Monday, July 19, 2010

Strawberry Fields: A Race Report

Wow, what a day. Picture this 70 degrees sun out, not a cloud in the sky, windfloating off the ocean, and BAM! Your hit with the wonderful smell of strawberries.

Strawberry Fields triathlon in Oxnard, CA. Just south of Santa Barbara and north of Santa Monica. Gorgeous. We did the Olympic distance. 1500 m swim, 20 (ish) mile bike, and 6.2 mile run. Here is how it breaks down:

Since this was my wife's and our dear friend andrea' (andi) first attempt at the olympic distance and all 3 of our first ocean swim, we though we would get there early and check out the water. So glad we did. This race is a triathletes race. No fluff, no corporate sponsor no funny business , just speed. There was a small and intimate expo with not a whole lot of stuff but nice. It was set up at Oxnard beach park and what a nice park it was. Saturday and all had tons of non-triathlete types barbecuing and jump housing. So it made it fun. Then there is the practice swim. This is where we realize what we are in for. At the time there was 6 foot swells and crashing about. Just get past the break. Easier said than done. Oh and when you are swimming to shore you still have to manage the waves, they sneak up on you. lets just say my sinuses are rinsed. After surveying the scene I decided to modify my race strategy. Get as much out of the swim as possible, kick ass on the bike as it is flat as flat can be, and hold on to the run. Since I have been trying to train that way I felt totally prepared.

SWIM: Goal: 35:00, actual 41:15 (+6:15)

The good news is the waves were smaller in the am. Bad news not that smaller. From 6 foot or so to 4 or so. TURBULENT. The swim required every bit of swimming skill and fitness I have. I am proud to say I can swim anywhere now. The only thing harder might be alcatraz or something crazy like that. Anyone? Hard swim somewhere? Anyway some strokes were completely out of the water and totally useless while I ride a wave and some sighting was absolutely nothing. Some sights had everything but what did I just see? So it was a challenge. The good news is the garmin shows slight deviations but not a zig zag pattern way off course. I did not have any trouble with other swimmers or anything. Attached to this swim was a 0.5 run/walk/stumble out of the water onto deep sand. Wobbly any one? If I swam in the ocean more often I think I can preform better but since I dont I am happy with that. I have never had shoulder soreness from swimming this distance. My shoulders are sore today for sure.

T1: Goal 4 min, actual 3:18 (+ 5:27 overall off my goal)

Experience with the same equipment is the key. I had a little trouble with my tri jersey cought on my HR monitor, lol. Overall happy. I like transition on grass.

Bike: Goal 1:30, actual 1:12:53 (-11:31 off my goal)

This bike is in the shape of a boxy letter B. One u turn, and 2 laps. Once I get on my bike I thought CRAP, there isnt supposed to wind out here. This was supposed to be flat and no wind. A cross wind for most of it. Oh well make due. I wanted to average 20 mph. I busted my ass. There was only one climb and it was only 100 feet or so and then followed by a long fun downhill to the exit or start of the 2nd lap. I actually averaged 18.4 mph. I think when I computed my goal I though it would be 25 miles it was a little more than 21 I think. Yeah 21.56. The race reports on the race site have mixed measurements. My goal was to max out the bike. I am limited by my leg strength. My HR ave zone 4.6 (86% of my max) or 159 bpm. I tried to keep 80-90 rpm on the biggest gear I could. It was a blast. There were some dudes with RIDICULOUS bikes out there. I passed a lot of people. Some with nice bikes in aero position. I was proud of that. There was a scenery or strawberry fields for probably 1/2 the bike course. It smelled so awesome. Nice ride.

T2: Goal 4 min, actual 2:43 (-15:14 overall off my goal)

Can be faster but I had to put socks on and my feet were still sandy. Should I put my socks on over sand? Baseball has prepared me for that. Go for it. hat on number on off I go.

Run: Goal 60 min, actual 1:07:06

I have reading a lot lately about "triathlon" running vs running alone.
Main difference? Running strength or economy. I though about that the whole time, why? Because I aint got none, lol. This is my biggest weakness right now. I am too easy to walk. If I am going to start to compete I HAVE to get better at this. The slowest run of my category. It was pretty though. Out and back a few times on the beach sidewalk with some beach houses thrown in. The residents out with hoses and cheers. It was nice. I did start to get some cramping in the L quad but I am able to keep it at bay now and I am able to fight trough it. I am sure that will come in handy in NOV. This run was so flat a net elevation gain of 54 feet. In las vegas you cannot go a 1/2 mile flatter than that in any direction. The only real issue was hot spot on the ball of the my left foot and later felt gritty from the sand. Funny.

Overall: A Goal was smash my actual goal and beat 3 hours. B goal was actual. 3:13 when everything gets added up. Actual was 3:07:16. Beat my actual goal by 6 min. Good enough for 3rd in the Clydesdale division. Who cares if there was only 5 competitors in my category. If I was racing with my age group I would have been 46/48. Thats not that great. Now my age group also had the 3rd overall male and he flew. Will I ever run a 38 min 10K? That is beat my current PR by 20 min? That is a lot and I hope that is the progression I am on. Sure my 5K pr is 8 min faster than when I first started running and if I double that then that would be about the change I am going to have to make. The 1st guy to have a 10K over the hour mark is 33/48, so it was a fast race. It is a new PR for me at this distance but it seems not comparable. The hills and runs that I have raced on at this distance are a completely different race. It was a PR of 23:33 at this distance. My PR streak for 2010 is still intact.

Marathon bar:
I gave out 10 boxes of bars. 5 protein and 5 energy. I met another athlete Carlos. I also saw him out on the road too. It was nice to talk to another athlete. We didnt have much time together though. I had all positive feedback. A couple of people came up to me and struck marathon
bar conversation. Everything thinks that its a fun and cool thing to spread the word of what an active lifestyle can do. Average Joe triathletes
who are above average citizens. I am comfortable with that. I would like to be faster though. Here are some pics of the weekend.

Congrats to Julie and Andi on stellar performances in their Olympic distance debuts. Julie actually had the 4th fastest swim among all women in her age group and the fastest in the athena category. Andi had the 7th fastest run among females in her age group. WE get her some bike fitness and a decent bike and she will make some noise.

I am on the clock with SILVERMAN. A few days rest, then the build to Silverman. BRING IT. Quote:

"I think they should put a warning label on strawberries: 'Caution: tastes nothing like a strawberry milkshake'." — Ryan Kaplan.

But boy they smell delicious and right of the vine....PRICELESS

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Me Vs the Sisters, 2010: Ron 3-sisters 0

So my A race this year is the silverman 1/2 iron again. Voted by Triathlete magazine as one of the 3 hardest races in the world. The reason is mostly the bike course. The pros have commented that if it was an IM event it would be hardest race course on the circuit. It is also the race course for the ITU 2011 World Championships. Got it? Its "challenging." One of the reasons it is challenging is around 40-45 mile mark or 100-105 mile mark for the full is a set o3 climbs called the 3 sisters. Last year I had 8 (count em) 8 training rides and the 9th was the race itself. I climbed one sisters one time. On the race I saved my energy and didnt even attempt them. I am not happy or proud about that. In fact, I remember the loads of people there who had looks on their face that was less than impressed at the race last year. I am probably projecting that onto myself but I was embarrassed. That isnt happening this year. I took one step towards that this week. Here is how my week went. This week was difficult or several reasons. No excuses just life. Heat, my wife (who is a twin) birthday WEEK started, and slight taper for Strawberry Fields next week.

Tuesday-Softball started back up.
Wednesday-Hills....climbed all 3 sisters. I even kept 9 mph or faster on them. I am pumped. 16.4 miles in 1:20 elevation gain 1064 ft. Can I do it after climbing lakeshore and northshore? Thats another question. But this small victory builds confidence. As I look back on this time last year I am going longer and faster. After Strawberry Fields I am going to start going very long out by the lake. I did have some slight cramping and fatigue. I wasnt hydrated or nourished like I should be for this ride. My first midweek big ride. It was nice and hot too.
Thursday-Pushed a swim.
Saturday-Long run of 8 miles in 1:28. I wanted long and slow. Thats what I got. It was nice and hot out with some humidity too. My mind is playing tricks on me. I have to work on my mentation. Funny how that is the hardest thing about this whole triathlon thing. I would like to mention that Julie (my wife) and Andi (best friend-in-law) are more than prepared for an olympic race on Sunday. I am pumped that it will be my first REAL Marathon bar event. I will be geared up with bars/coupons to hand out. It will be a challenging swim. My first open water OCEAN swim. What will the current be like? What will the waves be like? Salt water? I am shooting for 35ish min. The bike will be flat and fast. I am shooting for under 1:30. As close as I can to 20 mph. The run will be flat and fast too. Sub 60 min? Whole thing under 3? Should be fun. There is a possibility there will not be a medal and wife is gonna freak out. There is a compression sock giveaway going on here. I have been researching these garments and the literature is mixed. Some say they help with recovery, some say they dont, they all say they do not help with performance. I would like to review some, so I hope I win. Quote:

After climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.
Nelson Mandela

What hills have you climbed?

Monday, July 5, 2010

The Importance of Recovery

Because I sure feel what happens without it. This last month has been extremely taxing. Thank God everything is positive. Life stress, traveling, work stress, lack of sleep, and no stop in training has taken its toll. A personal, physical toll. Since this is a training diary I am going to get into what has happened this last 2 weeks as far as training. The running part of Ragnar is the easy part. It took a lot out of me. I was exhausted for the next week following that wonderful experience.

Tuesday-Swim easy 800 m. No data.
Wednesday-Hill repeats on the bike. Stopped short secondary to my wife getting hit by a car. She was fine and it was a slow so no biggy. Just shook up.
Thursday-Travel to KC
Friday-3 mile run in hot/sticky KC. I sweat like I ran 10 miles.
Sunday-6 mile run in hot and STICKY KC. Did I mention the humidity? I dont know how you folks train in that. I will take 100 plus any day.

Out late and up early. My body starts to tell me to rest. My knee hurts, my back hurts, and my R foot is killing me.

Tuesday-4 mile run. Killed my foot.
Wednesday-Long swim. I lost the data but 2000 m in 52:23. Very slow and I didnt want to be there. Lifted legs.
Thursday-Went out to the lake and thought may be I would get a swim/bike brick in. But when entering the water my wife got something stuck in her foot. Glass or a shell or something. Went and had it removed. Picking, digging, scalpel, and tweezers. She is OK and is stressing about her string of bad luck. No fever, no complications. Push training.
Friday-Rest for big weekend, ended up staying up too late.
Saturday-Woke up and was trashed. My legs were very very sore from lifting legs on WED. Really? What is wrong with me. Decided to move things around. Modified the schedule to include intervals in the water. 1000 m of 4 lap wu, 3 on, 2 off, 3 on, 2 off, 3 on, and 3 cd. The on laps were 3:21, 3:26, and 3:38. I can feel the speed coming back. I feel very strong in the water.
Sunday-Long ride. We were shooting for 50 miles. We ended up with 30. My wife was not feeling the wind. Long easy 30 mile ride out to Jean.
Monday-Bike/run Brick. 15 mile bike and 6 mile run. Got it in. Not fast or anything.

Whew up to speed. I was not going to bed early enough. I am not doing enough leg strengthening. Its good my eating has been good and my weight has stayed the same. I have a couple of blog posts in mind and they will come soon. Also, my blog will be getting spruced up when I get my iPhone 4. More pics and some videos to come. Quote:

“Great is the power of habit. It teaches us to bear fatigue and to despise wounds and pain.”
Marcus Tullius Cicero