Thursday, July 24, 2008

Seafair Tri.....

Sunday morning came much too early!!!

The Seafair Triathlon awaited team “Klopeder” in Seward park under the clear blue skies with eagles flying low overhead. I was to man the half mile swim leg, Eileen was on the 12 mile bike ride, fresh off her STP ride, and AK was blazing the trail to the finish line on the 5K run split.

We were all pretty excited about the day and the morning luckily went off without any trouble. As we hit the transition area the excitement started to build. We talked about not having any pressure of having to do all three legs and just enjoying the day. Sounded great!

Then Eileen asked if she should run the transition zone once she gets tagged for the bike. Both AK and I jumped into race mode. Totally!!!

I believe AK told Eileen to “Drop to hammer” on the bike leg. I was looking forward to sprinting the half mile swim. I was talking to AK about this. When I looked at the swim buoys marking the half mile course the first thing that went through my mind was ‘ that’s so short, the buoys are so close’. The second thing that crossed my mind was ‘ how much energy do I have left?’.

Fridays 42 mile bike ride, Saturdays 1-2 mile swim, I felt tired below the excitement.

I wanted to start in the front of the pack on the swim, but didn’t want to get five minutes in and totally hit the wall and get stuck in heavy traffic - nightmare situation!!! So I held to the usual plan of back left side and wait just 2-3 seconds after the horn goes off.
About 2 minutes in I upped my pace and caught the five guys in front of me with a clear view of the first buoy. The view over my right shoulder was amazing!!! I was doing 2-2-3 stroke breathing and every time I looked
over I’d see about 40 white capped swimmers slashing through the water with the sun blazing through their silhouettes. A quick hard effort around that and I felt my energy explode with plenty in the bank to draw on. I almost started laughing??? I held hard on pace, high 85-90%, but not redlining, felt great rhythm through to the second buoy.

From the 2nd buoy it’s just a straight 200-250 yrds back to the beach. This is a hard area because this is were you start catching packs of groups in the water. Last year I got boxed in by four guys that were swimming in a slow bunch, but kept fanning out so it made it too hard to go around. This year, I paced down a bit for what felt about 20-30 seconds and as soon as I hit the first group and jumped and went “Full On - Mango”!

I love passing people in the last 20 yards of the swim and running out of the water. Running out of the water is one of the best feeling during a race, I wouldn’t understand why anyone would walk. You have hundreds or thousands of people cheering and running gets you closer to your bike!!!

I make it to shore run up the ramp, rip goggles and cap off the tag Eileen for the bike leg.

Time - 14:22 PR : )

Eileen took off fast and I knew that once she got about 1-2 minutes in and got up to speed she was just going to fly. Having ridden with her before it would of be amazing to see the speed she could of reached on the course. The feeling in the transition zone was more party than competitive. Which was great! We figured Eileen would take about 38-40 minutes and that’s about what she thought. So of course when we saw her at 35 minutes we knew she was hauling some serious ass to the finish.

Time - 36:01 Sweet!!!

AK had the longest wait and it was funny because she said she wasn’t looking at it as a race until she saw how fast Eileen was moving. Then she said’ Holy crap, you rocked the swim and Eileen throw the hammer down on the bike, I have to keep up my end!’.
Leenster rolled in and made the tag.

AK sprung out like a shot, this would be her first aggressive run since her stress fracture almost a year ago! She said her legs felt fresh and ready. The up hill to the top is a nasty bump in the road, AK says she enjoys the challenge up the hill. For some reason I just don’t see that???

Eileen and I headed around to the finish to see our anchor cross the line. It’s always great to be at the finish line. All the excitement, cheers, people sprinting in the final seconds to cross the line. Some with in themselves, some hurting, but still pushing. All the stories that everyone has that got them to the start and then the finish.

Along came AK with the sun blasting behind her, moving fast and gaining on the small pack in front of her. Eileen and I yelled as she went by in a flash, not slowing down, but finishing strong to the end.

Time 25:26 - 20 seconds off PR!!! WOW!!!

Total Time - 1:17:34 - 12th out of 65 teams!

What a great way to enjoy the excitement of an event! The relay was so much fun to do. We placed 12th overall for relays and had a great time doing it. Eileen said we should one every year! That would be cool.

............................................................Where's AK? Can you fine her in the crowd on the right?

Giant Dog!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Just keep swimming, just keep swimming......

You know when you need to improve on something so you start making or putting yourself ‘in the line of fire’ to push yourself forward.

That was the thinking about 4 weeks ago behind signing up for the Fat Salmon 1.2 mile swim race this past Saturday and the swim portion of the Seafair Triathlon on Sunday.
Two days of swim racing, I was going to emerge a better swimmer or else......

It was actually pretty fun?!?! AK was my swim support cheering section!!!

I’ve always been good at the swimming part of the tri’s, but the up coming olympic distance is a .9 mile swim and I wanted to do something before, in a group/competitive/pack type situation that had that arms and legs every where feel to it, then bike a bit after to see how that felt.

Fat Salmon was a great event! - aside from only having one bathroom at the finish area and one at the start area. 150 people with just two cans?

I felt great for the race that morning, loose and surprisingly not nervous!!! AK and I couldn’t help but notice the low key, mellow vibe of the whole event. Plus, I had already had the talk with myself about this not being a race, but more of a supported training swim, with 150-300 extra people along, most of which were real full time swimmers. So I was under strict self governing rules not to start racing with someone next to me. My biggest fear was to start doing that at .25 mile mark and run out of gas at .8 miles, with a whole lot of water to still cover : (

So I headed out pretty steady and even for the first 15-20 minutes, also I was kind of worried when the other shoe might fall...........

The day before-

On Friday I set out for a quick 20-24 mile flat workout on the bike, just wanted to get the legs moving and get some time in on the bike. I park at Matthew’s Beach and headed towards Red Hook Brewery, but got lost on the way (Always in the same spot) and ended up off the trail heading east. I crossed a 7 Hills painted direction marker on the road that I knew headed up Norway Hill, I knew it wasn’t flat, but the legs felt good so I thought I’d do a few hills and circle back around. I ended up taking the route out to Willow’s Run and taking 148th up to what I thought would be the south end of Kirkland. By the time I stopped for directions I was at the Microsoft Campus in Redmond miles away from where I thought I’d be.

My 24 mile ride turned into a 42 mile 2.5 hour ride that couldn’t end soon enough, with Juanita Drive in between me and my car no less. It wasn’t the miles that I was worried about, it was where the ride was going to leave me for the following days swim. I had a packed week of training and Friday was a soft day, or was suppose to be, because of Saturdays swim.

......the shoe never seemed to fall as I hit a really comfortable pace and rolling well after each stroke. The water temp was nice and there was only about 2 minutes of heavy waves about mid way that was really hard to swim in.

I kept to my game plan until about the last qtr. mile then I pushed a bit harder until I was about 100 yds out, then I didn’t redline I just upped the pace and swam hard and aggressive to the finish. I popped out of the water and felt really, really good. Finish time was 39:56, 41st out of 88ish? I’ll post actuals later. AK waiting there waving and yelling made it worth it.....

Overall a really great event, one down, one to go.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Heavy days of training

The last few days have been real work out on the road. Saturday I got in a, roughly, one mile swim at Seward. I felt slow and a bit tired at the first two laps, them really finished strong on the last two.

I think this may be do to the fact that I don't warm up before a swim. I'll have to start working on that.

After the swim I did about a 16 mile flat out TT (Time Trial) style ride, Lake Washington Blvd. was closed to traffic so the roads were empty of cars. SWEET! I pushed hard in the 90-95% range, even up the little cork screw to the Arboretum.

I felt OK when I got back to the car and grabbed my shoes and headed off for a quick 5-10 minute run. Not a full run, but something to give the legs a reminder of what's to come. Instead I went ahead and ran around Seward Park and tried to keep a good effort up, still in the 90% range.

Not sure if that was a good idea, but then again if my body had really thought it was a bad idea I would of cracked on the run and walked back to the car.

One injury of note: ?!?!

When I was taking my wet suit out of the bag, my recovery drink fell out and onto the top part of my foot, only about a 1.5 foot drop. It hurt a bit at the time, but I didn't think too much of it and did the swim and the bike. When I got off the bike and tried to put my running shoes on*&$*#@* OMG I had to let out a few choice words. At that point I figured the shoe went on so I might as well run, but even today it still hurts to put a shoe on.

Yesterday I got a hard six miles in in the morning with a core workout in the afternoon.

Today I went out this morning looking for some easy bike miles to fill about 90 minutes and ended up finding a really cool new hill to climb. Again over in the Blue Ridge area, this one has great views and climbs just over 200 ft in 1.17 miles. One stretch of about 100 yards pulled up to 13% grade on my Forerunner.

I guess if I can start doing laps on the Esplanade Hill doing Beaver Lake Triathlon wouldn't be totally out of the question

OK, have to run out for a swim workout now at Madison Park.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

20 Days .....

These last two weeks I’ve had ready great training with longer workouts. I have to keep in mind that training rides and runs that I did last year or 3 months ago can only count for about half of what I need to do now.

I have to put it this way - the time for the bike course for the olympic distance will be as long as an entire sprint race. I’ll have to pace more
than sprint. From a runners point of view I half to look at it as a 10 miler or half marathon rather than a 5K.

Got a good ride around the top of the lake and over to St. Eds a few days ago

20 days out from Federal Way and I feel ready good about the swim, which I didn’t think I’d be saying. I have a mile(ish) swim at Green Lake coming in around 31-33 minutes. And feeling pretty good coming out of the water.

I still need to do a swim/bike brick, probably this weekend, .88 mile swim out at Seward, then I’ll bike a 26 mile route home.

About when Eileen should be hitting Olympia !?!?
Eileen’s riding all hard core this weekend doing the STP(Seattle to Portland) in one day instead of the standard 2 days. ............... Full On! She’ll totally rock the bike this weekend. Good Luck Girl!!!!

Also, wanted to say good luck to the women from my track group racing Hagg Lake in Oregon this weekend also!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Hot, hilly and great views!!!

Sunday was the Seafair Marathon and Half Marathon. The day started off with temps in the high 50’s as we left the house at 5:30 in the morning. We found parking and made it to the bus lines that took us back to the start by 6:05.

And I have to add that AK and I beat Uli and Trisha Steidl by about 5 the bus line : )

The bus ride was cool and we meet a first time half runner that wanted all the advice we could load on him in the 10 minute ride to the start.

With logging in training miles and hitting workouts you sometimes forget the “why” you do it all.
Hitting the bridge Sunday and looking across from Mt. Baker to Rainier and seeing all of the downtown Seattle area with the Cascades bringing up the back it snaps you right back into remembering the “why”. Because of payoffs like this!

It was easy to overlook the danger of the mornings run, I saw 2 people get pulled from the course for heat related issues. One about 10 yards in front of me, the medic’s literally had to grab him and pull him to the side and repeat to him that it was over. He was weaving badly and couldn’t raise his arms, scary.

The hills were brutal with the heat, every water station I grabbed two water, one went on my head and the other down the front of the wick tank top I was wearing. At about mile 9 my shoes were so full of water I was making squishing noises as I ran. Annoying!!!

AK said she faired pretty well with the heat by doing the same with the water and staying pretty even tempo on the hills. She did say at about mile 10-11 the water station ran out of cups so they were just filling peoples mouths directly.

The crowd support was amazing, there wasn’t a two minute stretch it seemed that didn’t have a group or a hand full of people cheering and yelling. I was talking with this guy I was running with for a few miles and we were both surprised at the turn out.

I felt really good and steady. I got caught in the first 2 miles by the crowds, my own fault for not getting closer to the start line, it took me and AK 3:18 to cross the start after the gun went off. After I got out of the crowds my legs felt pretty fresh and it wasn’t until the hills at mile 7-8 that I could tell I just
hadn’t trained well enough for the hills. The hill in that part just kept climbing and climbing. I was taxed by the time I got to the top, it had a short downhill, but not enough to recover. Mile ten was back on familiar ground, but was wide open and exposed to the sun.

I was doing really good pace down through the last few miles, found my legs again and started pulling 6:30’s and feeling good, knowing we just had a quick run around the Bellevue Square area. However, every time I looked down the road I could still see runners going straight, were I thought they’d turn??? Finally we turned and I took about four or five steps around the corner and saw the hill we had to climb
to get back to the downtown area and stopped almost instantly. Which was funny because at that point I was running with five other people they all did the same thing. We all stopped on a dime and looked at it for about two seconds, did a little swearing and started up. I made it about half way and started walking, I hate walking in the race!!!!

Finally made the top and started up again. I didn’t feel too bad about walking because in about three blocks I caught the group I was running with and past them in the final turn to the finish. I had a good strong kick at the end and crossed the line with some good speed.

I made it around and found a spot and the finish to see AK and her police escort across the line. Since the full and half started at the same time, they finish at the same time. The marathon winner came in about 10 seconds before AK crossed the line, so she got a nice little push across the finish.

All in all it was a really cool event, rough course, but the organizers of the event have really proved over the last few years how to put on a really great event. AK and I have run in some distance for SeaFair for the last four years now.

Picture from Mondays news paper has the winner Edward Kiptum
and AK is in the red shorts and pony tail to the right.

And this is how we felt after we got back from the race, Penny some how beat us to it???