Sunday, September 25, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Plymouth Firefighters 5K

Event: 2011 Plymouth Firefighters5K
Date: Saturday September 24, 2011
Location: Plymouth, MN
Hotel: Home, sweet home
Weather: 49F, sunny, light winds
Previous Results: 2008 - 19:36 - 5th overall; 2009 - 19:31 - 3rd overall; 2010 - 18:48 - 3rd overall
Official Results: 2011 Overall results

Personal Results

Goal: 18:30 (5:57 per mile pace)
Actual: 18:41 (6:00 per mile pace)
Overall: 3rd overall (359 total)

It was once again back to Plymouth Fire Station II in our hometown. The 3.1 mile course is laid out south of the fire station on neighborhood streets with gently rolling hills. Only one week removed from my overall Masters win in the Bismarck half-marathon, those hills felt like trekking the Rockies at altitude. But I really enjoy this course....and very short 5-minute drive!

Eleven city firefighter departments were represented. A moment of silence was asked for right before the start to honor all those firefighters who had lost their lives this year. Too many. Proceeds benefit the Plymouth Firefighters Relief Association. The run is sponsored by the City of Plymouth, Plymouth Fire Department and the Medicine Lake Run Group.

This event has perhaps the best starting line in the business. How can you argue with this?

Once underway, the runners are led by a firetruck with the occassional siren blaring. Very cool. And for race day the sun was sunny, albiet a very crisp morning. It was only 39F when I awoke but was 49F by gun time.

Lets get into the race recap. First up, the Garmin stuff

Plymouth 5K Elevation map

My splits for the race

I had used this nifty calculator to figure out what I should be running right now for a 5K based off my 1:25 showing at the Bismarck half. It calculated a 18:30 for the 5K. So, I went for it. What I didn't factor in were the legs still being dead tired just one week removed from the half. I never got into a comfy pace.

Mile One - 5:51

At the start line, I sized up 7 potential competitors. The air-horn cut through the morning air and I was immediately trailing some young buck that I had not counted among those seven. Didn't look at all like a runner....and sure enough, he faded quickly right before I attacked the first climb.

I held the lead for the first 3/4's of a mile and then was passed by eventual race winner, Peter Kessler. Shortly after I was passed by eventual runner-up, Scott Davis. And that's how the top three would remain. We went thru the one mile mark just separated by mere seconds from each other. And note those ages for the top three males overall: 50, 41, and 50! Take that and stuff it youngin's!

Mile Two - 5:59

I really wanted to get thru mile two under 12 minutes. I was very certain I could hold sub-6 minute pace thru two. Again, the legs were still drained by Bismarck. I've read that it takes 1 day per mile to properly recover from a race. So, I was in day 7 of a 13 day recovery. Not making excuses....just explaining that I was very uncomfortable during this event. I was laboring way too much.

But labor I did because I had another mission. The previous two years I had finished 3rd overall at this event. I had joked for weeks leading up to this event about the possibility of a Three Threepeat. I told the Boy® that if I found myself in 1st or 2nd that I would stop just short of the finish line to allow people to pass so that I could finish 3rd!

So, as I approached the 2-mile mark I was listening for footsteps. There is a sharp left hand turn right after the mark so I took a quick look. I could see a person about 70-80 yards back. Pretty comfortable margin, but I was not fairing well. Arms out of control. Breathing much too heavy for me. So, I attacked the next slight hill as best I could.

Mile 3 - 6:05

During this mile there are lots of twisty turns and such. As a seasoned runner, I know that one should try and open up a bigger margin right before and thru a turn so that when a person behind you next catches sight, they see you have gotten further ahead. Demoralizing. Take the wind out of their sails.
I simply retained a pace that was fluid and as relaxed as possible. I hit the last left turn before the homestretch and took one last look. Nobody. I had third in the bag. I actually started to chuckle. What are the odds of finishing 3rd overall three years running!?!?
Finish - 0:46
The Garmin ended up saying the course was 3.13 miles which equates to a 5:58.7 pace. I had wanted 5:57 so I'll take it. I wonder what I would have run with fresh legs. We'll find out on October 8th in Fargo when I run another 5K on a relatively flat and fast course.
This event gives out nice plaques for the top 3 male and female runners. I've got a nice collection going!
Next Events
Oct 2 (signed up) - Du the Bear Duathlon, Houston, TX 2mi run, 10mi bike, 2mi run
Race bike is already down in Texas with Texas training partner, Tim "Buckwheat" Carroll. I'm heading down to take on national caliber age groupers once again like I did back in January. More importantly, I'll be looking for a very high USAT Par Score to try and increase the slim chance I have of finishing in honorable mention range for duathlons nationally.

Oct 8 (signed up) - Fargo Mini Marathon 5K

The trio of age-group winning Maas' will be joined by the patriach. My 70-yo father will be 'racing' for the first time in a running event.

Oct 22 (signed up) - Lincoln Family Downtown 5K; Phoenix, AZ

We return to the Wyatt Earp shot gun starting race in our favorite place on Earth (well, the Well Kept Wife© would argue that is Great Britain but then this is my blog).

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Bismarck Half-Marathon & 5K (aka the Maas Family Sweep)

Event: 2011 Bismarck Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5K (USATF)
Date: Saturday September 17, 2011
Location: Bismarck, ND 
Hotel: Kim and Juanita Hocking (in-laws)
Weather: 49F, cloudy with drizzle, winds from SSE at 9-12 MPH
Official Results: 2011 Marathon overall results; 2011 Half-Marathon Overall Results; 2011 5K Overall Results

Personal Results
Goal: 01:27:59 (6:42 per mile pace)
Actual: 01:25:04 (6:30 per mile pace)
Overall: 4th overall (419 total); 1st overall in Male Masters (40 & over); 1st in 50-54 AG (17 total)

2011 Bismarck Half-Marathon Male Masters Champ!
I was just starting my warm-up around the start/finish line of the Bismarck Marathon extravaganza when I heard, "Brian?" The query did not register with me until it was repeated, "Brian?" I turn to see none other than the venerable Jerry MacNeil. Jerry is Minnesota's most recognizable triathlon announcer. Jerry had been invited to announce this event by the Bismarck triathlete group. So, I knew I was at a big time event.

Jerry at the mic

The Bismarck event had been moved this year due to the severe flooding along the Missouri river. Usually a flat course along the river, it had to find higher ground so moved further into the city. Find high ground they did as you will see by the elevation map.

It was a wonderful event. The race organizers and volunteers really hit it on the head with this one. Best biffy's ever....and so many of them! Massage tent. Food. Fast results. They didn't miss a beat. Even when they had to pump water off one of the trails. I told you the flooding has been bad this year.

We (myself, the Boy® and the Well Kept Wife©) felt it necessary to head over to Bismarck to compete in the event and lay down some cash in a town that has had a rough year. So, of course, we made sure to hit Scheels where the Boy® and I purchased a 357 pistol. OK, so it is a pellet gun, but we were pretty thrilled. Scheels once again showed its true class by helping us with the purchase and continues to put to shame the big box sports stores in the Twin Cities with its superior customer service.

Race day arrived and it was dark when we got to the race site at 6:20 AM. It was 49F, but it didn't feel too bad. We looked around to get the lay of the land and then I lined up at 7:10 AM.

The Boy and Well Kept Wife stand tall for the National Anthem

How it looked at the start
My goal was to really bust one. I was going to go out fast, hit the Big Hill at mile 5 and attack it, continue to run hard and then try and hold on. And it pretty much went as planned. Let's break the race down into five segments.

Miles 1-3

Mile 1 - 6:15
Mile 2 - 6:24
Mile 3 - 6:31

The Marathoner's, Half-Marathoner's, and Marathon relay participants all started together. Bib color's differentiated us. I lined up right on the start line. The smell of a nearby cow farm and freshly mowed hay was wafting in from the south. It was pretty chilly and I went with a black, long-sleeved Under Armour underneath the race singlet. No gloves, though. I was going back and forth about the Under Armor right up to 5-mins before the start. I'm glad I stuck with it, though, as the wind was a factor and later in the race I found myself getting chilled when facing it.

As I said, my goal was to go out faster than the 6:42 pace which was my goal. Early on I was running around 6:00 flat and then 6:10 and instead of panicking, I simply slowed to what I thought was a comfortable pace and one I could feasibly hold for at least ten miles. So I started to hover in the 6:20s. There was a broken group of about eight of us. I was looking around for anyone that might be over 40 as I had three goals:
  1. Finish and collect a finishers medal
  2. Win the male 50-54 age group (good for a marathon winners jacket)
  3. Win the Male Master (40 & over division) which would net a trophy and $100 check
Through mile one there was no one who could be mistaken for an old fart. Then, a guy passed me. Slight bald spot. Could be in his 40's, maybe not. Hard to tell. Shoot. What to do? Again, no panic. It would be a long race and there was a mile long hill ahead. I simply kept him in my sights.

Note - I was later to find out after the race was over that the person was Bismarck's own Tom Van De Meutter, age 43. Masters categorization was 40 and over. And he is a great runner.

After mile two there was a sharp left turn on the bike trail. I somehow stepped on the portion that was the slight side of the asphalt where it hits the grass. I felt my right Achilles stretch and it was starting to hurt and I was wondering if my day was over. I ran flat-footed for a bit and the pain wore off.

As we breezed past mile three I was starting to feel pretty good.

Miles 4-6


Mile 4 - 6:34
Mile 5 - 6:28
Mile 6 - 7:16

The Big Hill loomed. I had made sure to incorporate hill repeats into my workouts for the last four weeks. So, I wasn't in any way fearing this hill. But there it was, you could see it a good mile away and it started to look daunting. I was hoping to maybe drop no more than 10-15 seconds off my goal pace of 6:42 which should have put me at about 6:52-55 range. I ended up going 7:16 and I was rather proud of that!

The half-marathon elevation map
At this point, Van De Meutter was maintaining about 50-yards on me. However, I was noticing I was slowly starting to reel him in. About half-way up the climb, I was really starting to close. Now I'm thinking, "Is he 40+ or isn't he?"

I couldn't take the chance. I recalled a conversation with my brother-in-law, Kim Hocking, who had told me the night before that there were additional little hills on the campus of St. Mary's which sat at the top of the hill. And we would be running on the campus for a good mile plus. After having noticed that Van De Meutter was slowing on the hills I decided to make a tactical last gasp move to close and over take him in this area.

Miles 7-9

Mile 7 - 6:12
Mile 8 - 5:59
Mile 9 - 6:19

I carry my high school cross country training with me. You could say those days and what I learned are burned into my brain. I shortened my stride going up the hill and then kept that effort after cresting and began to increase my stride. I was not surprised to see my pace go from a little over 7 minutes a mile to a minute per mile faster. On the back side of the campus we were suddenly greeted with a throng of students to our left and the wide open prairie of North Dakota on our right. You could see for miles. I only wish I had time to enjoy that view, that vista. It was stunning.

By the time we had weaved through the campus and head back to descend the Big Hill I was really starting to hit my rhythm. I had passed Van De Meutter and he was holding on. The race was not yet won.

I let fly on the descent. When I hit the bottom the watched beeped a mile split of 5:59. I could still hear footsteps behind me. Knowing the cardinal rule is to never look back, I instead used the crowd to tell me if I was widening the advantage I had built up.

I would pass a crowd and there would be clapping and cow bells and other noisemakers. Then silence until the next runner came along. I started to count the seconds in that gap. First it was 5 seconds. Then 8 seconds. Then 14 seconds. So I was lengthening my advantage, but there was a lot of race left.

At mile 8, I guess you could say my secret weapon was waiting. The night before, Kim and I had discussed the perfect spot where he could be to pass me a water bottle. It contained INTERPHASE Recovery Matrix which is made by the same makers of Carbo-Pro. I would usually use Carbo-Pro during a race, like I do for all my multi-sport races, but I wanted some extra kick today.

So shortly after Mile 8, there stood Kim. I grabbed the bottle and ran with it for the next 3/4's of a mile taking swigs as I ran. I only consumed about 1/2 the bottle and then tossed it at the next aid station. I was now fueled for what remained.

Miles 10-12

Mile 10 - 6:18
Mile 11 - 6:22
Mile 12 - 6:24

This stretch wasn't too bad. I just kept trying to maintain a 6:20ish pace. I took assessment of myself as I ran along and nothing seemed too bad other than some twinges from the right hamstring. The quads had survived the downhill very well. The Achilles seemed fine. I wasn't laboring too bad. On my 12 mile training runs leading to the event I had found that I could put in some very strong miles between 9-10 and I applied that knowledge here.

By the time I hit 11.5 miles a misty drizzle had started to fall. And I was reaching the part of the course where the tailwind was now a crosswind. And I was starting to stiffen. I still refused to look over my shoulder.

Mile 12 came and the crowds were getting a bit thicker. A race official yelled, "You are way up amongst the leaders."

And then it became very painful.
The Finish

Mile 13 - 6:34
Finish (0.2) - 1:22

The crosswind now became a very cold headwind. My legs immediately went stiff. I was hurting now. I kept telling myself to just stay loose. Only one mile to go. And I was now peeking over the shoulder whenever a turn was made. I could see people about 150 yards back. "Could they catch me if I imploded", I asked myself?

The final turn and the long-long-long home stretch. I could see the chute but it was not getting ANY closer. Another furtive look over the shoulder. Finally I could make out Jerry's voice at the line. I heard a, "Brian, is that you?", from him and I waved in acknowledgment. Jerry tore into a diatribe about having one of my best ever triathlon seasons. Coming back from a pelvic stress fracture early in the year. That I was 50 and running a "gosh darn" good time.

And it was over. 

Approaching the finish

The Boy® was the first to reach me followed by the Well Kept Wife©. I remember asking for some warm clothes. I was chilled. I think we all hugged and then Kim, who had come back from Mile 8, snapped a photo of us.
The Clan post race

For winning my age group, I received a very nice winners jacket. For winning the Male Masters overall title, I received my biggest piece of hardware and a check for $100. I was just floored.

But, it got even better. For Boy® and the Well Kept Wife© also each won their age group in the 5K event. A first place sweep for the Maas family, which is a first. We were so thrilled when we saw the posted results. Something like that does not happen every day.

Each also set personal records. The Boy® dropped from 27:48 to 24:34 which placed him 30th overall and 1st in the 11-14 age group (10 total). The Well Kept Wife© dropped from 28:11 to 26:42 and 1st in the female 45-49 age group (15 total). 324 runners ran the 5K.

You can't script a movie like the way this race went for us.

On the podium together for their 5K AG victories
This is something we'll be able to talk about for some time to come. The day we all won our age groups and got some awesome awards. Family is bonding. And this just knit us another strand closer together.

Thanks Bismarck!
Next Event

Sep 24 (signed up) - Plymouth Fire Fighters 5K

Thursday, September 15, 2011

I Knew That Lake Was Disgusting!

Just dandy. Now being told that water samples from Big Creek (site of CyMan tri) were collected and analyzed by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources on the day of the triathlon. The samples showed the presence of elevated levels of microcystin (a toxin associated with blue-green algae).  These test results were not available until after the race was completed. There is a potential that some of the participants may experience some health impacts as a result of exposure to elevated microcystin levels in the water during the triathlon. Apparently, I'm not to worry.

I have had no symptoms other than one small rash on upper thigh. I'll wait a few more days and then declare myself out of the woods. But next year...they better find a new locale as I'm not going back to swim in that lake.

The potential health impacts are generally not considered serious, and may include rash, hives, or blisters; or stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, headaches, and fever. If any of you have any of these symptoms, the Iowa Department of Public Health recommends you see your doctor or health care provider. You can also contact the Iowa Department of Public Health directly at (515) 281-8707.




Q: What are blue green algae (cyanobacteria)?

A: Blue green algae are a group of organisms that are among the oldest on the planet. They can live in freshwater, salt water, or in mixed “brackish” water. Most people know them as “pond scum.” These blue green algae can actually be many colors including green, red, orange, or brown. The appearance of blooms may also be described as fine grass clippings or small clumps. Blue green algae also have been found to share many characteristics of bacteria, which has led to them being known as “cyanobacteria.”

Q: What causes these organisms to form “blooms”?

A: Blue green algae, or cyanobacteria, can multiply quickly in lakes with high nutrient levels, particularly when the water is warm and the weather is calm. This population explosion causes “blooms” of blue-green algae that turn the water green, often with floating layers of scum. A blue green algae bloom can also lie below the surface of the water. Blooms can spontaneously disappear or move to different parts of a pond or lake.

Q: What causes some blooms to be toxic?

A: There are thousands of blue green algae species and many more are still being discovered. Most do not produce toxins that are harmful to people or animals. However, some types of blue green algae produce toxins within their cells which are released when the cells die off or are ruptured. It is not clear why blue green algae make these toxins.

Q: Does all blue green algae release microcystin toxin?

A: Blue-green algae do not always produce toxins. You cannot look at a bloom and tell if it is toxic.

Q: How long can microcystin be present in the water?

A: Microcystins may persist even after the collapse of algal blooms in the late summer and early fall. Colder temperatures and decreased light intensity results in decreased rates of microcystin breakdown.

Q: Are there harmful algal blooms in Iowa?

A: Yes. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has identified a type of cyanobacteria, called microcystin, in some fresh water lakes in Iowa. The Iowa DNR conducts beach water sampling during the summer months to identify microcystin toxin. They have a listing of swimming advisories on their Beach Monitoring website:

Q: Are there other types of toxins from harmful algal blooms?

A: Yes, there are many other types of blue green algae toxins, including toxins that can affect the nervous system and the skin. However at this time, Iowa only tests for microcystin toxins.

Q: What is Microcystin toxin?

A: Microcystin is a toxin that is released by some species of blue-green algae, or cyanobacteria. Microcystin, a hepatotoxin, can affect the liver.

Q: Can you get sick from microcystin toxin?

A: People can get sick from microcystin toxin if they have direct contact with a blue green algae bloom, by either intentionally or accidentally swallowing water, by having direct skin contact (as when swimming, wading, or showering), or by breathing airborne droplets containing the toxins, such as during boating or waterskiing.

Pets and other animals that drink from the water’s edge, where scum layers accumulate, can be exposed to deadly levels of microcystins. Pets can get sick if they have been swimming in water where algal blooms have been and ingest significant amounts of microcystins by licking themselves after leaving the water.

Q: How is microcystin poisoning spread?

A: Microcystin poisoning cannot be spread from one person to another, nor from an animal to a person.

Q: What are the symptoms of microcystin poisoning?

A: Microcystin poisoning can cause breathing problems, stomach upset, skin reactions, and even liver damage. Getting blue-green algae/microcystin on the skin may produce a rash, hives, or skin blisters (especially on the lips and under swimsuits). Swallowing water containing blue-green algae/microcystin may cause gastrointestinal symptoms such as stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, severe headaches, and fever. Inhaling water droplets containing blue-green algae/microcystin can cause runny eyes and nose, cough, and sore throat, chest pain, asthma-like symptoms, or allergic reactions. Exposure to large amount of microcystin can cause liver damage.

Q: How soon do symptoms appear?

A: Symptoms may take hours or days to show up in people or animals, but normally show up within one week after exposure.

Q: What is the treatment for microcystin poisoning?

A: There is no specific treatment, but supportive care can be given.

Q: What can be done to prevent microcystin poisoning?

A: Pregnant women and children should be especially careful not to get into water that has blue green algae blooms. In general, people should: Avoid swimming, wading, or playing in lake water that appears covered with scum or blue-green algae or recently had blue-green algae. Avoid drinking or swallowing recreational water from lakes, streams, and other surface waters. Do not play in, or use, areas that have warning signs or have otherwise been designated by the Iowa DNR to be at risk for blue-green algae/microcystin.

Q: What precautions should people take if they are exposed to blue green algae?

A: If you have gotten into, swallowed, or breathed in water where a blue green algae bloom has formed: Wash off with fresh water and soap after skin contact with algae Check with your doctor if you experience symptoms, and mention your exposure to possibly toxic blue green algae. Avoid drinking alcohol Do not use acetaminophen

Monday, September 12, 2011

Race Result: 2011 Cy-Man Sprint Triathlon

Event: 2011 Cy-Man Sprint Triathlon (USAT)
Date: Sunday September 11, 2011
Location: Polk City, IA (Big Creek State Park)
Hotel: Hampton Inn in Ankeny
Weather: 67F, sunny, light winds from SSW at 4-6 MPH
Official Results: 2011 Sprint Overall results; 2010 Sprint Overall Results

Personal Results

Goal: 01:08:00
2010: 1:09.05
Actual: 01:07:26
Overall: 12th overall (224 total); 12th overall in AG Males (149 total); 1st in 50-54 AG (6 total)

The last time I had been in Iowa in 2011 was for the Pigman Sprint triathlon the first weekend of June. I had about three weeks of actual training post the pelvic stress fracture prior to the event and it showed in the results. I ended up 7th in the 50-54 AG.

This time I came in very confident and the results showed. Only one of the six people that had beaten me at Pigman (Guy Olson) entered the Cy-Man event, and I was able to finish ahead of him after he had beaten me by a little over three minutes in June. That shows the progress I have made.

To the personal report!

Swim - 500 yards

Goal - 08:19
2010 - 7:09
Official Time - 8:08; 2nd in AG (6 total); 30th overall fastest

The announced water temp was 71 F. Someone said there were like 240 people which made me wonder why they only went with three swim waves. It would be crowded. And the course was completely different from 2010. But worst of all was the water condition. Oh man, it was like swimming in pea soup and someone had also dumped a few barrels of green dye.

I guess there was a severe algae bloom earlier in the week. The DNR water tested and said it was safe to swim in. But it was not pretty. I made sure I didn't swallow any of the green putrid water...that's for sure.

One could actually walk to the first buoy on the triangle shaped course. During warmups I swam until I could not touch and I estimate that at 120-yards. Standing there, I was watching other swimmers practice and it was disgusting to watch their arms leave the water as all you could see was a green splash.

I was in wave 2 and the swim was fine.....technically speaking. I knew I would be laboring as I have only swam one time during all of September to-date. My focus is on running so swimming has taken a back seat! I stayed wide as always and had a fairly smooth swim. With about 200-yards to go I encountered slow swimmers from Wave One but other than a few directional changes, nothing serious to contend with.

I was SO happy to leave the water behind. Twenty-four hours removed I am only experiencing a few very minor swimmers itch symptoms but nothing else so far...knock on wood!


Goal - 1:30
2010 - 1:19
Official Time  - 1:34

My wetsuit top came off much easier this time. There was no blind run into a barrier like Maple Grove. I decided to put on my socks in T1 rather than T2 which cost a few seconds. Smooth otherwise.

Bike - 14.3 miles

Goal - 37:57 (22.6 MPH)
2010 - 39:48 (21.6 MPH)
Official Time- 38:14 (22.5 MPH); 2nd in AG (6 total); 19th fastest overall

Like last year, I really liked the out-and-back course. Unlike last year, the winds were much better. The wind (4-6 MPH) was at our backs going out. The out course is more declining than the return so by the time I hit the turn-around I was averaging a little over 24 MPH. I was thinking I could finally muster an official race 23 MPH bike average but it was not to be. Facing hills and a headwind I ended up short of that.

It is a nice bike course. The roads are pretty smooth. I went back-and-forth with a couple people, finally dropping them at the turn-around. No calf cramping of any sort.

As I was approaching T2, I saw Guy Olson already on the run. In the back of my mind I was wondering if I had a chance to catch him. But I didn't give it much thought as I was so far behind. I just was going to have a nice run.


Goal - 0:50
2010 - 0:49
Official Time - 0:54

Can't say why it took this long other than I had set up by Bike Out/In and Run Out was at the far end of the transition zone. I had no issues and was already going full bore by the time I hit the timing mat.

Run - 5K

Goal- 19:22 (6:15 per mile pace)
2010 - 20:00 (6:26 per mile pace)
Official Time - 18:35 (5:58 pace); 1st in AG (6 total); 4th fastest overall

Not sure where this effort came from, but it felt damn good. There is a turn we have to make where we circle through a cul-de-sac and I could see I was gaining on Olson pretty well. So I picked up my pace even more. By the time I went through mile one I could actually see him some distance ahead.

We made a turn for home and I could see I had cut that distance in half. At mile two I caught him and just kept on hammering. It was really starting to get warm and I was starting to labor a bit but I felt pretty comfy the whole way. I was very pleased with this run and effort.


I received a nice medal for my Age Group win. And instead of T-shirts, we got a pretty huge fleece blanket in our packet.

Next Event:

Sep 17 (signed up) - Bismarck Half-Marathon

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Race Result: St. Croix Valley Kid's Triathlon

Event: St. Croix Valley Kid's Triathlon
Date: Saturday, September 3, 2011
Location: Maple Grove, MN
Hotel: Home, sweet home
Weather: 77F, overcast, light winds, some sprinkles
Official Results: No results were kept

Personal Results

Actual: 15:05. I intended to take splits, and then like a typical Dad, forgot to. But I did get his approximate finish time.
Overall: 3rd or 4th in male 9-12 group (view the video and be the judge). I wasn't at the finish as I had positioned myself about 100-yds from the finish line.

This was the first open water swim for the Boy®. He has done other kid tri's but those have all been pool swims. Mark Bongers of Final Stretch is doing great service to allow kids to have their own open water swim event. I wish more events would do the same after the big boys and girls have had their race.

Wearing the new trisuit. It looks sharp!
As the kids event was a 1 PM start, and since I chose not to compete in the Olympic event earlier that morning, we all slept in and drove over arriving shortly before noon. I wanted this to be his day. And I could use a race weekend break between Maple Grove last weekend and Cyman in Iowa next weekend. We got the lay of the land (and water!) and I got a personal course explanation from Mark. The Boy® was complimented on his race day attire by Jerry MacNeil. Jerry stuck around to emcee the kids making them feel very Big Time.

Setting up transition
We set up our transition area, and the Boy® went thru his swim warmup. We were called to the water shortly before 1 PM for race instruction. There were two waves, and the Boy® would be in the second (older kids) wave. He had to do a 50-yd swim, 2 mile bike, and 0.5 mile run.

Mark Bongers gives the race instructions
Instead of a out-and-back buoy line, the buoy's were positioned in a horizontal line to the shore. I'm sure this was done for 100% total safety, but it lead to my only slight annoyance with the race. Basically, since the kids were in water only to their waist it ended up being a 'walk' rather than 'swim' in the water as you will see in the video. Just about every kid ran thru the water instead of doing an actual swim like the Boy® did. My suggestion, if it is possible to do so and maintain child safety, would be to swim a vertical line next year to actually put the kids over their heads as far as water depth and do an actual swim. Either that or mandate (for the older wave) that they cannot walk/stand/run.....they have to swim!

And not a complaint, but a question.....does anyone know if they make chip ankle bracelets for kids? It would have been cool to have the event be chipped time, but it could just factor down to something being available for the waspish ankle diameters of the kids.

To the Dad report!

Swim - 50-yards

I was really happy with how the Boy® had listened to me as I gave him 20+ years of advice. I had told him to line up outside and be right at the front since he is a strong swimmer. And he did just that.

So the horn goes off and I'm standing there agape at all the kids running....but then this was a low-key event and during instructions it was indicated that the kids could run. The Boy® swam it....all of it.....and came out of the water nearly dead last. But he gained great experience which will be invaluable to him as he gets other opportunities to do other open water tri's.

Out of the water & into T1


I was thrilled to see him exit the water strongly with his legs high. He then almost immediately reached up and grabbed the goggles and swim cap so by the time he flew past me he had both in hand as he went into T1. Parents were allowed in transition and were allowed to help transition. Since I was sort of peeved over the swim, I decided to help the Boy® in transition even though I had told him I would not be....for experience sake. I helped with his race number belt while he put on his helmet and shoes. I had his bike at the ready. We had made sure we had it in a low key earlier. Off he flew.

Heading out of T1 onto the bike course

Bike - 2 miles

This was a two loop one mile course. There was one tight turn as they came in before heading out for the second lap. One young lad bit it on that turn, and ended with some scrapes and such but the course was really safe for the kids. I was very happy to see the Boy® had pulled himself well into the thick of things as he completed lap one.

Completing his first bike circuit

I had gone through gear changes and I think he did very well. He came into T2 in 3rd overall.....after having exited the water almost dead last. He was having a great race.


I grabbed the bike from the Boy®, told him to get his helmet off and 'go-Go-GO!' Off he went like Dad, like a bat out of Hell.

No flying dismount just yet! Came into T2 in 3rd.

Run - 0.5 miles

By the time he was through transition and heading onto the course I could see he had already moved into second and was really flying before settling into a more even pace. I ran over to meet him on the return about 100-yards from the finish. I could see he had fallen back into what I think was 4th overall for the boys. By the time he hit me I told him to sprint and get the boy in front of him...which by the video, I think he did. That would have put him on the podium if I was tracking right. But again, this was not about a certain time or place but rather for the experience and he did very well through all three elements and especially during his transitions. Something he can build off of.

Almost done with the run

The Boy® told me he did 'horrible in the run' because he had gotten a side stitch. So I used this to explain that everyone gets those now and then and how to work through it. Another valuable teachable moment. It explains why he had fallen back after tearing out of T2.

Having a post race smoke (its a lollipop!)

I thought all the kids did great! My sincere appreciation to Mark Bongers and the Final Stretch staff for staging a kids event. Thanks all!

Here is the short video:

Friday, September 2, 2011

Totals: Month Ending August 2011

As August hit my focus turned from multisport training to gearing up for fall running events. And this is reflected in my numbers. I still may hit some late season duathlons in Texas, but that won't be decided for a few more weeks yet. So my swim training will continue to dwindle while I maintain some bike fitness. It's all about pounding the pavement at the moment. To the tape:

August 2011 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 38:22:39
Swim Yards - 12650
Bike Miles - 241.68
Run Miles - 170.14 (7:36 per mile avg)
Days Missed to Weather, Injury or Planned Rest - 2

Compare to last year -

August 2010 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 32:43:50
Swim Yards - 18550
Bike Miles - 287.85
Run Miles - 86.74 (7:47 per mile pace)
Days Missed to Weather, Injury or Planned Rest - 5

Compare to last month -

July 2011 Total Numbers

Total Workout Hours: 46:53:12
Swim Yards - 19700
Bike Miles - 502.28
Run Miles - 106.43 (8:08 per mile avg)
Days Missed to Weather, Injury or Planned Rest - 2

September Events

Sep 11 (tentative) - CyMan Triathlon, Polk City, IA - 500yd swim, 14.3mi bike, 5K run. Last year was 17th overall (204 total). 1st in 45-49 AG (11 total)

Sep 17 (signed up) - Bismarck Half-Marathon. First time at this event.

Sep 24 (tentative) - Plymouth Fire Fighters 5K. Last year was 3rd overall (401 total). 18:48 (6:03 per mile).
Also coming up this Saturday (September 3) is the St. Croix Valley Kids Triathlon. I might be related to a certain young lad who might be racing his first open water tri. If you are there, you might see me cheering for said lad. If you might be there, please do the same!