Monday, September 30, 2013

Horrible weather

We are less than 2 months out from race day now, so this means we are in to "Monster Month" (i.e. big miles).    But, the weather was HORRIBLE over the weekend.  I did manage to get in a 12 mile run on Saturday, but Sunday was just too bad.  I rode the trainer for 65 minutes which is weak but it is all I could muster.  I hate the trainer.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Portland Tri

The Portland Tri was held at Cathedral Park here in Portland.  It was the Olympic distance NW championships so it drew some fast guys.  The forecast was for rain but it was mostly dry for the race.  I heard they got some heavy rain during clean-up though.
I sound like a broken record, but I just haven't been swimming much at all.  I haven't been to a pool yet this year.  I did get out to Hagg Lake twice before the race, so I knew I could at least get through the distance.
I just tried to relax and swim straight.  I could tell I need more swimming practice but it didn't seem too bad.  I finished in 29:43 which put me right in the middle of the field.   And, I was happy to see that my Garmin said I swam .94 miles which means I swam a straight line for once!
The bike is by far my strongest sport, so I was able to pass an awful lot of people during the very windy 40K ride.  I didn't go all out as I really wanted to be able to have a decent run but still managed a respectable 60:23 split (though I think it was a bit short).   That was the 6th fastest split of the day.  Sometimes I wonder why I don't just give up on this tri stuff and stick with bike racing.   But, of course there are probably 100+ local bike racers that could go under an hour on a 40K course.
The first mile of the run was uphill so I didn't really know if I had good legs or not until it flattened out over the 2nd mile.  Thankfully, I DID have good legs and ended up running a 45:42 for the hilly 10K.  I had horrible blisters that cost me a little over the last couple of miles but I'm pretty sure that was my fastest olympic race ever so no complaints.
I ended up getting 36th overall, 9th in the 40-44 age group and a time of 2:19:45.
This was a fun race.  I hope I can do it again next year.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Challenge Penticton

The Challenge

It's been a while since my last post.  Time is slipping away quickly.  I can't believe Tempe is really just around the corner.  Yikes!!!!  Since my last post I injured myself.  Tried to keep an 80 pound  TV stand from toppling over by catching it with my right arm.  It sprained (or tore) the inside of the elbow area.  It was very painful and 2 weeks before Challenge Penticton.  NOT GOOD!!!!  I had to stop swimming up until just a couple of days before we left for Canada.  I was very nervous as I was really looking forward to getting some swims in before my first IM distance swim debut and nailing a good pace.  I was a bit depressed for a few days, but decided to suck it up and not worry about it.  I was still going to do the relay as I wasn't going to let my teammates down.  I knew I could do the distance, (have been swimming 6-8 miles/week) just wasn't going to set any speed records.  But that is okay.

Our trip up was great.  It was a nice drive with a pit stop along the way to celebrate David's Birthday by having my Manufacturing Team sing to him over the phone using Facetime while he was wearing a Birthday hat while at a Truck Stop.  I am sure that must have been entertaining for the truck drivers.  It was hilarious and I think we embarrassed him a little too.  Excellent!!!!!!

Challenge Penticton was a lot of fun.  We managed to run into 6 Time Ironman World Champion Mark Allen while grabbing a bite at a local food cart.  To be in the presence of such greatness! Words can't begin to describe what I was feeling at that moment.  I was in Triathlon heaven!

David and I with Mark Allen
 Another bright spot was finally being able to meet Chris McCormack (a.k.a. Macca) in the Expo tent.  I was also very fortunate to have him sign a copy of his book "I'm Here To Win".  He is such a great inspiration for me and another of the true great ones.  He is a great Ambassador for the Challenge Family.

David and I with "Macca"
Being in the relay and doing the swim leg, I was also lucky enough to still be in the transition area when Macca and Jeff Symonds came through number 1 and 2 respectively.

Macca with Jeff Symonds right behind in T1
The Swim

So, there was a little storm that blew in the night before the event which prevented all of the swim buoys from being put out.  This made it a bit difficult for sighting.  Also, there was a bit of a wind still blowing in the morning causing some small waves.  Of course they felt like monster waves when I hit the water.  I found a nice spot in my wave and set out when the horn blew.  I was doing fine heading out to the first turn with minimal issues.  I sighted as much as I could picking out a house on the opposite shore and swam towards it. My arm was feeling pretty good.  I made it to turn 1 and headed for turn 2.  Not much of an issue there. The water was still a bit rough, but I have swam in worse weather conditions at Cathedral Park during our Thursday night open water swims., so it wasn't too bad.  It was at about the 75% spot on the last leg when I my shoulder started feeling a  little painful.  I figured it was probably because I might have been overcompensating for my elbow and not holding true to form.  I also started to feel like I was running out of gas.  I did a little breaststroke for a couple of minutes then continued on.  I had to do this 2 more times before the final stretch into the beach and the end of the swim.

My time was a bit later than I had hoped for, but well within the time limit, so I was happy.  I looked later and found that I had actually swam close to 2.7 miles instead of the 2.4 for the course.  I was happy to see (once I exported my Garmin data) that all this didn't start happening until about the 2.3 mile mark.  I felt like  I was where I should be in my training, at least close.

One big mistake I made however, was how I approached my nutrition for this event.  This event was supposed to be a test to see where I was in my swim training, test out my nutrition plan in an event, and actually do the distance in an event situation.  I did everything except stick to my nutrition plan.  I treated this as a long workout, instead of a full event.  So I didn't get up early and eat, tapering off until the just before the horn sounds.  Instead I got up at a decent time, had my morning cup of coffee a couple of pieces of boiled potato and a Powerbar. I also drank some water, but that was it.  So it was no wonder I felt like I was running out of gas towards the end.  I should have stuck to my plan as I would have felt like I could have hopped on my bike and done the 112 miles.  Because I didn't follow my plan, I felt beat when I was done with the swim.  Within an hour I felt a lot better and more like I could have headed out on the bike.  So I at least learned something, "The Hard Way".  Won't make that mistake again.

My path on the Penticton Swim Course 
The Team

The team did a great job.  I got what I needed out of the swim. David nailed the bike leg with a great time. He managed to make up the time I lost on my swim prediction and then some.  Ami had an Awesome first ever Marathon.

Just under 12 hours later, we cross the line together.  Sweet!!!!

Ami at the 36 Km mark.  She looks way too happy, what's up with that??

Challenge Penticton was a BLAST!!!!  We really enjoyed ourselves on the road to and fro.  But one of the best moments was after we crossed the finish line and were on our way back to the Van, we stopped at an excellent little Ice Cream Shop, Ogo's. Where we celebrated our success with 2 scoops in a Waffle Cone. Doesn't get any better than that.

Ogo's Ice Cream Shop.  Delicious!!  Sharon, the owner, loaded me up on Smarties too!!!

Team Vernier is thinking about doing this again next year...... We'll see..........  Maybe this time, we'll draw straws the night before to see who does what, Swim, Bike or Run.  Now wouldn't that be a blast!!!!

Team Vernier.  The morning of the race.


Sunday, September 8, 2013

Challenge Penticton - bike

Team Vernier represented well at Challenge Penticton.  Our team was John on the swim, myself (David) on the bike, and our coworker Ami on the run.   I'll let John tell you about the swim, but needless to say conditions were tough and the course seemed to be a little long.  Even the pros were 5 minutes slower than normal.
The bike went well for me.  I've done this course 3 times before so I knew it quite well.  Still I learned some thing on our drive of the course the day before.   In my mind I had broken the course up in to sections.  1) long slight downhill (with the exception of one short but kind of tough climb) usually with a tailwind for the first 40 miles.  2) The long climb up Richter Pass, 3) the 8 "rollers" (really more than that) after Richter.  4) The 14 mile out and back section, 5) the climb up to and over Yellow lake, and 6) The downhill back in to town.
Unlike previous times I have done this course (during IM Canada) the road was mostly empty for leg 1.  It gave me a chance to just focus on the riding and get in to a nice rhythm.  I took it easy up the first climb at 10 miles.  I learned from years past that it just isn't worth it to hammer up that one.  At the 40K point I was at 59:10, and at the base of Richter I had a 25.0mph average.  Now the challenge was to lose as little of that cushion as I could.
Richter wasn't too bad, especially since I started catching a lot of people by that point.   The 8 "rollers" after that are just hard.   It's still too early in the ride to go too hard, but it's awful hard to get over those things without expending a lot of energy.
The out and back seems never-ending.  But, that was expected so I got through it OK.  I was feeling really good up to this point, but could start to feel the fatigue coming on here.   This is 70 miles in so it's expected to start getting tired.  The key is to balance your effort through the Yellow Lake climb so you don't blow up.
The gradual climb up to Yellow Lake is always hard.  It looks flat but its hard to keep a 19mph average through this section.  Thankfully I knew the course well enough to expect this.   But, I really started hurting here.  
When I finally started the main push up to Yellow Lake I was a pretty delirious.  I was cramping everywhere (ever get a jaw cramp??).  My 42/25 was not enough and I was angry at myself for not putting a 26 on there.  But, I misjudged the climb and it ended well before I thought so that was a HUGE relief.    The flats and little bit of climbing after Yellow Lake have been horrible in years past due to the winds, but the winds were calm for me so I was able to keep moving pretty good in this section.
Then, the long downhill back in to town!  In an Ironman I would take it easy in this section to prepare for the run, but I went all out this time.  I knew my PR on this course was 5:18 so I pushed it all the way in to town to try to beat that.   In the end I fell 5 seconds short!  Ha ha.  Still I ended up with the 4th fastest relay bike split and that got us up to 25th place in the relay which I'm happy with.
I handed off the chip to Ami and off she went!  
That was a huge effort.  Probably one of the 4-5 hardest rides I've ever done.   I'm writing this 2 weeks later and still don't feel quite right.
Ami had never run a marathon but she paced herself perfectly and actually seemed to be enjoying herself (?).  What's up with that?  :)
She said she wanted to go under 5 hours and did way better than that with a 4:34.   John and I were able to join her to run across the line.  Mission accomplished.

That was a great race.  Much smaller than Ironman but I enjoyed the scaled down hoopla.  Both of IM and Challenge are different, but I like both in their own ways and I think they will both do quite well.