Monday, April 30, 2012

Riverwood 2012 Race Recap

This race is quickly becoming one of my favorite races.  I love the venue, the pool and the ride.

This race recap will probably be short and sweet, but once I start talking about it, it may expand.  I felt really comfortable leading up to this race.  I was really relaxed and not feeling any stress for this race.  My only goal for this race was to better my time from last year.

As normal, I packed everything the night before so I was ready to leave when I woke up on Saturday morning.  It was a little chilly but nor bad at all.  Mostly comfortable.  Had a half of pb&j and coffee and hit the road.  We arrived at Riverwood at @ 6:15.  Picked up my race packet and timing chip and then body marking.  All really casual.

I went down to the transition area and set everything up.  Still really relaxed.  No worries.  Once everything was setup, I went to find Jon and Chick who were also both doing this race.  They are both coaches/team leaders with the Second Wind.  The Second Wind is a Christian Running and Triathlon ministry.

They were in the Athletic Center along with Paul, Chick's dad.  We were able to chat and people watch as everyone came in.  Jody also was competing and stopped by to say hello.  He was actually starting right behind Chick.

At about 7:45 we decided to get into race mode.  We went and removed our warm ups and mentally prepared to toe the line.  The first racers took off at 8:00.  My start time wasn't until 8:40 so I had plenty of time to watch.

Jon took off at 8:17, Chick at 8:20,  Jody at 8:20:15.  They are excellent swimmers so they took off early.  They swam great times. Around 5:30 times.  Awesome speed. One day I will be there :).  It was awesome to see them do well.

Finally I was in line and moving closer to the pool.  No stress.  I was still really relaxed.  I got in the water and was ready to go.  Once I started, I wanted to concentrate on pacing.  I wanted to ensure that I had plenty to make it.  This pool started at 3 feet and ended at 7 so I needed to be able to swim the entire length.

At the end of the first 50, I caught the person in front of me.  I was so excited.  I swam on and felt great.  Once I reached the 100 mark, the person who started behind me caught up with me.  It was ok, I let her go.  Then I caught back up to her.  But I wasn't fast enough to pass her.  So I tried to draft behind her.  But I kept hitting her foot.  So I got to the wall and let her go ahead.  Then I caught her again.  Finally at the 250 wall, I was able to get back in front of her and stayed there.

The run to transition was a little chilly.  I was colder here than at Granite Falls.  Brrrrr. Transition felt smoother.  I felt like I was able to quickly get my shirt, helmet and sunglasses on and get out of transition.  Once I was on the bike, I was able to think about the swim and felt really good about it.

The bike course started relatively flat so I was able to get started easily.  I passed a couple of people almost right away.  At about mile 5, I was passed like I was standing still.  This guy just breezed right on by me.  He was gone in a flash.

The rest of the ride was good.  I would see someone in front of me and my focus was on passing that person.  Once passed the process started over again, spot someone ahead and try to catch them.  By mile 10, I ran out of people and this was at the worse possible point.  My flat ride turned into rolling hills.  A little tougher and without someone to target, I just coasted along.  I glanced over my shoulder a couple of times just to ensure that no one was catching me.

Along the home stretch, I finally saw other riders and rode like a mad man to catch them. All good.  That helped.  Once I was back at the rec center, I slipped my feet out of my shoes and was able to smoothly dismount.

In and out of T2, easily, quickly.  Started the run.  Saw Linda and gave her a big smile and wave as set off to knock out this 5k.  I felt great.  Really strong.  The run was along a greenway, so I knew that I would make up more time here as well.  The first half of the run was almost totally downhill.  I felt like I was cruising and easily passing other runners.

Since this was an out and back that meant coming back I would be running uphill.  With that in mind, I throttled back on the way out.  I did not want to run out of steam.  I did a good job at maintaining pace for the run and finished strong.

Well that was the good part.   Now for the bad.  My times.  I guess I relaxed too much in the pool, didn't give enough effort on the bike and totally cruised the 5k.

My times were worst in every category from last year except the swim.  Boooo.

                     2011                               2012
Swim             8:25                                7:38
Bike             47:22                              48:32
Run              20:55                              21:22
Overall       1:19:25                          1:19:38

I was 8th out of 13 in my age group and 34th overall.  Yes that was a really tough pill to swallow.  The best part was I felt really engaged for the entire race.  No issues with motivation.  I felt I had my mojo back.  I was mentally into the race the entire time and gave 8 out of 10 effort.

Fortunately I have time now for more swimming and more cycling.  I have to improve my times in both.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Tuesday's Thoughts

It is confession time. Last week was another struggle week.  I lost my mojo somewhere.  I keep searching for it and I cannot find it. I went to the pool and swam and swam and swam and couldn't find it.  I went for a run and it wasn't anywhere on the trail or on the road.  I went for a ride.  Still nothing.  

This just going through the motions thing really isn't working for me.  I have plenty of things on the horizon that should be motivating me.  But that desire just isn't quite there.  I am sure that it is conveying in the tone of my blogs.  

Well I have a Tri this weekend.  Another course that I have a score to settle with.  :)  This race normally has a stacked field.  Lots of the better age groupers in the area compete here.  This is the week before the first Half in the area and many use it as a warm up.  I am really excited to compete there.  Its a fun ride and nice run.  Not too hilly but not exactly flat either.  

If this doesn't help me find Mr. Mojo, I am not sure what will.  

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Granite Falls Tri - 2012

This year's Granite Falls Tri turned out to be a great learning day for me.  I am so happy that I was able to make the race.  It was a busy week.

I recently read Mecca's book "I am here to win" and one comment that he makes is that you need to try and break routines.  Well in my case I need to find a routine.  I am so bad about just waking up and going.  No real pre-race routine.  While that can be helpful when something comes up and your routine is interrupted but to not have a guideline or a formula is just not very smart.

Ok let me just say that I know what I need to do.  I just do it on the fly.  Like for this triathlon, I woke up grabbed a prepackage bacon egg and cheese biscuit, a cup of coffee and out the door I went.  I know not even the breakfast of champions. Even with that, I arrived about an hour earlier than I needed to be.  I always tell myself to relax and go later, but again that lack of planning thing pops up.

Fortunately/Unfortunately, I picked up my packet on Saturday.  My bib number was 4.  What in the world?  IF I start 4th, I would be ran over by about 50 people.  I begged them to move me back.  So I actually started 40th.  Phew, heart attack averted.  The best thing that came from that was the rack for transition.  I was able to rack my bike with the "pro's".  So I was not really worried about them kicking my helmet off my bike or even being there when I was transitioning.

After pacing around the compound for the 1 1/2 until the race started it was finally 8 and we started lining up.  Another great thing happened with the swim, by starting 40th, there was a 1:30 break between me and the next person.  That meant that even if I sucked, this person should not be able to catch me.  That was awesome.  So no pressure on the swim.  Got to the wall to start and when I got the go, I took off calmly and smoothly.  You would have thought I was a pro.  I have to admit my swim was really easy.  I didn't catch the person in front of me and wasn't caught from behind.  I was really able to relax and go.

Once I got out of the water and headed to transition something strange happened.  I lost my drive.  I didn't run to my bike. I actually walked part of the way through transition.  I changed into my shirt and helmet and picked up my sunglasses and gloves and was off.  I mean I took it really casually.  Once I started on the bike, I really expected to get my drive back and to take off. But it never really happened.

That is not to say that I didn't ride well, I just didn't ride fast.  I wasn't admiring the scenery, but I also wasn't breathing hard.  I was passed within the first mile by one guy.  My normal reaction would have been to try to hook on (draft legal) and stay with the guy.  But that reaction just wasn't there.  I just mentally waved him goodbye and keep rolling along.

I passed a couple of riders and I tried to cheer them on.  Then as I made a turn, another rider caught me.  This time my competitive juices did kick in, just a little.  I stayed with him for about 2 miles.  Then again I just allowed him to ride away.

Once I made my turn back into Granite Falls, I still had a ton left in the tank.   I told myself that I would blow it out on the run.  I will catch these two jokers who passed me and show them a thing or two.  I started running and I could feel that I was still energized.

I ran really good.  Not hard, but good. Unfortunately, I still didn't put forth the kind of effort that I expect.  I also got lost in my own head.  I started thinking about the guys who pasted me.  I realized that I had at least a 1:30 head start on them.  That meant that I would have to catch them and leave them by that same distance.

Running and shaking my head, I decided to just run and leave all the mental stuff alone.  I still felt strong and since the race had several turn a rounds, I could see how far ahead or behind I was.  I was passed by 3 guys and actually caught 2 of them and easily pulled away from them.  I continued my normal encouragement of the other runners.

I finished strong.  Had a huge smile on my face.  I knew that this wasn't my best effort but I knew that I hadn't really bombed it either.  After a slow walk to cool down, I started cheering for others as they were finishing.  It was great to see Jody.  He ran a great race.  Met a guy from Fayetteville who has just competed in a tri the precious day.  That is dedication.

All in all, this race was not one that I would highlight on my memories, but it was a great day and an event that I now have to do again to make up for my lackluster performance.

Swim - 300 yrds - 6:53
Bike - 10 miles - 34:20
Run - 5k - 21:34
Total time - 1:04:50

26 out of 121 overall
6 of 11 in my AG.

Actually improved my time from last year by over a minute.  Last year was 1:06:30.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Week/Month Wrap up

Well, March has come and gone.  It was a really good month for me all things considered.

This month accomplish a life goal this month and a birthday on the dame day.  I have now set my next goal and it scares the bejesus out of me.  A half iron.

Before I get ahead of myself lets recap March.  If you have been reading my blog, you know that I was also injured this month.  For a while I thought it would keep me from the marathon, but in the end it worked out.  I completed my first tri of this season.  Again, another milestone, swimming the swim portion (it's sometimes the small things).

The low light of the month comes in my cycling.  I barely broke 100 miles on the road this month.  A truly horrible stat.  I do not even have bad weather as an excuse.  We had awesome weather all month.  I just truly didn't get out as I should have.

I actually took a couple of days off this month.  I was telling someone else how important recovery was and how important it was to follow your schedule and ensure that your schedule includes recovery.  Well I am going to start following my own advise and program a little more downtime.  Quality not quantity.

With that said, I am relaxing some of my workout distances.  No so concerned with get so many miles, but concerned with working on form, cadence, breathing, stretching/warm-up, cool down and nutrition.  Going to try and incorporate more cross training in order to strengthen my core.

One thing that has helped me in my training up until now has been the consistency of my training.  I have a schedule and my body (I think) knows where I am supposed to be and what I am supposed to be doing.  I am really comfortable with a regiment, so this change now is going to be a little tough.  I hope to make this as consistent ad my previous regiment.