Sunday, September 28, 2008

Kirkland rundown.......

When the announcer calls one minute to go, I stand there in the water staring just over the horizon,
breathing, calm. Always thinking how, in just a matter of seconds, at the sound of the horn, all hell will break loose.

I got myself a bit unfocused before the start because I forgot lube for my bike and lost my swim cap on the way to the transition zone from the car. Crazy.


I wanted to push in the swim and lin
ed up just one row back on the left, about 15ft closer than I usually do. The water was pretty choppy heading into the first buoy and about 10 yards from the turn I lost a bit of focus and drifted a bit off course by about 15-20 ft.

I swim pretty straight, I’m not faster than a lot of people, but I tend to swim straighter and in a swim that’s less energy and less time to the other side.

I felt great around the first turn and hit the half way point rolling pretty good. A nice long stroke with plenty of room to move. The last turn takes you back to shore, I let off a bit, but kept up a good pace, about 70%. At one point I was swimming shoulder to shoulder with someone thinking I couldn’t lose this guy and thinking I was moving too slow.However, about a minute of that and we caught about 5-6 people, surprisingly passing with some pretty good speed. A bit more closing speed than I thought a few times.

I had a feeling that I had a good swim time and came out of the water clean without having to run around any large groups.


Pretty smooth, all went as planned


Heading out on the bike I wanted to stay calm, but steady at about 80% effort until the 5 mile mark. The first five are hard, but if you hit the corners right with the right speed and use small burst of speed you can really go through some serious hills with very little effort.

The road was pretty littered with glass from the late and early morning rain. I seen about three flats, but even worse heard a crash behind me that I didn’t want to look back at. Most of the way it was wet and slick, but I never got caught out on a slick spot or felt like the bike was out of control at anytime.

I felt good pushing the tempo and started hunting down people once I got to the second hill, it’s a pretty intense stretch that takes you over some railroad tracks then kicks up again through some houses to get you over the freeway. I was keeping about 10-11 mph up that and breathing was calm so I just thought instead of waiting until mile 5 I’d start at four and work the hill.

Looking back even right after the race I felt I didn’t make the best decisions on the bike as far as went to make the biggest efforts or focus on certain parts of the course. On Slater road, a steep long hill that kicks at the end before flattening out, I trained to stand and attack the last 50 yards, knowing I could recover o
n the two minute flat spot at the top. Although, during the race I sat and just paced up steady and kind of played it safe?
Also, at about mile 9 you finish a nasty climb and hit a flat spot before a big down that rolls you up the last hill, well mostly.

I hit the flat area and started pulling a gel out and taking a drink and arranging
stuff from my bike to my back pocket on my jersey. Sitting up to take in a few deep breaths.........and two guys fly by me. Not just edge by, but haul ass in full sprint mode. CRAP!!! I lost focus again on a very easy part of the course and forgot that others came to race and not just ride. I felt that instead of taking it easy on the part that I did I should of quickly refueled and then got back in a tuck position to take advantage of the flat. The two guy’s shot away from me and it took me less than a second to change gears and chase, catching one on the hill and the second on the overpass of the freeway.

Once you cross the freeway it’s all downhill to the finish. You S turn after a steep descent off the overpass int
o some blind turns, which you can take at speed if you know the course : ) I kept telling myself “don’t over cook the turns”. I shot out of the turns through the enter section at 39 mph and passed one more person before the next big down that sweeps you left back to the start. I felt great and as soon as I hit max speed I rested the legs and took my feet out of my shoes for the last half mile.


I put new quick release shoe strings on my running shoes the day before and forgot to loosen them back up for the race. Then I got to my station I grabbed my right shoe first and couldn’t get it to fit. Only wasted about 2 seconds.

Heading out for the run I was knew I had to keep a good pace, 7:30-7:45, if I wanted to stay in the hunt for the top 50. I saw AK and Lil’K at the start of the run, along with Penny, cheering me on. That always seems to get me out of my head and kin
d of remember, “ OK, we’re just out here running” The first part of the course has a hill to it that I always forget about until I’m staring up at it, but I just kept pace and spotted a few people to focus on. At the first turn I was hunting down a guy in blue, but past him there wasn’t anybody we could see. I stretch of about 150 -200 yards until the next turn.

I was telling AK that for some reason when I go to pass someone I look for the next person down the road to focus on, but if there’s not someone else I fall into a “sympathy pace”, for lack of a better name. It’s hard for me during a tri to focus on the pressure of
racing when I get stuck in “no man’s land”. Meaning there’s no one insight, you’ve either run to the front of your pack or got dropped by the pack in front of you. I went from 6:50 pace down to 7:35 in just a few moments
and started running with the guy I was about to pass. Obviously, something to work on!

Once we got into the long snake like turn around I spotted enough people to start bridging the gap on and regained my pace. Heading back for the last mile I kept thinking that all the training, all the hours, all the time out on the road this season was about to finish up. I spotted a guy wearing a Live Strong bike jersey about 30 yards ahead of me and wanted to take him before the intersection that lead to the finish line. I can usually put aside pain if I know there’s reason behind it??? I guess meaning I can live with 2 minutes of extreme discomfort, knowing the finish line is around the corner.

I was talking to someone on a group run yesterday who said, “ you have to know when the pain is going to come and if your willing to deal with it. You can’t start hoping it’s not going to come, but be ready for it.”

Passing the guy and rounding the corner I let off a bit, but worked it to the finish. Always knowing how sometimes seconds can make a huge difference.

I felt great about this race, It wasn’t the bike ride that I imagined, but it all felt like a great effort.

Last years times:

98th 35 M 1:21:38 23 17:53 305 1:50 0:39:54 122 1:16 143 0:20:45 80

2008 Times:

57th 36 M 1:17:30 5 15:14 206 1:35 0:39:26 96 1:12 76 0:20:02 71

Over two and a half minutes faster than last years swim, that alone was a great day! I was telling AK I was a little bummed at not getting sum twenty on the run and I sort of lost track of the fact that this was the fast run leg of a tri I’ve ever done.

In the end I didn’t get Top 50

However, I only missed it by 31 seconds and I could of had that in a straighter swim, slightly more focused bike, loosened shoes in T2 and by not hanging with the guy in the run, but just passing him. I’m happy with how I placed and did and of course, think I can do better next year.

Thanks to AK, Shell, TK, Lil’K and Penny of course for their support and encouragement .

Shell’s got a shell of a story to tell about the Kirkland tri, next time......

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Again with the numbers......

Tomorrow is the last tri event for my 2008 season, unless I decided to do Austin 70.3 in 2 weeks, but not likely : )

Here are some fun numbers on training this year

Swim - 50.57 miles
Bike - 1442.37 miles
Run - 508.61 miles
Other - 35.8 Hours

The coolest number that I’m proud of is that this year I’ve done 28 open water swims, races included. Last year I did a whopping 7 open water swims including races.

What was I thinking?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Pre race preview....

I don't want to say that this whole season has come down to this next weekend, but I kind of can't wait for this race to start. Maybe because this is only my third and last tri this season and after the last few weeks of cheering on my friends for Iron Man Canada and other local races I feel like it's finally my turn to race.

I get this rush of excitement I have to ignore or I feel I'd never sleep before race day.
I can picture lining up, wave four - left front, not the left back this time.
Thinking in my head, two hard minutes, cut back to 75%, rhythm, breathe, go

You like this, you love this.

10 minutes in: sight because you're going to start catching the people that went out too fast. Pace, control, ease by them, control.

150 yards out: suit, shoes, race belt, helmet, shades - repeat

Last 75 yards - sprint 100%, w/ legs around the crowd, swim till you can run past all the people wading through the water.

Out of the water - MOVE!!!

T1 - calm, steady, smooth

Grab Luke ( my bike) and start the best part of the day..........

Arms up and head down, steady don't over react. You have five miles before this bike split starts. Use the gears and the flats to make small work of the first hills. Steady up the first major hill, race hasn't started yet, one more mile...

Right at the stop sign one 15 second surge and.........

Head tucked arms up, crank the big gear, don't look up. Speed 26.8 miles per hour, flat road one S turn ahead and a sharp right to Slater Rd. Slater's going to hurt. Wait for it, it starts at the inter thighs and jumps to the lungs. Pace. Stand and work the bike, stand and push the tempo. This only hurts for a few minutes, there's the bus stop, burst over the top, head down arms up.

Flat, downhill, big gear.

Back up, the last climb that can hurt you, long steady, cross 85th. Stand and push hard until the right turn, breathe, control. Flat with burst coming up in 60 seconds, pass the school and ramp up then attack 100% for 20 seconds full out, legs are on fire, lungs are on fire. Sit and coast,recover.....THE LAST HILL AHEAD.

Easy on the climb, when you hit the last sign on the right, everything that you can throw, thigh's screaming, standing on the pedals working the crap out of the bike. I want this...

Hit the top sit and gear all the way to the largest gear and let gravity work for about 20 seconds or until you can breathe again. Cross the freeway and once again jump up and give one last burst of 100% for about 15 sec. 39.8 MPH! 2 miles downhill!!!

Tuck and pace nice and strong at 75%, recover on the down and get ready for the run.
I can't think of what the run is going to be like yet, my leg is pretty bad off from the twenty miles on Sunday.

Tomorrow I should be able to tell how it's going to be, however, I don't see running on it until the race. That could be worse than running on it this week sometime, but I know my body and it usually handles pain and stress pretty well during a race.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Wait til yesterday is here...........

It's funny how when you wait for something for so long it's hard to feel like you're "in the moment" ,for lack of a better term, of being in the middle of it all.

This whole tri season has felt like I've been getting ready, been getting ready, been getting ready for the next build level, the next step in weekly workouts, the next level of intensity. Now with just over one week left in the season it seems odd that it's coming to an end.

Tuesday morning I was swimming across Green Lake before work and I was out in the middle and I just stopped and looked around. The sun just coming up, red clouds fading to white, green yellow evergreens calmly soaking it all in, I had the whole lake to myself. Amazing!

Today I was headed around the Mag Loop after work and the same unreal yellow cast over all the hills, trees and downtown. The mountains just ready to jump over the water and splash in the sound. I can't help but think of all the views and sights I'd miss if it weren't for sport or tri training.

Anyways, after seven months of training with little time off, I've really looked around and have enjoyed the time,places, feelings, pains, confidence and new friends that this season has brought.

Todays ride was a hammerfest from the start with a 3 mile run after, then I grabbed the Penster for a short mile. I love running with her, she's all life.

I kept thinking about Kirkland the last few workouts to keep the intensity up and these words keep crossing across the mind: Relentless, Search and Destroy, All Out.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Back at it..........

OK, I had an easy week to get my legs back under me and I feel good about the last few weeks of training leading into the Kirkland Tri.

My goal this year for that is to place top 50 in the overall. I'll need to take off almost one and a half minutes in the swim, maybe a minute in the bike and about one minute in the run.

I think it can be done I just need to focus on really working the bike in and out of gear and get my run back to were it was 2 months ago. My swim is strong and I can do about 80% for a half mile and a mile and still feel great coming out of the water. In training I've been doing a slow half in about 16 minutes. About a minute faster than last years Kirkland time.

The transitions I could run faster than last year also and gain a few seconds, it's funny how a few seconds in T1 and T2 can cost you about 5-6 places on the overall standings.

After feeling a bit taxed last week with over training and the leg injury I feel good today having done a 16.5 mile run Sunday and a hour bike yesterday on sore legs. Working through the sore legs yesterday was a treat, but after about 15 minutes they felt great.

The goal for this year was to do a Olympic distance triathlon and I got that covered, so to place top 50 in the Kirkland tri would be a sweet way to end the season.

Well I have a swim this afternoon with a bike after so I better get to work so I can rest before I start hitting it again : )