2011 Season Results

2011 Mercer 1/2 Marathon - 1:39:14 - 7:34/mile
2011 Issaquah Triathlon - 2nd AG, 8th OA
2011 Ironman Coeur d'Alene - 11:45:17
2011 Seafair Olympic Triathlon - 5th AG @ 2:07:26
2011 Lake Stevens Ironman 70.3 - 5:24:17
2011 Beaver Lake Triathlon - 2nd AG
2011 Cottage Lake Triathlon - 1st AG, 3rd OA
2011 Kirkland Triathlon - 4th AG
2011 Issaquah Salmon Days 10K - 42:47 6:53/mile

Friday, November 28, 2008

Ironman Arizona 2008

2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike, 26.2 mile run November 23rd, 2008, Tempe, Arizona

My brief thoughts on the day:

Around 8:25pm on Sunday November 23rd I heard the most  wonderful words ring out across the dark Arizona sky.  n551613822_1168924_1365This was all after a day in which I watched the sun light up the dark horizon over the lake while I swam chasing the sunrise, later I was on my wind cheating leg powered  rocket ship and the sun had moved higher into the sky, now beating down heating up the Arizona desert, soon I left the speedy bike behind and relied on my exhausted legs to carry my into the sunset, the sun had done it’s job today but my challenge was far from over.  Into the darkness I ran, but I was far from alone and any time the fatigue or pain overcame my thoughts I would find myself surrounded by people who I had never met, people who didn’t know my personal challenge of the moment, but they would call out my name with encouragement and all of this simply helped pushed me along.  I was surrounded by others who had come to the desert to chase their own 140.6 mile dreams… some were lightening fast, others were slow and steady, and there were some who lost their battle with the desert today… the day ended early and along with it their dreams slipped away. The miles continued to tick away fueled by chicken broth and cola until I approached a little sign with a great message… “to Finish”. n551613822_1187435_4145 I turned left and the night sky was lit up with with the glow and glory of the finish chute.  All the pain faded away from my exhausted body as I approached the finish tape stretched across the road as one final barrier… then time seemed to stand still as Mike Reilly’s voice  cried out those sweet little words, “Greg Taylor, 34 years old from Redmond Washington, YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!”. I crossed the magical line marking 140.6 miles and the lights flashed from the camera and my legs were finally relived of their duty as I was crowned with a medal and a silver cape to wrap my exhausted body.  Within moments I was joined by friends and family and my day was finally over.  Today I won the battle over my mind and my body, today I endured the desert, today I became an Ironman.

And now the details of the day…

My goals for my first Ironman were simple: finish before midnight. Take it slow, take it easy, survive the swim, keep it slow on the bike, and endure the run.

3:30am – The alarm goes off… not really needed since I had been awake just waiting for it to finally signal it was time to get out of bed.  Breakfast = 1 bottle Ensure, 1 bagel (cinnamon raisin of course!) and a bowl of granola.  While in the car I sipped on a bottle of CarboPro and 45 min before the swim start I tossed down an espresso gel.  I would have loved some coffee but I have had mixed results with coffee before a race so I just stuck with what I knew worked.

5:00am - Arrive at transition with an incredible amount of excitement in the air… this was the first time I had ever been at an n551613822_1185294_9429 Ironman event and it was just amazing to experience the buzz in the air.  I dropped off my special needs bags then checked over the bike, added air to my tires, filled my aero bottle and sort of just stood there in awe of what was about to take place.  With everything taken care of I returned to my amazing support crew.  The JFT support crew consisted of my mom, my wife Angela, Kevin Christian n551613822_1185296_70 and John Marquis. I ran into Steve and we both wished each other well (last time I would see mr. speedy all day.)  Time flew by and it was time to climb into my wetsuit and head over to the swim start.


I jumped into the water 12 minutes before the AG start.  The water was on the cool side but I thought it was perfect… certainly not cold once you started swimming.  I managed to find a place along the wall where I could stand in ankle deep water and watch the pro start.  With a 4 minutes to go I jumped back into the water and made my way to my start position.  I had decided that I would start along the wall.. bad idea… seems everyone decided they would also start along the wall.  The gun went off and IMAZ was underway.  For theThe Swim first 2-3 min I swam with my head above water just making sure I didn’t get kicked in the head.  Eventually I was able to really start swimming but 5 min in I realized I had practiced the wrong sport.. this wasn’t swimming, it was a cross between rugby and sumo wrestling.  I had an advantage in this situation since I grew up playing with my friends in our pool… you know “try to drown your friend” kind of games:)… well that is what this sort of felt like.  I felt like a salmon trying to swim up river with a 1000 of my closest fish friends.  Thankfully the people I had contact with were respectable and we just kept swimming without any aggressive punches, kicks, head butts or wetsuit wedgies.  My plan was to swim along the wall until the lake turned, then I would head directly for the turn buoy.  Surprisingly most people stayed near the wall and i found clear water with a few people to draft as I headed towards the red turn buoy.  Thankfully i reached the turn just as the sun came over the horizon, which meant I didn’t have to deal with the sun in my eyes during the swim.  I used a little trick Jill taught me at Lake Stevens 70.3 this year… when you approach the turn buoy swim under it vs. trying to squeeze around it with all the traffic.. it worked perfectly at both turn buoys and allowed me to have the inside line which was fairly open water.  I was surprised to see how far some people swam around the buoys… I saw a bunch of people making their swim a lot longer than 2.4 miles.  About 2/3rds of the way into my swim I really felt great and I was on cruise control.. HR was low,Into T1 breathing rate was low, arms felt great and I started drafting and passing swimmers as we swam the return leg.  I made the final turn towards the stairs and i still felt great, not sure I could have felt much better actually.  I was hoping for a 1:20 but would have been happy with anything under 1:25. I was really happy to see 1:15 on the clock.  I passed the JFT support crew cheering me on as i headed into the wetsuit strippers. Wow.. how there is a new experience.  They tell  you to sit down and the next thing you you know your wetsuit flies off :).  You have to wonder if they ever pull off too many layers and leave someone sitting there naked. Yikes!  Into T1 i go.

Swim: 1:15:59

T1: Since my goal for IMAZ was to simply finish I planned on taking a very relaxed attitude towards transitions and i valued comfort over speed… therefore i made my way into the sweaty naked man filled tent and changed into my cycling shorts and jersey. I put on my pointy elf helmet and headed out to find my trusty QR.

T1: 8:06

My goal for the bike was simple… go slow and consistent, ride 112 miles and keep the legs fresh for the run (my weakest discipline.) My wanted to keep my wattage around 140-150 during the ride n551613822_1185277_4532 and I managed to come close to this.  The course was 3 out and back “loops”… the ride out was a climbing false flat into the wind with a slightly more significant climb just before the turn around.. unfortunately not really enough of a climb to get you out of your seat. I rode aero for most of the 6+ hours ride which really took a toll on my back,  I simply didn’t have enough long duration aero riding in my training. My nutrition plan went well but it became clear that i was overhydrating and had to make a pit stop on each of the three loops. I didn’t really let this bother me since they were very short stops and i kind of needed the opportunity to stretch my back out a little.  I did learn a very useful bit of information out on the course… when they tell you during the race briefing that water bottle at the aid stations will fit in your cages that doesn’t mean they will actually STAY in your bottle cage!  On one of the course corners i ejected a full bottle of water onto the course… luckily it rolled well out of the way.  I grabbed another bottle but it too ejected out of my cage.. after the second torpedo launch i elected to grab a bottle, fill my aero bottle, then toss the bottle before reaching the end of the aid stations.  I was a bit shocked at the number of things i saw littering the course… countless baggies full of salt tablets (bummer for them), water bottles still in cages, aero bottles, gloves, sunglasses, and other random bike parts.  I had my own “bike part ejection” near then end of my second lap.  I hit a bump and my PowerTap computer flew off my bike and skidded across the pavement.  My initial thought was “just keep riding” then i came to my senses and pulled off into the median.  One of the course volunteers grabbed my computer and ran down handed it back to me.  My special needs bag contained a small brownie and some Fig Newtons… a much needed relief from gels, blocks, and CarboPro.  Overall i was happy with the calorie intake and felt like my nutrition plan(mainly CarboPro and Accelerade) was on track.  My legs felt great the entire ride… I was really not pushing very hard and the legs felt about as good as they did when i headed out on my bike… my butt on the other had was screaming at me.  One of my largest concerns headed into IMAZ as my seat comfort on the bike. I have been playing the “find a comfy saddle” game and i still haven’t found one that works for long distances.  About 2 months ago i had to just pickAero for 6 hours one and go with it for the race but i knew i hadn’t found a long term solution. Around mile 80 I was really feeling the seat and i couldn’t get   comfortable… I am sure if you were following me you would have thought i had ants in my pants because i just kept moving around on the seat attempting to find something that worked. Eventually I cruised down the final stretch of the course and into T2… very happy to be out of the aero position and off my seat. Overall it was a good ride and i was feeling fresh headed into the run.  My back was sore but i was hoping that getting off the bike would solve this problem.

Bike: 6:13:52  18.0 mph

From PowerTap (numbers omit my pitstops!)

Ride Time: 6:04:50

Average power: 134 watts

Avg speed: 18.46mph

Work: 2943 kJ

Distance: 112.21 miles

Avg HR: 129

I jumped off my bike and once again the JFTEntering T2 support crew was right there to cheer me on (I couldn’t have asked for a better support crew out there!)  I ran into the tent, changed into my tri top and running shorts, then headed out on my 26.2 mile asphalt pounding journey.

T2: 8:09

And in what seemed like just a flash of time I was headed out on the run.  I was really surprised how fast the day was moving along and that fact that the only thing that stood between me and being an Ironman was 26.2 miles of running(well.. better add in some walking.)  As i headed out on the run the JFT support crew once again showed up and cheeredOut on the run me on.  There is really no way to describe how it feels when you pass your family and teammates in their JFT gear cheering you on.  As i left the transition area and hit mile #1 i realized for the first time just how hot it was and i was thirsty and hot.  The first aid station couldn’t come fast enough and I grabbed sponges and tossed water on my head in an attempt to cool down. It was barely enough to get me to the next aid station where i could repeat my little shower activity.  This time i grabbed a cup of ice… mainly because someone handed it to me.  I really didn’t know what to do with it so i poured it down my shirt… brrrrrr.  It certainly cooled me off but i soon realized that it would have been better to eat the ice as i ran along..  My first few miles flew by at just over a 10min pace, I knew that would be short lived and i soon found myself managing the heat but also slowing down.  Around mile 6 I began to really struggle.  I felt very uncomfortable and I was having problems breathing.  My lower back had a big knot on the left side and as i breathed in it would cause my back to spasm a bit.  my HR was low (about 145) and i wasn’t out of breath, but i found the one way i could get comfortable was short shallow breaths. This seems to work fine but it was rather annoying to breath that way.  Eventually my back pain got worse and i could no longer run while leaning forward so the only thing that seem to provide relief was switching to a heel strike and standing more upright toFinal Turn support my back.  So there i was breathing shallow and fast while leaning back and pounding the pavement.. not exactly a pretty way to run and i am sure if you saw me you would have thought i wasn’t going to make it another 20 miles but it seemed to work and while my pace had slowed down i was still moving the right direction.  I had a little party in my head when the sun finally dropped below the horizon(even found a kid holding a bowl of peanut M&M’s to help celebrate the occasion) and heat was no longer a factor in my silly looking survival run.  The volunteers and the fans truly make this a great event.  Each aid station was filled with people willing to do anything to help me in my quest to find the finish line…  often someone would run up to me and ask what i needed, they would then quickly return with their hands full of goodies.  It was simply the best treatment anyone could ask for and when i had thoughts JFT Support Crewof “what the heck are you doing out here, why are you doing this, and wow.. everything on my body hurts” I would run into someone who provided encouragement, kind words, and simply some reinforcement that I can actually do this.  Somewhere around mile 12 Kevin tracked me down and ran with me for a bit offering up some much needed encouragement.  At this point my body was really starting to feel the effects of my goofy new running style and i was doubting my body's ability to keep things together for another 15ish miles.  Kevin took my mind off of things for a bit and that was really helpful and broke the course up.  My next challenge came when i map realized that my toe on my left foot felt a little funny… kind of felt like it was sticking through my sock. I just keep running (bad idea!) because it felt funny.. didn’t really hurt.  About 4 miles later i realized that my shoe was loose and with each heel striking step my toes we jamming into the front of my shoe.. yikes.  I stopped.. tightened my laces and kept running but the damage was done and i soon had a lot of pain.  I badly bruised my toe to the point my toenail is toast and ready to fall off.  Once again i adjusted my running style and just dealt with it. The rest of the race was basically a run from aid station to aid station with a nice slow walk picking up soup, cola, pretzels, and Gatorade.  On Doug n551613822_1187432_3408Thompson’s advice i stashed a bag of vinegar and salt potato chips in my run special needs bag… YUMMY!!!… they were the best.  As i made my final bridge crossing i met up with John and he ran along side me and cheered me on as i made my way down the final 1.5 miles.  Soon i passed the sign that stated “Finish go left" and i was  on my way to the finish cute.  Once again i found the JFT support crew cheering me on as i made my final push towards the big bright lights.  As i turned the corner i heard my name followed by the ever so sweet “YOU ARE AN IRONMAN!” All the pain and fatigue was gone, my legs carried me down the final n551613822_1185283_6183shoot and across the finish line. The run didn’t go exactly how i had planned but i managed to keep things together long enough to complete my first marathon.  At the end of this blog is a video of my finish as i came across the line:).

RUN: 5:38:53  12:56/mile

Total Time: 13:24:58

My thoughts and looking forward

I met my goal of finishing IMAZ and my finishing time was  faster than i had expected.  I am looking forward to Ironman Canada this summer and improving on many areas and cutting some time in all area’s except maybe the swim.  Except for the beating my legs (and toes!) took on the run my body survived quite well, so I will work to avoid those issues next time and hopefully raise my time and wattage goals a bit.  I learned an incredible amount this time around while at the same time having a lot of fun.

And a big thanks

Okay.. so this is a REALLY long race report, but it wouldn’t be complete (or fully cheesy) without my list of ‘thank you’s’ (finishing your first IM is sort of like winning an Oscar, right?)  So a huge thank you to the JFT support crew on Sunday in Arizona, that would be Kevin Christian, John Marquis, My mom Donna, My sister Debbie, brother-in-law Chris, my nieces Taylor and Dylan, and my beautiful bride Angela.  Also thanks to Doug Thompson for all his advice… he is the one I blame for getting me into this crazy sport. And a hugn551613822_1185287_7347e thanks to Kevin Christian for flying down to support me on Sunday… and for dragging me out to train on those days i really didn’t want to train (and Kevin gets the credit for teaching me how to swim last year.)  I also want to send out a huge thanks to our amazing team leader and coach, Jill Fry.  She has provided me with endless advice and encouragement and she created the best tri team in the world.  And lastly and most importantly a huge thank you to my beautiful wife who supported me through all the countless days of training and flew down to cheer me on at the race. She she is the best support crew in the world.

Here’s a little video of that glorious final few moments as I crossed the finish line:


Bring on Canada!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cascade’s Edge Olympic Triathlon 2008

1.5k Swim - 40k Bike - 10k Run

Alarm went off at 5:45am and I packed up the truck and headed out to Enumclaw to attempt my first Olympic distance triathlon.  It was a beautiful morning.. the kind of weather you expect 2600726120_f850c186f5_ofor the longest day of  the year… (certainly not the kind of weather we have been seeing in Seattle this year!) I went with the pop tarts – no coffee breakfast since that seemed to work well for the Issaquah race.  It really was a wonderful drive through the woods out to the race… sunroof open, windows down, and a smile on your face kind of drive.  I was careful about how much I was hydrating... didn’t want to over hydrate and have to pee every 10 minutes during the race… but this turned out to be a mistake since I started the race dehydrated… opps. I hadn’t pre-registered so I walked up, registered, and headed in to transition to set up.  I was actually one of the first people they let in to transition and the volunteers were still “learning”… they reversed the markings on my leg, so as I was setting up my bike someone runs over, scribbles out the numbers on each leg and re-writes the correct numbers…. Looked really funny ‘cause I have big black scribbles on my legs… looks like I let my niece Taylor draw all over my calf muscles (and as you read you will see those calf muscles took center stage in this race!)  This was the first race with our snazzy new Team JFT uniforms… and boy do we look fast!!  It was easy to find and meet up with the team before the race.  Michael showed up as our team JFT Paparazzi (HUGE THANKS!) and I everywhere I looked I saw him snapping photos (maybe now I know what Britney Spears feels like?)  I warmed up by running and then threw on the wetsuit and jumped in the lake to get the blood flowing to the arms.  Surprisingly the lake was nice and toasty compared to what I have been training in… so no worries about cold feet or hands. YEAH!

I few things before I dig in… first, my nutrition was a bit messed up for this race… first I didn’t hydrate nearly enough and was dehydrated from the start.  Second, I usually mix carbo-pro into my Accelerade, but the night before the race I realized I had managed to empty my enormous Accelerade canister and it was too late to pick some up… so I went with carbo-pro only.  This shouldn’t be a big deal, but I would have preferred to have everything the same as I have it for training. Also, this wasn’t an “A” race for me and my goal was to learn as much as I can about “longer than Sprint” tri’s and to train for Lake Stevens in 2 weeks, therefore I didn’t have a race plan…  it was pretty much just “go out there and give it your best shot without getting hurt”  Okay… onto the details…

The Oly was a mass start.. all men and women together on the beach I think there were about 130-140 of us standing there ready for the start.  I started near the outside and I was committed to a slow consistent swim.  At 2600726740_5001e99ffc_o9:15am we were off and it was a bit of a mad house as we approached the first buoy. I realized right from the start that I had a problem with my goggles… I have learned to wait till the last possible moment to put my goggles on or else they tend to fog up.. somehow I ended up cutting it a little too close and with 30 seconds to go I put my goggles on but discovered my swim cap was all bunched up.  I fussed around trying to get things right and when they said “go” I jumped in and started swimming.  Within a few seconds my goggles started filling up with water.. it was a slow leak but clearly that wasn’t going to work for the whole race.  I was in pack of people but I still managed to pull up and quickly clear my goggles.  Still leaking… grrrr.  I pulled out of the draft and quickly fixed my cap and sealed up the goggles.. problem solved… sort of.  With the moisture inside the goggles and the heat from my face they started fogging up and within 5 mins I couldn’t see a darn thing.. they were completely fogged over.  I had to clear them a few times during the beginning of the race but eventually the problem seemed to go away. For the most part my swim I had someone directly in front of me, behind me, and on both sides.  A few times I swam wide just to get some breathing room but I think this really hurt me (I think I ended up swimming much further than 1500!)  As we approached the beach I was feeling fine, still swimming strong and not really having any problems.  I tend to swim without using my legs much which I have heard can be a plus and a minus.  Some say learn to use your 2599897713_bd6068088e_blegs and others say if you have good balance and your legs aren’t slowing you down (drag) then it’s okay not to kick… it will keep them fresh for the bike/run.  I started kicking as we approached the beach to get some blood back in my legs and when I did I felt the beginning of a cramp in my left calf.  I just took it easy and tried to use my legs a bit more to get the blood flowing.  I arrived at the beach (yeah!) jumped to my feet and started running, pulled down my wetsuit and headed into T1… everything felt good.

SWIM: 31:47  Slower pace than I expected but it was great training for Lake Stevens.

As I ran into T1 I felt my left calf start to cramp up.. yikes.  I arrived at my bike and as I pulled my wetsuit off my left calf completely seized up… this was a super sized cramp that basically crippled me.  I just stood there on one leg hanging onto the bike rack in serious pain.  I tried to reach down and work out the cramp but I was in too much pain to do anything. 2600727802_d56684ab36_o I started having serious doubts about my ability to ever get out of T1.. heck.. I wasn’t sure if I was ever going to get my wet suit off.  I just stood there for what felt like 5 minutes while the last few competitors headed out  on their bikes.  Eventually I was able to work out the cramp and remove my wetsuit.  I threw on my helmet, slipped into my shoes, and started the painful trek out of T1.  Michael was there to cheer me on and had observed the whole cramp episode (even took a great shot of me just standing there in pain!) In reality I only spent 4 minutes in T1 so it wasn’t that bad considering everything that happened.

T1: 3:59 (most of that was just standing there not moving… that’s a great way to use up valuable time in T1!)

I managed to mount up and headed out not really sure if my leg was going to hold together.  I had thrown some long fingered gloves on 2600727912_3f31d64172_othe ends of my aerobars and figured  I would wear them during the bike.  I prefer no gloves but I was expecting the water and the air to be much colder than it was and I wanted to be able to feel my hands in T2.  Turned out I didn’t need the gloves but I had them so why not.  I was pedaling slowing and still trying to pull myself back together from the cramp which somehow managed to effect my entire body… I felt very fatigued and sore… due to this I didn’t have great balance on the bike and when I attempted to slip on my gloves I managed to drop one.. opps.  If this were an “A” race I won’t have worried about it, but considering I had just spend a few minutes in T1 I figured it really wasn’t going to change the outcome if I took a few seconds to stop and retrieve my glove… so I did.  It was just one more thing to add to the mounting challenges and frustration in this race (and I was only 1 minute into the bike!)  I am not someone who let’s that stuff bother me so I made a decision to put all the little things out of my mind and pushed forward… I was here to race.  I slowly started bringing the speed up on the bike but I could tell my left leg was doing 20% of the effort and my right leg was doing 80%.  My left calf seemed to be working “normally”, meaning I didn’t feel like I was on the edge of getting another cramp… which was a good thing… but unfortunately it still felt as if someone had just hit my calf with a 2599898675_335fd4f706_obaseball bat… lots-o-pain. My HR was way too low but I just didn’t have the leg strength to push it up. The longer I was on my bike the more things started to improve and I was able to speed up. The last 8 or 9 miles I managed to pass quite a few people and I felt like I was back in the race.   As I approached T2 I tried stretching my calf a bit as I was concerned about how it was going to feel as I transitioned to running.  I made the final turn into the park and headed to the dismount.

BIKE: 31:47  20.01 MPH  (Not as fast as I had hoped, but all things considered I am happy that I was able to pull things together and have a good ride)

Enough things had gone “not exactly as I hoped” up to this point so I decided to take it easy on the dismount.  I pretty much stopped on the dismount line and slowly crawled off the bike and slowly started walking to see how the leg was going to hold up.  Still lots of pain, but walking didn’t seem to make it any worse… again.. just felt like someone had taken a bat to the back of my leg.  I racked the big, changed shoes, and headed out of T2 for a nice 10K run.

T2: 1:52

I headed out of the park and surprisingly I felt pretty good.  I could feel my legs (could really feel the left one!) and I didn’t really feel the 2599898957_07b6218555_otypical numbness during the first mile.  I wasn’t going blazing fast  but I was running my typical slow-ish but consistent pace and I felt like the throbbing calf muscle wasn’t going to be a factor (YEAH!)   I really started to feel the dehydration and my attempts to hydrate on the bike weren’t enough to get me ahead.  I grabbed some water and Heed from all 3 aid stations in an attempt to keep things moving to the finish line.  Out on the run I was able to pick out JFT’ers in our super fast uniforms… Heli flew by me around mile 4 as she headed towards her AG#2 finish!! SWEETNESS!  As I entered the park for the final 1.4 mile loop I really started to feel good and the legs were working well.  As I 2600730200_3e4d6f62a4_oapproached the finish line I picked things up and passed a few people in the last 100 yards. It felt great to run across the finish line and then promptly down a bottle of water:). 

RUN: 55:46  8:58/mile (not the fasted 10K… but it was a nice consistent run so I am happy with the result)

OVERALL: 2:47:55
AG#17 (out of 22)
OA#90 (out of 136)

I learned a ton from this race and it really boosted 2600730726_6af781deb2_omy confidence for Lake Stevens.  Showing up and racing my first Oly was very educational and I learned that I will ALWAYS hydrate before a race… I’d rather pee every 10 min vs. cramping up and racing with the constant need for water.  In T1 I thought my race might be over but  I am super happy that I was able to pull things together and push through it.  I am always amazed what our bodies are capable of and how they can recover and keep going. On to Lake Stevens 70.3…. just 2 weeks to go!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Issaquah Triathlon 2008

Issaquahtri.com - 1/4 swim, 15 mile bike, 2.8 mile run
May 31st, 2008

The alarm clock went off at 4:45 and I had everything loaded up and headed out to pick up Kevin by 5:55am. We couldn’t have asked for 2539070441_0ecc0ab4c8better weather… no rain and no clouds… it was a bit cold for the end of May, but overall it was warm enough that weather wouldn’t be a factor. I decided to do things a bit differently this  time.. no Starbuck's to wake me up.. and keep breakfast simple.. very simple. On Coach Jill’s suggestion I turned to PopTarts for my source of nutrition. I honestly think this was the first time I have ever had a PopTart!.. they are actually quite tasty! Kevin and I arrived at 5:30am, unloaded and headed to transition. I arrived early enough to secure the end position on my assigned rack. I set up my transition area and then found Jill and a few other JFT2’ers, dumped my transition bag at the team tent and then went for a short warm up run. Just before 7 am I threw on my wetsuit and went for a quick warm up swim. Everything was feeling good and it was time to put all that off season training to work!

The Elite wave kicked off at 7am and I had to wait till 7:18 for my M30-34 wave… again, something new. In my previous races my wave was immediately after the elite wave and therefore I never had to worry about “traffic” on the course from previous waves.

I made a bit of a mistake by lining up in the front of the swim pack… in all previous races I started in the very baissytri6ck. I didn’t want to be in the middle but I know I was fast enough that the back wouldn't work. READY, SET, GO and my 2008 Triathlon season was underway. The beg inning of the swim was very shallow but I decided I would rather swim verses run in the water… being in the front of the pack was complete chaos! People were running, diving swimming, pulling, kicking and few guys looked like they were dancing. The sprint to the first buoy had me fighting with other guys for position and trying to avoid a kick in the head. I was beginning to rethink my decision to start in the front of the pack, but once we turned the first buoy things calmed down and most of the guys that sprinted in front of me in the first 30 seconds faded as they learned that you have to swim your fastest 440 yards… no 50 yards. I never really hit my groove on the swim… I think the chaos of the start and overtaking swimmers from the previous wave had me a bit frazzled… I was spotting way too often and I wasn’t getting my head down in the water (wanted to keep my eyes forward.) I calmly turned the final buoy, but still not really hitting my groove. The last 80 yards were directly into the sun and I had caught a large group from the previous wave… I just headed towards the splashing and sunshine and hoping it was the exit. I swam until knee depth and then jumped up and run into T1. My time was a bit slower than the day before but a huge improvement over last year (when I didn’t even know how to swim!)

Swim - 7:20.2

I ran into T1 and went down the wrong aisle.. opps.. might have cost me a few seconds but nothing major. I arrived at my transition area and went through my checklist.. Sunglasses: on, Helmet: on, shoes: oh wait!.. I still have my wetsuit on! During transition practice I didn’t’ have my wetsuit and I was about ready to shove my shoes on without fully removing my suit. I ripped the wetsuit off but it got caught up my timing chip… grrrr. I had to reach down and pry it free, finally got my shoes on, then I was off. I was sure all my little mistakes added up but somehow they didn’t have much effect on my time… couldn’t be happier with the T1 time… practice and having a plan clearly pays off!

T1 – 1:15.1

I headed out for T1 on my shiny new QR, tightened the issytri1straps on my shoes and started to pick up some speed. Quick check of the HR… 171… too high so I just took it easy as I exited the park and tried to bring my HR back to 165. As I hit the main road I brought the speed up a bit more, went aero, and put my plan to work. Legs felt great, HR was on target, and the bike performed like an exotic sports car. I was in traffic from the previous waves the entire race and I probably passed 60+ riders over the 15 mile course. My speed on the flats was around 22-23 which was on target for my plan. I was able to crest both hills under full power and enjoy the quick descents on the other side. The bike seemed like a blur and I was back in the park headed towards T2. I was issytri2happy with my ride and I learned the value of having a plan, practicing that plan, then racing to that plan. Hopefully I can train and bring the speed up a bit more later this season.

BIKE – 41:30.3     21.7mph

I wish I had my T2 dismount on video! As I approached the dismount line I put a foot down and unloaded the bike while holding the front brake. The rear tire flipped up and basically launched me over the aerobars YIKES! Somehow I managed to land of my feet still holding my bike and I just kept running... it might have looked like some highly practiced stunt to save a few seconds but in reality it was the result of too much excitement and I thought both the bike and I were going to end up on the ground. Hmmm… maybe I should practice this stunt a few more times… seemed to work the first time! Bike racked, shoes off, shoes on, run run run!

T2 – 1:06.0

I run out of T2 and something didn’t feel right… I realized that I must have made a huge mistake and in all the excitement I must have grabbed someone else’s shoes! No wait… maybe I just forgot to grab my feet… I don’t know what I forgot, but I forgot something because it felt like I was running with cement blocks on my feet! My feet were numb from the bike and I really couldn’t feel anything for the first mile or so… I just kept running and waiting to get through mile #1. Running is my weakest link in a tri and I am still learning how to best attack these 5K sprints. Half way through the course I was greeted with a muddy trail and a nice big sprinkler attacking me as I ran by… it served as some good humor and I found myself laughing which was good. HR was right on target and I was finally starting to feel my legs under me.. oh look.. I really do have on my shoes. I started to feel good and picked up the pace a bit only issytri7to find out that my practice of “running without socks” didn’t quite prepare my feet for “running without socks”. I could feel the blisters start to form on the arches of both feet and with each step it felt like little jagged saw blades cutting into my feet. Two choices.. slow down (and I am not sure what that would have accomplished but it sounded like a good idea at the time) or just ignore it and push forward… I came to race and so I decided to just keep racing. My pace was still slow, but I wasn’t being passed by people at the rate I am use to from my races last year which I took as a good sign. At my “start sprinting here” spot I picked it up a bit, but never really hit a full sprint… I didn’t have anyone around and the pain in my feet kept me from going all out… had there been someone to race at the end I am sure I would have just pushed through the pain. Overall I was very happy with my run… still lots of room for improvement. Last year I was running 10min/miles in my Sprint tri’s so my sub 8 min/mile effort this time around has put me a lot closer to being competitive.

RUN: 22:01.0      7:30+ish min/mile (still waiting on the exact course distance)

This was a great start to my 2008 season and I am very happy with my training and progress... HUGE improvement over last yeIMG_0741ar when the challenge was to simply find the finish line! Lake Steven's Half Ironman is a month away!... and I can't wait!

TOTAL TIME: 1:13.12

  • 19th AG (out of 72),
  • 95th Overall (out of 635)

Lessons learned:

  • Find a solution for blisters on the run… either give up a few seconds and put on some socks (and run faster to make up for it!) or use more lube!
  • A race plan can really pay off!
  • Starting at the front of the swim pack can be brutal… start to the side or back and when everyone fades then make a move.
  • Unloading the bike while grabbing the front brake is a quick way to dismount, but not recommended!
  • More lube needed for the wetsuit around my ankles
  • PopTarts really are a great pre-race breakfast!

“Firsts” for me!

  • No gurgling stomach or burps due to a much better breakfast!... POP TARTS!
  • I didn’t have to go pee the entire race!!! A first! (much better hydration plan this time around!)
  • Passing competitors from an earlier wave was a new challenge
  • New spiffy bike = new spiffy speed

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Why i Tri!

So why do I do this crazy sport?  And why do i need three different sports to train for.. why not focus on just one?  Well… first, i am a bit ADD (as they call it these days)… i get bored quickly and three different sports tends to cure that:).  Second… well.. as you can see by the photos below I had to find something to help keep me in shape and training for triathlons tends to do the trick.

Not too long ago i was pushing 245before_2 pounds (YIKES) and really hbefore_1ad no idea how to eat right or how to exercise.  The 20/20 program at the Pro Sports Club fixed that about 4 years ago (basically think of “America’s Biggest Loser", except you pay them money to yell at you vs. trying to win some money.)  I have been around 175-180 pounds since the program and i feel great!   Yikes!  I never want to feel or look like that EVER again!

A few years ago i stumbled on to cycling… something i loved doing back in collage but gave up when i got out of shape.  Cycling was great but I wanted something that was a bit more goal oriented.  My friend Doug Thompson had just completed his first Ironman and talked me into joining a new triathlon team that his coach was forming… so i did.  I joined team JFT2 and started learning about the sport.  When i competed in my first triathlon last year i didn’t know how to swim(really.. i managed to breast stroke and float on my back around the course!) and i hadn’t ran in about 18 months… it was a bit painful but i made it to the finish line and fell in love with the sport of triathlon.  Now at the start of my second season i have started to figure out what i am doing and this year i will be competing in my first Half Ironman race (Lake Stevens 70.3) and my first full Ironman (Ironman Arizona November.)

LakeStevens5Training ride on the Lake Stevens 1/2 IM course on the QR (thanks to Triumph Multisport!) 

    kirkland tiathlon 068BD_Tri