Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Oilman Race Week!

Hurray - its here!

Full disclosure: I'm not sure if its the race I'm excited about or the fact that once this sucker is done, I'm officially in the off season.  Woot!  Off season!  Skiing!  Sleeping in!  No feeling of "if I don't get this workout done I will DNF"!

So, yeah.  I'm going to do my best to kill this race.

My targets:
Swim: 36 min
Bike: 3: 24 (or 16.5 mph)
Run: 2:22 (or 10:50 min/mile)

For the record, my best long-distance triathlon run pace is 12:00 during IMCDA.  Yeah, that run is going to hurt.  But I have to believe I can do it.  I've been running fast lately, holding 3 min repeat intervals at well below a 9 min/mile pace.  Also: flat course and sea level.

I've been given the green light by my coach to take risks and if I feel good, to push.  I have nothing serious planned this winter, I have nothing I need to recovery quickly for, so I can burn up my entire book of matches on Sunday.  I signed up for this race as a challenge to see how fast I can go, so I owe it to myself to push beyond my comfort zone and really see what I can do.

Cross your fingers and make sacrifices to the travel gods that my flight goes as scheduled and Merlin does ok in transit.  I fly in Saturday morning.  We head straight to race check-in.  And the race is Sunday.  I will be in Texas less than 24 hrs by the time I'm racing.  Way to maximize the extra red blood cells :)

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

30 minutes

I still owe a post about my fun trail runs in Montana from a few weeks back (lots of pretty photos) and maybe a post about how I was the fastest person on a group ride a a week ago (the boys just "wanted to hang on").  But instead, I am having a mini freakout over this little race I have in 3.5 weeks.

It didn't exactly click that I had a race coming up until Saturday night, I was getting my clothes ready for Sunday's ride and I realized that I have never worn the tri shorts I was planning on wearing during a long ride.  And I've been terrible at practicing "race nutrition".  For the past few months I've just been doing "whatever".  Its mentally challenging, because my long rides now are the same duration as my taper rides back in June.  So I don't take it all that seriously.  I mean, I do, sorta (in case my coach is reading this...hi!).  I'm riding well and not picking easy rides.  And I'm picking challenging runs.  I'm just lax on the "practice race day stuff" because apparently a 3.5 hr ride isn't long enough to make me worry about this sort of stuff.  And don't even get me started on the eating and drinking.  I have been soooooo not good about that.  Thank goodness I'm at my St George weight.  I'd like to be lighter, but mmmm wings.  And beer.  And pizza.  And chocolate.  I think I burned myself out with my 6 weeks of sacrifice leading up to IMCDA and I just can't motivate myself to eat that clean right now.  Especially when everyone around me is in off season mode.

So yeah, I finally "practiced" Sunday and everything was fine.  Cool.

The whole point behind signing up for Oilman was because I haven't race-raced a 70.3 since, oh, 2010.  Texas and Boise.  And those were my first 70.3's, and "the hardest thing I've ever done".  I was going to race-race Boise in 2012, but my heel had other ideas.  I've done 2 other 70.3s since 2010, but they were "practice your IM pacing" races.  No pushing, no going too fast, just practice, and don't get too far in a hole where you don't have time to really recover for your last 140.6 build.  So, coming off a really great race at IMCDA, I decided to do a fall 70.3 and see how fast I can go.  I'm actually happy I set a late-season goal, because I still have my IMCDA fitness.  I rode with my IMCDA buddy Ryan 2 weeks ago and I killed him on the climbs.  I was shocked.  It took him 5 min longer to climb the 2.5 mile stretch of Tomah Road.  It got to the point where I was wondering if he was having issues and I went back to find him, only to have him pop up at the top of the hill.  I was really bummed in 2011 about how I let my hard-earned bike fitness go and I'm pleased to see that I didn't let it happen this year.

So I had some time today to sit and think about goal times.  I'd really like to get 6:30 at Oilman.  My PR is 6:58, at Galveston in 2011 during my IMTX build.  St G is a PR*, mainly because it had a crazy amount of elevation gain, with a time of 7:06.  So..... how exactly does one cut 30 minutes off.  It sounded reasonable until I looked at the numbers.  And then I started freaking out a bit.

Swim and transitions, no problemo.  Not worried about that.

Bike is where I start to get twitchy.  The fastest I've ever done the Oilman course was at 15.9 mph / 3:31.  Waaay back in 2009, when I did it as an Aquabike, and the bike segment nearly killed me.  (going back and reading my race reports is entertaining... I've come a long way).  The fastest I've done the local Harvest Moon course is 16.3 mph, and that was with double the elevation gain.  And probably more wind.  So assuming I do 16.3, that's only coming in at 3:26.  5 min faster.  That's it?!?  Lame.  I was hoping for more like 3:15 but that gets into uncharted/fast territory, with 17+ mph paces.  BUT, hill climbing (I did 3x the elevation gain on Sunday) and 4 YEARS more experience and hello, IMCDA strength.  And I will have sea level on my side.  I should be able to go faster than 3:26.  But how much faster?

The run is also big question mark.  I did a trail 12k on Saturday, which was 7.3 mi and ~700 ft of climbing.  My average pace was 10:16.  Pretty fast for me.  I've been running up hills (even tried to run up a freaking mountain in Helena a few weeks back.  1300 ft climbing in 2 miles.  Yeah, what was I thinking?).  I've also been running pretty fast lately.  But how fast?  I haven't "raced" a half marathon in over a year.  My 70.3 run PR is 2:39 or a 12:08 pace.  Hilariously enough, my IMCDA pace was 12:03, for DOUBLE the distance. Jeebus, I sucked as a runner back then.  My stand alone half marathon PR is 2:18 (10:36 pace).  Soooooo.  Maybe a 2:30 run split is possible?

That gets me to a 15-20 min PR, not 30, from looking at past results and crunching numbers.

Where will that other 10 min come from?  We'll just have to race and find out.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Wildlander 12k Trail Run Race Report

Our friend from the Color Run was looking to do another 5k this fall and one of my tri-club friends found this race.   I was hoping to avoid the big races (Race for the Cure, Hot Chocolate - $40 for a 5, and $64 for a 15k is ridiculous, even if you get a hoodie) due to cost and crazy-huge crowds.  This was a small race, benefitting local wildland fire and EMS efforts, and - the best part - was on a private ranch off of one of my favorite cycling routes (Palmer Lake / 105).  Every time I ride my bike through here, I'd see the pretty sandstone formations and would want a better look.  Wildlander was my opportunity for that better look.

This race was just about perfect for us.  There was a 5k for Will and Kambria and I could go long with the 12k, which fits in nicely with my 70.3 training.  It had a 10 AM start and you could park literally steps from the start.  (as opposed to the Hot Chocolate race, where they were asking you to show up at 5:45 for a 7 AM start.  Ick!)

There were about 40 people doing the 5k and 30 people doing the 12k.  Very chill and PERFECT.  It was also really cold out.  Maybe 30 degrees, but sunny.  I decided to run in my capris and my tank top at the very last minute (ditching my long sleeve shirt and gloves) and this was a smart decision.
Adrian, Will, me, and Kambria

The race start.  Colorado is so ugly.
My instructions were to a) not twist an ankle and b) cruise the first part of the run and then if I felt good, go hard for the back part.  There was about 800 ft climbing for the 12k (7.3 mi) so I really didn't know what to expect.

It wasn't a true trail run - it was more like a "run on dirt ranch roads".  Although spur 1 had some washouts and you did have to watch your step.  Running didn't feel all that easy, those little steep hills sucked and I had to walk a few times.  But apparently when I ran, I ran quickly.  The 12k crew definitely got the more scenic run - we ran through the forest and popped out in meadows with really cool sandstone formations that looked like castles.  I wanted to bring my phone with me so I could snap photos, but my damn Galaxy S4 is so ginormous, it won't fit in any of my running pockets.  So here's what I found on the interwebs:
The run was a series of 3 out and backs, which was actually pretty cool.  You could tell the turn around was coming up soon when you started to see familiar faces running opposite you, and I could high five my CDA buddy Adrian at each loop.

I tried to keep my pace/effort reasonable and just was running and enjoying the beautiful October day.  Leg 2 had a SUPER COOL suspension bridge.  I really wish I could find a picture of that, it was out of control.  The bridge went up at probably a 30% angle and topped out on a cliff formation above a stream.  I really wish the run went over the bridge, it looked badass.

The final leg was the 5k course, which was more open, a bit less scenic (but still pretty) and more windy.  The hills weren't as steep, though, and I made myself run up the last mile to the top of the hill.  After all the hills I've been running, I didn't want to let this one defeat me.  I got to the top (it was windy and cold) but made sure to take a minute and look around at the panoramic view of the ranch and the sandstone formations.  Beautiful.  Then it was time to book it downhill - it was go time.  At 6.2 mi, I hit lap on my garmin so I could get my 10k split.  I knew from the top of the hill I had about ~1.5 mi to the finish, most of it was down or flat and I wanted to really push that last bit.  So that's what I did, with a lot of focus.  Afterwards, Will said something about chicken coops and I had no idea what he was talking about.  *shrug*

With about a 1/2 mile left, you made a turn and ran toward the barn that was the start/finish line.  And there was a guy that I thought I could catch, so I ran HARD.  Probably the fastest I've ever ran (I saw 7:XX on my garmin).  I worked so hard to catch him, and not puke or blackout.  Seriously, I was working hard.  And it worked - I passed him!  Yay!  And then I finished and nearly did pass out.  Ooof.

isn't this a great shot of Will?
Kambria running to the finish

Santa Claus is impressed
10k split: 1:03:54, 10:19 pace (a PR by ~30 seconds, but with 700 ft of climbing)
12k: 1:13: 36, 10:06 pace.
The last 1.1 mi were on a 8:54 pace.  Damn.  1:03:54.3

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

September 2013 Training Totals

I was sorta expecting to see higher numbers, but I think taking a full weekend for Ragnar shenanigans made it hard to get higher numbers...


Swim: 9h 20m - 25535.04 Yd
Bike: 15h 18m - 212.96 Mi
13h 20m 18s - 71.31 M


Swim: 11h 21m 10s - 32097.99 Yd
Bike: 11h 31m 46s - 169.95 Mi
Run: 15h 39m 21s - 86.23 Mi

Bike would have been a smidge higher if I was able to ride outside for all of my rides.  My weekday rides have been on the trainer for two reasons.  #1: they're either aerobic rides or interval rides.  The trainer makes it easier to hit my targets correctly.  #2: I can't start to ride until 6 or 6:15 and it gets dark around 7:15, making it pretty hard to ride outside for 1.5 hrs.  One of my long weekend rides was also on the trainer because it rained all day long.  So I would have probably been closer to 230 miles for the month.  Not bad, considering one of those weekends got eaten up by Ragnar.

October is my big (relatively speaking) build month as I get ready for Oilman.  Curious to see where those numbers come in.