Friday, August 31, 2012

Ironman Louisville 2012

I dare you to watch this video and not want to be a part of this next year...

Volunteering at the swim start was an awesome experience. I got to see all of my friends and training partners start start their Ironman journey.

My view from the dock right before the race started. I ushered all 2500+ athletes into the Ohio River.
Later in the day, I took my daughter Kate out to the bike course. We met some friends out there and while baking in the hot sun, I made the comment that I was happy to be watching and not racing this year!

View from the top of the bleachers at Oldham County HS - mile 65 of the bike.
 Around 7pm I headed down to the finish line. What an awesome experience it was to see people accomplish such a huge goal!

My view of the finish shoot from the stage outside RiRa. Thanks to our local Triathlon Club, The Louisville Landsharks for renting such a cool spot!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

It's here.....

It's officially Ironman week in the city of Louisville. To the average citizen, nothing will seem different until Sunday when roads are shut down for the race and the local media devotes a little airtime and print to cover the race. But to us triathletes, it feels like the Superbowl is in town. There's a buzz in the air and it's the only time of year that you see people walking around downtown in compression socks!

Although I am not racing this year, I will once again be volunteering and spectating. Lots of my friends and training partners are racing and now that I've done the race, I'm looking forward to cheering them on...knowing how much every clap and word of encouragement helps.

I just came back from the Ironman Expo and as I expected, I'm really amped up about the race. Being down there made me wish that I was racing this year. If only I had enough talent and skill to race a full distance triathlon without putting in the required training. I have enjoyed the extra time with my family that the shortened training schedule this year has allowed, but I know now more than ever that I will do an Ironman again someday.

Good luck to everyone racing on Sunday...I'll see ya at the finish line!!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

London Olympics Recap

I didn't get to watch as much of the Olympics as I wanted to. I watched several events live online during the day and then caught several others on NBC during prime time. I was a little annoyed that NBC chose to wait until the 11:00-12:00 hour each night to show the events that everyone I wanted to see. Of course, I didn't stay up this late most nights. 

Here's what I will remember from this year's games:

  • Opening Ceremony was weak. I was pretty bored the whole time. There were a few cool moments, but overall I was disappointed. 
  • The US dominated in the usual. Phelps started off slow, but then came roaring back to break the record for most total medals and most gold medals won by a single person. The ladies held up their end of the deal and produced some big time future stars in Missy Franklin and Allison Schmitt. We should continue to rack up medals in the pool in 2016.

  • The Chinese team really, really, really wanted to win all 8 gold medals in the diving events. It was clear that this was important to them when they captured the silver in the final event (Men's 10 meter platform) and the diver was devastated. You might be wondering who won the gold in this event? It was American David Boudia...who just happens to be a fellow Purdue grad. I know this isn't the 1980's, but it's still nice to beat the Communists!
  • The Jamaican's are still the fastest sprinters in the world. Lots of talk about the guys from the good 'ol USA taking over the titles on the track, but Usain Bolt and company won the 100M, 200M and the 4x100 relay. We still have some work to do - Bolt said he would be back in 2016 to defend all of his gold medals. By the way, this dude is way to big for his britches!
  • As much as the Jamaican's dominated the men's sprints, the US ladies dominated in their events. American's won the Women's 200m, 400m, 4x100 and 4x400 relays. Overall, the women from the States won 58 medals to the men's 46 total. Come on dudes...step it up!

  • I'm not a big fan of gymnastics for a few reasons, but the main one is the judging factor. I get really annoyed with any event where the outcome is determined by someone other than the athlete. Despite some questionable scores, both the men and women (girls) from Team USA Gymnastics did very well.
  • I watched more beach volleyball than I thought I would. It was fun to follow Misty and Keri and watch them beat the other US team for gold. 
  • We are still once again the best in the world at basketball. Both the men and women's teams took home gold.
  • Despite zero coverage of the Triathlon in prime time (had to show water polo and equestrian events), both the men's and women's races were exciting. The women came down to a photo finish (still looks like a tie to me) and the men turned in some crazy fast times. 

Start training now...the 2016 Olympics in Rio are only 1446 days away!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Tom Sawyer Triathlon Race Report

The swim portion of this race was in the pool at Tom Sawyer State Park, so it was a time trial start - one at a time in the water - every 20 seconds. As I was setting up transition I started to look around at other people's race numbers (my race number was 352), trying to get an idea as to where I would start. The pool gets pretty crowded and I was hoping to be one of the first 15-20 in the pool. I was a little concerned when I hadn't seen ANYONE else with a number below 440. As we started to line up, I realized that the first four or five people in line had random numbers, then they became sequential. The race director started to call out numbers for people to line up. First in line...number 352. What?!?! I was first? I'm an above average swimmer, but I'm by no means the fastest in the water. I found it particularly amusing when I noticed that two guys behind me in line had "St. X High School" swim caps on. I also noticed former collegiate swimmer Mark Hurst behind me in line. I knew that I would be passed a few times in the pool, but being passed by these guys was noting to get upset about.

I knew that literally everyone in line and all of the spectators would be watching me during that first lap, so I focused on my form and even managed a good flip-turn at the end of the lane. I was going at a pretty good effort and didn't feel hands hitting my feet until a little after the 200m mark. For whatever reason, about half way in, my flip-turns (which I've only been doing for two weeks) began to get all out of whack. I was rotating before hitting the wall and was becoming disoriented. To keep from accidentally swimming down the wrong side of the lane and hitting another swimmer, I abandoned the flip-turns for the final 400 meters. I was passed four times in the water, but the last two guys were in the final 150 or so. I looked at my watch was I came out of the water....14:26. This translates to a pace of 1:48 / 100m. I was hoping for something in the 1:40 / 100m range, but I'm sure the bad flip-turns and then actually stopping at the wall once I decided to stop flipping cost me a few seconds each lap.

800 meter swim 
14:44.16 (1:51/100m)
2nd out of 10 in my Age Group
10th out of 126 Overall

Once out the of the pool, it's up some steps, then down a long ramp to T1...about a 200 meter run in total. Swim time above also includes about 50 meters of this run to T1. I decided to go without socks again in this race since it was a sprint. I tried this back in the spring and it was a disaster. I went with the baby powder in the bike and run shoes this time and it made all the difference. Thanks to Daniel Blandford for the tip! I had a very fast T1 and even made it out before two of the guys that passed me in the pool.

At the top of the stairs - heading down to transition.
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
1st out of 126 Overall

The bike is a fairly flat, out-and-back route...with the exception of 10-12 speed bumps! The speed bumps are the long kind, but they still require you to slow down. I didn't see anyone in front of me until around mile 3. I now had a "rabbit" and I was going to chase him down. I was in my highest gear and stayed in aero for almost the entire ride, coming out of the saddle on the hills and hammering on the flats. I finally caught my rabbit around mile 6 and then I saw the race leader, Mark Hurst, a few minutes ahead of me at the turn around. I knew that he was the only one left to chase down and I had confidence that no one would be catching me from behind. The course has lots of turns, so I never saw Mark again. I rolled into T2 with some tired legs, but ready to hammer out a fast run.

14 mile bike
38:57.70 (21.6 mph)
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

Getting ready to dismount after 14 hard miles on the bike.

T2 was as fast as I can do it. I had a flying dismount off of the bike and quickly racked it once in the transition area. I was able to slide my feet into my shoes without any problems, took my helmet off, and grabbed my race belt as I ran off. How two people were able to do a faster T2 is a mystery to me. 
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
3rd out of 126 Overall

Leaving T2
The 5K run starts and ends on pavement with about a 3/4 of a mile of gravel trails in the middle. My first mile was done in 7:14...which I was not happy with. I grabbed some water at the aid station (around the 1.25 mile mark) and decided to focus on a higher than comfortable cadence and hold good form. The second mile, which includes the gravel path portion was done in 7:04. Once I crossed the mile 2 mark, I knew it was time to empty the tank. I ran at an all-out effort to the finish and did the last 1.1 miles in 6:58 (6:20 min/mile pace). I finished strong and felt really good about my run split.

5K run
21:16.52 (6:51 min/mile)
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

I knew that Mark was the only one that finished ahead of me, but because of the time trial start, someone that started way behind me could have had a better overall time and not finished until after I did. After about 20 minutes, I went over and asked the timer how my time looked. I had finished 2nd overall and by that point, no one that had started after me was going to turn in a better time than me.

Total Time
1st out of 10 in my Age Group
2nd out of 126 Overall

Adrain, me and Kate after the race.
This is my first ever top 3 overall finish and even though this was a small race, I'm still very proud of the race that I turned in and am more than happy to show off my hardware! I had lots of support at the race. My parents made it out as well as Jessica and the kids. I'm really blessed to have such a great support crew!

Kate holding my plaque after the awards ceremony.
The other good news is that I improved my times in every category from this race two years ago. I shaved 1:51 off of my swim (14 seconds per 100m); 21 seconds off of T1; 57 seconds off of my bike; 0.50 seconds off of T2; and 36 seconds off of my run (11 seconds per mile).

Gear used:
Aqua Sphere Kayenne goggles
Louis Garneau Elite Lazer Tek Suit
Tifosi Dolomite sunglasses
Argon 18 E-112 Triathlon bike
Bike Javelin aero helmet
Asics Gel-Noosa Tri 7 shoes

Nutrition used:
  • (1) Medium Sweet Potato
  • Water bottle with NUUN tablet
  • (1) Clif Chot Blocks - ate about 30 minutes before race start
  • (1) 24oz. bottle of water - only drank from it twice
  • Water at every aid station

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Tom Sawyer Triathlon Results

Swim (800m)
14:44.16 (1:51/100m pace) – 2nd out of 10 in my age group (10th out of 126 overall)

1:18:14 -1/10 (1/126)

Bike (14 miles)
38:57.70 (21.6 mph) - 1/10 (2/126)

0:36.40 – 1/10 (3/126)

Run (5K)
21:16.52 (6:51 min/mile) – 1/10 (2/126)

1:16:52.9 (1/10) (2/126)

I cut almost 4 minutes off of my times from four years ago and managed to finish 2nd (my first Overall podium spot) and win my age group. Everything went really well and I'm obviously happy with the results. I'll post a race report in the next few it's time to get back to watching the Olympics!!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Tom Sawyer Triathlon Preview

August 2, 2008 is when my adventure in this sport called Triathlon began. At the suggestion of my buddy Kelly, who was also racing, I signed up for a Sprint Triathlon. On just 7 weeks of training I struggled through my first Tri, the Tom Sawyer Triathlon. It was brutal. I had to swim side-stroke for most of the swim because my freestyle form was so horrible, I was completely exhausted. I did the bike on a road bike that I had only been on a few times. Then I was so worn out on the run (plus I was nursing a knee injury) that I had to implement a run/walk strategy just to finish the 5K. Despite all of this, I was hooked! I couldn't wait to sign up for another race and start to train properly.

Fast-forward four years and I will toe the line at Tom Sawyer State Park again this Saturday. With a solid four years of triathlon training and racing under my belt, I'm excited to see what I can do. I now consider myself a triathlete...I was not in 2008 (note all the unnecessary muscle in the pic to the right). This may or may not be my last tri of 2012...but I'm going to race like it is.

I also did this race in 2010. Here's a comparison of my previous results:

800m swim
2008 - 20:58 (2:37/100m)
2010 - 16:35 (2:04/100m)

2008 - 3:15
2010 - 1:29

16 mile bike
2008 - 43:47 (21.9 mph)
2010 - 39:54 (24.1 mph)

2008 - 1:13
2010 - 0:37

5K run
2008 - 31:07 (10:02 min/mile)
2010 - 21:52 (7:03 min/mile)

Total Time
2008 - 1:40:22
2010 - 1:20:39

My goals for Saturday are pretty simple...improve on my times from 2010 in each discipline and try to get a top 10 Overall finish and a podium spot in my Age Group.

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