Monday, August 27, 2012

Lake Norman Sprint

S - 13,800 yards
B - 161.8 miles
R - 52.4 miles
Time - 18.3 hours

Not a bad week considering there was a sprint triathlon in the middle of it.  Finally (what feels like it anyway) had a good week of swim volume.  After two weeks off (one week without the chance to swim and one week with excuses) I definitely needed it.  Slogged through a SCY set on Monday, dogged through a LCM set on Tuesday and managed to have a decent LCM swim on Thursday.  A couple of good bike rides and lots of good running (every day this week I think?) led into Lake Norman.

This race didn't look to be nearly as competitive as Latta/Stumpy but with Donny and Sebastien in the field that's enough to make it interesting.  I figured I should beat both but on race day you never know what can happen. Plus, there's always the chance someone random shows up (although at this point I'm not really worried about the randoms).  I also noticed Jeff Murray was racing for the first time in a couple of years and since he's a multiple national champion in 2012 I figured he'd probably set the bar pretty high during the swim.

The one mishap I had was after parking about a mile away from the race site I proceeded to pump up my rear tire successfully, subsequently moving on to my front wheel.  When I pushed the pump head onto the valve stem all the air let out of the tube and it was un-pump-able.  After a brief panic I called Ashley to ask him to bring his front race wheel since I knew he was coming to watch; he agreed and so the mild crisis was averted.  I still would have preferred my lovely Beyond Black Zipp 808, however.  Alas.

Swim 750m in 10:42 (3rd)

As we all lined up at the buoy for the in water start, I knew what my strategy was for this race: balls to the wall to the first buoy.  Pretty simple.  I noticed Donny was lined up behind me and Sebastien to my left and so with 10s to go I quickly moved over to the left in order to get some "clear water." At the sound of the horn, I took off at a very high effort.  I basically swam like I was doing a 500 TT; I was even kicking! (I never kick, really).  Unfortunately this nearly induced a panic attack with such a fast start but I was able to quell my feelings (almost like a sense of claustrophobia? it's weird) and carry on to the first buoy.  After the turn I looked back and saw I had a decent gap on what appeared to be three "chasers." Jeff was still a ways ahead and at the second turn to come back I could just see him in the glare of the sun.  It was tough to sight coming back but I knew just staying parallel to the shore would get the job done.  I settled in at this point to a more manageable pace and carried on to the last buoy, where after turning I looked behind and saw that my gap had grown a bit.  Happily, I exited the water in second and sprinted up the hill towards T1.

T1 in 1:25 (7th)

The run to T1 is pretty long and as I got to my bike Jeff was just running away with his.  I put on my helmet and headed out pretty quickly.

Bike 17.9 miles in 43:46 (2nd)

Heading out on the bike I was curious as to how my legs would feel.  The first hill up out of T1 was a good test and unfortunately, I could not tell how the leggies would do for the next 17 miles.  I caught Jeff pretty quickly through town and then put my head down to try and gain some speed.  I was thinking this course would be like Latta but it was definitely a little "harder'' than Latta.  I didn't see anyone behind me for quite some time although I figured there would be someone there.  After a while (mile 10ish?) I could see someone behind me.  I couldn't tell whether they were catching me or we were just on straighter roads at this point.  After another mile or two, it became clear that yes, whoever it was, was definitely gaining on me.  After a bit more, I could tell it was Donny (luckily no one else came with him).  He passed me on an uphill and I could tell why: because he rides so dang hard.  For the rest of the bike it was Donny absolutely crushing the uphills (400+ watts and I'm losing ground) and me flying by him on the flats/downhills.  We got back into town and were diverted onto some side streets to avoid prime time downtown traffic and this section was a bit annoying but definitely safer than dodging cars.  We made it back into T2 with Donny just ahead.

T2 in :49 (2nd)

Rolled into T2 just behind Donny and we made it to our rack at the same time.  I took off my helmet, shoved on my shoes, grabbed my belt and shades then headed out up the hill onto the run.  Donny had to pump fake as he forgot his number, losing a little time there.

Run 5k in 17:31 (2nd)

I ran up the hill out of T2 at a very high rate of speed and gapped Donny initially, which luckily held to the end.  This course was very twisty and turny and so it was tough to get into a good rhythm.  I still managed to push the pace well though and felt pretty strong through to the finish.  Donny stayed within sight the whole time and I never quite shook him.  It seemed as though he made a brief surge around mile 3 but it may have been me imagining things.  I ran across the finish line for the W.  Woohoo

1st OA in 1:14:10

I was pleased with this race and it was interesting to note that it continued my trend of two good splits and one not so great split.  My watts were real low on the bike but my swim and run were quite strong soooo, can't complain too much.  Brian told me at the beginning of the year that year #2 would have a lot of that, which I found odd at the time but am now beginning to fully appreciate how smart he is.  Or at least, he talks smart.  Both are equally important.

The cool thing about this race was that it meant I am now three for three in Charlotte area sprints.  I don't count Cool Breeze.  Huntersville, Latta, and Lake Norman were all Ws for me, Latta and LKN were both wins overall for ICE Racing (Melissa took the women's overall win!).  Pretty good season for ICE so far and it's not even over!

Monday, August 20, 2012

More importantly..

So I worked out a bit this week.  Not too much, but not too little either.  It was good to get back into the swing of things.  Despite going 2 weeks without swimming, I managed to not embarrass myself swimming for 30 minutes in the lake on Saturday with Scott, Ashley and Kerf.  The post-swim ride, however, showed just how fit the Honey Badger has gotten in the past month.  Wisconsin is going to be awesome!! To watch.

The best part of this week was spending lots of time at the movies.  Not great for my wallet as SOMEHOW every time I HAVE to purchase some sort of concession.  It's ridiculous.  Why do we feel compelled to pay 5 effing dollars for less than 20oz of soda.  It baffles me.  They must put crack in all their stuff.

Monday PM - The Bourne Legacy

Note: not from Bourne, but worth it anyway.
Jeremy Renner is an actor who has been garnering a lot of praise and critical acclaim for his roles in movies lately.  You might venture to say his "star is rising."  Especially considering he was chosen to lead a Bourne movie, the man is kind of a big deal now.  He isn't, however, Matt Damon.  This movie was super hyped and was definitely entertaining but unfortunately not nearly of the same caliber as the original three (and my favorite, the first).

Friday PM - The Campaign

Frank the Tank vs. Alan
With Will Ferrell, Zack Galifawho, and a great trailer how could one NOT want to go see this movie?! Well, I was in that camp.  The humor looked solid and mostly witty, the timing couldn't be better (I'm never interested in politics and if so only for a couple of weeks during the year) and I was in the mood to laugh out loud a little bit.  Unfortunately, the movie failed to deliver in almost all respects.  Really awful.  Don't spend the money on it in theater.

Sunday PM - The Expendables 2

So many steroids, so little time.
Alright, so if you go into a movie like this with the right perspective (awesomely bad) you'll be satisfied.  If you go into it thinking that you're going to get a quality action flick with a decent and somewhat understandable plot line with good character development and good story arc well then you're just an idiot.  Name a big action movie in the past 20 years (or more) and it's likely that the star of that movie was in this one.  This "franchise" is designed purely as a vehicle to blow sh*t up with (former) big name stars in as epic a fashion as possible.  I enjoyed it thoroughly.  Much more so than the Campaign.

Next week I'll talk about training more.  Maybe.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Stumpy Creek and IM NYC

This one is going to absolutely blow your mind.  There will be so much awesome both hinted at and bluntly stated in the next couple of minutes that you may or may not suffer a breakdown.  The first week revolved around Stumpy Creek International.  After a relatively disappointing day at Giant Eagle I was fired up to race well at Stumpy, knowing the competition was going to be fierce.  I was mainly focused on DVW, as he's had my number at each of our encounters this year but I knew that Kenneth, Sebastian and Selle would also be threats.  Kenneth likely would have won the race last year if he hadn't taken a wrong turn on the run after absolutely blowing up the bike course.  Sebastian nearly beat me at Belews on a road bike and Selle is old but crafty and speedy.  Doug, of course, is Doug and would likely have a 3-4+ minute lead on me out of the water....

Swim 1500m in 22:42 (8th); 03:35 back from 1st

The water was advertised as being very warm and upon entry we all found that it was, in fact, steamy.  Gross.  Consequently, after lining up and the sounding of the gun I started off at a fairly relaxed pace.  I wanted to build my effort through the swim and hopefully come out a little less war-torn than at other races.  So after 200m I was not very high up in terms of place but after that I started to move up naturally as other racers came back to me.  Eventually at about 500m I found myself alone, maybe 30-50m behind the front pack (consisting of Jenny, Derek, Mike and Dave, as DVW had long ago separated himself) but a little in front of the rest of the field.

After the first turn at the far end of the course I looked back and saw I had a decent gap on what looked like Kenneth, Sebastian and Melissa (among others) and so felt confident that my swim was going well.  At the next turn I noticed my gap had increased and I seemed to be holding pace with the front group decently well.  So on the long back stretch I focused on staying smooth and picking up the effort a bit, which - at the last turn - further distanced me from those behind me.  Coming into the swim finish I felt happy with my swim and exited the water and crossed the mat.

T1 in 00:43 (11th)

As I ran into T1 I could see the front group leaving and getting on their bikes so I tried to have a quick T1 and mostly succeeded.  I could have shaved a couple of seconds off if I hadn't made a silly mistake, but oh well.

Bike 27 miles in 1:04:41 (1st); 01:28 up from 2nd

Heading out on the bike I tried to take the first mile relatively easily as it involved a couple of technical turns and a long uphill and I wanted to get to the top of the hill and not be gassed.  Once there, however, I put the pedal to the medal.  There are some days when you push hard but don't go fast, there are some days when you can't push hard but go fast, there are some days when you can't push hard and go slow, and this was none of those things.  Today I was putting out manly-style watts and was moving along nicely.  I passed Jenny like she was standing still, moved on next to Derek before catching Dave and Mike before the 20 minute mark.  Mike stayed with me briefly but I upped the pace a little bit to get out of sight and focused on catching DVW.  Unfortunately, this did not happen anytime soon.  One of my most epic moments of triathlon racing came riding through the state park.

There was a sharp downhill and at the bottom was a bridge that had a pretty big bump.  I took this in my aerobars and my water bottle popped out of the front cage and I somehow (well, obviously though my incredible skillz) caught it in between my legs.  Unfortunately there was no one around to see this awesomeness so all I could do was shout out "I'm awesome" to the trees.

Once I got back in the out/back section of the lollipop course it was fun to see the other people going the opposite direction.  At this point, I almost got hit by a car and I caught my first glimpse of DVW.  Unfortunately, he was not coming back to me fast enough.  I made the turn back into the slight downhill into transition and took my shoes off and hopped off the bike with expeditiousness, only a short way behind Doug.

T2 in 00:38 (1st); 00:02 up from 2nd (:07 seconds behind DVW out of T2)

As I put my bike on the race, Doug was (I believe) putting on his run shoes so I was very close.  I had a quick transition but my insole ended up getting slammed in the toebox of my right shoe which would prove uncomfortable after the race with a giant black toenail. I headed out of T2 seconds after Doug, determined to catch him.

Run 10k in 38:33 (7th)

Unfortunately, my run legs did not want me to catch Doug.  For about a mile I stayed relatively close behind him but I never had that "spring" in my step like at Giant Eagle last week.  I was pushing hard but not going fast.  I honestly just didn't have the run fitness that day to keep up with Doug, who ended up having the third fastest run of the day (behind two run specialists).  He's just fast.  Dammit.

To make a somewhat long story short, I continued on but only with the goal of not getting caught by anyone behind me (I was assuming it'd be Kenneth, but I also assumed he'd catch me on the bike; fortunately for all of us Kenneth and his wife have a very, very new baby...) and I continued on with that mentality.  I didn't run fast, I didn't run slow.  I ran just fast enough to call it a not-too-bad run, but certainly not a good one.  I believe on this course I'm capable of at least 3 minutes faster.  But not today.

I cruised across the finish line a ways behind Doug but a ways in front of 3rd place, mostly happy with my race.

The second week of our journey began on Monday, heading to NYC to work for IOS at the expo.  Tuesday was a full day of setup, Wednesday/Thursday/Friday involved lots of selling, Saturday involved lots of race-watching, Sunday involved breakdown and packing, and Monday involved flying home.  Super duper.  Here are some pics of the week

is JKHH in there? if not, bad list.

the site of the expo, pier 92

cool street art

southbound on the GW bike path

the rail is not nearly high enough

jordan rapp and mary beth ellis hamming it up at IOS expo

transition area on the nj side of the river

mile 18 on the run

rappstar coming through mile 17, just off the bridge

it's lonely out there at times

winning his 5th IM

the city certainly can be pretty

northbound on the GW