Rock the Bay sprint triathlon

142638-143-003fDid my annual multisport event to maintain triathlete status. Up to this point, I had not swam since the last triathlon, biked a total of about 20 miles in the last 6 months, and have only done treadmill running as part of Orange Theory workouts a few times per week since January. This was to be a test of how well general fitness would carry me through a short race.

The swim went very well and I was able to stay in the group the whole time without getting kicked too much (except near the buoys). There wasn’t any meandering and I was able to stay right on target despite having to sign yellow buoys with a group of yellow swim caps in front of me. The swim split was significantly faster than I thought I ever could done without any real swim training and the measured distance consistent with race distance (500m).

First transition didn’t feel very fast but was pretty quick after all. Also, it seems appropriate to note here that the transition area was grass, which is very nice.

The bike leg felt very good too. The road was a little rough in spots and I had neglected to check all my fittings pre-race, which turns out would have been a good idea. About 9 miles in, the night right elbow rest started sagging, but I don’t think it affected my performance much. It was just a bit awkward for the last few miles. In all, I was only passed by a five people on the bike, but unfortunately two of them were in my age group.  Reviewing the times later, I thought my bike split was faster than it actually was but that might be because of the long trotting sections between the mount/unmount lines and transition.

Transition two was no big deal, though I did walk out just for a little bit of rest because my quads and hamstrings were quite thrashed from aggressively biking without any practice. I did note that there were not many bikes in the bike rack for my wave (M35-44) – maybe 10 – so I figured I was doing pretty good so far.

The run I was definitely not prepared for. I had forgotten importance of bike to run transition practice. So while I was physically fit, I was having a lot of trouble actually running. It felt really slow but was not as slow as I thought it was going to be. The courses was also long (about 3.5 miles instead of 3.1). I was able to pick it up at the end; probably not an all out sprint but it was a pretty good effort and made for a half way decent finishing picture. No one passed me in the run leg at all and I passed a bunch people with at least two of them in my age group (couldn’t always tell).

Place: 45/369 overall, 37/199 Men, 5/29 men 40-45
Total: 1:19:33, swim 11:43, T1 2:10, bike 38:39, T2 1:28, run 25:32

 

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Spring Sprint Triathlon

137289-255-006fDecided to try to do at least one race per year, preferable a triathlon, most preferably a short one. Two weeks prior to race race day, a stomach bug hit, which was followed up with a head and chest cold (that was not quite over for the event) for the week before, requiring amoxicillin and therefore resulting in another round of the squirts. Couple that with an intense training schedule that included a whopping two 8-10 minute swims in early March  as the only swimming in 3 years, biking my son to preschool as the primary mode of bike training, and barely running due to back and hip issues. Suffice it to say I was expecting about 1:15-ish finish at best.

For the deep water start, I started at the very back and passed 16 folks in my AG. The bike course had three 180° turns and one 120° turn per lap, times two laps. Also, the course was linger than advertised, (supposed to be 10 miles, was over 11). I net passed many in my AG on the ride. The run felt slow but was much faster than I though and I negative split it.  A couple guys in my AG passed me up at the end and I tried to keep up, but didn’t have it in me. Still, I net passed another probably 6 more and ended up 18th in AG overall (out of 51)which isn’t too shabby.  Gave it like 90% of what I had, which was probably 80% of well, trained. And I placed low enough where I don’t care. Maybe I could have done 5 minutes faster if I had been well and better trained, but even then,  would have only been 11th. All things considered, I’m very happy with a sub 1:14 finish.

Place: 156/720 overall, 127/435 Men, 18/51 men 40-45
Total: 1:13:54, swim 11:52, T1 1:45, bike 35:15, T2 1:49, run 23:11

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Raptor Ridge 1/2 marathon (again)

RAPTOR RID 081I would say I was just recovering from the Stairway to Heaven when this race rolled around, so I tried to be reasonable about goals. Then it was raining on race day. So, I was pretty happy that I was able to negative split the course and come in just under two hours.  There’s not a whole lot to say besides that. Now for some serious time off; I am broken. See you some time in 2016 I hope!

Time: 1:59:31 Pace: 09:07
Place: 62/296 Overall, 49/156 Men, 21/59 M40-49
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

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Stairway to Heaven 1/2 Marathon

IMG_1478Still high from my win at the Solana Beach duathlon, I was fairly optimistic about this daunting half marathon. There are a lot of very steep hills on this course and the course record is 1:49 and change.  If you know anything about half marathons, then you know that is not a particularly fast time, even for a trail event. I knew it would be a difficult race, but it was made worse by the heat an sun. It was about 72 °F at the 7 am start, and when I finished, it was 95 °F. This one can pretty much be summed up as just suffering. This was such a difficult race; certainly harder than the “World’s toughest half marathon”, Pier to Peak. The whole thing is pretty nicely described by the following graphic.

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I have been jacked up for weeks since this race.

 

Time: 2:36:05 Pace: 11:55
Place: 55/194 Overall, 47/119 Men, 14/42 M40-49
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

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Solana Beach Duathlon

IMG_1224I wanted to be sure that I got a multi-sport event in this year, and since it has been more than 2 years since I’ve done any swimming, a duathlon seemed like the smart choice.  Also, not wanting to have to travel to race, just about the only option was the Solana Beach sprint duathlon with distances of a 1 mile run, a 9 mile bike ride, and a 3 mile run. Since I’ve primarily been trail half marathon training, I didn’t think I’d be going all that fast during the run legs and my biking has consisted of about a 10 mile ride once, maybe twice a week, so that didn’t look like a winning recipe either.  However, I was determined to do the race and have fun. Getting through it wouldn’t be difficult; the hard part would be not racing competitively. Then I made the mistake of looking at the previous year results 2 days before the race and figured I could probably place in my new age group (40-44) if I really tried hard. Really, I was hoping there would be no chance at all, so I could comfortably just go easy. The morning of the event, I biked one mile from my car to the start and got winded, so I was definitely feeling out of bike shape (in hind sight, the backpack with chest strap was probably too tight) and going easy was starting to seem like the only possible reality. After setting up in transition, I mentally went over the race a couple times, noting where the run/bike ins and outs were, then jogged a little to warm up on legs that felt like lead.

Once the race started, I must have had an adrenaline rush or something because I was feeling good at about a 6:30 pace. Transition was in and out in just under a minute (didn’t know it at the time), then I was off on the bike.  The bike leg also went faster than I thought it would and if it had been a straight 9 mile ride or a simple loop, my time (and everyone else’s) would have been a lot faster, but there were six U-turns over the 2-loop course that slowed everything down. There was a small hill near the end of each loop and on the second pass, it really drained me. The second transition went fine, but the legs were feeling pretty tired and the second run leg started out pretty slow, though faster than it felt. Steadily, I was able to gradually pick up the pace and finished a hair under 57 minutes, which I was very happy with. Based on my pre-race goals (which I didn’t set to be easy), this was a B+/A- performance, the 2nd run being the worst “grade”. Turns out that turning 40 four days earlier really worked to my advantage. Not only did I win my new age group, but I did so handily; the next closest guy was 6 minutes behind!

Place: 15/84 overall, 13/44 Men, 1/5 men 40-44
Total: 56:59, run 6:26, T1 0:59, bike 26:56, T2 1:09, run 21:29

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Wild Horse half marathon

White Horse Trail Out_037No excuses this time! I felt (and was) prepared for this race and it went very well! The weather stayed relatively cool and it was overcast the entire time I was running, so that was an added benefit. In typical fashion, I did start out too fast, but was able to dial it back a little within a few miles and then slowly ramp up speed until the finish. A few miles in, I realized I hadn’t really set goals, other than to try to break 2 hours. I don’t think it should be easy to break your A+ race goal all the time, so I tried to decide what would be reasonable for C, B, and A goals, then drop another 3 minutes as an A+. I had C as  <2 hours, B as <1:58 and A as <1:56, making an A+ goal sub 1:53. At the time (probably 6 miles in) this didn’t seem likely to happen. Even up to the end I thought it would be closer to a 1:55 finish (I wasn’t checking my watch much the last few miles and was being conservative with my maintainable pace estimate). So, I guess if I were to complain about this one, it would be that I didn’t set my goals properly as it was too easy to basically crush the A+ goal. That’s a problem I don’t mind having.

Time: 1:51:18 Pace: 8:39
Place: 34/222 Overall, 30/106 Men, 14/74 M35-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

 

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Foxy half marathon (again)

Foxy Trail Finish Line_188Apparently this site is running the risk of turning  into the excuse-blog, but here goes anyway. Food poisoning a week before the race really set me back.  I had done a long run that previous Sunday, then ate something bad for brunch and was laid up in bed most of the week.  It wasn’t until the day before this event that I was finally able to eat a normal human amount of food.  So, I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to finish this, let alone start it.  The morning of the race, I was feeling well enough to go give it a try, so I went out super easy and just tried to maintain a pace.  By the half-way point, I was feeling pretty decent and managed to speed up a little bit.  However, by about 10 miles I was starting to drain in a big way.  In the end, a 2:03 finish was pretty fantastic given the circumstances. I was glad I didn’t have to bail on another race, especially this one since it is one of four in a half marathon series I’m signed up for.  Look forward to hearing more excuse about those!

Time: 2:03:16 Pace: 9:25
Place: 97/242 Overall, 71/124 Men, 37/48 M35-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

 

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SD50 Trail Marathon

I’ve been slow to post this one because there are no pictures from the event. Frowny face! Also, I’m not that pumped about the race.   It was fine and all and I did probably slightly better than I thought I would, but this was the race that was supposed to be a 50 miler before I realized what a terrible idea that would be.  So, short story shorter, I ran this one, covered probably 18 miles of it with another guy. We just chatted about our kids to keep our minds off the running.  I’m glad I did this one, and even more glad to have a little rest!

Time: 4:09:35 Pace: 9:32
Place: 20/115 Overall, 15/64 Men, 6/20 M30-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

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Lake Hodges 50K

20241b55-b770-4782-881e-428291a6bbedI’ve been procrastinating about posting this one and it seems like it’s never going to happen the way I want with the detail I usually try to put in, so here’s a rough draft of the race:

HR a bit high in the morning. Intestinal distress the previous night.  16 miles in, was ready to be done. Only walked about 90 seconds of first 30 miles. Had to walk the very top of Raptor ridge on the return because HR was way too high and getting dizzy. PB&J is great at 13 miles. Nauseating at 24. Nutrition was poor the last 6 miles because I felt barfy.  Had to walk a few times during the last 1.4 miles because of this, especially the hills.  Managed a pretty decent pace for the last quarter mile, finishing at a sub 8 min/mile pace. Overall, finish time was faster than I had anticipated, and knocked 30 minutes off my previous best 50 K.  But I realized i do not want to do the 50 miler in January, so I dropped to the marathon distance for that.  I just don’t want to be out running all day on a weekend and miss out on that time with my family.  And feel miserable for about 6 hours of that to boot.  I guess 40 miles will have to be my farthest run.

Time: 5:06:18 Pace: 9:45
Place: 37/193 Overall, 31/130 Men, 11/42 M30-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

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Raptor Ridge 1/2 marathon

Raptor Ridge 2014After the NYC Marathon, I took quite a bit of time off to recover and then ease back into running. With the birth of my son in March, competition has definitely taken a back seat (and I’m fine with that). But, I still have the SD50 on my radar and am entered into the race for January of 2015. So my primary focus has been long trail runs at a slightly sub 10 min/mile pace. But, the Raptor Ridge half marathon covers a section of trail I’d never done before; namely Raptor Ridge. The SD50 course actually starts and ends just east of Raptor Ridge, so running this half marathon seemed like a great opportunity to check out just how bad the hill is, with the benefit of having support on the course.

The only caveat here was that I needed to do 20 miles this particular weekend.  So I got to the start line a little early (despite only having about 3 hours of sleep due to a fussy infant) and got in almost six miles before the race began. All I wanted to do for the actual 1/2 marathon was keep an even, sustainable pace and give Raptor Ridge a reasonable shot. Well, the course was almost absolutely flat all the way out the the ridge, so my pace was a lot faster than I had anticipated. The ridge itself was certainly not easy, but I was feeling good and warmed up by then and had no difficulty running it out and back with no walk breaks. By no means am I suggesting I will be able to do this at the end of the 50 miler though. On the way back, I started talking to another guy with about 5 miles to go.  We ended up keeping a quick, conversational pace and before I knew it, we were at the finish in just under 2 hours!  I was hoping for a 2:10 finish, so this was very encouraging with regards to training progress.  A couple more miles afterwards made for a nice cool down and rounded-out my 20 miles for the day.

Time: 1:59:11 Pace: 9:06
Place: 94/340 Overall, 67/187 Men, 24/46 M35-39
Age Graded: N/A (trail)

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