Friday, June 25, 2010

Summer is here.....

How can you tell you may ask? Well....graduations, heat waves, thunderstorms and fireflies are a sign of the season.

Last Friday Autumn graduated from Kindergarten....where does time go? It was a cute little "ceremony" where the kids sang some songs, heard from their teachers and received their "diploma's". Autumn was sad to see the year end and says she'll miss her teacher, her classroom and her friends. She's such a creature of habit...instead of being excited for summer she's worried about the change in routine!! So from there we headed down to my half brother's high school graduation. It was HOT, but no rain. We couldn't stay long though, Lauren and I had a concert to go to. It was a great concert, a Christian group comprised of 3 sisters...and we were treated to an acoustic concert which was even better. They were incredibly talented and funny...it was nice to have such an intimate feeling concert.

Saturday was another HOT day. We headed down to my dad's for Dylan's graduation party. The kids were excited to play with their cousins and do some SWIMMING! Autumn and Joshua have really improved in their swimming ability and confidence. Joshua walked right up to the end of the diving board and jumped into my arms!! We had a great time.

On Fathers Day my brother and I headed out early to what has become an annual tradition...the Wilkes Barre Duathlon. A great event about an 1:15 drive, hometown feel which was a 3mi run, 15.5mi bike and 3mi run. It starting at the town green, headed across the river and then ran along the river and eventually back across the bridge. The bike was a "lolipop" type course that headed west out of town (and uphill) into a large industrial development then back into town. It was HOT again, very humid.

The race is usually pretty competitive since it pays money. I won last year, but considering how I'd been feeling leading up to it and knowing that Jeff Miller who had won the event a few times before (and his credentials include an Age Group win at Duathlon World Championships last year) was going to be there I was less than optomistic about my chances. I also had three members of my cycling club (Lamprey Systems) there which was cool. The race had a record turnout of 213 entrants and a catered hot breakfast afterward..a good start to Father's Day.

The gun went off and a couple of the relay guys shot out like bulletts. About a half of a mile in it was Jeff Miller and I leading....and sweating! As we came to the first incline Jeff dropped back a bit so I took the lead. As I hit 2 miles I was by myself and really sweating due to the humidity. I was a little concerned that I had gone out too fast for the conditions so I tried to ease back. Came into T1 at 16:22 for 3.05 miles. A little slower than last year...probably due to heat.

I killed T1, out it 39 seconds, the fastest T1 of the day! I got out onto the bike and I felt like crap (even worse after I struggled to get my feet into my shoes!). The first 4 miles I felt like I left my legs at home. I hadn't pushed the run too hard, but the wind, humidity and heat were getting to me. It was so bad at one point I was sure that I was overtrained on the bike and the best thing to do would be turn around, bag it and recover....glad I didn't! I had gotten passed by Jeff and one of the relays and that didn't help either. Once we got in the industrial park I my legs started to show up. I was very concious of making sure I got my EFS in me with all the fluids I had lost.

At the turn around I could see that they hadn't gained too much on me...but I did have a guy chasing me down. At about mile 10 I came to a sheriff who was directing traffic. She waved me to the left which I knew was wrong. I yelled out to her that it was wrong and she strongly disagreed? Well, I thought, as long as she's sending everyone the wrong way it's no big deal. Turns out Jeff had snuck by her but the relay guy and I were are the wrong place at the wrong time. She did direct everyone else that direction which was good, but it added 1.2 miles onto the ride. No chance of catching Jeff now, he easily gained 3-4 minutes right there. That gave me some motivation to push a little harder though which was good. I was catching the relay guy again and no one was closing in on me. The last 4 miles I felt AWESOME, holding 27.5-28.5 on the flats. I recorded the fastest 5 mile split I've ever done (I have my Garmin set to auto lap at 5 miles) on the way back in....26mph for a 5 mile stretch! Into T2 in 3rd (2nd overall due to relay) and recorded the second fastest bike split of the day (Jeff was faster, much faster due to the extra 1.2mi that we did). I averaged 23.5 mph for 16.7 on a hilly, windy course which is a record for me.

At this point I wanted to preserve 2nd and stay in the money. I knew the guy behind me was a great runner so I had my work cut out. I managed to hold him off for a 17:32. 2nd overall in 1:17 :xx. About 3 minutes slower than last year, but understandable since I bike an extra 1.2 miles. My Lamprey teammates finished 3rd overall female, 4th overall male and 10th overall male (my brother). My brother made some huge improvements and had a great ride and run 2. Here's a cool shot of the front page of the newspaper on Monday! Check out the Trakkers green standing out in the crowd!!
Last night I headed up to the training series crit with my brother and three other guys who I used to race motocross with. We had an absolute blast and it brought back memories from 10 years ago when we'd all be riding and practicing together. Funny how we all find ourselves still on two wheels, still loving racing but no motors under our legs and now families and children.
Next week will be busy as we get ready for our annual trip to Vermont. We leave Saturday morning and spend a week up there. Can't wait!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Quassy Race Photos

The Loch ness Monster appears....

Out onto the beautiful bike course...


And how the heck did I manage a smile in that heat on that course?

And another smile up the dreadful last mile hill :<)

One of my favorite shots of all time...look at that smile on Joshua's face, PRICELESS!

And finally done....Rev3 does things right...look at this finish line area!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mental notes..

First off, on the way home from Quassy we got news that Lauren's uncle had suffered a cardiac arrest. He was on day two of an MS150 bike ride in North Carolina which he had done many times before, in very hot and humid weather. He collapsed 5 miles from the finish line and by the grace of God was defibulated (sp?) very quickly. He went through some tough times over the following few hours and needed open heart surgery. We got word this morning that he was removed from the ventilator and is speaking although suffering some short term memory loss. God works in amazing ways and He definitely has bigger and better plans for Ken. He's not out of the woods yet but the recent news is very encouraging.

Things like that really make you take a step back. Here's a fit man in his 50's that was seconds from not making it back home after a weekend of doing what he loves. We as humans and as athletes are truly blessed. Blessed that we have great families, great bodies, and an incredible country where we live free of violence, where our children can grow up without any worries and where we have an abundance of all of our needs. I don't know why God has provided me with the blessings he has, but I am grateful that He has and I hope that I can glorify him in all that I do.

As I was enjoying the incredible morning this morning on a nice easy ride, I was praying for Uncle Ken and giving thanks for all of the beauty around me. 5:30am surrounded by beautiful scenery and the sounds of nature is just an amazing time..almost surreal and it feels like you're taking in what most people are missing out on...like if they only knew they'd be out there joining you? Well, on my ride this morning I was also thinking about my race on Sunday, not necessarily because I wanted to, but because my legs were hurting so much I couldn't NOT think about it! I came up with a list of things that went well and what I would change:

The good:
  • The whole weekend was awesome. It was great to have the family there, the host hotel was awesome as was the venue.
  • The Tri-slide that I used was awesome. I had no issues getting my wetsuit over my bony feet or wrists. No chafing either.
  • My nutrition plan worked out well. No cramping, no loss of energy. The combination of the First Endurance EFS drink mix (2 full bottles, 300 cal), the Liquid Shot (400 cal) and the Clif Bar (240 cal) on the bike was perfect. On the run I wasn't able to tolerate much, but I did get half a flask of Liquid Shot (200 cal) down as well as MANY cups of water.
  • I tried to keep my effort down during the first half of the bike course and push it after the big climb around mile 30. That worked out well and I was strong for the second portion of the bike as well as the run.
  • I tried to keep my heart rate and core temp down on the run. It worked out well, although I was crawling up the hills, I wasn't walking. I was dumping two cups of water over my head at each aid station.
  • I always carry two pumps and two CO2 cartridges. After changing a flat at mile 8 I was glad to know I still had one more set with me.
  • I decided to race in the Saucony Tangent 4's. With the uphills, downhills and gravel roads I was glad I had the added support. The Fasttwitch's work great for me for 10k and below, but the Tangents gave me the support I needed. I have no foot or knee pain. (It was awesome to chat with Michael Lavato post race and hear that he has similar shoe strategies with his Saucony's).
What I would do different (good news, there's not much here):
  • I would be more aggressive to start the swim and I would focus more on sighting early on.
  • Get a post race massage.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Rev3 Quassy Weekend - Race Report

Last weekend we spent a long weekend near Middlebury, CT. I raced the Rev3 Half Ironman which was on Sunday and was held at Quassy amusement park. It was my second half ironman and being that it was so early in the season and I only swam about 6 times since last October, I wasn't expecting much more than having fun. It was a great event for the whole family and the kids had a blast. I'm pretty sore today...the hills of CT got me!!

We headed out Friday morning...

After a relatively uneventful and "short" 3 hour drive, we arrived at our hotel. Was a pretty cool "resort" if you will called Heritage. Condo's, hotel rooms, indoor and outdoor pool, meeting and reception areas, this place was huge...and about 10 minutes from the race site. The kids saw the pool and IMMEDIATELY wanted to go swimming, which we did for a while. I wanted to head over to the race site so I could find it Saturday morning when our team was manning the mile 1 water stop for the Olympic distance event being held that day. We met up with some Trakkers teammates and had a great dinner.

Saturday morning we woke up to some rain, so Lauren drove me over to the race site (instead of me riding over as originally planned). I headed down to the water stop as we got ready. Word has it we were the best aid station in the race......

Here's the "crew"!

After we were done at the aid station, I took a ride on the run course. It was billed as a hilly run course, and it delivered. There was a brutal uphill section about 4 miles in that was on a gravel road and the last 1.5 miles was a gnarly uphill. I was glad I at least got to check that out before the race. The lake looked beautiful, so I took a little swim to calm the nerves. It was warm enough (low 70's) that I didn't need a wetsuit...but I did plan to wear mine for the race on Sunday. We then headed back to the hotel, took the kids to the pool and down for a nap so we could head back to the race site to rack my bike and get a bite to eat...

Rev3 does it right. When I picked up my packet, they took a picture to use when I crossed the finish line, then when I brought my bike into transition, they snapped a picture of the bike! I get to my transition area to find out I was "pro"...

Racked my bike and we were off to grab some pizza.
As we were ordering our food on the outside patio.....the rain hit... The forecast for Sunday was not good, 70% chance of some rain, thunder and lightning! Woke up to dry conditions though, but figured it was only a matter of time. Had my oatmeal, packed my things and headed to the race. Sipped on some First Endurance EFS in, put a full bottle of it on my bike and filled my Aerodrink with EFS as well. It was humid and I was worried about getting the right amount of fluid and nutrition so I wouldn't bonk. I carried a flask of Liquid Shot to sip on the bike, had a Clif bar for the bike and I had another flask of Liquid Shot for the run.

The race itself went well. Water temp was mid 70's so still wetsuit legal. I was the 4th wave around the triangular 1.2 swim course. I started mid pack and felt pretty good. Somehow I got way off to the left so I wasted a good amount of time getting back on course. Once I hit the back leg I was feeling good, following the bouy's well and actually catching people from the wave in front of me (started 3 min. before me). There was a pretty good pack for most of the swim and I even got to practice some drafting! I had enough left to push the end of the swim and made some more passes, something I'm not really used to doing in the water. Came out at 35:26, AWESOME! 35 out of 96 in my AG and that's including my "detour", I'll take it. I really hope to continue to improve my swimming this summer.

SWIM: 35:26

Had a decent transition, and out onto the bike. Felt great right off the bat on the bike. I was passing people consistently on the rolling terrain of the first few miles. My goal was to maintain a decent effort for the first 30 miles until we got up the big hill then push it a little harder and make up some time. All was going according to plan until.....the "hiss of death". I had just put brand new tires on but still managed to get a flat. Off to the side I go...and watch my Trakkers teammates go by. Got it changed and back on the road, according to my Garmin I lost about 9 minutes. Once I got going I passed quite a few people and I was still feeling pretty good. I finished nearly two bottles of fluid by the time I hit the mile 29 aid station so I grabbed some fluid from them. The course wasn't very forgiving, always climbing, turning or descending. It was great though, because it really broke things up. Near mile 40 was a short out and back section where you could see who was in front of you and behind you. By that point I was pushing pretty good and felt strong. The next 10 miles were the best on the course, some beautiful scenery, great downhills and no traffic. The last 6 miles I was sweating pretty good and there were some good climbs so I tried to focus on getting the rest of my Liquid Shot down and keeping fluids in my. I rolled into T2 feeling pretty good. Official bike split was 2:52:52, 19.44mph. Actual riding time subtracting the flat tire was 2:43:43, nearly 20.5mph. I was only passed by one person (a relay) the entire ride, happy with that.

Official Bike Split 2:52:52 (now 30th in my AG)

Coming out of T2 I saw Lauren and the kids coming to the race site, it was awesome to see them!! So while I was out getting my butt kicked on the run course, they were having some fun.

The first 1.5 miles are down hill, so I was cruising along pretty well. By this point it was HOT and HUMID so hydration was huge. I would take one or two water cups to drink and one or two to dump over my head at each aid station. As we started to climb the first big hill about 3.5 miles in I heard an official say I was 128th overall. Considering my flat tire, I was surprised. I decided I was going to shoot for top 100, so I just started picking people off. I focused on a short steady stride up the hills and a recovery down the hills. Due to the heat I had to keep my HR low. I had counted myself down to the top 100 by mile 7 and kept going from there. At about mile 9 (ironically the same aid station that I worked the day before) I started to slow down. I don't think it was a nutrition issue as much as just the heat. I had done the math in my head and figured if I ran sub 1:28 I'd be pretty close to sub 5:00 at the finish, but I just couldn't hold it. I did get passed by one person on the run, coming up that killer last hill...he was the only one that passed me.

Run split 1:31:00 - up to 16th in my AG out of 96 finishers. I'll take it..I passed 14 people in my AG on the run alone!

As I came into the finishing chute, I saw Lauren and the kids. Joshua wanted to run across the line with me, so I grabbed him. His face was precious as he took all the commotion and excitement of the finish in.

We crossed the finish line and he got to hang out with me!

After the finish they came over to greet me...check out the awesome Trakkers shirts!


Overall chip time was 5:02:47, 89th overall and 16th in my AG. Subtract the 9 minutes for the flat and I would have been 4:56, mid 60's overall and top 10 in my AG.

This was my first Rev3 race and they did an incredible job. Every last detail was taken care of. A cool race shirt and a technical finishers shirt, names on the bibs, beautiful venue, well marked and staffed courses and a family friendly environment.

For those of you that tried to track me live with the Trakkers device, I think my device may not have been able to locate a signal. If you did try it and have any feedback, let me know!


Thursday, June 3, 2010

Live Tracking @ Rev 3 Quassy

Here's the link to the live tracking site http://live.trakkersgps.com/events.aspx There's an olympic distance race on Saturday and Sunday will be the half. Come Sunday morning (I start swimming at 7:06, should be done by 7:40-ish) my name should be up there.

If you have any interest in watching the pro's there will be a live broadcast link at www.rev3tri.com.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Memorial weekend fun

What an awesome Memorial Day weekend! The weather was the best I can remember and we had a blast as a family. Saturday Lauren went shopping for the day, so the kids and I headed into Quakertown to do some shopping (some shopping for Lauren's anniversary present, only 7 days until our 10th anniversary) and some people watching at Walmart. We had our first cook out an meal on the patio of the year. Sunday was a busy day, Lauren got her long run in, we headed to church and then off to Autumn's first kids triathlon, then over to Lauren's sister's for a picnic.

Autumn had so much fun at her first "race", it was so cute. A local indoor pool where she takes lessons put the event on for kids under 10 years old...no timing, no results, just plain fun for the children and the parents! She started off with lap in the pool. (Here's mommy helping her get ready for the bike)


Then she headed out to the parking lot for her bike, two laps on the road in front of her...a mile or two total. It was cute, there was a slight incline that was just killer for the kids. She came into transition, dropper her bike and she was off for 4 laps around the parking lot (I think she's a natural runner!)

All the kids got to "break the tape" as they crossed the finish line, then some refreshments and a "high five" from the Nittany Lion (PSU has a campus next door). Joshua just watched in amazement, I'm sure he'll be out there next year! Autumn's classmate Ashley did it too, as did her cousins Hope and Adi.

Monday we had a great day as well. I packed up the mountain bikes, Autumns bike and the trailer and we headed down to Frenchtown NJ along the Delaware River. We road along the canal path and stopped along the way to put our feet in the water. It was great to see so many people out and about, enjoying the weather, the time off and the beauty of mother nature. We had dinner out on the patio of a little restaurant along the path, then walked for some ice cream. Within minutes of leaving we had two sleeping kids! Mission FUN WEEKEND accomplished!

I had some great early morning workouts, Saturday Johan and I embarked on a rather hilly 70 mile bike ride. We started out early (5:30am) when traffic is non existent and the weather is cool, but after a few hours in the saddle it warmed up. I had only brought two water bottles (with Grape EFS), a Clif Bar and a Gu gel.

We had planned to stop about 2:45-3:00 into the ride at a church to refill our bottles. Much to our surprise, they still had their outside hose bib turned off and no-one in sight! So I knew that last 15 miles were gonna be rough and......

from the looks of this photo, they were!! Now before you laugh at me too hard, at least feel a little bit of pity! I was impressed at my ability to snap pictures from my phone as I rode (stealing my teammate Sonja's idea). Beside the goofy look on my face, my dorky hat and glasses...at least my Trakkers kit looked cool!

So, after 70 miles on the bike on Saturday, my recovery week had a great "start". I proceeded to do a 25mi bike / 3mi run on Sunday, THEN get talked into another ride with Johan on Monday, somehow ending up with another 60 mile ride....OK, gotta focus on tapering! All this beautiful weather has me training like a kid in a candy store, I can't sleep at 5:00 in the AM when the sun is out!