the 5150 site and expect it's launch will take place early January.
Very good news! Now I just have to dive into my 2011 calendar and see what I want to do and then pull the trigger. I have my eye on the Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship (Des Moines, Iowa) and 5150 Galveston (Galveston, Texas). I'm sure I will finalize within the next one to two weeks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

That Was Really Freakin' Scary: One Man's Winter Horror Story

On Tuesday I would hit the office, but due to the recent snowfall I opted to work from home. Temps nearing 30 which means ‘things’ start to thaw. What I mean by 'thaw' is the snow on the roof starts to run and if you are truly a unlucky person (such as moi), any ice dams in the attic. Anyway, I hear a ‘pop-pop-pop-sizzle’ and think, ‘what are my dogs into now.’

I locate the sound from my master bedroom. Sparks are flying out of one outlet. Pop-sizzle-pop. I cut power, remove the outlet and also run across the street to a neighbor who is a handyman. He is able to cut away the wall and cap the wiring so at least fire hazard is nullified. We get up in the attic. No ice dams but outside wall is wet. Just not enough ventilation up there. Heat is getting into the attic from below, even though we both agree the insulation seems adequate. But there doesn't seem to be enough cool air getting in to that particular space.

So come spring we’ll add in more vents, probably add in more insulation and see if there are any plugged up soffits. For now, all I can do is shovel the roof to keep it as clear as I can.

Had I not been home, pretty sure a fire would have started. So I got my Xmas present early in that regard. And that was my fun day on Tuesday. How was yours?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy First Day of Spring!

No, I did not hit my head. I am just fine, thank-you-very-much. On my personal calendar, this is one of the most anticipated days of the year. That being the Winter Solstice which occurred yesterday (December 21, 2010 at 5:38 PM CT) marking the shortest day on sunlight in the northern hemisphere. That now means the days are getting longer. It won't be very long before I'll be biking outside well past 8 PM!

So in my mind, the term solstice is used in a wider sense, as the date (day) that such a passage happens. Even though I know the days will still be cold, the days are getting longer and a new racing season in the Tundra is drawing near. And that alone puts a spring (ahem) in my step.

So, be sure and wish everyone a very happy first day of spring today. With a wink and a nudge.

Monday, December 13, 2010

What the Hell?

Pictures speak louder than words.

Keep in mind the Boy is 55" tall.

Circus Maasimus for the whippets in the backyard

Did someone say, "Snowzilla"?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Porter's Lotion

Note - This is a reprint of a blog entry from June 25. I figure most people living in the Tundra are now experiencing some dry skin, cracked hands and feet, etc. So I wanted to resurface this for your benefit.

We all know about Hammer Nutrition and their fine line of products that help triathletes keep their mojo. There is another line of products from Montana that I have used for over a decade that I wanted to share with you as well. The product is Porter's Lotion which is made in Bozeman.

If you shower multiple times during the day because we are, after all, multi-talented athletes specializing in three disciplines you need something to restore moisture to dry skin. Especially during the cold, dark & dry months of winter.

I use Original Porter's Hand and Body Lotion which comes in 8.45 ounce bottle. It is a grease free dry skin tonic that combines the restorative and healing properties of Rosemary, Camphor, Witch Hazel, and Green soap. It combats the elements and helps heal cracked, dry and peeling skin. It has a "cooling" effect on the skin and a distinct scent that disappears upon evaporation. Intelligently packaged in an unbreakable bottle and like all of their products, it is not tested on animals.

At first you will think it is not lotion as it has the basic consistency of water. However I think you will come to love this product as much as I do. If nothing else, get it for your poor feet. This product will repair cracked heels. It moisturizes skin from too much chlorine from swimming pools. I keep it in the shower and just apply after toweling off.

At one time, I would need to contact my brother-in-law who lives in Missoula to venture out and buy a case and ship it to me. That was the only way I could get my hands on the stuff. Jump ahead fifteen years and you can buy direct from Porters or even pick it up from Amazon.

It has an interesting story. The precursor to Porter's Original Lotion began in Montana in 1915 with Dr. C. E. Whitehead who compounded a similar formula with camphor, alcohol, glycerin, ammonia and water to be used for workers at a local cement plant to treat dry skin. He passed his formula on to Heber Porter, a Bozeman pharmacist, who started Porter's Pharmacy in the newly constructed Baxter Hotel in 1931. He began to compound the original formula for Porter's Lotion, as we know it today. Although Heber Porter died in 1955, the same lotion continued to be compounded in a barrel in various local Bozeman pharmacies until 1994, when the Bungalow Drug, the last to make it, was closing its doors.
Fearing an end of the Porter's era, Michael Anderson, a fourth generation Porter's user, and Con and Daphne Gillam of Bozeman purchased the rights and formula to Porter's Lotion, started Gallatin River Products, and took Porter's nationwide and to four continents. So the product stayed alive.

Let me know what you think if you try it. I'm pretty sure you will give it two thumbs up.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Totals: Month Ending November 2010

Yeah, I'm a little late on this. Busy, busy month is December. This is the first chance I have had to review my numbers from November and post that month's summary.

Highlight of the month, definitely Bronda's Du (USAT) which was held in Fort Worth, TX. I even got in an unexpected 10K race the day before. It was a very nice way to officially close the door on the 2010 season. The du garnered me my best par score of the year with a 87.94644. It has me wondering what could be in store for 2011 as I move into the 50-54 age group.

Total miles started to drop on the back half of November. I took some time off as a matter of fact. I'm now just trying to maintain my conditioning so I won't have to work so hard to ramp up for 2011.

November 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 24:49:27
Swim Miles - 4.20
Bike Miles - 206.15
Run Miles - 84.69 (7:30 per mile avg)

Compare to last year -

November 2009 Total Numbers
Swim Miles - 6.25
Bike Miles - 149.9
Run Miles - 75.53

Compare to last month -

October 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 33:53.00
Swim Miles - 4.94
Bike Miles - 219.24
Run Miles - 153.17 (7:33 per mile avg)

Year-To-Date (2010)
Swim Miles - 107.37
Bike Miles - 3084.83
Run Miles - 1085.58

Next Event -
Jan 23 - Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon; Houston, TX (USAT) - 3mi run, 15mi bike, 2mi run

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The Boy®'s Swim Meet Day Deux

The Boy® had a good, solid second day at the meet. On the drive in, we talked about his success on Day One and how we couldn't let our guard down as a result. We had to finish the job. As if on cue, BTO came on the car iPod system with "Takin' Care of Business". Classic.

He took the advice and went to work like a pro. So let's go into the recap of the three races he had.

50-Yard Freestyle
C Standard - :44.29
B Standard - :38.19
Previous Best - :42.58
Result - :38.66
With a bit more push off the block and better turn I think he would have gotten a B standard time. He made up ground on the first place swimmer in the last 15-yards and finished very well. As it was, he fell 0.47 secs short. Next meet for sure he'll get the B standard. The Boy® can be seen in lane four (from the left) in the video below:

50-Yard Butterfly
C Standard - :51.49
B Standard - :44.29
Previous Best - :54.48
Result - :49.97

When the the Boy® first started doing butterfly, a difficult and exhausting stroke, he really looked like his dad trying to dance. I don't dance very well. Um, Elaine from Seinfeld kind of dancing. Maybe not quite that bad but you get the idea. So to see him take 4 1/2 secs off his previous best and easily get C standard was perhaps the best result of the entire two-day meet. The Boy® can be seen in the second lane from the right in the video below:

200-Yard Freestyle
C Standard - 03:32.79
B Standard - 03:03.29
Previous Best - 03:50.50
Result - 03:16.10

I told the Boy® to just imagine swimming four consecutive 45-second 50's. He went out a bit fast on the opening 25-yards, but doesn't everyone? His splits came in at (approx):
  • 44.23
  • 47.7
  • 55.07
  • 49.1
His coach told him afterwards the most important leg in the 200-free is the third 50. That really sunk in and resonated with him after I showed him his splits. So next time, I know he'll understand the importance of staying even. But what an improvement from his previous best! Thirty-four seconds off....very, very happy about that! The Boy® can be seen in the second lane from the right in the video below:

Next meet will be January 8-9, 2011.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Boy® Swims Well

A month ago at a swim meet, I ended up benching the Boy®. It was a hard parenteral decision, but one I decided to make. Here's what happened.

I'd been having long conversations with the Boy® about being focused and prepared and such as he'd been dinking around in practice and not fully listening to the coaches. So what did he do at the very first race at the swim meet last month? He missed his heat for the 100 free, the first race. He'd been standing right there at the block and just zoned out. His coach took blame saying he told the Boy® the wrong heat, but like I told the Boy® afterwards, that is his responsibility to know his heats. We even write it on his arm. There was no excuse. Its too bad because I think he was ready to approach a B time.

So, we held him home on day 2 of the meet and did not allow him to swim at the Sunday portion. It was hard for me to do, but I had to set an example somewhere. I had to draw the line. I needed to get his attention.

We had a meet this past weekend (12/4-5) and what a difference. He was focused. I watched him from the upper balcony as he went through the motion of each race, from start to finish, in his mind. Pretending as he started from block, to entry, to stroke, to turn....he was doing it on deck. Those old enough to recall the high jumper Dwight Stones, will recall watching him visualize each high jump before he took his first step. I was happy to see the Boy® doing this as I did not lay this down as a requirement. He was doing it on his own. It told me he was focused.

A focused Piranha
So let's recap Saturday (12/4) and I will post another entry to recap Sunday. First, let me explain the Minnesota time standards. A swimmer, by virtue of his or her age group, must meet or excel a set time standard to achieve a certain time standard. A swimmer progresses from C to B to A to CH to Zone. For the layman, I sort of equate C with novice, B with wannabe, A with local stud/studette, CH with regional class stud/studette and Zone with national class stud/studette. I'm not sure if that is accurate or not....but works for me!

C Standard - 01:53.69
Previous Best - N/A
Result - 01:57.91

He had it going early with the fly, turned well and had a nice backstroke, turned and.....the hated, dreaded breaststroke was up. He finished up well with the free. He was on target to go well under 1:53 but really slowed in the breast segment. He has been working hard on the stroke, so that light bulb should eventually go off. Until then, we keep plugging along. The Boy® can be seen in lane two (from the left) in the video below:

C Standard - :53.79
B Standard - :46.29
Previous Best - :54.40
Result - :52.96

I knew he had a decent shot to finally achieve his C standard in the 50-yard backstroke. He'd been so near on previous occasions. At the turn, I thought he was going to fall just short but he mustered the strength to finish strong and went under by almost a full second. The Boy® can be seen in the third lane from the right in the video below:

C Standard - :59.19
Previous Best - N/A
Result - 01:12.74

As mentioned earlier, this stroke is the Boy®'s kryptonite. He's got runner's blood, so his feet turn in. For a proper breaststroke kick, the feet need to turn out. But he is trying. And as his coach told him afterwards, he turned in a performance that was light years ahead of where he was at this point last year. The Boy® can be seen in lane two (from the left) in the video below (taken with my cell phone, so lower quality):

C Standard - 01:39.19
B Standard - 01:25.49
Previous Best - 01:32.49
Result - 01:27.57

Hell, yeah! The Boy® smoked this one. He came into his heat seeded fourth. He turned the first 25-yds at about 18-seconds. Hit 50-yds at about 40-41-seconds. At first, I thought he had gone out too fast. But he dug deep, and nearly knocked off a B standard in winning his heat. The Boy® can be seen in the third lane from the right in the video below:

Sunday he will be competing in the 50-free, 50-fly, and 200-free. His first ever B standard could come in the 50-free if he is on his game. B standard is :38.19 and he has done a :42.48. Katie bar the door and hold onto your could be exciting!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Wetsuits and the 5150 Events

For those tuned into the new offering from the WTC called 5150, there will be a highly sought after new Olympic distance race series in 2011.

Registration opened on December 1 and I have my eye on the Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship (Des Moines, Iowa) and 5150 Galveston (Galveston, Texas). But for now, I'm holding back until I know if my wetsuit will be race legal or not.

Specifically, I use the De Soto T1 Water Rover wetsuit and am making darn certain it will be race legal for the 5150 events. Per USAT, these suits are race legal until 2013, but I wanted to make sure of that with the WTC so I sent them a note. I did get an initial reply back:
Hello Brian,

Thank you for your email. We are currently working with USAT to determine which wetsuit rules we will be abiding by. More information will be posted online at before the end of the year. Thank you in advance for your patience.
Feel free to contact me if you have any other questions. Thank you,

Athlete Services Coordinator
Ironman World Headquarters
2701 North Rocky Point Drive
Suite 1250
Tampa, FL 33607
So for now, I'm waiting. As soon as I have the nitty-gritty details, I will share with you other lovers of 10mm neoprene. Then you will know for certainty if you will be race legal or not.

And for more information than you really need to know.....2011 is the year of the Rabbit. What will the rabbit bring us?
The year of the Rabbit will be a placid year, very much welcomed and needed after the ferocious year of the Tiger. We should go off to some quiet spot to lick our wounds and get some rest after all the battles of the previous year.

Good taste and refinement will shine on everything and people will acknowledge that persuasion is better than force. A congenial time in which diplomacy, international relations and politics will be given a front seat again. We will act with discretion and make reasonable concessions without too much difficulty.

A time to watch out that we do not become too indulgent. The influence of the Rabbit tends to spoil those who like too much comfort and thus impair their effectiveness and sense of duty.

Law and order will be lax; rules and regulations will not be rigidly enforced. No one seems very inclined to bother with these unpleasant realities. They are busy enjoying themselves, entertaining others or simply taking it easy. The scene is quiet and calm, even deteriorating to the point of somnolence. We will all have a tendency to put off disagreeable tasks as long as possible.

Money can be made without too much labor. Our life style will be languid and leisurely as we allow ourselves the luxuries we have always craved for. A temperate year with unhurried pace. For once, it may seem possible for us to be carefree and happy without too many annoyances.
I like that money can be made without too much labor. Because general entry for these events is $150. Man, I better not let the Well Kept Wife™ see this blog entry!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Product Review: DryGuy Wide-Body Boot and Glove Dryer

For those who live in the Tundra there is the plethora of wet gloves, mittens, hats, know the drill. Train in the snow, and there is something to dry out afterwards....and more importantly, be dry before your next workout.

We recently purchased a DryGuy Wide-Body Boot and Glove Dryer. Boasting four extra-tall air chambers and a whisper-quiet rotary blower, the DryGuy blasts heated or unheated air on up to four garments at once.

The device dries up to 4 garments in roughly an hour. Within roughly an hour, your shoes, gloves, hat, or even outer training pants will be completely dry, preparing you for your next workout. The approximate temperature of the air coming out of the nozzle is 99 degrees F, warm enough to dry garments without causing damage. Plus, by eliminating moisture, the DryGuy prevents the growth of bacteria and mold. The DryGuy also offers a three-hour timer for particularly wet garments and a 6-foot cord that should reach most outlets. It really has done a great job with our initial tests. Especially when the Boy® has come in soaking wet from playing in the snow. Or I come in from a nine miler and the knit hat and gloves are soaked.

So far, the unit has lived up to its billing. It drys everything out well and evenly. Available at Amazon for $79.95, although we got ours on sale at Amazon for $60.57.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

2011 National Duathlon Championships

While the official course maps are not yet available for the National Duathlon Championship to be held April 30, 2011 in Tucson....the race venue is. The event will be located at Ventana Medical Systems Center.

1910 East Innovation Park Drive
Oro Valley, AZ 85755

I see mountains.

The purple icon is the event venue site
 So, I did a little 3D view on some of the roads. Seems innocuous to begin with....

That is the road a little ways out from the race venue headwaters. Nice and flat......but looks what awaits....

....aha...yeah, mountains. Will the bike course lead us into that, or not? Hopefully the bike course is posted before registration opens on December 1st. Then I can decide if the National Du is something I will attempt in 2011...or leave it for the climbers!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Hammer Time

No, not this kind of Hammer time.

This, Hammer time.

20% off annual sale starts today (11/22) and runs thru 12/17. Stock up. Get your stuff before its all gone. You have been duly warned.

Who amongst us is going to drop the most ka-ching?!?!?

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday Coffee Talk

Last Sunday (11/14) was my last event of the 2010. Since then, I haven't done a single workout. The closest I have come was going the pool to observe the Boy® at swim team practice. You can see him in the middle lane wearing a orange swim cap.

This weekend I plan to get back into the swing of things with some easy workouts. Nothing hard, just get back into the swing of it again.

I received some great news on Friday. The par score for Bronda's Du (Ft. Worth, TX) came in. Ready? 87.96029!!!! Wow, that's the highest par score I've ever gotten. So three of my four USAT duathlons have had results posted. Yet to be posted is the Columbus (Nebraska) Duathlon as the race director has yet to send in results. However, I checked with USAT this week and they verified the race was USAT and they would be contacting the race director. If that result does ever get posted and is above an 84, my standings could yet shoot up within the national Male 45-49 age group ranking. Currently, the unofficial YTD standings show me 126th in the country for Male 45-49.

My very early 2011 tentative calendar has now been added to the right side navigation bar. For more information on any of these races, direct links can be found there. These are all penciled in for the moment. Nothing is set in stone. But, if I have my wish and can find the money:

Jan 23 - Frost Yer Fanny Duathlon; Houston, TX (USAT) - 3mi run, 15mi bike, 2mi run
Feb 5 - Hamel 5K; Hamel, MN
Feb 20 - Texas Motor Speedway Duathlon; Ft. Worth, TX (USAT) - 2mi run, 15mi bike, 2mi run
Apr 23 - Iron Mountain Du; Arkadelphia, Arkansas (USAT) 2.5mi run, 13.5mi bike, 2.5mi run
Apr 24 - Iron Mountain Tri; Arkadelphia, Arkansas (USAT) - 400 yard swim, 13.5mi bike, 2.5mi run
Apr 30 - Duathlon National Championship; Tucson, AZ (USAT) - 5K run, 35K bike, 5K run
May 14 - Lakes to Pines Triathlon; Park Rapids, MN 500 yard swim, 14.7mi bike, 5K run
May 28 - Apple Duathlon; Sartell, MN (USAT) - 5k run, 33k bike, 5k run
Jun 5 - Pigman Sprint Triathlon; Cedar Rapids, IA (USAT) - Swim .5K, Bike 25K, Run 5K
Jul 2 - Minneman Triathlon; Oak Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3 Mile Swim, 13mi bike, 3 mi run
Aug 27 - Maple Grove Sprint Triathlon; Maple Grove, MN (USAT) - 0.3mi swim, 14mi bike, 3mi run
Sep 4 - Hy-Vee Triathlon/5150 U.S. Championship; Des Moines, IA (USAT) - 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Sep 11 - Cy-Man Triathlon; Polk City, IA (USAT) - 500 yard swim, 14.3mi bike, 5K run
Oct 8 - Fargo Mini-Marathon (10K); Fargo, ND
Oct 23 - 5150 Galveston; Galveston, TX (USAT) - 1.5K swim, 40K bike, 10K run
Nov 13 - Rock 'n Roll San Antonio Half-Marathon; San Antonio, TX
Ambitious, yes? But I won't being doing twenty events like I did this year. I hope to keep it to around a dozen. And 2011 will be more front loaded with early races. I'm doing this to 1) to keep me working honest and hard this winter as signing up for a race in Jan or Feb is enough incentive to keep me focused. 2) To try and keep the summer more open for family activities and excursions. As you can see, June-July-August only have one event scheduled in each of those months. This lighter summer schedule should also keep me fresh physically and mentally. 
The best laid plans of mice and men....and triathletes??....often go astray.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Race Results: Speedway Run & Bronda's Du

Event: The Speedway Run
Date: Saturday, November 13, 2010
Location: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
Weather: 48 F and windy (15-20 MPH)
Official Results: 10K overall results, 10K age group results (there was also a 5K)

Personal results:

Official Time: 39:55 (6:30 per mile pace)
Garmin Time: 39:54 (6:22 per mile pace). Note - course was 6.25 miles per Garmin
Overall: 6th (121 total); top 0.05%; 1st in 45-49 male age group (9 total)

Mile Splits from Speedway 10K

Event: Bronda's Du
Date: Sunday, November 14, 2010
Location: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, TX
Weather: 44 F, wind at 2-3 MPH and beautiful
Official Results: Overall results; Age Group results

Personal results:

Official Time: 1:09:28.2
Garmin Time: 1:09:30
Overall: 12th (212 total); top 0.05%; 1st in 45-49 male age group (20 total)

The Recap

I departed the Tundra early Friday afternoon. The forecast was for cold rain later in the day. I left thinking the family wuld be just fine without me around.

I touched down at DFW airport a few hours later. It was sunny, and pleasant. A quick scan of the weather back home now conveyed all kinds of red box "winter storm" watches. By the time I got to my hotel, the forecast for the home base was a winter storm warning with 8-12 inches of wet, heavy snow. The Well Kept Wife™ would be dealing with snow removal while I was enjoying Texas fall weather. This was something she would certainly track and hold over my head. Goody. Here I was heading to my last event of the year, Bronda's Du, and I would have guilt pangs.

I was met at the airport by Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll, my Texas training partner from my old Texas triathlon days. Tim and I navigated our way to the Dallas/Fort Worth Marriott Hotel & Golf Club at Champions Circle which is a Fort Worth resort that is adjacent to the Texas Motor Speedway.

Texas Motor Speedway as viewed from the Marriott
We checked in and starting looking for some fine eating. We decided to fill our guts at Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse. It had been twenty-one years since I have eaten here. And it hasn't skipped a beat. Good ol' Texas BBQ.

We went back to the resort and we were sipping on brews and looking through Inside Texas Running magazine and noticed that there was going to be a 5k & 10K event at the Texas Motor Speedway the very next morning....the day before the duathlon. Same venue! And looky here: the 10K course was the same course as the 3x5mi loop duathlon bike course!

We chuckled a bit and mulled over if we should jump into the 10K for kicks and giggles. By 7:30 AM on Saturday morning, there we stood. Registering for the 10K while whispering something like, "You know we're nuts for doing this."

From inside the Speedway
So here I was adding yet another event to my 2010 calendar....and the day before my final season multi-sport event. But this now meant I would finish 2010 with an even twenty events. No wonder I am completely knackered. But what a cool venue. This is what I came down for.

My thought for the 10K was to go about 85-90% for the first 5K and then just dial it back and save the legs for Sunday's duathlon. Maybe do back-to-back 21-minute 5K's. And that is pretty much what I did. The day was windy so even though the first 5K went fast, understand that was with a tailwind of 15-20 MPH. The 5K and 10K races started at the same time. As we exited the speedway, the 5K runners veered to the right and we 10K runners went straight. Now I knew exactly were I stood. I was in 6th overall.

At the two mile mark I was keeping pace with the boys in fourth and fifth. I looked over my shoulder to gauge where we stood in relation to the rest of the field. The next shirt I could see was about 200 to 250-yards back. I could just put it in cruise control and enjoy the run.

So, I dialed it back and just coasted in. I think if I had gone 100% I could have finished as high as 4th overall. But when it was all said and done, to get 6th overall and win my age group....I was happy.

This was because I really thought I would have zero chance of reaching the 45-49 podium at the duathlon. Texas multi-sport fields are typically very, very deep with talented athletes. So now I had assured myself of going home with some hardware. And they issued very, very nice coaster stones.

1st place award for Male 45-49 AG

Tim did well also, winning his age group. So we had two first places in hand leading into Sunday. Then we just sort of watched some cars zip around the track. Way cool to wrap-up an event, don't you think?

We then had our bikes and helmets inspected at a local bike shop. This was a race requirement. There was to be no race-day packet pickup and all bikes and helmets needed to pass inspection prior to being allowed to race. The duathlon was being put on by Ironhead Race Productions(IRP) and race director Jack Weiss. Jack is very strict about what can and cannot happen at one of his events. Jack elevated himself to one of my top three race directors. He is a hoot. And he runs a very well-oiled machine. And Jack doesn't put up with namby pampy, um, wussies. Let me give you two examples.

Example One: Earlier in the week, the weather forecast was looking wet and dreary and a little cold for Texas. This caused some, um, wussies to inquire with Jack about what would happen with the event. And Jack issued this (edited to the core key bits):

We have received serveral calls regarding this weekend's Sprint Duathlon and the weather. Forecast as of now indicates only a 50 percent chance of any rain late Sunday. Temps ranging from 45 to 60. Multi-sport events are rain or shine. The race will go on as scheduled. There are absolutely no refunds, so if you fail to show, that's your decision. Any changes will NOT be announced or made prior to race morning and will be based on the conditions at race start time and after consulting with local authorities and TMS Officials. Please do not call, we will notify all of you if there are severe changes prior to the race. Remember it could be raining at your place but dry as a bone at the race site. Again, we will not make any decisions or changes until race morning if conditions necessitiate such. We remind you there is NO packet pick up on race morning and each competitor is required to pick up his/her own packet. Please do not call on weather related issues as these calls will not be returned. Please plan on racing.
Example Two: During pre-event announcements, Jack reminded the field there would be a time limit on finishing the event. If you had not completed the course in time, you would be pulled. To which Jack added (and I paraphrase), "If you can't finish this event in the generous allotted time you might consider doing some more training before trying again."

Jack reminded me of that former drill sargent in the Geico commercial. You know the one:

We can use more race directors like JAck. I would NOT hesitate to sign up for one of his events in the future. I'm serious about that.

Buckwheat and I dined at Freebirds for lunch. Ever hear of this place? Think Chipolte with more flair, more panache. More, um, burrito! And we ate outside while someone near and dear to me was shoveling snow. More guilt, please.

Burrito selection at Freebirds

Then it was back the resort where Buckwheat and I did some fine tuning on the bikes and road the almost empty resort grounds. Then it was old man nap time.

We wanted to eat Cajun that night but couldn't locate the fine dining establishment so ended up back at Freebirds. I've been touting the fuel capability of black beans for pre-race meals the past two years. Now I was getting a double dose.

Sunday morning came. A wee bit colder than Saturday had been but zero wind. Buckwheat and I loaded up and headed over to the speedway. The transition area was in Garage Three. Great view.

Transition area at Bronda's Du

Buckwheat is all set up in transition
After setup, it was nervous old man pee time. Then announcement that there would be two waves: 40 and over in first wave, 39 and under in second wave. I'd be first up. I was happy for that. I wanted to rock and roll. Let's go to the race segments.

One note of caution: The run paces per the official results are way faster than they should be and the bike MPH avg are slower. The runs pace seems to be based on 2.1 miles and the bike on 15 miles. The runs were a wee bit short of 2 miles and the bike over 16 miles (16.3) per my Garmin. It is, what it is is. Just wanted to share that in case you were wondering about the paces listed in official record. Also, my AG rankings are based on the Masters winner (David Jones) being eliminated from 45-49 AG consideration based on his Masters win (congrats David!)

Run One - 2 miles

Goal - 11:56 (5:58 per mile)
Official Time - 11:42 (5:34 per mile - looks based on 2.1 miles from what I can figure)
Garmin Time - 11:42 (5.56 per mile based on 1.97 miles per Garmin)
Overall Rank - 14th (212 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (20 total)

Wave one lined up. I got my first look at the front runners. I had been told to look for David Jones by the top dogs up here in the Tundra. Why? In 2009, Jones ranked 9th nationally (All American) in the 45-49 AG in tri's and 21st nationally (Honorable Mention) in du's. Currently has a Tri par score of 90.10876 and a Du par score of 91.87823. Fast. Super fast.

I thought I'd see if I could hang with him for the first run before watching him ride into the distance on the bike. Like I said, my bike was weak due to lack of recent training and lets face it, my bike is weak even if I'm on my game. So, how did the first run go? Pictures are worth a thousand words?

Jones leads the first wave with someone familiar tucked in behind
 Hey, I hung tough for about 1 mile and a half and then faded a bit. I came into T1 14-seconds behind an elite level athlete. I'm not sure Jones was even trying but it was nice for my confidence. I talked with him after the race and Jones all us triathletes....a super nice person. He is actually doing Ironman Cozumel in two weeks time and was using this event as a speed workout.

The run course is a two loop 1-mile course on the infield of the speedway. You can see the entire course. Like being on a super big track. One can look across the track and see where people are. I loved it.

Turning for transition one after loop two of the run
Transition One

Goal - 00:45
Official - 01:13
Garmin - 00:59

I would have liked my T1 time to be faster. However, I was without my old man little stool. And even at a nice mid-40 temperature, I was a little cold. I needed to remove my gloves so they wouldn't get caught up in the bike shoe velcro. But it otherwise went without a hitch.

Bike - 15 miles

Goal - 42:27 (21.2 MPH average)
Official Time - 43:02 (22.3 MPH avg - looks based on 15 miles)
Garmin Time - 43:13 (22.7 MPH avg based on 16.31 miles per Garmin)
Overall Rank - 15th (212 total)
Age (45-49) Rank - 3rd (20 total)

Three loops of five miles awaited once we exited the speedway. About as windless as it could get. On the first lap, I was just getting my bike legs and trying not to lay it all out. By lap two I was faster than lap one.

Heading out of T1
Lap three was interesting as I was catching slower riders and a group of three riders (two of which were relay) had caught me. The four of us battled for the next half a lap each of us trying our best in the conduct of good sportsmanship and USAT rules to not be actually drafting. Sometimes due to congestion I had to tuck in behind or they behind me for safety sake. But those times were brief. I finally put the big ol' 55 chain ring to use and dropped them for a good portion before being caught again on a small incline....then passed them again. That's how we would stay as lap three was completed and I raced back to T2.

For the curious, there was a timing mat on the bike course recording each of the three laps.

Heading to T2

Transition Two

Goal - 00:45
Official - 01:04
Garmin - 01:07

Yes, didn't hit my target but happy nonetheless. I took a few extra seconds to take a few sips of my Hammer Heed mix and then headed off on the run.

Run Two - 2 miles

Goal - 12:22 (6:11 per mile)
Official Time - 12:24 (5:54 per mile - looks based on 2.1 miles from what I can figure)
Garmin Time - 12:26 (6:16 per mile based on 1.98 miles per Garmin)
Overall Rank - 12th (212 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (20 total)

The quads were cold and I thought I would have a tough time loosening up and hitting stride. But I was chugging along at a good 6:06 clip to start with. I concentrated on picking off some slower runners and staying loose and in good form. Something about being able to see the whole run course in front of you (the big track effect) made the run seem both shorter and easier. As I was completing lap one, I felt I could start to open it up on lap two and I did. That surprised me and I actually finished strong. Truly, a nice way to leave 2010 and look forward to 2011....and my new age group for next season (men's 50-54)

True to Jack form the awards ceremony started dead on time at 11 AM in which Jack started with males and went backwards from oldest age group to youngest. So the young people had to wait for the old farts for a change!

Outside Garage Three at Texas Motor Speedway
My hardware for 1st in Men's 45-49
Bronda's Du is named for Bronda Starling, a local Texas athlete who succumbed to cancer. Jack created this event in her honor and announced that a check for no less than $1000 was going into the Livestrong Foundation.

Thank-you Jack. Thank you Texas Speedway. And thank-you Texas for being a tremendous host for this Tundra snowbird. It was good to be back racing in the Lone Star state. I hope to be back soon.

Next Event: 2011 is very much in pending stage but here are my early season possibilities to-date. Very fluid at the moment. 

January 23 - Frost yer Fanny Duathlon (USAT). Houston, TX. 3mi run - 15mi bike - 2mi run.
February 20 - Texas Motor Speedway Duathlon (USAT and Texas State Championship). Fort Worth, TX. 2mi run - 15mi bike - 2mi run.
April 23/24 - Iron Mountain Double Weekend (USAT). Arkadelphia, Arkansas. Sprint triathlon on Sat, sprint du on Sun. Times combined for overall stage winners.
April 30 - National Duathlon Championship (USAT). Tucson, AZ. 5K run, 35K bike, 5K run.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Race Preview: Bronda's Du

Event: Bronda's Du
Date: Sunday, November 14, 2010
Location: Texas Motor Speedway, Ft. Worth, TX
Previous Results: First time at this event for me. 2009 results for the curious. Bike map. Run map.

It seemed like a good idea at the time. But what looks good in early August doesn't always look good in early November. So here I am, flying to Texas, for my last event of the 2010 season. I'm in horrible bike shape. The fading sunlight, the Real Job©, and a Arizona vacation in October all ate into my bike time.

But you don't know unless you try. So off I go to give it my best effort. Sometimes what the body lacks, the spirit makes up for.

This 2 mile run-15 mile bike-2 mile run course is suppose to be flat and fast. It is a closed course. The runs take place inside the speedway (yeah, that's right.....a NASCAR speedway!) and we bike outside & around the speedway. I think this is a very cool concept for a duathlon venue and the reason why I chose this Texas event.

I'll tell you one thing, there is little worry about whether I make the podium or not in the Men's 45-49 age group. Let's take a look at who will probably show and why if I do good, it will really put the cap on what has been a pleasant season for me.

  • David Jones - In 2009, Jones ranked 9th nationally (All American) in the 45-49 AG in tri's and 21st nationally (Honorable Mention) in du's. Currently has a Tri par score of 90.10876 and a Du par score of 91.87823.
  • Robert Reveal - In 2009, Reveal ranked 23rd nationally (Honorable Mention) in du's. Currently has a Du par score of 88.51813.
That's some speed there, folks. And that's just scraping the barrel for Texas. There is a whole mess more that are regional class athletes. It should be a highly competitive age group. I know from my short time there in the late 1980's that you 'Don't Mess with Texas'.

I would like to be able to at least stay in the same zip code of these elites in hopes of dragging my pitiful par score up above maybe a 84? That may be too much to ask for the bike shape I'm in. So what do I think I could do? Here's pure speculation:

Targets for Bronda's Du
 I fly into Dallas on Friday where I will meet up with my former Texas training partner, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll. Tim and I were able to race together earlier this season in Arkansas and it was a hoot. I've shipped my bike direct to Tim ahead of time, courtesy my buddies at Gear West. So I don't have to deal with that. Tim let me know that the bike did arrive in one piece earlier this week by e-mailing me to ask, "Dude, do you EVER clean your bike?" Hah!

Tim and I plan to enjoy some good ol' Texas BBQ, some honky tonk, and visiting some of the bike shops in town. And check out the course, naturally. We're staying right across the street from the Texas Speedway so we should be just fine with that. Hopefully the weather cooperates with us.

We'll see if I can muster up the blood and guts for one more good showing in 2010. After this, I'm resting. My lower back hurts. My Achilles have been acting up a bit. I've been telling people I feel like a NFL running back in the last few weeks of the season. It all hurts, but there is just one more game to play. And I intend to play it well, not sitting on the bench. But I have a feeling that my ass will be handed to me on a Texas sized silver platter. Minnesota goes solo against the state of Texas. Should be quite a shoot out.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Runners World Reviews Seven Minimalist Shoes

Good, quick reviews on seven minimalist shoes. Enjoy!

Vibram Fivefingers Bikilia (own a pair myself)

Terra Plana Evo

Nike Free Run+

Saucony Kinvara

Brooks Green Silence

Mizuno Wave Universe 3

Zoot Ultra Speed

Monday, November 1, 2010

Totals: Month Ending October 2010

One race to go. I've been telling people I'm feeling like a NFL running back at the end of the season. My lower back is hurting. One knee is off & on soreness. The right Achilles has been a little gimpy. Nothing to take any time off for, just need to muster through. Heating pad on the back while I sleep. Compression socks all day long. Achilles wrap over the compression socks. I just need to hang in there for a few more weeks!

As far as the highlight of the month, I'll point to running two events with my family. One was in Fargo and the other in Phoenix. The Boy® and the Well Kept Wife™ both ran races with me. It was fantastic. A true family affair now and it adds to the mix of enjoyment and pain (we're all sore afterwards and fighting for the warm shower or whirlpool!).

One event, number nineteen for 2010, left on the calendar. I will be off to Texas and the Texas Motor Speedway the weekend of November 12. More on that in the coming days.

October went OK. Wish I could have gotten more in on the bike but with two trips, the Real Job©, and the fading sun I have to be happy with the numbers I did get in. I'm really happy with the running at the moment. While 153 miles in one month is certainly good, I also recall running 119 miles in one week as a senior on the high school cross country team. The aspect of high mileage certainly is in direct proportion to your age.

Trophy from 1977: Varsity Hardest Worker; Most Mile for Season (770), Most Miles for One Week (119)

October 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 33:53.00
Swim Miles - 4.94
Bike Miles - 219.24
Run Miles - 153.17 (7:33 per mile avg)

Compare to last year - Man, I had a lousy October last year!

October 2009 Total Numbers

Swim Miles - 4.83
Bike Miles - 76.08
Run Miles - 39.28

Compare to last month -

September 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 37:07.57
Swim Miles - 7.61
Bike Miles - 321.26
Run Miles - 124.17 (7:39 per mile avg)

Year-To-Date (2010)

Swim Miles - 103.17
Bike Miles - 2878.68
Run Miles - 1000.89

Upcoming in November -

Nov 14 - Bronda's Du (USAT), Fort Worth, TX - 2 mi run, 15 mi bike, 2 mi run

Friday, October 29, 2010

Age Graded Races

Have you ever participated in a Age Graded Race? Are you even familiar with what it is? Age-graded information allows you to:
  • Adjust your performance to what it theoretically would have been during your prime running years (your 20's and a portion of your 30's depending on the race distance). 
  • Judge your performance, using an achievement percentile, without bias for gender or the aging process (in other words, you are measured against a specific standard for your age and sex). These percentiles can be interpreted as follows:  
Over 90% --- World Class
Over 80% --- National Class
Over 70% --- Regional Class
Over 60% --- Local Class

Compare your performances for a specific race distance at various ages to determine which was your "best race". If, for example, I am a 49 year old male and wanted to see age-graded information for a time of 18:48 that I recently ran in a 5K race. Using this calculator:
  • enter 49 in the Age field 
  • select Male in the Gender field 
  • select 5 Kilometers as the Race Distance 
  • enter 18 in the Minutes field and 48 in the Seconds field for Race Time 
  • press the Calculate Age-Graded Race Time & Percentile button the age-graded race time and achievement percentile will appear

Mine came out to 76.666. That equates to a time of 16:55 that the calculator is saying I would have run in my prime. That's a pretty accurate reflection as I ran a 16:30 at the age of 28. The 76.666 equates to Regional Class. Neat, huh? That's about right for me. I would never get National class (80%+), certainly never World Class (90%+). But I've always have been somewhere in the podium mix regionally.

In any event, I wanted to share the calculator and logic with you. You can play with your times and see how you would rank.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Final Tri Par Score In

All six of my USAT sanctioned triathlons now have par scores with the arrival of the results from the Cy-Man Triathlon. Looks like I will be on the outside looking in when it comes to receiving national honorable mention honors.

All American honors are given to the top five percent in each age group. The next five percent receive Honorable Mention honors. Rankings are far from being final but currently to receive a honorable mention ones par score needs to be at 81.94476. I'm sitting at 81.68141. So close!

Click for larger view

What I'm not sure is how much that will change when the final rankings are provided. You see, to be officially ranked a person has to complete three USAT sanctioned triathlons within the year. There are a number of people ahead of me that have yet to achieve that number. So I could move up....I think. Or even move down. In 2009, HM honors went down to 83.66644 within my age group so I don't hold much hope.

My top three par scores ended up being:
  • Maple Grove - 83.83224
  • Cornman - 81.15399
  • Cy-Man - 80.14603
I guess I should be happy to be close to be in the top 10% in the Male 45-49 Age Group nationally. This was the first year that I tried to get in enough USAT sanctioned triathlons to qualify for a final ranking.

How is everyone else looking? Have you checked your par scores yet? I bet we have some AA or HM's out there!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Race Result: 42nd Annual Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA Half Marathon + Family 5K Walk & Run

Event: 42nd Annual Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA Half Marathon + Family 5K Walk & Run
Date: Saturday, October 23, 2010
Location: Phoenix, Arizona
Weather: 69 (race time) and beautiful
Official Results: 5K results, half-marathon results

Personal results:

Official Time: 20:09 (6:30 per mile pace)
Garmin Time: 20:09 (6:12 per mile pace). Note - course was 3.25 miles
Overall: 10th (367 total); top 2.7%; 1st in 45-49 male age group (12 total)

The Recap

Getting our awards from Wyatt Earp

I know, I know. First thing you are wondering "Brian, how can you run a 18:48 last month and then have a 20:09?" Two reasons.

One, the course was long. My Garmin read 3.25 miles which is significantly above the 3.1 miles of a 5K. Take the 6:12 pace and equate to a 5K and you have a 19:15 5K. Upon reflection I'm happier with this result than the 18:48 last month.

Which then takes us to reason number two. I will just provide a illustration.

244 feet elevation gain!
I had been warned by fellow buddy & Arizona resident Tom Ohe of a hilly course. I had been training on hills for the last month. I made sure I got in every hill I could around Plymouth. But not for this looming single monster. Not that it was brutal, but it was a grinder.

At the starting line I spied about a dozen people that could take the race. I knew this would be challenging. After the shot gun blast by legendary Wyatt Earp to start the 5K, the field quickly thinned to about ten runners and that broke into two packs of five about a quarter mile in. My plan had been to try for a 18:30 5K and achieve that by starting hard and then trying to hold on.

I kept glancing at the Garmin throughout the first one-half mile. 5:20 pace, 5:30, 5:45. It was looking good. Then we started to climb. Again, furtive glances at the wrist. 5:55 pace, then 6:20, then...gulp...6:55. I was sucking air and we were still climbing. Look at my splits. I go from 6:01 to 6:41 to a 5:56 (downhill, of course).

My splits

That hill just kept going and going. But the turn-around eventually came. And the old knees and hips held together enough for me to stretch it out. About a half-mile from the finish Tom was there to challenge me to pass a couple of people in front of me, as I was in 10th overall at that time. And that's where I would stay.

From the official results page

Well, at least I can say I negative split the race! No one needs to know why.....ha! Here is the Garmin information and map for those interested.

The Family

The Well Kept Wife™ told me ahead of this event that she did not feel ready. And Tom's description of the hill had her pondering a K2 type of summit. And she woke up race day morning with a crick in her neck.

The Boy® trained in his own style again. He got in two training runs over two weeks leading to the event. What can I say? He's schedule between piano, swim team, and scouts....and toss in 5th grade just like pulling a full-time job. During warm-ups he developed the dreaded side stitch and it was clearly bothering him. I took some time to help attempt to work it out with him. He said it didn't bother him during the race but I could see it did when I was with him at the end, cheering him into the finish chute.
Regardless, they made me very proud.

As I was climbing The Hill, I kept worrying how they would be faring. On my descent, I was surprised to see them running together. The Boy® had stayed ahead of the Well Kept Wife™ during the 5K in Fargo. So either my son was hurting, or my wife had gone out too fast. But they seemed fine as we exchanged family pleasantries.

After I finished I immediately trotted back towards the race to catch-up with my friend Tom and to cheer on my family. First came the Boy®. He was laboring and holding his side. I ran with him and he finished strong, passing two people in a furious sprint to the line.

My son's time and placement

Again, I trotted out and was pleased to see the Well Kept Wife™ turn the final corner. I was greeted with the Italian middle finger salute. I knew she hated that hill. We ran in together and she did very well to finish again on the podium for the second straight event. This was her second race ever. Eight seconds out of first in her age group.

It was later that evening that I got the, "You know, I should have won," statement from her. She was in first at the halfway point. Now she has some time to recover and think about next year.

My wife's time and placement
For both of them to run a very challenging course as well as they did was a testament to their fortitude. They both did great. I was very, very proud.

Packet Pickup - Pickup was at the famous Runners Den in Phoenix. Voted one of America's top ten running stores and the "Best of Phoenix," Runner's Den has been a pillar of the Arizona running community since its doors opened in 1978. Runner's Den is a pioneer in customer services, such as individualized gait analysis, injury avoidance/prevention clinics and group training seminars. While there, I got myself a new race hat and the Boy® was thrilled to receive a new pair of running shoes (Brooks).  He even got a first class lesson in the importance of untying shoes before removing and how to tie a proper double knot from salesperson Craig. Craig, from the Midwest, has run over 180 marathons (2:28:14 P.R.), and has a 50 mile best of 5:37:23. The Boy® has been properly removing and tying his shoes ever since.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - None. This was sweet. The staff was fantastic. All three of us walked out with merchandise and couldn't have been happier.

Volunteers/Amenities - The volunteers at the park were great. Not quite the cornucopia of volunteers you see at a triathlon, but for a run the numbers were strong and helpful. But, no port-a-potties! There were only two park rest rooms open and while there did not seem to be a dearth of long lines I think some people were rushed, etc or thought they might miss the race. Could it hurt to have a dozen or so of our green cubed friends?
Grade - B
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011

Run Course - Held at South Mountain Park just south of Phoenix, the course is on a paved road in a desert setting. Views are stunning. As above, the 5K course was challenging with the elevation change but not harsh. Just had some unexpected bite to it. I am only knocking down to a B due to the distance being off. For a race of this size and standards, it should have been spot on.
Grade - B
Suggestion - Measure that course for accuracy! 3.25 miles is way off from the true 3.1.

King of the Mountain inside South Park
Awards/Goodies - The medals were nice. Being awarded them by the legendary Wyatt Earp a photo moment. Nice t-shirts. The race bag also included sun block and chap stick. Hey, it is Arizona after all!
Grade - A
Suggestions - None.

Our awards from Arizona

Post Race Food - The Well Kept Wife™ had me add this category after her first event in Fargo. She was surprised by the junk food offered after the event. What do you think she said when she saw Dunkin' Donuts being offered up after this event?
Grade - D for Dunkin' Donuts!
Suggestions - To be fair, bagels and bananas were also offered. But really, donuts?

Overall - A very nice race within a great closed course venue. How can any race in Arizona go wrong? Thanks to my buddy Tom for biking out to the event to see us run. It was nice to see you Tom!

Next Event - November 14 at Bronda's Du (USAT), Fort Worth, TX. This will be a 2 mi run, 15 mi bike, 2 mi run. It takes place at the Texas Motor Speedway!