Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Summer Solstice Duathlon Race Recap

It's hard to believe that it's been a month since my last race and I'm just now putting together my race report.  June 19 was the Summer Solstice Duathlon at White Rock Lake.  This event was put on by a smaller organization, White Rock Racing, and it was apparent by how poorly the event was put together, starting first with the lack of information given out at the packet pickup.  There was no course map or map of transition.  There wasn't even an accurate map on race day.  And you would think for $50 there would have been some sort of SWAG bag like from Ironhead Race Productions.  They didn't use timing chips either, so I couldn't get official splits for each leg.  And they didn't have transition marked by number, it was just a free for all in there.

But enough of my rant on how bad the production was...let's move to the actual race.  I got there about an hour early to setup.  I was trying to keep the pre-race jitters under control.  I was a little nervous going into the race because I felt like my fitness had dropped some since transitioning to a vegan diet back in May.  I noticed that my pace on the run had slowly climbed over the last month so my expectations were not that high for the two run legs.  The start was delayed about 10 min due to some complications with blocking off part of Mockingbird and Buckner Roads.  Finally the gun went off...

For the first half mile I was running about a 6:20 pace and was feeling pretty good but I knew I wouldn't be able to sustain that for the entire run, so I dialed it back and finished the first mile at 6:49.  I always make the mistake of lining up at the front and end up trying to keep pace with the top guys.  Ryan Cooper, overall winner, had an incredible first run and I tried to keep him in my sights for as long as I could.   I made the turn at the halfway mark and headed back towards transition.  I was still able to keep a pretty strong second half of the run with a 7:35 on mile 2, finishing with 14:33 for run 1.  I came in about 2 min behind the leaders, so I was pretty happy.

For the first time ever in a race I didn't have any debacles in transition.  No one moved my shoes, I didn't knock over the rack, nothing.  Well, I take that back.  I did almost leave without my helmet.  I came in to T1 and I had arranged my gear a little differently with my helmet sitting on top of my bag instead on top of my aero bars like normal.  In my haste to get out on the bike, I got a few steps away and realized I didn't pick up my helmet.  It cost me a few seconds overall, but it could have been more.  

The bike leg was going to be pretty easy.  It was really windy but for the back half of the course it would be at my back.  I began picking off a few riders right off the bat.  I only had one guy pass me on the bike leg.  It was pretty crowded because there were other riders out at the lake not participating in the race.  As I neared one mile left on the bike there was a guy in front of me who freaked out on 2 women out for a casual ride.  I tried to pass him but he kinda blocked me for a bit.  I was finally able to get around him and announced "on your left."  As I got around him I heard him yell out, "Not for long."  I entered T2 and racked my bike, threw on my shoes, and darted out for the final 2 miles.  I heard the guy I just passed on the bike yell, "I'm gonna get you." 

The second run was pretty solid.  I could feel my legs tightening up though.  At the one mile turn around I could see the guy I had passed on the bike.  I still had a pretty decent lead on him.  He ended up catching me with about a half mile left.  My last mile was significantly slower  than my first.  I finished 33rd overall, and 5th in my age group.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Fast & Furious Duathlon

So my race season got started a little later than I originally planned.  My first race was planned for February 20th, but I just wasn't feeling up to it as the race got closer.  The "off season" got me and I hadn't been putting in the miles like I should have so I passed on the TMS Duathlon.  I was really bummed too because I knew there was going to be some good competition out there since it was the State Championship race.  We had a really strange winter here in Dallas so I had to do a lot of work on the treadmill and spinner bike, with some weight training sprinkled in here and there.  I was feeling pretty strong and probably at the best shape I've been in my entire life, but I was really nervous about this race.  I'm not sure why, and even as I write this I am still unable to put my finger on what was causing my doubt.  

I was really hoping to have my new bike for the start of the season and I had a number of things, including my old bike, up for sale on craigslist.  Slowly, the items started to sell and my bike fund was building up.  Finally, 2 weeks before the race, I sold my Allez.  It was sad to see her go, but I was super stoked about my new bike.  I'd had my eye on the Felt s22 since May or June and it would finally be mine.  It's nothing really special either, aluminum frame with carbon fork, decent component set, and some super heavy wheels, but there was always something about it that I couldn't get away from and it was about to be mine.  

Now we get to the race...

My parents made the long trip from Nederland to Dallas to show their support.  We were up at 5 to get everything packed up before heading down to Lynn Creek Park which is about 40 minutes away.  It was kinda chilly, 60ยบ or so, and SUPER windy.  During the pre-race meeting Jack said the winds were gusting at 40mph!  I had already scouted the course a few days earlier and knew that crossing the dam was already pretty sketchy.  Now I have to add gale force winds?!?!  This ought to be interesting...

I setup everything in transition and hung out with Holly and my parents until the race was about to start.  A few minutes before 8:00 we started to line up at the start.  I tried to position myself close to the front but a couple of girls weasled their way in front of me.  We get the horn from Jack and the race is on!  A few strides into the run I feel something bouncing in my jersey pocket.  I was having trouble reaching into the pocket because my race belt was blocking it.  It took a few more strides until I was able to get the object in my hand...my phone!  What?!?!  I thought I put it in my transition bag?  What am I going to do with it?  Luckily after rounding the first loop I saw Holly and was able to toss it over to her.  I was feeling really strong and keeping a good pace.  I hope I can keep it up.  I tried to monitor my pace on my Garmin during the run so I could make sure I didn't overdo it too quickly.  Now comes transition, which I still haven't trained for.  I setup everything so I could access it really quickly and I had counted which rack I was on after the pre-race meeting so I wouldn't have to worry about looking at the signs.  T1 went pretty quickly at 0:55 and before I knew it I was on my way out on the bike.  

The bike leg was going to be interesting because this would be the first time I would really put any miles on my new bike.  I rode about 2 miles on the dam a few days prior so I could see what it was going to be like but that was all I had ridden on it.  It's SO windy and I'm not even on the dam yet.  I had to take it easy on the way back in because the winds were gusting so hard from the left.  It was pretty sketchy because at some parts of the road the guardrails were missing!  When I got back into transition and tried to rack my bike a huge gust of wind caught my bike and sent the front wheel straight into the rack.  Needless to say the rack fell over.  Luckily there weren't any other bikes there.  I wasted about 30 seconds trying to put the rack back together.  I ended up just laying my bike down and throwing my running shoes on and heading out of T2.  I told one of the volunteers as I was on my way out that the rack fell and they put it back up and racked my bike for me.

I knew the last run would be brutal.  My legs were already feeling it and I was just 0.10 mi into the leg.  A guy from another age group came along side me and we shared a few words about the wind on the dam.  Once he got a few strides in front of me I used him as my "rabbit" to pace me the rest of the way in.  I crossed the line at 1:06:27.   

Final results:

Overall: 20 out of 47 men
AG result: 5 out of 7  (The 4 guys that beat me all had top 10 finishes)

Run 1:  15:24 - (7:42/mi pace)
T1:  0:55
Bike:  31:47 - (20.8 mph)
T2:  1:17
Run 2:  17:03 - (8:32/mi pace)

Next Race:  June 4 - DRC Bloomin' 4 Mile run with Holly

Monday, January 24, 2011

2011 Season

The 2011 season has arrived and the race schedule has been set.  I've set some pretty ambitious goals for this year.  This year I'm planning for 3 duathlons, a time trial event, a half marathon, and my first triathlon.  I'm also going to do a 4 mile race with Holly in June.  Since this will be my first full year I will be able to get my official USAT Ranking at the end of the year.  I'm also moving up to the 30-34 AG.  I've been checking out the rankings and results from the 2010 season and I think that I will do pretty well.  There's some pretty stiff competition though.  I'll really have to work on my run.  The average pace from my age group seems to be around 6:45-7:00 min.  

2011-the year of the run.  I hope to average 7:30/mile over the course of my 3 duathlons and finish the year at Bronda's with an average run pace of 7:00 across all 4 miles.  In August of last year I started adding on the miles pretty quickly and was running 7-9 on a regular basis.  This year I will be increasing that so that by August, the Hottest Half Marathon, I will have built up to 20 miles.  My goal for the Hottest Half is to complete the 13.1 mile course within 2 hours.  That's only a 9:09 pace.  Seems doable.  

One week after the Hottest Half will be my first triathlon.  It is a 350m pool swim, 13 mile bike ride, followed by a 5k run.  Our apartment has a pretty decent pool for laps and I'm not too far away from the Frisco Aquatic Center.  I plan on going up there on my off days and getting in a good pool workout.  

I'm pretty excited about this season.  So far I have the 6 USAT events planned plus the race in June with Holly.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for a race in May and maybe September or October.  

2011 Race Schedule

February 20 - Texas Motor Speedway Duathlon (State Championship Race)
April 3 - Fast & Furious Duathlon, Joe Pool Lake
June 3 - Dam Bike Time Trial, Joe Pool Lake
August 14 - Hottest Half Marathon, White Rock Lake
August 21 - Take on the Heat Triathlon, Lewisville Lake
November 13 - Bonda's Duathlon, Texas Motor Speedway

Thursday, January 6, 2011

off season: what shouldn't have been

After the race in November I already had my next race scheduled for February 20, the Texas Motor Speedway Du.  It's basically the same as my first race, just colder.  Same location, same distance, new age group.  The USAT race age is based on your age as of 12/31/11.  Since I'll be hitting the big 3-0, that means moving into a new age group, 30-34.  I immediately started looking at the stats from that group in my race and in the nation and it looks pretty competitive.  I'm going to have my hands full this year.  I should really train this winter.

Holly and I went to SETX for Thanksgiving.  I brought my workout gear and planned on running every day while I was down there.  I woke up on Thanksgiving day and went out for my own 10k Turkey Trot.  That was the only time I ran while down there.  I made a goal for December that I would run 50 mi over the entire month.  Not an unreachable goal by any means.  I started on December 1.  I went out again on December 5.  That was the last time I went out until after Christmas.  I was lucky that I even hit 15 miles over those runs.  Now it's 2011 and my next race is 44 days away.  I didn't plan on an off-season but it crept up on me without me even realizing it.  I've got 6 weeks and a lot of miles to go.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Bronda's Duathlon

November 14, 2010 - Race Day.  

5am came pretty early but I was up and ready to go.  Most of my gear was prepped already from the night before so I didn't have much to do.  I got up and made my final preparations and went down to the gym for a 20 minute warm up on the spinner bike to get the blood flowing.  It was really nice to be the only one down there, but I guess not too many people are up working out at 5 in the morning.  I like to listen to some Mute Math, Moby, or Blue Man Group when I'm working out because the faster tempos keep my cadence high.  Finishing up, I came home and got my bottles together with my Hammer Nutrition Heed and Recoverite.  These will definitely come in handy today.  My nephew Shea spent the night with us so he could go to the race with us.  While Holly was getting ready and Shea was watching cartoons, I was anxiously going through the race in my head.  All my doubts started to creep in my head.  Am I ready for this?  No time to answer because it's time to go.

The drive out to Texas Motor Speedway was long.  I sat in silence for most of it, though occasionally shouting out expletives because I forgot something at the apartment.  As the sun began to creep over the horizon in my rear view mirror, I turned on my iPod and enjoyed my favorite band, the Polyphonic Spree. They always keep my spirits up.  Before I knew it, we were rolling up to TMS.  It was quite an experience driving through the tunnels and into the infield.  There were already a lot of people here.  Some already out warming up on the bike or checking out the run course.  II parked and geared up.  It was strange knowing that just 7 days ago there were hundreds of thousands of fans cheering as cars were speeding at 200mph.  Today, there will just be friends and family of the 200 participants.  It was pretty chilly so I put on my arm and leg warmers and headed for the transition zone.

Since this was my first race, I had no idea of what to expect when I was racking my bike but I managed to get everything together and went to pick up my timing chip.  I met up with Blake Britton and talked about the course.  The run course is really flat and on the infield track of the speedway.  The bike course consists of 3 laps around the road that surrounds the speedway.  About two-thirds of the course is a "false flat" and then the finishing third is slightly downhill, so it's pretty fast too.  The race director came on and began going over the rules for the race.  Then at 8:30 the 40+ group took off.  We would follow in just 3 short minutes, but it was the longest 3 minutes I've ever experienced.  I made my way to the front of the group with Blake for the start and waited.  One minute to go.  There was a guy from a team called "Tri4Him" that was a few runners to my left.  He took 2-3 steps forward, dropped to his knee and prayed.  After seeing him, I silently said my own prayers for a safe race.  30 seconds left.  10 seconds.

We took off at the gun in a dead sprint.  I immediately knew that i could not keep the same pace as the other runners at the front, but I wanted to give it my best shot to hang with their pace.  After a few minutes, my pace had slowed to a more comfortable speed but I was still clicking along pretty good.  Blake had kept the same pace as when we started and was already a good way in front of me.  A guy came up beside me and said, "I like this pace," and he settled in next to me matching my stride.  We struck up a brief conversation.  His name was Tim and this was his first race too.  We kept pace with each other for almost the full 2 miles and I couldn't believe how quickly they went.  But now comes something that I hadn't really been able to train for, Transition.

I ran into transition and searched for my rack.  After a few seconds I was able to find my bike, I looked down, and...my cycling shoes were not there!  When I racked my bike I had left them right by my front wheel!  Immediately I began to think, "Did someone take my shoes?  Why would someone take my shoes?  What am I going to do now?"  After what felt like an eternity of looking and thinking, I glanced over at an open bag at the next bike and someone had stuck my shoes in their bag!  I quickly threw them on, grabbed my bike, and raced out of T1.

I've got more experience cycling than running so I expect the bike leg will be fairly easy.  Leaving Transition, we raced through the infield tunnel and out onto Victory Circle where we would race 3 laps around the speedway, roughly 16 miles.  The first two-thirds of the lap go slightly uphill.  I hammered in my biggest gear and started passing a few racers before settling into a nice even cadence.  I kept battling back and forth with this one guy.  I was just keeping a steady pace and he would come speeding past me and after he would get a few bike lengths in front of me he would drop back and I would pass him up.  This went on for about 2-3 miles and then he never passed me again.  First lap in the books.  Second lap was super smooth too.  Going into the final turn on the second lap I heard some noise coming from behind me and then, almost in a blur, 3 guys came flying past me on their $5000 tri bikes with carbon disc wheels.  They were the leaders of the race.  I was hoping not to get lapped but... what can you do?  I continued to weave my way through the slower competitors keeping those final 2 miles in the back of my mind.

The second transition went much smoother once I found where to rack my bike.  Before I knew it I had my NB 100 on and was running out to the infield track for the final 2 miles.  My legs were feeling like they weighed 100 pounds each.  My pace was considerably slower now that I was nearing the end of the event.  I fought through and as I was coming to the end of the first lap I heard Holly yelling for me.  That gave me the burst of energy I needed to get through the final mile.  I rounded the final turn and saw the timing clock clicking the seconds away.  1:23:26.  I started running as fast as I could for those final 150m.  I wanted to finish before the clock hit 30 seconds. I sprinted the last 50m and crossed the line right at 1:23:30.  

What a race!  

My goal was:
Run  1 - 9:00 min/mi - 18:00
Transition 1 - 2:00
Bike - 20 mph avg. - 48:00
Transition 2 - 2:00
Run 2 - 9:00 min/mi - 18:00
Race Total - 1:28:00

Run  1 - 7:43 min/mi - 15:23
Transition 1 - 1:26

Bike - 20.2 mph avg. - 47:30
Transition 2 - 0:56
Run 2 - 9:07 min/mi - 18:14
Race Total - 1:23:30

Can't wait to do it again in February!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Reflection and the Final Days

Six months ago I set a goal to race my first duathlon, the 3rd Annual Bronda's Du at Texas Motor Speedway. The race consists of a 2 mile run on the infield track, a 15 mile bike around the speedway, and then another 2 mile run. Not being much of a runner, training started off slow. Around the end of May I was sidelined for a few weeks with an injury. I started pushing my training too hard, too quickly and strained my right leg. I was out of commission for a few weeks due to numbness and nerve issues. Thanks to a great chiropractor, Dr. Todd Petersen with ChiroSport, I got my running legs back. It was really good to be back running. I never really enjoyed it when I was a kid, but now I love getting out and going for a long run.

By around August I had increased my milage to running about 6-9 miles on my long training days. But just as things start clicking along at a good pace, another wrench. Our lease was coming up at our apartment and we had to move. Packing, moving, and unpacking seriously took a good chunk of my training time and the race date was quickly approaching. Thankfully our new apartment complex has a great workout room with spinner bikes so I have been able to do some indoor training since I'm farther away from White Rock now. It has been slow going the past few weeks though. Finally on October 26 I signed up for the race and I also purchased my USA Triathlon License. I was both excited and nervous. Am I going to be ready? Have I logged enough hours? I'm not looking to get on the podium by any means, but I still want to have a good showing and finish without being gassed.

We are now 3 days away from the race. Final heavy training is in the books. The bike has been inspected. All that's left...is anticipation.