Monthly Archives: June 2014

Training Week #20 (Triathlon Active Recovery Week)

It was supposed to be a light training week. In many ways, it was lighter then expected. But I also completed some really important workouts. It was an active recovery week, but it was also my wife’s birthday week, my consultation for osteoporosis week,  the “need to take a day off before we run some tests” week, and the “sorry, but  the lake is closed to swimmers due to parasites in the water” week. I’m surprised that I got anything dose at all. Despite this, I completed three key workouts. First, I completed a 2.5 mile pool swim (all freestyle with no rest breaks). Second, an Ironman 70.3 race condition ride (56 miles with no stops except for traffic/intersections). Finally, I am ramped up my long run again (21 miles in hot and muggy conditions).

Next week, I was to try an 84 mile “no-stop” bike ride, and get into the open water. I am not planning a really long run, but I did sign up for a half-marathon. After that, a mini-taper into my Ironman 70.3-Muncie followed by a painful cycling boot-camp on course in Madison. Then, there will only be a few weeks of training left. More and more, I feel like I am on a runaway train with only one stop left…Madison.

The Plan:

Tuesday-1:00 swim/1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:30 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:30 bike
Friday-1:15 run
Saturday-4:00 bike/0:45 run
Sunday-1:15 bike/2:00 run

2 hour swim, 7:30 hour bike, 5:30 hour run
Total-15 hours/11 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:47 bike/0:28 run (10 miles/3.1 miles)
Wednesday-1:30 swim (2.25 miles)
Thursday-3:33 bike/0:29 run (56.6 miles/3.1 miles)
Friday-1:40 swim (2.5 miles)
Saturday-3:46 run (21.0 miles)

Weekly Total
3:10 swim, 4:20 bike, 4:43 run (% change from week 19: +18.8%, -46.7%, -16.0%)
4.75 mile swim, 66.6 mile bike, 27.2 mile run (% change from week 19: +18.8%, -46.0%, -19.0%)

Total-12:13 hours/98.55 miles/7 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-45:36 hours/68.15 miles
Bike-107:38 hours/1570.7 miles
Run-110:55 hours/648.2 miles
Total-264:09 hours/2287.05 miles

10 weeks to go.

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The Bike Tune-Up…

Ramsey Bicycle Shop (home of the free lifetime bike tune-up).

Clerk: “Good Afternoon. What can I help you with today?”

Me: “I just need a tune up”.

Clerk: ” No problem. We will have it ready by Saturday. Anything you want to make sure we check for you?”

Me: “Just wondering if there are any parts that I need to replace from time to time…brake pads, tires, chain?”

Clerk: “Nah. Those are usually good for several years. You just got this bike last year right? Generally all of those parts are good for a good 2000-3000 miles.”

Me: “Well, I have logged over 1500 miles in the last 20 weeks since I have started my training program, and about 2700 miles since I bought the bike.”

Clerk: “Damn! Well they should still be good. It is hard to wear out those parts that fast. The brake pads have these ridges on them. You should replace them when they are worn off.”

I take a look at my pads. Clear ridges present on the front brakes. Nothing on the rears.

Me: “The rear brakes look shot to me”.

Clerk comes around the counter to look at the bike. “Yeah, you do need new brake pads on the back. The back tire is really squared off as well. That should be replaced too. The front still has a few hundred miles left in it will will need to be replaced soon. And the chain is about 75% worn. We generally advise swapping it out at this point. Use it any longer and the gears can get damaged.”

Store Owner: “You need new brakes, tires and chain after a year?!?!?! How much riding have you been doing?”

I tell him. He already knows that I am training for an Ironman. I tell him I have a 70.3 in a couple of weeks.

Store Owner: “Damn, you turned into a hardcore cyclist. And you thought you were a runner…”

I decided not to tell him that I have logged more running hours then cycling in the last 20 weeks…

I oddly feel good about having to buy all these replacement parts. The bike is getting used and was a good investment. Having worn out my bike in just over a year is surprising since I was never a cyclist before. Most bike owner never replace these parts. Having done so in 13 months (and having impressed the local bike enthusiasts in the process) makes me realize just how far I have come. I just might become an Ironman after all…


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Flashback Fridays 19: MPLS Triathlon 2013

July 13, 2013

This was my first triathlon last year, and it was a great event. I wasn’t going to run this one again, but it was so much fun that I elected to add the sprint at the last minute.

Funny how some of these throwaway races end up being the most memorable. It was a wild day.

The expo was on site this year, and wasn’t bad (But I preferred it at the convention center the previous year). It was a hot day, but the talk was of the storms coming overnight. This was becoming a pattern this year…

Got my bib and shirt and headed home. I woke up to thunder and torrential storms. Great.

I looked at the weather report and it was supposed to be clearing out so I  got my gear and headed downtown.

It wasn’t clearing out. They were updating FB noting that the race was delayed and transition was closed. We were told to stay in our cars if we were already at the event site.

I hung out in the car for a couple of hours before heading towards transition. The worse seemed to be over, but the rain was still hit and miss. Transition was open. Volunteers had no idea what was happening with the race, but we got periodic updates. The race was still on, but we needed 20 minutes without lightning before starting. We got thunder every 10 minutes or so, which was resetting the 20 minute timer.

But there were bigger issues. The small tranquil lake had a pretty strong current…and whitecaps! I have never seen that on Nokomis! The run out and bike in sections of transition were flooded. So was most of the second half of the Olympic bike course. While we were waiting, they had to create a whole new course.

Fortunately, my company was an event sponsor and I could hang out in the VIP tent…staying nice and warm (and fed) while all the chaos was going on.

In the end, the race went off…but not as scheduled. Everyone did the revised sprint course (partially because the Olympic bike course was flooded, partially because the organizers only had permits for a certain period of time, and the clock was ticking). The time trial start was revised to 2 people starting every 3 seconds instead of one. This made for a more congested swim course…with a strong current and choppy waves. I am a confident swimmer, and I was nervous hitting the water. Fortunately, there was a wall of lifeguards. You could have walked the course going from kayak to kayak.

Swim Split: 10:02

Uneventful transition.

T1 Split: 4:33

Bike was great! I felt like I was flying. It is such a pretty course, and the sun was out at this point. The roads are quite bumpy for this ride, and you had to be very careful. The course was long since we had to do an extra lap around Nokomis to get to transition (the original route was flooded). Favorite moment: flying down a hill with a speed limit sign of 30 mph and a radar gun showing your speed. The cop at the intersection was urging riders to go faster and break the speed limit (I did). How cool is that?

Bike Split: 53:06

Another uneventful transition.

T2 Split: 2:42

The run was a simple 5k run around the lake. Everything had dried out and it was a beautiful flat run.

Run Split: 27:07

Finish Time: 1:37:31

Overall, I was quite pleased. I am gaining speed and confidence on the short course, and it turned into a great event! The organizers did a fantastic job recreating the course at the last minute and of keeping us posted on developments!

The trend of storms overnight and a rough swim was getting frustrating…and it was an ominous prelude to what I would encounter in Racine!



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Training Week #19 (Triathlon Build Week)


Despite all of my training and effort (obsessively documented here on this blog), I have wondered if it’s enough. I wondered if any of this could truly prepare me for  a 140.6 mile race.

There is only one way to find out. I have to try to complete that distance (or, at least come close).

I have been trying to do this for a few weeks. But the the weather has been a mess. Almost every day that I could have made the attempt, we have had severe weather. One day, I had the opportunity, but some right hip pain developed and I knew that I had to stop after 72 miles.

Yesterday, I had my chance. It was the longest day of the year. The weather would be great (sunny, low wind, a little warm for the run, perfect for the bike). I had nothing else that I needed to do that day. I could go from sunrise to sundown.

The only downside was that this was on a Saturday. I train on a multi-use park trail. This avoids most traffic risks (no motorized vehicles permitted) except at intersections. But, there are other cyclists and runners. There are also rollerblades, skateboards, families with kids learning to bike, elderly couples, dog walkers etc. Half of these people have no idea about sharing the path and safety. So I have to be ready to stop at any time. There are a lot of turns and the foliage is very dense now. I never have no idea what is waiting for me around the bend. I must be careful passing others as well since I could suddenly find myself face-to-face with another cyclist. A beautiful Saturday afternoon would be exceptionally busy and congested on the trails. This slows be down…a lot. My speed is about 4mph slower then a month ago when the leaves weren’t in yet.

The plan was to make this a slow and enjoyable ride, not a race simulation. I would get the miles in and take my time about it. I stopped to stretch my legs every hour or so. A friend was running Grandmas Marathon and I was checking on her race. I would e-mail my wife and update her on my progress.

It was a glorious day to be riding. I never really got tired either. My legs could not push me up the hills quite as easily towards the end, but I watched the odometer click past 90 miles (my longest ride of the year), past 100 miles (my 5th ever century ride), past 112 miles (Ironman distance and my longest ever ride), to 113.4 miles. I really didn’t hurt at all! What a pleasant surprise!


After the ride, I locked up my bike and swapped out my gear. I also strapped on my Camelbak and went to the gas station next door to get some salty snacks. Temperature was about 85 degrees. This would be a tough run even if I hadn’t just biked 112+ miles. I brought (and used) my salt tablets, a lot of water, and some snacks. I also knew that there were 2 air conditioned pavilions en route with water fountains, and vending machines. These would be critical since there would not be aid stations every mile like on race day.

This was the hottest day of the year…and I was not acclimated. I was drinking a lot of water and pouring some over my head. My stomach started feeling queasy and started to get a mild headache. I kept sipping the water and took some salt. There was a smaller restroom about 2 miles before the first nice rest area. I stopped to get out of the sun and splash cold water on my face. That helped. I kept going towards the chalet. I was beat when I got there. Got some Poweraid and a salted nut roll. I refilled my Camelbak and cooled off. My wife was e-mailing me to stop the run. She was telling me that it was too hot. I agreed, but I needed to know if I could do this. I was feeling better, and I had no choice but to continue (since the car was 6 miles away).

The next leg was better. There was more shade. But I was feeling it by the time I reached the nature concern action center. The facility was closed, but the restrooms and water fountain was accessible. Again, I cooled off, hydrated, took some salt and moved on.

The sun was starting to do down and running was more comfortable. But this was a long leg and the nausea and headache were starting to return. I kept sipping at the water and continued to pace myself.

With 1.5 miles to go, I hit the final mini rest station. There are picnic tables and porta potties. Most importantly, there is a well. The water is likely safe to drink, but tastes awful. However, it was ice cold. I dunked my head…instant relief. Just over 1 mile to go.

I had considered going a little farther (just doing 1 mile out and backs to stretch  out the run). But I figured I was on the edge of a heat related illness and it would be best to just call it a day. Total run distance: 15.5 miles.


I dried off, cooled off and changed clothing. I grabbed some chocolate milk (was worried that it would not stay down, but it did) and went to get some dinner into me.

So, what did I learn from this activity. Well, I can go the bike distance. My hip was just getting used to the new pedals (since I pull up and push down, the body needed to adapt to the new mechanics). I could go the Ironman bike distance and still run. My bike and run time have some issues. I know that I can bike a lot faster on an open road. The elapsed time was a lot more then indicated since that is the elapsed moving time. The actual total elapsed time was longer (8:58 bike, 4:06 run) and I would not have made the bike cutoff (but I would not be e-mailing and doing FB updates on race day either). So, I still question if I can go the distance without any breaks. I  feel confident that I can run off the long bike. I maintained a 10:30 min/mile pace in bad running conditions. But again, can I do it without any breaks? I think I can if the weather is tolerable on race day. I was not acclimated to the heat, and I had no aid stations. I also have 11 weeks of training to go. Long rides without taking frequent breaks is the next order of business.

Next week is a recovery week. I will need it. My long ride will be cut to 56 miles…but will try not to stop at all. This will help me prepare for my upcoming Ironman 70.3.


The Plan:

Tuesday-1:00 swim/1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:30 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:15 bike
Friday-1:15 run
Saturday-4:00 bike/0:45 run
Sunday-1:00 bike/1:30 run

2 hour swim, 7:00 hour bike, 5:00 hour run
Total-14 hours/11 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:47 bike/0:28 run (10 miles/3.1 miles)
Tuesday-1:20 swim (2 miles)
Thursday-2:30 run (15 miles)
Friday-1:20 swim (2.0 miles)
Saturday-7:21 bike/2:39 run (113.4 miles/15.5 miles)

Weekly Total
2:40 swim, 8:08 bike, 5:37 run (% change from week 18: -3.6%, +1.9%, -6.1%)
4 mile swim, 123.4 mile bike, 33.6 mile run (% change from week 18: -3.6%, +7.8%, -8.2%)

Total-16:25 hours/161.0 miles/7 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-42:26 hours/63.4 miles
Bike-103:18 hours/1504.1 miles
Run-106:12 hours/621.0 miles
Total-251:56 hours/2188.5 miles

11 weeks to go.

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Flashback Fridays 18: Grandma’s Marathon

June 22, 2013

I hated Grandma’s Marathon.

I feel the need to duck and hide as I state that about Minnesota’s most beloved race.

But…I hated it.

I just don’t know if I feel that way because it was that bad, or because I expected to hate it, or because I wanted to hate it.

But it was the one run that I felt obligated to do. And running 26.2 miles is a lot less enjoyable if you really don’t want to be there.

I guess my hostility started after I completed the Twin Cities Marathon. Whenever someone heard that I ran marathons, the question came up “Did you run Grandma’s???”. No one ever asked me about the Twin Cities Marathon. This is odd to me. TC is the hometown race. It’s a bigger race (300,000 spectators) with more runners. Grandma’s is on the other side of the state. It became clear that I would not be a “real” runner in MN without having completed Grandma’s.

Once I signed up, I went looking for a hotel room. Not easy. Duluth is a small town with minimal infrastructure. The hotels were few and they all jacked up their rates. Flea bottom motels were charging $400/night with a 2 night minimum stay.

I ended up with a hotel room about an hour and a half away.

The expo was very crowded. It took an hour in gridlock traffic to get there. The expo was crammed into a small venue and I could barely move at times. It was the only expo I was happy to leave.

Weather was cold, damp and I have never seen fog this thick. I was sitting at an intersection and could not see any of the signal lights (except the ones over my head). That’s some scary driving.

I came back the next morning, parked the car at the ramp and hopped on the train to get to the start. Slowest train ever. But, pretty cool old train. I am not a train guy, but it was an interesting way to travel. Also got a chance to chat a little…

Get to the start. Mid-fifties. 15 mph winds (but would be tailwinds for the first 25.5 miles). The course is pancake flat with the first hill at mile 22 (it’s an overpass).

The first 18 miles was an old 2 lane highway following Lake Superior. If it wasn’t for the fog, it would have been scenic. But I saw the lake 3 times. Instead, with the never ending road, lined with fog and firs, I felt like I was running a marathon in a Stephen King novel. It was just plain creepy.

I was sporting a garbage bag at the start. Took it off at mile 6, and tossed it at mile 11. At mile 15, I noticed the first white flag on the course (hypothermia risk). Then I saw a thermostat in the high 40’s. Then the rain started.

I was in shorts and a t-shirt.

And I was getting cold.

And there was someone at every aid station trying to hand out ice. Seriously.

Change of scene when we hit the outskirts of Duluth. Buildings and people.

But I was cramping up badly. Despite this, I knew I had a chance at a PR. Flat course, cool weather and tailwind made it possible.

Just kept trying to push…

Last mile has a bunch of turns as we do a little tour of downtown Duluth. My Garmin was pacing me a little fast so, again, I did a bunch of mental math.

In the end, I had no idea how far I had to go or if a PR was possible. I would just keep running as hard as I could. Suddenly saw the finish. One last push. And I look at my time.

It was close, but I thought I had my PR.

Turns out, I did…by 54 seconds.

Finish Time: 4:26:15

I got real cold, real fast. The cramps hit hard too. I had to go a couple blocks to get to the car. And the rain just kept coming down.

The PR holds to this day. Odd to hate your PR run, but it is my least favorite marathon to date. It would likely be a much nicer races if the weather cooperated.

But, for now, “Yes, I have run Grandma’s”…



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Training Week #18 (Triathlon Build Week)

I hate thunderstorms. They play havoc with my training schedule. They ruined my chance to ride Thursday and Saturday. Friday was beautiful, but I had to work. Storms finally cleared late Sunday morning and I could ride…but I could not get in as long of a ride as I wanted. I ride at at a park on paved trails. I hate going on the weekends. So many inexperienced riders, dog owners who aren’t paying attention, parents with little kids just learning to ride. The trails are crowded and every turn is completely blind. I have to slow down so often, and I have to come to a full stop at every intersection. I am glad that others are outside and active, but it does interfere with training. I much prefer getting out during the week, but their have been so many thunderstorm washout days that it has rarely been possible.

However, the miles are piling on. I reached a few milestones this week. Over 2000 miles of training. Over 100 hours of running. I am on track for more cycling miles in these 30 weeks then in the last 2 years. I also got in my first training OWS of the year (water was cold…I will wait another couple of weeks before I try again). But I needed to check out this beach…it’s very nice and is close to home.

The remaining schedule in contracting before my eyes. Just 12 weeks remain, 3 of which are taper weeks. That leaves just nine weeks of heavy training. The final push is on.


The Plan:

Tuesday-1:00 swim/1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:30 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:15 bike
Friday-1:15 run
Saturday-3:30 bike/0:30 run
Sunday-1:00 bike/1:15 run

2 hour swim, 6:30 hour bike, 4:30 hour run
Total-13 hours/11 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:47 bike/0:28 run (10 miles/3.1 miles)
Tuesday-0:58 run (6.2 miles)
Wednesday-1:30 bike/1:10 swim (19.5 miles/1.75 miles)
Thursday-3:05 run (18.o miles)
Friday-1:20 swim/1:00 run (2.0 miles/6.2 miles)
Sunday-5:42 bike/0:28 run/0:16 open water swim (85.0 miles/3.1 miles/0.4 miles)

Weekly Total
2:46 swim, 7:59 bike, 5:59 run (% change from week 17: -10.3%, +30.5, +94.1%)
4.15 mile swim, 114.5 mile bike, 36.6 mile run (% change from week 17: -12.6%, +19.4%, +89.6)

Total-16.44 hours/155.25 miles/11 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-39:46 hours/59.4 miles
Bike-95:10 hours/1380.7 miles
Run 100:35 hours/587.4 miles
Total-235:31 hours/2027.5 miles

12 weeks to go.


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Flashback Fridays 17: Ironman 70.3-Kansas

June 9, 2013

This was my first triathlon of the season, and my second Half-Ironman.

I was intimidated. I only got one open water training swim this season (one week earlier…water temps in the high 50’s). The course information showed significant hills on the bike (about 1500 ft per the race director, almost 3000 ft according to my Garmin).

The race was brutal the previous year. Very hot and insane winds. Weather was uncertain going into race day. The day before the race was hot and not that windy. But severe storms were coming overnight (we were told that we could check the bikes race morning if we wanted too).

It was a long drive to the site. But I stopped at Arthur Bryant BBQ on my way. Yum!

The event was at a state park. Lots of hills just going from the park entry to transition.

Transition was in a campground. Many were opting to camp at the race site (not a great idea given the storms heading our way…). We had our pre-race briefing and I spent some money in the store. I drove the bike course and was able to get a practice swim (the water was very green, and the bike course was very hilly!)

I headed into town to carb up (Noodles and Company) and get to bed early.

The storms rolled in. It was a nasty night. I felt bad for the campers.

It was still raining pretty hard when I got up. I checked the radar, and it looked like the storms were clearing out. Gathered up my gear and headed to transition.

As usual, I was the first one there.

The sky was eerie. It was calm overhead, but lightning all around.

I checked the radar…just a few small lingering cells…and they were all moving out. Looked like clear skies. I grabbed my gear and headed to transition. This was a 2 transition race. I had never done this before. Gave me a little extra anxiety. I made sure that I had my bike-to-run gear in T2 first. Then I grabbed my bike, wetsuit, helmet etc and headed the 1/2 mile to T1. There was a small hill on the way. It was the only hill on the run course. It would look much bigger in a few hours.

Got to T1 and racked my bike, donned the wetsuit and got my gear set. I headed towards the start.

It was an in water start. There was no way for a warm-up swim. One wave would be at the starting line, the next would be wadding into the water. Everyone else was on dry land and waiting. Got to watch the pro’s start. Craig Alexander is a beast. Warren Hains wasn’t too shabby for a newcomer.

Finally was my chance to get in the water. Water was very comfortable with a wetsuit. The water was also very green and was kindof choppy as well (heard many complaining about this after the race, but it didn’t seem bad to me at all).

Horn went off for my wave. I found my stride and just got into the groove. Water was green enough that I could not see my hand in front of my face.

Swim was uneventful, and I got out of the water fairly fast.

Swim Split: 40:47

T1 was pretty uneventful until I was running out. There was a nasty crash between two people running out their bikes. One went down hard. I heard both bikes were damaged. Bummer…

T1 Split: 10:48

This is when the fun began. The bike leg is the clear highlight of this course. It is beautiful and very hilly. There was a good headwind heading out, making the hills all that much harder. Weather was warm and sunny. It was a good day to be riding.

When we hit the turnaround, the headwind became a tailwind (or crosswind depending on where you were on the course). The winds also became stronger as the day went on.

Mile 50 was the biggest hill on the course. It was the climb up to the top of the dam that we had to cross to return to T2. It was called the DAM(N) hill. Cute. The winds were against us at that point. I was passing others going 6 mph in granny gear. They had a sadistic photographer at the top. Also, a guy with a sign that stated “So, you thought Kansas was flat…”. Best sign of the day…

Over the dam and back towards transition. A few steep hills along the way, but I got there eventually.

Bike Split: 3:40:54

Uneventful Transition.

T2 split: 5:01

I was not looking forward to the run.

It was getting very hot and muggy. The course was 2 laps around the campground. Many loved the course. Most campers were triathletes, so there was a lot of crowd support. The main intersection would be passed 7 times…so great place for spectators. But, for me, there was no shade and kind of dull.

Aid stations were every mile they were needed. Ice cubes going down the front and back of my shirt and in my hat every chance I got. Made some friends on the run, but the miles were dragging by slowly…

At one of the aid stations, we had a couple of volunteers convinced that there was supposed to be a beer keg at that station for lap two. They even called in looking for it. This is the kind of thing that happens when the brain gets roasted and dehydrated on a hot race day (the volunteers were very good sports about it I must say… and they were great throughout the event!)

At the halfway point, it was hard taking the left fork for lap two. Harder still taking that little hill for the last time. I was going through more and more ice. Got back to the fork in the road and took a right and through the finish line.

Run Split: 2:28:53

Final Time: 7:06:23

Overall a good race. The bike is the highlight of this one. I would recommended to anyone looking for an early season mid-west 70.3.

On the was out of town, I grabbed another dose of Arthur Bryant beef brisket. It’s a good thing that I don’t live near KC!


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Race Report: Trinona Sprint Triathlon

June 8, 2014.

This was the kind of day that made me fall I love with triathlon. The weather started cool but clear. There was little to no wind.  The water was reported at 72,5 (felt warmer). It was going to be a wetsuit free race.The temperature climbed to just about perfect.

2014 Trinona

Perfect day for Lifetime Fitness Trinona Triathlon. Amazing venue and great weather. And easily a PR for the sprint distance.

Transition opened at 5am. I got body marked and racked my bike. I have a minimalist approach to the sprint. I try to keep the gear and the transition as basic as possible. I was plesently surprised by the warm water tempurature. I decided to go for a wetsuit free warmup swim and decided to ditch the wetsuit altogether. As the sun rose over the horizon, I was taken aback by the sheer  beauty of the venue.

This was going to be a great day.

I went through the normal preparations. Transition was organized. I triple checked my gear, then moved through the announcements and the national anthem. Olympic racers went first so my wave was not going to start for awhile. Wave after wave and it was eventually my turn. It was a time trial start…two at a time every 3 seconds. The water was green, but comfortable. I had no trouble getting to the first turn buoy. But, after the first turn, the marker buoys were yellow…so were the swim caps of everyone in the wave in front of me. Sighting was impossible. I seemed to be passing a lot of swimmers as I made my way, but was slowed down by swimmers in front of me breast or back stroking. Eventually made my way to the last turn buoy and made my way to shore.


Swim (0.25 miles)- 9:25 (2:09/100 yards)

T1 was good for me. I was in and out pretty fast, but took a little while to get my socks and shoes on to my wet feet. But, overall, pleased with the improved efficiency.

T1- 3:52

I had to fiddle with the clipless pedals and my bike computer was acting odd. Probably wasted close to a minute on that. Then, I was flying. The course was beautiful and rolling. Free speed everywhere, but a few tight turns. There were a few cars on the narrow out and back road that was really bothersome…since there were times that we had no shoulder or railing, but just a steep drop. I did not stay as far right as I should have. I was yelling “on your left” a lot on this ride…and it felt great!

It was a short bike course (11 miles) and I was at the turnaround in no time. That’s when I found a headwind. Nothing bad, but it did slow me down a little…but I was still flying, and pushing myself as hard as I could. I am still tentative on the downhill, and I kept being passed by the same rider (I would pass her going up, she would pass me on the way down). This continued all the way back into T2.


Bike (11 miles)- 36:53 (17.9 mph)

Another fast transition.

T2- 2:12

I was out on the run course. There is a paved bike path going around the lake. The course was a simple out and back and was pancake flat. The sun was high in the sky and the tempurature was likely about 70 degrees. There was a light breeze keeping me comfortable. I was passing some runners but was getting passed too. I felt like I was barely moving, but I maintained a paste in the 8:30 min/mile range which I was happy with. I had another technology issue on the run. I turned off my GPS on my Garmin early that morning so the battery wouldn’t get used up. I never turned it back on. So, I had no idea how fast I was going for the first half-mile or so. Once I got that fixed, I was able to settle into a rhythm. Again, I was trying to push myself, but the legs just wasn’t going to go any faster after the bike. As I came up to the turnaround, we hit an aid station. Not sure why a GU would be helpful with 1.5 miles to go, so I just grabbed so Gatorade to drink and ice water to wear. Kept the pace up pretty steady until the last half mile at which point I got a little speed to pass a cluster of runners in front of me just before entering the finishers chute.

2014 Trinona

Run (3.1 miles)- 26.05 (8:25/mile)

Finish Time -1:18:26 (Overall 140/376)

Not a bad weekend of racing with a broken rib… 🙂


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Training Week #17 (Triathlon Build Week/Lots of Small Events)

A mixed bag of a week.

The broken rib feels fine. Work and life are harder to balance on some weeks and has certainly gotten in the way of some of my workouts (especially on the swim days). My long bike day was supposed to be real long (like 112 miles long) followed by a long run. My right hip started getting very irritated, so I stopped after 72 miles with no run.

I had a bunch of weekend events (some of the last until the Ironman) with lots of traveling. The triathlon was amazing. The half was meh. The Time Trial was a completely new experience. The events re-energized me for the journey ahead. Next week, the regular routine resumes and I am kind of looking forward to it…

The Plan:
Tuesday-1:00 swim/1:00 run
Wednesday-0:45 bike/0:30 run (with transition)
Thursday-1:00 swim/1:15 bike
Friday-1:15 run
Saturday-3:30 bike/0:30 run
Sunday-1:00 bike/1:15 run

2 hour swim, 6:30 hour bike, 4:30 hour run
Total-13 hours/11 activities

What I did:
Monday-0:46 bike/0:28 run(10 miles/3.1 miles)
Wednesday-1:45 swim (2.5 miles)
Thursday-4:29 bike (71.5 miles)
Friday-1:20 swim (2.0 miles)
Saturday-2:10 run/ 0:15 bike (13.1 miles/3.1 miles)-Lola’s Half Marathon/Trinona Time Trial
Sunday-0:09 swim/0:37 bike/0:27 run (0.25 miles/11 miles/3.1 miles)-Trinona Sprint Triathlon

Weekly Total
3:05 swim, 6:07 bike, 3:05 run (% change from week 16: +15.6%, +15.8%, -33.0%)
4.75 mile swim, 95.9 mile bike, 19.3 mile run (% change from week 16: +18.8%, +41.0%, -4.5%)

Total-12:17 hours/119.95 miles/10 activities

Grand Totals:
Swim-37:00 hours/55.25 miles
Bike-87:11 hours/1266.2 miles
Run 94:36 hours/550.8 miles
Total-218:47 hours/1872.25 miles

13 weeks to go.

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Race Report: Trinona Time Trial

Leaving Waconia, I had a 2.5 mile drive to Wynona (and I got lost a couple of times). When I got here, it was hectic. I had to check in for the Time Trial and the Triathlon (separate locations), change, and get lined up to start. Just barely made it in time.

The weather was better. Rain had stopped. Mercury was into the low 70’s. It was still overcast, and rain was coming later.

I had never done a timed bike race before. This would be a short and painful one. It was only a 5k. All but a mile was flat. Then comes the hill. “The Battle For The Bluff”. There is a 500 foot climb in one mile. I have had Half-Ironman triathlons with less of a climb in 56 miles. It is ranked as one of the toughest 100 climbs in North America.

2014 Battle for the Buff

Here is what the Winona tourism website has to say about this route:

Cycling challenge

For the experienced cyclist who desires a training challenge, the Garvin Heights climb is tough to beat. Tour de France winner Greg La Monde trained on this road which climbs 540 feet in 1.15 miles with a grade of 9.2%. The road is narrow with sharp curves and high traffic during commuting hours, and the surface can be sandy and rough. The road demands extreme caution both climbing and descending. A complete stop must be made at the bottom of the hill to avoid cross traffic.


And my legs were tired from the Half Marathon. What was I thinking?

It was a time trial start. One cyclist every 30 seconds. As I was looking around, most were these really intense cyclists. I, on the other hand, had just learned to use clipless pedals.

I line up towards the back. Unfortunately, all the best cyclists like to go last. So, I am with the elite. Wonderful.

My turn hits. Two volunteers hold my bike as I clip in. I get a 3 second countdown. Then I am off.

2014 Battle for the Buff
First 1.5 miles is easy. Almost pancake flat. I see the turn coming, and I get as much momentum as I can, and drop it into granny gear. The momentum does not last long. I am in full grind mode within a hundred yards. My 22 mph speed drops to 7 mph. If I slow down much more, I won’t be able to stay upright. If I get off, I won’t be able to start again.

I keep grinding. I have to stand I at times to get a little momentum. But I keep going.


It is a winding road, and after every turn, there is more…up. I look down at my odometer. Not even halfway. Legs are already screaming. Speed slips into the 6 mph range. I stand to get a little more velocity. I see it creep up to 8 mph…briefly.

2014 Battle for the Buff

I was the second hardest mile of my racing career (the Racine swim will forever top that list). Finally, I get to the top.

2014 Battle for the Buff

Finish Time 14:17.80
Overall Position 43/60
Average Speed 14.7 mph

There is beer and pizza at the finish. I get my finishers shirt (no medal). Soon enough, the temperature is dropping, the wind is picking up, and the clouds are building. It is time to head back.

Back DOWN that hill.

Steep climbs hurt. Steep descents are terrifying. I ride the brakes the whole way down, feeling barely in control. I could not stop if I wanted. I was committed…like it or not.

Once down safely, I bike the 1.5 miles to the start and to my hotel. I need some sleep. Tomorrow will be another long day.

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