July 2012

Running

Tired legs

The slight knee pain that started in June effectively disappeared in July. I took it easy by only running twice per week, but I made my runs really count. With the Howl at the Moon 8-hour ultra coming up in August I did a lot of long runs. The first week of July I ran a total of 8 hours in 100˚F+ temperatures, and I didn’t back off from there.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 78.06 Mile 9 8.67333 Mile
February 75.2586 Mile 9 8.36206 Mile
March 126.15 Mile 14 9.01071 Mile
April 146.28 Mile 16 9.1425 Mile
May 166.75 Mile 18 9.26389 Mile
June 54.83 Mile 7 7.83286 Mile
July 115.76 Mile 9 12.8622 Mile
Total 763.089 Mile 82 9.30596 Mile

Running 2012 7


Cycling

Aero

I didn’t ride that frequently, but I had some good quality training and racing. I did several practice crits and time trials in 95˚F-105˚F temps. I had a strong race at the New Town Triathlon. I finished 2nd in the Great Egyptian Omnium TT and 1st in the masters 30+ 4/5 crit. This may be the first month ever I’ve ridden my TT bike more frequently than my road bike.

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Lynskey 98.13 Mile 7 14.0186 Mile
Pocket Rocket 14.5 Mile 4 3.625 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 147.49 Mile 5 29.498 Mile
Total 260.12 Mile 16 16.2575 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 25.33 Mile 2 12.665 Mile
February 40.08 Mile 3 13.36 Mile
March 213.43 Mile 20 10.6715 Mile
April 253.27 Mile 23 11.0117 Mile
May 322.147 Mile 24 13.4228 Mile
June 282.57 Mile 13 21.7362 Mile
July 260.12 Mile 16 16.2575 Mile
Total 1396.95 Mile 101 13.8312 Mile

Cycling 2012 7


Swimming

Despite a race with a decent swim performance, swimming is kind of in maintenance mode right now. I just don’t have the time to devote to really improve.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 1750. Yard 2 875. Yard
May 8050. Yard 7 1150. Yard
June 4100. Yard 3 1366.67 Yard
July 2993.61 Yard 3 997.871 Yard
Total 16893.6 Yard 15 1126.24 Yard

Swimming 2012 7

New Town Triathlon

Early in the season I found the New Town Triathlon outside of St. Charles and thought it would be a good race to try. Then I took a break from racing and completely forgot about it. A friend at the weekly Wednesday night TT reminded me of it a few days beforehand, and I thought, what the heck… I’ll do it.

Last Sunday morning I arrived with plenty of time to setup my stuff. I did a very brief warmup on the bike, running, then swimming before they cleared the water to start the race. The (longish) 1000m swim had a staggered start, with competitors beginning the race every 3 seconds. Unfortunately, since I was one of the last people to register for the race, I started near the very end and I had a long time to wait for the 600 people in front of me.

When it was time the line moved very fast and I was in the water before I knew it. A few minutes in I realized that with all the commotion I forgot to start my watch, so I hit the button and kept going. I was very concerned that the swim would be a complete clustercuss, but it was actually the most pleasant open water swim I’ve ever done. Sure I was passing a lot of slower people (and a handful passed me as well), but we weren’t running into each other at all. There was plenty of room for everyone to get by. 17-18 minutes later I exited the water. It was a good hard effort, but I didn’t kill myself.

Aero

I had an awful first transition. Something went wrong with my bike helmet straps and I couldn’t get the dang thing on my head. I must have wasted 30 seconds fumbling with it. Then I left the transition with my bike only to get caught in a traffic jam at the bike mount line. I couldn’t get around the slower people so I just had to stop and wait before I could get on my bike. Once mounted, I ripped the hell out of there, a bit pissed off. I started too fast, but things settled down quickly enough. About halfway through the 20 mile effort I started experiencing severe, um, discomfort in my saddle area. Something wasn’t right and I was in quite a bit of pain for the last 10 miles. It slowed me down, as I had to frequently stop pedaling when my legs felt fine just to readjust things in an attempt to relieve the discomfort. I was disappointed my bike wasn’t as fast as I wanted, but I was incredibly relieved to get off the bike.

My second transition was better and I was out on the run quickly. This is usually where I excel, and this would be no different. Having started at the back, I had been passing people the whole race, but now it was a steady stream. Speaking of streams, several residents along the course pointed their sprinklers and garden hoses out into the course so competitors could cool down. It was well into the 90’s at this point and most of the people seemed to enjoy it. Not me. I tried to avoid it like the plague, but the sprinklers covered the entire course in many places and some people actually sprayed me with their hoses after I did my best to ask them not to. The result of this is that my shoes were soaking wet for about 3 of the 4 miles during the run and I developed horrible blisters that made running very painful. My legs felt fine and I wasn’t having trouble breathing, but with the intense effort the heat was starting to get to me and my stomach was feeling a bit queasy, so I couldn’t really go any faster.

After the finish I gulped as much water as I could. It was brutally hot. I hobbled around for a while trying to find some shade. Once the race started to thin out a bit I was able to get back into the transition area and pack up my stuff and take it back to my car. It didn’t take long to get results (since I started near the end) and I was quite surprised that, despite feeling like crap for much of the race, I actually had a pretty decent result. I finished 30th overall (including the elites, 14th not including them) out of over 600 participants, 3rd in my age group. I averaged 1:35/100 in the swim (about what I expected), 22.9 mph on the bike (a tad bit slower than I hoped), and 6:04/mile (the course was short, my actual pace was closer to 6:28/mile) on the run.

So it turned out to be a good race.

May 2012

Running

Remember how I said April was my highest mileage month in over 10 years? Well, I ran 20 miles farther in May. And I really only did one long run. I did a number of shorter races (5K, 10K, sprint triathlon), with good results in each. I’ve built up a level of base aerobic fitness I haven’t seen since college. I can run at a faster pace with a lower heart rate than at any time in the past 15 years. Of course, I do quite a bit of my training at a slow pace, which is one of the keys to such aerobic fitness.

Now I just need to avoid injury and burnout. I’m planning very deliberately to step back my mileage in June. After six hard races (nine if you count the three practice crits) in the past three weeks I’m ready to rest a bit.

IMG 0752

Additionally, I’ve fully acclimated to the summer heat earlier than ever before. I regularly run in 85˚-90˚F temperatures with sun blazing overhead and I think nothing of it. I used to do whatever I could to avoid that kind of nasty weather. Two minor changes have played a big role here.

  • I wear a visor instead of a hat, and I keep my hair cut super short (shaving it with a razor every couple of weeks).
  • I run without a shirt.

I never would have believed how much of a difference these two changes could make if someone had told me. I’ve mentioned over and over again that I run hot. I sweat more anybody I’ve ever met. Having more of that sweat evaporate in the breeze than soak in my shirt and hat cools me down like never before. The one downside is the increased risk of sunburn, but I can take preventative measures to avoid that.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 78.06 Mile 9 8.67333 Mile
February 75.2586 Mile 9 8.36206 Mile
March 126.15 Mile 14 9.01071 Mile
April 146.28 Mile 16 9.1425 Mile
May 166.75 Mile 18 9.26389 Mile
Total 592.499 Mile 66 8.97725 Mile

Running 2012 5


Cycling

IMG 0735

My cycling continues to be hit or miss. All the additional time I’ve devoted to running lately has had to come from somewhere, and this is where. It’s not all negative, though, as my improved base aerobic fitness has actually applied equally to cycling as it has running. Additionally, racing makes for pretty decent training, and I’ve raced a fair amount lately (3 practice crits, 2 practice TTs, 2 crits, 2 tris). Somehow I’ve still managed to set a personal best average speed in both of my triathlons this year.

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 11. Mile 3 3.66667 Mile
El Fuego 6.73 Mile 1 6.73 Mile
Lynskey 53.9674 Mile 4 13.4919 Mile
Pocket Rocket 17.1 Mile 4 4.275 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 226.05 Mile 10 22.605 Mile
Total 314.847 Mile 22 14.3112 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 25.33 Mile 2 12.665 Mile
February 40.08 Mile 3 13.36 Mile
March 213.43 Mile 20 10.6715 Mile
April 253.27 Mile 23 11.0117 Mile
May 322.147 Mile 24 13.4228 Mile
Total 854.257 Mile 72 11.8647 Mile

Cycling 2012 5


Swimming

It feels good to have a swimming section in these posts again. As you can see from the chart my numbers are modest, but it’s a good start. I always find it remarkable how quickly swimming comes back to me. Before I ever started swimming I always assumed success in the sport was solely the result of super strong, highly specialized muscles (that I don’t have), when in reality it’s almost entirely technique. I’m certainly not suggesting my technique is perfect (far from it), but simply remembering the technique does allow me to pick right back up (almost) where I left off.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 1750. Yard 2 875. Yard
May 8050. Yard 7 1150. Yard
Total 9800. Yard 9 1088.89 Yard

Swimming 2012 5


Walking

More running also means less walking, but I’m still getting in a few miles on most days. It took me a while to fully realize this, but walking may just be one of the keys to my recent success. It helps build base aerobic fitness (super low intensity), while working similar muscles to running, all with near-zero risk of injury. In fact, when my legs are sore I always feel significantly better after walking a few miles.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 51.53 Mile 16 3.22063 Mile
February 42.92 Mile 18 2.38444 Mile
March 41.15 Mile 14 2.93929 Mile
April 31.89 Mile 12 2.6575 Mile
May 37.5107 Mile 13 2.88544 Mile
Total 205.001 Mile 73 2.80823 Mile

Walking 2012 5

Trifesta

The Trifesta Sprint Triathlon was last Saturday at John Logan College near Carbondale, IL. Coming off a good sprint triathlon the week prior I had high hopes for this one. The distances were roughly the same, but I had a little more time to prepare.

My first order of business was to deal with the nagging problem that both pairs of shoes I wear during triathlons were literally falling apart. My bike shoes are 12 years old and the shoes I run in are almost 5 years old. A few days before the race I upgraded both sets of shoes to shiny new pairs. I did the minimal amount of due diligence by testing them each out once before the race. No real problems.

IMG 3718

Between the longer drive, my internal alarm clock, and my desire not to repeat last week’s late arrival I left super early and I was by far the first person to arrive at the race. I took my time and prepared all my gear. I warmed up running & biking without incident. I grabbed my goggles to go warm up swimming and noticed they were in two pieces. My first minor problem of the day was fairly straightforward to rectify. I was able to reassemble the goggles into working order. Crisis averted.

Unlike last week’s open water swim, this race had a pool swim. Each competitor estimated their 400 yard swim time and we lined up from fastest to slowest. My 6:00 estimate put me about 12th in line. The swim went reasonably well. The guy behind me caught up to me a couple lengths from the end, just as I was catching up to the guy in front of me. I made room for him to pass on the last length and we came out of the water together, my split being 5:48.

My first transition was good (I passed several people in the transition area), and I was quickly out on the bike. I passed a couple more right away. We started with a bit of a tailwind and my speed was high. About 3 miles in a guy blew past me on the bike. I tried to increase my speed to stay within reach of him, but it was hopeless. I rode the two fastest miles of the race at 27 mph and this guy kept pulling away. I slowed down a bit, though I still caught and passed a few more people. It was clear I wouldn’t be the overall winner, but I was doing quite well. Things got tougher on the way back into the headwind. Furthermore the roads were a bit congested with automobile traffic. The roads were in good shape, but the course took us through 3 small towns, which seemed a bit unusual for this sort of event.

About 2/3 of the way through the bike I noticed a problem with my (new) shoes. The velcro straps were a bit too long and they kept rubbing up against the cranks. The flapped up and down with every pedal stroke. It probably didn’t cause any delays, but it was hugely distracting, and not at all what I needed at that point. So my second minor problem the day I just had to deal with for the remainder of the 14 mile bike leg. I ended up averaging 23.5 mph, which was a wee bit faster than last week for a slightly longer, more difficult (on account of the rolling hills) course.

My second transition was good and I started the run fast to catch up with a few racers right ahead of me. At the first aid station 1 mile into the run I accidentally snorted some water up my nose. As soon as I got that under control and I could breathe again my shoelace came untied. Sigh. I was running fast enough that I really didn’t want to sacrifice the 10 seconds or so it would take to retie them so I ran the last two miles like that. I wasn’t in any danger of tripping, but they did slap my leg with every step.

The second mile was mostly shaded, which was welcome in the 85˚F heat. I made the most of it to speed up a bit and try to catch up with a guy way in front of me. I came within 20 meters or so, but I couldn’t close the gap before the finish. I averaged 5:57 pace for the run, which was about a minute faster than last week, though on a slightly easier course.

So the race was over, but due to the staggered start it would be quite some time before I actually learned how I placed. When I finally did see the results I was quite pleased. I finished 4th overall, 1st in my age group, and each of my swim, bike, and run were faster than last week for comparable distances. So it was a great race for me, in spite of the shoe, shoe, and goggle problems.

IMG 3720

Gateway Sprint Triathlon

I don’t talk much about goals (I suppose I’ll get back to that in a future post), but one of my goals for 2012 was to win a triathlon. Sunday I raced my first triathlon of the year, the Gateway Sprint Triathlon, and, well, mission accomplished.

I drove about an hour over to Carlyle, IL early in the morning, though not quite early enough. Once I took care of packet pick-up, bathroom break, gathering my gear and carrying it to the transition area, I hoped to take my time, arrange my stuff, and warmup a bit. As soon as I racked my bike I hear the organizers say it’s time to clear the transition area. I rushed to get my running shoes, bike shoes, helmet, sunglasses, visor, race number, towel laid out and grab my swim cap, goggles, and wetsuit just before having to leave. No time for care in preparation, no time for body glide, no time for sunscreen, no time for warmup. The first triathlon of the season I always learn I need to arrive earlier than I thought.

There were five waves of starters (olympic distance men, olympic distance women, duathlon, sprint distance women, sprint distance men) and I was to start in the fifth wave. So I had over an hour to kill. After testing the 73˚F water I quickly decided I didn’t need my wetsuit. I suppose I could have used it and maybe swam a little faster, but then I would have to deal with taking it off in the first transition and I wagered I may actually lose more time than I would gain. So I ditched it. Once we finally started I got swarmed on both sides, which surprised me a bit, as I thought I had been swimming pretty well in practice. Things settled down a bit around the halfway point. I swam hard, but without overdoing it. I exited the water in a small pack, having no idea how many people were ahead of me. The swim was supposed to be 500 meters. My conservative time estimate was around 8 minutes, so I was surprised to find it took me nearly 11 minutes. Either the course was long, or I’m a lot worse than I thought.

After running across the beach and up the hill, my first transition went pretty well. I wasn’t losing my balance after running 5:20 pace like at Eads Bridge Duathlon last month. The bike leg started incredibly fast, with a strong tailwind. After turning onto the main road I hit 31 mph on the first straightaway, which is probably the fastest speed I’ve ever achieved on that bike. I settled down closer to 27 mph. With the four waves starting ahead of me there were a lot of people to pass. And since there were so many people I still had no idea which people were in my wave (and, hence, racing against me) until I got close enough to read the markings on the backs of their legs (everyone has their event and age written on their legs in marker before the race). As I approached the turnaround I counted just a handful of people ahead of me, but from the front I couldn’t tell whether or not they were in my race. The return trip into the headwind was much slower, around 21 mph. I started to have some seat issues toward the end (I need to get a different seat). My average speed for the 12.4 mile bike course was 23.3 mph, the fastest I’ve ever ridden in a triathlon.

I had a pretty good second transition and hit the run feeling good. I passed a guy in my race less than a mile into the run. My first mile was 6:11, which was good considering how hot it was by that time, but not as good as would have hoped. I passed a woman just after the first mile. There was a steep hill, which slowed everyone down. At the top I saw the first place woman coming back toward me. I was just about to make contact with the next runner before the turnaround when he continued on straight, making him the first place olympic distance man… meaning I was the first place sprint distance man. All right then. I continued on back down the hill. I passed the women’s leader with a mile to go, leaving nobody left in front for me to chase. The last mile was identical to the first, 6:11. I was the first person to cross the finish line, completing the 5K run at 6:21 pace–not my fastest, but good.

The sprint race was fairly small, only 52 finishers. I had the 6th fastest swim, the fastest bike, and the fastest run. This is the first event I’ve ever won that wasn’t a straight foot race. I have a good feeling about 2012.

Tracks N Treads

One problem I’ve had living in St. Louis is that there are so many bike races, yet I hardly ever find out about them until after they’re over. Friends would keep telling me to check the calendar at STL Biking, but I’d always forget. I finally got around to checking it a few weeks ago and I came across a very interesting race, Tracks N Treads off-road “biathlon” (run/bike, not ski/shoot). So, an off-road triathlon without the swimming. I’ve been wanting to do an off-road triathlon for years, so this semi-local event seemed as good a time as any to start.

The problem with this idea is that, while I’ve run more trail races than I can count, I’ve never raced on a mountain bike before. And the thought of doing so kind of scared the hell out of me. So this was a bigger leap for me than it may seem. The most helpful thing was that I drove over to Edwardsville to ride the trails at SIUE last weekend. I can’t imagine racing those trails without the experience I gained from just that one ride. Although I didn’t know every turn like the back of my hand, I did remember the big picture, and I knew exactly what to expect.

The forecast was supposed to be warm, and it was over 60˚F when I left my house, but it was only 50˚F in Edwardsville when I arrived. I brought several possible shirts to race in, but they were all sleeveless. Whoops. Well, if that’s the worst thing that happens then I’m in for a good day.

I rode over to the trails and rode easily over the first mile of the course to reacquaint myself with it, as this part may be crucial during the race. Then I came back, put my bike and gear in the transition area, ran a little bit, then headed to the start line.

IMG_3793

Photo by TriGirl1964

A few young guys bolted off the front immediately. I was in no hurry to match their pace, so I hung back a bit. Once we got off the sidewalk and onto the single-track trail they started to come back to me. It was difficult to find a place to do so, but I eventually passed them one-by-one. I lead the race for the last half of the run. I was the first to enter and exit the transition area.

The bike started with about .75 miles on a paved path before entering the woods. I made sure to drink as much as I could and take some gel before the woods, because I knew I wouldn’t have a free hand once we hit the single-track.

One guy caught up with me just before the turn into the woods, but he didn’t pass me. I went hard once we hit the dirt and after a few turns I put some distance between us. There were a few times during the early miles I could hear a rider approaching, but nobody caught up. Until about half way through. A guy came up fast and, after tailing me for a while, he found a spot to pass and he overtook me. I raised my game a bit and I tried to stay with him, but he was just better than me. I couldn’t take the turns as fast as he did and he pulled away. So much for first place.

IMG_4020

Photo by Jeff Schleicher

A short while later another guy quickly caught and passed me. This dude was on a cyclocross bike. During the 30 seconds or so I was able to follow him it was obvious he was out of my league. I don’t feel a bit bad about losing to someone like that. I started to worry that maybe there was a whole line of people poised to rip past me, but that never came to fruition. A third guy caught up with me just before we dropped back out onto the pavement. I went out first and hammered the last .75 miles at 23 mph and he wasn’t able to get around me. I finished 3rd. I later discovered one of the guys who passed me was on a relay team, so I was the 2nd place individual.

The race really couldn’t have gone any better for me. The hard run effort didn’t slow me down at all on the bike section. I’m used to running after biking (as is customary in triathlons), so I wasn’t quite sure how fast I could get away with running. The bike leg pushed me to my technical limits, but I was fortunately pretty far from my physical limits. As scary as it was the first time, I could possibly get used to racing on a mountain bike. I just need to practice. A lot.

September 2011

Photo of the Day

FlickrCalendar 1

Running

Men's start

I raced a total of seven times in September, which is more than usual, and trained a bit less. As far as running goes, I finished 4th at the Forest Park Cross Country Festival, 2nd at the Litchfield Triathlou, 2nd at the Gateway Cross Cup 4.1 mile cross country run. Not bad.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 13.54 Mile 3 4.51333 Mile
February 33.47 Mile 7 4.78143 Mile
March 71.64 Mile 10 7.164 Mile
April 31.12 Mile 6 5.18667 Mile
May 71.9569 Mile 10 7.19569 Mile
June 85.87 Mile 11 7.80636 Mile
July 49.47 Mile 7 7.06714 Mile
August 116.34 Mile 13 8.94923 Mile
September 82.89 Mile 12 6.9075 Mile
Total 556.297 Mile 79 7.04173 Mile

Running 2011 9

Cycling

It wouldn't be a St. Louis outdoor event without lots of beer

I rode quite well in two of the three Gateway Cup races I did, though didn’t finish well. At the Gateway Cross Cup I finished 4th in the Cat 4 race.

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 89.4 Mile 11 8.12727 Mile
El Fuego 14.81 Mile 1 14.81 Mile
Lynskey 33.96 Mile 3 11.32 Mile
Pocket Rocket 18.2 Mile 5 3.64 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 113.83 Mile 4 28.4575 Mile
Total 270.2 Mile 24 11.2583 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 35.32 Mile 4 8.83 Mile
February 0 0 0
March 3 Mile 1 3. Mile
April 36.25 Mile 7 5.17857 Mile
May 272.94 Mile 25 10.9176 Mile
June 344.02 Mile 26 13.2315 Mile
July 306.77 Mile 12 25.5642 Mile
August 418.39 Mile 25 16.7356 Mile
September 270.2 Mile 24 11.2583 Mile
Total 1686.89 Mile 124 13.604 Mile

Cycling 2011 9

Walking

The long way home

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 56.9 Mile 16 3.55625 Mile
February 47.6 Mile 14 3.4 Mile
March 83.4 Mile 24 3.475 Mile
April 84.3 Mile 26 3.24231 Mile
May 64. Mile 19 3.36842 Mile
June 57.3 Mile 17 3.37059 Mile
July 14.5 Mile 7 2.07143 Mile
August 31.7 Mile 9 3.52222 Mile
September 42.2022 Mile 16 2.63764 Mile
Total 481.902 Mile 148 3.2561 Mile

Walking 2011 9

Swimming

Lake Lou Yaeger

It’s been over two years, but I finally have a non-zero tally here.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 0 0 0
May 0 0 0
June 0 0 0
July 0 0 0
August 0 0 0
September 4096.81 Yard 5 819.361 Yard
Total 4096.81 Yard 5 819.361 Yard

Swimming 2011 9

Scooter

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 0 0 0
May 0 0 0
June 3. Mile 1 3. Mile
July 0 0 0
August 1.8 Mile 1 1.8 Mile
September 3.9 Mile 3 1.3 Mile
Total 8.7 Mile 5 1.74 Mile

Litchfield TriathLou

Two weeks ago I was just coming off some good bike races, some good running races, and feeling a bit unstoppable. I decided I was going to race a triathlon a week later, despite not having been swimming in over two years (since before Will was born), and not even having assembled my time trial bike since we moved to St. Louis over a year ago. Oh, and I had an awful cold. What was the worst that could happen?

I signed up for a membership at the nearby WUSTL pool and went swimming four times that week. I didn’t put in much distance (the race would only be 400 meters). I did just enough to reacquaint myself with the water, but not enough to be make myself sore. Frankly, I was shocked at how (reasonably) well I did. I assembled my TT bike and did a few (very) short rides on it. I got my first flat on my tubular race wheels, which was a pain in the butt to fix only a couple days before the race. But everything (sort of) came together.

TT

I woke up at 4:45 am and drove to Lake Lou Yaeger near Litchfield, IL last Saturday morning. I hadn’t raced a triathlon in 28 months, and only raced once in the last three years. I wanted to make sure I had plenty of time to set up to ensure I didn’t miss anything (like leaving a cleat cover on my bike shoes).

The air temperature was cool, in the high 50’s. The water temperature was much warmer, but still a bit chilly. I debated for days about whether or not to wear my wetsuit during the swim. It would have kept me warmer, and I would have swam faster (thanks to the added buoyancy) but I opted against it at the last minute. My wetsuit is potentially tricky and time consuming to remove and I didn’t want to take the chance of something going wrong with my very limited practice.

Lake Lou Yaeger

The swim was hard. Even though it was short it was still long compared to the 0 meters I’ve been swimming until the week before the race. There was another guy who was swimming the exact same speed who kept bumping into me, though I suppose it could have been me who was bumping into him. I exited the water with the 6th fastest swim of the 96 competitors in the sprint-distance race. Not bad.

I had a quick first transition, passing two people in the transition area. Then I got off to a good start on the bike, passing two additional riders who were fumbling to mount their bikes. This was pretty good evidence to support the stereotype that triathletes generally don’t have the best bike handling skills.

Transition

The first half of the bike I couldn’t see anybody ahead of me or behind me. I was actually in 2nd place at the time, but I didn’t know this yet. I did know there was at least one person ahead of me, because I saw them riding away while I was in the transition area. I didn’t know how many others there were. Just before the turnaround at the halfway point a rider passed me, but he wasn’t going much faster. I stayed near him for a while. It was pretty clear, given his aero shoe covers, that he was on a relay team, so I didn’t worry too much about it. In fact we leapfrogged each other for most of the second half of the bike leg.

My second transition didn’t go quite as smoothly as the first. I tried to change shoes while balancing on one leg (like a flamingo), but my hypoxic body wasn’t cooperating and I lost my balance a few times. I eventually got my shoes on and ran out. The timing chip on my left leg was a little too tight as I noticed pretty quickly my left foot was a little numb and tingly. This went away pretty quickly and I was able to pick up my pace quite a bit at that point. I missed the first mile split, but I was 5:58 and 5:59 for the next two miles. I easily passed the relay runner who started just before me. I made up over a minute on the first place guy during the run, but his lead was unassailable by that point. So I finished 2nd overall.

100_9941
Photo courtesy of Racemaker Productions

My swim was as good as I could have hoped, given my lack of training. My bike leg was the 2nd fastest, but it should have been a bit faster (and with more training on my TT bike it will be). My run was by far the fastest, with only one other runner covering the 3.1-ish mile course within three minutes of my time. So the race went well. Presumably next year I’ll have more swim and TT bike training and I’ll be able to do even better.

The many hills of San Francisco

Last week the whole family was out in San Francisco while I attended Apple’s Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC). This was my ninth WWDC (two in San Jose and seven in San Francisco), missing out only in 2006 when Apple held the conference in August (for some reason) the week after we moved to Nicaragua.

The conference was good, even if the ridiculously growing size does get a little more frustrating each year. The technical sessions are all covered by non-disclosure agreements, so I won’t discuss any of them (as if you cared).

The keynote (which some of you may remember I participated in back in 2005) was also good. Unfortunately, due to the size of the conference I keep showing up earlier and earlier to get in line for the keynote and I keep ending up farther and farther back in line. I showed up a little over three hours early this year. The line was nearly one mile long, and I barely squeaked into some of the back rows of the conference room filled with over 5,000 people. The new iPhone looks pretty awesome. In fact, William just bought me one for Father’s Day. Wasn’t that nice?

Will in the big city

While we were there I purposely didn’t adjust to the different time zone so I would continue wake up early to go for a ride on the Pocket Rocket each morning before the conference. The first morning I tackled Twin Peaks, which, at over 800 feet above sea level, is one of the highest points in the city. Shortly after the climb begins it kicks straight up to 17%, which was a tough first hill for someone who lives in Illinois. It stays steep for a good long three city blocks before leveling out to a more reasonable 11-12%. Of course, it was super foggy that particular morning, so I couldn’t see anything at the top. If I could have seen anything it would have looked like this (photo from last year).

Market Street

Anyway, I had to hurry straight back in order to stand in a really long line for hours. It was just eight miles with a total of 850 feet of climbing entirely in the third and fourth miles.

The next day I rode up one of the steepest hills I’ve found in the city (Kearny between Broadway and Vallejo, the road is closed to traffic). It’s somewhere in the ballpark of 25-30%. I had to lean really far forward to keep from tumbling over backward. Yes, that steep… but only for a block. After that was Telegraph Hill up to Coit Tower. This climb was used in the prologue of the Tour of California the first few years of the race.

Financial district

But that was just the first few miles. I followed the bay shoreline to the Golden Gate Bridge and rode across to the Marin Headlands. I intended to climb Hawk Hill, but the road was closed half way up so I took a detour to somewhere I’d never been before, which was amazing.

Marin

Marin

Beach

Tuesday’s ride had 2200 feet of climbing in 26 miles.

Wednesday I took a break because I felt a little twinge in my calf after Tuesday’s ride and I didn’t want to risk making it worse. Fortunately the twinge only lasted a day and by Thursday morning I was back at it. I hit Twin Peaks again, this time better prepared for the steepness. Instead of turning around there I continued on through Golden Gate Park, Ocean Beach, past the Cliff House, the Legion of Honor, the Presidio (along the bike course for the Alcatraz Triathlon I did in 2003), across the bridge to the Marin headlands, and partway up Hawk Hill before turning around and heading home. Just for kicks I rode up Russian Hill and Nob Hill on the way back through town. Russian Hill on Hyde street is 23% for a few city blocks–too steep to sit, too steep to stop (you wouldn’t be able to start back up).

City

Grade

Thursday’s ride was 2800 feet of climbing in 27 miles.

Friday I tackled Mt. Tamalpais for the Nth time. Last year I rode Mt. Diablo instead, so I was happy to be back on familiar ground. After cool weather all week it was super hot on Friday. This made the mountain that much more difficult. I doubt I made my fastest ascent of the mountain that day, but I steadily knocked out each of the 10 miles from bottom to top.

Mt. Tam may not be as high as Mt. Diablo, but it sure is a lot more scenic, offering a lot more wooded areas, as well as ocean views.

Mt Tam

Mt Tam

Mt Tam

Mt Tam view

Mt Tam view

San Francisco from the top of Mt. Tam

Bridge and Mt Tam

Here’s the opposite view: Mt. Tam from San Francisco

Friday’s ride was 4114 feet of climbing (2500 on Mt. Tam) in 50 miles.

Saturday I skipped a ride in favor of lots of walking and hiking with the family. Here’s William and me hiking the coastal trail, which was part of the run course for the Alcatraz Triathlon I did in 2003.

Two sweaty guys hiking the Coastal Trail

We all had a great trip. Check out William’s blog for lots more family photos.

The End of 2009

Photo of the Day

"FlickrCalendar_1.jpeg"

My Photo of the Day project was a success for 2009. I took a photo every single day of the year and posted them all to Flickr. I created this nifty poster-sized image below, which is being printed as I type and will soon be hanging on my wall. It contains all 365 daily photos.

Photo of the Day 2009

This project really took a lot more time and effort than I initially thought it would. On the bright side, I think I’ve improved tremendously as a photographer over the past year, and I have some really great photos that will last a lifetime.

I am tentatively planning to continue the project. My motivation has been to do so has not been great lately (and I’ve completely run out of ideas on a number of occasions), but I’ve recently found a few good sources for inspiration. So I do plan to continue for the foreseeable future.

Races

Date Time Place Div
Tecumseh Trail Marathon
2009-12-05 04:20:06 80/595
FOLEPI River Trail Classic
2009-11-28 00:22:38 15/439 2
Allerton Trail Race
2009-10-25 00:35:38 5/462 2
Danville Memorial Day 5K
2009-05-25 00:17:54 5/398 1
Rockford Marathon
2009-05-17 *03:09:05 15/249 3
Twin Cities Twosome
2009-05-09 00:18:15 3
Masters Swimming 500 yd TT
2009-05-07 *00:06:48 1/2
Tri the Illini
2009-05-02 00:55:05 10/301 2
Illinois Marathon
2009-04-11 *03:22:15 151/1620 24
Hillsboro Roubaix Cat 4 RR
2009-04-04 01:57:31 19/100
Land Between the Lakes 23K
2009-03-14 01:46:32 6/61
Masters Swimming 500 yd TT
2009-02-25 *00:07:10 1/1
Riddle Run
2009-01-31 04:56:42 1/10
Siberian Express
2009-01-03 00:50:49 25/398
*personal best for the distance

Running

Rob at Tecumseh Marathon

My running in 2009 was really one of extremes, both high and low. I started the year with some really strong races and a spectacular build-up to the Illinois Marathon, which ended in spectacular failure on my part. I bounced back quickly with a great run at the Rockford Marathon, only to notice a gradually worsening pain in my right knee (my good knee) less than a month later. This knee injury kept me from running for over 10 weeks, and severely cut back my cycling. Around Will’s birth I finally started running again and slowly built up both my speed and my endurance. I had a couple of good (though not great) races this fall before the horrible experience for me that was the Tecumseh Trail Marathon.

Despite the significant time off, I still ended up running about 17 miles farther than in 2008. I guess training for three marathons and an ultra-marathon will do that. I took it easy running for a few weeks after Tecumseh to make sure I wouldn’t injure myself again. I’m relatively healthy at the moment, but I’m far from peak condition. I really wanted to run the Siberian Express tomorrow morning, but a cold this week put a damper on that. Running is the one sport I have going for me at the moment, which isn’t saying a whole lot.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 109.34 Mile 10 10.934 Mile
February 55.83 Mile 7 7.97571 Mile
March 108.792 Mile 10 10.8792 Mile
April 74.85 Mile 8 9.35625 Mile
May 64.5669 Mile 9 7.1741 Mile
June 7. Mile 1 7. Mile
July 0 0 0
August 16.3 Mile 5 3.26 Mile
September 39.78 Mile 7 5.68286 Mile
October 42.52 Mile 7 6.07429 Mile
November 112.5 Mile 11 10.2273 Mile
December 41.04 Mile 4 10.26 Mile
Total 672.518 Mile 79 8.51289 Mile

Cycling

Rob finishes the bike

Cycling was one of my disappointments for 2009. I started the year decent enough, but I was really concentrating a lot more on running for the Spring marathons. Once I injured my knee in June I cut way back on my cycling and never made up for it. I ended 2009 with less than half the miles on the bike as 2008. I only competed in one cycling race and one triathlon, despite my intention of focusing completely on these events after mid-May. Fortunately, both were fairly successful for me, so it wasn’t a total loss.

Sadly, I don’t think 2010 is looking that great for me. I’m horribly out of shape on the bike. I’ve struggled to keep up with my friends on the last few easy training rides I’ve done recently. I really need to get my act together here before it’s too late. 2010 starts now.

December 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 19.4 Mile 5 3.88 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 65.82 Mile 3 21.94 Mile
Total 85.22 Mile 8 10.6525 Mile

January – December 2009

Bike Distance # Rides Avg per Ride
Bianchi 611.15 Mile 139 4.39676 Mile
Big Red 12.07 Mile 4 3.0175 Mile
El Fuego 75.2 Mile 8 9.4 Mile
Pocket Rocket 329.78 Mile 44 7.495 Mile
Thundercougarfalconbird 1857.4 Mile 46 40.3783 Mile
Total 2885.6 Mile 241 11.9734 Mile

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 139.41 Mile 22 6.33682 Mile
February 232.35 Mile 23 10.1022 Mile
March 411.9 Mile 26 15.8423 Mile
April 372.18 Mile 27 13.7844 Mile
May 347.83 Mile 24 14.4929 Mile
June 209.21 Mile 23 9.09609 Mile
July 206.74 Mile 12 17.2283 Mile
August 275.94 Mile 22 12.5427 Mile
September 287.11 Mile 21 13.6719 Mile
October 219.2 Mile 23 9.53043 Mile
November 98.51 Mile 10 9.851 Mile
December 85.22 Mile 8 10.6525 Mile
Total 2885.6 Mile 241 11.9734 Mile

Swimming

Rob starting 500 freestyle

I had a good start to the year swimming. My swims mysteriously stopped around August 12 for some reason. Anyway, I swam a personal best of 06:48 for 500 yards in May. I did swim 25% farther than I did in 2008. I really need to get back into this. Again, 2010 starts now.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 1.87452 Kilo Meter 3 0.62484 Kilo Meter
February 14.9504 Kilo Meter 6 2.49174 Kilo Meter
March 19.5224 Kilo Meter 7 2.78892 Kilo Meter
April 13.3502 Kilo Meter 6 2.22504 Kilo Meter
May 12.7806 Kilo Meter 7 1.82579 Kilo Meter
June 17.15 Kilo Meter 8 2.14375 Kilo Meter
July 15.55 Kilo Meter 6 2.59167 Kilo Meter
August 7.9 Kilo Meter 3 2.63333 Kilo Meter
September 0 0 0
October 0 0 0
November 0 0 0
December 0 0 0
Total 103.078 Kilo Meter 46 2.24083 Kilo Meter

Walking

Stroll

I didn’t plan to keep track of walking stats, but now I’m kind of glad I did (at least after my June knee injury).

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 3.75 Mile 2 1.875 Mile
March 0 0 0
April 8.51 Mile 4 2.1275 Mile
May 6.7 Mile 4 1.675 Mile
June 11. Mile 3 3.66667 Mile
July 29.52 Mile 10 2.952 Mile
August 35.02 Mile 14 2.50143 Mile
September 29.82 Mile 12 2.485 Mile
October 19.42 Mile 9 2.15778 Mile
November 41.17 Mile 12 3.43083 Mile
December 29.65 Mile 8 3.70625 Mile
Total 214.56 Mile 78 2.75077 Mile

Skiing

Skier Rob

I’m certainly not good at skiing, but I enjoy it. There was just very little snow in 2009.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 26.67 Mile 6 4.445 Mile
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 0 0 0
May 0 0 0
June 0 0 0
July 0 0 0
August 0 0 0
September 0 0 0
October 0 0 0
November 0 0 0
December 10.36 Mile 2 5.18 Mile
Total 37.03 Mile 8 4.62875 Mile

Scooter

Urbana welcomes you

It sure seemed like more than that. Well, it was a transitional mode of transportation anyway.

Month Distance # Workouts Avg per Workout
January 0 0 0
February 0 0 0
March 0 0 0
April 0 0 0
May 0 0 0
June 0 0 0
July 13.4 Mile 4 3.35 Mile
August 0 0 0
September 0 0 0
October 0 0 0
November 0 0 0
December 0 0 0
Total 13.4 Mile 4 3.35 Mile

Blog

I ended the year with roughly half as many blog posts as last year, with the rate of entries really dropping off in August. William has tried to pick up some of my slack with his blog.

Additionally, I assume you have noticed how all the titles of all my blog entries begin “The …”. It has been a lot more difficult to maintain this naming scheme than I originally thought it would be two years ago. In fact, there are a number of times when I thought about writing a short entry but never got around to it because I couldn’t think of the right name. I think it has been holding me back a little. So it is with mixed emotions that I declare this will likely be the last entry to strictly follow that convention.