Tuesday, June 26, 2012

2012 Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon

Yet another first for me.  There were many reasons for doing an Olympic my first tri season, frankly though it was a temperature test for my 70.3 Ironman 3 weeks after it.  First of all it was in Wisconsin just a little south of Racine, and second it is half the size of Racine.  I knew when I finished, then I would have a grasp of what Racine may or may not look like for me.

Going into the race I felt great.  I had been dealing with a lot of mental battles in my training, but the week before during my taper, I felt I had finally grasp how to fight through and had done remarkably well.  Physically, I had no issues and believed myself to be 100% ready.  My wife and I had made the decision to do this race alone with no kids.  Because of the 6:30 start time and the location away from the house, this was not the time to be cheap and not get a hotel room:)  So I spent Friday doing last minute maintenance to my bike and packing for the race.  My wife and I woke early on Saturday morning, ate breakfast, hit up Starbucks, and started on the short hour long ride to the race.  For once in our 10 years of being together, we were actually hours early.  That turned out to be a nice thing because we could walk around transition and check out the water.  Lake Andrea is awesome and the water was amazing.  I almost wanted to jump in and take a swim that very moment...almost:)  We left the race venue and ended up finding an outlet mall a couple of miles away.  After spending a disgusting amount of money, we decided to get back and check out the expo.  The expo was good.  There were a handful of vendors there selling last minute needs for unprepared racers and as always those "must haves" that we triathletes think we can't live without:)  There were some classes on transition and course advice talks also.  The transition class was great, but I found myself thinking..."If you don't know how to do a good transition the day before a race, then you skimped in your training BIG time." 

I did make the decision to check my bike that afternoon.  I felt so good that I wondered why not just take that little bit of stress away from me.  Luckily our shopping trip made that decision easy for me.  Since there was a 50% chance of rain that night, I wanted to cover the important stuff, Like my seat and handlebars...i used the plastic bags from the shopping trip to do that.  I had a chain condom on my bike, so I knew that would protect me from any issues also.  I spent the rest of the day just having a blast with my wife.  Honestly, this was a great trip for our marriage.  It was just me and her and no stress at all.  I would do it again all over if I could...not having the kids was awesome.

Pre Race Nutrition:

Basically, same as always.  For 72 hours before, 100+ ounces of non caffeinated beverages.  No greasy or spicy foods.  My wife and I found a place on Lake Michigan called the Boat House for dinner and we had a tuna steak and I had a beer.  I typically always have a beer the night before a race.  Its just my thing.  Now after leaving dinner, this is where I started to stress.  I had packed my oatmeal and banana for breakfast.  Our hotel was right next to a Starbucks, so I could get my coffee...I mean I was all set!...I thought.  Upon checking in, we found that the hotel does not have a microwave so I couldn't cook my oatmeal.  They also would not have the hot water out for me so that could be a backup.  I made the call that day that I would just get my oatmeal at Starbucks.  I have had Starbucks oatmeal the morning of a couple of races, and my body did fine with it.  So then my bases are covered!!.....no so fast.  After dinner we began the trek to Starbucks to confirm the time they opened.  As soon as we pull up I almost began to cry.  They were still under construction and are not open yet!!  After my mental tantrum I threw in the parking lot, I knew I had to act quick.  It was 9:30 and I wanted to be in bed by 10.  We found a Target and I went to comb the shelves to see what I could find.  I ended up finding an individual ready made bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats. that was 240 calories.  They had a Bowl of Kashi Oat Cereal, but it was only 120 calories.  For an Olympic Tri I needed more calories.  I picked up a carton of milk and we were good to go.

Race Morning:

I had a rough night sleeping.  I sleep with a fan, and in a hotel, no luck.  My body was also acting like I was in menopause.  I was hot, then I was so cold it hurt.  I sweat like a whore in church under the covers.  Oh, and my wife was snoring like crazy too.  In a quiet room...I was in hell.  At 4am the alarm went off and I sprang into action though.  I threw on my tri kit and sat down to breakfast.  I mixed my pre race Driven and began to sip.  No Starbucks meant no coffee...I will say now, I survived, but it sucked.  My wife had a Sharpie with her so I had her mark my numbers before we left the hotel, so there was no standing in line for that.  I got right into transition an set up my gear.  I decided after my sprint I could afford to take up a little more room in transition, so i bought a Blue T-Mat.  I will also say now, that this was a great choice.  The guys to the right and left of me were apparently Nomads and had brought all but a stove to cook their breakfast.  Needless to say they both took up a large portion of my area to put their hat and gloves and snowsuit.  If it was not for my T-Mat, then I would have had to get ghetto on their booties.  I once again put my bike shoes in the front fully opened and ready for my feet.  This time though I could put my running shoes next to them for ease too.  I decided to wear socks on the run, so I rolled them and placed them inside each shoe, visor on top of the and race belt behind my shoes.  I mixed up 5 Race ready packets of Driven and put them in my 40oz Speedfil, and I was set to get on my wet suit.  I lathered my neck, ankles, and wrists with Body Glide, to ease the situation on my body to get said wet suit off, and then headed towards swim out.

Swim 45:54

I was almost positive the swim was going to make my wife a widow.  I did everything right.  I placed myself in the rear of the pack and on the outside.  I would not be punched, slapped, or drowned.  I forgot though that no matter where you place yourself in the pack....you have to swim...doh!!  I made a major mistake and had never trained in my wet suit.  Unfortunately all of my attempts had been thwarted by hot water temps. So I now, in the midst of the largest race I have attempted to date, am learning to swim in a wet suit....yes, my mom my did drop me on my head.  I spent a third of the 1 mile swim with my head above water.  I mean, I probably looked like a 5 year old treading water.  Needless to say I lost my pack, but don't worry!!!....the next 3 wave packs found me....  Eventually after my second turn, I stopped kicking my legs, turned them off, looked down into the water, blew out and began to swim like a big boy.  Line of sight was key here.  I was having issues with my goggles yet again...on a side note I am retiring them now...So my right eye was in pirate mode, and I needed to count on the left eye to get me through.  I was positive I was on course, and I was, but I was conflicted.  There was 50 swimmer on my right side swimming about 60 yards away.  I have now decided that they played follow the leader with the wrong person. I almost turned and swam out to them...good thing I didn't! Eventually I ended up at the shore and busted out of that pop stand.  I was later happy to find out that 6 more men in my wave were still in the water.  However before we get into T1, Let me share the real battle....I had to pee, but my body refused to allow me that pleasure...lets continue to T1 now....

T1 3:45

The moment I got out of the water, I needed to pee, so I headed to the Porta Potty.  With a wet suit and trisuit on, this slowed me down, but it was worth it!  I luckily had schemed with my wife to stand at the fence next to my transition area, so I just ran from the potty, straight to her...Bliss!  Not that I needed it though, because there were only 7 bikes left in my age group.  The wet suit came off like a dream and I keep a small swimmers towel on my handlebars, so I ran it over my feet, popped them in the shoes, glasses, helmet, bike, and I'm off. 

Bike 1:07:02

I had decided to mainly work on nutrition this race, and not worry about speed.  However, that's like telling Einstein to just balance your checkbook and not completely reinvent how you do finances.  Yep, I just compared myself to Einstein....Lets move on.  This was a relatively fast course.  Not too many hills, and I had scouted it well enough to be prepared for what there would be.  I quickly learned that the USAT rules of "no drafting"  was mainly a nice suggestion they made.  I felt like the guy driving in the left lane on the interstate and there were all the semi trucks trying to pass.  I was keeping a good 20+ MPH, but I struggled when coming up to a group of people going 16+ trying to race each other.  Now I knew why the guys with full discs were cruising in oncoming traffic.  Still though, I was only passed about 5 times, by guys that had to be going 26+ MPH.  All I could tell you was that they were fast and had discs.  Too fast to see what kind of bike they had:)  I passed so many people I did not even attempt to try and keep count.  Basically, I was fast and they were not.  I had an interesting thing happen on the bike.  Towards the end I felt tired, and a fellow teammate passed me and I could see her water bottle was about to pop out.  I was mentally checking out for the last 3 miles to prepare for the run, so when this girl comes by, I had slowed to 18MPH.  After seeing sooooooo many water bottles and aero bottles on the side of the road, I knew I didn't want my teammate to lose a bottle too.  So I kicked it in and caught up with her.  I was surprised to find that it was someone who I knew well, and we do long rides together on the weekend.  In all my training, we had forgot to actually talk about what races we were doing....ooopps.  Well I decided to just finish strong and get ahead with my current speed.  My projected time pre race was 1:30, so 1:07 was nice.  When I came in my wife actually thought I was starting my second loop and was going to go back out.  ha!  I averaged over 21MPH on the bike this time out.

T2 3:16

I got lost.  yepp, even perfect plans fall apart sometimes.  My wife was thinking I still had more time on the bike, she was supposed to go back to transition after my first loop...doh!  The good thing about coming back was transition looked empty.  Apparently all those awesome swimmers that left me to drown, were still on their bikes...serves them right!!  The crappy thing was, I could not find my bright blue transition mat.  I ran back and forth looking, but came up empty.  Turns out a giant bright blue mat does no good when the jerk next to you throws his wetsuit on top of your transition.  I almost peed in his shoe, instead I chucked his wetsuit into the next rack.  Jesus, please forgive me...amen.  Rack bike, chuck wet suit, helmet off, visor on, socks, shoes, racebelt and I'm off.

Run 1:05:42

My plan going into the run was to run a 9:30 pace.  I did that to a dream for the first mile, the second mile there was some craziness going with the direction people were running and the guy telling people where to go was running with us confusing the crap out of everyone.  I actually heard one guy tell him to shut the bleep up, he was making things worse.  So for 3/4 of a mile we were running into the people making the loop back, it was terrible.  After mile 2....it happened.  I mentally lost it, let me explain.  Shortly after mile 2 I began to smell something.  At first I thought it was dog poo.  We were in a park, so this didn't surprise me.  After about another mile the smell got worse, it smelled like my 18 month's diaper after black beans for lunch.  So mentally I am thinking way too much about this smell that is making me ill.  I should of just looked at the Garmin and sped up, but I didn't.  I had officially checked out of the race.  Then my mind went somewhere else.  Since the beginning of the race I was behind a woman in a black and red tri suit.  She was about 10/20 yards in front of me and kept perfect pace with me the whole race.  Sometimes I would get within 5 yards, but quickly, she would speed up, or that dog poo would get worse and my mind would drift.  I suddenly noticed something on her tri shorts.  I think they were wearing out.  There were 2 spots on her leg on each side of her Chamois.  They were not black, but very worn out and an off color.  Sometimes this does happen with tri shorts, so it did not surprise me too much, but it was odd.  Then I had that moment.  The moment when the last few miles of thoughts come all into one thought and complete what I was thinking....the spots were brown....THAT WOMAN CRAPPED HERSELF!!!  I had to get around her, but every time I tried, I almost threw up.  My gag reflex had kicked in, I decided that the race was over, she won.  I held back and let her finish first.  

Finish Time 3:05:38

So I finished.  I was tired, exhausted, but not dead.  I enjoyed the race and I learned a lot.  I plan on doing this race every year. Mentally I need to do some work....oh and the swim too:)  Next stop 70.3 Ironman Racine....

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

2012 TriJesus Sprint Triathlon (my first tri)

Well Just let me start off by saying, this is my blog.  I'll do and say as I please:)  I created this to have a place to  put down my thoughts on races, training, but also life and my faith could get mixed in there.  I used to vlog (a video version of blogging) however the community had too many people acting like Junior High school kids, so I decided to walk away from that.  So forgive my rants, but here we go:)

This is primarily a race report post, so I will break it down starting briefly going into the race and then go through each leg and transition.  

The TriJesus was my first sprint.  I did not want my first tri to be in my hometown, however there are only 2 in Quincy, and the other one is the same weekend as my teams half marathon, the Peapod Half Madness.  I wanted to do one there, mainly so my father, who is too sick to travel to a tri, could see me.  He is the reason why I first got the tri itch...that sounds like a STD....so off to Quincy I went.  If I knew one thing about Quincy, that was the fact that Quincy is literally a city built on a hill.  That meant I would be battling hills.  I have trained on hills, so going into the race, I thought I was prepared.  I was definitely wrong.  

Pre Race Nutrition:

I believe that race day performance begins every day during your training.  No amount of carb loading or anything can take the place and substitute for good nutrition to fuel and recover your body while you train.  However, 72 hours before race day, there is little to no room for mistakes....you must get it right!  So food consisted of oatmeal & a banana with breakfast and a grande skinny latte everyday.  Lunch was a sandwich of some sort.  consisting of lean meat, cheese, avocado, greens, and tomatoes, on a whole grain or spelt toast.  All the essential, proteins, carbs, fats and nutrients I would need.  Dinner was actually much of the same too, usually a fish or chicken, green veggies.  I keep my grain carbs to a minimal for dinner, simply because I may have a beer in the evening or I am afraid to sleep and allow that to sit and convert to simple sugars.  Finally water is key.  I have a rule on race week, that I must make 100ozs of non caffeinated beverages...mainly water.

Course Scouting:

There is a good chance I drove the bike coarse 10 times in the 48 hours before the race.  I planned out every move on my bike.  The hills were terrible.  I knew a quarter of the race would be spent in my little chain ring on my crank....it was ugly.  There were only 4 miles total, out of 13 that I knew I could ensure a high 90+ cadence and 21+ mile per hour speed.  The rest of the miles would be spent getting really aero and shooting downhill and standing up and mashing up hill.  The bike was only 1/3 of the challenges though.  The pool was only open for a week before race day, so that meant possible cold water.  I went the day before and the water temp was 76 degrees...not bad. The only negative, was no pool lines.  I was having to mentally readjust for some line of sight work.  The run was going to be a struggle.  The hills did not scare me, but a mile and a half of the course was scary.  See they wanted to keep the entire run within the park.  Understandable, but to do that, meant the run could not be all on the road.  Right smack dab in the middle of the coarse was a trail run.  I am used to a little crushed limestone from the prairie path, I could even handle some hard packed dirt.  Unfortunately, no luck.  The park had just a couple of weeks prior installed brand new white stone, about 3 inches deep.  When I say stone too, I am talking about golf ball size stones.  It would be essentially like running in ankle deep snow for a mile and a half of a 5k.  I ran it, but could not figure a plan of attack out pre race...my mind was baffled.

Race Morning:

The morning of the race was awesome.  It was in the mid 60's at 4 AM, the sun started creeping out right as I was loading my bike on the back of the Jeep.  I did my same breakfast mentioned before, only I began to sip on UR Driven about an hour before the race.  I was the 2nd guy at the race, first to be inked with my numbers, but I got the best spot in transition.  The first row next to transition was too close to the fence, so I knew that I would have to do a spin around to get out, so I chose the second row and on the end. I only had to grab my bike and take 10 steps out of "bike out."  After setting up a great transition spot, I grabbed my ipod and sat under a tree to get some "zone" time.  I was very excited when my eyes focused on a pair of tri shorts with the Multisport Madness logo on it.  I had a teammate racing with me in a small town over 5 hours from Chicago!  I had to contain my excitement and walked up happily, but really wanting to give him a hug and kiss:)  It means a lot when you see a teammate on the coarse and during some of my foot races I have experienced that.  It takes you out of the pain element and gives you a sense of camaraderie.

Swim: 10:49:30

Terrible time.  Ultimately, I learned a lot, but was extremely disappointed.  This was a 400 meter swim.  a 50  meter pool that you would serpentine till you got to the other side.  The participants were staggered in the start by projected finish time.  In training I finished 400 meters at 8:35.  So I put myself in the back of the 8-9 minute finish corral.  What I learned was some people that were faster than that, put themselves in the slower corrals, so the could feel good about passing people.  This worked against me.  After 150 meters the first guy passed me, but literally just camped out in front of me...then came the second guy.  The 2 of them just swam together side by side like they were out for a Sunday morning run group and talking about their work week.  I was either gong to have to fight them, or just try and make it up on the bike.  The nice guy in me won, and I let them have their swim....ps, I passed them both in the first mile of the bike.  Coming out of the water I was not overly tired and ran to transition.  I was surprised to find that you are not timed out of the swim and into T1 until you get to the entrance to the bike transition area, which is 100+ meters away from the pool.  I would have thought the timing pad would be right there as you got out.

T1: 1:01:00

Great transition!  In fact one of the best out of everyone in the race.  I ran quickly to the bike, slipping my feet into my shoes....I do not fasten them to the bike....I believe you have to be great at this to make the time matter.  The only thing I will do different next time is put my glasses and helmet on first.

Bike: 43:00:55

Am I capable of a sub 40, 13 mile course...ummm yeah.  Remember though..hills!  For the first 3 miles I went back and forth with a guy.  I had drove the coarse enough, I knew how to make him pay for trying to pass me.  Because of my aerodynamics I would pass him on the down hills. He was not quitting though, so he would mash past me on the uphills.  By the end of 3 miles he was spent, and we were beginning a 2 mile stretch of flat land.  I never saw him again until the run where I ran by him on my way into the finish and his way out to start the run.  Sorry dude..its a race...you lost mentally, therefore you lost physically.  I was only passed 2 times during the bike, and passed 15 or so myself.  The 2 that passed me were old guys...but they has some nice Red M Dots on their calves...So I was ok with that.  Also though, after passing me, they were always within eye shot of me, so its not like they smoked me:)  The hills were challenging, but overall I managed to average an 18:11 mile per hour ratio on the bike.  Along the way I took on about 30ozs of UR Driven to refuel and prepare for the run.

T2: 1:10:25

Not a great transition.  New Nike Frees, that are a bit snug.  I had just gotten them 3 days prior to race day.  I really struggled getting them on.  Hopefully I will stretch them out in the 2 weeks I have until my Olympic.  overall though I was not tired and did not feel I needed to take a second to get my composure going into the run.

Run: 30:18:85

TERRIBLE!  I am capable of doing a 26 minute 5k, and I run at an 8:30 pace during races. This was unacceptable!  I Started out strong.  I noticed My pace was a 7:30 and in my mind I saw my coach yelling at me and throwing her shoe at me to tell me to slow down....negative splits!  I slowed my pace to an 8:30 and ran.  I was doing great, all the way up until I hit the gravel path.  Then I noticed my pace slow to 10:22.  I found the best solution was to run in the grass next to the path, which still slowed me down from a normal asphalt pace, but sped me up from the gravel path.  I finished mile 2 with a 9:27 pace.  After coming out of the gravel hell, it was nice to see my MSM teammate there cheering "Go Madness!!".  His son was running behind me and he was following him on the run to keep him going.  It was a nice encouragement for me though too...i saw him 3 more times on the run, each time it was awesome.  Hills and fatigue kicked in quickly. It was all mental though.  I knew I was almost done and I was starting to go into celebration mode before the race was even done.  I finished the last mile at 9:43.  Now this is where it is strange...do the math...I should have had a sub 30 5k.  It takes around a 9:40 pace to do that.  Somewhere they messed up.  I have learned a long time ago not to zigzag on the coarse, so I ran straight and true.  Still though my Garmin said I ran over 3.25 miles. It should have been around 3.1, give or take a little with GPS failure.  Anyways it was what it was.  I have also learned not to worry and complain about discrepancies.  If I want to finish sooner then I should run faster.

Finish Time: 1:26:19:95

I had no finish goals, this being my first tri, so that will do.  next year I will plan on doing a 1:15 or less.  Overall I finished 3rd in Clydesdale division.  At the time of the awards ceremony, there were a few guys trying to argue their way into that division, so who knows if the ranking will stick.  I personally could not care less.  Mainly because I raced to be a Clyde's, they probably sucked in AG and decided to try and get into Clyde's.  I asked right before the ceremony if there were awards for Clyde's and they said only for 1st and 2nd, so I left.

Overall I had a great time.  My entire family came to cheer me on, and even for a sprint drove all over to cheer me on through out the entire race.  I love triathlon, and am glad after investing a fortune to do it:)  Next up is the Pleasant Prairie Olympic Triathlon!!