Thursday, May 27, 2010

Preparing for First Tri of the season

With Eagleman just around the corner I figured it would be wise if I did some type of triathlon leading up to it.  The last triathlon I did was last years Eagleman and I figure that going a whole year without being exposed to transitions and open water swimming would be a recipe for disaster.  Especially when I reflect on last years race where I was convinced I was going to drown before and during the race and then had some pretty slow transitions mostly because I took the time to reapply sunblock.

This Saturday I'll be headed to the Phoenix area to do the Tribal Sprint Triathlon (1000m swim, 23km bike, 5k run).  The plan is to camp out somewhere near the race Friday night as the race starts at 6:15 or for me at 6:17 as that's when the women's wave goes off.  The early morning is going to be rough but it means I'll be done before 8 so it shouldn't be unbearably hot out yet as the high of the day is going to be around 95.

I'm not really sure where I'm at right now in terms of my training I've been swimming more than last year but I am not as fast on my feet so those will probably balance out.  The biking I really have no idea about, I've been biking I'm just not sure if it's more or less than this time last year.  I'm hoping that the drop in elevation will make my efforts seem easier even if I don't go any faster.  My hope for the race is to feel comfortable with the open water swimming and then to try to push the bike and run as much as I can.  Hopefully, the results will give me some kind of an indication of how Eagleman will unfold.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Bike to work week and Snowbowl road

Well this week is bike to work week and people here do a great job of participating, it helps that there are lots of incentives.  I was on vacation Monday but biked in Tues, Wed, and Today.  I feel bad about not biking in Thursday but the pain in my shins led me to drive.  Wed was great as local businesses set up free breakfast stops (see map of locations) around town so you could bike to get your breakfast and then head off to work.  My favorite was Biff's Bagels where they had ample bagels, cream cheese, orange juice and coffee.

So far I only have some data but looks like on Monday 439 people biked 3889 miles to get to work and Tuesday was 447 with 3792 miles. I have to guess Wednesday may be a bit higher with the free breakfasts around town but maybe not.  Commuting other than requiring a bit more planning wasn't all that bad so I hope to continue to be able to ride in to work 2-3 times per week when the weather is good.

Snowbowl Road Ride
In keeping with the bike theme Wed was my first time climbing snowbowl road.  I didn't quite make it to the top, the climbing on the road starts at around 5.6 miles on the map below and goes for about 6.2 miles I'm told.  I made it to just after the 4 mile marker on the road (9.6 on the map ~8550ft) before turning around but that was more because of time constraints than my legs burning out.  Surprisingly the way down was a lot harder for me than the way up because I am terrified of turning on steep downhill windy roads.  I actually had to stop once on the way down to shake out my arms as my white nuckle death grip on the brakes caused my arms to tire out.

I wasn't really pushing it on the way up but next time I think I'll have to time myself and see how long it takes me to get to the top and then set a goal for the climb by the end of the summer.  Really I think the better goal is for me to be able to ride down in my drops by the end of the summer without having to stop and without breaking everytime I got over 22 on the downhill.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Telegraph 10K

This weekend I headed out to the four corners region.  The initial reason for being out that was was for Nathans 12 hour mountain bike race, 12 hours of Mesa Verde, but on top of that I found a trail 10K in Durango and I had been itching to do a race so that is what made the decision for me.
When I got out of the tent saturday morning lots of people were already wide awake getting ready for the bike race; lots of people wearing spandex, drinking coffee, checking tire pressure, and making last minute preparations for their day.  The bike race started at 7am in what is know as a Le Mans mass start, this was my first time watching such a start and it was very entertaining.  The riders had their bikes set up near the barn where they would record their laps but the actual start was probably 400m from the barn down a gravel road.  So the bikers line up 400m away from their bikes, the gun goes off, and they then have to run to their bikes.  Lets just say some people really went for it trying to actually sprint in mtn bike shoes, some took their time, and some people unfortunately fell.  At any rate watching helmet and spandex clad bikers try to run in mountain biking shoes was well worth getting up early.

After watching the start of the race I gathered my running things and headed to Durango, about 40 miles away.  It was still cold but by the start of the race at 9 it was pretty warm and sunny out.  It was a pretty small local race with a 1 mile, 5K and 10K option.  Looks like there was 34 people in the 5K and 52 in the 10K based on results.

The race started with running up a dirt/rocky road it leveled off and we made a turn to run around a meadow still going slightly uphill.  After the brief run thru the meadow the trail really started to go up and there was a series of switchbacks.  After 23-25 minutes or so I reached the highest point and we headed immediately back down.

The first downhill part was pretty steep and scary, for me at least.  To the left was a bit of a drop off and where there weren't rocks there were sections of sand that were hard to stop and turn on.  All in all it wasn't that bad I just had to pay close attention to where my feet were going to land.  After this steep section the downhill became more managable and eventually we ended up in the meadow.  I think this was probably my favorite part of the race as there were tiny rolling hills and some banked turns it didn't hurt that I was feeling pretty strong at this point too.  In this last meadow part I managed to pick off a couple of runners as I tried to pick up my pace for a strong finish.  I would have picked up the pace a bit sooner but my watch inidcated I had more distance left then I did, guess it lost signal at some point.  Luckily the end was the same as some of the 5K and when I saw the ribbons marking the 5K course I knew I should pick it up as there couldn't be much left.  Before I knew it I was headed back down the dirt road and I was done.  Results are up and I managed a time of 50:52, which is around an 8:08 pace which I'm pretty happy about considering how long the hill was in the beginning.
The rest of the day was pretty relaxing.  I headed back to the mountain bike race, went for a short road ride and followed that up with a nap.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Ironman in May Challenge

At work they are having the Ironman in May Challenge which is to promote exercise, as I believe May is national fitness month. So every building here in Flagstaff, 9 total I think, draws up a set of rules posts them and then has giant tracking sheets where you can track your progress and those of the other participants. It's actually pretty great to see so many people participating and trying to complete the challenge. Of course there are some incentives to participate and finish. 1) All participants can participate in a pizza party. 2) All finishers get a technical fabric t-shirt. 3) Prizes will be given out each week for those that log miles for that week. And of course the first finisher (male and female) gets some type of grand prize.

There few rules were, you have to go at least 3 miles on the bike, 2 miles of run/walking, and 400m of swimming at one time for it to count.

So I spent the better part of my weekend logging the 2.4 swimming, 112 biking and 26.2 running miles. It looked something like this.

12:01 - 3.5 mile run
6:30-7:45 Masters Swimming , 2700 meters
9:00-12:30ish: 50 mile ride
1:30-?: 9 mile run trail run
4:00-5:30: 13 mile on stationary bike and finished swimming
6:30 Giant Calzone for dinner followed by ice cream
7:30 - 2 miles walking around town while eating ice cream

6:30-7:  2.5 mile run started snowing so
7:30-9:30  instead of outside ride went back to sleep
10:30  coffee
11:00 - Gym where I did 49 miles on the bike and 9.2 miles on the treadmill

I felt pretty good about the effort when I left the gym.  By the end of the day Monday it was official I won for my building beating the first male by about 3 hours (he had about 16 miles of running left when I left the gym Sunday).  Now I just have to wait and see what I'll get even if it just ends up being bragging rights for a bit that's fine.  All in all it was a good way to see the sheer volume of what I'll need to do for a full ironman and it was a good way to try to get ready for Eagleman.  My legs were a bit tired this week but not all that bad.

In a few hours I'm off to Cortez & Durango to watch part of a 12 hour mtn bike race and get in a 10K trail race and some miles on my road bike.  The weather is looking great for being outside.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Slideshow from trip To Germany & Austria

Well it's taken me awhile to get these up but here are some pictures from my trip to Europe. It was a great vacation, I just wish I could have stayed longer. This is a slide show that we put together of a small portion of pictures we took on the trip. They provide a good idea of what we did on vacation.

We ended up in London for a night so we walked by a lot of the big picture items as you can see. Following that we headed off to Munich where we walked around the city a bit with Brett and Krista and got to see the Glockenspiel in action. As soon as I saw it, I remembered being there as a 4/5 year old. Then we walked around saw some of the old buildings and churches and ended up eating and drinking at a Hofbrauhaus where there was a polka, om pah band playing. It was a great first day in Germany.

The next morning started out with a short train ride to Innsbruck which is where we stayed for 2 nights. After finding a hotel we headed off to Stubai Glacier to get in a half day of skiing. You actually had to take a Gondola up to the base area which was a bit unusual.

The next two days we took the train from Innsbruck to St. Anton where on the first day we skied St.Anton and the second we went on the other side of the valley and skied Rendl. St.Anton was a bright sunny day where spring skiing conditions were to be found. At the end of the day we hit up apres ski at Mooserwirt where we drank plenty of beers and enjoyed the drunken bump run back to the bottom so we could catch the last train back to Innsbruck. At Rendl it was a bit colder but the terrain was a bit more to my liking. By the end of the day my legs were tired and I was ready to put the skis away for the rest of the vacation.

After skiing we took yet another train to Vienna with Brett and Krista. We only saw a small portion of the city but I really enjoyed just walking around, going to the various markets, and looking at and touring some of the old buildings and churches. And because the walking wasn't enough we paid a few euros to climb 343 steps to get to the top of St.Stephens Cathedral. From the top you could get great views of the city. After Vienna we headed back to Brett and Krista's where we enjoyed a BBQ and then packed up for the trip back to Flagstaff.

And just like that the trip was over and before I knew it I was in the middle of an 11 hour flight that seemed like it was never going to end.

Of note I did get my fill of Smarties and Kinder eggs. I also enjoyed many tasty beers, breads, and cheeses. The trip was great and I look forward to planning another trip out there in 5-10 years. Before that trip hopefully I'll have traveled to some other parts of the world and maybe I'll have time to relearn German.

Thanks to Brett and Krista for hosting us, I had a great time. Can't wait to see you when you get back to Maryland.