Tuesday, August 31, 2010

2010 Maple Grove Triathlon Photos

Photos from the Maple Grove Triathlon are now available courtesy of Cl!x Photography of Maple Grove. My event preview and event review are also available. You can also create your own photo album. You can view my own album album at this address. The password for the album is 'mg2010'.

Awaiting the swim start (I'm in the T1 Water Rover with yellow goggles)
Stripping the wet suit.

Leaving T1

On the bike course. Nice smooth roads.

On the bike course.
More from the bike course.
And one more from the bike course.
Entering Weaver Lake Park.
Heading towards the finish line.
Hitting the tape and the watch.
Picking up my award for 2nd in the male 45-49 AG

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Race Result: Maple Grove Triathlon

Event: Maple Grove Triathlon
Date: Saturday, August 28
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Results: Oly Results, Sprint Results

Personal results (sprint event)

Goal: 01:09:54
Actual: 01:08:46
Overall: 7th (301 total); top 2.3%
Overall Male Age Group (45-49): 2nd (16 total)

The Recap

I'm honest to a fault. Sort of like old Abe Lincoln. This is currently the fav commercial in our humble abode at the moment.

I bring this up as in my race preview, I had openly taken task with this race promoting itself as one of the most sought after triathlons in Minnesota! My problem with that is simple.....the event has never taken place! One simply cannot go around touting things like that BEFORE you've even put it on. But I also said, I would give an honest assessment of the event AFTER I've done.

So, let me bottom line this for you, and Maple Grove organizers can quote me: This event will get my vote as Triathletes Choice Favorite Race of the Year at Minnesota Tri News. That's not to say the event does not have some warts it needs to address. and we'll get into that in a bit. But what first time event doesn't have things to work on?

The temps were fine. The water was a perfect 74 F. The sun was out and shining. And then there was the wind. Per weather.com the wind at race time was 18 MPH gusting to 28 MPH. That's when the Oly swim waves started. As I was warming up, it seemed the wind was starting to die down but that was probably just my own wishful thinking. The wind was a factor in the race and ruined what could have been a epic day.

I had been telling buddies all week that I was feeling like this could be the race in which all five aspects of a triathlon finally came together for me. I've been having a good season, but there still is no single event that I can point to and say, "Yeah, that was the race when it all came together and I put the stamp of approval on it."

And I'm still looking.

I was under my swim goal, under my T1 goal, under my T2 goal, and under my run goal. I ended up over a minute under my total time goal. But I did not meet my bike goal. And I'm sure it was the wind. I'm not using that as an excuse as all the athletes had to deal with it. But because of the wind I could not max out the 55 chain ring and let go for the entire course. I mean, look at my average speed (21.9 MPH). To give you an idea of how bad the wind was consider this. On the back side....a stretch of over 4 miles....I was cranking at 29-31 MPH. For another 3 miles with a cross wind I was motoring at 23-26 MPH. I'm not even going to tell you how bad I was when I was trying to slice the wind. You can do the math. Let's get into the race segments.

Swim - 0.3 miles
Goal - 08:48
Time - 7:54 (1:30 per 100 yds)
Overall Rank - 18th (301 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (16 total)

I had a very good swim for me. The start was clean, I was clear within 75-yards, and was able to stay in clean water until about the halfway mark when I started to reach the previous wave. From that point in I had to change directions multiple times to avoid and pass swimmers. Once I had to stop my stroke altogether due to heavy congestion. You see, for whatever reason, the had launched the male novice wave 6-mins prior and the female novice wave 3-minutes prior to the 45+ wave. You seasoned vets can picture it...can't you?

Goal - 2:30
Time - 2:06

Really quite surprised at my T1 time as the run from the swim exit to the transition area is a good 75-yards...if not more. I used the time to strip the upper T1 Water Rover wet suit and strip down to the waist with the lower section (remember, this is a two piece wet suit). Mild panic when the brain fired "Was it row 3 or row 4?" but no issues. Found the bike and got out quick....for me.

Bike - 14 miles
Goal - 37:10 (22.6 MPH)
Actual - 38:23 (21.9 MPH)
Overall Rank - 9th (301 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (16 total)

I think 14-miles is not accurate reflection of the sprint bike course. If anyone used a Garmin, please let me know. I'm guessing it at minimum of 14.2 miles and a maximum of 14.4 miles. Call it 14.3, I suppose. So that would put me at 22.35 MPH and my bike computer showed 22.3 when I came in.

The legs felt dead at first. This was my big worry heading into the event. Did I taper enough on the bike? I don't think I did. Hard to say because of the wind, but the bike legs just weren't quite there. I muscled into the wind as best I could and then tried my damnedest to make up time with the wind at my bike. As I said above, this was the only personal disappoint of the day for me. Especially since I had secretly been hoping to rip off a 23 MPH that I had been doing in training.

Goal - 1:20
Time - 1:03

No calf cramps. No issues getting on the LunaRacers. Went out smoking. I must have been motoring as even Jerry MacNeil made note of me on the race-blow-by-blow.

Run - 3 miles
Goal - 20:06 (6:42 per mile pace)
Time - 19:23 (6:28 per mile)
Overall Rank - 8th (301 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (16 total)

As I said earlier, I did not expect hills on the course so I was surprised to be greeted by a small incline right out of the chute....which had a number of people walking.....and two "Hi, I will kill you now," hills right at the end. All short, but all ill-timed making the run course a little more interesting. The first mile was probably the hardest and then I got into full swing and the stride become easy. Just a matter of holding on. I'm most confident right now in my run. I'm starting to gear up for fall running races and the miles and hard work are starting to show. I really felt good. So good I gave a car of punks some back talk as they snickered something as they passed of few of us near the finish.

Let's get back to the event itself and break down the typical components, discussing what was done well and what needs improvement.

Packet Pickup - Early packet pickup was done the day before at a local Maple grove restaurant. Parking was horrible. And it took me nearly 20-mins from the time I entered the door to the time I left. This is by far the longest I have had to wait for any pickup in the last three years. In addition, we were told to fill out a USAT Waiver clause. Had we not already done this when we signed up for the event via Active.com? I could not figure out why this was needed again. If anyone knows, please enlighten me.
Grade - C Minus
Suggestion - Move the packet pickup to another location with more ample parking. Also, have the goody bag already full. Having to go from station to station to get each item (swim cap, shirt, maps, etc) was not efficient.

Volunteers - Simply the best. I did not run into one volunteer who was not helpful or not smiling. They thoroughly enjoyed their duties. And since the Well Kept Wife™ is the Volunteer Coordinator for the City of Plymouth....I know great volunteers when I see one. Top notch!
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Just repeat in 2011

USAT Officials - When you have Bill Nevala as the lead referee for the day, you know you are going to have a very good event. Bill's one of the best in the business.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Get Bill to commit for 2011

Swim Course at Weaver Lake - I was a little apprehensive here. I had heard the lake was famous for being, um, slimy. Color of pea soup. But this was one of the better lakes I have swam in this season. From what I was able to gather, the city has been implementing various strategies to clean the lake up. It showed. Weeds were few, the clarity was pretty good, and the start area very sandy. I would give this a better grade, but the wave seeding was not ideal. While it is nice to have gender equity, alternating men waves with female waves will equal body contact as the faster male swimmers come up from behind of the slower female swimmers (and vice versus as I know there are plenty of fast female swimmers out there!). Also, do NOT put the Novice wave dead smack in the middle of the waves. Tail end, please.
Grade - B-
Suggestion - A few more buoys would have helped swimmers sight better. I'm speaking for the sprint course which had a total of 3 marking buoys. Some smaller ones would have helped keep everyone on course. And, of course, the wave recommendation as above. Anyone have suggestions for the Oly course?

Transition area - Basically, it was the entire parking lot for Weaver Park. Ton's of bike racks, assigned by age group. Nice. Plenty of biffy's, also important.
Grade - A+
Suggestion - Same for 2011

Bike course - The wind will not affect the grade here!! Not much anyone can do about that. Traffic control was very good, especially at the key intersections. My thanks to the law enforcement officials as always. The roads are either newly paved or in very good shape. Minimal hills. Without the wind, I think we would have seen some exceptional times.
Grade - A
Suggestion - Mileage markers would be nice. and maybe some more directional signage. From what I could gather, there may have been a few issues with people getting lost on the Oly course. I do not blame race officials for this. It is YOUR responsibility to know the course.

Run Course - You are greeted by a little hill right out of T2. And there are some nice surprise hills at the end. You wind through the nearby residential section and this is why the run course receives a low grade. There were a number of right turns, left turns...you know how it can become confusing very quickly when running through an unknown neighborhood. And since the run course is part path and part road, I was not able to drive it before the event. At one point, I would have kept running straight had I not noticed a runner taking a right way ahead of me. A number of the Oly folks got turned around.
Grade - C
Suggestion - While a good effort was used to indicate turns by spray point on the road, these can be often missed by a tired athlete. I would suggest to put a volunteer at EVERY turn and also include upright signs at every turn. Also, there were no mile markers that I could see.

Awards - Every finisher, Sprint & Oly, received a finishers medal. Top three finishers in each 5-year age group received wonderful ceramic bowls. Mine are pictured below.
Grade - A+
Suggestions - I'll be interested in what they come up with for 2011. A repeat of the bowls will be fine with me.

2nd place in 45-49 Men's AG Award
2010 Maple Grove Sprint finisher's medal
Overall - I recommend this race to seasoned triathlete and novice. The finish line area has a large viewing hill where loved ones can watch someone finish. So it is a good event....nay, a GREAT event for participant and viewer alike. I will be back in 2011 and hope you decide to do the same after reading this. If I can answer any questions, feel free to ask me.

Next Event - Cy-man Triathlon in Des Moines on September 12.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Running Shorts: Found 'em

The other week I had one of my old man rants about not being able to find proper running shorts. In short, the true split one inch inseam running shorts that I consider proper attire for running. Not the knee length crap sport companies are trying to pawn off as running shorts.

I'm back to let you know I had success with a company called Race Ready. The shorts are light, fit well, there's no extra material, and they run great.
I did have to make an exchange. My waist is 31-inches so I first ordered medium (30-33) but those were far too roomy. I could tell as soon as I held them up that these shorts run 'American Size' as in "can I super size that burger ma'am?"

So I exchanged for small (26-29) and they fit perfectly. So if you do order, you might want to consider going a size lower.

When I ordered the shorts I also took a flyer on one of their singlets. What got my eye about these singlets was they have snap fasteners built onto the product itself, eliminating the need for pins for putting on your race number. The built-in snaps on the singlet will keep your number straight and secure every race. I tested this feature as well and it works great. It looks like four snaps sitting on your singlet so outside of using sans race number the shirt looks sort of dorky by itself. But on race day no one will notice. See example below.
I recommend Race Ready for your running needs. Customer service is A-One. If you have any questions on the products, just let me know.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Race Preview: Maple Grove Triathlon & Shout Outs!

Event: Maple Grove Triathlon (Oly and Sprint distances; I am doing the sprint)
USAT Sanctioned: Yes
Date: Saturday, August 28
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Previous Results: First time event

I have come to think of this triathlon as the event that thinks a little bit too much of itself. I say that tongue in cheek. Let me try and put it this to you this way: Football fans are all aware of the highly touted rookie that comes out of the draft then dares to stay out of training camp for a few days or even weeks because the "Do-Re-Mi" being offered isn't high enough. This draft pick has yet to play a single down in the NFL. He has yet to prove anything. Yet, he thinks highly of himself. Ultimately, a contract agreement is reached and the veterans on the team are all asking, "What the hell? This rookie has not proven a damn thing, yet he's getting paid more than 90% of the guys on the team." And these veterans cannot wait...I believe licking their chops is the term......for the rookie to show up for the first day of practice in pads. Here is a quote from the athletes guide for the event:

Affectionately addicted to producing opportunities for others through community events the same way many are addicted to triathlons and feeling healthy, we are beyond delighted to host the inaugural Maple Grove Triathlon with you on our official inaugural roster! Last fall, the idea for a triathlon in Maple Grove was born, pitched to the Maple Grove Parks and Recreation Board and through highly collaborative partnerships and detailed event planning, the Maple Grove Triathlon now stands as one of the most accessible and sought after triathlons in Minnesota!
See what I mean? The event hasn't even been run yet and already it is one of the most sought after? Please.

So, for now.....and I stress for now.....this triathlon is the rookie that has yet to prove a thing but is sort of acting like it is a big time player. I have received about 946 emails from the race organizers. The race day email just received has more details in it than do most tax returns. Heck, if I'm a newbie triathlete I'm sitting there wondering, "what the tarnation have I gotten myself into?"

They really are striving to make sure everyone finds their comfort zone, and I applaud them for that. It's just sort of 'enough already' lets do this thing. But sometimes too much can be, well, too much. For example, here is the 18-page event guide. And I'm super thrilled to be in Wave 15, almost 90-mins after transition has closed. And only three minutes behind the Women's 45+ wave. Yeah, no congestion there.

The two events will take place in Weaver Lake Park. Now, here is a plus: Relays will not be offered in 2010. I like to see more races go sans relay and be purely individual. That is not to say I am anti-relay (see Shout Outs! below for proof of that). I'm sure when the Boy® is a couple years older we'll be doing some relay events.

But sometimes relays can clog an event. So I'm glad this first time event is skipping relays, at least for this year. The two distances are (notice they had to have cool names for each....just Sprint and Oly were not good enough, ahem):

Dare to Sprint
Swim: .3 miles/.48 km
Cycle: 14 miles/22.5 km
Run: 3 miles/4.8 km

The Olympic Dare
Swim: .9 miles/1.5 km
Cycle: 26 miles/42 km
Run: 6.2 miles/10 km

This past weekend, I did head up so I could take a look at the swim area, transition area, and drive the sprint....sorry, DARE TO SPRINT bike course. Here are three videos I put together for those who might not be able to visit before race day. Hope these help to give you an idea of the course. And the sprint course is smooth road surface with nary a climb in sight. I am liking the bike course, that much I can tell you. Here are three videos to help you visualize.

Part One: Swim, Transition, and Bike

Part Two: Bike Continuation

Part Three: Bike Continuation and back into T2

Now, I do hope the race goes without a hitch. I'm pulling for it. I love to have events in my very own backyard. I just wish the lead up to it would have been slightly more low-key in terms of the the quotes, slogans, email....or maybe I'm just becoming a grumpy old man. Excuse me a sec..."Hey you punks! Get off my lawn!". Sorry 'bout that. But I will be the first to sing the praises of the event if they pull it off and it is a keeper. You can count on that. You know me, Mr. Honest to a fault.

The Maple Grove Triathlon will award the top three male and female triathletes in each age category for the Olympic and Sprint events. The top overall male and female finishers will each receive a $500 cash purse. That's a nice bonus. $500 is nothing to sneeze at and should bring some of the top dogs from around the area to compete. All finishers will receive their custom race hardware for daring to TRI.

So, to the prediction board please. First time event, no idea whatsoever about times so my goals on paper will be:

Swim: 08:48 (if wet suit legal, add a minute if not)
T1: 02:30 (looooong stretch from the beach to T1)
Bike: 37:10 (22.6 MPH)
T2: 01:20
Run: 20:06 (6:42/mile)
Total: 01:09:54

Shout Outs!

Huge Shout Out! to William (the Elder) and Christopher (the Younger) Jenks for placing second in the team relay at Pig Man Long Course. Team name of Photons Phorever...high creative. In looking at all the run times, it looks like the day's heat really took its toll out there. I would term it absolute carnage. So you two did very well to come through that. Very well, indeed.

Congrats to Greta Simpson for her 2nd overall finish at the YWCA Womens Triathlon which took place at Lake Nokomis on August 15, 2010.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Non - Race Preview: Young Life Triathlon

Event: Young Life Triathlon (Sprint)
Date: Saturday, August 21
Location: Detroit Lakes, MN
Previous Results: 5th overall in 2009

This would have been my eighth triathlon of the year and my 14th event overall. I say would have been as I won't be racing this coming weekend in Detroit Lakes. The Boy® is still fighting something that we haven't quite figured out yet. He has been running a fever since last Friday night. Plus what we think is pink eye, sinus infection, and ear infection all rolled into one. I believe he has something more sinister. We need to dig further into it. Family first.....always.

Only two triathlons left in the season so they all better be good! After that, the wetsuit won't see water until 2011. Here is the rest of the the season's schedule that is set in stone:

Aug 28 (signed up) - Maple Grove Triathlon (USAT) - Sprint: Swim 0.4mi, Bike 14.35 mi, Run 3.3mi

Sep 12 (signed up) - Cy-Man Triathlon (USAT), Polk City, IA - Swim 500 yards, Bike 15 Miles, Run 3.1 Miles

Sep 25 (signed up) - Plymouth Firefighters 5K

Oct 9 (signed up) - FM Mini Marathon, Fargo - 10K Run

Oct 23 (signed up) - 42nd Annual Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA Half Marathon + Family 5K Walk & Run, Phoenix, AZ - 5K Run

Friday, August 13, 2010

Where Can I find TRUE Running Shorts!?!?

The other day, you may have pondered what I meant by this Tweet:
Dear sports companies. Stop making running shorts that seem more apt for basketball than running. Minimize, not maximize please!
Here's the deal. My favorite pair of racing shorts are reaching the stage where the elastic isn't going to last much longer. So I have retired them from every day training and reserving them only for future running races. Thus, I started to search for new running shorts for training.

I was astonished by not being able to find a pair of split sided running shorts anywhere locally. Add to that the astonishment that the current geniuses at sports manufacturing companies seem to think us runners want to wear shorts that are best reserved for beachwear. Or lacing up the basketball shoes for some hoops. I'm NOT sorry to say I refuse to run in something like these:

Why have running shorts evolved into this? Is it because there is a surplus of material available currently and we need to use it up? I don't get it. I don't want baggy shorts cut to just above my knee. I'm Steve Prefontaine, not Charles Barkley.

Here are my fav shorts. See how they practice the minimalism concept where the product is stripped down to its most fundamental features? This is the prototypical 1-inch inseam racing short.

 And, like all true running shorts are split at the waist to allow for full leg movement. A runners shorts needs to have this split feature. Longer shorts now trying to be pawned on us as running shorts do not fit the bill.

So I took a chance online at RoadRunner Sports. I've like their outer gear for winter training, so I figured they would be on top of the need for true running shorts. Almost.

The sizing is Americanized. Meaning, the short is cut to accommodate the typical fat, overweight American with a BMI above 30. I ordered the size per my waist measurement but the liner has so much room that I almost need to supplement the shorts by having a jock.

Plus, there is still way too much material. Look at the above photo as I hold out the extra, wasted, material that is incorporated into the short. Sorry Road Runner, but you let me down.

So my quest continues. I recently placed an order with RaceReady and I truly believe these will fit the bill. I'll let you know once I receive them.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Two Teeth or: How I Finally Broke Through The Sound Barrier

Captain Kirk - "Scotty, I need more power."
Scotty - "Ya can't change the laws of physics!"
Like hell you can't.

All this year I've been out on my time-trial bike wishing I had one more gear. Too often I'd be spinning out on descents..even little ones...while in my big chain ring and my smallest gear (11) on the back. I needed more power. I needed something. I felt like I was five years old again and on my trike and all the big kids were passing me on their big bikes.

What you may not know, I ride on 650mm Zipp wheel set. That means in order to keep up with the 700mm wheel sets, I need to churn more. The chain ring I was using was a 53 tooth. In short for those keeping score at home, a 53 with 700’s is comparable to a 55 with 650’s.

Mulling over my choices and conferring with my closest advisors, we came on two choices.
  1. Change the cassette
  2. Go to a bigger chain ring
I decided on option two, the bigger chain ring. I would go to a 55 tooth. So, I went to the candy store. I went to Gear West. I had already had some conversation with Curt Wood over this very subject and he agreed I needed to go to a bigger chain ring, especially with my current wheel set.

So, I plunked down a total....you are going to love this....a total of $18. $15 for the part (used), and $3 for labor. I owe the boys at Gear West so much. I felt llike I was robbing them. I'm going to have to do something special for them when the season is over.

The 55 really was not any larger than the ol' 53. Just two extra teeth. Here is how the 55 looks on the bike.

With new chain ring, it was now time to test it out. I decided to first try my 13.5 mile time trial course. I have ridden it enough times to have a set of data worthy of a true comparison. Here are the top five time trial speeds using the old 53 tooth chain ring.

I didn't realize it until I did the time trial but my fastest time was set on August 9, 2009. One year to the date in which I had the new chain ring installed. Coincidence? Certainly uncanny.

So on August 9, 2010 I set out with my 55 tooth chain ring. The temperature was 95 F and the heat index at 100 F. Wind was from the east at 7 MPH. It would be at my back going out and in my face coming back. I knew within a quarter mile, I was on to something.

When it was all over, my time for 13.57 miles was 35:27. That was a bettering of the previous record set exactly a year earlier by 53-seconds. My average speed, 23.0 MPH. I finally am part of the 23 MPH club and it feels damn good. For the record, my official Garmin result can be accessed below.

I am still in test mode with this chain ring. My first race condition test will be Young Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes on August 21. In 2009, this is the event where I set my fastest bike PR within a triathlon at 22.7 MPH. I look forward to seeing what I might be able to do this time around.

All for a whopping $18. Amazing.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Race Result: Columbus (Nebraska) Duathlon

Event: Columbus Duathlon
Date: Saturday, August 7
Location: Columbus, Nebraska
Results: Results

Personal results

Goal: 01:00:11
Actual: 00:57:54
Overall: 5th (68 total); top 7.4%
Overall Male Age Group (45-49): 1st (6 total)

The Recap

Something is up with my bike effort. Maybe it is I'm not a spring chicken any more. Maybe I'm over training. Maybe I need more bike speed workouts. Maybe I need a bike speed makeover. Maybe I need to see a sports psychologist. But with my run improved over this time last year, and my bike slipping...I'm not a happy camper. If any one has advice for me, please send me your thoughts, workouts, motivational speeches!

I've already checked out doing a bike speed makeover at Gear West. And I may well do that. But I'm already riding a 53 chain ring and not sure the move to a 55 is wise. Keep in mind I ride 650 wheels so moving to larger chain ring (or new cassette) may be the wise move....but I'm on the fence.

Add to this, I now am starting to dislike duathlons. At this time last year I was also lamenting how hard duathlons had become for me. Back in the late '80's when I first started indulging in multi-sport events, running was my passion and biking my new love. I jumped into any duathlon I could and excelled. Triathlons were the evil duty. I hated swimming. Swimming cut into the time I could be running or biking. And I sucked at the pool..I suppose that may have been the driving force at the time.

But over twenty years later, competing in triathlons has leap frogged my love of duathlons. I'm now estranged and dancing with a new partner one might say. So why?

In a duathlon, one basically runs the first leg as if that is the only event you are doing. By the time you get to the bike you are on fumes and by the time you get to the second run you are questioning your own sanity. That is, if you do duathlons like one should.....Prefontaine style.
'The best pace is a suicide pace, and today looks like a good day to die.' Steve Prefointaine
In Nebraska the first run was fine, albeit a bit too fast, but I was out for blood. Then I bonked on the bike with less than a mile to go and the second run was pure agony. This event hurt, and I wasn't even very good. To work so hard and not have a good result....not good for the ol' psyche.

I do recommend the event. It is tightly run, adheres to the schedule, and is f-l-a-t. I liked it. A good event for a rookie or seasoned pro. I recommend the Holiday Inn Express in Columbus should you consider the event for 2011.

Let's get into the race segments. Note - this was not a chipped event. Times were done by computer and race number with volunteers noting your bib number as you mounted your bike out of T1, hit the second run, and then finished. The official results do not include transition times. So, that is why I include my Garmin times. Feel free to visit MyGarmin.com to view this race via my Garmin results.

Run One - 2 miles (per race literature); 1.91 miles per Garmin
Goal - 13:00 (6:30 per mile pace)
Actual Time - 11:38 (6:06 per mile pace); Garmin time 11:39 (6:06 per mile pace)
Overall Rank - 4th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (6 total)

Here's a secret. I wanted to go sub six minutes per mile on the opening run. I knew my chances would be slim, but why set a goal that is easily achieved? A true goal should be tinged with impossibility written all over it.

The weeks preceding this event my run training was going well. And I had done a Mario Minelli taper. I mean, I cut waaaayyyy back on my workouts. I had a extended warmup and the legs felt very good. I was feeling very much like a caged animal by the time I was toeing the starting line. And for a while, it seemed like I could do it. I could average sub six minute miles.

The run course at Columbus is about 1/3 on paved road and 2/3's on a gravel path. I raised an eyebrow at this the night before when I was checking out the course. But the event is put on to raise money for the Columbus Area Recreational Trails organization so it made perfect sense to include part of the trail system. And truth be told, I rather enjoyed it. It took some pounding off the old legs.

I hit the turn-around at the one mile mark at 5:50. This was a quick glance and I failed to make note of the actual distance so it could have been a hair short of a true one mile, especially since the Garmin registered 1.91 miles for the first run. I lost some speed on the way back but was still picking off people who had gone out too fast. To be frank, I thought I had my goal in the bag the only thing throwing me off was the actual run distance. Oh well. To run that close to sub six for me was probably the highlight of the day. It gives me confidence going into the upcoming fall running race season. This is because I still hope to go below 19-mins for a 5K (6:06 per mile) and below 40-minutes for a 10K (6:26 per mile) yet this year. See impossible goal reference above.

Goal - 1:00
Actual Time - 1:13 (Garmin)

The transition area was similar to the setup at Cornman. A single row of bike racks curved along one area, in this case a traffic island.

Transition was uneventful, save for feeling totally gassed. I sipped some of my HEED mix from my bikes water bottle before unracking, if only to calm myself just a tad and mentally get the HR under control.

Bike - 12 miles (per race literature); 11.26 miles per Garmin
Goal - 31:51 (22.6 MPH)
Actual Time - 32:55 (includes transitions); Garmin time 30:34 (22.1 MPH)
Overall Rank - 8th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 2nd (6 total)

I drove the course the night before and took video with my phone. The course was out-and-back so the video only shows the return from the turn-around point. Watch if you have 6:30 minutes to spare...or are curious on the course and want to consider for 2011.

The bike started out well. I was averaging 23.4 MPH for the first quarter of the bike leg. I picked off a small group of four riders shortly before the first turn leading to the main part of the course. My confidence was building. But it didn't stay. I offer no excuses. The wind did pick up and was stronger than expected but it wasn't gale force and really should not have bothered me. But by the time I reached the turn-around my speed had fallen to just over 22 MPH average.

I kept composed thinking that with the wind now over my right shoulder I should be able to raise my speed back in the neighborhood of 23 MPH average. It just didn't happen. I got passed by two riders before we turned back for home. And now we were going directly into the wind. I was truly gassed and for abut 45-seconds considered mailing in the rest of the race. But I didn't drive 450-miles to just give up. And I could see the two riders who had passed me were struggling as well. So I kept at it.

Again, I'm just not sure what is going on with my recent bike efforts. But I'll try to rectify it before my next two triathlons.

Goal - 1:00
Actual Time - 1:14 (Garmin)

Nothing of note. It was starting to get warm. I was glad I had picked out a spot in the shade!

Run One - 2 miles (per race literature); 1.90 miles per Garmin
Goal - 13:20 (6:40 per mile pace)
Actual Time - 13:19 (includes transition); Garmin time 13:11 (6:57 per mile pace)
Overall Rank - 6th (68 total)
AG (45-49) Rank - 1st (6 total)

I had to keep reminding myself I only had to run for two miles and it was over. I marked a group ahead of me and made an effort to close the gap. However as I alluded to earlier in this summary, this second run was really starting to hurt. I had closed the gap a bit by the time I hit the turn-around, but I didn't have anything left in the tank to draw on.

With about 300-yards to go, I was 75-yards behind one runner. I thought about just letting him go and not making an effort to pass. Out of some dark recess of my mind came the urge to suck it up and go. So I went for it and went up one more position. I was sprinting but the legs were not at all striding easily. The legs were dead. This was a personal pat on the back, to at least dig deep for one more effort. Otherwise, I would have been fighting that demon all the way home.

For my efforts, I did strike gold. A nice healthy sized gold medal to be exact. Here I am with race director Jason Buss who was very patient with all my inquiries and questions leading up to the event. One does not drive 900 miles RT without first making inquiries.

And since the medal wasn't in the shot, here it is. Again, medal of substantial size, unusual for an event of this size:

Next Event: Young Life Triathlon (sprint event) in Detroit Lakes, MN on Saturday, August 21, 2010.


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Race Preview: Columbus (Nebraska) Duathlon & Shout Outs!

Event: Columbus Duathlon
Date: Saturday, August 7
Location: Columbus, Nebraska
Previous Results: First time at this event

This will be my third USAT sanctioned duathlon of the year. I wanted to try and squeeze in at least one, if not more, USAT du's before the season is over. So a bit of a drive (393 miles one way) awaits me this coming weekend.
This duathlon is Run 2 miles, Bike 12 miles, Run 2 miles. Run and Bike Routes. Run elevation info, ascent 26 ft and descent 23 ft. Bike elevation info, ascent 75 ft and descent 75 ft. Can you say "flat"!?!? I always hate to predict my times at an event I have never done, but for kicks and giggles here we go:
Run 1: 13:00 (6:30 per mile pace)
T1: 1:00
Bike: 31:51 (22.6 MPH)
T2: 1:00
Run 2: 13:20 (6:40 per mile pace)
Total: 01:00:11

Good luck to everyone racing this weekend, wherever you are!

Shout Outs!

I've been a little lax on my personal shout outs....so hopefully this will get us caught up. Sorry if I miss anyone! In alphabetical order:

Steve "Mad Monk" Aesoph - I gave Steve this new moniker as he has taken to barefoot running, shunned keeping stats or times, and mountain bikes like he has nine lives. So I suggested he take to opening a monastery for triathletes who need to find their inner self...and inner peace. And everyone knows monks make the best beer, something we both enjoy. Steve recently finished second overall at the YMCA Jamestown (NoDak) Duathlon. Both 5K run times were under 19-mins. If only he could do something about those girly calf muscles (green jersey).

Mike Fretland - Mike is having an impressive year. I'd vote him in as NoDak Male Triathlete of the Year at this point. Mike won Paul Bunyan Long Course on July 31. I gave him a little grief as his wife, Kailee, bettered him in total transition time. Maybe she can give him some advice! Mike also had an impressive showing at Chisago Lakes Half-Iron placing second overall in the 35-39 AG with a 04:43:18.5 time. For this, he received a dinner plate...I think! Next up for Mike is the St. Paul Triathlon.

Chris Hawes - Chris finished fifth in the men's 35-39 AG at Chisago Lakes Sprint. I believe it was his best race of the season and no one....I mean no one...is doing more races this year than Chris.

William "The Professor" Jenks - I'll just let the following times speak for themselves from William's impressive finish at Steelhead 70.3. He and I are talking about racing against each other for the first time ever at Cy-Man in September. We're still working out the details on how much of a headstart he will allow me.

Mario 'Andy Schleck' Minelli - Mario completed his first half-iron distance at Chisago Lakes. He completed the course in 05:00:58.5 which was right on target for his goal. You can read about his race day here. Mario also finished third overall at the Waseca Triathlon on August 1 and had the fastest bike split of the day....one for the old guys! That included a dropped chain....Andy Schleck style. And if you've been mulling over a RoadID bracelet or necklace, Mario has a savings for you as well..

Greta Simpson - You can follow Greta via Twitter. She has good suggestions for rides and training. She recently finished twelfth overall amongst females and 2nd in the female 25-29 AG at Chisago Lakes Sprint.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Totals: Month Ending July 2010

July has typically seen high numbers for me. No different this year. One has to make hay while the sun is high and the days long. While avoiding all the fun and eats this month has to offer.

July's highlight was the Cornman Triathlon in Gladbrook, Iowa in which I qualified for the National Age Group championship. And just staying healthy with no real injury to speak of.

Numbers for July, 2010:

July 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 46:19.11
Swim Miles - 13.63
Bike Miles - 454.68
Run Miles - 106.60 (7:51 per mile avg)

compare to last year

July 2009 Total Numbers
Swim Miles - 14.49
Bike Miles - 414.48
Run Miles - 32.95 (Achilles injury)

Last Month

June 2010 Total Numbers
Total Workout Hours: 31:39.51
Swim Miles - 11.48
Bike Miles - 317.79
Run Miles - 53.97 (7:56 per mile avg)

Upcoming in August

Aug 7 (signed up) - Columbus Duathlon, Nebraska (USAT) - Run 2mi, Bike 12mi, Run 2mi

August 21 (signed up) - Young Life Triathlon in Detroit Lakes - 1/3-mi swim - 12-mi bike - 3-mi run

Aug 28 (signed up) - Maple Grove Triathlon (USAT) - Sprint: Swim 0.4mi, Bike 14.35 mi, Run 3.3mi