The week of Oct.13-19 Was my last big training week before my Ironman taper. My week started with a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Tuesday brought a 2 hour 45 minute trail run with lots of hills followed by 2 hours on the bike. Wensday started with a 30 minute run, followed by 2 hours on the bike with threshold intervals and then 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool. Thursday started on the track with 2×4000, an easy hour on the bike and 1 hour 7 minutes in the pool. Friday was 130 miles on the bike. Saturday was a 30 minute run, 2 hour bike and 1 hour 10 minutes in the pool.
To cap the week off I decided to test my legs with the A Mountain half marathon. 13.1 miles that begins flat in downtown Tucson. After which at mile 6.5 you begin the 275 ft accent of A Mountain (over about 1 mile) followed by equal downhill. That is followed by an out and back on the Santa Cruz River path before making your way back to the finish downtown.
Prior to the race I thought that a 1:40 would be a really good day with the training week I had put in. I planned on going out at a comfortable pace until A Mountain and then pick the pace up.
At the sound of the gun we were off. The first 3 miles I was averaging about 7-7:05 pace. My legs were feeling good and I was comfortable. I was just off the back of the lead group, with a few really fast guys off the front. The next 3 miles I was at 6:55 mile pace and still feeling good. As the climb started I began to pass all those that went out to hard. I probably passed a dozen people. he downhill saw several more people picked off as they descended on heavy legs. I made an effort to catch one more guy in front of me and then settled into his pace as we passed several more people. With about 2 miles to go my calves started to tighten up. I could no longer hold that pace and I let my “pacer” start to slip away. I slowed into a manageable pace and continued back into downtown. I was passed by one runner. I turned the last corner and saw the 13 mile sign…1/10 of a mile to go! I crossed the line finishing in 1:34:01 as the 21st male overall (26th overall) and 2nd in the 50-54 agegroup. Far exceeding my pre-race expectations.
My totals for the week came in at 13000 yards in the pool, 305 miles on the bike and 50 miles running. Now it’s time to enjoy 3 weeks of taper before towing the line at HITS Lake Havasu for the full distance (ironman).
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.
Sunday October 21 2012 Tempe Arizona 1.2 mile swim 56 mile bike 13.1 mile run…the SOMA triathlon.
Soma was to be my season finale and was one of my “A” races. Training leading into the race had went well. I was feeling good.
With all my gear packed I drove up to Tempe on Saturday afternoon. On the way up I swung by to pick my host for the weekend John, who along with his wife were kind enough to allow me to stay with them, and then headed to Tempe Town Lake for packet pick-up, the expo and the official grand opening of TriSports.com’s Tempe store. After finding a parking spot I, packet pick-up was a quick affair. No lines…in and out. I then checked my bike in and placed it in my assigned spot on the racks. I scoped out the entrances and exits for the transition area to familiarize myself with the flow of traffic for race morning. John and I then browsed the row of vendors at the expo. Timing chip pick-up was a short walk across the street at TriSports Tempe. I got my chip, said hello to TriSports CEO’s Seton and Debbie and got my first in-person look at the new shop. Was honored to see a rather large image of me gracing the shop window! For the grand opening TriSports had brought in some of their vendors to show off some of the new goods we will be seeing soon in the shop. Zipp was there with their new Super 9 clincher disc…the first public viewing outside of the trade shows (eurobike, interbike). Very nice wheel. Bucks the new standard…is completely flat from hub to tire mounting surface. No bumps, or bulges but it retains the dimples. Also on display was the new BH Aero TT/Tri bike. Very clean lines reminiscent of the newest super bikes. The big difference is the amount of adjustability (at the expense of a slightly “dirtier” front end…cable routing). A reversible stem, use of aftermarket stems and a seat post that is adjustable from 74-80 degree seat tube angle give lots of options.
During the expo the temperatures were very warm…it was going to be a hot race day!
After the expo it was back to Johns house where he whipped up a great dinner. A little T.V. and then it was time to get some sleep for my early morning wake up.
After a solid night of sleep I awoke at 3:50…10 minutes before my alarm. Breakfast of 2 bananas and a blueberry bagel was washed down with a bottle of water. I then loaded up and drove to Tempe Town Lake. I arrived there at about 5:30…plenty of time to set up my gear, relax and prepare for the upcoming chaos. With all gear set up, and a last visit to the porta potties it was relax time. I found a spot near the water entrance were I sat and met Alan, a 65 year old competitor. We chatted until it was time to line up. I put my wetsuit on and found a spot near the front of my wave group. I was in wave 5 which included all male competitors from 45-55 years of age. The waves started in 4 minute intervals. Reported water temp was 73.4…wetsuit legal. After watching the first waves go, it was finally time for my wave to hit the water. I jumped in amongst the first few people to allow for a short warm-up. I was able to get in a little over 5 minutes of warm-up and then found my way to the middle of the front row for the start. The waves were fairly small…in the 200 people range. I felt good and was relaxed.
The horn sounded and we were off. I quickly found clean water and found my stroke rhythm. The swim is a rectangle shaped course. About 500 meters into the swim I was at the front of the second pack. I then started catching people from the 4th wave. At the turn buoys I made my way through the traffic with little contact. I then started catching people from the 3rd wave on the return trip. I was feeling good. I made my way back under the Mill Ave. bridge and had the swim finish in site. I made the final turn and found my way through the congestion to the exit steps. As soon as I stood up on the steps my left calve cramped immediately…ouch! Not a good sign. I removed my wetsuit with the help of the “strippers” and ran in to transition.
A quick glance at my watch showed a 33:xx minute swim.
T1…helmet on, grab bike and run out to the mount line.
Flying mount and the bike had begun. I slipped into my bike shoes and quickly got up to speed. The course is mostly flat, 3 loops with 20+ turns on each loop. I was quickly moving through the field. Mid way through the first loop I started getting cramps in my vastus medialis just above my knee began to cramp. If I got out of the saddle…cramps, if I tried to apply more power…cramps! The remaining 2 1/2 laps I just tried to maintain an even effort in hopes the cramps would subside. Fluid intake was good, I took in all my carbs and plenty of electrolytes…the cramps continued. The air temp was still fairly cool and the heat didn’t start to build until late in the bike. I continued to make my way through traffic while only getting passed by a few on the bike. As I approached T2 I slipped out of my shoes and made my way to the dismount line. I threw my leg over the bike and jumped off running. I could feel the cramps in my legs and knew it was going to take a major effort to get through the run. I racked my bike, helmet off, run shoes on. I took a few moments to Stretch and massage my legs a little to help alleviate the cramps. I grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and put them on as I ran out of T2.
Bike time according to my bike computer was 2:38.
Within the first 1/2 mile my legs were already hating me. Run, cramp, walk…repeat. The temps now were nearing 90. At the aid stations I was taking in fluids in the form of water, Perform and coke. In addition I was taking in 2 salt tablets at each station in hopes that my cramping would go away. I continued this trudge through mile 5. That is when the wheels began to completely fall off. The cramping got even worse. A short time later I began to get nausea, then dizziness started to set in. As I approached the 6 mile mark I began to walk…staggering like a drunk person. A volunteer soon asked if I was alright…I was not. The volunteer called for medical and assisted me through the barriers to a tent. I sat down and my legs cramped severely and my breathing became labored. The volunteers gave me water, Perform and a coke. The EMT’s arrived quickly. Blood sugar was normal, paulse o2 was good but my blood pressure was very low. The EMT’s continued to monitor me for about an hour. My bp slowly began to rebound. They asked me to stand…insant severe leg cramps and my bp dropped again. I was then given a ride to the medical tent for observation. While there I consumed chicken broth (salt), Perform and water. After another hour I finally felt good enough to make my way out of the tent on my own. I found the after race food and got a plate. I saw Alan, from the morning sitting by himself and joined him. he had a great race finishing 2nd in his agegroup. Afterwards I packed up my gear in transition and made my way to my car, loaded up and made the drive back home.
A DNF is not what I had envisioned for my end of season. Only the 2nd DNF in my 20+ years of racing. I will live to race another day. Now it is time to recover from the season and then plan out the next race season…it is now officially the off-season!
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!
This weekend was the Deuces Wild Triathlon weekend in Show Low, Arizona. Saturday’s festivities included the olympic distance and half ironman distance triathlons and today was the xterra triathlon. My weekend included the half ironman followed by volunteer duty for the xterra.
I arrived in Show Low on Friday afternoon. Show Low is in the White Mountains of Arizona and sets at just under 6500 ft elevation. In the near distance a large plume of smoke was visible from one of Arizona’s largest wild fires in the state’s history (as of today the 3rd largest and still 0% contained). The winds were blowing hard and were forecast to continue through the race on Saturday…oh joy! After arriving at the race venue, Fools Hollow lake, I picked up my race packet and then proceeded to find my camp site. My camp site was less than 2 miles from the race, nice and convenient! I set up my tent and then relaxed in the shade. I made a quick trip into town to do a bit of race meal shopping. My camp “neighbors” were quite entertaining…think of the old Honeymooners t.v. show. Unfortunately they were also quite loud! But, my ipod cured that. I put the finishing touch’s on all of my gear and double checked that I had everything. I then went and visited with some friends that were camped nearby. Back at camp early, I turned out the lantern, crawled into my sleeping bag and was sleeping by 9.
Race morning my alarm went off at 4:15. I crawled out of my sleeping bag to find that it was pretty cold. I quickly found a blanket and wrapped up in it while I ate breakfast…yoguart, a banana and a wheat bagel. I threw on my TriSports.com/Accelerate3 race kit and topped it with a warm up suit. I topped off the air in my tires. I then threw my gear backpack on my bike and took the chilly ride down to the transition area. This year rack positions were assigned by race number. I found my spot on the 2nd rack and set up my gear. I talked to a few friends who were racing and then relaxed for a bit. About 6 I started to get in to my wetsuit. I walked down to the swim start to get a short warm up in. Water temp was low 60’s. A bit of a shock when entering the water. I was able to get in about 200 yards before they started getting everyone back to the start.
After a short swim course talk the start horn sounded…no warning! Caught most of us by surprise but no one got an early start. We were off for the 1.2 mile swim. The first section of the swim curved to the right out of a small cove and went about 500 yards to the first turn buoy. The altitude, cold water and surprise start caused me to have breathing difficulties, a first in my 19 years of multisport racing. My chest felt constricted. I rolled over on my back and attempted to adjust my wetsuit to no avail. I rolled back over and focused on relaxing. After rounding the turn buoy I began to feel good again and focused on my stroke. My sighting was good and I swam straight along the buoy line to the 2nd turn buoy. This was the long leg of the swim and the buoy came quicker than I expected. I made the turn and began to head back to the cove. I rounded the corner and could see the boat ramp. As I exited I took a glance at my watch…the first 500 yards had cost me about 3-4 minutes! I stripped my wetsuit down to my waist as I ran up the ramp, plopped down and the “strippers” smoothly yanked my wetsuit the rest of the way off.
Swim time…35:14, good enough for 4th fastest in the 45-49 agegroup.
Transition 1 was quick and smooth…helmet on, grab bike, go! T1 time…1:40, fastest of my agegroup.
I mounted my bike at the mount line got up to speed and got my feet into my shoes. I was off for the 56 mile bike. The bike course was rolling hills for the first 45ish miles then has an 8 mile grinding climb. It’s not steep but just keeps on going followed by a short rolling downhill. The wind was blowing at 40+ mph. It was a head or side wind the whole day until the final few miles. I felt strong the whole ride. I took in all my carb drink…2 large bottles with 6 scoops of carbo pro in each. At a couple of aid stations I grabbed water wash down the carbs. A few riders who passed me early in the ride made their way back to me before the long climb. About mid way up the climb the olympic distance race bike course ties into the half iron course. I began using them as targets to motivate me, picking them off along the climb. I made the turn back towards the transition and was rewarded with what seemed like the only tail wind during the day. About 100 yards from the dismount line I slid my feet out of my shoes, made the last 2 chicane like turns, and as I hit the dismount line hopped from my bike running. I made my way through the chute and into the transition area. Bike time…2:43:57, fastest in my agegroup.
Once again transition went smoothly. Hung the bike on the rack, helmet off, running shoes on, grabbed my hat, sunglasses and number belt and off I went on my 13.1 mile, 2 loop tour of the lake and campground areas. As I ran out of T2 I put on my sunglasses, hat and belt. The first loop of the run I planned on going easy so that I’d have some fuel in the tanks for the second loop. The first couple of miles along the lake was windless and hot. The late morning sun had warmed to the mid 80’s. I maintained a strong but comfortable pace. As we climbed out of the lake area into the campgrounds the wind came back and helped to cool me along with the shade of the tall pines. I wound my way through the campground and then began the out and back section of the loop. I was able to see the competition and saw no one that looked to be in my agegroup. After the out and back there is a short downhill followed by an uphill that took me back near the finish line. At that point the olympic distance guys turn for the finish and us half iron guys veer off for another short out and back. I asked the volunteers how many had gone through the out and back and was told 10 to 15. Not to bad. We then ran by the transition area and began the 2nd loop (a repeat of the first minus the short out and back section). My legs were feeling good so I picked up my pace a bit. Once again there was no wind and lots of heat around the lake area and wind on the high section. I made my way through the campground, the out and back and then up the final hill…this time to make the turn into the finishing shoot. I crossed the finish line and received the best thing ever….a nice, icy cold popcicle!My legs were jello! My T2/run time…1:49:11, 3rd fastest in my agegroup.
Overall time…5:10:04, 1st place 45-49, 15th place overall male and 17th place overall (yea, I got chicked x2).
Today (Sunday) I was again at the race site early after breaking down my camp and packing everything in my car. Began the day feeling pretty good. I directed transition traffic for the xterra race. As the morning progressed the muscles began to tighten though. However, still had a great time volunteering! Some quick fuel, mexican food compliments of the race and then drove 4 hours back to Tucson.
Next race is the Firecracker Tri at the UofA.
…Deuceman half ironman at the Deuces Wild Triathlon Festival in Show Low, Arizona! 6500ft. elevation, hills and if it is like last year….95 degrees! Can’t wait.