MadTrippin

The Amazing Race Meets National Lampoon’s Vacation

Post Chaska Triathlon Reflection

Posted by madtrippin on July 22, 2008

On the day of the race I was feeling a bit down on my time.  I think partly because my two friends whooped me so badly and I really thought I’d be more competitive than that.  The more I think about it, the less I care about my time.  It was alot of fun and a great challenge that has left me wanting to do more races.  Part of that is to prove to myself that I can do better, but I also just enjoyed the organized competition and competing with my friends. 

Plus prior to starting my training, I’d gotten into a terrible pattern of laziness.  I was’t really overweight or unhealthy, but I wasn’t feeling good about myself and training has really turned that around.  I’ve got more energy in general, I’m in much better shape and I’m way less likely to be laying around on the couch every night.  Plus most of my pants are fitting much better.  I’ll probably have to replace most of them soon relegate them to fat pants status – I’m on the last notch of my belt.

As for my next tri… I’m already looking.  Ben hurt his foot early in training and managed through the pain, but he’ll need a little time to heal up, so I’m pretty sure he’s done for our short Minnesota season.  I’m still kicking around the idea of getting another one in yet.  I think with some hammering on the bike, some swimming refinement and one more race, I would go into the off season feeling pretty good about next season.  If nothing else, I know I’ll be able to get into a 5k or maybe even a 10k, which I never thought I’d hear myself say.

I’ve looked at a few time-based training programs and I’m not really all that impressed.  I have trouble sticking to those anyway, as most of my training time has to be creatively acquired (early am, late pm, slipping out of the house on the weekends).  I just train as much as I can, as often as is reasonable, without neglecting my family.

I think I’ve got a good idea of what I’m going to do as far as the bike and run are concerned.  The swim will be the challenge.  I’m thinking about one of the books on beginnertriathlete.com.  Maybe a DVD would be better.  That way I can better emulate the techniques.  Maybe I’ll do both.  I just know a slow confident crawl would allow me to finish the swim faster and in better condition to bike than the fast side stroke I did on my first tri – my legs were spent.

I’m also looking at some new equipment for the bike.  The Cannondale frame will have to stay (don’t have the cash for something fancy), but I may try and figure out how I could swing swapping out components for better gear ratios.  I’d also like clipless pedals and an aerobar.  Other than that, I’ve got my tri shorts and top, goggles and a good pair of Adidas running shoes.  I’m set.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , | No Comments »

Post First Triathlon Summary

Posted by madtrippin on July 19, 2008

So I’m back from the race.  I had a great time.  By that I don’t mean I was the fastest.  Not even close, but it was a lot of fun.  Here are my splits:

Swim 16:06
T1 2:02
Bike 57:52
T2 1:21
Run 28:08
Overall place – 182 out of 325

Not exactly the performance I was hoping for, but what are you gonna do.  My overall time was 1:45:27, which pretty much falls at the tail of my 1:30 to 1:45 prediction.

The thing that surprised me was my bike and run times.  I really thought I would do better on those.  The swim was harder than I thought.  I had a game plan of 200 meters of crawl, 200 meters of breast stroke and then the last 200 crawl (with maybe a little sidestroke when necessary). 

The lake was glass calm and plenty warm.  The plan started out well with about 150 meters of decent crawl.  I was actually in the mix for a short time.  Being in the pile was crazy with all the waves and legs and arms were crazy.  I got kicked in the head and got a little freaked out.  I immediately went to the sidestroke to try and get back into it.  For some reason, I couldn’t get into the breast stroke, so side stroke it was.  Unfortunately, I use a lot of legs in side stroke and by the time I got to my bike, my legs were feeling it. 

16 minutes is about as good as I could have expected.  I may need professional help with my swimming before my next tri.  That’s right, I’m doing another at some point.

My transition time was pretty good.  Michael was just finishing up T1 and heading out on his bike.  I got going pretty well, but I just didn’t train enough on the bike.  I used to race and kind of neglected biking too much.  I was great on flats and decents.  I don’t think I ever got passed in either scenario by anyone other than the obvious serious triathletes.  It was the hills that got me.  I’d make up a ton of ground on other riders until i was getting to the top of the hills.  I also made quite a few passes on corners.  I just booked through and cut to the inside.  It seemed like a lot of people tried to respect the lanes.  That’s crazy when the roads are blocked off.

The final decent is steep and I kicked in the afterburners.  I passed a load of people on the hill and in the turn just at the bottom of the hill.  I was in top gear (14) and out of the saddle coming into T2. 

I hopped off the bike and holy brick.  I shuffled like an old man to my area and hung up the bike and dumped the helmet.  I didn’t have to change shoes, so I took a drink and was on my way.  Despite my slow pace, I did 1:21.

The beginning of the run is a 1 mile uphill that nearly killed me.  I’m a little ashamed, but I did stop and walk for a little bit in the middle.  the middle mile is flat and the last mile is downhill.  I motored coming down and passed a few people.  In the last stretch I got my sprint on and cruised by a couple of people to finish strong.

Michael and Ben both beat me.  They actually crossed the line almost side-by-side.  They both did 23 minute 5ks.  Not too shabby at all.  I think my weak swim and less than adequate bike training killed my run.  No big deal.  I’m happy to have completed my first triathlon and am already looking forward to the next one.  Now I feel like I have a better grasp on what I’ll need to do to be better prepared.

The Chaska River City Days tri was very well done.  The organization was excellent and the athletes themselves were awesome.  Everyone is super supportive and actually the better athletes encourage you as they’re passing you on the run and bike.  A good time was had by all.

I guess now I’m allowed to say I’m a triathlete.  Pretty cool.

Interesting side notes… the women’s overall winner was 50 years old.  And… They started the swim waves from typically slowest age groups to the groups that are typically fastest.  I was in the 25-34 wave and we were second to last.  The last group was the 35-44 men.  That tells you something… being young doesn’t mean you’re going to have an advantage.  That being said… the overall men’s winner was 21.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

It’s Race Day…

Posted by madtrippin on July 19, 2008

So it’s 5:15 a.m.  The race starts at 7:30 and I’m sitting at the computer.  I’ve got my bag ready to go and just brought my bike to the front porch.  Ben and Michael will be here at 6:00 to pick me up.  Now I’m feeling nervous.  I’m ready to rock though. 

I’ve downed a bunch of water and I’m now eating a banana.  I’m hoping that will be good enough until my energy bar before the race. 

Let’s do this!

Posted in Uncategorized | No Comments »

Last Day Before the Triathlon

Posted by madtrippin on July 18, 2008

So here we are… tomorrow is the big day.  Am I starting to get a little nervous?  Sure.  It’s really excitement not fear, although we did look at last year’s results and found some of our estimated times to be not as good as we were thinking.  Really more of a matter of overestimating our times.  Some of those people put in some crazy times.  I think the winner did it in something like 1:02?

I really believe I can do this in 1:30 – 1:45.  Sounds like a big gap, but I really have no idea how I’ll perform outside of training.  After my last training swim last night, I’m thinking I may be able to put up a decent time.  At least better than the goal of a sub-20 minute performance I was thinking I’d put in.

I’m feeling like my bike time is something of a question mark.  I do feel confident about my cycling, but I never really timed myself over any specific distance, so I’m not really sure of my attainable time.  I did ride every section of the route as part of my training runs and feel like I should be able to put in some good pace.  I’m hoping for an average speed in the 19 or 20 mph range.  I always ride faster when there are other riders out there too.  I feel compelled to keep my pace up.

I feel very confident on the run.  I was able to put in low 25 minute 5k times pretty consistently during training, which I’ve been told would be a decent 5k time for a first time 5k runner.  I’m hoping for something in that area, although that may be tough after the swim and bike.  I’ve set a goal of 27 minutes for the run, but who knows considering all events in succession.  Or maybe I’ll get a good burst during the run.  

I have visions of me making some dramatic passes coming down the monster hill towards the finish line.  In training I always try and finish my runs with some punch, so I’m hoping to have some juice left at the end and look solid crossing the line.

Good, bad or average… I’ll post my results tomorrow.  There’s no shame in my game.

AND… I’d like to say congrats to my brother Gabe and his girlfriend… correction – fiance Malika.  I’m happy for you bro-ham.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , | No Comments »

My First Triathlon is in 2 Days!

Posted by madtrippin on July 17, 2008

Wow!  This is coming up quickly.  I’m just hoping the weather holds.  Yesterday it was saying 40% chance of thunder storms for Saturday and now it’s showing 30%.  It would really stink if there was a thunder storm and the tri got cancelled.  Man… that would be a let down after all the training and preparation.

Last night I broke down and bought a tri shirt.  I wasn’t going to, but changed my mind last minute.  I was back at Start Line last night, where I bought my shoes, to pick up a pair of Yankz laces for my shoes and found a deal on a Sugoi Fuel Tri Shirt in Cobalt, so I bought it.

For those of you who don’t know, a tri shirt is made to be worn for all three events.  This one is basically a tank made of spandex (and other fancy space age materials).  In comparison to a cycling jersey… it’s tighter, the material is thinner, the zipper goes about 3/4 of the way to your wast on the front of the shirt and the pockets are smaller, tighter and on each side of the back, instead of all the way across.

I actually tried it on, which is very unlike me.  It’s a good thing I did, as all the fitment guides online seem to put me in a Medium.  I put on the medium and it was so tight you could see my chest hair through the shirt.  I didn’t come up with that one… it was actually the sales woman’s comment.  It was so tight that when I tried to take it off I had to pull it down over my shoulders and step out of it, instead of pulling it over my head.  So large it was.  Now I’ll look like a pro and, hopefully, not perform like a rookie.

The Yankz lacing system is basically elastic laces that you put in your shoes and adjust to fit.  Then you just pull your shoes on and you don’t have to tie them.  It’s supposed to speed up your transition time.

Today I’ll be purchasing the rest of the materials to make the Team Triple H Flag for our transition area.  Then tonight I’ll do my swim, lube up the bike (she’s all degreased already) and put the flag together.

An interesting idea was brought up today via email by my teammates.  We really haven’t talked too much about any of us beating one another in the race.  Sometimes Michael and I mention that Ben will whoop both of us in the swim, but no one has mentioned who might actually have the best time.  Now there’s been a wager placed.  The loser must buy a round.  It’s getting interesting.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

It’s Race Week!!!!!!!!!

Posted by madtrippin on July 14, 2008

The Chaska River City Days Triathlon is this week!  I’m amped.  I’m not all that nervous, just excited for the event.  The nerves really only come from the having never done all this before – picking up the race packet, getting onsite at 6:00 in the morning, setting up transition area, coordinating Team Triple H’s families… But I’m ready for the swimming, biking and running.

I did a decent swim yesterday and ran about 1.5 miles at a brisk pace afterwards.  It was the first time I’d swam in the tri shorts.  What a difference in drag.  You get a lot more out of your strokes.  I’ve set a swim goal for myself of under 20 minutes and I’m feeling like that is certainly an attainable time.  Maybe it’s not aggressive enough, as I’ve been able to do that pretty easily in training.  I’m just accounting for last minute nerves, open water and the mass start.

Training overall is going to lighten up this week.  I’m going to squeeze another 2 swims in, but my run and bike will be less demanding.  Durations will be pretty much the same, but intensity will go down.  I’m saving up for the big day.

I got some new rubber for the bike this weekend at REI.  I also got new tire levers, 3 tubes, some cheapo Chilis sunglasses and a couple of new water bottles.  Today I ran some errands to get a new Helmet (the old one is way too old to be effective – besides having a cracked core), some new goggles, a number belt and 1 pack of Clif Shot Gel to try.

The helmet is a Specialized Chamonix from Erik’s Bike Shop.  I’m on a budget, otherwise I’m sure I would have been tempted by one of the other more pricey models with more color choices.  While there I also picked up a pair of Tyr brand goggles – nothing fancy, just more adjustable than the speedos I currently have.

Then I ran over to The Running Room and bought a number belt and the energy gel.  Erik’s didn’t have the non-caffenated versions of Clif gels, so I got a Razz flavored one and The Running Room.  If it’s decent tasting, doesn’t give me gut rot and actually seems to work, I’ll buy a few for the race.

Tonight I’m going to see if I can’t find me a Tri shirt locally for cheap.  Sounds like Gear West Bike and Tri may have some for a reasonable price.

I may be in trouble for the expenditures when I get home.  If the tri goes well and I decided to do more (which I think I’ve already decided), my tri expenditures will probably continue to be a problem.  I’m going to have to find another source of income to support it.  I’ve already got a nasty motorcycle accessory addiction, which I’ve been neglecting because of the tri training.

We’re (Team Triple H) already talking about the post-race festivities.  Sounds like it should be a good time.  Ben and Michael seem ready to go and now Michael is talking like he may want to do a tri next year as well.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Rained Out – No Brick

Posted by madtrippin on July 8, 2008

Last night I was going to do a full brick.  Bricking is what they call the transition from biking to running – apparently a reference to the way your legs react to the change in muscle movement/usage.  I’d never heard the term until I decided to do a tri.  I’ve done 13 miles on the bike and then run 1 mile after and your legs do feel like bricks.

Unfortunately, the weather didn’t cooperate.  It wound up storming pretty hard and I found myself running on the treadmill at the community center for about 35 minutes on an uphill setting most of the time, followed by a light round of weights.  I could have biked indoors and then run on the treadmill, but spinning on the exercise bike for an hour bores me to tears.  I need to be outside to bike any kind of distance.

Today will be my off day.  I’ve trained 3 days in a row and I’m feeling a bit tired, so a rest day will be nice.  I’ll have to hit the pool on Wednesday night and then again Saturday and Sunday.  I’m only a week and a half away from the race, so I’m going to try and finish up the serious stuff this week and lighten the load next week.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , , , , | No Comments »

July 4th Weekend

Posted by madtrippin on July 7, 2008

I did an 8 mile ride Thursday night and then did nothing on Friday (the 4th).  We (my family) was invited to our neighbors’ party, so we hung out there all day and then had a monster fireworks show in front of the house.

Saturday we went to the outlaws’ house for the day and hung out in the yard.  I left before my family (I took the motorcycle) and had enough time before they go home to do a quick 3 mile run on the street.  It was the first time on the street for the new kicks and they did their duty.

Sunday it was 90+ degrees and humidity had to be in the insane range.  I wound up at the community center pool.  I did 15 laps – not fast and not consecutive.   I then ran 3.5 miles on the treadmill and added a few reps with the weights.  My arms were like linguini from the swim, but I felt pretty good overall.

This week I’ll be focusing on swimming stamina.  I’m throw in a run or bike route here and there, but I need to improve my swim.

I was talking with the other members of Team Triple H via email this morning and they were relaying their long weekend workout routines.  I think this helps keep you training and not skipping a workout if you have to share what you did – unless you want to lie to your friends – teammates – brothers. 

We were also talking about consuming energy gels during the race.  Michael said he tried Clif Shot energy gel and it was pretty good.  The question of what do you do with the spent packet if you’re on the bike came up. 

We also briefly discussed clipless vs. running shoes with toe clips.  Ben and Michael both have clipless pedals, while I’ll be sporting the running shoes and toe clips.  BeginnerTriathlete.com has an article on transitioning with clipless pedals, but it seems complicated for a first race.  I think I may have the edge in transition.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

New Saddle

Posted by madtrippin on July 3, 2008

Went and bought a new saddle for the old Cannondale on Tuesday night.  I actually did some research and then wound up buying a take-off from Bokoo bikes.  It’s a Bontrager – not sure of the model, but the sales guy told me it came off a $4,000 Trek.  I tossed it on the bike and did some quick test runs around the block.  Turns out it’s way more comfortable if I pull the seat forward a few more inches than I was riding the stock Vetta.  I did about 10 miles yesterday and felt no ill effects yesterday or today.

Here are the specs on my bike…

1989 Cannondale 3.0 aluminum frame and stock aluminum forks, Shimano 105 components (14 speed), purple anondized Sun aero rims with 105 hubs, Bontrager saddle, modolo handlebars, 105 pedals with toe-clips.

I’m the original owner of this light, stiff-framed bike.  I bought her when I was 15 and she’s been a great bike.  I have no idea how many thousands of miles I’ve put on her over the years.

This weekend WILL include an open water swim. 

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »

Weekend Workout – New Kicks!

Posted by madtrippin on June 30, 2008

Friday night was a bust workout-wise.  I was home with the kids with no back-up, so there was no getting away with a workout.  Again… Saturday was a ran-out, so the kids came with me to Start Line to get a new pair of running shoes.  The $29.99 Avias have served their purpose, but I need something a little more supportive now.  I wound up with a pair of Adidas SuperNova Sequence for a pretty fair price.  I ran in them for a couple tenths on the store’s treadmill and they were plenty comfy.

Sunday morning went by way too fast, but I was able to get in a ride with my Triple H teammate Ben in the afternoon.  We loosely followed a good portion of the actual tri route + to and from our houses, so it wound up being a little over the 16 miles the actual race will cover.  It should be a good ride if the wind isn’t too wild.  It’s got a heavy mix of decent hills and most of the roads are respectable.

The open water swim didn’t happen – not enough time, so it will have happen next week.

I’ve found that some investment in equipment would make things much nicer – Clipless pedals, shoes, aero bar, moving the shifters up off the downtube and new tires.  At the moment… I’m thinking I’ll only be getting the new tires before the race.  It’s really more a matter of safety and finishing the race without a flat.  It’s starting to make me angry that I’m on the email list for Performance Bike.  I had a conference call with their internet marketing team last year and signed up to see what they had going before the call and never unsubscribed.

I’ve been thinking about how much energy I’ve put into training for this thing and thinking I may need to do at least one more tri this season just to say I’ve gotten my effort’s worth.  I was surprised to hear Ben say the same thing when we were on our ride.

The only problem with doing more races is that it may require me to pick up that extra equipment I was just mentioning.

Posted in My First Triathlon | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | No Comments »