Friday, August 03, 2012

Giant Eagle Race Report

My day started out early when I had to get up at 3:00am to make it downtown for T2 at 4:00am. The day before I dropped off my bike at T1 at Alum Creek for an overnight stay because I took advantage of the shuttle bus that was offered from T2 to T1 the morning of the race. Sitting there waiting to board the buses at 4:30 in downtown, John Sachs joined me for the bus ride to Alum. It was nice to have someone to talk to for this early morning start time of 7am and a HFP teammate as well. After finally heading out to Alum Creek it was 5am, we assumed that the bus driver knew where she was heading until she asked for directions and almost missed the turn at Lewis Center Drive. Then she did miss the next turn into the park. You would think if she was the lead bus driver that she would know the directions to the destination. After arriving at T1, I was pleased to hear that the swim leg was wet suit legal. That is always a plus in my favor. Once again I was signed up for the sprint race and we were now the second race to start behind the Olympic for a change. The Olympic racers had to swim 2 laps and we had to swim 1, which would make us merge into the Olympic swimmers on the course. This was a crazy swim due to this merger. I was swimming over and around all kinds of people, then heading back to the finish we had to swim close to shore and people started dolphin swimming for about 100 meters. I could see that one of my competitors Jim Aust (55 years old) was right in front of me and Todd Ricketts was swimming right next to me. At one point Todd and I looked at each other as we swam around a slower swimmer, I was laughing to myself doing this part of the swim as we made eye contact through our goggles. By the time I got up to the finish line of the swim Jim was already taking off his suit and putting it into his bag. I looked down at my watch and it said 12:10 which was a good swim leg for me considering all the people that we had to swim around and over. My T1 was a little slower than normal to make sure that I placed my wet suit into my bag and tie it off with a double knot. By the time I did this Jim was already out of T1 and I wouldn't see him again the whole race. Once I got onto my bike I was heading out of the park only to hear somebody call my name. It was Rob Lahota,  he had just finished his 2 lap Olympic swim and was heading out on the Olympic course which was in a different direction than ours. Both courses merged at around mile 5 or so for the Sprint course. The course was super fast and I kept seeing Traci Aust with her pink helmet the first part of the race and I just tried to focus on catching her throughout this first couple of miles. After catching Traci, I then focused on the next set of riders not knowing who they were. Once I caught them at mile 11 they tried to stay with me throughout the rest of the ride. Right around this same time Justin Dennen passes me by hammering away. I thought I would try to stay on his tail without drafting the rest of the ride, but he just took off. However, I was able to stay within 100 meters of him the rest of the way. Heading into T2 I noticed that most of the pros from the Olympic course had already headed out onto the 10K course, however I was one of the first Sprinters into T2. I was hoping to see Jim, but he must have had a great bike and was out of the course somewhere. My average mph was right around 25.2 a little slow for me, considering how fast this course really was. Heading out onto the 5K course I felt pretty fresh, meaning that I left a lot out onto the bike. At mile 1 a guy that I never met came up and attempted to pass me. I figured he was in my age group with the grand masters elite, because I noticed him on the swim and on the bike course. I stayed with him for about 400 meters and then went surged ahead of him finally. Just as I passed him, Brian Barker came up on my outside running fast. I attempted to stay with Brian but once again he was just to fast to run with. I did notice that once he passed me that he settled into a pace that was the same as mine and he finished 26 seconds in front of me, I was able to break 21 minutes on the 5K, but felt I could go faster. I finished 6th overall and 3rd in the grand masters elite. 4 of the top 7 triathletes in the sprint was over 50 years old. Overall this was a great race to be able to go from Alum Creek through Columbus and then finish the run downtown. HFP did a great job of organizing and directing this point-to-point race, and I can't wait until next year to do this super fast course again. My next race is East Fork Tri this weekend near the Ohio River.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

26 days left of summer, mental toughness

This is a repost from Joe Friel's blog that I thought was a great read and that could help us all stay focused. "I was recently asked how it is that athletes can drag themselves through unrelenting physical and mental suffering in events such as the mountain stages in the Tour de France. This topic came up when French rider Thomas Voeckler was trying to get the polka dot jersey and then retain it on two back-to-back stages with several challenging climbs during long rides in the Pyrenees. This reminded me of a paper published in the Harvard Business Review a few years ago (Jones, 2008). In it the author reported on studies of Olympic medalists and successful business people which revealed the following characteristics which may be defined as subsets of mental toughness. He wrote that the interviewees were found to: 1-have the ability to psychologically manage pressure 2-pay meticulous attention to goals 3-have a strong inner drive to stay ahead of the competition 4-be internally rather than externally focused 5-be self-directed concentrate on excellence 6-not be distracted by others 7-shrug off their own failures 8-be masters of compartmentalization in their lives 9-rebound from defeat 10-easily never self-flagellate 11-have a relentless focus on the long term attainment of goals 12-carefully plan short-term goals 13-never stop striving for success 14-reinvent themselves following a success 15-celebrate their wins 16-analyze the reasons for their success 17-be very confident of their abilities Jones also wrote that mental toughness “is having the natural or developed psychological edge that enables you to, generally, cope better than your opponents with the many demands (competition, training, lifestyle) that sport places on a performer and, specifically, be more consistent and better than your opponents in remaining determined, focused, confident and in control under pressure.”

Monday, July 23, 2012

White Star PT Services Trithlon Race Report

This was my 8th race in 8 weeks. The White Star Tri was held in Gibsonburg, Ohio near Toledo. The race venue was a great location held at an old quarry turned into a metro park, and the distances were typical with a 750meter swim, 20K bike, and a 5K run. Once again, I traveled the morning of the race and got up at 2:50am and was out the door by 4:00am. I arrived at 5:45am at the break of dawn to be greeted by the HFP staffers getting the course all ready for us. I think I was the 3rd one in the parking lot and felt a little stiff from the long ride from Columbus.

This was a small race with 160 athletes and a large group of relay teams. The swim was a triangle swim counter clockwise starting with a beach start. I was able to hang out prior to the start of the race with Randy Lehrer, Daniel Smith, and Shannon Kurek. However, Shannon wasn't racing and was just chatting with us prior to the start. Eventhough the water temp was well into the 70s I still decided to wear a full wet suit just to help me glide better in the water. I'm so much slower without a wet suit. Randy made a comment that hopefully he'll make my blog for the race today. Yes, Randy made the blog by being a great competitor in the sprint tris. I knew if I was going to have a chance to do well today I would have to stay close to Randy and Daniel in the swim and then just try and pace with Randy on the bike and run. At the start of the swim we all started pacing in the water with Randy taking off and I was right behind Daniel for most of the swim. However, there were a few young good swimmers that were flying fast in the water along with Randy in the first group. On the back stretch I was able to see the first group that was about 100 meters in front and then Daniel about 20 meters in front of me. I came onto the beach and looked down at my watch and it read 12:25 and with a final time of 12:45 crossing the mat and I heard Sandy Donald the announcer state that I was 7th out of the water. By the time I got to my bike I didn't even see Randy around and noticed Daniel was mounting his bike at the mount line. I had a flawless transition and was timed at :38. However, Randy was the 3rd out of the water at 10:39 and it appeared that he had a very good swim. Daniel was at 11:56 just in front of me. The bike course was just a huge rectangle on very flat roads. Within the first mile of the bike course I was able to pass Daniel and 4 other riders moving me into the 2nd position on the bike leg. I just attempted to get a good pace and not slow down at all with a high cadence around 90-95rpms. It seemed as if my averages were staying about 24mph throughout the race and going up to 26-27 on some occasions. I was able to see Randy far ahead of me (1/3 mile) but it didn't appear that I was gaining on him at all. I sometimes would lose focus and start to day dream on the second half of the bike and this caused me to slow down at times once again. Coming into transition, I knew that it had to be fast to try and close the gap on Randy. When entering the transition I heard Sandy announce that Randy had a 2 minute lead in front of me.  I just wanted to try and make up as much time as possible, but I figured that this was just too big of a lead for me to make up, unless Randy was having a bad day. My final bike time was 31:49 the second fastest overall with Randy having the fastest at 31:32, and my transition time again was a very good :27. The run course was a cross country course with a lot of twist and turns on a wooded trail and with a few sections in an open area with more turns. I felt that I really couldn't get into a good flow with all the turns on the trail, but would just try and run a shorter stride for pacing. I was averaging around 7 minute mile pace, which was decent for me on this tight trail. The last mile was somewhat straight with only a couple of turns, and heading down the last 1/4 mile was a straight line to the finish where I was able to have a good kick. During this last sprint, I heard Sandy announce that another runner was coming up on my rear so I sprinted faster. It's a good thing because I beat this 25 year old by only 5 seconds. Randy announced that both Randy and I were in our 50s crossing first and second and then a guy right behind us half our age was right there. I thought this was so funny that we were over twice his age. My final run time was a 19:09 and I had heard that the run was only 2.9 miles long. My final overall time was 1:04:50 and Randy beat me with an overall time of 1:02:58. His run time was exactly the same as mine with a 19:09. I ended up 3rd place overall with a 43 year old guy that started in the 3rd swim wave beat my time by 9 seconds. My lesson for the race is to attempt to stay as close as possible to Randy in the water if I want to have a chance to beat him at our next race together. Next race for me is the Giant Eagle this coming Sunday, 9th race in 9 weeks.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Caesar Creek Race Report Day 35

Caesar Creek Tri is usually one of the more competitive races of the season due to the location between Columbus and Cincinnati. I found out during the week that the bike leg was changed to an older course that was used previously by HFP. I looked at my times and they were at 1:17 for the entire Tri back in 2006. I know that I could beat that and last year I did a 1:13:20 with a similar course.

The water temp was 76 degrees which permitted wet suits. I still wanted to wear my full suit no matter what. However, once we got into the water and I started on a good pace I was feeling overheated half way through. Eventhough I was getting overheated, I was able to keep up with the main pack of swimmers throughout the swim. The only one that took off from us all was Ross Hartley. He was around 2 minutes from everyone at the end of the swim with rest of us within a minute of each other. Looking down at my watch it said 10:57 but I was at least 30 seconds from the timing mat, but still a great time for sure. Todd Ricketts was just behind me along with Sean Williams. Chris Cain, Shannon Kurek, Zach Aust and a young 27 year old was in front of me within a minute. My swim time was 11:37 Total. Coming into transition I could see Shannon taking out of T1 along with Chris, Todd, Sean and Zach right behind. I was leaving T1 when I heard that Brian Barker had just got into T1 and I thought I didn't give myself enough time between Brian and I to beat him today. Bad negative thoughts for sure. I knew I would have to push it even harder to try and get some distance on the bike between Brian and I. My transition time was :55 and it was my best one of the year yet with no issues.

During the bike I passed Sean and then Sean passed me and then I passed him again for good all within the first 4 miles on the bike course. The course was a rolling hills with a couple of climbs, but mostly flat after that. Coming onto the last 3 miles I could see that Sean gaining on me again with Brian right behind him gaining as well. I finally got into transition with Sean and Brian right on my wheels where I had the 7th best bike time of the day at 33:30. Again, my transition was great with a :51 with no issues, but Brian and Sean beat me out of transition along with Zach and the other young guy that I didn't know. Todd was way up there with the three front leaders. The run was an out and back course along the dam that at times was pretty rough due to the gravel and all the turns getting to the dam. However, it was a flat course to run and pretty shading as well. I set into a good pace and maintained it throughout the run. I averaged a 6:55 for each mile throughout the run but didn't try to push it at all and just cruised in within 45 seconds of Brian in 10 place overall for the race. My final time was 1:08:26 with Brian's at 1:07:40. Lessons learned for the race: Tighten up on my transition and reduce 10 seconds on each T1 and T2 and push a little harder on the run and not relax so much. At one point on the bike I zoned out and let Sean and Brian come up to me which was a mistake for sure. That might have cost me with beating Brian. Next race is the White Star Tri, 8th race in 8 weeks this Saturday.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Outer Limits Race Report Day 40

This race was billed as a local Columbus race ideal for 1st timers. 1/2 mile swim, 16 mile bike, followed with a 5K run. I got to the race site at 5:45am to check in and set up my bike area. The transition was a small one right next to the quarry on a hill:). You could see that the yellow buoys were in a rectangle shape as usual. The announcer stated that it was a no wet suit event, due to the water temp was at 85.5 degrees. USAT states that over 84 there is a mandatory no wet suit rule. However, I know that I'm still much faster with a wet suit on than without. Once I was able to set up my transition area with my of shoes clipped in to the pedals and helmet on my bars, my bike was ready. I layed out my visor, sun glasses, and shoes and I was ready!

Since I'm in the 50-54 age group I started in the last swim wave in the race. I thought I would have to pass the entire field by the time I finished if I had a chance to come into the top three in the race. By the way, Ross Hartley was racing today. I don't think that he has lost a race all year long, so I know I would only get 2nd at the highest. There were close to 200 races registered for the Du and Tri.

At the start of the race the tri was 5 mins behind the Du and my swim wave was 8-10 minutes behind the du. It was pretty difficult to be already to go and just have to wait for the last wave. However, when you are old that is life in racing.

Finally, my wave started. I was able to stay on the heels of the lead swimmer in my wave and just relax on the way down to the turnaround. On the way back I kept feeling another swimmer hit my heels with his hands every other stroke that really disrupted my pace and swim stroke. Finally coming out the water I noticed that my watch said 15:15, very slow. That was the slowest swim of the year. It was probably due to no wet suit and my heels being hit all the way back from the turnaround from the swimmer in the yellow cap.

My transition was pretty fast with 38 seconds and while running out of the transition, I slipped on gravel and dropped my bike. Thankfully nothing happened to my bike and I was off and riding.

I was able to get a good pace going averaging 28mph heading to the turnaround slightly going downhill and with the wind to my back. On the way back the guy that was hitting my heels came flying past me on his bike with a great aero position. I stayed with him and saw him shake his head at me like that I was drafting off of him. I came up to him and said that I was the one that he was hitting in feet during the swim. I just took off and felt that he would have to stay with me if he could. He could and came by me again a mile later. I was sucking a lot of air at this point and decided to just let him go and stay as close as possible to him. Coming into transition I was 10 seconds behind him and I knew that he was in my age group due to his age group letter on his calf. My bike time was a little over 40 minutes averaging 23.6 mph. Second fastest bike spilt in the race behind the guy that passed me.

Coming into transition I came in too fast and almost missed the whole entrance. I had to sneak under the yellow tape to keep going and I knocked down a BIG orange cone. Going to my rack I noticed my shoes and I was able to rack my bike. I got my shoes on but couldn't find my visor and glasses. Looking around I noticed that I was on the wrong rack. The shoes I had on were not mine. They were identical shoes with the same size. Mine were 2 racks over with my visor and glasses. That was wild, 2 transitions in the place of 1 in just 1 minute and I was off and running again. I was thinking what an idiot I am putting on someone's shoes.

I noticed that the guy that passed me on the bike was still only 10 seconds in front of me running. He must have had a slow transition as well. I just set into a good pace and started to catch him going at a 6:30 to 6:45 mile pace. Within the first mile I was able to pass him with no problem. At the one mile mark Ross comes from the other direction heading to the finish line. He was at least a mile ahead of me even with the adjusted start time. The run course was nice and flat going off road at the turnaround. I was able to continue my pace and head to the finish line with my best run time of the year, 20:53 a 6:45 mile pace and no cramps again.

I ended up coming in 3rd overall behind a 39 year old and Ross, and 1st in my age group. The 39 year old beat me by around a minute, and the guy that kept hitting my feet came in 1 minute behind me. If I would have known he was there I probably could have been with him during the run. However, my bike to run transition was horrible. I managed to pass almost the entire field, because only 6 racers were finished by the time I was done at the finish line area. Next race is Caesar Creek this Sunday.

Thursday, July 05, 2012

Day 47

Today I had great workouts all before 12 noon, and they were my favorite swim, bike, and run workouts. With the swim, I did 20 x 50 meters at below 40 seconds per 50 with 30 seconds rest and feeling really strong on each one with the last few 37 seconds per 50. My bike was a 20 mile interval with 8 x 1:30 faster than race pace with 3 mins of rest between each one. I was trying to average 25-26mph with each interval and was consistent with each interval. A couple of intervals, I was able to stand peddling with the hardest gear on a flat path, that was pretty tough. I did a brick right after the bike with 4 x 1:30 intervals faster than race pace with averaging 6:15 mile pace with 3 min rest. If I could only run that fast during a race after a hard bike I will be up there with all my competitors. We'll see on Sunday how this translates into my race pace. The weather wasn't a factor today eventhough they said it should be around 100. Friday is always my light bricks of the week with short intervals and little volume, so I know the weather will not be a factor eventhough it will be 102. Light on the feet:)

Tuesday, July 03, 2012

Day 49

Well it's below 50 days of summer left before I head back to teaching. 49 days is a very long time not work, so I feel very grateful not to work throughout this summer. With Barb being home and not working a regular job, it's the first time that both of us haven't worked at the same time since we have known each other.

After having a flat on my bike during my ride yesterday, had to head to the bike store to get some CO2 replacements and quick fill cans for the carry on during my rides. My flat fixing technique saved me during my 40 mile ride when I had a flat 5 miles from my truck. After changing my inner tube I used a CO2 cartridge to fill my tire, but it didn't fill. So I used another and it still didn't fill. This was the first time that I have changed a flat with my new aero rims that has a valve extender. After taking my tire and valve back apart, I realized that my extender was connected to the valve on my tire, so I just waisted both CO2s. However, my last resort was my quick fill can. I used this to fill my tire to get me back to my truck and it worked. Lesson learned for sure is to make sure that the extender is in place before attempting to use a CO2 cartridge.

Today I struggled through my morning workouts and hoping my afternoon workouts will feel better. My Monday and Tuesday workouts are my toughest of the week and then I start to taper for the weekend race with only doing short 1:30min accelerations up to race pace and resting. I do these both with biking and running on Wednesday through Friday. Saturday is a complete rest day. I did have a good pool workout for 2000 meters but wasn't motivated and felt tired. My run was a 6 mile tempo run and also felt tired at the beginning but finished strong with a 7:30 pace last mile.

Yesterday I started working on the Columbus City School's flex credit program. Students that elect to take flex credit attempting to test out of the subject and receive full credit if they pass. This is a new program for students in public schools in the state of Ohio. I'm working on the entire assessment for PE I and PE II courses for the district. I had already started but never had the go ahead to complete it over the past year.

Also, I have to go out to Sabos camping store to pick up a tail light bulb for our camper. Hopefully they have some in stock or they will have to order one for me.