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Archive for May, 2008

Here it goes…one Olympic Distance Triathlon Race Report.

Harmony & I got to the lake at about 6am. I grabbed my packed, got marked & headed down to the lake to see if the swim course was set-up yet. At first look it didn’t look to be, once I squinted I could see two tiny yellow buoys in the distance. The 750m loop was marked with three basketball sized buoys & one of the three was in waist deep water. Sighting this swim was going to be a tough.

I had plenty of time to get set-up in transition & use the bathroom over & over again. My bike was in a great spot right on the end & everything was set-up & ready to roll.

15 minutes before the start of the race I got in the water. The temperature felt good & I got a little warm up in. Before I knew it the horn went off & I was swimming to points I couldn’t see. In the beginning I swam over the top of a few people & was swam over a couple times. Up till the first buoy I think I was right in the thick of things, from there on the pack pulled away. Sighting was as difficult as I expected it to be. There was no just bringing your eyes out of the water, I had to completely lift my head up and search for the next turn. (Half the time I was totally off course) Throughout the swim I just talked to myself about form & plugged along. I was comfortable the whole swim & only had one brief cramp. For as much swimming as I’ve been doing I expected a better swim time but I’m glad I felt comfortable for the whole 1500m. (Or 2000m zig zagging in my case)

Swim time 45:53 OUCH!

T1 went ok, getting out of the wet suit was easy, I took a couple extra seconds to dry off a little & put on arm warmers, it was a little cool. Getting in my cycling shoes was a little rough with wet feet but my big mistake was forgetting my sunglasses.

T1 1:54.

The first mile of the bike is a downhill with some nice corners. I used this time to get my heart rate back to a manageable level & get dried off in the wind. The course was a loop & a long out & back. There were plenty of people to pass due to my SLOW swim time. Murphy’s Law kicked in & cadence on my bike computer wasn’t working but it wasn’t much of an issue. The out & back was longer than I expected but I kept a strong pace up & down the hills. On the bike I was able to drink about 10 oz of water & eat 3 shot blocks.

Bike 1:11 (20.79 pace)

T2 was non eventful. I slipped on my shoes without socks. (Planned) Later in the run I learned that was a mistake. Bec surprised me by showing up for some support as well as yelling at me that I was headed out of transition the wrong way.

T2 1:56

On to the run. The first half mile is downhill then the next half mile is across a dam. My knee felt fine till about the 2 mile mark, hurt till the 4 mile mark then felt ok. This may have been due to my blisters taking the focus away from my knee. I learned that I can pull off a sprint without socks but an Olympic distance requires socks the hard way. At about the 4 mile mark the red stains were showing through my shoes. I’m not sure how much It slowed me down but it hurt like hell! During the run I got three cups of water down and two more shot blocks.

Run :49.32 (7:59 pace)

Final time 2:50:50.0

58 place overall

5 in age group

Overall I was happy with how the race went. I felt strong throughout & learned somethings that will be helpful for the 70.3 coming up. Harmony was a trooper & manned the cow bell the whole morning. I’m going to give the blisters one more day to heal then get back at the training…

The race was very well organized & executed. The RD & volunteers all knew what they were doing. As far as the course goes its through some beautiful country & enjoyable to race. (Not super challenging but also not boring) The one and only improvement I would like to see is some larger buoys. I’d race here again or suggest it to others.

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It was a long Memorial Day weekend, Harmony & I packed every waking minute. Originally I was disappointed about not getting in on the race in Walla Walla but the trip to Oregon worked out great.

We left Friday afternoon for Salem to stay the night with Lonnie. It had been awhile since we saw him & he recently got a puppy. Every second we were there it was a dog-a-palooza. I’ll let the pictures speak for them selfs.

Saturday Morning we headed to Eugene to meet up with Harmony’s parents & Grandpa for the day. After breakfast we went to a dog park that was right next to Autzen Stadium. Both the park & the stadium were amazing. For starters the dog park was grass, in Seattle they get so much use their all mud or wood chips. Autzen Stadium was also very impressive, it makes Husky Stadium in Seattle look like even more of a dump than it is. Imola & Monza loved the dog park & totally wore them selfs out in the sun.

Next we ended up at the lake where the triathlon was being held. I wanted to spend a little time in the water to get used to the temperature, it ended up to be totally comfortable. There was also some extra entertainment at the lake. This entertainment was a combination of a bicycle, ramp, testosterone, beer & a camera. From the initial looks of the ramp we thought there would be carnage, a few back flips later we headed out. It was nice to spend the day with Harmony’s family & the weather was beautiful.

For dinner went to a place that I’ve heard about for close to two years now…The Pizza Research Institute. It lived up to is billing of the most hippy, vegan pie on earth. Anet & Bek met us there to catch up since we saw them last about six months ago.

Sunday morning was the race, I’ll cover that in its own post.

Monday morning we hit the road back to Seattle. I was a little sore & blistered while Monza was sporting a hell of a rash from some poison oak or stinging nettles.

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Balanced training…not exactly what I’ve been up to… Heres what the past five days have looked like:

One 40 mile ride. I felt really strong on the tri bike & totally comfortable in the aero position.

One open water swim. Surprisingly Lake Washington felt pretty good…

6000 yards in the pool. (3.4 miles)

Zero miles ran.

Why such unbalanced training? My hip & knee are still giving me issues. I ran once last week and it didn’t feel all that great so decided to give myself a week and a half off running before the next race. After a  record setting day of near 90, Seattle weather has gone to hell again…Shocking I know. Motivation to get on the bike in rain & cool temps hasn’t been real high. So that leaves me with swimming…

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Its been said that shopping is the fourth discipline of triathlon. Like it or not this is true for me, competing in a race that includes three different disciplines comes with a ton of gear. This is really good stuff to like carbon fiber, titanium & high-tech fabrics. One issue is how to store, organize & pack all your stuff to races or training sessions. After misplacing & not knowing for sure what was in the bag I set out on the quest for the best triathlon bag to grace the Earth.

For starters I have to say I’ve been a conosur of quality backpacks over the years. (Backpacking, rock climbing, snow boarding…) I have come across what I this is not only the best triathlon pack but possibly the best all-around backpack to date!

Introducing the Rocket Science Sports “Rocket Bag” (Link to web site)

For starters this bag has a specific place for everything, including; swim gear/wet suit, run gear, bike gear, heart rate monitors, sunglasses, nutrition, water bottles, race licenses, mp3 player, cell phone & helmet. Those are ALL well organized individual compartments.

This backpack is comfortable even when fully loaded. The shoulder straps, waist belt & surface that is against your back are all amazing. The ventilation, adjust ability & cushion are impressive.

As if all the above items aren’t enough…the construction quality is some of the best I’ve seen in outdoor gear. Every detail of this backpack amazing. This is an example of smart engineering, thoughtful design & quality construction.

The one & only downfall I can find is an areo helmet may not fit all that well…but I don’t have one so its not an issue for me. But did I mention it even came with a transition mat…

* * * * * out of * * * * * Stars

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The next race on my schedule was the Onion Man Olympic Triathlon. I was putting off registration waiting to see how my knee was going to progress. Looks like I waited too long & its sold out…

While I was looking forward to that race its not the end of the world. The same weekend there’s another Olympic distance race in Eugene Oregon. Its the Duck Bill Thrill hosted by University of Oregon. The only real down side to have to switch to this race is that I’m expecting the swim to be really cold. The upside is Harmony and I have friends in Eugene so the time not at the race will be more fun than Walla Walla would have been.

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When it comes to small low key races the Mothers Day Triathlon is a perfect example. The race was held in Elma Wa, if your not familiar with the area just know its in the middle of nowhere…

The weather was overcast & cool, the good news was there were only minor sprinkles. Harmony, Karen & I got the the race site about the time the organizers were getting set up. The 300m swim was in a small canal that was the color of thick chocolate milk. While the water situation was uninviting the real head shaker came from the nuclear reactors in the back ground.

The race was super small but well organized. No timing chips, body marking or age-group starts. The transition area even had people just leaning their bikes up against trees. My guess is about 60 people raced between the tri & du.

Wet suits on & we were all ready to get rolling.

The swim went ok, the water was really cold & there was zero visibility, you couldn’t see your hand right in front of your face underwater. My swim split was around 5 minutes & I’m not sure how long T1 was but I guess it was about 2.5 minutes.

The bike went well, avg speed 21 mph, avg cadence 99 rpm & my time was 36:30. I felt strong the whole time & really enjoyed it.

T2 was also about 2.5 minutes. I started the run with some calf cramps that quickly went away & my knee was feeling ok. About half way through the run my knee started giving me some problems but not too bad, the last quarter mile was pretty painful but I finished the run right at 20 minutes leaving my avg just under 7 minute miles. My totally time for the 300m swim, 13 mile bike & 3 mile run was 1:05.

Harmony pulled out a good race after weeks loooong hours at work & opening two new shows. Karen raced & finished fast even though she has a marathon six days away. (Good luck next weekend at the Capital City Marathon)

All-and-all I was really happy with the outcome & the race was fun. If your looking for an early season sprint with an open water swim I’d suggest this one.

My next race is the Onion Man Triathlon. This one will be an Olympic distance race, between now & then I need to spend some time in the open water to get used to cold as well as swimming in a wet suit. I’m also hoping the IT band issues keep improving over the next couple weeks.

(Link to more pictures)

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#60 Bird Shit

I’m not even sure if you can say “shit” in a WP blog…

This week while walking to the pool I got nailed by a bird. Yep, a big, thick pile of it right on the chest of my white shirt! While discussing the finer points of getting crapped on at they gym I was told its actually good luck. I’m not holding my breath but I hope the good luck starts to show up.

My knee is still giving me issues & the issues have moved up to my hip now. I’m 99% sure I’m dealing with ITB issues. The symptoms point that way & I’ve come across quite a bit of research supporting that my surgery & the scar tissue can really affect the ITB. I’ve continued to see the Physical Therapist, she seems confident that any day the right combo of stretching & exercise will take care of the issue. I’m now using a mid evil toucher device known as a foam roller. In most cases a foam roller is not too bad on sore muscles. In my case I’ll be using it to break up the scar tissue in my leg/hip. (It hurts like hell)

Today I was also in for acupuncture. It has been a few weeks since I had been in due to the move & a packed schedule. Chinese Medicine requires a very open-mind but some of the explanations Laura had to what was going on made sense. About 100 needles later (many of them right on the incisions) I was feeling a bit better. Fingers crossed it progress & not just temporary.

Last weekend I was able to get a good long bike ride in. The ride actually resulted in some tan lines! For the most part this spring I have been just riding my road bike. With a race a couple days away I took the TT bike out Wednesday night. I think from here on out I need to ride that bike. The geometry of the frame, aero wheels & aero bars take some time to get used to. Starting out (and finishing) I didn’t feel all that great on the bike. It was the first time I had been on the aero wheels in gusty wind…it takes some getting used to. Going across I-90 & around the south end of Lake Washington I was getting blown all over the place. (but they climbed better than I expected)

On Wednesdays ride I also decided to ditch the rear mounted water bottles. Sure they may be more aerodynamic but I launch a bottle just about every ride & this time I launched a bottle AND a $50 carbon cage. I’m going to simplify things on this bike to feel more comfortable. In all honesty I was using a behind the seat setup only because I don’t like the looks of the traditional bottle locations on a beautiful TT frame. There I said it…Now who needs an x-lab saddle wing??? Another realization was that the distance I race & the climate I race in one bottle on the frame & one on the aero bars is plenty.

Speaking of races, Saturday is the Mothers Day Sprint Triathlon. Going into this I’m looking most forward to the swim even though I’ve got exactly ZERO open water swims in this spring. I’ll have a (hopefully good) race report up by the end of the weekend.

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