Saturday, September 29, 2007

Recruited to Run

Tomorrow I am running a 10k as part of team. Not since high school cross country, have I competed in an event as part of a team. Though I wouldn't really call this a "team" per say. I voluntarily offered my services in a local race. The event will be raising money for the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington and the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes. My grandmother lived in the Hebrew Home of Greater Washington for the last 6 or so years of her 93 year long life. Its a race for a great cause that is near and dear to my heart.

Oh yea, back to the "team" element. Since this event is raising money for several local Jewish groups, all the local synagogues decided it would be fun to have a competition against each other. It was at this point, that my dad immediately thought to volunteer me to run. What the heck, its only a 10k. I've got the Army 10 Miler next weekend, so a race pace 10k seems like a great warm up.

So I signed up last week for the 10k and will do my best to represent my congregation!

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Damage is Done

Let's take a look at what I did today:

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Are You Savage Enough?

Not that I would personally put myself through the pain and torture of a Half IM (Eagleman 2008), but SavageMan is an animal of a race. I haven't gone out there to view the course personally, other than having gone skiing around the region when I was younger. I know enough about the location to know that anyone doing a race there should be ready for hills...and lots of them. SavageMan markets themselves as "the worlds most savage triathlon". Talk to someone or read a race report of anyone who participated in this year's inaugural, and you'd believe it.

The flagship component of the race is the bike. 56 miles of killer hills, including the famed Westernport Wall, which tops out at 25% grade. The more I hear about this race, the more interested I am in seeing it firsthand. No, not to race...not yet at least. But I will be sure to go there as a spectator next year to witness the anarchy. From what I hear, the town is all about hosting this event...a key element to the success in its inaugural year. People were out there cheering on competitors all day.

Don't let my words convince you...see it for yourself:

Some climb the hills better than others. And to give you an idea of the whole section of this climb, watch this.

No reason to complain about a hilly course until you have become savage enough to complain...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Official Annapolis Triathlon Race Pics

Here are the 3 pictures from the official photographer. Not bad - 1 swim, bike, and run picture! Once I pull some of the pictures Rebecca took off her camera, I'll have a bunch more to post. Here is my first crack at being creative with what they gave me ;)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Race Report: Annapolis Triathlon

Now that the dust has settled on my final triathlon of the 2007 season, its time to recap the Annapolis Triathlon. This was the inaugural race, so I expected communication and logistical issues. Although pre-race communication with several emails were great, details and logistical information was lacking from each email. With the changing courses in the months and weeks before the race, it was difficult to train specifically for the course. However, I knew one thing about the bike and run, having practiced several times on the different proposed routes: lots of relentless rolling hills. I was prepared as ever on the bike, as my focus this season has been improving the bike. The run, I usually just deal with whatever is left in the tank. But the swim is where I was truly under prepared.

Came into town the day before to check in and drop off the bike at T1, which was required. Paid $5 to park and $5 more to park for Sunday...not cool. Once I got through the somewhat complicated registration process, which included signing a waiver to be on the video coverage (cool), picking up my race packet, activating my timing chip, marking my T1 trash bag with my id sticker and race number, picking up my water bottle, and picking up my t-shirt (cool). Some of these steps could have been avoided in my opinion to lessen the complexity, but it is what it is. After that, walked the bike a mile down to T1 at the dock to drop it off only to find out that I was supposed to have my bike inspected at registration. Myself, along with many others, were forced to ride a mile or so back up hill to the registration area to get the stupid little inspection sticker. Nowhere during the registration process before did anyone mention bike inspections, nor were there any signs as to where it was. Lastly, nowhere in any of the five emails they sent out did it say we had to have our bikes inspected. It was pointed out to me later that it said it on the website. WTF! What is the point of sending out emails about logistics and race information if you don't include details like, "Hey, before you take your bike a mile down into town, make sure you get you bike checked". Or here is another idea - Have bike inspections AT T1, so people don't have to ride all the way back. So that is my pre-race rant.

Race morning, woke up at 3:30 am, toasted some cinnamon raisin bread with peanut butter and tried to take in lots of water, and out the door by 4:15 am. Made it to Annapolis by 5 am and got a good parking spot close to T2. Walked over to set up my run gear, got on the shuttle bus to head down to the dock for the race start, finalized by bike setup with 2 Accelerade bottles and 1 water bottle. Watched the first wave go off and then went back to put on the wetsuit. My wave with the 6th wave, so we had to wait a little bit, but not too bad. They spaced us out 5 minutes apart, so the waves weren't running over each other, like some other races that only space by 2 or 3 minutes.

Once they had us corralled up in our swim wave (14-29 yr old Males), we started making our way down to the makeshift water entry and into the water. I jumped to make my way out to the in water start area, when it hit me...this is salt water....ugh. Fortunately, it was watered down salt water, so nothing too bad. Last time I swam in the ocean, I could barely swim, due to the high salt content that just nauseated me. This time, it was a bit better.

I positioned myself in the middle off to the right to try and avoid the masses when the gun went off. I race was smooth as could be for the first half of the race. Barely any contact and feeling strong. I thought to myself as I made the turn around the buoy at the half way point, "this is by far your best swim ever". Why I let that thought creep into my mind, I don't know. Because it was at that point, when the jackass swimming in front of my decided he didn't want to swim anymore and instead of breast stroking, he went completely vertical. What happened next was something that I never imagined happening in a swim race. It was the first, and not the last time this would happen too. While I was continuing to swim, I went full steam into his head! Clearly not my fault, since nobody and I mean NOBODY should ever go from swimming horizontal to treading water vertically without looking to see if others are coming. What happened to floating on your back, breast stroking, side stroking or doggie paddling? Oh yea...and this happened to me 2 more times! Each time, this caused me to stop and pull out my dictionary of 4 lettered words that are typically kept for special occasions. This was one of those. At least one guy had the guts to apologize to me. The others acted as if they did nothing wrong! This also caused my body to react in shock, causing my muscles to seize up with a hamstring cramp. One hamstring cramp turned into two, which turned into no kicking and only pulling with my arms. My string of good luck (sarcasm) continued half way down the last straightaway of the swim. Some of the lead swimmers from the previous wave were catching me, and seeing as I was signing effectively, I was right in their path. You can guess what happened at that point. A few minor bumps and excuse me's, but the one that got me was a swift kick to the face that knocked my goggles off. So, I float on my back for a minute to reset my goggles and hold on for dear life that the swim is almost over. I'm guessing the 2nd half of the swim took twice as long as the first half. It was that bad. I couldn't wait to get out of the water any faster!

Time: 36:50 (nearly a 5 minute personal worst)

As I said earlier, the one thing I knew I'd have going for me was a solid bike. I pre-rode the course, trained lots of hills, and was on a mission to avenge my catastrophic swim. Although I had to deal with already cramping hamstrings, I settled into a fast pace early, passing people in sets of 5 in the first few miles out. I felt like everyone was riding in slow motion as I zipped along, which made me feel good. Strangely enough, I usually pass people on uphills and get passed by people on the downhills. This time it was the opposite! The one BIG downhill on the course got me up to 45 MPH and passing at least 20 people in that section alone. Once on the way back, I continued to push my cadence. To try to offset the existing cramps in my legs, I took in Endurolytes every 30 minutes. This really helped my legs recover some on the bike, from the swim. Unfortunately, I didn't plan on needing more than a few on the bike and a few on the run. I took them all on the bike due to earlier cramping and was left with whatever fate threw me on the run. The bike ended with some surprise short steep climbs that left your legs burning just enough to make the dismount and run into transition a struggle.

Time: 1:11:06 (personal record by a long shot - 19.9MPH)

Off the bike, the legs had a bit of a struggle ahead of them. Thrown for a loop during the swim, my muscles felt like they could blow at any point. I had to shorten my stride and keep the cadence up. I felt alright for the first mile and half as we looped around the stadium twice. Being near cheering spectators helped keep my pushing and mentally strong. The next 2 miles were when my legs finally felt loose and I started to cautiously pick up the pace. However, it was also during those 2 miles that there was no shade and longer periods between water stops. At each water stop, I took 2 and sometimes 3 waters to try to drink and cool myself down. I was barely able to take in my 1st gel at mile 3 and knew my body wouldn't take another if I tried, so I had to stick with water and not the Gatorade they had on the course. It also would have been nice to have some ice to throw in my race top to keep cool. I'd dump water on my head and feel good for 30 seconds before overheating again. Ice would have lasted a bit longer. Anyways, the rest of the course had 1 big climb up to the top arch of a steep bridge, which cause my quads to lock and forced me to walk that and any remaining hills. After turning around at the top, there was 1.2 miles to go and I tried to run as much as I could, but had to walk a few more times. Once I saw the stadium close, I kept running until I dropped down into the tunnel leading to the Navy football field. Once I broke through the opening, it was a 50 yard dash through a large crowd to cheer on the finishing triathletes, at which point I heard my name announced as I looked up at myself on the Jumbotron! I saw a few spectators I knew as I passed by, along with Rebecca and my parents who came out to watch.

Time: 57:34 (Not great, but ok considering the conditions)

Overall: 2:49:50 (PR of 3 minutes)

I started the season off with a bang in being dedicated to practicing and improving my swim. But most recently in the past month or so, my swim practice had slowed to once a week, more as maintenance than anything else. It showed in the overall time. I am ecstatic to end the season on a high note with a PR. I just wish it was an all around good race and not a struggle. For me, its time for some R&R while doing a few running races for fun, followed by a nice break, before jumping into the offseason program for next year.

Sunday, September 9, 2007

Annapolis Tri Update

I'm tired, so I'm going to be pretty brief. I didn't have the race I hoped I'd have, but it was a good race nonetheless. From what I know (my watch battery died at the end of the bike), I think I PR'd. Something around 2:50, based on the official race time minus my wave start. I'll wait till the official results to declare it a PR. I sucked on the swim, rocked the bike, and held on for the run.

More details to come.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Annapolis or Bust

Its go time once again. But this time its personal. Ok, not really personal, but this IS my "A" race for the year. I know people doing the race. I know people watching the race. I know people that will be watching me doing the race. Pressure is on. Last chance of the season to kick it up a notch and leave nothing behind. This is my 10th triathlon and I want to make it a good one!

One more thing. Annapolis Triathlon has 2 different transition areas. I don't really get the whole 2 transition thing. It kind of ruins the unique element of triathlon for spectators that they can remain in one area to catch the action. Don't get me wrong. Its cool the the race finish line is on the 50 yard line of the Navy stadium and all finishers will be on the Jumbotron, but the swim is a mile away from T2 and the finish. So much for finding a money spot to watch the whole race.

Ok, now that I've gotten that out of the way, let me calm down and talk about the race for a minute. I really really really hope the waters are cold enough for wetsuits. Given the dry conditions lately, jellyfish are likely all over the place. Aside from telling everyone at work that I was on the Jumbotron at Navy's stadium, I prefer to not have to tell them about how I got stung repeatedly by the jellyfish during the swim portion of the race. So let's pray for cool weather to keep the temps down in these last 36 hours...

Wish me luck!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Annapolis Triathlon Swim Wave Announcement

More new information is out. I know when my (tentative) swim wave is.

1 6:45am Women 45+, Men 50+, Phys. Chall. DARK GREEN
2 7:05am Pro Men, Men 30-34 WHITE
3 7:10am Men 35-39 PURPLE
4 7:15am Men 40-44 RED
5 7:20am Men 45-49, Clydesdale SILVER
6 7:25am Men 14-16, 17-19, 20-24, 25-29 NEON GREEN
7 7:30am Pro Women, Women 30-34, 35-39 PINK
8 7:35am Women 14-16, 17-19, 20-24, 25-29 ROYAL BLUE
9 7:40am Women 40-44, Athena YELLOW
10 7:45am Relays ORANGE

I am in the 6th swim wave. I typically enjoy being in the water earlier in the race, since there are less distractions throughout the course. But oh well, not this time. Oh yea, and as an added bonus, the wave after mine includes the Pro Women. So that means I'll have women in pink caps pulling me down and swimming over me. Wonderful.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

A Weekend Away

Labor Day Weekend. Last chance of the summer to get away. On tap was a trip up to the Berkshires to visit Rebecca's family. I know what you're thinking...a family vacation, not the ideal way to spend a long weekend. But, we did so many things this weekend that it seemed less of a family weekend, and more of a weekend getaway, with some family involved. Highlights of the weekend included:

- Going for a morning run in crisp, low 60 degree temps
- Going for 2 hikes on Mt Greylock, one to the summit
- 2 big dinners with lots of good home made cookin
- Scenic views at all times

It was good weekend of decompressing. Too bad we had to come back so soon. There will be future visits though, hopefully during the winter for some skiing and again during next summer for some solid bike riding.


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