Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Longhorn 70.3

To start with this years race was a completely different race. The bike course and the run course were changed making this a much faster race, I think. The transitions were the big change this year. Two separate transitions were set up. T1 was in a different place then T2. I was a little nervous about this because everything had to be set up on Saturday and you were not aloud to layout the run gear on Sunday morning. This caused me some anxiety because I like to check and double check everything on race morning. I figured everyone was going through the same thing so I should not worry about it and just execute.

This was a big race for me. I changed up my training after Buffalo Springs and needed a good race to prove that it was a good choice. Plus it was my last race of the season and it is likely my last long race before Ironman St. George next May so a good race would be a great confidence builder.

The Swim..

The air temp was cold. About 60 degrees. The water temp was 75 but felt cooler because of the air. When I got into the water for my warm up swim I started to worry about getting on the bike while still wet and getting hypothermia. Once the gun went off though all my focus went to racing and I would deal with the weather as it came. The swim was uneventful. I actually swam it just as I wanted to. As I exited the water I did not feel the weather at all because the adrenaline was flowing.

The Bike..

The bike was what made this race for me. I had worked hard since Buffalo Springs, upping my bike workouts dramatically and I hoped it would pay off. I managed to pace myself well. I told myself that I had to keep my pace steady no matter what happened ahead or behind me. Early in the race two guys in my age group speed past me and it was temping to chase them but I let them go. I was a little mad because my bike computer was not reading correctly. The speed kept jumping around so I really had no idea what my average speed was. Then at mile 40 I also discovered that the odometer was reading incorrectly an my distance was 4 miles off. This was a little bit of a demotivator but I fought it off. I do need to do something about my aero bottle that sits on the bars. I sat for the last 30 miles waiting for it to just fall to the ground but it never did. I had come up with this little plastic support that I Velcro between the aerobars and I use large rubber bands to hold the bottle to that. Well as the Velcro got wet it slipped off and then I noticed that the rubber bands were so dry rotted that they could break at any moment. The whole thing just held on for dear life for 30 miles. I just new it was going to fall apart and I would be mad that I was going to have to go buy another one. With 5 miles to go I was passed again by 3 people in my age group but I let them go as well. I knew that I would see them on the run and running has become a strength of mine this year. Besides I had managed to race my own race the entire time and I was entering T2 14 minutes faster than my personal best. This was a perfect situation going into the run. I was so excited to be doing so well that I got a great energy boost in T2.

The Run..

Transition was a little longer than i would have liked. Because I had to set up everything on Saturday I was not able to fill my fuel belt with my usual Hammer gel and Accelerade because I did not want ants to get it or have it spoil on me overnight. I decided that I would put powder in the bottles and then when I got to T2 I would use my bike water to fill the bottles. This worked beautifully but took me an extra 30 seconds or so. The other thing that held me up is that I really had to pee. This is a good sign that my hydration was right on but it is also annoying to have to stop during a race. I feared that standing still for too long my legs would freeze up. I went anyway, there was no way I was going to run on a full bladder. Out of transition things got a little confusing. The route was not marked real well for the first 200 yards. You actually had to enter the finish arena and run around the outside edge. Confusing but kind of a cool feeling seeing all the spectators in the stands.

I did my first 3 miles in 6:30/mile. Awesome but not smart so after 3 miles I started to slow the pace down a little to just over 7/mile. it was hard to slow down because I was on such a high from my bike time but I managed it eventually. The run was a three loop course. I have a love/hate relationship with these types of courses. Love because there are always people cheering the entire course, but hate because they tend to get crowded with runners and you have no idea what place you are in. If someone is in front of you are they on their first, or second lap? Anyway the run was very easy this year. Partly because last year I was suffering from leg cramps and had trouble even walking, but also because the big hill they call Quadzilla was gone. My stomach was not doing so well for the first 40 minutes on the run. All I could take in was water but after a while I had to force something down and surprisingly it stayed down. In the end my run was also a PR for a half marathon so I was extremely happy about the race overall.

In the end I cannot say anything was bad about this race. I pushed as hard as I could and still finish and I had the fastest race day I have ever had at an HIM. Great race and a great season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Longhorn 70.3

Season is over and what a season ending race it was! I will work on the full race report and get it up soon but I am going into surgery tomorrow morning ( yes I am finally doing it instead of complaining here all the time) so who knows when I will feel up to typing. I will have a lot more down time for a few weeks so we'll see.

The short of it was that I had my best race results at the HIM so far. Everything went as planned, nothing went wrong despite my mind trying to insert negative thoughts every 5 minutes. that negative thinking scared the hell out of me. I guess I just needed a good race to validate all time spent this year and I just got scared that if was all going to go down the drain. If I had to fault myself for anything it would be that I had to make a pit stop in T2 which took an extra minute or so. Running on a full bladder does not feel good at all so it was a necessary 60 seconds.

Thanks to my family for putting up with me this year. I can be single minded during the season.

Stay tuned for several posts on the seasons ups and downs and training pros and cons.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


It is amazing to feel the body get stronger. Sometimes when training you are so tired that it is hard to see the end goal. You start wondering if you are pushing to hard, your body is getting run down, and the last thing you need is to get injured or sick right before your taper. Then, out of nowhere you come through the fog. You start into your peak week just before race taper and realize that your body has responded amazingly. You see the miles tick off but your body does not get tired. You look down at your watch and realize that your pace, even after 5 or 6 miles is faster than you have ever been able to hold before. You do your last long ride, a route that destroyed you 4 or 5 weeks earlier and when your done you feel fresh and full of energy. This is what makes all the training time and sacrifice worth it.

I am racing in 4 days and I feel physically more ready for this race than I have at any other. Stories will be told and maybe a legendary race will be run. Lets hope for the best.

An acquaintance of mine posted an answer to a questions about what he did differently for his IM this year than last year. I like that idea and think that I will post something along those lines after my race this weekend. My training this year took on two very distinct phases. The first half of the season was a build up to Buffalo Springs in June. Then I made a few changes and followed a different training schedule for Longhorn. It will be interesting to see what the results are. I want to wait to post the specifics until the race is over so that I have some results to refer to though.

Hopefully there will be more regular posts throughout the off season. I will have a lot to write about as I get ready for IM St. George starting in January. I will also be recovering from shoulder surgery during November and December so I will have a lot more time to think as I sit and get fat.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Star Struck

It has been a while since my last post. I have been struggling with something to write. I did not want to just fill the page with meaningless dribble but this weekend gave me something to write.

I am not normally the type of person that gets star struck but that is what this weekend was full of. It all started on Thursday night when I was invited to ride (along with anyone else in Austin) with Lance Armstrong. Stupid me, I decided that it was going to be crowded, I figured on 1000 people so I did not go. I did not want to be one of those that says, "Yeah I rode with Lance". When really I was 2 miles behind him and we just happened to be on the same route. Later that afternoon a friend sent me the pictures and it was really an intimate group, 100 people at the most, almost everyone I ride with on a normal basis was there except me. The stories of break aways by Lance and friends sound awesome. I would have loved to be able to say I drafted off Lance. I will be kicking myself for a long time for this one.

On Sunday I did not pass up the opportunity to ride with another couple of local pro triathletes. Sure they are not as well known as Lance, but I enjoyed the ride and I learned more riding with them than I would have if I was dropped in the first 5 miles by Lance. It was a ral confidence booster knowing that I could hand with 2 people that are recent Ironman winners.

Maybe next time?