Monday, August 14, 2017

2017 Toughman 70.3

Toughman Half
Chisago Minnesota
Sunday, July 30 2017
1.2 mile / 56 mile / 13.1 mile

My summer classes ended on July 17. Since then I've been getting in a lot more hours of training for Ironman. The two weekends leading up to this race I did an 88 and a 100 mile bike ride. Both ended up being about a 16 mph average. The hills really don't rival the Ironman WI course, so I think I'm hoping for a 7-7.5 hour bike with a 15-16 mph average. Otherhows, there's not much new in training. I've started doing one hour swims at the gym, and I average about 20 miles a week running. Going into Toughman, I've been trying to treat the race as just another training day. It's tough to get into that mindset though. This was the race of my life last year.

Swim: 1.2 miles
Goal: Under 40 minutes
Actual: Over 40, but a little better than 2016
Just like last year, the swim was not wetsuit legal for this race. There was a wetsuit wave for those who wanted to, but i just stuck it out in wave four without my wetsuit. I felt crappy the morning of the race and through the swim. I had a rotten stomach. The swim went alright; I followed a few different folks to avoid sighting on my own. This seemed to work out well. I figure this will be the game a Ironman; with 2500 people in the water I think traffic management will be the key.

Anyhoo, pretty uneventful until the one mile marker when I took in a big gulp of water. When I was hacking it up I saw I was at about 35 minutes. This put me behind the 40 minute goal, and I kept that pace through the end of the swim. Oh well, maybe next time.

2017 Swim Time: 42:25 with a 2:01 min/100 yards average
2016 Swim Time: 43:07 with a 2:03 min/100 yards average

My time is noted in green.
Swim Rank:
194 out of 396 finishers
140 out of 259 males
21 out of 32 age groupers

Goal: Run, don't walk
Actual: Yup
It's worth noting that I there was one time that I  through out of my calculations, it seemed pretty clear to me that the guy cut the run course.

T1 was the same as T1 always is: pretty uneventful. While I was putting on my shoes, the announcer mentioned that the winning swim time was 26 minutes. Me and the lady next to me agreed we could have lived without that information at that particular point of the day.
2017 T1: 3:40
2016 T1: 3:44

194 coming into T1
205 leaving T1

Bike: 56 miles
Goal: 18 mph
Actual: Not as close as it sounds

The sprint and long courses use the same bike route for the first 12 or 13 miles. I spent those miles contemplating a DNF. I did not feel well. Also, my legs were a little dead. I suppose I should have done a shorter recovery type ride after my century seven days prior, but my knees started giving my troubles on Wednesday. Anyhoo, at the turn off I decided to give it a go. I still haven't had the DNF in a race; hopefully that never comes.

I really didn't feel much better until about 25 miles in when I hit an aid station and got some water. On my bike, I only carry a couple bottles of Infinite Go Far to drink. The Infinite is great for a long race, but terrible for a rotten stomach. After the water, my stomach loosened up and I was on my way. I ate a cliff bar or two and a few Gu packs on the bike in addition to my Infinite.

I had the bike course short by about half a mile. That makes my speed look a little better than it actually was. I was slow. It was a pretty big let down from last year.

2017 Bike: 3:08:19 with a 17.8 mph average
2016 Bike: 3:07:05 with an 18 mph average

Bike Ranks
314 out of 396 finishers
219 out of 259 males
29 out of 32 age groupers

Goal: Run, don't walk
Actual: Yup
Nothing interesting happened in T2. I dropped my bike stuff, grabbed my run stuff and was on my way.
2017 T2 Time: 2:13
2016 T2 Time: 3:02

297 coming into T2
287 leaving T2

Run 13.1 Miles
Goal: Under 2:30
Actual: Yup
I have not really lit it up on distance running yet this year. I know what my knees can take and I don't want to push it much farther than that. As a result, I had only run the half twice before this race.

The run started off with a mile and change of shade. That was pretty sweet. Then you take some back streets and end up on the highway for most of miles 4 through 10  (out-n-back). It was hot on the black top.  It was hot anyway, but the blacktop just helped that sun beat you down. On mile seven you do get a little shade again, and that helped me pick it up a bit.

It seemed like I passed more people than usual on the run, but that's probably just because most of the field passed me on the bike. I knew i was going to be close to beating my time from last year by about mile 8. I had a poor mile 12 but otherwise the inward half went pretty well. Somehow I messed up the math on the last mile and I ended about two minutes ahead of my last minute estimates. It was a nice surprise.
2017 Run Time: 2:27:02 with an 11:13 pace
2016 Run Time: 2:30:13 with an 11:29 pace

Run Ranks
283 out of 396
191 out of 259 men
27 out of 32 age groupers

2017 Total Time 6:23:38
2016 Total Time 6:27:13

Finishing Positions
289 out of 396 finishers
202 out of 259 males
27 out of 32 age groupers

What's Next
Well, my time was better than last year, but it didn't feel as good. I suppose last year I dropped my time about twenty five minutes, and this year it was about four. Anyhoo, good training run. Ironman is now four weeks away. I probably have one more ling ride and one or two more long runs left. I hope I can make it to the start line healthy. So far so good. Then, I hope I can make it to the finish line. 

Saturday, July 15, 2017

2017 Minneapolis Triathlon Race Recap

Minneapolis Lifetime Triathlon
Saturday July 8, 2017

I like my race weight to be down around 195. At the start of the year, I was up about 15 pounds. It used to be I could lose 10 pounds in a few weeks, now it takes me half a year to lose 15. Oh well, at least I made it. I knew it was going to take a while this year so I tracked my weight. Here is the data.

Swim (0.93 Miles)
Goal: Fast
Actual: Good Enough
It was a beautiful day for a race. No wind, low humidity with a temp that started around 70° and moved up to around 80°. The water temp was just barely wetsuit legal, and I wore my sleeveless suit for the first time. Good choice, even without sleeves I was getting a little warm on the swim.

The swim started out going east, and that put the first turn right in the teeth of the sun. I couldn't see the buoy through the water reflection until I was right on top of it. After the first turn sighting was easier, but then my goggles started to fail. I had to stop twice to empty the water out of my goggles. I think this pair is about two years old, i suppose it's time for some new.

We started out two at a time in a time trial start. I must have been near some slow swimmers because it felt like I left everyone behind and swam alone for quite a while. After about 20 minutes I caught up to a pod ahead of men and the fasts from the wave behind also caught me. There were a fair amount of weeks at the end of the swim, but overall it was a great swim.
Swim Time: 29:34 with a 1:48/100yards average

Swim Exit
Swim Rank
235 out of 582 finishers
169 out of 404 males
24 out of 65 age groupers
My time is noted in the green interval.

Goal: Run, don't walk
Actual: What's not asking much.
Over the last year I've gotten into the habit of walking through transitions. It's a dumb way to build up time, and I expected I would need every second for my goal at this race. My last Olympic race was a couple years back, and I clocked a 3:09 on a course that was a little long. I figured I would be able to hit 3:05, but I really wanted to break 3 hours. So, I ran into transition and got on my bike as quick as I could. My transition time was right on average with the field. For field and male averages, check the stacked time graph at the end of this post.
T1 Time:  3:33

235 out of the water 
251 out of T1 (582 racers)

Bike (24.5 miles)
Goal: About 1:20, beat 18mph
Actual: Boom Bitches
This was a closed bike course. The roads were still a little tight even without cars, so I can understand why they close the area down. 

I had gotten more comfortable on my bars since the NewBriTri. I got in 30, 40 and 50 mile rides between the races, and that made all the difference. There was a lot of flats to the course and a lot of curves/turns; there were not many hills. My garmin has crapped out for elevation, but it's safe to say there wasn't a great deal of climb there when compared to my route at home. 

I flew along pretty good, and stuck to a higher gear than what is common for me. There were a couple guys that I passed/passed me about four of five times. I was faster on the flats and the uphill, but they had the guts to fly on the downhill parts. I am totally a wuss on the downhill parts and often ride my breaks. Not a problem; I knew I was clocking a good time. If I was slower maybe I would have opened it up a bit on the downs. This was the fastest bike split I have ever had.
Bike Time:  1:14:42 with a 19.7 mph average
Bike Rank
314 out of 582 finishers
261 out of 404 males
39 out of 65 age groupers

Goal: Fast
Acrual: Yup
I had a fast T2. I felt good and I was optimistic for the run ahead. 
T2 Time:  1:53

272 off the bike
261 out of T2

Run (6.2 miles)
Goal: Beat a 10 min/mile average
Actual: An All-timer
The only thing I knew about the run course was that it was a double loop. I had no idea if there were any hills. Coming out of T2, I could see that I had years of time to beat 3 hours. As long as I didn't blow up completely, I should be fine. Ten or eleven minute miles would have been enough. 

It turns out the the run course is wildly flat! There were no climbs of consequence, and only one or two inclines of nuisance. Plenty of folks passed me (as usual), but I passed a few as well. 

I did the first couple miles in about a 9:00 average. I was getting a little concerned that I might blow up, but this turned out to be my day. After the third mile, the course looked and I knew there were no worries. I kept my fastest pace possible without having to walk it off. I had the course short by about a tenth of a mile, but both my watch and the official time had it as my fastest 10k in over two years. 
Run Time:  56:36 with a 9:08 min/mile average

Run Rank
354 out of 576 run times
273 out of 399 male times
41 out of 63 age group times

There were a lot of handouts in the shoot. I took one of everything, and looked kind of greedy. Naturally,  someone got a pic.

Total Time: 2:46:16
312 out of 582 finishers
244 out of 404 males
37 out of 65 age groupers

Stacked Time Comparison
I cut 23 minutes off my previous Olympic time. I beat the field average for the swim, bike and total. I beat the male average for the swim. I'm quickly approaching the point where I'm only going to break personal records with some serious training. I suppose that's not the worse thing in the world. Great race, great day.

Monday, June 26, 2017

2017 NewBriTri Race Recap

New Brighton, MN
Saturday, June 5
0.5 miles/12.5 miles/3 miles

I'm wicked late on this race recap mostly because of work. I teach from eight to one Monday through Friday until July 17. The pay is good, but the hours are terrible. At least I'm teaching calculus two and three. Fun classes make the time go by faster.

I've also let data gathering and sorting suck up a lot of my time. I decided to gather all the race results from Minnesota triathlons and take a shot at a ranking system. The USAT has rankings, but you have to be a member and it is only for USAT races. We have many non-USAT local races, so I thought I'd give the collections and analysis a shot. Through three weeks, we have had 2147 people do at least one Minnesota triathlon, 157 have done two races, 21 people have done three races and one person has done four races (Mike Borneke, 63, Eagle Lake MN).  I'll post the June results soon.

I did the New Brighton Triathlon last year as well. The course was the same this year and things went pretty well. I have been fighting some medical issues recently, so I had contemplated skipping this race all together. After a bunch of moping, my wife got me to suit up and give it a try. I'm glad she did; it was (again) a fun race.

Swim: 1/2 mile
Before the swim started, I heard a couple racers complaining that the thought the buoys were set up for way more than a half mile swim. It did look a little long to me as well, but that ended up just being the winter break playing tricks with my eyes. My Garmin had it an 0.52 miles, and I never take a great path.

Nothing too exciting to report. The water was cool, but not uncomfortable with my long sleeve wet suit. I went off in the second wave and took it kind of easy. After a few hundred years my shoulder started giving me a little bit of trouble, but it was nothing to worry about. I took a treading water break, and I felt pretty good for the duration.

Swim Time: 15:28 minutes; 1:46 minutes/100 yds pace

Swim Rank
59 out of 157 racers
44 out of 106 males
11 out of 18 age groupers

My Time is indicated in the green bar.
I walked into and through T1. I was pretty gassed. I have to get in some more open water swims in before (and if) I get to Ironman. I'm sure running could have saved me a few seconds, but I just didn't have the ambition. I think something went wrong with the timing for the race. I was pretty close on my watch for when I hit the timing buttons, but the official times have my transitions faster and my bike slower. Not a big deal, but a bit of an excuse for my slow bike time.

T1 Time: 1:25 

59 out of the water
53 out of T2

Bike: 12.5 Miles
I just could get on the road before this race, so these 12.5 miles were the first off the trainer for the year. In particular, timing and weather just didn't work out for biking. Also, I just don't much care for road biking. Generally, when people ask me about triathlons I say, "I love the swim and run, and we bike in the middle."  Anyhoo, I was a little wobbly on the bike for the first few minutes, but after a while it came back to me. I didn't get confident enough to do much aero bars, but the summer is long and I have plenty of miles for that later.

Tina and the boys went to her aunt Anne's to watch the bikers pass by Anne's house. They got a bunch of cow bells, set up some lawn chairs in the front yard, and cheered on the entire field. The said some folks were very appreciative. It looked like they were having a good time when I rode by, and I certainly appreciated it. No one is better than my wife. Training for Ironman is more selfish than any father has a right to be. Not only does Tina let me chase this stupid dream, she encourages it. No one has it better than I do.

I was slow. Not a surprise for the first time on the road, but also possibly not as slow as the timer had it. The first edition of the timing stats didn't list my bike or T2 times. After it was "cleaned up" both of those times showed up. My watch had my bike split a little over a minute faster than the timer.

Bike Time: 44:22 with a 16.9 mph average.

Bike Rank
85 out of 156 racers
67 out of 106 males
14 out of 18 age groupers

I just had a bottle of Gatorade for fueling this race. I knew it was only going to be about and hour and a half to finish, so I wasn't too worried. The temperature at race time was about 75˚ and there was minimal wind. I had thought of bringing a Gu for the start of the run, but I forgot it in my bag before the race started and just went without. In T2, I finished out my Gatorade, got on my run shoes and hat, and I was on my way.
T2 time: 1:24

74 off the bike
77 out of T2

Run: 3 miles
I was hoping to show some speed on the run. At least, I was hoping to show as much speed as I could muster on the run. (I'm slow.) I started out pretty quick, but had to walk it off a bit after a tiny hill in mile one. On mile two, I inhaled some fluff from a cotton wood tree. Both things killed a little time, but I kept a pretty good pace under 9:10. In the last mile I tried to time it so that I drained the tank on the course, and I came pretty close. I actually pulled off a negative split. That might the first time I ever pulled that off. I had the run course short by about 0.05 miles, and I'm usually over the listed distance. In any event, 8:25 over 0.96 miles has to be a sub nine minute third mile. That is lightning fast for me. I ended up passing people on the run, and that nearly never happens.
Run Time: 26:42 with an 8:52 minute/ mile pace

Run Rank
85 out of 156 Racers
67 out of 106 males
14 out of 18 age groupers

Total Time 1:29:19

Finishing Position
78 out f 156 Racers
63 out of 106 males
14 out of 18 age groupers

I beat the field average for swim, run and overall. But, I took a dive on the bike.

Next up is the Lifetime Minneapolis Triathlon in July, and then Toughman soon after. Hopefully my medical will clear up and I can get a little more enjoyment out of the summer. I hit seven and eight hours of training the last couple weeks so at least the time totals are ticking up.