Archive for the ‘Race Report’ Category

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Final Tune Up

May 25, 2009

This weekend was my last minute tuneup before starting to taper for Rev3. I found out that some of my friends were planning on doing a road race down on Cape Cod, and since I was already planning on getting a long run in, I figured I might as well join and have some company while I run.

There was a 5k,  7.2 miler and a half marathon all on the same morning. One college buddy was doing the 5k, and two others were doing the 7.2 miler. I was left doing the half all by myself, but at least I had some familiar faces to run through the pre-race routine with and I had a guaranteed cheering section once I came through the finish line, so I was happy.

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Since it was a last minute addition to the training plan, I got some advice from coach to help with my race day game plan. Much to my dismay, he nixed the idea of tapering, but I at least had a few mental touch points to run through in my head while racing.

Don’t taper for it.  Just treat it like a regular run.  Definitely enjoy yourself, pay attention to nutrition, and especially pay attention to the ups and downs you feel as the race goes on.  Notice how after a down, there’s an up.  You must train yourself to not give in to the downs and to not go too hard during the ups.  Don’t get caught up in the moment and pay attention to yourself.  Do this and you’ll have an amazing run “experience” no matter how it goes and you’ll learn a lot about how you run.

It was pretty cloudy and cool, but was perfect weather for a run. The wind kicked up and almost blew me backwards as we ran along the beach during 4 or 5 times along the course, but otherwise it was a perfect day to race. I stuck almost exactly to an 8:50 pace all the way through mile 5 and gently cranked up the pace all the way to the finish.

Minus some cramping around mile 10 (which was helped out after I gumped down some water at the next aid station), everything went amazingly smooth. My favorite part about taking the first part of the race a little easy is all the people that you get to pass during the second half of the race! I made a point of cheering on anyone who looked like they were bonking and were walking, but every other person was my rabbit. I picked out anyone with a bright colored shirt (or crazy purple/animal print skirt in once case) off in the distance and slowly tried to reel them in.

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And once again, the race plan worked like a charm! I crossed the finish line in 1:48:43 (unofficial). That averages to a 8:17 pace. That is almost two minutes faster than pretty much the same course in February, and without a taper. Sa-WEEEEEEEEEET!

And the best thing about this race? I topped it off with a nice dip in the ocean to cool off the legs and some cold beers.

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And with one more hard workout/race in the books, I enter Taper Land. Population: ME!

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Indoor Time Trial Time

March 23, 2009

This weekend me and two of my Wheelworks Multisport teammates signed up for the indoor computrainer time trial at the Multisport World Expo in Cambridge.

Coach Brett and I decided that this would be a good test of my fitness that I could hopefully use it as a benchmark for how I’m responding to all the training through the rest of the season. It also gave me a good idea of how much I could actually blame on my bike. My road bike isn’t exactly built for speed and it was a great way to get myself on a level playing field with other guys who are rocking carbon tri bikes that cost thousands more than my bike and weigh half as much. This race was all about legs and lungs baby!

But the thing about the indoor time trial is that it isn’t just some spectators, a few other athletes and me sweating our brains out for 10k. It is right in the middle of a huge multisport expo floor! So if you bonk, finish miles behind the rest of the riders in your heat, or make the mistake of wearing that pair of tri shorts that chlorine has eaten all but a few strands of spandex and bare your back side to a few hundred very close new friends, everyone knows. Instantly. All of your data is projected on a big screen for everyone to see. Watts. Speed. Distance behind the next rider. EVERYTHING.

Pic stolen from my Wheelworks team mate Sara. I’m not in this heat, but it at least gives you an idea of the setup.

Normally I’m not all that self conscious and have gotten used to most of my friends seeing me in varying amounts of spandex on a regular basis, but having all my stats broadcast onto the big screen instantly was a bit uncomfortable. But by the time the butterflies came, it was too late to even pay attention to them. I saddled up and before I knew it, we were off.

My feet started flying and I was really pushing the cadence. That was until one of the guys that was running the race came over and let me know that apparently the computrainer works better with a lower cadence around 85. After a few gear shifts and coming down from closer to 105 rpm, I was settled in to a good pace and found myself in fourth place out of eight. I was completely clueless about pacing for such a short race, but decided that for such a short race, if it didn’t hurt at least a little, I probably wasn’t going hard enough.

After some rolling hills and switching up my wattage, I figured anything under 275 didn’t hurt enough, and stuck with that as my target. I tried to only pay attention to that, mainly because there were a billion other numbers on my performance being projected on the screen and I could have gone into overload. Eventually, I realized that I was only a little while back from third place, and had him in my sights. He looked like he was hurting a lot more than I was, so I kept pushing it, took him down and held it through the end.

WOOT WOOT!

I didn’t have any expectations for this race, but just wanted to to give a really hard effort and analyze some of the stats. Given that I got a new max HR and that if the race was a mile longer, I would have thrown up everywhere, it was a good day. Here are my race stats.

Distance: 6.03 miles

Time: 15:56:09

Avg speed: 22.7

Avg watts: 283

Place (overall): 25 (74 overall)

Avg HR: 174

Max HR: 189

While I can’t prove it, I am sure that I wouldn’t be able to finish that strong this time last year. I’m totally psyched to start racing OUTSIDE!

UPDATE: Apparently I beat Karen Smyers by 20 seconds according to the official results. I can only imagine that she wasn’t giving it her all, but either way, it is a nice ego boost. 🙂 She is pretty hard core.

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Race Report: Hyannis Half Marathon

February 22, 2009

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

or “Plan the race, race the plan.”

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Let the 2009 racing season begin internet people! This morning was the first race of the season and my first stand alone half marathon ever. The weather report was sketchy all week and had me checking a half dozen Web sites several times per day. Reports went back and forth from predicting rain or snow (I was rooting for snow because there are few things worse than mid 30’s and raining). This morning the forecast finally turned to rain, but not until the afternoon. With a 10am start time, it would give me just enough time to cross the line safely before the downpours started. WOOT. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

Sam and I drove down to Cape Cod bright and early. I sucked down a GU about 45 minutes before race time and all lights went green. Game On.

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Me walking to the starting line. I look pretty angry, but I guess that is what my “Game Face” looks like.

Shivering Hyannis Starting Line

I’m all bundled up and still shivering, but people are still rocking shorts? Seriously?!?

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The all important last minute, err.., adjustments.

Since I had already departed from my faithful “play it by ear” race strategy with a mile-by-mile outline of my goal mile splits, I decided to keep with the trend and tape the mile splits to my arm. I covered it in clear tape just in case it started to rain. Since my running fitness has come a LONG way since the last time that I raced, I didn’t have a clear idea yet of what I’m capable of, and I laid out pretty conservative goals, I only planned on using each split as a general estimate and went on perceived exertion more than actual pace.

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The Game Plan

As planned, I took the first 6 miles nice and easy, but every time I looked down at my watch I was about 45 seconds faster per mile than I had planned. Instead of 9:30’s, I was hitting around 8:45’s. I second guessed my pace for a while and thought about slowing down to low 9’s but I decided that listening to my body made a lot more sense than sticking to (relatively) arbitrary numbers that I had laid out days ahead of time. I stuck with it and comfortably hit mile after mile in the high 8 min/mile pace range without working myself too hard.

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I’m not in this pic, but I really like the blur of the runners. It looks pretty cool.

Despite being a little cold at the start, I warmed right up once I settled in to a good pace. The course was really nice too. It was SUPER flat and made a few twists and turns through little residential neighborhoods, with only one section along a busy street that was a little sketchy. There were rumors that there were some easy rollers throughout the course, which ended up being all lies, but it was a nice course nonetheless.  At a few points we passed by the shore so we got a nice view of the ocean and got a really nice sea breeze to keep us moving on. It is strange how the smell of stinky sea weed and fish can some how make me associate with happy thoughts. I can’t wait until summer comes and I can go hang out on the beach on Cape Cod when it isn’t 30 degrees outside. Again, I digress…

Right after mile 6, I caught up with one of my Wheelworks teammates and chatted it up a bit. At that point I was just starting to pick up the pace and increase my turnover. We traded game plans and while she wasn’t planning to go all out until the last 3.1 miles, she eventually came with me and we traded places with each other throughout the rest of the race. We had never raced together, but it was great to have that carrot dangling in front of me to keep my pace up if I started to slow down.

Right at about mile 10, I passed Team Hoyt and gave a little cheer as I chugged along. If you haven’t read or seen any videos about Dick and Rick Hoyt, check out this one. They have an amazing story and it was a huge inspiration to see them on the same course as me (and 4,000 other runners) letting it all out

The last two miles were pretty brutal. It was rough just to keep my form together, but my pace still held up pretty strong and I was able to knock down runner after runner with no problem at all. Granted, a good chuck of them were probably finishing the first loop of the full marathon, but the plan was definitely working and I was able to really knock out a solid pace while everyone else was struggling just to hang on.

Hyannis half marathon finish 2009

“I crown thee: Half Marathoner”

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I’m in there somewhere I think I’m completely covered by that guy in the blue shirt.

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Looking like a hot mess just after the finish line, but totally psyched to have rocked the race plan.

According to my watch I clocked in at 1:50:30 (8:26 min/mile avg), safely under my goal for the race. I’d post my mile splits, but I don’t remember them. My avg HR was 159 and maxed at 180.

Overall the commute/warmup/race plan worked pretty well. Looking back, my paces needed some tweaking, but it is always nice to surprise yourself by going faster than expected instead of slower.  2009 is going to be an awesome year. I smell PRs in the air. Stay tuned internet people.

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Cyclocross Crash: A Photo Essay

November 21, 2008

Remember when I mentioned trying to power through the mud pit and taking a face-first dive in front of a photographer at my cyclocross race last weekend? Here is the proof.

It actually makes for a pretty funny little photo essay.

Here I am attempting to power through the mud, hoping I can just somehow skim across the top and make it back to dry land ASAP. Instead I bounce off of a mud covered tree root, and it all goes to hell after that.

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Something tells me my wheel isn’t supposed to be pointed sideways.

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Yeah. This definitely isn’t looking good. Foot planted, bike flying up from under me.

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“Oh Crap!”

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Wait, where did Jamie go?

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Face first in the Mud.

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Another hot picture of my ass.

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No time to play in the mud! Up and running with a big smile on my face. Thankfully I didn’t even get a scrape on me. Time to RUN!

Despite the blurry ass shots, the photographer is actually really good and got some pics of other racers looking way faster and more bad-ass than I do lying in the mud. Check out his pics at these links:

http://flickr.com/photos/beastgp/

http://picasaweb.google.com/beastgp

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Cyclocross Mudfest

November 17, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

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Better quality version of the video is here.

BRC Cyclocross

I gave my second shot at cyclocross this weekend. It had rained on and off for the past few days and I was prepared for a complete mudfest and even caught up with local tri blogger Elaine (TriGrilPink) during my warmup lap and chatted for a bit.

Thankfully the men’s Cat 4 race was first, so the course wasn’t going to be nearly as beat up as it would be later in the day for the faster guys.

I did a hell of a better staying with the pack when the gun went off, but DAMN. Even in the Cat 4 race, these guys are fast. I’m still getting used to ramping up to top speed so quickly. When I pounded it up the first of two run/ride ups, I even got to a new max HR on the bike! 187 bpm baby! That is the highest I’ve gotten it on the bike recently, maybe ever. (I can already hear Brett yelling at me for not sticking to easy base workouts, shhhh!) Needless to say I did better than last time about making sure I didn’t have as much left in the tank when I crossed the finish line.

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The whole course was pretty muddy and technical, but this one 75 meter stretch turned out to be the great equalizer. Ankle deep mud hid big roots and extra deep trenches that sucked you down and stole whatever momentum you were able to muster up. Even being able to stay on your bike and not having to run through the mud was an accomplishment.

During the first lap through the huge mud pit, I got stuck in a rut had to dismount to run the rest of the way through. The second lap, I had a new plan. Get a ton of speed and just force my way through.

That didn’t workout so well when my front tire hit a root hidden under a few inches of mud and my extra speed threw my bike off to the right as my body slammed down to the left and I went face first into the mud. It was actually really funny, especially as I looked up there was a guy with a camera who got a series of shots telling a pretty funny story about my mud bath. I found him after and he said he would post his pictures online. If i find them, I’ll post them later.

UPDATE: Check HERE for the all of the pics.

And now, for evidence of the mud fest that was the Boston Road Club Cyclocross Race…

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Can you tell where my knee warmers ended?

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I think there is more mud than shoe in this picture.

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My road brakes actually didn’t do too bad in the mud. My road pedals? That is a different story alltogether.

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My muddy stallion. My Fuju “Angela” is such a tank. I love her.

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Lessons in Cyclocross: Canton Cup Race Report

October 20, 2008

I finally did my first cyclocross race this weekend and it was freak’n awesome.

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(If you are viewing this in a feed reader, click through for some video I shot at the race)

On Friday night before the race I went over to the local baseball field and rode around in circles for about a half an hour, just doing circles in the dark by myself, practicing my running dismounts/carrys/remounts. I was actually staring to get a handle of it. Big confidence booster.

Sunday morning, I headed down to Canton bright and early, and threw on a few extra layers to shake off the morning chill while I headed to the registration tent and did two laps around the course to actually start to build some confidence that I can handle this thing.

My new tires are awesome. They make my bike feel completely differently, but it still haven’t gotten used to the fact that I can power through tight dirt/gravel/grass corners without worrying about going down. I’m a little heavy on the brake into corners because of it, but hopefully that will pass.

Now on to the race…

I didn’t have very high expectations for my first race, but given that 40 minutes of all-out riding, switching up positions and gears often, sounds a whole lot like spinning class (something I’m very familiar with) I didn’t expect to be too awful. I’m a solid MOPer in triathlon, and sort of expected the same here.

I settled in to the middle/back of the pack at the starting line knowing full well that I had no business in sprinting for position in the beginning. I never even heard a gun or bell go off. People just started going. I followed.

People were going nuts and exploding up a short paved hill and about two or three went down and clogged up the whole works. I didn’t think that I was lagging that bad, until I looked back and saw only one or two people behind me. Damn…

Once we got into the first dirt/grass section, I was able to pass a few people and hold a decent pace to close some gaps. I was able to get over the first set of barriers pretty easily, and was in a good mood.

Slowly (very slowly) I was able to pass a few more handfuls of people to climb my way up the field. But for every guy that I passed, either some 14 year old (no exageration) punk kid or tiny little girl would come up and fly past me. I’ve heard of getting chicked before, but getting babied? These kids weighed like 80 pounds. WTF? I was at least able to have a little confidence boost when I was able to hold off one of the kids on lap 3 of 4.

Sad. Right? I know.

Now that my ego was sufficiently checked, I just settled in, stopped focusing on place and made sure I had a nice consistent effort level and kept the rubber side down.

My three goals for the race were:

  1. Don’t be DFL
  2. Don’t fall on my face
  3. Have a kick-ass time

All were done pretty well. I definitely wasn’t DFL, but it was pretty lonely in the BOP where I was for the entire 47 something minutes. I don’t have an official time/place, but hopefuly they’ll post it online soon. I’ll update this post if they do.

I definitely have a lot to learn, and my bike handling isn’t awful, but definitely needs some work. Most of all the things that I learned today is that cyclocross racing is COMPLETELY different from triathlon racing. But, I love learning new things, so I will definitely be trying my hand at another cyclocross race in the near future.

UPDATE:

The results are in. But they say that I DNF’d! WTF IS THAT!?! I may have slogged my way through slowly, but I didn’t get lapped and I sure as hell didn’t DNF! I don’t care as much if my time isn’t right, or my place is wrong, but to not even pay attention when I cross the line and say I didn’t finish is a whole different story.

BOO Canton Cup! Boo to you.

According to my bike computer, I finished around 47 minutes. That only puts two other non-DNFers behind me.

Next time, even if I am dead last, I’ll just have to throw my hands up in the air and start making such a ruckus that everyone has to notice me and take down my finishing time. 🙂

UPDATE 2:

Results are updated and I’m no longer a NDFer! Apparently I placed it says i was 47:19 (which sounds about right) and beat 5 people. Wooho! I guess the bar is set pretty low to PR my next race! HAHA.

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Race Report: Rhode Island 70.3

July 14, 2008

FYI: This blog has moved to a new address. Catch up on new posts at: http://swimbikerunlive.com/

 

I’m wicked sore, and am going on vacation tomorrow, I wanted to get something out there quickly to give you an update on the race today.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

Race prep went down pretty easily. Since I dropped off almost everything yesterday, I just had to show up with my wetsuit, goggles, and chip down in Naragansett. We didn’t end up getting a hotel in RI, so my girlfriend (who can be thanked for all the awesome pics) got up extra early and left Boston at 3:30 a.m. to get to the race start, an hour and a half away.

Even though the first pro wave went off at around 6:00, I wasn’t going off until the very last wave, more than an hour later. It was nice to have some extra time to get mentally psyched for the race and run through my plan.

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I’m not sure why I’m standing really awkardly like that. I think I might have been peeing and didn’t want to stand in a puddle of my own pee. Haha. You can make out the swim buoys off in the distance behind my right shoulder.

The time finally came, I got rounded up with the rest of the 19-29 men, waited for the cannon to go off, and off we went. It was my first running swim start and it was pretty cool. With all of the waves crashing in to shore we got to dive through the waves, which was pretty cool. The water further out was a little choppy, but it was surprisingly warm.

Other than that, it was pretty uneventful. I held a solid pace, stayed on course and came out with a pretty solid time of 36:47. As soon as I got to shore and stood up, I saw Chris swimming in right next to me. It was good to see a familiar face.

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T1: 4:58 (1:56/100m)

A lot slower than my normal transitions, but I had to re-pack everything into a bag to be transported up to Providence for me to pick up after the race, so it took a little longer.

Bike:

I felt really strong, and was passing a lot of people in front of me from my swim wave and from all of the waves ahead of me, keeping my HR pretty low at around 145-155. I totally came up with those numbers out of nowhere, but figured it would be a good idea to stay about 10 bpm lower than what I did at the Mooseman Olympic.

The rolling hills let me pass a lot of people who weren’t from New England and were used to riding on anything else but flats. I also blew past tons of people on fancy carbon bikes and aero helmets. It is definitely an ego boost to casually blow by these guys on a clucky ‘ol road bike. Besides a dropped chain, everything went pretty smoothly.

At about mile 50 I did the math and realized that I was REALLY close to meeting my “A” goal of breaking 3:00 on the bike. It almost wished that I hadn’t figured that out since I probably went way too fast on the last 5 miles on the bike instead of resting and staying loose for the run. Oh Well!

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I ended up finishing the bike in 3:01:51. SO CLOSE! (18.48 mph)

T2: 3:07

Run:

Since my knee was definitely feeling a little tight during the bike and I was a little worried about it, I decided to just take it REALLY easy for the first of two loops on the run. I was going almost awkwardly slow, doing something in between a slow jog and a shuffle, but it kept my knee feeling alright as long as I kept it moving so it wouldn’t tighten up on me.

When I stopped at the water stations and started running again, I could tell that my knee was tightening up really fast, so I just tried to find one really slow pace, have a nice open stride, and keep moving forward because starting running again after stopping hurt like a BITCH. The hardest part was running up the MONSTER hill at mile 2 and 8. This thing was practically straight up for what seemed like half a mile.

This was the hill that the X Games used for street luge when they came to town. Yeah. Seriously. This thing was no joke and I had no choice but to keep running up it, even though it was only slightly faster than walking up.

First lap – felt good. Wicked tired, but good. I think my first lap was about 1:05.

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Second lap:

Just like the first, but a LOT more painful. I kept moving except for really quick stops to take in as much water as I could and strap some cold sponges in to my race jersey.

Because I was the very last wave, the second lap was a lot more lonely since a lot of the faster/earlier racers had already finished by the time I hit the turn around but the volunteers and spectators were still out there rocking it. It was great to see all the locals out there supporting an inaugural event like this.

Except for a brief 400 meter stint at about mile 12 where I walked, I kept on truckin’ the whole time. Definitely the hardest run of my life. I wanted to just stop and lay down on the pavement after every single step I took.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

The finish line was the greatest place in the world. It was by far the most emotional race that I had ever done, and it felt amazing to run through the chute and hit that line.

I finished the run in 2:33:27 (11:42/mile) for a total time of 6:20:10. It wasn’t the time that I was hoping for a few months ago, but I was really psyched given the obstacles.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

I couldn’t walk too well, but sucked down a whole lot of Gatorade and water and layed out in the shade. I probably looked light a nightmare, but was too distracted by the amazing feeling of finishing to pay attention to all of the pain that I was in.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

Here is a pic of the race finish (sans spectators) right under the state capitol.

Overall:

Amazing race. Really well supported and it was an absolute blast. It was the most pain that I had been in in a long time, but was absolutely worth it.

Oh and I think that I may be classified as a “heavy sweater” now given the salt farm that I grew over my entire body. Check out this sick pic of my tri shorts after the race with the salt crystals all over the place. HI larious.

Ironman Rhode Island 70.3

That is all. Now off to bed and stretch and head off on vacation until next week! Check out some more pictures from the race on my Flickr page on the badge on the right.