June 20, 2011

Triceratops Tri - The first official triathlon

Last Wednesday was the Triceratops Triathlon, sponsored by Running Fit. It's part of a three event series throughout the summer (each cleverly named after a dinosaur). I went into the event thinking of it as a training opportunity for the Steelhead half Ironman. I wanted to make sure that all my transitions were down pat and to get some experience at a real USAT sanctioned event. The TRex series, as they're known, are a little different in that they take place on Wednesday evenings. The weekend before I had biked 50 miles and then ran a bunch and I knew that the next weekend I'd be running 11 miles. So, I planned to take it very easy during this triathlon. In fact, my goal for swimming was to go as slowly as possible.

Getting to the race was a little challenging because it started at 6pm. This meant I had to pack everything the night before and then my wife picked me up from work and we went straight to Brighton (with a stop at Jimmy Johns for some pre-race fuel).

I finished the swim portion and felt great. I was out of breath but the lake was really nice for swimming (no seaweed!). The first transition went well, though I got a few odd looks. I was there to practice my half Ironman transitions so I had a ridiculous amount of gear and nutrition for a sprint triathlon. Never the less, I pushed on and got on the bike.

June 15, 2011

Random pics from the commute to work

A few photos from a lovely ride to work.

Waiting for a light to change. Notice that glowing disc in the upper-left corner of the photo? It's a rare sighting of sunshine!

vroom, vroom!

June 10, 2011

13.5, the magical number

I'm finding many challenges in training for the Steelhead half Ironman.  One of them is finding a biking pace that will allow me to run 13.1 miles after having biked 56 miles. If I were just doing 56 miles on bike as a single event I'd aim for an average speed somewhere between 15 and 20 miles per hour depending on the course conditions. But if I did that during Steelhead I think I'd fall over after the first mile of running. So, I've been playing around with tempo and pace during my longer rides. One would think that it should be easier to go slower, but my inner cyclist finds it especially challenging not to go as fast as I'm capable of going. First I tried 15 mph, but that was a bit too much for the legs. Then I tried 10 mph and that was way too slow. Recently I discovered that 13 - 14 mph is the magical pace that I can sustain easily for 56 miles and still have some left over for a half marathon. I'll still have my challenges during the run, but at least I've found a workable tempo. Hopefully with some summer speed drills I'll be able to bring it up to 15 mph, but 13.5 mph would put me in at just over 4 hours for biking, which makes my goal of completing the 70.3 in under 8 hours seem that much more doable.

June 8, 2011

Open water swim, take two

This weekend the wife and I did another open water swim at the in-law's house on the lake and I'm happy to report that I did not freak out. How did I go from The Great Freakout to just fine in one week? Mostly through reflection and mental preparation. For example, I realized that most of my irrational freakout came from visual triggers. So, I worked on closing my eyes when my face is down in the water and then open for sighting when out of the water to breathe. I also had all my proper swimming gear this time, so that helped narrow down the things that were unfamiliar. The biggest challenge I still have is with sighting and navigation. I did far better this time, but sighting on something that is in front of me (the cottage on the opposite side of the lake) is proving more difficult than something beside me.

For the purposes of disambiguation, I took some video of the seaweed we had to swim through during a boat ride this weekend.

June 4, 2011

Transition testing

Spent some time this morning working on transitions. I mocked up a little transition area for myself in the in-law's garage at the lake and gave it a try. First I went out in the lake (with wet suit this time). Then I came back and timed myself as I changed into my biking equipment. Then I went down the street and back on the bike and hopped off for transition two. Got into the running gear and ran down the street again. The transitions went well and I did them a lot faster than I thought I would have. Guess all that time watching triathletes on YouTube helped ;)

T1: 2:06
T2: 1:21