Thursday, April 29, 2010

Minnetonka Youth Triathlon

This Saturday (May 1), the Boy® will be competing in the 6th Annual Minnetonka Youth Triathlon for children grades 2-8. All participants receive a t-shirt, refreshments and trophies will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers in each division.

He will be competing in the Grade 4-5 Division. I believe in order to keep the event time to a minimum and keep it safe by having fewer kids crowd the road & pool at the same time, his division will be biking first, then running and end in the pool.

Grade Swim Bike Run Order of Events

2-3 50 yards (2 pool lengths) 1 mile 1/2 mile swim-bike-run

4-5 75 yards (3 pool lengths) 2 miles 1 mile bike-run-swim

6-8 100 yards (4 pool lengths) 2 miles 1 1/2 mile swim-bike-run

We are going to use this event as a warm-up for the upcoming Lakes to Pines Triathlon where we both will be competing. But I could be racing this Saturday anyway. New this year at the Minnetonka Youth Triathlonn is the Tonka-1 parent run. This is a one-mile run for parents following the youth events. Prizes will be awarded to the top three male and female finishers. The children will compete and then have the chance to cheer the parents on! There is no fee for the parent run. I'm undecided if I will try to blow out a ham. I'll probably wait and decide the day of the race.

And if you are looking for a new song to listen to this week, try "Pleased to Almost Meet You" by former Men at Work frontman Colin Hay. Good stuff. You can purchase directly from Amazon by using the link within this blog entry.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Race Results: Iron Mountain Triathlon/Duathlon Stage Event - Arkadelphia, Arkansas

DeGray Lake, site of the swim.

The Iron Mountain Multisport Stage Race is a unique new concept in racing and grabbed my attention and interest. On Saturday (4/24) evening there was a Sprint Triathlon event. A little over 12-hours later on Sunday (4/25) was the duathlon. Together they became the Iron Mountain stage race.

Iron Mountain Sprint Triathlon consisted of a 400 Yard Swim/13.5 mile Bike/2.9 mile Run.

Overall Results
AG Results

The Iron Mountain Sprint Duathlon consisted of a 2.5 mile Run/13.5 mile Bike/2.5 mile Run.

Overall Results
AG Results

Day One - Triathlon; 5PM start

Swim - 400-yds
Time - 6:44.6
Overall Rank - 10th (78 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (3 total)

This was the first time I was able to swim in the De Soto T1 Water Rover Triathlon Wetsuit. And I loved it. I can't rave enough about it. To be simply could not drown in this suit if you wanted to.

During warmups the suit felt weird at first, as if the top wanted to ride up. But De Soto warns you of that feeling and states the top simply cannot ride up. And they are right. Next, I tried to drown myself. Seriously, I purposely tried to sink. And each time I just bobbed back to the surface like a fishing bobber. 10mm rubber simply is a wonderful thing.

The winds were cooking. stated the winds were 20 MPH gusting to 30 MPH but I would put them more at having been in the 18-20 MPH range. Trust me, I've been riding in those winds all spring here in the Tundra. But the waves were moderately bad enough that the course was changed from one of the lakes bays to another bay just next door. The race director, Fred Phillips, simply did not want people battered on the rocks as they came out of the water such was the strength of the white caps.

So, we swam cross-wind. It was fine for me. I never felt any anxiety as I did last year. And if I can swim in those white caps I can certainly have confidence for the rest of the season. I did experience something new, however. One of the safety boats had a diesel engine. So I got to taste and smell diesel as I swam along. A few people mentioned afterwards that the diesel made them somewhat sick.

T1 Time - 2:19.4

It was nearly 400-yds to the transition area once leaving the swim. But my T1 time was bad. I had trouble with the zipper on the upper of the Water Rover. The cord is pulled upward and is too short for me to grab and then contort my arm to keep a grip and pull up AND over.

So, I will either need to rig up a longer cord or practice. Yes, I broke cardinal rule #78...never use race day to try out new equipment.

Bike - 13.54 miles
Time - 38:43.5 (20.9 MPH)
Overall Rank - 8th (78 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (3 total)

If you know me, you already know I hate to climb. And that's something I have challenged myself to improve on during the 2010 season. I'm riding the big hills out at Baker Park almost every day this spring....and it helped in this event. As there were two climbs that had each rider downshifting like a mad man.

The first hit you right out of T1. No problem. I was out of the saddle and handled and kept the RPMs up. The other was at the end of the turn-around on the out-and-back course. I was able to stay seated for that one.

I really didn't know how I would fair on this hilly of a course, but I'll take the result. I had a slight right calf cramp with less than a mile to go and had to back off a bit and work that out.

The wind wasn't that bad as the road is lined on both sides by deep forest. The only open areas were going over the spillway....nasty crosswind...and at the turn-around due to a clear cut of trees. Many people mentioned here that the wind was bad enough to get out of the aero's and onto the cow horns. Lot's of, "Man, I almost bit it when a gust of wind hit," comments post race.

I wanted 22 MPH average, but after seeing the course I was very happy with my result.

T2 Time - 1:17.7

My only problem here was that when I slipped into one of the Nike LunaRacer flats and the insole curled up on me. So I removed and tried again...still curled. So I said, 'what the hell' and ran off. Thanks to Adam Beston for suggesting double sided tape to prevent this from happening again.

Run - 2.9 miles
Time - 19:21.2 (6:40 per mile)
Overall Rank - 8th (78 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (3 total)

This was suppose to be a 2.5 mile run but the race director admitted the measurement was off so we all suffered for a wee bit more. The right calf nagged for just a few hundred yards and then went away. The run was out-and-back and was uphill going out. I actually enjoyed it. You can see the start of the climb here:

I have to say, the smell of a pine forest while running was very nice. That's not something you get to experience every day in the Tundra.

Time - 1:08.26.5
Overall Rank - 8th (78 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (3 total)

If there was one thing I forgot to pack on the trip it was the Original Body Stick. I really could have used it Saturday night to work out some soreness and knots.

Day Two - Duathlon; 9AM start

Run One - 2.5 miles
Time - 16:16.9 (6:30 per mile)
Overall Rank - 7th (46 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (2 total)

Yes, I was stiff from the previous evening's triathlon but it wasn't too bad once underway. You could tell the competitors who were doing both from those who had fresh legs. We 'doubles' were all just a wee bit slower to get going.

My split at one mile was 6:16 so I was on pace for the 6:19 per mile I wanted. But the legs were just a bit gassed and I knew I had another run left, so I eased a bit and let one person pass me with a friendly wave.

T1 Time - 0:50.6

This year, I'm choosing to put my bike shoes on in transition and not locked into the bike. I felt like I gained no advantage while experimenting with this last year. And with the steep climb immediately out of T1, it just made no sense.

Bike - 13.54 miles
Time - 40:10.6 (20.2 MPH)
Overall Rank - 6th (46 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (2 total)

OK. This hurt. I never really got going. I went in wanting to improve on the previous days time. But it just never materialized.

T2 Time - 0:48.4

Loved it when I came in and the race director was yelling, "C'mon Minnesota! Get it going!"

Run Two - 2.5 miles
Time - 17:22.0 (6:57 per mile)
Overall Rank - 7th (46 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (2 total)

Here's where I was most happy. My legs were dead and I still was able to go under 7 minutes per mile on the second day of a very long weekend. Last year with my Achilles injury and very low mileage I was not able to pop under 7 minutes until August. I know I should be going under 7 minutes in any tri-du and to have done this now in three runs over the past weekend (6:40, 6:30, 6:57) I will now turn my attention to getting the runs consistently into the low 6's.

Time - 1:15.28.6
Overall Rank - 7th (46 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (2 total)

There has yet to be official results for the combined events. I believe there were at least eight to twelve total die-hards that did both events. I finished fourth and won the overall Masters title.

Myself and Grand Masters champion Coak Matthews.

I loved the concept of this challenge and would love to see a race director here in the Tundra give it a go....a 2-day combined stage event with a tri the first day and a du the second. Or the other way around. One had to use strategy while racing. And have a little luck and guts to survive knowing that at the end of the first day, you still had to show up again the next day.

I recommend this event to anyone wanting to get in two USAT sanctioned events in one weekend!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Product Placement & Coming Later this Week

When I have had ample time to catch-up I will provide a full race report from my Arkansas adventure. After combining the triathlon time from Saturday's race (1st in 45-49 AG, 8th overall) with the duathlon time from Sunday (1st in 45-49 AG, 7th overall) in the Iron Mountain Stage event, I took first place honors in the Master's category.

Until then, you have two things to tide you over. First, I tried to do a little product placement while there. I wonder if anyone at Gear West will notice and give me a substantial marketing contract so I quit my day job and do tri's full-time?

Brian tries his hand at product placement.

Second, a short little video showing you the weather conditions the night before day one of the tri-du stage 2-day event and me picking up my AG 1st place award after the tri.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Unofficial Results: Day One - Iron Mountain Stage Tri Event

Full write-up later - unofficial results:

8th overall (70+ total)
1st in 45-49 AG

400-yd swim: 6:44.6 (6:30 exit from water) 1:41 per 100-yd (1:37 exit from water). Note - DeSoto Water Rover is the cats meow.

T1 - 2:19.4 (400-yds to T1 from water)

13.5 mi bike: 38:43.5, 21.0 MPH average

T2 - 1:17.7 (shoe insole curled up on me, had to redo)

2.9 mi run: 19:21.2, 6:40 per mile. Note, was suppose to be 2.5 but they measured wrong and made apologies after race.

Overall - 1:08.26

Day 2, the duathlon, awaits.


Just announced the Iron Mountain Triathlon will go on as scheduled today - weather is conducive to hold. We've been dealing with nasty weather since last evening. And rain has been torrential at times leading to flood alerts. But all is fine...knock on wood....for later today.

Had a fine meal of grits and waffles this morning at the local Waffle House in Arkadelphia. Forgot how charming southern hospitality is. And that everyone is Hun as in, 'can I take your order, Hun?" Gotta love it!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Race Preview: Iron Mountain Stage Tri/Du Event - Arkadelphia, Arkansas

Dates: April 24 & 25
Location: Arkadelphia, Arkansas
Driving Distance: 926.97 miles (one way!)

The Iron Mountain Multisport Stage Race is unique new concept in Racing. On Saturday (4/24) evening there will be a Sprint Triathlon event. A little over 12-hours later on Sunday (4/25) will be a duathlon. Together they become the Iron Mountain stage race.

A person can race one or both, your choice. Both the Tri and Du offer full age group awards. The Stage Race awards are based on the cumulative time of the both events, with awards for all age groups.

Iron Mountain Sprint Triathlon consists of a 400 Yard Swim/13.5 mile Bike/2.5 mile Run. The Iron Mountain Sprint Duathlon consists of a 2.5 mile Run/13.5 mile Bike/2.5 mile Run.

The Swim: DeGray Lake is rated as one of the top cleanest fresh water lakes in America. You can drink it. Hopefully I won't be testing the lakes drinkability because I'm swallowing water during the event! I hope to have enough time either Friday afternoon or Saturday morning to try out the new wet suit (De Soto T1 Water Rover). I have been tempted to try in the indoor pool but I don't want chlorine eating at the suit either.

It will be a deep water start. Historically the water temp in late April is in the low to mid 70's. If water temp is above 78F wet suits will not be allowed.

The swim map -

The Bike: Newly repaved (fall of 2009) roads for the most of the course. The same bike course will be used for both the Tri and Du. Note the elevation and grades in the map below.

The bike map -

The Run: The course is an out and back. It appears to be one tough run. 1.25 miles up the side of Iron Mountain and then turn around and come back down. The run for the tri and the 1st and 2nd run for the du will be the same.

The run map -

As you can see from the ain't flat. The bike will have a climb elevation total of 841.5 ft over 6.7 miles. The average grade is 2 so not killer stuff....but when you are climbing for 6+ miles it can start to be a grinder.

The run will be basically straight up for for 1.25 miles with an average grade of 3 (uffda!) and then turn around and come back down. When I was twenty....that would have been cool. But with two bad knees and a bad hip..probably will enjoy the run up more than the descent.

Usually I will set some goals prior to the an event. In this case, with unknown terrain I am not going to set any goals so as not to be, um, pissed off if I'm not coasting along on the bike at 23 MPH while climbing for 6 miles. I'm simply going to compete at as high a level as I can.

What's that? You still want me to come up with a educated guess? Twist my arm why don't you! And please keep in mind that I've not seen the course. And I hate climbing. So these times could be WAY off in terms of meeting these projections. Truly, I'm just going to compete as well as I can. Celebrating another year of life by taking it to the red zone for a little over an hour on each day.

Triathlon Projected Time

Duathlon Projected Time

The Monday after the event (4/26) will be my 49th birthday. So I'm here to enjoy. And enjoy I will as my ol' Texas training partner from the late 1980's will be competing as well. You have read about Tim 'Buckwheat' Carroll before.

Actually, I'm changing Tim's moniker to Chuck Norris for the weekend. I had let Tim know the number of registered athletes was climbing and his response was, "Just more butts to kick!"

I'll be leaving the secret training grounds of sacred Minnesota on Thursday morning after getting the Boy on the school bus. I hope to get in a solid eight to nine hours on the road and then finish up the last bit of driving to arrive in Arkadelphia Friday afternoon. From there, I'll meet up with Tim and we'll probably check out the water, the bike course, and the run course. Then find a beer or two.

I'll be posting to Twitter during my travels and the weekend. So if you are not following me via Twitter is your chance to sign up. A more formal race report will make it onto blogger as time permits.

Happy training to all!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Swim Terror

Best description of the start of a triathlon and what I experienced in two races last year. The following was written by Roman Mica. Roman is a amateur Clydesdale triathlete who lives and races in Boulder, Colorado and is the managing editor of and the National Endurance Sports Examiner.

The start of a triathlon for me has always been the hardest starts. For it consists of a moment that embodies a lifetime of sheer fear and unholy terror. In all the starts, in all the various races, I have never been more scared or close to death as I feel during the first five minutes of any triathlon.

And the real kick in the ass is that I’m not afraid of the swim. In fact, it is probably the best part of my race. I don’t come from a swimming background, but I seem to take to it naturally, and so I spend lots of time in the pool swimming laps.

But all this is completely irrelevant when I start the swim, because within about the first two minutes I know that on this day I will drown. There’s something terrible that happens to me that I simple can’t control, and I believe this something it is the ancient fight or flight response.

I start the swim full of confidence and bravado. I don’t hang back and I’m not all that bothered by somebody swimming around, under or over me. I don’t even worry about getting kicked in the face or other more sensitive parts of my body. This part of the start is all good.

The part that is all bad is when about two minutes into the race, I begin to hyperventilate. At first I notice only my heart as it beats as if it is trying to explode in my chest. Next I start to breathe hard and harder and harder. Now I start to get dizzy and for the first time I realize that I’m actually think about drowning. This always comes as a complete surprise since I never think about drowning in the pool.

At first I think to myself that this is silly, and keep swimming, except that I can’t seem to get enough air. I start gasping and gulping for air like a dying bass flopping around on the floor of a bass boat. I have no choice but to stop. So I do and somebody immediately starts to swim over me, and somebody else kicks me a more sensitive part.

I feel the tightness of my wet suit as it clings to my chest, squeezing the air out of me like a huge black python from the deepest and darkest part of the Amazon. And still people keep swimming over me.

The first time this happened I swam most of the 1500 yards on my back. The reason for this is that once this basic primal fear sets in, it is all but impossible for me to stick my face under water.

The mere act of turning on my belly and submerging my face fills me with the dread and illogical terror.

Over the years, and with much practice I have trained myself to swim through this terror. For once I find my swimming groove, and my heart rate and breathing settles down, I can build to a descent swim. I have done this by starting out slowly, and not kicking, to keep my heart rate low.

With my first triathlon of the season fast approaching (come back tomorrow for a preview!), I can say that I've been given tons of advice to keep a level head. Such as don't stop....just go into a breaststroke keeping head above the water until you can calm down. Or flip onto the back for a little bit...which I have done and know it works. In either case, the important thing is to keep moving forward until one can again motor via freestyle. And be sure to work open water practive swims into your regimen using the wet suit.

We'll see how I manage Saturday.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

New Shoe Smell

Open the box. Peel back the tissue paper. Behold those pristine shoes. Then lift the box to your face and breathe deeply. Mmmmmmm. Smells like potential. And possibly toxins. But mostly potential.

Brand: Newton
Model: Motion Trainer
Cost: Don't Tell My Wife
First Run: 10K at 7:29 pace

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

More Events Locked In

As you may have observed, my blog posting has been down the last few weeks. I guess that is one sure sign that winter has passed here in the Tundra and I'm in full workout mode. Many others are as well. Shout outs to Adam Beston who took 2nd overall in a recent tri in Utah, shortly after his move there from Montana. Adam beat one of the two pros in the field.

Also shout out to Matt Marks who took 7th overall and first in his age group at the Iron Pig Duathlon in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

Awesome job you guys.

Also some quick shout outs to Mario Minelli who seems to be back on target for the 2010 season after working his way through a mysterious hip affliction.

And to Chad Sayban in Arizona whose wonderful training blog had gone dark for a short while but is now back at it. If you have not visited his blog before, take a look.

I signed up for a few more events this week. And memo to the aforementioned Mr. Marks....I'm a'comin' to Razorback country. Bring on the Ozarks!

Some men celebrate their birthdays by getting wasted. Some by going to strip clubs. Me? I try to find a unique event to celebrate another year of life. And also to show the greater power that be that I still have a lot to give. Borrowing from Mr. Sayban's blog:

"Life is NOT a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming: 'WOW, what a ride!!!'

On my birthday weekend (April 26) here's what I'll be doing. Thursday (4/22) morning I begin a to Arkadelphia, Arkansas. I'll arrive Friday afternoon. For what, you may ask?

The Iron Mountain Family Multisport Weekend. Here's the setup: On Saturday I'll be doing the Iron Mountain Sprint Tri which is a 400 Yard Swim/13.5 mile Bike/2.5 mile Run. Then I fuel up and come back Sunday for the Iron Mountain Sprint Duathlon which is a 2.5 mile Run/13.5 mile Bike/2.5 mile Run. In essence, it is a Tri/Du Stage Race. Not only is each race treated individually but times from the two days are combined for awards to be offered to the fastest combined times for the Tri and Du. Each is also USAT sanctioned. And best of all, former Texas triathlon and running training partner Tim 'Buckwheat' Carroll will also be making the journey to compete. More on this big weekend and the races as time draws nearer.

Some additional races have been added as well. So the 2010 Events/Results calendar (always found on the right navigation area of this blog) now looks like:

Feb 7 - Hamel 5K - 20:14 (6:30/mi pace). 5th overall. 1st in AG.
March 20 - The Nun Run 10K, Glendale, AZ - 41:32 (6:42/mi pace). 5th overall (195 total). 1st in 40-49 AG (21 total).
April 24-25 (signed up) - Iron Mountain Tri /Du Stage Race, Arkadelphia, Arkansas (USAT) - Sat Sprint Tri, Sun Sprint Du. Combined times.
May 15 (signed up) - Lakes to Pines Triathlon - 500 yd swim - 14.7 mi bike - 5K run
May 22 (signed up) - Fargo Half Marathon
June 5 - Grand Forks Duathlon - 3 mi run-15mi bike-3 mi run

Just added:
June 12 (signed up) - Liberty Triathlon (USAT) - Olympic Course - 1.5K Swim, 40K Bike, 10K Run
Note - The Liberty will be my first Oly in twenty-one years. I could not resist racing on my training grounds. Damn the distance!

June 20 - Bismarck Tri - 500m Swim, 20k Bike, 5k Run
Jun 26 (signed up) - XTERRA Pipestem Creek Off Road Triathlon - Swim 1000 meters, Mountain Bike 13 mi, Trail Run 5 mi

Just added:
July 3 (signed up) - MinneMan Triathlon (USAT) - 0.3 mi swim, 13 mi bike, 3 mi run.
Note - I need to return to Minneman to avenge my swim choke from 2009.

August 21 - Young Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes - 1/3-mi swim - 12-mi bike - 3-mi run OR
Aug 22 - Mandan Triathlon - Swim 500 meters - Bike 13 mi - Run 3.1 mi

Just added:
Aug 28 (signed up) - Maple Grove Triathlon (USAT) - Swim 0.4 mi, Bike 14.35 mi, Run 3.3 miles
Note - Another event in my backyard.

Oct 30 - Monster Dash Half-Marathon/10-Miler

This will give me four USAT sanctioned triathlons to be able to qualify for a national ranking at the end of 2010. Three are required. So, as long as I finish three of the four I should be good. Wanting to do as best a I can in each, of course.

And with the one USAT sanctioned duathlon in Arkansas, I'll only need one more USAT sanctioned du to qualify for national ranking. If you have a great du in your area...I don't care where you live!...let me know about it

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Totals: Month Ending March 2010

Just like last year, my March comes in with low totals. One week of business travel where I got in zero workouts. One week of spring break vacation where I got in zero swim and bike workouts. But the snow is gone, the sun high, and things should get down to serious training in April.

Highlight was certainly Arizona and the Nun Run. Race results here.

Numbers for March, 2010. All per Garmin expect where noted.

March 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 31:11.09
Swim Miles - 9.12
Bike Miles - 194.96
Run Miles - 106.43 (8:04 per mile avg)

compare to last year

March 2009 Total Numbers
Swim Miles - 7.5
Bike Miles - 119.17
Run Miles - 18.26 (Nike Plus/Achilles injury)

Last Month - February 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 30:00.17
Swim Miles - 12.84
Bike Miles - 159.21
Run Miles - 90.77 (8:18 per mile avg)

April is the month I hope to start tacking on bike mileage and getting that up and over 300 miles. And with the Fargo Half Marathon now just seven weeks away I need to keep up the run mileage and get in some longer runs. We'll see how April plays out. I just hope the weather stays ahead of schedule as it has been.

There might also be a chance for a very long road trip to fit in an April event. My 49th BD is fast approaching (April 26th) and I have done the Winter Be Gone! Duathlon on my birthday weekend that last two years. But that event is sadly no longer with us. But I just may have found something special to still celebrate the 49th. More on that if it happens.