Archive for the ‘Race’ Category

Keeping in tradition of writing race reports for all my races…here’s the rundown on the Mercer Island Half Marathon (1/2 marathon race report, I know kind of boring).

This was my first race of the 2011 season and my longest race since Ironman. This half marathon course is around Mercer Island, this is a route I ride on my bike frequently, however, I had yet to run it. The elevation profile tells the whole story, its either up or down…nothing flat.

Mercer Island 1/2 Maraton Elevation Profile

The weather had been total crap leading up to race day but we lucked out and it was a sunny and relatively warm morning. The other bonus was the later-than-used-to 9am start.

Being that its a hilly race my plan was to be really conservative the first half and see what I could do on the second half. I was shooting for a 8:00/mi pace for the first six or seven miles, however, the pace ended up at 7:30/mi. I was still able to negative split the race and ended up with a an overall average pace of 7:15/mi.

Its a good race, I’d suggest it to anyone looking for an early season 1/2 marathon thats not afraid of some hills.

Race Time 1:35:19 (Personal Best)  

Div place 28/139 overall place 157


Read Full Post »

Holy $%^*…along with everything else that’s happening this year I’ve been able to put together a modest race schedule that I’m excited about. Guess I better renew that USAT license.


Mercer Island Half Marathon
March 20th, 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Mount Rainier Long-course Duathlon
May 1st, 5.1 mile run – 28.8 mile bike – 3.8 mile run

Seattle Rock ‘n’ Roll Half Marathon
June 25th, 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Rev3 Portland Half-Ironman
July 10th, 1.2 mile swim – 56 mile bike – 13.1 mile run (event web site)

Seafair Olympic Triathlon
July 24th, 1 mile swim – 20 mile bike – 10 k run (event web site)

Hopefully another race or two in September…

Read Full Post »

Subaru Ironman Canada, 2009

I’m not even sure where to start on this one, there’s a lot to cover. The few days in Penticton leading up to the race were busy ones. It seemed like there was always a line to be standing in or small details to do that required stops around town. Thursday evening Sara flew in from Portland & rest of the spectating crew came in the following days. I had a great group in town for the race: Harmony, Sara, Jasmine, Steve, Mike, Rick & Kendall. Its definitely helpful to have a crew out on the course cheering!

Look at those Ironfans!!!

Look at those Ironfans!!!

Saturday’s major tasks included getting transition bags & bike dropped off. After that was done there wasn’t a whole lot to do other than relax in the shade. For dinner the whole group met at our place for pizza. As instructed I didn’t change my diet or hydration for race week, I ate & drank normally. As the sun started setting I got my special needs bags together & got ready for bed. Around 9:30 I crawled under the sheets with a Nutella sandwich on the night stand (ok, on the floor). I didn’t really sleep much or at least I never felt like I made it to any sort of deep sleep. As planned I ate the sandwich around 3am.

Saturday Bike Drop Off

Saturday bike drop off

Packing Up Special Needs Bags (Yes I ate the Pringles)

Packing special needs bags (Yes I ate the Pringles)

Pre Race Dinner With the Support Crew

Pre race dinner with some of the support crew

5am came quick and it was up & out of bed. Breakfast was oatmeal, coffee & a handful of different Kona Endurance supplements. Out the door at about 6am as the sun was coming up. I was a little rushed to get everything done before transition closed at 6:30am. being a little rushed didn’t give me time to stress or fret over the race race so I think it was a good thing.

Early Morning Walk From the Hotel to Transition

Pre race walk from the hotel to transition


Before I knew it the pros were off and my start was 15 minutes away. As it turns out, that was the fastest 15 minutes ever. I lined up on the left-ish side & not quite into the middle of the pack. About five minutes before the start I spotted my crew of Ironfans, it was nice to see everyone before the cannon went off.  The swim start was surprisingly non-eventful, it stays shallow for quite a while but I started swimming earlier than a lot of people. My plan for the swim was to keep it easy start to finish, I really wanted to avoid the dreaded calf cramps. Everything went as planned, the whole 2.4 mile swim I had good feet to draft off of & no cramps. For the second half of the swim I had to fight the urge to look at my watch for a time update. I thought I may start to push the pace if I saw where I was at time wise. The swim went by quick & I felt like didn’t use much energy. As it turns out my watch didn’t survive the swim so looking at it wouldn’t have made much of a difference. Going into the race I had contemplated not using a watch & just racing off feel, looks like that was going to be the plan after all. I was happy with my swim time & how I felt getting out of the water.

I'm In There...

I'm in there...

Link to swim start video here.

Now the Race Can Begin!

Now the race begins!

In sad news one of our fellow competitors didn’t make it through the swim. Reports say that a heart condition played a part in the tragedy. My thoughts go out to his family.

Swim Time 1:24:03

Div place 311/359 overall place 1975/2600

I got into the changing tent, threw on some cycling shoes, a helmet & race number. On my way out of transition I get slathered with sun screen & grabbed my bike.

T1 Time 0:04:16


I got on the bike feeling great & with a huge smile on my face. Jonathan beat into me how important pacing the first half of the bike. The other thing that stressed to me was how important making adjustments would be. As it turns out I wasn’t all that good at pacing, I rode harder than I should have start to finish but I don’t think I payed for it too much later in the day.

Trying To Pace & Not Race...

Trying to pace & not race...

The first 30 miles of the bike I had a headache, eventually I loosened up my helmet & the headache went away instantly. This was just the first of the small adjustments I’d be making throughout the day.


Richter Pass was the first real test on the bike, its a BIG…LONG hill. I was using a 12-25 cassette so spinning up the hills wasn’t bad. The cheering squad was out in force on Richter, it was helpful to see them & gave me a boost. The downhill after Richter was a good chance to catch my breath & get the HR down. Up next was a stretch called the 7 Bitches, these are a series of 7 big rolling hills, they weren’t as bad as I had expected, spin easy on the way up and push hard down the back side. Apparently there was a decent head wind but I really didn’t notice it much. It was pretty hot, at each of the aid stations I grabbed water to dump over myself, this did a pretty good job of keeping me comfortable.

Special needs was a bit past the half way mark on the out & back. Waiting for me there was three new bottles of nutrition & a small can of Pringles. The exchange went really smooth, I had fresh nutrition & was well beyond the half way mark. In addition to the nutrition I packed with me on the bike I ate a total of two bananas that I grabbed at aid stations. For the most part my nutrition was solid, occasionally I’d feel the things trying to come up the same way it went down, when that happened I’d switch to water for bit to get my stomach settled down.

Normally I don’t use or even carry salt pills. Knowing it was going to be a hot day I decided to take some along “just in case.” This turned out to be a good idea, not long after special needs I started feeling some cramps coming on. Luckily the salt did the trick without any ill side effects, never try anything new on race day…right?



Looking north at about the 75 mile mark I could see the smoke in the air from a forest fire. The fire wasn’t close but the smoke had settled around Penticton. I wouldn’t say the smoke had a big impact on my race but I would have preferred it not be in the air.

Throughout the day I passes a lot of people with flat tires. Climbing Yellow Lake I heard the dreaded PPSSSSSST… I got a flat right where Harmony & the crew were cheering. I jumped off the bike, told them I’d handle the fix then got pushed out of the way by a total stranger who took-over & pretty much changed my flat for me. All in all I think the flat took about 5 minutes of time. Getting off the bike for a couple minutes to stretch my legs was welcomed.

NASCAR Pit Stop Style...

NASCAR pit stop style...

Once I was back on the bike I had one last climb then it was pretty much down hill back into town. The descents were fast and smooth, I was comfortably going around 40 m.p.h. no need for a crash this close to T2. From my bike computer I knew what my bike split was but never did the math to figure out my total race time. I focused on eating and some high cadence spinning on the final stretch into town.

Technical setup for the bike geeks…

Zipp 404 clincher front, Renn disc clincher in the back, both with Continental GP4000 S tires.

Gearing up front 53X39 & 12-25 in the rear. For me this was the best gearing for the course, I was able to spin up the hills but still had plenty to work with on the descents.

Bike Time 5:41:28 (1 pee stop, flat tire & stop at special needs)

Div place 106/359 overall place 497/2600

I handed off my bike and ran for my bag of run gear. Running to the changing tent didn’t feel so great, a quick change of shoes & I was back out of the tent ready for a marathon.

T2 Time 0:04:04


I felt surprisingly good starting the run, I’m not sure of the pace since I didn’t have a watch but I would say I started around 7:45 per mile. The first 10 miles of the run I felt great. Each aid station I would get a cup of coke, wet sponges and a little water. Throughout the run I also continued with the salt pills to keep the cramps away. It was hot, there wasn’t much shade on the run & the forest fire smoke was apparent. My foot started hurting around mile seven or eight & progressively got worse through the race. (At this point everything got progressively got worse through the race)

One Foot Infront of the Other for 26.2 miles

One foot in front of the other for 26.2 miles

The last few miles to the turnaround were downhill…this means the first few miles after the turnaround would be uphill…

At the turnaround I got some Carbo-Pro, Pringles & the all important Ibuprofen. The second half of my run was slower than the first half. I walked the aid stations & other short intervals of 10-30 seconds when I started to feel like I was going to cramp. Once I was back in town and a few miles from the finish I picked up the pace. The crowds were great & having a dedicated cheering squad was awesome. Towards the end of my run I came across a clock & for the first time all day knew just how long I had been out on the course, comfortably I was going to be sub 11:30.

Not Only a Long Run But Hot Also, 90+

Not only a long run but hot also...90+

The final stretch of the run is an out and back lined with people. The pain went away, my pace quickened & I was pretty sure I was going to be an IRONMAN! (Writing this was more emotional than when it actually happened)

I crossed the finish line at 11:28:05.

Run Time 4:04:00

Div place 84/359 overall place 432/2600

Overall Race Time 11:28:05

Div place 103/359 overall place 496/2600



Looking back on the race I’d say its a long, tough day that provides a TON of opportunities for things to go wrong, a couple of bad decisions & the day could go terribly bad. I woke up on race morning feeling physically prepared, the only question in my mind was could I take the mental beating of the day. I answered that question with a HELL YES!

Sitting never felt soooo good ;-)

Sitting never felt soooo good 😉

Important Thank You’s…

For a year now Ironman has taken up all my free time & then some. Harmony was a trooper throughout the process & my number one fan, thank you.

My crew of Iron Fans on race day was Awesome: Harmony, Sara, Jasmine, Steve, Mike, Rich & Kendall. These screwballs put on pink rhinestone studded cowboy hats complete with yarn braids & cheered racers on for 12+ hours.

Additional photo albums here, see what happened all day during the race as well as the hijinks in pink cowboy hats!

Click for Album 1

Click for Album 2

Photos from the professional photographer

The army of volunteers it took to pull this event off was huge. I heard a rumor that there was over 4000 volunteers, without them the race wouldn’t be a possibility!

Coach Jonathan, aka Jonnyo. My training went great throughout the year, Jonathan kept me moving forward & it was actually fun! I never second guessed his plan I just kept doing the work as prescribed & the results came. He’s also a hell of a nice guy & I’ll miss our online messenger exchanges.

Monday After the race with Jonnyo

Monday After the race with Jonnyo

What’s next? I have no idea, I’m enjoying the Ironman Hangover right now.

Read Full Post »

#117 Boise 70.3 Race Report

Boise 70.3 race report…

I want to start by saying  this race was very well organized & executed. The race stacks the cards against its self with two separate transition areas, T1 was out at the lake & T2 was Downtown Boise, this sets the stage for a logistical nightmare. To add to it…the race was a unique afternoon start. Neither ended up to be an issue, the race director & volunteers did an amazing job.

A couple weeks out from the race the weather in the Northwest & Boise got unseasonably hot. Seattle was in the high 80’s/low 90’s & Boise was in the 90’s. The good news was this would make for a warm water temp but HOT bike & run with the afternoon start. To prepare I was getting in as much training as possible during the heat of the day. (As you read on you’ll find out this wasn’t needed in the end) In the weeks and days leading up to the race I was consuming a ton of water with electrolites, this proved to be a mistake, more about that later.

I was lucky to track down a great homestay in Boise for the weekend. Tom & Jodi welcomed me into their home, answered a ton of questions, carted me around AND cheered out on the course. They definitely had big part of making it such a great experience.  It was nice to show up by myself but instantly have friends & be welcomed into their triathlon community. Next weekend Tom is racing IMCDA & I’d say he’s prepared to leave there with his ticket to Kona…

I for one liked the 2:00 race start other than the amount of sitting around at T1 & that it gave time for the weather to turn to shit. I think a high noon start time would have been perfect.

I woke up at about 8am and ate a big bowl of oatmeal, banana & a cup of coffee. I packed another banana, a Nutella sandwich & a bottle with nuun, Carbo-pro & enduralites in it (300 or so Cal). At about 12:30 I had the sandwich & 1:45 drank the bottle. It felt like I had a full stomach but I wasn’t feeling stuffed or balloted.

T1 Pre raceTransitions for this race were “clean”, this means all the gear your going to put on is in a bag hanging off your bike & all the gear you take off goes into the same bag. (this way they can transport everything to one central location after the race) The bags and the long run from the lake to the bike did make for some longer than normal transition times.

In the week prior to the race I flatted 3 times on 2 different sets of wheels. While this should mean chances of flatting in the race were slim I had problems with one of my valves race day…


The pro’s went off at 2:00 with a lake that only had a ripple on it. My wave start was at 2:30, by the time we were in the water the wind had picked up & the ripple had turned to chop. This was by far the smoothest swim start I’ve ever had, contact was minimal. Getting to the first buoy was quick and easy, however the second buoy wasn’t so easy. I swam and swam and swam and never felt like I was on target or getting closer. Finally a kayak showed up to the group of swimers I was with & told us that buoy had broke loose in the wind and we were way off course. When the swims your weakness this isn’t good news. Not long after that my legs started cramping really bad. The cramps started in my calf then took over most my leg, at one point my thumbs were even cramped. For about half the swim I didn’t kick but I was determined to get through it. In what seemed like forever (because it was) I made it to the boat launch My goal for the swim was 33-35 minutes & I didn’t come close, I’m actually embarrassed with my swim time but I’ll post it anyways…

Picture 3Picture 4

Swim Time 0:56:42

Once on dry land my legs felt ok, up the  switchback boat ramp & to the wet suit strippers then to the bike.

T1 Time 0:03:08


On the bike I had two bottle with a similar mix to the one I had pre race. Each bottle had about 350 cal & my plan was one an hour with a little extra water out on the course.

Early in the bike sun

Early in the bike sun

The first section of the bike was a long down hill then a long gradual uphill. I felt strong on the bike & made the decision that I’d push a little harder than planned to get some time back from the swim. About 15 minutes into the bike leg the weather quickly changed from sunshine to dark clouds, heavy rain & wind. There were portions on the bike that we were peddling through inches of standing water on the roads. I don’t think the water slowed my down too much but the wind sure did. The first half of the bike I had average of about 23 mph but due to the wind that dropped to about 21 mph by the end of the bike leg.

Majority of the bike RAIN

Majority of the bike RAIN

I was able to easily get all my nutrition down on the bike, which set me up for a good run. The final 10 miles of the bike were also down hill so my legs got a little break prior to have to run. Coming off the bike I was just as wet (or maybe more wet) than i was in the swim.

Bike Time 2:43:11

The area for T2 was loooong and skinny. Before the race I checked out where my place was with a landmark, once I was in T2 I forgot the and mark and had to look at the numbers. Swapped shoes, grabbed a visor & headed out.

T2 Time 0:02:37

One thing was surprising heading out on the run…I felt great. My cadence was high, back straight & stomach felt solid. The run consisted of two flat loops through a greenbelt. My plan was to skip the aid stations on the first look & alternate coke/water on the second loop.

Picture 5

It was cold & wet out on the run but that didn’t keep the spectators away, there were a ton of people out to cheer us on. The first loop went by pretty quick & I was happy with the pace. The coke on the second loop was welcomed, the calories & sugar provided a little boost. (maybe the boost was all in my head but I’ll take it) My pace stayed consistent for the second loop of the run & it went by faster than the first loop.

Crossing the finish line felt great, the only thing (other than my swim) I would have changed was having Harmony there at the finish.

Picture 6

Clock shows time from Pro start, not AG waves

Run Time 1:37:41

Overall Race Time 5:23:17 (PR by about 20 minutes)

276th out of 817

46th out of 186 in my age group

Picture 7

After the race I stumbled around a little, ate some pizza, collected my transition bags/bike then met  up with Tom & Jodi for a ride home.

Huge thank you’s go out to:

Tom & Jodi, you two were the best hosts, thank again for opening up your home for me.

Race Director, excellent job executing an event what had some challenges from the start. (Start time, two transition areas)

ALL the volunteers, you were amazing. Every interaction I had with the not-so-small army of volunteers was impressive. (Even when they were as soaking wet as I was)

I reviewed the outcome of the race with my coach & he was happy with the day. We spent a bit of time talking about what happened on the swim & I think the cramping may have been caused by…OVER HYDRATION, WTF! I’ll be ready to fight another day!

The pro race was amazing, it came down to a sprint at the end. Here’s a link to a great interview/recap of the race from the pro’s perspective.

Link to Idaho Statesman photo gallery here.

Read Full Post »

#116 Onion Man Race Report

For Memorial Day weekend Harmony, the dogs & I headed east to Walla Walla for the Onion Man Triathlon. We made it to town Saturday afternoon, first order of business was to head out to check out the lake & bike course. The lake looked small & warm, both good things in my book. The bike course has a reputation of being much harder than it looks, we drove the entire bike course & wondered where the reputation came from. One thing was for sure…it was much warmer on the East side of the mountains than I was used to in the Puget Sound.

Saturday evening was pretty mellow, dinner in town, a short run to get the blood in my legs moving & some coveted TV time. I slept like a log Saturday night.

Sunday (race day) morning we were up early & out of the hotel by 7am. It was WINDY out at the lake & transition was a little tricky to get set up due to being on a pretty good hill. (Bike didn’t really want to say on the transition rack)

The swim was at 9am start, this is a little on the late side which meant the run would be really warm. Coming into the race the swim was the part of the race I was looking most forward to in terms of seeing how I’ve progressed since last season. My goal was between 30 to 35 minutes. I know this isn’t all that fast for 1500m but the swim has always been my weakest part of the race. The start of the swim wasn’t too bad. On the way to the first turn I got kicked pretty good in the quad & elbowed in the eye. This triathlon swim was different than all my past ones, for the full length I was in the mix with other people. I caught onto a few feet to draft off of & even had a couple of people jump on mine for a bit.

Click on photos for a larger view

Click on photos for a larger view

Lap 1 Swim Time 0:17:38 minutes
Total Swim Time 0:33:03

I’m happy with my overall swim time & most proud of my pace staying consistent.

Exiting the water there was an uphill run to the transition area. As soon as I was running I could tell that the kick to the quad was going to give me some problems. As soon as I started stripping my wetsuit my quad totally seised in a cramp, it got even worse when I reached down to put my bike shoes on. The cramp was so bad I ended up having to sit my ass down for a second.


T1 Time 0:02:29

The first mile or so in the bike is downhill, technical & features some speed bumps. My nutrition plan for the race was one bottle with 1.5 tables of NUUN & 300 cal of Carbo-Pro. Going over the last set of speed bumps I launched my water bottle out of cage that was on my frame. (Note, I was not using a behind the seat hydration system. I actually launched the bottle off the frame.) My first though was to carry on without it but then I though of how warm it was going to be & better judgment set it…I went back for it.

This is what most of the bike course looked like

This is what most of the bike course looked like

Once I was into the bike leg I started looking back for the boat anchor I had to be dragging! The reputation was correct, the first half of the bike was tough. It must have been a combination of a false flat & a consistent/steady head wind. I was peddling my ass off and only getting about a 18.5 mph average. I did take this opportunity to suck down most of my nutrition, I knew I was going to need it come the run. Once I got the the turnaround I lost the boat anchor & the wind was at my back. All the way back to transition I was comfortably in the mid to upper 20’s.


Bike Time 1:11:57

Racked my bike, lost the helmet, changed my shoes & grabbed a visor…

Heading out on the run

Heading out on the run

T2 Time 0:00:58

The start to the run was painful for about the first mile. My quad was really tight from the T1 cramping but it worked itself out pretty quick. My plan for the run was to settle into a comfortable pace & consistently build throughout the race. The run was hot & there wasn’t much shade to hide in. Luckily there seemed to be more water stations than I expected. I didn’t drink much but I did cool myself down with it. Nothing all that note worthy happened on the run, it was just one foot in front of the other for 10k!

Almost done!

Almost done!

Run Time 0:45:09 (About a 7:15 pace)

Overall Race Time 2:33:36 (PR by 18 minutes)

Harmony had her hands full with both dogs while I was out racing, She did an impressive job of watching the dogs, taking pictures & ringing the cow bell…THANK YOU!

Don't be fooled...

Don't be fooled...


Overall the race was very well organized & executed. Its a challenging place to hold a race due to limitations of space but the RD & volunteers did a great job…Thank you!

After the race it was off to the hotel to shower, pack the car & hit the road.

My next race is just around the corner, Boise Half Ironman. This is going to be a tough one, the race is an afternoon start so I’m expecting high temperatures & a wind bike leg. Tomorrow I start a tough 10 day block of training then I’ll have a “lighter” week leading up to the Boise race.

Read Full Post »

Again this is a overdue race report, TT’s are just not that exciting. This was the second of a three race series, it was 14 miles & included two good climbs. Pre race was uneventful (no snow this time) I got a good warm up in on the trainer & felt pretty good.

The first climb comes early on in the course. I tried to keep the HR down and effort reasonable but it was a hell of a climb. Down the backside was a good opportunity to recover & there was also a nice flat section between the climbs. The second climb was a little easier than the first, after that it was all down hill to the finish line.

Picture 1

Picture 2

Overall it was a great course & I was happy with my finish time. 0:40.13. The next race in the series is the longest & the one I’m looking most forward to.

Erica & Jessica (friends I train with) took 1st & 2nd in the woman’s race, congratulations!

Read Full Post »

My Mt. Si race report is a but overdue…

This year we had the same team as 2008 & we all ran the same legs of the relay. The only change for this year was a competing women’s team with Chelsie & Sara on it. Alex also had some friends from a running group with a team so there was not shortage of trash talk & sandbagging between legs.

The weather was beautiful, no injuries, plenty of Pringles & we shaved a little over 30 minutes off our previous years time.

It was a success!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »