Monday, July 13, 2009

Triangle Tri Race Report

First the results...
in the master Clydesdale division there were 28 starters
rank time
total 10 1:42:39
swim 6 16:44
T1 3:22
Bike 8 53:16
T2 2:21
Run 9 26:58

Feel pretty good about the results, thinking about it I might have been able to break the 1:40 barrier if I hadn't sprained my ankle on tuesday, but given the conditions it still would have been tough. On to the race report.

They moved this event to Harris lake this year so it was the first time at this site. In my opinion the site is not big enough to handle the 1000 participants, volunteers and spectators. I would say 700 would be better, but they seemed to pull it off so I doubt the number will be reduced especially since it sold out. Arrived at the site around 6:15 and the park was already filled and they were parking the outside lots. waited in line for 15 minutes and got one of the last spots in the lot just outside the entrance. The rest had to park at the visitor center at the nuc plant and either bike or take the shuttle.
Got to transition and picked up my chip, then did my warmup and while running noticed my ankle was not happy. I had taped it before I left hoping it would be ok, but this run was not giving me hope. checked out both the swim start and finish, then went to get body marked. After body marking it was getting close to the race start at 7:30, my wave was at 8 so my plan was to hit the porta john, then do my final prep of transition and do a quick swim warmup at the start before my wave. While I was in line for the porta john they announced the race was about to start and everyone would have to exit transition. Apparently while i was in the john they announced the start and to clear, so when I got out they were saying if you were caught in transition you would get a penalty, but I needed my cap and goggles and to take off my shoes so in I went, did what I needed and left with only a warning by a USAT official. Headed to the lake to get in a warmup, but when I got there the race still hadn't stated yet, and no one was allowed in except for the wave that was starting. so no warmup and the start area was way too small. I heard they had some electrical problems that delayed the start, so I planted my ass down to wait. When we were called on deck I got up and started loosening up my arms and shoulders for the swim.
The Swim: The water was warm, but at least it was cleaner than the old lake. Moved far left to get a good line and started off strong, made it to the first buoy just behind the first group, but after the turn we were facing the sun and my goggles were starting to fog up. This made sighting really difficult which meant more siting and slowed me down quite a bit. After we passed the next buoy I decided to clear them and wow did that make a difference, wish I had done that 5 minutes earlier. Starting swimming stronger again and hit the final buoy and turned for the final stretch in. The water was rough here and coming from the left, but since I prefer breathing on the right it was not a problem for me. Sighted in on a straight line and started working some kicking in to get the legs ready.
T1: Had to take my time getting out of the water and jogging to transition so as not to risk the ankle so my time was slow, think at full speed could have saved 45 seconds here, but not worth the risk in the rocky water or the long ass run on the grass barefoot to the bike. Once at the bike I got my shit taken care of and started. When I finally got on the bike the computer said 1:18, so it took me 1:18 to run from my rack to the mount line, that's a long way and I was in the middle of transition.
Bike: Had a great bike, felt really good and on the climbs I was able to get into a good rhythm. It's about 1.2 miles to get out of the park and 4 speed bumps. They put some wood in front of the bumps that made it much better getting over them, but I still saw tons of sponges and water bottles lining the road. The first part of the bike is up hill so I got aero and tried to get into it. I could tell it was going to be a good day on the bike, I was thinking I could break 54 on a good day based on my practice ride a couple weeks ago. The one rough spot on the route is when you turn onto friendly road, and still it was not that bad but saw more water bottles at the rough patches. There was a long downhill followed by a really long climb but the road was recently paved and it went better than I remember doing it during training. This is where I started trading spots with another MC, he would pass me and then stay about 20 yards ahead until a climb came up and then I would pass him back, we did this for the last 15 miles. I remember the last half as being a long downhill to the lake, and it was, but there was a strong headwind on this morning so I did pick up a bunch of speed, but not as much as could have been. Then the short speed bump filled 1.2 miles back to transition.
T2: Tell you the truth I don't really remember T2 except that due the length of the transition area there was a lot of running, oh and I almost rolled my ankle leaving T2.
Run: The run was quite an adventure. Started of very tentative, the MC I had been trading spots with on the run was about 10 seconds ahead of me and I gradually came up on him and passed in the first 1/2 mile. I was really looking for someone to pace off of so I could concentrate on not landing funny on the ankle. A 27 year old girl passed me and I latched on to her, after another 1/2 mile she stopped to walk so I had to move on. It was hot, but the trails were shaded and they had 4 or 5 chances to get water on the trail so I was quite happy. At the turn around with 1.2 miles to go my confidence in my ankle had increased so I picked up the pace to get a negative split. It was starting to hurt now so I knew I has at the right pace :-). finally made it to the road again and had one more left turn onto a grass finish shoot that was about 20 yards. I made the turn and tweaked my ankle, the pain shot up my body and caused me to jump in the air, when I landed I had a couple strides of limping and then both my hamstrings cramped up and I must of looked really funny. I had enough momentum to get me to the line but it wasn't pretty. The race director was in the shoot and he looked at me and said, "Are you cramping up?" All I could say was yeah and keep limping by...

Post race they had red beans and rice, soda, water, heed, bananas, oranges, bagels and assorted cookies.

I liked the new course much better than the old, but in my opinion the site wasn't big enough to handle that size of event. The parking, the transition, and the swim start with no warmup area were the only down side, but other than that the race was run well, volunteers were awesome and plenty of support.

Kiwanis 5k Race Report

This race is in Charlottesville Va in the forest lakes subdivision where my brother lives. I did this race one time back in 03 and ran a 28 even. It's a tough course so i wasn't expecting a great result, but I knew I would be able to beat the 28. My nephew who is 20 now was going to run it with me. He claimed to be recovering from a knee injury and hadn't run more than 3 miles in two months. I suspected he was sandbagging, but played along anyway.
start the race and it's a downhill start for 1 mile so I wanted to be right around 8 minutes. At the mile marker it was 8:03. The next mile is rolling with and out and back on a cul de sac. I was able to see that I was a good 40 seconds ahead of my nephew at this point so I felt like I could take him. wanted to do mile 2 at 8:15 pace and when I hit the marker they were yelling 16:16, so once again right on, mile 3 is the killer, there is a steep climb coming out from the lake area, then it's a gradual climb all the way back to the start with only one short downhill for recovery. I was hoping for an 8:30 here. Last time I did this race there was an 11 year old girl that passed me on the finish stretch and she beat me by 1 second. This time I had caught up to a 13 year old boy and tried to pass him, but every time I got close he would sprint up ahead, then slow down until I got close again and repeat, to make matters worse in the last tenth my nephew goes flying by me and says "HA HA" he gets about 20 yards on me and just ahead of the stupid kid and slows a bit so I start my sprint and just as I get within 5 yards the stupid kid sees me and starts to sprint really loudly, my nephew hears him and takes off again and beats me by two seconds and the stupid kid beats me by 1.
On the positive side, I got a new PR for a 5k by about 15 seconds on this really tough course and now am looking forward to breaking 25 in the fall :-)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Adventure Race Camp - Day 3

Day 3 arrived and we had a practice 5 hour adventure race on the schedule followed by some other little things. We were getting kicked out of our hotel and decided to just head home instead of staying another day and mtn biking. I think we were all ready to sleep in our own beds again and I was dead tired and didn't think I would be able to mtn bike on Sunday anyway. So we packed up and checked out. Crossed our fingers that Tim's truck would start, it did, and headed over to pura vida adventures to meet Joe. After our prerace briefing we got our map and headed to the race site. We decided to do the mtn bike part first and I would hold the map, and Tim would have the passport.

Getting way behind so I'll have to cut this short...

we did really good on the bike, we started to crack a bit in the heat on the way back to transition, but still made a good time. My legs were not going good and the heat was not helping at all so I knew we wouldn't be doing much running on the trekking part and we probably wouldn't be able to get all 4 targets.
Long story short, we made a huge error at the start, but luckily we recognized it in time and decided to skip #1 and go for #2 and #4 and if we had time #3, made it to 2 ok, #4 was at the top of stone mtn and I just about died getting up there, the way down was cramping time, but when we got back to the road we had 30 minutes to get back, luckily we were able to run the flats and downhills and made it back with plenty of time to spare.

We then had lunch and a short debriefing about what we did wrong and right.

All and all a great trip. I would highly recommend Pura Vida to anyone interested in learning about adventure racing.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Adventure Race Camp Day 2

My plan for this morning was to not set an alarm and if I got up early I would go mtn bike on some easy trails and if I slept in then I would just sleep in. Well I got up at 5:05, so once again banana, some water and out the door.
It was still a bit dark, so I put on the rose lenses for my glasses to help me see and started out towards the forest again. Found a trail I "thought" I could handle and headed up. Well, I ended up pushing the bike half the time and when I got to the top of the trail, it said it was a "medium" difficulty. Luckily the trail I came out on was marked easy. I headed up a bit more then turned around and headed back down.

At the bottom I found the exercise trail again so did a loop on that, then coasted back to the hotel. When I got back to the entrance I went to take my helmet off and it wasn't there. My first thought was it fell off, but then I realized I had never put it on. Went in for a quick shower then breakfast and a talk with the hotel staff to see if we could get rooms. Luckily someone cancelled and the room Tim and Michael were in was going to be available through Friday and we were able to get another double, but had to switch rooms, so Eric and I moved our stuff into Tim and Michael's room and headed to camp.
On tap for today is rappelling in the morning followed by navigation after lunch. We were warned that for the navigation we might want to wear long pants since we would be going through some thick brush. We asked what he was wearing and he was like just shorts and since we didn't really bring long pants we would all be wearing shorts. The rappelling was really cool. After some safety instruction we did one quick one then we were to learn a self rescue which meant stopping half way down, pretending that something was stuck in the ATC, create a foot hold, step into it, cleat the ATC then continue down, all while hanging 35 feet in the air. How much fun is that?
We asked what ATC stood for and Joe told us Air Traffic Controller. I thought he was messin with us, but a quick search later found that he was being straight. We ended up going 5 or 6 times each, then headed back for lunch. Today's lunch was at another local place which had mexican and american food. I got a big ass burrito and woofed it down. There we found out that for navigation we were going to the mountain and hiking, on the way we got a map and learned we would be hiking close to 3 miles. I wasn't expecting that much and had I known I would not have gone out mtn biking that morning, but off we went.
We started down the trail and I hear this high pitched scream and Michael comes running to the back. I look up ahead and see a big snake headed into the woods.
The first part wasn't bad, I was leading with Tim navigating. I was thinking this is going to get a lot worse very soon, but for now I'll just enjoy the ride. Eventually we went off trail and the real fun began. We went straight up a steep hill and started getting into the thorny bushes. Wasn't long before my legs were covered in scratches. But we made it to the top and found the first target. At this point Tim took over the front and Michael was navigating. This was almost all off trail and took forever and we had to go up about 1200 feet over a 1 mile trek. let's just say it was more than painful and my legs were done when we got to the top. "luckily" the next part was all downhill, once again all of trail, but not as bad. Until I got stung by something. It felt like fire ants were all over my ankle. I was told it was probably prickly Nettles and it would go away soon. I have non idea what it was, but I suspect a wasp or some such creature since now that the rash has finally dyed down I can see a sting site. Finally we made it down to the road and Joe hitchhiked back to the car to come get us. Another tough day and I was beat, we headed back for pizza and beer, but first we had to go pick up Tim's truck and get some Bourbon for Tim and Eric. Tomorrow we had a 5 hour simulated adventure race so there would be no morning workout.

Adventure Race Camp Day 1

After yesterdays fiasco with the hotel room, I got up early, scarfed down a banana and some water waited a bit, then headed out for a run. I had emailed Joe earlier about an easy trail run for the morning since we were doing kayak and classroom I thought I could handle an hour. He said there was an exercise trail about 3 miles from the hotel that was flat and ran along the river. Never really found out how to get there so I figured I would just run 30 minutes then turn around and come back. Started out downhill from the hotel and saw a sign for the Pisgah forest and followed it. The next sign I see is.

First thought I had was oops, wrong way, but then I was like this is supposed to be an adventure so why not, and I only had 20 or so minutes to go till I turned around so it can't be that bad. Anyway I kept going and while it was uphill, it was just a slight uphill and the scenery was keeping my distracted enough that it didn't matter. After a mile I see a trail off to the left paralleling the river I have been following so I decide to take it.

After a few minutes on the trail I see the sign for the exercise trail, amazing... So I follow that a while taking it easy and taking pictures. When I arrive at the English Chapel I'm at 34 minutes and decide to turn back so I can get breakfast #2 in before camp starts.
Turn around and it takes me 26 minutes to get back, I guess it was a bit more of an uphill than I thought, but I was moving much faster and the temp was a brisk 63 so feeling really good.
After the run had breakfast at the hotel, eggs, sausage, and biscuits. Then headed off to camp. Tim when to get the truck and meet us out front, but he comes walking back in and the truck would not start, so we had to take Michael's car. Met Joe from Pura Vida Adventures at his office which was just around the corner from the hotel and right next to the Indie Coffee shop. Started with some admin/paper work, camp itinerary and then some kayak classroom instruction. next we packed up the van and headed out to the lake for some on the water learning. We learned to do a boat rescue where you after purposefully roll over, then get out and then push the kayak onto someone Else's kayak upside down to get the water out and flip it over. Then you have to get back in with out filling it back up with water.
Then we learned a self rescue with a bilge pump and floaty. This was more of a challenge especially for me. I could get the kayak over ok, but then every time just before I got in, I would flip it over again. I think it took me 6 tries to finally get it. Next there was some basic paddle instruction and we headed to the waterfall.
I was amazed that we only went about a mile but the water was much colder and cleaner near the falls. We hiked up to the top and I swam out to the middle almost to where the water was landing. I felt like I was in my endless pool because the closer I got the harder it was to keep moving forward.
After a few minutes we paddled back, then headed back to the office for lunch and some rappelling instruction so we could head directly to the rock in the morning.
Got back to the hotel and Tim called AAA to come look at the truck after it still wouldn't start when we got back. We headed off to a local place to eat and he waited for the tow truck.

At the restaurant it was taking more than 45 minutes to get our dinner so I talked with the manager and got our appetizer and drinks taken off the check. When the food finally arrived, it was really good or I was really hungry, or both. And this ends day 1, I really needed this.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Adventure Race Camp - Prelude

Earlier in the year we signed up for Adventure Race Camp, Tim, Michael, Eric and I. We had originally planed to do the Black Beard Adventure Race and asked Joe at Pura Vida Adventures to tailor the camp to that race. It would include Kayaking, Rappelling, Mountain biking, and trekking. We had received a special rate with the Holiday Inn Express that was about a half mile from his office. He had sent the itinerary a few weeks ahead of time and it was setup like this.
Thursday day 1 - Admin stuff and kayak instruction in class, followed by a trip to the lake / river to put our skills to the test and learn on the water, then back to the class room for some more instruction.
Friday day 2 - Rappelling in the morning, then navigation class after lunch
Saturday day 3 - Mtn bike instruction and training and maintenance.

Since day 1 was just kayaking and class I decided to get my weights in and do a swim workout on Wednesday before leaving. Tuesday I had done a 5 mile run and Monday I did some mtn biking, can't remember when my last day off was, but I'm sure it was when I was sick. I was feeling really good after my forced week off so didn't really think about the extra workouts and really the camp on paper didn't seem that hard. We even booked an extra night so we could go out Sunday and ride after camp was over. Michael was driving himself and Tim, Eric and I were car pooling. Left around 4 and made 2 stops for food and gas on the way. At about 9, Michael calls us from the hotel and tells me they don't have our reservation. We get the confirmation number and are told that they were canceled due to an "issue" with the credit card. They could not tell us what the issue was just that the first night did not go through and when that happens, they cancel the reservation. Also it was not them that canceled it so they knew nothing about it. They at least had two rooms for Wednesday and Thursday. They bumped us up to suites because that's all they had, then tried to charge us more but Michael spoke up in a calm manner that Tim, Eric, nor I were capable of and we ended up with the original rate. One of the rooms was a King and the other two queens. Michael was a little too eager to sleep in the king with Tim, but Tim was ok with it so that was our room assignments.

Tim and Michael's love nest.

Scary, isn't it?