Saturday, June 22, 2013

Race Preview: Air It Up Run

Race day tomorrow and so I figured I'd put out my race goals.  We are doing the Air It Up Run.  It's a 2.5 mile run with 8 bounce house obstacles intermixed at Shawnee Mission Park.

  • Don't get injured.
That is all.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Race Report: KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon

Saturday's Topeka Tinman went so well, why not do it again on Sunday!

I knew this was going to happen.  After agreeing to do Tinman with Dane and Joe VI, I had a feeling Corporate Challenge would be on the same weekend.  Since the race I actually paid for was first in the weekend, I didn't mind doing a free race second.

This new year brought some new rules.  Instead of allowing two participants per age group, each company could only designate 1 person.  One of the age groups could have a second participate.  In theory this would cut down the number of participants by roughly 45% (my non-scientific estimate).  Apparently the organizers must have gotten complaints that there were too many people on the course.  Keep in mind that the duathlon was also taking place at the same time.

Here's the deal.  I'm sure many companies have a hard time trying to field a full compliment of participants.  I did some research and it only reduced the number of participants by 18%.  That's 146 people, so it's still sizable.

I'm not sure why I care so much but I think I know another reason why they tried to limit the participants, which I'll get to.

After Tinman, we took it easy.  We went to a party at a friends house and an early dinner of Mac & Cheese at Granite City.  Once we got back I messed around with my bike.  I actually took the tires and tubes off to see what I needed to do to allow it to take air.  I basically reinstalled everything and filled it up.  It was just fine so I put everything back on the bike and packed up for Sunday.

We took off for the park around 5:45am after the normal morning ritual.  Everything was going to be the same except I didn't bother with my bento box.  Parking was out in the grass of Shawnee Mission Park and it was a mess.  It had stormed on Saturday so everything was still muddy.

I took my bike off the car rack and started to top off the air, just like Saturday.  No go.... or should I say "No flow".  I decided it was still pretty full plus there should be bike support at the start so I can have them help.

It was a long trip to the transition area (probably a mile or more), so I hopped on the bike and rode to the transition area while TKB was taking a bus.  While riding I started hearing a rhythmic "thumping" noise on my back tire.  Was it mud?  No big deal, I'll check it out in the transition or have the onsite bike mechanic review it.

Once I pulled up to the transition area, I noticed something else quite odd. Something I've never seen at a triathlon (granted, this was only my 8th and 4th at Shawnee Mission Park).  There were lines leading into the transition area.  Sure, you normally have body markings creating lines but we had tri-tats for this one.  Most people applied those before arriving and  I already had them on.  No.  They were checking bags!!!  As in going to a sporting event and the event crew check the contents of your bag.  I have this HUGE transition bag.  So large it probably won't work as carry on.  This was going to take forever.  When I finally got to the front, the person asked me to open my bike bag too.  What?  This tiny bag is holding two tubes, tools, 4 CO2 cartridges, tire levers, CO2 adapter.  It was going to explode when I opened it. This was going to be a headache.

Fortunately she just wanted me to open the bag, not purge the contents.  It didn't add too much time but it was a little annoying.  I'm sure they are going to do this for SMP Triathlon in 3 weeks.  This may also be why they wanted to limit participants.

I found a transition spot near the swim exit and run start.  I got everything set up and met up with TKB.  We chatted with coworkers and then headed over to the marina for real bathrooms.  I took note of the port-a-potties and they seem to have twice as many as normal.  Nice!

After the bathrooms it was 5 minutes from closing the transition.  Once they called the transition area closed, I noticed I didn't have any of my swim stuff.  So I got my warm-up run in by sprinting to the transition and getting my cap, goggles, and watch.

My swim start wasn't until another 40 minutes.  If you remember from my comments about Tinman, I enjoyed starting almost right away because apparently I get fidgety.  So fidgety that I dropped my Forerunner 310xt and it hit the concrete so perfectly it smashed the screen.  Crap.  It obviously serves no purpose during the swim, and I have my bike computer for the 2nd leg.  But I was going to be running blind.  That's not necessarily a bad thing because the last time I did a race without the Garmin, I got my personal record in the 5k.

As usual, we have to swim about 200 meters to the beach from the marina.  This provides a nice warmup.

Getting ready for my warm-up swim, sans-digitalry clockage.

Swim - 500 Meters
The swim was also a little different this year.  They did a time trial start where they released two triathletes at a time about 5 seconds apart. I do like this because you don't have the washing machine effect at the start; however, you never really get a good "pocket" to get comfortable in the swim.  Since they don't line people up by swim capabilities, you continually run into swim slower swimmers.  If you are lucky, you get paired with someone slightly faster so you can draft off of them.

I felt like I took a good line because I was consistently swimming against the buoy line.  It also led me to swim real close to the dock at the boat launch where TKB was waiting.  I tried waving a few times on my recover stroke.
Me in the middle trying to wave
Swim, swim, swim turn, swim, turn, swim, swim, BEACH.  I felt pretty strong on the swim considering I didn't use my wetsuit.  The race was wetsuit legal.  Actually, this race is always wetsuit legal regardless of water temps.  I felt strong because I was passing a lot of people and I also passed a guy who chose to wear a wetsuit.

Time: 10:18
Overall: 57 out of 218

Because this was a beach start instead of a water start, I probably added some time because we started earlier in the lake.  I wonder if they accounted for this?

Transition 1

I caught TKB by surprise as I was running out.

Another long run to the transition.  It's longer than Tinman and also uphill most of the way.

Time: 1:54

Bike - 9 Miles (2 loops)
Traffic Jam!
After getting on my bike we were led to the road via cones.  About 50 feet before I could merge I heard Eric yelling at me as he passed (he was doing the Duathlon and starting his second lap).  I hollered back and met up with him after a while and wished him luck (I think, I can't remember!).

Shawnee Mission Park is decidedly hilly.  The first half is nasty while the second half is pretty flat.  I was ready to push it hard on the ups and downs.... until I heard that rhythmic thumping noise on my back tire again.  Crap!  All the bag check hoopla distracted me from checking it out.  I decided to push the ups and be semi-cautious on the down hill.  One of the downs has a turn at the bottom, so I kept it real easy there.

While riding on the dam the first time, I saw Brian running with his wife Jill.  They came out to SMP to do a run and managed to avoid the mass of corporate humanity.  So I yelled down to him and gave them a wave.

The first lap went quickly.  I couldn't believe my time.  My second lap also went pretty fast.  For some reason I told TKB it'd take me 30 - 35 minutes to complete.  It took me 25!

Feet out of the shoes for a jumping dismount.
Time: 25:02 / 21.5 mph
Overall: 18 out of 218

Successful flying dismount!  No flying shoes!

Transition 2

I ran my bike to my transition pretty hard, so I was feeling good on the legs.

Time: 55 seconds

Run - 3.2 Miles

Also new this year was an extended run course.  You still have to run up the dam hill (sucks) but fortunately the additional mileage was a relatively flat section.  There were plenty of people on the course since the duathlon had started 40 minutes before me.  Plenty of people to pass.

No Garmin so no splits to check.

I counted two or three people pass me.  Unfortunately, the two that I remember were in my age group; however, I didn't know the division.  These people were speedy.  One was so speedy, a part of the bottom of his shoe flew off in front of me!

I hit the uphill section from the trails onto the road and then up to the finish.  The last hill wasn't as bad as I though, considering I had pushed hard 7.5 miles the day before and I was pushing hard all day.  But the last hill is exactly that, the last hill.  The finish line was at the top!

Time: 23:52 / 7:28 pace
Overall: 38 out of 218


Time: 1:02:02
Overall: 28 out of 218
Company Division: 13 out of 52
Age Group (30 to 39): 12 out of 74

I was pretty thrilled with my bike leg.  I was .6 mph average faster than at Tinman.  While this was half the distance, it had the same amount of elevation gain in those 9 miles versus 18.  My run was quite a bit faster but I think being a shorter distance helped.  The lack of humidity helped as well!

I was surprised I was still 10+ minutes on the swim but that is what it is.  I will need some actual instruction to seem some decent gains there.


Interesting.  I just realized I didn't wear my sunglasses, not that they were necessary.
While cooling down and taking a team photo (well, only a few of the 15 coworkers there), I caught up with Brian and Jill.  I hadn't met Jill yet, so it was great to see them both.  Brian is the triathlete that just moved here from California and we've been doing some weekend bike rides together.

Eventually we got home and I took full advantage of my post-race(s) meal: Five Guys Burgers and Fries!

Later on Sunday I did some research and it turns out the bike tube was keeping the tire from seating correctly.  Check out this post for more info.

Some of the company Du and Tri participants!  Photo courtesy of Scott Ellis, third from the left.

The course setup for the team triathletes as they were doing 1,000 meters.  Suckers

Sexy breathing photo shot

Flipping the shield into position.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Week in Review: Ironman Training Week 11

Another week and another week(end) full of races.  I posted my report on Topeka Tinman and will be working on KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon in the next few days.

With a big race weekend coming, I kept to my training plan as much as possible until I decided it was time to  taper, which was Thursday.  Instead of my normal bike/swim, Joe VI and I did a super-duper sprint triathlon at Shawnee Mission Park. 250 meter swim, 4 mile bike, 2 mile run... all at an easy pace.  I then took Friday off.

Swim: 4750 yards / 1 hour, 39 minutes
Bike: 62.4 miles / 3 hours, 22 minutes
Run: 23.64 miles / 3 hours, 15 minutes
Strength: 1 session / 1 hour

Total: 89 miles / 9 hours, 22 minutes

I came out of the weekend with a sore right lower leg.  It almost reminded me of shin splints.  I'm hoping it is a high ankle sprain because I rolled my foot while on the run at Tinman.  I got a bit too close to the side of the trail and rolled it; however, it didn't start bugging me until Sunday afternoon.

Because of that, I am keeping it real light on the running this week.  Today (Wednesday), it didn't hurt when I got up this morning so I did a brick workout.  I did 4 laps at the downtown airport and then 1 lap (3.66 miles) by foot.  I actually ran at a pace that was faster than prescribed and the leg still held up.  Hopefully that's behind me now.  Plenty of icing and rolling is being instituted though.

With starting the middle third of my training, I'm starting to incorporate some speedwork in my runs, so that's a nice change up.

As I mentioned in my Tinman race report, I got some new "shoes" for my triathlon bike.  Based on some recommendations from fellow twi-athlete, Ryan from twitter, I had been eyeing a set of Karbon Speed 88mm deep dish rims.  Back when I started looking at these they were priced upwards of a couple grand but with a two day sale and using a coupon code from Ryan, "MVT" for an additional 10% off I was able to snag these for a super cheap price.

Even standing still the bike is blurry.. it's that fast.

I had actually planned to rent them for the races this weekend but when this offer came around, I took advantage of it.  Based on Ryan's tests, they aren't the fastest race wheels out there but what they lack in seconds over the course of a race, they gain in price.

They arrived on Friday before the races, so I left work a few hours early and got them installed.  I've learned a few lessons about race wheels like these:

  • Deep dish rims require valve extenders so you can air them up. The normal tube valves aren't long enough to peek through the rims so they come with extenders.  I knew this going into it and was prepared to do the necessary work but it made it challenging on Saturday when I removed the valve cap and accidentally unscrewed the entire extender.  Oops.
  • I never did "top them off" with air on Saturday because I couldn't get it to take any air.  What I learned on Sunday afternoon (still didn't figure it out for Sunday's race) was that I need to actually let air out so the valve would let new air in.  There may be plenty of air pressure in there, but there is some level of comfort seeing it hit 120psi before you head into transition.
  • Making sure your tires are correctly seated.  I had an issue with a bulge in my rear tire around the valve stem.  The problem was the tire was partially sitting on top of the inner tube so it didn't get fully seated on the rim. That allowed the tube to push it a little further out when fully filled.  I had to deflate the tube and make sure the tube was fully inside the tire before starting again.  The sympton of this was my tire made a 'thump' every rotation.
Ironically enough, I thought I had ordered the rims with tires installed but when I opened the box there were none.  I checked my order and, sure enough, I didn't.  That turned out to be a blessing because it's given me the opportunity to learn all this stuff while in the confines of my pain cave and not in transition or on the road.

I have an order in for Continental Grand Prix Attack / Shield tires to put on there permanently.  I have to install different brake pads when using carbon aero wheels, so it's not necessarily an easy switch-a-roo.

We have another race this weekend.  It's a fun run called "Air It Up Run"  It's a 2.5 mile course with 8 "bounce house" type of obstacles.  I always said I'd hold off on doing any sort of Warrior Dash or Tough Mudder because I'm a big wuss and don't want to get injured.  This is a bounce house, what could go wrong? 

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Race Report - Topeka Tinman 2013

33rd Annual Topeka Tinman (Yes, this is older than Ironman... as they like to point out)

I signed up for this race back in February 2013 with Dane and Joe VI.  I took advantage of a "sign up for a race, get $10 gift card" or something like that.  Good deal and good race.  I enjoyed doing it in 2011 with the short course.  I'm stepping up to the long distance this year but it's more like a medium distance swim (1000 meters) and bike (19 miles) but a super long run (7.5 miles).  Fortunately, none of this scared me.

I never did put my race goals out there but I did have one.  

Swim: 18 minutes
Bike: 55 minutes (~21 mph)
Run: 57 minutes (~7:30 minute miles)
Transitions: 4 minutes
Total: 2:14 Minutes

Those numbers were more or less pulled out of the air.  I would be totally fine with sub-2:20.  It all depending on how I paced myself since it was my first triathlon in almost 1 year exactly.

Unfortunately, Dane will be missing from this report as he had to pull out of the race due to injuring his quad a few days before the race. wah wah!

I did my normal week long carb-loading of 3 small meals of pasta and chicken mixed in with my normal meals.  I probably could have put down more water though.  Joe VI stayed with us on Friday night since Lauren and the kids were going to stay at home for the race (or so Joe VI thought!)

Our bikes making friendly.
We hit the road about 5:15am to get to Lawrence by 6:00am so we could stop for some pre-race energy of brewed fuel (coffee).

We finally arrived around 6:45 with about 30 minutes to get unpacked and transition setup.  The half mile trek from parking to transition slowed things down too.  

I finally got my chance to try out my new race wheels.  I bought some Karbon Speed 88/88 race wheels a few weeks prior when they were $350 off plus I used the coupon code "MVT" to get an additional 10% (you can use that code too.... thanks Ryan!).  I got them on Friday, so I really only got a small bike ride in to try them out.  Not really having the opportunity to air them up the before a real bike ride, I had a problem.  While I topped them off the night before, I couldn't get them to take any air at the race site.  I figured they may have lost a little bit of air pressure but still in acceptable reasons.  I guess I'll spend Saturday afternoon figuring out what I did wrong.  First race issue experienced, no more!

We arrived with barely enough time to get the transition setup, chipped, and marked.  No time for a warm-up swim or run.

The race was wetsuit legal so I brought mine along.  It was already getting hot and humid out so I waited as long as I could before suiting up.
Joe informed me goggles around the neck means swimmer OK.  Goggles on forehead, swimmer distress.  OK, that may be more for SCUBA and snorkeling but better practice etiquette.

While Joe VI signed up for the long course (granted Ultramax ran out of registration forms, so they gave him the Columbia Triathlon form causing much confusion), they registered him for the short course.  He decided to stick with it.  His swim started at 7:30 while mine was 7:51-ish.  

While waiting, I met up with Travis from twitter.  I also saw Tucker, who is the husband of a high school friend.  They were in the last wave of the day.

Start - Swim
I was in the first wave of the long course which was nice because it kept me from thinking through my start too much.  Before too long they gave the countdown and off we went.  I knew before we started I was having a problem with my goggles.  They were all fogged up from the humidity.  I dove into the water from the beach start but it was too foggy to see anything.  After a few strokes I stopped to rinse them in water.  Much better except they still had water inside, so I floated on my back for a few moments to let them drain more.  Now I had perfect vision!  Well, as perfect as prescription goggles can get.

It was crowded in the water but not crazy.  After about 250 meters it was fairly open.  I tried to find someone to draft off of but I don't have enough experience to do that.  I felt pretty strong in the water and the wetsuit definitely helped me with speed.

After about 10 minutes it seemed like they were simply adding buoys out there to keep us going.  Where was the turn! My wetsuit was starting to feel a bit compressed around the chest.  It wasn't suffocating but it wasn't comfortable.  Eventually we turned back towards beach, which was nice because I was getting tired of sucking in the exhaust fumes from the safety boats.

Before too long I had that happy feeling of my fingers scraping against sand and pulled myself out of the water and off to say hello to my bike.

I love how this photo makes me look like I'm first out of water.

And there is 2nd - 4th place behind me... or probably 32 - 34.
Time: 17:57 / 1:48 per 100 meters

Transition 1
It was a long run up the beach to the transition area.  I had my wetsuit halfway off and it didn't seem to take too long get it all the way off.  I definitely miss those wetsuit strippers from Beach2Battelship.

Kung fu'ing my T1
Time: 2:45

Not bad considering the wetsuit and the long run.  Definitely glad I used my wetsuit.


Here we go!  I FINALLY am getting my bike out in a triathlon race situation!  I've come a long way from aerobars on a road bike to a time trial bike with 88mm deep race wheels, aero bottle, aero bento box, aero helmet, and wearing my tri-suit.

Let's go!

To leave the transition for the bike you cross over some grass to the road.  I safely get on the bike and push it easily up the hill out of the beach area before getting in position to push it.

The bike course is a semi-closed course but it's very low traffic as it is.  I really wanted to push it hard in the first quarter but held back.  There was quite a bit of congestion actually and a bit of a pelaton of about 15 cyclist formed.  I was expecting it to stretch out but after a quarter of a mile they kept together.  There was a headwind so I don't doubt people kept together for that reason; however, I'm not having that.  Illegal?  Yes.  Saving energy?  Yes.  Going fast enough?  No.  Once there was a clearing in the road I took off around them.  

Eventually we hit some rolling hills and I quickly learned I need to work on hills.  I felt I was slowing down too much on the hills.  I played leap frog with a guy before he finally took off.  I was probably past by about 4 or 5 guys around miles 10 - 15 but I was able to stay with the last couple guys for the last four miles.  Hitting 28 - 30 mph during a long stretch with a tailwind was nice.

Eventually you wind back into the park with some sharp corners, so didn't take them very hard.

During the last mile I was debating on doing a flying dismount.  I had probably done it 5 times with this bike before with only 1 of those times keeping both shoes attached to the bike.  All other attempts had my left shoe flying off when I jumped off (and in a couple cases, the water bottles attached to my saddle).  I decided to give it shot and make sure I was really slow by the time I jumped off.  Success!

Time: 54:35 / 20.9 mph

Transition 2
Nothing too horrible but could be a bit faster.  Rack bike, helmet off, socks on, shoes on, visor on. GO!

Time 1:06

I had no clue what this was going to be like.  It was literally a trail circling the entire lake, which is why it's an odd 7.5 miles.

Travis gave me a tip to prepare for hills around mile 5.5.  I would say I didn't.  My first two miles were 7:36 and 7:38.  I had a couple people to pass, so that kept me motivated.  Once I hit mile 2 there was no one.  I was all alone.  Mile 3 was 7:48.  About this time I heard footsteps of someone.  I was just hoping he wasn't in my age group.  Luckily he wasn't. He also didn't accept my request for a piggy back ride.  Lame.

I tried to keep him in my sights for a couple miles but as soon as he was out of my sights, I caught another guy.  By now I was starting to get into those hills.  My pace was suffering quite a bit. I tried to take advantage of the down hills.  It wasn't so much the hills but the humidity.  I couldn't keep cool.  The aid stations about every 1.5 miles did provide some relief.  I took either 1 water and 1 gatorade or 2 waters. The waters were to cool me down and they did provide some relief.

Eventually I caught up to the short course turn around, which meant 1.55 miles to go!  By now I got passed by another guy (still not in my age group).

I was on the final stretch to the finish.  About a quarter mile to go!  Or so I thought.... when I did this course two years ago, you entered the finish chute from the south but now they made you run around the transition area and enter from the north.  I had started my kick too early!  OH no!  

Smiling just before I realized I had another 300 meters to run to hit the finish line.

I could hear footsteps behind me again!  I could also hear the announcer say that the first overall female finisher was coming and to give her some cheers.   Naturally, I tried to act as if it were for me.

Let's just get this over!
Time: 1:02:51 / 8:04 pace

Time: 2:19:11

Quite happy with my time considering I missed my first goal by a few minutes.  I didn't hit the 7:30 pace on the run like I had hoped, so most of my time was lost there.

The humidity was horrible.  It took me a good 5 - 10 minutes to cool down.  I took in as many fluids as possible and had a slice of pizza while waiting for results. When you consider I saw only 5 guys out on the run course (being passed by 2 and passing 3 myself), I was very interested in my place.

Age Group: 6 out of 21
Overall: 31 out of 215

I'll take 6th place any day with a crappy run like that.

Just like in 2011, this was a great race.  I always enjoy races that Ultramax is a part of.

The new ride and new wheels
Getting everything strapped on
Getting marked
TKB's reason for attending triathlons.  Dogs!
Joe VI coming in to the finish!
Joe VII watching Joe VI

Lauren and the kids surprised Joe by showing up to cheer him on!

Henry The 8th (aka, Maddie) and Joe VI

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Week-in-Review: Ironman Training Week 10

So this week presented a bit of a milestone.  In fact, it was a few of them.  For one, I am officially 1/3 of third of the way through my ironman training program.  Whoa.  Crazy!

It also brought to mind something else.  Something that has been in the back of my mind since 2011.  Let me retrace a few steps for you.

In 2011, at the end of week 9 of my half ironman training, I had PR'd my 5k time.  In fact, I missed going sub-20 by 2 seconds!!!  That entire weekend was just an amazing weekend for me with running in a marathon relay team as part of The North Face Endurance Challenge and hitting 7:40 miles for my 10k leg.  I felt on top of the world!!

As I entered week 10 that year I had a busy week planned.  One of those weeks involved visiting Garmin on Thursday to do some User Experience testing/feedback on one of their upcoming Apps (which has since been released).

Let's look at this week:
  • On Saturday I PR'd my half marathon time!
  • This week was also week 10 of my ironman training program.
  • AND TKB had a job interview with Garmin on THURSDAY.

So what?  Who cares?  Big freaking coincidence.  Well, that Thursday back in 2011 is also when I had my bike accident that broke a rib and sidelined me for much of the remaining 8 weeks of my half ironman training program.

Fortunately I can say that I had no accidents.  In fact, I continued my tear of PRs at Corporate Challenge Track this week!

1 Mile PR: 5:54 (PR of 16 seconds)
800 Meter PR: 2:47 (this was my first attempt at this distance, so easy PR there)

Overall a great training week compared to the previous numbers:

Swim: ~5000 yards / 1 hour, 30 minutes (includes one Open Water Swim)
Bike: 60 miles / 3 hours, 44 minutes
Run: 24.64 miles / 3 hours, 34 minutes
Strength: 1 session / 60 minutes

Total: 88 miles / 8 hours, 46 minutes

Much better but the 2 Corporate Challenge events kept me from completing the entire plan for the week. I still nailed my weekend distances, so happy.

Since I'm entering my 11th week of my plan, the plan itself is changing.  I'm adding a third swim on Fridays PLUS the swim distance are jumping from 2,500 yards to 3,000 yards.  So I'll be doing 9,000 yards per week in stead of 5,000.  Yikes.

My running is changing as we are adding some more intermediate runs with fartleks during the runs and I'm also adding a brick run to my Saturday long bike.

This is also the weekend of my "Goofy Challenge" of triathlons.  I had signed up for Topeka Tinman on Saturday and also got slotted for KC Corporate Challenge triathlon on Sunday.  The distance are all weird.  Adding the two together I'll be doing 1,500 meters swimming, 27 miles biking, and 10 miles running.  Swim and Bike together is basically an olympic but the running is wacky.  Let's break them down:

Tinman: 1,000 Meters / 18 Miles / 7 Miles
Corp Challenge: 500 Meters / 9 Miles / 3.2 Miles

Let's see how quickly I can do those race reports.... oh boy.

KC Corporate Challenge Track Week - Race Report!

OK.. let's see how fast I can do this race report.  It's about Track Corporate Challenge, so it needs to continue the fast theme!!

June 4 - 1 Mile
I still wanted to complete my ironman training, so I got home and did a 1 hour run.  We then got to the track about 6pm so I could cheer on my fellow co-workers.  It was immediately evident that it was going to be a long night because they were already 15 - 30 minutes behind.

TKB was a huge trooper and waited with me.... all the way until 10:30pm.  It was chilly and we didn't plan very well as we were getting cold sitting on the metal bleaches.

I did a little warm up and then queued up on the track.  The only goal I had was to beat last year's 6:10. So I was shooting for even 1:30s with the hope to kick it up in the last mile to go under 6.

400: 1:24
400: 1:30
400: 1:30
409: 1:30
Total: 5:54

Oh yeah, I have to run 9 more meters to make it a mile on the fourth lap.

Division/Age Group: 6th!  

Well, that was out of 7 people in Division A (large companies) and Age Group 35 - 39.  I still improved by 16 seconds.

June 6 - 800 Meters
Brand new event for me but I still wanted to focus on my training plan.  So I met up with a coworker to do the Shawnee Mission Park Open Water Swim at 6pm but that wasn't after until I did 3 laps of the bike course for SMP/Corporate Challenge triathlon.  I did 40 minutes of swimming and 40 minutes of cycling.  Yeah, I'm hard core.

I made it to the track around 7:30 and had to wait until 9pm to do my event.  Same as Tuesday I did a 10 - 15 minute warm up.  Then onto the track.

No clue what to shoot for so one of my co-workers told me to go under 2:49.  OK!

I don't remember the splits but...

Total: 2:47!

Division/Age Group: 4th out of 8.

So between the Bike Race, Hospital Hill Half Marathon, 1 Mile Track, 800 Meter Track, I had 4 PRs in 4 races in 8 days!  (yeah yeah yeah, two of those were first time events for me).

Monday, June 3, 2013

Week-in-Review: Ironman Training Week 9

May 27 - June 2
This week got shot quickly because I was still recovering from a cold on Monday.  In fact, I stayed in bed most of Monday.  I took it easy this week because of the cold and I had two races on the schedule with the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Bike Race and Hospital Hill Half Marathon.

Between Monday and Saturday, I only had one non-race workout which was a 4 mile shake out run on Thursday evening.  I did hit the streets again with Brian as we put in 37 miles on the bike on Sunday.

Consider it a crash course in tapering?

Swim: 0
Bike: 37 miles / 3 Hours
Run: 17.2 miles / 2 Hours
Strength: 0
Total: 34 miles / 5 Hours

This should have been an 11 hour week.  I'm fine with it considering I'm almost 2.5 months into training and this is the first time I've really had trouble getting in my training.  Unless I get sick again, I shouldn't struggle this much again, even though I have 2 mid-week races this week.

No strength training due to the holiday and my bike race.

Tuesday night is KC Corporate Challenge 1 Mile Track and Thursday is KC Corporate Challenge 800 meter.  Fortunately, these events are late enough in the day that I can still get in my planned workout!  Yes, that will mean I'll suffer on the track but I'm OK with that.  I'm not going to be bringing in any special points. I'm just there to fill a participant point and that's it.

I'm planning to start bringing my TT bike to the downtown airport before work and doing my Wednesday brick early in the day.  Normally I have strength training sessions Wednesday after work so I can get in my brick in.  These are supposed to be easy Z2 efforts but I may turn them into a bit of speed work sessions.  We'll see.

This weekend is race free so I'll be able to hit my distances on the run and bike!

Race Report: Hospital Hill Half Marathon!

This blog post is part of a series of posts associated with the Hospital Hill Run Blog Team.  For more information, see my original post.  To see all blog posts, review those that are tagged as "Hospital Hill Blog Team".  The race is sold but feel free to check out their website!

My training for Hospital Hill Half Marathon was to fit within my ironman training program.  I focused solely on heart rate based training with very little speed work leading up to the race.  Since I was limited by time for my workouts, my longest run leading up to Hospital Hill was only 7.8 miles, and that was about 6 weeks ago.  I knew I had the cardio going for me because of all my cross training but not having a double digit run in over 2 months was a little concerning.

With race week upon us, I still hadn't decided my race goal.  On Friday I decided to go with 1:45 pace group.  It would be a nice long Z2 training run for me to fit in my training plan.  

Race Week
My reluctance to decide on a race plan until the last minute also meant I didn't hit my normal race week go of starting my carb loading a few days in advance.  Oops.  I still carb loaded pretty well with my traditional pre-race lunch of Mac & Cheese with Chicken at The Mixx downtown.  Joe VI, TKB, and I ate at a local Italian joint Friday night.  

The biggest issue this week was that I simply was losing some mental edge.  Going back to the Sunday before Memorial Day, I took off for an hour run but only went a third of a mile because I couldn't shake some knee pain.  I also had woken up with a cold that day that progressed into Monday.  I ended up in bed all day on Monday.

To add to my week of workout woes, I only worked out twice prior to the race.  One of that was the Kansas City Corporate Challenge Bike Race and a short 30 minute run on Thursday night to make sure my knee wasn't bugging me.  It didn't, so I was a go!

So the knee was good and I had my pace strategy of the 1:45 pace group!  Let's do this.

I had the opportunity to attend the Hospital Hill Run Banquet on Thursday.  So after I took care of picking up my packet, TKB and I went to Milano for the banquet.  I had the chance to finally meet Beth Salinger (Hospital Hill Race Director) and had a good time talking with Scott Kinner, the Treasurer of Hospital Hill Run.  He had completed a few Ironman races, so I talked about ironman training.  I was happy to find out he used the exact same plan that I am using for his first ironman as well.  

They had nice flatbread style pizza, as well as bruschetta and other nice desserts to eat.  We stayed for about an hour and a half and then took off for home.  I did that 4 mile run I mentioned above and then off to bed.  By now my stupid cold was mostly out of the way so I was finally able to get a decent nights sleep.

Race Day!
Friday night I had the best sleep since I woke up with a cold on Sunday with a cold.  In fact, I woke on my own and reach for my phone to check the time. As I grabbed the phone, the alarm went off to get up. Perfect!  I was well rested and ready to go.    TKB and I were on the road by 5:55am and did a stop at the grocery store for a little Starbucks.

We parked near Jack Stack BBQ.  It's actually a short walk from their parking lot through Union Station (via a bridge over the railroad tracks) and over to the start line.  By the time we made it through Union Station, I decided to get my warm-up run in.  While doing my final prep, Brian and Kyle from Twitter caught up with me and also my coworker Allison.  After a couple "Hi!", I took off on my run. 

I ran for about a mile and ended up by the port-a-potties for that pre-race ritual.  I did catchup with a friend Jennifer who was doing her FIRST half marathon.  Her brother Ryan was running the half with her.

After saying Good Luck, I left for my corral, corral "A".  I remember it being small from last year but not overly crowded.  Either way, once I got in I went as far back as possible.

That's when I realized my first problem.  The 1:45 pace group was in Corral "B".  Hmmm

Corral "A" only had the 1:30 and 1:35 pacers, which makes sense.  I think you had to indicate a 1:39 or faster pace to be in the "A" corral.  I think I had target 1:35 when I registered in October.  I did that for one reason.  While running the Chicago Marathon I crossed the half marathon mark in 1:35:24.  So given 8 months of additional training, I'm sure I could do 1:35 at Hospital Hill (Note: you match the total elevation gain of Chicago in the first 3 miles of Hospital Hill).  

So I've got a predicament.  I could just wait in corral "B" or pace myself.  I could run with "A" and then stay with the 1:45 group when they caught up to me but that would be a bad idea because they start 2 minutes and 30 seconds after me.  So I actually set the Virtual Pacer on my watch to 7:45 minute miles (which is actually about a 1:42 hour half marathon) and would follow that.  Plan was adjusted.  Read, Set, Go!


At promptly 7:00am, we were off.  As quickly and thought out as my race plan had been established, I  threw it out the window just as quickly.  At about a quarter of a mile I was hanging with the 1:35 pace group.  They were starting at a speed that was extremely comfortable and were keeping me in check.  At about half a mile I checked my watch and we were cruising a little under 8 minute pace.  I could handle that to keep me from going out too fast.

I decided to just see what happened when if I stuck with them. I figured if I could keep with them during the first three miles, I might be able to go 6 miles... and the 9 miles.

Mile 1 - 3: 7:50, 7:35, 7:18

Mile 2 to 3 contained the infamous Hospital Hill we just cruised by it.  Much of that 7:18 mile 3 was because of the downhills we took advantage of.

During mile 2 I took off my hat and tied it to my water belt.  I didn't need it with sunglasses and was concerned about getting too hot wearing it.  The new big concern?  I didn't put sunblock in my hair to keep from getting a sunburn on top of my head.  This could be interesting later.

I made it through the first major hill and was doing just great.  As we hit mile 4, one of the pacers called out that we would be 6:50 pace and that would be the fastest the entire day.  I could handle this at mile 4.  There was a nice hill up to the Nelson Atkins Art Museum but it's short and there is an awesome downhill to follow.  I actually got in front of the pace group at this point but let them catch up as we leveled out at the bottom of the hill

The next major suck of a hill starts right at mile marker 5.  It's the University of Missouri Kansas City campus hill. It inclines 140 feet in 2/3 of a mile.  You get a little rest before it another slight hill.

Mile 4 - 6: 6:43, 6:55, 7:24

I hit mile 6 and was still hanging with the pace group!  I realized at this point that I never really looked at my watch for pace as I was worried I'd freak out and slow down.  Just keep pushing.  

We started the turn back to the finish. The hills were just rolling at this point.  Nothing much but if the first half wore down your legs, these would hurt.  By now I started thinking about mile 9.  If I could get to mile 9, a PR was in my grasp.  I figured I could stay with the pace group now because the next 3 miles were basically the Trolley Run, which is mostly downhill!

Mile 7 - 9: 7:03, 7:17, 7:10

By mile 9 I started trailing the pace group.  Not by much but maybe 30 feet. My legs did start yelling at me but I was feeling good from a cardio standpoint.  I didn't try to push myself to catch up with them but just keep them in my sights because I was now coming up on mile 10.

Mile 10 is the worst hill of them all.  It's essentially 2+ miles of incline.  It sucks.  It hurts when you've been running and fighting hills for.. well, 10 miles.  It's 140 feet of include for 1.3 miles.  It wears you down.  It tells you that you want to walk.  Once you hit 1.3 miles, it shows you a little flat section before increasing another 50 feet until you hit the start of mile 12.

Pace group 1:35 was out of my sights during mile 11.  I was fine with that because unless I had started walking, I would PR for sure.  So I noted to myself: don't walk.  That's what I had done on each of my previous Hospital Hill Run half marathon.   

Mile 12 isn't exactly a breeze either.  There is a crappy hill here as well.  60 feet of elevation gain in .2 of a mile but then that's it.  It's all down hill from 12.4 miles to the finish line.  I'm not kidding... 170 feet of elevation decline!

Mile 10 - 13: 7:06, 8:04, 8:04, 7:15

I cruised into the finish line for the last .1 of the race in 6:35 pace. This is also where Ryan caught me last year and gave me a little "urge" to keep moving. Not this year.  No way, no how! I saw 1:37 on the clock and was thrilled!

On my way to the finish.

Someone is stealing my orange style.  I'm the one with the orange calf sleeves.

After I finished I walked around the finish chute quite a bit and found the 1:35 pacers.  I shook their hands and thanked them for pulling me through 3/4 of the race!


Chip Time: 1:37:08
Overall: 260 / 1976
Age Group: 37 / 320 (The race results is kind of crappy as it doesn't show your age group place, so this is counting by hand.  This doesn't make sense as age group results is what you really care about unless you are a top finisher.)

This is a PR by 3 minutes and 2 seconds!!!!  This is a Hospital Hill Half Marathon PR by 9 minutes and 11 seconds!!!!!!!  To get a PR at Hospital Hill is pretty impressive considering it's probably the hilliest half marathon I'll ever do.

I'm extremely happy considering my training and race planning.  It makes me realize that I do mentally handicap myself because I rely so much on my training to predict my race results.  It's definitely refocusing my plan for Disneyland Half Marathon.  I will also make sure I get friendly with the pacers because that makes a huge difference when trying to work through the pain.  Plus math is hard after running for an hour.

Mega-Medal!  Three years in the making.

Shane finishing strong!

Joe VI heading to the finish line!

Sure, they have BBQ at the race but it doesn't beat Oklahoma Joe's.  Post-race Tradition!!

Instead of a shirt and sandals (which you can see last year's sandal in this photo), they gave away sweet track jackets! 

Patriotic.  Not sure why I'm posing so weird.

Walking to our cars.

Figuring out our post-race meal plans.

Love this photo!
Feel free to stop by and ask questions in the comments or hop over to Twitter to chat me there!  You can find me as @ScottyTris.