Monthly Archives: April 2013

Remembering, Racing, and Ramblings: Remember the Ten Race Report

Today marked the first official race I’ve done since my marathon in December. Why the long lull? Attribute it to training, a busy schedule, or a minor case of ADD; In either event, I’ve lacked focus. Maybe that’s the wrong choice of words. It isn’t that I’ve lacked focus, it’s more like I’ve been dealing with too much of it. After my marathon, I took a month off, only to start back half-heartedly, running aimlessly with no real goal. Cue the inception of the triathlon/Ironman dream and a complete 180 in training, and suddenly it’s April. (Actually, let’s be honest: it probably isn’t due to any of the reasons listed above as much as it is the financial issue. A part-time office job on campus has been known to change people’s perspective on money and side-effects often include the common use of the sentence “You want how much for a gallon of milk?!” [Yes, I realize how depressing this statement is. Don’t judge me.]).

Anyhow, it was great to toe the start line again. Oddly enough, according to my pace group (7:00/mile), I was only about ten feet from the start line. Scary stuff for a guy who only ran a 4:47:22 marathon. In any event, I woke up about an hour before the race to get ready and eat a light breakfast of half a cinnamon bagel and a GU gel. Let me take another side note here and defend my GU use for a 10K. I’m the first proponent for not using nutrition supplements for any runs lasting shorter than an hour and a half or so, but I was reading an article yesterday about racing and the effects of lactic acid. Supposedly, caffeine slows down the buildup of lactic acid and mitigates some of the soreness felt after a hard run. I thought, “What the heck, I’ll give it a try.” So after consuming my bagel and GU chaser, I trotted out the door of my apartment to the starting line.

The race was taking place less than a half mile from my apartment. Perfect for a person like me. Morning person, I am not. I found my pace group, unsettlingly close to the start line and then commenced my favorite past time: watching people before a race. The way I see it, you’ve got three types of people before a race begins: the stretchers, the talkers, and the fidgety ones.

The stretchers are a common species and can usually be found along the perimeter of the starting line. Typically they are embracing a pole or a wall (sometimes a third party) for support and will, well, stretch right up to the gun.

The talkers need no explanation other than the fact that many of them seem to feel the need to share their PR’s with you either a) In an attempt to impress you, or b) In an attempt to reassure themselves that they can indeed do it. (Either that or they just want to make sure that they are standing in the middle of the right street, with the right group of people, doing the right activity. You don’t want to get a race mixed up with a protest, although I’ve found the amount of spandex to be a good gauge (depending on what protest).

The fidgety ones are the ones dashing to and fro. Examples include, but are not limited to: doing twenty yard sprints along the side of the street, jumping up and down, or perusing the beginning of the course (as if they won’t see it in a few minutes).

I witnessed the full gamut in the ten minutes I was waiting for the gun to go off. I’m not asserting that my way is the right way, but I take an attitude similar to how I view tests: this close to the event, there’s not much I can do to make it go any better. So there I stood patiently waiting. Then the sixty second announcement was made.

Me: “Hm, I wonder how long sixty seconds is.”

Then my brain after a little while: “Seems like it should be shorter than this.”

Announcer: “THIRTY SECONDS!”

Me: “See you worried for nothing.”

Brain: “That was a long thirty seconds, my guess is this guy can’t tell time-”

*GUN SHOT*

Me: “Confirmed: he definitely can’t tell time. That was more like fifty seconds, then a ten second warning.”

This conversation actually took place. Shaking off the shock of what was first the longest thirty seconds of my life, followed quickly by the shortest, we were off. The 6:00/mile group in front of me shot off like bats out of hell and I knew for certain I was going to get trampled. To my surprise and overall elation, I didn’t though. The course began with a gradual up hill for the first mile and a half which I completed in just under 7 minutes.

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 12.54.01 PM

My goal going into this race was to average 7:00/mile and finish in about 43:00. So far so good. I felt great going into the first two miles. I was using the Virtual Partner feature on my 910XT set to 7:00/mile. I was about 11 seconds ahead for the first two miles, but then faded just a bit. It was extremely flat from about mile 1.5 to 3.5 so I was disappointed that my splits were slower than my goal pace. No excuse today, it was 50 degrees with almost no wind. I stepped it up just in time for a couple more small inclines, so my pace wasn’t really affected too much.

I noted that after about mile 4 I began passing people that had passed me in the beginning. I may not be very fast, but endurance is one aspect I’m decent at. I began picking off people, one by one, all the way down to mile 6 when Blue Lightning passed me. I’m referring to him as Blue Lightning because that’s what it looked like. This guy had to have been pushing a 6:00/mile pace. Not wanting to give up my spot that easily, I got a great angle on the second to last turn and passed him. I felt like my race was against him at this point because you had the crazy fast people about 50-100 yards ahead of me, which I knew I couldn’t make happen, and the rest of the pack behind me. We dodged through the 5K walkers that were finishing up and I almost took out a little girl (not on purpose!) that decided she wanted to run in my space at the last minute. After a good fight lasting about a half mile, Blue Lightning truly lived up to his name and mopped the floor with me the last 0.2. I kept up as best I could squeezing out a 6:19/mile pace for the last portion. I crossed the finish line in 44:36 which was enough to earn me 7th out of 29 in my age group and 26th (out of about 500) overall. I was pleased! Coming off of an entire training season last year where I trained around 9:30/mile, I was elated that I was able to average 7:07/mile for the 10K distance.

The proof is in the puddin’, as they say…

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 11.46.40 AM

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 12.51.07 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 12.50.05 PM

Screen Shot 2013-04-20 at 1.35.27 PM

The overall winner finished in 32:33. I thought at that speed you were supposed to travel back in time. The Fiancee was able to snap a few pictures of me as I approached the finish. In the below pictures, I would just like to point out that the 5K and 10K courses merged. I wasn’t being beaten by a 70 year old. (Although, that has happened before. That’s a story for another time though.) I’m the one that’s not a woman.

IMG_4006

I think I inspired her to run with me…
IMG_4007

Okay, in the picture below you can see the culprit. Young girl, pink pants. In about a second and a half (as I’m passing) she darts out in front of me and nearly get’s taken out by a man on a mission to catch Blue Lightning.
IMG_4008

All in all it was a great race! Plenty of participants and a good number of spectators. It was a lot of fun to participate in a race again.

IMG_4005

Next week The Fiancee and I will be running the Oklahoma City Memorial Half Marathon. Expect plenty of pictures and probably a few stories to highlight her first “official” foray into the world of long-distance running!

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Birthday Wishes

Well it’s that time of year again. The time of year when the majority of us are either rushing to file our taxes or (for the procrastinators) an extension. Tax season seems to predispose people to stress and anxiety. To me though, it’s always had a different connotation: excitement. Yes, the mid-April deadline happens to be my birthday. Ironically enough, I was born on April 15th to two accountants… Yet somehow I still suck at math. Oh well. Luckily for me, that’s why there’s calculators and TurboTax.

This week was busy, both with school and exercise. Here’s a breakdown of last week’s workouts:

Monday: 1 mile swim-43 minutes

Tuesday: 60 minute spin, 30 minute run

Wednesday: 1 mile swim-40 minutes

Thursday: 60 minute interval run

Saturday: 11 mile run

Sunday: 120 minute Z2 bike, 30 minute Z2 run

The weekend didn’t offer much of a break in the way of exercise, but it was great to be home with my family. Saturday evening we went out to celebrate at my favorite pizza place in Oklahoma City, Upper Crust. Since my focus has shifted a great deal since last year, so did my wish list. I’ve been drooling over the Garmin Forerunner 910XT for the last four months. (Seriously, The Fiancee can attest: it’s become a bit of a problem.) To my elation, with the help of my parents, The Fiancee, and my soon-to-be in-laws, I got one!

photo

It actually worked out perfectly because today I had another brick. 120 minute Z2 bike, followed by a 30 minute Z2 run. It was perfectly clear and just the right temperature. Unfortunately, after turning south I was greeted with an extremely stiff south wind. Again. It’s becoming such a common theme I’m considering creating a new category on my website for it. Today the winds were sustained at 20mph and gusting to 38mph. Not the best conditions for a bike ride, but I had a new toy to play with, so nothing was going to stop me.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.28.35 PM

I started out heading north and felt like the fastest cyclist alive, only to turn south and feel like I was trying to tow a car. It was a great workout and it was wonderful to be on a relatively flat course. I completed 30.29 miles in 1:49:22 averaging 16.6 mph. I was slightly disappointed with my speed, but with a wind that strong, there wasn’t much I could do. You can definitely tell the areas I was heading north (with the wind) and south (into the wind). Also, note the elevation graph which is much more my speed (sorry, couldn’t avoid that one) and definitely closer to my mediocre level of ability. I’m looking at you Ride from Hell.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.29.44 PM

After the ride, I slipped into my running shoes. I purchased some Lock Laces last week and they have been a godsend. I highly recommend them. They are one of the easiest and cheapest ways to improve your transition time. I was concerned that my heel would slide out of the shoe given the elasticity of the “laces”, but they are the perfect tension.

I had to smile as I switched sports on my new Garmin. It was effortless and made everything so much easier. My goal was to stay under 8:00/mile for the duration of the run. It was difficult with wind and after the ride, but I managed to squeeze out 3.82 miles in exactly 30:00 averaging 7:51/mile. A successful day of training and a great way to end the 5th week of my program.

Screen Shot 2013-04-14 at 10.32.09 PM

This weekend was extremely busy for The Fiancee and myself. Saturday morning I elected to run The Fiancee’s long run with her (since I’ve done absolutely no training for the half marathon in two weeks since my triathlon program began). It was an 11 mile run and the weather was perfect. I took the opportunity to take some photographs and just enjoy my favorite discipline. The trail around Lake Hefner is really pretty in some places.

IMG_3989

If you’re in Oklahoma City for any length of time, you’ll likely see the lighthouse below either in a picture or on the news. It’s kind of a cool spot and makes for great pictures.

IMG_3990

The Fiancee and I went to New York City in December (that’s actually where I asked her to marry me). It was absolutely one of my favorite places I’ve ever been. The number of buildings was incredible. Behold New York City’s antithesis: Oklahoma City.

IMG_3991

I love it, but it’s flat largely uninteresting. Although, that makes it great for training. After completing her run we completed some wedding obligations and then went to my birthday dinner with my family. It was a great weekend that went by way too quickly. I hope everyone had a safe and productive week!

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Lately

Time flies when you’re having fun. The old adage needs a footnote. Fun, or training for a triathlon. I haven’t added up the number of hours I’ve been training every week, but I’d be willing to bet it rivals the hours I work at my part-time job. Sometimes I wake up in the mornings, instantly transported back to the height of my marathon training last fall. Constantly tired, constantly sore, and constantly hungry (more on this point later). I think it’s an act of God that I haven’t been injured yet through the course of my training because let’s be honest, as I sit here writing this post stuffing my face with a muffin the size of a softball, I know it’s not my physique getting me through these workouts.

Over the past week or so I’ve stuck to the 12 Week Olympic Triathlon Training Plan I outlined a while back, with only one modification. Before discussing what hasn’t worked though, let’s discuss improvements. In my last post, I semi-jokingly (mostly seriously), asked how on earth one goes about increasing swimming stamina and endurance. This walrus is seriously in need of a few pointers from a dolphin (heck, I’ll take trout at this point). Since then though, I’ve made a few improvements. Wednesday I swam a mile in 43 minutes. A full 17 minutes faster than when I started. I’m sure I could shave 5 more minutes off this time if I cut out the breaks every two laps or could learn to flip-turn without making the lifeguard think I was having a seizure at the end of the pool. One thing at a time though.

Running hasn’t provided too many surprises as of late. Thursday I had a 60 minute speed workout and I ran my fastest 10K ever (46:15), which I was extremely happy about. Speaking of 10K’s, I signed up for one that takes place in two weeks here in Stillwater. My goal is to finish in under 47:00 which seems completely doable. There was also a 5K here yesterday to support the OSU Triathlon Team, which I came extremely close to doing, but couldn’t figure out a way to work it into my brick. Let me tell you about this race: First of all, this was basically the most amazing race I’ve ever heard of. After every mile you had to eat a donut (doughnut? That war still rages on inside my grammatically fixated mind…). Essentially it combined two of my favorite activities: running and stuffing my face with as much fried, sugar covered, dough as possible. The Fiancee and my parents can vouch for the fact that if someone was driving in front of me with almost any type of food, I could bust out some sub 5 minute miles (Note: this has never been scientifically tested, but I’m open to it). Unfortunately, I had a 3 hour brick to do.

Which brings us to yesterday, a 150 minute Z2 bike followed by a 30 minute Z2 run. For those of you who aren’t familiar with small Oklahoma towns, I would probably have to cycle around the entire city 30 times to get that kind of time in on the bike. So me being me, I decided to hop on trusty Highway 51 and do a simple 24 miles out and 24 back. A few cyclists use Highway 51 because it has large shoulders and is reasonably straight and seemed only moderately hilly. “Seemed” being the key word there. The thing to realize about Oklahoma is that once you’re East of I-35 the landscape changes from unbelievably flat to moderately hilly. Without considering this fact I blindly headed east towards Tulsa. This is when things got interesting.

Below is the elevation graph for the duration of my ride. For any readers who routinely climb thousands of feet every ride and then get off at the top of the hill only to say, “Let’s do that again!” Let me complain for a moment: The lowest point on this graph is 790 feet. The highest is just over 1000 feet, but the stupid dang road had you do it over and over and over again. The most I’ve ever climbed on a given ride is just over 500 feet. On this route I climbed 1,655 feet. Oh, and add in the fact that the winds were gusting to 28 mph yesterday straight into my face on the way home. It turned what was supposed to be a 2.5 hour ride into 5 minutes shy of 3 hours.

Screen Shot 2013-04-07 at 11.45.55 AM

As I dragged myself back into town after the ride from hell, I found I was having trouble keeping down the GU packet I’d eaten at half way and the GU Brew I’d been sipping on. When I got home I collapsed on the floor of my apartment burnt to a crisp physically and mentally. I was extremely dehydrated and was definitely feeling it. I laid there for probably half an hour taking in as much water as I could stomach. After I while I had the strength to kick off my cycling shoes and shower off. This was my first experience with dehydration during exercise and I was determined never to let it happen again. Coming from a running background, I had no idea how much you should consume while cycling. After a little research I found that it’s generally recommended to drink about 28 oz. per hour of cycling. I had just completed 3 hours with one 25 oz. bottle of GU Brew. Not my finest hour(s).

Needless to say, the brick didn’t happen yesterday. I think part of being a good endurance athlete is knowing when to push and when to say enough is enough. My body had been through enough so I didn’t push it. I joke a lot on my blog because I like to keep things light. My intention with this story wasn’t to highlight my own ignorance (although I think that came through pretty glaringly), but to caution any other new cyclists/triathletes to consider proper hydration. Just because it’s low impact doesn’t mean you can forget hydration.

Lastly, I thought I would share some of my favorite shots from last month. Most of these were over Spring Break in Oklahoma City. I caught the below picture while cycling one morning. Couldn’t have been more perfect!

Plane

The Golden was happy that we were on Spring Break too. That meant more time at the dog park!
IMG_3944

The dog park has a lake that the dogs can swim in. We couldn’t get Brinkley to stop swimming. Maybe I should take some lessons from him. He does two out of the three sports right?

IMG_3951

Spring time in Oklahoma means one thing: storm season. I snapped this picture of a severe thunderstorm that was passing about 30 miles south of us. Nothing can quite capture how massive these things are.

IMG_3973

Hopefully everyone’s training has been going well. Remember to take some time to relax and in the words of The Most Interesting Man in the World: Stay thirsty my friends.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , ,