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

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2011 Beaver Lake Triathlon

Bringing home some hardware from the place that started is all…. And an example of why you never, ever give up!

The summery:

Beautiful weather for the BLT this year! I started this sport 5 years ago and never thought I would be very competitive… today I proved I was wrong.  I wasn’t on the swim team in collage, I didn’t run cross country in high school.. and I never really had much in the way of athleticism... I’m just not “that guy”… I was the computer geek kid who got really fat in collage eating too many pints of Ben and Jerry’s while programing late at night and trying to figure out why cheerleaders didn’t like geeks.  So… today I proved that if I can do this, anyone can.  If you are thinking of picking up this crazy sport of triathlon and think you don’t have the body type, aren’t athletic enough, can’t swim, can’t run, etc… well, know that you can overcome all that with some discipline, hard work, pain, and a good team to train and learn with.  It won’t happen overnight.. but give it a few years (and a ridiculous amount of money) and you can stand on the podium and see your name near the top of the finishers list (and you can even complete the swim without the breast stroke and drinking half the lake!)  So how did it go at the BLT?  I raced in the elite wave for the first time and managed to pull off 2nd AG and 15th OA (and this was the 3rd consecutive sprint distance race I snagged 2nd(Black Diamond and Issaquah) so I guess I can’t say it was just a fluke anymore.(and I raced BLT on 7 days rest from a 5:24 performance at Lake Stevens 70.3)  There are still plenty of guys out there that are way faster than me.. no question… but after a few years of learning and training I realize I have reached a level in this crazy sport I never dreamed was possible and it’s so much fun!  So… never give up and never stop… ever.

The long boring race details (so I can pull them out and read them next year…)  .seriously.. if you are reading the below then you have too much time on your hands.. go ride your bike instead.

The Beaver Lake race is where my passion for this silly sport all got started back in 2008.  That’s the year I decided to do the race two days before the event.. showed up that morning, registered, then my friend Kevin told me to go set up my “transition”… I looked at him and said “my what?”  I really had no idea what I was doing… couldn’t swim (I swam on my back the entire way), I was decent on my bike, and you would be really generous if you called what I did that day a “jog.”  I remember looking at the top finishers and their times thinking I could never be that competitive… I wasn’t very athletic and really only knew how to cycle… and there guys showed up with strange looing bikes and racing in a position that looked miserably uncomfortable.  Well… I did cross the finish line that day (I think I almost cried when I did!) and I fell in love with the sport… but I figured I would never get to the point where I would be competitive… I guess I was wrong.

Pre-Race – Normal drill.. wake up , breakfast to plan, jump in the car, show up early.  Warmed up and everything was coming together according to plan.. but then I had to go change things.  I realized the elite wave was really just a chance for the top racers to have a clean race without any wave traffic… so the elite wave was still racing for the normal AG divisions.  I’ve never gone in the elite wave.. intimidated of looking like a fool I suppose.. but I figured I have finished 2ND AG in my last two sprint races and if the guys I was racing against for a podium spot were getting the advantage of the elite wave then I wanted in.  I ran over to the check in table and asked if I could switch to the elite wave.. they said sure… I was assigned a new number… #3.. wow.. so now I guess I better put together a race worthy of a super low numberSmile.  Then I realize that instead of 40 min before my wave I now have 15 min before the elite wave.. and I still need to move my bike to the elite rack.. yikes.. a little panic but I moved, got set up.. threw on the wetsuit and I was all set to either look like a total fool racing with pros or I was set to have a good race…

Swim: 6:09 -   (3rdAG/61st OA)

Standing at the start of the swim with the other 25+ elite wave racers was certainly different.. the thing I noticed most is that all the other guys looked like they were about 20 pounds lighter than me and about a foot taller… yikes.. this should be interesting.  Gun goes off and I decide to swim the fastest 400 yards of my life (okay.. it’s the BLT.. so it’s more like 350 yards!)… at the first turn I had settled into a nice draft off a guy and I was really surprised that we were in the lead pack of 4 or 5 guys.. crazy.  At the second turn I finally started to feel the effects of going as hard as possible and not really doing much swim training the last two months so my stroke got sloppy and I was in desperate need of oxygen.  Headed towards swim out I could see the guys in the lead who had accelerated off the front… they went into T1 and it seemed like I was out there all alone.. I was still 75 yards out and there was no one else left in front of me… I really was going to be that guy in the elite wave that everyone claps for because he finally got out of the water and as he runs by they whisper “what the heck was that guy doing in the elite wave?”  I finally get to shore, run out and I hear a few people start to clap for me.. in my head it was a golf clap not a “you rock” clap… Oh joy.

T1: 1:12 (1st AG)

I run up into T1 and notice quite a few guys still running around the TA.. sweet… I’m not out of this yet… I guess I wasn’t as far back as I thought.  I run to my bike, wetsuit off, glasses on, helmet on, set into shoes, run out of T1…. Absolutely flawless execution of the plan and the numbers back that up… 2nd fastest T1 in the elite wave (someone was 1 second faster.)

Bike: 0:39:09 21.15mph   (4thAG/15thOA)

I was most worried about my ability to perform on the bike since my legs hadn’t really recovered from hammering out a 2:42 at the Lake Steven’s race just 6 days earlier.  The first 5 minutes on the bike were about getting my HR down and settling in..  my HR and clip_image002breathing were sky high after the swim and I needed to get things back under control.  After a bit things normalized and I brought the power up.  Passed a few guys and then I went back and forth with a guy in my AG… and as far as I knew he was the only 35-39 in the elite wave.  We screamed down the big hill and I passed a few more guys and hammered it out to the big climb. I’d rate my climb as “okay”… this is where I really noticed that my legs weren’t recovered from last weekend’s race and I just didn’t have the power and acceleration needed but I hung in there.  I was passed by most of the guys I had passed earlier and that of course included the guy in my AG but we finally hit the top of the hill and I was able to pick things up a bit.  Heading towards T2 I chased down 3 guys and thankfully one of them was the 35 year old I was racing… so hammered into T2 in 1st place and I realized I was actually hanging with the elite guys.  Average watts came in lower than planned at 247w.. was aiming for the 260-270 range but the legs didn’t have any more today.

T2: :38 (1st AG)

Dismount, helmet off, shoes on, hat on and run run run.  Flawless again and this time I was the fastest elite T2 time. 

RUN: 0:30:38  7:06/mile   (4thAG/40thOA)

Heading out of T2 I knew I was in for a long (4.3 mile) and painful run but I was really in this thing and had a good shot at getting on the podium so I had to just find the pace that would get me to the finish line without passing out at mile 3.  The guy I was racing followed me out of T2 and stayed right on my heals… he seems perfectly content just sitting there waiting to make his move and when we got to the little embankment you need to climb up to get out of the park I moved over and left him pass.  I didn’t want to do this but I experiencing the early signs of cramping in my quad and I knew that sprinting up that little hill might just do me in.. so I let him by and I climbed up conservatively which was the right thing to do.  The course finally started downhill and that allowed my body to recover from the bike and get into run mode… the cramping was gone and now I just had to hang in there as best I could.   I was about 30 yards behind the 35 year old and I actually started gaining on him a clip_image004bit… hmmmm.. maybe this will work out after all.  Well… nope… this wasn’t the day for that as he eventually run off out of reach.   The rest of the run went fine… I kept a steady pace throughout and I was on the verge of passing out but I was staying to the good side of that outcome.. legs felt good and the brain was telling me I should be sitting on the sofa with a beer not out trying to kill myself.  The Garmin says I clicked off Mile #1 at 7:27 and picked it up a bit to a 7:15ish pace for the rest of the race… slightly slower than my normal 5K race pace but that’s probably about right… since this isn’t a 5k!  I had planned to go all out at the 4 mile mark which meant 1/3 of a mile at all-out sprint speed.  I wasn’t sure my legs, lungs, and heart were up for that but I have been learning to push myself further and so why not go for it.  I hit the 4 mile line and kicked it up… surprisingly I felt great… ran sub 6 for the last 1/3 mile and didn’t let up at all.  I wanted to finish strong but didn’t think it really mattered.. the 1st place guy was out of reach and I didn’t think there were any other 35-39’s in my wave.. and I hadn’t heard anyone coming behind me.  I sprinted into the park and across the finish line… a very different experience than the first time I did this race!.. there is nothing like finding that finish line!  I crossed and stopped to catch my breath and some guy puts his arm around me and says “awesome race”… I had no idea who this guy was.. but he then tells me he was in my AG and had been tracking me down for the last mile and he thought he had me till I started my final sprint and he just couldn’t make the pass.  So how close was he?.... he missed catching me by 1 second. Had I let up even a little bit at the finish or started my sprint a second later he would have caught me… so never give up.

Overall:

OA  1:17:47 – 2nd AG / 15th OA (9th Elite wave)

I ended up crossing the line in 9th place overall in the elite wave (15th OA for the race as 6 people in the AG waves were faster) and I had a solid performance on some tired and sore legs.  Most importantly.. I went off with the elite wave without embarrassing myself.. and of course I had a blast out there on the course.  So now I’ve snagged 2nd place in my last three sprints… 1st place continues to elude by that really doesn’t bother me one bit… one day it will happen(maybe when I am 70 and the only guy in my wave!) and until then I am going to keep learning and training.  I’m not sure what’s next… our first baby is due in a few weeks so his arrival will  determine my race schedule this fall. and yes, I have already started planning his first kid’s triathlon Smile.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Something new… CycleCross!

So I came up with something new this year to help me in stay in shape during the off season… which is usually when I gain too much weight and really don’t even want to look at my bike or my running shoes.  So… I went off to Mr. Crampy’s and come home with the new Redline Conquest Team.. yummy!  I am still getting use to a cross bike and hope to do my first race soon(finding time with the new baby adds to the challenge.)  Riding the cross bike is certainly a different feeling… for the last five years anything but asphalt under my tires meant that really bad things were about to happen.  I will post back after my first cyclecross race (which likely means my first few crashes.)

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Thursday, October 6, 2011

2011 Issaquah Salmon Days 10K

October 2nd, 2011

Here’s a fun little race to finish out the race season… and strangely it was my first “run only” 10K.  My son Kayson was born two weeks before this race and our new little addition to the Taylor family has been consuming all my time… so this race was purely a “wake up and go do it without much thinking” kind of event… my favorite!  The Issaquah 10K course is mostly flat (at least they compared to some of the other course around here) and is part of the big Issaquah Salmon Day’s festival… celebrating the return of the amazing Salmon.  Anyway… on with the race…

Typical breakfast then met up with my teammate James to carpool to the race.  Registered, then sat around chatting with teammates and then a little warm up.  Didn’t feel great after the warm up… blah.. oh well.  Race time finally comes and James and I are up front… Gun goes off and we are running… and I can tell I am running WAY too fast but didn’t really do anything to slow down.  At mile #1 I see Coach Jill cheering us on and I am still about 15 feet behind James.. which is a really bad sign since he runs much faster.  Mile one clicks by at 6:10… opps.. way too fast.  things when fine till mile 2.5ish.. it’s a bit uphill along a trail.. really started to feel the effects of going to hard on mile one.  Finally turned around at mile 3 and I recovered a bit as we headed back to the finish.  Around mile 5 I remembered that 6.2 miles is actually not a short distance to be running at sprint pace and I was really really looking forward to the finish line!  Pace stayed about the same to the finish.. managed to sprint the last 50 yards to prevent a few people from passing me.  Crossed the line and thought I was going to lose my breakfast.  That really hurt!  I went sub 7’s and I did PR for a 10K but all the other 10K’s I have run were preceded by a swim/bike.. but I like every small victory I can getSmile.

The numbers:

Time: 42:47
8th AG / 53rd OA
Average pace: 6:54

Mile 1 6:10
Mile 2 6:40
Mile 3 7:03
Mile 4 7:09
Mile 5 6:54
Mile 6 6:56
Mile 6.2 6:42 pace

Monday, July 25, 2011

2011 Seafair Olympic Triathlon

1 mile swim | 20 mile bike  |  6.4ish mile run
July 24th, 2011

Olympic distance races have always been a bit of challenge for me… I just have a difficult time figuring out how to pace this distance.  This race was exactly 4 weeks after IMCdA so it seemed like a good step back as a prep for Lake Stevens 70.3 next month and I couldn’t get over to Chelanman this year… so the seafair oly fit the schedule.  I hadn’t raced the Seafair sprint course and the oly was new this year… so lots of unknowns.. but sounded like fun.  Not a ton of goals going into the race other than putting together a solid race and crossing the finish line with nothing left (something I admittedly didn’t do at IMCdA.)

Wake up 3:45a, eat, and head out to Seward park.  Got a close parking spot 1 block from transition (really not sure where people park that show up at 6a!), let someone scribble some numbers on my legs and then set up transition which only took a few minutes.  This gave me plenty of time to enjoy the beautiful morning, chat with Sean from Mr. Crampy’s who was racing the sprint (and went 1AG/6OA.)  Went for a quick warm up run, threw on the wetsuit and jumped in for a warm up swim.  Water was nice.. not as warm as Sammamish right now.. but still nice.  Elites go off at 6:30 and 35-39M are the 4th wave… so here we go.

SWIM (1 mile): 26:01  (105th/383 AO)

Wave starts.. so about 50 in my group, double loop.  There were a few areas that looked like things could get tight as we started the second loop but wasn’t an issue.  Overall I felt fine on the swim, paced it correctly and felt strong.. or at least as strong as I was going to feel without a ton of swim training the last 4 weeks. Thing got a little crowded on the second loop as the Sprint waves had started going off.. so we had to deal with a lot of people on the swim course (but after the IMCdA swim I felt like I had the lake to myself!)  Came out of the water checked my watch and knew I was way back off the lead pack but I would try to make up a few places on the bike.  Swim felt good but the numbers said it was wasn’t all that great.

T1: 1:32  (2nd/51 AG - 18th/383 AO)
I typically have very quick transitions… wetsuit off, helmet on, step into shoes, glasses on, grab bike, run… bike starts dragging??  Rear wheel locks up.  I rolled the bike back and some grass came out.. figured must have just been some grass.. start running.. wheel locks up again???.. clear, run, locks up again… I wasn’t sure what was going on so I just picked up my bike and started running (not sure what I was thinking here… cycle cross?  Run the entire bike?)  I got out of T1 (so now any time I waste on the problem is “bike time”.. brilliant! :-/) and rolled the bike forward on the pavement… wheel still locking up.  Before the race I checked everything out and everything was perfect… so I had no idea what was going on.  Locked up much harder than a brake rubbing.. the tire would not turn.. even if I tried to force it with my hand.  Now guys are running out of T1 passing me and I am standing there.  The spectators could see I was having issues and started yelling out suggestion… I finally spotted the issue… as I was running with the bike I rolled over a gel block in the grass… it stuck to the tire and rolled around and made its way into the very narrow clearance between my seat tube (which is curved along the rear wheel) and the rear tire.. Okay.. I’ll just grab it… nope.. even with my fingers I couldn’t get it out.. it was solidly stuck (which just didn’t seem possible.)  After wasting WAY too much time I just jump on and start pedaling and figure it will fix itself (bike must win over gelblock, right?).. and sure enough after a 100 yards everything felt fine and there didn’t seem to have any extra drag… but I wasted about 15-20 seconds in T1 and about 20-30 seconds on “bike” time working on this.  Even with the issues I had the 18th quickest T1 overall and 2nd quickest in my AG (someone was 1 second faster.) Opps.

BIKE: 52:15 (20 miles) (3rd/51 AG - 16/383 AO) 22.97mph(based on clock time) The bike was short for an Oly and it was mostly flat… a few rolling hills and some small short climbs.  I was targeting 235-245 watts for the ride.  The Oly course was the same as the sprint but we rode all the way to the east edge of Mercer island, turned around and rode to the west end of I 90 at Safeco/Qwest field (or whatever they call it now.)  Both turnarounds were at the bottom of hills.. oh joy.  Oh.. and lots of tunnels… loved it! There was a good wind blowing south.. so a headwind to start, cross wind on the i90 bridge, and a tailwind back to T2.  Nothing too eventful on the bike.  I hit my power numbers for most of the ride, didn’t get passed by anyone during the bike (always a good feeling,) and passed 4 or 5 guys in my AG.  3rd fasted bike in my AG (even with the gelblock issue time factored in) and made up a few spots from the swim.  Back to T2 I go.

T2: 1:08 (3rd/51AG – 19th/383 AO)  
Far less exciting than T1.  Bike racked, helmet off, shoes on, grab hat and go.

RUN: 46:30 12th/51AG – 71/383 AO – 7:15/mile (for 6.38m ish) 
I’m not a great runner.. the goal is always make up some time on the bike and then run as fast as I can and hope I find the finish line before the guys I passed on the bike can find me.…. And the oly distance gives the guys behind me a lot more time to catch me!  I felt good off the bike and settled in around a 7 min pace.. at some point Rusty flew by on his second lap.. he was flying!  Then I hit the first hill climb (yes, hill climb) just after 2 miles… didn’t mind it much and the downhill run made up for any lost time.. lap one done.. still hitting a 7/min pace.   I have to do this again!  I passed a 26 year old guy who decide to hitch on… I didn’t mind but the sound of footsteps on your heals is the sound I dread during the run, but at least I knew who it was.  Passed lots of people on the second loop but couldn’t tell if they were sprint or oly.. assumed most were sprint or first lap oly.  Then the dreaded moment happened… at mile 5ish.. just before the second hill climb I got passed by one guy Sad smile.. and of course the one person to run by is in my AG.  He was really moving and latching on wasn’t an option.  So…. I hammered out the second hill climb, shot down to the bottom and pushed hard with everything I had for the last ½ mile.  Very happy to cross the finish line.Smile  By far my best 10k… oh.. and the Garmin said closer to 6.4 miles…. Hmm…. That’s not a 10K even with my poor American conversion skills.  Shortly after crossing the finish line “Jonas” ran up to introduce himself after the race.. this is the guy who was running on my heals during the second lap.. he just wanted to say hi an thanks for pulling him along… very cool (although I think I needed the pull!)  Official results show 7:30 pace over 6.2.. Garmin shows closer to 7:15/mile over 6.38ish.   I’ll go with the Garmin Smile.

OVERALL:  2:07:26  4th/51 AG – 37/383 OA  (6th AG if you count the elite wave guys)

I had a blast, enjoyed the course and the beautiful day.  Best Oly performance so far and a good training race for Lake Stevens.  Oh.. and the Gel block… well it was still wedged in there after the race.. but now black, not red.  No longer in any contact with the rear tire… but it took some effort to get the smashed ball of energy free of my bike. Smile