Friday, April 27, 2007

Race Day Photos

I've been a runner for many years, and a triathlete for three. One thing that has tied together all of those year of athletic endeavor has been lousy race pics.

Pics from on the course, or at the finish line -- didn't matter. I've either blown the shot (looking down at my watch is a common mistake), or I recoil when I see the pic (God, I look fat in that outfit!)

Finally, after many years of disappointment, I hit the jackpot. Not one, not two, but three great pics from my most recent race. A snappy looking action shot, running from the swim to T1; a nice side view on the bike; and a cheesy, but not over the top, finish line run pic.

And I look good in red and black, too (it matches my bike!)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

A great weekend!

Did my first tri of the season this last weekend, at the Kinetic Sprint Tri. A 750M swim, 18 mile bike, and 5K run. You can read the race report here, but here are some more general observations.

My biking has improved a lot this year. Two years ago, when I did my first tri, I averaged a bit over 17 mph for a 17 mile course. On Sunday, I cruised strongly over 18 miles at better than 20 mph. There are still a lot of people out there who are better riders than me, but I moved up quite a bit. My cycling time almost put me in the top 1/3 of the entire male field. That's a nice confidence boost going into Eagleman -- I think I can put together a nice steady ride for the 56 miles with good pacing and nutrition.

Surprisingly, my run was the strongest split -- 11 out of 35 in my AG. I felt strong in the run, especially as I got along to the end, and was able to pass a lot of runners coming down the last mile or so. I'm pretty confident I can come off of the bike nice and strong.

My swim was a bit disappointing, at least in terms of comparison. It was my fastest to date at a tri, but didn't put me too far up my AG (15/35). Still, I was able to come out of the water strong, and get a quick T1 time. And a few seconds aren't really that much on the swim. The key for Eagleman will be to have a solid swim that doesn't wear me out.

And, I met my goal of being in the top half of my AG for the first time -- 13 out of 35 -- almost top 1/3!


My training log.

P.S. -- Shout out to Coach Debi for providing the beer after the race!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Easy week!

Well, I'm on a mini-taper of sorts before my first tri of the year. I'll be racing on Sunday, April 22, at the Kinetic Sprint Tri on Lake Anna in Virginia. Pluses: I'm in good shape, and have had a lot of good training weeks leading up to this, plus the bike course should be pretty flat and fast. Minuses: the friggin' water will be freezing!

We've had a real cold snap the last few weeks, like much of the country, so I'm expecting water temperatures in the 50s. This may be a time when my relatively good swim times are a big help. I'll spend less time in the water before I've got to get on the bike!

At least the weather forecast is good. Highs in the low 70s and sunny. Positively balmy. And certainly better than the cold rainy weather we've had to endure. No more 3-hour trainer rides -- please!


My training logs.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Sticking to it

Training the right way for a big event takes time and some dedication, and that requires a degree of "sticking to it" when the going gets tough. I've had a good plan to work with (obligatory shout out to Coach Debi), but I'm proud that I've stuck with it and kept up with the training.

Sunday was one of those days where it took a little bit extra, though.

On the schedule -- a 4 hour bike ride. Challenging enough for me, but throw in some nasty cold weather on Sunday morning (32 degrees with a 15-20 MPH west wind in the morning) and I was not looking at a fun day. Still, it was supposed to warm up to the high 40s, and the forecast was for sunny skies.

Despite layering as well as I could, I had some doubts right from the beginning of the ride. Almost immediately I had to head west, into the wind. I hunched down over the aerobars and did the best I could as I rode the country roads in the shadow of the Blue Ridge. The high hills and persistent clouds kept out what little sunshine did appear, and soon I was wishing for more climbs -- at least then I could generate a little heat.

Eventually I completed my first loop, 42 miles, and passed by my car. I almost stopped, since I had a thermos of coffee there, but I pressed on -- if I'd stopped I'm not sure I would have started again.

Another short loop of 18 miles and the ride was done. 60 miles, 4 hours. Not too bad, given the weather and the terrain (over 5000 feet of climbing total). I was stiff and cold, but I'd finished. My longest bike in over 5 years.

Home, shower, nap. Life is good.


See for yourself at my training log.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Tackling the climbs and more

Here we are, into April, with Eagleman only about 2 months away. An amazing thought -- in about 60-odd days, I'll be setting out my gear, dealing with pre-race nerves, and focusing on the task at hand.

I'm proud to say that I'm way past any "I want to finish" thoughts. I'll finish -- no doubt about that. It's only a question of how well I'll race the event now. That feeling comes from the solid training I've gotten under my belt. Coach Debi's program has built me up so that I'm confident in my abilities, because I've done the work.

I've felt the training paying off over the last few weeks. I've done a lot of riding, much of it over familiar routes, and I can both feel and see my improvement on the bike. The climbs that used to wipe me out are now just steady efforts, and my average speeds have been increasing while requiring less effort.

My running has been very solid. I did the Charlottesville 10 Miler last weekend and came in at 1:16:48 -- 7:43 pace, good for 26 out 110 in my age group. I ran a good race, too -- an even effort throughout, with a negative split for the last 5 miles.

This month looks challenging, but doable. 12 miles running on Saturday, a 4 hour bike on Sunday, then another hard week before I get to taper a bit for my first tri of the season, the Kinetic Sprint. No predictions yet from me on that, but I'm optimistic that I'll have a good race.

The highlight of the month? Has to be on the last weekend, when I've got a triple brick day: 20 mile bike, 3 mile run, 20 mile bike, 3 mile run, 20 mile bike, 2 mile run. Should be loads of fun!


Keep up with my training log here!