Archive for the 'triathlon' Category

Rio Grande Sprint Triathlon 2014

I did the Rio Grande sprint triathlon over a month ago. I’ve done it twice before. ( 2012 and 2013 )

This time my favorite photographer kindly got out of bed at an unholy hour on a Saturday and took pictures. Thanks dear!
I’m the only dork wearing long sleeves and no spandex. So uncool.

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This year I’m in a new age group. The 30-34 one… Yikes I’m old. But let’s compare stats just for fun anyway.
2012: 93/170 overall, run split 8:39, bike split 18.2 mph, swim time 8:19, 6/11 age group, overall time 1:08:55.
2013: 161/319 overall, run split 9:17, bike split 16.8 mph, swim time 9:28, 8/16 age group, overall time 1:17:21.
2014: 149/325 overall, run split 8:40, bike split 15.9 mph, swim time 8:25, 9/25 age group, overall time 1:15:11.

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Man, I better do more biking! I have actually done more biking this year than last year, but I think the problem was that I have done no real endurance training. In the past, I would mostly rely on long runs for endurance training, but this year I’m battling foot problems yet again and haven’t run more than 3 miles at a time. By time I got on the bike my legs were just tired. What we can conclude is that long runs do nothing for your running speed, since I did none this year and was much faster than last year. Yay speedwork.

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Since that race I have not run at all, ridden to work a few times, and went swimming once. We’re calling it lazy May. We did hike 38 miles in May though, so it’s not like I’ve been completely inactive. June shall be different. I promise.

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February mileage

Now that March is almost over, in February I:
Swam 12700 m
Biked 93.75 mi (on the trainer, so ish)
Ran 13.5 mi
Strength training: 3 sessions
Skiing: 4 times (2 downhill, 2 cross country)
Hiked 3 mi

So that’s resounding success on the swimming and biking fronts, and plantar fasciitis on the running front. Again. I thought I fixed it last spring when I changed my running stride. I don’t know if I got lazy about the new stride or what, but my left heel became unbearable after the second week of February, so I stopped entirely for three weeks. For the past three weeks I’ve been rather gingerly running once a week to test out if I’m ready to start again. I think if I give it one more week off, keep wearing my compression sock and massage it every day I’ll be ready to go again. We shall see.

I’m on track to hit my March biking, swimming, and strength goals, which is great. I should be exceeding them, since I’m obviously not hitting the running goals, but I’m not THAT motivated. I should probably just be happy with my small successes.

January distances and a broken binding

You will be pleased to hear that in January I:
Swam 3000 m
Biked 13 mi
Ran 25.5 mi
Strength training 4 sessions
Skiing 0

So, that’s a failure on the swimming, biking, and skiing front, but pretty decent success on the running and strength training. We’ll take what we can get.

So far the first week of February has not gone overly well, but I think I may do pretty well on the biking this month because the Olympics are on AND for the first time in 4 Olympic games (that’s since the 2006 games, people) we have both a TV and an antenna that can actually pick up NBC. So that’s 3 hours each evening for the next couple of weeks that I could spend on the trainer in front of the TV. Granted, last night I spent it on my butt with my laptop… But still. It might happen.

We did also go skiing at last Saturday at Taos. They’d gotten four or five inches of snow at the top which was on top of some nasty icy stuff from December. We had fun despite the ice at the bottom of every run. My cousin even took us hiking up the ridge to the runs that go down from there, which I have always been too afraid to do because they’re all double blacks, and Ken has always been too out of shape to do. I loved it. Ken hated it. (“Why would I pay $80 for a lift ticket, then hike?”) Unfortunately, the last run of the day was all on blue groomers which were completely devoid of anything resembling snow more than ice. Ken lost it and broke a clip on his binding. I think having only the one edge on a snowboard makes ice harder to navigate, because I saw several snowboarders do the same thing (fall down, not break bindings).

His bindings are the old step-in style that nobody makes anymore, and he doesn’t really want to get new equipment (although while watching slopestyle last night he WAS perusing the Burton website). So… He ordered some epoxy and he’s going to carbon-fiber it back into place. Fun stuff.

2013 in fitness

In 2013 I ran 352 miles, rode 788 miles, and swam 38 miles. In comparison, in 2012 I ran 222 miles, rode 1125 miles, and swam 42 miles.

That half marathon really piled on the running miles. This is definitely my highest mileage ever for a year. I’ll wait for all you actual runners out there to stop laughing…

Are we done yet? Ok. I trained less for the triathlons I did in early summer compared with 2012 (and my times showed it…), but I kept working out throughout the late summer and fall more successfully than in past years.

I went skiing (including both cross country and downhill) 8 times in 2013, did 36 strength workouts, and hiked approximately 85 miles.

Goals for 2014:
Take the dogs for a walk every day. My poor dogs. I am a bad dog owner.

Keep up the running, it’s the easiest thing to get out and do, although the hardest for me to enjoy. Topping 350 again would be great.

Ride more. Those 337 miles I didn’t ride this year are definitely on my car, costing me money and wear and tear (225,000 miles on the Civic as of mid-December). There are approximately 30 weeks in which I am realistically likely to ride (mid March – Mid October), if I aim to ride to work 3X a week during that period I should exceed 1000 miles.

Do one strength workout a week. I wasn’t even close last year! Most of those were the crossfit classes last January – March. More consistency is required.

Finally figure out this long-distance nutrition deal. I realized that every single event I’ve done which has taken me more than 2 hours (2 olympic triathlons, one Xterra Olympic triathlon, and the half marathon) has ended with me bonking at the end. I bet if I went back and analyzed the time after starting at which I bonked, they’d all be about the same. Clearly I have not figured out how to eat properly. This year is the year where I change that.

Beat my reverse sprint tri time from 2012. I really enjoy this event, and I think I’m in a position (position = a couple of pounds lighter) to be able to beat my initial time if I put in the miles between now and May.

Other races:
Olympic tri – I haven’t looked at the dates for the local races this year yet, but maybe I’ll attempt one I haven’t tried yet. I’m not a big fan of hard training through June (because it gets hot. So HOT.), so a race in early June would be great.

Fall half marathon – I need to get below the 10 min/mile mark before I can give the half marathon a rest. Otherwise it’s just embarrassing.

This leaves a race gap in late summer – maybe a 10K? Haven’t run one of those in several years, and I found running relatively easy to accomplish in the morning before work this past summer.

What about you, any plans?

City of Lakes triathlon 2013 race report

We spent the night before the race camping at a state park about 20 minutes from the race start. There were three problems with that brilliant plan. 1. Sleeping in our 3 man tent with 2 dogs is never particularly restful unless the dogs have been totally exhausted by a good long hike. 2. While the air cooled off the the upper 70s, the ground we were sleeping on never did. 3. The heat from #2 necessitated sleeping with the door unzipped, which make for a very buggy night. We forget about mosquitos because it’s generally to dry for them, but it’s been raining a lot (hooray!) so they were out in force. Well, for NM anyway. We didn’t have any bug spray along. We’re still scratching.

It’s a miracle that anybody got any sleep whatsoever.

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After a long night, we got up at 5:30, packed up the tent, and headed to the race. I got all set up, body marked, then went to get in line for the porta potties about 40 minutes before the race started. And stayed there for half an hour. They needed more.

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I was in the third wave, we did 2 laps around a diamond shaped course in a somewhat stinky little lake. Not as stinky as Findley Lake in Ohio was though… I didn’t push hard at all on the swim, probably should have. I came out 45th overall (out of 67) at 28:35. Not as good of a rank as usual, but a minute faster than last year’s mile time at the XTERRA 4 Corners race. I think the distance from the water to the timing sensor was similar in both races, so I’m going to say I swam faster this year. Is that because I didn’t have a wetsuit, or because I’m in better shape? We’ll never know. I was very glad I didn’t wear my wetsuit, although most people were wearing them. I would have been seriously overheated!

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T1 went fine, I wasn’t the fastest person, but it was not too ridiculously slow either: 2:13 Last year at the XTERRA race it was over 4 minutes… Good improvement! Perhaps I can chalk it up to not struggling out of a wetsuit. Ken got flattering pictures of my rear…

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The bike was slower than it should have been. I kinda held back on the first time out (it was twice over an out and back course) because I knew it was hilly and didn’t want to kill myself. Everyone passed me. It was really a beautiful course over some hills, along a river, and by some farms. There was a bit of a headwind on the second time out that slowed me down a bit, but nothing grueling. My only mishaps were related to my finicky front gears. I had to shift down with my foot to nudge the chain over every time, and once the chain got jammed between the front two gears and I had to stop and yank it out by hand. If those gears ever get worn down I think I might get a more modern system to replace them. With a new derailleur. And maybe 3 gears? Guess I better ride more to wear down those gears. I’ve already had to replace the gears on both mountain bikes, and I don’t ride them nearly as much. I’ve put at least 1200 miles on this bike in the past year and a half, probably at least 500 miles more than that since I got the bike, and those dang gears are still nearly good as new. Guess they used to make gears sturdier than they do these days.

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Right, I was writing about a race, not vintage equipment. I finished the bike at 1:38:31, an embarrassing 61st place and 15.8 mph average. Oops. Guess I should ride some more next year…

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T2 went nice and quick (1:19), but I made a big mistake. I didn’t bring my water bottle on the run with me. I wasn’t feeling overly hot, I’d consumed 2 water bottles of liquid on the bike, and thought that getting water at the aid stations would be enough. I was ok for the first mile, then I realized I was going to have trouble. The digital readout on the high school I trotted past said 94 degrees, and I was HOT.

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I felt awful when I got to the 2nd aid station and needed to pour some water on me to cool off, but all the had left for us slowpokes was gatorade! I settled for drinking some, and trudged off up hill. At this point I had probably close to 4 miles to go and I was mentally ticking off the signs of heat stroke. I decided that walking for a minute would be better than having to quit, so I walked. Many of the people around me were walking. By the time I finished the next half mile my body must have managed to absorb some of the gatorade I’d thrown at it, because I was feeling considerably better. There were of a lot of people suffering those last 3.5 miles. They did finally get more water at the aid station by the 3rd time (out of 4) that I passed it, and man did it feel and taste good.

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Eventually I managed to drag my overheated carcass across the finish line after 1:10 of running/walking (11:21 pace, yikes!) for at total time of 3:21:02 and 52nd place overall. Not fast, but I finished and I wasn’t last.

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So here’s the crazy thing. Even despite my walking, I was 47th on the run. That’s almost the same place I had after the swim! I am NEVER the same rank in swimming as in running. My only explanation is that I was not the only one with hydration and heat management issues.

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Special thanks to Ken, who did all the things he hates (sleeping in the heat, getting bitten by bugs, getting up early, waiting for his slowpoke wife for 3 1/2 hours while wrangling the dogs, and driving my slowpoke underpowered car) without a single complaint. And he took all these great pictures! What a guy!

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Rio Grande Sprint Triathlon

I’ve been triathlon training since January. A week ago Sunday I was watering the garden, went down a step, and something bad happened under my right kneecap. I hoped it would be a passing sort of a thing, but by bedtime I could barely hobble around. Uh oh. I iced it several times over the next few days, but it was verrrry slow in feeling any better. I swam on Monday, and couldn’t even kick.

I was signed up for a backwards sprint triathlon on Saturday, the same one I did last year. On Thursday I tried to see if I could get my money back on the race. No dice. On Friday I attempted to ride my bike around the driveway with only moderate knee pain, so I decided to do the race. I figured walking the run portion would be better than throwing the race fee away.

I rolled out of the house at 6:15 AM anticipating being the last person to finish the race. Last year there were just over 200 race participants, this year there were 400, six of which were wearing only speedos… It was the first in the Retro Tri series that USAT is doing this year, so six guys took that to mean speedos?

Enough preamble. When my wave started I fully expected to run six steps or so, then feel excruciating knee pain and limp the next 3.09 miles. But lo and behold my knee was totally fine! And my Garmin was reporting sub 9 minute miles. Pretty good for me! Official run pace: 9:17 Last year it was 8:43.

The bike is generally pretty strong for me. I was cruising along at a reasonable pace, although I haven’t been biking much lately. I reached back for a drink from my new waterbottle holders that clip onto my seat post about 5 miles into the bike… and there were no bottles. Uh oh. Never ever do a race without trying out all the equipment. And I KNOW this, but the water bottle holder came from the REI garage sale last Saturday (incredible price!), and what with the busted knee I never got around to trying it out. Turns out it didn’t attach too well and I lost both water bottles. It was two loops of the course though, so I figured I’d keep an eye out for the bottles on the second go around and stop and pick them up like a responsible citizen. Turns out I only found one, and stopping to pick it up probably added minute to my time. Official ride pace: 16.8 MPH. Last year was 18.8 MPH.

The swim is always my best event, and this one is always crazy because it’s in a pool. I passed a whole bunch of people, probably kicked most of them in the head… I tried not to, but it’s difficult. Time: 9:29 Last year’s swim time: 8:19 I have a theory that last year’s swim was 50 yds shorter though, I think they possibly had an extra lane this year.

I had fun, was absolutely thrilled that I could actually run, and don’t feel too bad for being a bit slower than last year. April 2012 was an incredible month for getting in all my workouts, but this April I traveled for work twice and also busted my knee, so I’m pretty pleased I was that close to last year’s times. I ended up 161 out of 400 overall, and 8 out of 16 in my age group, which is actually higher relative ranking than last year anyway.

Next race is undetermined, but there is an olympic distance sometime in May or June that I’m eyeing and that I’ve been training for, then another sprint later in the summer, then an Xterra sprint in early fall. Can’t wait!

January was a fluke

I have an announcement: In January I missed 0 workouts.

This is definitely a new record.

I am short from my planned running mileage by 0.65 miles, but that’s because last week during my run my hip started to hurt with the old IT-band pain that kept me from running for a few months 3 years ago. I knew from experience that it’s not the sort of ache that goes away if you soldier through, so I cut short the run.

I’m still calling the month a success.

I ran 13.85 miles. Don’t make fun of me. It’s progress from 6 in December…
I biked (well, on the trainer indoors) 60.7 miles
I swam 5200 yards = 3.23 miles.
I crossfitted 8 times.

Last January my mileage was pretty significantly higher, but there was no cross fit.

So, since it was such a success, what went right?

1. I wasn’t about to miss a cross fit class I paid cold, hard, credit card for. Also, I’m having a blast, so I didn’t want to miss one.

2. It’s definitely easier to make all your workouts when there’s only 6 per week instead of around 11 per week.

3. Running is hardest for me, but I”ve been trying to convince myself that all I have to do is get home from work, change my clothes, and start running and it counts. After I get started I generally finish the whole planned run anyway. It also helps that the dogs LOVE going on runs. Making them happy is a little extra incentive.

4. I’m only doing each sport once per week, so there’s no feeling of, “Oh, I can skip this run because I just ran the day before yesterday and I’ll run again the day after tomorrow.”

Conclusion: The only thing I can carry through with me after the cross fit class ends is number 3. So I guess I can’t expect such success in following months. Last year February and March were pretty bad months in terms of percentage of planned workouts actually executed. Hopefully I can do better this year.


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