Pleasant Prairie Triathlon 2007

It was a pretty “epic” day in Pleasant Prairie.  I woke at 3:30 am to pouring rain – my father-in-law said it had rained about 3 inches over night.

Mary and I arrived in Pleasant Prairie right around 5:00 am and took the shuttle bus from the parking area to the race site.  When we got there transition was close to empty – only a few brave souls were there setting up their gear.  We heard a few people mentioning that the race director had delayed the race start and a decision on the status of the race was going to be made around 6:30.  Mary and I being a bit nutty, stayed out in the rain getting our gear set up – I really really didn’t want the race to be cancelled because then I’d have to motivate myself to go home and ride the trainer for three hours.  Plus I was really looking forward to using my new LG Rocket aero helmet for the first time.

After setting up, we went inside the fitness club that the race takes place at and hung out in the gym.  Around 6:15 the RD announced that the race was on and was going to start at 7:00.

Closer to 7:30 the gun went off for my wave sending us into the water for a mad dash.  I started off hard and was alone pretty quickly.  I made what felt like a pretty straight line for the first turn bouy, and as I made the turn I saw 3 or 4 people a couple yards behind me.  I kept up this same pace going to the second turn, and as I made it I saw that my chase group was down to 1 and was no about 20 seconds back.  I was actually surprised at how smooth and strong I felt in the water.    I finished up exiting in 18:44, my best swim time by over a minute – I was shocked to see that on my watch.

I ran hard to my rack doing my best to get my wetsuit off as much as I could – I knew that both Blake Becker and Michael Boehmer were somewhere behind me and I needed to get out on the road quickly.  As I was leaving my rack the second swimmer out was Blake – which shocked me.  Earlier this year at Rockman I beat him by ~2 minutes in a HIM swim, so to only best him by 30 seconds here was a shock, he’s really put in some yards.

I got on my bike and hammered.  For the first 5 miles or so I was really suffering, then my HR started to settle and I was able to really work a good effort.  I hit the half way point of the race right around 33 minutes – which was a bit discouraging, but also motivating.

Things kept going good until around mile 15 where I hit a bump or something and my left aerobar extension came loose – and started to rotate very easily.  If I put any weight on it, it would turn and my arm was basically resting on the basebar.  So I kept having to twist it as far to the right as I could – gingerly place weight on it – hit a bump – twist it again.  I repeated this for the last nine miles of the race.  I don’t think that it really slowed me down, but it was definately annoying.

I came off the bike in second place, about 2 minutes down to Blake Becker (he passed me around mile 6), and about 45 seconds to a minute in front of Michael Boehmer.

My only goal for this race was to have a strong run, after having very subpar runs as my last two races – I needed to get a good confidence boost about my run – this meant a sub 40 10k.  I hit the running trail telling myself that I couldn’t quit or slow down no matter how much it hurt.  I’m happy to say that although I was passed by Michael at mile 1 and Chris Wichert at mile 5 – when both guys went by me I did my best to key off them and hang tough.  I’m happy to say I did that.

In the end I crossed the timing mat in 2:02:55, a huge PR by 4:55 and good enough for 6th overall.  It broke down as (S/T/B/T/R): 18:44 – 1:02 – 1:02:10 – 1:18 – 39:43 – both the swim and the bike were huge PRs for me, and the run was my best run since Rockman in June.

Spirit of Racine 2005

Race: Spirit of Racine Half Ironman
Executive Summary – The radio DJs saying that it was a good day to be inside with the AC cranked made me chuckle.
OA – 74th
AG – 6th (I always finish out of the money)
Time: 5:05:30

Pre-Race: I got there at about 5:15 AM. Parking was easy. I got the the transition area and was happy to see that my bike was well protected by the garbage bags I had put on it from the storm. It made for one less thing to worry about. Dropped the kids off at the pool a few times, while getting my timing chip and body marked 

swim: I’m glad that I got to see the first couple waves go, it made it clear that there was a sand bar about 15m or so from shore. I lined up in the front row of my age group, and went for it at the horn. Was surprised at how quickly the first turn buoy came. So I turned and realized, man these waves are tough. Then I realized that I didn’t sight for the next bouy. Fortunately, I wasn’t that far off course. THings were pretty smooth IMO, a few waves made it interesting. I spent about the first two bouys of the straight away in someones draft. At that point he started to slow down, and we started to catch the Elite Age Groupers, so I broke away. The rest of the swim was uneventful until the turn to shore. Every time a wave came through, I felt like I was getting pulled backwards. I was the second out of the water from my starting group, but I ran past him on my wave into transition, so ended up with the fastest swim time for my AG. Was happy to see my split on the watch. +1 minute in the bank for goal time.
Time: 25:57
AG – 1st
OA – 16th

T1 – I took my time. In planning my race I wanted to be out in under two minutes. Got out in 1:30. Total time in bank 0:01:30.

Bike – The bike was uneventful. I tried to take it easy out of town. I kept it in the small chain ring up front until I got to Highway V. I figured that since it was freshly paved it would be a good spot to open it up a little. Only things I noticed on the bike: The road at the first aid station was ROUGH. Other then that nothing worse then I’m used to. The second intersting thing was that at about mile 40 I passed the eventual womens winner thinking “Man, she’s having a bad day.” Gained a little bit more for the bank ~ 3:00 minutes up on my goal pace. I put it on cruise control the last 7 or so miles once I figured I was way ahead of my goal pace.
Time: 2:35:37
AG – 8th
OA – 96th

T2 – Got in and felt fresh, ready to run a fast race. I figured that since I hadn’t gone too hard on the bike, I shoudl be able to handle the heat. Not to mention I was confident in my late day running, since I do my long run Tuesdays as my way home from work. Was a little slower then I wanted, but it averaged out with T1 to be the desired amount of transition time.

Run –
I “charged” out of transition up the hill, saw my wife and said hi, and then got to business. I planned to break the run into 4 5ks. Doing the first with about a 7:45/mile pace, building into it, and then seeing how it went from there. About 1/2 way to the zoo, Natasha blew by me going 100 mph, but I stuck to my game plan. My stomach felt a little rough, because I didn’t eat/drink quite right on the bike (got to work on that). I clipped off the first mile at 8:00, followed by #2 at 7:00, and #3 and 7:00. Once we turned on to the road with the turn around, my world exploded. My HR went from mid 150’s (high but managable for a HIM run), to mid 160’s like a rocket. I decided right then and there that I needed to switch to survival mode to finish the race. Beginning at mile marker four I began walking the first minute of each mile. THis kept me going at about 8:45 pace until the 1/2 way point. Combined with my good first 3 miles, I did the first loop in what I had termed my “acceptable” run pace. Unfortunately, I had to start adding in 30 second walks in addition to the minute walk every other mile or so on the second loop. By mile 12, I actually started to feel like I could run som emore. I don’t know if it was knowing I was almost done or what, but I started to feel a little better.
Time: 2:00:56
AG:16
OA: 192

In sum: WHile I’m disappointed with my meltdown on the run, I am happy with the experience. My bike and swim were awesome, and I finished the bike feeling fresh. I’ve come away with a strategy to do things for my next warm day race (Please don’t be IMWI), to prevent the implosion. Ultimately, I think that my IM goal time is still realistic based on what I saw from my self today.
bike: was very solid and strong

run: was going good until about 3.5 miles, then hr started to go up because of overheating.

High Cliff 2005

Summary:
What is IMOO going to feel like? “Mommy, I’m scared.”
OA: 34th
AG: 7th
Time: 4:41:41

Pre-Race:
Being that this was my first half, I was pretty nervous. The wife and I stayed at the Fairfield by the mall in Appleton. Spent the evening before putting a bike computer on her bike, mixing sports drink, and shaving my head.

The wake up call came pretty damn early at 4:00, but it didn’t occur to me to think that it was to early. Saw somebody else packing up their car in the parking lot as I was loading up. Setting up the transition area wasn’t a big deal.

Swim:
We all walked over to the marina entrance. I was in wave three. The start was a sort of deep water type start. Everybody wandered down the boat ramp and treaded water behind two buoys. Since I figured I’d probably be one of the faster swimmers in my wave I lined up at the line. Then I spent the next couple minutes floating around, and just as we were about to start, suddenly I was like four people back from the front. “What the f**k is this s**t?” I thought to myself.

The RD does her, take your marks, go bit, and away we go. Figuring I’d have some fun with the jerks who cut in front of my, I proceeded to swim right over the top of two of them, and the third tried to thrash his way around the marina to keep up with me. After about 30 seconds I had dropped him.

The rest of the swim was pretty eventful, accidentally swam up on a few people that I didn’t see as I caught up to the first two waves. When I made the turn around for home, I knew already that the course was going to be really short. But I just kept chugging along, got closer to shore and started brushing the bottom as I was swimming so I got up and started to run in. Then it got deep again, so i returned to swimming.

I finally got into the mat, and my watches split was 13:30 (Thinking okay how in the world did I miss 800 meters?), but somehow the final results put my swim at 14:22 (my wife’s was a minute slower then her watch spilt too), anyways it was fast enough to get a couple people in the crowd to say “Holy cow, he started in the third wave”.

Offical: 0:14:22 (1st OA/1st AG)

T1: Was smooth. I had no issues with it. 0:1:44

Bike:
To start off with, I had several people I train with occasionally tell me that, “You’ll love this course, it’s flat.” No way was that a flat couse, if you want my opinion it was pretty much relentless rollers. Didn’t have much recollection on the bike except for a guy on a blue Griffin bike. Man, that guy could climb hills. Me and another guy on a P3 would blow by him on the downhills and flats, but then an uphill would come and he would jsut smoke us, it was insane. I think the bike was about 1.75 miles on the long side, although looking at their web site it was advertised as a 56.7 mile course, so that would put it at a mile long. Not that big a deal I guess.

Fitness wise the bike was a piece of cake, however I can tell I haven’t pushed that much intensity in my training, my quads were screaming the whole way.

2:41:16 (75 OA/ 13 AG)

Run:
I cruised up the big (big) hill out of Transition. I had no problems with it, I can tell that my bike fitness was pretty good, I didn’t so much as feel any pain, or experience any problems transitioning to running.

My mile split at the first mile was 8:00, which I figured was pretty good for having to run up a big hill, and then the rest of it in a trail. Well mile two was about 6:00, 3 – 7:00, 4 – 6:00, 5 – 11:54. So I came to the conclusion that the mile markers were not out accurately.

Other then that it was a pretty good run, I started to really suffer (I was considering retirement from Triathlons after this race at one point) at about 6.5 miles, but I survived the rest of the way. Since it was a two loop course I was able to compare splits, and it doesn’t look like I feel off to much.

I think the run course was accurate in overall length, but just poorly measured for the markers.

1:42:59 (OA 36/AG 9)

Race Overall –

I enjoyed this race a lot. From an organization and execution standpoint, I think it was done really well. From a course layout/planning perspective, it was poor: Very short swim, tad long bike, and a very mismarked run course…

Lake Mills 2005

Well the first Tri of the year is over. I was pretty plesed with it. Especially considering I woke up to thunder and lightning here in Milwaukee, and I spent the first 20 minutes of my day sitting at weather.com and watching the radar maps!

Anways, the race was very good:
Swim: 6:51 – 1st
T1: 0:59
Bike: 40:20 – 9th
T2: 0:41
Run: 19:41 – 9th(5k PR)
Overall: 1:08:29 10th OA – 4th AG

Swim: Started in the third wave. Was good, a tad on the lond side for 1/4 mile, but not a big deal. It was my first swim with a wetsuit, and happily I didn’t notice it hampering me or making me feel awkward at all. I did forget to put body glide on, but since the swim was so short I didn’t notice anything until the last 30 seconds of the swim.

T1: LONG Run from the water to the Transition area, fortunately or unfortunately (depending on your point of view) the run was tacked onto the swim time.

Bike: Started off so-so, I forgot rubber bands to keep my shoes level, and i forgot to undo the velcro pre-race, so I lost a bit of time at the beginning. I really enjoyed this bike course, it was a huge change from what I ride at home (hilly), it made me glad for all those hours on the trainer this winter pushing a big gear. It took me a while to get my bike legs under me, so I didn’t really get a lot of speed going until after the turn around. Was happy, this was the first race where nobody passed me!!!

T2: Smooth transition.

Run: Awesome run course. Other then the little baby hill at the beginning, just flat speed. I just really, really enjoyed it. Again, first race where nobody passed me! Was amazed when the first mile was 6:12.

Overall: The breakfast burrito was great, although my wife ate most of it. Could have used more porta-potties. Looking at the results, the guys that beat me in my age group must have started in the elite wave. It’s kind of frustrating, the way I felt today, had I been in the same wave as the 3 faster guys from my age group, I think I could have mustered up enough to get at least one of them beat (at least enough for 3rd, I only needed 21 seconds)