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