Monday, May 26, 2014

This Week...

A relatively easy week due to recovery from KC Triathlon last Sunday.

Swim: 2,800 yards / 48:28
Bike: 97.25 / 5:54
Run: 15.42 / 2:03
Weights: 1:10

Total: 114.26 miles / 9:56

Yesterday I took off for my 25 mile bike ride (followed by 30 minutes running).  I realized after a little bit that I left my flat repair kit at home.  I decided to chance it.  I just knew I was jinxing myself.

On my way into Parkville, there is a nice downhill section on Highway 9.  I was moving about 35 miles per hour and the car in front of me slowed to turn into a cafe.  I slowed down and then noticed that another car going the other direction was making the turn in as well.  This was about 40 feet in front of me and I was still moving around 20 miles per hour.  I gripped my brakes.

I still had my carbon fiber deep dish rims on (this was my first ride on my TT bike since KC Tri and I have another race on Wednesday).  With these rims, braking is more difficult because the carbon fiber rims flex under braking pressure.

I yelled "HEEEEEEEEY!" as loud as I could and the driver stopped which gave me JUST enough time/space to swerve in front of his bumper and around in the rough patch on the side of the road.  Wheels locked, knuckles white, adrenaline rushing.  The driver did say "Sorry, partner" as I managed to regain purchase on life as I continued by.


The adrenaline stayed with me for the next 20 minutes as I flew down Highway FF/River Road.

Don't think my flat repair kit would have saved me there.

I continued for another 20 miles and returned back to that block of Parkville.  I was now faced with going up that hill that I was previously flying down.  As I was starting to gear down and head up the hill, I heard my chain get cranky and then really cranky.  I looked down and it had snapped.  Luckily I was able to unclip in time to save myself from falling in front of an old lady and her Yappy-McYaperson dog.

There's your problem!

Flat repair kit wouldn't have saved me here.  Fortunately, my phone did.  TKB soon came to my rescue.

I dropped the bike off at the Local Bike Shop (LBS) to have them install a new chain.  I'd be willing to do it myself, but this week I have a ...

Time Trial Race!
I'm returning to Kansas Speedway on Wednesday to do two laps (3 miles) in the Corporate Challenge Bike Race.

I want the LBS to make sure it is installed OK because I didn't want to have chain issues at high torque during the race

I did this race last year and it was a blast.  Now that I am a bit more experienced with Time Trials (I did two so far this year organized by Coach Ken), I think I'll do better.  I will also be using my race wheels, which should help.  Again, the concern is the weather.  The forecast is scattered thunderstorms but very little wind!  Last year it was crazy windy.  I hope that this all adds up to a sub-7 minute three miles.

Monday, May 19, 2014

2014 Kansas City Triathlon Race Report

The weather outlook was looking fabulous, compared to last year.  No thunderstorms on the radar.  The only minor concern was hopping into the car with the thermometer reading 39 degrees.

We arrived at the race site around 5:30.  I purchased the VIP pass this year, so there was no need to arrive this early for the purpose good parking.  The purpose was to get the $200 worth of credit to Ultramax and Elite Cycling.  The post-race grub and other swag was nice for the VIP people tho. Speaking of swag, this race gives you a ton of it VIP or not with 2 race shirts, headphones, hand towel, water bottle, trainer bike blanket, and probably more.  I'd be just fine if they would cut down on the swag to make the race cheaper.  Anyway...

I had my transition area mostly setup by 6:15 after chatting with tons of friends from work, twitter, MTC, and all over.  Quite different than when I did this the first time and really knew no one racing that day.

Transition area.  Getting smaller and less congested.  I promise.
At 6:30 I started to put on my wetsuit.  The temps were chilly but as soon as I did that, I never noticed any chill until after the race.

Once transition closed at 7:00, it was time to head over to the beach.

Erik, the blind, Kevin waiting for the race to start amongst the superhero convention. (Joke credit: TKB)
My wave was set to leave around 7:36.  Since I elected to not warm up in the water, I wasn't exactly sure what was waiting for me.  I swam Wednesday night at the lake, so I knew it was going to be a bit on the cold side but manageable.

Swim - 1,500 meters
I was lined up about 4 rows back.  I felt my swimming had improved enough to earn the right to stand with the bigger boys (but maybe not the BIG boys).  Once the horn blew, the rush to the water began.  I ran until I got about mid-thigh and dove in.  Taking a cue from something I read, I made sure to blow out as my face entered the water to lessen the cold shock to the face and it worked.  I got into a groove pretty quickly and didn't have to fight too much.

The sun was in my face and I struggled a little to site the buoys until the first turn.  I kept people on the left and right, so felt I was OK to stay in my current line.  I was concerned more about my goggles.  They were new but I did about 4 swims with them prior.  They would always leak at some point until I adjusted them into the sweet spot.  I ended up not having any issues at all, so that was comforting.

I focused on my form as we've been learning in masters swim class lately and kept pulling myself through the water.  I felt like I was passing a lot of people in my wave, then wave #2, and then the first wave.

In the final 1/3 of the swim I started thinking through my transition... and then my bike.  I remembered something that I had forgotten.  My bento box.... which had my bike nutrition.  For as well as I plan my packing, I couldn't believe I'd miss something this simple.  In my over preparation, I remember putting Gu and a cliff bar in my transition bag, which is right next to the bike.  I would just grab that on my way out of transition.

Soon my fingertips scrapped the sand and I stood up and started running to the shore (next time I may swim a little further though before getting up).

I'm actually taking off my watch right here.  It's just easier to get the suit off and plenty of time to do so.
Looks like walking, feels like walking. #XterraTrampStamp
Time: 25:55 / 1:44 per 100 meters pace
Age Group: 11 out of 68

I missed my goal by 55 seconds but I'm still happy with that pace.  My form felt great throughout.

Transition - Swim to Bike
This turned out to be way too long for what I would want it to be.  The wetsuit added to it, sure, but dealing with my shoes is not something I want to be doing in the transition area.  The buckles are too complicated to deal with on the bike.  New bike shoes will be in my future... someday.

I need a photo blanket of all my "Poop" race faces.
On Thursday Coach Ken gave tips on mounting your bike out of T1.  He said to practice "driving" your bike from the seat.  Guess I need to heed that advice and didn't realize it...

I elected not to put on the arm warmers that I had laid out.  Turns out to be a smart move.

Time: 3:36

Bike - 40k
Two loops that included some good hills and six 180 degree turns total.  Knowing that, I still hoped for a 22.5 mph average. I saw Coach Ken on the first 180 degree turn.  He gave a little encouragement as in "this is a race, get moving!".  Maybe he didn't appreciated me posing for this photo:

As JoeVI said, the most metal on that bike was my left hand...
I found myself pushing to pass people, which there were a lot of them.  I did get passed by a few people who were absolutely rolling.  With the uphills, I took advantage of the flats as much as possible. In the longest stretch, I hit nearly a 25 mph average over a 5 mile split.  The other splits weren't so fast but kept me close to my goal.

There were a couple scary points where someone wiped out in front of me on the bike near a rough patch around the bridge following a HUGE downhill.  I didn't see him fall, but was just far out enough to avoid him.  Be safe people.

I came into the finish with a flying dismount right at the line.

Time: 1:06:07 / 22.5 mph
Age Group: 5 out of 68

Nailed the goal and happy with the placement within the age group.  I guess my cycling is doing better than I thought it would, at least compared to others in my age group.

Transition - Bike to Run
As I was running my bike to my rack, I heard the dismount line monitor yelling to the race official.  I thought maybe I had gotten a little too close and incurred a penalty!  Eek!

Again, this needs to be faster. I had some issues with my right shoe putting it on.  Probably added an extra 5 - 10 seconds.  Argh.

Time: 1:33

Run - 10k
Let's do this.  This is where I was hoping to shine.  I knew my legs wanted to run but how bad did I beat them up during the bike?

Starting the first or second lap.  #PoopFace

I felt like a sloth coming out of T2 but my watch was registering sub-7 pace going up the hill out of the transition.  One thing I noticed was the temp was starting to rise.  I was not cold at all on the bike, so very happy with my decision to leave the arm sleeves on the ground during T1.

The first loop was relatively quiet in terms of athletes on the course.  A few people passed me and I overtook quite a few.  Couldn't remember the exact number.  On lap two it was full of people, mostly from the sprint race.  It was great because it provided a steady stream of fish to hook and pass.

My pace was feeling good and almost always under 7.  I remember back in 2011 during the Jackson County Triathlon at the same location hoping to hit my last mile as 7 minute pace.  I was hitting all of these under 7. My run fitness has come a long way.

My right foot was bugging me a bit but it was related to the issues I was having with my shoe in transition.  It wasn't bugging me enough to slow me down though.

I turned the corner and was happy to take the route into the finish line this time.  I heard cheers from TKB and pushed it to the end!

Heading towards the finish!  #PoopFace #ChickenWings

Time: 41:41 / 6:44 pace
Age Group: 8 out of 68

Nice!  Beat my goal pace by 1 second per mile pace!


Love this photo.

For one, no #PoopFace by default.
Second, my stride does not indicate my right foot flailing off to the side.
Time: 2:18:49
Age Group: 6 out of 68
Overall: 32 out of 298

I hit my top 10 finish but also top 10%!  This is also a 21 minute PR!

After talking with MTC Team members for a bit, TKB noticed Kristen was coming down the finish chute!  She was completed her first triathlon today and did an amazing job!  Sounds like she might have caught the bug!  Not too much longer and Erik crossed the finish finishing his first triathlon!  Erik is doing Chicago Triathlon with us.  I suggested he considering doing a local one first before that massive triathlon and within 30 minutes he had registered for KC Tri.  Glad he had a great time out there!

Kevin from work completed his first Olympic distance triathlon today in preparation for Chicago Triathlon.  He had a strong finish today as well!  Looks like we've got a great team for Chicago!

Congrats to all the MTC'ers out there!  I never realized how many of them were out there until I dawned the team jersey too.

A couple notes.

  • I did not get a penalty at the dismount line but the fact that they actually had USAT officials on the race course was pretty awesome.  
  • I did take a couple Gu gels with me on the bike but apparently when taking one I dropped my second one.  I don't think it hurt me in the end but I would have taken the second one near the end of my bike.  I made sure to drink some extra calories tho.
  • My stomach bothered me a little on the run but apparently not enough to remember how bad.
  • Post-race had water, oranges, bananas and near-beer.  There was probably an electrolyte drink as well but it was likely in 5 gallon jugs.  Consider the price, they could have had some more options.  We did partake in the Zarda BBQ as part of the VIP "experience" which also had some bagels.
  • I better go ahead and post this now so I can go to bed.... GOOD NIGHT!  Thanks for reading!

Race Prep.  Bento box is by the bike shoes... *sigh*
Just a few of the MTC'ers out there.

You know, hanging out with a World Triathlon Champion Kelly Dippold on my right.  Her son is racing on my Corporate Challenge Triathlon team. #FamilyNameDropped

Hanging out with Erik pre-race.

Hanging out with Erik and Kristen post-race.

Please don't look at Kristen's bib.  I said DON'T look at her bib. 
Chatting with a  bunch of Tri-peeps.

Love Erik's smile!

Does he ever stop smiling?  Not when he is levitating....

Kristen in the red cap on the left stripping for all to see....

Friday, May 16, 2014

KC Triathlon Race Preview

I'm finally returning to the site of my first triathlon... again.  Last year it was cancelled just before the swim start due to storms.  Can't say I was that disappointed because it was snowing a few weeks earlier.  I know, I know... stop complaining about the weather.  I did my ironman with temps starting in the mid-30s.

So my goals?  Top 10 age group for sure.  Top 10% age group even better (assuming less than 100 participants in my age group).  Considering my recent marathon focus, my focus on cycling training hasn't been the priority over the previous four months and I have a feeling it will show compared to the others in my age group.  I'm still going to try to crush it nonetheless.  My run should shine and my swimming should see some major gains this year.  On Sunday I did an Open Water Swim (OWS) with Kevin and Kristen.  While the water was very turbulent, I felt like my stroke was keeping form.  Even at Wednesday's supported OWS (put on by Coach Ken and Midwest Triathlon Coaching), my form felt pretty spot on compared to a pool.  It helped that the water was extremely calm.

Swim: 1:40 / 100 meters : 25 minutes
Bike: 22.5 mph : 1 hour, 7 minutes
Run: 6:45 pace : 42 minutes
Transitions: 3 minutes

Total: 2 hours, 16 minutes

Looking at that, it would put me in a top 5 age group place based on the last time this course was completed (2012).  In 2012, this was one of the first races in the WTC 5150 series, so the competition was much higher.  It's no longer part of that series.  The bike goal may be rather lofty considering my comments above.

While many are complaining about the weather, I'm taking it as a good thing to keep me from overheating.

All that being said, this race will set me up for my "A" race in August, the Chicago Triathlon.  It will be my baseline to improve upon over the next 3 months.  A 2:16 finish would be over a 20 minute PR at this distance.  I'm stoked about the challenge!

Monday, May 5, 2014

KC Corporate Challenge 5k 2014

No rest for the race-y.

We've entered the KC Corporate Challenge "olympics".  While it officially kicked off over a week ago, my first event was on Saturday with the 5k.  This marks my 3rd year participating in the event with my previous results of 22:41 (2012), and 20:28 (2013).  In 2013 the race as moved from Shawnee Mission Park to Ward Parkway.  Ward Parkway may lack the quantity of hills but it makes up in quality.  It has a nice long, extended hill over the first 1.5 miles.

I was on my own for this race (no TKB), so I took off around 6am to arrive around 6:30am to hangout with Bryan (the 5k and half marathon coordinator, as well as a big trail nerd) before the race.

We were trying to get a good group photo but it seemed like every time someone showed up, someone else would leave.  Finally about 7:10am we took one with whoever was there at the time.

Stolen from Bryan's Facebook Page

I wanted to spend a good 15 minutes warming up before getting in the starting corral.  I did some easy running and then strides before officially making my way into the start corral.

I lined up about 5 feet into the start corral of the 1st wave where I found Damien, who I worked for a few years ago.  I worked for him when I started picking up this running thing back in 2011.

This year was the first year they did corrals and they moved the first corral up about 100 feet before releasing us but, once they did, it was on!

1st Mile
I lost Damien in the mass of people in front of me pretty quickly.  He's always been faster than me and I didn't want to get swept up with his pace.  While I didn't have a goal for this race (not even set a PR), I figured I'd see how close I could get to 19:00, which required a 6:06 pace.  My first mile was 6:09, so a bit off.  The hill started to really pick up near the end, unfortunately, my pace did  not.

2nd Mile
I could see another DST'er in front of me, Scott (good name).  Once again, another guy who is faster than me but I decided to stay not too far from him.  Around 1.5 miles we turned around and started enjoying the downhill portion of that stupid hill.  Damage was done though: 6:26.  Sub-19 is out of hand unless I really kick it down this hill.  Unfortunately, I was breathing so loud I couldn't think.

3rd Mile
Thunk, thunk, thunk... go the feet.  Long strides, Scott, long strides!  It really didn't matter that we were going down hill, everything hurt.  Pretty soon I felt someone passing me and it was another company runner, Jeremy.  I would definitely consider him the fastest of everyone from my company, so was feeling somewhat good that he had just now passed me!  He's one of our track stars and has an amazing kick to bring him to the finish.  My kick isn't as amazing but I did go under 6 minutes for this mile, 5:59 (just barely, but I did!).

.1 miles
Please... let this be over!

19:20 --- new 5k Personal Record (by 1 second)!!

Jeremy (18:59) and Scott (19:02) did fabulous.  Jeremy must have snuck in at the last moment.  I actually came in before Damien (19:59) but he's been fighting an Achilles injury for a few months.  He would have blown me out of the water normally, even with my 68 second improvement over last year.  Of course everyone did amazing on Saturday with our 25+ participants!

Overall: 60
Age Group/Division: 6th... nabbed a few extra points for the team!

The Proof
More Team DST peeps.  Scott is in the middle (blue shirt) and Jeremy is on the other guy in a blue shirt.
Bryan is in the blue stocking cap.

I stole this off of Scott's FB page.  I must have been warming up at this point.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Weekly Training Update

Training is back into full swing after the marathon.  This means triathlon training!

Swim: 5,808 yards / 3 hours
Bike: 90 miles / 5 hours, 30 minutes
Run: 22 miles / 2 hours, 43 minutes
Strength: 1 hour, 40 minutes
Total: 116 miles / 12 hours, 44 minutes

Cycling miles are way up and that is awesome!  While 30+ miles were on the trainer, I was able to enjoy some beautiful weather outside.  I finally got back to my Masters Swim class this week (I had been away for about 2 months due to work obligations and then tapering for Kentucky Derby Festival Marathon).

I'm also spending more time in the weight room... finally!

Latest Tests
This week I tested out two changes to my triathlon setup:
  1. Going sockless on the run
  2. Attaching shoes to the bike and putting my feet in them as I start my ride.

Both of which are known to improve transition times.  So far going sockless has been a success with my new Mizuno Sayonara shoes.  I put some baby powder in them to aid in comfort and smell, although starting my run smelling like a baby's butt isn't that appealing!  I have done two runs immediately after cycling to try them out and I also went san-socks at the Corporate Challenge 5k event (write-up coming tomorrow).  I've done miles of 2.1 miles, 3.1 miles (race), 4.1 miles (not sure what's up with the .1 consistency) and so far no issues.

The cycling change may not make it to races yet.  My cycling shoes have two velcro straps and a strap that sort of buckles in.  It seems to take too long to get my feet in them while riding at a few MPH.  So I may leave that change until I get true triathlon cycling shoes that have less straps.

Upcoming Week
Should be a good week.  I'm headed back to the Downtown Airport on Tuesday to participate in MTC's 3 lap time trial.  On Wednesday, I'm doing a triathlon/duathlon tryout for my KC Corporate Challenge Triathlon/Duathlon team!  I think it's going to be awesome!

Speaking of which... I better get my race wheels installed.... 

Something New
I'd like to formally welcome my wife to the blog-o-sphere (technically we had a blog many years ago, but it sort of went defunct once twitter/facebook grew and it stopped working... I wrote the software for it).  

Please visit Friday Pies and follow her journey to feed my triathlon training and racing... ha!