Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Raptor Triathlon

This past weekend, I headed down to Alamogordo to race in the Raptor Triathlon. I've done a lot of the Southwest Challenge Series races this year, was close in the standings, and didn't want to lose out on a spot without giving a little more effort. I booked a hotel room and registered before I learned my Mom would be out here. No worries - she came along for support.

The morning of the race, we headed down to the Air Force base, which we were told would take 1/2hr. It took ten minutes from Alamogordo, so we got there real early. I set up, jogged a bit before the race and lined up. The race was a reverse tri - run, bike, swim.
The run wasn't as fast as normal. I think the fastest 5k time was 19:23. It was a flat 5K on a street and then a running path. I came in around 21 minutes. I took entirely too long in T1 and got on my way.
The bike portion was as flat as any race I've done in NM. I overheard a woman say she thought there was a big hill. There wasn't. There was a little bump that required shifting a single gear. You could stay aero going up it. I was averaging a pretty good time until the last three or so miles. That's when the wind picked up. I could barely keep the speed up around 18/19mph. I really need to work on the bike portion.
The swim was an outdoor, 700m snake style swim. Stupid me, I swam two laps in a single lane, and was on track to swim 800m by the end of the swim. Thank goodness a race volunteer noticed my mistake, and allowed me to skip a lane, thereby keeping my total distance at 700m. I felt ok in the pool, but the arms were really sore. From what, I'm not sure.

I tagged the wall, and called it a day. I finished 1st in my age group! (out of two). My time:
5k run: 21:04 (6:46min/mi)
30k bike: 52:06 (21.47mph)
700m swim: 15:01 (1:57min/100yd)
Total: 1:28:11 (good enough for fourth overall)
The times include transitions.

We ate some good, free food at the base, and then headed to White Sands.
(obligatory medal shot on dunes)

Up next - Duke City Half Marathon. I'm hoping for 1:40, but I have no idea what will happen.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Elephant Man

So, the Elephant Man. A race I've been too scared to do in the past. I'm so glad I did it this year. It's a wonderful race with a tough course and great volunteers. Here's my RR.

I camped the night before with a friend after carpooling with a fellow racer. We woke up and headed down to the race start. After getting set up, I went for a quick warm up swim. The water was a nice 72 degrees and not choppy. I was told it smelled/tasted like fish and/or motor oil. I tasted the motor oil, but not the fish.

I was the second wave to start the triangle swim. It wasn't too rough getting out of the gate and on my way. I think I did a pretty good sighting, but I saw people all over the place. It kept me second guessing my line to the buoy. At one point, a dude swam perpendicular to me and I know I was heading straight to the buoy. He swam over me and grabbed my legs in frustration. I was so confused. I waited to get passed by the torpedo speeding women who took off in the wave after me. Sure enough they did. I tried to draft, but when you swim as slow as me, it doesn't work. I got out of the water in about 32 minutes. Slow, but I haven't been swimming.

T1 involved running up the beach, and then having your feet sprayed to get the sand off (that was nice). I took my sweet time in an attempt to get my heart rate down.

Out onto the bike. The course was pretty challenging but not terrible. Sure, I went slow, but that's my fault, not the course's. There were rollers out to a ridiculous hill. I put it in my granny and laughed my way up it. So silly. Why so steep? After crossing the highway, it flattened and slopped a bit downhill. I buried my head and cranked what I had.

T2 was uneventful. But it was nice to have all the volunteers cheering you on. Got out in a reasonable time.

The run was not good. I started a bit too fast and had to walk up the steep sand hill. I maintained a decent pace to the turn-around, with my plan being to crank it for the last half. When the time came, I declined. I decided to limit my losses and take it easy. It was super cool getting to run on the dam, which I'm told is off-limits due to terrorism threats. I finished the 6mi run in 50minutes. So-so.
Total: 2:47:54    1mi swim: 32:15   T1: 2:47
26.5mi bike: 1:21:17 T2: 1:00 6mi run: 50:37

After the race, I ate some great homemade bagels, banana bread, cookies and brownies. So good. All in all, the race was a really good time. I think I'll try and do it again to see what I can do about my time. 2:30 here I come!

I got third place in my age group. Sweet. More mugs for my beer. Exhibit A:

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

California Living

Paula and I headed over to California for a bit of relaxation and my sister's wedding. Aside from the crazy traffic and wildfires, the highlight of the trip was swimming in La Jolla cove. Holy schnikies, that was a good time.

For those of you who haven't been there, go. La Jolla has a beautiful marine preserve that is used daily by the locals for open water swimming. There is a dedicated swimming channel with lifeguards and distance buoys. From beach to beach, its 1 mile.

I made sure to check out the La Jolla Cove Swim Web Page. It has a bunch of good tips for swimming in open water and how to swim in the cove.

I was a little scared of the swim. There were a bunch of studs and studettes going in and getting out of the water. I made sure to use a bright colored swim cap, so the life guards wouldn't have trouble finding me. I also threw on the wetsuit. For the first swim, I planned on doing a mile. But, instead of swimming out to the 1/2mi marker and back, I went out to the 1/4mi marker twice. I did this, just in case I couldn't hack it out there.

It took me 16 minutes per half mile that first day. I navigated kelp and other swimmers. It was such a blast. It felt great. I worked on my sighting and form. I liked it so much, I did a straight mile the next morning. Second mile took me 30 minutes. Slow, but I didn't want to tire out in the middle of the cove. Also, word of advice, don't even think about thinking about sharks. Bad idea.

La Jolla is a great time.

Oh yeah, San Diego is nice too.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Gila recovery trip

I took a break from life in general and headed down to the Gila Wilderness for a few days. Ja'dii and I hiked the Middle Fork Trail to the Meadows, and then hiked over Big Bear Canyon to the West Fork trail.

It sure was a good time. Just me and the dog for a few days - dodging rattlesnakes (actually, only one; see evidence below) and avoiding bears and lightening.

Sure I missed a bunch of workouts, and sure my long run this morning suffered, but I'd like to think it recharged me. I start my real job-type job on Monday. It involves commuting to Santa Fe for the foreseeable future. I'm concerned about getting my workouts in with the schedule. Any tips? I'm planning on swimming a few days during lunch up there at a city pool. Should I workout before the day starts (like 5AM?) or should I wing it in the evening? Decisions decisions. A few days ago, all I had to decide was when to stop hiking and munch on some jerky.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Socorro Tri - post bar celebration

I just finished racing Socorro this past Saturday. After participating for the first time last year, I think this will be a staple in the triathlon schedule. Its a whole lot of fun. An outdoor 50m pool, great volunteers, a good bike course, and a great pool of people racing.

I was a little worried, however, going into Saturday's race. I just finished my epic study-a-thon for the NM bar exam. I missed a whole bunch of workouts. Heading into this race, I think I was pretty unprepared.

[Pic of me trying to remember all the subjects on the bar exam]

The race began with a snake style swim start. I was number 79, and thus, about the 79th person into the pool. I decided to "take it easy" during the swim, and just focus on form and steady rate. I was also wearing my heart rate monitor for the first time during a race. Everytime I kicked off the wall, the strap slipped further and further down my torso. That was an odd feeling. I passed one or two people, and was passed by two. I hustled up to transition and caught two people.

T1 was slow. Real slow. Socks. Mountain bike shoes. Helmet. Sunglasses. Jeez, I'm a diva. Anyway, I headed out and wanted to build up a good speed to maintain. I noticed, after adjusting my heartrate monitor, that I was hitting about 180 bpm. Couple deep breaths later, I lowered it a bit.

The course did not seem nearly as hilly as the year before. I caught a few people, and was absolutely obliterated by a member of Enderance Endeavors on a fly tri bike. After hitting the last hill, another guy and I traded spots a few times.

Heading into T2, I threw the shoes on and started running. Soon enough, the guy, whose name turns out to be Dave, and I started a conversation. Turns out we've been side by side before in other races. It was good to run alongside someone with the same pace. He ended up having a little more in the tank than me, and I just tried to keep him just in front of me.

So I finished. Total times:
Total        Swim    T1     Bike     T2     Run
1:07:26.3 7:15 1:34 35:24 1:05 22:11

I did alright. I bettered my time from last year by about 6 minutes.
[last year's times:
1:13:37.1    7:37    2:06   36:56    1:04   25:57 ]

I also placed in my age group. Here's the evidence:

Paula also raced and did a great job! She's working on running and hasn't been swimming or biking as much as she usually does. Kudos to her for getting out there and getting it done.

Here's us after the race:

Next up? I think the Patriot in Rio Rancho. Elephant Butte fo sho. And a half-marathon in Oct. Oh yeah bob.

And, my job starts in a week. I'm taking my last vacation as a quasi-student tomorrow and heading down to backpack in the Gila. Hopefully, I won't wonder into Iran.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

toughest race so far

Whew! The Farmington Olympic Triathlon is no joke. Its tough. Hilly and unforgiving. At least for me. This race was the first time in recent memory that I wasn't actually racing - I was trying to finish.

I set out for Farmington on Friday with my wife Paula, hitting the road about noonish. Paula and I had our first date in Farmington, back when we were teachers on the reservation. Farmington brings back good memories for both of us, and we were exicted to return.

I met up with an old law school buddy that was also racing. We drove the course (scary hilly), and had dinner. Paula and I stayed at our friends' house that currently put up for sale. We slept (sort of) on an air mattress and shared a single pillow. I was thankful when the alarm went off. A quick bagel, yougurt, and out we went.

The race begins with a 1.5k swim, then a 10k trail run, and finishes with a brutal 25mi bike. The strange order, coupled with different T1 and T2 locations, makes this race a departure from the norm. I had been warned about the hills, but I guess I wasn't paying attention.

The swim was fairly uneventful. There was a little bumping and kicking, but nothing substantial. My problem was being unable to see the buoys. I was sans contacts. I swam a good more than I needed to. After rounding the first buoy, the sun was right in my eyes when breathing to the right (which is the only side I use). After the second buoy, we were swimming right into the sun. Wow. If I couldn't sight before, I certainly couldn't now. I would look for the wake of other swimmers and stay on their tails. I thought for sure my time was going to be terrible. Although I had a good rhythm and felt strong, I was swimming all over the place. I ended up with a time of 28:35. Pretty, pretty good. I might be able to salvage a respectable time after all.

A quick sandy change of clothes, and off for the run. I tried to start slowly, and certainly did. But I was only going to get slower. My back tightened up, and I didn't have the spark in my legs. Also, I had an injury from a soccer game the week prior, that ached with each right step.

I ended up walking at the water stations. I had to stop and stretch my back out too. I was getting passed left and right. If I wasn't running up a hill, I was running down one. The scenery itself was great. After a washerboard road and paved street, the trail turned into a mountain bike path. I had a good half-mile run on that trial all to myself. I was loosening up, and my ankle was starting to go numb. In short I was feeling good(ish). But when I finished with a time of 55:10, I knew I wasn't going to beat my Lubbock time of 2:42.

Off on the bike I went. I was pretty excited. I knew it started with a downhill and I was going to put up some good speeds. Sure enough, I passed a good number of people on the bike and put up a solid 12.5 mile split of 35:00. My law school buddy was a good few miles ahead of me and was looking good, but not great. Once I turned around, I quickly realized why. We had a headwind that slowed everything down. I was hurting going up the hills, and couldn't build up speed on the downhills. On about mile 16, I stopped racing. The thought was: finish this thing and race another day. The bike ended up taking 1:24:27.

The whole race took me 2:51:12. I think I'll take this race and look forward to improving on it last year. Even though I was suffering, I really enjoyed the course. It was a well-run race (an improvement from years past, according to reports). The views were great and the course was challenging. It'll give me the motivation to hit the hills and trails.

As for my lawschool friend, he crushed the race. And took one of my age group spots away. One day I'll be able to keep up with him.

Total Swim T1 Run T2 Bike
2:51:12.6 28:35 1:52 55:10 1:07 1:24:27

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Gallup Triathlon Part II

I like doing this triathlon thing because I'm starting to repeat races. I raced Gallup last year with my friend Nat, who is now on to bigger and better things (although he should be back for Farmington). Here's a pic from the race last year (before I had a tri top):

Last year's times:
 Total     Swim     T1    Bike     T2      Run  
1:13:50    6:51    0:48   41:00    1:05   24:03

This year's times:
 Total     Swim     T1    Bike     T2      Run  
1:09:55    6:31    0:48   38:55    0:51   22:46 

Overall, pretty good improvement. I chalk it up to the training. As for the race itself . . .

I woke up at 4AM and put together two mugs of coffee, two bagels, and a breakfast drink for the 2hr drive to Gallup. I got there around 6ish, entirely too early. I picked out a spot for the bike, and tried to pass the time waiting for the start. On the drive over, one of the pads on my aero bars blew off somewhere on I-40. I rigged up a spare pair of socks over the arm rest. Worked out alright.

It was a snake style seeded pool start, with a 20 sec interval. I was surprised that I was the 5th person to start. I waited to get passed in the pool, but it never happened. I didn't have a super time, and I was pretty winded after the swim. I think I was inefficient in my stroke.

Once out on the bike, I felt terrible going up the hills. Absolutely awful. Again, I waited to be passed, but it never happened. My computer pooped out 3 miles in, so I really didn't know how I was doing.

Out on the run, I felt alright to start, but was crushed by the San Fran style hill on the course. I kept my effort up all the way to the top, but had to walk for a few seconds. I was suprised I ran a sub 23 5k after the walking. I was pleased to finish under 1:10.

If the race was scored like last year (with top three finishers overall as ineligible for age group awards), I would have placed first in 25-29! Third wasn't bad either, but is a little strange when you finish 6th overall.

I really like coming back to Gallup. I spent three years of my life on the reservation, teaching social studies at a BIA (now BIE) school. It would have been nice to spend more time there, but I had to get back after the race. It was good to see a couple friends from the old days running the race.

Up next - Farmington Triathlon on 7/4. And a lot of studying for the bar. But not too much.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Jay Benson

On Sunday, I ran in the Jay Benson Triathlon on Kirtland Air Force Base. I have wanted to do this one for a long time. It is so close to our house.

My Time:
Total Run Pace T1 Bike Mph T2 Swim
1:03:19.20 20:30 6:50 1:12 32:15 23.1 1:20 8:05

I had a pretty good result. I came in with better training than races past, except that the past week or so, I've been slacking due to law school finals. I wanted to build some confidence before the race, so I went and PR'ed in the pool the day before (6:20/400yds). It certainly gave me confidence, but I think it wrecked my arms during the swim.

My goal was to break 1:10min, and maybe 1hr5min. I really wanted to place in my age group. I met my first two goals, and missed my third by 20 secs. Oh well.

As for the race itself, I started running with the main group. I think I began at about a 6min pace, but quickly slowed up. I need to work on maintaining a fast pace in these short events. When I was hurting on the run, I was dreaming about the bike. I knew it would feel good to get on the bike, and it did. I had a strategy to work hard for the first 6 or 7 miles, and then crank it for the last 5 or 6. But when the time came, I just couldn't push harder. I think it was more mental than physical, so thats another thing to work on.

And the swim. Well, my arms didn't feel like they had much in them (thanks to the previous day's workout). I passed a few folks and got passed by one. I really wanted to open it up, but again, my mind stopped me from doing it. I lost few seconds waiting to get out of the pool.

All in all, I think I did well. My training is paying off, but I need to focus it more. I'm not sure what the next race will be. I have graduation and the bar exam looking at me now, so it may be awhile.

Congrats to Paula for doing the race! And thanks to Mike for supporting us and taking pictures.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Run for the Zoo

Today I ran in the Run for the Zoo race here in Albuquerque. Its a huge 5/10k race benefitting our local zoo. I didn't train for the race specifically, but wanted to see how good of a 10k I could put together.

I PR'ed the 10K with a time of 43:51. I set a goal of finishing under 44min. Sweet.

I also ran the 5K with Paula. We had a good time and finished strong.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Cross Train

I've heard its important to cross train, which seems inherent in triathlon training. Still, I think its important to break out of swimming, biking, and running. That's why I play ping pong. But as you can see from the video, not very well.

Maybe in my next graduate career, I'll win the pong tourney.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Fixed and Farmington

I'm not exactly sure when I suddenly wanted a fixed gear commuter. I found myself looking through singlespeed How-To's and pictures of fixed gears during class. So, I decided to "build" a fixed gear for commuting. First, I should make my intentions clear. I'm not looking to wear girl jeans and put crap in my spokes. I put a front break on and I wear my helmet. The bike is meant to help me with my pedal stroke and climbing ability.

So, I asked my buddy at the law school to help me out. A friend had an old Peugeot frame, and my buddy had some other parts. We also used some of my old Trek bike parts, and this is what we came up with:

So, I've been riding this to and fro. Its a bunch of fun. And hard. Its a 52 (or 53) to 20 or so ratio. I can feel myself getting stronger already.

I think I've figured out my next big race. It'll be the Farmington July 4 Olympic distance triathlon.

So, that gives me about 10 weeks to train. I'll have a workout plan in place in the next day or so.

Until then.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

New Direction

This blog, as it has fallen into disuse, will be taken in a new direction. I'm going to post my triathlon goals, training, and progress. I don't expect anyone to care about this sort of thing, but I need to get better at keeping track of my progress.

So, before I start, I'll recap my recent triathlon adventures. I began this season with the St. Patrick's Day Triathlon in Keller, TX (near Dallas). I didn't feel fully trained and posted a decent result of around 1:10:30. I can't find the exact results.

I raced the Spring Fling in Rio Rancho, and had another decent result:
 Total: 1:21:44.75   5K run: 22:21   T1:1:06   
15ish bike:49:12 T2:1:14 400m swim: 7:54

I just got back from nationals, held at Buffalo Srpings Lake in Lubbock, TX. I was pretty intimated. It was the most competitive triathlon I've done, and my first olympic. I ended up with a solid time of 2:42. The swim was very cold, and I think I went off course a few times. The bike felt fine (avg'ed 19.9) but the run wasn't good at all. My back hurt and I couldn't get myself to move faster. I was in damage control. I ended up with 8m miles for a 49m 10k, including a potty break. I need to focus on the run more.

I also hurt my knee the night before the race. I went to take a shortcut to the bathroom and attempted to clear a guard rail. I didn't, and gashed my knee up pretty good. It needed stiches, but I decided against it, in order to race the next day. No worries though, I had it looked at today, and it should be fine.

So, I need to plan out some goals. I'm racing the Jay Benson, and Elephant Man. I was thinking about Farmington, Santa Fe, Gallup, Soccoro, and Santa Fe. However, I'll be studying for the bar, and won't have disposable income for the race fees. We shall see. I know now, that I want to complete an olympic with a sub 30m swim, 20mph bike, and sub 40 10k. Yes, lofty goals, but here we go.