Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Up North Michigan (Elk Rapids)

July 17 - 21, 2007

After a 6 year absence, I had the opportunity to go Up North with my family this year. My family spends 1-2 weeks every year at a cottage in Elk Rapids, MI. This was my most favorite place in the world growing up, and after spending some time there again this year, I think it still is.

The cottages are small and rustic. Thin walls, shower curtains for bedroom doors, well water, and no hot water or shower inside the cottage (one community one to share). The air and water are super clean and fresh, and town still only has one stop light. This is one of the most relaxing places on earth. A perfect chance to read a book, lay out in the sun, drink some Bell's Oberon, swim, and roast marshmallows.

Of course, going on vacation did not mean vacation from training. Pat and I brought our wetsuits and did a couple swims in beautiful Elk Lake. We also did a 10 mile run outside of town and got caught in a Thunderstorm. I loved it! I hadn't seen rain in over 6 months, so a nice thundershower felt great on my body!

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Camp Pendleton Olympic Distance Triathlon...and "Ode to Denner"

July 14, 2007

For some crazy reason, the San Diego area only has one official olympic distance race that I know of, and Camp Pendleton is it. I did this race last year to see how I'd do at this distance. Once you've done a race one year, you have to do it the next, and the next, and the next to see if you can improve upon your times.

So...that brings us to this year's race. After last year, I was praying for a cool day with lots of clouds. For some reason, it can get really hot on that run, even though you're so close to the water. Mother Nature was nice to us, and kept the temperatures reasonable and a few spotty clouds in the air.

Highlights of this race included: racing with Pat (this was only the 3rd race that we have done's really cool to have this shared experience), seeing my long lost friend Nick Abramson (he got engaged and decided to fall off the face of the earth), and racing on a Marine base with lots of hot 18 year old boys yelling "Good Job Ma'am." Yes, pretty cool.

For some reason, even though this swim is only a 1500 m swim, it seems SUPER long. I'm not a fast swimmer, so there was nothing exciting about this leg of the race. I swam, felt ok, and got out of the water in an expected amount of time.

T1 in this race is long. There is about a 1/8 mile run through the soft sand, and then another 1/8 or so of a mile through transition. pretty tiring! I decided that this year I'd take off my wetsuit as soon as I exited the water to make that run a little easier. Good move!

The bike is my favorite segment of the race for most races. I ride through Pendleton all the time, so I knew exactly what to expect on this course...a few small rollers, maybe a little wind, nothing to be worried about. The ride went fairly smooth until I reached the last aid station. A couple of the Marines asked if I wanted some water, and I yelled, "pour it on me." Well, they took "pour" as "throw" and threw a cup of water directly into my face. I was blinded and water pushed all the way into my sinues! Ow! It's amazing that I didn't fall off my bike. Luckily, I was able to recover quickly and get a good laugh out of it.

Don't remember it

The run, although not as bad as last year, was still pretty hot. At this distance, this is the discipline that I need to work on most. My running sucks, and breaking 55 minutes is damn near impossible. I can run a 48 minute 10 in a road race, but have a very hard time doing anything other than 55 minutes in a tri. Just another thing to add to the list.

Pat's wave started about 1/2 hour before mine, and he finished almost 1/2 hour faster than I did, so by the time I crossed the finish line, he had had an hour to get hydrated, cooled down, and ready to cheer me on. It was fun to see him get a little crazy as I ran down the finish chute. We watched a few other friends finish and then headed to Pizza Port for some well deserved chow! Yummy!


My Watch: (2:53:13)
Swim (1500 m): 32:09
T1: 5:29
Bike (40km): 1:18:00
T2: 1:13
Run (10km): 55:59

Official Time: 2:53:13
Swim + T1 : 35:24
Bike + T1/T2: 1:21:55
Run: 55:54

Friday, July 6, 2007

Scripps Ranch Old Pros 4th of July 10k Run

July 4, 2007

While most people use a holiday to sleep in and relax, triathletes see it as a day with extra training time. The 4th of July is no different. With quite a few options (Coronado 15k, Fiesta Island Time Trial, La Jolla cove swim), I chose the local Scripps Ranch Old Pros 10k run. Pat was already doing it with TNT, and it was only a 5 minute drive from my house, so I figured, why not? Plus, this FINALLY gave me the opportunity to wear the $1 American Flag running shorts that Nikki and I bought at Road Runner 2 years ago.

As with every race, I want a PR. This one was no different. My best 10k time to date was on Thanksgiving (49:17). I wasn't sure if I could beat this though. I wasn't really feeling it. My feet and lower legs had been bothering me (need new shoes), but I figured I'd just give it my best and see how things went.

For the first 2 miles, I felt pretty miserable. I had run close to a mile for warm-up, but the combination of the morning heat and trying to get my heart-rate into gear wreaked a little havoc. I finally fell into stride after mile 2. At this point, I started picking off the women, and then some men. My 5k split was ~24:28, which is pretty close to my best 5k time last year. If I could keep this up, I could PR. I started slowing down at mile 4, and kept the same pace until the last half mile. At this point, the race was all downhill (for real downhill, not in the literary sense), so I was able to push the pace a bit.

Final Time: 48:59 (PR)

Pace: 7:53

Place: 7/70 (W25-29)

After the race, Pat and I opted to skip the beer garden knowing that PB festivities were beginning soon. Starbucks was calling, and there was one just up the hill from the race finish....Perfect!

Now, if only I could run this pace in a Tri. We'll see next week!

Sunday, July 1, 2007

San Diego International Triathlon - 2007

June 24, 2007
Stealing from Pat's blog...
We woke up to a beautiful June Gloom day. As the summer starts to heat up, triathletes are some of the crazy people that actually enjoy the cloudy mornings. Hopefully the clouds would hang out for a couple hours.

This was my third year doing this race, so there were really no surprises heading into the day. This is a great race, as many of the local San Diego triathletes come out (Tri club members and pros...i.e. Michellie Jones). It was great to see many of my friends as I set up transition.

The only difference in this race were the heavy hearts many of us had from losing our club president and friend, Jim McCann, earlier in the week. To show our appreciation to a man that meant so much to our sport here in San Diego, we wore specially made bracelets and wrote messages on our bodies.

As I said, no surprises in the race course. The swim is flat, the bike is hilly, and then the run is flat. A good course for me! I was able to take ~1 minute off my swim over last year, ~6 minutes off my bike, and about a minute off my run. I beat my overall time from last year by about 9 minutes, so I was pretty happy.

Swim (1000 m): 19:16
T1: 2:45
Bike (30 k): 56:21
T2: 2:24
Run (10 k): 55:37
Total: 2:16:23

Aiming for a sub-2:10 race next year! :)