Monday, August 30, 2010

Santa Barbara Triathlon

This weekend was a great trip to Santa Barbara for my first time and it was all that everyone described. Beautiful beaches, incredible mountain and an amazing race set for Saturday.

This is a different distance than most races being a mile swim, 34 mile bike and 10 mile run, but I felt it suited me better than doing the Olympic race at Alcatraz this same weekend. The 10 mile run will give me a chance to test my legs after IM Suiss and I feel running has been my stronger leg out of anything so my chance of breaking my 4th place streak were good.

Up at 4:30, ate my usual bagel with peanut butter and honey, some coffee and a banana and I was out the door to the race. Just a quick ride down the street and of course I was one of the first to transition, which was good since this is a free for all transition area with no set spots. Mulled around for a bit finding friends and then getting ready for the swim start.

I really didn't think too much about the swim since I had just done an IM a month ago, so a mile swim didn't really throw me very much. It was a beach start with a sprint into surf which I thought was cool. Really hadn't done one in a while. My wave was off and I hit the water first! That didn't last very long as what I was not paying attention to was the wind wipping up surf right before we started. My swim training was a little lacking on the intensity over the past few weeks too, so the mad dash for the first buoy almost caused me to panic in the water and I had to slow for a bit until I calmed down. First turn and finally into a good rhythm. The whole way out on the course was good. Had some drafting partners and the surf had seemed to die down. Making the turn back to the swim finish was another story. Immediately after heading back, chop and wind was causing mass havoc on everyone. No one was swimming straight and you couldn't see people 10 yards ahead due to the waves. Took in a bit of water and was thankful to get out of it. My Ironman swim was easier than this, jeez!

Swim - 28:39

Through transition and hitting the road into a stiff headwind wasn't too bad. I really have to figure out why I can't stand up straight after swimming though. Very thankful the swim was behind and excited to put some effort in. About 20 minutes in, the finaly gift of the swim course came in the form of a mini-puke of peanut butter and salt water, nasty! Taking on the hills after thatwas going to be cake. This course turned out harder than anticipating, but very fun. I hadn't reconed it like I do most bike courses, and if I had it could have been faster as there is a ton of shifting and bling corners that you can carry speed if you knew what was behind it. The hills were hard including the after the turnaround that is a long grinder. After that it was some serious speed nearly all the way to the finish with some exciting 30-35 mph sections in aero!

Bike - 1:36:22

So ready for this run. 10 miles would let me track down about anyone, but first I had to overcome another problem of running with cycling shoes on. Not my best day in transitions as taking a corner my feet just flew out from under me, landing on my knee and hip, bloddied me pretty bad. Even worse is that it is in from on everyone cheering at transition! I laughed and cursed a bit and went tearing off on the run course wondering how the road rash and bruised hip will feel tomorrow.

This out and back course let you see nearly a half mile ahead in spots so you could figure out your chace pace really well and I could see my next Age Grouper WAY out there, but no panic as 10 miles is along way, and he was hammering the bike to get out there. 5 miles out with a gradual climb and 5 miles back rip roaring down! Clipping away at mile after mile around 6:45 pace, I was reeling in my competition, as well as the Masters division and a Pro or two. Just as we approached mile 5 and the turnaround, I got him! Cruising by I tried to get him to kick it up, but he was keeping to his pace. Just at that moment my next challenge appeared in a 49 year old woman who flew by me like I was standing still! Luckily she started 5 minutes before, but at the pace she was running, I didn't think I could keep that window over 5 miles. I had to put the hammer down to keep from getting chick'd.

Slight downhill grades are awesome form me. I get to stretch my stride and absolutely fly! Hitting mile markers with splits of 6:05-6:18 was amazing all the way home. My only thoughts were holding out for my 5 minutes and pressing my overall standing, but there was nobody around to run with. Digging deep I hit the last mile and know I had a little reserve to throw in a kick. The crowd along the beachfront was great. I got to see all my friends looking strong on the way out on the run too which made me happy. The volunteers, tourists, locals, all came out to cheer everyone on and it helped push me along faster. Crossing the line at 3:11:24 was a little off goal time, but there were some outside influences effecting everyone, so my podium quest was still in my head. Finding the results billboard I was almost in disbelief, 2nd!

Run - 1:03:35

I was really thrilled at the time when one of the ladies in the medical tent pulled out her iPhone and took a pic of me getting cleaned up, but it definitely a keeper for a real bonehead move. Have to learn to get out of my shoes before T2!

Finally hitting the podium in style in a bigger race this year and not just backing into 3rd. So happy with the performance.

Pre-Race - Bagel, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, honey, banana, bottle of Powerade
Bike - Bottle of cytomax and a bottle of water, 1 Hammer Gel
Run - Cups of Gatorade at each aid station, 1 Hammer Gel(Espresso) before turn-around

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When the voices come back

Those dang voices are back! No not the crazy ones, but the ones telling you "its alright to slow down", "you had a hard weekend, you don't have to push it today". BLAH! Listening to that little devil on your shoulder is completely different than listening to your body. My body wants to tear into some training right now, so I'll let it. That little devil on my shoulder has different ideas.

Cycling class was full of those voices trying to get me to lay off the effort. Ironman has come and gone with great success, and now its time to reach for the new goals and I'm not going to achieve them if I let the voices take control. Two weeks was enough taking it easy, and I think it was more mentally draining than my actual training was!

Santa Barbara is the next race, and training has been going well over the past two weeks. Big push this week as I want some good results and to finally crack the podium in a bigger race this year. Too many 4th places this year. Its been a huge step up from last year and I'm happy with my progress, but still frustrating.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Ironman Lessons

After finishing my first Ironman and making it out unscathed I do not want to take anything for granted. Thinking my preparation was perfect would be a recipe for dissaster next go around, and if you are not improving, you are taking a step back. Two weeks have passed since the race and many points have come to mind, both good and bad that will help in the next race, and hopefully others venturing out on their first Ironman race, so take these as a grain of salt, because everyone is different and that leads me to my first point.

Everyone is different - Just leave it at that leading up to a race. People prepare and strategize for Ironman in their own way. Different coaches, different goals, different abilities. The only thing that comes out of trying to convince someone else, or defending your plan is doubt entering into your mind about your plan. Confidence is a huge part of making it to the finish line, so come up with YOUR plan and leave the race to unfold.

Fueling - M2 has it right in that people tend to over-fuel during a race. Some tweaks may come for my next race which will be HOT, but here is what I took in on the bike. 1 Bottle Perpetuum, Powerbar Chews, 2 Gu, 2 half bananas, 2 bottles Powerbar drink, 2 bottles water, half bottle cola. The run was alternating between Water and Cola to Powerbar drink, 1 Gu, 2 handfulls of pretzels.

Let people be - The day before a race people need to do what they need to do. If someone wants to leave dinner, let them, but make sure they pay first. If they want to sleep a little longer, fine. Just don't expect anyone to help you, or get pulled into other's problems (if you have the time or want to, that is entirely up to you). Personally, I'm extremely selfish race morning. I hope that doesn't come back as bad Karma for me, but anyone who races should understand (significant others will not).

Ab work - After countless hours swimming, thousands of miles biking, and hundreds running, don't neglect the core strength. This was missing from my workouts in the last month and that is probably where the ab spasms in the beginning of my run came from. It took a lot out of me in the first quarter of the the marathon so I need to remember this come next race.

Stay with your strategy - On the bike I got away from my original goal and tried for more. I was on track for my 5:00 bike, and got greedy too early and hammered out on the the way out of the second lap. Sticking to your plan is the best antidote if you can keep control of the devils in your head. Hammering a flat when hills are coming may feel great, but the end result is a slower hill climb, and legs that won't perform over the long haul.

Hopefully this helps me for next time, and maybe for someone else too, but like I said, everyone should race the race they prepared for. Its a shame to go out and feel you left something out there.