Mock triathlon yesterday = SUCCESS!

After a big diet FAIL on Monday, I decided to rally back with a big workout on Tuesday.  I felt incredible after an evening of some GI distress (I’ll spare you details), and I wanted to take advantage of some building energy, enthusiasm, and a little schedule flexibility.

I set off for the local JCC – my kids end up there in the afternoons as part of their “after-care” program from the local elementary school, so it makes for easy pick-ups in the PM.  I decided to set up a mock tri and use my car as my transition area.  My bike was mounted on my Yakima trunk rack, my bike equipment was on the left rear seat/floor, and my running stuff on the right rear seat.

At exactly 3:35 I laid into the exercise, pushing off from the edge of the pool.  I was going for steady effort and not looking to set speed records in any phase of the “race”.  I managed just over 9 minutes for 18 laps (about 440 yards or so), ad then exited the pool area on the run out to my car in the lot.  I was wearing my tri shorts (no wetsuit).

At my car I had some trouble pulling on my tri-top over wet skin.  I also burned some time getting the HR monitor on and waking up my RunKeeper app, so I would have probably saved a minute or two here.

The bike leg was in and around North Wilmington at traffic levels approaching rush hour.  I was stopped at a couple lights, but mostly I was able to avoid long waits at intersections.  I moved along, and I saw the benefit of utilizing my small chain ring in the front for hills.  The large hill that I call “The Foulk Road Hill” is my kryptonite, and I can now average ~12mph on that climb instead of burning my legs in a higher gear at 8mph.  I did a solid 14 miles around town using a higher cadence than normal to keep the legs loose.  I did a flying dismount (the other parents picking kids up seemed to be impressed) and racked the bike, transitioned to the run, and off I went.

The first thought that entered my mind was “You didn’t push the bike hard enough – your legs normally don’t feel THIS good…”, but I averaged over 16mph on the bike on some challenging terrain.  I took the first mile slowish, but arrived at a 10:20 mile or so.  I did a quick out-n-back for 3 miles.

All told – everything came in about 1:45 – possibly a little faster when you take into account lack of electronic delays (RunKeeper and music for the run, for example) – which I wouldn’t do in a race situation.  I was pleased, and I know that come race day I have an extra gear on the swim and another on the bike that should bring me down 5-8 minutes or so.

My mindset is now shifting from “surviving” my first triathlon to “how fast can I go?”

This is scary!


The best laid plans… sometimes FAIL

I was so psyched to head out on a long ride Saturday morning.  Friday evening I laid everything out for the next morning.  My plan was to drive to the Schuykill River Trail in Valley Forge/King of Prussia, PA and then ride about 30-40 miles on the fast, flat trail.  I was looking forward to trying out my new Pearl IzumiTri Fly IVs that I finally received in a size that fits my size 13 ‘MERICAN’ feet.  I even headed to Dick’s to pick up a Yakima trunk-mount rack for the car (the wife and kids had the SUV at the beach).

I woke up early Saturday to get the ride in early, as I had stuff to do in the afternoon.  When I got the bike up on the rack (super easy to install), I noticed that there was an oh-so-faint rub on my rear brakes.  I began playing with it, and pretty soon I had the whole brake system messed up, cable disconnected, etc.

It’s funny, since I know my limitations, and my ride partners on the LIVESTRONG ride and I kidded about how I always ask people by the side of the road “Are you guys OK?” – knowing full well I couldn’t help them if they weren’t.  In fact, if I tried there’s a strong possibility that their bike would be on fire by the time I finished the attempt…

So I needed to wait until my local BikeLine opened at 9AM.  The tech had it knocked out in about 4 minutes.  At that point I just did a short ride on my local road route with the new shoes – THEY ARE INCREDIBLE.  Apparently they are designed for bare feet (triathlon) and they did not disappoint.  I have goofy-shaped huge feet, and sometimes even certain bedroom slippers are uncomfortable to me – but these things rock.  I feel like if I tried to ride a Century, it wouldn’t be my feet that would be the problem.

NOTE – I did order the Zinn Manual immediately.  My goal is to become slightly less incompetent destructive when it comes to bicycles….

Ran a 5K Tonight – Tour de Lance Wilmington, DE

I jumped into a 5K this evening – again to benefit LIVESTRONG.  It was held on the Wilmington waterfront right along the Christina river.  I met my buddy Derek and his wife LeeAnn and a friend of Derek’s from Team-In-Training Laurie.  Derek’s knee has been a bit wonky since running his 1/2 marathon last weekend in San Diego, so he was our designated photographer for the evening!.


The course is flat, since it’s right along the waterfront.  I’ve not really worried too much about speed over the past year, but I was wondering if I could break 27 minutes.  I ran a 27:46 last December in my first race ever.  I’ve run a 5 miler, a 10K, and a 10 miler in the meantime, but I wasn’t sure if I’m really much faster.


I wanted to find a 9 minute per mile pace, but at the start I failed to see how FAR BACK in the crowd I was.  I had to expend a lot of energy running around baby strollers walkers into open space where I could get going.  As a result I never found that groove, my heart rate went way up, and I was hanging on by a thread to try to keep that pace.  Mile 2 to mile 3 was WAY slow, as I backed off to bring the HR down below 170 bpm.


End result, I ran a 28:04.  I’m not too upset, but it was a little hot, plus with better planning I would have had a better time getting free and finding my groove.


We rounded up at Iron Hill Brewery for a beer, and some dinner.  It was great picking Derek’s brain about his own training.  I almost forget sometimes that outside of his amazing accomplishments in endurance racing, he is a heart transplant recipient – I was reminded again of that fact when LeeAnn’s phone sounded an alarm reminder for Derek to take his meds.


So in the end – it’s a great cause – a BIG turnout for the race, and an excuse to hang with some awesome folks and get a sweat on.  My lower legs are a big ouchy right now, but I’ll tend to that momentarily.


I went into this weekend feeling confident – perhaps a bit over-confident.  I’ve prepared well, stayed on top of my goals, pushed myself to the point of approaching over-training (and then backed off just a tad), but overall I felt strong and ready to do some serious damage in my run and bike events.

Dedication wall at LIVESTRONG Philly 2012

LIVESTRONG is a charity foundation founded by Lance Armstrong to raise awareness and provide much needed dollars for cancer treatment, support and research.  A good buddy of mine put a team together 6 years ago, when he was just a few weeks out of chemotherapy.  I didn’t own a bike at the time, but I always wanted to get involved, so I donated a little money when I could and kept up with my buddy and his biking exploits.  Entering Fathers’ Day Weekend, I was toying with the idea of grabbing a used bike on Craigslist to begin flirting with the idea of TRIATHLON, and low and behold the perfect Trek road bike was right there waiting for me.  Immediately I decided to put it to use and began the ascent of the steep learning curve.

Isn’t she pretty?

I had committed to the 10K way way back in December of 2011, as I was cooling-down from my first 5K race.  Mid summer I decided to add the 20 mile bike ride.

(The 10K went really well yesterday.  I was shooting for sub-75 minutes, and around mile 5 it hit me that I was within striking distance of 60 minutes!  I cooked it pretty well over the past 1/25 miles and scooted in at 58:22!)

As I added distance and road/saddle time over the summer, I took to it pretty well.  This morning as I woke about 5:15, I had an inner dialogue with myself.  20 miles is nice, and certainly compatable with the sprint tris coming up in Sept/Oct, but could I do 45 miles?  My longest ride to date was 21 miles one week ago.  I would have really liked a 2nd bottle cage on the down tube, but as of yesterday evening it never entered my mind.  Luckily the temperatures were expected to be low 70s with overcast skies.


I met up with my buddy and his crew in the starting corral.  He introduced me to two of his brothers-in-law that would be doing the 45 mile ride, however both were experiences riders accustomed to century rides (100+ miles).


The gun sounded and we were off.  The first 15 miles were cake.  We were held up for a few mechanical problems with a faulty front tire (not mine), but we stopped periodically to pump it up.  The 2nd half of the ride is much more challenging than the first.  We saw an awful accident at the bottom of a steep descent/serpentine where someone on a backboard was being loaded into an ambulance.  I said a quick prayer on the way by.


As for my riding – I only dropped my chain once, and it was on a very steep hill that I misjudged and neglected to downshift before hitting it.  I also dropped my (only) bottle on another hill where I had to stop, unclip, and grab it.  The hills were very challenging, and it did prove to be the toughest part.


Big realizations:

(1) I need more hill work.  Much more.

(2) Always plan for the unknown.  I should have thought to have a 2nd cage on the bike prior to today.  I actually had a 2nd bottle with me in the car, but no where to put it.

(3) I need more group work.  Climbing in a pack is especially difficult in a pack with a wide disparity of abilities and skills.  I was by no means a weaker rider, in fact today might have shown me that I am pleasantly above average, at least at the 45 mile range.

(4) My bike is flat-out fast on flats and descents.  I was actually catching people by coasting, so the rolling resistance on the wheelset is very low.

(5) My RunKeeper app came up small today.  It had me riding 37 miles and change, instead of the 49 miles that the ride actually measured out to (based on everyone’s on-board GPS equipment).  I can’t wait to get my Garmin 910XT!

(6) Adding impromptu miles on a bike is MUCH EASIER than adding longer runs.  You simply cannot just decide to double your max distance, as your body will fail you.


Next year I will most likely not do this ride again, since there was a great nearby triathlon at my tri-team’s home lake (Lum’s Pond).  LIVESTRONG was a great experience, and I highly recommend the top-notch production.


Blogging on a plane, and thinking of LIVESTRONG this weekend

So I’m cruising at 36,000 feet, and the captain just came on with the bad news…

I’ll give you a hint – it contains the phrase “We’re going to be diverting…”. I know it could be worse, much worse, but it’s a bummer because all I can think of is the.hard swim workout I had, the coach-seat “plane-body” I now have after 4 hours in the air, and the stretching I’ll need to perform to get right again.

I’m headed to Dallas for a single day’s worth of meetings with a partner, and then quickly back home. I went HARD on Sunday with my longest brick to date – 21 miles on the bike and 5 miles run/walk. I’m happy to report that it was more running than walking, but my heart rate was doing some funky things and I just couldn’t slow down on the hilly course.

I run a 10k on Saturday, and then turn around for a 20 mi bike on Sunday. I’m in a very positive frame of mind, and I feel as if I’m going to do great. I’ve prepared, possibly over-prepared in some ways, but I’m in a great frame of mind. I’d love to try to do the run in under 70 minutes and the bike in under 75 minutes, but I have no idea what to expect. I’ve been getting 16-17mph averages on my training rides with big hills and stoplights, so maybe I’ll be faster?

In 2 weeks I run a 5k on a Wednesday night of all times. I think I’ll treat it as a paced run, and try to push for 9 min miles if possible. Then onto the sprint triathlons…

Feeling very confident now…

I’ve had an incredible beginning of August.  Last Wednesday I joined the folks from the Delaware Swim and Fitness TriDawgs for an OWS session at Lums Pond State Park.  The water was way too warm for my wetsuit, but I wore my trishorts just for that reason.


I jumped in and proceeded down the buoy line of 1/4 mile.  I kept my pace steady, only switching to breast stroke a couple of times.  Sighting really wasn’t that big of a deal during the freestyle I found.  I also found that while there were some excellent masters swimmers there, and a few that rocked the Lake Placid Ironman the weekend before, I was certainly not the slowest or weakest in the group.


I ended up logging a full mile swim in about 38 minutes – very short treading-water moments at the end buoys.


Since August first I’ve logged just about 29 miles of roadwork (bike & run).  I’m feeling very strong, but the bike/run brick this morning knocked me on my ass when I lapsed into an narcoleptic impromptu 30 minute nap at 7PM!