Ironman Arizona 2015 recap

Arrived in Phoenix Thursday night. Last race of the season, and it's been a fairly long season for me. My goal was to get as close to 10:30 as I can, and then re-evaluate. Also to have fun and enjoy the Arizona fall. Bib # 2487.

The forecast has called a rain to start after 6pm, so I figured that I'd be done well before that... how foolish of me. Did not pack anything warm at all.

Swim - was shooting for a 1:10 time. However I did not realize how packed would the starting queue be - by the time I got in line, best I could do was get to the dude holding the 1:15 sign. LOL. The steps were kinda funky, but I got in and started swimming. Lots of mutual pummeling, etc. After about 3 markers, I finally swam through the masses and had plenty of space. Some more traffic at the turnaround, but not too bad. Slowed down a bit for the last 0.5 miles - realized that my neck is getting horribly chafed as my wetsuit's collar somehow got twisted, probably during the starting fight for space. Got out, I guess that the timer was placed at the top of the steps - my Garmin showed 1:14, official time was 1:15:14.

T1 - got the wetsuit off, ran to the bike bags, found mine quick. Hands were cold - and given my lesson from 2 years ago, I wanted socks. Took a minute to get the strap to click and the socks to line up on my numb feet. Off to the bike course in 5:40.

Bike - oh boy. I knew that it'd take me 3-4 miles to start generating power. Was shooting for 183 NP... man was I in for a disappointment. Going out on the first loop I was at 175, by the time I was back in Tempe I was at 161. Somehow I just could not get warm at all, was peeing on the bike every hour. The winds on the way out of town were pretty mild, but I was just sucking. Nutrition wise I was doing great, taking on 100 kcals every 20, and an extra GU packet on the hour mark. I was barely sweating, and was mostly drinking water with a salt tab once in a while. The rain started after 11, and it was on and off for the rest of the ride. By the time I was finishing the visibility was nearly zero and I was shivering nonstop. Did a flying dismount and almost face planted - the carpet at the finish line was soaked. 5:35:08 - boo.

T2 - it was so warm inside the tent! Decided to stay inside for an extra minute and stretch in hopes of warming up. The rain was coming down extra HARD outside but it was time to poop or get off the pot. I got up. 3:35

Run - After the first mile I was so cold that I almost called it quits. Then paired up with a 50-54 dude who was cranking it out, and he pulled through the next 3 miles. The rain water turned the dirt path along the lake into an obstacle course, which made it fun. After 5 miles I was finally warm, feeling my toes, and decided to shoot for a 3:40-ish run. It was definitely on until the 19 mile mark, when I have realized that I was shivering again. Started walking the water stations until the mile 24. After that, brought it home without any more misadventures. 3:44:16.

Overall - 10:43:53. Went out with the family afterwards, and had a burger and some salad and a couple of beers, got home to watch the 'hawks crapping their collective bed... and fell asleep on the coach... and woke up in the middle of the night HUNGRY. Typing this up before I forget stuff.

Conclusion - a very middling outing. I got work to do, with the bike re-fit and probably some sort of coaching. I should also get better prepped for colder events - which is hard to do in SoCal, but now that I got burned twice (here and in NYC 2014)... 

Hansen Dam Olympic 2015 recap

Location - Hansen Dam Park near Pacoima, the Valley region of Los Angeles. My first tri of the 2015 season.

The weather is always a crapshoot here, and of course we got a mini-heat wave this weekend. The swim is in an urban lake, called Recreational lake, and the day prior to the race the temps were easily in the 90s. Oh well. Brought the sleeveless with me just in case, set up my transition, got body marked, had a banana and a Gatorade. The air was easily in the upper 70s, and when I went for a pre-swim - the water was easily 85.

Swim. The course was 3 laps around the lake, and about 1/3 of the loop you had some blazing sun in your face. I was in the second wave, which got going at around 6:48am. The course was merging with the incoming waves during the start of each loop, and of course I would run into the incoming swimmers EVERY time. The course was pretty loosely measured, and I swam at least 1700 yards. Out in 32:53. Meh, hate swimming in a muck.

T1. Nothing too eventful except that someone managed to rack their bike next to mine facing the same direction so that their bullhorns were tangled with my front brake cable. Took about 30 seconds to unscrew this, without dropping the other bike. 2:14

Bike. The course was 2 loops, claiming to be 22 miles. You climb on some rollers and false flats for about 5 miles, and then bomb down. I ended up with about 19.7 miles total distance on my bike. Anyhow, I was shooting for about 200w per loop. At the end of the first loop hit some nasty crack in the pavement, and heard a pop coming from the wheel. Slowed down a bit, the front wheel seemed to be intact. However, going up the second loop felt really hard for some reason. I was starting to get passed by chicks, people riding road bikes... more road bikes on the way down... wtf... avg power up to 214w. Dismounted in T2 and immediately saw that a spoke was broken. FML. Had to carry the bike in. 54:13.

T2. In and out quick. Was getting pretty hot, so poured about 1/2 bottle of water on the head and chest. 1:12.

Run. About 70% trails, . I knew that I was not going to be able to medal, so decided to just treat it as a tempo run for a marathon. It was a bit hilly, so 7:15 min/mile was about the right pace. The organizers did set up at least 8 or 9 drinking stations, so hydration was not an issue. The last 1/2 mile were a bit of work since we basically went down a dirt ditch and then up the said ditch. Was over before I knew it. 46:46, 2:17:19 total, 4th in my division, 17th overall.

Got a bagel, bananas and water and went home to cry to momma. The wheel turned out to be ok, just had the spoke replaced the next day. Silverman is next, and then IMAZ. 

OC Marathon 2015 recap

It's been 8 days since, so I'd better write up a recap. Memory is not my forte anyhow, so here it is.

I started to taper one week prior to the race week. Ran about 10 miles less than prescribed, and did not do strength work or tempo. Just eas-ish running instead. The right ankle was getting pretty stiff and sore, and I really felt that resting it up would be a good idea. The week of the race I did not run at all Wednesday through Friday and just rested and iced the ankle. Unfortunately by Friday I started develop a little bit of nasal congestion. Really, really hoped that it does not develop any further. Loaded up on Vitamin C and liquids.

The day before traveled to Newport Beach and checked into a hotel. There was some stupidness going on with the shuttle passes, but thanks to my friend Joanne we got the coveted wrist bands even though it cost an extra $10. Had a chicken sandwich with mashed pot at TGI Friday (it sucked and was drenched in Tabasco, ugh!).  Laid out my gear for tomorrow and went to bed at 9:30 and kinda sorta slept til 3am.

Woke up and had PB&J sandwich and a banana with coffee. The weird head cold thing was still there but it was sort of in the background. Wanted to see if I can cram an extra Clif bar and some Shot Bloks but was way too full. Got on the bus at 4:30, got dropped off at the race start. Had a bottle of Gatorade, hit the porta potty a couple of times, forced myself to have a gel at about 5:25am. The race got going at 5:41am. It was almost bright enough. The temps were in the high 50s. Perfect!

The first few miles were rollers through the town, and I kept pace pretty controlled. Then we got to Corona del Mar and the pace quickened a bit. I was at 7:10 and saw a few 7:08s. I knew that this was not going to be prudent, and really tried to keep the pace in check. We hit the first (and really the only) sizable hill on Dover Dr heading towards Castaways park. The pace was around 7:11 and it stayed that way til the half marathon split point.

I had to make an assessment there. My plan was to honestly ask myself if I was feeling strong - this was the logical place to bail if something was not firing right. I had another marathon scheduled 3 weeks out - and it'd been smart to avoid running the full 26.2in OC, to save the energy and fight another day. But I felt like a million bucks at that point. The ankle was a tiny bit achy but otherwise all was good. And so I popped a gel and it was on!

The course was pancake flat til mile 20. We ran past the Segestrom Pavillion, through the mall and through some fairly non-descript 'hoods. Had another gel - but I felt no signs of energy depletion. The pace was around 7:13 at mile 20, but I started to feel the miles a bit. I took one last gel and pitched the remaining 2 to reduce the weight. At around mile 22 after we got off the river bike path there was pretty small but sharp hill and it felt like I was running up the Trash Truck Hill in Griffiths Park. I also found that if I sharply turn my head, I get dizzy. Ugh again. I think that the temps were rising and my body started to lose electrolytes faster than I was able to replenish them.

So the pace was at about 7:15. Started popping salt tabs but still from mile 24.5 I was cramping a bit here and there. But I still was on track, just had to keep thinking good thoughts. At mile 25 or so some dude gave me mini bottle of ice cold water and yelled at me to pick it up as I was almost there. Right he was. Pushed harder but had to mind the crampy state of affairs at that point.

Got to the fairgrounds, it was kinda desolate there, but eventually reached the merger point with the half marathoners. Was very happy to hit the finish line and see the clock at 3:12. The official finish time was 3:12:43. I've done it! The full Strava thing can be found here.

Surf City Half marathon 2015 recap

Ran the Surf City half marathon yesterday. 2 other buddies came along, so we all carpooled. Took about an hour, and parking was relatively painless despite the horrors that I have read about in the reviews. We got there at 6:20 and it took no time to find parking in a structure ($12 though).

The pre-race went as expected. Line up at a portapotty, do the deed, mill around, hit the portapotty again, off to the starting line. This time I took a bit longer than usual and had to push through a densely packed crowd to get to the starting line.

So the plan was to run the first 7 miles or so at a 6:45 pace, and then slow it down for the last 6 miles, to end up with the average of about 7:15. The first 5 miles went great, but by the end of mile 5 I felt like I was developing major blisters on the balls of my feet. Both of them. I was running in my Saucony Guide shoes with about 230 miles on them, and I have been doing all of my speedwork in them... no real issues in training, logged 12 miles in them just last week... perplexing. By mile 6 I had to make a decision to slow down to get to the nearest aid station and get some Vaseline. Found it at the mile 8 or so. From there I ran the rest of the course very leisurely, stopped at a portapotty, since a bunch of time was wasted anyways.

Finished with the feet absolutely searing. Finish time was pretty irrelevant by that point (1:58). Had a couple of beers in the garden, waited for my friends to finish... enjoyed the sun and the chatter around me. Will need a few days to let the feet heal and maybe find another half to do in mid February to test the fitness. This said, week 5 is over just like that!