25 December 2015

wrapping up the last few months of races

It has been a while since I posted and since then I have knocked out a few races.

In September, I raced two duathlons (5K run, 20K bike, 5K run) as part of the Kokopelli Triathlon at Sand Hollow State Park, UT and the Las Vegas Triathlon at Lake Mead NRA, NV.  I struggled running the second 5K in both of these due to ongoing plantar issues and as a result, my times weren't great.

In October, I entered my first obstacle course, the Terrain Mud Run (Boulder City, NV), and ran the Danny Gans Memorial 5K (Las Vegas, NV) with my son to finish off his freshman year of high school cross country.  The OCR did not go well. My wife was running it with me and as we went over the first wall, her knee bent in the wrong direction with an accompanying pop as she tore her ACL.  Yep, it definitely did not go well as we left the race area immediately after that for a trip to the ER.  On the other hand, the 5K was fun to run since my son's cross country team and a fair number of team parents were running it. I finished third of seven in my age group and 49th of 176 in that one but couldn't quite catch my son after his fast start.

In November, I ran my final race of the year.  It was the Snow Canyon Half Marathon in St George, UT and was a large race with 1,595 finishers.  The weather was good and the course was scenic. I felt really good in this one but suffered a bit over the final 5K due to the limited running I had been doing while rehabbing the foot.  Overall, I finished with a solid 2:04:16 but really want to go back there next year to see what I can do on that course while injury free.

The foot is finally starting to feel OK and I am starting to get in some longer training runs.

04 September 2015

The Injury Bug

The last few months have been a tough bit of minimal running.  Just as I was getting over my groin injury, I developed a plantar fasciitis issue with my right heel.  It kicked off in June and I feel like I am just finally getting over it.

Shortly after it developed, I raced a duathlon in Ohio as part of the Zoom Multisport Race series. It was a 4 mile run/34 mile bike/8 mile run race and didn't go well for a variety reasons.  A flat on the bike killed my time on the bike and heat/humidity did me in on the run. Oh yeah, I also dropped a shoe about a quarter mile from the transition as I was popping my foot out of it and had to turn back around and grab the shoe.  It definitely was not a great race.

After we got back to Vegas from that trip, my heel pain continued to grow and there were mornings that the simple stagger from the bed to the bathroom to start the day was difficult. I did manage to keep running 2-3 days a week and focused on shorter/faster workouts. I also used the time to focus more on cycling - both speed and endurance.

In the end, it took something simple to get a handle on the issue. I picked up new boots to replace my several year old work boots and after a few days, it was like magic and my heel began to feel better. I've also given up on my flipflops and picked up a second pair of Hokas to run in.

I have a set of duathlons coming up over the next two weekends. I hope that the heel is good to go and that I have kept up with enough running to have a solid showing at them. We shall see on the 12th.

31 May 2015

Sand Hollow Duathlon -5/30/15

I raced the duathlon yesterday morning at the Sand Hollow Tri-Du-Run.  It was put on by BBSC Endurance Sports and was held at Sand Hollow State Park near Hurricane Utah.

I felt like I had a good training load going into this race but my pre-race day was pretty hectic. A coworker scheduled his retirement ceremony for 4 PM on Friday and one week prior, my oldest son's school announced that his band concert would also be on that Friday at 7 PM.  After all the running around was done, it was midnight when I rolled into my hotel a few miles from the race start. Luckily, my wife had gone up earlier in the day with some of her triathlete friends and our youngest son and was able to pick up my packet and parking pass.

On race morning, the alarm went off early - 5:15 AM.  Getting up and going was rough and I laid in bed until my wife was ready.  After that, it was a quick donning of my kit and waking the boys so we could get downstairs for a quick breakfast before driving to Sand Hollow SP.

Once I got to the park, I unloaded my bike, grabbed my gear bag and headed to the transition area. When I got to my rack, it was already pretty full and I had to scramble for space to set-up my gear. Once I was set-up, I ran my pump back to the car and went to find my wife who was racing the Olympic distance triathlon.

Once her race began, I had about 40 minutes until my start so I went back to my transition area to double check my bike gears and don my racing flats.  Once that was done, I pooped two Advils and went to my start line to wait for the race director.

A few minutes before the 8 AM start, the race director gave instructions to the duathletes as well as the 5K and 10K runners.  Once that was done, we were off and running.  The race course for both of my runs was and out-and-back 5K with decent hills   I felt pretty good on it and felt like I pushed pretty hard on the second half.

run course elevation chart
As I ran back up the final hill to T1, I mentally rehearsed my blow at the rack - visor off, helmet on, running shoes off, bike shoes on, grab bike, go.  T1 went pretty smooth except for one hiccup in that I forgot to have the velcro open on my bike shoes and had to waste precious seconds on that function.

After exiting T1, I hopped on the bike at the mount line, clipped in and came out of the seat to build some quick speed going into the short downhill section that started the 20K (12.4 mile) out-and-back course.  Shortly before the hill bottomed out, there was a 90 degree turn that required a lot of breaking and then we began a climb.  As noted on the elevation chart, there was a pretty significant elevation change after Mile 3 with a 6% grade over the steepest section.  That climb was pretty tough but once I reached the top, I was back out of the saddle and pumping my legs furiously to build some speed back up on the chip/seal road. On the way back, the steep downhill was very fast but required a lot of braking in one section that had a cattle guard with a piece of plywood over it. After that, it was work hard back to the transition.

bike course elevation chart
As I worked the final hill to T2, I once again mentally rehearsed my rack produres - rack bike, remove helmet, don visor, remove bike shoes, don running shoes, go run.  That part went off without a hitch. Where there was an issue was when I came to a stop at the dismount line. I hopped off the bike so quick and braked so hard that my bike started to do an endo and when the back tire came down, it hit hard enough that my gear container popped out of the seat holder which required me to scramble after it.

Coming off the bike and heading into the run, my legs felt really good and I felt like I was running well.  I slowed down briefly to grab a water as I passed an aid station around the one mile mark and felt like I pushed pretty hard after the turn around and really worked the final hill.

Unfortunately, as good as I felt on all three sections, it was not reflected in the times for either of the runs or the bike. All three sections were 50-60 seconds slower per section than when I raced a very similar course (slightly different run, same bike) in September when I raced the duathlon at Kokopelli.  As I mentioned, my training going into this was solid so was it the poor sleep the night before?  The onset of 100+ temps in Vegas over the previous few days and some possible dehydration?  I don't know but I need to have better times when I get back up there for Kokopelli in September.

post race

10 May 2015

Tri - Du - Run for Your Cause - 5/9/15

I raced the duathlon yesterday morning at BBSC's Tri-Du-Run for Your Cause at Lake Mead near Boulder City, NV.  I signed up for this race months ago to lock in the early bird price when the registration first opened up so I have been looking forward to it for a while.

Packet pickup was Friday afternoon at McGhie's in Henderson, NV.  Packet pickup for local BBSC races is always nice because we know the owners and a lot of volunteers from Las Vegas Tri Club events and other BBSC races. The packets contained t-shirts, bibs, chips with ankle bands, samples from sponsors and assorted flyers and catalogs from sponsors.

On race morning, we were up at 4:15 AM for breakfast and loading the car. I set all of my gear, bike included, in the living room the night before so I was prepped and ready to go pretty quickly. After that, we made the hour drive to the lake and got there right as the transition opened at 6 AM.  My wife made the rare decision to not race the triathlon for this event and went straight to her volunteer duty as a body marker.  I set up my bike, helmet and shoes in my section of the transition area and then went to find her to get my arms and calf marked with my race number.

Almost halfway through Run #1
My first impression of the race area was that it was a little chilly. It was overcast and the temperature gauge on the car was showing 54 degrees with the forecast not scheduled to warm up much.  There was a bit of joking/grumbling from the triathlete crowd about getting in the water to warm up (water temps were in the mid 60s). At 7 AM, the first triathlon group started their swim and groups started out into the water every five minutes after that through 7:45.

A few minutes before 8 AM, the race director called all runners (duathletes and the 5K/10K crowd) to the run start for final instructions. While getting the instructions, I doffed my sweatshirt and handed it to my wife.  I also made a quick decision to put on my cycling gloves before the start of the first 5K so I wouldn't have to mess with them in transition.  Once the directions were done, the air horn blasted and we were off.  The 5K route was an out/back route with the first mile being on dirt/rocks with the first 3/4 being level and the next 1/4 uphill. After reaching the top of the hill, the course turned onto a paved road that took us to the turnaround. After that, is was back along the paved section to the dirt/rock final mile. There was an aid station set up on the paved section right where it met the dirt/rock section.

As I ran the final straight section over the rocks to the transition, I mentally rehearsed my steps for when I got to my bike.  Visor off.  Helmet on. Running shoes off. Cycling shoes on. Bike off rack. Hustle to the mount line and get on bike.  Transition went just like I mentally rehearsed and I was away on the Cervelo.

The first .42 miles are not a fast start to the out/back 12.4 mile course since it is a climb from Boulder Beach to Lakeshore Road and climbs a little over 100 feet in that distance. Combine that with zero momentum with the uphill coming immediately after transition and it made for a slow grinding start on the bike. However, once I made it to the top of that hill, I was able to shift gears and pick up the pace.  On the way back, I did hit some good headwinds as I crested a ridge around the 8.5 mile mark but overall, it felt like a good ride.
bike elevation chart
As I came down the hill back to the transition area, I once again began to mentally rehearse transition.  Unclip before the dismount line.  Hop off bike and run with it to the rack. Rack bike. Take off helmet. Switch shoes. Run.  This one didn't go as smooth as the first during the donning of my running shoes.  Prior to the race, I made a decision to wear my Hokas instead of my race flats with quick laces due to the rocky terrain on the running course.  While it was the correct decision for the terrain, getting the laces tightened and tucked away made for a slower transition than other racers who entered the transition right after me.  After that the shoes were on, I headed back out onto the course for the second 5K.  As I began the run, I peeled off my gloves and shoved them into the pockets on my jersey.  Shortly after that, I mentally kicked myself for not putting on my visor in transition.  On the beginning of this run, my pace felt pretty slow.  I had a bit of a groin strain going on and didn't feel like I could open up my stride.  Once I got to the pavement section, I opened it up a little bit more and pushed relatively hard on the downhill section.
After I crossed the finish line, I gave my wife a quick kiss across the fence and then got my finisher's medal and handed in my ankle band with chip.  I walked straight to my bike and grabbed my bottle of Powerade off the back of it.  After chugging half the bottle down, I went to check my times.  I finished with an overall time of 1:49:24 which was good for 12th out of 39 finishers.  My split times broke down to 26:07 for Run 1, 50:40 for the bike, and 29:23 for Run 2.  Overall, I am happy with the times. I will get another chance to race this course in September and look forward to improving those times to get sub 1:45.

Next up - another duathlon at the Sand Hollow Tri-Du-Run at the end of this month in Hurricane, UT

26 April 2015

Ragnar Trail Relay - Zion 2015

After snow-mageddon struck Ragnar Zion in 2014 and cut the race experience short, I decided to run it again this year.  I joined a team set up by two of my teammates from last year and made plans for the trip.

This year, I was once again with a group of primarily obstacle course racers who do a lot of traveling for Spartan races.  However, we lucked out by having a trail runner latch onto our team who volunteered as our cook and who also happened to be a river guide in Utah and a decent chef over a gas grill.  Bonus!

Leading up to the event, we used Facebook to plan the trip. As we got to the final week, weather became the primary focus.  The forecast was all over the place - snow, rain, sunny, hot, cold, you name it.

Finally, it was time to head to the race.  I took a couple of days off from work and got on the road shortly after noon.  With the time change, I arrived in Ponderosa Ranch slightly after 4 PM and went directly to our reserved campsites.  Our team captain reserved two adjoining campsites which was great because they were on the hill overlooking the main camping area and were close to the restrooms and showers.  Because they were a little farther away from the start line and the running routes, they were also a bit quieter.

home sweet home
Once I got to the campsite, I unloaded my car and set up my tent. My vintage (18-20 years old) two man tent is perfect for these trips. It has enough room for my air mattress and my dufflebag of gear. It is also easy for me to set up by itself.  Unfortunately, there is one drawback to it which I will get to later. After my tent was set up, I took my car down to the remote parking site and caught the shuttle back to the campground.  Once I got back to the campsite, I got some reading in and helped other team members unload their cars as they arrived.  I also hiked the shorter of the three loops while waiting for dinner.  Dinner was awesome with grilled salmon and asparagus.  After dinner, I went to bed and got a great night of sleep.

On race morning, I got up and had pancakes with my team and then went down to check out the Ragnar store (bought a tech jacket) and the sponsor/expo tents that were set up.  Our start time was 11:30 so at about 10:45, we went to the start area to watch the safety video.  There was some sort of technical glitch going on so by the time they finally got the video started, our first runner had to head to the start line before it was finished.  The rest of us hurried out of the tent to see him off.  After that, I had about five hours to kill before my route.  During that time, I ate lunch, charged my phone at the Goal Zero station, got some more reading done and finally donned my running gear.  During this time, it was intermittently raining and while I was waiting at the start line for the hand off of the bib, a little hail came down.

the official map
Finally, I got my bib and was off to the races.  I was scheduled to run the red route first.  The course was a lot different from last year.  It started out with a bit of fire road running with a small amount of single track for the first two miles before moving to a long single track section on the western side of the loop that provided an awesome view of Zion National Park. After that section, it was back to fire roads and single track that followed the roads for most of the rest of the course.  With about a mile to go, the course followed some horse trails that I rode horses on the previous summer.  Finally, it joined the yellow loop for a short single track section and about one third of a mile of dirt road back to the transition area.  On a plus side, the finish for the red and yellow loops did not have the same finish on a tough series of switchbacks that the green loop did this year and that all three loops had last year. During the run, it rained for most of the loop and there was a small section on the single track on the western side where some light hail came down. On a side note, my Altra's did alright for most of the course but did not do a great job with shedding mud in the damper sections of the loop.

After the loop was done, I handed off my bib and headed back to camp.  Once there, I grabbed my shower kit and change of clothes and headed to the shower.  After my shower, I did some first aid on one of my toes that lost some skin and was bothering me a lot on the run (not certain what I did - woke up with a flap of skin hanging off it that morning).  By the time I got out of the shower, it was raining pretty heavy and the temperature was dropping so I bundled up and went over to the cafeteria area for my spaghetti dinner.  I managed to grab a seat inside and spent the next hour talking with racers from different teams while enjoying my dinner.  Finally, it was time to step back out into the rain and hustle back to camp.

I was scheduled to run again around 1 AM so I laid down to catch a little nap.  At 10:30 PM the race director announced that the temperature had dropped to 32 degrees and the race was going to be suspended for three hours.  They also began sending 4x4s out to pull all the runners off the courses at that time. At about midnight, our runner who was out on the course made it back to camp,  He was picked up around 11:15 about two miles from the finish of the red loop and was in the vehicle that was picking up other runners until about 11:50.  Most of us were up so we enjoyed some of the leftover soup from our lunch and cooked some s'mores as we waited for the course to open back up. At 1 AM, the race director came across the PA system to announce that all runners were back to the campsite and that the race was suspended until 6:30 AM.  At that point, I went to bed.

As I laid in bed, a few things happened.  First, I realized that my old tent had finally developed a small leak which perfectly allowed water to drip onto my forehead. Not fun! Next, campsites around us were being flooded out due to people not putting down ground covers under their tents, setting their tents up in drainage areas, etc.  These people were scrambling to pack their gear into their vehicles and many of them were rolling out that evening.  This made for a lot of noise and the last time I checked my watch was around 3 AM so I definitely was not getting much sleep.

Saturday morning at 6:30 AM
At 5:30, I heard somebody's alarm going off at a neighboring campsite so I laid in my comfy and warm mummy bag while listening to the rain.  At 6 AM, the PA system came online and an announcement was made that the race was basically over. Details were given for picking up medals and the shuttles to the remote parking were starting earlier than originally planned.  Teams that wanted to brave the course still could but eight legs were taken off the relay which means that no teams would be able to complete all 24 legs. One of my team members was also awake and moving around so he and I went down to check out the start area.  It wasn't as bad as last year but it was still pretty messy, not to mention cold. We went back to the camp and huddled up.  The consensus decision was that there was no reason to go back out on the course so we broke camp, got our vehicles and got out of there.  We did get our medals

2015 medal and 2014/15 SNOMG medal
I have mixed feelings on this race.  Ragnar Trail Relays seem like a great idea with having three trails that come back to a central campsite where we can rest.  However, this particular one has had issues with weather three of the last four years and has been cut short the last two.  I highly doubt that I will be back for this particular one unless it moves to a different time of the year. It was a lot of money spent for a 7.8 mile trail run.

Next up - Tri/Du/Run For Your Cause Duathlon on May 9th

15 April 2015

Summerlin Half Marathon

On Sunday, April 12th, I ran the Summerlin Half Marathon.  It began and ended at Downtown Summerlin which is a new shopping/dining area near the Red Rock Casino in Summerlin. Desert Sky Adventures did the race managment.

I registered for this one a long time ago...last summer/fall during the early bird pricing. Leading up to the race, communication was good with the racers receiving several e-mails with details about packet pickup and race day events.  We also received an e-mail the day prior to the race about timing.

Packet pick-up was at the New Balance store in Downtown Summerlin and was available for two days prior to the race.  Packets could also be picked up on race morning.  In the packets, we received a tech race t-shirt, our bibs with timing chip on the back, coupons and flyers from sponsors, and a pair of socks from Gizmo.  I have socks from Gizmo that I wear for cycling so this was a nice feature. On a slightly strange note, the bib was a little different sized from a standard bib and the holes were a bit too wide to properly fit on my race belt.

On the morning of the race, I showed up at 6:30 for a 7 AM start. Parking and port-o-potties were abundant and volunteers were setting up the final few roadblocks for the start/finish line.  At 6:45, there was an early start for walkers, stroller pushers and anybody else who thought they would take over 3:30 to finish.  Shortly after that small group took off, the race director had us line up in chalks based on our estimated finish and then had us shuffle forward to fill in the gaps.  After that, the National Anthem was sung and then we were off to the races.
2015 Summerlin Half Marathon finisher's medal
The course was very well marked and had lots of coverage from the local police department at all intersections.  Aid stations with a lot of goodies and port-o-potties were available at Mile 1 and 2 and approximately every two miles after that. The first 5.5 miles were a mix of road and sidewalk as we wound through suburban streets and one park and had a little bit of climbing for the first three miles followed by a lot of descending for the next 2.5 miles.  At the 5.5 mile mark, we began a climb that would top out around the 9 mile mark. Mile 9 seemed like a particularly long mile due to being the steepest section of the race.  After reaching the crest, we were rewarded with a nice view of the city and a short down hill section before climbing once more.  At approximately 10.5 miles, the course began a descent that would go to almost the finish line.

After crossing the finish line, we received finisher's medals and were handed water before proceeding past the food area (lots of snacks and water). There were two computers available for us to check times and my time was also auto-e-mailed to my gmail account.

My overall impression was that it was a well managed race.  With 821 finishers, it was also a relatively large race.

So how did I do?  My finishing time was a 2:18:05...not my best and not my worst.  The hills were rough and I was a bit off even before I arrived at the race.  While driving, I realized that I left my Garmin and Road ID sitting on the kitchen table.  While standing in line to start the race, I thought about my lack of Motrin, pre-race/during race nutrition and calf sleeves.  I also didn't pay much attention at all to the course and was mentally expecting something a bit flatter.  A lot of lessons were learned on this race.

Up next - Ragnar Zion Trail Relay

23 March 2015

Zion Half Marathon

On March 14th, I ran the Zion Half Marathon.  It was put on by Vacation Races and this was the company's third year of putting on this race.

Packet pickup was the day prior to the race.  It was at the Springdale movie theater which was also the site of the finish line. Packets were quickly found by volunteers and then I moved on to the t-shirt table.  T-shirts were available in two colors and size changes could be made at that time.  There was also a table to pick up bracelets for the shuttle to the start line. There was a small expo but I didn't pay too much attention to it.

Race morning started with getting on the bus at 5:30 AM. I got on the first bus and we made the 13.1 mile drive to the start line.  At the start line, there were a massive number of port-o-potties, a refreshments table with coffee, hot chocolate and bananas, and a spot for drop bags.  There was also a very nice feature in that Vacation Races had a tent set up that was large enough to squeeze in virtually all of the 2000+ runners and had heaters piping warm air into it.  While waiting for the time to tick down to the race start, there were a lot of raffles of equipment from sponsors.

At 7 AM, everybody moved from the tent area to the start line.  Everybody lined up in a chute that was 6-8 feet wide and waited for the time to tick down.  During this time, there was a small quadcopter being flown around getting photos (was also on the race course in several spots) and the music was rocking.  I lined up about 300 meters back in the chute and waited.  At 7:25, the race director came across with final directions and reminded everybody that results were going off chip time, not gun time, with the exception of the overall winners so there was no need for people to stress over their place in the line. At 7:30, the National Anthem was played and then the race began.  It took me a little over 5 minutes from the start for me to shuffle through the chute and across the line to begin running.  This did raise one interesting thing.  There were pace crews but where were they? All of the pacers ahead of the 2:45 pacer was already gone by the time I started actually running and the majority of the runners were behind me which meant that there weren't many people with the faster pace crews.

The course was primarily uphill and went along Highway 9 from Virgin, UT to Springdale, UT. The course wasn't overly steep with the exception of a 3/4 mile section that topped out at Mile 7 but was more of a steady uphill grind. Aid stations were consistent at about every two miles and were stocked full of Nuun and Honey Stingers.  There were also a lot of bathrooms available on the course at the aid stations.  Traffic control was great and the weather was nice with temps in the 50s and the sun rising.  Winds were low until we hit a section starting at Mile 9 when the road turned to the north and we continued to have a decent headwind until we reach Mile 12 in Springdale.

The finish line was a short downhill into the parking area.  As I ran toward the finish line and crossed the first mat, I heard the announcer call out my name and a few seconds later, I crossed the finish line. I got my medal, had my chip cut off and headed into the post race area.  It was well stocked with food (lots of bananas and oranges) and drinks (chocolate milk, Nuun and water).  There was also medical support and massage stations set up.

Overall, it was a well managed race in a scenic location.  With 2098 finishers, it was definitely the largest half marathon that I have been in. Time-wise, I finished with a 2:22 chip time which was good for 864th overall and 55 out of 108 in the Male 40-44 bracket.

Next up: Summerlin Half Marathon on April 12th

01 March 2015

Road Rage Duathlon

On Friday, Sarah and I made the trip up to St George, UT for the Road Rage Duathlon.  Upon getting there, we checked into the hotel, dropped off our bikes in the room, and went to packet pickup. Packet pickup was at Rapid Cycling and while there, we were able to get directions to the race start and Sarah was able to swap out her shirt for a better fit.  The shirts were bright yellow tech shirts which fit a little large for their size. After packet pickup, we grabbed a simple dinner and headed back to the hotel.

pre-race with Sarah - not too cold yet
On race morning, we checked the weather and were happy to see that the forecast was calling for a zero percent chance of rain in the 9-11 AM time frame with temps in the mid to upper 40s. After grabbing a quick breakfast at the hotel, we loaded up our bikes and drove over to the race site for the 8AM opening of the transition area. On the way there, it began to rain and from that point on, the forecast did not match reality.  By the time we arrived in the parking lot at 8 AM, the rain picked up to a steady drizzle and the temp was steady at 41.  We unloaded our bikes, set up our transition area, touched base with a couple other Vegas area racers and quickly retreated back to our car to stay warm.

About 20 minutes before the race start, we got out of our car and migrated to an overhang by the start line.  The rain was still coming down and had picked up in intensity.  Clouds were low and obscuring the nearby mountains.  A few racers made the decision to not race due to the conditions and there were a lot of racers wondering if the bike portion was going to be cancelled.  About ten minutes before the start, the race director announced that they were cutting the bike down from two laps to one lap (10.something miles) for the Olympic distance due to the conditions.

The race began promptly at 9 AM.  The run course was a well marked P-shaped 1.5 mile loop that took us through some local neighborhoods and was uphill on the way out.  The sprint distance racers ran one loop and the Olympic racers did two loops.  There was an aid station with water and Gatorade at the midway point on the loop.

After burning through two loops, I hustled into the transition area where I swapping my soaking wet running shoes for a pair of soaking wet cycling shoes and donned my helmet.  Once that was done, I hustled across the transition mat and hopped on my bike.  After that, it was off to the races as the rain continued to fall.  As we came out of the transition area, the road took a slow climb for roughly a third of a mile before making a 90 degree turn at a stop light.  Given the slick conditions, I slowed down to almost a crawl to make that turn.  That was a trend that would continue for all of the upcoming turns.  Shortly after the Mile 1 point, we began a one mile hill climb and I began to realize how cold my hands were as well as the small amount of exposed skin on my ankles and one of my wrists.  By the time I reached the top of that hill, I felt like there was a pond in my right shoe from all of the water flying off my crank.  After cresting the hill, the course took a general downhill trend for the next three miles.  This section was nice due to having a lane blocked off for us and it would have been an awesomely fast section if it was dry.  At about 5.5 miles, the course switched to a series of short up and down hill sections that took us the approximately five remaining miles to the finish. Overall, the course was well marked with police support every time we crossed roads and lots of volunteers at the turns to keep us from getting off course. 

Once I got back to the transition area, I hopped off my bike and went to park it. Unfortunately, somebody had parked their bike over my transition gear so I went down the line and found another spot to park before hustling back to get my gear.  At this point, my hands were a little numb and I had some trouble working things like the buckle on my helmet, the velcro on my bike shoes and pulling on my flats. Having lock laces and not having to try to tie my shoes was awesome.  I quickly managed to get out on the race course but couldn't generate much speed for the second run.  My thighs were feeling a bit numb from the cold rain coming down on them and just didn't have much get up and go. On the second lap, the rain tapered off for a bit and actually briefly stopped as I crossed the finish line in a time of 1:45:03.

After I got my finisher's medal and walked into the finish line aid station to grab a drink, the rain started back up. We loaded up our bikes and other gear and then went back to the finish line area for the awards announcement (Vegas racers won both distances) while hanging out with some friends. Once that was done, we beat feet back to the car to warm up.  On the way back to the hotel, we began to get sleeted on in addition to the rain.  I'm glad we didn't have sleet hitting us while on the bike.

Next up - Zion Half Marathon on 14 Mar 15
cold and wet as I finished my first race in the 40 and over category

01 February 2015

Big Game 10K

On Thursday, a friend gave my wife a head's up that she and her husband were going out of town and asked if we wanted their entry to the 5K portion of the Big Game 10K.  We said "sure" and the two of them worked out the transfer with the race promoter.  Neither of us took the race serious and continued to get in good workouts with both of us getting in a bike/run brick yesterday.

We showed up at the race about 45 minutes before the start and Sarah met friends from one of her run groups for a group photo.  After that, we wandered over to the start line to mingle with other friends. Incidentally, the start was very near to the aid station I worked during the 2013 Rock'n'Roll Las Vegas race.

The 10K started at 8 AM and the 5K started five minutes later.  Both had a good turnout with 294 finishers in the 10K and 285 in the 5K.

At 8:05, we were off.  It didn't take long, less than half a mile in, before I began to catch the stragglers from the 10K.  After that, it was a lot of weaving around bodies as I navigated the course. It was well marked with very easy to see turnpoints. Along the way, I got to pass South Las Vegas Boulevard  highlights such as "A Wee Kirk o'the Heather" wedding chapel and the Gold & Silver Pawn Shop which is the pawn shop from Pawn Stars.

The race went by pretty quick and I posted a 24:46 which was good for 23rd overall (2 of 10 in the M35-39 bracket)and Sarah finished in 45th (3 of 33 in the F35-39 bracket) with a time of 27:16.  It will be interesting to see how much my time improves as I start to dedicate training to speed work and focus on shorter distances this year.

31 January 2015

January Miles

Total mileage for January - 250.63

That broke down to 61.97 miles of running and 188.66 miles on the bike.  Running-wise, it marked my lowest running total since August 2013.  I took it very easy post marathon and gave my legs a chance to rest up and get some healing done. Instead of running, I put my energy into the bike and worked on building the base to get ready for spring duathlons

25 January 2015

First Ride

After three down days during which I felt pretty puny with a lot of head congestion and didn't work out at all, I finally got to try the P1 out on the road.

The ride was a doozy. This week, my wife had the longest scheduled ride in her 70.3 training plan for her first triathlon of that distance at Bayshore in March. The training plan called for a four hour ride and we planned a simple out-n-back ride of rolling hills on U.S. 95 north of the city. The weather forecast looked good and we met up with a few friends who were riding different distances as they trained for different events.

The weatherman lied. Winds were supposed to be low. Instead, we had a strong headwind on the ride out. Going was slow and the winds were strong enough that we were having to work hard on the downhill sections to maintain speed. At the two hour mark, we found a good turnaround spot and began the trek back to town. Winds had died down a little but we still made ridiculously good time and ended up having to add a few extra sections of road to get in the full time. Some of the sections had us going back into the wind which reminded us that while it had died down, it was still pretty strong. We returned home right at the four hour mark with a little over 60 miles showing on the Garmin.

The P1 felt pretty good. The fit felt great when working the uphills and when in aero mode on the down hills. I did notice that I had a tendency to slide forward on the seat when working hard in aero mode on the flats. Braking was very sharp and the bike responded great to turning inputs while in both upright and aero positions. Shifting was smooth. I did run out of gears at 29.5 mph.

19 January 2015

Cervelo P1

I picked up a new (demo model) bike this weekend from Pro Cyclery in Las Vegas.  It is a 2010 Cervelo P1 which has an aluminum frame (size 54) and Ultegra components.  I've been looking for a new Tri/TT bike for duathlons and found this one at a fraction of what I was going to spend on a new entry-level racer.

I switched over my Adamo TT from my Novara and made a few basic adjustments to the seat and handlebars so I could try it on the trainer.  My Novara was a converted road bike and the differences in my aero position and the overall feel of the bike were instantly evident.  On the Novara, I always felt stretched out when reaching for the bullhorns as well as when in an aero position.   This bike, on the other hand, feels like it fits like a glove. When putting the two side by side, it is interesting to see how much shorter the Cervelo is when looking at the length of the two bikes.

I go in for a formal fitting this week and can't wait to get it out for a long ride next weekend!

Cervelo P1 on the trainer

14 January 2015

I was running...

I went for a 3.8 mile run this morning and to my chagrin, the GPS on my running app did not start tracking distance until about halfway through the run.  The timer worked fine but I had to come home and map it out online.  

10 January 2015

running sabbatical over

I took a self-imposed five days off from running after Camarillo and my legs appreciated it.  I got in four miles this morning on the flat trails of a local park.

The run this morning highlighted that I probably have a bit of adductor tendonitis going on.  It is an overuse injury that has been bothering me off and on for over a year and flares up when I jump up in mileage too fast.  With no races until Feb 28th, I am going to keep the running light and focus on crosstraining for the next few weeks to give it a chance to heal up. This means quite a bit of trainer time on the bike.

04 January 2015

Camarillo Marathon

I ran the Camarillo Marathon this morning.

Packet pick-up was yesterday at a Sports Authority near the race.  There was no expo.

The race started near the Camarillo Airport and covered two loops on the map shown below.  With the exception of the small bit right by the airport, the course was through farmland - lots of strawberries and tilled earth.  The course was very flat with the exception of a small hill around Mile 6 (Mile 19 on Lap 2).  The course was very well marked and had great police support at all intersections.  Additionally, EMS was very visible with several personnel cruising around the course on bikes.

Aid stations were at all the marked locations and many had Gu in addition to drinks.  All stations had water but not all had Gatorade.  There was a port-o-potty at all the aid stations.

The finishers medals were nice and the marathon finishers specifically said "marathon" instead of including all distances into one and also had the year on them.

I got a free entry to this race 15 days ago and as such did zero spin-up for this race from a training standpoint. With that in mind, my goal was simply to finish another marathon and I took my boys with me and turned this trip into a "brocation" with beach time to finish off their Winter Break from school.  I took the race pretty easy pace wise and finished in a predictably slow 4:57:29 (still, it was a minute faster than my first marathon at Death Valley) which had me 80th out of 113 finishers and near the end of my age group.  It was nice having the route keep passing the start area multiple times because that meant that I got to see a lot of my cheering section but mentally, I do not like passing the finishing line multiple times in a race.

Next up - The Road Rage Duathlon on Feb 28th,

Pre-race in the chute
Post race with another finisher's medal

02 January 2015

2014 in review...

Here are my final stats for 2014.

- 1324.69 miles run 
- 668.89 miles on the bike

My distance goals for 2015 are pretty simple.  I plan on being in the 1300-1500 range for running miles and am going to work to get my bike miles double that of my run miles.