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63.57 miles in 3:58:15 @ 16.01 mph and 155/178 bpm for 3,973 calories

Two milestones for cyclists are the century, a 100-mile ride, and the metric century, a 100-kilometer ride.  I’ve never ridden a century before, but today I rode my first metric century—quite by accident.  I’ve gone on long rides to the north, south, and east but I’ve never tried to ride west.  The problem, as I found from Bing Maps (which I actually like better than Google), is that Grapevine Lake, DFW Airport, and Highway 121 form a bike-free barrier between Carrollton and Grapevine.  But a bit of research turned up a route right along the northern fence of the airport, Airfield Road, that was perfect for getting to Grapevine.  So this week I decided to give it a try.

Plane flying right over my head at DFW

Plane flying right over my head at DFW

The route was definitely a Carrollton blast from the past.  For the folks that grew up in C-town, I passed MacInnish Field, Sandy Lake Park, and just south of Newman Smith.  And my target location for the ride fit the theme: my C-town friends Chris and Karen Garner’s house.  When I got there, Karen had to wake Chris up as their boy was up sick in the night, but he was getting up soon anyway to continue a bathroom remodeling project.  I still felt guilty, but it was nice hanging out, chatting, and geting a refill on ice for my second bike bottle of Heed.

So why was the metric century an accident?  Well, as you can see on the route linked above, I took two wrong turns that added just enough distance to make the ride slightly longer than 62.14 miles (100,000 meters).  I was frustrated about the wrong turns when I took them, and that last 10 miles was especially brutal, but it was worth it in the end.  With the Sprint triathlon next weekend and the baby coming anytime, this will likely be my last long ride for a while.


50.08 miles in 3:01:14 @ 16.58 mph and 151/173 bpm for 3,022 calories

It’s been a busy week so I didn’t get a chance to post about my epic bike ride last week.  After riding north to Prosper, and east to Lake Lavon, I decided to ride south to White Rock Lake and visit my friend Sam CrowleyLuis Garcia, another friend of mine, told me about a 7-mile trail from Hillcrest & I-635 that went straight to the northern shore of White Rock Lake. So I rode south on Ohio/Hillcrest to that trail.  It was great!  There were dozens of cyclists on the trail, and although it was narrow it was fairly easy to ride.


I’d never ridden around White Rock Lake before, and it was really nice.  There were hundreds of runners and lots of cyclists too, but Lawther Road had almost no cars and it was easy to get around the lake. I veered away to stop by Sam’s house, but I had forgotten that he’d moved a couple blocks away and I didn’t have his new address!  So I briefly freaked out the family living in his new house, called Sam for his new address and got his voice mail, and then continued on my way around the lake and back home.  Great ride.  Thanks for the tip, Luis!

Next up, riding west to Grapevine, I guess.

16.64 miles in 1:00:13 @ 16.58 mph and 143/173 bpm for 1,004 calories

I got out of bed much easier this morning and was excited about an early ride. Since I wanted to limit the ride to an hour I decided to do a bit of hill climbing on Windhaven and then ride a few loops on Tennyson near my house.  The hill at Windhaven & Plano Parkway is known as The Widowmaker, and there’s no steeper hill that I know in the Metroplex to give yourself a real workout on a bike.  It’s slightly steeper than the average grade of a tough Tour de France climb, and even though it only takes around 8 minutes to ascend compared to over an hour for each of the tough Tour hills, you feel like Lance when you’re climbing it, even if for just a few minutes.  If you make a route of it, there are 3 good hills to climb in that neighborhood, and so I did all three of them during the first half of the ride.

With just under 30 minutes to go and traffic picking up, I decided to ride over to Tennyson. On my Sunday rides, I always see a group of cyclists riding loops between Parkwood and Preston. I’ve ridden on Tennyson before but never as a time trial, where you ride the same distance multiple times at a quick and steady pace in an aerodynamic position. My average speed was ~13% faster riding the time trial—not surprising I guess—but interestingly enough my average heart rate was ~20% higher on the time trial, not the hills.

Fun fact #1: I reached a top speed of 34.5 miles per hour going down Windhaven Hill before I climbed back up.  Fun fact #2: Lance averaged just a few miles per hour slower on his Tour time trial ride than my descent of the biggest hill in the neighborhood. Guess I need to work on my power-to-weight ratio. 🙂

5.68 miles in 58:02 @ 10:13 pace and 166/184 bpm for 806 calories
7.19 miles in 1:18:58 @ 10:59 pace and 160/190 bpm for 1,097 calories
39.19 miles in 2:20:41 @ 16.74 mph and 150/177 bpm for 2,346 calories

Another busy work week left me with only three workouts in the past seven days, but I definitely made up for it in weekend distance. We had houseguests in from Austin this weekend to attend a baby shower for Joanne, and I didn’t want my exercise to get in the way of spending time with them. That meant a very early run on Saturday, a late bike ride on Sunday in sunny 90+ weather, and no swim.

I still enjoyed myself nonetheless, especially on the bike ride. I didn’t get started until our guests headed back home, which meant an 11am start.  By then the heat was in full effect and not a cloud in sight. But a complete lack of wind had me feeling confident and I decided to ride north of 380 for the first time ever. I ended up riding across Prosper and back home, but next time I’d love to try to make it to Celina.  The toughest parts of the ride were crossing 380 without a light a Coit, and riding back south on Preston on a very rough and bumpy shoulder.

So now I’ve ridden east to Lake Lavon and north to Prosper. Next up are south to White Rock Lake and west to Grapevine…

37 laps (1,850 yards) in 33:55 for 471 calories
37.37 miles in 2:11:30 @ 17.1 mph and 149/175 bpm for 2,193 calories

With only a Sprint triathlon remaining in my season—unless I get lucky enough to squeeze one more post-baby Olympic in before the end of the year—and with the knowledge that I won’t have many “long” workouts (i.e. over one hour) for a while after the baby is born, I began this weekend to toy with the idea of working some basic speedwork into my routine. Racing the Olympic on only a week’s training proved to me that I do have a decent base at this point, and if I’m not going to try a Half until ~2011, I might as well get faster in the meantime.

So on Saturday morning I hit the pool, and instead of swimming a mile straight to start, I decided to swim only 350-yard repeats.  I chose 350 yards instead of the typical 400 because my upcoming Sprint is a 350-yard swim leg.  Now, when I’m pacing myself for a mile, I typically swim 100 yards in ~2 minutes. Having never timed myself at speed, I wasn’t sure what I could do.  End result is that after a 200-yard warmup I swam seven 350-yard repeats and my average time was 1:50 per 100 yards.  This would mean a 6:25 swim in my next Sprint, which would be great if I could pull it off.  We’ll see what a month of speedwork in the pool can do for me.

My Sunday bike ride was great. Lebanon Road is finally fully opened to four lanes from Frisco to the Colony, so after a quick ride up Ohio, I U-turned and headed west on Lebanon. I was able to ride all the way to the Tribute, where I stopped for half a PowerBar and a stretch before I headed back for home.  Just under 40 miles, just over 2 hours, and cloud cover the whole way.

Sunrise over The Tribute golf course

Sunrise over The Tribute golf course

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.

Run: 2.28 miles in 24:07 @ 10:34 pace and 168/186 bpm for 335 calories
Swim: 1,600 yards or 32 laps in 34:56 for 340 calories
Run: 4.43 miles in 48:13 @ 11:07 pace and 167/190 bpm for 670 calories
Run: 5.43 miles in 58:28 @ 10:46 pace and 163/192 bpm for 812 calories
Bike: 27.95 miles in 1:44:16 @ 16.1 mph and 144/177 bpm for 1,739 calories

Seven weeks ago, I sprained my ankle. Last week, after lots of icing and rehab, my doctor gave me clearance to start exercising again.  I managed to work in one swim, one bike, and three runs.  With our second daughter due in 4 to 6 weeks, I wanted to squeeze in a race or two before my baby-induced triathlon hiatus begins.  Since I missed the Playtri Olympic two weeks ago, there was only one more local Olympic before the baby’s due date.  Unfortunately, it’s this weekend.

That means I’ll have had only one short week of training before a second race of the longest distance I have attempted.  I felt really good in my workouts this week, and although I seem to have lost about 10% of my speed, my endurance (a.k.a. “base”, “engine”, “cake”) still feels decent.  I decided I’m going to give it a go, so look for the race report soon.

Here are some belated pictures from race day.  I’m still waiting for larger versions from the race-day photographers.  When I get them I’ll update this post with links to the larger shots.  These are decent in the meantime.

Coming out of the water and running to transition

Out of the water and up the beach to transition

My first race using aerobars went well

First race with aerobars went well, faster pace and easier run

Running the quarter-mile to the finish

Running the last quarter-mile on grass to the finish line

I’m finally getting used to this triathlon thing. This was my fourth race, and I’ve finally shaken the nerves associated with packing the night before.  Racing three different sports in one day requires a lot of gear, and if you forget even one item—swim goggles or bike shoes, for instance—you are done for the day.  But packing was easy this time around and I got a good night’s sleep.

The race was held at Johnson Branch State Park on Lake Ray Hubbard.  It’s about an hour north from my house, but the drive was worth it.  The park was beautiful, with classic Texas country roads and blooming Spring-time flowers.  The weather was perfect too—around 60 degrees in the morning but sunny and 70 degrees by the race’s end.

This might have been my fourth race, but it was my first at the Olympic distance.  I have been ready to race this distance since I got sick at the end of the season right before my first planned Olympic, so I had more impatience than nerves about the coming day.  I knew that stepping up a distance meant racing against faster athletes, so I didn’t care as much about my placement.  But my target time was 3 hours 10 minutes, and if I could break 3 hours I would be thrilled. 

Swim (26 minutes 47 seconds, 197 out of 266)
The swim was just short of a mile: 1,500 meters or the equivalent of thirty laps in a pool.  Thirty laps doesn’t sound like much, but a mile of open water stretching far out into Lake Ray Hubbard is definitely intimidating.  I actually had to squint to see the buoys from shore.  But the beach start was awesome. I ran into the water with 40 or so other guys from my age group, dove head-first when the water was waist-high, and began a long swim in green, murky water churning with arms and legs. And even though it was a bit chilly at the start of the race, the water temperature was a perfect 70 degrees and actually warmer than the air.  Unlike my last race, jumping into the water caused only a half-second of shock and then I was in good shape.

I ended up passing a handful of swimmers, but I also got passed, including by the top swimmer of the younger men’s age group that started five minutes after we did.  It was windy today, and the chop on the water’s surface occasionally hit me in the face as I turned to breathe. I’m glad I practiced bilateral breathing so often in the pool, because I definitely needed it to avoid the chop each time I changed direction.  After circling a handful of buoys and heading back to shore, my hand hit sand and I popped up to run out of the water, up the beach, and to transition.

T1 (2 minutes 51 seconds)
It felt like a long run up the State park path from the beach to transition, but it gave me a chance to focus on the coming bike ride.  Everything went smoothly and I ran my bike to the mount line and headed out.

Bike (1 hour 18 minutes 54 seconds, 200 out of 266)
This was my first race riding in the aero position, with my seat moved forward, aerobars installed, and my body draped over the bike.  The wind was blowing about 10-15 mph but I barely noticed it.  It felt great.  The course was filled with rolling hills and almost no flats, but nothing really steep.  I only had to stand once and I only left the aero position a few times.  I ate a gel about 15 minutes into the ride and drank one bottle of water along the way.  About 6-8 miles of the bike route, along Hemming Road, was very rough pavement that made my whole bike shake as if I was riding on cobblestone.  My butt and lower back definitely took the brunt of the punishment during that stretch.  But overall, it was a beautiful route, with farm houses and horses and cattle scattered across the countryside. If I were on a training ride, I would have definitely taken lots of pictures.

T2 (1 minute 59 seconds)
Besides a slight problem slipping my foot into one of my running shoes, T2 went as smoothly as T1.  This was my fastest set of transitions ever.  If I can keep my total transition time to around 5 minutes in each race I run, I will be happy.

Run (58 minutes 33 seconds, 214 out of 266)
I’m really not sure what happened out on that run course today.  I mean, I did spend this winter focused on improving my run, and I did add an extra run workout into my weekly schedule this year.  But this course was hilly and I started it after hours of hard swimming and biking.  So how exactly did I set a personal best 10K time and a personal best average pace?  Honestly, I’m not sure.  I walked through all of the water stations as I always do, and I negative-split this leg quite nicely.  But this run just felt incredible.  I’d push myself up a hill and not need to recover.  I’d increase my speed at each mile and my heart rate stayed steady.  I’d temporarily speed up to pass someone in front of me and I still felt fine.  For the first time ever, I actually enjoyed the run more than the swim or the bike.  I ended up with a 9:27 average pace and and final time almost a minute faster than my last standalone 10K race.

Final Result: 2 hours 49 minutes 2 seconds, 205 out of 266
Wait, what?  I didn’t end up just under three hours, but way under three hours.  When I first saw my time I had to walk over to the finish-line official and ask him to double-check it.  I couldn’t believe it.  In fact, I have a sneaking suspicion that the route was a bit short—about 5% short on the bike leg—but at my average pace I still would have finished well under 3 hours.  I guess I underestimated myself, which in my world is always a pleasant surprise.

My position relative to the field was definitely back of the pack—74% for the swim, 75% for the bike, and 80% for the run.  But I finally evened out my run placement and came in under three hours in my first ever Olympic-distance triathlon with only a year of training in all three sports.  I only really started exercising for the first time in my life at age 34 and triathlon has already helped me in all sorts of mental and physical ways, but days like today are what I look forward to for years to come.

7.13 miles in 1:18:17 @ 10:56 pace and 161/184 for 1,091 calories
3,000 yards (50 laps) in 1:06:25 for 648 calories
44.96 miles in 2:45:54 @ 16.26 mph and 134/161 bpm for 2,775 calories

A two-day trip plus a horrid workload this week meant that I missed four training days in a row.  When I miss workouts, I don’t normally like to make them up as I tend to overextend myself, but given that my first Olympic triathlon is in two weeks, I decided to double up on Saturday.  That means I completed my week’s long bike, swim, and run in two days, logging about 2.5 hours per day.

As you can see from my pace, I took it easy in all three workouts, and actually got good experience on both days, eating a couple of gels and carefully watching the amount of water I drank.  Both days went great, which gives me confidence in my ability to race for over 3 hours straight at TexasMan.

The bike ride was especially fun.  I rode up to Parag’s house and back, but I forgot the directions back at home and had to detour about an hour into the ride to get them.  It was a cool and drizzly day, which was quite nice for such a long ride, and I hung out and chatted with Parag for about 15 minutes on his porch before heading home.  The entire ride took about 20 minutes more than I had planned because of the detour, but it was still a great day.

33.53 miles in 2:04:23 @ 16.17 mph and 139/164 bpm for 2,081 calories

Inspired by the aerobar-fest at the King Tut Sprint Triathlon earlier this month, I finally upgraded my bike with Profile Design T2+ aerobars for this weekend’s ride.  Like a kid on Christmas morning, I woke up early and ready to ride, with all my gear neatly laid out the night before so that I wouldn’t wake the girls.  I opened the front door to check the weather, though, and saw tree limbs blowing horizontal in gale force winds.  A quick weather check showed that Collin County was under a wind advisory.  My first thought was, “Crap!”  But then I remembered that I was excited about a piece of equipment that was supposed to make me more aerodynamic, so I decided to go out and give ’em a try.

They were a blast!  I loved the more forward position, and after a quick stop and some tweaks with the allen wrench just south of I-635, I felt great.  It might have helped that I also picked up a new saddle, a Fizik Arione TRI2, that felt at least 50% more comfortable than the stock seat I had been riding since last May.  It was a great two-hour ride with a good portion of it into a 20+ MPH wind that I barely noticed.  Can’t wait until next weekend!

My sister Debbie is an accountant with a birthday on Apri 14th, so every year she travels down to Dallas after tax season is over to see the family and celebrate her birthday.  This year, we both registered for the King Tut Sprint Triathlon in McKinney so that we could race together for the first time.

Debbie rented a bike and brought it over to my house the day before the race.  On race morning I woke up and ate my normal pre-race breakfast of Honey-Nut Cheerios, skim milk, and a banana.  My mom drove Debbie over to my house and we all drove together in my car to McKinney.

When we arrived, the first thing Debbie noticed was the level of competition at the race.  There’s a fair amount of money in McKinney, and it definitely showed in the equipment on display in transition.  I saw more $5,000+ tri bikes at this race than at the two I’ve done before, and there were a number of athletes who definitely looked the part.

Now, although I’m a slightly better swimmer than Debbie, she and I are equal cyclists and she is a much better runner than I am.  So we were joking as we headed into transition about who would “win” the race.  I knew she would beat me but it was fun to be there together and be competitive.

We quickly set up our transition areas and Debbie made a critical error that ruined the rest of her race day.  She was borrowing my mom’s bike helmet for the day and she forgot to try it on!  More on this point later…

Swim (10 minutes 26 seconds, 160 out of 370)
The swim was a short 500 meters in a man-made, neighborhood lake.  The water was surprisingly clean, and although the race director had predicted around 70-degree water, the unusual cold and storms during the weeks prior dropped the water temperature to 62 degrees—frickin’ COLD!  Last year I swam a half-mile in the Pacific Ocean in water even colder than that, so I knew that it would suck getting in but that I’d warm up after the first 100 meters, so I didn’t wear a wetsuit for the swim.  But when I lined up for the swim start with my age group, almost every single one of the 25+ athletes between 30-39 years of age wore a wetsuit.  In fact, I’d say over 80% of the racers had wetsuits that day—a big rarity for Texas triathlons.

My age group started when Debbie was in the water, so I didn’t really get a chance to watch her swim or exit the water, but later she told me that when she jumped in she couldn’t catch her breath and had to swim with her head above water for the first third of the swim.  If you’ve never jumped in to really cold water, you probably don’t know what she explained, but when you first jump in your heart races and your body begins to “force” you to breathe at about double the pace that you normally do.  It’s quite unnerving to feel your body out of control, especially when you are trying to stay calm so you pace yourself during the first leg of the race.

Once my age group jumped in, we treaded water for a minute or so while we all got into position, and then someone yelled “Go!” and we all started swimming.  The tangle of arms and legs thrashing in cold, murky water was something I’d never experienced, as this was my first open-water triathon.  As long as you don’t mind a sense of mild panic in the water or a bunch of same-sex strangers groping you as they jockey for position, it’s a really fun experience.  I’m a decent swimmer so although I started towards the back of my wave, I slowly passed people and ended up near the front by the end.

T1 (3 minutes 41 seconds)
One negative of the course set-up is that this neighborhood lake actually has a dam along its far edge that forms a big hill overlooking the water.  Unfortunately, the transition area was on the other side of this hill, which meant that when we exited the water we had to run up a dirt hill and then back down the other side into transition.  My age group was one of the last, and so the dirt had become mud, and I had to run fairly slow to avoid slipping down the hill.  That probably explains my lengthy transition, because I actually moved fairly quickly on to my bike.

Bike (40 minutes 8 seconds, 168 out of 370)
The bike course was was made up of two 6-mile loops, and besides one big hill and one small one, it was flat and fast.  It was really windy too, blowing at 15-20 mph that morning, which not only made my wet toes freeze inside my vented bike shoes, but made for a tough bike ride without my bike set up for me to ride in the “aero” position (draped over the bike with my hands forward on aerobars).  I managed to pass quite a few people, but I was passed a lot as well, and most of the people who passed me were riding in the aero position.  I think the next triathlon purchase I’ll make will be aerobars for my bike.  Overall, it was a fast and fun ride, averaging 18 miles per hour.

Not so much for my sister Debbie, though!  She exited transition, hammered up the first hill passing folks left and right, and then… her helmet slipped off her head and started choking her!  The rest of her ride was spent trying to angle her head to either keep the helmet on or keep it from restricting her air intake.  She had to stop and unclip from the bike at least three times, and was screaming profanities for the entire 12 miles.  It was her first triathlon on a real road bike, so hopefully she exorcized all of the demons and will do great in the Door County Half in July.

T2 (2 minutes 7 seconds)
By the time I got back to the transition area, my toes were completely numb but the rest of me felt fine.  I yanked off my helmet, pulled on my socks and shoes, put on my race-number belt, and jogged out on to the run course.  My legs felt especially stiff since I have not run many bricks this year.  I’ll definitely have to squeeze in one or two before my next race.

Run (31 minutes 15 seconds, 242 out of 370)
The run course was much more difficult than I had mentally prepared myself.  First of all, the path passed underneath the street at least twice, which meant running down and then back up a steep incline and through a dark tunnel.  Second, it was generally hilly, with long stretches of “false flat” hills—not steep enough to wake me up that a big hill was coming, but not flat enough to keep me from feeling the burn in my thighs and lungs.  And third, running into the wind after swimming and biking is really just a kick in the pants.  The end result was a 10-minute run pace, a fairly average showing for me and definitely slower than I would have liked.

For those of you who were wondering about my sister, her run was great: a blistering 8:40 pace driven by her desire to make up time and the frustration of such a bad bike leg.  I can’t wait until I can break a 9-minute pace in a triathlon like she did!

Final Result: 1 hour 27 minutes 40 seconds, 201 out of 370
The final route was approximately 15.41 miles of Sprint-triathlon goodness.  I finished in a respectable top 43% in the swim and top 45% on the bike, but top 65% (ugh!) on the run.  Overall I finished in the top 54%, which still makes me a proud MOP’er (midde-of-the-pack).  And even though Debbie had a terrible morning, it was a blast racing with her and I hope to do it again soon.

My next race is the TexasMan Olympic Triathlon on May 18th starting in Lake Ray Roberts north of Denton.  Hopefully doubling the distance will double the fun! 🙂

34.16 miles in 2:03:26 @ 16.6 mph and 145/169 bpm for 2,065 calories

As I get closer to my first Olympic triathlon in mid-May, my long bike workouts are climbing up towards 3 hours.  I cleared the 2-hour mark and with it the 2,000-calorie level.  It was my first workout of the year where I came back starving and sore enough to need serious stretching before I could walk up the stairs.  Let the fun begin! 🙂

4.46 miles in 45:52 @ 10:16 pace and 164/176 bpm for 639 calories
14.72 miles in 54:09 @ 16.3 mph and 139/150 bpm for 906 calories

I had a good run and then I got another chance to try out the rollers.  This was my first “real” ride on them, and I decided to film myself using my laptop camera.  It’s very poor quality and low light, but you’ll get the idea of how squirrely I am when I first get started.

Bike: 10.5 miles in 35:00 @ 18:00 mph for 585 calories (on rollers)
Swim: 2,500 yards (50 laps) in 54:55 for 536 calories
Run: 4.64 miles in 45:58 @ 9:54 pace and 167/179 bpm for 705 calories

I had three good workouts this week, and each one had a small breakthrough.  First, on the bike, I had my first long ride on my new set of rollers.  When cyclists want to get a ride in but can’t go outside (e.g. too windy, too cold, too much traffic), they have two options.  They can ride a bike trainer, which attaches to the back wheel of the bike and creates resistance via fluid or magnets.  Or they can ride rollers, an alternative to a bike trainer where they have more freedom of motion but have to concentrate on balance a lot more. I tried out both options and decided to buy the rollers. They are so much fun to ride!  I’m sure I’ll be writing more about them in future posts. They’re actually quite hard to explain, but this YouTube video of a guy trying them out at a cycling conference is worth 1,000 words:

Second, I had a great swim this week. I got my own lane for almost an entire hour and I got to do some drills to see how few strokes I needed to get across the pool.  I was able to swim a length in 12 to 14 strokes—about 2  less than I was averaging last year—and in under 30 seconds per length for a mile straight. I found that my limiting factor was actually breathing.  I was breathing every third stroke, but as I reduced my number of strokes per length, and thus breaths per length, I was getting tired from lack of oxygen (as opposed to tired muscles).  When I started breathing every other stroke, I suddenly had extra energy and was able to “coast” between strokes a bit longer.  All that means my mile swim using an slow-but-efficient stroke should be consistently at or under 35 minutes, which would be great for me.

Third, I had my best run of the year. I only had 45 minutes to squeeze it in, but I decided to run it at race pace before the Texas Tough event happening tomorrow. Now, my run wasn’t a full 10K, but I did manage to run about 75% of the distance in just under a 10-minute pace.  If I could run tomorrow at that pace I’d be thrilled.

27.83 miles in 1:46:35 @ 15.67 mph and 152/177 bpm for 1,491 calories

I normally swim on Saturday morning and bike on Sunday morning, but today was tax day for me.  As usual, taxes took longer than I planned, and pretty soon I had missed the best time to swim at the pool (before family time begins).  So I decided to swap my workouts and ride today.  I finished up the taxes around 4pm and headed out on the road. It was really windy, so half of the ride was torture and the other half was a eternal sprint.

It’s so painful riding up a steep hill with the wind in your face.  My route today has four hills, and the two worst ones had headwinds.  Below is an elevation map of today’s ride.  The second climb, the longest and steepest one on today’s route, was painful but it’s early enough that it still feels good.  Of course, the gradual 6-mile incline that follows definitely takes a measure of confidence out of me.  And that last climb at mile 25 was directly into the wind.  It was bad enough that I actually had to sit back down in the saddle about 75% the way up the hill because I completely ran out of leg strength.  I think I was going 9 or 10 miles an hour at that point.  Very sad and very painful. 

Elevation chart

Elevation chart

But it’s so fun riding with a strong tailwind!  After that 6-mile incline, I got to ride north up Parkwood for quite a while.  It really felt like I had a small electric engine on my bicycle.  I was pedalling just as hard as I had up the previous incline, but I had added at least 10 miles per hour in speed—which on a road cycle feels like the difference between driving a car at 20 mph and 40 mph.

Anyway, hopefully tomorrow I’ll get a chance to swim and then next week is a slightly reduced training week to save some energy for the Texas Tough relay.

4.33 miles in 51:04 @ 11:46 pace and 170/185 bpm for 643 calories
4.22 miles in 46:11 @ 10:54 pace and 170/185 bpm for 646 calories
1,400 yards (35 laps) in 30:00 for 294 calories
5 miles in 60:00 @ 12:00 pace for 755 calories (treadmill @ 1% incline)
2,350 yards (47 laps) in 50:00 for 490 calories
20.45 miles in 1:18:13 @ 15.7 mph and 143/175 bpm for 1,094 calories
4.15 miles in 50:00 @ 12:00 pace for 629 calories (treadmill @ 1% incline)

After my little disease vector Emma brought home a particularly nasty rhinovirus, I took two weeks off from training.  Since then, I’ve been on the road a lot—Chicago, Seattle, and Minneapolis just this month—and barely squeezing in time to exercise.  But I have managed to stay on track, even if I’ve been skipping blogging about my workouts until tonight.  Here’s a quick recap of some highlights:

  • I’m back to running in my Brooks shoes, the ones that gave me blisters during the Houston Half-Marathon.  I searched dozens of different running Web sites for a cure that would keep me running in them, and I finally found it: duct tape!  That’s right, I loosely wrap the arch of my foot in duct tape before each run.  I sweat enough that it doesn’t stick to my foot, and I’ve completely eliminated my blister problems.
  • I swam in the hotel pool in Seattle on my first morning there.  My local pool is a saltwater pool, and this was my first time in chlorine in a while.  It was nice to be able to swim on the road.
  • I ran on treadmills in Seattle and Minneapolis, 1% incline for about an hour each time.  I read that 1% incline makes a treadmill run roughly equivalent to running outdoors.  It was a lot more boring but it felt good to squeeze in early morning workouts before my meetings.
  • My first real bike ride in a while went nicely, although I had to cut it short to make it to church on time.

I had a great dinner with Debbie and Tim while I was in Minneapolis.  They took me out to Craftsman and I had an incredible meal—perfect Midwestern with a bit of a twist: an incredible cheese plate with a really good local guyere, a spicy lamb sausage with kale and chickpeas, a couple glasses of Rose, and 2.5 hours of catching up with my sister and her fiancé.

24.43 miles in 1:30:48 @ 16.1 mph and 143/163 bpm for 1,524 calories

Ever since I started biking in May of last year, I’ve ridden dozens of different routes. But the route I like best is the one I rode today. It’s close to my house, almost exacty the same distance as an Olympic-distance triathlon bike leg, and has a great mix of hills and flats. It also happens to pass the homes of my friends Mike and Stephen, although I’ve never stopped by and said hi.

You can click on the “24.43 miles” link in this post to explore the route in detail. For those of you familiar with West Plano, the ride includes the hills on Windhaven Road (called “The Widowmaker” by local cyclists), a long trip along the wonderfully trafficlight-less Plano Parkway, another long trip up the relatively flat Ohio Road, and along the back of Frito-Lay headquarters (my former employer many years ag0) towards home.

Here is a screen shot of the route’s elevation profile. You can see the hills at the beginning, the flat section in the middle, and the hill at the end.  That last hill looks small, but if you look closely at its grade at the very beginning of the climb, it’s actually quite steep. And after 90 minutes of hammering, it’s quite painful as well. A great way to end a long morning ride.

Bike route elevation profile

Bike route elevation profile

If you’re interested in giving this route a try, let me know! My long ride is on Sunday mornings and I could always use the company.

Swim: 1,100 yards or 22 laps in 24:42 for 242 calories
Bike (stationary): 16.81 miles in 45:00 minutes for 441 calories
Run (treadmill): 2.2 miles in 22:00 minutes for 308 calories

I missed a workout earlier in the week so I decided to squeeze in a swim with my bike and run.  Because I didn’t have much time I figured I’d  do them all at the gym—plus, I’m thinking about doing one of the Lifetime Fitness Indoor Triathlons and I thought I’d see what it was like to do all three sports indoors.  If you’re interested in trying out the sport of triathlon, this is really the easiest way to do it.  Interested in joining me for one of these?  Leave a comment and let me know.

24.36 miles in 1:34:47 @ 15.42 mph and 144/166 bpm for 1,326 calories

It’s been three months since my last serious ride.  All week I’ve been looking forward to getting back on the bike and since Sunday morning before church is my typical long ride, I figured I’d shoot for a 90-minute, 25-mile ride and see how long I lasted.  I fell a tad bit short; just like running, my bike pace is a little slower than last Fall, but hopefully that’ll improve by my first big race in mid-May.

It was a beautiful morning, 55 degrees and light winds, and I really loved being back out there.  The wind picked up as the ride progressed and I think I climbed one too many hills, but other than that it was a great morning.   And to top it off, the sermon at church was about Ephesians—one of my favorite books of the Bible.

26.32 miles in 1:36:08 @ 16.43 mph and 151/182 bpm for 1,559 calories

I was back on the bike today for an early Sunday morning ride before church.  It was cold, around 45 or 50 degrees with a strong easterly wind.  I dressed in a long-sleeve jersey and wore my winter riding gloves (they’re thicker and cover my whole fingers), but I was still a bit cold during the first half-hour of the ride.  It probably didn’t help that I was heading into the wind and that the sun wasn’t quite up high enough to warm me.  My cycling shoes are made for triathlon, which means they’re well-vented to dry my feet after the swim while on the bike, but I’ll definitely need to buy some shoe covers for cold-weather riding as that cold breeze blew through my shoes and made my toes numb.  (They stung in my hot shower after the ride!)  I’ll also wear a wool cap underneath my helmet next time.

The ride was great once I got out of that headwind, including a fast sprint on Plano Parkway heading west at a bit over 28 mph on the flats.  I finished with a climb up The Widowmaker (Windhaven Hill) that spiked my heart rate at 182 and slowed me down to about 8 mph.  I really need to work in some hill repeats.

Here are some pictures from race day!  (The linked images are courtesy of the race-day photographers.  If you want copies of any of those shots, please click on the picture and order directly from them.)
Riding out of transition

Beginning the ride

Pushing through a turn

Pushing through a turn

Last mile of the run

Last mile of the run

About to cross the finish line

About to cross the finish line

Celebrating with a cute fan

Celebrating with a cute fan

As you may have read in an earlier post, I got sick and missed the Olympic-distance triathlon for which I had been training for six months.  I was bummed.  At the time thought about ending my “season” and just waiting until next year, but when I started feeling better I decided to try to find one more race before the cold weather arrived.  I looked online and found the Plano Blackland Triathlon, a Sprint-distance, inaugural event held at Oak Point Park in East Plano benefitting Plano ISD Athletics.  I decided to give it a try.  (For more basic information about triathlon races or a recap of my first race, to which I refer in this post, read my previous race report.)

The morning of the race, I woke up a few hours beforehand and ate a breakfast of Honey Nut Cheerios, skim milk, and a light banana smoothie (bananas, ice, skim milk, vanilla, and cinnamon).  I had packed up my duffel bag with all my gear the night before, but this time I brought a much larger bag than my last race so that I didn’t have to squeeze everything in.

The transition area was extremely tight—the bikes were almost touching and the rack was too low to park the bike facing front.  One thing I forgot to bring was my painter’s tape, which I’ve found is great for fastening gel(s) on your bike without leaving residue on your paint job.  Because my triathlon suit (i.e. “onesie”) has no pockets, I tried to stuff the gel underneath my bike’s race number, but it fell out when I started riding.  Luckily I didn’t really need a gel in this short race.

One difficult part about triathlon for folks like me who wear glasses is that you cannot see very well when you’re leaving the pool and heading to transition. I don’t put on my prescription sunglasses until I get to my bike, so between my bad eyesight and being soaked and slightly disoriented from swimming, I have a hard time seeing where I’m supposed to go.  Luckily in my first race the volunteers helped steer me in the right direction.  For this race I decided to walk the path to transition a few times before the race started.  As a result, I didn’t have time for a warm-up, but it was a very short swim so I wasn’t too worried.

Surprisingly, they did not sing the national anthem before this event, they did not explain why the event was called “Blacklands” (my dad later told me it was because Plano has always had dark, rich farming soil), and they did not mention what group the event benefitted or how it was going to help.  The event also got started a bit late which is a big no-no in race direction, but I cut them some slack because it’s their first year.

Swim (5 minutes 51 seconds, 115 out of 409)
The Oak Point pool is an indoor, salt-water pool with 6 lanes of 50 meters each.  The pool was overly warm, which I normally don’t like—swimming laps in a warm pool is a lot like running on a treadmill in a hot room—but given the brisk temperature outside, I was actually happy with it this time.

In my last post, I wrote, “I don’t think I would race another sprint triathlon unless it had a swim of at least ½ mile.” And here I was again, racing a super-short swim distance.  I guess I felt different about it in that this race was really the only one I could choose without travelling somewhere.  I still wish it had been longer but it wasn’t as annoying as it was the first time around.

My race number was 278, and since the numbers started with 101, that meant I was seeded 178th out of 409 based on my reported swim time.  As I waited the 20 minutes or so for my turn to get in the pool, I watched the usual people who report a blazing swim time but then end up breast-stroking the entire swim (yes, literally) and forcing dozens of people to pass them.  What are they thinking?  I also waited next to a couple of members of the UNT Triathlon Team, who were all wearing the same green uniforms.  I thought it was really cool to see college triathletes at a local event, and I wished there had been some UT-Austin or even UT-Dallas representation.

When there were only 10-15 people left in front of me, I suddenly felt the need to empty my bladder once more before the start.  Unfortunately I didn’t have time to do it and I was worried about not keeping my place in line.  In hindsight, I should definitely have stepped out, told the race director I was going to start late, and made a pit stop.  But instead I started the race needing to “go” and knowing I couldn’t while I was exerting myself.  (More on this issue later.)

I started off too quickly and actually got a bit winded after the first 50 meters, but at the wall I reminded myself not to get too excited and I settled down into my Total Immersion style and swam well for the rest of the short swim.  I passed four or five people and was actually passed by one.

Just like last race, I “moved up” from my seeded place with my overall swim finish of 115th.  My 100-meter pace for this swim was 1:57, just under my 2:00 target and 19 seconds faster than my first triathlon swim pace.  And most importantly, this time around I remembered to put on my goggles before I jumped in the water.  At the end of the swim, two volunteers helped pull me out of the pool at the ladder, and I jogged the long distance up to the transition area—without getting disoriented this time.

T1 (2 minutes 44 seconds)
One annoying thing about the sport of triathlon is that there is no standardized transition area set up or distance from swim to transition.  I can understand why this type of rule is not possible, but what it means is that it is impossible to compare overall times from two different races, because even if the distances of each leg were the same, transition would not be laid out in the same way or be the same distance from the swim and the bike mount.

In any case, T1 went very well for me.  I sped up my transition time by not sitting down or drying anything off except my feet.  Putting on gloves was still a pain, and next I won’t wear them when racing a Sprint-distance event.  I did not leave my bike shoes in the pedals (i.e. no flying mount) and instead ran in them to the bike mount, got on slowly, and headed out.

Bike (44 minutes 47 seconds, 116 out of 409)
It wasn’t until about 10 minutes into the bike course that I realized how badly I needed to “go”!  I suddenly became jealous of those Tour de France guys who teach themselves how to “pee off the bike,” but there was no way I was going to try that in my onesie!  I also wasn’t going to stop, unclip, and go on the side of the road.  So I held it in and kept reminding myself that the faster I finished, the faster I got back to transition and the port-o-potty.

Maybe my full bladder contributed to my great bike ride or something, but on a hillier course than my first race I managed to slightly decrease my miles-per-hour pace, and in this race I actually finished in the top third on the bike instead of the top half in the last one.  I felt really strong throughout, pushing through a headwind during the first half of the out-and-back course and passing about 15 people, including three or four while going up hills.  I was also passed by two riders, both who flew by me with impressive form and really cool bikes.

As I wrote last time, riding on a closed course with policemen directing traffic is so great.  But through a couple of intersections, the traffic was really backed up (10+ cars on each side) and in one particular intersection dozens of cars were laying on their horns and yelling out the window at the cops.  They seemed in disbelief that the cars were not getting right-of-way over the athletes.  Part of me felt great that for once a car had to wait for a bike to pass, but most of me felt bad that triathlon might be getting a bad name here and worried that the situation might actually get violent.

Towards the end of the race, I encountered a “rabbit” like I had in my first race—a rider I wanted to pass who was riding at my speed or slightly faster.  This guy was on a bright-yellow bike with no shirt and riding with terrible form: legs splayed, body rocking, and back crooked.  But as I’ve learned so many times in the past, looks are deceiving in endurance sports, and every time I tried conservatively to pass the guy (i.e. increasing and then holding my pace to get by him without sprinting) he would pedal with all his might to stay ahead.  I was impressed with him, and although I didn’t ever pass him he definitely helped me push my pace.  I unfastened my shoes during the last minute of the ride and pulled my feet out so that I could hop off my bike and run barefoot into T2.  It turned out my rabbit was racked one space down from me!  We congratulated each other on a good bike leg and he headed out on to the run as I pulled on my running shoes and made a beeline for the port-o-potty.

T2 (3 minutes 29 seconds)
Ahh!  As I exited the big blue box, I knew I had lost at least 1.5 minutes between the detour and the deed, but I felt so relieved I really looked forward to the last leg of the race.  Hopefully I won’t make this same mistake again and this transition will be the longest of my triathlon career.

Run (28 minutes 34 seconds, 203 out of 409)
What an incredible run!  It was a flat course and sunny outside, but cool with a nice breeze that I hated on the bike but loved now.  I had almost no problem with stiff legs running off the bike, which I attribute to my near-weekly brick (i.e. bike-to-run) workouts that have made me much more comfortable with that awkward feeling.

I started off at a fairly fast pace of slightly under 9-minutes per mile, but then I reminded myself of my negative split philosophy and slowed it down.  Four people passed me almost instantly after that, but because I picked up the pace with each half-mile or so, I actually passed them all but one in the end.  That really felt good.

I’ve been training much longer distances for both the Olympic triathlon and for the upcoming Turkey Trot, and so the end of the run came way too soon.  Despite a 9:13 minutes per mile pace and finishing less than a minute off of my fastest 5k run time ever (which occurred in a normal running race without a bike and a swim!), I really felt that I had a lot of energy at the end of the race.  In hindsight, I should have tried a 5k prep run before the race to try out a 9 minutes per mile pace and see how it felt.

The final quarter-mile was up a hill along the back of the Oak Point Amphitheatre, which meant that I had to basically run a tight U-turn right before the finish line.  The positive of this setup was that I finished in front of a live band, but the negative was that I couldn’t judge how close the finish line really was and the spectators couldn’t see athletes coming before they suddenly finished.  Joanne still snapped a cool picture of my form as I pushed through the finish, and I ended the race with Emma running up to me for another big post-race hug.

Final Result: 1 hour 25 minutes 29 seconds, 163 out of 409
It was sad that I couldn’t make it to my Olympic-distance triathlon this year—and it especially stung when some of the other athletes had triathlon shirts and other race gear from that event—but this really was a nice end to my triathlon “season.” I ended up improving my finish spot from the top 56% in my first race to the top 40% in this one, so I’m still officially a MOP’er (i.e. middle-of-the-pack athlete), but slowly getting better—and still enjoying training even more than I do my races.

Speaking of, my next race is the Turkey Trot 8-mile on Thanksgiving.  My Dad and Rebecca are going to walk the 3-mile course that morning so I will have family joining me in addition to the handful of friends I know who are running it.  After that, I hope to run the Houston Half-Marathon in January.  My Mom and the Larsons would be spectators there and if all goes well I’ll run it with Debbie, Tim, and Nicole’s husband Mike.  Finally, barring another case of strep throat, I’ll race my first Olympic-distance triathlon in the Spring—I’m leaning towards an event in South Carolina so I can go visit Curt—and then the Olympic-distance race I deferred which will happen again in October 2009.  Thanks for reading and please let me know if you’re ever in Dallas and want to swim, bike, or run!

38.72 miles in 2:21:42 @ 16.39 mph and 142/167 bpm for 2,297 calories

Made a wrong turn but stumbled across a nice contry road

Made a wrong turn but stumbled across a nice contry road

After a two-week hiatus from cycling, I finally managed to squeeze in a long bike ride before my flight to Boston on Sunday.  My back was still a bit achy when I started the ride, but by the time I finished it felt almost completely healed.  It was a cool day but quite breezy, which created some challenging south-bound riding but made for an overall pleasant time.  I started by riding down “The Widowmaker” (a.k.a. Windhaven Hill) and actually set a new personal speed record of 38.4 mph.  Then I rode up Plano Parkway Hill for a nice early hill climb (actually a series of three hills) and then on the rest of my ride.  I made a wrong turn on Coit Road north of 121 and accidentally headed further out than I intended, but I stumbled upon a nice country road out there and took the picture you see above while I stopped to eat my Powerbar.  It was great to be back on the bike!

47:45 @ 142/167 bpm for 680 calories

“Come on Monday!  Challenge that body with the tension!”

“You woke up early!  You came to cycle class!  You paid for this gym membership!  Now use it!”

“And now, the incredible Tina Turner.  She’s got huge pipes and she’s gonna chase you, so when she starts that chorus, you better sprint!”

My first ever gym spin class was taught by my sister.  A “cycle class” instructor for Lifetime Fitness, Debbie teaches at two different gyms twice a week.  Her teaching style is heavy on interval training—almost the entire session is a series of sprints or jumps or hill climbs or some evil combination of the three—and heavy on, well, motivation.  Many of the people in her class are advanced “group fitness” junkies, and now I can see why: she definitely pushes her students with way she structures the intervals and builds up the workout.  I was fairly confident in my ability to survive the class aerobically, and I did fairly well in that department, but I did not anticipate the muscular fatigue I was going to need to endure.  By the end of Tina Turner’s Proud Mary, my legs were jello. I never realized how many times Tina screams “Rollin’ down the river!”  I now fear that chorus.

Debbie said I did pretty well, minus making it a bit harder on myself by accidentally leaning too far forward when standing.  I thought it was a great workout, and Debbie’s style and music selection were incredible.  (Thanks for squeezing in the De La Soul, Debbie!)  I’d definitely recommend her to anyone looking for a good spin class in Minneapolis.

18.25 miles in 1:04:23 @ 17.05 mph and 138/166 for 1,045 calories
3.58 miles in 35:16 @ 9:50 pace and 159/174 for 526 calories

I woke up early this morning to get a brick in before my flight to Minnesota, and I decided to take it easy since this workout would be my last before the race taper began.  The cycling was non-eventful, which was nice since it was my first ride since my big flat episode.  I kept on squeezing my back tire at each intersection just to make sure everything was okay.  On the run I passed a 40-something woman about a minute before a traffic light.  I stopped and waited for the signal to change but she just ran through it, which meant I passed her a second time about a quarter-mile up the road.  She was wearing headphones so I waved and shot her a goofy smile and she chuckled.  I kept running my loop route and on the way back towards my house, she must have taken a shorter version of my loop because I saw her again!  The third time I passed her she started laughing and then stumbled a bit, which made me laugh as well.  Luckily she didn’t fall and after that I didn’t see her again.

56.58 miles in 3:21:45 @ 16.83 mph and 133/171 for 3,282 calories

What a train wreck of a bike ride!  (Well, not literally.)  Today I had planned my longest ride yet, just under 3 hours, that would allow me to get a feel for exerting myself for the approximate length of my upcoming race and confirm how much water and food I would need.  I wanted to go somewhere new so I picked a route out to Lake Lavon and back.  Today was the Plano Balloon Festival and without planning it I rode right under the balloon path. It was a still, beautiful morning and the quiet noise of my bike and the balloons firing was nice. After a long country ride, I finally made it out to Clear Lake Park on the tip of the peninsula and took a short rest by the water.

On the ride back, I must have ran over some glass or something because by the time I got across the bridge, my rear tire was flat.  I’m fairy comfortable changing my bike tire as I’ve changed two of them in my garage, but two things went wrong.  First, my CO2 cartridge (used instead of a pump) misfired and by the time I managed to stop it, I only had enough air to fill the tire halfway.  Second, when I changed the tire, I screwed up the rear brake so that one side consistently pressed against the wheel.  I needed an allen wrench to fix it but of course I left mine back in my garage, and that meant riding with my rear-brake half-engaged for a couple miles until I could find someone to ask for help.  I finally came across a fire station with some men fixing a truck, and they offered me an allen wrench so I could tweak my brake.  I was finally ready to ride the 20-something miles home on my low tire.  I got home over 30 minutes late and absolutely exhausted.  Still, my pace was decent and three gels, 1 sports drink, and 40 ounces of water worked almost perfectly.  Next time I’ll bring two CO2 cartridges and my allen wrenches, and I’ll try two 25-mile loops instead of one 50-mile out-and-back route!

26.86 miles in 1:30:51 @ 17.74 mph and 146/166 bpm for 1,478 calories
4.71 miles in 50:33 @ 10:45 pace and 157/169 bpm for 685 calories

Since this was my longest brick ever and closest to triathlon distance, I decided to try to push my pace and see what I could do. The bike ride was great. I rode my fastest ever, nearing my actual bike race pace in my sprint triathlon but with stop lights! I transitioned in my sitting room and just a few minutes into the run my right shin muscle fatigued. It actually felt like it does at the end of playing a lot of bass drum kicks on a drumset: it didn’t actually cramp but it became hard to pick up the front of my foot with each step.  After trying to run through it, I decided to stop and massage the area a bit.  I must have loosened up the muscle enough because it stopped bothering me and I pushed for the rest of the run and finished it at a good pace.  At today’s paces plus my swim pace and transitions, I should be able to finish an Olympic-distance triathlon in under 3 hours 20 minutes.  So that’s officially my target time for October!

44.14 miles in 2:37:32 @ 16.8 mph and 139/164 bpm for 2,562 calories

Hurricane Ike abused my bike race.  More specifically, it was cancelled due to expected bad weather today.   But when I woke up it was beautiful outside!  So I hopped on my bike and set out east for an idyllic ride… until I hit my first stretch of northbound road.  That’s when I ran into the remnants of Ike: a 15-20 mph headwind.  Now I see how Tina felt!  A full hour of my ride was spent pedaling directly into that wall of wind and I was lucky to maintain 14 mph.  Of course, headwinds eventually become tailwinds on out-and-back routes, and sure enough my ride back south was incredibly fast.  I hit speeds of 25-30 mph on the flats and made it home just in time to get to church.

24.73 miles in 1:27:24 @ 16.98 mph and 138/160 bpm for 1,422 calories

I woke up at 5:00am to get in some cycling before rush hour because I had a bunch of meetings scheduled during the day.  This was my first ride in the dark, and besides a couple of miles on roads with no streetlights, I felt very safe and the few cars I saw avoided me just fine. I have a bright, flashing (i.e. obnoxious!) red strobe on the back of my bike so that probably helped.  This was my last ride before my race on Sunday.  Hopefully the race will still happen with Hurricane Ike coming to Dallas!


  • 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