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Pre-Race
This race report is going to be relatively short.  First, it’s been a week since the race, and a very busy week at that, as I am starting up a new company and we are officially “launching” next week.  (More on that in a future post.)  And second, because this triathlon was on the same course and run by the same people as TexasMan, the Olympic I raced back in May.

That being said, this race was an interesting test of the factors that cause fitness/performance loss:

  • Training. Prior to TexasMan, I had trained fairly consistently for 3 months straight. Prior to Disco, I had one week of training and over six weeks of injury.
  • Weather. The high temperature on the day of TexasMan was 76 degrees. The high temperature on the day of Disco was 101 degrees.
  • Weight. I weighed 194 pounds for TexasMan and 199 pounds for Disco.

What was the end result?  My final Disco race time was 9% slower than TexasMan.  My swim was 13% slower, my bike was 4% slower, and my run was a whopping 16% slower.  The hot weather was certainly a factor, but still it’s amazing how slowly base fitness takes to build and how quickly it disappears!

Swim (30 minutes 30 seconds, 205 out of 273)
The swim was intimidating the first time around—it just looked so long.  But this time around I was much less nervous. I knew exactly where the buoys were this time and the water was quite calm.  I did have a couple problems once the race started, though. My goggles got hit by another swimmer and leaked a bit of water, which caused me to flip over on my back and empty them. And I swam off course at one point because I wasn’t sighting for the next buoy frequently enough. Despite those problems, the swim was relatively easy, and I actually found myself pushing a bit at the end to pass a couple of people in front of me.

T1 (2 minutes 55 seconds)
Coming out of the water, I noticed the sun was hiding behind some clouds. Nice!  As I ran up the path towards transition, some volunteers with hoses sprayed our feet and legs to get the sand off.  That was great.  My transition went fine and I headed out on the bike.

Bike (1 hour 21 minutes 32 seconds, 230 out of 273)
The ride was just as beautiful as in May, and amazingly the sun stayed behind the clouds for almost the entire ride.  Hemming Road was brutally bumpy like last time, and my piriformis muscles (muscles between your butt and lower back) were definitely aching on the final stretch.

T2 (2 minute 13 seconds)
Another good transition and I met my goal of approximately 5 minutes of transition time in every triathlon.

Run (1 hour 9 minutes 36 seconds, 224 out of 273)
More than a few people, include my wife Joanne, told me that racing a July Olympic in Texas was a bit silly. But with the new baby girl due on September 4th, I wanted to squeeze in one more Olympic. And the Disco race is really a blast. Many athletes dress in full disco garb, with afro wigs and gold chains and tie-dyed race gear. That being said, it was HOT. Oppressively hot. And humid, too, like running through warm soup. I paid close attention to my heart rate for the whole run, knowing that if I tried to run the 10K in under an hour I would “bonk” and end up walking. The sun came out in the first five minutes of the run, and when the route turned onto the unshaded road heading out of the State Park, I knew it was going to be painful. I walked through each water station, taking a cup of Gatorade to drink and two cups of water to pour over my head and my chest. By the last two miles, the path was littered with runners who had bonked, walking in a daze towards the finish line. I must have passed at least 20 people then, and at least half of them looked significantly more fit than I. It was a tough run, but it felt great to sprint the last hundred yards and then collapse in the lake.

Final Result: 3 hours 6 minutes 44 seconds, 225 out of 273
I didn’t have a goal time for this race.  I knew I would be slower than in May, and my time off to heal my ankle was the longest since I started triathlon, so I didn’t really know what to expect in terms of fitness.  The heat and lack of training made the race painful, but I have to admit that I was proud that I finished well. Overall, the race made me optimistic that I am starting to build a long-term base that will survive the new baby and allow me to build back up quicker than it would take to restart from scratch.

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5.69 miles in 59:31 @ 10:26 pace and 168/185 bpm for 832 calories

I woke up early this morning and ran outdoors for the first time after a couple weeks of hotel treadmills.  It was windy and a bit cold but it warmed up as the sun came up.  I decided to push the pace a bit during the second half of the run and I felt pretty good, getting up to an 8:30 mile as I finished.  I’m racing in the Texas Tough Run Stage this Sunday up at the Cotton Bowl, the first of three stages throughout the year (swim in June, bike in September, and run in March) all benefitting Children’s Medical Center of Dallas where Joanne works.

13.33 miles in 2:26:32 (2:35:50 chip time) @ 10:59 pace and 165/184 bpm for 2,031 calories

With all of the good luck I’ve had with training and races (at least the races that I actually start), I was bound to have at least one bad event.  This was definitely it.

At least I enjoyed my company, though.  My day started early, in my hotel room with Joanne and Emma in Kingwood, Texas. I grew up with an “extended family”—the Larsons— that included two daughters: Nicole and Michele. Joanne, Emma, and I travelled to Michele’s house in Kingwood over the weekend to celebrate a late Christmas with the Larsons. Nicole is married to a guy named Mike, and my sister is engaged to a guy named Tim. Since we were all in Houston, we decided to run the Houston Marathon/Half-Marathon. Mike, Tim and I ran the half, and my sister ran the full.

I woke up just before 5:00am, changed and snuck quietly out of the hotel, and piled into my mom’s SUV and headed downtown. Finding a parking space with all of the streets blocked off was a nightmare, but mom got us there and we all made our way to the start line.

I should mention at this point that due to a mix-up, the race actually sold out before we were able to register. But my crafty sister Debbie used craigslist to buy 4 race entries from injured runners. So that day, I ran as 39-year-old Susanna Jacobvik (at least the last name was close!).  Now, it seems that Susanna is a pretty speedy lady, because she was signed up in the front group of runners. Tim (Anna) and Mike (Horacio) actually are fast runners, but they obliged me by lining up in the back of the front group. We chatted while we jumped up and down to keep warm in the cold pre-dawn breeze, but when the gun went off I promptly waved goodbye and started a slow but steady pace. See, if you’ve followed my blog you know that I’ve never run 10 miles before, and I definitely didn’t want to blow up before I hit 13. I planned a 10:30 pace and hoped to surprise myself with something closer to 10:00.

A little over 3 miles into the race, my plans changed. I started to feel a “hot spot” on the arch of both of my feet. Now I have never really gotten blisters before, even on very long runs in heat and humidity, so I figured I was just imagining it. At 5 miles the heat I felt turned into pain, and I decided that I probably had the beginnings of a blister but that no matter what I was going to finish.  I stopped at the next medical tent and asked for advice–they said to slather vasoline and keep on using it throughout the race. Now, the vasoline did get me through the race, but it added 11+ minutes to my race time and made for one heck of a mess. By the end of the race I had a bad blister on my left foot and a really bad blister on my right foot (the size of the bottom of a coke can).

But I did finish, and I even got to see Joanne, Emma, Patty, Bruce, Nicole, Michele, and Adrian at the finish line!  I missed seeing my mom Sandy, as she was out on the race course cheering on my sister, who ended up finishing in just over 4 hours.  Tim and Mike finished with great times as well, and Mike even talked about running another half-marathon later that year.

I must admit that I didn’t really enjoy the race itself. Music wasn’t allowed on the course and I spent most of the race with my mind on my blisters rather than all the fun and energy of a typical big half-marathon.  So if you asked me today, I don’t really want to run this distance again, either on its own or as a part of a half-Ironman. But I’m sure when the blisters heal, I’ll get the urge to try it again, if for no other reason than to finish the distance healthy at least once.

6.47 miles in 1:07:47 @ 10:28 pace and 150/170 bpm for 916 calories

Joanne and I had a date night planned but we ended up dropping off Emma at Grandma Sandy’s house a bit too late to catch our movie. I didn’t get a chance to run on Saturday because I had to work and Joanne hadn’t run for weeks because she’s been sick.  So we took the opportunity to hit the road together, sans jogging stroller.  Over the weekend I had bought her a long-promised heart-rate monitor (Women’s Polar F6, Happy Thanksmas sweetheart!), so we set that up and then ran a small loop around the neighborhood to ease her back into running.  I then dropped her off at the house and went out for some more miles.  She got ready while I finished running, then I came home and showered and we went out for some Thai food.  Sometimes the simplest dates are the best.

5.07 miles in 53:08 @ 10:28 pace and 146/172 for 716 calories

Tonight we went on a family run after dinner—me behind the jogging stroller and Joanne in front of us.  Emma is quite a motivator, yelling things like “Run Daddy run!” and “Come on, catch up to Mommy!” when Joanne gets too far ahead.  Between pushing Emma’s 36 pounds uphill and trying to talk to her while running, these family runs are good training exercises.

In fact, I did a little comparison tonight.  The first part of the run was with the whole family and the second half was on my own after I dropped off Joanne and Emma.  I measured my lap time in two splits and my pace was 1:26 per mile slower with the stroller than without (11:14 vs. 9:48).  That’s quite a difference.

2.59 miles in 28:28 @ 11:01 pace and 149/166 bpm for 383 calories

Since I needed another quick and easy way to burn off some energy towards the end of the day, Joanne decided to join me on a run around the neighborhood with Emma in the jogging stroller.  Emma did well on the run, although she really likes to talk to me while I’m running. The stroller is quite easy to push on the flats and downhills, but the uphills are quite a challenge.  Emma stopped us twice to fix her sandal, once to tell me she heard some owls in the “nutty forest” across the street, once to “drink water like Mommy does,” and finally at the end to get out of the stroller and run the last bit with us.

Unfortunately by then Joanne already needed to stop.  She has had bursitis around her achilles tendon for about a month and it has been very slow to heal.  Yesterday it looked and felt fine but less than 3 miles into the run it was really bugging her.  Still, it was good to get out and to see Emma enjoy her jog at the end.

Milestones

  • Highest weight: 228 pounds
  • Lowest weight: 187 pounds
  • Current weight: 216 pounds
  • Started training: March 17, 2008
  • First Sprint: June 26, 2008
  • First Olympic: May 17, 2009
  • First Half: TBD 2011
  • Longest swim: 2.05 miles
  • Longest bike: 63.57 miles
  • Longest run: 13.33 miles

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