I have been neglecting my blog lately so here is an update of what has been going on…
During my time away I have been training and did one race.
I kept putting off my race report for the Toughman Arizona (formerly Deuceman) in Show Low, Az. while I thought about what I wanted to write. My race execution was average. I finished 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup and managed a 14th place overall. I had a good swim which was shortened due to the lakes extreme low level. My bike went very good. Then I wilted away in the heat on the run but soldiered on finishing in 5:08:02.
Now the race directors perfornance…not so good. I sent a lenghthly note to the RD explaining my displeasure with a list of problems that needed to be fixed. Lack of porta potties, running out of water, running out of cups, lack of mile markers, the worst awards ever, and many other problems. Some of these have already been addressed by the RD (They sent out new and improved awards). I am hoping the others will be corrected for next year to bring this once great race back up to the high standards that were set by TriSports Racing.
Since the race, I have taken a few weeks of recovery time and have now started my build up for my Ironman. Last month (July) saw me log 30.3 miles in the pool, 830.01 miles on the bike and 152.36 miles of running. The fun continues!
Friday May 31 I packed my race and camping gear into the truck and made the drive to Show Low, Arizona along with my support crew (wife and dog). From 2600ft to 6400ft elevation. After arriving, I set up camp at Fool Hollow lake under the pines.
After a little relaxing I rode my bike down to the race venue (about 3/4 mile from camp) and picked up my race packet. After riding back to camp I enjoyed a pasta dinner with a view.
Final prep on my gear and then a little more relaxing as the sun set over the lake.
Early to sleep, early to rise. Alarm woke me at 5. A quick breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel. I then grabbed my TriSports.com TYR gear bag and rode down to the transition area.
I racked my bike and set up my gear in my assigned spot. Body marked #345. After a little socializing it was time to squeeze into the wetsuit and head down to the boat ramp for the race start. On the way down I slurped down a gel. I had been told the day before that water tempature was a brisk 57 degrees. As I entered the water to warm up I was expecting the cold shock on my face. It never came. water felt like it was at least mid 60’s…perfect for a wetsuit swim. I did a short warmup and then found my spot on the start line. At 7am the start horn sounded and we were off for a 1.2 mile 2 lap triangle shaped swim. I quickly got into my pace and felt good during the swim. I swam straight along the buey line. The 2 loop swim made the swim seem to go by quicker. I had clean water for nearly the entire swim. You definately have to pace yourself at 6400 feet elevation. I hit land in 32:35. A solid time for me. I hit the wetsuit strippers and they yanked my wetsuit off in one swift yank. Then it was a run up the boat ramp into the transition. The run up the ramp is an anarobic venture! In and out of transition in 0:44…goggles,wetwuit and cap on the ground, helmet on, go. I ran to the mount line and threw my leg over the bike. The mount area is uphill! It took 2 attempts to get going with enough momentom to get my other foot on the shoe. Once under way I slipped my feet into my shoes and then got up to speed. The course is a single lap of 56 miles (my garmin shows it a bit over 57). The first 40 miles are big rollers and gusting side winds. I was feeling good and picking off some of the speedy swimmers. At mile 40 you turn into the town of Taylor and begin a 10 mile climb back to Show Low. The wind became tail wind and the sun began to heat up. The tail wind created a vacuum affect and made the heat feel even hotter. I was still feeling good and picked off a few more people. After getting back into town there are a few more rollers and then a nice downhill the final couple miles. As I approached the transition I slipped out of my bike shoes. I hit the ground running at the dismount line after a 2:35:10 split. During the bike I consumed a large bottle of gatorade, a bottle of water and my consentrated mix of Carbo-Pro. I racked my bike, helmet off, socks and shoes on. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and was out of transition in 1:15. I finished getting “dressed” on the go. The 13.1 mile 2 loop run is slightly rolling with a combination of groomed trail, cement road and dirt road. The first 1.5 miles of trail running I felt fairly good. As I exited the trail onto the cement in the campground a nasty little hill brought out the cramping in my legs. I backed off the pace to try and get the cramps under control. At the top of the hill I stopped and took a few seconds to try to strech out the legs. This relieved the craamps for a short period but then they returned. I took in water and gatorade at the aid stations and downed salt tablets. As I hit the out and back section, lovingly refered to as the “death road” due to its lack of shade, my pace was slow but I was still moving forward. After the death road you return along the lake, climb one more hill and then do it all over again. As I started out on the second loop my energy levels were low. In my focus on getting rid of my cramps I had neglected to take in any fuel other than the gatorade. As I hit the first hill aafter the trail I was slowed to a near walk. I took in a gel at the next aid station and continued to get liquids in me. The next aid station I took in another gel. Just as my energy levels started to return the fluids in my stomach began to slosh around…not a good feeling. I struggled through the second trip through the death road. The sun was much more intense this time. As I returned to the campground/lake area I just wanted to get to the finish line.
I had lost quiet a few places as i was being passed during my meltdown. Full on damage control. 1:58:23 and my “run” was over. I crossed the line in 5:08:44. I had held on for 14th overall and 3rd in my agegroup. It wasn’t my best day out there but I hung on to finish. A nice dip in the lake afterwards was refreshing although a bit chilling without a wetsuit.
On Sunday I backed up my race with volunteering at the Xterra race. On sore legs I spent the morning body marking and then kept everyone on the correct path on the run.
Another season is getting close to the end. I have 2 races coming up soon to finish things off. First up will be the final race in the Tucson Triathlon Series on Oct14. I am currently sitting in 2nd overall for the series about 1min 30sec out of 1st and am leading my age group by over 20 minutes. With a good race I am hoping to take the overall series. It will be tough but I will give it my best effort.
This will be followed a week later by the SOMA half ironman in Tempe, Az. It has been a while since I have done SOMA and will be nice to return to this race. The legs have the mileage so we shall see if everything comes together on race day…will be nice to finish the year with a new PR on the course!
On Thursday Sep. 6 I celebrated my 48th year in this world. The following morning I packed my truck and headed up to the pines and high altitude of Show Low, Az. It was time for the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival weekend put on by TriSports.com. The weekend includes an olympic distance triathlon and half ironman distance triathlon on Saturday followed by an xterra off-road triathlon on Sunday. I would be racing the half ironman on Saturday.
I arrived at Fools Hollow lake in the afternoon after a scenic 4 hour drive. I set up my camp site amongst the pines and within view of the lake. I then went to packet pick-up and then enjoyed a nice pasta dinner cooked up and served by the local school. I returned to camp and put the finishing touches on my race gear. As the sun set I relaxed a bit and then slipped into my sleeping bag for an early night of sleep. I slept intermittently throughout the night. I seemed to wake up every hour or two. My alarm was set for 4:30 however I awoke on my own at 4:15. I decided to get an early start on my morning. I ate a blueberry bagel, a banana and a “salty nut bar” for breakfast. I got dressed then through my gear backpack on and rode the 2 miles to the transition area by the light of my flashlight. The cloudy night kept the temperatures warmer than usual and the ride was a nice warm-up. I found a nice end spot on the racks and set up my gear. I got body marked then payed a final visit to the porta-potty. After a little socializing I slipped into my wetsuit and headed to the water. The water was a much warmer than usual 72ish. I jumped in and got a good 15 minute warm-up in. It was about GO time. As the national anthem was about to play there was some technical difficulties…no sound. As if planned the athletes bobbing in the water began to sing an impromptu version of the Star Spangled Banner…and a pretty good one at that!
The horn blew and off we went. I quickly found clear water and began my journey to the first turn buoy. The swim course is a 1.2 mile uneven triangle. The warm water and cooler air decided to wreak havoc on my goggles…they fogged. I was swimming blind. I had to stop 5-6 times to clear my goggles. Each time I would have clear goggles for about 10 stroke then swim as far as I could with diminished view, clear, repeat. I felt comfortable throughout the swim. I made the final turn into the cove and headed straight to the boat ramp. A quick stop at the “strippers” and a run into T1. The thin air made that short run one of the hardest parts of the race…totally anarobic!
Swim split…36:15 (ouch 4 minutes slower than usual), 20th fastest
T1…short and sweet. Goggles and cap off, helmet on. Grab bike and go.
I mounted my bike and slipped into my shoes.
The bike is a 56 mile hilly affair. The first 15 miles is big rollers, followed by 25 miles of downhill rollers, an 8 mile gradual climb and then more rollers into the bike finish…2567 feet of climbing (Garmin). I was having issues with my rear derailuer throughout the ride. It would periodically “jump”. It was more of an annoyance than anything. I was continually looking for a “sweet spot” to prevent the jumping. I maintained a strong pace throughout the ride and felt strong. I consumed my nutrition like clockwork…a small bottle of gatorade with 1 scoop of Carbo-Pro for the first hour, a large bottle of gatorade with 7 scoops of Carbo-Pro and half a bottle of gatorade from the aid station over the remainder of the ride. Coming into the final stretch I began to prep for T2. I slipped my feet out of the pedals, eased up a little and stretched out the legs. As I hit the dismount line I threw my leg over the bike and hit the ground running.
Bike split…2:37:59 (21.3mph average), 5th fastest
Into T2 I racked my bike, removed my helmet, put on my running shoes, grabbed my number belt, hat and glasses and hit the run.
13.1 miles and 633ft of climbing separated me from the finish line. My legs felt great. The run is a 2 loop course. It begins by following a trail along the lake, then kicks up a steep little hill through the camp grounds, a rolling out and back on a dirt road and then road back to the 2nd loop/finish. The first loop went pretty easily. I was averaging around 7:40 pace and taking in gatorade and water at every aid station. The second loop the sun made an appearance and warmed things up a bit. The 5600ft elevation also began to take its toll. The pace dropped into the low 8 minute, mid 8’s then high 8’s. With three miles to go I decided to walk through the aid station, took a gel, two cups of gatorade and a cup of water to try to revive myself for the finish. I was then off maintaining mid 8 minute pace to the finish.
Run time…1:48:37 (8:18 average pace), 8th fastest
Total time…5:05:53 7th place overall and 2nd place agegroup
Crossing the finish line I was handed an ice-cold popsicle! Awesome!
Great race, scenic and challenging course and a great $40,000 raffle at the awards!
On Sunday I was again up bright and early. After packing up my camp gear it was time to volunteer in the transition area for the Xterra triathlon. There was obviously a bit of mud on the bike course but they got to clean up before the finish with a run that included a waist deep water crossing in view from my spot!